242 SAMUEL JOHNSON
��Prologue, spoken by Mr. Garrick, April 5, 1 750, before the Masque of Comus^ acted at Drury-Lane 'Theatre for the Benefit of Milton's Grand-daughter
YE patriot crowds, who burn for England's
fame, Ye nymphs, whose bosoms beat at Milton's
name, Whose generous zeal, unbought by flattering
Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times, Immortal patrons of succeeding days, Attend this prelude of perpetual praise ; Let wit, condemn'd the feeble war to wage With close malevolence, or public rage, Let study, worn with virtue's fruitless lore, Behold this theatre, and grieve no more. This night, distinguish'd by your smiles, shall
That never Briton can in vain excel ; The slighted arts futurity shall trust, And rising ages hasten to be just.
At length our mighty bard's victorious lays Fill the loud voice of universal praise ; And baffled spite, with hopeless anguish dumb, Yields to renown the centuries to come: With ardent haste each candidate of fame,