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The Clandestine Marriage/Prologue

< The Clandestine Marriage

 

PROLOGUE.


Written by Mr. GARRICK.

Spoken by Mr. HOLLAND.


POETS and Painters, who from Nature draw
Their beſt and richeſt Stores, have made this Law:
That each ſhould neighbourly aſſiſt his Brother,
And ſteal with Decency from one another.
To-night, your matchleſs Hogarth gives the Thought,
Which from his Canvas to the Stage is brought.
And who ſo fit to warm the Poet's Mind,
As he who pictur'd Morals and Mankind?
But not the ſame their Characters and Scenes;
Both labour for one End, by different Means:
Each, as it ſuits him, takes a ſeparate Road,
Their one great Object, Marriage-a-la-mode!
Where Titles deign with Cits to have and hold,
And change rich Blood for more ſubſtantial Gold!
And honour'd Trade from Intereſt turns aſide,
To hazard Happineſs for titled Pride.
The Painter dead, yet ſtill he charms the Eye;
While England lives, his Fame can never die:
But he, who ſtruts his Hour upon the Stage,
Can ſcarce extend his Fame for Half an Age;
Nor Pen nor Pencil can the Actor ſave,
The Art, and Artiſt, ſhare one common Grave.
O let me drop one tributary Tear,
On poor Jack Falſtaff's Grave, and Juliet's Bier!
You to their Worth muſt Teſtimony give;
'Tis in your Hearts alone their Fame can live.
Still as the Scenes of Life will ſhift away,
The ſtrong Impreſſions of their Art decay.
Your Children cannot feel what you have known;
They'll boaſt of Quins and Cibbers of their own:
The greateſt Glory of our happy few,
Is to be felt, and be approv'd by you.