The Rover, Part II, by Aphra Behn


Spoken by Mrs. BARRY.

POETS are Kings of Wit, and you appear

A Parliament, by Play–Bill, summon’d here;

When e’er in want, to you for aid they fly,

And a new Play’s the Speech that begs supply:

But now–

The scanted Tribute is so slowly paid,

Our Poets must find out another Trade;

They’ve tried all ways th’ insatiate Clan to please,

Have parted with their old Prerogatives,

Their Birth-right Satiring, and their just pretence

Of judging even their own Wit and Sense;

And write against their Consciences, to show

How dull they can he to comply with you.

They’ve flatter’d all the Mutineers i’th’ Nation,

Grosser than e’er was done in Dedication;

Pleas’d your sick Palates with Fantastick Wit,

Such as was ne’er a treat before to th’ Pit;

Giants, fat Cardinals, Pope Joans and Fryers,

To entertain Right Worshipfuls and Squires:

Who laugh and cry Ads Nigs, ’tis woundy good,

When the fuger’s all the Jest that’s understood.

And yet you’ll come but once, unless by stealth,

Except the Author be for Commonwealth;

Then half Crown more you nobly throw away,

And tho my Lady seldom see a Play,

She, with her eldest Daughter, shall be boxt that day.

Then Prologue comes, Ads-lightikins, crys Sir John,

You shall hear notable Conceits anon:

How neatly, Sir, he’ll bob the Court and French King,

And tickle away — you know who — for Wenching.

All this won’t do, they e’en may spare their Speeches,

For all their greasing will not buy ’em Britches;

To get a penny new found ways must take,

As forming Popes, and Squibs and Crackers make.

In Coffee–Houses some their talent vent,

Rail for the Cause against the Government,

And make a pretty thriving living on’t,

For who would let a useful Member want.

Things being brought to this distressed Estate,

’Twere fit you took the matter in Debate.

There was a time, when Loyally by you,

True Wit and Sense received Allegiance due,

Our King of Poets had his Tribute pay’d,

His Peers secur’d beneath his Laurel’s shade.

What Crimes have they committed, they must be

Driven to the last and worst Extremity?

Oh, let it not be said of English Men,

Who have to Wit so just and noble been,

They should their Loyal Principles recant,

And let the glorious Monarch of it want.

This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51