Prologue To The Pair-Royal Of Coxcombs,(1) Acted At A Dancing-School.

If, as you say, you Love Variety,
We have some hopes, that you so kind will be
To the poor Play, to give it your Applause,
Though not for Wit, nor Worth, but yet because
A Woman wrote it; though it be not rare,
It is not common. Women seldom dare
To reach so high, to entertain your Ears,
Which strikes our Poets with a thousand fears
Of your displeasure; yet some little Ray
Of hope is left; for women's Pardons may
Be gained with ease surely from Gentlemen;
Be kind for once then to a Female Pen.
When you with women in discourse do sit,
Before their Faces you'll commend their wit,
Pray flatter now, the Poet heareth it:
She hopes too, the great Wits, who crowd the Age,
Censure the Poets, and undo the Stage,
Won't undervalue so their mighty Wit,
To Criticize on what a Woman writ:
Yet if you'll have it so, it shall be Naught,
They that dislike, are welcome to find Fault;
For She protests, She had no other ends
In writing this, than to divert her Friends:
Like, or dislike, She's careless, bid me say,
That you should Censure only when you Pay:
True, they must fawn, that write for a Third day.(2)
She scorns such Baseness, therefore will not sue:
But yet, bright Ladies, does submit to you;
Your Smiles may cherish, what their Frowns would blast,
Then when they Hiss, be pleased to Clap more fast:
She knows your Judgments are too clear, and high
To be Deceived, but knows no Reason why
You may not Pardon all the Faults you spy.
Be kind then Ladies to this trifling Play,
Her Wit is now i'th' Bud, when blown, She may
Present you with a better; till It come,
This, Ladies, humbly begs a gentle Doom.
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