Posts tagged ‘prologue’

Friday, 20 January 2017

Prologue to “The Man of Mode or, Sir Fopling Flutter – A Comedy” by Carr Scrope

Like dancers on the ropes poor poets fare,
Most perish young, the rest in danger are;
This, one would think, should make our authors wary,
But, gamester like, the giddy fools miscarry.
A lucky hand or two so tempts ’em on,
They cannot leave off play till they’re undone.
With modest fears a muse does first begin,
Like a young wench newly enticed to sin;
But tickled once with praise, by her good will,
The wanton fool would never more lie still.
’Tis an old mistress you’ll meet here to-night,
Whose charms you once have look’d on with delight;
But now of late such dirty drabs have known ye,
A muse o’th’ better sort’s ashamed to own ye.
Nature well drawn, and wit, must now give place
To gaudy nonsense and to dull grimace:
Nor is it strange that you should like so much
That kind of wit, for most of yours is such.
But I’m afraid that while to France we go,
To bring you home fine dresses, dance, and show,
The stage, like you, will but more foppish grow.
Of foreign wares why should we fetch the scum
When we can be so richly served at home?
For, heaven be thank’d, ’tis not so wise an age
But your own follies may supply the stage.
Though often plough’d, there’s no great fear the soil
Should barren grow by the too frequent toil,
While at your doors are to be daily found
Such loads of dunghill to manure the ground.
’Tis by your follies that we players thrive,
As the physicians by diseases live;
And as each year some new distemper reigns,
Whose friendly poison helps t’increase their gains,
So among you there starts up every day
Some new unheard-of fool for us to play.
Then for your own sakes be not too severe,
Nor what you all admire at home, damn here:
Since each is fond of his own ugly face,
Why should you, when we hold it, break the glass?

From: Etherege, Sir George, The Man of Mode or, Sir Fopling Flutter – A Comedy by George Etherege 1676, 2009, Eithin Acting Edition, p. 3.
(http://www.eithin.com/texts/The_Man_of_Mode.pdf)

Date: 1676

By: Carr Scrope (1649-1680)

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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Prologue to “Lais” by Marie de France

Whoever gets knowledge from God, science,
and a talent for speech, eloquence,
Shouldn’t shut up or hide away;
No, that person should gladly display.
When everyone hears about some great good
Then it flourishes as it should;
When folks praise it at full power,
Then the good deed’s in full flower.
Among the ancients it was the tradition
(On this point we can quote Priscian)

When they wrote their books in the olden day
What they had to say they’d obscurely say.
They knew that some day others would come
And need to know what they’d written down;
Those future readers would gloss the letter,
Add their own meaning to make the book better.
Those old philosophers, wise and good,
Among themselves they understood
Mankind, in the future tense,
Would develop a subtler sense
Without trespassing to explore
What’s in the words, and no more.

Whoever wants to be safe from vice
Should study and learn (heed this advice)
And undertake some difficult labor;
Then trouble is a distant neighbor–
From great sorrows one can escape.
Thus my idea began to take shape:
I’d find some good story or song
To translate from Latin into our tongue;
But was the prize worth the fight?
So many others had already tried it.
Then I thought of the lais I’d heard;
I had no doubt, I was assured
They’d been composed for memory’s sake
About real adventures–no mistake:
They heard the tale, composed the song,
Sent it forth. They didn’t get it wrong.
I’ve heard so many lais, I would regret
Letting them go, letting people forget.
So I rhymed them and wrote them down aright.
Often my candle burned late at night.

In your honor, noble king,
Whose might and courtesy make the world ring–
All joys flow from you or run to you,
Whose heart is the root of every virtue–
For you these lais I undertook,
To bring them together, rhymed, in this book.
In my heart I always meant
To offer you this, my present.
Great joy to my heart you bring
If you accept my offering–
I’ll be glad forever and a day!
Please don’t think that I say
This from conceit–pride’s not my sin.
Just listen now, and I’ll begin.

From: http://people.clas.ufl.edu/jshoaf/files/prologue.pdf

Date: 12th century (original); 1992 (translation)

By: Marie de France (12th century)

Translated by: Judith P. Shoaf (19??- )

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Prologue by Anne Bannerman

Turn from the path, if search of gay delight
Lead thy vain footsteps back to ages past!
Frail are the blighted flowers, and thinly cast
O’er the dim regions of monastic night.

Yet, in their cavern’d dark recesses, dwells
The long-lost Spirit of forgotten times,
Whose voice prophetic reach’d to distant climes,
And rul’d the nations from his witched cells;

That voice is hush’d! — But still, in Fancy’s ear,
Its first unmeasur’d melodies resound!
Blending with terrors wild, and legions drear,
The charmed minstrelsy of mystic sound,
That rous’d, embodied, to the eye of Fear,
Th’ unearthly habitants of faery ground.

From: Bannerman, Anne, Poems. A New Edition, 1807, Mundell, Doig, & Stevenson: Edinburgh, p. 138.
(https://archive.org/stream/poems00banngoog#page/n158/mode/2up)

Date: 1800

By: Anne Bannerman (1765-1829)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Prologue to “Hell’s Broke Loose” by Samuel Rowlands

To take the Sword away from Gods Anoynted:
And for examples to the worlds last day,
Our Traytours names shall never weare away:
The fearefull Path’s that hee and I have trod,
Have bin accursed in the sight of God.
Heere in this Register, who ere doth looke,
(Which may be rightly call’d The bloody Booke)
Shall see how base and rude those Villains bee,
That do attempt like LEYDEN; plot like mee.
And how the Diu’ll in whose name they begon,
Payes them Hells wages, when their worke is don:
“Treason is bloodie; blood thereon attends:
“Traytors are bloodie, and have bloodie ends.

From: Rowlands, Samuel, Hell’s Broke Loose, 1605, W.W.: London, p. 10.
(https://archive.org/stream/hellsbrokeloose00rowlrich#page/10/mode/2up)

Date: 1605

By: Samuel Rowlands (c1573-1630)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Prologue. By A Gentleman of Leicester by Henry Carter

On opening the Theatre, at Sydney, Botany Bay, to be spoken by the celebrated Mr Barrington

   From distant climes o’er wide-spread seas we come,
Though not with much eclat or beat of drum,
True patriots all; for be it understood,
We left our country for our country’s good;
No private views disgrac’d our generous zeal,
What urg’d our travels was our country’s weal;
And none will doubt but that our emigration
Has prov’d most useful to the British nation.

   But, you inquire, what could our breasts inflame
With this new passion for theatric fame?
What, in the practice of our former days,
Could shape our talents to exhibit plays?
Your patience, sirs, some observations made,
You’ll grant us equal to the scenic trade.

   He, who to midnight ladders is no stranger,
You’ll own will make an admirable Ranger.
To seek Macheath, we have not far to roam;
And sure in Filch I shall be quite at home.
Unrival’d there, none will dispute my claim
To high pre-eminence and exalted fame.

   As oft on Gadshill we have ta’en our stand,
When ‘twas so dark you could not see your hand,
Some true-bred Falstaff we may hope to start
Who, when well bolster’d, well will play his part.
The scene to vary, we shall try in time
To treat you with a little pantomime.
Here light and easy Columbines are found,
And well tried harlequins with us abound;
From durance vile our precious selves to keep,
We often had recourse to th’ flying leap;
To a black face have sometimes ow’d escape,
And Hounslow-Heath has prov’d the worth of crape.

   But how, you ask, can we e’er hope to soar
Above these scenes, and rise to tragic lore?
Too oft, alas, we’ve forc’d th’ unwilling tear,
And petrified the heart with real fear.
Macbeth a harvest of applause will reap,
For some of us, I fear, have murder’d sleep;
His lady too with grace will sleep and talk.
Our females have been us’d at night to walk.

   Sometimes, indeed, so various is our art,
An actor may improve and mend his part;
“Give me a horse,” bawls Richard, like a drone,
We’ll find a man would help himself to one.
Grant us your favour, put us to the test,
To gain your smiles we’ll do our very best;
And, without dread of future turnkey Lockits,
Thus, in an honest way, still pick your pockets

From: Burke, Edmund (Ed), Annual Register, Volume 43, 1802, Longmans Green & Co: London, pp. 516-517. (http://books.google.com.au/books?id=tPkjAAAAMAAJ&q=prologue#v=snippet&q=prologue&f=false)

Date: 1801

By: Henry Carter (?-1806)