An Occasional Prologue

An Occasional PROLOGUE written by W. W. and spoken by Mr. STANTON, at the converting a late Amphitheatre into a commodious THEATRE in Ashby-de-la-zouch, on Monday Nov. 9, 1767.

The fickle Sky not always looks serene,
Clouds interpose, and often spoil the scene,
Through Towns, through Cities—wheresoe’er we range,
We find one certain Truth—That all things change.
This very spot, wherein we hope to please,
This Barn has had its Revolutionary days.
The Time hath been, a Time of happy cheer,
When Sir John Barley-corn presided here,
But he, poor knight, was soon threshed out o’door,
And other Threshers* occupied the floor.
Onward they came, and furious dealt their blows,
One corked an Eye, and one unbridged a Nose.
The Muses redden, that so rude a fight,
In these enlightened Days should give delight.
Be this forgot—and let the useful STAGE,
Receive the sanction of your Patronage.
Here great in Woe, shall Tragedy appear,
Melt the hard Heart, and draw the virtuous Tear,
Shall gently force you to partake her moan,
And make her sorrows, sorrows of your own.
But if too quick the genuine plaints of grief,
Invade your bosoms and you want relief,
The romp Miss Comedy shall lend her aid,
And heal the wounds that Tragedy has made.
She sets no bones—but as a Spirit-setter,
No Doctor in the World can do it better,
For by one Dose she’ll sooner ease your pain,
Than all the Fellows can in Warwick-lane.
In short—if Tragedy should make you snivel,
Miss Comedy (for she’s a merry Devil)
With handkerchief emitting scent of Roses,
Shall stand in readiness to wipe your Noses.

Thus if the first should want its proper Force,
Cook-like, we furnish out a second course,
One Thing remains, which makes us all alert,
We hope your favour will be our DESERT.

* Alluding to a battle lately fought there (see this Paper August 29).