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Their stay, he fears, has ruined what he writ:
Long waiting both disables love and wit.
They thought they gave him leisure to do well;
But, when they forced him to attend, he fell !
Yet, though he much has failed, he begs, to-day,
You will excuse his unperforming play:
Weakness sometimes great passion does express;
He had pleased better, had he loved you less.

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[Almanzor and Almahide, or The Conquest of Granada. The Second Part. As it is acted at the Theatre Royal. Written by John Dryden, Servant to His Majesty.Stimulos dedit æmula virtus. LUCAN.

In the Savoy, Printed by T. N. for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold at the Anchor, in the Lower Walk of the New Exchange, 1672.-Ed.]



They, who write ill, and they, who ne'er durst write,
Turn critics, out of mere revenge and spite :
A playhouse gives them fame; and up there starts,
From a mean fifth-rate wit, a man of parts.
(So common faces on the stage appear;
We take them in, and they turn beauties here.)
Our author fears those critics as his fate;
And those he fears, by consequence must hate,
For they the traffic of all wit invade,
As scriveners draw away the bankers' trade.
Howe'er the poet's safe enough to-day,
They cannot censure an unfinished play.
But, as when vizard-mask appears in pit,
Straight every man, who thinks himself a wit,
Perks up, and, managing his comb with grace,
With his white wig sets off his nut-brown face;
That done, bears up th' prize, and views each limb,
To know her by her rigging and her trim;
Then, the whole noise of fops to wagers go,--
“ Pox on her, 't must be she;' and—“ Damme, no!"-
Just so, I prophesy, these wits to-day
Will blindly guess at our imperfect play ;
With what new plots our Second Part is filled,
Who must be kept alive, and who be killed.
And as those vizard-masks maintain that fashion,
To soothe and tickle sweet imagination ;
So our dull poet keeps you on with masking,
To make you think there's something worth your asking .
But, when 'tis shown, that, which does now delight you,
Will prove a dowdy, with a face to fright you.

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