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Horfes and mules ne'er pace the narrow street, Where crowded walkers elbow all they meet: No carts and coaches o'er the pavement clatter; Ladies, priefts, lawyers, nobles, go by water: Light boats and Gondolas transport them all, Like one eternal party to Vauxhall.

Now hey for merriment !-hence grief and fear! The jolly Carnival leads in the year; Calls the young loves and pleasures to its aid; A three-months Jubilee and Masquerade!

With gaiety the throng'd piazza glows, Mountebanks, Jugglers, Boxers, Puppet-Shows: Mask'd and disguis'd the ladies meet their sparks, While Venus hails the mummers of St. Mark's. There holy friars turn gallants, and there too, Nuns yield to all the frailties-" Flesh is heir to." There dear Ridottos conftantly delight,

And sweet Harmonic Meetings ev'ry night!

Once in each year the Doge afcends his barge, Fine as a London Mayor's, and thrice as large; Throws a huge ring of gold into the sea,

And cries, "Thus we, thy fovereign, marry thee;

“Oh

"Oh may'ft thou ne'er, like many a mortal spouse, "Prove full of ftorms, and faithlefs to thy vows!"

One word of Politicks-and then I've done

The ftate of Venice Nobles rule alone.
Thrice happy Britain, where, with equal hand,
Three well-pois'd States unite to rule the land!
Thus in the Theatre, as well as State,

Three ranks must join to make us bless'd and great.
Kings, Lords, and Commons, o'er the nation fit;
Pit, Box, and Gallery, rule the realms of wit,

PROLOGUE,

PROLOG
O GUE

To the Comedy of A WIFE IN THE RIGHT.
Written by Mrs. GRIFFITH,
Spoken by Mrs. BULKLEY.

BY

March, 1772.

Y your leave, Criticks!-'Tis a Female Play: A Female Prologue may prepare the way. Among the chronicles' of modern fame Who has not read of gentle Frances' name? Henry and Frances! a fond loving pair, Whose soft epiftles ftill amuse the fair.*

Some nights ago our couple, all alone,

A Fire-fide tête-à tête-true Darby and Joan-
Frances, faid Henry, give up writing! Men,
And Men alone, fhould dare to wield the pen.
Your fex of late all decency confounds,

And breaks 'twixt us and them the modeft bounds.
Whether from paffion, love of pow'r or riches,
Women, we fee, all love to wear the breeches.
At fea fome madcaps enter volunteers,

Some in the army lift as grenadiers !

* LETTERS BETWEEN MR, AND MRS. GRIFFITH, under the names of HENRY and FRANCES.

4

Others,

Others write hift'ries, ftate-intrigues unriddle,
Ride the great horse, and play upon the fiddle.

Gently, cries Frances; truce with your reproaches!
And mark which fex on t'other moft encroaches.
Soft filky coxcombs, full of nice punctilio,
All pafte, pomatum, effence and Pulvilio,
With huge bouquets, like beaupots, daily go,
Trick'd out like dolls, to pace in Rotten-Row.
Thus flies the morning; and the day to crown,
To Quinze and Faro ev'ry fop fits down.
Each coat fo trim, left any fpeck fall on it,
An apron guards; each forehead a ftraw-bonnet;
Nay left Rouleaus themselves should soil their ruffles,
A muffatee each Pretty Mafter muffles.

Women in vain to keep their place have striven; From ev'ry trade, from each profession driven. Men-Midwives fwarm; men mantuas make, make stays,

Drefs hair, drefs meat-let women then write plays!
While narrow prejudice deform'd the age,
No Actress play'd, no Female trod the Stage;
Some smooth unrazor'd youth for Juliet rav'd,
And kings fat waiting till the queen was shav'd;
But Women once brought forward on the Scene,
By man, like Eve, was lik'd as soon as seen.

Let

Let Females then compofe, as well as play,

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And ftrive to please you in the noblest way!
No fulky Critick to the Playhouse drawn
Whom Modern Comedy provokes to yawn,
But marks of Authors paft the valu'd file,
And owns Centlivre tempted him to smile.
Why may not Ladies too in future plays
Strike a Bold Stroke, and anxious for the Bayes
New Busy Bodies form, new Wonders raise ?

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Thus Frances fpoke, and bid her Dear good. night

And Henry own'd, His Wife was in the Right,

PROLOGUE

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