As vultures wait on armies for their prey,
All gaping for the carcase of a play!
With croaking notes they bode some dire event,
And follow dying poets by the scent.
Ours gives himself for gone; y have watched your time:
He fights this day unarmed,without his rhyme;
And brings a tale which often has been told;
As sad as Didos; and almost as old.
His hero, whom you wits his bully call,
Bates of his mettle, and scarce rants at all:
Hes somewhat lewd; but a well-meaning mind;
Weeps much; fights little; but is wondrous kind.
In short, a pattern, and companion fit,
For all the keeping Tonies of the pit.
I could name more: a wife, and mistress too;
Both (to be plain) too good for most of you:
The wife well-natured, and the mistress true.
Now, poets, if your fame has been his care,
Allow him all the candour you can spare.
A brave man scorns to quarrel once a-day;
Like Hectors in at every petty fray.
Let those find fault whose wits so very small,
Theyve need to show that they can think at all;
Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls, must dive below.
Fops may have leave to level all they can;
As pigmies would be glad to lop a man.
Half-wits are fleas; so little and so light,
We scarce could know they live, but that they bite.
But, as the rich, when tired with daily feasts,
For change, become their next poor tenants guests;
Drink hearty draughts of ale from plain brown bowls,
And snatch the homely rasher from the coals:
So you, retiring from much better cheer,
For once, may venture to do penance here.
And since that plenteous autumn now is past,
Whose grapes and peaches have indulged your taste,
Take in good part, from our poor poets board,
Such rivelled fruits as winter can afford.
Ventidius, his General.
Dolabella, his Friend.
Alexas, the Queens Eunuch.
Serapion, Priest of Isis.
Myris, another Priest.
Servants to Antony.
Octavia, Antonys Wife.
Charmion, Cleopatras Maids.
Iras, Cleopatras Maids.
Antonys two little Daughters.
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