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Oliver Goldsmith

(10 November 1730 – 4 April 1774 / County Longford / Ireland)

Eiplogue


INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN SPOKEN FOR 'SHE STOOPS
TO CONQUER'

THERE is a place, so Ariosto sings,
A treasury for lost and missing things;
Lost human wits have places assign'd them,
And they, who lose their senses, there may find them.
But where's this place, this storehouse of the age?
The Moon, says he:-- but 'I' affirm the Stage:
At least in many things, I think, I see
His lunar, and our mimic world agree.
Both shine at night, for, but at Foote's alone,
We scarce exhibit till the sun goes down.
Both prone to change, no settled limits fix,
And sure the folks of both are lunatics.
But in this parallel my best pretence is,
That mortals visit both to find their senses.
To this strange spot, Rakes, Macaronies, Cits
Come thronging to collect their scatter'd wits.
The gay coquette, who ogles all the day,
Comes here at night, and goes a prude away.
Hither the affected city dame advancing,
Who sighs for operas, and dotes on dancing,
Taught by our art her ridicule to pause on,
Quits the 'Ballet', and calls for 'Nancy Dawson'.
The Gamester too, whose wit's all high or low,
Oft risks his fortune on one desperate throw,
Comes here to saunter, having made his bets,
Finds his lost senses out, and pay his debts.
The Mohawk too -- with angry phrases stored,
As 'D-- --, Sir,' and 'Sir, I wear a sword';
Here lesson'd for a while, and hence retreating,
Goes out, affronts his man, and takes a beating.
Here come the sons of scandal and of news,
But find no sense -- for they had none to lose.
Of all the tribe here wanting an adviser
Our Author's the least likely to grow wiser;
Has he not seen how you your favour place,
On sentimental Queens and Lords in lace?
Without a star, a coronet or garter,
How can the piece expect or hope for quarter?
No high-life scenes, no sentiment:-- the creature
Still stoops among the low to copy nature.
Yes, he's far gone:-- and yet some pity fix,
The English laws forbid to punish lunatics.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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