GROWN Old in Rhyme, 'twere barbarous to discard


Prologue, Design'd for Mr D--------'s last Play [Love Love Triumphant, or Nature will Prevail, 1694]. Written by Several Hands.

Primary Text:

No MS; 1714 Steele, 40-1.
GROWN Old in Rhyme, 'twere barbarous to discard
Your persevering, unexhausted Bard;
Damnation follows Death in other Men,
But your damn'd Poet lives and writes again.
Th'adventrous Lover is successful still,
Who strives to please the Fair against her Will:
Be kind, and make him in his Wishes easie,
Who in your own Despite has strove to please ye.
He scorn'd to borrow from the Wits of Yore;
But ever Writ as none e'er Writ before.
You modern Wits, should each Man bring his claim,
Have desperate Debentures on your Fame;
And little would be left you, I'm afraid,
If all your Debts to Greece and Rome were paid.
From his deep Fund our Author largely draws;
Nor sinks his Credit lower than it was.
Tho' Plays for Honour in old Time he made,
'Tis now for better Reasons--to be paid.
Believe him Sirs, h'has known the World too long,
And seen the Death of much Immortal Song.
He says, poor Poets lost, while Players won,
As Pimps grow rich, while Gallants are undone.
Tho' Tom the Poet writ with Ease and Pleasure,
The Comick Tom abounds in other Treasure.
Fame is at best an unperforming Cheat;
But 'tis substantial Happiness to Eat--
Let Ease, his last Request, be of your giving,
Nor force him to be Damn'd to get his Living.


Possibly by Anne as part of a collaboration. It is one of ten poems beginning with "To Mr Jervas," ending on "Upon a Company of bad Dancers to good Musick" (the next poem is superscribed "By another Hand"), the seventh of which is "A Sigh," and two of which are imitations from the same source as Anne took her "Melinda on an insippid beauty"); this series contains the "four unsigned poems" Myra Reynolds suggested were by Lady Winchilsea, although they "cannot certaily be ascribed to her" (p lxxxviii); this may be one of the three collaborations Anne participated in; it recalls her mocking tone in other prologues and epilogues; it was, according to Sir Walter Scott, the "in" thing to mock Dryden's last and unsuccessful comedy, written "to eat." Anne's presence may be seen in the scansion, language, attitudes towards drama and "modern wit," and, unfortunately, the snobbery.
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