Not mask'd with any antick Dress,
Nor screw'd in forc'd, ridiculous Grimace
(The gaping Rabbles dull delight,
And more the Actor's than the Poet's Wit)
Such did she enter on thy Stage,
And such was represented to the wond'ring Age:
Well wast thou skill'd, and read in human kind,
In every wild fantastick Passion of his mind,
Didst into all his hidden Inclinations dive,
What each from Nature does receive,
Or Age, or Sex, or Quality, or Country give;
What Custom too, that mighty Sorceress,
Whose pow'rful Witchcraft does transform
Enchanted Man to several monstrous Images,
Makes this an odd, and freakish Monky turn,
And that a grave and solemn Ass appear,
And all a thousand beastly shapes of Folly wear:
Whate're Caprice or Whimsie leads awry
Perverted, and seduc'd Mortality,
Or does incline, and byass it
From what's Discreet, and Wise, and Right, and Good, and Fit;
All in thy faithful Glass were so express'd,
As if they were Reflections of thy Breast,
As if they had been stamp'd on thy own mind,
And thou the universal vast Idea of Mankind.
Follow your scorned and derided mates;
Tell to your guilty breasts, what mere GILT BLOCKS
You are, and how unworthy human states.
CRI. Now, sacred God of Wit, if you can make
Those, whom our sports tax in these APISH GRACES,
Kiss, like the fighting snakes, your peaceful rod,
These times shall canonise you for a god.
MER. Why, Crites, think you any noble spirit,
Or any, worth the title of a man,
Will be incensed to see the enchanted veils
Of self-conceit, and SERVILE FLATTERY,
Wrapt in so many folds by time and custom,
Drawn from his wronged and bewitched eyes?
Who sees not now their shape and nakedness,
Is blinder than the son of earth, the mole;
Crown'd with no more humanity, nor soul.
CRITES. Though they may see it, yet the huge estate
FANCY, and FORM, and SENSUAL PRIDE have gotten,
Will make them blush for anger, not for shame,
And turn shewn nakedness to impudence.
Humour is now the test we try things in:
All power is just: nought that delights is sin.
And yet the zeal of every knowing man
Opprest with hills of tyranny, cast on virtue
By the light fancies of fools, thus transported.
Cannot but vent the Aetna of his fires,
T'inflame best bosoms with much worthier love
Than of these outward and effeminate shades;
That these vain joys, in which their wills consume
Such powers of wit and soul as are of force
To raise their beings to eternity,
May be converted on works fitting men:
And, for the practice of a forced look,
An antic gesture, or a fustian phrase,
Study the native frame of a true heart,
An inward comeliness of bounty, knowledge,
And spirit that may conform them actually
To God's high figures, which they have in power;
Which to neglect for a self-loving neatness,
Is sacrilege of an unpardon'd greatness.
MER. Then let the truth of these things strengthen thee,
In thy exempt and only man-like course;
Like it the more, the less it is respected:
Though men fail, virtue is by gods protected. --
See, here comes Arete; I'll withdraw myself. [EXIT.]