4 Pages


Epilogues to The Tragedy of Jane Shore
ByClaudine van Hensbergen

The audience seems to night so very kind, I fancy I may freely speak my mind, And tell you, when the author nam’d Jane Shore, I all her glorious history run o’er, And thought he would have shewn her on the stage, 5 In the fi rst triumphs of her blooming age;

Edward in public at her feet a slave, The jealous Queen in private left to rave; Yet Jane superior still in all the strife, For sure that mistress leads a wretched life, 10 Who can’t insult the Keeper and the wife. This I concluded was his right design, To make her lavish, careless, gay and fi ne; Not bring her here to mortify and whine. I hate such parts as we have plaid to day, 15 Before I promis’d, had I read the play, I wou’d have staid at home, and drank my Tea. Then why the husband shou’d at last be brought To hear her own and aggravate her fault, Puzzled as much my discontented thought. 20 For were I to transgress, for all the Poet, I’ll swear no friend of mine shou’d ever know it. But you perhaps are pleas’d to see her mended, And so should I; had all her charms been ended. But whilst another lover might be had, 25 The woman or the Poet must be mad. There is a season, which too fast approaches, And every list’ning beauty nearly touches; When handsome Ladies, falling to decay, Pass thro’ new epithets to smooth the way: 30 From fair and young transportedly confess’d, Dwindle to fi ne, well fashion’d, and well dress’d. Thence as their fortitude’s extremest proof, To well as yet; from well to well enough; Till having on such weak foundations stood, 35 Deplorably at last they sink to good. Abandon’d then, ’tis time to be retir’d, And seen no more, when not alas! admir’d. By men indeed a better fate is known The pretty fellow, that has youth out-grown, 40 Who nothing knew, but how his cloaths did fi t, Transforms to a Free-thinker and a Wit; At Operas becomes a skill’d Musician; Ends in a partyman and politician; Maintains some fi gure, while he keeps his breath, 45 And is a fop of consequence till death. And so would I have had our mistress Shore To make a fi gure, till she pleas’d no more. But if you better like her present sorrow, Pray let me see you here again to-morrow; 50

And should the house be throng’d the Poet’s day, Whate’er he makes us women do or say, You’ll not believe, that he’ll go fast and pray.