[Page 274]


Spoken by Mrs. Oldfield, who acted Ismena.
1 Ladies, to Night your Pity I implore
2 For One, who never troubled You before:
3 An Oxford-Man, extreamly read in Greek,
4 Who from Euripides makes Phædra speak;
5 And comes to Town, to let Us Moderns know,
6 How Women lov'd two thousand Years ago.
7 If that be all, said I, e'en burn your Play:
8 I' gad! We know all that, as well as They:
9 Show Us the youthful, handsome Charioteer,
10 Firm in his Seat, and running his Career;
11 Our Souls would kindle with as gen'rous Flames,
12 As e'er inspir'd the antient Grecian Dames:
13 Ev'ry Ismena would resign her Breast;
14 And ev'ry dear Hippolytus be blest.
15 But, as it is, Six flouncing Flanders Mares
16 Are e'en as good, as any Two of Theirs;
17 And if Hippolytus can but contrive
18 To buy the gilded Chariot; John can drive.
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19 Now of the Bustle You have seen to Day,
20 And Phædra's Morals in this Scholar's Play,
21 Something at least in Justice should be said:
22 But this Hippolytus so fills One's Head
23 Well! Phædra liv'd as chastly as She cou'd,
24 For she was Father Jove's own Flesh and Blood.
25 Her aukward Love indeed was odly fated:
26 She and her Poly were too near related:
27 And yet that Scruple had been laid aside,
28 If honest Theseus had but fairly dy'd:
29 But when He came, what needed He to know,
30 But that all Matters stood in Statu quo?
31 There was no harm, You see; or grant there were:
32 She might want Conduct; but He wanted Care.
33 'Twas in a Husband little less than rude,
34 Upon his Wife's Retirement to intrude
35 He should have sent a Night or two before,
36 That He would come exact at such an Hour:
37 Then He had turn'd all Tragedy to Jest;
38 Found ev'ry Thing contribute to his Rest;
39 The Picquet-Friend dismiss'd, the Coast all clear,
40 And Spouse alone impatient for her Dear.
41 But if these gay Reflections come too late,
42 To keep the guilty Phædra from her Fate;
43 If your more serious Judgment must condemn
44 The dire Effects of her unhappy Flame:
45 Yet, Ye chaste Matrons, and Ye tender Fair,
46 Let Love and Innocence engage your Care:
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47 My spotless Flames to your Protection take;
48 And spare poor Phædra, for Ismena's sake.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): EPILOGUE TO PHÆDRA.
Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: epilogue

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Prior, Matthew, 1664-1721. Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. 274-276. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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