Zara Act III“Can’st thou forgive me then? wilt thou believeSo kindly of my Fault, to call it Madness?O, give that Madness yet a milder Name,And call it Passion; then, be still more kind,And call that Passion Love.”William Congreve
End of Act V.
By William Congreve
THE Tragedy thus done, I am, you know,
No more a Princess, but in statu quo:
And now as unconcern’d this Mourning wear,
As if indeed a Widow, or an Heir.
I’ve leisure, now, to mark your sev’ral Faces,
And know each Critic by his sowre Grimaces.
To poison Plays, I see some where they fit,
Scatter’d, like Rats-bane, up and down the Pit;
While others watch like Parish-Searchers,
hir’d To tell of what Disease the Play expir’d.
O with what Joy they run, to spread the News
Of a damn’d Poet, and departed Muse!
But if he ‘scape, with what Regret they’re seiz’d!
And how they’re disappointed if they’re pleas’d!
Critics to Plays for the same end resort,
That Surgeons wait on Trials in a Court;
For Innocence condemn’d they’ve no Respect,
Provided they’ve a Body to dissect.
As Sussex Men, that dwell upon the Shoar,
Look out when Storms arise, and Billows roar,
Devoutly praying, with uplifted Hands,
That some well-laden Ship may strike the Sands;
To whose Rich Cargo they may make Pretence,
And fatten on the Spoils of Providence:
So Critics throng to see a New Play split,
And thrive and prosper on the Wrecks of Wit.
Small Hope our Poet from these Prospects draws;
And therefore to the Fair commends his Cause.
Your tender Hearts to Mercy are inclin’d,
With whom, he hopes, this Play will Favour find,
Which was an Off’ring to the Sex design’d.