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ACTED AT OXFORD, 1680.
WRITTEN BY NATHAN LEE.
Thespis, the first professor of our art, At country wakes sung ballads from a cart. To prove this true, if Latin be no trespass, "Dicitur et plaustris vexisse poemata Thespis." But Æschylus, says Horace in some page, Was the first mountebank that trod the stage: Yet Athens never knew your learned sport Of tossing poets in a tennis-court. But 'tis the talent of our English nation, Still to be plotting some new reformation: 10 And few years hence, if anarchy goes on, Jack Presbyter shall here erect his throne, Knock out a tub with preaching once a day, And every prayer be longer than a play. Then all your heathen wits shall go to pot, For disbelieving of a Popish plot: Your poets shall be used like infidels, And worst, the author of the Oxford bells: Nor should we 'scape the sentence, to depart, Even in our first original, a cart. 20 No zealous brother there would want a stone To maul us cardinals, and pelt Pope Joan: Religion, learning, wit, would be suppress'd-- Rags of the whore, and trappings of the beast: Scot, Suarez, Tom of Aquin, must go down, As chief supporters of the triple crown; And Aristotle's for destruction ripe; Some say he call'd the soul an organ-pipe, Which by some little help of derivation, Shall then be proved a pipe of inspiration. 30
[Footnote 55: 'Thespis:' the inventor of tragedy.]
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