IT is generally expected from an Author, that he should preface his Performance, in order to acquaint his Readers with the Nature of the Work they are about to enter upon, and his Motive for writing. These may be easily collected from the Title Page, and the following Prologue of Fielding's, which I give the Reader as it is adapted to my Purpose, and as I doubt not but he will be far better pleased to have some good Poetry of that Author's, than any Thing I can furnish.
PROLOGUE to the Coffee-House Politician, or the JUSTICE caught in his own TRAP.
IN ancient Greece, the infant Muse's School,
Where Vice first felt the Pen of Ridicule,
With honest Freedom and impartial Blows,
The Muse attack'd each Vice as it arose:
No Grandeur could the mighty Villain screen
From the just Satyr of the comic Scene:
No Titles could the daring Poet cool,
Nor save the great-great honourable Fool.
They spar'd not even the Aggressor's Name,
And publick Villainy felt publick Shame.
Long hath this gen'rous Method been disus'd,
For Vice hath grown too great to be abus'd;
By Pow'r defended from the piercing Dart,
It reigns and triumphs in the Judge's Heart,
While Beaux, and Cits, and Squires, our Scenes afford,
Justice preserves the Rogues who wield her Sword;
All Satyr against her Tribunal's quash'd,
Nor lash the Bards, for fear of being lash'd.
But the heroick Muse who sings to Night,
Through these neglected Tracks attempts her Flight:
Vice cloath'd with Pow'r, she combats with her Pen,
And fearless, dares the LYON in his Den.