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Renascence Editions

Mac Flecknoe.

John Dryden.

Note: this Renascence Editions text was transcribed by Risa S. Bear, December 2000, from the 1924 Clarendon Press type facsimile of the 1682 edition. Any errors that have crept into the transcription are the fault of the present publisher. The text is in the public domain. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 2000 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to the Publisher rbear[at]uoregon.edu.

Mac Flecknoe,
OR   A
P O E T, T.S.

By the Author of

L O N D O N,
Printed for D. Green, 1682.

Mac Flecknoe,
OR   A
True-Blew-Protestant POET, T.S.

LL humane things are subiect to decay,
And when Fate Summons, Monarch's must obey;
This Flecknoe found, who like Augustus young,
Was call'd to Empire, and had Govern'd long;
In Prose and Verse was own'd without Dispute,
Through all the Realms of Nonsense, Absolute;
This Aged Prince now flourishing in Peace,
And blest with Issue of a large Increase,
Worn out with Business, did at length Debate,
To settle the Succession of the State,
And Pond'ring, which of all his Sons were fit
To reign, and Wage Immortal Wars, with Wit,
Cry'd 'tis Resov'd (for Nature pleads, that he
Should only Rule, who most resembles me,)
Shad--- alone my perfect Image Bears,
Mature in Dulness from his Tender Years;
Shad--- alone of all my Sons, is He
Who stands confirm'd in full Stupidity;
The rest, to some faint meaning make Pretence,
But Shad-- never deviates into Sence;
Some Beams of Wit on other Souls may fall,
Strike through, and make a Lucid Interval;
But Shad--- Genuine Night admits no Ray,
His rising Fogs prevail upon the Day;
Besides, his goodly Fabric fills the Eye,
And seems design'd for thoughtless Majesty;
Thoughtless as Monarch-Oaks that shade the Plain,
And spread in solemn State, supinely Reign;
Heywood and Shirly were but Types of Thee,
Thou last great Prophet of Tautology.
Ev'n I a Dunce of more renown than they,
Was sent before but to prepare thy way;
I courtly Cloath'd in Drugget Russet, came
To teach the Nations in thy greater name;
My warbling Lute, the Lute I whilome strung,
When to King John of Portugal I Sung,
Was but a prelude to that Glorious Day,
When thou on Siluer Thames didst cut thy Way,
With well-tim'd Oars before the Royal-Barge,
Swell'd with the Pride of thy Celestial Charge,
    And big with Hymn, Commanders of an Host,
The like was ne're in Epsom Blankets Tost.
Methinks I see the new Arion Sail,
The Lute still trembles underneath thy Nail;
At thy well sharpned Thumb, from Shore to Shore
The Treble squeaks doe fear, the Bases Rore;
Eccho from Pissing-Alley, Shad--- Call,
And Shad--- they resound from Aston-Hall;
About thy Boat the little Fishes throng,
And gently waft the over all along;
Sometimes as Prince of thy Harmonious Band,
Thou weild'st thy Paper in thy Thrashing-Hand.
St. Andrew's Feet ne're kept more equal Time,
Not even the Feet of thy own Psyches Rhime;
Though they in Number, as in Sence excel,
So Just, so like Tautology they fell;

That Pale with Envy Singleton forswore
The Lute and Sword, which he in Triumph wore,
And Vow'd he ne're would Act Villerius more.
Here stopt the good old Sire, and wept for Joy,
In silent Raptures of the Hopeful Boy;
All Arguments (but most his Plays) persuade,
That for Anointed Dulness he was made.
    Close by the Walls which fair Augusta Bind,
(The fair Augusta much to Fears Inclin'd)
An Ancient Fabrick rais'd t'Inform the sight,
There stood of Yore (and Barbican it Hight,)
A Watch-Tower once, but now (so Fate ordeins)
An Empty name of all the Pile Remains;
From its old Ruins Brothel-Houses rise,
Scenes of lewd Love, and of Polluted Joys;
Where their vast Courts the Mother Strumpets keep,
And undisturb'd by Watch, in silence sleep;
Near these a Nursery Erects its Head,
Where Queens are Form'd, and future Heroes Bred,

Where unfledg'd Actors learn to Laugh and Cry,
Where Infant Puncks their tender Voices try,
And little Maximins the Gods Defie.
Great Fletcher never treads in Buskins here,
Nor greater Johnson dares in Socks appear;
But gentle Simpkin just reception finds
Amidst these Monuments of Varnisht Minds:
Pure Clinches the Suburbane Muse Affords,
And Panton waging Harmless War with Words;
Here Flecknoe as a place to Fame well known,
Ambitiously designed his Shad--- Throne.

For ancient Decker Prophecy'd long since,
That in this Isle should Reign a mighty Prince,
Born for a Scourge of Wit, and Flaile of Sence;
To whom true Dulness should some Psyche's owe,
But Worlds of Misers from his Pen should flow:
Humorists and Hypocrite's his Pen should produce
Whole Raymond Families and Tribes of Bruce;
Now Empress Fame had Publish'd the Renown
Of Shad---s Coronation through the Town;
Rous'd by report of Pomp, the Nations meet
From near Bunhill, to distant Watling street;
No Persian Carpet spread th'Imperial way,
But scattered Limbs of Mangled Poets lay;
From Dusty Shops neglected Authors come,
Martyrs of Pies, and Reliques of the Bum;
Much Heywood, Shirly, Ogilby, there lay,
But Loads of Shad--- almost Choak'd the way;
Bilk'd Stationers for Yeomen stood prepar'd,
And Herringman was Captain of the Guard;
The Hoary Prince in Majesty appear'd
High on a State of his own Labors rear'd;
At his Right-Hand our young Ascanius Sate,
Romes other Hope, and Pillar of the State;
His Brows thick Fogs, instead of Glories-Grace,
And Lambent Dulness plaid about his Face.
As Hannibal did to the Altars come,
Sworn by his Sire a Mortal Fore to Rome;
So Shad--- Sworn, nor should his Vow be vain,
That he to Death true Dulnes would maintain,
And in his Fathers Right and Realms Defence,
Wou'd bid defiance unto Wit and Sense;
The King himself the Sacred Unction made,
As King by Office, and as Priest by Trade;
In his Sinister-Hand, instead of Ball,
Was plac'd a mighty Mug of Potent Ale.
Love's Kingdom to his Right he did Convey,
At once his Scepter, and his Rule of Sway;
Whose Righteous Love the Prince had practic'd Young,
And from whose Loins Recorded Psyche Sprung;
His Temples (last) with Poppey were o'respread,
That Nodding seem'd to Consecrate his Head;
Just at that point of time, (if Fame not lie,)
On his Left-Hand Twelve Reverend Owls did flie;
So Romulus ('tis Sung) by Tiber's Brook,
Presage of Sway from Twice six Vultures took;
Th'advancing throng loud Acclamations make,
And Omens of the future Empire take;
The Sire then shook the Honours on his head,
And from his brows damps of Oblivion Shed:

Full of the filial Dulness long he stood,
Repelling from his Brest the Raging God,
At length burst out in this Prophetick Mood.
    Heaven bless my Son, from Ireland let him Reign
To fair Barbadoes on the Western Mayn,
Of his Dominion may no end be known,
And greater than his Fathers be his Throne;
Beyond loves Kingdoms may he s[tr]etch his Pen,
He paws'd--and all the People cry'd--Amen.
Then thus continued he, my Son advance
Still in new Impudence, new Ignorance,
Success let others teach, learn thou from me,
Pangs without Birth, a fruitless Industry.
Let Virtuoso's in five Years be Writ,
Yet not one thought accuse thy Soul of Wit;
Let Gentle George with Triumph Tread the Stage,
Make Dorimant betray, and Loveit rage,
Let Cully Cockwood, Fopling charm the Pit,
And in their folly show the Writers Wit;
Yet still thy fools shall stand in thy Defence,
And justifie their Authors want of Sense,
Let them be all of thy own Model made
Of Dulness; and desire no Forreign Aid,
That they to after Ages may be known,
Not Copies drawn, but Issues of thine own;
Nay, let thy Men of Wit too be the same,
All like to thee, and diffring but in Name;
But let no Alien Sydney Interpose,
To lard with Wit thy hungry Epsome Prose:
And when false Flowers of Rhet'rick thou wouldst cull
Trust Nature, do not labour to be dull;
But Write thy best on th'top, and in each line
Sir Formal's Oratory Wit be thine;
Sir Formal tho unsought attends thy Quill,
And doth thy Northern Dedications fill
Nor let false Friends seduce thy Mind to Fame,
By Arrogating Johnson's Hostile Name;
Let Father Flecknoe Fire thy Mind with Praise,
And Uncle Ogleby thy Envy raise;
Thou art my Blood where Johnson hath no part,
What share have we in Nature, or in Art?
Where did his Wit or Learning fix a Brand?
Or rail at Arts he did not understand?
Where made he love in Prince Nycanders Vain?
Or swept the Durst in Psyches humble Strain?
Where sold he Bargains? Whip-stich. Kiss mine A--s,
Promis'd a Play, and dwindled to a Farce.
Where did his Muse from Fletchers Scenes purloin,
As thou whole Etheridge dost transfuse to thine?
But so transfus'd as Oyls on Water Flow,
His always Floats above, thine Sinks Below;
This is thy Promise, this thy wondrous Way,
New Humours to Invent for each New Play;
This is that Boasted Bias of the Mind,
By which one way to Dulness 'tis Inclin'd;
Which makes thy Writings lame on one side still
And in all Charges, that way bends thy will;
Nor let thy Mountain Belly make Pretence,
Of likeness, thine's a Tympany of Sence.
A Tun of Man in thy large Bulk is Writ,
But sure thou art a Kilderkin of Wit;
Like mine thy Gentle Numbers feebly creep,
Thy Tragick Muse gives Smiles, thy Comick sleep;
With what e're Gall thou sets thy self to write,
Thy Inoffensive Satyrs never bite;
In thy Felonious Heart, though Venom lies,
It doth but touch thy Irish Pen and dies;
Thy Genious calls the not to purchase Fame,
In keen iambicks, but wild Anagram;
Leave writing Plays, and choose for thy Command,
Some peaceful Province in Acrostick Land.
There thou mayst Wings display, and Alters raise,
And torture one poor Word ten thousand ways;
Of if thou wouldst thy different Talent suite,
Set thy one Songs, and Sing them to thy Lute.

He said, but his last words were scarcely heard
For Bruce and Longvile had a Trap prepar'd
And down they sent the yet declining Bard;
Sinking, he left the Drugget Robes behind,
Born upwards by a Subteranean Wind,
The Mantle fell to the young Prophets part
With doubled Portion of his Fathers Art.
F I N I S.
    A Gentleman having a curious Colection of Poetry by the most Ingenious of the Age, Intends to oblige the World with a Poem every Wednesday Morning, and with all New ones as they come to his hand.

        Sold by most Booksellers.

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