J. C. Ghosh (ed.), The Works of Thomas Otway, Vol. 2: Plays, Poems, and Love-Letters
pg 399EPILOGUE by Mr. Duke of Cambridge.
1IT is not long since in the Noisie Pit2Tumultuous Faction sate the Judge of Wit;3There Knaves applauded what their Blockheads writ.
- 4At a Whig-Brother's Play, the Bawling Crowd
- 5Burst out in Shouts, as zealous, and as loud,
- 6As when some Member's stout Election-Beer
- 7Gains the mad Voice of a whole Drunken Shire.
- 8And yet, even then, our Poet's Truth was try'd,
- 9Tho 'twas a Dev'lish pull to stem the Tyde;
- 10And tho he ne'er did Line of Treason write,
- Editor’s Note11Nor made one Rocket on Queen Besse's Night,
- 12 Such was his Fortune, or so good his Cause,
- 13 Even then he fail'd not wholly of Applause.
- 14He that could then escape, now bolder grows:
- Editor’s Note15Since the Whig-Tyde runs out, the Loyal flows.
- 16 All you who lately here presum'd to bawl,
- 17Take warning from your Brethren at Guild-hall:
- 18The Spirit of Rebellion there is quell 'd,
- 19And here your Poet's Acts are all repeal'd:
- 20Impartial Justice has resum'd agen
- 21 Her awful Seat, nor bears the Sword in vain.
- 22The Stage shall lash the Follies of the Times,
- 23And the Laws Vengeance overtake the Crimes.
- Editor’s Note24The Perjur'd Wretch shall no Protection gain
- 25From his dishonour'd Robe, and Golden Chain;
- 26 But stand expos'd to all th' insulting Town,
- Editor’s Note27While Rotten Eggs bepaw the Scarlet Gown.
- 28 Pack hence betimes, you that were never sparing
- 29To save the Land, and dam' your selves, by Swearing.
- 30Shou'd the Wise City now, to ease your Fears,
- Editor’s Note31 Erect an Office to Insure your Ears,
- 32Thither such num'rous Shoals of Witnesses,
- 33And Juries, conscious of their Guilt, wou'd press,
- 34That to the Chamber hence might more be gain'd,
- Editor’s Note35Than ever Mother Creswell from it drain'd;
- 36And Perjury to the Orphans Bank restore
- 37Whatever Whoredom robb'd it of before.
Epil. 11. Rocket on Queen Besse's Night: Cf. 'November Squibs, and burning Past-board Popes' in Poet's Complaint, 11. The reference is to the historical pageant of Pope-burning, or 'Solemn Mock Procession of the Pope, Cardinalls, Jesuits, Fryers', as it was also called. The discovery of the Popish Plot in 1678 gave a new impetus to the annual celebration of Guy Fawkes Day, and with the object of keeping aflame the anti-papist feelings of the London mob, the Whigs brought out their first Pope-burning pageant in 1679, having altered the date to the 17th of November, the day of Queen Elizabeth's accession. These pageants continued annually till 1682, when a royal proclamation forbade them and the effigies were seized. As political demonstrations they remain the most formidable and imposing that have been ever produced in England. Dryden describes them in The Prologue to the Loyal Brother, 1682, and Roger North's account appears in the Examen (1740), p. 570 sq. A good description will also be found in The Domestic Intelligence of Tuesday, 18 November, 1679.
Epil. 15. Whig-Tyde runs out, the Loyal flows: The ascendancy of the Tory party, which may be said to have begun from the dissolution of the Oxford Parliament at the end of March, 1681, was by this time complete. And it was particularly so in the City of London. The triumph of the Whigs at the election of Pilkington and Shute as sheriffs in the midsummer of that year was counterbalanced by the election of Sir John Moor, a strong Tory, as Lord Mayor the following Michaelmas. Their next triumph later in the year on Shaftesbury's release by the Grand Jury on 24 November also proved short-lived, for very soon after began that series of unscrupulous manoeuvres by which the Tories tried to get complete control of the jury system of the metropolis. The electoral body in urban constituencies was gradually reduced to complete subservience, and the charter of the Whig stronghold, the City of London, after being seriously menaced by successive Quo Warrantos in 1681–2, was ultimately confiscated in 1683 (see Epilogue to Her Royal Highness). The Duke of York was recalled from Scotland in March, 1682, and almost one of his first acts was to cast Pilkington for damages to the immoderate sum of £100,000. The Tory party, which did not show modesty in triumph, also returned their nominees North and Rich as the sheriffs of London towards the middle of that year by highly irregular procedure, and Pilkington, who attempted to foil the Tory Lord Mayor's arbitrary action in this connexion, was accused of riotous conduct, and heavily fined the next year. In November Shaftesbury fled, and a further humiliation awaited the Whigs when Sir Patience Ward, the Whig Lord Mayor, was wrongly convicted of perjury in May, 1683, to which the epilogue refers below.
24. the Perjur'd Wretch: Sir Patience Ward, the Whig Lord Mayor of London, elected on Michaelmas day of 1680. On 19 May, 1683, he was wrongly convicted of perjury in connexion with the action for scandalum magnatum brought by the Duke of York against Pilkington, the Whig sheriff of London, for which the latter was found liable for damages to the sum of £100,000 on 24 November, 1682. Pilkington, who had refused to accompany a deputation of the Corporation on 10 April, 1682, to pay respect to the Duke on his return from Scotland, was accused of having said that the Duke had burnt the City before, and was then coming to cut their throats. Ward was accused of having sworn that to the best of his remembrance he had not heard these words spoken. He was found guilty, and would have been made to stand in the pillory if he had not fled to Holland. (See Burnet, History of My Own Time, ed. Airy, ii. 348–9.)
Epil. 27. bepaw: befoul as with paws.
31. Insure your Ears: this seems to have been the joke of the day. Compare the following broadside of 1683, written on the same occasion of Ward's conviction, and entitled Hue-and-Song after Patience:
- Hail to London fair Town,
- All hail to the Mayor and the Shrieves;
- Hail to the Scarlet Gown,
- Whose Sentence our Patience grieves;
- . . . . .
- Some say, that the Saints may not Swear,
- But lie ev'n as much as they can;
- Yet Patience, in spight on's Ears,
- Will swear and Forswear again:
- That Patience should be so far lost,
- Alas! who with Patience can hear?
- That a Saint sho'd be Knight o'th'Post,
- And an Elder without an Ear?