MacLean, Gerald, editor. The Return of the King : An Anthology of English Poems Commemorating the Restoration
of Charles II / edited by Gerald MacLean
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
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The Prologue to his Majesty;
Title: THE / PROLOGUE / TO HIS / MAJESTY / At the first PLAY presented at the Cock-pit in / WHITEHALL, / Being part of that Noble Entertainment which Their MAIESTIES received Novemb. 19. / from his Grace the Duke of ALBERMARLE. / [text] / [rule] / LONDON, Printed for G. Bedell and T. Collins, at the Middle-Temple Gate in Fleet-street. 1660.
Sir John Denham (1615-69) was appointed Surveyor-General of the King's Works at the Restoration, in which office he succeeded Sir Christopher Wren. Greenwich Palace and Burlington House are sometimes attributed to his influence. In 1665, he married his second wife, Margaret Brooke who shortly afterwards became mistress of the Duke of York. Her early death in 1667, aged only 20, started rumours that the Duchess of York had arranged for her to be poisoned. (Pepys companion)
On the reopening of the theatres: At the Theatre Royal, Vere St, Thomas Killigrew's King's Company performed from 8 November until May 1663.
Of the performance on Monday 19 November at the Cockpit in Whitehall (not to be confused with the Cockpit or Pit Court Theatre), Pepys reports on the following day: "this morning I found my Lord in bed late, he having been with the King, Queene, and Princesse at the Cockpitt all night, where Generall Monke treated them; and after supper, a play -- where the king did put a great affront upon Singleton's Musique, he bidding them stop and bade the French Musique play -- which my Lord says doth much out-do all ours."
At the first PLAY presented at the Cock-pit in
Being part of that Noble Entertainment which Their MAIESTIES received Novemb. 19.
from his Grace the Duke of ALBERMARLE.
GReatest of Monarchs, welcome to this place
Which Majesty so oft was wont to grace
Before our Exile, to Divert the Court,
And Ballance weighty Cares with harmless sport,
5: This truth we can to our advantage say,
They that would have no KING, would have no Play:
The Laurel and the Crown together went,
Had the same Foes, and the same Banishment:
The Ghosts of your 1 great Ancestors they fear'd,
10: Who by the art of conjuring Poets rear'd,
Our HARRIES & our EDWARDS long since dead
Still on the Stage a march of Glory tread:
Those Monuments of Fame (they thought) would stain
And teach the People to despise their Reign:
15: Nor durst they look into the Muses Well,
Least the cleer Spring their ugliness should tell;
Affrighted with the Shadow of their Rage,
They broke the Mirror of the times, the Stage;
The Stage against them still maintain'd the War,
20: When they debauch'd the Pulpit and the Bar.
Though to be Hypocrites, be our Praise alone,
'Tis our peculiar boast that we were none.
What er'e they taught, we practis'd what was true,
And something we had learn'd of honor too,
25: When by Your Danger, and our Duty prest,
We acted in the Field, and not in Jest;
Then for the Cause our Tyring-house they sack't,
And silenc't us that they alone might act;
And (to our shame) most dext'rously they do it,
30: Out-act the players, and out-ly the Poet;
But all the other Arts appear'd so scarce,
Ours were the Moral Lectures, theirs the Farse:
This spacious Land their Theater became,
And they Grave Counsellors, and Lords in Name;
35: Which these Mechanicks Personate so ill
That ev'n the Oppressed with contempt they fill,
But when the Lyons dreadful skin they took,
They roar'd so loud that the whole Forrest shook;
The noise kept all the Neighborhood in awe,
40: Who thought 'twas the true Lyon by his Pawe.
If feigned Vertue could such Wonders do,
What may we not expect from this that's true!
But this Great Theme must serve another Age,
To fill our Story, and Adorne our Stage.
LONDON, Printed for G. Bedell and T. Collins, at the
Middle-Temple Gate in Fleet-street. 1660.
 your] ed following ms correction O, LT; their] O, LT;