BETA

PROLOGUE SPOKEN BEFORE A PRIVATE THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE IN
MANCHESTER.

High o’er the drama’s visionary scene1
The goddess Fancy rules—its fairy queen :2
She o’er its new created worlds presides, 3
And all the movements of its magic guides. 4
Our hearts, bewitch’d, submissive own her sway5
Beat as she prompts, and, as she wills, obey.6
Call’d by her power, and by her influence led, 7
The stage, new peopled, swarms with mighty dead ; 8
The great of old a charnel revel keep, 9
And Kings and Cæsars issue from their sleep ; 10
Her boundless flights no limits can restrain, 11
And time resists, and space obstructs, in vain ; 12
She, mighty mistress, each defect supplies,13
And grants us all that sterner Truth denies.14
Since then, the votaries of her scenic power, 15
We stoop to linger in her favourite bower ; 16
Since early moved, and, hearkening to her call, 17
We worship Fancy in her fairy hall ;18
Respect the power whose ministers we stand,19
And pay the tribute of th’ applauding hand ;20
Be Reason’s cool control awhile resign’d, 21
And give to Fancy’s day-dreams all the mind.22
And thou, bright power, in whose exhaustless mine23
The many-colour’d gems of genius shine ; 24
At whose command new light-form’d Ariels rise, 25
And new Titanias greet the wondering eyes ; 26
Be present while we thus thy rites display, 27
And light us with thy rain-bow beaming ray : 28
So shall our work reveal the hand divine, 29
And prove us worthy offerers at thy shrine.30