Prologue for Opening the Theatre at Boston
when it was garrisoned by the British Troops
under Command of Sr Wm Howe

In Britain once, (it Stains the historic Page,)
Freedom was Vital Struck by Party Rage,
Cromwell the Fever Watch'd, The Knife Supply'd
She Madden'd, & by Suecide she Died
Amidst her Groans Sunk every liberal Art
That Polish'd Life or Humanis'd the Heart
Then Sunk the Stage quell'd by the Bigots Roar
Truth fled With Sense, & Shakespear Charm'd no more

To Sooth the Times too much resembling those
And lull the Care tir'd thought, This Stage Arose
Proud if You Hear, Rewarded if You're Pleased
We Come to Minister to Minds Diseased
For you who Guardians of A Nations Cause
Unsheath Your Swords to Vindicate the Laws
The Tragic Scene lifts Glory up to View
And bids heroic Virtue live Anew!
With Ravish'd Ears & Emulative fire
Rise Britons to th' Examples You Admire;
Unite the Warriors Fame the Patriots Care
And While You burn to Conquer Wish to Spare.
The Comic Muse Presides o'er Social Life
And Forms the Parent husband, friend, & Wife
Tis hers the Mind from Prejudice to Save
And Call Your Old Good Humour from the Grave
To Paint from Nature, & with Touches Nice,
Shew us ourselves, & Laugh us out of Vice.

Say then Ye Boston Prudes, if Prudes there Are
Is this A Task unworthy of the Fair?
Shall Form, Decorum Piety Refuse
A Call on Beauty to Conduct support the Muse?
& by the Influence of the Young & Chaste
Diffuse Instruction Charity & Taste
Perish the Narrow thought, the Slanderous tongue
Where the Heart's Right, the Action Can't be wrong
Behold the Test, Mark at the Curtains Rise,
How Malice Shrinks Abash'd from Zara's Eyes

Curtain Rises & discovers Zara & Selima

John Burgoyne

22.2 cm x 18.5 cm

This manuscript copy of the prologue to The Tragedy of Zara is not in Burgoyne's hand.