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Dramatis Personae and Prologue

 KNOWELL, an old Gentleman.
 BRAINWORM, the Father's Man
 GEORGE DOWNRIGHT, a plain Squire.
 WELLBRED, his Half-Brother.
 KITELY, a merchant.
 MASTER STEPHEN, a Country Gull.
 MASTER MATHEW, the Town Gull.
 OLIVER COB, a Water-bearer.
 JUSTICE CLEMENT, an old merry Magistrate.
 ROGER FORMAL, his Clerk.
 Wellbred's Servant
 MRS. BRIDGET, his Sister.
 TIB Cob's Wife
 Servants, etc.



   Though need make many poets, and some such
   As art and nature have not better'd much;
   Yet ours for want hath not so loved the stage,
   As he dare serve the ill customs of the age,
   Or purchase your delight at such a rate,
   As, for it, he himself must justly hate:
   To make a child now swaddled, to proceed
   Man, and then shoot up, in one beard and weed,
   Past threescore years; or, with three rusty swords,
   And help of some few foot and half-foot words,
   Fight over York and Lancaster's king jars,
   And in the tyring-house bring wounds to scars.
   He rather prays you will be pleas'd to see
   One such to-day, as other plays should be;
   Where neither chorus wafts you o'er the seas,
   Nor creaking throne comes down the boys to please;
   Nor nimble squib is seen to make afeard
   The gentlewomen; nor roll'd bullet heard
   To say, it thunders; nor tempestuous drum
   Rumbles, to tell you when the storm doth come;
   But deeds, and language, such as men do use,
   And persons, such as comedy would choose,
   When she would shew an image of the times,
   And sport with human follies, not with crimes.
   Except we make them such, by loving still
   Our popular errors, when we know they're ill.
   I mean such errors as you'll all confess,
   By laughing at them, they deserve no less:
   Which when you heartily do, there's hope left then,
   You, that have so grac'd monsters, may like men.