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Allow you are inconstant, yet 'tis strange,
For sense is still the same, and ne'er can change;
Yet even in that you vary as the rest,
And ev'ry day new notions are profest.
Nay, there's a wit* has found, as I am told,
New ways to heaven, despairing of the old :
He swears he'll spoil the clerk and sexton's
Bells shall no more be rung, nor graves be made:
The hearse and six no longer be in fashion,
Since all the faithful may expect translation.
What think you of the project? I'm for trying;
I'll lay aside these foolish thoughts of dying,
Preserve my youth and vigour for the stage,
And be translated to a good old age.
§ 117. Prologue to The Tender Husband, or
the Accomplished Fools. ADDison.
In the first rise and infancy of farce,
When fools were many, and when plays were
The raw unpractis'd author could with ease
A and inexperienc'd audience please ;
No single character had e'er been shown,
But the whole herd of fops were all their own:
Rich in originals, they set to view,
In ev'ry piece, a coxcomb that was new.
But now our British theatre can boast
Drolls of all kinds, a vast unthinking host!
Fruitful of folly and of vice, it shows [beaux;
Cuckolds, and cits, and bawds, and pimps, and
Rough country-knights are found of ev'ry shire,
Of every fashion gentle fops appear;
And punks of diff'rent characters we meet,
As frequent on the stage as in the street:
Our modern wits are forc'd to pick and cull,
And here and there, by chance, glean up a fool:
Long ere they find the necessary spark,
They search the town and beat about the Park:
To all his most frequented haunts resort,
Oft dog him to the ring, and oft to court,
As love of pleasure or of place invites ;[White's.
And sometimes catch him taking snuff at
Howe'er, to do you right, the present age
Breeds very hopeful inonsters for the stage;
That scorn the paths their dull forefathers trod,
And won't be blockheads in the common road.
Do but survey this crowded house to-night:
-Here's still encouragement for those that
Our author, to divert his friends to-day,
Stocks with variety of fools his play;
And, that there may be something gay and new,
Two ladies-errant has expos'd to view:
The first a damsel travell'd in romance;
The other more refin'd, she comes from France.
Rescue, like courteous knights, the nymph
And kindly treat, like well-bred men, the
No more th' Italian squalling tribe admit,
In tongues unknown; 'tis popery in wit.
The songs (themselves confess) from Rome
And 'tis high-mass, for aught you know, they
Husbands, take care, the danger may come nigher,
The women say their eunuch is a friar.
But is it not a serious ill to see
Europe's great arbiters so mean can be ;
Passive, with an affected joy to sit,
Suspend their native taste of manly wit;
Neglect their comic humour, tragic rage,
For known defects of nature and of age?
Arise! for shame! ye conqu'ring Britons, ria!
Such unadorn'd effeminacy despise;
Admire (if you will dote on foreign wit)
Not what Italians sing, but Romans writ.
So shall less works, such as to-night's slight play,
At your command, with justice die away;
Till then forgive your writers, that can't bear
You should such very tramontanes appear,
The nations, which contemn you, to revere.
Let Anna's soul be known for all its charms;
As fam'd for lib'ral sciences as arms :
Let those derision meet, who would advance
Manners, or speech, from Italy or France.
Let them learn you, who would your favour
And English be the language of mankind.
§ 119. Epilogue to the Gamester.
As one condemn'd, and ready to become,
For his offences past, a pendulum,
Does, ere he dies, bespeak the learned throng,
Then, like the swan, expires in a song;
So I (tho' doubtful long which knot to choose,
Whether the hangman's, or the marriage noose),
Condemn'd, good people, as you see, for life,
To play that tedious, juggling game, a wife,
Have but one word of good advice to say,
Before the doleful cart draws quite away.
You roaring boys, who know the midnight
Of rattling tats, ye sons of hopes and fears;
Who labour hard to bring your ruin on,
And diligently toil to be undone;
You're fortune's sporting footballs at the best,
Few are his joys, and small the gamester's rest:
Suppose then fortune only rules the dice,
And on the square you play; yet who, that's
Would to the credit of a faithless main
Trust his good dad's hard-gotten hoarded gain?
But then such vultures round a table wait,
And hov'ring watch the bubble's sickly state;
young fond gambler, covetous of more,
Like Esop's dog, loses his certain store;
Then the spunge, squeez'd by all, grows dry-
Completely wretched, turns a sharper too.
These fools, for want of bubbles, too, play fair,
And lose to one another on the square:
So whores the wealth from numerous culls | But, bless me !-hold-what sounds are these
Still spend on bullies, and grow poor again.
This itch for play has likewise fatal been,
And more than Cupid drawn the ladies in :
A thousand guineas for basset prevails,
A bait, when cash runs low, that seldom fails;
And when the fair-one can't the debt defray
In sterling coin, does sterling beauty pay.
In vain we labour to divert your care, Nor song nor dance can bribe your presence here,
You fly this place like an infectious air;
To yonder happy quarter of the town
You crowd, and your own fav'rite stage disown;
We're like old mistresses; you love the vice,
And hate us only 'cause we once did please.
Nor can we find how else 'tis we deserve,
Like Tantalus, 'midst plenty thus to starve.
I see the Tragic Muse herself appear! [The black scene opens, and discovers a romantic sylvan landscape, from which Sigismunda, in the character of the Tragic Muse, advances slowly to music, and speaks the following lines:
Hence with your flippant epilogue, that tries To wipe the virtuous tears from British eyes; That dares my moral, tragic scene profane, With strains at best, unsuiting, light, and vain. Hence from the pure, unsullied beams, that play
In yon fair eyes, where virtue shines-Away! Britons, to you, from chaste Castalian groves, Where dwelt the tender, oft unhappy loves; Where shades of heroes roam, each mighty
And court my aid, to rise again to fame:
To you I come; to freedom's noblest seat;
§ 120. Prologue to Tancred and Sigismunda. And in Britannia fix my last retreat.
BOLD is the man, who in this nicer age Presumes to tread the chaste, corrected stage. Now, with gay tinsel arts we can no more Conceal the want of nature's sterling ore: Our spells are vanish'd, broke our magic wand, That us'd to waft you over sea and land: Before your light the fairy people fade; The demons fly-the ghost itself is laid. In vain of martial scenes the loud alarms; The mighty Prompter thund'ring out to arms, The playhouse posse clattering from afar, The close-wedg'd battle, and the din of war, Now e'en the Senate seldom we convene; The yawning fathers nod behind the scene. Your taste rejects the glitt'ring false sublime, To sigh in metaphor, and die in rhyme. High rant is tumbled from his gallery throne: Description, dreams-nay, similes are gone. What shall we then? to please you how devise,
Whose judgment sits not in your ears and eyes? Thrice happy could we catch great Shak
To trace the deep recesses of the heart;
His simple, plain sublime, to which is given To strike the soul with darted flame from heaven; Could we awake soft Otway's tender woe; The pomp of verse, and golden lines of Rowe! We to your hearts apply; let them attend : Before their silent, candid bar we bend.
If warm'd they listen, 'tis our noblest praise: If cold, they wither all the muse's bays.
§ 121. Epilogue to the same. THOMSON. CRAMM'D to the throat with wholesome moral stuff;
Alas! poor audience! you have had enough.
Was ever hapless heroine of a play
In such a piteous plight as ours to-day?
Was ever woman so by love betray'd?
In Greece, and Rome, I watch'd the public weal;
The purple tyrant trembled at my steel;
Nor did I less o'er private sorrows reign,
And mend the melting heart with softer pain.
On France and you then rose my bright'ning star
With social ray-The arts are ne'er at war.
O! as your fire and genius stronger blaze;
As yours are gen'rous freedom's bolder lays;
Let not the Gallic taste leave yours behind,
In decent manners and in life refin'd;
Banish the motley mode, to tag low verse,
The laughing ballad, to the mournful hearse.
When through five acts your hearts have learnt
Touch'd with the sacred force of honest woe,
O keep the dear impression on your breast,
Nor idly lose it for a wretched jest!
Match'd with two husbands, and yet-die a Daggers, provok'd, would bring on desolation,
And murder'd belles unpeople half the nation!
Fain would I hope this play to move com- | From Doctors' Commons we the model draw,
And live to hunt suspicion out of fashion.— Four motives strongly recommend, to lovers, Hate of this weakness, that our scene discovers. First then-A woman will or won't-depend on't:
[on't. If she will do't, she will-and there's an end But, if she won't-since safe and sound your trust is,
Fear is affront, and jealousy injustice. Next, He who bids his dear do what she pleases,
Blunts wedlock's edge, and all its torture eases. For-not to feel your suff'rings, is the same As not to suffer-All the diff'rence-name. Thirdly-The jealous husband wrongs his honor;
No wife goes lame, without some hurt upon her: And the malicious world will still be guessing, Who oft dines out dislikes her own cook's dressing.
Fourthly, and lastly-to conclude my lecture, If you would fix th' inconstant wife-respect
She who perceives her virtues over-rated,
Will fear to have th' account more justly stated:
And, borrowing from her pride the good wife's
Grow really such-to merit your esteeming.
$123. Prologue to Mr. Andrews' Comedy of
Better Late than Never. DUKE OF LEEDS. CUSTOM Commands a prologue to each play, But custom hath not told us what to say: No form prescrib'd, 'tis difficult to find How to conciliate the public mind. The bashful bard-the modest muse's fears, So long have jingled in your patient ears, That now, perhaps, you'll scarce vouchsafe to To hear both their apology-and play. [stay No better sure on him at once to call, [all? With "Sir, if frighten'd thus why write at We're not reduc'd yet to a trembling penZounds! bards will crowd us soon, like-gentlemen."
Something like this, I heard a friend once say, Who wish'd, poor soul, to hear a new-launch'd play:
Box'd snug at first, completely to his mind,
With only one grave auditor behind;
Ere the third act had struggled to its end,
In reel'd three critics, each the author's friend-
On praise determin'd-wit confirm'd by wine:
Each And and If was chaste-correct-damn'd
[way; To taste so mark'd my friend of course gave But squeez'd, thump'd, kick'd-still listen'd to the play;
Till, by repeated plaudits grown so sore,
Nor flesh nor blood could bear one comment
Such boist'rous friends they surely cannot need,
Who wish by merit only to succeed.
To-night we offer to the public view
A character you'll own, perhaps, is new :
A promising eleve of civil law;
And civil sure that law which can provide,
Or, should need be, release you from, a bride.
Thrice bless'd the mansion, where, in spite of
Alive or dead, you still can have your wills.
Much could I offer in our author's cause,
Nay, prove his first great object-your ap-
But, lest dull friendship should his genius
I'll stop-before the prologue grows too long,
And, Better Late than Never, hold my tongue.
THE drama done, and all its int'rest over, Content the husband, and secure the lover, Our timid bard, who dreads the critic ire, And thinks my little tongue can never tire, Would have me re-assume the wig and gown, To plead his goose-quill cause before the town. "Lord, Sir," says I, "some better counsel For females in a wig are not the thing. [bring, Your bearded barrister, if smartly made, is A surer advocate among the ladies."
Madam," he cried, or periwigg'd or bare, So you but talk, I never need despair."
Suppose, ye fair, as I'm so smooth a prater, I take a line so consonant to nature; Give up the vain attempt your hearts to warm, And 'gainst the men with female weapon arm.
Oft have the wits, unmindful whom they vex, Expos'd the foibles of the softer sex, Laugh'd at their dress, their well-shap'd cork, their feathers,
Their steady bloom, unchanging in all wea thers; [brown, Swore locks were grey, that seem'd a comely And, though all paid for, deem'd them not
Why not retort, avenge th' insulted fair, And show these men what wondrous things they are?
Now don't be frighten'd-poor eccentric elves! I only show what most you like-yourselves.
How! tremble at a woman? shame betide! Though I look fierce, like you-I'm all outside; Yet ere my efforts your attention call To that dear portrait which should hit you all, Let me delineate what was once a beau, The Band-box Billy of some years ago.
Sweet image of mamma in every feature, The youth came forth a most delicious creature, With full-dress'd skirts, not quite unlike a hoop, Hat under arm, fine button, and gilt loopStiff stock, long sword still dangling in the way, He sometimes ventur'd to a first-night play: Tripp'd through the lobby, most completely curl'd;
Nor did a paw-paw thing for all the world! Thus he discours'd: "Sir Dilberry, ods so, Dear, dear, good lack! have you a place below? Dem it, don't crowd so, fellow!-0, how shocking!
[ing." He's spoil'd my hair, and dirtied all iny stock.
Such was the smart our grandmammas would | Or lisp her merry thoughts with loud endea
Rather unlike the smart of present days:
For I defy all history to show
One thing in nature like a modern beau;
Hat slouch'd, short stick, knee-trappings that
The memory of renown'd Sixteen-String Jack;
Eternal boots, and collar you'd suppose
Cut in kind contact with his buckship's nose.
Thus trimly deck'd, each night among the
He storms the lobby, and assails the boxes;
With gait and manner-something in this way,
Proves his rare taste, and descants on the play-
"Here, box-keeper! why don't the rascal come?
Halloo-Tom Gerkin! can you give us room?
What's this?-The farce-Macbeth-
Came out last season-stupid stuff-dainn'd
Zounds, let's be off!"-" Zounds, be a little
66 Who's that-the Jordan?"- No, you fool,
Thus some are found, by ev'ry act revealing
Perfect indifference to sense and feeling.
To such our play not sues-but you, ye fair,
Ye wise, whom nature form'd with happier
Whose tender bosoms, though by passions
Feel the soft virtues in their full extent,
Cherish our author's plan, which aims to prove
Life's best exertions spring from virtuous love.
Now here, now there-in noise and mischief
A school-girl next, she curls her hair in papers,
And mimics father's gout, and mother's vapors;
Discards her doll, bribes Betty for romances,
Playful at church, and serious when she dances;
Tramples alike on customs and on toes,
And whispers all she hears to all she knows;
Terror of caps and wigs and sober notions!
A romp! that longest of perpetual motions!
-Till, tam'd and tortur'd into foreign graces,
And, with blue laughing eyes, behind her fan,
She sports her lovely face at public places;
First acts her part with that great actor, man.
Too soon a flirt-approach her and she flies;
Frownswhen pursued, and when entreated sighs;
Plays with unhappy men as cats with mice,
Till fading beauty hints the late advice.
Her prudence dictates what her pride disdain'd,
And now she sues to slaves herself had chain'd.
Then comes that good old character, a wife,
With all the dear distracting cares of life;
A thousand cards a-day at doors to leave,
And, in return, a thousand cards receive;
With nightly blaze set Portland-place on fire;
Rouge high, play deep, to lead the ton aspire,
Snatch half a glimpse at concert, opera, ball,
A meteor trac'd by none, though seen by all;
And when her shatter'd nerves forbid to roam,
In very spleen-rehearse the girl at home.
Last the grey dowager in ancient flounces,
With snuff and spectacles the age denounces;
Boasts how the sires of this degenerate isle
§ 125. Verses written to be spoken by Mrs.Sid- Knelt for a look, and duell'd for a smile;
dons, at her Benefit, April 27, 1795.
YES, 'tis the pulse of life! my fears were vain!
I wake, I breathe, and am myself again,
Still in this nether world! no seraph yet-
Nor walks my spirit when the sun is set,
With troubled step to haunt the fatal board
Where I died last-by poison or the sword;
And blanch each honest cheek with deeds of
Done here so oft by dim and doubtful light.
To drop all metaphor, that little bell
Call'd back reality, and broke the spell.
No heroine claims your tears with tragic tone;
A very woman-scarce restrains her own!
Can she, with fiction, charm the cheated mind,
When to be grateful is the part assign'd?
Ah, no! she scorns the trappings of her art;
No theme but truth, no prompter but the heart.
But, ladies, say, must I alone unmask?
Is here no other actress, let me ask?
Believe me, those, who best the heart dissect,
Know, every woman studies stage-effect:
She moulds her manners to the part she fills,
As instinct teaches, or as humor wills;
And, as the grave or gay her talent calls,
Acts in the drama, till the curtain falls.
First, how her little breast with triumph
When the red coral rings its silver bells!
To play in pantomime is then the rage
Along the carpet's many-color'd stage;
The scourge and ridicule of Goth and Vandal,
Her tea she sweetens, as she sips, with scandal;
With modern belles eternal warfare wages,
Like her own birds that clamor from their cages;
And shuffles round to bear her tale to all,
Like some old ruin "nodding to its fall."
Thus woman makes her entrance and her exit,
Then most an actress when she leasts suspects it.
Yet nature oft peeps out and mars the plot,
Each lesson lost, each poor pretence forgot;
Full oft with energy that scorns control,
At once lights up the features of the soul;
Unlocks each thought chain'd down by coward
And to full day the latent passions start. [art,
But she, whose first best wish is your applause,
Herself exemplifies the truth she draws.
Born on the stage, through ev'ry shifting scene,
Obscure or bright, tempestuous or serene,
Still has your smile her trembling spirit fir'd;
And can she act, with thoughts like these in-
Thus from her mind all artifice she flings,
All skill, all practice, now unmeaning things!
To you uncheck'd, each genuine feeling flows,
For, all that life endears-to you she owes.
S 126. Verses to the Memory of Mr. Garrick.
Spoken as a Monody by Mrs. Yates, at the
Theatre Royal in Drury-lane. SHERIDAN.
IF dying excellence deserves a tear,
If fond remembrance still is cherish'd here,
Can we persist to bid our sorrows flow
For fabled suff'rers and delusive woe; [strain,
Or with quaint smiles dismiss the plaintive
Point the quick jest-indulge the comic vein-
Ere yet to buried Roscius we assign
One kind regret, one tributary line?
His fame requires we act a tend'rer part : His memory claims the tear you gave his art. The gen'ral voice, the meed of mournful verse, The splendid sorrows that adorn'd his hearse, The throng that mourn'd as their dead fav'rite pass'd,
The grac'd respect that claim'd him to the last;
While Shakspeare's image, from its hallow'd
Seem'd to prescribe the grave, and point the
Nor these, nor all the sad regrets that flow
From fond fidelity's domestic woe, [due,
So much are Garrick's praise-so much his
As on this spot-one tear bestow'd by you.
Amid the arts which seek ingenuous fame,
Our toil attempts the most precarious claim;
To him, whose mimic pencil wins the prize,
Obedient fame immortal wreaths supplies:
Whate'er of wonder Reynolds now may raise,
Raphael still boasts contemporary praise:
Each dazzling light and gaudier bloom subdued,
With undiminish'd awe his works are view'd:
E'en beauty's portrait wears a softer prime,
Touch'd by the tender hand of mellowing time.
The patient sculptor owns an humbler part,
A ruder toil, and more mechanic art;
Content with slow and timorous stroke to trace
The ling ring line, and mould the tardy grace:
But once achiev'd, though barb'rous wreck o'er-
The sacred fane, and lay its glories low, [throw
Yet shall the sculptur'd ruin rise to-day,
Grac'd by defect, and worshipp'd in decay;
Th' enduring record bears the artist's name,
Demands his honors, and asserts his fame.
Superior hopes the poet's bosom fire,
O proud distinction of the sacred lyre!
Wide as th' inspiring Phoebus darts his ray,
Diffusive splendor gilds his votary's lay.
Whether the song heroic woes rehearse
With epic grandeur, and the pomp
Or, fondly gay, with unambitious guile
Attempt no prize but fav'ring beauty's smile;
Or bear dejected to the lonely grove
The soft despair of unprevailing love; [clime
Whate'er the theme, through ev'ry age and
Congenial passions meet the according rhyme,
The pride of glory, pity's sigh sincere,
Youth's earliest blush, and beauty's virgin tear.
Such is their meed-their honors thus secure,
Whose arts yield objects, and whose works en-
The actor only shrinks from time's award;
Feeble tradition is his memory's guard;
By whose faint breath his merits must abide, Unvouch'd by proof, to substance unathed! E'en matchless Garrick's art, to heaven resign'd, No fix'd effect, no model, leaves behind.
The grace of action, the adapted mien, Faithful as nature to the varied scene; draws Th' expressive glance, whose subtle comment Entranc'd attention, and a mute applause; Gesture that marks, with force and feeling fraught,
A sense in silence, and a will in thought;
Harmonious speech, whose pure and liquid tone
Gives verse a music scarce confess'd its own,
As light from geins assumes a brighter ray,
And, cloth'd with orient hues, transcends the
Passion's wild break, and frowns that awe the
And ev'ry charm of gentle eloquence,
All perishable!-like th' electric fire,
But strike the frame, and, as they strike, expire;
Incense too pure a bodied flame to bear, [air.
Its fragrance charms the sense, and blends with
Where then, while sunk in cold decay he
And pale eclipse for ever veils those eyes, [lies,
Where is the blest memorial that ensures
Our Garrick's fame?-whose is the trust?—
And, O! by ev'ry charm his art essay'd
To soothe your cares! by ev'ry grief allay'd!
By the hush'd wonder which his accents drew!
By his last parting tear, repaid by you ![night,
By all those thoughts, which, many a distant
Shall mark his memory with a sad delight!
Still in your hearts' dear record bear his name,
Cherish the keen regret that lifts his fame;
To you it is bequeath'd, assert the trust,
And to his worth-'tis all you can—be just.
What more is due from sanctifying time,
To cheerful wit, and many a favor'd rhyme,
O'er his grac'd urn shall bloom, a deathless
Whose blossom'd sweets shall deck the mask
For these when sculpture's votive toil shall rear
The due memorial of a loss so dear,
O loveliest mourner, gentle muse! be thine
The pleasing woe, to guard the laurell'd shrine.
As Fancy oft by Superstition led
To roam the mansions of the sainted dead,
Has view'd, by shadowy eve's unfaithful gloom,
A weeping cherub on a martyr's tomb,
So thou, sweet Muse, hang o'er his sculptur'd
With patient woe, that loves the ling'ring tear;
With thoughts that mourn, nor yet desire relief,
With meek regret, and fond enduring grief;
With looks that speak-He never shall return!
Chilling thy tender bosom, clasp his urn!
And with soft sighs disperse th' irrev'rent dust,
Which time may strew upon his sacred bust.
Printed by S. Hamilton, Weybridge, Surrey.