Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

In the first act, brisk sallies, (miss or hit,) Where, wanting operas, basset, and a play,
With volleys of small shot, or snip-snap wit, They'll sigh, and stitch a gown to pass the time
Attack, and gall the trenches of the pit.

away.
The next—the fire continues, but at length Gay city-wives at Tunbridge will appear,
Grows less, and slackens like a bridegroom's Whose husbands long have wished for an heir;
strength.

[abound; Where many a courtier may their wants re-
The third-feints, mines, and countermines, lieve,
Your critic engineers, safe under ground, But by the waters only they conceive.
Blow up our works, and all our art confound. The Fleet-street sempstress, toast of Temple
The fourth-brings on most action, and 'tis sparks,

[clerks, sharp,

That runs spruce neckcloths for attorneys'
Fresh foes crowd on, at your remissness carp, At Cuper's gardens will her hours regale,
And desp'rate, though unskill'd, insult our Sing Fair Dorinda, and drink bottled ale.
counterscarp.

At all assemblies rakes are up and down,
Then comes the last; the gen’ral storm is near, And gamesters, when they think they are not
The poet-governor now quakes for fear;

known. Runs wildly up and down, forgets to huff, Should I denounce our author's fate to-day, And would give all he's plunder'd—to get off. To cry down prophecies, you'd damn the play; So-Don, and Monsieur-Bluff, before the Yet whims like these have sometimes made siege,

you laugh,
Were quickly tam'd—at Venlo, and at Liege :'Tis tattling all like Isaac Bickerstaff.
'Twas Viva Spagnia! Viva France ! before; Since war and places claim the bards that write,
Now, Quartier, Monsieur ! Quartier ! Ah, Be kind, and bear a woman's treat to-night;
Senor !

"Let your indulgence all her fears allay,
But what your resolution can withstand ? And none but woman-haters damn this play
You master all, and awe the sea and land.
In war—your valor makes the strong submit ; 0 16. Prologue to the Man's Bewitch'd. 1710.

CENTLIVRE.
Your judgment humbles all attempts in wit.
What play, what fort, what beauty, can endure

Our female author trembling stands within,
All fierce assaults, and always be secure ?

Her fear arises from another's sin : Then grant 'em gen'rous terms who dare to One of her sex has so abus'd the town, write,

That on her score she dreads your angry Since now—that seems as desp'rate as to fight.

frown; If we must yield-yet, ere the day be fix'd, Though, I dare say, poor soul, she never writ Let us hold out the third, and, if we may, the Lampoon, or satire, on the box or pit; sixth.

A harmless, hum'rous play is her extent of wit.

Though Bickerstaflos vast genius may engage, 15. Prologue to the Busybody. 1708. And lash the vice and follies of the age ;

CENTLIVRE. Why should the tender Delia tax the nation, Though modern prophets were expos’d of Stickle and make a noise for reformation, late,

Who always gave a loose herself to inclination ?
The author could not prophesy his fate : Scandal and satire's thrown aside to-day,
If with such scenes an audience had been fird, And humor's the sole business of our play.
The poet must have really been inspir’d. Beaux

on,

to catch the ladies' hearts, But these, alas ! are melancholy days And good assurance pass for mighty parts : For modern prophets, and for modern plays. The cits may bring their spouses without fear; Yet since prophetic lies please fools of fashion, We show no wife that's poaching for an heir, And women are so fond of agitation; Nor teach the use of fine gauze handkerchier. To men of sense I'll prophesy anew,

Cowards may huff, and talk of mighty wonders, And tell you wondrous things that will prove And jilts set up-for twenty-thousand-pound

true. Undaunted colonels will to camps repair, Our author, even though she knows full well, Assur'd there'll be no skirmishes this year ; Is so good-natur’d, she forbears to tell, On our own terms will flow the wish'd-for What colonels, lately, have found out the peace,

knack All wars, except 'twixt man and wife, shall To muster madam, still, by Ned or Jack;

To keep their pleasures up, a frugal way,
The Grand Monarque may wish' his son a They give her subaltern's subsistence for her
throne,

pay.
But hardly will advance to lose his own. In short, whate'er your darli
This season most things bear a smiling face; They pass untouch'd in this night's bill of fare.
But play’rs in summer have a dismal case, But if all this can't your good-nature wake,
Since your appearance only is our act of grace. Though here and there a scene should fail to
Court-ladies will to country seats be gone,

take,
My lord can't all the year live great in town: 'Yet spare her for the Busybody's sake

VUL vi. Nos. 97 & 98.

may dress

[ocr errors]

ers.

[ocr errors]

cease.

vices are,

Z

But if I find ’mongst all one gen'rous heart, 0 17 Epilogue to the same. Spoken by Mrs.

That. deaf to stories, takes the stage's part; Oldfield. 1710. CENTLİVRE.

That thinks that purse deserves to keep the (A Porter delivers a letter, just as

plays,

[eras she is going to speak.]

Whose fortune's bound for the support of opWhat's this ? a billet-doux from hands un- That thinks our constitution here is justly known?

fix'd,

(plex'd ; "Tis new to send it thus 'fore all the town : And now no more with lawyers' brawls perBut since the poor man's so agog,

He, I declare, shall my whole heart receive; I'll read it out, by way of epilogue.

And (what's more strange) I'll love him while

[Reads. I live. Madam, Permit a wretch to let you know,

18. Prologue to Lady Jane Grey. 1715. That he's no more in statu quo ;

Rowe. My ruin from this night commences, To-night the noblest subject swells our Unless your smiles refund my senses;

scene, For, with one thrust of Cupid's dart, A heroine, a martyr, and a queen; You've whipp'd your slave quite through And, though the poet dares not boast his art, the heart;

The very theme shall something great impart, Therefore, I beg you, cast your eye To warm the gen'rous soul, and touch the tenO'er boxes, pit, and gallery,

der heart. In pity of my pains and doubt,

To you, fair judges, we the cause submit; And try if you can't find me out. Your eyes shall tell us how the tale is writ. Poor soul ! he seems indeed in dismal plight; If your soft pity waits upon our woe, Let's see! it can't be, sure, from th’ upper If silent tears for suff’ring virtue flow; flight,

[write : Your grief the muses' labor shall confess, No, no-that's plain-for-none of them can The lively passions, and the just distress. Nor can I think it from the middle fell, O! could our author's pencil justly paint, For I'ın afraid as few of them can spell ; Such as she was in life, the beauteous saint; Beside, their haggling passions never gain Boldly your strict'attention might we claim, Beyond the passage-walking nymphs of Drury- And bid you mark and copy out the dame.

[rovers, No wand’ring glance one wanton thought conAnd then the pit's more stock'd with rakes and Than any of these senseless, whining lovers. No guilty wish inflam'd her spotless breast : The backs o'th' boxes too seem mostly lin’d The only love that warin'd her blooming youth, With souls whose passion's to themselves con- Was husband, England, liberty, and truth. fin'd.

[sparks, For these she fell; while, with too weak a In short, I can't perceive, 'mongst all your hand, The wretch distinguish'd by these bloody She strove to save a blind, ungrateful land. marks :

(mands, sir, But thus the secret laws of fate ordain, But since the town has heard your kind com- William's great hand was doom'd to break that The town shall e'en be witness of my answer. chain, First, then, beware you prove no spark in red, And end the hopes of Rome's tyrannic reign. With empty purse and regimental head; For ever as the circling years return, That thinks no woman can refuse t'engage in't, Ye grateful Britons ! crown the hero's urn; While love's advanc'd with offer'd bills on To his just care you ev'ry blessing owe, agent ;

Which or his own, or following reigos bestow ; That swears he'll settle from his joys com- Though his hard fate a father's name denied, mencing,

To you a father, he that loss supplied. And make the babe, the day he's born, an en- Then while you view the royal line's increase, sign.

And count the pledges of your future peace, Nor could I bear a titled beau, that steals From this great stock while still new glories From fasting spouse her matrimonial meals;

come, That modish sends next morn to her apartment Conquest abroad, and liberty at home; A civil how d'ye—far, alas! from th’ heart while you behold the beautiful and brave, meant :

Bright princesses to grace you, kings to save, Then powder'd for th’ ensuing day's delights, Enjoy the gift, but bless the hand that gave. Bows through his crowd of duns, and drives to White's.

Ø 19. Epilogue to the Cruel Gift. Spoken Nor could I like the wretch that all night plays,

by Mrs. Oldfield. 1717. Rowe. And only takes his rest on winning days ; WELL, 'twas a narrow 'scape my lover Then sets up, from a lucky hit, his rattler;

madeThen's trac'd from his orig'nal--in the T'atler. That cup and message-I was sore afraid ! To tell you all that are my fix'd aversion, Was that a present for a new-made widow, Would tire the tongue of malice or aspersion : All in her dismal dumps, like doleful Dido?

lane :

fess'd ;

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

When one peep'd in—and hop'd for something A doctor comes, with formal wig and face,
good,

First feels your pulse, then thinks, and knows
There was—0 gad!—a nasty heart and blood.* your case,

[you :
If the old man had show'd himself a father, Your fever's slight, not dangerous, I assure
His bowl should have enclos'd a cordial rather; Keep warm, and repetatur haustus, sir, will
Something to cheer me up amidst my trance, cure you."

[ing;
L'eau de Barbade-or comfortable Nantz.t Around the bed, next day, his friends are cry-
He thought he paid it off with being smart, The patient dies ; the doctor's paid for lying.
And, to be witty, cried, he'd send the heart. The poet, willing to secure the pit,
I could have told his gravity, moreover, Gives out his play has humor, taste, and wit:
Were I our sex's secrets to discover,

The cause comes on, and, while the judges try,
'Tis what we never look for in a lover. Each groan and cat-call gives the bard the lie.
Let but the bridegroom prudently provide Now let us ask, pray, what the ladies do :
All other matters fitting for a bride,

They too will fib a little, entre nous.
So he make good the jewels and the jointure, “ Lord !"

says the prude, (her face behind her
To miss the heart does seldom disappoint her.

fan,)
'Faith, for the fashion hearts of late are made in," How can our sex have any joy in man?
They are the vilest baubles we can trade in. As for my part, the best could ne'er deceive me;
Where are the tough, brave Britons to be found, And were the race extinct, 'twould never
With hearts of oak, so much of old renown'd? grieve me !
How many worthy gentlemen of late Their sight is odious, but their touch, O gad!
Swore to be true to mother-church and state; The thought of that's enough to drive one
When their false hearts were secretly main mad.”
taining

Thus rails at men the squeamish Lady Dainty,
Yon trim king Pepin, at Avignon reigning ? Yet weds, at fifty-five, a rake of twenty.
Shame on the canting crew of soul-ensurers, In short, a beau's intrigues, a lover's sighs,
That Tyburn tribe of speech-making nonjurors, The courtier's promise, the rich widow's cries,
Who, in new-fangled terms, old truths explain- And patriot's zeal, are seldom more than lies.
ing,

(meaning! Sometimes you'll see a man belie his nation,
Teach honest Englishmen damnd double. Nor to his country show the least relation,

O! would you lost integrity restore, For instance, now
And boast that faith your plain forefathers bore; A cleanly Dutchman, or a Frenchman grave,
What surer pattern can you hope to find sober German, or a Spaniard brave,
Than that dear pledget your monarch left be- An Englishman a coward or a slave.
hind ?

Mine, though a fibbing, was an honest art;
See how his looks his honest heart explain, I serv'd my master, play'd a faithful part :
And speak the blessings of his future reign! Rank me not, therefore, 'mongst the lying crew,
In his each feature truth and candor trace, For, though my tongue was false, my hcart
And read plain-dealing written in his face.

was true.
g 20. Epilogue to the Lying Valet. 1740.

$ 21. Epilogue to Agamemnon. Thomson,
GARRICK.

OUR bard, to modern epilogue a foe, (woe;
That I'm a lying rogue you all agree; (see, Thinks such mean mirth but deadens gen'rous
And yet, look round the world, and you shall Dispels in idle air the moral sigh,
That many more, my betters, lie as fast as me.

And wipes the tender tear from pity's eye:
Against this vice we all are ever railing,

No more with social warmth the bosom burns;
And yet, so tempting is it, so prevailing,

But all th' unfeeling, selfish man returns.
You'll find but few without this useful failing.

Thus he began : and you approv'd the strain,
Lady or Abigail, my lord or Will,

Till the next couplet sunk to light and vain.
The lie goes round, and the ball's never still. You check'd him there—to you, to reason, just,
My lies were harmless, told to show my parts,. He owns he triumph'd in your kind disgust.
And not like those when tongues belie their Charm'd by your frown, by your displeasure
hearts.

grac'd,
In all professions you will find this flaw;

He hails the rising virtue of your taste.
And in the gravest too, in physic and in law. Wide will its influence spread, as soon as
The gouty sergeant cries, with formal pause,

known;
“Your plea is good, my friend ; don't starve Truth, to be lov’d, need only to be shown.
the cause :"

Confirm it, once, the fashion to be good,
But when my lord decrees for t’other side, |(Since fashion leads the fool,and awes the rude,)
Your costs of suit convince you—that he lied.

No petulance shall wound the public ear;
* This tragedy was founded upon the story of Si- No hand applaud what honor shuns to hear;
gismunda and Guiscardo, out of Boccace's novels; No painful blush the modest cheek shall stain;
wherein the heart of the lover is sent by the father to The worthy breast shall heave with no disdain.
his daughter, as a present.
i. e. Citron-water and good brandy.

Chastis'd to decency, the British stage
The Prince of Wales, then present.

Shall oft invite the fair, invite the sage :

z 2

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

For we,

Both shall attend, well pleas’d, well pleas'd de-1 Ah! let not Censure term our fate our choice, part;

The stage but echoes back the public voice; Or, if they doom the verse, absolve the heart. The drama's laws the drama's patrons give,

that live to please, must please to live. 0 22. Prologue spoken by Mr. Garrick at the

Then prompt no more the follies you decry, opening of the Theatre in Drury-Lane, in As tyrants doom their tools of guilt to die; the Year 1747. Johnson.

'Tis yours this night to bid the reign commence When Learning's triumph o'er her barb'. Of rescued Nature, and reviving Sense; rous foes

(rose; To chase the charms of sound, the pomp of First reard the stage, immortal Shakspeare

show, Each change of many-color'd life he drew,

For useful mirth and salutary woe; Exhausted worlds, and then imagin'd new :

Bid scenic Virtue form the rising age, Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,

And Truth diffuse her radiance from the stage. And panting Time toil'd after him in vain : His powerful strokes presiding Truth impress’d, $ 23. Epilogue to Shakspeare's First Part of And unresisted Passion storm'd the breast.

King Henry IV. Spoken by Mr. J. Y. in Then Jonson came, instructed from the

the Character of Falstaff, 1748. Acted by

young Gentlemen at Mr. Newcome's School school, To please in method, and invent by rule :

at Hackney. HOADLEY. His studious patience, and laborious art, [Push'd in upon the stage by Prince Henry.] By regular approach, assail'd the heart : A PLAGUE upon all cowards, still I say, Cold Approbation gave the ling’ring bays; Old Jack must bear the heat of all the day, For those who durst not censure scarce could And be the master-fool beyond the playpraise.

Amidst hot-blooded Hotspur's rebel strife, A mortal born, he met the gen’ral doom, By miracle of wit I sav'd my life; But left, like Egypt's kings, a lasting tomb. And now stand foolishly expos'd again The wits of Charles found easier ways to To th' hissing bullets of the critic's brain. fame,

[flame; Go to, old lad, 'tis time that thou wert wiserNor wish'd for Jonson's art, nor Shakspeare's Thou art not fram’d for an epiloguizer. Themselves they studied, as they felt they writ; There's Hal, now, or his nimble shadow, Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit.

Poins, Vice always found a sympathetic friend; Straight in the back, and lissome in the loins, They pleas'd their age, but did not aim to Who wears his boot smooth as his mistress' mend.

skin, Yet bards like these aspir'd to lasting praise, And shining as the glass she dresses in, And proudly hop'd to pimp in future days: Can bow and cringe, fawn, fatter, cog, and Their cause was gen’ral, their supports were liestrong,

[long; Which honest Jack could never do—not I. Their slaves were willing, and their reign was Hal's heir-apparent face might stand it buff, TillShame regain'd the post thatSense betray'd, And make (ha! ha! ha!) a saucy epilogue And Virtue callid Oblivion to her aid. (find, enough.

Then, crush'd by rules, and weakend as re- But I am old and stiff-nay, bashful grown, For years the power of Tragedy declin'd: For Shakspeare's humor is not now my own. From bard to bard the frigid caution crept, I feel myself a counterfeiting ass ;, Till Declamation roar'd whilst Passion slept; And if for sterling wit I give you brass, Yet still did Virtue deign the stage to tread, It is his royal image makes it pass. Philosophy remain'd, though Nature fled. Fancy now works; and here I stand and stew But, forc'd at length her ancient reign to quit, In mine own greasy fears, which set to view She saw great Faustus lay the ghost of Wit : Eleven buckram critics in each man of you ; Exulting Folly hail'd the joyful day, Wights, who with no out-facings will be And Pantomime and Song confirm'd her sway. shammid,

But who the coming changes can presage, Nor into risibility be bamm'd, And mark the future periods of the stage ? Will, though she shake their sides, think Nature Perhaps, if skill could distant times explore,

treason, New Behns, new Durfeys, yet remain in store ; And see one damn'd-ere laugh without a Perhaps, where Lear has rav’d, and Hamlet

(speed, died,

Then how shall one, not of the virtuous, On flying cars new sorcerers may ride; Who merely has a wicked wit to pleadPerhaps (for who 'ran guess th’ effects of Wit without measure, humor without rule, chance ?)

Unfetter'd laugh, and lawless ridicule ? Here Hunt may box, or Mahomet may dance. Faith! try him by his peers, a jury chosen

Hard is his lot, that, here by Fortune plac'd, The kingdoin will, I think, scarce raise the Must watch the wild vicissitudes of taste;

dozen, With every meteor of caprice must play, So-be but kind, and countenance the cheat, And chase the new-blown bubble of the day. (I'll in, and say to Hal, I've done the feat.

reason.

0 24.' Prologue to Irene. 1749. Johnson. With ardent haste each candidate of fame

Ambitious catches at his tow'ring name; YE glitt'ring train! whom lace and velvet He sees, and pitying sees, vain wealth bestow bless,

Those pageant honors which he scorn'd below, Suspend the soft solicitudes of dress; While crowds aloft the laureate bust behold, From grov'ling business and superfluous care, Or trace his form on circulating gold. Ye sons of Avarice! a moment spare : Unknown, unheeded, long his offspring lay, Vot’ries of Fame, and worshippers of Power!

And want hang threat’ning o'er her slow decay Dismiss the pleasing phantoms for an hour.

What though she shine with no Miltonian fire, Our daring bard, with spirit unconfin'd,

No fav'ring muse her morning dreams inspire : Spreads wide the mighty moral of mankind. Yet softer claims the melting heart engage, Learn here how Heaven supports the virtuous Her youth laborious, and her blameless age; mind,

Hers the mild merits of domestic life, Daring, though calm ; and vig’rous, though re- The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife. sign'd.

(breast, Thus grac'd with humble virtue's native Learn here what anguish racks the guilty

charms, In power dependent, in success depress’d, Her Grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms; Learn here that peace from innocence must Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell, flow;

While tutelary nations guard her cell. All else is empty sound, and idle show. (join; Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave! But truths like these with pleasing language "Tis yours to crown desert- beyond the grave. Ennobled, yet unchang’d, if Nature shine: If no wild draught depart from Reason's rules, o 26. Occasional Prologue, spoken by Nir. Nor gods his heroes, nor his lovers fools;

Garrick, at the opening of Drury-Lane TheIntriguing wits! his artless plot forgive;

atre, September 5, 1750. And spare him, beauties ! though his lovers live. Be this at least his praise, be this his pride; So, (with the mighty to compare the small,)

As heroes, states, and kingdoms, rise and fall; To force applause no modern arts are tried. Should partial cat-calls all his hopes confound, Through int'rest, whim, or, if you please, He bids no trumpet quell the fatal sound;

through fate, Should welcome sleep relieve the weary wit, The sock and buskin fly from stage to stage ;

We feel commotions in our mimic state:
He rolls not thunders o'er the drowsy pit;
No snares, to captivate the judgment, spreads ;

A year's alliance is with us an age !
Nor bribes your eyes to prejudice your heads. And where's the wonder ? all surprise must
Unmov'd, though witlings sneer, and rivals rail; When we reflect how int’rest, or caprice,

cease, Studious to please, yet not asham'd to fail, He scorns the meek address, the suppliant Makes real kings break articles of peace. strain,

Strengthen’d with new allies, our foes prepare ; With merit needless, and without it vain.

“Cry, Havock ! and let slip the dogs of war." In Reason, Nature, Truth, he dares to trust;

To shake our souls, the papers of the day* Ye fops, be silent; and ye wits, be just.

Drew forth the adverse power in dread array;

A power, might strike the boldest with dismay: Ø 25. Prologue to Comus, for the Benefit of Yet, fearless still, we take the field with spirit,

Milton's Grand-daughter. 1750. Spoken Arm'd cap-a-pie in self-sufficient merit.
by Mr. Garrick. Johnson.

Our ladies too, with souls and tongues untam’d,
Fire

up

like Britons when the battle's nam'd : YE patriot crowds who burn for England's Each female heart pants for the glorious strife, fame,

(name, From Hamlet's mothert to the cobbler's wife. Ye nymphs whose bosoms beat at Milton's Some few there are, whom paltry passions Whose gen'rous zeal, unbought by flattring

guide, rhymes,

Desert each day, and fly from side to side : Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times; Others, like Swiss, love fighting as their trade; Immortal patrons of succeeding days, For, beat or beating, they must all be paid. Attend this prelude of perpetual praise ;

Sacred to Shakspeare was this spot design'd, Let wit, condemn'd the feeble war to wage

To pierce the heart, and humanize the mind : With close malevolence, or public rage;

But, if an empty house, the actor's curse, Let study, worn with virtue's fruitless lore,

Shows us our Lears and Hamlets lose their force, Behold this theatre, and grieve no more. (tell This night, distinguish'd by your smiles, shall * In which papers was this paragraph: “We hear That never Briton can in vain excel;

that Mr. Quin, Mrs. Cibber, Mr. Barry, Mr.

MackThe slighted arts futurity shall trust,

lin, and Mrs. Woffington, are engaged at Covent

Garden theatre for the ensuing season.”-On the past And rising ages hasten to be just.

of Drury-Lane theatre it was notitied, “That two At length our mighty bard's victorious lays celebrated actors from Dublin were engaged to perFill the loud voice of universal praise;

form there, also Miss Bellamy, and a new actress, And baffled spite, with hopeless anguish dumb, 1 gentleman to sing, who had not been on any stage."

Signor Fauson, the comic dancer, and his wife, and a Yields to renown the centuries to come; It Mrs. Priichard.

| Mrs. Clive.

« PreviousContinue »