Page images
PDF
EPUB

Unwilling, we must change the nobler scene, Was ever woman offer'd so much wrong?
And, in our turn, present you Harlequin ; These creatures here would have me hold my
Quit poets, and set carpenters to work,

tongue! Show gaudy scenes, or mount the vaulting I'm so provokid, I hope you will excuse me; Turk :

I must be heard and beg you won't refuse me. For, though we actors, one and all, agree While our mock heroes, not so wise as rash, Boldly to struggle for our-vanity,

With indignation hold the vengeful lash, want comes on, importance must retreat ; And at each other throw alternate squibs, Our first great ruling passion is—to eat. Compos'd of little wit--and some few fibs; To keep the field, all methods we'll pursue ; 1, Catherine Clive, come here to attack 'em all, The conflict glorious ! for we'll fight for you: And aim alike at little and at tall. And, should we fail to gain the wish'd applause, But first, ere with the buskin’d chiefs I brave it, At least we're vanquish'd in a noble cause. A story is at hand, and you shall have it.

Once on a time two boys were throwing dirt, $ 27. Occasional Prologue, spoken at Covent- A gentle youth was one, and one was someGarden Theatre, by Mr. Barry. 1750.

what pert : When vice or folly over-runs a state, Each to his master with his tale retreated, Weak politicians lay the blame on fate: Who gravely heard their diff'rent parts reWhen rulers useful subjects cease to prize, peated,

[treated. And damn for arts that caus’d themselves to How Tom was rude, and Jack, poor lad! illrise ;

The master paus’d—to be unjust was loath, When jealousies and fears possess the throne, Callid for a rod, and fairly whipp'd them both. And kings allow no merit--but their own ; In the same master's place, lo! here I stand Can it be strange, that men for flight prepare, And for each culprit hold the lash in hand. And strive to raise a colony elsewhere? First, for our own-0, 'tis a pretty youth! This custom has prevail'd in ev'ry age, But out of fifty lies I'll sift some truth: And has been sometimes practis'd on the stage : 'Tis true, he's of a choleric disposition, For-entre nous—these managers of merit, And fiery parts make up his composition. Who fearless arm, and take the field with spirit, How have I seen him rave when things mis Have curb'd us monarchs with their haughty carried !

[ried. mien,

Indeed, he's grown much tamer since he mar And Herod* have out-Herod-ed-within.

If he succeeds, what joys his fancy strike! [Pointing to the Green Room. And then he gets—to which he's no dislike. O, they can torture twenty thousand ways ! . Faults he has many—but I know no crimes; Make bouncing Bajazett retreat from Bayes !! Yes, he has one-he contradicts sometimes : The ladies too, with every power to charm, And when he falls into his frantic fit, Whose face and fire an anchorite might warm, He blusters so, it makes e'en mé submit. Have felt the fury of a tyrant's arm.

So much for him the other youth comes next, By selfish arts'expell’d our ancient seat, Who shows, by what he says, poor soul! he's In search of candor, and in search of meat,

vex'd. We from your favor hope for this retreat.

He tells you tales how cruelly this treats us, If Shakspeare's passion, or if Jonson's art,

To make you think the little monster beats us. Can fire the fancy, or can warm the heart, Would I have whin'd in melancholy phrase, That task be ours; but if you damn their How bouncing Bajazet retreats from Bayes ? scenes,

I, who am woman, would have stood the fray; And heroes must give way to Harlequins, At least not snivell’d thus, and run away' We too can have recourse to mime and dance; Should any manager lift arm at me, Nay, there, I think, we have the better chance: I have a tyrant arm as well as he ! And, should the town grow weary of the mute, In fact, there has some little bouncing been, Why, we'll produce a child upon the flute.|| But who the bouncer was, inquire within But, be the food as 'twill, 'tis you that treat! No matter whom I now proclaim a peace, Long they have feasted-permit us now to eat. And hope henceforth hostilities will cease; Ø 28. Epilogue spoken by Mrs. Clive, on the No more shall either rack his brains to tease ye,

two occasional Prologues at Covent-Garden But let the contest be—who most shall please ye, and Drury-Lane. 1750.

$ 29. Prologue to Taste. 1752. Spoken in the [Enters hastily, as if speaking to one Character of an Auctioneer. GARRICE. who would oppose her.]

BEFORE this court I, Peter Puff, appear, I'll do't: by Heaven, I will-Pray get you A Briton born, and bred an auctioneer! gone;

Who, for myself, and eke a hundred others, What ! all these janglings, and I not make one ? My useful, honest, learned, bawling brothers, * Mr. Quin. Both Quin and Barry. | Mr. Garrick. With much humility and fear implore ye, Mrs. Cibber, &c.

To lay our present desperate, case before ye. ll A child, said to be about four years of age, had been introduced on the stage of Drury-Lane theatre,

'Tis said, this night a certain wag intends to play a tune on that instrument.

To laugh at us, our calling, and our iriends i

new.

If lords and ladies, and such dainty folks, 1" I read no Greek, sir-when I was at school, Are cur'd of auction-hunting by his jokes ; Terence had prologues— Terence was no fool.” Should this odd doctrine spread throughout “ He had; but why ?" replied the bard, in rage : the land,

" Exotics, monsters, had possess'd the stage ; “ Before you buy, be sure to understand ;" But we have none in this enlighten'd age ! O, think on us, what various ills will flow, Your Britons now, from gallery to pit, When great ones purchase only what they can relish nought but sterling Attic wit. know!

Here, take my play, I meant it for instruction ; Why laugh at taste? It is a harmless fashion, if rhymes are wanting for its introduction, And quite subdues each detrimental passion : E’en let that nonsense be your own produce The fair ones' hearts will ne'er incline to man,

tion." While thus they rage for-china and japan. Off went the poet. It is now expedient The virtuoso too, and connoisseur,

I speak as manager, and your obedient. Are ever decent, delicate, and pure; I, as your cat’rer, would provide your dishes, The smallest hair their looser thoughts might Dress’d to your palates, season'd to your wishes. hold,

[cold. Say but you're tir’d with boild and roast at Just warm when single, and when married, home, Their blood, at sight of beauty, gently flows; We too can send for niceties from Rome; Their Venus must be old, and want a nose ! To please your tastes will spare nor pains nor No am'rous passion with deep knowledge money, thrives;

Discard sirloins, and get you macaroni "Tis the complaint, indeed, of all our wives ! Whate'er new gusto for a time may reign, "Tis said virtù to such a height is grown, Shakspeare and beef must have their turn again. All artists are encourag'd—but our own. If novelties can please, to-night we've twoBe not deceiv'd; I here declare on oath, Though English both, yet spare 'em as they're I never yet sold goods of foreign growth; Ne’er sent commissions out to Greece or Rome: To one, at least, your usual favors show; My best antiquities are made at home. A female asks it-can a man say No? I've Romans, Greeks, Italians, near at hand, Should you indulge our novice* yet unseen, True Britons all, and living in the Strand. And crown her, with your hands, a tragic I ne'er for trinkets rack my pericranium ;

queen ; They furnish out my room from Herculaneum. Should you, with smiles, a confidence impart, But hush

To calm those fears which speak a feeling heart; Should it be known that English are employ'd, Assist each struggle of ingenuous shame, Our manufacture is at once destroy'd ; Which curbs a genius in its road to fame : No matter what our countrymen deserve, With one wish more her whole ambition They'll thrive as ancients, but as moderns ends starve ;

She hopes some merit, to deserve such friends. If we should fall, to you it will be owing ; Farewell to arts—they are going, going, going! 0 31. Epilogue to the same. 1754. GARRICK. The fatal hammer's in your hand, O town! The poet's pen can, like a conjurer's wand, Then set us up, and knock the poet down. Or kill or raise his heroine at command :

And I shall, spirit-like, before I sink, 0 30. Prologue to Virginia. 1754. Written Not courteously inquire, but tell you, what

and spoken by Mr. GARRICK. PROLOGUES, like compliments, are loss of From top to bottom I shall make you stare, time,

By hitting all your judgments to a hair ! 'Tis penning bows, and making legs, in rhyme: And, first, with you above I shall begin'Tis cringing at the door, with simp'ring grin,

(To the upper gallery. When we should show the company within- Good-natur'd souls, they're ready all to grin. So thinks our bard, who, stiff in classic knowl. Though twelve-pence seat you there, so near edge,

[lege. - the ceiling, Preserves too much the buckram of the col-The folks below can't boast a better feeling. “Lord, sir," said I, “ an audience must be No high-bred prud'ry in your region lurks, woo'd,

You boldly laugh and cry as nature works. And, lady-like, with flattery pursued;

Says John to Tom, (ay—there they sit toThey nauseate fellows that are blunt and rude. gether, Authors should learn to dance as well as As honest Britons as e'er trod on leather,) write-"

[sight!" Tween you and I, my friend, 'tis very vild, “ Dance at my time of life! Zounds, what a That old Vergeenus should have struck his Grown gentlemen, ('tis advertis'd,) do learn by child;

[ruler ; night.

[these, I would have hang'd him for't had I been Your modern prologues, and such whims as And duck'd that Apus too, by way of cooler." The Greeks ne'er knew-turn, turn to Soph-| * Mrs. Graham, afterwards Mrs. Yates, then a new

you think.

ocles."

actress.

passes !"

Some maiden-dames, who hold the middle “At the Theatre Royal, Drury-Lane floor,

[To the middle gallery. Will be presen-ta-ted a tragedy called And fly from naughty man, at forty-four,

Sarah"With turn'd-up eyes applaud Virginia's 'scape, I'm glad 'tis Sarah—then our Sall may see And vow they'd do the same to shun a rape ; Her namesake's tragedy : and, as for me, So very chaste, they live in constant fears, I'll sleep as sound as if I were at seaAnd apprehension strengthens with their years. To which will be added-a new Ye bucks, who from the pit your terrors send, mask"

(maces Yet love distressed damsels to befriend; Zounds! why a mask? We sailors hate gri You think this tragic joke too far was carried, Aboveboard all; we scorn to hide our faces. And wish, to set all right, the maid had married : But what is here, so very large and plain ? You'd rather see, (if so the fates had will’d,) “ Bri-tan-nia.”- -0, Britannia ! -good Ten wives be kind, than one poor virgin kill'd. again

May I approach unto the boxes, pray, Huzza, boys! By the Royal George, I swear, And there search out a judgment on the play? Tom Coxen, and the crew, shall straight be In vain, alas ! I should attempt to find it;

there. Fine ladies see a play, but never mind it. All free-born souls must take Bri-tan-nia's part, 'Tis vulgar to be mov'd by acted passion, And give her three round cheers, with hand Or form opinions till they're fix'd by fashion. and heart! (Going off, he stops.

Our author hopes this fickle goddess, Mode, I wish you landmen, though, would leave your With us will make, at least, nine days' abode; tricks, To present pleasure he contracts his view, Your factions, parties, and damn'd politics : And leaves his future fame to time and you. And, like us honest tars, drink, fight, and sing ;

True to yourselves, your country, and your Ø 32. Occasional Prologue to the Mask of king!

Britannia. 1755. Written and spoken by $ 33. Prologue to Comus. Performed for the Mr. GARRICK, in the Character of a Sailor,

Benefit of the General Hospital at Bath, fuddled, and talking to himself.

1756 ; and spoken by Miss Morrison, the Enters, singing, “How pleasant a sailor's life Character of a Lady of Fashion. HOADLEY.

[She enters with a number of WELL! if thou art, my boy, a little mellow,

tickets in her hand. A sailor, half-seas o'er, 's a pretty fellow. WELL, I've been beating up for volunteers, What cheer, ho ? Do I carry too much sail ? But find that charity has got no ears.

[To the pit. I first attack'd a colonel of the guardsNo-tight and trim-I scud before the gale "Sir, charity-consider its rewards ;

[He staggers forward, and then stops. With healing hand the saddest sores it skins, But softly though—the vessel seems to heel And covers--0! a multitude of sins.” Steady! my boy--she must not show her keel. He swore the world was welcome to his And now, thus ballasted—what course to steer? thoughts : Shall I again to sea--and bang Mounseer ? 'Twas damn'd hypocrisy to hide one's faults ; Or stay on shore, and toy with Sall and Sue? And with that sin his conscience ne'er was Dost love 'em, boy? By this right hand, I do! twitted, A well-rigg'd girl is surely most inviting : The only one he never had committed. There's nothing better, faith-save flip and Next to my knight I plead. He shook his fighting

head,

[dead. I must away-I must

Complain'd the stocks were low, and trade was What! shall we sons of beef and freedom stoop, In these Bath charities a tax he'd found Or lower our flag to slavery and soup? More heavy than four shillings in the pound. What! shall these Parly-voos make such a What with the play-house, hospital, and abbey, racket,

A man was stripp'd-unless he'd look quite And I not lend a hand to lace their jacket ? shabby. Still shall Old England be your Frenchman's Then such a train, and such expense; to wit, butt?

My lady, all the brats, and cousin KitWhene'er he shuffles we should always cut. He'd steal himself, perhaps, into the pit. I'll to 'em, faith-A vast-before I go

Old Lady Slipslop, at her morning cards, Have I not promis'd Sall to see the show ? Vows that all works of genus she regards,

[Pulls out a play-bill. | Raffles for Chinese gods, card houses, shells, From this same paper we shall understand Nor grudges to the music, or the bells, What work’s to-night-I read your printed But has a strange antiquity to nasty ospitals. hand.

“I hope your lordship’-then my lord replies, First let's refresh a bit-for, faith, I need it, " No doubt, the governors are-very wise;" I'll take one sugar-plum-(takes some tobacco.] But, for the play,

he wonder'd at their choice. and then I'll read it.

In Milton's days such stuff might be the taste, [He reads the play-bill of Zara, But, faith! he thought it was damn'd dull and which was acted that evening. chaste :

[him ;

Then swears he to the charity is hearty, So blindly thoughtful, and so darkly read,
But can't in homor break his evening party. They take Tom Durfey's for the Shakspeare's
When to the gouty alderman I sued,

Head. The nasty fellow (gad !) was downright rude. A vintner once acquir'd both praise and gain, “ Is begging grown the fashion, with a pox? And sold much perry for the best Champagne. The mayor should set such housewifes in the Some rakes this precious stuff did so allure, stocks.

They drank whole nights—what's that when Give you a guinea ! Z-ds!" replied the beast, wine is pure ? • 'Twould buy a ticket for a turtle feast. “Come, fill a bumper, Jack.”_"I will, my *Think what a guinea a-head might set before Lord.ye

“ Here's cream!-damn'd fine!-immense Surmullet, turbot, and a grand John Dory.

upon my word! I'll never give a groat, as I'm a sinner, Sir William, what say you ?”—“The best, Unless they gather it in a dish—at dinner.”

believe me.

(me.” I trust, by axt and more polite address, In this—eh, Jack !—the devil can't deceive: Your fairer advocates met more success; Thus the wise critic, too, mistakes his wine; * And not a man compassion's cause withstood, Cries out, with lifted hands—“ 'Tis great! diWhen beauty pleaded for such gen'ral good. vine !"

Then jogs his neighbor, as the wonders strike Ø 34. Prologue to the Winter's Tale, and “This Shakspeare! Shakspeare!—0, there's: Catherine and Petruchio. 1756. Written

nothing like him !" and spoken by Mr. GARRICK.

In this night's various and enchanted cup To various things the stage has been com- Some little perry's mix'd, for filling up. pard,

The five long acts, from which our three areAs apt ideas strike each humorous bard :

taken, "This night, for want of better simile, Stretch'd out to sixteen years,* lay by, forsaken: Let this our theatre a tavern be;

Lest, then, this precious liquor run to waste, *The poets vintrers, and the waiters we. | 'Tis now confind and bottled for your taste. So, as the cant and custom of the trade is, 'Tis my chief wish, my joy, my only plan, You're welcome, gemmen; kindly welcome, To lose no drop of that immortal man !

ladies. To draw in customers, our bills are spread; $ 35. Prologue to the Apprentice. 1756. You cannot miss the sign; 'tis Shakspeare's Spoken by Mr. Murphy, Author of the Piece, Head.

(vine, dressed in black. GARRICK. From this same head, this fountain-head diFor different palates springs a different wine; The culprit of this night appears before ye:

BEHOLD a wonder for theatric story! In which no tricks, to strengthen or to thin Before his judges dares these boards to tread,

'em Neat as imported—no French brandy in 'em.

“ With all his imperfections on his head!” Hence for the choicest spirits flows Cham

Prologues precede the piece, in mournful verse,

As undertakers walk before the hearse; pagne,

(vein, Whose sparkling atoms shoot through every

Whose doleful march may strike the harden'd. Then mount in magic vapors to th' enraptur'd And wake its feelings for the dead behind.

mind, brain ! Hence flow for martial minds potations strong, To melt that rock of rocks, the critic's heart..

Trick'd out in black, thus actors try their art, And sweet love-potions for the fair and young. No acted fears my vanity betray! For you, my hearts of oak, for your regale,

I am, indeed—what others only play. [To the upper gallery: Thus far myself. The farce comes next in view; There's good old English stingo, mild and Though many are its faults, at least 'tis new.

stale : For high, luxurious souls, with luscious smack,

No smuggled, pilfer'd scenes from France we There's Sir John Falstaff in a butt of sack; And, if the stronger liquors more invite ye,

'Tis English-English, sirs, from top to toe. Bardolph is gin, and Pistol aqua-vitæ.

Though coarse my colors, and my hand' unBut should you call for Falstaff, where to find

From real life my little cloth is fill'd.

[mind He's gone—nor left one cup of sack behind him, My hero is a youth, by fate design'd Sunk in his elbow-chair, no more he'll roam,

For culling simples—but whose stage-struck No more, with merry wags, to Eastcheap come; A place there is, where such young Quixotes

Nor fate could rule, nor his indentures bind. He's gone to jest and laugh, and give his

sack, at home. As for the learned critics, grave and deep,

| 'Tis call’d the spouting-club-a glorious treat! Who catch at words, and, catching, fall asleep;

Where prenticed kings alarm the gaping street Who, in the storms of passion, hum and haw

* The action of the Winter's Tale, as written by For such our master will no liquor draw- Shakspeare, comprehends sixteen years.

show;

skill'd,

him,

meet ;

blood;

'em;

There Brutus starts, and stares by midnight ta- | And, in her cock’d-up hat, and gown of camlet, per,

Presumes on something touching the lord Who all the day enacts—a woollen-draper. Hamlet. Here Hamlet's ghost stalks forth with doubled A cousin, too, she has, with squinting eyes, fist,

[list !" | With waddling gait, and voice like London: Cries out, with hollow voice, “List, list, O, cries, And frightens Denmark's prince-a young to- Who, for the stage too short by half a story, bacconist.

Acts Lady Townly—thus in all her glory; The spirit too, clear'd from his deadly white, And, while she's traversing her scanty room, Rises—a haberdasher to the sight!

Cries" Lord, my lord, what can I do at: Nor young attorneys have this rage withstood, home ?" But change their pens for truncheons, ink for In short, there's girls enough for all the fellows,

The ranting, whining, starting, and the jealous,. And (strange reverse !) die for their country's The Hotspurs, Romeos, Hamlets, and Othellos.. good.

0! little do these silly people know Through all the town this folly you may trace; What dreadful trials actors undergo. Myself am witness'tis a common case. Myself, who most in harmony delight, I've further proofs, could ye but think I wrong Am scolding here from morning until night. ye

Then take advice by me, ye giddy things, Look round-you'll find some spouting youths Ye royal milliners, ye apron'd kings! among ye.

Young men, beware, and shun our slippery To check these heroes, and their laurels crop, ways, To bring them back to reason—and their shop; Study arithmetic, and burn your plays; To raise a harmless laugh, was all my aim ; And you, ye girls, let not our tinsel train And—if I shun contempt-I seek not fame. Enchant your eyes, and turn your madd’ning Indulge this firstling, let me but begin,

brain : Nor nip me-in the buddings of my sin : Be timely wise ; for, O! be sure of this :Some hopes I cherish, in your smiles I read A shop, with virtue, is the height of bliss.

['em. Whate'er my faults, your candor can exceed $ 37. Prologue to the Author. 1757. FOOTE.

SEVERE their task, who, in this critic age, Ø 36. Epilogue to the same. 1756. Spoken With fresh materials furnish out the stage ! by Mrs. Clive. SMART.

Not that our fathers drain'd the comic store; [Enters, reading the play-bill. Fresh characters spring up as heretofore. A VERY pretty bill--as I'm alive! Nature with novelty does still abound; The part of_Nobody-by Mrs. Clive! On ev'ry side fresh follies may be found. A paltry, scribbling fool—to leave me out! But then the taste of every guest to hit, He'll say, perhaps, he thought I could not To please at once the gallery, box, and pit, spout.

Requires, at least, no common share of wit. Malice and envy to the last degree !

Those who adorn the orb of higher life, And why ?-I wrote a farce as well as he, Demand the lively rake or modish wife; And fairly ventur'd it, without the aid Whilst they, who in a lower circle move, Of prologue dress’d in black, and face in mas- Yawn at their wit, and slumber at their love. querade;

If light, low mirth employs the comic scene, O, pit, have pity—see how I'm dismay'd ! Such mirth as drives from vulgar minds the Poor soul! this canting stuff will never do,

spleen, Unless, like Bayes, he brings his hangman too. The polish'd crític damns the wretched stuff, But granting that, from these same obsequies, And cries" "Twill please the gall’ries well. Some pickings to our bard in black arise ;

enough." Should your applause to joy convert his fear, Such jarring judgments who can reconcile ? As Pallas turns to feast Lardella's bier ; Since fops will frown, where humble traders. Yet 'twould have been a better scheme. by half, smile. T' have thrown his weeds aside, and learn'd To dash the poet's ineffectual claim, with me to laugh.

And quench his thirst for universal fame, I could have shown him, had he been inclin'd, The Grecian fabulist, in moral lay, A spouting junto of the female kind. Has thus address'd the writers of his day: There dwells a milliner in yonder row, “ Once on a time, a son and sire, we're told, Well-dress’d, full-voic’d, and nobly built for the stripling tender, and the father old, show,

Purchas'd a jack-ass at a country fair, Who, when in rage she scolds at Sue and Sarah, To ease their limbs, and hawk about their ware; Damn'd, damn’d dissembler! thinks she's more But, as the sluggish animal was weak, than Zara.

They fear'd, if both should mount, his back She has a daughter, too, that deals in lace,

would break : And sings“O ponder well”and“ Chevy Chase,” | Up gets the boy, the father leads the ass, And fain would fill the fair Ophelia's place; And through the gazing crowd attempts to pass i

« PreviousContinue »