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The fresh green fields—the swelling hills--
The humming of the bee :
The carol of the merry lark
Rings through the morning air;
Guarding with watchful care
And pretty anklet bare,
These, and ten thousand scenes like these,
are passing o'er thy breast.
To shade my noontide rest!
Above me its trim nest-
And glorious autumn's golden fruits,
And summer's lingering flowers,
Twining round rustic bowers ;
Like April's sun and showers-
DRURY-LANE and Covent-garden are two magnificent temples for the representation of the legitimate drama. Taste and elegance are conspicuous in whatever appertains to them; and though both houses are richly ornamented, the most fastidious critic would be puzzled to point out any thing gaudy, glaring, or obtrusive. The contrast between the chaste simplicity of their common scenery, and the glittering coarseness of that of the minor theatres is very striking. The greatest fault of both is their size; great physical powers being absolutely requisite to make the singing and acting effective in the more remote parts of the house. The interior of each being in the shape of a horse-shoe, the stage is consequently much smaller in proportion to the audience-part than that of the Park theatre, which is semicircular. The saloons and lobbies are uncommonly spacious and splendid. The principal saloon at Drury-lane is one large mirror, the walls being entirely covered with glass. Next in reputation to these stands the Haymarket, nearly the size of the Bowery, and bearing about the same relation to Drury-lane and Covent-garden, that the Chatham in its best days did to the Park. The English Operahouse-lately burned and now rebuilding—its name sufficiently indicates the purposes to which it is appropriated. The Italian Opera-house is not yet open for the season, but is, I understand, by far the largest and most splendid theatrical establishment in London. Then there is Astley's in the quadruped line, where dramas written by asses are played by horses, where the business of the scene is transacted en croupe, and ladies are courted and tyrants are slaughtered at a three-quarter pace or a full gallop. Sadler's Wells, once famous for heroic actions and real water, swearing and tobacco. Here ships were nightly wrecked and long-boats overturned; and sailors continually employed in jumping overboard to save beauty and innocence, in wet white garments from a watery grave. The performers were a species of amphibious animals, and passed half their time in fluids; and the best swimmer was, next to a Newfoundland dog, the most important personage in the establishment. Here it was that the “ Courageous Coral Diver, or the Shark of the
Gulph of California," had such a successful run. The "Humane Society for the recovery of drowned persons" allowed, I believe, their drag-nets, warm flannels, stomach-pumps, and other apparatus to be kept in readiness at this theatre, in case of accident; but still they could not prevent the coughs, colds, catarrhs, and pulmonary complaints incident to such an otter-like state of existence the real water was therefore discontinued—the sea was sunk, and the ocean is now made of carpets and painted sailcloth, as in other establishments.
Besides these, there is an infinite number of minor theatres, with the names of half of which I am unacquainted. Some of the major-minors are highly respectable, and not unfrequently have first-rate talent on their boards; but the minor-minors are, from stage to gallery, an unmixed mass of ignorance and vulgarity. Here is performed that species of “national drama," which was wont to be enacted at the Lafayette and Mount Pitt circus before they were purified by fire ; and which is still to be seen at the Park and Bowery, much to their credit, on holiday nights, where the several parties have it all their own way; and the most glorious and decisive victories are obtained by the tremendous carnage of one half of the supernumeraries, and the craven cowardice of the other; and where the ene
man cannot be at the trouble of tumbling himself overboard. But then, cries the landsman, what a delightful resource must books be in such a situation. Alas! alas ! your mind is as debilitated as your body, and just as incapable of bending its faculties to a salutary purpose. Shakspeare, Milton, , Byron, or any thing nervous or exciting, is not to be borne; and about the strongest mental food that the mind can digest in this predicament is a diluted love-story in an “Annual.” I, for one, am very fond of reading, but I could not do it here: I laid myself down on the deck, ate almonds and raisins, and thought of Job.
Some people prefer a storm to a calm ; but their demerits are so equally balanced, that, like the Frenchman who had to choose between hanging and drowning, I cannot make up my mind to give the preference to either. True, the roaring of the wind, the tearing and splitting of the sails, the violent evolutions of the vessel, and the unique blasphemies which strike the ear from various quarters, with the probability of speedily being among the fishes, tend to arouse the spirit, and stir up, as counsellor Phillips might say, “the green and stagnant waters of the soul;" while the yesty ocean, ever and anon dashing over the ship and wetting you to the skin, is unquestionably sublime; but