Page images
PDF
EPUB

rise ;

[ocr errors]

Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave! When rulers useful subjects cease to prize, 'Tis yours to crown desert—beyond the grave. And damn for arts that caus'd themselves to

When jealousies and fears possess the throne,

And kings allow no merit—but their own; § 37. Occasional Prologue, spoken by Mr. Can it be strange, that men for fight prepare,

Garrick at the opening af Drury-Lane And strive to raise a colony elsewhere?
Theatre, September 5, 1750.

This custom has prevail'd in ev'ry age,
As heroes, states, and kingdoins, rise and fall;

And has been sometimes practis’d on the stage: So (with the mighty to compare the small)

For-entre nous—hese managers of merit, Thro'int'rest, whini, or, if you please, thro' fate, Have curb'd us monarchs with their haughty

Who fearless arm, and take the field with spirit, We feel commotions in our mimic state: The sock and buskin Aly from stage to stage ;

mien, A year's alliance is with us an age !

And Herods have out Herod-ed-within. And where's the wonder? all surprise musto, they can torture twenty thousand ways!

[Pointing to the Green Room. cease, When we reflect how int'rest, or caprice,

Make bouncing Bajazel || retreat from Bayes! Makes real kings break articles of peace.

The ladies ** 100, with every pow'r to charm, Strengthen’d with new allies, our foes prepare; Have felt the fury of a tyrant's arm.

Whose face and fire an anchorite might warm, Cry, Havock! and let slip the dogs of war. To shake our souls, the papers of the day

By selfish arts expell’d our ancient seat, Drew forth the adverse pow'r in dread array ;

In search of candor, and in search of meat, A pow'r, might strike the boldest with dismay:

We from your favor hope for this retreat. Yet, fearless still, we take the field with spirit, Can fire the fancy, or can warm the heart,

If Shakspeare's passion, or if Jonson's art, Arm'd cap-a-pie in self-sufficient merit. Our ladies too, with souls and tongues untam'd, And heroes must give way to Harlequins,

That task be ours; but if you damn their scenes, Fire up like Britons when the battle 's nam’d: Each female heart pants for the glorious strife,

We too can have recourse to mime and dance; From Hamlet's mothert to the cobbler's wife 1.

Nay, there, I think, we have the better chance: Some few there are, whom paltry passions guide, Why, we'll produce a child upon the flutett:

And, should the town grow weary of the mute, Desert each day, and fly from side to side:

But, be Others, like Swiss, love fighting as their trade;

food as 'twill, 'lis you that treat! For, beat or beating, they must all be paid.

Long they have feasted— permit us now to eat. Sacred to Shakspeare was this spot design'd, To pierce the heart, and humanize the mind : But if an empty house, the actor's curse,

$ 39. Epilogue spoken by Mrs. Clive, on the Shows us our Lears and Hamlets lose their force;

two occasional Prologues at Covent-Garden Unwilling we must change the nobler scene,

and Drury-Lane, 1750. And, in our turn, present you Harlequin;

[Enters hastily, as if speaking to one who Quit poets, and set carpenters to work,

would oppose her. Show gaudy scenes, or mount the vaulting Turk:

I'll do't: by Heaven, I will-Pray get For tho' we actors, one and all, agree

you gone; Boldly to struggle for our-vanity,

What! all these janglings, and I not make one? If want comes on, importance must retreat ;

Was ever woman offer'd so much wrong? Our first great ruling passion is to eat, To keep the field, all methods we'll pursue;

These creatures here would have me hold my The conflict glorious ! for we'll fight for you: I'm so provok'd, I hope you will excuse me;

tongue ! And, should we fail to gain the wish'd applause, Linust be heard—and beg you won't refuse me. At least we're vanquish'd in a noble cause.

While our mock heroes, not so wise as rash,
With indignation hold the vengeful lash,

And at each other throw alternate squibs, $ 38. Occasional Prologue, spoken at Covent-Compos’d of little wit—and some few fils Garden Theatre by Mr. Barry, 1750.

I Catherine Clive come here to attack 'em all,

And aim alike at little and at tall. When vice or folly over-runs a state, But first, ere with the buskin'd chiefs I brave it, Weak politicians lay the blame on fate : A story is at hand, and you shall have it.

• In which papers was this paragraph : “ We hear that Mr. Quin, Mrs. Cibber, Mr. Barry, Mr. Macklin, and Mrs. Woffington, are engaged at Covent-Garden theatre for the ensuing eason."-On the part of Drury-Lane theatre it was notified, “ That two celebrated actors from Dublin were engaged to perform there, also Miss Bellamy, and a new actress, Signor Fauson, the comic dancer, and his wife, and a gentleman to sing, who had not been on any stage." + Mrs. Pritchard. | Mrs. Clive. Mr. Quin. || Both Quin and Barry. Mr. Garrick.

* Mrs. Cibber, &c. ++ A child, said to be about four years of age, had been introduced on the stage of DruryLane theatre, to play a lune on that instrument.

us.

Once on a time two boys were throwing dirt, | The man wants money, I suppose—but, mind A gentle youth was one, and one was some- ye, what pert:

Tell him-you've left your charity behind ye. Each to his master with his tale retreated, A pretty plea, his wants, to our regard ! Who gravely heard their diff'rent parts repeated, As if we bloods had bowels for a bard! How Tom was rude, and Jack, poor lad! ill. Besides, what men of spirit, now-a-days, treated.

Come to give sober judgements of new plays ? The master paus d—to be unjust was loath, It argues some good-nature to be quiet --Call’d for a rod, and fairly whipp'd them both. Good-nature !-Aye-but then we lose a riot. In the same master's place, lo! here I stand, The scribbling fool may beg and make a fuss, And for each culprit hold the lash in hand. 'Tis death to him—What then?—"Tis sport to First, for our own-O, 'tis a pretty youth !

jokes, But out of fifty lies I 'll sist some truth : Don't mind me though—for all my fun and 'Tis true, he's of a choleric disposition, The bard may find us bloods good-natur'd folks. And fiery parts make up his composition. [ried! No crabbed critics—foes to rising meritHow have I seen him rave when things miscar- Write but with fire, and we'll applaud with Indeed he's grown much tamer since he married. Our author aims at no dishonest ends, (spirit

. If he succeeds, what joys his fancy strike! He knows no enemies and boasts some friends; And then he gets—to which he's no dislike. He takes no methods down your throats to cram Faults he has many—but I know no crimes; So, if you like it, save it; if not, damn it. [it: Yes, he has one-he contradicts sometimes : And when he falls into his frantic fit, He blusters so, it makes e'en me submit. $ 41. Prologue to Taste. 1752. Spoken is So much for him the other youth comes next,

the Character of an Auctioneer. GARRICK, Who shows, by what he says, poor soul ! he's Before this court I Peter Puff appear, · vex'd.

A Briton born, and bred an auctioneer! He tells you tales how cruelly this treats us, Who, for myself, and eke a hundred others, To make you think the little monster beats us. My useful, honest, learned, bawling brothers, Would I have whin'd in melancholy phrase, With much humility and fear implore ye, How bouncing Bajazet retreats from Bayes ? To lay our present desperate case before ye. I, who am woman, would have stood the fray; "Tis said, this night a certain wag intends At least not snivell'd thus, and run away! To laugh at us, our calling, and our friends : Should any manager lift arm at me,

If lords and ladies, and such dainty folks, I have a tyrant arm as well as he !

Are cur'd of auction-hunting by his jokes;
In fact, there has some little bouncing been, Should this odd doctrine spread throughout the
But who the bouncer was inquire within. * Before you buy, be sure to understand, [land,
No matter whom I now proclaim a peace, 0, think on us, what various ills will Aow,
And hope henceforth hostilities will cease: When great ones purchase only what they
No more shall either rack his brains to tease ye, know !
But let the contest be—who most shall please ye. Why laugh at taste? It is a harmless fashion,

And quite subdues each detrimental passion :
The fair ones' hearts will ne'er incline to man,
While thus they rage for—china and japan.

The virtuoso too, and connoisseur, $ 40. Prologue to Gil Blas. 1751. Spoken Are ever decent, delicate, and pure; [hold,

by Mr. Woodward, in the Character of a The smallest hair their looser thoughts might Critic, with a Cat-call in his Hand.

Just warm when single, and when married cold. Moore.

Their blood, at sight of beauty, gently flows;

Their Venus must be old, and want a Dose ! ARE you all ready? here's your music, here! * Author, sneak off, we'll tickle you, my

dear;

No am'rous passion with deep knowledge The fellow stopp'd me in a hellish fright

thrives; Pray, Sir, said he, must I be damn'd to-night? Tis the complaint, indeed, of all our wives ! Damn'd! Surely, friend-don't hope for our

'Tis said virtu to such a height is grown, compliance;

[fiance.

All artists are encourag'd—but our own. Zounds, Si-a second play's downright de- Be not deceiv’d; I here declare on oath,

I never yet

sold Though once, poor rogue! we pitied your con

goods of foreign growth: dition,

Ne'er sent commissions out to Greece or Rome: Here's the true recipe-for repetition.

My best antiquities are made at hoine. Well

, Sir, says he, ev’n as you please ; so then I've Romans, Greeks, Italians, near at hand, I'll never trouble you with plays again.

True Britons all, and living in the Strand. But, hark ye, poet ! —won't you though, says I, I ne'er for trinkets rack my pericranium; 'Pon honor-then we'll dainu you, let me die. They furnish out my room from Herculaneun.

But hush Shan't we, my bucks? Let's take him at his word: Damn him, or, by my soul, he'll write a third. Should it be known that English are employd,

Our manufacture is at once destroy'd ;

No matter what our countrymen deserve, Blowing his cat-call.

They'll thriveas ancients, butas nodernsstarve ; If we should fall, to you it will be owing ; And first the English foreigner began, Farewell to arts--they are going, going, going! Who thus address'd the foreign Englishman : The fatal hammer's in your hand, o town! “ An English opera ! 'tis not to be borne ; Then set us up, and knock the poet down. “ I both my country and their music scorn.

“O, damn their Ally Croakers, and their

Early-horn! $ 42. Prologue to Cato. Acted in 1753 by Signior, simbat sons-vors recitativo: the Scholars of the free Grammar School at

Il tutto é bestiale e cativo." Derby, for the Benefit of the Orphan of the This said, I made my exit full of terrors ; late Usher. Written by one of the Scholars, And now ask pardon for the following errors : aged 16.

Excuse us, first, for foolishly supposing, No Garrick here majestic treads the stage,

Your countrymencould please you in composing; No Quin your whole autention to engage ;

An opera too!--play'd by an English band, No practis'd actor here the scene employs ;

Wrote in a language which you understand

I dare not say who wrote it-I could tell ye, But a raw parcel of unskilful boys.

To soften matters--Signor Shakspearelli: Shall we disfigur’d in a school-boy see

This awkward drama (I confess th' offence) Cato's great soul in base epitome? Can critics bear such slavery as this?

Is guilty too of poetry and sense: Would not e'en Cato join the critic's hiss ?

And then the price we take, you 'll all abuse it; What shall we say then? what excuses make? We'll mend that fault, whenever you shall

So low, so unlike op'rasbut excuse it; Our credit and success lie both at stake.

choose it. Aswhen some peasant, who, to treat his lord, Our last mischance, and worse than all the rest, Brings out his little stock, and decks his board which turns the whole performance to a jest, With what his ill-stor’d cupboard will afford, Our singers all are well, and all will do their best. With awkward bows, and ill-plac'd rustic airs, But why would this rash fool, this Englishman, To make excuses for his feast prepares;

Attempt an opera ?-'tis the strangest plan! So we, with tremor mix'd with vast delight,

Struck with the wonders of his master's art, View the bright audience which appears to- Whose sacred dramas shake and melt the heart, nighi,

Whose heaven-born strains the coldest breast And, conscious of its meanness, hardly dare

inspire, To bid you welcome to our homely fare.

Whose chorus-thunder sets the soul on fire! But would the ladies in our cause appear,

Inflam'd, astonish’d, at those magic airs, One look would silence every critic here. If you but smile, 'twill cheerour tim'rous hearts, The pupil wrote his work is now before

When Samson groans, and frantic Saul despairs,

ye, And give us courage to perform our parts. To you, ye fair ones, then, we make address, Yet, ere his errors and his faults are known,

And waits your stamp of infamy or glory! And beg protection for this night's success. Look gently on our faults, and, where we fail, If thro the clouds appear some glimmering rays,

He says, those faults, those errors, are his own; Let pity to our tender youth prevail. Our cause is in your hands; and Cato, who

They're sparks he caught from his great mas

ter's blaze! Disdain'd great Cæsar's yoke, submits to you.

$ 43. Prologue to The Fairies. 1755. Writ- $ 44. Prologue to Virginia. 1754. Written ten and spoken by Mr. GARRICK.

and spoken by Mr. GARRICK. [Enter-interrupting the band of music. Prologues, likecompliments, are loss of time, A MOMENT stop your tuneful fingers, pray, 'Tis penning bows, and making legs, in rhyme: While here, as usual, I my duty pay. 'Tis cringing at the door, with simp'ring. grin,

[To the audience. When we should show the company withinDon't frown, my friends [to the band]; you So thinks our bard, who, stiff in classic knowshall soon melt again;

ledge,

[lege.-But, if not there is felt each dying strain, Preserves too much the buckram of the colPoor I shall speak, and you will scrape, in vain. “ Lord, Sir,” said I, “ an audience must be To see me now, you think the strangest thing! “ wood, For, like friend Benedick, I cannot sing : “ And, lady-like, with Aattery pursued ;, Yet, in this prologue, cry but you corragio, They nauseate fellows that are blunt and rude. I'll speak you both a jig, and an adagio. Authors should learn to dance as well as A Persian king, as Persian tales relate,

write" Oft went disguis d, to hear the people prate; “ Dance at my time of life! Zounds, what a So, curious I sometimes steal forth incog.

sight! To hear what critics croak of me, King Log. “Grown gentlemen ('uis advertis’d) do learn Three nights ago, I heard a tête-à-tête,

by night. Which fix'd at once our English opera's fate : “ Your modern prologues, and such whims as One was a youth born here, but Aush from these, Rome;

“ The Greeks ne'cr knew-turn, turn to SoThe other born abroad, but here his home:

phocles."

[ocr errors]

"I read no Greek, Sir-when I was at school, So very chaste, they live in constant fears, “Terence had prologues—Terencewas no fool.” And apprehension strengthens with their years. “He had; but why?" replied the bard, in rage: Ye bucks, who from the pit your terrors send, Exotics, monsters, had possess'd the stage; Yet love distressed dåmsels

' to befriend; “ But we have none, in this enlighten'd age! You think this tragic joke too far was carried, “ Your Britons now, from gallery to pit, And wish, to set all right, the maid bad married: “ Can relish nought but sterling Attic wit. You'd rather see (it so the fates had willd) “Here, take my play, I meant it for instruction; | Ten wives be kind, than one poor virgin kill'd. If rhymes are wanting for its introduction, May I approach unto the boxes, pray, E'en let that nonsense be your own produc- And there search out a judgement on the play? tion."

In vain, alas ! I should attempt to find it; Of went the poet-It is now expedient Fine ladies see a play, but never mind it. I speak as manager, and your obedient. 'Tis vulgar to be mov'd by acted passion, 1, as your cat'rer, would provide your dishes, Or form opinions till they're fix'd by fashion. Dress'd to your palates, season'd to your wishes. Our author hopes this fickle goddess, Mode, Say but you're tir'd with boil'd and roast at home, With us will make, at least, nine days' abode; We too can send for niceties from Rome; To present pleasure he contracts his view, To please your tastes will spare nor pains nor and leaves his future fame to time and you.

money, Discard sirloins, and get you maccaroni.

$ 40. Prologue to Barbarossa. 1755. Writ. Whate'er new gusto for a time may reign,

ten and spoken by Mr. GARRICK, in the CitoShakspeare and beef must have their turn again.

racter of a Country Boy. Ifnovelties can please, to-night we've two Tho' English both, yetspare'em as they're new. MEASTER! measter! To one, at least, your usual favors show; Is not my measter here among you, pray? A female asks it can a man say No? Nay speak-mymeaster wrote this fine new play. Should you indulge our novice * yet unseen, The actor-folks are making such a clatter! Andcrown her, with your hands, a tragicqueen; They want the pro-log-I know nought o' the Should you, with smiles, a confidence impart, matter : To calin those fears which speak a feeling heart; He must be there ainong you-look about– Assist each struggle of ingenuous shame, A weezen pale-fac'd non-do find him out. Which curbs a genius in its road to fame: Pray, measter, come, or all will fall to sheame; With one wish more her whole ambition ends, Call Mister-hold-I must not tell his neame. She hopes some merit, to deserve such friends. La! what a crowd is here! what noise and

polher !

Fine lads and lasses! one o' top o' t'other. § 45. Epilogue to the same. 1754. Garrick.

[Pointing to the rows of pit and gallery. The poet's pen can, like a conjurer's wand, I could for ever here with wonder gaze; Or kill or raise his heroine at command : I ne'er saw church so full in all my days ! And I shall, spirit-like, before I sink, Your servant, Sirs--what do you laugh for, eh? Not courteously inquire, but tell you, what you You donna take me sure for one o' the play? think.

You should not flout an honest country lad From top to bottom I shall make you stare, You think me fool, and I think you hálf-mad: By hitting all your judgements to a hair! You're all as strange as I, and stranger too ; And, first, with you above I shall begin- And, if you laugh at me, I'll laugh at you. [To the upper gallery.

(Laughing Good-natur'd souls, they're ready all to grin. I donna like your London tricks, not I ; Though twelve pence seat you there, so near And, since you've sais’d my blood, I'll tell you the ceiling,

why: The folks below can't boast a better feeling. And, if you wull, since now I am before ye, No high-bred prud'ry in your region lurks, For want of pro-log, I'll relate my story. You boldly laugh and cry as nature works. I came from country here to try my fate,

Says John to Tom (aye-theretheysit together, And get a place among the rich and great: As honest Britons as e'er trod on leather): But troth I'm sick o' th' journey I ha' ta'en ; “ 'Tween you and I, my friend, 'tis very vild, I like it not-would I were whoame again! “ That old Vergeenus should have struck his First, in the city I took up my station, child ;

And got a place with one o' th corporation; “ I would have hang'd him for 't had I been A round big mon—he ate a plaguy deal; ruler;

Zooks! he'd have beat five ploomen at a meal! “ And duck'd that Apus too, by way of cooler.” But long with him I could not make abode, Some maiden-dames, who hold the middle floor, For, could you think't? he ate a great sea-toad?

[To the middle gallery. It came from Indiesm'twas as big as me; And fly from naughty man, at forty-four, He called it belly-patch and cap-u-pie: With turn’d-up, eyes applaud Virginia’s 'scape, La ! how I stard !—I thought—who knows And row they'd do the same to shun a rape; but I,

* Mrs. Graham, afterwards Mrs. Yates, then a new actress.

on

For want of monsters, may be made a pie ? They are, forsooth, too much expos’d and free:
Rather than tarry here for bribe or gain, Were more expos'd, no ill effects I see,
I 'll back to whoame and country-fare again. For, more or less, 'tis all the same to me.

I left toad-eater; then I serv'd a lord, Poor gaming too was maul'd among the rest, And there they promis'd—but ne'er kept their That precious cordial to a high-life breast ! word.

When thoughts arise, I always game or drink, While 'mong the great this geaming work the An English gentleman should never thinktrade is,

The reason's plain, which ev'ry soul might hit They mind no more poor servants—than their ladies.

What trims a Frenchman, oversets a Briton. A lady next, who lik’d a smart young lad, In us reflection breeds a sober sadness, Hir'd me forthwith-but, troth, I thought her which always ends in politics or madness : mad:

I therefore now propose, by your command, She turn'd the world top-down, as one may say, That tragedies no more shall cloud this land; She chang’d the day to neet the neet to day?' Send o'er your Shakspeares to the sons of France, I was so sheam'd with all her freakish ways, Let them grow grave-let us begin to dance ! She wore her geare so short, so low her stays— Banish your gloomy scenes to foreign climes, Fipe folks show all for nothing now-a-days! Reserve alone, to bless these golden times,

Now I'm the poet's mon– I find with wits A farce or two and Woodward's pantoThere's nothing sartain-nay, we eat by fits.

mimes. Our meals, indeed, are slender-what of that? There are but three on's—measter, I, and cat. Did you but see us all, as I'm a sinner, You'd scarcely say which of the three is thinner. $ 48. Occasional Prologue to the Mask of BriMy wages all depend on this night's piece ;

tannia. 1755. Written and spoken by Mr. But should you find that all our swans are geese,

GARRICK, in the Character of a Sailor, fudEfeck, I'll trust no more to measter's brain,

dled, und talking to himself. But pack up all, and whistle whoame again. Enters, singing, “ How pleasant a sailor's life

passes !”

Well! if thou art, my boy, a little mellow, $ 47. Epilogue to the same. 1755. Spoken What cheer, ho? Do I carry too much sail?

A sailor, half-seas o'er, 's a pretty fellow. ly Mr. WOODWARD, in the Character of a

[To the pit. fine Gentleman.

GARRICK.

No-tight and trim-I scud before the gale[Enter-speaking without. {tle staggers forward, and then stops. Pshaw! damn your epilogue, and hold your But softly tho —the vessel seems to heeltongue

Steady! iny boy—she must not show her keel. Shall we of rank be told what's right and wrong? And now, thus ballasted—what course to steer? Had you ten epilogues you should not speak 'em, Shall I again to sea and bang Mounseer? Though he had writ'em all in linguum Grecum. Or stay on shore, and toy with Sall and Sue ? I'll do't, by all the gods! (you must excuse me) Dost love 'em, boy? By this right hand, I do! Though author, actors, audience, all abuse me! A well-rigg'd girl is surely most inviting:

[To the audience. There's nothing better, faith-save Aip and Behold a gentleman !—and that's enough!

fighting Laugh if you please-I'll take a pinch of snuff! I must away-I mustI come to tell you (let it not surprise you) What! shall we sons of beef and freedom stoop, That I'm a wit-and worthy to advise you. Or lower our Aag to slavery and soup? How could you suffer that same country booby, What! shall these Parly-vous make such a That pro-log speaking savage, that great looby, racket, To talk his nonsense ?-give me leave to say, And I not lend a hand to lace their jacket? 'Twas low! damn'd low; but save the fellow's Still shall Old England be your Frenchman's play:

butt? Let the poor devil eat; allow him that, Whene'er he shuffles we should always cut. And give a meal to measter, mon, and cat; I'll to 'em, faith-Avast before I go But why attack the fashions? senseless rogue! Have I not proinis'd Sall to see the show? We have no joys but what result from vogue:

[Pulls out a play-bill. The mode should all control!--nay, ev'ry From this same paper we shall understand passion,

What work's to-night-I read your printed Sense, appetite, and all, give way to fashion. hand. I hate as much as he a turtle-feast,

First let's refresh a bit-for, faith, I need it, But, till the present turtle-rage is ceas'd, I'll take one sugar-plum-[lakes som tobacco] I'd ride a hundred miles to make myself a beast. and then I'll read it. I have no ears; yet operas I adore!

[He reads the play-bill of Zara, Always prepard to dieto sleep no more !

which was acted that evening. The ladies too were carp'd at, and their dress, “ At the Theatre Royal, Drury-laneHe wants them all ruffd ap like good queen “ Will be presen-ta-ted a tragedy called Bess!

Sarah"

« PreviousContinue »