« ПредишнаНапред »
" I have only made a Nuegay of culled Fiowers,
اس کے کہ اس کا سارا انا انا
Every practised reader can give a shrewd guess at the contents of a book from its external appearance. No lady of common experience in such matters would look for a novel the rolled bands and Russian skin of a splay-footed folio: nor on the other hand, would any grave antiquarian expect' to find an essay on Henry the Seventh's chapel, lurking in blye boards and puny dimensions of a duodecimɔ. Every work has its peculiar costume, from the beau poetry, who čeños tricked out in all sorts of finery, to the book of common prayer, who is for the most part clad in sober black as the emblem of his profession; sometimes, indeed, he appears in a red morocco coat with a gold band about his neck, but this is a strange violation of decorum, and is well worthy of reprehension. Upon this principle, therefore, I hope the purchasers of my present work will clothe it in calf-skin, a sort of modest habit that may best pourtray its pretensions. Much also is to be learnt from the title of a work, though now and then a hungry wight of an author, whose appetite is greater than his honesty, contrives to outwit the most cautious reader: this he effects by setting up a false bill of fare, promising, like the sigu of a country inn, entertainment for man and beast, but neither man nor beast is cunning enough to find it.
Indeed I have known a young lady seduced into reading a sermon when she expected to find a farce, and many a grave divine cheated into the
perusal of a farce, when he thought to pore over a sermon.
The most experienced reader is liable to be cheated, which by the bye accounts for so many young ladies very innocently singing - Fly not yet,” when they only intended to chaunt a sober hyma for general edification.
Now although there is no law at Bow-street for the punish. ment of those who hold out such false pretences to the great prejudice of the unwary, yet there is a bench of self-elected judges, who have taken on themselves to inquire out and punish all such offenders. Mr. Gifford and Mr. Jefferies form together a sort of Chief Justices, the Magazine Editors, &c. do very well as the twelve judges, and the works under their superintendence are so many poetical Tyburn Chronicles, in which the names of the unhappy culprits are duly registered. It must indeed be owned, that their critical worships sometimes descend from the Aristotelian tribunal, and instead of judging, actually execute, exchanging the high office of Judge, for the ignominious one of Mr. Ketch; but this is no doubt to be attributed to their exceeding love of justice.
Having then the fear of these gentlemen before my eyes, I have chosen for this work a very humble title, videlicet, The Actor's Budget; a name that conveys no promise, and therefore can cause no disappointment. If, however, any Reader should look for any thing mɔre than an hour's entertainment, be it at his own peril; I fairly. warm him, that all he gains beyond a hearty laugh, he must consider as so much thrown in, over and above his baxgaix; and yet he may chance to find a few choice morsels, for to speak it fadly, and like a true thief, I have poached apan, many a rich mailor, cramming every thing I could lay my hand upare into ahe Budget ;-that is, every thing of lightness eaough for me to carry away; a diatribe by Porson, or an essay: upon the Maymath by Cuvier, would have been game of too lange asort:fur:my weak shoulders ; puns and tales, " and such small deer," were all I could think of attacking. My sport has been that of a holyday school-boy, who wayes war with Tom Tits and Sparrows, and when he has shot an unsuspecting blackbird, congratulates himself, as much as Wellington ever did on gaining the field of Waterloo. And yet, not to speak too modestly, I hope there are scraps in my Budget, some of which will please the lounger, some ihe actor, and others the student in Elocution. I have collected all manner of subjects, grave and gay, in verse and in prose; but, for the most part, with a view to Recitation : and it must be a fastidious taste, that in this wide variety can find nothing worthy of attention.