Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

To Britons far more noble pleasures spring,

Nobly disdainful of each Navith art,
In native notes whilft Beard and Vincent fing. She makes her first attack upon the heart :
Might figure give a title unto fame,

Pleas'd with the summons, it receives her laws,
What rival should with Yates dispute her claim; And all is filence, sympathy, applause.
Eut justice may not partial trophies raise,

But when, by fond ambition drawn afide, Nor fink the actress in the woman's praise.

Giddy with praise, and puff'd with female pride, Still hand in hand her words and actions go,

She quits the tragic scene, and, in pretence
And the heart feels more than the features shew: To comic merit, breaks down Nature's fence;
Far, through the regions of that beauteous face, I scarcely can believe my ears or eyes,
We no variety of passions trace;

Or find out Cibber through the dark disguise.
Dead to the soft emotions of the heart,

Pritchard, by nature for the stage design'd, No kindred loftness can those eyes impart;

In person graceful, and in sense refin'd; The brow, ftill fix'd in forrow's sullen frame,

Her art as much as Nature's friend became,
Void of distinction, marks all parts the same. Her voice as free from blemish as her fame.

What's a fine person, or a beauteous face, Who knows so well in majesty to please,
Unless deportment gives them decent grace? Attemper'd with the graceful charms of ease?
Bless’d with all other requisites to please,

When Congreve's favour'd pantomime to grace, Some want the striking elegance of ease;

She comes a captive queen of Moorish race; The curious eye their aukward movement tires; When love, hate, jealousy, despair and rage, They seem like puppets led about by wires.

With wildest tumults in her breast engage ; Others, like statues, in one posture still,

Still equal to herself is Zara seen; Give great ideas of the workman's skill;

Her passions are the passions of a queen. Wond'ring, his art we praise the more we view, When she to murther whets the timorous Thane, And only grieve he gave not motion too.

I feel ambition rush through every vein ; Weak of themselves are what we beauties call, Persuasion hangs upon her daring tongue, It is the manner which gives strength to all. My heart grows flint, and ev'ry nerve's new strungThis teaches ev'ry beauty to unite,

In Comedy Nay, there,"cries Critic,“ hold, And brings them forward in the noblest light. ** Pritchard's for comedy too fat and old. Happy in this, behold, amidit the throng,

“ Who can, with patience, bear the gray coquette, With tranfient gleam of grace, Hart sweeps along.

« Or force a laugh with over-grown Julett? If all the wonders of external grace,

“ Her speech, look, action, humour, all are just ; A person finely turn'd, a mould of face,

« But then, her age and figure give disgust." Where, union rare, expression's lively force

Are foibles then, and graces of the mind, With beauty's softest magic holds discourse,

In real life, to fize or age confin'd?
Attract the eye; if feelings, void of art,

Do spirits flow, and is good breeding piac'd
Rouze the quick paffions, and inflame the heart; In any set circumference of waist ?
If music, sweetly breathing from the tongue, As we grow old, doth affectation cease,
Captives the ear, Bride must not pass unsung. Or gives not age new vigour to caprice ?

When fear, which rank ill-nature terms conceit. If in originals these things appear,
By time and cultom conquerid, shall retreat ; Why should we bar them in the copy here?
When judgment tutor'd by experience fage,

The nice punctilio mongers of this age,
Shall Thoot abroad, and gather strength from age; The grand minute reformers of the stage,
When heav'n in mercy shall the stage release Slaves to propriety of ev'ry kind,
From the dull Numbers of a still life-piece ; Some standard-measure for each part should find,
When some ftale flow'r, disgraceful to the walk, Which then the best of actors thall exceed,
Which long hath hung, tho' wither'd on the stalk, Let it devolve to one of smaller breed.
Shall kindly drop, then Bride shall make her way, All actors too upon the back should bear
And merit find a passage to the day ;

Certificate of birth ;

-time, when ;- -place. Brought into action, the at once shall raise

where. Her own renown, and justify our praise.

For how can critics rightly fix their worth,
Form'd for the tragic scene, to grace the stage, Unless they know the minute of their birth ?
With rival excellence of love and rage,

An audience too, may find too late
Mistress of each soft art, with matchless skill That they have clapp'd an actor out of date.
To turn and wind the passions as the will;

Figure, I own, at fint may give offence,
To melt the heart with sympathetic woe,

And harshly strike the eye's too curious sense : Awake the figh, and teach the tear to flow; But when perfections of the mind break forth, To put on frenzy's wild distracted glare,

Humour's chaste fallies, judgment's folid worth ; And freeze the soul with horror and despair;

When the pure genuine Aame, by Nature taught, With just desert enroll'd in endless frame,

Springs into sense, and ev'ry action's thought ; Conscious of worth superior, Cibber came.

Before such merit all objections fly ; When poor Alicia's madd'ning brains are rack’d, Pritchard's gentcel, and Garrick's fix feet high. And ftrongly imag'd griefs her mind dittract ; Oft have I, Pritchard, seen thy wond'rous skill, Struck with her grief, I catch the madness too! Confess’d thee great, but find thee greater still. My brain turns round, the headless trunk I view! That worth, which shone in scatter'd rays before, The roof cracks, Khakes and falls !-New horrors Collected now, breaks forth with double pow's. rile,

The Jealous Wife ! on that thy trophies raise, And reason buried in the rujn lics.

Inferior only to the author's praise.

From Dublin, fam'd in legends of romance Grey-bearded vet’rans, who, with partial tongue,
For mighty magic of enchanted lunce,

Extol the times when they themselves were young ;
With which her heroes armd victorious prove, Who having lost all relish for the stage,
And like a fooi rush o'er the land of love,

See not their own defects, but lah the age,
Mostop and Barry crime-names ne'er design'i Receiv'd with joyful murmurs of applauie,
By fate in the same sentence to be join'd.

Their darling chief, and lin'd his favorite cause.
Rais'd hy the breath of popular acclaim,

Far be it from the candid Mure to tread
They mounted to the pinnicle of fame ;

Insulting o'er the aihes of the dead,
There the welk brain, mide giddy with the height, But, juit to living merit, she maintains,
Spurr’d on the rival chiefs to mortal light.

And dures the text, whilft Garrick's genius reigns;
Thus sportive boys, around fome bason's brim, Ancients in vain endeavour to excel,
Behold the pipe-drawn bladders circling swim: Happily prais'd, if they could act as well.
But if from lungs more potent, there arise

But though prescription's force we disallow,
Two bubbies of a more than common size,

Nor to antiquity submislive bow;
Eager for honour they for fight prepire,

Though we deny imaginary grace,
Bubble meets bubble, and both link to air,

Founded on accidents of time and place;
Moffop, attach'd to inilitary plan,

Yet real worth of ev'ry growth shall bear
Still kept his eye fixd on his right hand man. Due praise, nor must we, Quin, forget thee there.
Whilst the mouth measures words with seeming skill, His words bore iterling weight, nervous and itrong
The right hand labour3, and the left lies still; In minly tides of sense they roll'd along.
For he refolvid on scripture-grounds to go,

Hippy in art, he chiefly had pretence
What the right doth, the left hand-hall not know. To keep up numbers, yet not forfeit sense.
With studied impropriety of speech,

No actor ever greater heights could reach
He foars beyond the hackney critic's reach;

In all the labour'd artifice of speech.
To epithets allots emphatic state,

Speech! Is that all ?-And Mall an actor found
Whilst principals, ungrae'd, like lacquies wait; An universal fame on partial ground?
In ways first trodden by himself excels,

Parrots themselves speak properly by rote,
And stands alone in undeclinables ;

And, in lix months, my dog thall howl by note..
Conjunction, Prepolition, Adverb join

I laugh at those, who, when the stage they tread,
To stamp new vigour on the nervous line :

Neglect the heart, to compliment the head ;
In monosyllables his thunders roll,

With strict propriety their care's confin'd
HE, SHE, IT, AND, WE, YE, THEY, fright the soul. To weigh out words, while passion halts behind.
In person taller then the common fize,

To fylluble-directors they appeal,
Behold where Bærry draws admiring eyes!

Allow them accent, cadence,-- fools may feel;
When lab’ring pations, in his bolom pent,

But, spite of all the criticising elves,
Convulsive rage, and struggling heave for vent; Those who would make us feel, must feel themselver
Spectators, with imagin’d terrors warm,

His eyes, in gloomy socket taught to roll,
Anxious expect the bursting of the storm :

Proclaim'd the lullen habit of his soul.
But, all unfit in such a pile to dwell,

Heavy and phlegmatic he trod the stage,
His voice comes forth, like Echo from her cell, Too proud for tenderness, too dull for rage.
To swell the tempest needful aid denies,

When Hector's lovely widow shines in tears,
And all a-down the stage in feeble murmurs dics. Or Rowe's gay rake dependant virtue jeers,

What man, like Barry, with such pains, canerr With the same cast of features he is seen
In elocution, action, character ?

To chide the libertine, ani court the queen.
What man could give—if Barry was not here, From the tame scene, which without pafiion flows,
Such well-applauded tenderness to Lear?

With just desert his reputation rose ;
Who else can speak so very, very fine,

Nor lets he pleas'd, when, on some furly plan,
That sense may kindly end with ev'ry line ?

He was, at once, the actor and the man.
Some dozen lines before the ghost is there,

In Brute he thone unequallid : all agree
Behold him for the folemn scene prepare.

Garrick's not half so great a brute as he.
See how he frames his eyes, poises eich limb, When Cato's labour'd scenes are brought to view,
Puts the whole body into proper trim.-

With equal praise the actor labour'd too ;
From whence we learn, with no great stretch of art, For still you'll find, trace paffions to their root,
Five lines hence comes a ghost, and, ha! aftart. Small diff 'rence 'twixt the Stoic and the brute.

When he appears most perfect, still we find In fancied scenes, as in life's real plan,
Something which jars upon, and hurts the mind. He could not, for a moment, fink the man.
Whatever lights upon a part are thrown,

In whate'er cast his character was laid,
We see too plainly they are not his own.

Self ftill, like oil, upon the surface play'd.
No flame from Niture cver yet he caught ;

Nature, in spite of all his skill, crept in :
Nor knew a feeling which he was not taught ; Horatio, Dorax, Falstaff,--still’was Quin.
He rais'd his trophies on the base of art,

Next follows Sheridan-a doubtful name,
And conn'd his paffions, as he conn'd his part. As yet unsettled in the rank of fame.

Quin, from afar, lur'd by the scent of fame, This, fondly lavish in his praises grown,
A stage Leviathan, put in his claim,

Gives him all merit: That allows him none.
Pupil of Betterton and Booth. Alone,

Between them both, we'll iteer the middle course,
Sullen he walk'd, and deem'd the chair his own. Nor, loving praise, rob Judgment of her force.
Før how should moderns, mushrooms of the day, Just his conceptions, natural and great:
Who ne'er those masters knew, know brow to play? His feelings strong, his words enforc'd with weight

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

a

1

Was speech-fam'd Quin himself to hear him speak, Let wits, like spiders, from the tortur'd brain Envy would drive the colour from his cheek:

Fine-draw the critic-web with curious pain; But step-dame Nature, niggard of her grace, The gods,—a kindness I with thanks must pay, Deny'd the social pow'rs of voice and face.

Have form'u me of a coarser kind of clay ; Fird in one frame of features, glare of eye, Nor ftung with envy, nor with spleen difeasid, Paffions, like chaos, in confufion lie :

A poor dull creature, still with Nature pleas'd; In vain the wonders of his skill are try'd

Hence to thy praises, Garrick, I agree, To form distinctions Nature hath deny'd.

And, pleas’d with Nature, must be pleas'd with thee. His voice no touch of harmony admits,

Now might I tell, how filence reign’d throughouty Irregularly deep and thrill by fits :

And deep attention huih'd the rabble rout : The two extremes appear like man and wife, How ev'ry claimant, tortur'd with defire, Coupled together for the sake of strife.

Was pale as alhes, or as red as fire : His action's always strong, but sometimes such, But, loose to fame, the Muse more simply acts, } That candour must declare he acts too much. Rejects all fourish, and relates mere facts. Why must impatience fall three paces back?

The judges, as the several parties came, Why paces three return to the attack?

With temper heard, with judgment weigh'd each Why is the right-log too forbid to ftir,

claim, | Unless in motion semicircular?

And, in their sentence happily agreed, Why must che hero with the Nailor vie,

In name of both, Great Shakespeare thus decreed. And hurl the close-clench'd fift at nose or eye? . “ If manly sense ; if Nature link'd with Art ; in royal John, with Philip angry grown,

“ If thorough knowledge of the human heart; I thought he would have knock'd poor Davies down.“ If pow'rs of acting vast and unconfind; Inhuman tyrant ! was it not a shame,

“ If fewest faults with greatest beauties joind; To fright á king so harmless and so tame ?

" If strong expression, and strange pow'rs which lie But, spite of all defects, his glories rise ;

" Within the magic circle of the eye ; And Art, by Judgment form'd, with Nature vics: “ If feelings which few hearts, like his, can know, Behold him found the depth of Hubert's ful,

« And which no face so well as his, can shew; Whilft in his own contending pafsions roll ;

“ Deserve the pref'rence ;-Garrick, take the chair ;
View the whole scene, with critic judgment scan, “ Nor quit it-till thou place an cqual cherc."
And then deny him merit if you can.
Where he falls short, 'tis Nature's fault alone ;
Where he succeeds, the merit's all his own.

Laft Garrick came.--Behind him throng a train
Of snarling critics, ignorant as vain.

тн Е
One finds out—" He's of stature fomewhat low,-
* Your Hero always should be tall, you know.- A POL

Ρ OLÓ GY " True nat'ral greatness all consists in height." Produce your voucher, Critic." Serjeant Kite." Another can't forgive the paltry arts

CRITICAL REVIEW ER S. By which he makes his way to shallow hearts ; Mere pieces of fineffe, traps for applause

AUGHS not the heart, when giants big with “ Avaunt, unnat'ral start, affected pause."

pride, For me, by Nature form’d to judge with phlegm, Asume the pompous port, the martial (ride ; I can't acquit by wholesale, nor condemn.

O'er arm Herculean heave th’enormous Thield,
The beft things carried to excess are wrong :

Vast as a weaver's beam the javelin wield;
The start may be too frequent, pause too long ; With the loud voice of thund'ring Jove defy,
But, only us'd in proper time and place,

And dare to single combat-What?-A fly.
Severest judgment must allow them grace.

And laugh we less, when giant names, which If bunglers, form’d on imitation's plan,

Mine Just in the way that monkies mimic man,

Etablish’d, as it were, by right divine;
Their copied scene with mangled arts disgrace, Critics, whom ev'ry captive art adores,
And pause and start with the same vacant face ; To whom glad Science pours forth all her stores ;
We join the critic laugh; those tricks we scorn, Who high in letter'd reputation fit,
Which spoil the scenes they mean them to adorn. And hold, Astræa-like, the scales of wit ;
But when, from Nature's pure and genuine source, With partial rage rus forth-Oh! thame to tell!
These strokes of acting flow with gen’rous force, To crush a bard juit bursting from the shell ?
When in the features all the soul's pourtray'd,

Great are his perils in this stormy time
And paffions, fuch as Garrick's, are display'd, Who rafhly ventures on a sea of rime.
To me they seem from quickest feelings caught : Around vait surges roll, winds envious blow,
Each start is Nature ; and each pause is Thought. And jealous rocks and quicksands lurk below :

When reason yields to passion's wild alarms, Greatly his foes he dreads, but more his friends;
And the whole state of man is up in arms;

He hurts me most who lavishly commends.
What but a Critic could condemn the Play'r,

Look thro' the world--in ev'ry other trade
For pausing here, when Cool Sense pauses there? The same employment's cause of kindness made,
Whilt, working from the heart, the fire 1 trace, At lealt appearance of good-will creates,
And mark it strongly Aaming to the face ;

And ev'ry fool puffs off the fool he hates.
Whilft, in each found, I hear the very man; Coblers with coblers smoke away the night,
I can't catch words, and pity those who cam And in the common cause e'en play’rs unite.
VOL. VII.

с

ADDRESSED

то

THE

L

[ocr errors]

a

W

Authors alone, with more than savage rage,

Our great Di&tators take a Morter way, Unnat'ral war with brother-authors wage.

Who shall dispute what the Reviewers say ? The pride of nature would as soon admit

Their word's sufficient; and to ask a reason, Competitors in empire as in wit :

In such a state as tbeirs, is downrighe treason. Onward they rush at Fame's imperious call, True judgment now with them alone can dwell ; And, less than greatest, would not be at all.

Like Church of Rome, they're grown infallible. Smit with the love of honour,--or the pence, Dull superstitious readers they deceive, O'er-run with wit, and destitute of sense,

Who pin their easy faith on Critic's sieeve, Should any novice in the riming trade

And, knowing nothing, ev'ry thing believe ! With lawless pen the realms of verse invade ; But why repine we, that these

puny

elves
Forth from the court, where sceptred sages sit, Shoot into giants ?-We may thank ourselves ;
Abus'd with praise, and flatter'd into wit; Fools that we are, like Israel's fools of yore,
Where in lethargic majesty they reign,

The calf ourselves have fashion'd we adore.
And what they won by dulness, Atill maintain ; But let true Reason once resume her reign,
Legions of factious authors throng at once ;

This god Mall dwindle to a Calf again. Fool beckons fool, and dunce awakens dunce.

Founded on arts which shun the face of day, To Hamilton's * the ready lies repair

By the same arts they still maintain their sway. Ne'er was lye made which was not welcome there Wrapp'd in mysterious fecrecy they rise, Thence, on maturer judgment's anvil wrought, And, as they are unknown, are safe and wise. The polish'd falthood's into public brought.

At whomsoever aim'd, howe'er severe · Quick-circulating Nanders mirth afford,

Th'envenom'd Nanders flies, no names appear. And reputation bleeds in ev'ry word.

Prudence forbids that step.—Then all might know A Critic was of old a glorious name,

And on more equal terms engage the foe. Whose sanction handed Merit up to Fame ;

But now, what Quixote of the age would care Beauties as well as faults he brought to view : To wage a war with dirt, and fight with air? His iudgment great, and great his candour too. By int'reit join'd, th'expert confederates ftand, No lervile rules drew sickly Taste aside ;

And play the game into each other's hand.
Secure he walk'd, for Nature was his guide. The vile abuse, in turn by all deny'd,
But now, Oh strange reverse ! our Critics bawl Is bandy'd up and down from side to side :
In praise of candour with a heart of gall.

It lies—hey !-presto!-like a juggler's ball,
Conscious of guilt, and fearful of the light, 'Till it belongs to nobody at all.
They lurk enthrouded in the veil of night ;

All men and things they know, themselves un Safe from detection, seize th' unwary prey,

known, And ftab, like bravoes, all who come that way. And publish ev'ry name except their own.

When first my Muse, perhaps more bold than wise, Nor think this strange-secure from vulgar eyes Bad the rude trifle into light arise,

The nameless author palles in disguise. Little she thought such tempests would ensue; But vet'ran Critics are not so deceiv'd, Less, that those tempests would be rais’d by you. If vet'ran Critics are to be believ'd. The thunder's fury rends the tow'ring oak ;

Once seen, they know an author evermore, Rosciads, like Ihrubs, might 'scape the fatal stroke. Nay swear to hands they never saw before. Vain thought ! a Critic's fury knows no bound; Thus in the Rosciad, beyond chance or doubt, Drawcanfir-like, he deals destruction round; They, by the writing, found the writers out. Nor can we hope he will a stranger spare,

“ That's Lloyd's his manner there you plainly trace, Who gives no quarter to his friend Voltaire.

« And all the Actor stares you in the face. Unhappy Genius; plac'd by partial fate

“ By Colman that was written. -On my life, Vith a free spirit in a lavish state ;

“ The strongest symptoms of the Jealous Wife. were the reluctant Muse, oppress’d by kings, “ That little disingenuous piece of spite, Or de cops in filence, 'or in fetters fings;

“ Churchill, a wretch unknown, perhaps might write." In vairt thy dauntless fortitude hath borne

How doth it make judicious readers smile, The bigel's furious zeal, and tyrant's scorn. When authors are detected by their stile ; Why didt thou safe from home-bred dangers steer, Tho' ev'ry one who knows this author, knows Reserv'd to prish more ignobly here?

He shifts his ftile much oftner than his cloaths ? Thus, when the Julian tyrant's pride to swell

Whence could arise this mighty critic spleen, Rome with her Humpey at Pharfalia fell,

The Muse a trifler, and her theme so mean? The vanquish'd chief escap'd from Cæsar's hand

What had I done, that angry Heav'n should send To die by ruffian's in a foreign land.

The bitt'reft foe where moft I wish'd a friend? How could these self-elected monarchs raise Oft hath my tongue been wanton at thy name, So large an empire on so small a base ?

And hail'd the honours of thy matchless fame. In what retreat, inglorious and unknown,

For me let hoary Fielding bite the ground, Did Genius sleep, when Dullness seiz'd the throne ? So nobler Pickle stands superbly bound. Whence, absolute now grown, and free from awe, From Livy's temples tear th' historic crown, She to the subject world dispenses law.

Which with more justice blooms upon thine own. Without her licence not a letter stirs,

Compar'd with thee, be all life-writers dumb, And all the captive criss-cross-row is her's.

But he who wrote the Life of Tommy Thumbs The Stagyrite, who rules from Nature drew, Who ever read the Regicide, but swore Opinions gave, but gave his reasons too.

The author wrote as man ne'er wrote before ?

Others for plots and under-plots may call, • Printer of the Critical Reveiw.

Here's the right method-have no plot at all

Who can fo often in his cause engage
The tiny pathos of the Grecian itage,
Whilft horrors rise, and tears spontaneous flow,
At tragic Ha! and no less tragic Oh !
To praise his nervous weakness all agree ;
And then for sweetness, who fo sweet as he !
Too big for utterance when sorrows fwell,
The too big forrows flowing tears must tell :
But when those flowing tears shall cease to flow,
Why—then the voice must speak again, you know.

Rude and unskilful in the Poet's trade,
I kept no Naiads by me ready-made ;
Ne'er did I colours high in air advance,
Torn from the bleeding fopperies of France ;
No flimsy linsey-woolley scenes I wrote,
With patches here and there like Joseph's coat.
Me humbler themes befit : Secure, for me,
Let playwrights smuggle nonsense, duty free:
Secure, for me, ye lambs, ye lambkins bound,
And frisk, and frolic o'er the fairy ground :
Secure, for me, thou pretty little fown,
Lick Sylvia's hand, and crop the flow'ry lawn :
L'ocensur'd let the gentle breezes rove
Thro' the green umbrage of th' enchanted grove :
Secure, for me, let foppith Nature smile,
And play the coxcomb in the Desart Ie.

The stage I chosema fubject fair and free
'Tis yours'tis mine-'tis public property.
All common exhibitions open lie
For praise or cenfure to the common eye.
Hence are a thousand hackney writers fed;
Hence monthly critics earn their daily bread.
This is a gen'ral tax which all must pay,
From those who scribble, down to those who play.
Actors, a venal crew, receive support
From public bounty, for the public sport.
To clap or hiss, all have an equal claim,
The cobler's and his lordship's right the same.
All join for their fubfiftence ; all expect
Free leave to praise their worth, their faults correct.
When active Pickle Smithfield stage ascends,
The three days wonder of his laughing friends ;
Each, or as judgment, or as fancy guides,
The lively wittling praifes or derides.
And where's the mighty diff'rence, tell me where,
Betwixt a Merry-Andrew and a Player ?

The strolling tribe, a despicable race,
Like wand’ring Arabs, shift from place to place.
Vagrants by law, to justice open laid,
They tremble, of the beadle's lath afraid,
And fawning cringe, for wretched means of life,
To Madam Mayoress, or his Worship’s wife.

The mighty monarch, in theatric fack,
Carries his whole regalia at his back ;
His royal confort heads the female band,
And leads the heir-apparent in her hand
The pannier'd ass creeps on with conscious pride,
Bearing a future prince on either side.
No choice muficians in this troop are found
To varnish nonfenfe with the charms of sound;
No swords, no daggers, not one poison'd bowl;
No lightning flashes here, no thunders roll ;
No guards to swell the monarch's train are shewn;
The monarch here must be a host alone.
No solem pomp, no flow proceffions here;
No Ammon's entry, and no Juliet's bier.

By need compeli'd to proftitute his art,
The varied actor dies from part to part;

And, strange disgrace to all theatric pride!
His character is shifted with his side.
Question and Answer he by turns must be,
Like that small wit * in Modern Tragedy ;

Who, to patch up his fame, -or fill his purse,-
Still pilters wretched plans and makes them worfe;
Like gipfies, left the stolen brat be known,
Defacing first, then claiming for his own.
In thabby state they strut, and tatter'd robe ;
The scene a blanket, and a barn the globe.
No high conceits their mod'rate wishes raise,
Content with humble profit, humble praise.
Let dowdies fimper, and let bumpkins stare,
The strolling pageant hero treads in air :
Pleas'd for his hour, heto mankind gives law,
And snores the next out on a truss of straw.

But if kind Fortune, who we sometimes know
Can take a hero from a puppet-show,
In mood propitious should her fav'rite call
On royal stage in royal pomp to bawl,
Forgetful of himself he rears the head,
And scorns the dunghill where he first was bred.
Converting now with well - dressid kings and

queens,
With gods and goddesses behind the scenes,
He sweats beneath the terror-nodding plume,
Taught by mock honours real pride t'allume.
On this great stage the world, no monarch e'er
Was half so haughty as a monarch play’r.

Doch it more move our anger or our mirth,
To see these Things, the lowest sons of earth,
Presume, with self-sufficient knowledge grac'd,
To rule in Letters, and preside in Taste ?
The Town's decisions they no more admit,
Themselves alone the arbiters of Wit;

And scorn the jurisdiction of that court,
To which they owe their being and support.
Actors, like nonks of old, now sacred grown,
Must be attack'd by no fools but their own.

Let the vain tyrant fit amidst his guards,
His puny Green-rcom Wits and Venal Bards,
Who meanly tremble at the puppet's frown,
And for a playhouse freedom lose their own;
In spite of rew-made laws, and new-made kings,
The free-born Muse with lib'ral spirit fings.
Bow down, ye llaves ; before these idols fall; :
Let Genius stoop to them who've none at all;
Ne'er will I flatter, cringe, or bend the knec
To those who, Naves to All, are Naves to Me.

Actors, as actors, are a lawful game;
The poet's right, and who shall bar his claim?
And if, o'er-weening of their little skill,
When they have left the stage, they're actors ftill;
If to the subject world they still give laws,
With paper crowns and sceptres made of straws;
If they in cellar or in garret roar,
And kings one night, are kings for evermore ;
Shall not bold Truth, e'en there, pursue her theme,
And 'wake the coxcomb from his golden dream ?
Or if, well worthy of a better fate,
They rise superior to their present ftate;
If, with each social virtue grac'd, they blend
The gay companion and the faithful friend i
If they, like Pritchard, join in private lifa
The tender parent and the virtuous wife ;

[ocr errors]

* Mr. Foote.

« ПредишнаНапред »