Page images


Written by George Colman, Esq.
I ONG has the pallive stage, howe'er absurd, '

Been ruld by names, and govern’d by a word;
Some poor cant term, like magic spells, can awe,
And bind our realms like a dramatic law.
When Fielding, Humour's favourite child, appear’d,
Low was the word—a word each author fear'd!
'Till chac'd at length, by pleasantry's bright ray,
Nature and mirth relum'd their legal fway;
And Goldsmith's genius bask'd in open day.

No beggar, howe'er poor, a cur can lack;
Poor bards, of critic curs, can keep a pack,
One yelper silenc'd, twenty barkers rise,
And with new howls, their snarlizgs ftill disguise.
Low banilh'd, the word sentiment succeeds ;
And at that shrine the modern playwright bleeds.
Hard fate! but let each would-be critic know,
That sentiments from genuine feeling flow!
Critics ! in vain declaim, and write, and rail;
Nature, eternal nature! will prevail.
Give me the bard, who makes me laugh and cry;
Diver's and moves, and all, I scarce know why!
Untaught by commentators, French or Dutch,
Passion ftill answers to th' electric touch. .
Reason, like Falstaff, claims, when all is done,
The honours of the field already won.

To night, our author's is a mixt intent-
Passion and humour-love and sentiment :
Smiling in tears—a serio.comic play-
Sunshine and show'r-a kind of April Day!
A lord, whose pride is in his honour plac'd;
A governor, with av'sice not disgrac'd;.
An humble prieit! a lady, and a lover
So full of virtue, some of it runs over!
No temporary touches, no allufions
To camps, reviews, and all our late confusions :
No personal reflections, no sharp satire,
But a mere Chapter-from the book of nature.
Wrote by a woman too! the Muses now
Few liberties to naughty men allow;
But like old maids on earth, resolv'd to vex,
With cruel coyness treat the other sex.



[ As he enters the Stage looking upon a Paper, and addressing bimself to the

Author bebind, from whom he is supposed to bave received it.]

T HIS, Sir, the Prologue? Why this piteous whine,

T Forebodes a catcall in each croaking line.
“ The Author's firit offence !"_" implore !" " beseech!"
Zounds ! 'tis as dismal as a dying speech-
Will prove, itself, the piece's sure damnation,
And give, like hawkers, by anticipation,
& Life, birth, and parentage, and education,"

Do you discover in this cast of feature
The striking traits to suit the doleful metre?
Give it to Parsons-his sadragic face
Such plaintive sentiments will aptly grace..
The rueful meaning Mcody may supply
E'en from the fruitful river of his eye; ..
Or with mute pathos, walk about and figh.

[To the Audience.]
Prologues are alter'd since that Gothic day
When only hungry playwrights wrote--for pay.
Then while the Bard-poor miserable finner!
Trembled behind uncertain of his dinner
Forth came in black-with solemn step-and slow,
The actor to unfold the tale of woe.
But in these days, when e'en the titled dame
Glows with the pafiion of dramatic fame,
When as the fafhion gains, it may indite

The card of compliments for a third night,
With stile laconic, in the measured ftrain,
• Lady Charade fees friends at Drury-lane."
In those bright days--this literary age,
When 'tis the taste the very thing--the rage

To pen some lively morceau for the stage.
When belles write comedies, and beaux have wit,
The Prologue too the sprightly ton must hit;

Flippant and smart in careless easy rhymes, - Reflect the gayeft colours of the times, Cameleon like, on fashion's air must live,

And, like that too, each varying tint must give. [Returning to the Paper, and supposed again to address the Aalbor)

This will ne'er do (pausing )-Can't you contrive to swell
To thirty lines, some airy bagatelle ?
Or take your subject from some modish scenes-
• Elections” " Camps"-" Electrical machines ?”


That thought's not bad-Why then suppose I try,
In metaphor--the House c' electrify.
Wind the conducting strains that may dispense
The mild chuvia's genial influence,
Or fill the charge, the powerful charge that draws,
From yon dread Gods! the thunder of applause :
Or if such porcot virtue can't controul
The angry critic's non-electric soul,
The ladies court- The lightning of whole eyes,
The apt allusion readily supplies.--
From those bright orbs th’æthereal beam that plays,
Will blast the critic thorn, but spare the bays.

Something like this may do-lome neat terse thing,
With a few smirks—and smiles and bows from King,

To the Audience.
Mean time the want of form for once forgive,
And for this night allow the picce to live.

EPILOGUE to Lady Craver's Comedy of the MINIATURE


Spoken by the Hon. Mrs. HOBART, at Newbury, and by Mrs. ABINGTON,

at Drury-lane. Written by Mr. JEKYLL.

THE men, like tyrants of the Turkish kind,

I Have long our fex's energy confin'd;
In full dress black, and bow, and solemn ftalk,
Have long monopoliz'd the Prologue's walk,
But still the flippant Epilogue was our's;
It ask'd for gay support the female pow'rs;
It ask'd a flirting air, coquet and free;
And so, to murder it, they fix'd on me.

Much they mistake my talents was born
To tell, in fobs and fighs, fome tale forlorn;
To.wet my handkerchief with Juliet's woes,
Or tune to Shore's despair my tragic nose.

Yes, gentlemen, in education's spite,
You still Thall find that we can read and write ;
Like you, can fwell a debt or a debate,
Can quit the card-table to steer the state ;
Or bid our Belle Asemblée's rhet'ric flow,
To drown your dull declaimers at Soho.
Methinks e'en now I hear my sex's tongues,
The Thrill, smart melody of female lungs !
The storm of question, the division calm,
With “ Hear her! Hear her! Mrs. Speaker! Ma'am,

[ocr errors]

« Oh, order! Order!"- Kates and Susans rise, ,
And Margaret moves, and Tabitha replies.

Look to the camp-Coxheath and Warley Common,
Supply'd at least for ev'ry tent a woman.
The cartridge paper wrapt the billet-doux,
The rear and picquet form'd che rendezvous.
The drum's ftern rattle took the nuptial bed;
The knapsack pillow'd lady Sturgeon's head.
Love was the watch-word, 'till the morning fife
Kous'd the tame major and his warlike wife.

Look to the stage. To night's example draws
A female dramatilt to grace the cause.
So fade the triumphs of presumptuous man!

And would you, ladies, but complete my plan,
· Here should you sign some Patriot Petition
To mend our conftitutional condition,
The men invade our rights the mimic elves
Lisp and nickname God's creatures, like ourselves;
Rouge more than we do, fimper, Aounce, and fret;
And they coquet, good gods! how they coquet!
They too are coy; and, monstrous to relate!
Their's is the coyness in a tête-à-tête.
Yes, ladies, yes, I could a tale unfold,
Would harrow up your cushions! were it told;
Part your combined curls, and freeze- pomatum,
At griefs and grievances, as I could state 'em.
But such eternal blazon must not speak
Besides, the House adjourns some day next week
This fair committee Mall detail the rest,
Then let the monsters (if they dare) protest !

Extract from the Ode to John HOWARD, Elg. Author of the State of

English and Foreign Prisons ; by W. HALEY.

T TAIL! generous Howard! tho' thou bear

M A name which Glory's hand sublime
Has blazon'd oft, with guardian care,
In characters that fear not Time;
For thee the fondly spreads her wings;
For thee from Paradise she brings,
More verdant than her laurel bough,
Such wreaths of sacred Palm, as ne'er till now
The smiling Seraph twin'd around a mortal brow.

I see the hallow'd shade of HÁLes *,!.
Who felt, like thce, for human woe,
And taught the health diffusing gales
Thro' Horror's murky cells to blow,
As thy protecting angel wait;
To save thee from the snares of Fate,
Commission'd from the Eternal Throne :
I hear him praise, in wonder's warmest tone,
The virtues of thy heart, more active than his own.

Thy soul supplies new funds of health
That fail not in the trying hour.
Above Arabia's spicy wealth
And Pharmacy's reviving power,
The transports of the generous mind,
Feeling its bounty to mankind,
Inspirit every mortal part;
And, far more potent than precarious art,
Give radiance to the eye, and vigor to the heart.

Nature ! on thy maternal breait
For ever be his worth engravid!
Thy bosom only can atteft
How many a life his toil has sav'd:
Nor in thy rescu'd Sons alone,
Great Parent ! this thy guardian own!
His arm defends a dearer slave;
Woman, thy darling! 'tis his pride to save t
From evils, that surpass the horrors of the grave.

• STEPHEN HALES, minister of Teddington: he died at the age of 84, 1961; and has been juftly called “ An ornament to his profeflion, as a clergyınan, • and to his country, as a philosopher." I had the happiness of knowing this excellent man, when I was very young; and well remember the warm glow of benevolence which used to animate his countenance, in relating the success of his various projects for the benefit of mankind. I have frequently heard him dwell with great pleasure on the fortunate incident which led him to the discovery of his Ventilator, to which I have alluded. He had ordered a new floor for one of his rooms; his carpenter not having prepared the work so soon as he expected, he thought the season improper for laying down new boards, when they were brought to his house, and gave orders for their being deposited in his barn ;-- from their accidental position in that place, he caught his first idea of this useful invention.

+ Mr. Howard has been the happy inftrument of preserving female prisopers from an infamous and indecent outrage. It was formerly a cultom in our gaols to load their legs and thighs with irons, for the deteltable purpose of extorting money from there injured sufferers. This circumstance, unknown to me when the Ode was writien, has tempted me to introduce the few additional stanzas, as it is my ardent with to render this tribute to an exalted cha. racter as little unworthy as I can of the very extensive and sublime merit which it aspires to celebrate.


« PreviousContinue »