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Unawed by power, and unappall’d by fear,
With honest thrift I held my honour dear;
But this vile hour disperses all my store,
And all my hoard of honour is no more.
For, ah ! too partial to my life's decline,
Cæsar persuades, submission must be mine :
Him I obey, whom Heaven itself obeys,
Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclined to please.
Here then at once I welcome every shame, ,
And cancel at three-score a life of fame;
No more my titles shall my children tell,
“ The old buffoon” will fit my name as well ;
This day beyond its term my fate extends,
For life is ended when our honour ends.
A TRAGEDY WRITTEN BY JOSEPH CRADDOCK.
In these bold times, when Learning's sons explore
The distant climates, and the savage shore ;
When wise astronomers to India steer,
And quit for Venus many a brighter here ;
While botanists, all cold to smiles and dimpling,
Forsake the fair, and patiently-go simpling;
Our bard into the general spirit enters,
And fits his little frigate for adventures.
With Scythian stores and trinkets deeply laden,
He this way steers his course, in hopes of trading :
Yet, ere he lands, has order'd me before,
To make an observation on the shore.
Where are we driven ? our reckoning sure is lost !
This seems a rocky and a dangerous coast.
Lord, what a sultry climate am I under!
Yon ill-foreboding cloud seems big with thunder :
[Upper Gallery. There mangroves spread, and larger than I've seen 'em
[Pit. Ilere trees of stately size, and billing turtles in 'em
[Balconies. Here ill-condition'd oranges abound
[Stage. And apples, bitter apples, strew the ground :
Th’ inhabitants are cannibals, I fear :
I heard a hissing—there are serpents here !
Oh, there the people are—best keep my distance :
Our captain (gentle natives) craves assistance ;
Our ship’s well stored—in yonder creek we've laid her,
His honour is no mercenary trader.
This is his first adventure ; lend him aid,
And we may chance to drive a thriving trade.
His goods, he hopes, are prime, and brought from far,
Equally fit for gallantry and war. -
What, no reply to promises so ample ?
-I'd best step back, and order up a sample.
SPOKEN BY MR LEE LEWES, IN THE CHARACTER OF
HARLEQUIN, AT HIS BENEFIT.
HOLD! prompter, hold ! a word before your nonsense ;
I'd speak a word or two, to ease my conscience.
My pride forbids it ever should be said,
My heels eclipsed the honours of my head ;
That I found humour in a piebald vest,
Or ever thought that jumping was a jest.
[Takes off his mask.
Whence and what art thou, visionary birth ?
Nature disowns, and Reason scorns, thy mirth ;
In thy black aspect every passion sleeps,
The joy that dimples, and the woe that weeps.
How hast thou fill’d the scene with all thy brood,
Of fools pursuing, and of fools pursued !
Whose ins and outs no ray of sense discloses ;
Whose only plot it is to break our noses ;
Whilst from below the trap-door demons rise,
And from above the dangling deities.
And shall I mix in this unhallow'd crew ?
May rosin'd lightning blast me, if I do!
No-I will act—I'll vindicate the stage :
Shakspeare himself shall feel my tragic rage.
Off! off! vile trappings! a new passion reigns !
The maddening monarch revels in my veins.
Oh for a Richard's voice to catch the theme :
“Give me another horse! bind up my wounds !-soft-
'twas but a dream.” Ay, 'twas but a dream, for now there's no retreating : If I cease Harlequin, I cease from eating. 'Twas thus that Æsop's stag, a creature blameless, Yet something rain, like one that shall be nameless, Once on the margin of a fountain stood, And cavill'd at his image in the flood. “ The deuce confound,” he cries, “these drumstick shanks! They neither have my gratitude nor thanks ; They're perfectly disgraceful, strike me dead ! But for a head-yes, yes, I have a head.
How piercing is that eye ! how sleek that brow!
My horns! I'm told horns are the fashion now.”
Whilst thus he spoke, astonish'd, to his view,
Near and more near the hounds and huntsmen drew.
Hoicks ! hark forward ! came thundering from behind ;
He bounds aloft, outstrips the fleeting wind :
He quits the woods, and tries the beaten ways;
He starts, he pants, he takes the circling maze.
At length his silly head, so prized before,
Is taught his former folly to deplore;
Whilst his strong limbs conspire to set him free,
And at one bound he saves himself, like me,
[Taking a jump through the stage-door.
What! five long acts—and all to make us wiser !
Our authoress, sure, has wanted an adviser.
Had she consulted me, she should have made
Her moral play a speaking masquerade ;
Warm'd up each bustling scene, and in her rage
Have emptied all the green-room on the stage.
My life on't, this had kept her play from sinking ;
Have pleased our eyes, and saved the pain of thinking.
Well, since she thus has shown her want of skill,
What if I give a masquerade ?-I will.
But how ? ay, there's the rub! [ pausing]—I've got my cue :
The world's a masquerade ; the masquers, you, you, you.
[To Boxes, Pit, and Gallery 1 The Sisters:' by Charlotte Lennox.
Lud! what a group the motley scene discloses !
False wits, false wives, false virgins, and false spouses !
Statesmen with bridles on; and, close beside 'em,
Patriots, in party-colour'd suits, that ride 'em.
There Hebes turn'd of fifty try once more
To raise a flame in Cupids of threescore.
These in their turn, with appetites as keen,
Deserting fifty, fasten on fifteen.
Miss, not yet full fifteen, with fire uncommon,
Flings down her sampler, and takes up the woman :
The little urchin smiles, and spreads her lure,
And tries to kill, ere she's got power to cure.
Thus 'tis with all their chief and constant care
Is, to seem everything but what they are.
Yon broad, bold, angry spark, I fix my eye on,
Who seems t' have robb'd his visor from the lion ;
Who frowns, and talks, and swears, with round parade,
Looking, as who should say, Dam'me! who's afraid ? 30
Strip but his visor off, and sure I am
You'll find his lionship a very lamb.
Yon politician, famous in debate,
Perhaps, to vulgar eyes, bestrides the state ;
Yet, when he deigns his real shape t' assume,
He turns old woman, and bestrides a broom.
Yon patriot, too, who presses on your sight,
And seems to every gazer all in white,
If with a bribe his candour you attack,
He bows, turns round, and whip—the man's in black ! 40
Yon critic, too—but whither do I run ?
If I proceed, our bard will be undone !
Well, then, a truce, since she requests it too;
Do you spare her, and I'll for once spare you.