Слике страница

O hapless he, who, near the main,
Now sees its billowy rage destroy!
Beholds the foundering bark descend,
Nor knows, but what its fate may end
The moments of his dearest friend !



DIED 1784.

GEORGE ALEXANDER Stevens was born in Holborn. He was for many years a strolling player, and was afterwards engaged at Covent Garden theatre. His powers as an actor were very

indifferent; and he had long lived in necessitous circumstances, when he had recourse to a plan which brought him affluence—this was, delivering his Lecture on Heads, a medley of wit and nonsense, to which no other performance than his own could give comic effect. The lecture was originally designed for Shuter; who, however, wholly failed in his delivery of it. When Stevens gave it himself, it immediately became popular; he repeated it with success in different parts of Great Britain and Ireland, and, crossing the Atlantic, found equal favour among the calvinists of Boston, and the quakers of Philadelphia. On his return to England he attempted to give novelty to the exhibition by a supplementary lecture on portraits and whole lengths; but the supplement had no success. In 1773 he appeared again on the Haymarket stage, in a piece of his own composing, “ The Trip to Portsmouth." He afterwards resumed his tour of lectures on heads, till finding his own head worn out by dissipation, he sold the property of the composition to Lee Lewis, the comedian ; and closed a life of intemperance in a state of idiotism.

If Fletcher of Salton's maxim be true, “ that the

popular songs of a country are of more importance “ than its laws,” Stevens must be regarded as an important criminal in literature. But the songs of a country rather record, than influence, the state of popular morality. Stevens celebrated hard drinking, because it was the fashion; and his songs are now seldom vociferated, because that fashion is gone by. George was a leading member of all the great bacchanalian clubs of his day; the Choice Spirits, Comus' Court, and others, of similar importance and utility. Before the scheme of his lecture brought him a fortune, he had frequently to do penance in jail for the debts of the tavern; and, on one of those occasions, wrote a poem, entitled “ Religion," expressing a penitence for his past life, which was probably sincere, while his confinement lasted. He was also author of “ Tom Fool,” a novel; “ The Birthday of Folly,a satire; and several dramatic pieces of slender consequence.


CONTENTED I am, and contented I'll be,

For what can this world more afford,
Than a lass that will sociably sit on my knee,
And a cellar as sociably stored,

My brave boys.

My vault door is open, descend and improve,

That cask,-ay, that we will try. 'Tis as rich to the taste as the lips of your love, And as bright as her cheeks to the eye:

My brave boys.

In a piece of slit hoop, see my candle is stuck,

'Twill light us each bottle to hand; The foot of my glass for the purpose I broke, As I hate that a bumper should stand,

My brave boys.

Astride on a butt, as a butt should be strod,

I gallop the brusher along; Like grape-blessing Bacchus, the good fellow's god, And a sentiment give, or a song,

My brave boys.

We are dry where we sit, though the coying drops

seem With pearls the moist walls to emboss ;

From the arch mouldy cobwebs in gothic taste

stream, Like stucco-work cut out of moss :

My brave boys.

When the lamp is brimful, how the taper flame

Which, when moisture is wanting, decays;
Replenish the lamp of my life with rich wines,
Or else there's an end of my blaze,

My brave boys.

Sound those pipes, they're in tune, and those bins

are well fill'd; View that heap of old Hock in your rear ; Yon bottles are Burgundy! mark how they're pil'd, Like artillery, tier over tier,

My brave boys.

My cellar's my camp, and my soldiers my flasks,

All gloriously rang'd in review;
When I cast my eyes round, I consider my

casks As kingdoms I've yet to subdue,

My brave boys.

Like Macedon's Madman, my glass I'll enjoy,

Defying hyp, gravel, or gout; He cried when he had no more worlds to destroy, I'll weep when my liquor is out,

My brave boys.

On their stumps some have fought, and as stoutly

will I,

When reeling, I roll on the floor;
Then my legs must be lost, so I'll drink as I lie,
And dare the best Buck to do more,

My brave boys.

'Tis my

will when I die, not a tear shall be shed, No Hic Jacet be cut on my stone ; But pour on my coffin a bottle of red, And say that his drinking is dona,

My brave boys.


BORN 1709.-DIED 1784.



LET observation with extensive view,
Survey mankind from China to Peru;
Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife,
And watch the busy scenes of crowded life;
Then say how hope and fear, desire and hate,
O'erspread with snares the clouded maze of fate,
Where wav'ring man, betray'd by vent'rous pride,
To chase the dreary paths without a guide,

« ПретходнаНастави »