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So, ʼmid th’harmonious tones of grief or rage,
Italian squallers oft disgrace the stage;
When, with a simp’ring leer, and bow profound,
The squeaking Cyrus greets the boxes round ; ?20;
Or proud Mandane, of imperial race,
Familiar drops a curt’sie to her grace.

To suit the dress demands the actor's art, Yet there are those who over-dress the part. To some prescriptive right gives settled things, Black wigs to murd'rers, feather'd hats to kings : But Michael Cassio might be drunk enough, Tho' all his features were not grim'd with snuff. Why should Poll Peachum shine in sattin cloaths? Why ev'ry devil dance in scarlet hose ? 230

But in stage-customs what offends me most
Is the slip-door, and slowly-rising ghost.
Tell me, nor count the question too severe,
Why need the dismal powder'd forms appear ?

When chilling horrors shake th' affrighted king, And guilt torments him with her scorpion sting; When keenest feelings at his bosom pull, And fancy tells him that the seat is full; Why need the ghost usurp the monarch's place, To frighten children with his mealy face? 240

The king alone shou'd form the phantom there,
And talk and tremble at the vacant chair.

If Belvidera her lov'd loss deplore,
Why for twin spectres bursts the yawning floor?
When with disorder'd starts, and horrid cries,
She paints the murder'd forms before her eyes,
And still pursues them with a frantic stare,
'Tis pregnant madness brings the visions there.
More instant horror would enforce the scene,
If all her shudd'rings were at shapes unseen.


Poet and actor thus, with blended skill, Mould all our passions to their instant will ; 'Tis thus, when feeling Garrick treads the stage, (The speaking comment of his Shakspere's page) Oft as I drink the words with greedy ears, I shake with horror, or dissolve with tears.

O! ne'er may folly seize the throne of taste, Nor dullness lay the realms of genius waste ! No bouncing crackers ape the thund'rer's fire, No tumbler float upon the bending wire !

26 More natural uses to the stage belong, Than tumblers, monsters, pantomime, or song, For other purpose was that spot design'd : To purge the passions, and reform the mind,

To give to nature all the force of art,
And while it charms the ear to mend the heart.

Thornton, to thee, I dare with truth coinmend
The decent stage, as virtue's natural friend.
Tho' oft debas’d with scenes profane and loose,
No reason weighs against its proper use.
Tho' the lewd priest his sacred function shame,
Religion's perfect law is still the same.

Shall they, who trace the passions from their rise, Shew scorn her features, her own image vice? Who teach the mind its proper force to scany. And hold the faithful mirror up to man. Shall their profession e'er provoke disdain, Who stand the foremost in the mortal train ; Who lend reflection all the grace of art, And strike the precept home upon the heart ? 280

Yet, hapless Artist! tho' thy skill can raise The bursting peal of universal praise, Tho' at thy beck applause delighted stands, And lifts, Briareus like, her hundred hands, Know, fame awards thee but a partial breath Not all thy talents brave the stroke of death. Poets to ages yet unborn appeal, And latest times th' eternal nature feel. Tho' blended here the praise of bard and play'r, While more than half becomes the actor's share,2go

Relentless death untwists the mingled fame,
And sinks the player in the poet's name.
The pliant muscles of the various face,
The mien that gave each sentence strength and grace,
The tuneful voice, the eye that spoke the mind,
Are gone, nor leave a single trace behind.






Occasioned by the Author's being suspected of writing the Poem under that title.

Why with such freedom should the town accuse,
And charge absurd encomiums on my Muse ?
Celestial objects by themselves I place,
Nor with a Cl*de a Forrester disgrace ;
That disproportion'd piece offends the view :
No feign’d perfe&tion should attend the true.
Whene'er my voice attempts the British Fair,
I sing the worthy, but th' unworthy spare ;
Respect, when merit fails, in silence lies;
Praise undeserv'd is scandal in disguise. 10
What moderate tongue would vulgar things rehearse,
Where crowds of wondrous Nymphs invite the verse ?
Charmers in millions grace this happy sphere,

presents a conqueror here, Who to mean subjects can debase his quill, And waste his scanty stock of art so ill,

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