Изображения страниц

Oh! SHERIDAN! if aught can move thy pen,

Let Comedy resume her throne again,

Abjure the mummery of German schools,


Leave new Pizarros to translating fools ;
Give as thy last memorial to the age,
One classic drama, and reform the stage.
Gods! o'er those boards shall Folly rear her head

Where GARRICK trod, and Kemble lives to tread ?

On those shall Farce display buffoonery's mask, 570
And Hook conceal his heroes in a cask?
Shall sapient managers new scencs produce
From Cherry, Skerrington, and Mother Goose?
While SHAKESPEARE, OTWAY, Massinger, forgot,
On stalls must moulder, or in closets rot?

Lo! with what pomp the daily prints proclaim,

The rival candidates for Attic fame!

In grim array though Lewis' spectres rise,

Still Skerfington and Goose divide the prize,

[ocr errors]

And sure great Skeffington must claim our praise,
For skirtless coats, and skeletons of plays
Renowned alike; whose genius ne'er confines
Her flight to garnish Greenwood's gay designs*:
Nor sleeps with “ Sleeping Beauties,” but anon

In five facetious acts comes thundering ont,

While poor John Bull, bewildered with the scene,
Stares, wondering what the devil it can mean;
But as some hands applaud, a venal few!
Rather than sleep, why John applauds it too.

Such are we now, ah! wherefore should we turn 590 To what our fathers were, unless to mourn ?


Degenerate Britons! are ye dead to shame,
Or, kind to dullness, do you fear to blame?

* Mr. GREENWOOD is, we believe, Scene-Painter to Drury Lane Theatre—as such, Mr. S. is much indebted to him.

+ Mr. S. is the illustrious author of the “ Sleeping Beauty:" and some Comedies, particularly “ Maids and Bachelors," Baculaurii baculo magis quam lauro digni.

[ocr errors]

Well may the nobles of our present race
Watch each distortion of a Naldi's face;

Well may they smile on Italy's buffoons,

And worship CATALANI's pantaloons*,
Since their own Drama yields no fairer trace
Of wit than puns, of humour than grijnace.




Then let Ausonia, skill'd in ev'ry art To soften manners, but corrupt the heart,

Pour her exotic follies o'er the town,

To sanction Vice and hunt decorum down:

Let wedded strumpets languish o'er DeshaYES,

And bless the promise which his form displays;

While Gayton bounds before the enraptured looks Of hoary Marquises and stripling Dukes :

* Naldi and CATALANI require little notice,- for the visage of the one, and the salary of the other, will enable us long to recollect these amusing vagabonds ; besides, we are still black and blue from the squeeze on the first night of the Lady's appearance in trowsers.

Let high-born letchets eye the lively Presle

Twirl her light limbs that spurn the needless veil; Let Angiolini bare her breast of show, 610 Wave the white arm and point the pliant toe;

Collini trill her love-inspiring song,

Strain her fair neck and charm the listening throng! Raise not your scythe, Suppressors of our Vice! Reforming Saints! too delicately nice!

By whose decrees, our sinful souls to save,
No Sunday tankards foam, no barbers shave;

And beer undrawn and beards unmown display

Your holy rev'rence for the Sabbath-day.


Or, hail at once the patron and the pile Of rice and folly, Greville and Argyle* !

* To prevent any blunder, such as mistaking a street for a man, I beg leave to state, that it is the Institution, and not the Duke of that name, which is here alluded to.

Where yon proud palace Fashion's hallowed fane, Spreads wide her portals for the motley train, Behold the new Petronius * of the day,

The Arbiter of pleasure and of play!

There the hired Eunuch, the Hesperian choir,
The melting lute, the soft lascivious lyre,

A gentleman, with whom I am slightly acquainted, lost in the Argyle Rooms several thousand pounds at Backgammon; it is but justice to the manager in this instance to say, that some degree of disapprobation was manifested, but why are the implements of gaming allowed in a place devoted to the society of both sexes ? A pleasant thing for the wives and daughters of those who are blest or curst with such connections, to hear the Billiard-tables rattling in one room, and the dice in another ! That this is the case I myself can testify, as a late unworthy member of an Institution which materially affects the morals of the higher orders, while the lower may not even move to the sound of a tabor and fiddle without a chance of indictment for riotous behaviour.

* Petronius “ Arbiter elegantiarum” to Nero, “and a very pretty fellow in his day," as Mr. CONGREVE's Old Bachelor saith.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »