HotFreeBooks.com
Rejected Addresses: or, The New Theatrum Poetarum
by James and Horace Smith
1  2     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

REJECTED ADDRESSES: OR, THE NEW THEATRUM POETARUM

by James and Horace Smith



Contents:

Preface to First Edition Preface to Eighteenth Edition Rejected Addresses Loyal Effusion—by W. T. F. The Baby's Debut—by W. W. An Address Without a Phoenix—by S. T. P. Cui Bono?—by Lord B. Hampshire Farmer's Address—by W. C. The Living Lustres—by T. M. The Rebuilding—by R. S. Drury's Dirge—by Laura Matilda. A Tale of Drury Lane—by W. S. Johnson's Ghost The Beautiful Incendiary—by the Hon. W. S. Fire and Ale—by M. G. L. Playhouse Musings,—by S. T. C. Drury Lane Hustings—by a Pic-Nic Poet Architectural Atoms—translated by Dr. B. Theatrical Alarm-bell—by the Editor of the M. P. The Theatre—by the Rev. G. C. Macbeth Travestie—by Momus Medlar Stranger Travestie—by Momus Medlar George Barnwell Travestie—by Momus Medlar Punch's Apotheosis—by T. H. Footnotes and other notes



PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION



On the 14th of August, 1812, the following advertisement appeared in most of the daily papers:-

"Rebuilding of Drury Lane Theatre.

"The Committee are desirous of promoting a free and fair competition for an Address to be spoken upon the opening of the Theatre, which will take place on the 10th of October next. They have, therefore, thought fit to announce to the public, that they will be glad to receive any such compositions, addressed to their Secretary, at the Treasury-office, in Drury Lane, on or before the 10th of September, sealed up, with a distinguishing word, number, or motto, on the cover, corresponding with the inscription on a separate sealed paper, containing the name of the author, which will not be opened unless containing the name of the successful candidate."

Upon the propriety of this plan men's minds were, as they usually are upon matters of moment, much divided. Some thought it a fair promise of the future intention of the Committee to abolish that phalanx of authors who usurp the stage, to the exclusion of a large assortment of dramatic talent blushing unseen in the background; while others contended that the scheme would prevent men of real eminence from descending into an amphitheatre in which all Grub Street (that is to say, all London and Westminster) would be arrayed against them. The event has proved both parties to be in a degree right, and in a degree wrong. One hundred and twelve Addresses have been sent in, each sealed and signed, and mottoed, "as per order," some written by men of great, some by men of little, and some by men of no talent.

Many of the public prints have censured the taste of the Committee, in thus contracting for Addresses as they would for nails—by the gross; but it is surprising that none should have censured their TEMERITY. One hundred and eleven of the Addresses must, of course, be unsuccessful: to each of the authors, thus infallibly classed with the genus irritabile, it would be very hard to deny six stanch friends, who consider his the best of all possible Addresses, and whose tongues will be as ready to laud him as to hiss his adversary. These, with the potent aid of the bard himself, make seven foes per address; and thus will be created seven hundred and seventy-seven implacable auditors, prepared to condemn the strains of Apollo himself—a band of adversaries which no prudent manager would think of exasperating.

But, leaving the Committee to encounter the responsibility they have incurred, the public have at least to thank them for ascertaining and establishing one point, which might otherwise have admitted of controversy. When it is considered that many amateur writers have been discouraged from becoming competitors, and that few, if any, of the professional authors can afford to write for nothing, and, of course, have not been candidates for the honorary prize at Drury Lane, we may confidently pronounce that, as far as regards NUMBER, the present is undoubtedly the Augustan age of English poetry. Whether or not this distinction will be extended to the QUALITY of its productions, must be decided at the tribunal of posterity; though the natural anxiety of our authors on this score ought to be considerably diminished when they reflect how few will, in all probability, be had up for judgment.

It is not necessary for the Editor to mention the manner in which he became possessed of this "fair sample of the present state of poetry in Great Britain." It was his first intention to publish the whole; but a little reflection convinced him that, by so doing, he might depress the good, without elevating the bad. He has therefore culled what had the appearance of flowers, from what possessed the reality of weeds, and is extremely sorry that, in so doing, he has diminished his collection to twenty-one. Those which he has rejected may possibly make their appearance in a separate volume, or they may be admitted as volunteers in the files of some of the newspapers; or, at all events, they are sure of being received among the awkward squad of the Magazines. In general, they bear a close resemblance to each other; thirty of them contain extravagant compliments to the immortal Wellington and the indefatigable Whitbread; and, as the last- mentioned gentleman is said to dislike praise in the exact proportion in which he deserves it, these laudatory writers have probably been only building a wall against which they might run their own heads.

The Editor here begs leave to advance a few words in behalf of that useful and much abused bird the Phoenix; and in so doing he is biassed by no partiality, as he assures the reader he not only never saw one, but (mirabile dictu!) never caged one, in a simile, in the whole course of his life. Not less than sixty-nine of the competitors have invoked the aid of this native of Arabia; but as, from their manner of using him after they had caught him, he does not by any means appear to have been a native of Arabia Felix, the Editor has left the proprietors to treat with Mr. Polito, and refused to receive this rara avis, or black swan, into the present collection. One exception occurs, in which the admirable treatment of this feathered incombustible entitles the author to great praise: that Address has been preserved, and in the ensuing pages takes the lead, to which its dignity entitles it.

Perhaps the reason why several of the subjoined productions of the MUSAE LONDINENSES have failed of selection, may he discovered in their being penned in a metre unusual upon occasions of this sort, and in their not being written with that attention to stage effect, the want of which, like want of manners in the concerns of life, is more prejudicial than a deficiency of talent. There is an art of writing for the Theatre, technically called TOUCH and GO, which is indispensable when we consider the small quantum of patience which so motley an assemblage as a London audience can be expected to afford. All the contributors have been very exact in sending their initials and mottoes. Those belonging to the present collection have been carefully preserved, and each has been affixed to its respective poem. The letters that accompanied the Addresses having been honourably destroyed unopened, it is impossible to state the real authors with any certainty; but the ingenious reader, after comparing the initials with the motto, and both with the poem, may form his own conclusions.

The Editor does not anticipate any disapprobation from thus giving publicity to a small portion of the Rejected Addresses; for unless he is widely mistaken in assigning the respective authors, the fame of each individual is established on much too firm a basis to be shaken by so trifling and evanescent a publication as the present:

- neque ego illi detrahere ausim Haerentem capiti multa cum laude ceronam.

Of the numerous pieces already sent to the Committee for performance, he has only availed himself of three vocal Travesties, which he has selected, not for their merit, but simply for their brevity. Above one hundred spectacles, melodramas, operas, and pantomimes have been transmitted, besides the two first acts of one legitimate comedy. Some of these evince considerable smartness of manual dialogue, and several brilliant repartees of chairs, tables, and other inanimate wits; but the authors seem to have forgotten that in the new Drury Lane the audience can hear as well as see. Of late our theatres have been so constructed, that John Bull has been compelled to have very long ears, or none at all; to keep them dangling about his skull like discarded servants, while his eyes were gazing at pieballs and elephants, or else to stretch them out to an asinine length to catch the congenial sound of braying trumpets. An auricular revolution is, we trust, about to take place; and as many people have been much puzzled to define the meaning of the new era, of which we have heard so much, we venture to pronounce that, as far as regards Drury Lane Theatre, the new era means the reign of ears. If the past affords any pledge for the future, we may confidently expect from the Committee of that House every thing that can be accomplished by the union of taste and assiduity. {0}



PREFACE TO EIGHTEENTH EDITION {1}



In the present publishing era, when books are like the multitudinous waves of the advancing sea, some of which make no impression whatever upon the sand, while the superficial traces left by others are destined to be perpetually obliterated by their successors, almost as soon as they are found, the authors of the Rejected Addresses may well feel flattered, after a lapse of twenty years, and the sale of seventeen large editions, in receiving an application to write a Preface to a new and more handsome impression. In diminution, however, of any overweening vanity which they might be disposed to indulge on this occasion, they cannot but admit the truth of the remark made by a particularly candid and good-natured friend, who kindly reminded them, that if their little work has hitherto floated upon the stream of time, while so many others of much greater weight and value have sunk to rise no more, it has been solely indebted for its buoyancy to that specific levity which enables feathers, straws, and similar trifles to defer their submersion until they have become thoroughly saturated with the waters of oblivion, when they quickly meet the fate which they had long before merited.

Our ingenuous and ingenious friend furthermore observed, that the demolition of Drury Lane Theatre by fire, its reconstruction under the auspices of the celebrated Mr. Whitbread, {2} the reward offered by the Committee for an opening address, and the public recitation of a poem composed expressly for the occasion by Lord Byron, one of the most popular writers of the age, formed an extraordinary concurrence of circumstances which could not fail to insure the success of the Rejected Addresses, while it has subsequently served to fix them in the memory of the public, so far at least as a poor immortality of twenty years can be said to have effected that object. In fact, continued our impartial and affectionate monitor, your little work owes its present obscure existence entirely to the accidents that have surrounded and embalmed it,—even as flies, and other worthless insects, may long survive their natural date of extinction, if they chance to be preserved in amber, or any similar substance.

The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare - But wonder how the devil they got there!—POPE.

With the natural affection of parents for the offspring of their own brains, we ventured to hint that some portion of our success might perhaps be attributable to the manner in which the different imitations were executed; but our worthy friend protested that his sincere regard for us, as well as for the cause of truth, compelled him to reject our claim, and to pronounce that, when once the idea had been conceived, all the rest followed as a matter of course, and might have been executed by any other hands not less felicitously than by our own.

Willingly leaving this matter to the decision of the public, since we cannot be umpires in our own cause, we proceed to detail such circumstances attending the writing and publication of our little work, as may literally meet the wishes of the present proprietor of the copyright, who has applied to us for a gossiping Preface. Were we disposed to be grave and didactic, which is as foreign to our mood as it was twenty years ago, we might draw the attention of the reader, in a fine sententious paragraph, to the trifles upon which the fate of empires, as well as a four-and-sixpenny volume of parodies, occasionally hangs in trembling balance. No sooner was the idea of our work conceived, than it was about to be abandoned in embryo, from the apprehension that we had no lime to mature and bring it forth, as it was indispensable that it should be written, printed, and published by the opening of Drury Lane Theatre, which would only allow us an interval of six weeks, and we had both of us other avocations that precluded us from the full command of even that limited period. Encouraged, however, by the conviction that the thought was a good one, and by the hope of making a lucky hit, we set to work con amore, our very hurry not improbably enabling us to strike out at a heat what we might have failed to produce so well, had we possessed time enough to hammer it into more careful and elaborate form.

Our first difficulty, that of selection, was by no means a light one. Some of our most eminent poets—such, for instance, as Rogers and Campbell—presented so much beauty, harmony, and proportion in their writings, both as to style and sentiment, that if we had attempted to caricature them, nobody would have recognised the likeness; and if we had endeavoured to give a servile copy of their manner, it would only have amounted, at best, to a tame and unamusing portrait, which it was not our object to present. Although fully aware that their names would, in the theatrical phrase, have conferred great strength upon our bill, we were reluctantly compelled to forego them, and to confine ourselves to writers whose style and habit of thought, being more marked and peculiar, was more capable of exaggeration and distortion. To avoid politics and personality, to imitate the turn of mind as well as the phraseology of our originals, and, at all events, to raise a harmless laugh, were our main objects; in the attainment of which united aims, we were sometimes hurried into extravagance, by attaching much more importance to the last than to the two first. In no instance were we thus betrayed into a greater injustice than in the case of Mr. Wordsworth—the touching sentiment, profound wisdom, and copious harmony of whose loftier writings we left unnoticed, in the desire of burlesquing them; while we pounced upon his popular ballads, and exerted ourselves to push their simplicity into puerility and silliness. With pride and pleasure do we now claim to be ranked among the most ardent admirers of this true poet; and if he himself could see the state of his works, which are ever at our right hand, he would, perhaps, receive the manifest evidences they exhibit of constant reference and delighted re- perusal, as some sort of amende honorable for the unfairness of which we were guilty when we were less conversant with the higher inspirations of his muse. To Mr. Coleridge, and others of our originals, we must also do a tardy act of justice, by declaring that our burlesque of their peculiarities has never blinded us to those beauties and talents which are beyond the reach of all ridicule.

One of us {3} had written a genuine Address for the occasion, which was sent to the Committee, and shared the fate it merited, in being rejected. To swell the bulk, or rather to diminish the tenuity of our little work, we added it to the Imitations; and prefixing the initials of S. T. P. for the purpose of puzzling the critics, were not a little amused, in the sequel, by the many guesses and conjectures into which we had ensnared some of our readers. We could even enjoy the mysticism, qualified as it was by the poor compliment, that our carefully written Address exhibited no "very prominent trait of absurdity," when we saw it thus noticed in the Edinburgh Review for November 1812:- "An Address by S. T. P. we can make nothing of; and professing our ignorance of the author designated by these letters, we can only add, that the Address, though a little affected, and not very full of meaning, has no very prominent trait of absurdity, that we can detect; and might have been adopted and spoken, so far as we can perceive, without any hazard of ridicule. In our simplicity we consider it as a very decent, mellifluous, occasional prologue; and do not understand how it has found its way into its present company."

Urged forward by hurry, and trusting to chance, two very bad coadjutors in any enterprise, we at length congratulated ourselves on having completed our task in time to have it printed and published by the opening of the theatre. But alas! our difficulties, so far from being surmounted, seemed only to be beginning. Strangers to the arcana of the booksellers' trade, and unacquainted with their almost invincible objection to single volumes of low price, especially when tendered by writers who have acquired no previous name, we little anticipated that they would refuse to publish our Rejected Addresses, even although we asked nothing for the copyright. Such, however, proved to be the case. Our manuscript was perused and returned to us by several of the most eminent publishers. {4} Well do we remember betaking ourselves to one of the craft in Bond-street, whom we found in a back parlour, with his gouty leg propped upon a cushion, in spite of which warning he diluted his luncheon with frequent glasses of Madeira. "What have you already written?" was his first question- -an interrogatory to which we had been subjected in almost every instance. "Nothing by which we can be known." "Then I am afraid to undertake the publication." We presumed timidly to suggest that every writer must have a beginning, and that to refuse to publish for him until he had acquired a name, was to imitate the sapient mother who cautioned her son against going into the water until he could swim. "An old joke—a regular Joe!" exclaimed our companion, tossing off another bumper. "Still older than Joe Miller," was our reply; "for, if we mistake not, it is the very first anecdote in the facetiae of Hierocles." "Ha, sirs!" resumed the bibliopolist, "you are learned, are you? So, sob!—Well, leave your manuscript with me; I will look it over to-night, and give you an answer to-morrow." Punctual as the clock we presented ourselves at his door on the following morning, when our papers were returned to us with the observation—"These trifles are really not deficient in smartness; they are well, vastly well, for beginners; but they will never do— never. They would not pay for advertising, and without it I should not sell fifty copies."

This was discouraging enough. If the most experienced publishers feared to be out of pocket by the work, it was manifest, a fortiori, that its writers ran a risk of being still more heavy losers, should they undertake the publication on their own account. We had no objection to raise a laugh at the expense of others; but to do it at our own cost, uncertain as we were to what extent we might be involved, had never entered into our contemplation. In this dilemma, our Addresses, now in every sense rejected, might probably have never seen the light, had not some good angel whispered us to betake ourselves to Mr. John Miller, a dramatic publisher, then residing in Bow Street, Covent Garden. No sooner had this gentleman looked over our manuscript, than he immediately offered to take upon himself all the risk of publication, and to give us half the profits, SHOULD THERE BE ANY; a liberal proposition, with which we gladly closed. So rapid and decided was its success, at which none were more unfeignedly astonished than its authors, that Mr. Miller advised us to collect some Imitations of Horace, which had appeared anonymously in the Monthly Mirror, {5} offering to publish them upon the same terms. We did so accordingly; and as new editions of the Rejected Addresses were called for in quick succession, we were shortly enabled to sell our half copyright in the two works to Mr. Miller for one thousand pounds! We have entered into this unimportant detail, not to gratify any vanity of our own, but to encourage such literary beginners as may be placed in similar circumstances; as well as to impress upon publishers the propriety of giving more consideration to the possible merit of the works submitted to them, than to the mere magic of a name.

To the credit of the genus irritabile be it recorded, that not one of those whom we had parodied or burlesqued ever betrayed the least soreness on the occasion, or refused to join in the laugh that we had occasioned. With most of them we subsequently formed acquaintanceship; while some honoured us with an intimacy which still continues, where it has not been severed by the rude hand of Death. Alas! it is painful to reflect, that of the twelve writers whom we presumed to imitate, five are now no more; the list of the deceased being unhappily swelled by the most illustrious of all, the clarum et venerabile nomen of Sir Walter Scott! From that distinguished writer, whose transcendent talents were only to be equalled by his virtues and his amiability, we received favours and notice, both public and private, which it will be difficult to forget, because we had not the smallest claim upon his kindness. "I certainly must have written this myself!" said that fine-tempered man to one of the authors, pointing to the description of the Fire, "although I forget upon what occasion." Lydia White, {6} a literary lady who was prone to feed the lions of the day, invited one of us to dinner; but, recollecting afterwards that William Spencer {7} formed one of the party, wrote to the latter to put him off, telling him that a man was to be at her table whom he "would not like to meet." "Pray, who is this whom I should not like to meet?" inquired the poet. "O!" answered the lady, "one of those men who have made that shameful attack upon you!" "The very man upon earth I should like to know!" rejoined the lively and careless bard. The two individuals accordingly met, and have continued fast friends ever since. Lord Byron, too, wrote thus to Mr. Murray from Italy—"Tell him I forgive him, were he twenty times over our satirist."

It may not be amiss to notice, in this place, one criticism of a Leicestershire clergyman, which may be pronounced unique: "I do not see why they should have been rejected," observed the matter-of-fact annotator; "I think some of them very good!" Upon the whole, few have been the instances, in the acrimonious history of literature, where a malicious pleasantry like the Rejected Addresses—which the parties ridiculed might well consider more annoying than a direct satire—instead of being met by querulous bitterness or petulant retaliation, has procured for its authors the acquaintance, or conciliated the good-will, of those whom they had the most audaciously burlesqued.

In commenting on a work, however trifling, which has survived the lapse of twenty years, an author may almost claim the privileged garrulity of age; yet even in a professedly gossiping Preface, we begin to fear that we are exceeding our commission, and abusing the patience of the reader. If we are doing so, we might urge extenuating circumstances, which will explain, though they may not excuse, our diffuseness. To one of us the totally unexpected success of this little work proved an important event, since it mainly decided him, some years afterwards, to embark in the literary career which the continued favour of that novel-reading world has rendered both pleasant and profitable to him. This is the first, as it will probably be the last, occasion upon which we shall ever intrude ourselves personally on the public notice; and we trust that our now doing so will stand excused by the reasons we have adduced.

LONDON, March, 1833



REJECTED ADDRESSES



LOYAL EFFUSION by W. T. F. {7a}



Quicquid dicunt, lando: id rursum si negant, Lando id quoque." TERENCE.

Hail, glorious edifice, stupendous work! God bless the Regent and the Duke of York! Ye Muses! by whose aid I cried down Fox, Grant me in Drury Lane a private box, Where I may loll, cry Bravo! and profess The boundless powers of England's glorious press; While Afric's sons exclaim, from shore to shore, "Quashee ma boo!"—the slave-trade is no more! In fair Arabia (happy once, now stony, Since ruined by that arch apostate Boney), A Phoenix late was caught: the Arab host Long ponder'd—part would boil it, part would roast, But while they ponder, up the pot-lid flies, Fledged, beak'd, and claw'd, alive they see him rise To heaven, and caw defiance in the skies. So Drury, first in roasting flames consumed, Then by old renters to hot water doom'd, By Wyatt's {8} trowel patted, plump and sleek, Soars without wings, and caws without a beak. Gallia's stern despot shall in vain advance From Paris, the metropolis of France; By this day month the monster shall not gain A foot of land in Portugal or Spain. See Wellington in Salamanca's field Forces his favourite general to yield, Breaks through his lines, and leaves his boasted Marmont Expiring on the plain without his arm on; Madrid he enters at the cannon's mouth, And then the villages still further south. Base Buonaparte, fill'd with deadly ire, Sets, one by one, our playhouses on fire. Some years ago he pounced with deadly glee on The Opera House, then burnt down the Pantheon; Nay, still unsated, in a coat of flames, Next at Millbank he cross'd the river Thames; Thy hatch, O Halfpenny! {9} pass'd in a trice, Boil'd some black pitch, and burnt down Astley's twice; Then buzzing on through ether with a vile hum, Turn'd to the left hand, fronting the Asylum, And burnt the Royal Circus in a hurry - ('Twas call'd the Circus then, but now the Surrey). Who burnt (confound his soul!) the houses twain Of Covent Garden and of Drury Lane? {10} Who, while the British squadron lay off Cork, (God bless the Regent and the Duke of York!) With a foul earthquake ravaged the Caraccas, And raised the price of dry goods and tobaccos? Who makes the quartern loaf and Luddites rise? Who fills the butchers' shops with large blue flies? Who thought in flames St. James's court to pinch? {11} Who burnt the wardrobe of poor Lady Finch? - Why he, who, forging for this isle a yoke, Reminds me of a line I lately spoke, "The tree of freedom is the British oak." Bless every man possess'd of aught to give; Long may Long Tylney Wellesley Long Pole live; {12} God bless the Army, bless their coats of scarlet, God bless the Navy, bless the Princess Charlotte; God bless the Guards, though worsted Gallia scoff; God bless their pig-tails, though they're now cut off; And, oh! in Downing Street should Old Nick revel, England's prime minister, then bless the devil!



THE BABY'S DEBUT {13} BY W. W. {99}



"Thy lisping prattle and thy mincing gait. All thy false mimic fooleries I hate; For thou art Folly's counterfeit, and she Who is right foolish hath the better plea; Nature's true Idiot I prefer to thee" CUMBERLAND.

[Spoken in the character of Nancy Lake, a girl eight years of age, who is drawn upon the stage in a child's chaise by Samuel Hughes, her uncle's porter.]

My brother Jack was nine in May, {14} And I was eight on New-year's-day; So in Kate Wilson's shop Papa (he's my papa and Jack's) Bought me, last week, a doll of wax, And brother Jack a top.

Jack's in the pouts, and this it is, - He thinks mine came to more than his; So to my drawer he goes, Takes out the doll, and, O, my stars! He pokes her head between the bars, And melts off half her nose!

Quite cross, a bit of string I beg, And tie it to his peg-top's peg, And bang, with might and main, Its head against the parlour-door: Off flies the head, and hits the floor, And breaks a window-pane.

This made him cry with rage and spite Well, let him cry, it serves him right. A pretty thing, forsooth! If he's to melt, all scalding hot, Half my doll's nose, and I am not To draw his peg-top's tooth!

Aunt Hannah heard the window break, And cried, "O naughty Nancy Lake, Thus to distress your aunt: No Drury-Lane for you to-day!" And while papa said, "Pooh, she may!" Mamma said, "No, she sha'n't!"

Well, after many a sad reproach, They got into a hackney coach, And trotted down the street. I saw them go: one horse was blind, The tails of both hung down behind, Their shoes were on their feet.

The chaise in which poor brother Bill Used to be drawn to Pentonville, Stood in the lumber-room: I wiped the dust from off the top, While Molly mopp'd it with a mop, And brushed it with a broom.

My uncle's porter, Samuel Hughes, Came in at six to black the shoes, (I always talk to Sam:) So what does he, but takes, and drags Me in the chaise along the flags, And leaves me where I am.

My father's walls are made of brick, But not so tall, and not so thick As these; and, goodness me! My father's beams are made of wood, But never, never half so good As those that now I see.

What a large floor! 'tis like a town! The carpet, when they lay it down, Won't hide it, I'll be bound; And there's a row of lamps!—my eye How they do blaze! I wonder why They keep them on the ground.

At first I caught hold of the wing, And kept away; but Mr. Thing- um bob, the prompter man, Gave with his hand my chaise a shove, And said, "Go on, my pretty love; Speak to 'em, little Nan.

"You've only got to curtsey, whisp- er, hold your chin up, laugh, and lisp, And then you're sure to take: I've known the day when brats, not quite Thirteen, got fifty pounds a night; {15} Then why not Nancy Lake?"

But while I'm speaking, where's papa? And where's my aunt? and where's mamma? Where's Jack? O, there they sit! They smile, they nod; I'll go my ways, And order round poor Billy's chaise, To join them in the pit.

And now, good gentlefolks, I go To join mamma, and see the show; So, bidding you adieu, I curtsey, like a pretty miss, And if you'll blow to me a kiss, I'll blow a kiss to you.

[Blows a kiss and exit.



AN ADDRESS WITHOUT A PHOENIX {16}—BY S. T. P. {17}



"This was looked for at your hand, and this was balked." What You Will.

What stately vision mocks my waking sense? Hence, dear delusion, sweet enchantment, hence! Ha! is it real?—can my doubts be vain? It is, it is, and Drury lives again! Around each grateful veteran attends, Eager to rush and gratulate his friends, Friends whose kind looks, retraced with proud delight, Endear the past, and make the future bright: Yes, generous patrons, your returning smile Blesses our toils, and consecrates our pile.

When last we met, Fate's unrelenting hand Already grasped the devastating brand; Slow crept the silent flame, ensnared its prize, Then burst resistless to the astonished skies. The glowing walls, disrobed of scenic pride, In trembling conflict stemmed the burning tide, Till crackling, blazing, rocking to its fall, Down rushed the thundering roof, and buried all!

Where late the sister Muses sweetly sung, And raptured thousands on their music hung, Where Wit and Wisdom shone, by Beauty graced, Sat lonely Silence, empress of the waste; And still had reigned—but he, whose voice can raise More magic wonders than Amphion's lays, Bade jarring bands with friendly zeal engage To rear the prostrate glories of the stage. Up leaped the Muses at the potent spell, And Drury's genius saw his temple swell; Worthy, we hope, the British Drama's cause, Worthy of British arts, and YOUR applause.

Guided by you, our earnest aims presume To renovate the Drama with the dome; The scenes of Shakespeare and our bards of old With due observance splendidly unfold, Yet raise and foster with parental hand The living talent of our native land. O! may we still, to sense and nature true, Delight the many, nor offend the few. Though varying tastes our changeful Drama claim, Still be its moral tendency the same, To win by precept, by example warn, To brand the front of Vice with pointed scorn, And Virtue's smiling brows with votive wreaths adorn.



CUI BONO?—BY LORD B. {18} {99}



I.

Sated with home, of wife, of children tired, The restless soul is driven abroad to roam; {19} Sated abroad, all seen, yet nought admired, The restless soul is driven to ramble home; Sated with both, beneath new Drury's dome The fiend Ennui awhile consents to pine, There growls, and curses, like a deadly Gnome, Scorning to view fantastic Columbine, Viewing with scorn and hate the nonsense of the Nine.

II.

Ye reckless dopes, who hither wend your way To gaze on puppets in a painted dome, Pursuing pastimes glittering to betray, Like falling stars in life's eternal gloom, What seek ye here? Joy's evanescent bloom? Woe's me! the brightest wreaths she ever gave Are but as flowers that decorate a tomb. Man's heart, the mournful urn o'er which they wave, Is sacred to despair, its pedestal the grave.

III.

Has life so little store of real woes, That here ye wend to taste fictitious grief? Or is it that from truth such anguish flows, Ye court the lying drama for relief? Long shall ye find the pang, the respite brief: Or if one tolerable page appears In folly's volume, 'tis the actor's leaf, Who dries his own by drawing others' tears, And, raising present mirth, makes glad his future years.

IV.

Albeit, how like Young Betty {21} doth he flee! Light as the mote that daunceth in the beam, He liveth only in man's present e'e; His life a flash, his memory a dream, Oblivious down he drops in Lethe's stream. Yet what are they, the learned and the great? Awhile of longer wonderment the theme! Who shall presume to prophesy THEIR date, Where nought is certain, save the uncertainty of fate?

V.

This goodly pile, upheaved by Wyatt's toil, Perchance than Holland's edifice {22} more fleet, Again red Lemnos' artisan may spoil: The fire-alarm and midnight drum may beat, And all bestrewed ysmoking at your feet! Start ye? perchance Death's angel may be sent Ere from the flaming temple ye retreat: And ye who met, on revel idlesse bent, May find, in pleasure's fane, your grave and monument.

VI.

Your debts mount high—ye plunge in deeper waste; The tradesman duns—no warning voice ye hear; The plaintiff sues—to public shows ye haste; The bailiff threats—ye feel no idle fear. Who can arrest your prodigal career? Who can keep down the levity of youth? What sound can startle age's stubborn ear? Who can redeem from wretchedness and ruth Men true to falsehood's voice, false to the voice of truth?

VII.

To thee, blest saint! who doffed thy skin to make The Smithfield rabble leap from theirs with joy, We dedicate the pile—arise! awake! - Knock down the Muses, wit and sense destroy Clear our new stage from reason's dull alloy, Charm hobbling age, and tickle capering youth With cleaver, marrow-bone, and Tunbridge toy! While, vibrating in unbelieving tooth, {23} Harps twang in Drury's walls, and make her boards a booth.

VIII.

For what is Hamlet, but a hare in March? And what is Brutus, but a croaking owl? And what is Rolla? Cupid steeped in starch, Orlando's helmet in Augustin's cowl. Shakespeare, how true thine adage "fair is foul!" To him whose soul is with fruition fraught, The song of Braham is an Irish howl, Thinking is but an idle waste of thought, And nought is everything, and everything is nought.

IX.

Sons of Parnassus! whom I view above, Not laurel-crown'd, but clad in rusty black; Not spurring Pegasus through Tempe's grove, But pacing Grub-street on a jaded hack; What reams of foolscap, while your brains ye rack, Ye mar to make again! for sure, ere long, Condemn'd to tread the bard's time-sanction'd track, Ye all shall join the bailiff-haunted throng, And reproduce, in rags, the rags ye blot in song.

X.

So fares the follower in the Muses' train; He toils to starve, and only lives in death; We slight him, till our patronage is vain, Then round his skeleton a garland wreathe, And o'er his bones an empty requiem breathe - Oh! with what tragic horror would he start (Could he be conjured from the grave beneath) To find the stage again a Thespian cart, And elephants and colts down trampling Shakespeare's art!

XI.

Hence, pedant Nature! with thy Grecian rules! Centaurs (not fabulous) those rules efface; Back, sister Muses, to your native schools; Here booted grooms usurp Apollo's place, Hoofs shame the boards that Garrick used to grace, The play of limbs succeeds the play of wit, Man yields the drama to the Hou'yn'm race, His prompter spurs, his licenser the bit, The stage a stable-yard, a jockey-club the pit.

XII.

Is it for these ye rear this proud abode? Is it for these your superstition seeks To build a temple worthy of a god, To laud a monkey, or to worship leeks? Then be the stage, to recompense your freaks, A motley chaos, jumbling age and ranks, Where Punch, the lignum-vitae Roscius, squeaks, And Wisdom weeps, and Folly plays his pranks, And moody Madness laughs and hugs the chain he clanks.



HAMPSHIRE FARMER'S ADDRESS—BY W. C. {99}



TO THE SECRETARY OF THE MANAGING COMMITTEE OF DRURY-LANE PLAYHOUSE. SIR,

To the gewgaw fetters of RHYME (invented by the monks to enslave the people) I have a rooted objection. I have therefore written an address for your Theatre in plain, homespun, yeoman's prose; in the doing whereof I hope I am swayed by nothing but an INDEPENDENT wish to open the eyes of this gulled people, to prevent a repetition of the dramatic BAMBOOZLING they have hitherto laboured under. If you like what I have done, and mean to make use of it, I don't want any such ARISTOCRATIC reward as a piece of plate with two griffins sprawling upon it, or a DOG and a JACKASS fighting for a ha'p'worth of GILT GINGERBREAD, or any such Bartholomew-fair nonsense. All I ask is that the door-keepers of your play-house may take all the SETS OF MY REGISTER {24} now on hand, and FORCE every body who enters your doors to buy one, giving afterwards a debtor and creditor account of what they have received, POST-PAID, and in due course remitting me the money and unsold Registers, CARRIAGE-PAID.

I am, &c. W. C.

IN THE CHARACTER OF A HAMPSHIRE FARMER.

- "Rabida qui concitus ira Implevit pariter ternis latratibus auras, Et sparsit virides spumis albentibus agrot."—OVID.

MOST THINKING PEOPLE,

When persons address an audience from the stage, it is usual, either in words or gesture, to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen, your servant." If I were base enough, mean enough, paltry enough, and BRUTE BEAST enough, to follow that fashion, I should tell two lies in a breath. In the first place, you are NOT Ladies and Gentlemen, but I hope something better, that is to say, honest men and women; and in the next place, if you were ever so much ladies, and ever so much gentlemen, I am not, NOR EVER WILL BE, your humble servant. You see me here, MOST THINKING PEOPLE, by mere chance. I have not been within the doors of a play-house before for these ten years; nor, till that abominable custom of taking money at the doors is discontinued, will I ever sanction a theatre with my presence. The stage-door is the only gate of FREEDOM in the whole edifice, and through that I made my way from Bagshaw's {25} in Brydges Street, to accost you. Look about you. Are you not all comfortable? Nay, never slink, mun; speak out, if you are dissatisfied, and tell me so before I leave town. You are now (thanks to MR. WHITBREAD) got into a large, comfortable house. Not into a GIMCRACK-PALACE; not into a SOLOMON'S TEMPLE; not into a frost-work of Brobdignag filigree; but into a plain, honest, homely, industrious, wholesome, BROWN BRICK PLAYHOUSE. You have been struggling for independence and elbow-room these three years; and who gave it you? Who helped you out of Lilliput? Who routed you from a rat-hole five inches by four, to perch you in a palace? Again and again I answer, MR. WHITBREAD. You might have sweltered in that place with the Greek name {26} till doomsday, and neither LORD CASTLEREAGH, MR. CANNING, no, nor the MARQUESS WELLESLEY, would have turned a trowel to help you out! Remember that. Never forget that. Read it to your children, and to your children's children! And now, MOST THINKING PEOPLE, cast your eyes over my head to what the builder (I beg his pardon, the architect) calls the proscenium. No motto, no slang, no popish Latin, to keep the people in the dark. No veluti in speculum. Nothing in the dead languages, properly so called, for they ought to die, ay and be DAMNED to boot! The Covent Garden manager tried that, and a pretty business he made of it! When a man says veluti in speculum, he is called a man of letters. Very well, and is not a man who cries O. P. a man of letters too? You ran your O. P. against his veluti in speculum, and pray which beat? I prophesied that, though I never told any body. I take it for granted, that every intelligent man, woman, and child, to whom I address myself, has stood severally and respectively in Little Russell Street, and cast their, his, her, and its eyes on the outside of this building before they paid their money to view the inside. Look at the brick-work, ENGLISH AUDIENCE! Look at the brick-work! All plain and smooth like a quakers' meeting. None of your Egyptian pyramids, to entomb subscribers' capitals. No overgrown colonnades of stone, {27} like an alderman's gouty legs in white cotton stockings, fit only to use as rammers for paving Tottenham Court Road. This house is neither after the model of a temple in Athens, no, nor a TEMPLE in MOORFIELDS, but it is built to act English plays in: and, provided you have good scenery, dresses, and decorations, I daresay you wouldn't break your hearts if the outside were as plain as the pikestaff I used to carry when I was a sergeant. Apropos, as the French valets say, who cut their masters' throats {28}—apropos, a word about dresses. You must, many of you, have seen what I have read a description of, Kemble and Mrs. Siddons in Macbeth, with more gold and silver plastered on their doublets than would have kept an honest family in butchers' meat and flannel from year's end to year's end! I am informed, (now mind, I do not vouch for the fact), but I am informed that all such extravagant idleness is to be done away with here. Lady Macbeth is to have a plain quilted petticoat, a cotton gown, and a MOB CAP (as the court parasites call it;—it will be well for them if, one of these days, they don't wear a mob cap—I mean a WHITE CAP, with a MOB to look at them); and Macbeth is to appear in an honest yeoman's drab coat, and a pair of black calamanco breeches. Not SALAmanca; no, nor TALAVERA neither, my most Noble Marquess; but plain, honest, black calamanco stuff breeches. This is right; this is as it should be. MOST THINKING PEOPLE, I have heard you much abused. There is not a compound in the language but is strung fifty in a rope, like onions, by the Morning Post, and hurled in your teeth. You are called the mob; and when they have made you out to be the mob, you are called the SCUM of the people, and the DREGS of the people. I should like to know how you can be both. Take a basin of broth—not CHEAP SOUP, MR. WILBERFORCE—not soup for the poor, at a penny a quart, as your mixture of horses' legs, brick-dust, and old shoes, was denominated— but plain, wholesome, patriotic beef or mutton broth; take this, examine it, and you will find—mind, I don't vouch for the fact, but I am told—you will find the dregs at the bottom, and the scum at the top. I will endeavour to explain this to you: England is a large EARTHENWARE PIPKIN; John Bull is the BEEF thrown into it; taxes are the HOT WATER he boils in; rotten boroughs are the FUEL that blazes under this same pipkin; parliament is the LADLE that stirs the hodge- podge, and sometimes -. But, hold! I don't wish to pay MR. NEWMAN {29} a second visit. I leave you better off than you have been this many a day: you have a good house over your head; you have beat the French in Spain; the harvest has turned out well; the comet keeps its distance; {30} and red slippers are hawked about in Constantinople for next to nothing; and for all this, AGAIN AND AGAIN I tell you, you are indebted to MR. WHITBREAD!!!



THE LIVING LUSTRES—BY T. M. {31} {99}



"Jam te juvaverit Viros relinquere, Doctaeque conjugis Sinu quiescere."

SIR T. MORE.

I.

O why should our dull retrospective addresses Fall damp as wet blankets on Drury Lane fire? Away with blue devils, away with distresses, And give the gay spirit to sparkling desire!

II.

Let artists decide on the beauties of Drury, The richest to me is when woman is there; The question of houses I leave to the jury; The fairest to me is the house of the fair.

III.

When woman's soft smile all our senses bewilders, And gilds, while it carves, her dear form on the heart, What need has New Drury of carvers and gilders? With Nature so bounteous, why call upon Art?

IV.

How well would our actors attend to their duties, Our house save in oil, and our authors in wit, In lieu of you lamps, if a row of young beauties Glanced light from their eyes between us and the pit?

V.

The apples that grew on the fruit-tree of knowledge By woman were pluck'd, and she still wears the prize, To tempt us in theatre, senate, or college - I mean the love-apples that bloom in the eyes.

VI.

There too is the lash which, all statutes controlling, Still governs the slaves that are made by the fair; For man is the pupil, who, while her eye's rolling, Is lifted to rapture, or sunk in despair.

VII.

Bloom, Theatre, bloom, in the roseate blushes Of beauty illumed by a love-breathing smile! And flourish, ye pillars, {32} as green as the rushes That pillow the nymphs of the Emerald Isle!

VIII.

For dear is the Emerald Isle of the ocean, Whose daughters are fair as the foam of the wave, Whose sons, unaccustom'd to rebel commotion, Tho' joyous, are sober—tho' peaceful, are brave.

IX.

The shamrock their olive, swore foe to a quarrel, Protects from the thunder and lightning of rows; Their sprig of shillelagh is nothing but laurel, Which flourishes rapidly over their brows.

X.

O! soon shall they burst the tyrannical shackles Which each panting bosom indignantly names, Until not one goose at the capital cackles Against the grand question of Catholic claims.

XI.

And then shall each Paddy, who once on the Liffey Perchance held the helm of some mackerel-hoy, Hold the helm of the state, and dispense in a jiffy More fishes than ever he caught when a boy.

XII.

And those who now quit their hods, shovels, and barrows In crowds to the bar of some ale-house to flock, When bred to OUR bar shall be Gibbses and Garrows, Assume the silk gown, and discard the smock-frock.

XIII.

For Erin surpasses the daughters of Neptune, As Dian outshines each encircling star; And the spheres of the heavens could never have kept tune Till set to the music of Erin-go-bragh!



THE REBUILDING—BY R. S. {33} {99}



- "Per audaces nova dithyrambos Verba devolvit numerisque fertur Lege solutis." HORAT.

[Spoken by a Glendoveer.]

I am a blessed Glendoveer: {34} 'Tis mine to speak, and yours to hear. Midnight, {35} yet not a nose From Tower-hill to Piccadilly snored! Midnight, yet not a nose From Indra drew the essence of repose! See with what crimson fury, By Indra fann'd, the god of fire ascends the walls of Drury

Tops of houses, blue with lead, Bend beneath the landlord's tread. Master and 'prentice, serving-man and lord, Nailor and tailor, Grazier and brazier, Through streets and alleys pour'd - All, all abroad to gaze, And wonder at the blaze. Thick calf, fat foot, and slim knee, Mounted on roof and chimney, {36} The mighty roast, the mighty stew To see; As if the dismal view Were but to them a Brentford jubilee. Vainly, all-radiant Surya, sire of Phaeton (By Greeks call'd Apollo {37}), Hollow Sounds from thy harp proceed; Combustible as reed, The tongue of Vulcan licks thy wooden legs: From Drury's top, dissever'd from thy pegs, Thou tumblest, Humblest, Where late thy bright effulgence shone on high; While, by thy somerset excited, fly Ten million Billion Sparks from the pit, to gem the sable sky. Now come the men of fire to quench the fires: To Russell Street see Globe and Atlas run, Hope gallops first, and second Sun; On flying heel, See Hand-in-Hand O'ertake the band! View with what glowing wheel He nicks Phoenix! While Albion scampers from Bridge Street, Blackfriars - Drury Lane! Drury Lane! Drury Lane! Drury Lane! They shout and they bellow again and again. All, all in vain! Water turns steam; Each blazing beam Hisses defiance to the eddying spout: It seems but too plain that nothing can put it out! Drury Lane! Drury Lane! See, Drury Lane expires!

Pent in by smoke-dried beams, twelve moons or more, Shorn of his ray, Surya in durance lay: The workmen heard him shout, But thought it would not pay To dig him out. When lo! terrific Yamen, lord of hell, Solemn as lead, Judge of the dead, Sworn foe to witticism, By men call'd criticism, Came passing by that way: Rise! cried the fiend, behold a sight of gladness! Behold the rival theatre! I've set O. P. at her, {38} Who, like a bull-dog bold, Growls and fastens on his hold. The many-headed rabble roar in madness; Thy rival staggers: come and spy her Deep in the mud as thou art in the mire. So saying, in his arms he caught the beaming one, And crossing Russell Street, He placed him on his feet 'Neath Covent Garden dome. Sudden a sound, As of the bricklayers of Babel, rose: Horns, rattles, drums, tin trumpets, sheets of copper, Punches and slaps, thwacks of all sorts and sizes, From the knobb'd bludgeon to the taper switch, {39} Ran echoing round the walls; paper placards Blotted the lamps, boots brown with mud the benches; A sea of heads roll'd roaring in the pit; On paper wings O. P.'s Reclin'd in lettered ease; While shout and scoff, Ya! ya! off! off! Like thunderbolt on Surya's ear-drum fell, And seemed to paint The savage oddities of Saint Bartholomew in hell.

Tears dimm'd the god of light - "Bear me back, Yamen, from this hideous sight; Bear me back, Yamen, I grow sick, Oh! bury me again in brick; Shall I on New Drury tremble, To be O. P.'d like Kemble? No, Better remain by rubbish guarded, Than thus hubbubish groan placarded; Bear me back, Yamen, bear me quick, And bury me again in brick." Obedient Yamen Answered, "Amen," And did As he was bid.

There lay the buried god, and Time Seemed to decree eternity of lime; But pity, like a dew-drop, gently prest Almighty Veeshnoo's {40} adamantine breast: He, the preserver, ardent still To do whate'er he says he will, From South-hill wing'd his way, To raise the drooping lord of day. All earthly spells the busy one o'erpower'd; He treats with men of all conditions, Poets and players, tradesmen and musicians; Nay, even ventures To attack the renters, Old and new: A list he gets Of claims and debts, And deems nought done, while aught remains to do.

Yamen beheld, and wither'd at the sight; Long had he aim'd the sunbeam to control, For light was hateful to his soul: "Go on!" cried the hellish one, yellow with spite, "Go on!" cried the hellish one, yellow with spleen, "Thy toils of the morning, like Ithaca's queen, I'll toil to undo every night."

Ye sons of song, rejoice! Veeshnoo has still'd the jarring elements, The spheres hymn music; Again the god of day Peeps forth with trembling ray, Wakes, from their humid caves, the sleeping Nine, And pours at intervals a strain divine. "I have an iron yet in the fire," cried Yamen; "The vollied flame rides in my breath, My blast is elemental death; This hand shall tear your paper bonds to pieces; Ingross your deeds, assignments, leases, My breath shall every line erase Soon as I blow the blaze."

The lawyers are met at the Crown and Anchor, And Yamen's visage grows blanker and blanker; The lawyers are met at the Anchor and Crown, And Yamen's cheek is a russety brown: Veeshnoo, now thy work proceeds; The solicitor reads, And, merit of merit! Red wax and green ferret Are fixed at the foot of the deeds!

Yamen beheld and shiver'd; His finger and thumb were cramp'd; His ear by the flea in 't was bitten, When he saw by the lawyer's clerk written, Sealed and delivered, Being first duly stamped.

"Now for my turn!" the demon cries, and blows A blast of sulphur from his mouth and nose. Ah! bootless aim! the critic fiend, Sagacious Yamen, judge of hell, Is judged in his turn; Parchment won't burn! His schemes of vengeance are dissolved in air, Parchment won't tear!!

Is it not written in the Himakoot book (That mighty Baly from Kehama took), "Who blows on pounce Must the Swerga renounce?" It is! it is! Yamen, thine hour is nigh: Like as an eagle claws an asp, Veeshnoo has caught him in his mighty grasp, And hurl'd him, in spite of his shrieks and his squalls, Whizzing aloft, like the Temple fountain, Three times as high as Meru mountain, Which is Ninety-nine times as high as St. Paul's.

Descending, he twisted like Levy the Jew, {41} Who a durable grave meant To dig in the pavement Of Monument-yard: To earth by the laws of attraction he flew, And he fell, and he fell To the regions of hell; Nine centuries bounced he from cavern to rock, And his head, as he tumbled, went nickety-nock, Like a pebble in Carisbrook well.

Now Veeshnoo turn'd round to a capering varlet, Array'd in blue and white and scarlet, And cried, "Oh! brown of slipper as of hat! Lend me, Harlequin, thy bat!" He seized the wooden sword, and smote the earth; When lo! upstarting into birth A fabric, gorgeous to behold, Outshone in elegance the old, And Veeshnoo saw, and cried, "Hail, playhouse mine!" Then, bending his head, to Surya he said, "Soon as thy maiden sister Di Caps with her copper lid the dark blue sky, And through the fissures of her clouded fan Peeps at the naughty monster man. Go mount yon edifice, And show thy steady face In renovated pride, More bright, more glorious than before!" But ah! coy Surya still felt a twinge, Still smarted from his former singe; And to Veeshnoo replied, In a tone rather gruff, "No, thank you! one tumble's enough!"



DRURY'S DIRGE {42}—BY LAURA MATILDA. {43}



"You praise our sires; but though they wrote with force, Their rhymes were vicious, and their diction coarse: We want their STRENGTH, agreed; but we atone For that, and more, by SWEETNESS all our own."—GIFFORD.

I.

Balmy Zephyrs, lightly flitting, Shade me with your azure wing; On Parnassus' summit sitting, Aid me, Clio, while I sing.

II.

Softly slept the dome of Drury O'er the empyreal crest, When Alecto's sister-fury Softly slumb'ring sunk to rest.

III.

Lo! from Lemnos limping lamely, Lags the lowly Lord of Fire, Cytherea yielding tamely To the Cyclops dark and dire.

IV.

Clouds of amber, dreams of gladness, Dulcet joys and sports of youth, Soon must yield to haughty sadness; Mercy holds the veil to Truth.

V.

See Erostratus the second Fires again Diana's fane; By the Fates from Orcus beckon'd, Clouds envelope Drury Lane.

VI.

Lurid smoke and frank suspicion Hand in hand reluctant dance: While the God fulfils his mission, Chivalry, resign thy lance.

VII.

Hark! the engines blandly thunder, Fleecy clouds dishevell'd lie, And the firemen, mute with wonder, On the son of Saturn cry.

VIII.

See the bird of Ammon sailing, Perches on the engine's peak, And, the Eagle firemen hailing, Soothes them with its bickering beak.

IX.

Juno saw, and mad with malice, Lost the prize that Paris gave: Jealousy's ensanguined chalice Mantling pours the orient wave.

X.

Pan beheld Patroclus dying, Nox to Niobe was turn'd; From Busiris Bacchus flying, Saw his Semele inurn'd.

XI.

Thus fell Drury's lofty glory, Levell'd with the shuddering stones; Mars, with tresses black and gory, Drinks the dew of pearly groans.

XII.

Hark! what soft Eolian numbers Gem the blushes of the morn! Break, Amphion, break your slumbers, Nature's ringlets deck the thorn.

XIII.

Ha! I hear the strain erratic Dimly glance from pole to pole; Raptures sweet and dreams ecstatic Fire my everlasting soul.

XIV.

Where is Cupid's crimson motion? Billowy ecstasy of woe, Bear me straight, meandering ocean, Where the stagnant torrents flow.

XV.

Blood in every vein is gushing, Vixen vengeance lulls my heart: See, the Gorgon gang is rushing! Never, never let us part!



A TALE OF DRURY LANE—BY W. S. {44} {99}



[To be spoken by Mr. Kemble, in a suit of the Black Prince's armour, borrowed from the Tower.]

Survey this shield, all bossy bright - These cuisses twain behold! Look on my form in armour dight Of steel inlaid with gold; My knees are stiff in iron buckles, Stiff spikes of steel protect my knuckles. These once belong'd to sable prince, Who never did in battle wince; With valour tart as pungent quince, He slew the vaunting Gaul. Rest there awhile, my bearded lance, While from green curtain I advance To yon foot-lights—no trivial dance, {45} And tell the town what sad mischance Did Drury Lane befall.

THE NIGHT.

On fair Augusta's {46} towers and trees Flitted the silent midnight breeze, Curling the foliage as it pass'd, Which from the moon-tipp'd plumage cast A spangled light, like dancing spray, Then re-assumed its still array; When, as night's lamp unclouded hung, And down its full effulgence flung, It shed such soft and balmy power That cot and castle, hall and bower, And spire and dome, and turret height, Appeared to slumber in the light. From Henry's chapel, Rufus' hall, To Savoy, Temple, and St. Paul; From Knightsbridge, Pancras, Camden Town, To Redriffe, Shadwell, Horsleydown, No voice was heard, no eye unclosed, But all in deepest sleep reposed. They might have thought, who gazed around Amid a silence so profound, It made the senses thrill, That 'twas no place inhabited, But some vast city of the dead - All was so hush'd and still.

THE BURNING.

As Chaos, which, by heavenly doom, Had slept in everlasting gloom, Started with terror and surprise When light first flash'd upon her eyes - So London's sons in nightcap woke, In bed-gown woke her dames; For shouts were heard 'mid fire and smoke, And twice ten hundred voices spoke - "The playhouse is in flames!" And, lo! where Catherine Street extends, A fiery tail its lustre lends To every window-pane; Blushes each spout in Martlet Court, And Barbican, moth-eaten fort, And Covent Garden kennels sport A bright ensanguined drain; Meux's new brewhouse shows the light, Rowland Hill's Chapel, and the height Where Patent Shot they sell; The Tennis Court, so fair and tall, Partakes the ray, with Surgeons' Hall, The Ticket-Porters' House of Call, Old Bedlam, close by London Wall, {47} Wright's shrimp and oyster shop withal, And Richardson's Hotel. Nor these alone, but far and wide, Across red Thames's gleaming tide, To distant fields the blaze was borne, And daisy white and hoary thorn In borrow'd lustre seem'd to sham The rose or red sweet Wil-li-am. To those who on the hills around Beheld the flames from Drury's mound, As from a lofty altar rise, It seem'd that nations did conspire To offer to the god of fire Some vast, stupendous sacrifice! The summon'd firemen woke at call, And hied them to their stations all: Starting from short and broken snooze, Each sought his pond'rous hobnail'd shoes, But first his worsted hosen plied, Plush breeches next, in crimson dyed, His nether bulk embraced; Then jacket thick, of red or blue, Whose massy shoulder gave to view The badge of each respective crew, In tin or copper traced. The engines thunder'd through the street, Fire-hook, pipe, bucket, all complete, And torches glared, and clattering feet Along the pavement paced. And one, the leader of the band, From Charing Cross along the Strand, Like stag by beagles hunted hard, Ran till he stopp'd at Vin'gar Yard. {48} The burning badge his shoulder bore, The belt and oil-skin hat he wore, The cane he had, his men to bang, Show'd foreman of the British gang - His name was Higginbottom. Now 'Tis meet that I should tell you how The others came in view: The Hand-in-Hand the race begun, {49} Then came the Phoenix and the Sun, Th' Exchange, where old insurers run, The Eagle, where the new; With these came Rumford, Bumford, Cole, Robins from Hockley in the Hole, Lawson and Dawson, cheek by jowl, Crump from St. Giles's Pound: Whitford and Mitford join'd the train, Huggins and Muggins from Chick Lane, And Clutterbuck, who got a sprain Before the plug was found. Hobson and Jobson did not sleep, But ah! no trophy could they reap, For both were in the Donjon Keep Of Bridewell's gloomy mound!

E'en Higginbottom now was posed, For sadder scene was ne'er disclosed Without, within, in hideous show, Devouring flames resistless glow, And blazing rafters downward go, And never halloo "Heads below!" Nor notice give at all. The firemen terrified are slow To bid the pumping torrent flow, For fear the roof should fall. Back, Robins, back! Crump, stand aloof! Whitford, keep near the walls! Huggins, regard your own behoof, For, lo! the blazing rocking roof Down, down in thunder falls! An awful pause succeeds the stroke, And o'er the ruins volumed smoke, Rolling around its pitchy shroud, Conceal'd them from th' astonish'd crowd. At length the mist awhile was clear'd, When lo! amid the wreck uprear'd, Gradual a moving head appear'd, And Eagle firemen knew 'Twas Joseph Muggins, name revered, The foreman of their crew. Loud shouted all in signs of woe, "A Muggins! to the rescue, ho!" And pour'd the hissing tide: Meanwhile the Muggins fought amain, And strove and struggled all in vain, For, rallying but to fall again, He totter'd, sunk, and died!

Did none attempt, before he fell, To succour one they loved so well? Yes, Higginbottom did aspire (His fireman's soul was all on fire) His brother chief to save; But ah! his reckless generous ire Served but to abate his grave! 'Mid blazing beams and scalding streams. Through fire and smoke he dauntless broke, Where Muggins broke before: But sulphry stench and boiling drench Destroying sight o'erwhelm'd him quite, He sunk to rise no more. Still o'er his head, while fate he braved, His whizzing water-pipe he waved; "Whitford and Mitford, ply your pumps, "You, Clutterbuck, come stir your stumps, "Why are you in such doleful dumps? "A fireman, and afraid of bumps! - "What are they fear'd on? fools! 'od rot 'em!" Were the last words of Higginbottom. {50}

THE REVIVAL.

Peace to his soul! new prospects bloom, And toil rebuilds what fires consume! Eat we and drink we, be our ditty, "Joy to the managing committee!" Eat we and drink we, join to rum Roast beef and pudding of the plum! Forth from thy nook, John Horner, come, With bread of ginger brown thy thumb, For this is Drury's gay day: Roll, roll thy hoop, and twirl thy tops, And buy, to glad thy smiling chops, Crisp parliament with lollypops, And fingers of the Lady.

Didst mark, how toil'd the busy train, From morn to eve, till Drury Lane Leap'd like a roebuck from the plain? Ropes rose and sunk, and rose again, And nimble workmen trod; To realise bold Wyatt's plan Rush'd many a howling Irishman; Loud clatter'd many a porter-can, And many a ragamuffin clan With trowel and with hod.

Drury revives! her rounded pate Is blue, is heavenly blue with slate; She "wings the midway air" elate, As magpie, crow, or chough; White paint her modish visage smears, Yellow and pointed are her ears, No pendent portico appears Dangling beneath, for Whitbread's shears {51} Have cut the bauble off.

Yes, she exalts her stately head; And, but that solid bulk outspread Opposed you on your onward tread, And posts and pillars warranted That all was true that Wyatt said, You might have deemed her walls so thick Were not composed of stone or brick, But all a phantom, all a trick, Of brain disturb'd and fancy sick, So high she soars, so vast, so quick!



JOHNSON'S GHOST. {52}



[Ghost of Dr. Johnson rises from trap-door P. S., and Ghost of BOSWELL from trap-door O. P. The latter bows respectfully to the House, and obsequiously to the Doctor's Ghost, and retires.]

DOCTOR'S GHOST loquitur.

That which was organised by the moral ability of one has been executed by the physical efforts of many, and DRURY LANE THEATRE is now complete. Of that part behind the curtain, which has not yet been destined to glow beneath the brush of the varnisher, or vibrate to the hammer of the carpenter, little is thought by the public, and little need be said by the committee. Truth, however, is not to be sacrificed for the accommodation of either; and he who should pronounce that our edifice has received its final embellishment would be disseminating falsehood without incurring favour, and risking the disgrace of detection without participating the advantage of success.

Professions lavishly effused and parsimoniously verified are alike inconsistent with the precepts of innate rectitude and the practice of external policy: let it not then be conjectured that because we are unassuming, we are imbecile; that forbearance is any indication of despondency, or humility of demerit. He that is the most assured of success will make the fewest appeals to favour, and where nothing is claimed that is undue, nothing that is due will be withheld. A swelling opening is too often succeeded by an insignificant conclusion. Parturient mountains have now produced muscipular abortions; and the auditor who compares incipient grandeur with final vulgarity is reminded of the pious hawkers of Constantinople, who solemnly perambulate her streets, exclaiming, "In the name of the Prophet—figs!"

Of many who think themselves wise, and of some who are thought wise by others, the exertions are directed to the revival of mouldering and obscure dramas; to endeavours to exalt that which is now rare only because it was always worthless, and whose deterioration, while it condemned it to living obscurity, by a strange obliquity of moral perception constitutes its title to posthumous renown. To embody the flying colours of folly, to arrest evanescence, to give to bubbles the globular consistency as well as form, to exhibit on the stage the piebald denizen of the stable, and the half-reasoning parent of combs, to display the brisk locomotion of Columbine, or the tortuous attitudinizing of Punch;—these are the occupations of others, whose ambition, limited to the applause of unintellectual fatuity, is too innocuous for the application of satire, and too humble for the incitement of jealousy.

Our refectory will be found to contain every species of fruit, from the cooling nectarine and luscious peach to the puny pippin and the noxious nut. There Indolence may repose, and Inebriety revel; and the spruce apprentice, rushing in at second account, may there chatter with impunity; debarred, by a barrier of brick and mortar, from marring that scenic interest in others, which nature and education have disqualified him from comprehending himself.

Permanent stage-doors we have none. That which is permanent cannot be removed, for, if removed, it soon ceases to be permanent. What stationary absurdity can vie with that ligneous barricado, which, decorated with frappant and tintinnabulant appendages, now serves as the entrance of the lowly cottage, and now as the exit of a lady's bed-chamber; at one time insinuating plastic Harlequin into a butcher's shop, and, at another, yawning, as a flood-gate, to precipitate the Cyprians of St. Giles's into the embraces of Macheath? To elude this glaring absurdity, to give to each respective mansion the door which the carpenter would doubtless have given, we vary our portal with the varying scene, passing from deal to mahogany, and from mahogany to oak, as the opposite claims of cottage, palace, or castle may appear to require.

Amid the general hum of gratulation which flatters us in front, it is fit that some regard should be paid to the murmurs of despondence that assail us in the rear. They, as I have elsewhere expressed it, "who live to please," should not have their own pleasures entirely overlooked. The children of Thespis are general in their censures of the architect, its having placed the locality of exit at such a distance from the oily irradiators which now dazzle the eyes of him who addresses you. I am, cries the Queen of Terrors, robbed of my fair proportions. When the king-killing Thane hints to the breathless auditory the murders he means to perpetrate, in the castle of Macduff, "ere his purpose cool;" so vast is the interval he has to travel before he can escape from the stage, that his purpose has even time to freeze. Your condition, cries the Muse of Smiles, is hard, but it is cygnet's down in comparison with mine. The peerless peer of capers and congees {53} has laid it down as a rule, that the best good thing uttered by the morning visitor should conduct him rapidly to the doorway, last impressions vying in durability with first. But when, on this boarded elongation, it falls to my lot to say a good thing, to ejaculate "keep moving," or to chant "hic hoc horum genitivo," many are the moments that must elapse ere I can hide myself from public vision in the recesses of O. P. or P. S.

To objections like these, captiously urged and querulously maintained, it is time that equity should conclusively reply. Deviation from scenic propriety has only to vituperate itself for the consequences it generates. Let the actor consider the line of exit as that line beyond which he should not soar in quest of spurious applause: let him reflect, that in proportion as he advances to the lamps, he recedes from nature; that the truncheon of Hotspur acquires no additional charm from encountering the cheek of beauty in the stage-box; and that the bravura of Mandane may produce effect, although the throat of her who warbles it should not overhang the orchestra. The Jove of the modern critical Olympus, Lord Mayor of the theatric sky, {54} has, ex cathedra, asserted that a natural actor looks upon the audience part of the theatre as the third side of the chamber he inhabits. Surely, of the third wall thus fancifully erected, our actors should, by ridicule or reason, be withheld from knocking their heads against the stucco.

Time forcibly reminds me that all things which have a limit must be brought to a conclusion. Let me, ere that conclusion arrives, recall to your recollection, that the pillars which rise on either side of me, blooming in virid antiquity, like two massy evergreens, had yet slumbered in their native quarry but for the ardent exertions of the individual who called them into life: to his never-slumbering talents you are indebted for whatever pleasure this haunt of the Muses is calculated to afford. If, in defiance of chaotic malevolence, the destroyer of the temple of Diana yet survives in the name of Erostratus, surely we may confidently predict that the rebuilder of the temple of Apollo will stand recorded to distant posterity in that of—SAMUEL WHITBREAD.



THE BEAUTIFUL INCENDIARY {55}—BY THE HON. W. S. {99}



Formosam resonare doces Amaryllida sylvas.—VIRGIL.

Scene draws, and discovers a Lady asleep on a couch.

Enter PHILANDER.

PHILANDER.

I.

Sobriety, cease to be sober, {56} Cease, Labour, to dig and to delve; All hail to this tenth of October, One thousand eight hundred and twelve! {57} Ha! whom do my peepers remark? 'Tis Hebe with Jupiter's jug; O no, 'tis the pride of the Park, Fair Lady Elizabeth Mugg.

II.

Why, beautiful nymph, do you close The curtain that fringes your eye? Why veil in the clouds of repose The sun that should brighten our sky? Perhaps jealous Venus has oiled Your hair with some opiate drug, Not choosing her charms should be foiled By Lady Elizabeth Mugg.

III.

But ah! why awaken the blaze Those bright burning-glasses contain, Whose lens with concentrated rays Proved fatal to old Drury Lane? 'Twas all accidental, they cry, - Away with the flimsy humbug! 'Twas fired by a flash from the eye Of Lady Elizabeth Mugg.

IV.

Thy glance can in us raise a flame, Then why should old Drury be free? Our doom and its doom are the same, Both subject to beauty's decree. No candles the workmen consumed When deep in the ruins they dug; Thy flash still their progress illumed, Sweet Lady Elizabeth Mugg.

V.

Thy face a rich fire-place displays: The mantel-piece marble—thy brows; Thine eyes are the bright beaming blaze; Thy bib, which no trespass allows, The fender's tall barrier marks; Thy tippet's the fire-quelling rug, Which serves to extinguish the sparks Of Lady Elizabeth Mugg.

VI.

The Countess a lily appears, Whose tresses the pearl-drops emboss; The Marchioness, blooming in years, A rose-bud enveloped in moss; But thou art the sweet passion-flower, For who would not slavery hug, To pass but one exquisite hour In the arms of Elizabeth Mugg?

VII.

When at Court, or some Dowager's rout, Her diamond aigrette meets our view, She looks like a glow-worm dressed out, Or tulips bespangled with dew. Her two lips denied to man's suit Are shared with her favourite Pug; What lord would not change with the brute, To live with Elizabeth Mugg?

VIII.

Could the stage be a large vis-a-vis, Reserved for the polished and great, Where each happy lover might see The nymph he adores tete-a-tete; No longer I'd gaze on the ground, And the load of despondency lug, For I'd book myself all the year round To ride with the sweet Lady Mugg.

IX.

Yes, she in herself is a host, And if she were here all alone, Our house might nocturnally boast A bumper of fashion and ton. Again should it burst in a blaze, In vain would they ply Congreve's plug, {57} For nought could extinguish the rays From the glance of divine Lady Mugg.

X.

O could I as Harlequin frisk, And thou be my Columbine fair, My wand should with one magic whisk Transport us to Hanover Square: St. George's should lend us its shrine, The parson his shoulders might shrug, But a licence should force him to join My hand in the hand of my Mugg.

XI.

Court-plaster the weapons should tip, By Cupid shot down from above, Which, cut into spots for thy lip, Should still barb the arrows of love. The God who from others flies quick, With us should be slow as a slug; As close as a leech he should stick To me and Elizabeth Mugg.

XII.

For Time would, with us, 'stead of sand, Put filings of steel in his glass, To dry up the blots of his hand, And spangle life's page as they pass. Since all flesh is grass ere 'tis hay, {58} O may I in clover live snug, And when old Time mows me away, Be stacked with defunct Lady Mugg!



FIRE AND ALE—BY M. G. L. {58a} {99}



Omnia transformat sese in miracula rerum.—VIRGIL.

My palate is parched with Pierian thirst, Away to Parnassus I'm beckoned; List, warriors and dames, while my lay is rehearsed, I sing of the singe of Miss Drury the first, And the birth of Miss Drury the second.

The Fire King, one day, rather amorous felt; He mounted his hot copper filly; His breeches and boots were of tin, and the belt Was made of cast iron, for fear it should melt With the heat of the copper colt's belly.

Sure never was skin half so scalding as his! When an infant 'twas equally horrid; For the water, when he was baptized, gave a fizz, And bubbled and simmer'd and started off, whizz! As soon as it sprinkled his forehead.

O! then there was glitter and fire in each eye, For two living coals were the symbols; His teeth were calcined, and his tongue was so dry, It rattled against them, as though you should try To play the piano in thimbles.

From his nostrils a lava sulphureous flows, Which scorches wherever it lingers; A snivelling fellow he's call'd by his foes, For he can't raise his paw up to blow his red nose For fear it should blister his fingers.

His wig is of flames curling over his head, Well powder'd with white smoking ashes; He drinks gunpowder tea, melted sugar of lead, Cream of tartar, and dines on hot spice gingerbread, Which black from the oven he gnashes.

Each fire-nymph his kiss from her countenance shields, 'Twould soon set her cheekbone a frying; He spit in the Tenter-Ground near Spital-fields, And the hole that it burnt, and the chalk that it yields Make a capital lime-kiln for drying.

When he open'd his mouth, out there issued a blast, (Nota bene, I do not mean swearing,) But the noise that it made, and the heat that it cast, I've heard it from those who have seen it, surpass'd A shot manufactory flaring.

He blazed, and he blazed, as be gallop'd to snatch His bride, little dreaming of danger; His whip was a torch, and his spur was a match, And over the horse's left eye was a patch, To keep it from burning the manger.

And who is the housemaid he means to enthral In his cinder-producing alliance? Tis Drury-Lane Playhouse, so wide and so tall, Who, like other combustible ladies, must fall, If she cannot set sparks at defiance.

On his warming-pan kneepan he clattering roll'd, And the housemaid his hand would have taken, But his hand, like his passion, was too hot to hold, And she soon let it go, but her new ring of gold All melted, like butter or bacon!

Oh! then she look'd sour, and indeed well she might, For Vinegar Yard was before her; But, spite of her shrieks, the ignipotent knight, Enrobing the maid in a flame of gas light, To the skies in a sky-rocket bore her.

Look! look! 'tis the Ale King, so stately and starch, Whose votaries scorn to be sober; He pops from his vat, like a cedar or larch; Brown-stout is his doublet, he hops in his march, And froths at the mouth in October.

His spear is a spigot, his shield is a bung; He taps where the housemaid no more is, When lo! at his magical bidding, upsprung A second Miss Drury, tall, tidy, and young, And sported in loco sororis.

Back, lurid in air, for a second regale, The Cinder King, hot with desire, To Brydges Street hied; but the Monarch of Ale, With uplifted spigot and faucet, and pail, Thus chided the Monarch of Fire:

"Vile tyrant, beware of the ferment I brew; "I rule the roast here, dash the wig o' me! "If, spite of your marriage with Old Drury, you "Come here with your tinderbox, courting the New "I'll have you indicted for bigamy!"



PLAYHOUSE MUSINGS—BY S. T. C. {59} {99}



Ille velut fidis arcana sodalibus olim Credebat libris; neque si male cesserat, usquam Decurrens alio, neque si bene. HOR.

My pensive Public, wherefore look you sad? I had a grandmother, she kept a donkey To carry to the mart her crockery ware, And when that donkey look'd me in the face, His face was sad! and you are sad, my Public!

Joy should be yours: this tenth day of October Again assembles us in Drury Lane. Long wept my eye to see the timber planks That hid our ruins; many a day I cried, Ah me! I fear they never will rebuild it! Till on one eve, one joyful Monday eve, As along Charles Street I prepared to walk, Just at the corner, by the pastrycook's, I heard a trowel tick against a brick. I look'd me up, and straight a parapet Uprose at least seven inches o'er the planks. Joy to thee, Drury! to myself I said: He of Blackfriars' Road, {60} who hymned thy downfall In loud Hosannahs, and who prophesied That flames, like those from prostrate Solyma, Would scorch the hand that ventured to rebuild thee, Has proved a lying prophet. From that hour, As leisure offer'd, close to Mr. Spring's Box-office door, I've stood and eyed the builders. They had a plan to render less their labours; Workmen in olden times would mount a ladder With hodded heads, but these stretch'd forth a pole From the wall's pinnacle, they plac'd a pulley Athwart the pole, a rope athwart the pulley; To this a basket dangled; mortar and bricks Thus freighted, swung securely to the top, And in the empty basket workmen twain Precipitate, unhurt, accosted earth.

Oh! 'twas a goodly sound, to hear the people Who watch'd the work, express their various thoughts! While some believed it never would be finish'd, Some, on the contrary, believed it would.

I've heard our front that faces Drury Lane Much criticised; they say 'tis vulgar brick-work, A mimic manufactory of floor-cloth. One of the morning papers wish'd that front Cemented like the front in Brydges Street; As it now looks, they call it Wyatt's Mermaid, A handsome woman with a fish's tail.

White is the steeple of St. Bride's in Fleet Street; The Albion (as its name denotes) is white; Morgan and Saunders' shop for chairs and tables Gleams like a snow-ball in the setting sun; White is Whitehall. But not St. Bride's in Fleet Street, The spotless Albion, Morgan, no, nor Saunders, Nor white Whitehall, is white as Drury's face.

Oh, Mr. Whitbread! {61} fie upon you, sir! I think you should have built a colonnade; When tender Beauty, looking for her coach, Protrudes her gloveless hand, perceives the shower And draws the tippet closer round her throat, Perchance her coach stands half a dozen off, And, ere she mounts the step, the oozing mud Soaks through her pale kid slipper. On the morrow She coughs at breakfast, and her gruff papa Cries, "There you go! this comes of playhouses!" To build no portico is penny wise: Heaven grant it prove not in the end pound foolish!

Hail to thee, Drury! Queen of Theatres! What is the Regency in Tottenham Street, The Royal Amphitheatre of Arts, Astley's, Olympic, or the Sans Pareil, Compared with thee? Yet when I view thee push'd Back from the narrow street that christened thee, I know not why they call thee Drury Lane.

Amid the freaks that modern fashion sanctions, It grieves me much to see live animals Brought on the stage. Grimaldi has his rabbit, Laurent his cat, and Bradbury his pig; Fie on such tricks! Johnson, the machinist Of former Drury, imitated life Quite to the life. The Elephant its Blue Beard, Stuff'd by his hand, wound round his lithe proboscis, As spruce as he who roar'd in Padmanaba. {62} Nought born on earth should die. On hackney stands I reverence the coachman who cries "Gee," And spares the lash. When I behold a spider Prey on a fly, a magpie on a worm, Or view a butcher with horn-handled knife Slaughter a tender lamb as dead as mutton, Indeed, indeed, I'm very, very sick!

[Exit hastily.



DRURY-LANE HUSTINGS—A New Halfpenny Ballad. BY A PIC-NIC POET. {63}



This is the very age of promise: To promise is most courtly and fashionable. Performance is a kind of will or testament, which argues a great sickness in his judgment that makes it.—TIMON OF ATHENS.

[To be sung by MR. JOHNSON in the character of LOONEY M'TWOLTER.]

I.

Mr. Jack, your address, says the Prompter to me, So I gave him my card—No, that a'nt it, says he; 'Tis your public address. Oh! says I, never fear, If address you are bother'd for, only look here. [Puts on hat affectedly. Tol de rol lol, &c.

1  2     Next Part
Home - Random Browse