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But turn the tube, and there we sadly view
In plume and scarf, jack-boots, and Bilbo blade,
* It was the fashion, at this time, to have black boys in attendance, decorated with silver collars. See the following advertisement: "A black boy, about fifteen years of age, named John White, ran away from Colonel Kirke, the 15th instant; he has a silver collar about his neck, upon which is the Colonel's arms and cipher." Gazette, March 18, 1685.
Then shall the pious Muses pay their vows,
* Selling bargains, a species of wit common, according to Swift, among Queen Anne's maids of honour, consisted in leading some innocent soul to ask a question, which was answered by the bargain-seller's naming his, or her, sitting part, by its broadest appellation. Dum-founding is explained by a stage direction in Bury-Fair, where " Sir Humphrey dum-founds the Count with a rap betwixt the shoulders." The humour seems to have consisted in doing this with such dexterity, that the party dum-founded should be unable to discover to whom he was indebted for the favour.
This play was brought forward by Joseph Harris, a comedian, as his own, although it is said to have been chiefly written by another person. It was acted in 1690.
Enter Mr BRIGHT.
GENTLEMEN, we must beg your pardon; here's no prologue to be had to-day. Our new play is like to come on, without a frontispiece; as bald as one of you young beaux without your periwig. I left our young poet, snivelling and sobbing behind the scenes, and cursing somebody that has deceived him.
Enter Mr BOWEN.
Hold your prating to the audience; here's honest Mr Williams just come in, half mellow, from the Rose-Tavern. He swears he is inspired with claret,
This was quite in character. Cibber says of Williams, that his industry was not equal to his capacity, for he loved his bottle better than his business. Apology, p. 115.
and will come on, and that extempore too, either with a prologue of his own, or something like one. 'O here he comes to his trial, at all adventures; for my part, I wish him a good deliverance.
[Exeunt Mr BRIGHT and Mr BOWEN.
Enter Mr WILLIAMS.
Save ye, sirs, save ye! I am in a hopeful way. I should speak something, in rhyme, now, for the play;
But the deuce take me, if I know what to say.
So far I'm sure 'tis rhyme-that needs no granting; And, if my verses' feet stumble--you see my own are wanting.
Our young poet has brought a piece of work,
But, for this play-(which till I have done, we shew not)
What may be its fortune-by the Lord-I know not.
You are blown up; if not, then he's blown up himself.
* The taking of Cork was one of the first exploits of the renowned Marlborough. The besieging army was disembarked on the 23d September, 1690, and the garrison, amounting to four thousand men, surrendered on the 28th of the same month.
By this time, I'm something recover'd of my fluster'd madness;
And now, a word or two in sober sadness.
* A phrase in the "Tempest," as altered by Dryden, which seems to have become proverbial.