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Or, at some banker's desk, like many more,
Content to tell that two and two make four,
His name had stood in city annals fair,
And prudent dullness mark'd him for a mayor.
What then could tempt thee, in a critic age,
Such blooming hopes to forfeit on a stage?
Could it be worth thy wondrous waste of pains
To publish to the world thy lack of brains?
Or might not reason ev'n to thee have shown
Thy greatest praise had been to live unknown?
Yet let not vanity like thine despair:
Fortune makes folly her peculiar care.

A vacant throne high-plac'd in Smithfield view, To sacred dullness and her first born due; Thither with haste in happy hour repair, Thy birth-right claim, nor fear a rival there. Shuter himself shall own thy juster claim, And venal ledgers puff their Murphy's name, Whilst Vaughan or Dapper, call him what you will, Shall blow the trumpet and give out the bill.

There rule secure from critics and from sense, Nor once shall genius rise to give offence; Eternal peace shall bless the happy shore, And little factions break thy rest no more.

From Covent-Garden crowds promiscuous go, Whom the Muse knows not, nor desires to know. Vet'rans they seem'd, but knew of arms no more Than if, till that time, arms they never bore; Like Westminster militia train'd to fight, They scarcely knew the left hand from the right. Asham'd among such troops to show the head, Their chiefs were scatter'd, and their heroes fled.

Sparks at his glass sat comfortably down To sep'rate frown from smile, and smile from frown; Smith, the genteel, the airy, and the smart, Smith was just gone to school to say his part; Ross (a misfortune which we often meet) Was fast asleep at dear Statira's feet; Statira, with her hero to agree, Stood on her feet as fast asleep as he; Macklin, who largely deals in half-form'd sounds, Who wantonly transgresses nature's bounds; Whose acting's hard, affected, and constraiu'd ; Whose features, as each other they disdain'd, At variance set, inflexible and coarse, Ne'er know the working of united force, Ne'er kindly soften to each other's aid, Nor show the mingled pow'rs of light and shade; No longer for a thankless stage concern'd, To worthier thoughts his mighty genius turn'd, Harangu'd, gave lectures, made each simple elf Almost as good a speaker as himself; Whilst the whole town, mad with mistaken zeal, An awkward rage for elocution feel; Dull cits and grave divines his praise proclaim, And join with Sheridan's their Macklin's name. Shuter, who never car'd a single pin Whether he left out nonsense, or put in ; Who aim'd at wit, though, levell'd in the dark, The random arrow seldom hit the mark; At Islington, all by the placid stream Where city swains in lap of dullness dream,

Where, quiet as her strains their strains do flow, That all the patron by the bards may know, Secret as night, with Rolt's experienc'd aid, The plan of future operations laid; Projected schemes the summer months to cheer, And spin out happy folly through the year.

But think not though these dastard-chief-arefied. That Covent-Garden troops shall want a head: Harlequin comes their chief!-See from afar, The hero seated in fantastic car! Wedded to novelty, his only arms Are wooden swords, wands, talismans, and charms; On one side folly sits, by some call'd fun, And on the other, his arch patron, Lun. Behind, for liberty athirst in vain, Sense, helpless captive, drags the galling chain. Six rude misshapen beasts the chariot draw, Whom reason lothes, and nature never saw; Monsters with tails of ice and heads of fire; Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire. Each was bestrode by full as monstrous wight, Giant, dwarf, genius, elf, hermaphrodite. The town, as usual, met him in full cry: The town, as usual, knew no reason why. But fashion so directs, and moderns raise On fashion's mould'ring base their transient praise. Next to the field a band of females draw Their force; for Britain owns no salique law: Just to their worth, we female rights admit, Nor bar their claim to empire or to wit.

First, giggling, plotting chamber-maids arrive, Hoydens and romps, led on by Gen'ral Clive. In spite of outward blemishes, she shone For humour fam'd, and humour all her own. Easy, as if at home, the stage she trod, Nor sought the critic's praise, nor fear'd his rod Original in spirit and in She pleas'd by hiding all attempts to please. No comic actress ever yet could raise, On humour's base, more merit or more praise.


With all the native vigour of sixteen, Among the merry troop conspicuous seen, See lively Pope advance in jig and trip, Corinua, Cherry, Honeycomb, and Snip. Not without art, but yet to nature true, She charms the town with humour just, yet new. Cheer'd by her promise, we the less deplore The fatal time when Clive shall be no more.

Lo! Vincent comes-with simple grace array'd, She laughs at paltry arts, and scorns parade; Nature through her is by reflection shown, Whilst Gay once more knows Polly for his own.

Talk not to me of diffidence and fear-
I see it all, but must forgive it here.
Defects like these which modest terrors cause,
From impudence itself extort applause.
Candour and reason still take virtue's part;
We love ev'n foibles in so good an heart.

Let Tommy Arne, with usual pomp of style,
Whose chief, whose only merit's to compile,
Who meanly pilfering, here and there a bit,
Deals music out as Murphy deals out wit,

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"ublish proposals, laws for taste prescribe, and chaunt the praise of an Italian tribe; Let him reverse kind nature's first decrees, and teach ev'n Brent a method not to please; But never shall a truly British age Hear a vile race of eunuchs on the stage. The boasted work's call'd national in vain, fone Italian voice pollutes the strain. Vhere tyrants rule, and slaves with joy obey, et slavish minstrels pour th' enervate lay; Co Britons far more noble pleasures spring, n native notes whilst Beard and Vincent sing. Might figures give a title unto fame, What rival should with Yates dispute her claim? But justice may not partial trophies raise, Nor sink the actress in the woman's praise. Still hand in hand her words and actions go, And the heart feels more than the features show: 'or through the regions of that beauteous face Ve no variety of passions trace:

Dead to the soft emotions of the heart,
No kindred softness can those eyes impart;
The brow, still fix'd on sorrow's sullen frame,
Toid of distinction, marks all parts the same.

What's a fine person, or a beauteous face,
Inless deportment gives them decent grace?
less'd with all other requisites to please,
ome want the striking elegance of ease;
The curious eye their awkward movement tires;
hey seem like puppets led about by wires.
Others, like statues, in one posture still,
live great ideas of the workman's skill;
Vond'ring, his art we praise the more we view,
And only grieve he gave not motion too.
Weak of themselves are what we beauties call,
t is the manner which gives strength to all.
This teaches ev'ry beauty to unite,
And brings them forward in the noblest light.
Happy in this, behold, amidst the throng,
With transient gleam of grace, Hart sweeps along.
If all the wonders of external grace,
A person finely turn'd, a mould of face,
Where, union rare, expression's lively force
With beauty's softest magic holds discourse,
Attract the eye! if feelings void of art,
Rouse the quick passions, and inflame the heart;
f music sweetly breathing from the tongue,
Captives the ear, Bride must not pass unsung.
When fear, which rank ill-nature terms conceit,
By time and custom conquer'd, shall retreat ;
When judgment tutor❜d by experience sage,
shall shoot abroad and gather strength from age;
When Heav'n in mercy shall the stage release
From the dull slumbers of a still-life piece;
When some stale flow'r, disgraceful to the walk,
Which long hath hung,though wither'd, on the stalk,
Shall kindly drop, then Bride shall make her way,
And merit find a passage to the day;
Brought into action, she at once shall raise
Her own renown, and justify our praise.

Form'd for the tragic scene, to grace the stage, With rival excellence of love and rage,

Mistress of each soft art, with matchless skill
To turn and wind the passions as she will;
To melt the heart with sympathetic woe,
Awake the sigh, and teach the tear to flow:
To put on frenzy's wild distracted glare,
And freeze the soul with horror and despair;
With just desert enroll'd in endless fame,
Conscious of worth superior, Cibber came.

When poor Alicia's madd'ning brains are rack'd, And strongly-imag'd griefs her mind distract; Struck with her grief, I catch the madness too! My brain turns round, the headless trunk I view ! The roof cracks, shakes and falls.-New horrors And reason buried in the ruin lies. [rise

Nobly disdainful of each slavish art, She makes her first attack upon the heart; Pleas'd with the summons, it receives her laws, And all is silence, sympathy, applause.

But when, by fond ambition drawn aside, Giddy with praise, and puff'd with female pride, She quits the tragic scene, and, in pretence To comic merit, breaks down nature's fence; I scarcely can believe my ears or eyes, Or find out Cibber through the dark disguise. Pritchard, by nature for the stage design'd, In person graceful, and in sense refin'd; Her art as much as nature's friend became; Her voice as free from blemish as her fame; Who knows so well in majesty to please, Attemper'd with the graceful charms of ease?

When, Congreve's favour'd pantomime to grace, She comes a captive queen of Moorish race; When love, hate, jealousy, despair and rage, With wildest tumults in her breast engage, Still equal to herself is Zara seen; Her passions are the passions of a queen.

When she to murder whets the timorous Thane, I feel ambition rush through ev'ry vein; Persuasion hangs upon her daring tongue, My heart grows flint, and ev'ry nerve's new strung.

In comedy-" Nay, there," cries critic," hold,
Pritchard's for comedy too fat and old.
Who can, with patience, bear the gray coquette,
Or force a laugh with overgrown Julett?
Her speech, look, action, humour, all are just;
But then, her age and figure give disgust."

Are foibles then, and graces of the mind,
In real life, to size or age confin'd?
Do spirits flow, and is good-breeding plac'd
In any set circumference of waist?

As we grow old, doth affectation cease,
Or gives not age new vigour to caprice?
If in originals these things appear,
Why should we bar them in the copy here?
The nice punctilio-mongers of this age,
The grand minute reformers of the stage,
Slaves to propriety of ev'ry kind,
Some standard-measure for each part should find,
Which when the best of actors shall exceed,
Let it devolve to one of smaller breed.
All actors too upon the back should bear
Certificate of birth ;-time, when ;-place, where.

For how can critics rightly fix their worth, Unless they know the minute of their birth? An audience too, deceiv'd, may find too late That they have clapp'd an actor out of date.

What man could give, if Barry was not here,
Such well-applauded tenderness to Lear?
Who else can speak so very, very fine,
That sense may kindly end with ev'ry line?
Some dozen lines before the ghost is there,
Behold him for the solemn scene prepare.
See how he frames his eyes, poises each limb,
Puts the whole body into proper trim.—
From whence we learn, with no great stretch of art,
Five lines hence comes a ghost, and, ha! a start.
When he appears most perfect, still we find
Something which jars upon, and hurts the mind.
Whatever lights upon a part are thrown,
We see too plainly they are not his own.
No flame from nature ever yet he caught;
Nor knew a feeling which he was not taught;
He rais'd his trophies on the base of art,
And conn'd his passions, as he conn'd his part.
Quin, from afar, lur'd by the scent of fame,
A stage Leviathan, put in his claim,
Pupil of Betterton and Booth, Alone,
Sullen he walk'd, and deem'd the chair his own.
For how should moderns, mushrooms of the day,
Who ne'er those masters knew, know how to play!
Gray-bearded vet'rans, who, with partial tongue,
Extol the times when they themselves were young
Who having lost all relish for the stage,
See not their own defects, but lash the age,
Receiv'd with joyful murmurs of applause
Their darling chief, and lin'd his favourite cause.
Far be it from the candid Muse to tread
Insulting o'er the ashes of the dead,
But, just to living merit, she maintains,
And dares the test, whilst Garrick's genius reigns,
Ancients in vain endeavour to excel,
Happily prais'd, if they could act as well.
But though prescription's force we disallow,
Nor to antiquity submissive bow;
Though we deny imaginary grace,
Founded on accidents of time and place;
Yet real worth of ev'ry growth shall bear
Due praise, nor must we, Quin, forget thee there-

His words bore sterling weight, nervous and
In manly tides of sense they roll'd along. [stro
Happy in art, he chiefly had pretence
To keep up numbers, yet not forfeit sense.
No actor ever greater heights could reach
In all the labour'd artifice of speech.


Speech! Is that all ?—And shall an actor found An universal fame on partial ground? Parrots themselves speak properly by rote, And, in six months, my dog shall howl by I laugh at those, who, when the stage they tread, Neglect the heart, to compliment the head; With strict propriety their care's confin'd To weigh out words, while passion halts behind. To syllable-dissectors they appeal; Allow them accent, cadence,-fools may feel; But, spite of all the criticising elves, Those who would make us feel, must feel the His eyes, in gloomy socket taught to roll, Proclaim'd the sullen habit of his soul.


Figure, I own, at first may give offence, And harshly strike the eye's too curious sense: But when perfections of the mind break forth, Humour's chaste sallies, judgment's solid worth; When the pure genuine flame by nature taught, Springs into sense, and ev'ry action's thought; Before such merit all objections fly, Pritchard's genteel, and Garrick's six feet high.

Oft have I, Pritchard, seen thy wondrous skill, Confess'd thee great, but find thee greater still. That worth, which shone in scatter'd rays before, Collected now, breaks forth with double pow'r. The Jealous Wife! on that thy trophies raise, Inferior only to the author's praise.

From Dublin, fam'd in legends of romance For mighty magic of enchanted lance, With which her heroes arm'd victorious prove, And like a flood rush o'er the land of love, Mossop and Barry came-names ne'er design'd By fate in the same sentence to be join'd. Rais'd by the breath of popular acclaim, They mounted to the pinnacle of fame; There the weak brain, made giddy with the height, Spurr'd on the rival chiefs to mortal fight. Thus sportive boys, around some bason's brim, Behold the pipe-drawn bladders circling swim: But if from lungs more potent, there arise Two bubbles of a more than common size, Eager for honour they for fight prepare, Bubble meets bubble, and both sink to air.

Mossop, attach'd to military plan,

Still kept his eye fix'd on his right-hand man.
Whilst the mouth measures words with seeming
The right hand labours, and the left lies still; [skill,
For he resolv'd on scripture-grounds to go,
What the right doth the left-hand shall not know.
With studied impropriety of speech,

He soars beyond the hackney critic's reach;
To epithets allots emphatic state,
Whilst principals, ungrac'd, like lacquies wait;
In ways first trodden by himself excels,
And stands alone in indeclinables;
Conjunction, preposition, adverb join
To stamp new vigour on the nervous line:
In monosyllables his thunders roll,
He, she, it, and, we, ye, they, fright the soul.

In person taller than the common size,
Behold where Barry draws admiring eyes!
When lab'ring passions, in his bosom pent,
Convulsive rage, and struggling heave for vent;
Spectators, with imagin'd terrors warm,
Anxious expect the bursting of the storm:
But all unfit in such a pile to dwell,

His voice comes forth, like Echo from her cell;
To swell the tempest needful aid denies,
And all a-down the stage in feeble murmurs dies.
What man, like Barry, with such pains, can err
In elocution, action, character?

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Heavy and phlegmatic he trod the stage,
Too proud for tenderness, too dull for rage.
When Hector's lovely widow shines in tears,
Or Rowe's gay rake dependant virtue jeers,
With the same cast of features he is seen
To chide the libertine, and court the queen.
From the tame scene, which without passion flows,
With just desert his reputation rose;
Nor less he pleas'd, when, on some surly plan,
He was, at once, the actor and the man.

In Brute he shone unequall'd: all agree
Garrick's not half so great a brute as he.
When Cato's labour'd scenes are brought to view,
With equal praise the actor labour'd too;
For still you'll find, trace passions to their root,
Small diff'rence 'twixt the stoic and the brute.
In fancied scenes, as in life's real plan,
He could not, for a moment, sink the man.
In whate'er cast his character was laid,
Self still, like oil, upon the surface play'd.
Nature, in spite of all his skill, crept in:
Horatio, Dorax, Falstaff,-still 'twas Quin.

Next follows Sheridan-a doubtful name,
As yet unsettled in the rank of fame.
This, fondly lavish in his praises grown,
Gives him all merit: that allows him none.
Between them both we'll steer the middle course,
Nor, loving praise, rob judgment of her force.
Just his conceptions, natural and great:

His feelings strong, his words enforc'd with weight.
Was speech-fam'd Quin himself to hear him speak,
Envy would drive the colour from his cheek:
But step-dame nature, niggard of her grace,
Deny'd the social pow'rs of voice and face.
Fix'd in one frame of features, glare of eye,
Passions, like chaos, in confusion lie:
In vain the wonders of his skill are try'd
To form distinctions nature hath deny'd.
His voice no touch of harmony admits,
Irregularly deep and shrill by fits:

The two extremes appear like man and wife,
Coupled together for the sake of strife.

His action's always strong, but sometimes such,
That candour must declare he acts too much.
Why must impatience fall three paces back?
Why paces three return to the attack?
Why is the right-leg too forbid to stir,
Unless in motion semicircular?

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Why must the hero with the nailor vie,
And hurl the close clench'd fist at nose or eye?
In royal John, with Philip angry grown,
I thought he would have knock'd poor Davies down.

Inhuman tyrant! was it not a shame,






a king so harmless and so tame? t, spite of all defects, his glories rise;

d art, by judgment form'd, with nature vies:

hold him sound the depth of Hubert's soul, hilst in his own contending passions roll.

Last Garrick came.-Behind him throng a train Of snarling critics, ignorant as vain.

One finds out,-"He's of stature somewhat low,Your hero always should be tall, you know.True nat'ral greatness all consists in height." Produce your voucher, critic.-"Sergeant Kite." Another can't forgive the paltry arts

By which he makes his way to shallow hearts;
Mere pieces of finesse, traps for applause-
"Avaunt, unnat'ral start, affected pause."

ew the whole scene, with critic judgment scan, ad then deny him merit if you can. here he falls short, 'tis nature's fault alone; here he succeeds, the merit's all his own.

For me, by nature form'd to judge with phlegm, I can't acquit by wholesale, nor condemn. The best things carried to excess are wrong: The start may be too frequent, pause too long; But, only us'd in proper time and place, Severest judgment must allow them grace.

If bunglers, form'd on imitation's plan, Just in the way that monkies mimic man, Their copied scene with mangled arts disgrace, And pause and start with the same vacant face; We join the critic laugh, those tricks we scorn, Which spoil the scenes they mean them to adorn. But when, from nature's pure and genuine source, These strokes of acting flow with gen'rous force, When in the features all the soul's pourtray'd, And passions, such as Garrick's, are display'd, To me they seem from quickest feelings caught: Each start is nature; and each pause is thought.

When reason yields to passion's wild alarms, And the whole state of man is up in arms; What but a critic could condemn the play'r, For pausing here, when cool sense pauses there? Whilst, working from the heart, the fire I trace, And mark it strongly flaming to the face; Whilst, in each sound, I hear the very man; I can't catch words, and pity those who can.

Let wits, like spiders, from the tortur'd brain Fine-draw the critic-web with curious pain; The gods, a kindness I with thanks must pay,Have form'd me of a coarser kind of clay; Nor stung with envy, nor with spleen diseas'd, A poor dull creature, still with nature pleas'd; Hence to thy praises, Garrick, I agree, And, pleas'd with nature, must be pleas'd with thee.

Now might I tell, how silence reign'd throughout, And deep attention hush'd the rabble rout! How ev'ry claimant, tortur'd with desire, Was pale as ashes, or as red as fire: But, loose to fame, the Muse more simply acts, Rejects all flourish, and relates mere facts. The judges, as the several parties came, With temper heard, with judgment weigh'd each claim,

And, in their sentence happily agreed,

In name of both, great Shakspeare thus decreed.
"If manly sense; if nature link'd with art;
If thorough knowledge of the human heart;
If pow'rs of acting vast and unconfin'd;
If fewest faults with greatest beauties join'd;
If strong expression, and strange pow'rs which lie
Within the magic circle of the eye;

If feelings which few hearts, like his, can know,

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Man's feeble race what ills await,

Labour, and penury, the racks of pain,
Disease, and sorrow's weeping train,
And death, sad refuge from the storms of fate!
The fond complaint, my song, disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.

Say, has he given in vain the heavenly Muse?
Night, and all her sickly dews,

Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry,
He gives to range the dreary sky;

Till down the eastern cliffs afar

Hyperion's march they spy, and glittering shafts of


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Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep, Isles, that crown th' Ægean deep, Fields, that cool Ilissus laves, Or where Mæander's amber waves In lingering labyrinths creep, How do your tuneful echoes languish Mute, but to the voice of anguish? Where each old pcetic mountain Inspiration breath'd around; Every shade and hallow'd fountain Murmur'd deep a solemn sound: Till the sad Nine, in Greece's evil hour, Left their Parnassus for the Latian plains. Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant power, And coward vice that revels in her chains. When Latium had her lofty spirit lost, They sought, oh Albion! next thy sea-cncircled


Far from the sun and summer-gale,
In thy green lap was nature's darling laid,
What time, where lucid Avon stray'd,
To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her awful face: The dauntless child
Stretch'd forth his little arms, and smil'd.
This pencil take (she said) whose colours clear
Richly paint the vernal year:

Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy!
This can unlock the gates of joy;
Of horror that, and thrilling fears,

Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears.

Nor second he, that rode sublime
Upon the seraph-wings of ecstasy,
The secrets of th' abyss to spy.

He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire-blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw: but, blasted with excess of light,
Clos'd his eyes in endless night.
Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race,

With necks in thunder cloth'd, and long-resounding


Hark, his hands the lyre explore! Bright-ey'd Fancy hovering o'er Scatters from her pictur'd urn Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn. But ah! 'tis heard no moreOh! lyre divine, what daring spirit Wakes thee now? though he inherit Nor the pride, nor ample pinion, That the Theban eagle bear, Sailing with supreme dominion Through the azure deep of air: Yet oft before his infant eyes would run Such forms, as glitter in the Muse's ray With orient hues, unborrow'd of the sun: Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate, Beneath the good how far-but far above the great.



Ruin seize thee, ruthless king! Confusion on thy banners wait, Though, fann'd by conquest's crimson wing, They mock the air with idle state. Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail, Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail To save thy secret soul from nightly fears, From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!" Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay, As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side He wound with toilsome march his long array. Stout Gloster stood aghast in speechless trance :

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