Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

the mad-scene of Orestes. Phillips told me that, during his writing that part of the play, he was like a person out of his mind; that he was so carried away by his enthusiastic rapture, that, when his friend Mr. Addison came into the room, he did not know him; and that, as soon as he recovered from his fit, he said to him-what, Joe, is it you?" "That, (said Quin) was to let you know how familiar he was with Mr. Addison; and this puts me in mind, Mr. Garrick, of a story I have heard related of a predecessor of ours, that witty and wicked rogue Joe Haines.

"In the reign of James the Second, the Court was busy in making converts to the Roman Catholic Faith, in which they had some success. Some of the new Papists pretended to have seen visions and dreamt dreams; and, among the rest, Joe Haines, who professed himself a convert, declared that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him. Lord Sunderland sent for Joe, and questioned him about the truth of his conversion, and whether he had really seen the Virgin?-Yes, my Lord, I assure you it is a fact.-How was it, pray? Why, as I was lying in my bed, the Virgin appeared to me, and said, Arise, Joe!You lie, you rogue, said the Earl; for if it had

really been the Virgin herself, she would have said Joseph, if it had been only out of respect to her husband."

Joe's recantation-prologue, on his return from his travels, is well known: It was written for him by his friend Tom Brown, and spoken by Haines in a white sheet, and with a lighted taper in his hand. The following lines from this address of the penitent, will probably satisfy the reader.

As you dislike the converts of the nation,
That went to Rome, and left your congregation;

By the same rule, pray kindly entertain

Your penitent lost sheep return'd again;

For reconverted Haines, taught by the age,

Is now come back to his primitive Church, the Stage.
I own my crime, of leaving in the lurch
My mother-Play-house-this my mother-church.

THE IMMORTAL MEMORY OF SHAKSPEARE. THIS favourite sentiment is echoed from mouth to mouth, but how little it proceeds from the heart is proved by two singular facts. After Sir Richard Phillips had visited the destitute survivors of the Shakspeare family, in 1819, he proposed a public subscription for their relief, and expended at least twenty pounds in public ap

peals of various kinds on the subject; but received only a solitary five guineas from an honest poet of the name of Woolcot, in Dorsetshire; and Charles Mathews having, two or three years afterwards, proposed a subscription for a national monument to Shakspeare, with the King and a dozen of the Nobility as its Patrons, after expending fifty pounds in advertising, received only a single guinea! Such is the value of professions, where they are to be supported in pounds sterling.

GARRICK AND SMITH.

It is said that Garrick loved flattery, (says the late Mr. Smith in a letter to a friend in 1798.) I am sure he had sufficient reason to loath it. Walking with him behind the scenes, one morning, a person in a low situation in the Theatre, came up and complimented him on his performance the preceding night, with much adulation;-he was not pleased, and turned from the man, saying," you do it too clumsily, but the cursed trick pervades them all. Now you shall see," continued he, pointing to a boy of about thirteen years of age, who waited on the prompter, "that this little bastard will do the same.

Come hither, boy! Which is the best actor, this gentleman, or I?"—" O Lord, your honour, to be sure." "Which is the handsomest ?”—“ O,

you sir, you."—"Which is the tallest?"-" I think your honour rather has it."-I was half a head higher, observes Smith.

ADDRESS,

Written by Dr. Johnson, and spoken by Garrick, at the opening of Drury Lane Theatre, in 1747.

WHEN Learning's triumph o'er her barb'rous foes

First rear'd the stage, immortal Shakspeare rose.
Each change of many-colour'd life he drew,
Exhausted worlds, and then imagin'd new:
Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
And panting Time toil'd after him in vain.
His pow'rful strokes presiding Truth impress'd,
And unresisting Passion storm'd the breast.

Then Jonson came, instructed from the school,
To please in method, and invent by rule.
His studious patience and laborious art,

By regular approach, assail'd the heart;
Cold approbation gave the ling'ring bays,
For those, who durst not censure, scarce could
praise.

A mortal born, he met the gen'ral doom,
But left, like Egypt's kings, a lasting tomb.

The wits of Charles found easier ways to fame, Nor wish'd for Jonson's art, or Shakspeare's flame.

Themselves they studied: as they felt, they writ;
Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit.
Vice always found a sympathetic friend;
They pleas'd their age, and did not aim to mend.
Yet bards like these aspir'd to lasting praise,
And proudly hop'd to pimp in future days.
Their cause was gen'ral, their supports were
strong,

Their slaves were willing, and their reign was long:
Till Shame regain'd the post that Sense betray'd,
And Virtue call'd Oblivion to her aid.

Then, crush'd by rules, and weaken'd as refin'd,

For years the pow'r of Tragedy declin'd;
From bard to bard the frigid caution crept,
Till Declamation roar'd whilst Passion slept;
Yet still did Virtue deign the stage to tread;
Philosophy remain'd, though Nature fled.
But forc'd, at length, her antient reign to quit,
She saw great Faustus lay the ghost of Wit;

« ElőzőTovább »