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In treason to my soul, descend to bear,
Trusting to fate, I neither know nor care.
Once,-at this hour those wounds afresh I feel, Which nor prosperity nor time can heal,
Those wounds, which humbled all that pride of man,
Which brings such mighty aid to virtue's plan;
Once, aw'd by fortune's most oppressive frown,
By legal rapine to the earth bow'd down,
My credit at last gasp, my state undone,
Trembling to meet the shock I could not shun,
Virtue gave ground, and black despair prevail'd;
Sinking beneath the storm, my spirits fail'd,
Like Peter's faith.”
But without enumerating similar passages, which may form an exception to the remark, the general tenor of his later works fell beneath his first reputà tion. His Duellist is positively dull; and his Gotham, the imaginary realm of which he feigns himself the sovereign, is calculated to remind us of the provere bial wisdom of its sages. It was justly complained that he became too much an echo of himself, and that before his short literary career was closed, his originality appeared to be exhausted.
INTRODUCTION TO THE ROSCIAD.
Roscius deceas'd, each high aspiring play'r
Push'd all his int’rest for the vacant chair.
The buskin'd heroes of the mimic stage
No longer whine in love, and rant in rage;
The monarch quits his throne, and condescends
Humble to court the favour of his friends;
For pity's sake tells undeserv'd mishaps,
And their applause to gain, recounts his claps.
Thus the victorious chiefs of ancient Rome,
To win the mob, a suppliant's form assume,
In pompous strain fight o'er th' extinguish'd war,
And show where honour bled in ev'ry scar.
But though bare merit might in Rome appear
The strongest plea for favour, 'tis not here;
We form our judgment in another way;
And they will best succeed who best can pay:
Those, who would gain the votes of British tribes,
Must add to force of merit, force of bribes.
What can an actor give? In ev'ry age Cash hạth been rudely banish'd from the stage ; Monarchs themselves, to grief of ev'ry play'r, Appear as often as their image there: They can't, like candidate for other seat, Pour seas of wine, and mountains raise of meat. Wine! they could bribe you with the world as soon, And of roast beef they only know the tune:
But what they have they give: could Clíve do more,
Though for each million he had brought home four
Shuter keeps open house at Southwark fair,
And hopes the friends of humour will be there;
In Smithfield, Yates prepares the rival treat
For those who laughter love instead of meat;
Foote, at Old House, for even Foote will be
In self-conceit, an actor, bribes with tea;
Which Wilkinson at second hand receives,
And at the New, pours water on the leaves.
The town divided, each runs several ways,
As passion, humour, int'rest, party sways.
Things of no moment, colour of the hair,
Shape of a ley, complexion brown or fair,
A dress well chosen, or a patch misplac'd,
Conciliate favour, or create distaste.
From galleries loud peals of laughter roll,
And thunder Shuter's praises--he's so droll.
Embox'd, the ladies must have something smart,
Palmer! Oh! Palmer tops the janty part.
Seated in pit; the dwarf, with aching eyes,
up, and vows that Barry's out of size; Whilst to six feet the vig'rous scripling grown, Declares that Garrick is another Coan.
When place of judgment is by whim supplied, And our opinions have their rise in pride; When, in discoursing on each mimic elf, We praise and censure with an eye to self; All must meet friends, and Ackman bids as fair In such a court as Garrick for the chair.
At length agreed, all squabbles to decide, By some one judge the cause was to be tried; But this their squabbles did afresh renew, Who should be judge in such a trial:- Who?
For Johnson some, but Johnson, it was fear'd, Would be too grave; and Sterne too gay appear’d: Others for Francklin voted; but 'twas known, He sicken'd at all triumphs but his own: For Colman many, but the peevish tongue Of prudent age found out that he was young: For Murphy some few pilf'ring wits declar'd, Whilst Folly clapp'd her hands, and Wisdom star'd.
CHARACTER OF A CRITICAL FRIBBLE.
With that low cunning, which in fools supplies,
And amply too, the place of being wise,
Which Nature, kind, indulgent parent, gave
To qualify the blockhead for a knave;
With that smooth falsehood, whose appearance
And reason of each wholesome doubt disarms,
Which to the lowest depths of guile descends,
By vilest means pursues the vilest ends,
Wears friendship's mask for purposes of spite,
Fawns in the day, and butchers in the night;
With that malignant envy, which turns pale,
And sickens, even if a friend prevail,
Which merit and success pursues with hate,
And damns the worth it cannot imitate;
With the cold caution of a coward's spleen,
Which fears not guilt, but always seeks a screen,
Which keeps this maxim ever in her view
What's basely done, should be done safely too;
With that dull, rooted, callous impudence,
Which, dead to shame, and ev'ry nicer sense,
Ne'er blush'd, unless, in spreading vice's snares,
She blunder'd on some virtue unawares :
With all these blessings, which we seldom find
Lavish'd by nature on one happy mind,
A motley figure, of the fribble tribe,
Which heart can scarce conceive, or pen describe,
Came simp'ring on: to ascertain whose sex
Twelve-sage impannell'd matrons would perplex.
Nor male, nor female, neither, and yet both;
Of neuter gender, though of Irish growth;
A six-foot suckling, mincing in its gait;
Affected, peevish, prim, and delicate;
Fearful it seem'd, though of athletic make,
Lest brutal breezes should too roughly shake
Its tender form, and savage motion spread
O'er its pale cheeks the horrid manly red.
Much did it talk, in its own pretty phrase,
Of genius and of taste, of play’rs and plays;
Much too of writings, which itself had wrote,
Of special merit, though of little note;
For fate, in a strange humour, had decresd
That what it wrote, none but itself should read;