Page images
PDF
EPUB

If by low tricks they marr'd fair Nature's mien,
And blurr'd the graces of the simple scene;
Shall we, if reason rightly is employ'd,
Not see their faults, or seeing not avoid?
When Falstaff stands detected in a lie,
Why, without meaning, rolls Love's glassy eye?
Why?-There's no cause at least no cause we

know

It was the fashion twenty years ago.
Fashion, a word which knaves and fools may use,
Their knavery and folly to excuse.
To copy beauties, forfeits all pretence
To fame-to copy faults, is want of sense.

Yet (though in some particulars he fails,
Some few particulars, where mode prevails)
If in these hallow'd times, when sober, sad,
All gentlemen are melancholy mad,
When us not deem'd so great a crime by half
To violate a vestal, as to laugh,

Rude Mirth may hope presumptuous to engage
An act of toleration for the stage, .

And courtiers will, like reasonable creatures,
Suspend vain fashion, and unscrew their features,
Old Falstaff, play'd by Love, shall please once more,
And humor set the audience in a roar.

Actors I've seen, and of no vulgar name,
Who, being from one part possess'd of fame,
Whether they are to laugh, cry, whine, or bawl,
Still introduce that fav'rite part in all.
Here, Love, be cautious-ne'er be thou betray'd
To call in that wag Falstaff's dangerous aid;
Like Goths of old, howe'er he seems a friend,
He'll seize that throne, you wish him to defend.
In a peculiar mould by Humor cast,
For Falstaff fram'd-Himself, the first and last,
He stands aloof from all-maintains his state,
And scorns, like Scotchmen, to assimilate.
Vain all disguise-too plain we see the trick,
Though the Knight wears the weeds of Dominic.
And Boniface, disgrac'd, betrays the smack,
In Anno Domini, of Falstaff's sack.

For who, like Ackman, can with humor please?
Who can, like Packer, charm with sprightly ease!
Higher than all the rest, see Bransby strut:

A mighty Gulliver in Lilliput!

Ludicrous Nature! which at once could show
A man so very high, so very low.

If I forget thee, Blakes, or if I say
Aught hurtful, may I never see thee play.
Let critics, with a supercilious air,
Decry thy various merit, and declare
Frenchman is still at top;-but scorn that rage
Which, in attacking thee, attacks the age.
French follies, universally embrac'd,

At once provoke our mirth, and form our taste.
Long, from a nation ever hardly us'd,

At random censur'd, wantonly abus'd,
Have Britons drawn their sport, with partial view
Form'd gen'ral notions from the rascal few;
Condemn'd a people, as for vices known,
Which, from their country banish'd, seek our own.
At length, howe'er, the slavish chain is broke,
And Sense, awaken'd, scorns her ancient yoke:
Taught by thee, Moody, we now learn to raise
Mirth from their foibles; from their virtues, praise

Next came the legion, which our Summer Bayes,
From alleys, here and there, contriv'd to raise,
Flush'd with vast hopes, and certain to succeed
With wits who cannot write, and scarce can read.
Vet'rans no more support the rotten cause,
No more from Elliot's worth they reap applause
Each on himself determines to rely,
Be Yates disbanded, and let Elliot fly;
Never did play'rs so well an author fit,
To Nature dead, and foes declar'd to Wit.
So loud each tongue, so empty was each head,
So much they talk'd, so very little said,
So wondrous duli, and yet so wondrous vain,
At once so willing, and unfit to reign,
That Reason swore, nor would the oath recall,
Their mighty master's soul inform'd them all.
As one with various disappointments sad,

Arms cross'd, brows bent, eyes fix'd, feet march- Whom Dullness only kept from being mad,

ing slow,

A band of malcontents with spleen o'erflow;
Wrapt in Conceit's impenetrable fog,

Which Pride, like Phoebus, draws from ev'ry bog,
They curse the managers, and curse the town,
Whose partial favor keeps such merit down.

But if some man, more hardy than the rest,
Should dare attack these gnatlings in their nest;
At once they rise with impotence of rage,

[ocr errors]

Whet their small stings, and buzz about the stage.
"Tis breach of privilege!-Shall any dare
To arm satiric truth against a player?
Prescriptive rights we plead time out of mind;
Actors, unlash'd themselves, may lash mankind."

What! shall Opinion then, of nature free
And lib'ral as the vagrant air, agree
To rust in chains like these, impos'd by things
Which, less than nothing, ape the pride of kings?
No-though half-poets with half-players join
To curse the freedom of each honest line;
Though rage and malice dim their faded cheek;
What the Muse freely thinks, she'll freely speak.
With just disdain of ev'ry paltry sneer,
Stranger alike to flattery and fear,
In purpose fix'd, and to herself a rule,
Public contempt shall wait the public fool.

Austin would always glisten in French silks,
Ackman would Norris be, and Packer Wilks.

Apart from all the rest great Murphy came—
Common to fools and wits, the rage of fame.
What though the sons of Nonsense hail him SIRE
AUDITOR, AUTHOR, MANAGER, and SQUIRE,
His restless soul's ambition stops not there,
To make his triumphs perfect, dub him PLAYER.
In person tall, a figure form'd to please;
If symmetry could charm, depriv'd of ease;
When motionless he stands, we all approve;
What pity 'tis the thing was made to move.

His voice, in one dull, deep, unvaried sound,
Seems to break forth from caverns under ground
From hollow chest the low sepulchral note
Unwilling heaves, and struggles in his throat.

Could authors butcher'd give an actor grace,
All must to him resign the foremost place.
When he attempts, in some one fav'rite part,
To ape the feelings of a manly heart,
His honest features the disguise defy,
And his face loudly gives his tongue the lie.

Still in extremes, he knows no happy mean,
Or raving mad, or stupidly serene.
In cold-wrought scenes the lifeless actor flags,
In passion, tears the passion into rags.

Can none remember?-Yes-I know all must-
When in the Moor he ground his teeth to dust.
When o'er the stage he Folly's standard bore,
Whilst Common-Sense stood trembling at the door.

How few are found with real talents bless'd,
Fewer with Nature's gifts contented rest.
Man from his sphere eccentric starts astray;
All hunt for fame; but most mistake the way.
Bred at St. Omer's to the shuffling trade,
The hopeful youth a Jesuit might have made,
With various readings stor'd his empty skull,
Learn'd without sense, and venerably dull;
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 e'en 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.

Who aim'd at wit, though, level'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 chiefs are fled
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

A vacant throne high-plac'd in Smithfield view, Six rude misshapen beasts the chariot draw,

To sacred Dullness and her first-born due,
Thither with haste in happy hour repair,
Thy birthright 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 which 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 shy 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 constrain'd,
Whose features, as each other they disdain'd,
At variance set, inflexible and coarse,
Ne'er know the workings 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,

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 mouldering 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 humor fam'd, and humor 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 ease,

She pleas'd by hiding all attempts to please.
No comic actress ever yet could raise,
On Humor's base, more merit or more praise.
With all the native vigor of sixteen,
Among the merry troop conspicuous seen,
See lively Pope advance in jig and trip,
Corinna, Cherry, Honeycomb, and Snip.
Not without art, but yet to Nature true,
She charms the town with humor 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.
Candor and Reason still take Virtue's part:
We love e'en foibles in so good a 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,
Publish proposals, laws for taste prescribe,
And chant the praise of an Italian tribe;

A gentleman who published, at this juncture, a poem Let him reverse kind Nature's first decrees,

entitled The Retort.

And teach e'en Brent a method not to please;

But never shall a truly British age
Bear a vile race of eunuchs on the stage.
The boasted work's call'd national in vain,
If one Italian voice pollutes the strain.
Where tyrants rule, and slaves with joy obey,
Let slavish minstrels pour th' enervate lay;
To Britons far more noble pleasures spring,
In native notes whilst Beard and Vincent sing.
Might figure 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 a hand her words and actions go,
And the heart feels more than the features show:
For, through the regions of that beauteous face,
We 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 in Sorrow's sullen frame,
Void of distinction, marks all parts the same.

What's a fine person, or a beauteous face,
Unless deportment gives them decent grace?
Bless'd with all other requisites to please,
Some want the striking elegance of ease;
The curious eye their awkward movement tires;
They seem like puppets led about by wires.
Others, like statues, in one posture still,
Give great ideas of the workman's skill;
Wond'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,
It is the manner which gives strength to all.
This teaches every beauty to unite,

And brings them forward in the noblest light.
Happy in this, behold, amidst the throng,

Stuck 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
rise,

And Reason buried in the ruin lies.

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 favor'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 grey coquette, Or force a laugh with overgrown Julett?

With transient gleam of grace, Hart sweeps along. Her speech, look, action, humor, all are just;

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;
If 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,

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 vigor 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 exeeed,
Let it devolve to one of smaller breed.
All actors too upon the back should bear
Certificate of birth ;-time, when;-place, where.

Shall kindly drop, then Bride shall make her way,For how can critics rightly fix their worth,
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 ski.l
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:

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.
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,
Humor'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 stili.
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 honor 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

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

For how should moderns, mushrooms of the day,
Who ne'er those masters knew, know how to play?
Grey-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 fav'rite 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 endeavor 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 strong,

In manly tides of sense they roll'd along.
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 labor'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 note.

I laugh at those, who, when the stage they tread,
Neglect the heart, to compliment the head;
With strict propriety their cares confin'd

HE, SHE, IT, AND, WE, YE, THEY, fright the soul. To weigh out words, while passion halts behind.

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 adown the stage in feeble murmur dies.
What man, like Barry, with such pains can err
In elocution, action, character?

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.

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 themselves
His eyes, in gloomy socket taught to roll,
Proclaim'd the sullen habit of his soul.
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 dependent virtue jeers,
With the same cast of feature 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 labor'd scenes are brought to view,
With equal praise the actor labor'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 color from his cheek:
But stepdame Nature, niggard of her grace,
Denied 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 tried
To form distinctions Nature hath denied.
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 candor 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?

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,

To fright a king so harmless and so tame?
But, spite of all defects, his glories rise;
And Art, by Judgment form'd, with Nature vies:
Behold him sound the depth of Hubert's soul,
Whilst in his own contending passions roll;
View the whole scene, with critic judgment scan,
And then deny him merit if you can.
Where he falls short, 'tis Nature's fault alone;
Where he succeeds, the merit's all his own.
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."

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 monkeys mimic man,
Their copied scene with mangled arts disgrace,
And pause and start with the same vacant face;
We join the critic laugh; whose 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 portray'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;
Not stung with envy, nor with pain 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 I might tell, how silence reign'd throughou
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, [ciaim,
With temper heard, with judgment weigh'd each
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,
And which no face so well as his can show,
Deserve the pref'rence-Garrick, take the chair;
Nor quit it-till thou place an equal there."

« PreviousContinue »