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EPILOGUE TO THE COMEDY OF THE
What? five long acts—and all to make us wiser!
Our authoress sure has wanted an adviser.
Had she consulted me, she should have made
Her moral play a speaking masquerade;
Warm'd up each bustling scene, and in her rage
Have emptied all the green room on the stage.
My life on't, this had kept her play from sinking;
Have pleas'd our eyes, and sav'd the pain of
thinking. Well, since she thus has shown her want of skill, What if I give a masquerade ?—I will. But how? ay, there's the rub! [pausing]—I've got my cue:
The world's a masquerade! the masquers, you, you, you. [To Boxes, Pit, and Gallery.
Lud! what a group the motley scene discloses!
False wits, false wives, false virgins, and false spouses!Statesmen with bridles on; and, close beside'em,
Patriots in party-colour'd suits that ride 'em.
3 The Sisters] A comedy by Mrs. Charlotte Lennox, 1769, taken from the authoress's own novel, ' Henrietta.' It was performed only one night. The author of the Biographiu Dramatica says that 'this epilogue is the best that has appeared the last thirty years.'
There Hebes, turn'd of fifty, try once more
To raise a flame in Cupids of threescore.
These in their turn, with appetites as keen,
Deserting fifty, fasten on fifteen.
Miss, not yet full fifteen, with fire uncommon,
Flings down her sampler, and takes up the woman:
The little urchin smiles, and spreads her lure,
And tries to kill, ere she's got power to cure.
Thus 'tis with all—their chief and constant care
Is to seem every thing—but what they are.
Yon broad, bold, angry spark, I fix my eye on,
Who seems to have robb'd his vizor from the lion;
Who frowns, and talks, and swears, with round
parade, Looking, as who should say, dam'me! who's afraid?
Strip but this vizor off, and sure I am
You'll find his lionship a very lamb.
Yon politician, famous in debate,
Perhaps, to vulgar eyes, bestrides the state;
Yet, when he deigns his real shape t' assume,
He turns old woman, and bestrides a broom.
Yon patriot, too, who presses on your sight,
And seems to every gazer all in white,
If with a bribe his candour you attack, [black!
He bows, turns round, and whip—the man's in
Yon critic, too—but whither do I run?
If I proceed, our bard will be undone!
Well then a truce, since she requests it too:
Do you spare her, and I'll for once spare you.
EPILOGUE, SPOKEN BY MRS. BULKLEY
AND MISS CATLEY.
Enter Mrs. Bulkley, who curtsies very low as beginning to speak. Then enter Miss Catley, who stands full before her, and curtsies to the audience.
Hold, Ma'am, your pardon. What's your business here?
Miss Catley. The Epilogue.
MRS. BULKLEY. The Epilogue?
Yes, the Epilogue, my dear.
Sure you mistake, Ma'am. The Epilogue / bring it.
Excuse me, Ma'am. The Author bid me sing it.
Ye beaux and belles, that form this splendid ring, Suspend your conversation while I sing.
Why sure the girl's beside herself: an Epilogue of singing, A hopeful end indeed to such a blest beginning. Besides, a singer in a comic set!Excuse me, Ma'am, I know the etiquette.
What if we leave it to the House?
The House! —Agreed.
And she, whose party's largest, shall proceed.
And first I hope, you'll readily agree
I've all the critics and the wits for me.
They, I am sure, will answer my commands,
Ye candid judging few, hold up your hands;
What, no return? I find too late, I fear,
That modern judges seldom enter here.
I'm for a different set.—Old men, whose trade is Still to gallant and dangle with the ladies.
Whomump their passion,and who, grimly smiling, Still thus address the fair with voice beguiling.
Turn, my fairest, turn, if ever
Strephon caught thy ravish'd eye;
Pity take on your swain so clever,
Who without your aid must die.
Yes, I shall die, hu, hu, hu, hu,
Yes, I must die, ho, ho, ho, ho. Da Capo.
Let all the old pay homage to your merit:Give me the young, the gay, the men of spirit. Ye travelled tribe, ye macaroni train Of French friseurs, and nosegays, justly vain, Who take a trip to Paris once a year To dress, and look like awkward Frenchmen here; Lend me your hands.—O fatal news to tell, Their hands are only lent to the Heinelle.
Ay, take your travellers, travellers indeed!
Give me my bonny Scot, that travels from the
Tweed. Where are the cheels? Ah! Ah, I well discern
The smiling looks of each bewitching bairne.
A bonny young lad is my jockey.
AIR. I'll sing to amuse you by night and by day,
And be unco merry when you are but gay;