« ÎnapoiContinuați »
SPOKEN BY MR. GARRICK, APRIL 5, 1750, BEFORE THE
MASQUE OF COMUS.
ACTED AT DRURY LANE THEATRE,.
FIT OF MILTON'S GRAND DAUGHTER.*
YE patriot crowds, who burn for England's fame,
Ye nymphs, whose bosoms beat at Milton's name,
Whose gen'rous zeal, unbought by flatt'ring rhymes,
Shames the mean pensions of Augustine times,
Immortal patrons of succeeding days,
Attend this prelude of perpetual praise;
Let wit, condemn'd the feeble war to wage
With close malevolence, or public rage,
Let study, worn with virtue's fruitless lore,
Behold this theatre, and grieve no more.
This night, distinguish'd by your smiles, shall tell
That never Britain can in vain excel
The slighted arts futurity shall trust,
And rising ages hasten to be just.
At length our mighty bard's victorious lays Fill the loud voice of universal praise ;
*See Vol IX. p. 131.
And baffled spite, with hopeless anguish dumb,
Yields to renown the centuries to come;
With ardent haste each candidate of fame,
Ambitious, catches at his tow'ring name;
He sees, and pitying sees, vain wealth bestow,
Those pageant honours which he scorn'd below,
While crowds aloft the laureat bust behold,
Or trace his form on circulating gold,
Unknown, unheeded, long his offspring lay,
And want hung threat'ning o'er her slow decay:
What though she shine with no Miltonian fire,
No fav'ring Muse her morning dreams inspire;
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
Her youth laborious, and her blameless age;
Hers the mild merits of domestic life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife.
Thus, grac'd with humble virtue's native charms,
Her grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms;
Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell,
While tutelary nations guard her cell.
Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave!)
'Tis yours to crown desert.....beyond the grave.
THE GOOD NATURED MAN, 1769.
PREST by the load of life, the weary mind
Surveys the gen'ral toil of human kind,
With cool submission joins the lab'ring train,
And social sorrow loses half its pain;
Our anxious bard without complaint may share
This bustling season's epidemic care;
Like Cesar's pilot, dignify'd by fate,
Tost in one common storm with all the great ;
Distrest alike the stasesman and the wit,
When one a Borough courts, and one the Pit.
The busy candidates for power and fame
Have hopes, and fears, and wishes, just the same;
Disabled both to combat or to fly,
Must hear all taunts, and hear without reply.
Uncheck'd on both, loud rabbles vent their rage,
As mongrels bay the lion in a cage.
Th' offended burgess hoards his angry tale,
For that blest year when all that vote may rail
Their schemes of spite the poet's foes dismiss,
Till that glad night when all that hate may hiss.
"This day the powder'd curls and golden coat," Says swelling Crispin, "begg'd a cobler's vote.” "This night our wit," the pert apprentice cries, "Lies at my feet; I hiss him, and he dies."
The great, 'tis true, can charm th' electing tribe ;
The bard may supplicate, but cannot bribe.
Yet, judg'd by those whose voices ne'er were sold,
He feels no want of ill persuading gold;
But, confident of praise, if praise be due,
Trusts without fear to merit and to you.
THIS night presents a play which public rage,
Or right, or wrong, once hooted from the stage. †
From zeal or malice, now no more we dread,
For English vengeance wars not with the dead.
A`gen'rous foe regards with pitying eye
The man whom fate has laid where all must lie.
To wit reviving from its author's dust,
Be kind, ye judges, or at least be just.
For no renew'd hostilities invade
Th' oblivious grave's inviolable shade.
Let one great payment ev'ry claim appease;
And him, who cannot hurt, allow to please;
To please by scenes unconscious of offence,
By harmless merriment, or useful sense.
Where aught of bright or fair the piece displays,
Approve it only.....'tis too late to praise.
* Performed at Covent Garden theatre, in 1777, for the benefit of Mrs. Kelly, widow of Hugh Kelly, Esq. (the author of the play) and her children.
Upon the first representation of this play, 1770, a party assembled to damn it, and succeeded.