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Whence sudden shouts the neighbourhood surprise, And thundering claps and dreadful hissings rise.
Here thrifty R * hires monarchs by the day, And keeps his mercenary kings in pay; With deep-mouth'd actors fills the vacant scenes, And rakes the stews for goddesses and queens. Here the lewd punk, with crowns and sceptres
gracid, Teaches her eyes a more majestic cast; And hungry monarchs, with a numerous train Of suppliant slaves, like Sancho, starve and reign.
But enter in, my muse; the stage survey, And all its pomp and pageantry display ; Trap-doors and pit-falls, from th’unfaithful ground, And magic walls encompass it around : On either side maim'd temples fill our eyes, And, intermix'd with brothel-houses, rise ; Disjointed palaces in order stand, And groves, obedient to the mover's hand, O'ershade the stage, and flourish at command. A stamp makes broken towns and trees entire: So when Amphion struck the vocal lyre, He saw the spacious circuit all around With crowding woods and rising cities crown'd. But next the tiring-room survey, and see False titles and promiscuous quality, Confus’dly swarmı, from heroes and from queens, To those that swing in clouds and fill machines. Their various characters they choose with art, The frowning bully fits the tyrant's part: Swoln cheeks and swaggering belly make an host; Pale meagre looks and hollow voice, a ghost!
From careful brows and heavy downcast eyes,
Dall cits and thick-skulld aldermen arise;
The comic tone, inspird by Congreve, draws
At every word loud laughter and applause:
The whining dame continues as before,
Her character anchang'd, and acts a whore.
Above the rest, the prince with hanghty stalks
Magnificent in purple buskins walks :
The royal robes his awful shoulders grace;
Profnse of spangles and of copper lace:
Officions rascals to his mighty thigh,
Guiltless of blood, th' unpointed weapon tie:
Then the gay glittering diadem put on,
Pond'rons with brass, and starr'd with Bristol stone.
His royal consort next consults her glass,
And out of twenty boxes culls a face;
The whitening first her ghastly looks besmears,
All pale and wan th' unfinish'd form appears;
Till on her cheeks the blushing purple glows,
And a false virgin-modesty bestows.
Her ruddy lips the deep vermilion dyes;
Length to her brows the pencil's art supplies,
And with black bending arches shades her eyes.
Well pleasʼd at length, the picture she beholds,
And spots it o'er with artificial molds ;
Her countenance complete, the beaux she warms
With looks not her's; and, spite of nature, charms.
Thus artfully their persons they disguise, Till the last flourish bids the curtain rise. The prince then enters on the stage in state; Behind, a guard of candle-snuffers wait : There, swoln with empire, terrible and fierce, He shakes the dome, and tears his lungs with verse:
His subjects tremble; the submissive pit,
Wrapt up in silence and attention sit:
Till, freed at length, he lays aside the weight
Of public business and affairs of state;
Forgets his pomp, dead to ambition's fires,
And to some peaceful brandy-shop retires ;
Where, in fullgills, his anxious thoughts be drowns,
And quaffs away the care that waits on crowns.
The princess next her painted charms displays,
Where every look the pencil's art betrays;
The callow 'squire at distance feeds bis eyes,
And silently, for paint and washes, dies.
But if the youth behind the scenes retreat,
He sees the blended colours melt with heat,
And all the trickling beauty run in sweat.
The borrow'd visage he admires no more,
And nauseates every charm he lov'd before :
So the fam'd spear, for double force renown'd,
Applied the remedy that gave the wound.
In tedious lists 'twere endless to engage, And draw at length the rabble of the stage; Where one for twenty years has given alarms, Avd call’d contending monarchs to their arms; Another fills a more important post, And rises, every other night, a ghost; Through the cleft stage his mealy face he rears, Then stalks along, groans thrice, and disappears; Others, with swords and shields, the soldier's
pride, More than a thousand times have changʻd their
side, And in a thousand fatal battles died.
Thus several persons, several parts perform; Soft lovers whine, and blustering heroes storm:
The stern exasperated tyrant's rage,
Till the kind bowl of poison clears the stage.
Then honours vanish, and distinctions cease,
Then, with reluctance baughty queens undress;
Heroes no more their fading laurels boast,
And mighty kings in private men are lost.
He, whom such titles swellid, such power made
To whom whole realms and vanqnish'd nations
bow'd, Throws off the gandy plume, the pnrple train, And in his own vile tatters stinks again.
In every age, and each profession,
Men err the most by prepossession ;
Bnt when the thing is clearly shown,
And fairly stated, fully known,
We soon applaud what we deride,
And penitence succeeds to pride.-
A certain baron on a day,
Having a mind to show away,
Invited all the wits and wags,
Foote, Massey, Shuter, Yates, and Skeggs,
And built a large commodious stage,
For the choice spirits of the age;
But above all, among the rest,
There came a genius who profess'd
To have a curious trick in store,
Which never was perform'd before.'
Through all the town this soon got air,
And the whole house was like a fair;
But soon his entry as he made,
Without a prompter or parade,
'Twas all expectance, all suspense,
And silence gag'd the audience.
He hid bis head behind his wig,
And with such truth took off a pig,
All swore 'twas serious, and no joke;
For doubtless underneath his cloak
He had conceal'd some grunting elf,
Or was a real hog himself.
A search was made, no pig was found-
With thundering claps the seats resound,
And pit, and box, and galleries roar,
With—O rare! bravo !' and encore !
Old Roger Grouse, a conntry clown,
Who yet knew something of the town,
Beheld the mimic and his whim,
And on the morrow challeng'd him,
Declaring to each beau and buoter,
That he'd out-grunt th' egregious grunter.
The morrow came- the crowd was greater-
But prejudice and rank ill-nature
Usurp'd the minds of men and wenches,
Who came to hiss, and break the benches.
The mimic took his usual station,
And squeak'd with general approbation.
Again, encore! encore !' they cry-
"Twas quite the thing—'twas very high.
Old Grouse conceal'd amidst the racket,
A real pig beneath his jacket-
Then forth he came—and with his nail
He pinch'd the urchin by the tail.