Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

WRITTEN AND SPOKEN BY

MR. GENTLEMAN.

PROLOGUES, like cards of compliment, we find,
Most as unmeaning as politely kind;
To beg a favour, or to plead excuse,
Of both appears to be the gen'ral use.

Shall my words, tipt with flattery, prepare
A kind exertion of

your

tend'rest care ?
Shall I present our author to your sight,
All pale and trembling for his fate this night?
Shall I solicit the most pow'rful arms
To aid his cause- the force of beauty's charms ?
Or teil each critic, his approving taste
Must give the sterling stamp, wherever plac'd ?
This might be done—but so to seek applause
Argues a conscious weakness in the cause.
No-let the Muse in simple truth appear,
Reason and Nature are the judges here:
If by their strict and self-describing laws,
The sev'ral characters to-night she draws;
If from the whole a pleasing piece is made,
On the true principles of light and shade ;
Struck with the harmony of just design,
Your eyes-your ears-your hearts, will all combine
To grant applause :--but if an erring hand
Gross disproportion marks in motley band,
If the group'd figures false connexions show,
And glaring colours without meaning glow,
Your wounded feelings, turn'd a diff'rent way,
Will justly damn-th' abortion of a play.

As Farquhar has observ'd, our English law,
Like a fair spreading oak, the Muse shall draw,
By Providence design'd, and wisdom made
For honesty to thrive beneath its shade;
Yet from its boughs some insects shelter find,
Dead to each nobler feeling of the mind,
Who thrive, alas! too well, and never cease
To prey on justice, property, and peace.

At such to-night, with other legal game,
Our vent'rous author takes satiric aim ;
And brings, he hopes, originals to view,
Nor pilfers from th’ Old Magpie, nor the New*.
But will to Candour chearfully submit;
She reigns in boxes, galleries, and pit.

• Alluding to Mr. Garrick's Prologue to the Jubilee.

[blocks in formation]

THE

LAME LOVER.

ACT I.

[ocr errors]

Enter Serjeant Circuit and Charlotté.

Char. I TELL you, sir, his love to me is all à pretence : it is amazing that you, who are so acute, so quick in discerning on other occasions, should be so blind upon this.

Serj. But where are your proofs, Charlotte? What signifies your opening matters which your evidence cannot support?

Char. Surely, sir, strong circumstances in every court should have weight.

Serj. So they have collaterally, child, that is by way as it were of corroboration, or where matters are doubtful; then indeed, as Plowden wisely observes “ Les circonstances ajout beaucoup de-, poids aux faits.”—You understand me?

Char. Not perfectly well.

Serj. Then to explain by case in point; A, we will suppose, my dear, robs B. of a watch upon Hounslow heath--dy'e mind, child?

Char. I do, sir.

Serj. A is taken up and indicted ; B swears positively to the identity of A.-Dy’e observe ?

Char. Attentively.

Serj. Then what does me A, but sets up the alibi C, to defeat the affidavit of B.--You take me?

Char. Clearly.

Seri. So far you see then the balance is even. Char. True.

Serj. But then to turn the scale, child, against A, in favour of B, they produce the circumstance D, viz. B's watch found in the pocket of A; upon which, the testimony of C being contradicted by B-no, by D,-why then A, that is to say C, --no D,-joining B, they convict C,-no, no, A, -against the affidavit of. C.-So this being pretty clear, child, I leave the application to you.

Char. Very obliging, sir. But suppose now, sir, it should appear that the attention of sir Luke Limp is directed to some other object, would that not induce you to

Serj. Other object! Where?
Char. In this very house. .

Serj. Here! why the girl is non compos; there's nobody here, child, but a parcel of Abigails.

Char. No, sir?
Serj. No.
Char. Yes, sir, one person else.
Serj. Who is that?

Char. But remember, sir, my accusation is confined to sir Luke.

Serj. Well, well.

Char. Suppose then, sir, those powerful charms which made a conquest of you, may have extended their empire over the heart of sir Luke?

Serj. Why, hussy, you don't hint at your mother-in-law ?

Char. Indeed, sir, but I do.

Serj. Ay; why this is point blank treason against my sovereign authority : but can you, Charlotte, bring proof of any overt acts ?

Char. Overt acts!

Serj. Ay; that is any declaration by writing, or even word of mouth is sufficient; then let 'em demur if they dare.

Char. I can't say that, sir ; but another organ has been pretty explicit.

Serj. Which?

Char. In those cases a very infallible one--the eye.

Serj. Pshaw! nonsense and stuff. The eye! the eye has no authority in a court of law.

Char. Perhaps not, sir ; but it is a decisive evi. dence in a court of love.

Serj. Hark you, hussy, why you would not file an information against the virtue of madam your mother; you would not insinuate that she has been guilty of crim. con. ?

Char. Sir, you mnistake me; it is not the lady, but the gentleman I am about to impeach.

Serj. Have a care, Charlotte, I see on what ground your action is founded jealousy. Char. You were never more deceived in

your life ; for it is impossible, my dear sir, that jealousy can subsist without love.

Serj. Well.

Char. And from that passion (thank Heaven) I am pretty free at present.

Serj. Indeed !
Char. A sweet object to excite tender desires!
Serj. And why not, hussy?
Char. First as to his years.
Serj. What then?

Char. I own, sir, age procures honour, but I believe it is very rarely productive of love.

Serj. Mighty well.

Char. And tho' the loss of a leg can't be imputed to sir Luke Limp as a fault

Serj. How!

Char. I hope, sir, at least you will allow it as a misfortune.

Serj. Indeed ?

Char. A pretty thing truly, for a girl, at my time of life, to be tied to a man with one foot in

the grave.

Serj.. One foot in the grave! the rest of his

[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »