Зображення сторінки

performance; and such was the importance attached to them, that a pardon of 1000 days was granted by the Pope, and 40 additional days by the Bishop of the Diocese, to all who should resort to the representation of the series of Mysteries at Chester; "beginning with the Creation and Fall of Lucifer, and ending with the General Judgment of the World," of which we have given a fuller account elsewhere.


WHEN Garrick and Barry became declared rivals, "Romeo and Juliet" was performed at both houses, till the town was thoroughly tired; and loud complaints were made, that no theatrical entertainment could be procured, except "Romeo and Juliet." Garrick, wishing, himself, to put an end to a contest which was become absurd, wrote the following epigram :

"Well, what's to night?" says angry Ned,
As up from bed he rouses:

"Romeo again !" and shakes his head :
"A plague o' both your houses!"

On the rival Lears, by the same performers, the two following were written :

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

66 SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER." WHEN Goldsmith's comedy of "She Stoops to Conquer" was to be brought out on the stage, he was at a loss what name to give it till the very last moment, and then, in great haste, called it," She Stoops to Conquer, or the Mistakes of a Night." Sir Joshua Reynolds, who disliked this name for a play, offered a much better to him, saying, " You ought to call it,' The Belle's Stratagem,' and if you do not, I will d―n it.” However, Goldsmith chose to name it himself as above, and Mrs. Cowley has since given that name to one of her comedies.

Goldsmith was in great anxiety about its success; he was much distressed in his finances at the time, and all his hopes hung on the event; at the dinner preceding the representation of his play, his mouth became so parched and

dry, from the agitation of his mind, that he was unable to swallow a single mouthful. The actors themselves had great doubts of its success : but, contrary to their expectations, the play was received with great applause; Sir Joshua and a large party of friends going for the purpose of supporting it, if necessary. The dinner party, which took place at the Shakspeare, is humourously described by Cumberland. Dr. Johnson took the head of the table, and there were present the Burkes, Caleb Whitefoord, Major Mills, &c. &c.

"I remember," says the relator of this anecdote, "Dr. Goldsmith gave me an order soon after, with which I went to see this comedy, and the next time I saw him, he inquired of me what my opinion was of it. I told him that I would not presume to be a judge of its merits. He then said, "Did it make you laugh?" I answered," Exceedingly."" Then," said the doctor," that is all I require."


"To the Sovereign of Heaven-to the Mother of the Eternal World—to the Polar Star of Spain to the comforter of all Spain-to the

faithful Protectress of the Spanish Nation-t the honour and Glory of the most holy Virgin Mary, for the benefit, and for the propagation of her worship, the company of Comedians will this day give a representation of the comic piece called Nanine.'

"The celebrated Italian will also dance the Fandango, and the Theatre will be superbly illuminated."


In the reign of Louis XIV. an Italian actor, who named himself Scaramouch, was so popular, that he saved money enough to buy an estate, and asked leave to return to his own country. Finding himself ill-treated there, he petitioned, and was permitted, to return. At this, though he was publicly blamed, the public rejoiced; and, for more than six months, crowded to see Scaramouch again. Moliere and his excellent company fell into neglect; the comedians murmured and reproached Moliere, on whom they depended as author and manager." Why don't you write for our support? Must impotence and buffoonery carry all before them? Is there no way to rouse the public to common sense?"

Weary of such remonstrances, Moliere told them they must retire, like Scaramouch, till the town should wish for their return; but that, for his own part, he should suffer things to take their natural course; the public would not be always Scaramouch-mad; they would be tired with bad things, as well as with good.-Moliere had sagacity, and was a true prophet; the very next comedy he wrote, the concourse was drawn to his house, and popularity was once again the friend of merit.


A poor strolling player was once caught performing the part of a poacher, and being taken before the Magistrates, assembled at a quarter sessions, for examination, one of them asked him what right he had to kill a hare? When he replied in the following ludicrous parody on Brutus's speech to the Romans in defence of the death of Cæsar.

"Britons, Hungry-men, and Epicures! hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear; believe me for my honour; and have respect to my honour, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom-and awake your senses that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of this hare, to him I say, that a

« НазадПродовжити »