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Title: Rejected Addresses; Or, The New Theatrum Poetarum

Author: James Smith

Horace Smith

Release date: February 1, 2003 [eBook #3769]
Most recently updated: September 13, 2014

Language: English

Credits: Transcribed from the 1879 John Murray edition by David Price


Transcribed from the 1879 John Murray edition by David Price, email

Book cover

The authors of the Rejected Addresses






“Fired that the House reject him!  ’Sdeath, I’ll print it,
And shame the Fools!”






“I think the ‘Rejected Addresses’ by far the best thing of the kind since ‘The Rolliad,’ and wish you had published them.  Tell the author ‘I forgive him, were he twenty times over our satirist;’ and think his imitations not at all inferior to the famous ones of Hawkins Browne.”

Lord Byron to Mr. Murray, Oct. 19, 1812.

“I like the volume of ‘Rejected Addresses’ better and better.”

Lord Byron to Mr. Murray, Oct. 19, 1812.

“I take the ‘Rejected Addresses’ to be the very best imitations (and often of difficult originals) that ever were made; and considering their great extent and variety, to indicate a talent to which I do not know where to look for a parallel.  Some few of them descend to the level of parodies; but by far the greater part are of a much higher description.”

Lord Jeffrey (in 1843), Note in Essays, iv. 470


James Smith and Horace Smith, authors of the Rejected Addresses; or, The New Theatrum Poetarum, were the sons of Robert Smith, solicitor to the Board of Ordnance.  James was born at No. 36, Basinghall Street, London, on the 10th of February, 1775; and Horace in the same house on the 31st of December, 1779.

James was educated under the Rev. Mr. Burford at Chigwell in Essex; articled to his father on leaving school, subsequently taken into partnership with him, and eventually succeeded to his father’s business, as well as his appointment of solicitor to the Ordnance.  Horace received the same education as his brother, became a member of the Stock Exchange in London, acquired a fortune, and retired with his wife and family to Brighton.  James, who lived and died single, was the author of several small copies of verses, since collected by his brother; and Horace was the author of “Brambletye House,” a novel in three volumes, well received at the time of its publication.

The work by which the brothers are best known, and by which they will long continue to be remembered, is the Rejected Addresses.  This delightful volume—one of the luckiest hits in literature—appeared on the re-opening of Drury Lane Theatre, in October, 1812; the idea, as Horace relates, having been casualty started by the late Mr. Ward, secretary to the theatre, exactly six weeks before the night when the opening Address was to be spoken.  The hint thus p. ivthrown out was eagerly adopted.  The brothers arranged what authors they should respectively imitate; and James executed his portion in London, and Horace the remainder at Cheltenham.  James supplied the imitations of Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge, Crabbe, and Cobbett, and Nos. 14, 16, 18, 19, and 20.  The Byron was a joint effusion—James contributing the first stanza, and Horace the remainder.  The Fitzgerald, the Sir Walter Scott, &c., were by Horace.  The corrections which each supplied to the compositions of the other seldom exceeded verbal alterations or the addition of a few lines.

The copyright, which had been originally offered to Mr. Murray for 20l., and refused without even looking at the MS., [0a] was purchased by that gentleman in 1819, after the book had run through sixteen editions, for 131l.

James Smith died at his house, No. 27, Craven Street, Strand, on the 24th December, 1839, in the 65th year of his age; and was buried in the vaults of the church of St. Martin’s in the Fields.  Horace died at Tunbridge Wells, on the 12th of July, 1849, in the 70th year of his age, and was buried in the churchyard of Trinity Church, Tunbridge Wells.

P. C.


On the 14th of August, 1812, the following advertisement appeared in most of the daily papers:—

Rebuilding of Drury Lane Theatre.

“The Committee are desirous of promoting a free and fair competition for an Address to be spoken upon the opening of the Theatre, which will take place on the 10th of October next.  They have, therefore, thought fit to announce to the public, that they will be glad to receive any such compositions, addressed to their Secretary, at the Treasury-office, in Drury Lane, on or before the 10th of September, sealed up, with a distinguishing word, number, or motto, on the cover, corresponding with the inscription on a separate sealed paper, containing the name of the author, which will not be opened unless containing the name of the successful candidate.”

Upon the propriety of this plan men’s minds were, as they usually are upon matters of moment, much divided.  Some thought it a fair promise of the future intention of the Committee to abolish that phalanx of authors who usurp the stage, to the exclusion of a large assortment of dramatic talent blushing unseen in the background; while others contended that the scheme would prevent men of real eminence from descending into an amphitheatre in which all Grub Street (that is to say, all London and Westminster) would be arrayed against them.  The event has proved both parties to be in a degree right, and in a degree wrong.  One hundred and twelve Addresses have been sent in, each sealed p. viand signed, and mottoed, “as per order,” some written by men of great, some by men of little, and some by men of no talent.

Many of the public prints have censured the taste of the Committee, in thus contracting for Addresses as they would for nails—by the gross; but it is surprising that none should have censured their temerity.  One hundred and eleven of the Addresses must, of course, be unsuccessful: to each of the authors, thus infallibly classed with the genus irritabile, it would be very hard to deny six stanch friends, who consider his the best of all possible Addresses, and whose tongues will be as ready to laud him as to hiss his adversary.  These, with the potent aid of the bard himself, make seven foes per address; and thus will be created seven hundred and seventy-seven implacable auditors, prepared to condemn the strains of Apollo himself—a band of adversaries which no prudent manager would think of exasperating.

But, leaving the Committee to encounter the responsibility they have incurred, the public have at least to thank them for ascertaining and establishing one point, which might otherwise have admitted of controversy.  When it is considered that many amateur writers have been discouraged from becoming competitors, and that few, if any, of the professional authors can afford to write for nothing, and, of course, have not been candidates for the honorary prize at Drury Lane, we may confidently pronounce that, as far as regards number, the present is undoubtedly the Augustan age of English poetry.  Whether or not this distinction will be extended to the quality of its productions, must be decided at the tribunal of posterity; though the natural anxiety of our authors on this score ought to be considerably diminished when they reflect how few will, in all probability, be had up for judgment.

It is not necessary for the Editor to mention the manner in which he became possessed of this “fair sample of the present state of poetry in Great Britain.”  It was his first intention to publish the whole; but a little reflection convinced him that, by so doing, he might depress the good, without elevating p. viithe bad.  He has therefore culled what had the appearance of flowers, from what possessed the reality of weeds, and is extremely sorry that, in so doing, he has diminished his collection to twenty-one.  Those which he has rejected may possibly make their appearance in a separate volume, or they may be admitted as volunteers in the files of some of the newspapers; or, at all events, they are sure of being received among the awkward squad of the Magazines.  In general, they bear a close resemblance to each other; thirty of them contain extravagant compliments to the immortal Wellington and the indefatigable Whitbread; and, as the last-mentioned gentleman is said to dislike praise in the exact proportion in which he deserves it, these laudatory writers have probably been only building a wall against which they might run their own heads.

The Editor here begs leave to advance a few words in behalf of that useful and much abused bird the Phoenix; and in so doing he is biassed by no partiality, as he assures the reader he not only never saw one, but (mirabile dictu!) never caged one, in a simile, in the whole course of his life.  Not less than sixty-nine of the competitors have invoked the aid of this native of Arabia; but as, from their manner of using him after they had caught him, he does not by any means appear to have been a native of Arabia Felix, the Editor has left the proprietors to treat with Mr. Polito, and refused to receive this rara avis, or black swan, into the present collection.  One exception occurs, in which the admirable treatment of this feathered incombustible entitles the author to great praise: that Address has been preserved, and in the ensuing pages takes the lead, to which its dignity entitles it.

Perhaps the reason why several of the subjoined productions of the Musæ Londinenses have failed of selection, may be discovered in their being penned in a metre unusual upon occasions of this sort, and in their not being written with that attention to stage effect, the want of which, like want of manners in the concerns of life, is more prejudicial p. viiithan a deficiency of talent.  There is an art of writing for the Theatre, technically called touch and go, which is indispensable when we consider the small quantum of patience which so motley an assemblage as a London audience can be expected to afford.  All the contributors have been very exact in sending their initials and mottoes.  Those belonging to the present collection have been carefully preserved, and each has been affixed to its respective poem.  The letters that accompanied the Addresses having been honourably destroyed unopened, it is impossible to state the real authors with any certainty; but the ingenious reader, after comparing the initials with the motto, and both with the poem, may form his own conclusions.

The Editor does not anticipate any disapprobation from thus giving publicity to a small portion of the Rejected Addresses; for unless he is widely mistaken in assigning the respective authors, the fame of each individual is established on much too firm a basis to be shaken by so trifling and evanescent a publication as the present:

— neque ego illi detrahere ausim
Hærentem capiti multâ cum laude coronam.

Of the numerous pieces already sent to the Committee for performance, he has only availed himself of three vocal Travesties, which he has selected, not for their merit, but simply for their brevity.  Above one hundred spectacles, melodramas, operas, and pantomimes have been transmitted, besides the two first acts of one legitimate comedy.  Some of these evince considerable smartness of manual dialogue, and several brilliant repartees of chairs, tables, and other inanimate wits; but the authors seem to have forgotten that in the new Drury Lane the audience can hear as well as see.  Of late our theatres have been so constructed, that John Bull has been compelled to have very long ears, or none at all; to keep them dangling about his skull like discarded servants, while his eyes were gazing at pieballs and elephants, or else to stretch them out to an asinine length to catch the congenial sound of braying trumpets.  An auricular revolution is, we p. ixtrust, about to take place; and as many people have been much puzzled to define the meaning of the new era, of which we have heard so much, we venture to pronounce that, as far as regards Drury Lane Theatre, the new era means the reign of ears.  If the past affords any pledge for the future, we may confidently expect from the Committee of that House every thing that can be accomplished by the union of taste and assiduity.

[“We have no conjectures to offer as to the anonymous author of this amusing little volume.  He who is such a master of disguises may easily be supposed to have been successful in concealing himself, and, with the power of assuming so many styles, is not likely to be detected by his own.  We should guess, however, that he had not written a great deal in his own character—that his natural style was neither very lofty nor very grave—and that he rather indulges a partiality for puns and verbal pleasantries.  We marvel why he has shut out Campbell and Rogers from his theatre of living poets, and confidently expect to have our curiosity, in this and in all other particulars, very speedily gratified, when the applause of the country shall induce him to take off his mask.”]

Lord Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review for Nov. 1812.


In the present publishing era, when books are like the multitudinous waves of the advancing sea, some of which make no impression whatever upon the sand, while the superficial traces left by others are destined to be perpetually obliterated by their successors, almost as soon as they are found, the authors of the Rejected Addresses may well feel flattered, after a lapse of twenty years, and the sale of seventeen large editions, in receiving an application to write a Preface to a new and more handsome impression.  In diminution, however, of any overweening vanity which they might be disposed to indulge on this occasion, they cannot but admit the truth of the remark made by a particularly candid and good-natured friend, who kindly reminded them, that if their little work has hitherto floated upon the stream of time, while so many others of much greater weight and value have sunk to rise no more, it has been solely indebted for its buoyancy to that specific levity which enables feathers, straws, and similar trifles to defer their submersion until they have become thoroughly saturated with the waters of oblivion, when they quickly meet the fate which they had long before merited.

Our ingenuous and ingenious friend furthermore observed, p. xithat the demolition of Drury Lane Theatre by fire, its reconstruction under the auspices of the celebrated Mr. Whitbread, [0c] the reward offered by the Committee for an opening address, and the public recitation of a poem composed expressly for the occasion by Lord Byron, one of the most popular writers of the age, formed an extraordinary concurrence of circumstances which could not fail to insure the success of the Rejected Addresses, while it has subsequently served to fix them in the memory of the public, so far at least as a poor immortality of twenty years can be said to have effected that object.  In fact, continued our impartial and affectionate monitor, your little work owes its present obscure existence entirely to the accidents that have surrounded and embalmed it,—even as flies, and other worthless insects, may long survive their natural date of extinction, if they chance to be preserved in amber, or any similar substance.

The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare—
But wonder how the devil they got there!—Pope.

With the natural affection of parents for the offspring of their own brains, we ventured to hint that some portion of our success might perhaps be attributable to the manner in which the different imitations were executed; but our worthy friend protested that his sincere regard for us, as well as for the cause of truth, compelled him to reject our claim, and to pronounce that, when once the idea had been conceived, all the rest followed as a matter of course, and might have been executed by any other hands not less felicitously than by our own.

Willingly leaving this matter to the decision of the public, since we cannot be umpires in our own cause, we proceed to detail such circumstances attending the writing and publication of our little work, as may literally meet the wishes of the present proprietor of the copyright, who has applied to us for a gossiping Preface.  Were we disposed to be grave p. xiiand didactic, which is as foreign to our mood as it was twenty years ago, we might draw the attention of the reader, in a fine sententious paragraph, to the trifles upon which the fate of empires, as well as a four-and-sixpenny volume of parodies, occasionally hangs in trembling balance.  No sooner was the idea of our work conceived, than it was about to be abandoned in embryo, from the apprehension that we had no lime to mature and bring it forth, as it was indispensable that it should be written, printed, and published by the opening of Drury Lane Theatre, which would only allow us an interval of six weeks, and we had both of us other avocations that precluded us from the full command of even that limited period.  Encouraged, however, by the conviction that the thought was a good one, and by the hope of making a lucky hit, we set to work con amore, our very hurry not improbably enabling us to strike out at a heat what we might have failed to produce so well, had we possessed time enough to hammer it into more careful and elaborate form.

Our first difficulty, that of selection, was by no means a light one.  Some of our most eminent poets—such, for instance, as Rogers and Campbell—presented so much beauty, harmony, and proportion in their writings, both as to style and sentiment, that if we had attempted to caricature them, nobody would have recognised the likeness; and if we had endeavoured to give a servile copy of their manner, it would only have amounted, at best, to a tame and unamusing portrait, which it was not our object to present.  Although fully aware that their names would, in the theatrical phrase, have conferred great strength upon our bill, we were reluctantly compelled to forego them, and to confine ourselves to writers whose style and habit of thought, being more marked and peculiar, was more capable of exaggeration and distortion.  To avoid politics and personality, to imitate the turn of mind as well as the phraseology of our originals, and, at all events, to raise a harmless laugh, were our main objects; in the attainment of which united aims, we were sometimes hurried into extravagance, by attaching much more importance p. xiiito the last than to the two first.  In no instance were we thus betrayed into a greater injustice than in the case of Mr. Wordsworth—the touching sentiment, profound wisdom, and copious harmony of whose loftier writings we left unnoticed, in the desire of burlesquing them; while we pounced upon his popular ballads, and exerted ourselves to push their simplicity into puerility and silliness.  With pride and pleasure do we now claim to be ranked among the most ardent admirers of this true poet; and if he himself could see the state of his works, which are ever at our right hand, he would, perhaps, receive the manifest evidences they exhibit of constant reference and delighted re-perusal, as some sort of amende honorable for the unfairness of which we were guilty when we were less conversant with the higher inspirations of his muse.  To Mr. Coleridge, and others of our originals, we must also do a tardy act of justice, by declaring that our burlesque of their peculiarities has never blinded us to those beauties and talents which are beyond the reach of all ridicule.

One of us [0d] had written a genuine Address for the occasion, which was sent to the Committee, and shared the fate it merited, in being rejected.  To swell the bulk, or rather to diminish the tenuity of our little work, we added it to the Imitations; and prefixing the initials of S. T. P. for the purpose of puzzling the critics, were not a little amused, in the sequel, by the many guesses and conjectures into which we had ensnared some of our readers.  We could even enjoy the mysticism, qualified as it was by the poor compliment, that our carefully written Address exhibited no “very prominent trait of absurdity,” when we saw it thus noticed in the Edinburgh Review for November 1812:—“An Address by S. T. P. we can make nothing of; and professing our ignorance of the p. xivauthor designated by these letters, we can only add, that the Address, though a little affected, and not very full of meaning, has no very prominent trait of absurdity, that we can detect; and might have been adopted and spoken, so far as we can perceive, without any hazard of ridicule.  In our simplicity we consider it as a very decent, mellifluous, occasional prologue; and do not understand how it has found its way into its present company.”

Urged forward by hurry, and trusting to chance, two very bad coadjutors in any enterprise, we at length congratulated ourselves on having completed our task in time to have it printed and published by the opening of the theatre.  But alas! our difficulties, so far from being surmounted, seemed only to be beginning.  Strangers to the arcana of the booksellers’ trade, and unacquainted with their almost invincible objection to single volumes of low price, especially when tendered by writers who have acquired no previous name, we little anticipated that they would refuse to publish our Rejected Addresses, even although we asked nothing for the copyright.  Such, however, proved to be the case.  Our manuscript was perused and returned to us by several of the most eminent publishers. [0e]  Well do we remember betaking ourselves to one of the craft in Bond-street, whom we found in a back parlour, with his gouty leg propped upon a cushion, in spite of which warning he diluted his luncheon with frequent glasses of Madeira.  “What have you already written?” was his first question—an interrogatory to which we had been subjected in almost every instance.  “Nothing by which we can be known.”  “Then I am afraid to undertake p. xvthe publication.”  We presumed timidly to suggest that every writer must have a beginning, and that to refuse to publish for him until he had acquired a name, was to imitate the sapient mother who cautioned her son against going into the water until he could swim.  “An old joke—a regular Joe!” exclaimed our companion, tossing off another bumper.  “Still older than Joe Miller,” was our reply; “for, if we mistake not, it is the very first anecdote in the facetiæ of Hierocles.”  “Ha, sirs!” resumed the bibliopolist, “you are learned, are you?  So, sob!—Well, leave your manuscript with me; I will look it over to-night, and give you an answer to-morrow.”  Punctual as the clock we presented ourselves at his door on the following morning, when our papers were returned to us with the observation—“These trifles are really not deficient in smartness; they are well, vastly well, for beginners; but they will never do—never.  They would not pay for advertising, and without it I should not sell fifty copies.”

This was discouraging enough.  If the most experienced publishers feared to be out of pocket by the work, it was manifest, à fortiori, that its writers ran a risk of being still more heavy losers, should they undertake the publication on their own account.  We had no objection to raise a laugh at the expense of others; but to do it at our own cost, uncertain as we were to what extent we might be involved, had never entered into our contemplation.  In this dilemma, our Addresses, now in every sense rejected, might probably have never seen the light, had not some good angel whispered us to betake ourselves to Mr. John Miller, a dramatic publisher, then residing in Bow Street, Covent Garden.  No sooner had this gentleman looked over our manuscript, than he immediately offered to take upon himself all the risk of publication, and to give us half the profits, should there be any; a liberal proposition, with which we gladly closed.  So rapid and decided was its success, at which none were more unfeignedly astonished than its authors, that Mr. Miller advised us to collect some Imitations of Horace, which had appeared anonymously p. xviin the Monthly Mirror, [0f] offering to publish them upon the same terms.  We did so accordingly; and as new editions of the Rejected Addresses were called for in quick succession, we were shortly enabled to sell our half copyright in the two works to Mr. Miller for one thousand pounds!  We have entered into this unimportant detail, not to gratify any vanity of our own, but to encourage such literary beginners as may be placed in similar circumstances; as well as to impress upon publishers the propriety of giving more consideration to the possible merit of the works submitted to them, than to the mere magic of a name.

To the credit of the genus irritabile be it recorded, that not one of those whom we had parodied or burlesqued ever betrayed the least soreness on the occasion, or refused to join in the laugh that we had occasioned.  With most of them we subsequently formed acquaintanceship; while some honoured us with an intimacy which still continues, where it has not been severed by the rude hand of Death.  Alas! it is painful to reflect, that of the twelve writers whom we presumed to imitate, five are now no more; the list of the deceased being unhappily swelled by the most illustrious of all, the clarum et venerabile nomen of Sir Walter Scott!  From that distinguished writer, whose transcendent talents were only to be equalled by his virtues and his amiability, we received favours and notice, both public and private, which it will be difficult to forget, because we had not the smallest claim upon his kindness.  “I certainly must have written this myself!” said that fine-tempered man to one of the authors, pointing to the description of the Fire, “although I forget upon what occasion.”  Lydia White, [0g] a literary lady who was prone to p. xviifeed the lions of the day, invited one of us to dinner; but, recollecting afterwards that William Spencer [0h] formed one of the party, wrote to the latter to put him off, telling him that a man was to be at her table whom he “would not like to meet.”  “Pray, who is this whom I should not like to meet?” inquired the poet.  “O!” answered the lady, “one of those men who have made that shameful attack upon you!”  “The very man upon earth I should like to know!” rejoined the lively and careless bard.  The two individuals accordingly met, and have continued fast friends ever since.  Lord Byron, too, wrote thus to Mr. Murray from Italy—“Tell him I forgive him, were he twenty times over our satirist.”

It may not be amiss to notice, in this place, one criticism of a Leicestershire clergyman, which may be pronounced unique: “I do not see why they should have been rejected,” observed the matter-of-fact annotator; “I think some of them very good!”  Upon the whole, few have been the instances, in the acrimonious history of literature, where a malicious pleasantry like the Rejected Addresses—which the parties ridiculed might well consider more annoying than a direct satire—instead of being met by querulous bitterness or petulant retaliation, has procured for its authors the acquaintance, or conciliated the good-will, of those whom they had the most audaciously burlesqued.

In commenting on a work, however trifling, which has survived the lapse of twenty years, an author may almost claim the privileged garrulity of age; yet even in a professedly gossiping Preface, we begin to fear that we are exceeding our commission, and abusing the patience of the reader.  If we are doing so, we might urge extenuating circumstances, which will explain, though they may not excuse, our diffuseness.  To one of us the totally unexpected success of this little work proved an important event, since it mainly decided him, some years afterwards, to embark in the literary career which the continued favour of that novel-reading world p. xviiihas rendered both pleasant and profitable to him.  This is the first, as it will probably be the last, occasion upon which we shall ever intrude ourselves personally on the public notice; and we trust that our now doing so will stand excused by the reasons we have adduced.

London, March, 1833





Written by


Loyal Effusion.  By W. T. F.




The Baby’s Debut.  By W. W.




An Address Without a Phœnix.  By S. T. P.




Cui Bono?  By Lord B.


James and Horace.


Hampshire Farmer’s Address.  By W. C.




The Living Lustres.  By T. M.




The Rebuilding.  By R. S.




Drury’s Dirge.  By Laura Matilda.




A Tale of Drury Lane.  By W. S.




Johnson’s Ghost




The Beautiful Incendiary.  By the Hon. W. S.




Fire and Ale.  By M. G. L.




Playhouse Musings.  By S. T. C.




Drury Lane Hustings.  By a Pic-Nic Poet




Architectural Atoms.  By Dr. B.




Theatrical Alarm-bell.  By the Editor of the M. P.




The Theatre.  By the Rev. G. C.




Macbeth Travestie.  By Momus Medlar




Stranger Travestie.  By Momus Medlar




George Barnwell Travestie.  By Ditto




Punch’s Apotheosis.  By T. H.




p. 2I.

By W. T. F.


[Mr. Fitzgerald died 9th July, 1829, aged 70.]

“Quicquid dicunt, lando: id rursum si negant,
Lando id quoque.”  Terence.

Hail, glorious edifice, stupendous work!
God bless the Regent and the Duke of York!
   Ye Muses! by whose aid I cried down Fox,
Grant me in Drury Lane a private box,
Where I may loll, cry Bravo! and profess
The boundless powers of England’s glorious press;
While Afric’s sons exclaim, from shore to shore,
“Quashee ma boo!”—the slave-trade is no more!
   In fair Arabia (happy once, now stony,
Since ruined by that arch apostate Boney),
A Phoenix late was caught: the Arab host
Long ponder’d—part would boil it, part would roast,
But while they ponder, up the pot-lid flies,
Fledged, beak’d, and claw’d, alive they see him rise
To heaven, and caw defiance in the skies.
So Drury, first in roasting flames consumed,
Then by old renters to hot water doom’d,
By Wyatt’s [2] trowel patted, plump and sleek,
Soars without wings, and caws without a beak.
Gallia’s stern despot shall in vain advance
From Paris, the metropolis of France;
By this day month the monster shall not gain
A foot of land in Portugal or Spain.
p. 3See Wellington in Salamanca’s field
Forces his favourite general to yield,
Breaks through his lines, and leaves his boasted Marmont
Expiring on the plain without his arm on;
Madrid he enters at the cannon’s mouth,
And then the villages still further south.
Base Buonapartè, fill’d with deadly ire,
Sets, one by one, our playhouses on fire.
Some years ago he pounced with deadly glee on
The Opera House, then burnt down the Pantheon;
Nay, still unsated, in a coat of flames,
Next at Millbank he cross’d the river Thames;
Thy hatch, O Halfpenny! [3a] pass’d in a trice,
Boil’d some black pitch, and burnt down Astley’s twice;
Then buzzing on through ether with a vile hum,
Turn’d to the left hand, fronting the Asylum,
And burnt the Royal Circus in a hurry—
(’Twas call’d the Circus then, but now the Surrey).
   Who burnt (confound his soul!) the houses twain
Of Covent Garden and of Drury Lane? [3b]
Who, while the British squadron lay off Cork,
(God bless the Regent and the Duke of York!)
With a foul earthquake ravaged the Caraccas,
And raised the price of dry goods and tobaccos?
Who makes the quartern loaf and Luddites rise?
Who fills the butchers’ shops with large blue flies?
p. 4Who thought in flames St. James’s court to pinch? [4a]
Who burnt the wardrobe of poor Lady Finch?—
Why he, who, forging for this isle a yoke,
Reminds me of a line I lately spoke,
“The tree of freedom is the British oak.”
   Bless every man possess’d of aught to give;
Long may Long Tylney Wellesley Long Pole live; [4b]
God bless the Army, bless their coats of scarlet,
God bless the Navy, bless the Princess Charlotte;
God bless the Guards, though worsted Gallia scoff;
God bless their pig-tails, though they’re now cut off;
And, oh! in Downing Street should Old Nick revel,
England’s prime minister, then bless the devil!

p. 5II.

By W. W.


Mr. Wordsworth died 23rd, April, 1850, in his 82nd year.


“Thy lisping prattle and thy mincing gait.
All thy false mimic fooleries I hate;
For thou art Folly’s counterfeit, and she
Who is right foolish hath the better plea;
Nature’s true Idiot I prefer to thee”


[Spoken in the character of Nancy Lake, a girl eight years of age, who is drawn upon the stage in a child’s chaise by Samuel Hughes, her uncle’s porter.]

My brother Jack was nine in May, [5b]
And I was eight on New-year’s-day;
   p. 6So in Kate Wilson’s shop
Papa (he’s my papa and Jack’s)
Bought me, last week, a doll of wax,
   And brother Jack a top.

Jack’s in the pouts, and this it is,—
He thinks mine came to more than his;
   So to my drawer he goes,
Takes out the doll, and, O, my stars!
He pokes her head between the bars,
   And melts off half her nose!

Quite cross, a bit of string I beg,
And tie it to his peg-top’s peg,
   And bang, with might and main,
Its head against the parlour-door:
Off flies the head, and hits the floor,
   And breaks a window-pane.

This made him cry with rage and spite
Well, let him cry, it serves him right.
   A pretty thing, forsooth!
If he’s to melt, all scalding hot,
Half my doll’s nose, and I am not
   To draw his peg-top’s tooth!

Aunt Hannah heard the window break,
And cried, “O naughty Nancy Lake,
   Thus to distress your aunt:
No Drury-Lane for you to-day!”
And while papa said, “Pooh, she may!”
   Mamma said, “No, she sha’n’t!”

p. 7Well, after many a sad reproach,
They got into a hackney coach,
   And trotted down the street.
I saw them go: one horse was blind,
The tails of both hung down behind,
   Their shoes were on their feet.

The chaise in which poor brother Bill
Used to be drawn to Pentonville,
   Stood in the lumber-room:
I wiped the dust from off the top,
While Molly mopp’d it with a mop,
   And brushed it with a broom.

My uncle’s porter, Samuel Hughes,
Came in at six to black the shoes,
   (I always talk to Sam:)
So what does he, but takes, and drags
Me in the chaise along the flags,
   And leaves me where I am.

My father’s walls are made of brick,
But not so tall, and not so thick
   As these; and, goodness me!
My father’s beams are made of wood,
But never, never half so good
   As those that now I see.

What a large floor! ’tis like a town!
The carpet, when they lay it down,
   Won’t hide it, I’ll be bound;
And there’s a row of lamps!—my eye
How they do blaze!  I wonder why
   They keep them on the ground.

p. 8At first I caught hold of the wing,
And kept away; but Mr. Thing-
   um bob, the prompter man,
Gave with his hand my chaise a shove,
And said, “Go on, my pretty love;
   Speak to ’em, little Nan.

“You’ve only got to curtsey, whisp-
er, hold your chin up, laugh, and lisp,
   And then you’re sure to take:
I’ve known the day when brats, not quite
Thirteen, got fifty pounds a night; [8]
   Then why not Nancy Lake?”

But while I’m speaking, where’s papa?
And where’s my aunt? and where’s mamma?
   Where’s Jack?  O, there they sit!
They smile, they nod; I’ll go my ways,
And order round poor Billy’s chaise,
   To join them in the pit.

p. 9And now, good gentlefolks, I go
To join mamma, and see the show;
   So, bidding you adieu,
I curtsey, like a pretty miss,
And if you’ll blow to me a kiss,
   I’ll blow a kiss to you.

[Blows a kiss and exit.

p. 10III.

By S. T. P. [10b]

“This was looked for at your hand, and this was balked.”

What You Will.

What stately vision mocks my waking sense?
Hence, dear delusion, sweet enchantment, hence!
Ha! is it real?—can my doubts be vain?
It is, it is, and Drury lives again!
Around each grateful veteran attends,
Eager to rush and gratulate his friends,
Friends whose kind looks, retraced with proud delight,
Endear the past, and make the future bright:
Yes, generous patrons, your returning smile
Blesses our toils, and consecrates our pile.

   When last we met, Fate’s unrelenting hand
Already grasped the devastating brand;
Slow crept the silent flame, ensnared its prize,
Then burst resistless to the astonished skies.
p. 11The glowing walls, disrobed of scenic pride,
In trembling conflict stemmed the burning tide,
Till crackling, blazing, rocking to its fall,
Down rushed the thundering roof, and buried all!

   Where late the sister Muses sweetly sung,
And raptured thousands on their music hung,
Where Wit and Wisdom shone, by Beauty graced,
Sat lonely Silence, empress of the waste;
And still had reigned—but he, whose voice can raise
More magic wonders than Amphion’s lays,
Bade jarring bands with friendly zeal engage
To rear the prostrate glories of the stage.
Up leaped the Muses at the potent spell,
And Drury’s genius saw his temple swell;
Worthy, we hope, the British Drama’s cause,
Worthy of British arts, and your applause.

   Guided by you, our earnest aims presume
To renovate the Drama with the dome;
The scenes of Shakespeare and our bards of old
With due observance splendidly unfold,
Yet raise and foster with parental hand
The living talent of our native land.
O! may we still, to sense and nature true,
Delight the many, nor offend the few.
Though varying tastes our changeful Drama claim,
Still be its moral tendency the same,
To win by precept, by example warn,
To brand the front of Vice with pointed scorn,
And Virtue’s smiling brows with votive wreaths adorn.

p. 12IV.

By LORD B. [12a]


[Lord Byron died 19th April, 1824, in his 37th year.]


   Sated with home, of wife, of children tired,
   The restless soul is driven abroad to roam; [12b]
   Sated abroad, all seen, yet nought admired,
   The restless soul is driven to ramble home;
   p. 14Sated with both, beneath new Drury’s dome
   The fiend Ennui awhile consents to pine,
   There growls, and curses, like a deadly Gnome,
   Scorning to view fantastic Columbine,
Viewing with scorn and hate the nonsense of the Nine. [14]


   Ye reckless dopes, who hither wend your way
   To gaze on puppets in a painted dome,
   Pursuing pastimes glittering to betray,
   Like falling stars in life’s eternal gloom,
   What seek ye here?  Joy’s evanescent bloom?
   Woe’s me! the brightest wreaths she ever gave
   Are but as flowers that decorate a tomb.
   Man’s heart, the mournful urn o’er which they wave,
Is sacred to despair, its pedestal the grave.


   Has life so little store of real woes,
   That here ye wend to taste fictitious grief?
   p. 15Or is it that from truth such anguish flows,
   Ye court the lying drama for relief?
   Long shall ye find the pang, the respite brief:
   Or if one tolerable page appears
   In folly’s volume, ’tis the actor’s leaf,
   Who dries his own by drawing others’ tears,
And, raising present mirth, makes glad his future years.


   Albeit, how like Young Betty [15a] doth he flee!
   Light as the mote that daunceth in the beam,
   He liveth only in man’s present e’e;
   His life a flash, his memory a dream,
   Oblivious down he drops in Lethe’s stream.
   Yet what are they, the learned and the great?
   Awhile of longer wonderment the theme!
   Who shall presume to prophesy their date,
Where nought is certain, save the uncertainty of fate?


   This goodly pile, upheaved by Wyatt’s toil,
   Perchance than Holland’s edifice [15b] more fleet,
   Again red Lemnos’ artisan may spoil:
   The fire-alarm and midnight drum may beat,
   p. 16And all bestrewed ysmoking at your feet!
   Start ye? perchance Death’s angel may be sent
   Ere from the flaming temple ye retreat:
   And ye who met, on revel idlesse bent,
May find, in pleasure’s fane, your grave and monument.


   Your debts mount high—ye plunge in deeper waste;
   The tradesman duns—no warning voice ye hear;
   The plaintiff sues—to public shows ye haste;
   The bailiff threats—ye feel no idle fear.
   Who can arrest your prodigal career?
   Who can keep down the levity of youth?
   What sound can startle age’s stubborn ear?
   p. 17Who can redeem from wretchedness and ruth
Men true to falsehood’s voice, false to the voice of truth?


   To thee, blest saint! who doffed thy skin to make
   The Smithfield rabble leap from theirs with joy,
   We dedicate the pile—arise! awake!—
   Knock down the Muses, wit and sense destroy
   Clear our new stage from reason’s dull alloy,
   Charm hobbling age, and tickle capering youth
   With cleaver, marrow-bone, and Tunbridge toy!
   While, vibrating in unbelieving tooth, [17]
Harps twang in Drury’s walls, and make her boards a booth.


   For what is Hamlet, but a hare in March?
   And what is Brutus, but a croaking owl?
   And what is Rolla?  Cupid steeped in starch,
   Orlando’s helmet in Augustin’s cowl.
   Shakespeare, how true thine adage “fair is foul!”
   To him whose soul is with fruition fraught,
   The song of Braham is an Irish howl,
   Thinking is but an idle waste of thought,
And nought is everything, and everything is nought.


   Sons of Parnassus! whom I view above,
   Not laurel-crown’d, but clad in rusty black;
   p. 18Not spurring Pegasus through Tempè’s grove,
   But pacing Grub-street on a jaded hack;
   What reams of foolscap, while your brains ye rack,
   Ye mar to make again! for sure, ere long,
   Condemn’d to tread the bard’s time-sanction’d track,
   Ye all shall join the bailiff-haunted throng,
And reproduce, in rags, the rags ye blot in song.


   So fares the follower in the Muses’ train;
   He toils to starve, and only lives in death;
   We slight him, till our patronage is vain,
   Then round his skeleton a garland wreathe,
   And o’er his bones an empty requiem breathe—
   Oh! with what tragic horror would he start
   (Could he be conjured from the grave beneath)
   To find the stage again a Thespian cart,
And elephants and colts down trampling Shakespeare’s art!


   Hence, pedant Nature! with thy Grecian rules!
   Centaurs (not fabulous) those rules efface;
   Back, sister Muses, to your native schools;
   Here booted grooms usurp Apollo’s place,
   Hoofs shame the boards that Garrick used to grace,
   The play of limbs succeeds the play of wit,
   Man yields the drama to the Hou’yn’m race,
   His prompter spurs, his licenser the bit,
The stage a stable-yard, a jockey-club the pit.


   Is it for these ye rear this proud abode?
   Is it for these your superstition seeks
   p. 19To build a temple worthy of a god,
   To laud a monkey, or to worship leeks?
   Then be the stage, to recompense your freaks,
   A motley chaos, jumbling age and ranks,
   Where Punch, the lignum-vitæ Roscius, squeaks,
   And Wisdom weeps, and Folly plays his pranks,
And moody Madness laughs and hugs the chain he clanks.

p. 20V.

By W. C.


[Mr. Corbett died 18th June, 1835, aged 73.]




To the gewgaw fetters of rhyme (invented by the monks to enslave the people) I have a rooted objection.  I have therefore written an address for your Theatre in plain, homespun, yeoman’s prose; in the doing whereof I hope I am swayed by nothing but an independent wish to open the eyes of this gulled people, to prevent a repetition of the dramatic bamboozling they have hitherto laboured under.  If you like what I have done, and mean to make use of it, I don’t want any such aristocratic reward as a piece of plate with two griffins sprawling upon it, or a dog and a jackass fighting for a ha’p’worth of gilt gingerbread, or any such Bartholomew-fair nonsense.  All I ask is that the door-keepers of your play-house may take all the sets of my Register [20] now on hand, and force every body who enters your doors to buy one, giving afterwards a debtor and creditor account of what they have received, post-paid, p. 21and in due course remitting me the money and unsold Registers, carriage-paid.

I am, &c.
W. C.



—“Rabidâ qui concitus irâ
Implevit pariter ternis latratibus auras,
Et sparsit virides spumis albentibus agrot.”—Ovid.

Most thinking People,

When persons address an audience from the stage, it is usual, either in words or gesture, to say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, your servant.”  If I were base enough, mean enough, paltry enough, and brute beast enough, to follow that fashion, I should tell two lies in a breath.  In the first place, you are not Ladies and Gentlemen, but I hope something better, that is to say, honest men and women; and in the next place, if you were ever so much ladies, and ever so much gentlemen, I am not, nor ever will be, your humble servant.  You see me here, most thinking people, by mere chance.  I have not been within the doors of a play-house before for these ten years; nor, till that abominable custom of taking money at the doors is discontinued, will I ever sanction a theatre with my presence.  The stage-door is the only gate of freedom in the whole edifice, and through that I made my way from Bagshaw’s [21] in Brydges Street, to accost you.  Look about you.  Are you not all comfortable?  Nay, never slink, mun; speak out, if you are dissatisfied, and tell me so before I leave town.  You are now (thanks to Mr. Whitbread) got into a large, comfortable house.  Not into a gimcrack-palace; p. 22not into a Solomon’s temple; not into a frost-work of Brobdignag filigree; but into a plain, honest, homely, industrious, wholesome, brown brick playhouse.  You have been struggling for independence and elbow-room these three years; and who gave it you?  Who helped you out of Lilliput?  Who routed you from a rat-hole five inches by four, to perch you in a palace?  Again and again I answer, Mr. Whitbread.  You might have sweltered in that place with the Greek name [22] till doomsday, and neither Lord Castlereagh, Mr. Canning, no, nor the Marquess Wellesley, would have turned a trowel to help you out!  Remember that.  Never forget that.  Read it to your children, and to your children’s children!  And now, most thinking people, cast your eyes over my head to what the builder (I beg his pardon, the architect) calls the proscenium.  No motto, no slang, no popish Latin, to keep the people in the dark.  No veluti in speculum.  Nothing in the dead languages, properly so called, for they ought to die, ay and be damned to boot!  The Covent Garden manager tried that, and a pretty business he made of it!  When a man says veluti in speculum, he is called a man of letters.  Very well, and is not a man who cries O. P. a man of letters too?  You ran your O. P. against his veluti in speculum, and pray which beat?  I prophesied that, though I never told any body.  I take it for granted, that every intelligent man, woman, and child, to whom I address myself, has stood severally and respectively in Little Russell Street, and cast their, his, her, and its eyes on the outside of this building before they paid their money to view the inside.  Look at the brick-work, p. 23English Audience!  Look at the brick-work!  All plain and smooth like a quakers’ meeting.  None of your Egyptian pyramids, to entomb subscribers’ capitals.  No overgrown colonnades of stone, [23a] like an alderman’s gouty legs in white cotton stockings, fit only to use as rammers for paving Tottenham Court Road.  This house is neither after the model of a temple in Athens, no, nor a temple in Moorfields, but it is built to act English plays in: and, provided you have good scenery, dresses, and decorations, I daresay you wouldn’t break your hearts if the outside were as plain as the pikestaff I used to carry when I was a sergeant.  Apropos, as the French valets say, who cut their masters’ throats [23b]apropos, a word about dresses.  You must, many of you, have seen what I have read a description of, Kemble and Mrs. Siddons in Macbeth, with more gold and silver plastered on their doublets than would have kept an honest family in butchers’ meat and flannel from year’s end to year’s end!  I am informed, (now mind, I do not vouch for the fact), but I am informed that all such extravagant idleness is to be done away with here.  Lady Macbeth is to have a plain quilted petticoat, a cotton gown, and a mob cap (as the court parasites call it;—it will be well for them if, one of these days, they don’t wear a mob cap—I mean a white cap, with a mob to look at them); and Macbeth is to appear in an honest yeoman’s drab coat, and a pair of black calamanco breeches.  Not Salamanca; no, nor Talavera neither, my most Noble Marquess; but plain, honest, black calamanco stuff p. 24breeches.  This is right; this is as it should be.  Most thinking people, I have heard you much abused.  There is not a compound in the language but is strung fifty in a rope, like onions, by the Morning Post, and hurled in your teeth.  You are called the mob; and when they have made you out to be the mob, you are called the scum of the people, and the dregs of the people.  I should like to know how you can be both.  Take a basin of broth—not cheap soup, Mr. Wilberforce—not soup for the poor, at a penny a quart, as your mixture of horses’ legs, brick-dust, and old shoes, was denominated—but plain, wholesome, patriotic beef or mutton broth; take this, examine it, and you will find—mind, I don’t vouch for the fact, but I am told—you will find the dregs at the bottom, and the scum at the top.  I will endeavour to explain this to you: England is a large earthenware pipkin; John Bull is the beef thrown into it; taxes are the hot water he boils in; rotten boroughs are the fuel that blazes under this same pipkin; parliament is the ladle that stirs the hodge-podge, and sometimes—.  But, hold!  I don’t wish to pay Mr. Newman [24a] a second visit.  I leave you better off than you have been this many a day: you have a good house over your head; you have beat the French in Spain; the harvest has turned out well; the comet keeps its distance; [24b] and red slippers are hawked about in Constantinople for next to nothing; and for all this, again and again I tell you, you are indebted to Mr. Whitbread!!!

p. 25VI.

By T. M. [25]


[Mr. Moore died 26th February, 1852, in his 73rd year.]


“Jam te juvaverit
Viros relinquere,
Doctæque conjugis
Sinu quiescere.”

Sir T. More.



O why should our dull retrospective addresses
   Fall damp as wet blankets on Drury Lane fire?
Away with blue devils, away with distresses,
   And give the gay spirit to sparkling desire!


Let artists decide on the beauties of Drury,
   The richest to me is when woman is there;
The question of houses I leave to the jury;
   The fairest to me is the house of the fair.

p. 26III.

When woman’s soft smile all our senses bewilders,
   And gilds, while it carves, her dear form on the heart,
What need has New Drury of carvers and gilders?
   With Nature so bounteous, why call upon Art?


How well would our actors attend to their duties,
   Our house save in oil, and our authors in wit,
In lieu of you lamps, if a row of young beauties
   Glanced light from their eyes between us and the pit?


The apples that grew on the fruit-tree of knowledge
   By woman were pluck’d, and she still wears the prize,
To tempt us in theatre, senate, or college—
   I mean the love-apples that bloom in the eyes.


There too is the lash which, all statutes controlling,
   Still governs the slaves that are made by the fair;
For man is the pupil, who, while her eye’s rolling,
   Is lifted to rapture, or sunk in despair.


Bloom, Theatre, bloom, in the roseate blushes
   Of beauty illumed by a love-breathing smile!
And flourish, ye pillars, [26] as green as the rushes
   That pillow the nymphs of the Emerald Isle!

p. 27VIII.

For dear is the Emerald Isle of the ocean,
   Whose daughters are fair as the foam of the wave,
Whose sons, unaccustom’d to rebel commotion,
   Tho’ joyous, are sober—tho’ peaceful, are brave.


The shamrock their olive, swore foe to a quarrel,
   Protects from the thunder and lightning of rows;
Their sprig of shillelagh is nothing but laurel,
   Which flourishes rapidly over their brows.


O! soon shall they burst the tyrannical shackles
   Which each panting bosom indignantly names,
Until not one goose at the capital cackles
   Against the grand question of Catholic claims.


And then shall each Paddy, who once on the Liffey
   Perchance held the helm of some mackerel-hoy,
Hold the helm of the state, and dispense in a jiffy
   More fishes than ever he caught when a boy.


And those who now quit their hods, shovels, and barrows
   In crowds to the bar of some ale-house to flock,
When bred to our bar shall be Gibbses and Garrows,
   Assume the silk gown, and discard the smock-frock.


For Erin surpasses the daughters of Neptune,
   As Dian outshines each encircling star;
And the spheres of the heavens could never have kept tune
   Till set to the music of Erin-go-bragh!

p. 28VII.

By R. S. [28a]


[Mr. Southey died March 13, 1843, in his 69th year.]

—“Per audaces nova dithyrambos
Verba devolvit numerisque fertur
Lege solutis.”



[Spoken by a Glendoveer.]

      I am a blessed Glendoveer: [28b]
   ’Tis mine to speak, and yours to hear.
      Midnight, [28c] yet not a nose
   From Tower-hill to Piccadilly snored!
      Midnight, yet not a nose
   From Indra drew the essence of repose!
      p. 29See with what crimson fury,
By Indra fann’d, the god of fire ascends the walls of Drury

      Tops of houses, blue with lead,
   Bend beneath the landlord’s tread.
Master and ’prentice, serving-man and lord,
         Nailor and tailor,
         Grazier and brazier,
   Through streets and alleys pour’d—
         All, all abroad to gaze,
      And wonder at the blaze.
   Thick calf, fat foot, and slim knee,
      Mounted on roof and chimney, [29a]
   The mighty roast, the mighty stew
               To see;
         As if the dismal view
   Were but to them a Brentford jubilee.
Vainly, all-radiant Surya, sire of Phæton
   (By Greeks call’d Apollo [29b]),
      p. 30Sounds from thy harp proceed;
         Combustible as reed,
The tongue of Vulcan licks thy wooden legs:
From Drury’s top, dissever’d from thy pegs,
         Thou tumblest,
Where late thy bright effulgence shone on high;
   While, by thy somerset excited, fly
         Ten million
   Sparks from the pit, to gem the sable sky.
Now come the men of fire to quench the fires:
   To Russell Street see Globe and Atlas run,
      Hope gallops first, and second Sun;
         On flying heel,
      See Hand-in-Hand
      O’ertake the band!
   View with what glowing wheel
         He nicks
While Albion scampers from Bridge Street, Blackfriars—
         Drury Lane!  Drury Lane!
         Drury Lane!  Drury Lane!
   They shout and they bellow again and again.
            All, all in vain!
         Water turns steam;
         Each blazing beam
   Hisses defiance to the eddying spout:
It seems but too plain that nothing can put it out!
      Drury Lane!  Drury Lane!
      See, Drury Lane expires!

Pent in by smoke-dried beams, twelve moons or more,
            p. 31Shorn of his ray,
         Surya in durance lay:
      The workmen heard him shout,
      But thought it would not pay
         To dig him out.
   When lo! terrific Yamen, lord of hell,
         Solemn as lead,
      Judge of the dead,
   Sworn foe to witticism,
   By men call’d criticism,
   Came passing by that way:
Rise! cried the fiend, behold a sight of gladness!
      Behold the rival theatre!
      I’ve set O. P. at her, [31]
            p. 32Who, like a bull-dog bold,
      Growls and fastens on his hold.
   The many-headed rabble roar in madness;
      Thy rival staggers: come and spy her
   Deep in the mud as thou art in the mire.
So saying, in his arms he caught the beaming one,
         And crossing Russell Street,
         He placed him on his feet
   ’Neath Covent Garden dome.  Sudden a sound,
      As of the bricklayers of Babel, rose:
Horns, rattles, drums, tin trumpets, sheets of copper,
Punches and slaps, thwacks of all sorts and sizes,
   From the knobb’d bludgeon to the taper switch, [32]
         p. 33Ran echoing round the walls; paper placards
Blotted the lamps, boots brown with mud the benches;
      A sea of heads roll’d roaring in the pit;
         On paper wings O. P.’s
      Reclin’d in lettered ease;
      While shout and scoff,
         Ya! ya! off! off!
Like thunderbolt on Surya’s ear-drum fell,
         And seemed to paint
   The savage oddities of Saint
         Bartholomew in hell.

      Tears dimm’d the god of light—
“Bear me back, Yamen, from this hideous sight;
      Bear me back, Yamen, I grow sick,
         Oh! bury me again in brick;
      Shall I on New Drury tremble,
      To be O. P.’d like Kemble?
      Better remain by rubbish guarded,
   Than thus hubbubish groan placarded;
   Bear me back, Yamen, bear me quick,
      And bury me again in brick.”
         Obedient Yamen
      Answered, “Amen,”
         And did
      As he was bid.

      There lay the buried god, and Time
      Seemed to decree eternity of lime;
   p. 34But pity, like a dew-drop, gently prest
Almighty Veeshnoo’s [34] adamantine breast:
         He, the preserver, ardent still
         To do whate’er he says he will,
         From South-hill wing’d his way,
         To raise the drooping lord of day.
All earthly spells the busy one o’erpower’d;
         He treats with men of all conditions,
Poets and players, tradesmen and musicians;
            Nay, even ventures
            To attack the renters,
            Old and new:
            A list he gets
      Of claims and debts,
And deems nought done, while aught remains to do.

      Yamen beheld, and wither’d at the sight;
   Long had he aim’d the sunbeam to control,
         For light was hateful to his soul:
“Go on!” cried the hellish one, yellow with spite,
“Go on!” cried the hellish one, yellow with spleen,
   “Thy toils of the morning, like Ithaca’s queen,
         I’ll toil to undo every night.”

      Ye sons of song, rejoice!
   Veeshnoo has still’d the jarring elements,
      The spheres hymn music;
         Again the god of day
      Peeps forth with trembling ray,
Wakes, from their humid caves, the sleeping Nine,
      And pours at intervals a strain divine.
“I have an iron yet in the fire,” cried Yamen;
   p. 35“The vollied flame rides in my breath,
      My blast is elemental death;
This hand shall tear your paper bonds to pieces;
   Ingross your deeds, assignments, leases,
      My breath shall every line erase
      Soon as I blow the blaze.”

The lawyers are met at the Crown and Anchor,
And Yamen’s visage grows blanker and blanker;
The lawyers are met at the Anchor and Crown,
   And Yamen’s cheek is a russety brown:
      Veeshnoo, now thy work proceeds;
            The solicitor reads,
         And, merit of merit!
      Red wax and green ferret
   Are fixed at the foot of the deeds!

      Yamen beheld and shiver’d;
   His finger and thumb were cramp’d;
   His ear by the flea in ’t was bitten,
When he saw by the lawyer’s clerk written,
      Sealed and delivered,
      Being first duly stamped.

“Now for my turn!” the demon cries, and blows
A blast of sulphur from his mouth and nose.
   Ah! bootless aim! the critic fiend,
   Sagacious Yamen, judge of hell,
      Is judged in his turn;
      Parchment won’t burn!
His schemes of vengeance are dissolved in air,
      Parchment won’t tear!!

   Is it not written in the Himakoot book
   (That mighty Baly from Kehama took),
         p. 36“Who blows on pounce
         Must the Swerga renounce?”
      It is! it is!  Yamen, thine hour is nigh:
         Like as an eagle claws an asp,
   Veeshnoo has caught him in his mighty grasp,
And hurl’d him, in spite of his shrieks and his squalls,
   Whizzing aloft, like the Temple fountain,
   Three times as high as Meru mountain,
         Which is
   Ninety-nine times as high as St. Paul’s.

   Descending, he twisted like Levy the Jew, [36]
         Who a durable grave meant
         To dig in the pavement
            Of Monument-yard:
   To earth by the laws of attraction he flew,
         And he fell, and he fell
         To the regions of hell;
Nine centuries bounced he from cavern to rock,
And his head, as he tumbled, went nickety-nock,
      Like a pebble in Carisbrook well.

Now Veeshnoo turn’d round to a capering varlet,
   Array’d in blue and white and scarlet,
And cried, “Oh! brown of slipper as of hat!
      Lend me, Harlequin, thy bat!”
He seized the wooden sword, and smote the earth;
      When lo! upstarting into birth
      p. 37A fabric, gorgeous to behold,
      Outshone in elegance the old,
And Veeshnoo saw, and cried, “Hail, playhouse mine!”
      Then, bending his head, to Surya he said,
         “Soon as thy maiden sister Di
   Caps with her copper lid the dark blue sky,
   And through the fissures of her clouded fan
      Peeps at the naughty monster man.
         Go mount yon edifice,
   And show thy steady face
      In renovated pride,
   More bright, more glorious than before!”
      But ah! coy Surya still felt a twinge,
      Still smarted from his former singe;
         And to Veeshnoo replied,
         In a tone rather gruff,
   “No, thank you! one tumble’s enough!”

p. 38VIII.


“You praise our sires; but though they wrote with force,
Their rhymes were vicious, and their diction coarse:
We want their strength, agreed; but we atone
For that, and more, by sweetness all our own.”—Gifford.


Balmy Zephyrs, lightly flitting,
   Shade me with your azure wing;
On Parnassus’ summit sitting,
   Aid me, Clio, while I sing.


Softly slept the dome of Drury
   O’er the empyreal crest,
When Alecto’s sister-fury
   Softly slumb’ring sunk to rest.

p. 39III.

Lo! from Lemnos limping lamely,
   Lags the lowly Lord of Fire,
Cytherea yielding tamely
   To the Cyclops dark and dire.


Clouds of amber, dreams of gladness,
   Dulcet joys and sports of youth,
Soon must yield to haughty sadness;
   Mercy holds the veil to Truth.


See Erostratus the second
   Fires again Diana’s fane;
By the Fates from Orcus beckon’d,
   Clouds envelope Drury Lane.


Lurid smoke and frank suspicion
   Hand in hand reluctant dance:
While the God fulfils his mission,
   Chivalry, resign thy lance.


Hark! the engines blandly thunder,
   Fleecy clouds dishevell’d lie,
And the firemen, mute with wonder,
   On the son of Saturn cry.

p. 40VIII.

See the bird of Ammon sailing,
   Perches on the engine’s peak,
And, the Eagle firemen hailing,
   Soothes them with its bickering beak.


Juno saw, and mad with malice,
   Lost the prize that Paris gave:
Jealousy’s ensanguined chalice
   Mantling pours the orient wave.


Pan beheld Patroclus dying,
   Nox to Niobe was turn’d;
From Busiris Bacchus flying,
   Saw his Semele inurn’d.


Thus fell Drury’s lofty glory,
   Levell’d with the shuddering stones;
Mars, with tresses black and gory,
   Drinks the dew of pearly groans.


Hark! what soft Eolian numbers
   Gem the blushes of the morn!
Break, Amphion, break your slumbers,
   Nature’s ringlets deck the thorn.

p. 41XIII.

Ha! I hear the strain erratic
   Dimly glance from pole to pole;
Raptures sweet and dreams ecstatic
   Fire my everlasting soul.


Where is Cupid’s crimson motion?
   Billowy ecstasy of woe,
Bear me straight, meandering ocean,
   Where the stagnant torrents flow.


Blood in every vein is gushing,
   Vixen vengeance lulls my heart:
See, the Gorgon gang is rushing!
   Never, never let us part!

p. 42IX.

By W. S. [42]


[Sir Walter Scott died 21st September, 1832, in his 62nd year.]


[To be spoken by Mr. Kemble, in a suit of the Black Prince’s armour, borrowed from the Tower.]

Survey this shield, all bossy bright—
These cuisses twain behold!
Look on my form in armour dight
Of steel inlaid with gold;
My knees are stiff in iron buckles,
Stiff spikes of steel protect my knuckles.
p. 43These once belong’d to sable prince,
Who never did in battle wince;
With valour tart as pungent quince,
   He slew the vaunting Gaul.
Rest there awhile, my bearded lance,
While from green curtain I advance
To yon foot-lights—no trivial dance, [43a]
And tell the town what sad mischance
   Did Drury Lane befall.


On fair Augusta’s [43b] towers and trees
Flitted the silent midnight breeze,
Curling the foliage as it pass’d,
Which from the moon-tipp’d plumage cast
A spangled light, like dancing spray,
Then re-assumed its still array;
When, as night’s lamp unclouded hung,
And down its full effulgence flung,
It shed such soft and balmy power
That cot and castle, hall and bower,
And spire and dome, and turret height,
Appeared to slumber in the light.
From Henry’s chapel, Rufus’ hall,
To Savoy, Temple, and St. Paul;
p. 44From Knightsbridge, Pancras, Camden Town,
To Redriffe, Shadwell, Horsleydown,
No voice was heard, no eye unclosed,
But all in deepest sleep reposed.
They might have thought, who gazed around
Amid a silence so profound,
   It made the senses thrill,
That ’twas no place inhabited,
But some vast city of the dead—
   All was so hush’d and still.


As Chaos, which, by heavenly doom,
Had slept in everlasting gloom,
Started with terror and surprise
When light first flash’d upon her eyes—
So London’s sons in nightcap woke,
   In bed-gown woke her dames;
For shouts were heard ’mid fire and smoke,
And twice ten hundred voices spoke—
   “The playhouse is in flames!”
And, lo! where Catherine Street extends,
A fiery tail its lustre lends
   To every window-pane;
Blushes each spout in Martlet Court,
And Barbican, moth-eaten fort,
And Covent Garden kennels sport
   A bright ensanguined drain;
Meux’s new brewhouse shows the light,
Rowland Hill’s Chapel, and the height
   Where Patent Shot they sell;
The Tennis Court, so fair and tall,
Partakes the ray, with Surgeons’ Hall,
p. 45The Ticket-Porters’ House of Call,
Old Bedlam, close by London Wall, [45]
Wright’s shrimp and oyster shop withal,
   And Richardson’s Hotel.
Nor these alone, but far and wide,
Across red Thames’s gleaming tide,
To distant fields the blaze was borne,
And daisy white and hoary thorn
In borrow’d lustre seem’d to sham
The rose or red sweet Wil-li-am.
To those who on the hills around
Beheld the flames from Drury’s mound,
   As from a lofty altar rise,
It seem’d that nations did conspire
To offer to the god of fire
   Some vast, stupendous sacrifice!
The summon’d firemen woke at call,
And hied them to their stations all:
Starting from short and broken snooze,
Each sought his pond’rous hobnail’d shoes,
But first his worsted hosen plied,
Plush breeches next, in crimson dyed,
   His nether bulk embraced;
Then jacket thick, of red or blue,
Whose massy shoulder gave to view
The badge of each respective crew,
   p. 46In tin or copper traced.
The engines thunder’d through the street,
Fire-hook, pipe, bucket, all complete,
And torches glared, and clattering feet
   Along the pavement paced.
And one, the leader of the band,
From Charing Cross along the Strand,
Like stag by beagles hunted hard,
Ran till he stopp’d at Vin’gar Yard. [46a]
The burning badge his shoulder bore,
The belt and oil-skin hat he wore,
The cane he had, his men to bang,
Show’d foreman of the British gang—
His name was Higginbottom.  Now
’Tis meet that I should tell you how
   The others came in view:
The Hand-in-Hand the race begun, [46b]
Then came the Phoenix and the Sun,
Th’ Exchange, where old insurers run,
   The Eagle, where the new;
With these came Rumford, Bumford, Cole,
Robins from Hockley in the Hole,
Lawson and Dawson, cheek by jowl,
   Crump from St. Giles’s Pound:
Whitford and Mitford join’d the train,
Huggins and Muggins from Chick Lane,
And Clutterbuck, who got a sprain
   p. 47Before the plug was found.
Hobson and Jobson did not sleep,
But ah! no trophy could they reap,
For both were in the Donjon Keep
   Of Bridewell’s gloomy mound!

E’en Higginbottom now was posed,
For sadder scene was ne’er disclosed
Without, within, in hideous show,
Devouring flames resistless glow,
And blazing rafters downward go,
And never halloo “Heads below!”
   Nor notice give at all.
The firemen terrified are slow
To bid the pumping torrent flow,
   For fear the roof should fall.
Back, Robins, back!  Crump, stand aloof!
Whitford, keep near the walls!
Huggins, regard your own behoof,
For, lo! the blazing rocking roof
Down, down in thunder falls!
An awful pause succeeds the stroke,
And o’er the ruins volumed smoke,
Rolling around its pitchy shroud,
Conceal’d them from th’ astonish’d crowd.
At length the mist awhile was clear’d,
When lo! amid the wreck uprear’d,
Gradual a moving head appear’d,
   And Eagle firemen knew
’Twas Joseph Muggins, name revered,
   The foreman of their crew.
Loud shouted all in signs of woe,
“A Muggins! to the rescue, ho!”
   p. 48And pour’d the hissing tide:
Meanwhile the Muggins fought amain,
And strove and struggled all in vain,
For, rallying but to fall again,
   He totter’d, sunk, and died!

Did none attempt, before he fell,
To succour one they loved so well?
Yes, Higginbottom did aspire
(His fireman’s soul was all on fire)
   His brother chief to save;
But ah! his reckless generous ire
   Served but to abate his grave!
’Mid blazing beams and scalding streams.
Through fire and smoke he dauntless broke,
   Where Muggins broke before:
But sulphry stench and boiling drench
Destroying sight o’erwhelm’d him quite,
   He sunk to rise no more.
Still o’er his head, while fate he braved,
His whizzing water-pipe he waved;
“Whitford and Mitford, ply your pumps,
You, Clutterbuck, come stir your stumps,
Why are you in such doleful dumps?
A fireman, and afraid of bumps!—
What are they fear’d on? fools! ’od rot ’em!”
Were the last words of Higginbottom. [48]


Peace to his soul! new prospects bloom,
And toil rebuilds what fires consume!
p. 49Eat we and drink we, be our ditty,
“Joy to the managing committee!”
Eat we and drink we, join to rum
Roast beef and pudding of the plum!
Forth from thy nook, John Horner, come,
With bread of ginger brown thy thumb,
   For this is Drury’s gay day:
Roll, roll thy hoop, and twirl thy tops,
And buy, to glad thy smiling chops,
Crisp parliament with lollypops,
   And fingers of the Lady.

Didst mark, how toil’d the busy train,
From morn to eve, till Drury Lane
Leap’d like a roebuck from the plain?
Ropes rose and sunk, and rose again,
   And nimble workmen trod;
To realise bold Wyatt’s plan
Rush’d many a howling Irishman;
Loud clatter’d many a porter-can,
And many a ragamuffin clan
   With trowel and with hod.

Drury revives! her rounded pate
Is blue, is heavenly blue with slate;
She “wings the midway air” elate,
   As magpie, crow, or chough;
White paint her modish visage smears,
Yellow and pointed are her ears,
No pendent portico appears
Dangling beneath, for Whitbread’s shears [49]
   Have cut the bauble off.

p. 50Yes, she exalts her stately head;
And, but that solid bulk outspread
Opposed you on your onward tread,
And posts and pillars warranted
That all was true that Wyatt said,
You might have deemed her walls so thick
Were not composed of stone or brick,
But all a phantom, all a trick,
Of brain disturb’d and fancy sick,
So high she soars, so vast, so quick!

p. 51X.

[Ghost of Dr. Johnson rises from trap-door P. S., and Ghost of Boswell from trap-door O. P.  The latter bows respectfully to the House, and obsequiously to the Doctor’s Ghost, and retires.]

Doctor’s Ghost loquitur.

That which was organised by the moral ability of one has been executed by the physical efforts of many, and Drury Lane Theatre is now complete.  Of that part behind the curtain, which has not yet been destined to glow beneath the brush of the varnisher, or vibrate to the hammer of the carpenter, little is thought by the public, and little need be said by the committee.  Truth, however, is not to be sacrificed for the accommodation of either; and he who should pronounce that our edifice has received its final embellishment would be disseminating falsehood without incurring favour, and risking the disgrace of detection without participating the advantage of success.

p. 52Professions lavishly effused and parsimoniously verified are alike inconsistent with the precepts of innate rectitude and the practice of external policy: let it not then be conjectured that because we are unassuming, we are imbecile; that forbearance is any indication of despondency, or humility of demerit.  He that is the most assured of success will make the fewest appeals to favour, and where nothing is claimed that is undue, nothing that is due will be withheld.  A swelling opening is too often succeeded by an insignificant conclusion.  Parturient mountains have now produced muscipular abortions; and the auditor who compares incipient grandeur with final vulgarity is reminded of the pious hawkers of Constantinople, who solemnly perambulate her streets, exclaiming, “In the name of the Prophet—figs!”

Of many who think themselves wise, and of some who are thought wise by others, the exertions are directed to the revival of mouldering and obscure dramas; to endeavours to exalt that which is now rare only because it was always worthless, and whose deterioration, while it condemned it to living obscurity, by a strange obliquity of moral perception constitutes its title to posthumous renown.  To embody the flying colours of folly, to arrest evanescence, to give to bubbles the globular consistency as well as form, to exhibit on the stage the piebald denizen of the stable, and the half-reasoning parent of combs, to display the brisk locomotion of Columbine, or the tortuous attitudinizing of Punch;—these are the occupations of others, whose ambition, limited to the applause of unintellectual fatuity, is too innocuous for the application of satire, and too humble for the incitement of jealousy.

Our refectory will be found to contain every species of fruit, from the cooling nectarine and luscious peach to the puny p. 53pippin and the noxious nut.  There Indolence may repose, and Inebriety revel; and the spruce apprentice, rushing in at second account, may there chatter with impunity; debarred, by a barrier of brick and mortar, from marring that scenic interest in others, which nature and education have disqualified him from comprehending himself.

Permanent stage-doors we have none.  That which is permanent cannot be removed, for, if removed, it soon ceases to be permanent.  What stationary absurdity can vie with that ligneous barricado, which, decorated with frappant and tintinnabulant appendages, now serves as the entrance of the lowly cottage, and now as the exit of a lady’s bed-chamber; at one time insinuating plastic Harlequin into a butcher’s shop, and, at another, yawning, as a flood-gate, to precipitate the Cyprians of St. Giles’s into the embraces of Macheath?  To elude this glaring absurdity, to give to each respective mansion the door which the carpenter would doubtless have given, we vary our portal with the varying scene, passing from deal to mahogany, and from mahogany to oak, as the opposite claims of cottage, palace, or castle may appear to require.

Amid the general hum of gratulation which flatters us in front, it is fit that some regard should be paid to the murmurs of despondence that assail us in the rear.  They, as I have elsewhere expressed it, “who live to please,” should not have their own pleasures entirely overlooked.  The children of Thespis are general in their censures of the architect, its having placed the locality of exit at such a distance from the oily irradiators which now dazzle the eyes of him who addresses you.  I am, cries the Queen of Terrors, robbed of my fair proportions.  When the king-killing Thane hints to the breathless auditory the murders he means to perpetrate, in the castle of Macduff, “ere his p. 54purpose cool;” so vast is the interval he has to travel before he can escape from the stage, that his purpose has even time to freeze.  Your condition, cries the Muse of Smiles, is hard, but it is cygnet’s down in comparison with mine.  The peerless peer of capers and congees [54a] has laid it down as a rule, that the best good thing uttered by the morning visitor should conduct him rapidly to the doorway, last impressions vying in durability with first.  But when, on this boarded elongation, it falls to my lot to say a good thing, to ejaculate “keep moving,” or to chant “hic hoc horum genitivo,” many are the moments that must elapse ere I can hide myself from public vision in the recesses of O. P. or P. S.

To objections like these, captiously urged and querulously maintained, it is time that equity should conclusively reply.  Deviation from scenic propriety has only to vituperate itself for the consequences it generates.  Let the actor consider the line of exit as that line beyond which he should not soar in quest of spurious applause: let him reflect, that in proportion as he advances to the lamps, he recedes from nature; that the truncheon of Hotspur acquires no additional charm from encountering the cheek of beauty in the stage-box; and that the bravura of Mandane may produce effect, although the throat of her who warbles it should not overhang the orchestra.  The Jove of the modern critical Olympus, Lord Mayor of the theatric sky, [54b] p. 55has, ex cathedrâ, asserted that a natural actor looks upon the audience part of the theatre as the third side of the chamber he inhabits.  Surely, of the third wall thus fancifully erected, our actors should, by ridicule or reason, be withheld from knocking their heads against the stucco.

Time forcibly reminds me that all things which have a limit must be brought to a conclusion.  Let me, ere that conclusion arrives, recall to your recollection, that the pillars which rise on either side of me, blooming in virid antiquity, like two massy evergreens, had yet slumbered in their native quarry but for the ardent exertions of the individual who called them into life: to his never-slumbering talents you are indebted for whatever pleasure this haunt of the Muses is calculated to afford.  If, in defiance of chaotic malevolence, the destroyer of the temple of Diana yet survives in the name of Erostratus, surely we may confidently predict that the rebuilder of the temple of Apollo will stand recorded to distant posterity in that of—Samuel Whitbread.

p. 56XI.



[Mr. Spencer died at Paris in October, 1834, aged 65.]


Formosam resonare doces Amaryllida sylvas.—Virgil.


Scene draws, and discovers a Lady asleep on a couch.

Enter Philander.



Sobriety, cease to be sober, [56b]
   Cease, Labour, to dig and to delve;
p. 57All hail to this tenth of October,
   One thousand eight hundred and twelve! [57]
Ha! whom do my peepers remark?
   ’Tis Hebe with Jupiter’s jug;
O no, ’tis the pride of the Park,
   Fair Lady Elizabeth Mugg.


Why, beautiful nymph, do you close
   The curtain that fringes your eye?
Why veil in the clouds of repose
   The sun that should brighten our sky?
Perhaps jealous Venus has oiled
   Your hair with some opiate drug,
Not choosing her charms should be foiled
   By Lady Elizabeth Mugg.


But ah! why awaken the blaze
   Those bright burning-glasses contain,
Whose lens with concentrated rays
   Proved fatal to old Drury Lane?
’Twas all accidental, they cry,—
   Away with the flimsy humbug!
’Twas fired by a flash from the eye
   Of Lady Elizabeth Mugg.


Thy glance can in us raise a flame,
   Then why should old Drury be free?
Our doom and its doom are the same,
   Both subject to beauty’s decree.
p. 58No candles the workmen consumed
   When deep in the ruins they dug;
Thy flash still their progress illumed,
   Sweet Lady Elizabeth Mugg.


Thy face a rich fire-place displays:
   The mantel-piece marble—thy brows;
Thine eyes are the bright beaming blaze;
   Thy bib, which no trespass allows,
The fender’s tall barrier marks;
   Thy tippet’s the fire-quelling rug,
Which serves to extinguish the sparks
   Of Lady Elizabeth Mugg.


The Countess a lily appears,
   Whose tresses the pearl-drops emboss;
The Marchioness, blooming in years,
   A rose-bud enveloped in moss;
But thou art the sweet passion-flower,
   For who would not slavery hug,
To pass but one exquisite hour
   In the arms of Elizabeth Mugg?


When at Court, or some Dowager’s rout,
   Her diamond aigrette meets our view,
She looks like a glow-worm dressed out,
   Or tulips bespangled with dew.
Her two lips denied to man’s suit
   Are shared with her favourite Pug;
What lord would not change with the brute,
   To live with Elizabeth Mugg?

p. 59VIII.

Could the stage be a large vis-à-vis,
   Reserved for the polished and great,
Where each happy lover might see
   The nymph he adores tête-à-tête;
No longer I’d gaze on the ground,
   And the load of despondency lug,
For I’d book myself all the year round
   To ride with the sweet Lady Mugg.


Yes, she in herself is a host,
   And if she were here all alone,
Our house might nocturnally boast
   A bumper of fashion and ton.
Again should it burst in a blaze,
   In vain would they ply Congreve’s plug, [59]
For nought could extinguish the rays
   From the glance of divine Lady Mugg.


O could I as Harlequin frisk,
   And thou be my Columbine fair,
My wand should with one magic whisk
   Transport us to Hanover Square:
St. George’s should lend us its shrine,
   The parson his shoulders might shrug,
But a licence should force him to join
   My hand in the hand of my Mugg.

p. 60XI.

Court-plaster the weapons should tip,
   By Cupid shot down from above,
Which, cut into spots for thy lip,
   Should still barb the arrows of love.
The God who from others flies quick,
   With us should be slow as a slug;
As close as a leech he should stick
   To me and Elizabeth Mugg.


For Time would, with us, ’stead of sand,
   Put filings of steel in his glass,
To dry up the blots of his hand,
   And spangle life’s page as they pass.
Since all flesh is grass ere ’tis hay, [60]
   O may I in clover live snug,
And when old Time mows me away,
   Be stacked with defunct Lady Mugg!

p. 61XII.

By M. G. L. [61]


[Mr. Lewis died 14th May, 1818, in his 43rd year.]


p. 62Omnia transformat sese in miracula rerum.—Virgil.

My palate is parched with Pierian thirst,
   Away to Parnassus I’m beckoned;
List, warriors and dames, while my lay is rehearsed,
I sing of the singe of Miss Drury the first,
   And the birth of Miss Drury the second.

The Fire King, one day, rather amorous felt;
   He mounted his hot copper filly;
His breeches and boots were of tin, and the belt
Was made of cast iron, for fear it should melt
   With the heat of the copper colt’s belly.

Sure never was skin half so scalding as his!
   When an infant ’twas equally horrid;
For the water, when he was baptized, gave a fizz,
And bubbled and simmer’d and started off, whizz!
   As soon as it sprinkled his forehead.

O! then there was glitter and fire in each eye,
   For two living coals were the symbols;
His teeth were calcined, and his tongue was so dry,
It rattled against them, as though you should try
   To play the piano in thimbles.

p. 63From his nostrils a lava sulphureous flows,
   Which scorches wherever it lingers;
A snivelling fellow he’s call’d by his foes,
For he can’t raise his paw up to blow his red nose
   For fear it should blister his fingers.

His wig is of flames curling over his head,
   Well powder’d with white smoking ashes;
He drinks gunpowder tea, melted sugar of lead,
Cream of tartar, and dines on hot spice gingerbread,
   Which black from the oven he gnashes.

Each fire-nymph his kiss from her countenance shields,
   ’Twould soon set her cheekbone a frying;
He spit in the Tenter-Ground near Spital-fields,
And the hole that it burnt, and the chalk that it yields
   Make a capital lime-kiln for drying.

When he open’d his mouth, out there issued a blast,
   (Nota bene, I do not mean swearing,)
But the noise that it made, and the heat that it cast,
I’ve heard it from those who have seen it, surpass’d
   A shot manufactory flaring.

He blazed, and he blazed, as be gallop’d to snatch
   His bride, little dreaming of danger;
His whip was a torch, and his spur was a match,
And over the horse’s left eye was a patch,
   To keep it from burning the manger.

And who is the housemaid he means to enthral
   In his cinder-producing alliance?
Tis Drury-Lane Playhouse, so wide and so tall,
Who, like other combustible ladies, must fall,
   If she cannot set sparks at defiance.

p. 64On his warming-pan kneepan he clattering roll’d,
   And the housemaid his hand would have taken,
But his hand, like his passion, was too hot to hold,
And she soon let it go, but her new ring of gold
   All melted, like butter or bacon!

Oh! then she look’d sour, and indeed well she might,
   For Vinegar Yard was before her;
But, spite of her shrieks, the ignipotent knight,
Enrobing the maid in a flame of gas light,
   To the skies in a sky-rocket bore her.

Look! look! ’tis the Ale King, so stately and starch,
   Whose votaries scorn to be sober;
He pops from his vat, like a cedar or larch;
Brown-stout is his doublet, he hops in his march,
   And froths at the mouth in October.

His spear is a spigot, his shield is a bung;
   He taps where the housemaid no more is,
When lo! at his magical bidding, upsprung
A second Miss Drury, tall, tidy, and young,
   And sported in loco sororis.

Back, lurid in air, for a second regale,
   The Cinder King, hot with desire,
To Brydges Street hied; but the Monarch of Ale,
With uplifted spigot and faucet, and pail,
   Thus chided the Monarch of Fire:

“Vile tyrant, beware of the ferment I brew;
   I rule the roast here, dash the wig o’ me!
If, spite of your marriage with Old Drury, you
Come here with your tinderbox, courting the New
   I’ll have you indicted for bigamy!”

p. 65XIII.

By S. T. C. [65]


[Mr. Coleridge died 25th July, 1814, in his 62nd year.]


Ille velut fidis arcana sodalibus olim
Credebat libris; neque si male cesserat, usquam
Decurrens alio, neque si bene.


My pensive Public, wherefore look you sad?
I had a grandmother, she kept a donkey
To carry to the mart her crockery ware,
And when that donkey look’d me in the face,
His face was sad! and you are sad, my Public!

   Joy should be yours: this tenth day of October
Again assembles us in Drury Lane.
Long wept my eye to see the timber planks
That hid our ruins; many a day I cried,
p. 66Ah me!  I fear they never will rebuild it!
Till on one eve, one joyful Monday eve,
As along Charles Street I prepared to walk,
Just at the corner, by the pastrycook’s,
I heard a trowel tick against a brick.
I look’d me up, and straight a parapet
Uprose at least seven inches o’er the planks.
Joy to thee, Drury! to myself I said:
He of Blackfriars’ Road, [66] who hymned thy downfall
In loud Hosannahs, and who prophesied
That flames, like those from prostrate Solyma,
Would scorch the hand that ventured to rebuild thee,
Has proved a lying prophet.  From that hour,
As leisure offer’d, close to Mr. Spring’s
Box-office door, I’ve stood and eyed the builders.
They had a plan to render less their labours;
Workmen in olden times would mount a ladder
With hodded heads, but these stretch’d forth a pole
From the wall’s pinnacle, they plac’d a pulley
Athwart the pole, a rope athwart the pulley;
To this a basket dangled; mortar and bricks
Thus freighted, swung securely to the top,
And in the empty basket workmen twain
Precipitate, unhurt, accosted earth.

   Oh! ’twas a goodly sound, to hear the people
Who watch’d the work, express their various thoughts!
While some believed it never would be finish’d,
Some, on the contrary, believed it would.

   p. 67I’ve heard our front that faces Drury Lane
Much criticised; they say ’tis vulgar brick-work,
A mimic manufactory of floor-cloth.
One of the morning papers wish’d that front
Cemented like the front in Brydges Street;
As it now looks, they call it Wyatt’s Mermaid,
A handsome woman with a fish’s tail.

   White is the steeple of St. Bride’s in Fleet Street;
The Albion (as its name denotes) is white;
Morgan and Saunders’ shop for chairs and tables
Gleams like a snow-ball in the setting sun;
White is Whitehall.  But not St. Bride’s in Fleet Street,
The spotless Albion, Morgan, no, nor Saunders,
Nor white Whitehall, is white as Drury’s face.

   Oh, Mr. Whitbread! [67] fie upon you, sir!
I think you should have built a colonnade;
When tender Beauty, looking for her coach,
Protrudes her gloveless hand, perceives the shower
And draws the tippet closer round her throat,
Perchance her coach stands half a dozen off,
And, ere she mounts the step, the oozing mud
Soaks through her pale kid slipper.  On the morrow
She coughs at breakfast, and her gruff papa
Cries, “There you go! this comes of playhouses!”
To build no portico is penny wise:
Heaven grant it prove not in the end pound foolish!

   Hail to thee, Drury!  Queen of Theatres!
What is the Regency in Tottenham Street,
p. 68The Royal Amphitheatre of Arts,
Astley’s, Olympic, or the Sans Pareil,
Compared with thee?  Yet when I view thee push’d
Back from the narrow street that christened thee,
I know not why they call thee Drury Lane.

   Amid the freaks that modern fashion sanctions,
It grieves me much to see live animals
Brought on the stage.  Grimaldi has his rabbit,
Laurent his cat, and Bradbury his pig;
Fie on such tricks!  Johnson, the machinist
Of former Drury, imitated life
Quite to the life.  The Elephant its Blue Beard,
Stuff’d by his hand, wound round his lithe proboscis,
As spruce as he who roar’d in Padmanaba. [68]
Nought born on earth should die.  On hackney stands
I reverence the coachman who cries “Gee,”
And spares the lash.  When I behold a spider
Prey on a fly, a magpie on a worm,
Or view a butcher with horn-handled knife
Slaughter a tender lamb as dead as mutton,
Indeed, indeed, I’m very, very sick!

[Exit hastily.

p. 69XIV.

A New Halfpenny Ballad.



This is the very age of promise: To promise is most courtly and fashionable.  Performance is a kind of will or testament, which argues a great sickness in his judgment that makes it.—Timon of Athens.

[To be sung by Mr. Johnson in the character of Looney M’Twolter.]


Mr. Jack, your address, says the Prompter to me,
So I gave him my card—No, that a’nt it, says he;
’Tis your public address.  Oh! says I, never fear,
If address you are bother’d for, only look here.

[Puts on hat affectedly.
   Tol de rol lol, &c.


With Drurys for sartin we’ll never have done,
We’ve built up another, and yet there’s but one;
The old one was best, yet I’d say, if I durst,
The new one is better—the last is the first.

Tol de rol, &c.

p. 70III.

These pillars are call’d by a Frenchified word,
A something that’s jumbled of antique and verd;
The boxes may show us some verdant antiques,
Some old harridans who beplaster their cheeks.

Tol de rol, &c.


Only look how high Tragedy, Comedy, stick,
Lest their rivals, the horses, should give them a kick!
If you will not descend when our authors beseech ye,
You’ll stop there for life, for I’m sure they can’t reach ye.

Tol de rol, &c.


Each one shilling god within reach of a nod is,
And plain are the charms of each gallery goddess—
You, Brandy-fac’d Moll, don’t be looking askew,
When I talk’d of a goddess I didn’t mean you.

Tol de rol, &c.


Our stage is so prettily fashion’d for viewing,
The whole house can see what the whole house is doing:
’Tis just like the Hustings, we kick up a bother;
But saying is one thing, and doing’s another.

Tol de rol, &c.


We’ve many new houses, and some of them rum ones,
But the newest of all is the new House of Commons;
’Tis a rickety sort of a bantling, I’m told,
It will die of old age when it’s seven years old.

Tol de rol, &c.

p. 71VIII.

As I don’t know on whom the election will fall,
I move in return for returning them all;
But for fear Mr. Speaker my meaning should miss,
The house that I wish ’em to sit in is this.

Tol de rol, &c.


Let us cheer our great Commoner, but for whose aid
We all should have gone with short commons to bed;
And since he has saved all the fat from the fire,
I move that the house be call’d Whitbread’s Entire. [71]

Tol de rol, &c.

p. 72XV.




p. 73Lege, Dick, Lege!—Joseph Andrews.


To be recited by the Translator’s Son.

Away, fond dupes! who, smit with sacred lore,
Mosaic dreams in Genesis explore,
Doat with Copernicus, or darkling stray
With Newton, Ptolemy, or Tycho Brahe!
To you I sing not, for I sing of truth,
Primeval systems, and creation’s youth;
Such as of old, with magic wisdom fraught,
Inspired Lucretius to the Latians taught.

   I sing how casual bricks, in airy climb,
Encounter’d casual cow-hair, casual lime;
How rafters, borne through wondering clouds elate,
Kiss’d in their slope blue elemental slate,
Clasp’d solid beams in chance-directed fury,
And gave to birth our renovated Drury.

   Thee, son of Jove! whose sceptre was confess’d,
Where fair Æolia springs from Tethys’ breast;
Thence on Olympus, ’mid celestials placed,
God of the Winds, and Ether’s boundless waste—
Thee I invoke!  Oh puff my bold design,
Prompt the bright thought, and swell th’ harmonious line
p. 74Uphold my pinions, and my verse inspire
With Winsor’s [74] patent gas, or wind of fire,
In whose pure blaze thy embryo form enroll’d,
The dark enlightens, and enchafes the cold.

   But, while I court thy gifts, be mine to shun
The deprecated prize Ulysses won;
Who, sailing homeward from thy breezy shore,
The prison’d winds in skins of parchment bore.
Speeds the fleet bark till o’er the billowy green
The azure heights of Ithaca are seen;
But while with favouring gales her way she wins,
His curious comrades ope the mystic skins;
When, lo! the rescued winds, with boisterous sweep,
Roar to the clouds and lash the rocking deep;
Heaves the smote vessel in the howling blast,
Splits the stretch’d sail, and cracks the tottering mast.
Launch’d on a plank, the buoyant hero rides
Where ebon Afric stems the sable tides,
While his duck’d comrades o’er the ocean fly,
And sleep not in the whole skins they untie.

   p. 75So, when to raise the wind some lawyer tries,
Mysterious skins of parchment meet our eyes;
On speeds the smiling suit—“Pleas of our Lord
The King” shine sable on the wide record;
Nods the prunella’d bar, attorneys smile,
And syren jurors flatter to beguile;
Till stript—nonsuited—he is doom’d to toss
In legal shipwreck and redeemless loss!
Lucky if, like Ulysses, he can keep
His head above the waters of the deep.

   Æolian monarch!  Emperor of Puffs!
We modern sailors dread not thy rebuffs;
See to thy golden shore promiscuous come
Quacks for the lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb;
Fools are their bankers—a prolific line,
And every mortal malady’s a mine.
Each sly Sangrado, with his poisonous pill,
Flies to the printer’s devil with his bill,
Whose Midas touch can gild his ass’s ears,
And load a knave with folly’s rich arrears.
And lo! a second miracle is thine,
For sloe-juice water stands transformed to wine.
Where Day and Martin’s patent blacking roll’d,
Burst from the vase Pactolian streams of gold;
Laugh the sly wizards, glorying in their stealth,
Quit the black art, and loll in lazy wealth.
See Britain’s Algerines, the lottery fry,
Win annual tribute by the annual lie!
Aided by thee—but whither do I stray?—
Court, city, borough, own thy sovereign sway;
An age of puffs an age of gold succeeds,
And windy bubbles are the spawn it breeds.

   p. 76If such thy power, O hear the Muse’s prayer!
Swell thy loud lungs and wave thy wings of air;
Spread, viewless giant, all thy arms of mist
Like windmill-sails to bring the poet grist;
As erst thy roaring son, with eddying gale,
Whirl’d Orithyia from her native vale—
So, while Lucretian wonders I rehearse,
Augusta’s sons shall patronise my verse.

   I sing of Atoms, whose creative brain,
With eddying impulse, built new Drury Lane;
Not to the labours of subservient man,
To no young Wyatt appertains the plan—
We mortals stalk, like horses in a mill,
Impassive media of atomic will;
Ye stare! then Truth’s broad talisman discern—
’Tis demonstration speaks—attend, and learn!

   From floating elements in chaos hurl’d,
Self-form’d of atoms, sprang the infant world:
No great First Cause inspired the happy plot,
But all was matter—and no matter what.
Atoms, attracted by some law occult,
Settling in spheres, the globe was the result;
Pure child of Chance, which still directs the ball,
As rotatory atoms rise or fall.
In ether launch’d, the peopled bubble floats,
A mass of particles and confluent motes,
So nicely poised, that if one atom flings
Its weight away, aloft the planet springs,
And wings its course through realms of boundless space.
Outstripping comets in eccentric race
p. 77Add but one atom more, it sinks outright
Down to the realms of Tartarus and night.
What waters melt or scorching fires consume,
In different forms their being re-assume:
Hence can no change arise, except in name,
For weight and substance ever are the same.

   Thus with the flames that from old Drury rise
Its elements primeval sought the skies;
There pendulous to wait the happy hour
When new attractions should restore their power:
So, in this procreant theatre elate,
Echoes unborn their future life await;
Here embryo sounds in ether lie conceal’d,
Like words in northern atmosphere congeal’d.
Here many a foetus laugh and half encore
Clings to the roof, or creeps along the floor;
By puffs concipient some in ether flit,
And soar in bravos from the thundering pit;
Some forth on ticket-nights [77] from tradesmen break,
To mar the actor they design to make;
While some this mortal life abortive miss,
Crush’d by a groan, or strangled by a hiss.
So, when “Dog’s-meat” re-echoes through the streets,
Rush sympathetic dogs from their retreats,
Beam with bright blaze their supplicating eyes,
Sink their hind-legs, ascend their joyful cries;
p. 78Each, wild with hope, and maddening to prevail,
Points the pleased ear, and wags the expectant tail.

   Ye fallen bricks! in Drury’s fire calcined,
Since doom’d to slumber, couch’d upon the wind,
Sweet was the hour, when, tempted by your freaks,
Congenial trowels smooth’d your yellow cheeks.
Float dulcet serenades upon the ear,
Bends every atom from its ruddy sphere,
Twinkles each eye, and, peeping from its veil,
Marks in the adverse crowd its destined male.
The oblong beauties clap their hands of grit,
And brick-dust titterings on the breezes flit;
Then down they rush in amatory race,
Their dusty bridegrooms eager to embrace.
Some choose old lovers, some decide for new,
But each, when fix’d, is to her station true.
Thus various bricks are made, as tastes invite—
The red, the grey, the dingy, or the white.

   Perhaps some half-baked rover, frank and free,
To alien beauty bends the lawless knee,
But of unhallow’d fascinations sick,
Soon quite his Cyprian for his married brick;
The Dido atom calls and scolds in vain,
No crisp Æneas soothes the widow’s pain.

   So in Cheapside, what time Aurora peeps,
A mingled noise of dustmen, milk, and sweeps
Falls on the housemaid’s ear: amazed she stands,
Then opes the door with cinder-sabled hands,
And “Matches” calls.  The dustman, bubbled flat,
Thinks ’tis for him and doffs his fan-tail’d hat;
p. 79The milkman, whom her second cries assail,
With sudden sink unyokes the clinking pail;
Now louder grown, by turns she screams and weeps—
Alas! her screaming only brings the sweeps.
Sweeps but put out—she wants to raise a flame,
And calls for matches, but ’tis still the same.
Atoms and housemaids! mark the moral true—
If once ye go astray, no match for you!

   As atoms in one mass united mix,
So bricks attraction feel for kindred bricks;
Some in the cellar view, perchance, on high,
Fair chimney chums on beds of mortar lie;
Enamour’d of the sympathetic clod,
Leaps the red bridegroom to the labourer’s hod:
And up the ladder bears the workman, taught
To think he bears the bricks—mistaken thought!
A proof behold! if near the top they find
The nymphs or broken-corner’d or unkind,
Back to the base, “resulting with a bound,” [79]
They bear their bleeding carriers to the ground!

   So legends tell along the lofty hill
Paced the twin heroes, gallant Jack and Jill;
On trudged the Gemini to reach the rail
That shields the well’s top from the expectant pail,
When, ah! Jack falls; and, rolling in the rear,
Jill feels the attraction of his kindred sphere;
Head over heels begins his toppling track,
Throws sympathetic somersets with Jack,
And at the mountain’s base bobs plump against him, whack!

   p. 80Ye living atoms, who unconscious sit,
Jumbled by chance in gallery, box, and pit,
For you no Peter opes the fabled door,
No churlish Charon plies the shadowy oar;
Breathe but a space, and Boreas’ casual sweep
Shall bear your scatter’d corses o’er the deep,
To gorge the greedy elements, and mix
With water, marl, and clay, and stones, and sticks;
While, charged with fancied souls, sticks, stones, and clay
Shall take your seats, and hiss or clap the play.

   O happy age! when convert Christians read
No sacred writings but the Pagan creed—
O happy age! when, spurning Newton’s dreams,
Our poets’ sons recite Lucretian themes,
Abjure the idle systems of their youth,
And turn again to atoms and to truth;—
O happier still! when England’s dauntless dames,
Awed by no chaste alarms, no latent shames,
The bard’s fourth book unblushingly peruse,
And learn the rampant lessons of the stews!

   All hail, Lucretius! renovated sage!
Unfold the modest mystics of thy page;
Return no more to thy sepulchral shelf,
But live, kind bard—that I may live myself!

p. 81XVI.




“Bounce, Jupiter, bounce!”—O’Hara.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As it is now the universally-admitted, and indeed pretty-generally-suspected, aim of Mr. Whitbread and the infamous, bloodthirsty, and, in fact, illiberal faction to which he belongs, to burn to the ground this free and happy Protestant city, and establish himself in St. James’s Palace, his fellow committeemen have thought it their duty to watch the principles of a theatre built under his auspices.  The information they have received from an undoubted authority—particularly from an old fruit-woman who has turned king’s evidence, and whose name, for obvious reasons, we forbear to mention, though we have had it some weeks in our possession—has induced them to introduce various reforms—not such reforms as the vile faction clamour for, meaning thereby revolution, but such reforms p. 82as are necessary to preserve the glorious constitution of the only free, happy, and prosperous country now left upon the face of the earth.  From the valuable and authentic source above alluded to, we have learnt that a sanguinary plot has been formed by some United Irishmen, combined with a gang of Luddites, and a special committee sent over by the Pope at the instigation of the beastly Corsican fiend, for destroying all the loyal part of the audience on the anniversary of that deeply-to-be-abhorred-and-highly-to-be-blamed stratagem, the Gunpowder Plot, which falls this year on Thursday the fifth of November.  The whole is under the direction of a delegated committee of O. P.’s whose treasonable exploits at Covent Garden you all recollect, and all of whom would have been hung from the chandeliers at that time, but for the mistaken lenity of Government.  At a given signal, a well-known O. P. was to cry out from the gallery, “Nosey!  Music!” whereupon all the O. P.’s were to produce from their inside pockets a long pair of shears, edged with felt, to prevent their making any noise, manufactured expressly by a wretch at Birmingham, one of Mr. Brougham’s evidences, and now in custody.  With these they were to cut off the heads of all the loyal N. P.’s in the house, without distinction of sex or age.  At the signal, similarly given, of “Throw him over!” which it now appears always alluded to the overthrow of our never-sufficiently-enough-to-be-deeply-and-universally-to-be-venerated constitution, all the heads of the N. P.’s were to be thrown at the fiddlers, to prevent their appearing in evidence, or perhaps as a false and illiberal insinuation that they have no heads of their own.  All that we know of the further designs of these incendiaries is, that they are by-a-great-deal-too-much-too-horrible-to-be-mentioned.

p. 83The Manager has acted with his usual promptitude on this trying occasion.  He has contracted for 300 tons of gun powder, which are at this moment placed in a small barrel under the pit; and a descendant of Guy Faux, assisted by Col. Congreve, has undertaken to blow up the house, when necessary, in so novel and ingenious a manner, that every O. P. shall be annihilated, while not a whisker of the N. P.’s shall be singed.  This strikingly displays the advantages of loyalty and attachment to government.  Several other hints have been taken from the theatrical regulations of the not-a-bit-the-less-on-that-account-to-be-universally-execrated monster Bonaparte.  A park of artillery, provided with chain-shot, is to be stationed on the stage, and play upon the audience, in case of any indication of misplaced applause or popular discontent (which accounts for the large space between the curtain and the lamps); and the public will participate our satisfaction in learning that the indecorous custom of standing up with the hat on is to be abolished, as the Bow-street officers are provided with daggers, and have orders to stab all such persons to the heart, and send their bodies to Surgeons’ Hall.  Gentlemen who cough are only to be slightly wounded.  Fruit-women bawling “Bill of the Play!” are to be forthwith shot, for which purpose soldiers will be stationed in the slips, and ball-cartridge is to be served out with the lemonade.  If any of the spectators happen to sneeze or spit, they are to be transported for life; and any person who is so tall as to prevent another seeing, is to be dragged out and sent on board the tender, or, by an instrument to be taken out of the pocket of Procrustes, to be forthwith cut shorter, either at the head or foot, according as his own convenience may dictate.

Thus, ladies and gentlemen, have the committee, through p. 84my medium, set forth the not-in-a-hurry-to-be-paralleled plan they have adopted for preserving order and decorum within the walls of their magnificent edifice.  Nor have they, while attentive to their own concerns, by any means overlooked those of the cities of London and Westminster.  Finding on enumeration that they have, with a with-two-hands-and-one-tongue-to be-applauded liberality, contracted for more gunpowder than they want, they have parted with the surplus to the mattock-carrying and hustings-hammering high-bailiff of Westminster, who has, with his own shovel, dug a large hole in the front of the parish-church of St. Paul, Covent Garden, that, upon the least symptom of ill-breeding in the mob at the general election, the whole of the market may be blown into the air.  This, ladies and gentlemen, may at first make provisions rise, but we pledge the credit of our theatre that they will soon fall again, and people be supplied, as usual, with vegetables, in the in-general-strewed-with-cabbage-stalks-but-on-Saturday-night-lighted-up-with-lamps market of Covent Garden.

I should expatiate more largely on the other advantages of the glorious constitution of these by-the-whole-of-Europe-envied realms, but I am called away to take an account of the ladies and other artificial flowers at a fashionable rout, of which a full and particular account will hereafter appear.  For the present, my fashionable intelligence is scanty, on account of the opening of Drury Lane; and the ladies and gentlemen who honour me will not be surprised to find nothing under my usual head!!

p. 85XVII.

By THE REV. G. C. [85]


[Mr. Crabbe died 3rd February, 1832, in his 78th year.]


p. 87“Nil intentatum nostri liquêre poetæ,
Nec minimum meruêre decus, veetigia Græca
Ausi deserere, et celebrare domestica facta.”



If the following poem should be fortunate enough to be selected for the opening address, a few words of explanation may be deemed necessary, on my part, to avert invidious misrepresentation.  The animadversion I have thought it right to make on the noise created by tuning the orchestra will, I hope, give no lasting remorse to any of the gentlemen employed in the band.  It is to be desired that they would keep their instruments ready tuned, and strike off at once.  This would be an accommodation to many well-meaning persons who frequent the theatre, who, not being blest with the ear of St. Cecilia, mistake the tuning for the overture, and think the latter concluded before it is begun.

—“One fiddle will
Give, half-ashamed, a tiny flourish still,”

was originally written “one hautboy will;” but, having providentially been informed, when this poem was on the point of being sent off, that there is but one hautboy in the band, I averted the storm of popular and manageria p. 88indignation from the head of its blower: as it now stands, “one fiddle” among many, the faulty individual will, I hope, escape detection.  The story of the flying play-bill is calculated to expose a practice much too common, of pinning play-bills to the cushions insecurely, and frequently, I fear, not pinning them at all, if these lines save one play-bill only front the fate I have recorded, I shall not deem my labour ill employed.  The concluding episode of Patrick Jennings glances at the boorish fashion of wearing the hat in the one-shilling gallery.  Had Jennings thrust his between his feet at the commencement of the play, he might have leaned forward with impunity, and the catastrophe I relate would not have occurred.  The line of handkerchiefs formed to enable him to recover his loss, is purposely so crossed in texture and materials as to mislead the reader in respect to the real owner of any one of them: for, in the statistical view of life and manners which I occasionally present, my clerical profession has taught me how extremely improper it would be, by any allusion, however slight, to give any uneasiness, however trivial, to any individual, however foolish or wicked.

G. C. [88]


Interior of a Theatre described.—Pit gradually fills.—The Check-taker.—Pit full.—The Orchestra tuned.—One fiddle rather dilatory.—Is reproved—and repents.—Evolutions of a Playbill.—Its final Settlement on the Spikes.—The Gods taken to task—and why.—Motley Group of Play-goers.—Holywell Street, St. Pancras.—Emanuel Jennings binds his Son apprentice—not in London—and why.—Episode of the Hat.

’Tis sweet to view, from half-past five to six,
Our long wax-candles, with short cotton wicks,
Touch’d by the lamplighter’s Promethean art,
Start into light, and make the lighter start;
To see red Phoebus through the gallery-pane
Tinge with his beam the beams of Drury Lane;
While gradual parties fill our widen’d pit,
And gape, and gaze, and wonder, ere they sit.

   At first, while vacant seats give choice and ease,
Distant or near, they settle where they please;
But when the multitude contracts the span,
And seats are rare, they settle where they can.

   Now the full benches to late-comers doom
No room for standing, miscall’d standing-room.

   Hark! the check-taker moody silence breaks,
And bawling “Pit full!” gives the check he takes;
Yet onward still the gathering numbers cram,
Contending crowders shout rise frequent damn,
And all is bustle, squeeze, row, jabbering, and jam.

   See to their desks Apollo’s sons repair—
Swift rides the rosin o’er the horse’s hair
p. 90In unison their various tones to tune,
Murmurs the hautboy, growls the hoarse bassoon;
In soft vibration sighs the whispering lute,
Tang goes the harpsichord, too-too the flute,
Brays the loud trumpet, squeaks the fiddle sharp,
Winds the French horn, and twangs the tingling harp;
Till, like great Jove, the leader, figuring in,
Attunes to order the chaotic din.
Now all seems hush’d—but no, one fiddle will
Give, half-ashamed, a tiny flourish still.
Foil’d in his crash, the leader of the clan
Reproves with frowns the dilatory man:
Then on his candlestick thrice taps his bow,
Nods a new signal, and away they go.

   Perchance, while pit and gallery cry “Hats off!”
And awed Consumption checks his chided cough,
Some giggling daughter of the Queen of Love
Drops, reft of pin, her play-bill from above;
Like Icarus, while laughing galleries clap,
Soars, ducks, and dives in air the printed scrap;
But, wiser far than he, combustion fears,
And, as it flies, eludes the chandeliers;
Till, sinking gradual, with repeated twirl,
It settles, curling, on a fiddler’s curl,
Who from his powder’d pate the intruder strikes,
And, for mere malice, sticks it on the spikes.

   Say, why these Babel strains from Babel tongues?
Who’s that calls “Silence!” with such leathern lungs?
He who, in quest of quiet, “Silence!” hoots,
Is apt to make the hubbub he imputes.

   What various swains our motley walls contain!—
Fashion from Moorfields, honour from Chick Lane;
p. 91Bankers from Paper Buildings here resort,
Bankrupts from Golden Square and Riches Court;
From the Haymarket canting rogues in grain,
Gulls from the Poultry, sots from Water Lane;
The lottery-cormorant, the auction-shark,
The full-price master, and the half-price clerk;
Boys who long linger at the gallery-door,
With pence twice five—they want but twopence more,
Till some Samaritan the twopence spares,
And sends them jumping up the gallery-stairs.

   Critics we boast who ne’er their malice balk,
But talk their minds—we wish they’d mind their talk;
Big-worded bullies, who by quarrels live—
Who give the lie, and tell the lie they give;
Jews from St. Mary Axe, [91] for jobs so wary,
That for old clothes they’d even axe St. Mary;
And bucks with pockets empty as their pate,
Lax in their gaiters, laxer in their gait;
Who oft, when we our house lock up, carouse
With tippling tipstaves in a lock-up house.

   Yet here, as elsewhere, Chance can joy bestow,
Where scowling Fortune seem’d to threaten woe.

   John Richard William Alexander Dwyer
Was footman to Justinian Stubbs, Esquire;
But when John Dwyer listed in the Blues,
Emanuel Jennings polish’d Stubbs’s shoes.
Emanuel Jennings brought his youngest boy
Up as a corn-cutter—a safe employ;
In Holywell Street, St. Pancras, he was bred
(At number twenty-seven, it is said),
Facing the pump, and near the Granby’s Head:
p. 92He would have bound him to some shop in town,
But with a premium he could not come down.
Pat was the urchin’s name—a red-hair’d youth,
Fonder of purl and skittle-grounds than truth.

   Silence, ye gods! to keep your tongues in awe,
The Muse shall tell an accident she saw.

   Pat Jennings in the upper gallery sat,
But, leaning forward, Jennings lost his hat
Down from the gallery the beaver flew,
And spurn’d the one to settle in the two.
How shall he act?  Pay at the gallery-door
Two shillings for what cost, when new, but four?
Or till half-price, to save his shilling, wait,
And gain his hat again at half-past eight?
Now, while his fears anticipate a thief,
John Mullens whispers, “ Take my handkerchief.”
“Thank you,” cries Pat; “but one won’t make a line.”
“Take mine,” cried Wilson; and cried Stokes, “Take mine.”
A motley cable soon Pat Jennings ties,
Where Spitalfields with real India vies.
Like Iris’ bow down darts the painted clue,
Starr’d, striped, and spotted, yellow, red, and blue,
Old calico, torn silk, and muslin new.
George Green below, with palpitating hand,
Loops the last ’kerchief to the beaver’s band—
Uproars the prize!  The youth, with joy unfeign’d,
Regain’d the felt, and felt what he regain’d;
While to the applauding galleries grateful Pat
Made a low bow, and touch’d the ransom’d hat.

p. 93XVIII.  XIX.  XX.


Happening to be wool-gathering at the foot of Mount Parnassus, I was suddenly seized with a violent travestie in the head.  The first symptoms I felt were several triple rhymes floating about my brain, accompanied by a singing in my throat, which quickly communicated itself to the ears of everybody about me, and made me a burthen to my friends and a torment to Doctor Apollo; three of whose favourite servants—that is to say, Macbeth, his butcher; Mrs. Haller, his cook; and George Barnwell, his book-keeper—I waylaid in one of my fits of insanity, and mauled after a very frightful fashion.  In this woeful crisis, I accidentally heard of your invaluable New Patent Hissing Pit, which cures every disorder incident to Grub Street.  I send you inclosed a more detailed specimen of my case: if you could mould it into the shape of an address, to be said or sung on the first night of your performance, I have no doubt that I should feel the immediate effects of your invaluable New Patent Hissing Pit, of which they tell me one hiss is a dose.

I am, &c.,
Momus Medlar.

p. 94CASE, No. I.

[Enter Macbeth in a red nightcapPage following with a torch.]

Go, boy, and thy good mistress tell
   (She knows that my purpose is cruel),
I’d thank her to tingle her bell
   As soon as she’s heated my gruel.
Go, get thee to bed and repose—
   To sit up so late is a scandal;
But ere you have ta’en off your clothes,
   Be sure that you put out that candle.
      Ri fol de rol tol de rol lol.

My stars, in the air here’s a knife!
   I’m sure it cannot be a hum;
I’ll catch at the handle, add’s life!
   And then I shall not cut my thumb.
I’ve got him!—no, at him again!
   Come, come, I’m not fond of these jokes;
This must be some blade of the brain—
   Those witches are given to hoax.

I’ve one in my pocket, I know,
   My wife left on purpose behind her;
She bought this of Teddy-high-ho,
   The poor Caledonian grinder.
p. 95I see thee again! o’er thy middle
   Large drops of red blood now are spill’d,
Just as much as to say, diddle diddle,
   Good Duncan, pray come and be kill’d.

It leads to his chamber, I swear;
   I tremble and quake every joint—
No dog at the scent of a hare
   Ever yet made a cleverer point.
Ah, no! ’twas a dagger of straw—
   Give me blinkers, to save me from starting;
The knife that I thought that I saw
   Was nought but my eye, Betty Martin.

Now o’er this terrestrial hive
   A life paralytic is spread;
For while the one half is alive,
   The other is sleepy and dead.
King Duncan, in grand majesty,
   Has got my state-bed for a snooze;
I’ve lent him my slippers, so I
   May certainly stand in his shoes.

Blow softly, ye murmuring gales!
   Ye feet, rouse no echo in walking!
For though a dead man tells no tales,
   Dead walls are much given to talking.
This knife shall be in at the death—
   I’ll stick him, then off safely get!
Cries the world, this could not be Macbeth.
   For he’d ne’er stick at anything yet.

p. 96Hark, hark! ’tis the signal, by goles!
   It sounds like a funeral knell;
O, hear it hot, Duncan! it tolls
   To call thee to heaven or hell.
Or if you to heaven won’t fly,
   But rather prefer Pluto’s ether,
Only wait a few years till I die,
   And we’ll go to the devil together.
      Ri fol de rol, &c.


Who has e’er been at Drury must needs know the Stranger
A wailing old Methodist, gloomy and wan,
A husband suspicious—his wife acted Ranger,
She took to her heels, and left poor Hypocon.
Her martial gallant swore that truth was a libel,
That marriage was thraldom, elopement no sin;
Quoth she, I remember the words of my Bible—
My spouse is a Stranger, and I’ll take him in.
   With my sentimentalibus lachrymæ roar ’em,
   And pathos and bathos delightful to see;
   And chop and change ribs, à-la-mode Germanorum,
   And high diddle ho diddle, pop tweedle dee.

p. 97To keep up her dignity no longer rich enough,
Where was her plate?—why, ’twas laid on the shelf;
Her land fuller’s earth, and her great riches kitchen-stuff—
Dressing the dinner instead of herself.
No longer permitted in diamonds to sparkle,
Now plain Mrs. Haller, of servants the dread,
With a heart full of grief, and a pan full of charcoal,
She lighted the company up to their bed.

Incensed at her flight, her poor Hubby in dudgeon
Roam’d after his rib in a gig and a pout,
Till, tired with his journey, the peevish curmudgeon
Sat down and blubber’d just like a church-spout.
One day, on a bench as dejected and sad he laid,
Hearing a squash, he cried, Damn it, what’s that?
’Twas a child of the count’s, in whose service lived Adelaide,
Soused in the river, and squall’d like a cat.

Having drawn his young excellence up to the bank, it
Appear’d that himself was all dripping, I swear;
No wonder he soon became dry as a blanket,
Exposed as he was to the count’s son and heir.
Dear Sir, quoths the count, in reward of your valour,
To show that my gratitude is not mere talk,
You shall eat a beefsteak with my cook, Mrs. Haller,
Cut from the rump with her own knife and fork.

Behold, now the count gave the Stranger a dinner,
With gunpowder-tea, which you know brings a ball,
And, thin as he was, that he might not glow thinner,
He made of the Stranger no stranger at all.
p. 98At dinner fair Adelaide brought up a chicken—
A bird that she never had met with before;
But, seeing him, scream’d, and was carried off kicking,
And he bang’d his nob ’gainst the opposite door.

To finish my tale without roundaboutation,
Young master and missee besieged their papa;
They sung a quartetto in grand blubberation—
The Stranger cried Oh!  Mrs. Haller cried Ah!
Though pathos and sentiment largely are dealt in,
I have no good moral to give in exchange;
For though she, as a cook, might be given to melting,
The Stranger’s behaviour was certainly strange,
   With this sentimentalibus lachrymæ roar ’em,
   And pathos and bathos delightful to see,
   And chop and change ribs, à-la-mode Germanorum,
   And high diddle ho diddle, pop tweedle dee.


George Barnwell stood at the shop-door,
A customer hoping to find, sir;
His apron was hanging before,
But the tail of his coat was behind, sir.
p. 99A lady, so painted and smart,
Cried, Sir, I’ve exhausted my stock o’ late;
I’ve got nothing left but a groat—
Could you give me four penn’orth of chocolate?
      Rum ti, &c.

Her face was rouged up to the eyes,
Which made her look prouder and prouder;
His hair stood on end with surprise,
And hers with pomatum and powder.
The business was soon understood;
The lady, who wish’d to be more rich,
Cries, Sweet sir, my name is Milwood,
And I lodge at the Gunner’s in Shoreditch.
      Rum ti, &c.

Now nightly he stole out, good lack!
And into her lodging would pop, sir;
And often forgot to come back,
Leaving master to shut up the shop, sir.
Her beauty his wits did bereave—
Determined to be quite the crack O,
He lounged at the Adam and Eve,
And call’d for his gin and tobacco.
      Rum ti, &c.

And now—for the truth must be told,
Though none of a ’prentice should speak ill—
He stole from the till all the gold,
And ate the lump-sugar and treacle.
p. 100In vain did his master exclaim,
Dear George, don’t engage with that dragon;
She’ll lead you to sorrow and shame,
And leave you the devil a rag on.
      Your rum ti, &c.

In vain he entreats and implores
The weak and incurable ninny,
So kicks him at last out of doors,
And Georgy soon spends his last guinea.
His uncle, whose generous purse
Had often relieved him, as I know,
Now finding him grow worse and worse,
Refused to come down with the rhino.
      Rum ti, &c.

Cried Milwood, whose cruel heart’s core
Was so flinty that nothing could shock it,
If ye mean to come here any more,
Pray come with more cash in your pocket:
Make Nunky surrender his dibs,
Rub his pate with a pair of lead towels,
Or stick a knife into his ribs—
I’ll warrant he’ll then show some bowels.
      Rum ti, &c.

A pistol he got from his love—
’Twas loaded with powder and bullet;
He trudged off to Camberwell Grove,
But wanted the courage to pull it.
There’s Nunky as fat as a hog,
While I am as lean as a lizard;
Here’s at you, you stingy old dog!—
And he whips a long knife in his gizzard.
      Rum ti, &c.

All you who attend to my song,
A terrible end of the farce shall see,
If you join the inquisitive throng
That follow’d poor George to the Marshalsea.
p. 101If Milwood were here, dash my wigs,
Quoth he, I would pummel and lam her well;
Had I stuck to my prunes and figs,
I ne’er had stuck Nunky at Camberwell.
      Rum ti, &c.

Their bodies were never cut down;
For granny relates with amazement,
A witch bore ’em over the town,
And hung them on Thorowgood’s casement,
The neighbours, I’ve heard the folks say,
The miracle noisily brag on;
And the shop is, to this very day,
The sign of the George and the Dragon,
      Rum ti, &c.

p. 102XXI.

BY T. H. [102]

[Mr. Hook died 24th August, 1841, in his 53rd year.]


“Rhymes the rudders are of verses,
With which, like ships, they steer their courses.”



Scene draws, and discovers Punch on a throne, surrounded by Lear, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, Othello, George Barnwell, Hamlet, Ghost, Macheath, Juliet, Frair, Apothecary, Romeo, and Falstaff.—Punch descends and addresses them in the following


As manager of horses Mr. Merryman is,
So I with you am master of the ceremonies—
These grand rejoicings.  Let me see, how name ye ’em?—
Oh, in Greek lingo ’tis E-pi-thalamium.
October’s tenth it is: toss up each hat to-day,
And celebrate with shouts our opening Saturday!

p. 103On this great night ’tis settled by our manager,
That we, to please great Johnny Bull, should plan a jeer,
Dance a bang-up theatrical cotillion,
And put on tuneful Pegasus a pillion;
That every soul, whether or not a cough he has,
May kick like Harlequin, and sing like Orpheus.
So come, ye pupils of Sir John Gallini, [103a]
Spin up a tetotum like Angiolini: [103b]
That John and Mrs. Bull, from ale and tea-houses,
May shout huzza for Punch’s Apotheosis!

They dance and sing.

Air, “Sure such a day.”—Tom Thumb.


Dance, Regan! dance, with Cordelia and Goneril—
Down the middle, up again, poussette, and cross;
Stop, Cordelia! do not tread upon her heel,
Regan feeds on coltsfoot, and kicks like a horse.
See, she twists her mutton fists like Molyneux or Beelzebub,
And t’other’s clack, who pats her back, is louder far than hell’s hubbub.
They tweak my nose, and round it goes—I fear they’ll break the ridge of it,
Or leave it all just like Vauxhall, with only half the bridge of it. [103c]

p. 104OMNES.

Round let us bound, for this is Punch’s holyday,
Glory to Tomfoolery, huzza! huzza!


I kill’d the king; my husband is a heavy dunce;
He left the grooms unmassacred, then massacred the stud.
One loves long gloves; for mittens, like king’s evidence,
Let truth with the fingers out, and won’t hide blood.


When spoonys on two knees implore the aid of sorcery,
To suit their wicked purposes they quickly put the laws awry;
With Adam I in wife may vie, for none could tell the use of her,
Except to cheapen golden pippins hawk’d about by Lucifer.


Round let us bound, for this is Punch’s holyday,
Glory to Tomfoolery, huzza! huzza!


Wife, come to life, forgive what your black lover did,
Spit the feathers from your mouth, and munch roast beef;
Iago he may go and be toss’d in the coverlet
That smother’d you, because you pawn’d my handkerchief.


Why, neger, so eager about your rib immaculate?
Milwood shows for hanging us they’ve got an ugly knack o’ late;
p. 105If on beauty ’stead of duty but one peeper bent he sees,
Satan waits with Dolly baits to hook in us apprentices.


Round let us bound, for this is Punch’s holyday,
Glory to Tomfoolery, huzza! huzza!


I’m Hamlet in camlet; my ap and peri-helia
The moon can fix, which lunatics makes sharp or flat.
I stuck by ill luck, enamour’d of Ophelia,
Old Polony like a sausage, and exclaim’d, “Rat, rat!”


Let Gertrude sup the poison’d cup—no more I’ll be an actor in
Such sorry food, but drink home-brew’d of Whitbread’s manufacturing.


I’ll Polly it, and folly it, and dance it quite the dandy O;
But as for tunes, I have but one, and that is Drops of Brandy O.


Round let us bound, for this is Punch’s holyday,
Glory to Tomfoolery, huzza! huzza!


I’m Juliet Capulet, who took a dose of hellebore—
A hell-of-a-bore I found it to put on a pall.

p. 106FRIAR.

And I am the friar, who so corpulent a belly bore.


And that is why poor skinny I have none at all.


I’m the resurrection-man, of buried bodies amorous.


I’m fagg’d to death, and out of breath, and am for quiet clamorous;
For though my paunch is round and stanch, I ne’er begin to feel it ere I
Feel that I have no stomach left for entertainment military.


Round let us bound, for this is Punch’s holyday,
Glory to Tomfoolery, huzza! huzza!

[Exeunt dancing.







[0a]  See Note at p. xiv.

[0b]  12mo., 1833.  The first published by Mr. Murray.  The “Preface” was written by Horace Smith; the “Notes” to the Poems by James Smith.

[0c]  Samuel Whitbread, M.P.  He died by his own hand in 1815.

[0d]  This was Horatio, the writer of the present Preface.  The envelope which enclosed his Address to the Committee was sold with two volumes of the original Addresses at Mr. Winston’s sale, Dec. 14, 1849, and was inscribed inside “Horatio Smith, 36, Basinghall Street.”

[0e]  The passage, as originally written, continued thus: “and among others, so difficult is it to form a correct judgment in catering to the public taste, by the very bibliopolist who has now, after an interval of twenty [only seven] years, purchased the copyright from a brother bookseller, and ventured upon the present edition.”  To this, on the proof-sheet, the late Mr. Murray appended the following note:—“I never saw or even had the MS. in my possession; but knowing that Mr. Smith was brother-in-law to Mr. Cadell, I took it for granted that the MS. had been previously offered to him and declined.”  Mr. H. Smith consequently drew his pen through the passage.

[0f]  Between 1807 and 1810.  The Monthly Mirror was edited by Edward Du Bois, author of “My Pocket-Book,” and by Thomas Hill; the original Paul Pry; and the Hull of Mr. Theodore Hook’s novel of “Gilbert Gurney.”

[0g]  Miss Lydia White, celebrated for her lively wit and for her blue-stocking parties, unrivalled, it is said, in “the soft realm of blue May Fair.”  She died in 1827, and is mentioned in the diaries of Scott and Byron.

[0h]  See note on “The Beautiful Incendiary,” p. 56.

[1]  “The first piece, under the name of the loyal Mr. Fitzgerald, though as good we suppose as the original, is not very interesting.  Whether it be very like Mr. Fitzgerald or not, however, it must be allowed that the vulgarity, servility, and gross absurdity of the newspaper scribblers is well rendered.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

William Thomas Fitzgerald.—The annotator’s first personal knowledge of this gentleman was at Harry Greville’s Pic-Nic Theatre, in Tottenham-street, where he personated Zanga in a wig too small for his head.  The second time of seeing him was at the table of old Lord Dudley, who familiarly called him Fitz, but forgot to name him in his will.  The Viscount’s son (recently deceased), however, liberally supplied the omission by a donation of five thousand pounds.  The third and last time of encountering him was at an anniversary dinner of the Literary Fund, at the Freemasons’ Tavern.  Both parties, as two of the stewards, met their brethren in a small room about half an hour before dinner.  The lampooner, out of delicacy, kept aloof from the poet.  The latter, however, made up to him, when the following dialogue took place:

Fitzgerald (with good humour).  “Mr. —, I mean to recite after dinner.”

Mr. —.  “Do you?”

Fitzgerald.  “Yes: you’ll have more of ‘God bless the Regent and the Duke of York!’”

The whole of this imitation, after a lapse of twenty years, appears to the Authors too personal and sarcastic; but they may shelter themselves under a very broad mantle:

   “Let hoarse Fitzgerald bawl
His creaking couplets in a tavern-hall.”—Byron.

Fitzgerald actually sent in an address to the Committee on the 31st of August, 1812.  It was published among the other Genuine Rejected Addresses, in one volume, in that year.  The following is an extract:—

“The troubled shade of Garrick, hovering near,
Dropt on the burning pile a pitying tear.”

What a pity that, like Sterne’s recording angel, it did not succeed in blotting the fire out for ever!  That failing, why not adopt Gulliver’s remedy?

[2]  Mr. B. Wyatt, architect of Drury Lane Theatre, son of James Wyatt, architect of the Pantheon.

[3a]  In plain English, the Halfpenny hatch, then a footway through fields; but now, as the same bards sing elsewhere—

“St. George’s Fields are fields no more,
   The trowel supersedes the plough;
Swamps huge and inundate of yore,
   Are changed to civic villas now.”

[3b]  Covent Garden Theatre was burnt down 20th September, 1808; Drury Lane Theatre (as before stated) 24th February, 1809.

[4a]  The east end of St. James’s Palace was destroyed by fire, 21 Jan., 1809.  The wardrobe of Lady Charlotte Finch (alluded to in the next line) was burnt in the fire.

[4b]  Honourable William Wellesley Pole, now (1854) Earl of Mornington, married, 14th March, 1812, Catherine, daughter and heir of Sir James Tylney Long, Bart; upon which occasion he assumed the additional names of Tylney and Long.

[5a]  “The author does not, in this instance, attempt to copy any of the higher attributes of Mr. Wordsworth’s poetry; but has succeeded perfectly in the imitation of his mawkish affectations of childish simplicity and nursery stammering.  We hope it will make him ashamed of his Alice Fell, and the greater part of his last volumes—of which it is by no means a parody, but a very fair, and indeed we think a flattering, imitation.”—Jeffery, Edinburgh Review.

[5b]  Jack and Nancy, as it was afterwards remarked to the Authors, are here made to come into the world at periods not sufficiently remote.  The writers were then bachelors.  One of them [James], unfortunately, still continues so, as he has thus recorded in his niece’s album:

“Should I seek Hymen’s tie,
As a poet I die—
Ye Benedicks, mourn my distresses!
   For what little fame
   Is annexed to my name
   Is derived from Rejected Addresses.”

The blunder, notwithstanding, remains unrectified.  The reader of poetry is always dissatisfied with emendations: they sound discordantly upon the ear, like a modern song, by Bishop or Braham, introduced in Love in a Village.

[8]  This alludes to the Young Betty mania.  The writer was in the stage-box at the height of this young gentleman’s popularity.  One of the other occupants offered, in a loud voice, to prove that Young Betty did not understand Shakespeare.  “Silence!” was the cry; but he still proceeded.  “Turn him out!” was the next ejaculation.  He still vociferated.  “He does not understand Shakespeare;” and was consequently shouldered into the lobby.  “I’ll prove it to you,” said the critic to the doorkeeper.  “Prove what, sir?”  “That he does not understand Shakespeare.”  This was Molière’s housemaid with a vengeance.

Young Betty may now [1833] be seen walking about town—a portly personage, aged about forty—clad in a furred and frogged surtout; probably muttering to himself (as he has been at college), “O mihi præteritos!” &c.  [He is still alive, 1854.  Master Betty, or the “Young Roscius,” was born in 1791, and made his first appearance on a London stage as Achmet in “Barbarossa,” at Covent Garden Theatre, on the lst of December, 1804.  He was, therefore, “not quite thirteen.”  He lasted two seasons.]

[10a]  A “Phoenix” was perhaps excusable.  The first theatre in Drury Lane was called “The Cock-pit or Phoenix Theatre.”  Whitbread himself wrote an address, it is said, for the occasion; like the others, it had of course a Phoenix.  “But Whitbread,” said Sheridan, “made more of the bird than any of them; he entered into particulars, and described its wings, beak, tail, &c.; in short, it was a poulterer’s description of a Phoenix.”

[10b]  For an account of this anonymous gentleman, see Preface, xiii.

[12a]  “The author has succeeded better in copying the melody and misanthropic sentiments of Childe Harold, than the nervous and impetuous diction in which his noble biographer has embodied them.  The attempt, however, indicates very considerable power; and the flow of the verse and the construction of the poetical period are imitated with no ordinary skill.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

[12b]  This would seem to show that poet and prophet are synonymous, the noble bard having afterwards returned to England, and again quitted it, under domestic circumstances painfully notorious.  His good-humoured forgiveness of the Authors has already been alluded to in the Preface.  Nothing of this illustrious poet, however trivial, can be otherwise than interesting.  “We know him well.”  At Mr. Murray’s dinner-table the annotator met him and Sir John Malcolm.  Lord Byron talked of intending to travel in Persia.  “What must I do when I set off?” said he to Sir John.  “Cut off your buttons!”  “My buttons! what, these metal ones!”  “Yes; the Persians are in the main very honest fellows; but if you go thus bedizened, you will infallibly be murdered for your buttons!”  At a dinner at Monk Lewis’s chambers in the Albany, Lord Byron expressed to the writer his determination not to go there again, adding, “I never will dine with a middle-aged man who fills up his table with young ensigns, and has looking-glass panels to his book-cases.”  Lord Byron, when one of the Drury-lane Committee of Management, challenged the writer to sing alternately (like the swains in Virgil) the praises of Mrs. Mardyn, the actress, who, by-the-bye, was hissed off the stage for an imputed intimacy of which she was quite innocent.

The contest ran as fellows:

“Wake, muse of fire, your ardent lyre,
   Pour forth your amorous ditty,
But first profound, in duly bound,
   Applaud the new Committee;
Their scenic art from Thespis’ cart
   All jaded nags discarding,
To London drove this queen of love,
   Enchanting Mrs. Mardyn.

Though tides of love around her rove,
   I fear she’ll choose Pactolus—
In that bright surge bards ne’er immerge.
   So I must e’en swim solus.
‘Out, out, alas!’ ill-fated gas,
   That shin’st round Covent Garden,
Thy ray how flat, compared with that
   From eye of Mrs. Mardyn!”

And so on.  The reader has, no doubt, already discovered “which is the justice, and which is the thief.”

Lord Byron at that time wore a very narrow cravat of white sarsnet, with the shirt-collar falling over it; a black coat and waist-coat, and very broad white trousers to hide his lame foot—these were of Russia duck in the morning, and jean in the evening.  His watch-chain had a number of small gold seals appended to it, and was looped up to a button of his waistcoat.  His face was void of colour; he wore no whiskers.  His eyes were grey, fringed with long black lashes; and his air was imposing, but rather supercilious.  He under-valued David Hume; denying his claim to genius on account of his bulk, and calling him, from the Heroic Epistle,

“The fattest hog in Epicurus’ sly.”

One of this extraordinary man’s allegations was, that “fat is an oily dropsy.”  To stave off its visitation, he frequently chewed tobacco in lieu of dinner, alleging that it absorbed the gastric juice of the stomach, and prevented hunger.  “Pass your hand down my side,” said his Lordship to the writer; “can you count my ribs?”  “Every one of them.”  “I am delighted to hear you say so.  I called last week on Lady —; ‘Ah, Lord Byron,’ said she, ‘how fat you grow!’  But you know Lady — is fond of saying spiteful timings!”  Let this gossip be summed up with the words of Lord Chesterfield, in his character of Bolingbroke: “Upon the whole, on a survey of this extraordinary character, what can we say, but ‘Alas, poor human nature!’”

His favourite Pope’s description of man is applicable to Byron individually:

“Chaos of thought and passion all confused,
Still by himself abused or disabused;
Created part to rise and part to fall,
Great lord of all things, yet a slave to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled—
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world.”

The writer never heard him allude to his deformed foot except upon one occasion, when, entering the green-room of Drury-lane, he found Lord Byron alone, the younger Byrne and Miss Smith the dancer having just left him, after an angry conference about a pas suel.  “Had you been here a minute sooner,” said Lord B., “you would have heard a question about dancing referred to me:—me! (looking mournfully downward) whom fate from my birth has prohibited from taking a single step.”

[14]  The first stanza (see Preface) was written by James Smith; the remainder by Horace.

[15a]  See Note, p. 8.

[15b]  “Holland’s edifice.”  The late theatre was built by Holland the architect.  The writer visited it on the night of its opening [April 21, 1794].  The performances were Macbeth and the Virgin Unmasked.  Between the play and the farce, an excellent epilogue, written by George Colman, was excellently spoken by Miss Farren.  It referred to the iron curtain which was, in the event of fire, to be let down between the stage and the audience, and which accordingly descended, by way of experiment, leaving Miss Farren between the lamps and the curtain.  The fair speaker informed the audience, that should the fire break out on the stage (where it usually originates), it would thus be kept from the spectators; adding, with great solemnity—

“No! we assure our generous benefactors
’Twill only burn the scenery and the actors!”

A tank of water was afterwards exhibited, in the course of the epilogue, in which a wherry was rowed by a real live man, the band playing—

“And did you not hear of a jolly young waterman?”

Miss Farren reciting—

   “Sit still, there’s nothing in it,
We’ll undertake to drown you in a single minute.”

“O vain thought!” as Othello says.  Notwithstanding the boast in the epilogue—

“Blow, wind—come, rack, in ages yet unborn,
Our castle’s strength shall laugh a siege to scorn”—

the theatre fell a victim to the flames within fifteen years from the prognostic!  These preparations against fire always presuppose presence of mind and promptness in those who are to put them into action.  They remind one of the dialogue, in Morton’s Speed the Plough, between Sir Able Handy and his son Bob:

Bob.  Zounds, the castle’s on fire!

Sir A.  Yes.

Bob.  Where’s your patent liquid for extinguishing fire?

Sir A.  It is not mixed.

Bob.  Then where’s your patent fire-escape?

Sir A.  It is not fixed.

Bob.  You are never at a loss?

Sir A.  Never.

Bob.  Then what do you mean to do?

Sir A.  I don’t know.”

[17]  A rather obscure mode of expression for Jews’-harp; which some etymologists allege, by the way, to be a corruption of Jaws’-harp.  No connection, therefore, with King David.

[20]  The Weekly Register, which he kept up without the failure of a single week from its first publication till his death—a period of above thirty-three years.

[21]  Bagshaw.  At that time the publisher or Cobbett’s Register.

[22]  The old Lyceum Theatre, pulled down by Mr. Arnold.  That since destroyed by fire [16th Feb., 1830] was erected on its site.  [The Drury Lane Company performed at the Lyceum till the house was rebuilt.]

[23a]  The present colonnade in Little Russell Street formed no part of the original design, and was erected only a few years back.

[23b]  An allusion to a murder then recently committed on Barnes Terrace.  [The murder (22nd July, 1812) of the Count and Countess D’Antraigues (distantly related to the Bourbons), by a servant out of livery of the name of Laurence—an Italian or Piedmontese, who made away with himself immediately after.]

[24a]  At that time keeper of Newgate.  The present superintendent (1833) is styled Governor!

[24b]  A portentous one that made its appearance in the year 1811; in the midst of the war,

   “with fear of change
Perplexing nations.”

[25]  “The Living Lustres appears to us a very fair imitation of the fantastic verses which that ingenious person, Mr. Moore, indites when he is merely gallant, and, resisting the lures of voluptuousness, is not enough in earnest to be tender.” —Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

[26]  This alludes to two massive pillars of verd antique which then flanked the proscenium, but which have since been removed.  Their colour reminds the bard of the Emerald Isle, and this causes him (more suo) to fly off at a tangent, and Hibernicise the rest of the poem.

[28a]  “The Rebuilding is in the name of Mr. Southey, and is one of the best in the collection.  It is in the style of the Kehama of that multifarious author, and is supposed to be spoken in the character of one of his Glendoveers.  The imitation of the diction and measure, we think, is nearly almost perfect; and the descriptions as good as the original.  It opens with an account of the burning of the old theatre, formed upon the pattern of the Funeral of Arvalan.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

[28b]  For the Glendoveer, and the rest of the dramatis persona of this imitation, the reader is referred to the “Curse of Kehama.”

[28c]  “Midnight, and yet no eye
Through all the Imperial City closed in sleep.”


[29a]  This couplet was introduced by the Authors by way of bravado, in answer to one who alleged that the English language contained no rhyme to chimney.

[29b]  Apollo.  A gigantic wooden figure of this deity was erected on the roof.  The writer (horrescit referens!) is old enough to recollect the time when it was first placed there.  Old Bishop, then one of the masters of Merchant Tailors’ School, wrote an epigram upon the occasion, which, referring to the aforesaid figure, concluded thus:

“Above he fills up Shakespeare’s place.
And Shakespeare fills up his below.”

Very antithetical; but quære as to the meaning?  The writer, like Pluto, “long puzzled his brain” to find it out, till he was immersed “in a lower deep” by hearing Madame de Staël say, at the table of the late Lord Dillon, “Buonaparte is not a man, but a system.”  Inquiry was made in the course of the evening of Sir James Mackintosh as to what the lady meant?  He answered, “Mass!  I cannot tell.”  Madame de Staël repeats this apophthegm in her work on Germany.  It is probably understood there.

[31]  O. P.  This personage, who is alleged to have growled like a bull-dog, requires rather a lengthened note, for the edification of the rising generation.  The “horns, rattles, drums,” with which he is accompanied, are no inventions of the poet.  The new Covent Garden Theatre opened on the 18th Sept., 1809, when a cry of “Old Prices” (afterwards diminished to O. P.) burst out from every part of the house.  This continued and increased in violence till the 23rd, when rattles, drums, whistles, and cat-calls having completely drowned the voices of the actors, Mr. Kemble, the stage-manager, came forward and said that a committee of gentlemen had undertaken to examine the finances of the concern, and that until they were prepared with their report the theatre would continue closed.  “Name them!” was shouted from all sides.  The names were declared, viz., Sir Charles Price, the Solicitor-General, the Recorder of London, the Governor of the Bank, and Mr. Angerstein.  “All shareholders!” bawled a wag from the gallery.  In a few days the theatre re-opened: the public paid no attention to the report of the referees, and the tumult was renewed for several weeks with even increased violence.  The proprietors now sent in hired bruisers, to mill the refractory into subjection.  This irritated most of their former friends, and, amongst the root, the annotator, who accordingly wrote the song of “Heigh-ho, says Kemble,” which was caught up by the ballad-singers, and sung under Mr. Kemble’s house-windows in Great Russell-street.  A dinner was given at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand, to celebrate the victory obtained by W. Clifford in his action against Brandon the box-keeper, for assaulting him for wearing the letters O. P. in his hat.  At this dinner Mr. Kemble attended, and matters were compromised by allowing the advanced price (seven shillings) to the boxes.  The writer remembers a former riot of a similar sort at the same theatre (in the year 1792), when the price to the boxes was raised from five shillings to six.  That tumult, however, only lasted three nights.

[32]  “From the knobb’d bludgeon to the taper switch.”  This image is not the creation of the poets: it sprang from reality.  The Authors happened to be at the Royal Circus when “God save the King” was called for, accompanied by a cry of “Stand up!” and “Hats off!”  An inebriated naval lieutenant, perceiving a gentleman in an adjoining box slow to obey the call, struck his hat off with his stick, exclaiming, “Take off your hat, sir!”  The other thus assaulted proved to be, unluckily for the lieutenant, Lord Camelford, the celebrated bruiser and duellist.  A set-to in the lobby was the consequence, where his lordship quickly proved victorious.  “The devil is not so black as he is painted,” said one of the Authors to the other; “let us call upon Lord Camelford, and tell him that we were witnesses of his being first assaulted.”  The visit was paid on the ensuing morning at Lord Camelford’s lodgings, in Bond-street.  Over the fire place in the drawing-room were ornaments strongly expressive of the pugnacity of the peer.  A long thick bludgeon lay horizontally supported by two brass hooks.  Above this was placed parallel one of lesser dimensions, until a pyramid of weapons gradually arose, tapering to a horsewhip:

“Thus all below was strength, and all above was grace.”

Lord Camelford received his visitants with great civility, and thanked them warmly for the call; adding, that their evidence would be material, it being his intention to indict the lieutenant for an assault.  “All I can say in return is this,” exclaimed the peer with great cordiality, “if ever I see you engaged in a row, upon my soul I’ll stand by you.”  The Authors expressed themselves thankful for so potent an ally, and departed.  In about a fortnight afterwards [March 7, 1804] Lord Camelford was shot in a duel with Mr. Best.

[34]  Veeshnoo.  The late Mr. Whitbread.

[36]  Levy.  An insolvent Israelite who [18th January, 1810] threw himself from the top of the Monument a short time before.  An inhabitant of Monument-yard informed the writer that he happened to be standing at his door talking to a neighbour, and looking up at the top of the pillar, exclaimed, “Why, here’s the flag coming down.”  “Flag!” answered the other, “it’s a man.”  The words were hardly uttered when the suicide fell within ten feet of the speakers.

[38a]  “‘Drury’s Dirge,’ by Laura Matilda, is not of the first quality.  The verses, to be sure, are very smooth, and very nonsensical—as was intended; but they are not so good as Swift’s celebrated Song by a Person of Quality; and are so exactly in the same measure, and on the same plan, that it is impossible to avoid making the comparison.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

[38b]  The Authors, as in gallantry bound, wish this lady to continue anonymous.

[42]  From the parody of Walter Scott we know not what to select—it is all good.  The effect of the fire on the town, and the description of a fireman in his official apparel, may be quoted as amusing specimens of the misapplication of the style and metre of Mr. Scott’s admirable romances.—Quarterly Review.

“‘A Tale of Drury,’ by Walter Scott, is, upon the whole, admirably executed; though the introduction is rather tame.  The burning is described with the mighty minstrel’s characteristic love of localities . . . The catastrophe is described with a spirit not unworthy of the name so venturously assumed by the describer.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

“Thus he went on, stringing one extravagance upon another, in the style his books of chivalry had taught him, and imitating, as neat as he could, their very phrase.”—Don Quixote.


Sir Walter Scott informed the annotator, that at one time he intended to print his collected works, and had pitched upon this identical quotation as a motto;—a proof that sometimes great wits jump with little ones.

[43a]  Alluding to the then great distance between the picture-frame, in which the green curtain was set, and the band.  For a justification of this, see below—“Dr. Johnson.”

[43b]  The old name for London:

For poets you can never want ’em
Spread through Augusta Trinobantum—Swift.

Thomson in his “Seasons” calls it “huge Augusta.”

[45]  Old Bedlam, at that time, stood “close by London Wall.”  It was built after the model of the Tuileries, which is said to have given the French king great offence.  In front of it Moorfields extended, with broad gravel walks crossing each other at right angles.  These the writer well recollects; and Rivaz, an underwriter at Lloyd’s, his told him that he remembered when the merchants of London would parade these walks on a summer evening with their wives and daughters.  But now, as a punning brother bard sings,—

“Moorfields are fields no more.”

[46a]  A narrow passage immediately adjoining Drury Lane Theatre, and so called from the vineyard attached to Covent or Convent Garden.

[46b]  The Hand-in-Hand Insurance Office was one of the very first insurance offices established in London.  To make the engineer of the office thus early in the race is a piece of historical accuracy intended it is said, on the part of the writer.

[48]  Charge, Chester, charge!  On, Stanley, on!
Were the last words of Marmion.

[49]  Whitbread’s shears.  An economical experiment of that gentleman.  The present portico, towards Brydges-street, was afterwards erected under the lesseeship of Elliston, whose portrait in the Exhibition was thus noticed in the Examiner “Portrait of the great Lessee, in his favourite character of Mr. Elliston.”

[52]  “Samuel Johnson is not so good: the measure and solemnity of his sentences, in all the limited variety of their structure, are indeed imitated with singular skill; but the diction is caricatured in a vulgar and unpleasing degree.  To make Johnson call a doer ‘a ligneous barricado,’ and its knocker and bell its ‘frappant and tintinnabulant appendages,’ is neither just nor humorous; and we are surprised that a writer who has given such extraordinary proofs of his talent for finer ridicule and fairer imitation, should have stooped to a vein of pleasantry so low, and so long ago exhausted; especially as, in other passages of the same piece, he has shown how well qualified he was both to catch and to render the true characteristics of his original.  The beginning, for example, we think excellent.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

[54a]  The celebrated Lord Chesterfield, whose Letters to his Son, according to Dr. Johnson, inculcate “the manners of a dancing-master and the morals of a —,” &c.

[54b]  Lord Mayor of the theatric sky.  This alludes to Leigh Hunt, who, in The Examiner, at this time kept the actors in hot water.  Dr. Johnson’s argument is, like many of his other arguments, specious, but untenable; that which it defends has since been abandoned as impracticable.  Mr. Whitbread contended that the actor was like a portrait in a picture, and accordingly placed the green curtain in a gilded frame remote from the foot-lights; alleging that no performer should mar the illusion by stepping out of the frame.  Dowton was the first actor who, like Manfred’s ancestor in the Castle of Otranto, took the liberty of abandoning the canon.  “Don’t tell me of frames and pictures,” ejaculated the testy comedian; “if I can’t be heard by the audience in the frame, I’ll walk out of it!”  The proscenium has since been new-modelled, and the actors thereby brought nearer to the audience.

[56a]  “‘The Beautiful Incendiary,’ by the Honourable W. Spencer, is also an imitation of great merit.  The flashy, fashionable, artificial style of this writer, with his confident and extravagant compliments, can scarcely be said to be parodied in such lines.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

[56b]  Sobriety, &c.  The good-humour of the poet upon occasion of this parody has been noticed in the Preface.  “It’s all very well for once,” said he afterwards, in comic confidence, at his villa at Petersham, “but don’t do it again.  I had been almost forgotten when you revived me; and now all the newspapers and reviews ring with this fashionable, trashy author.’”  The sand and “filings of glass,” mentioned in the last stanza, are referable to the well-known verses of the poet apologising to a lady for having paid an unconscionably long morning visit; and where, alluding to Time, he says—

“All his sands are diamond sparks,
That glitter as they pass.”

Few men in society have more “gladdened life” than this poet.  He now [1833] resides in Paris, and may thence make the grand tour without an interpreter—speaking, as he does, French, Italian, and German, as fluently as English.

[57]  10th of October, 1812, the day of opening.

[59]  Congreve’s plug.  The late Sir William Congreve had made a model of Drury Lane Theatre, to which was affixed an engine that, in event of fire, was made to play from the stage into every box in the house.  The writer, accompanied by Theodore Hook, went to see the model at Sir William’s house in Cecil-street.  “Now I’ll duck Whitbread!” said Hook, seizing the water-pipe whilst he spoke, and sending a torrent of water into the brewer’s box.

[60]  See Byron, afterwards, its Don Juan:—

“For flesh is grass, which Time mows down to hay.”

But as Johnson says of Dryden, “His known wealth was so great, he might borrow without any impeachment of his credit.”

[61]  “‘Fire and Ale,’ by M. G. Lewis, exhibits not only a faithful copy of the spirited, loose, and flowing versification of that singular author, but a very just representation of that mixture of extravagance and jocularity which has impressed most of his writings with the character of a sort of farcical horror.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

Matthew Gregory Lewis, commonly called Monk Lewis, from his once popular romance of that name, was a good-hearted man, and, like too many of that fraternity, a disagreeable one—verbose, disputatious and paradoxical.  His Monk and Castle Spectre elevated him into fame; and he continued to write ghost-stories till, following as he did in the wake of Mrs. Radcliffe, he quite overstocked the market.  Lewis visited his estates in Jamaica, and came back perfectly negro-bitten.  He promulgated a new code of laws in the island, for the government of his sable subjects: one may serve for a specimen: “Any slave who commits murder shall have his heed shaved, and be confined three days and nights in a dark room.”  Upon occasion of printing these parodies, Monk Lewis said to Lady H[olland], “Many of them are very fair, but mine is not at all like; they have made me write burlesque, which I never do” “You don’t know your own talent,” answered the lady.

Lewis aptly described himself, as to externals, in the verses affixed to his Monk, as having

“A graceless form and dwarfish stature”

He had, moreover, large grey eyes, thick features, and an inexpressive countenance.  In talking, he had a disagreeable habit of drawing the fore-finger of his right hand across his tight eye-lid.  He affected, in conversation, a sort of dandified, drawling tone: young Harlowe, the artist, did the same.  A foreigner who had but slight knowledge of the English language might have concluded, from their cadences, that they were little better than fools—“just a born goose,” as Terry the actor used to say.  Lewis died on his passage homeward from Jamaica, owing to a dose of James’s powders injudiciously administered by “his own mere motion.”  He wrote various plays, with various success, he had admirable notions of dramatic construction, but the goodness of his scenes and incidents was marred by the badness of his dialogue.

[65]  “Mr. Coleridge will not, we fear, be as much entertained as we were with his ‘Playhouse Musings,’ which begin with characteristic pathos and simplicity, and put us much in mind of the affecting story of old Poulter’s mare.”—Quarterly Review.

“‘Playhouse Musings,’ by Mr. Coleridge, a piece which is unquestionably Lakish, though we cannot say that we recognise in it any of the peculiar traits of that powerful and misdirected genius whose name it has borrowed.  We rather think, however, that the tuneful brotherhood will consider it as a respectable eclogue.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

[66]  “He of Blackfriars’ Road,” viz. the late Rev. Rowland Hill, who is said to have preached a sermon congratulating his congregation on the catastrophe.  [See before:—

Meux’s new brewhouse shows the light,
Rowland Hill’s Chapel, and the height
Where Patent Shot they sell.]

[67]  “Oh, Mr. Whitbread!”  Sir William Grant, then Master of the Rolls, repeated this passage aloud at a Lord Mayor’s dinner, to the no small astonishment of the writer, who happened to sit within ear-shot.

[68]  “Padmanaba,” viz., in a pantomime called Harlequin in Padmanaba.  This elephant [Chunee], some years afterwards, was exhibited over Exeter ’Change, where, the reader will remember, it was found necessary [March, 1826] to destroy the poor animal by discharges of musketry.  When he made his entrance in the pantomime above mentioned, Johnson, the machinist of the rival house, exclaimed, “I should be very sorry if I could not make a better elephant than that!”  Johnson was right: we go to the theatre to be pleased with the skill of the imitator, and not to look at the reality.

[69]  “‘A New Halfpenny Ballad,’ by a Pic-Nic Poet, is a good imitation of what was not worth imitating—that tremendous mixture of vulgarity, nonsense, impudence, and miserable puns, which, under the name of humorous songs, rouses our polite audiences to a far higher pitch of rapture than Garrick or Siddons ever was able to inspire.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.

[71]  Mr. Whitbread—it need hardly be added for the present generation of Londoners—was a celebrated brewer.  Fifty years hence, and the allusion in the text may require a note which, perhaps even now (1854), is scarcely out of place.

[74]  “Winsor’s patent gas”—at that time in its infancy.  The first place illumined by it was [Jan. 28, 1807] the Carlton-house side of Pall Mall; the second, Bishopsgate Street.  The writer attended a lecture given by the inventor: the charge of admittance was three shillings, but, as the inventor was about to apply to parliament, members of both houses were admitted gratis.  The writer and a fellow-jester assumed the parts of senators at a short notice.  “Members of parliament!” was their important ejaculation at the door of entrance.  “What places, gentlemen?”  “Old Sarum and Bridgewater.”  “Walk in, gentlemen.”  Luckily, the real Simon Pures did not attend.  This Pall Mall illumination was further noticed in Horace in London:—

“And Winsor lights, with flame of gas.
Home, to King’s Place, his mother.”

[77]  “Ticket-nights.”  This phrase is probably unintelligible to the untheatrical portion of the community, which may now be said to be all the world except the actors.  Ticket-nights are those whereon the inferior actors club for a benefit: each distributes as many tickets of admission as he is able among his friends.  A motley assemblage is the consequence; and as each actor is encouraged by his own set, who are not in general play-going people, the applause comes (as Chesterfield says of Pope’s attempts at wit) “generally unseasonably, and too often unsuccessfully.”

[79]  Originally:—“Back to the bottom leaping with a bound,” altered 1833.

[81]  “This journal was, at the period in question, rather remarkable for the use of the figure called by the rhetoricians catachresis.  The Bard of Avon may be quoted in justification of its adoption, when he writes of taking arms against a sea, and seeking a bubble in the mouth of a cannon.  The Morning Post, in the year 1812, congratulated its readers upon having stripped off Cobbett’s mask and discovered his cloven foot; adding, that it was high time to give the hydra-head of Faction a rap on the knuckles!”

[85]  The Rev. George Crabbe.—The writer’s first interview with this poet, who may be designated Pope in worsted stockings, took place at William Spencer’s villa at Petersham, close to what that gentleman called his gold-fish pond, though it was scarcely three feet in diameter, throwing up a jet d’eau like a thread.  The venerable bard, seizing both the hands of his satirist exclaimed with a good-humoured laugh, “Ah! my old enemy, how do you do?”  In the course of conversation, he expressed great astonishment at his popularity in London; adding, “In my own village they think nothing of me.”  The subject happening to be the inroads of time upon beauty, the writer quoted the following lines:—

“Six years had pass’d, and forty ere the six,
When Time began to play his usual tricks:
My locks, once comely in a virgin’s sight,
Locks of pure brown, now felt th’ encroaching white;
Gradual each day I liked my horses less,
My dinner more—I learnt to play at chess.”

“That’s very good!” cried the bard;—“whose to it?”  “Your own.”  “Indeed! hah! well, I had quite forgotten it.”  Was this affectation, or was it not?  In sooth, he seemed to push simplicity to puerility.  This imitation contained in manuscript the following lines, after describing certain Sunday newspaper critics who were supposed to be present at a new play, and who were rather heated in their politics:—

“Hard is the task who edits—thankless job!—
A Sunday journal for the factious mob
With bitter paragraph and caustic jest,
He gives to turbulence the day of rest;
Condemn’d, this week, rash rancour to instil,
Or thrown aside, the next, for one who will:
Alike undone or if he praise or rail
(For this affects his safety, that his sale),
He sinks at last, in luckless limbo set,
If loud for libel, and if dumb for debt.”

They were, however, never printed; being, on reflection, considered too serious for the occasion.

It is not a little extraordinary that Crabbe, who could write with such rigour, should descend to such lines as the following:—

“Something bad happen’d wrong about a bill
Which was not drawn with true mercantile skill,
So, to amend it, I was told to go
And seek the firm of Clutterbuck and Co.”

Surely “Emanuel Jennings,” compared with the above, rises to sublimity.

[“‘The Theatre,’ by the Rev. G. Crabbe, we rather think, is the best piece in the collection.  It is an exquisite and most masterly imitation, not only of the peculiar style, but of the taste, temper, and manner of description of that most original author; and can hardly be said to be in any respect a caricature of that style or manner—except in the excessive profusion of puns and verbal jingles—which, though undoubtedly to be ranked among his characteristics, are never so thick sown in his original works as in this admirable imitation.  It does not aim, of course, at any shadow of his pathos or moral sublimity, but seems to us to be a singularly faithful copy of his passages of mere description,”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.]

[88]  You were more feeling than I was, when you read the excellent parodies of the young men who wrote the “Rejected Addresses.”  There is a little ill-nature—and I take the liberty of adding, undeserved ill-nature—in their prefatory address; but in their versification they have done me admirably.  They are extraordinary men; but it is easier to imitate style than to furnish matter.—Crabbe (Works, 1 vol.  Ed., p. 81).

[91]  A street and parish in Lime Street Ward, London—chiefly inhabited by Jews.

[93]  “We come next to three ludicrous parodies—of the story of The Stranger, of George Barnwell, and of the dagger-scene in Macbeth, under the signature of Momus Medlar.  They are as good, we think, as that sort of thing can be, and remind us of the happier efforts of Colman, whose less successful fooleries are professedly copied in the last piece in the volume.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Renew.

[96]  A translation from Kotzebue by Thompson, and first acted at Drury Lane, 24th March, 1798.  Mrs. Siddons was famous in the part of Mrs. Haller.

[98]  See Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. iii.; and Lillo’s tragedy, “The London Merchant; or, the History of George Barnwell.”  8vo. 1731.

[102]  Theodore Hook, at that time a very young man, and the companion of the annotator in many wild frolics.  The cleverness of his subsequent prose compositions has cast his early stage songs into oblivion.  This parody was, in the second edition, transferred from Colman to Hook.

[103a]  Then Director of the Opera House.

[103b]  At that time the chief dancer at this establishment.

[103c]  Vauxhall Bridge then, like the Thames Tunnel at present [1833], stood suspended in the middle of that river.

[72]  Dr. Busby gave living recitations of his translation of Lucretius, with tea and bread-and-butter.  He sent in a real Address to the Drury Lane committee, which was really rejected.  The present imitation professes to be recited by the translator’s son.  The poet here, again, was a prophet.  A few evenings after the opening of the Theatre Dr. Busby sat with his son in one of the stage-boxes.  The latter to the astonishment of the audience, at the end of the play, stepped from the box upon the stage, with his father’s real rejected address in his hand, and began to recite it as follows:—

“When energising objects men pursue,
What are the prodigies they cannot do?”

Raymond, the stage-manager, accompanied by a constable, at this moment walked upon the stage, and handed away the juvenile dilettante performer.

The Doctor’s classical translation was thus noticed in one of the newspapers of the day, in the column of births:—“Yesterday, at his house in Queen Anne-street, Dr. Busby of a still-born Lucretius.”  [Bushy’s Monologue was parodied by Lord Byron: see Byron’s works, p. 553.]

“In one single point the parodist has failed—there is a certain Dr. Busby, whose supposed address is a translation called ‘Architectural Atoms, intended to be recited by the translator’s son.’  Unluckily, however, for the wag who had prepared this fun, the genuine serious absurdity of Dr. Busby and his son has cast all his humour into the shade.  The Doctor from the boxes, and the son from the stage, have actually endeavoured, it seems, to recite addresses, which they call monologues and unalogues; and which, for extravagant folly, tumid meanness, and vulgar affectation, set all the powers of parody at utter defiance.”—Quarterly Review.

“Of ‘Architectural Atoms,’ translated by Dr. Busby, we can say very little more than that they appear to us to be far more capable of combining into good poetry than the few lines we were able to read of the learned Doctor’s genuine address in the newspapers.  They might pass, indeed, for a very tolerable imitation of Darwin.”—Jeffrey, Edinburgh Review.