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DISTINGUISHING ALSO THE
VARIATIONS OF THE THEATRE,
AS PERFORMED AT THE
Theatre-Royal in Dury:Lane.
Regulated from the Prompe-Book,
By Mr. HOPKINS, Prompter.
In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
Priated for JOHN BELL, near Exeter-Exchange, in the Strand.
RICHARD TIGHE, Esq.
that are more disliked for being universal ; and the reason is, that they very seldom fit the persons they were made for: but I hope to avoid the common obloquy in this address, by laying afide the poet in every thing but the dramatic decorum of suiting my character to the person.
From the part of Mirabel in this play, and another character in one of my former, people are willing to com• pliment my performance in drawing a gay, splendid, generous, easy, fine young gentleman. My genius, I mult confess, has a bent to that kind of description; and my veneration for you, Sir, may pafs for unquestionable, fince in all these happy accomplishments you come so near to my darling character, abating his inconstancy.
What an unspeakable blessing is youth and fortune, when a happy understanding comes in, to moderate the defires of the first, and to refine upon the advantages of the latter ; when a gentleman is master of all pleasures, but a slave to none; who has travelled, not for the curiofity of the fight, but for the improvement of the mind's eye; and who returns full of every thing but himself? An author might say a great deal more, but a friend, Sir, nay, an enemy must allow you this.
I shall here, Sir, meet with two obstacles, your modesty and your
sense ; the first, as a cenfor upon the subject, the second, as a critic upon the stile: but I am obstinate in my purpose, and will maintain what I say to the last drop of my pen ; which I may the more boldly undertake, having all the world on my fide; nay, I have your very self against you ; for by declining to hear your own merit, your friends are authorized the more to proclaim it.
Your generofity and easiness of temper is not only obvious in your common affairs and conversation, but more plainly evident in your darling amusement, that opener and dilater of the mind, mufic:-- from your affection for this delightful study, we may deduce the pleafing harnioby that is apparent in all your actions; and be assured, Sir, that a person must be possessed of a very divine foul, who is fo much in love with the entertainment of angels.
Froin your encouragement of music, if there be any poetry here, it has a claim, by the right of kindred, to your favour and affection. You were pleased to honour the representation of this play with your appearance at several times, which flatter'd my hopes that there might be something in it which your good-nature might excuse. With the honour I here intend for myself, I likewise confult the interest of my nation, by shewing a person that is fo much, a reputation and credit to my country. Besides ali this, I was willing to make a handsome compliment to the
place of my pupilage ; by informing the world that fo fine a gentleman had the seeds of his education in the fame univerfity, and at the same time with,
Your moft faithful, and
Most humble Servant,
G. FAR QUHAR.
"O give you the history of this play, would but
cause the reader and the writer a trouble to no purpose ; I shall only fay, that I took the hint from Fletcher's Wild Goose Chase; and to those who say that I have spoiled the original, I wish no other injury but that they would say it again. As to the success of it,
I think it but a kind of Cremona business, I have neither loft nor-won. I pushed fairly, but the French were prepossessed, and the charms of Gallic heels were too hard for an English brain; but I am proud to own, that I have laid my head at the ladies feet. The favour was unavoidable, for we are a nation fo very fond of improving our understanding, that the instruction of a play does no good, when it comes in competition with the moral of a minuet. Pliny tells us, in his Natural History, of elephants that were taught to dance on the ropes ; if this could be made practicable now, what a number of fubfcriptions might be had to bring the Great Mogul out of Fleet-street, and make him dance between the acts !
I remember, that about two years ago, I had a gentleman from France* that brought the play-house fome fifty audiences in five months; then why should I be Furprifed to find a French lady do as much? It is the prettiest way in the world of despising the French king, to let him see that we can afford money to bribe away his dancers, when he, poor man, has exhausted all his stock, in buying fome pitiful towns and principalities : cam multis aliis. What can be a greater compliment to our genefous nation, than to have the lady upon her re-tour to Par
* Constant Couple.