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INGON S T A NT;
DISTINGUISHING ALSO THE
VARIATIONS OF THE THEATRE,
AS PERFORMED AT THL
Theatre Royal in Dury-Lane.
Regulated from the Prompt-Book,
By Mr. HOPKINS, Prompter.
Ir nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas.
Priated for JOHN BELL,
near Exeter-Exchange, in the Strand.
RICHARD TIGHE, Efq.
De EDICATIONS are the only fashions in the world
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 compliment my perforinance in drawing a gay, splendid, generous, easy, fine young gentleman. My genius, I must confess, has a bent to that kind of description; and my veneration for you, Sir, may pass for unquestionable, fince in all thefe happy accomplishments you come so near to my darling character, abating his inconftancy.
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 curia ofity 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 modefty 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 side; nay, I have your very, felf against you ; for by declining to hear your own merit, your friends are authorized the more to proclaim it.
Your generosity and easiness of temper is not only obvious in your cominon affairs and conversation, but more plainly evident in your darling amusement, that opener and dilater of the mind, music:—from your affection for this delightful study, we may deduce the pleasing harmony that is apparent in all your actions; and be assured, Sir, that a person must be possessed of a very divine foul, who is so much in love with the entertainment of angels.
From 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 perfon that is so much a reputation and credit to my country. Besides all 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 feeds of his education in the faune univerfity, and at the same time with,
Your most faithful, and
Most humble Servant,
G. FARRU H A R.
O give you the history of this play, would but
cause the reader and the writer a trouble to no purpose ; I shall only say, that I took the hint from Fletcher's Wild Goose Chase; and to those who say that I have fpoiled 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 bufixess, 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 compe. tition 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 subscriptions might be had to bring the Great Mogul out of Fleet-treet, 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 some fifty audiences in five months ; then why should I be surprised 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 inoney
his dancers, when he, poor man, has exhausted all his stock, in buying some pitiful towns and principalities: cum multis aliis. What can be a greater compliment to our generous nation, than to have the lady upon her re-tour to Pa
* Constant Couple.