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EPISTLE

66

TO THE PROPRIETOR OF

CUMBERLAND'S

BRITISH THEATRE.”

A word in your ear, Mr. Cumberland, pray-
Not what I say myself, but what other folks say,
I think it just right to communicate-Crede !
Some bitter complaints of your editor G. D.
This confident critic bamboozles the town,
And to write himself up, he writes other folks down;
About the old authors he makes such a fuss,
Yet laughs not indeed at our farces, but Us !
Talks of Avon's sweet swan- -Mr. C, who the deuce
Is Avon's sweet swan ?--Does he mean Mother

Goose ?
A player must either be dying or dead,
To have grace in his action, or sense in his head-
One exception, I grant, may be found in the hive,
He praises Jack Harley, who's always alive !
Yet Jack, though he giggles and gallops on gaily,
Is nothing to Vale—may he never say valè !-
Then Lord, what an Egotist ! quoting himself !
-Friend Cumberland, look to your profit and pelf,
And take from the dunghill hight critical, no cock
Who cannot puff Planchè, who cannot puff Pocock;
Mr. Lunn,* Mr. Bunn, Mr. Pitt,+ Mr. Poole;
The nobs of the new march-of-intellect school.
Besides this G. D., if the people all say right,
Is not only Aristarch, Poet, but~Playwright!
Which makes him, no doubt, so confoundedly crusty,
For two of a trade—but the proverb is musty.

* The following festive chant is attributed to Mr. Lunn, whose physiognomy is peculiarly harmonious :

Three merry men,

three

merry men,
Three merry men are we;
Comedy, Farce, and Pantomime,

Thackeray, Buckstone, and Me!!!
Thack. has the tact to translate through an act,

Gustavus is done to a T;
Buckstone writes what Milner indites,

Except when he steals from Me!

Homer of old, and Virgil, we're toid,

And Shakespeare, they say, make a ThreeBuckstone, you and I, O, and Thackeray, chant a Trio

Bravo, my lads, so do We.

Three merry men, three merry men,

Three merry men we be;
Push round the rum, who cares for Cum-

Who cares a fig for D. G.?

+ It is whispered that Dibdin Pitt is hard at work upon Hamlet, which he intends bringing out at one of our metro

O blindly infatuate! thus to permit
This Midas in judgment, this coxcomb in wit,
This snarling Gambado on Pegasus skittish,
To gallop right o'er Minor Drama and British !-
Then turn to the right-about (Cumberland crede,)
Your pert egotistical editor G. D.
Or D.G. no matter which, truce to the letters-
And give the appointment to one of his betters !-

politans under the title of The Ghost of Denmark Hill, or the Spectre of Camberwell !The following dedication has been handed about in manuscript :

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My dear Ball !

Why write yourself. Fitz ?' You are no spurious offspring of Apollo, but a true swan of Helicon! I should as soon think of saying Fitz-Homer, Fitz-Milton, or FitzShakespeare, as Fitz-Ball.

Talking of Shakespeare, puts me in mind of myself! I found Hamlet brick-I leave it stucco; nobody will know it to be Shakespeare's—every body when I play it, will swear it to be mine.

“ You have been called Victor Hugo of the Surrey side. Yet, my dear Ball, (I love to be droll!) how much farther do you go than Victor, in the ghastly-terrible, and ghostlygrim! His tintinabulum is a muffin-bell, compared to your triple bob major. “ Never mind that D. G., however queer on your cog

He says you are a tennis ball, because you take loftier flights than your brother bards; a cricket ball, because you are chirruping ; a billiard ball, because

you

have an eye to the pockets; a trap ball, because you have been

nomen.

If my humble talent might try such a leap,
I'll do the thing well, and I'll do the thing cheap;
If Me you invest with the critical staff,
Why fine me a pot if I'm found in a laugh.
For Shakespeare-I know not and care not who

wrote himSo you'll guess that I'm not very likely to quote

him ! And Massinger, Fletcher, and surly Old Ben, Shall never be grac'd with a scratch of my pen, They liv'd, scribbled, died-n'importe where, what,

and when !

trapped by the club. Be content that you are an earthly ball, with a touch of the heavenly.

“ It has been hinted that I am jealous of your transcendant genius ! Jealous !—Come, I like that; as the cat said to the sugared cream

Together we have ranged the fies,

And stalk'd the boards, and smelt the lamps-
The man that says I'm jealous, lies;

And all who think the same are scamps!

To you

I dedicate the rhymes
Our club(1) pronounce a lucky hit;
To waft the names to future times,

Of Neddy Ball and Dibdin Pitt!”

(1) “ The Miller and his Men,” in Henrietta Street.

1

My Jerrold's the herald of wit and romance,
My Beaumontand Fletcher are Planchè and Dance ;*
What serves me for Congreve, for Cibber and all ?
The wits, fits, and fancies of Mister Fitzball !
No question or quack’ry my Thackeray I wot
(What a face for a farce, what a head for a plot !)
Is worth all the Drydens and Farquhars that follow;
So dub Me your critic, and Him your Apollo !
If an author be dull-what's his dulness to me?
In liberty's land sure a fool may go free!
Mine's Dogberry's maxim, (to quote him for once)
Let him go—and thank God you are rid of a dunce.
When I hold up my rod not a stroller shall tremble,
I luckily never saw Siddons or Kemble ;
Of all the old school I remember not one,
But I've seen Mr. Serle, and I've seen Mrs. Bunn.
Of acting I yield my opinion to no man-
For buskin and sock give me Cobham and Sloman.

* Paired, but not matched. The talented dramatist of “ Charles XII,” and the writer of the following !

“ When a Lord of the Creation says, ' Pray, madame, do

so and so,'
She to his solicitation, says, ' Monsieur, non.'”
For both is this plan most delightful,

As experience shows every day;
For never are men half so frightful,

As when they have all their own way!" &c. &c. &c.!!

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