Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

your head stuck up in print-shops! If you were served right, you should have your head stuck up in a pillory.

Lof. Ay, stick it where you will; for, by the Lord, it cuts but a very poor figure where it sticks at present.

Sir Wil. Well, Mr. Croaker, I hope you now see how incapable this gentleman is of serving you, and how little Miss Richland has to expect from his influence.

Cro. Ay, sir, too well I see it; and I can't but say I have had some boding of it these ten days. So I'm resolved, since my son has placed his affections on a lady of moderate fortune, to be satisfied with his choice, and not run the hazard of another Mr. Lofty in helping hiin to a better.

Sir Wil. I approve your resolution; and here they come to receive a confirmation of your pardon and con.

sent.

Enter Mrs. CROAKER, Jarvis, LEONTINE, and Olivia.

Mrs. Cro. Where's my husband? Come, come, lovey, you must forgive them. Jarvis has been here to teil me the whole affair; and I say you must forgive them. Our own was a stolen match, you know, my dear; and we ne. ver had any reason to repent of it.

Cro. I wish we could both say so. However, this gentleman, Sir William Honeywood, has been beforehand with you in obtaining their pardon. So, if the two poor fools have a mind to marry, I think we can tack them together without crossing the Tweed for it.

[Joining their hands. Leon. How blest and unexpected! What, what can we say to such goodness? But our future obedience shall be the best reply. And as for this gentleman, to whom we owe

Sir Wil. Excuse me, sir, if I interrupt your thanks, as I have here an interest that calls me. [Turning to Honeywood.] Yes, sir, you are surprised to see me; and I own that a desire of correcting your follies led me hither. I saw with indignation the errors of a mind that only sought applause from others; that easiness of disposition, which though inclined to the right, had not courage to condemn the wrong. I saw with regret those splendid errors, that still took name from some neighbouring duty; your charity, that was but injustice; your benevolence, that was but weakness; and your friendship, but credulity. I saw with regret great talents and extensive learning only employed to add sprightliness to error, and increase your perplexities. I saw your mind with a thousand natural charms: but the greatness of its beauty served only to heighten my pity for its prostitution.

Hon. Cease to upbraid me, sir: I have for some time felt but too strongly the justice of your reproaches. But there is one way still left me. Yes, sir, I have determined this very hour to quit for ever a place where I have made myself the voluntary slave of all, and to seek among strangers that fortitude which may give strength to the mind, and marshal all its dissipated virtues. Yet, ere I depart, permit me to solicit favour for this gentleman, who, notwithstanding what has happened, has laid me under the most signal obligations. Mr. Lofty

Lof. Mr. Honeywood, I'm resolved upon a reformation as well as you. I now begin to find that the man who first invented the art of speaking truth was a much cunninger fellow than I thought him. And to prove that I design to speak truth for the future, I must now assure you, that you owe your late enlargement to an

So now,

other; as, upon my soul, I had no hand in the matter.

if any of the company has a mind for preferment, he may take my place, I'm determined to resign.

[Exit. Hon. How have I been deceived!

Sir Wil. No, sir, you have been obliged to a kinder, fairer friend, for that favour;—to Miss Richland. Would she complete our joy, and make the man she has honoured by her friendship happy in her love, I should then forget all, and be as blest as the welfare of my dearest kinsman could make me.

Miss Rich. After what is past, it would be but affectation to pretend to indifference. Yes, I will own an attachment, which I find was more than friendship. And if

my intreaties cannot alter his resolution to quit the country, I will even try if my hand has not power to detain him.

[Giving her hand. Hon. Heavens! how can I have deserved all this? How

express my happiness, my gratitude? A moment like this overpays an age of apprehension.

Cro. Well, now I see content in every face; but Heaven send we be all better this day three months!

Sir Wil. Henceforth, nephew, learn to respect yourself. He who seeks only for applause from without, has all his happiness in another's keeping.

Hon. Yes, sir, I now too plainly perceive my errors; my vanity in attempting to please all, by fearing to offend

any; my meanness in approving folly, lest fools should disapprove. Henceforth, therefore, it shall be my study to reserve my pity for real distress; my friend. ship for true merit; and my love for her, who first taught me what it is to be happy.

(Exeunt Omnes.

[blocks in formation]

As puffing quacks some caitiff wretch procure
To swear the pill, or drop, has wrought a cure;
Thus, on the stage, our play-wrights still depend
For Epilogues and Prologues on some friend,
Who knows each art of coaxing up the town,
And make full many a bitter pill go down.
Conscious of this, our bard has gone about,
And teased each rhyming friend to help him out.
“An epilogue, things can't go on without it;
It could not fail, would you but set about it.”

Young man,” cries one, (a bard laid up in clover)
“ Alas, young man, my writing days are over;
Let boys play tricks, and kick the straw, not I;
Your brother doctor there, perhaps, may try.”
“ What, I!" dear sir, the doctor interposes :
“ What, plant my thistle, sir, among his roses !
No, no, I've other contests to maintain;
To-night I head our troops at Warwick-lane.
Go, ask your manager”—“Who, me! your pardon;
Those things are not our forte at Covent Garden."
Our author's friends, thus plac'd at liappy distance,
Give him good words indeed, but no assistance.
As some unhappy wight at some new play,
At the pit door stands elbowing away,
While oft, with many a smile, and many a shrug,
He eyes the centre, where his friends sit snug;
His simpering friends, with pleasure in their eyes,
Sink as he sinks, and as he rises, rise:
He nods, they nod; he cringes, they grimace;
But not a soul will budge to give him place.
Since then, unhelped, our bard must now conform
To “ 'bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,”
Blame where you must, be candid where you can,
And be each critic the Good-natured Man.

1 The author, in expectation of an Epilogue from a friend at Oxford, deferred writing one himself till the very last hour. What is here offered, owes all its success to the graceful manner of the actress who spoke it.

SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER;

OR,

THE MISTAKES OF A NIGHT:

A

COMEDY

AS ACTED AT THE

THEATRE-ROYAL, COVENT-GARDEN.

FIRST PRINTED IN 1772.

« AnteriorContinuar »