Page images
PDF
EPUB

one of

bottle of good October by me. Shall I set a cup of sting at your elbow ?

Sir G. I thank thee-we shall do without it.

Gard. John, he seems a very good-natured man for a conjuror.

But. I'll take this opportunity of inquiring into a bit of plate I have lost. I fancy, whilst he is in my lady's pay, one may hedge in a question or two into the bargain. Sir, Sir, may I beg a word in your ear?

Sir G. What wouldst thou?
But. Sir, I need not tell you, that I lost my

silver spoons last week.

Sir G. Marked with a swan's neck

But. My lady's crest! He knows every thing. [Aside.] How would your worship advise me to recover it again?

Sir G. Hum.
But. What must I do, to come at it ?
Sir G. Drink nothing but small beer for a fortnight-
But. Small beer! rot gut!

Sir G. If thou drinkest a single drop of ale before fifteen days are expired-It is as much-as thy spoon-is worth.

But. I shall never recover it that way; I'll e'en buy a new one. [Aside.]

Coach. D'ye mind how they whisper!

Gard. I'll be hanged if he is not asking him something about Nell.

Coach. I'll take this opportunity of putting a question to him about poor Dobbing ; I fancy he could give me better counsel than the farrier.

But. [To Gard.] A prodigious man! he knows every thing. Now is the time to find out thy pick-axe.

Gard. I have nothing to give him. Does he not expect to have his hand crossed with silver ?

Coach. [To Sir G.] Sir, may I venture to ask you a question ?

Sir G. Ask it.
Coach. I have a poor horse in the stable that's bewitched.
Sir G. A bay gelding.
Coach, How could he know that? [Aside.]
Sir G. Bought at Banbury.
Coach. Whew—so it was, of my conscience. [Whistles.]

Sir G. Six years old, last Lammas.

Coach. To a day. [Aside.] Now, Sir, I would know whether the poor beast is bewitched by Goody Crouch or Goody Fly.

Sir G. Neither.

Coach. Then it must be by Goody Gurton, for she is the bext oldest woman in the parish.

Gard. Hast thou done, Robin ?
Coach. [To Gard.] He can tell thee any thing.

Gard. [To Sir G.] Sir, I would beg to take you a little further out of hearing.

Sir G. Speak.

Gard. The Butler and I, Mr. Doctor, were both of us in love, at the same time, with a certain person.

Sir G. A woman.
Gard. How could he know that ? [Aside.]
Sir G. Go on.
Gard. This woman has lately had two children at a birth.
Sir G. Twins.
Gard. Prodigious! where could he hear that ? [Aside. ]
Sir G. Proceed.
Gard. Now one of these lately died, and the other-
Sir G. Is still alive.

Gard. What a power of learning he must have! he knows every thing!

Enter VELLUM. Vel. Have you provided the Doctor every thing he has occasion for ? if so, you may depart. [Exeunt SERVANTS.]

Sir G. Dear Vellum, I am impatient to hear some news of my wife ; how does she, after her fright?

Vel. She is pretty well recovered. I have given her great hopes from your skill.

Sir G. Now, Vellum, you must remember you have abun. dance of business upon your hands, and I have but just time to tell it over to you; all I require of you is despatch; there. fore hear me.

Vel. There is nothing more requisite in business than despatch

Sir G. Then hear me.
Vel. It is indeed the life of business
Sir G. Hear me then, I say.

Vel. And as one has rightly observed, the benefit that attends it is fourfold. First

Sir G. There is no bearing this! Thou art going to do. scribe despatch, when thou shouldst be practising it.

Vel. But your ho-nor will not give me a hearing.

Sir G. Thou wilt not give me a hearing. [Growing angry.]

Vel. I am still.

Sir G. In the first place, you are to lay my wig, hat, and sword, ready for me in the closet, and one of my scarlet cloaks.

Vel. It shall be done.

Sir G. Then you must remember, whilst I am laying the ghost, you are to prepare my wife for the reception of her real husband. Tell her the whole story, and do it with all the art you are master of, that the surprise may not be too great for her.

Vel. It shall be done.
Sir G. Well-go-I shall expect her most impatiently.

[Exeunt.]

CXXI.-HAMLET'S INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PLAYERS.

Extract from Shakspeare. Hamlet.-Act 3—Scene 2.

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue : but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently : for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated* fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings it who, for the most part, are capable of nothing

* This is in ridicule of the quantity of false hair, worn in Shakspeare's time.

+ “The groundlings,” those who sat below, in the pit, which was then filled with the lowest people.

but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise : I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant;* it out-herods Herod :f Pray you, avoid it.

Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the ac. tion ; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature : for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end both at the first and now, was, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature ; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. Now, this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve ; the censure of which one, must in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be players, that I have seen play,-and heard others praise, and that highly,--not to speak it profanely, that neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bel. lowed, that I had thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.

And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them : for ihere be of them, that will them. selves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary ques. tion of the play be then to be considered : that's villanous ; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it.

* Termagant was said to be the god of the Saracens; and out-doing him was applied to the most extravagant actions. + That is, goes beyond all bounds of decency.

That is, to delineate the nanners of the age, and the particular fashions.

CXXII.-OUR OBLIGATIONS TO THE OFFICERS OF THE REVOLO. TION, AND OUR SYMPATHY DUE TO THEIR DESCENDANTS.

Extract from the Speech of Edward Livingston, on a Bill for the re.

lief of the Surviving Officers of the Army of the Revolution, delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, January 15, 1827.

Mr. Chairman,--I DIFFER from the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts, who says, no sympathy ought to be felt for the children of the deceased officers, who may be in want. They have not served us, it is true ; but their fathers, who did, are beyond the reach of our gratitude, and the transfer of the feeling is natural and just. Public benefits bestowed on the children of the deceased father, encourage him who is alive, in the discharge of his duty, by the purest of all mo. tives—paternal affection ; and that legislation must be un. wise, indeed, that fails to enlist, in support of the state, all the best impulses of humanity. Let that republic get on as it can, where the veteran, blind, maimed and poor, like Belisarius, is forced to apply to public charity for support! Let that republic get on as it can, where contracts are broken, and public beneficence refused; where nothing is given but what is in the bond--and that is frequently refused! Let that republic get on as it can! It will never produce any thing great; its career will be short and inglorious ; its fall certain, and unpitied; its history remembered as a warning, not an example ; and the names of its legislators and states. men, buried in the oblivion to which their false economy tends to consign the memory of those, who have established its freedom, or defended it from aggression. May ours show, by its decision on this bill, that it has a higher destiny, and that it is guarded as well by liberality and honor, as by justice.

« PreviousContinue »