Obrázky na stránke

While some believed it never would be finished,
Some, on the contrary, believed it would.

I've heard our front that faces Drury Lane
Much criticised; they say 'tis vulgar brick-work,
A mimic manufactory of floor-cloth.
One of the morning papers wished that front
Cemented like the front in Brydges-street;
As now it looks, they call it Wyatt's Mermaid,
A handsome woman with a fish's tail.


White is the steeple of St. Bride's in Fleet-street, The Albion (as its name denotes) is white; Morgan and Saunders’ shop for chairs and tables Gleams like a snow-ball in the setting sun; White is Whitehall. But not St. Bride's in Fleet-street, The spotless Albion, Morgan, no, nor Saunders, Nor white Whitehall, is white as Drury's face.

Oh, Mr. Whitbread! fie upon you, sir ! I think you

should have built a colonnade;
When tender Beauty, looking for her coach,
Protrudes her glovéless hand, perceives the shower,
And draws the tippet closer round her throat,
Perchance her coach stands half a dozen off,
And, ere she mounts the step, the oozing mud
Soaks through her pale kid slipper. On the morrow,
She coughs at breakfast, and her gruff papa
Cries, " There you go! this comes of playhouses !"
To build no portico is penny wise:
Heaven grant it prove not in the end pound foolish!
Hail to thee, Drury! Queen of Theaters!
What is the Regency in Tottenham-street,
The Royal Amphitheater of Arts,
Astley's, Olympic, or the Sans Pareil,
Compared with thee? Yet when I view thee pushed
Back from the narrow street that christened thee,
I know not why they call thee Drury Lane.

Amid the freaks that modern fashion sanctions,
It grieves me much to see live animals
Brought on the stage. Grimaldi has his rabbit,
Laurent his cat, and Bradbury his pig;

Fie on such tricks! Johnson, the machinist
Of former Drury, imitated life
Quite to the life. The elephant in Blue Beard,
Stuffed by his land, wound round his lithe proboscis
As spruce as he who roared in Padmanaba.*

Naught born on earth should die. On hackney stands
I reverence the coachman who cries “ Gee,”
And spares the lash. When I behold a spider
Prey on a fly, a magpie on a worm,
Or view a butcher with horn-handled knife
Slaughter a tender lamb as dead as mutton,
Indeed, indeed, I'm very, very sick!

[Exit hastily.




Interior of a Theater described.--Pit gradually fills.-The Check-taker.-Pit

full.–The Orchestra tuned.-One Fiddle rather dilatory.--Is reproved and repents.-Evolutions of a Play-bill.-Its final Settlement on the Spikes.-The Gods taken to task and why.—Motley Group of Play-goers.-- Holywell-street, St. Pancras.—Emanuel Jennings binds his Son apprentice-not in London-and why.--Episode of the Hat.

'Tis sweet to view, from half-past five to six,
Our long wax-candles, with short cotton wicks,
Touched by the lamplighter's Promethean art,
Start into light, and make the lighter start;

*"Padmanaba," viz., in a pantomime called Harlequin in Padmanaba. This elephant, some years afterward, was exhibited over Exeter 'Change, where it was found necessary to destroy the poor animal hy discharges of musketry. When he made his entrance in the pantomime above-mentioned, Johnson, the machinist of the rival house, exclaimed, "I should be very sorry if I could not make a better elephant than that!"

† “ The Theater,' by the Rev. G. Crabbe, we rather think, is the best piece in the collection. It is an exquisite and most masterly imitation, not only of the peculiar style, but of the taste, temper, and manner of description of that most original author.

It does not aim, of course, at any shadow of liis pathos or moral sublimity, but seems to us to be a singularly faithful copy of his pas sages of mere description."-Edinburg Rerier.

To see red Phæbus through the gallery-pane
Tinge with his beams the beams of Drury Lane;
While gradual parties fill our widened pit,
And gape, and gaze, and wonder, ere they sit.

At first, while vacant seats give choice and ease,
Distant or near, they settle where they please;
But when the multitude contracts the span,
And seats are rare, they settle where they can.

Now the full benches to late comers doom No room for standing, miscalled standing-room.

Hark! the check-taker moody silence breaks, And bawling " Pit full !" gives the checks he takes; Yet onward still the gathering numbers cram, Contending crowders shout the frequent damn, And all is bustle, squeeze, row, jahbering, and jam.

See to their desks Apollo's sons repairSwift rides the rosin o'er the horse's hair! In unison their various tones to tune, Murmurs the hautboy, growls the coarse bassoon; In soft vibration sighs the whispering lute, Tang goes the harpsichord, too-too the flute, Brays the loud trumpet, squeaks the fiddle sharp, Winds the French horn, and twangs the tingling hari"; Till, like great Jove, the leader, fingering in, Attunes to order the chaotic din. Now all seems hushed—but, no, one fiddle will Give half-ashamed, a tiny flourish still. Foiled in his clash, the leader of the clan Reproves with frowns the dilatory man: Then on his candlestick thrice taps his bow, Nods a new signal, and away they go.

Perchance, while pit and gallery cry “Hats off!” And awed Consumption checks his chided cough, Some giggling daughter of the Queen of Love Drops, 'reft of pin, her play-bill from above:

Like Icarus, while laughing galleries clap,
Soars, ducks, and dives in air the printed scrap;
But, wiser far than he, combustion fears,
And, as it flies, eludes the chandeliers;
Till, sinking gradual, with repeated twirl,
It settles, curling, on a fiddler's curl ;
Who from his powdered pate the intruder strikes,
And, for mere malice, sticks it on the spikes.


Say, why these Babel strains from Babel tongues ? Who's that calls “Silence!" with such leathern lungs? He who, in quest of quiet, “Silence !” hoots, Is apt to make the hubbub he imputes.

What various swains our motley walls contain! Fashion from Moorfields, honor from Chick Lane; Bankers from Paper Buildings here resort, Bankrupts from Golden Square and Riches Court; From the Haymarket canting rogues in grain, Gulls from the Poultry, sots from Water Lane; The lottery cormorant, the auction shark, The full-price master, and the half-price clerk; Boys who long linger at the gallery-door, With pence twice five-they want but twopence more; Till some Samaritan the two-pence spares, And sends them jumping up the gallery-stairs.

Critics we boast who ne'er their malice balk, But talk their minds—we wish they'd mind their talk : Big-worded bullies, who by quarrels live-Who give the lie, and tell the lie they give; Jews from St. Mary's Ax, for jobs so wary, That for old clothes they'd even ax St. Mary; And bucks with pockets empty as their pate, Lax in their gaiters, laxer in their gait; Who oft, when we our house lock up, carouse With tippling tipstaves in a lock-up house.

Yet here, as elsewhere, Chance can joy bestow, Where scowling fortune seemed to threaten woe.

John Richard William Alexander Dwyer
Was footman to Justinian Stubbs, Esquire;
But when John Dwyer listed in the Blues,
Emanuel Jennings polished Stubb's shoes.
Emanuel Jennings brought his youngest boy
Up as a corn-cutter-a safe employ;
In Holywell Street, St. Pancras, he was bred
(At number twenty-seven, it is said),
Facing the pump, and near the Granby's Head:
He would have bound him to some shop in town,
But with a premium he could not come down.
Pat was the urchin's name--a red haired youth,
Fonder of purl and skittle-grounds than truth.

Silence, ye gods! to keep your tongue in awe, The Muse shall tell an accident she saw.

Pat Jennings in the upper gallery sat, But, leaning forward, Jennings lost his hat: Down from the gallery the beaver flew, And spurned the one to settle in the two. How shall he act ? Pay at the gallery-door Two shillings for what cost, when new, but four ? Or till half-price, to save his shilling, wait, And gain his hat again at half-past eight? Now, while his fears anticipate a thief, John Mullins whispers, “ Talee my handkerchief.” “Thank you,” cries Pat; “but one won't make a line.” “Take mine," cries Wilson; and cries Stokes, " Take mine." A motley cable soon Pat Jennings ties, Where Spitalfields with real India vies. Like Iris' bow, down darts the painted clew, Starred, striped, and spotted, yellow, red, and blue, Old calico, torn silk, and muslin new. George Green below, with palpitating hand Loops the last 'kerchief to the beaver's band-Up soars the prize! The youth, with joy unfeigned, Regained the felt, and felt the prize regained; While to the applauding galleries grateful Pat Made a low bow, and touched the ransomed hat.

« PredošláPokračovať »