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THE BOROUGH,

LETTER XII.

PLAYERS.

These are monarchs none respect,

Heroes, yet an humbled crew,
Nobles, whom the crowd correct,

Wealthy men, whom duns pursue ;
Beauties, shrinking from the view

Of the day's detecting eye ;
Lovers, who with much ado

Long-forsaken damsels woo,
And heave the ill-feign'd sigh.

These are misers, craving means

Of existence through the day,
Famous scholars, conning scenes

Of a dull bewildering play;
Ragged beaux and misses grey

Whom the rabble praise and blame;
Proud and mean, and sad and gay,

Toiling after ease, are they,
Infamous *, and boasting fame.

* Strolling players are thus held in a legal sense,

VOL. III.

B

They arrive in the Borough-Welcomed by their former Friends

-Are better fitted for Comic than Tragic Scenes: yet better approved in the latter by one Part of their Audience-Their general Character and Pleasantry- Particular Distresses and Labours—Their Fortitude and Patience-A private Rehearsal — The Vanity of the aged Actress—A Heroine from the Milliner's Shop_A deluded Tradesman-Of what Persons the Company is composed-Character and Adventures of Frederick Thompson.

THE BOROUGH.

LETTER XII,

PLAYERS.

Drawn by the annual call, we now behold
Our troop dramatic, heroes known of old,
And those, since last they march'd, inlisted and enrollid:
Mounted on hacks or borne in waggons some,
The rest on foot (the humbler brethren) come.
Three favour'd places, an unequal time,
Join to support

this
company

sublime:
Ours for the longer period-see how light
Yon parties move, their former friends in sight,
Whose claims are all allow'd, and friendship glads the

night. Now public rooms shall sound with words divine, And private lodgings hear how heroes shine; No talk of pay shall yet on pleasure steal, But kindest welcome bless the friendly meal;

While o'er the social jug and decent cheer,
Shall be described the fortunes of the year.

Peruse these bills, and see what each can do,-
Behold! the prince, the slave, the monk, the Jew;
Change but the garment, and they'll all engage
To take each part, and act in every age:
Culld from all houses, what a house are they!
Swept from all barns, our borough-critics say;
But with some portion of a critic's ire,
We all endure them; there are some admire:
They might have praise, confined to farce alone;
Full well they grin, they should not try to groan;
But then our seryants' and our seamen's wives
Love all that rant and rapture as their lives;
He who 'Squire Richard's part could well sustain,
Finds as King Richard he must roar amain-

My horse! my horse!”—Lo! now to their abodes,
Come lords and lovers, empresses and gods.
The master-mover of these scenes has made
No trifling gain in this adventurous trade;
Trade we may term it, for he duly buys
Arms out of use and undirected

eyes ;
These he instructs, and guides them as he can,
And vends each night the manufactured man:
Long as our custom lasts, they gladly stay,
Then strike their tents, like Tartars! and away!

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