Teased with his hat, and trembling for his toes;
Scarce wrestles through the night, nor tastes of ease,
Till the dropped curtain gives a glad release:
Why this, and more, he suffers—can ye guess?—
Because it costs him dear, and makes him dress!
Produced blithe Punch and merry Madame Joan,
So prosper eunuchs from Etruscan schools;
Give us but fiddlers, and they're sure of fools!
Ere scenes were played by many a reverend clerk,
(What harm, if David danced before the ark?)320
In Christmas revels, simple country folks
Were pleased with morrice-mumm'ry and coarse jokes.
Improving years, with things no longer known,
- In the year 1808, happening at the opera to tread on the toes of a very well-dressed man, I turned round to apologize, when, to my utter astonishment, I recognized the face of the porter of the very hotel where I then lodged in Albemarle Street. So here was a gentleman who ran every morning forty errands for half a crown, throwing away half a guinea at night, besides the expense of his habiliments, and the hire of his "Chapeau de Bras."—[MS. L. (a).]
Ere theatres were built and reverend clerks
Wrote plays as some old book remarks.—[MS. L. (a).]
- The first theatrical representations, entitled "Mysteries and Moralities," were generally enacted at Christmas, by monks (as the only persons who could read), and latterly by the clergy and students of the universities. The dramatis personæ were usually Adam, Pater Cœlestis, Faith, Vice, and sometimes an angel or two; but these were eventually superseded by Gammer Gurton's Needle.—Vide Warton's History of English Poetry [passim].—[MSS. M., L. (b).]
Who did what Vestris—yet, at least,—cannot,
And cut his kingly capers "Sans culotte."—[MS. M.]
young men of fashion used to assemble. (See letter to Murray, Nov. 9, 1820; Life, p. 62.)]