Ink. Why I thought—that's to say—there had passed
A few green-room whispers, which hinted,—you know
That the taste of the actors at best is so so.
Both. Sir, the green-room's in rapture, and so's the Committee.
Ink. Aye—yours are the plays for exciting our "pity
And fear," as the Greek says: for "purging the mind,"
I doubt if you'll leave us an equal behind.81
Both. I have written the prologue, and meant to have prayed
For a spice of your wit in an epilogue's aid.
Ink. Well, time enough yet, when the play's to be played.
Is it cast yet?
Both.The actors are fighting for parts,
As is usual in that most litigious of arts.
Lady Blueb. We'll all make a party, and go the first night.
Tra. And you promised the epilogue, Inkel.
However, to save my friend Botherby trouble,
I'll do what I can, though my pains must be double.90
Tra. Why so?
Ink.To do justice to what goes before.
Both. Sir, I'm happy to say, I've no fears on that score.
Your parts, Mr. Inkel, are ——
Ink.Never mind mine;
Stick to those of your play, which is quite your own line.
Lady Bluem. You're a fugitive writer, I think, sir, of rhymes?
Ink. Yes, ma'am; and a fugitive reader sometimes.
- ["When I belonged to the Drury Lane Committee ... the number of plays upon the shelves were about five hundred.... Mr. Sotheby obligingly offered us all his tragedies, and I pledged myself; and, notwithstanding many squabbles with my Committe[e]d Brethren, did get 'Ivan' accepted, read, and the parts distributed. But lo! in the very heart of the matter, upon some tepid-ness on the part of Kean, or warmth on that of the author, Sotheby withdrew his play."—Detached Thoughts, 1821, Letters, 1901, v. 442.]
- [Fugitive Pieces is the title of the suppressed quarto edition of Byron's juvenile poems.]