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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 6.djvu/41

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DON JUAN.





CANTO THE FIRST.

I. [ WANT a hero : an uncommon want, When every year and month sends forth a new one, Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant, The age discovers he is not the true one ; Of such as these I should not care to vaunt, I '11 therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan — We all have seen him, in the pantomime,'^ Sent to the Devil somewhat ere his time. . [Begun at Venice, September 6 ; finished November i, x8i8.] , [The pantomime which Byron and his readers "all had seen," was an abbreviated and bowdlerized version of Shadwell's Libertitte. " First produced by Mr. Garrick on the boards of Drury Lane Theatre," it was recomposed by Charles Anthony Delpini, and performed at the Royalty Theatre, in Goodman's Fields, in 1787. It was entitled Don Juan ; or. The Libertine Destroyed : A Tragic Pantomimical Entertain- ment, In Two Acts. Music Composed by Mr, Gluck. " Scaramouch," the " Sganarelle" of Moli^re's Festin de Pierre, was a favourite character of Joseph Grimaldi. He was cast for the part, in 1801, at Sadler's Wells, and, again, on a memorable occasion, November 28, 1809, at Covent Garden Theatre, when the O. P. riots were in full swing, and (see the Morning Chronicle, November 29, 1809) "there was considerable tumult in the pit." According to " Boz " {Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi, 1846, ii. 81, 106, 107), Byron patronized Grimaldi's " benefits at Covent Garden," was repeatedly in his company, and when he left England, in 1816, " presented him with a valuable silver sniiff-box." At the end of the pantomime " the Furies gather round him [Don Juan and the Tyrant being bound in chains is hurried away and thrown into flames."

The Devil is conspicuous by his absence.]