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indifference to loss and gain, would be to conceive a character incredible and romantick; but it may be justly said of Mr. Tonson, that he had enlarged his mind beyond solicitude about petty losses, and refined it from the desire of unreasonable profit. He was willing to admit those with whom he contracted, to the just advantage of their own labours; and had never learned to consider the author as an under-agent to the bookseller. The wealth which he inherited or acquired, he enjoyed like a man conscious of the dignity of a profession subservient to learning. His domestick life was elegant, and his charity was liberal. His manners were soft, and his conversation delicate: nor is, perhaps, any quality in him more to be censured, than that reserve which confined his acquaintance to a small number, and made his example less useful, as it was less extensive. He was the last commercial name of a family which will be long remembered; and if Horace thought it not improper to convey the Sosi to posterity; if rhetorick suffered no dishonour from Quintilian's dedication to TRYPHO; let it not be thought that we disgrace Shakspeare, by appending to his works the name of TONSON.
To this prefatory advertisement I have now subjoined a chapter extracted from the Guls Hornbook, (a satirical pamphlet written by Decker in the year 1609) as it affords the reader a more complete idea of the customs peculiar to our ancient theatres, than any other publication which has hitherto fallen in my way. See this perform
ance, page 27.
This addition to Mr. Steevens's Advertisement was made in 1778. MALONE.
"How a Gallant should behave himself in a Playhouse.
"The theatre is your poet's Royal Exchange, upon which, their muses (that are now turn'd to merchants) meeting, barter away that light commodity of words for a lighter ware than words, plaudities and the breath of the great beast, which (like the threatnings of two cowards) vanish all into aire. Plaiers and their factors, who put away the stuffe and make the best of it they possibly can (as indeed 'tis their parts so to doe) your gallant, your courtier, and your capten, had wont to be the soundest pay-masters, and I thinke are still the surest chapmen: and these by meanes that their heades are well stockt, deale upon this comical freight by the grosse; when your groundling, and gallery commoner buyes his sport by the penny, and, like a hagler, is glad to utter it againe by retailing.
"Sithence then the place is so free in entertainment, allowing a stoole as well to the farmer's sonne as to your Templer: that your stinkard has the self same libertie to be there in his tobacco fumes, which your sweet courtier hath: and that your carman and tinker claime as strong a voice in their suffrage, and sit to give judgment on the plaies' life and death, as well as the proudest Momus among the tribe of critick; it is fit that hee, whom the most tailors' bils do make room for, when he comes, should not be basely (like a vyoll) cas'd up in a corner.
"Whether therefore the gatherers of the pub
lique or private play-house stand to receive the afternoone's rent, let our gallant (having paid it) presently advance himself up to the throne of the stage. I meane not in the lords' roome (which is now but the stage's suburbs). No, those boxes by the iniquity of custome, conspiracy of waitingwomen, and gentlemen-ushers, that there sweat together, and the covetous sharers, are contemptibly thrust into the reare, and much new satten is there dambd by being smothered to death in darknesse. But on the very rushes where the comedy is to daunce, yea and under the state of Cambises himselfe must our feather'd estridge, like a piece of ordnance be planted valiantly (because impudently) beating downe the mewes and hisses of the opposed rascality.
For do but cast up a reckoning, what large cummings in are purs'd up by sitting on the stage. First a conspicuous eminence is gotten, by which means the best and most essential parts of a gallant (good cloathes, a proportionable legge, white hand, the Persian locke, and a tollerable beard,) are perfectly revealed.
"By sitting on the stage you have a sign'd pattent to engrosse the whole commodity of censure; may lawfully presume to be a girder; and stand at the helme to steere the passage of scenes, yet no man shall once offer to hinder you from obtaining the title of an insolent over-weening coxcombe.
"By sitting on the stage, you may (without trauelling for it) at the very next doore, aske whose play it is: and by that quest of inquiry, the law warrants you to avoid much mistaking: if you know not the author, you may raile against him; and peradventure so behave yourselfe, that you may enforce the author to know you.
"By sitting on the stage, if you be a knight, you may happily get you a mistresse: if a mere Fleetstreet gentleman, a wife: but assure yourselfe by continuall residence, you are the first and principall man in election to begin the number of We three.
By spreading your body on the stage, and by being a justice in examining of plaies, you shall put yourselfe into such a true scænical authority, that some poet shall not dare to present his muse rudely before your eyes, without having first unmaskt her, rifled her, and discovered all her bare and most mystical parts before you at a taverne, when you most knightly, shal for his paines, pay for both their suppers.
"By sitting on the stage, you may (with small cost) purchase the deere acquaintance of the boyes: have a good stoole for sixpence: at any time know what particular part any of the infants present: get your match lighted, examine the play-suits' lace, perhaps win wagers upon laying 'tis copper, &c. And to conclude, whether you be a foole or a justice of peace, a cuckold or a capten, a lord maior's sonne or a dawcocke, a knave or an under shriefe, of what stamp soever you be, currant or counterfet, the stagelike time will bring you to most perfect light, and lay you open: neither are you to be hunted from thence though the scarcrowes in the yard hoot you, hisse at you, spit at you, yea throw dirt even in your teeth: 'tis most gentleman-like patience to endure all this, and to laugh at the silly animals. But if the rabble, with a full throat, crie away with the foole, you were worse than a mad-man to tarry by it: for the gentleman and the foole should never sit on the stage together.
"Mary, let this observation go hand in hand with the rest: or rather, like a country-serving man, some five yards before them. Present not your selfe on the stage (especially at a new play) untill the quaking prologue hath (by rubbing) got cullor into his cheekes, and is ready to give the trumpets their cue that hees upon point to enter: for then it is time, as though you were one of the properties, or that you dropt of the hangings, to creep behind the arras, with your tripos or threelegged stoole in one hand, and a teston mounted betweene a fore-finger and a thumbe, in the other; for if you should bestow your person upon the vulgar, when the belly of the house is but halfe full, your apparell is quite eaten up, the fashion lost, and the proportion of your body in more danger to be devoured, then if it were served up in the Counter amongst the Poultry: avoid that as you would the bastome. It shall crowne you with rich commendation, to laugh alowd in the middest of the most serious and saddest scene of the terriblest tragedy: and to let that clapper (your tongue) be tost so high that all the house may ring of it: your lords use it; your knights are apes to the lords, and do so too: your inne-a-court-man is zany to the knights, and (many very scurvily) comes likewise limping after it: bee thou a beagle to them all, and never lin snuffing till you have scented them: for by talking and laughing (like a ploughman in a morris) you heape Pelion upon Ossa, glory upon glory as first all the eyes in the galleries will leave walking after the players, and onely follow you: the simplest dolt in the house snatches up your name, and when he meetes you in the streetes, or that you fall into his hands in the middle of a watch, his word shall be taken for