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The place grows bare where they too long remain,
Children of Thespis, welcome ! knights and queens !
Graceful to tread the stage, to be in turn The prince we honour, and the knave we spurn; Bravely to bear the tumult of the crowd, The hiss tremendous, and the censure loud: These are their parts,--and he who these sustains Deserves some praise and profit for his pains. Heroes at least of gentler kind are they, Against whose swords no weeping widows pray, No blood their fury sheds, nor havoc marks their way.
Sad happy race ! soon raised and soon depress’d, Your days all pass’d in jeopardy and jest ;
Poor without prudence, with afflictions vain,
Slaves though ye be, your wandering freedom seems, And with your varying views and restless schemes, Your griefs are transient, as your joys are dreams.
Yet keen those griefs—ah! what avail thy charms, Fair Juliet! what that infant in thine arms; What those heroic lines thy patience learns, What all the aid thy present Romeo earns, Whilst thou art crowded in that lumbering wain, With all thy plaintive sisters to complain ?
Nor is there lack of labour-To rehearse, Day after 'day, poor scraps of prose and verse; To bear each other's spirit, pride, and spite; To hide in rant the heart-ache of the night; To dress in gaudy patch-work, and to force The mind to think on the appointed course ;
This is laborious, and may be defined
There is a veteran dame; I see her stand
paces, gets her tone, And fits her features for the Danish throne; To-night a queen—I mark her motion slow, I hear her speech, and Hamlet's mother know.
Methinks ’tis pitiful to see her try For strength of arms and energy of eye; With vigour lost, and spirits worn away, Her pomp and pride she labours to display; And when awhile she's tried her part to act, To find her thoughts arrested by some fact; When struggles more and more severe are seen In the plain actress than the Danish queen,At length she feels her part, she finds delight, And fancies all the plaudits of the night: Old as she is, she smiles at every speech, And thinks no youthful part beyond her reach ; But as the mist of vanity again Is blown away, by press of present pain, Sad and in doubt she to her purse applies For cause of comfort, where no comfort lies;
Then to her task she sighing turns again,-
And who that poor, consumptive, wither'd thing,
At length the hero of the boards drew nigh,
Sick without pity, sorrowing without hope,
A wretched martyr to a childish pride,
Ye gentle Cynthias of the shop, take heed
read. A decent sum had Peter Nottage made, By joining bricks—to him a thriving trade: Of his employment master and his wife, This humble tradesman led a lordly life; The house of kings and heroes lack'd repairs, , And Peter, though reluctant, served the players: Connected thus, he heard in way polite,“ Come, Master Nottage, see us play to-night.” At first 'twas folly, nonsense, idle stuff, But seen for nothing it grew well enough; And better now-now best, and every night, In this fool's paradise he drank delight; And as he felt the bliss, he wish'd to know Whence all this rapture and these joys could flow; For if the seeing could such pleasure bring, What must the feeling ?-feeling like a king ?
In vain his wife, his uncle, and his friend, Cried_“ Peter! Peter! let such follies end ;