Imagens das páginas

Would she have me praise her hair?
Let her place my garland there.
Is her hand so white and pure?
I must press it to be sure;
Nor can I be certain then,
Till it grateful press again.
Must I praise her melody?
Let her sing of love and me.
If she choose another theme,
I'd rather hear a peacock scream.
Must I, with attentive eye,
Watch her heaving bosom sigh?
I will do so, when I see

That heaving bosom sigh for me.
None but bigots will in vain
Adore a heav'n they cannot gain.
If I must religious prove

To the mighty God of Love,

Sure I am it is but fair

He, at least, should hear my prayer.
But, by each joy of his I've known,
And all I yet shall make my own,
Never will I, with humble speech,
Pray to a heav'n I cannot reach."

In the song, beginning "Friendship is the bond of reason," the third verse was originally thus:

"And, should I cheat the world and thee,
One smile from her I love to win,

Such breach of human faith would be
A sacrifice, and not a sin."

To the song "Give Isaac the nymph," there were at first two more verses, which, merely to show how judicious was the omission of them, I shall here transcribe. Next to the advantage of knowing what to put into our writings, is that of knowing what to leave out:

"To one thus accomplish'd I durst speak my mind,
And flattery doubtless would soon make her kind;

For the man that should praise her she needs must adore,
Who ne'er in her life receiv'd praises before.

"But the frowns of a beauty in hopes to remove,
Should I prate of her charms, and tell of my love;


No thanks wait the praise which she knows to be true,
Nor smiles for the homage she takes as her due."

Among literary piracies or impostures, there are few more audacious than the Dublin edition of the Duenna,-in which, though the songs are given accurately, an entirely new dialogue is substituted for that of Sheridan, and his gold, as in the barter of Glaucus, exchanged for such copper as the following:

"Duen. Well, Sir, I don't want to stay in your house; but I must go and lock up my wardrobe.

"Isaac. Your wardrobe! when you came into my house you could carry your wardrobe in your comb-case, you could, you old dragon."

Another specimen :

"Isaac. Her voice, too, you told me, was like a Virginia Nightingale ; why, it is like a cracked warming-pan:-and as for dimples!-to be sure, she has the devil's own dimples.-Yes! and you told me she had a lovely down upon her chin, like the down of a peach; but, damn me if ever I saw such down upon any creature in my life, except once upon an old goat.”

These jokes, I need not add, are all the gratuitous contributions of the editor.

Towards the close of the year 1775, it was understood that Garrick meant to part with his moiety of the patent of Drury Lane Theatre, and retire from the stage. He was then in the sixtieth year of his age, and might possibly have been influenced by the natural feeling, so beautifully expressed for a great actor of our own time, by our greatest living writer :

"Higher duties crave

Some space between the theatre and the grave;
That, like the Roman in the Capitol,
I may adjust my mantle, ere I fall."

The progress of the negociation between him and Mr. Sheridan, which ended in making the latter patentee and manager, cannot better be traced than in Sheridan's own letters,

Kemble's Farewell Address on taking leave of the Edinburgh stage, written by Sir Walter Scott.

addressed at the time to Mr. Linley, and most kindly placed at my disposal by my friend Mr. William Linley.


Sunday, Dec. 31. 1775. "I was always one of the slowest letter-writers in the world, though I have had more excuses than usual for my delay in this instance. The principal matter of business on which I was to have written to you, related to our embryo negociation with Garrick, of which I will now give you an account. "Since you left town, Mrs. Ewart has been so ill, as to continue near three weeks at the point of death. This, of course, has prevented Mr. E. from seeing any body on business, or from accompanying me to Garrick's. However, about ten days ago, I talked the matter over with him by myself, and the result was, appointing Thursday evening last to meet him, and to bring Ewart, which I did accordingly. On the whole of our conversation that evening, I began (for the first time) to think him really serious in the business. He still, however, kept the reserve of giving the refusal to Colman, though at the same time he did not hesitate to assert his confidence that Colman would decline it. I was determined to push him on this point, (as it was really farcical for us to treat with him under such an evasion,) and at last he promised to put the question to Colman, and to give me a decisive answer by the ensuing Sunday (to-day).—Accordingly, within this hour, I have received a note from him, which (as I meant to show it my father) I here transcribe for you.

"Mr. Garrick presents his compliments to Mr. Sheridan, and, as he is obliged to go into the country for three days, he should be glad to see him upon his return to town, either on Wednesday about 6 or 7 o'clock, or whenever he pleases. The party has no objection to the whole, but chooses no partner but Mr. G.-Not a word of this yet. Mr. G. sent a messenger on purpose, (i. e. to Colman). He would call upon Mr. S., but he is confined at home.-Your name is upon our list?


This decisive answer may be taken two ways. However, as Mr. G. informed Mr. Ewart and me, that he had no au

[ 122 ]

thority or pretensions to treat for the whole, it appears to me
that Mr. Garrick's meaning in this note is, that Mr. Colman
declines the purchase of Mr. Garrick's share, which is the
point in debate, and the only part at present to be sold.
shall, therefore, wait on G. at the time mentioned, and, if I
understand him right, we shall certainly without delay ap-
point two men of business and the law to meet on the matter,
and come to a conclusion without further delay.

"According to his demand, the whole is valued at 70,0001. He appears very shy of letting his books be looked into, as the test of the profits on this sum, but says it must be, in its nature, a purchase on speculation. However, he has promised me a rough estimate, of his own, of the entire receipts for the last seven years. But, after all, it must certainly be a purchase on speculation, without money's worth being made out. One point he solemnly avers, which is, that he will never part with it under the price above-mentioned.

"This is all I can say on the subject till Wednesday, though I can't help adding, that I think we might safely give five thousand pounds more on this purchase than richer people. The whole valued at 70,000l., the annual interest is 3,500/.; while this is cleared, the proprietors are safe,-but I think it must be infernal management indeed that does not double it.

"I suppose Mr. Stanley has written to you relative to your oratorio orchestra. The demand, I reckon, will be diminished one third, and the appearance remain very handsome, which, if the other affair takes place, you will find your account in; and, if you discontinue your partnership with Stanley at Drury Lane, the orchestra may revert to whichever wants it, on the other's paying his proportion for the use of it this year. This is Mr. Garrick's idea, and, as he says, might in that case be settled by arbitration.

"You have heard of our losing Miss Brown; however, we have missed her so little in the Duenna, that the managers have not tried to regain her, which I believe they might have done. have had some books of the music these many days to send you down. I wanted to put Tom's name in the new

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

music, and begged Mrs. L. to ask you, and let me have a line on her arrival, for which purpose I kept back the index of the songs. If you or he have no objection, pray, let me know. I'll send the music to-morrow.

"I am finishing a two act comedy for Covent-Garden, which will be in rehearsal in a week. We have given the Duenna a respite this Christmas, but nothing else at present brings money. We have every place in the house taken for the three next nights, and shall, at least, play it fifty nights, with only the Friday's intermission.

"My best love and the compliments of the season to all your fire-side.

"Your grandson is a very magnificent fellow.* "Yours ever sincerely, "R. B. SHERIDAN."


January 4, 1776.

"I left Garrick last night too late to write to you. He has offered Colman the refusal, and showed me his answer; which was (as in the note) that he was willing to purchase the whole, but would have no partner but Garrick. On this, Mr. Garrick appointed a meeting with his partner, young Leasy, and, in presence of their solicitor, treasurer, &c., declared to him that he was absolutely on the point of settling, and, if he was willing, he might have the same price for his share; but that if he (Leasy) would not sell, Mr. Garrick would, instantly, to another party. The result was, Leasy's declaring his intention of not parting with his share. Of this Garrick again informed Colman, who immediately gave up the whole matter.

"Garrick was extremely explicit, and, in short, we came to a final resolution. So that, if the necessary matters are made out to all our satisfactions, we may sign and seal a previous agreement within a fortnight.

“I meet him again to-morrow evening, when we are to name a day for a conveyancer on our side, to meet his solici

• Sheridan's first child, Thomas, born in the preceding year.

« AnteriorContinuar »