Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

and rudeness should be equally avoided; folly and vice should never be spared: and tho' by acting thus, you may offend many, yet you will please the better few; and the approbation of one virtuous mind is more valuable than all the noisy applause, and uncertain favours of the great and guilty.

Mer. Incomparable Esop! both men and Gods admire thee! we must now prepare to receive these mortals; and lest the solemnity of the place should strike 'em with too much dread; I'll raise music shall dispel their fears, and embolden them to approach.

SONG.

I.

Ye mortals whom fancies and troubles perplex,
Whom folly misguides, and infirmities vex;
Whose lives hardly know what it is to be blest,
Who rise without joy, and lie down without rest;
Obey the glad summons, to Lethe repair,

Drink deep of the stream, and forget all your care:

II.

Old maids shall forget what they wish for in vain,
And young ones the rover, they cannot regain;
The rake shall forget how last night he was cloy'd,
And Chloe again be with passion enjoy'd.

Obey then the summons, to Lethe repair,
And drink an oblivion to trouble and care.

III.

The wife at one draught may forget all her wants,
Or drench ber fond fool to forget her gallants;
The troubled in mind shall go chearful away,
And yesterday's wretch, be quite happy to-day.
Obey then the summons, to Lethe repair,

Drink deep of the stream, and forget all your care.

Esop. Mercury, Charon has brought over one mortal already, conduct him hither. [Exit Mercury. Now for a large catalogue of complaints, without the acknowledgment

A 2

acknwoledgement of one single vice;-here he comes-if one may guess at his cares by his appearance, he really wants the assistance of Lethe.

Enter POET.

Poet. Sir, your humble servant-your name is EsopI know your person intimately, tho' I never saw you before; and am well acquainted with you, tho' I never had the honour of your conversation.

Esop. You are a dealer in paradoxes friend.

Poet. I am a dealer in all parts of speech, and in all the figures of rhetoric- I am a poet, Sir-and to be a poet, and not acquainted with the great Esop, is a greater paradox than I honour you extremely, Sir; you certainly of all the writers of antiquity, had the greatest, the sublimest genius, the

Esop. Hold, friend, I hate flattery.

Poet. My own taste exactly, I assure you; Sir, no mani loves flattery less than myself.

Esop. So it appears, by your being so ready to give it

away.

-I

Poet. You have hit it, Mr Esop, you have hit ithave given it away indeed. I did not receive one farthing for my last dedication, and yet would you believe it?—I absolutely gave all the virtues in heaven to one of the lowest reptiles upon earth.

Esop. 'Tis hard, indeed, to do dirty work for nothing. Poet. Ay, Sir, to do dirty work, and still be dirty oneself is the stone of Sysiphus, and the thirst of TantalusYou Greek writers, indeed, carried your point by truth and simplicity,they won't do now-adays-our patrons must be tickled into generosity- -you gain'd the greatest favours, by shewing your own merits, we can only gain the smallest, by publishing those of other people -You flourish'd by truth, we starve by fiction; tempora

mutantur.

Esop. Indeed, friend, if we may guess by your present plight, you have prostituted your talents to very little purpose.

Poet. To very little upon my word- -but they shall find that I can open another vein- -Satire is the fashion, and satire they shall have let 'em look to it, I can be sharp

as

as well as sweet-I can scourge as well as tickle, I can bite

as

Esop. You can do any thing, no doubt; but to the business of this visit, for I expect a great deal of companywhat are your troubles, Sir?

Poet. Why, Mr Esop, I am troubled with an odd kind of disorder I have a sort of a whistling. a singinga whizzing as it were in my head, which I cannot get rid of

Esop. Our waters give no relief to bodily disorders, they only affect the memory.

Poct. From whence all my disorder proceeds-I'l teil you my case, Sir-You must know, I wrote a Play some time ago, presented a dedication of it to a certain young. nobleman he approv'd, and accepted of it; but before I could taste his bounty, my piece was unfortunately damn'd; -I lost my benefit, nor could I have recourse to my patron, for I was told that his lordship play'd the best catcall the first night, and was the merriest person in the whole audience.

Esop. Pray what do you call damning a play?

Poet. You cannot possibly be ignorant, what it is to be dama'd, Mr Esop?

Esop. Indeed I am, Sir,-we had no such thing among the Greeks.

Poet. No, Sir!-No wonder then that you Greeks were such fine writers- -It is impossible to be describedor truly felt, but by the author himself—If you could but get a leave of absence from this world for a few hours you might perhaps have an opportunity of seeing it your-There is a sort of a new piece comes upon our stage this very night, and I am pretty sure it will meet with its deserts, at least it shall not want my helping hand, rather than you should be disappointed of satisfying your curiosity.

self

Esop. You are very obliging, sir ;- -but to your ownmisfortunes if you please.

Poet. Envy, malice, and party destroy'd me-You must know, Sir, I was a great damner myself, before I was dama'd-So the frolicks of my youth were returned to me with double interest, from my brother authors- --But, to say the truth my performance was terribly handled, before it appear'd in public.

A 3

Esop

Esop. How so, pray?

Poet. Why, Sir, some sqeamish friends of mine prun'd it of all the bawdy and immorality, the actors did not speak a line of the sense or sentiment, and the manager (who writes himself) struck out all the wit and humour, in order to lower my performance to a level with his own. Esop. Now, Sir, I am acquainted with your case, what have you to propose?

Poet. Notwithstanding the success of my first play, I am strongly persuaded that my next may defy the severity of critics, the sneer of wits, and the malice of authors.

Esop. What! have you been hardy enough to attempt

another?

Poet. I must eat, Sir--I must live-but when I set down to write, and am glowing with the heat of my imagination, then-this damn'd whistling-or whizzing in my head, I told you of, so disorders me, that I grow giddy-In short, Sir, I am haunted as it were, with the ghost of my deceas'd play, and its dying groans are for ever in mine ears) Now, Sir, if you will but give me a draught of Lethe, to forget this unfortunate performance, it will be of more real service to me, than all the waters of Helicon.

your own

Esop. I doubt friend you cannot possibly write better, by merely forgetting that you have written before; besides, if, when you drink to the forgetfulness of y works, you should unluckily forget those of other people too, your next piece will certainly be the worse for it. Poet. You are certainly in the right-What then would you ad ise me to?

Esop. Suppose you would prevail upon the audience to drink the water; the forgetting your former work might be of no small advantage to your future productions.

Poct. Ah, Sir! if I could but do that-but I'm afraidLethe will never go down with the audience.

Esop. Well, since you are bent upon it, I shall indulge you-If you please to walk in that grove, (which will af ford you many subjects for your poetical contemplation) tiil I have examined the rest, I will dismiss you in your

turn.

Poet. And I in return, Sir, will let the world know, in a preface to my next piece, that your politeness is equal in

you

your sagacity, and that you are as much the fine gentleman as the philosopher. [Exit Poet. Esop. Oh! your servant, Sir-In the name of misery and mortality what have we here!

[ocr errors]

Enter an OLD MAN, supported by a SERVANT.

Old Man. Oh! la! oh! bless me I shall never recover the fatigue-Ha! what are you friend? are you the famous Esop? and are you so kind, so very good to give people the waters of forgetfulness for nothing?

Esop. I am that person, Sir; but you seem to have no néed of my water; for you must have already out-liv'd your memory.

Old Man. My memory is indeed impair'd, it is not so good as it was, but still it is better than I wish it, at least in regard to one circumstance; there is one thing which sits very heavy at my heart, and which I would willingly forget.

Esop. What is it pray?

Old Man. Oh la!-Oh!—I am horribly fatiguedĮ am an old man, Sir, turn'd of ninety- We are all mortal you know, so I would fain forget, if you please—that I am to die.

Esop. My good friend, you have mistaken the virtue of the waters; they can cause you to forget only what is past; but if this was in their power, you should surely be your own enemy, in desiring to forget what would be the only comfort of one, so poor and wretched as you seem. What! I suppose now, you have left some dear loving wife behind, that you can't bear to think of parting with.

Old Man. No, no, no; I have buried my wife and forgot her long ago.

Esop. What, you have children then, whom you are unwilling to leave behind you.

Old Man. No, no, no; I have no children at presenthugh -I don't know what I may have.

Esop. Is there any relation or friend, the loss of whomOld Man. No, no; I have out-liv'd all my relations; and as for friends, I have none to lose

Esop. What can be the reason then, that in all this ap

A 4

parent

« AnteriorContinuar »