Imatges de pÓgina

tioned in "The Country Wedding," a poem, in the Gentleman's Magazine, for March 1735, vol. v. p. 158.

"Bid the lasses and lads to the merry brown bowl,
While rashers of bacon shall smoke on the coal:
Then Roger and Bridget, and Robin and Nan,
Hit 'em each on the nose, with the hose if you can."

Dunton's "British_Apollo,” 1708, contains a question and answer concerning this old usage.

"Q. Apollo, say, whence 'tis I pray,

The ancient custom came,

Stockings to throw (I'm sure you know)
At bridegroom and his dame?

"A. When Britons bold, bedded of old, Sandals were backward thrown; The pair to tell, that, ill or well, The act was all their own."

If a more satisfactory explanation of the custom could be found, it should be at the reader's service. The practice prevails on the continent as well as in this country, but its origin is involved in obscurity.

Garrick Plays.

No. VII.

[From "Fortune by Land and Sea," a Comedy, by T. Heywood, and W. Rowley, 1655.]

Old Forest forbids his Son to sup with some riotous gallants; who goes notwithstanding, and is slain.

Scene, a Tavern.

Rainsworth, Foster, Goodwin. To them enters Frank
Rain. Now, Frank, how stole
You have been school'd, no doubt. Fie, fie upon't.
Ere I would live in such base servitude

you from your father's

To an old greybeard; 'sfoot, I'd hang myself.
A man cannot be merry, and drink drunk,
But he must be control'd by gravity.

Frank. O pardon him; you know, he is my father,
And what he doth is but paternal love.
Though I be wild, I'm not yet so past reason
His person to despise, though I his counsel
Cannot severely follow.

Rain. 'Sfoot, he is a fool.

Frank. A fool! you are a

Fost. Nay, gentlemen

Frank. Yet I restrain my tongue,

Hoping you speak out of some spleenful rashness,

And no deliberate malice; and it may be You are sorry that a word so unreverent,

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Sus Father

For. What says my girl? good morrow. What's a clock,

That you are up so early? call up Frank;
Tell him he lies too long a bed this morning.
He was wont to call the sun up, and to raise
The early lark, and mount her 'mongst the clouds.
Will he not up? rise, rise, thou sluggish boy.
Sus. Alas, he cannot, father.

For. Cannot, why?

Sus. Do you not see his bloodless colour pale? For. Perhaps he's sickly, that he looks so pale.. Sus. Do you not feel his pulse no motion keep, How still he lies?

For. Then is he fast asleep.

Sus. Do you not see his fatal eyelid close?

For. Speak softly: hinder not his soft repose. Sus. Oh see you not these purple conduits run? Know these wounds?


For. Oh me! my murder'd son!

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When you have took some comfort, I'll begin

To mourn his death, and scourge the murderer's sin.

O. For. Oh, when saw father such a tragic sight,
And did outlive it? never, son, ah never,
From mortal breast ran such a precious river.

Y. For. Come, father, and dear sister, join with me;
Let us all learn our sorrows to forget.

He owed a death, and he hath paid that debt.

If I were to be consulted as to a Reprint of our Old English Dramatists, I should advise to begin with the collected Plays of Heywood. He was a fellow Actor, and fellow Dramatist, with Shakspeare. He possessed not the imagination of the latter; but in all those qualities which gained for Shakspeare the attribute of gentle, he was not inferior to him. Generosity, courtesy, temperance in the depths of passion; sweetness, in a word, and gentleness; Christianism; and true hearty Anglicism of feelings, shaping that Christianism; shine throughout his beautiful writings in a manner more conspicuous than in those of Shakspeare, but only more conspicuous inasmuch as in Heywood these qualities are primary,in the other subordinate to poetry. I love them both equally, but

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about seventy, this eccentric individual, whose proper name, William Monson, had become nearly obliterated by his professional appellation of Billy Boots; having followed the humble employment of shoeblack for a longer period than the greater part of the inhabitants could remember. He was reported, (and he always professed himself to be,) the illegitimate son of a nobleman, whose name he bore, by a Miss Cracroft. Of his early days little is known, except from the reminiscences of conversation which the writer of this article at times held with him. From thence it appears, that having received a respectable education, soon after leaving school, he quitted his maternal home in Lincolnshire, and threw himself upon the world, from whence he was sought out by some of his paternal brothers, with the intention of providing and fixing him in comfortable circumstances; but this dependent life he abhorred, and the wide world was again his element. After experiencing many vicissitudes, (though possessing defects never to be overcome, a diminutive person,-a shuffling, slip-shod gait,—and a weak, whining voice,) he joined a company of strolling players, and used to boast of having performed "Trueman," in "George Barnwell:" from this he imbibed an ardent histrionic cacoethes, which never left him, but occupied many of his leisure moments, to the latest period of his life. Tired of rambling, he fixed his residence at Lynn, and adopting the useful vocation of shoe-black, became conspicuous as a sober, inoffensive, and industrious individual. Having, by these means, saved a few guineas, in a luckless hour, and when verging towards his fiftieth year, he took to himself a wife, a dashing female of more favourable appearance than reputation. In a fews days from the tying of the gordian knot, his precious metal and his precious rib took flight to gether, never to return; and forsaken Billy whined away his disaster, to every pitying inquirer, and continued to brush and spout till time had blunted the keen edge of


clean himself and spruce up, in his best suit, which was not improperly termed his courting suit-a worn-out scarlet coat, reaching to his heels, with buttons of the largest dimensions-the other part of his dress corresponding. When tired of the joke, his faithless inamorata, on some frivolous pretence, contrived to discard him, leaving him to "fight his battles o'er again,' and seek some other bewitching fair one, who in the end served him as the former; another and another succeeded, but still poor Billy was ever jilted, and still lived a devoted victim to the tender passion.


Notwithstanding this misfortune, Billy made no rash vow of forswearing the sex, but ogled every mop-squeezer in the town, who would listen to his captivating eloquence, and whenever a roguish Blousalinoa consented to encourage his addresses, he was seen early and late, like a true de votee snuffing a pilgrimage to the shrine of his devotions. In a summer evening after the labour of the day, on these occasions, and on these occasions only, he used to


Passionately fond of play-books, of which he had a small collection-as uninviting to the look as himself in his working dressand possessing a retentive memory, he would recite, not merely the single character, but whole scenes, with all the dramatis personæ. His favourite character, however, was Shylock;" and here, when soothed and flattered, he exhibited a rich treat to his risible auditors in the celebrated trial scene, giving the entire dialogue, suiting the action and attitude to the words, in a style of the most perfect caricatural originality. At other times, he would select "The Waterman," and, as "Tom Tug," warble forth, "Then farewell my trim-built wherry," in strains of exquisitely whining melody. But, alas! luckless wight! his only reward was ridicule, and for applause he had jokes and quizzing sarcasms.

Like most of nature's neglected eccentrics, Billy was a public mark of derision, at which every urchin delighted to aim. When charges of "setting the river Thames on fire!" and "roasting his wife on a gridron!" were vociferated in his ears, proudly conscious of his innocence of such heinous crimes, his noble soul would swell with age and indignation; and sometimes stones, at other times his brushes, and oftentimes his pot of blacking, were aimed at the ruthless offender, who frequently escaped, while the unwary passer-by received the marks of his vengeance. When unmolested, he was harmless and inoffensive.

Several attempts, it is said, were made towards the latter part of his life to settle an annuity on him; but Billy scorned such independence, and maintained himself till death by praiseworthy industry. After a few days' illness, he sank into the grave, unhonoured and unnoticed, except by the following tribute to his memory, written by a literary and agricultural gentleman in the neighbourhood of Lynn, and inserted in the "Norwich Mercury" newspaper of that period. K.

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Imperial Fate, who, with promiscuous course,
Exerts o'er high and low his influence dread;
Impell'd his shaft with unrelenting force,

And laid thee, Billy, 'mongst the mighty dead!

Yet 'though, when borne to thy sepulchral home,
pomp funereal grac'd thy poor remains,
Some frail memorial" should adorn thy tomb,
Some trifling tribute from the Muse's strains.

Full fifty years, poor Billy! hast thou budg'd,

A care-worn shoe-black, up and down the streets; From house to house, with slip-shod step hast trudg'd, 'Midst summer's rays, and winter's driving sleets.

Report allied thee to patrician blood,

Yet, whilst thy life to drudg'ry was confin'd, Thy firmness each dependent thought withstood, And prov'd,-thy true nobility of mind.

With shuffling, lagging gait, with visage queer,
Which seem'd a stranger to ablution's pow'r,
In tatter'd garb, well suited to thy sphere,

Thou o'er life's stage didst strut thy fretful hour.

O'er boots and shoes, to spread the jetty hue,

And give the gloss,-thou Billy, wert the man,
No boasting rivals could thy skill outdo-
Not"Day and Martin," with their fam'd japan.

On men well-bred and perfectly refin'd,

An extra polish could thine art bestow;
At feast or ball, thy varnish'd honours shin'd,
Made spruce the trader, and adorn'd the beau.

When taunting boys, whom no reproof could tame,
On thee their scoffs at cautious distance shed,
A shoe or brush, impetuous wouldst thou aim,
Wing'd with resentment, at some urchin's bead.

With rage theatric often didst thou glow,

(Though ill adapted for the scenic art;) As Denmark's prince soliloquiz'd in woe,

Or else rehears'd vindictive Shylock's part.

Brushing and spouting, emulous of fame,

Oft pocketing affronts instead of cash, in Iago's phrase, sometimes thou might'st exclaim With too much truth,-" who steals my purse steals trash."

Peace to thine ashes! harmless in thy way,

Long wert thou emp'ror of the shoe-black train, And with thy fav'rite Shakspeare we may say,

We" ne'er shall look upon thy like again."

The Drama.


Friday the 23d of February, 1827, is to be regarded as remarkable, because on that day "The Great Unknown" confessed himself. The disclosure was made at the first annual dinner of the "Edinburgh Theatrical Fund," then held in the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh-Sir WALTER SCOTT in the


Sir WALTER SCOTT, after the usual toasts to the King and the Royal Family, requested, that gentlemen would fill a bumper as full as it would hold, while he would say only a few words. He was in the habit of hearing speeches, and he knew the feeling with which long ones were regarded. He was sure that it was perfectly unnecessary for him to enter into any vindication of the dramatic art, which they had come here to support. This, however, he considered to be the proper time and proper occasion for him to say a few words on that love of representation which was an innate feeling in human nature. It was the first amusement that the child had-it grew greater as he grew up; and, even in the decline of life, nothing amused so much as when a common tale is well told. The first thing a child does is to ape his schoolmaster, by flogging a chair. It was an enjoyment natural to humanity. It was implanted in our very nature, to take pleasure from such representations, at proper times, and on proper occasions. In all ages the theatrical art had kept pace with the improvement of mankind, and with the progress of letters and the fine arts. As he had advanced from the ruder stages of society, the love of dramatic representations had increased, and all works of this nature had been improved in character and in structure. They had only to turn their eyes to the history of ancient Greece, although he did not pretend to be very deeply versed in ancient history. Its first tragic poet commanded a body of troops at Marathon. The second and next, were men who shook Athens with their discourses, as their theatrical works shock the theatre itself. If they turned to France, in the time of Louis XIV., that era in the classical history of that country, they would find that it was referred to by al Frenchmen as the golden age of the dra there. And also in England, in the of queen Elizabeth, the drama began to mingle deeply and wisely in the genera politics of Europe, not only not receiving


aws from others, but giving laws to the world, and vindicating the rights of mankind. (Cheers.) There had been various times when the dramatic art subsequently fell into disrepute. Its professors had been stigmatized and laws had been passed against them, less dishonourable to them than to the statesmen by whom they were proposed, and to the legislators by whom they were passed. What were the times in which these laws were passed? Was it not when virtue was seldom inculcated as a moral duty, that we were required to relinquish the most rational of all our amusements, when the clergy were enjoined celibacy, and when the laity were denied the right to read their Bibles? He thought that it must have been from a notion of penance that they erected the drama into an ideal place of profaneness, and the tent of sin. He did not mean to dispute, that there were many excellent persons who thought differently from him, and they were entitled to assume that they were not guilty of any hypocrisy in doing so. He gave them full credit for their tender consciences, in making these objections, which did not appear to him relevant to those persons, if they were what they usurped themselves to be; and if they were persons of worth and piety, he should crave the liberty to tell them, that the first part of their duty was charity, and that if they did not choose to go to the theatre, they at least could not deny that they might give away, from their superfluity, what was required for the relief of the sick, the support of the aged, and the comfort of the afflicted. These were duties enjoined by our religion itself. (Loud cheers.) The performers were in a particular manner entitled to the support or regard, when in old age or distress, of those who had partaken of the amusements of those places which they rendered an ornament to society. Their art was of a peculiarly delicate and precarious nature. They had to serve a long apprenticeship. It was very long before even the first-rate geniuses could acquire the mechanical knowledge of the stage business. They must languish long in obscurity before they could avail themselves of their natural talents; and after that, they had but a short space of time, during which they were fortunate if they couid provide the means of comfort in the decline of life. That came late, and lasted but a short time; after which they were left dependent. Their limbs failed, their teeth were loosened, their voice was lost, and they were left, after giving happiness to others, in a most disconsolate state.

The public were liberal and generous to those deserving their protection. It was a sad thing to be dependant on the favour, or, he might say, in plain terms, on the caprice of the public; and this more particularly for a class of persons of whom extreme prudence was not the character. There might be instances of opportunities being neglected; but let them tax themselves, and consider the opportunities they had neglected, and the sums of money they had wasted; let every gentleman look into his own bosom, and say whether these were circumstances which would soften his own feeling, were he to be plunged into distress. He put it to every generous bosom-to every better feeling-to say what consolation was it to old age to be told that you might have made provision at a time which had been neglected-(loud cheers)—and to find it objected, that if you had pleased you might have been wealthy. He had hitherto been speaking of what, in theatrical language, was called "stars," but they were sometimes fallen ones. There were another class of sufferers naturally and necessarily connected with the theatre, without whom it was impossible to go on. The sailors had a saying, "every man cannot be a boatswain." If there must be persons to act Hamlet, there must also be people to act Laertes, the King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, otherwise a drama cannot go on. If even Garrick himself were to rise from the dead, he could not act Hamlet alone. There must be generals, colonels, commanding officers, and subalterns; but what were the private soldiers to do? Many had mistaken their own talents, and had been driven in early youth to try the stage, to which they were not competent. He would know what to say to the poet and to the artist. He would say that it was foolish, and he would recommend to the poet to become a scribe, and the artist to paint sign-posts (Loud laughter.) But he could not send the player adrift; for if he could not play Hamlet, he must play Guildenstern. Where there were many labourers, wages must be low, and no man in such a situation could decently support a wife and family, and save something of his income for old age. What was this man to do in latter life' Were they to cast him off like an old hinge, or a piece of useless machinery, which had done its work? To a person who had contributed to our amusement, that would be unkind, ungrateful, and unchristian. His wants were not of his own making, but arose from the natural sources of sickness and old age It could not be denied that

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