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Whose ins and outs no ray of sense discloses,
Ay, 't was but a dream, for now there's no retreating,
'T was thus that Æsop's stag, a creature blameless,
And cavill'd at his image in the flood.
"The deuce confound," he cries, "these drumstick shanks, They never have my gratitude nor thanks;
They're perfectly disgraceful! strike me dead!
But for a head, yes, yes, I have a head.
How piercing is that eye! how sleek that brow!
I'm told horns are the fashion now."
Whilst thus he spoke, astonish'd, to his view,
He bounds aloft, outstrips the fleeting wind:
[Taking a jump through the stage door.
AS PERFORMED AT THE
THEATRE-ROYAL, COVENT GARDEN.
WHEN I undertook to write a comedy, I confess I was strongly prepossessed in favour of the poets of the last age, and strove to imitate them. The term, genteel comedy, was then unknown amongst us, and little more was desired by an audience, than nature and humour, in whatever walks of life they were most conspicuous. The author of the following scenes never imagined that more would be expected of him, and therefore to delineate character has been his principal aim. Those who know any thing of composition, are sensible that, in pursuing humour, it will sometimes lead us into the recesses of the mean: I was even tempted to look for it in the master of a spunging-house; but in deference to the public taste, grown of late, perhaps, too delicate, the scene of the bailiffs was retrenched in the representation. In deference also to the judgment of a few friends, who think in a particular way, the scene is here restored. The author submits it to the reader in his closet; and hopes that too much refinement will not banish humour and character from ours, as it has already done from the French theatre. Indeed, the French comedy is now be
come so very elevated and sentimental, that it has not only banished humour and Molière from the stage, but it has banished all spectators, too.
Upon the whole, the author returns his thanks to the Public for the favourable reception which the Good-Natured Man has met with; and to Mr. Colman in particular, for his kindness to it. It may not also be improper to assure any who shall hereafter write for the theatre, that merit, or supposed merit, will ever be a sufficient passport to his protection.
WRITTEN BY DR. JOHNSON;
Spoken by Mr. Bensley.
PRESS'D by the load of life, the weary mind
Our anxious bard, without complaint, may share
Like Cæsar's pilot, dignified by fate,
When one a borough courts, and one the pit,
The busy candidates for power and fame,
Have hopes, and fears, and wishes, just the same;
Must hear all taunts, and hear without reply.
Th' offended burgess hoards his angry tale,