« AnteriorContinua »
and believe your own eyes. I have been leuse will cause destruction. In both cases there making some custard, and it is all some waste of force, and some failure of curdled with the excitement."
plan, are almost inevitable. "Well, Aunty, the poor lady was in great A great satirist invests with importance trouble when I left her, and she only wants the objects of his satire. However severe her daughter to go home."
may be his usage of them, he yet kicks “ Home, indeed! Don't tell me. Does them up-stairs as it were. Pope has really a girl run away from home when she is embalmed in the Dunciad the poetasters treated there with gentleness? Did you and witlings he sought to exterminate. But ever run away from here ? Just answer for him we should know nothing of them. me that! A proud, hard woman, not fit In lieu of the vitriol that destroys, he to bring up a daughter."
poured upon them, in truth, the spirits of “ If the mother wants to take her, I don't wine that preserve. Fame clings to them see how you can keep her.”
from the fact that they were deemed “But I will keep her; that is, if she is worthy the furious attack of one so famous. anxious to stay with me. Let the mother James and Horace Smith were not sago home and cool her temper a little. The tirists of the Pope school. Avowedly they girl has asked me for shelter, and I promise designed but to raise "a harmless laugh" you she shall get it.”
at the expense of the more eminent and As Miss Martha spoke the parlour door popular writers of their time. Some of opened violently, and Lady Archbold made these even-Rogers and Campbell for inher way rapidly down the garden path to stance—were passed over from a feeling her carriage. Miss Martha thanked Heaven, that they did not present sufficient opporand went back to her store-room, and May tunities to the caricaturists. And throughmet Katherine returning to her chamber. out their undertaking the joint authors There were two red spots on the young were intent upon producing inoffensive lady's cheeks; but her eyes were dry and parodies rather than acrimonious satire. bright. It was not sbe who had wept so As a rule, therefore, we must not look in piteously as to spoil Miss Martha's custard. their pages for the kind of ridicule that The eyes that had shed the tears were still confers long life upon its victims. Someweeping themselves blind as they were thing like this has happened, however, in hurried along through the snow back to two or three cases. Effusive Fitzgerald Camlough.
and his benedictory verses would perhaps The next day Katherine's trunks did long since have been forgotten but for the actually arrive ; laden with the costly and burlesque of his muse by the Smiths. The beautiful raiment in which Miss Archbold Honourable William Spencer's name as a loved to deck herself. Miss Martha mar- poet would scarcely have survived if the velled not a little when she saw their humorous travestie of his style and sentinumber and proportions; and Bridget's ments, commencing with the line “Sobriety head was completely turned for a whole cease to be sober," had not been written. week by the visions of grandeur which Spencer himself, “in comic confidence at dazzled her eyes whilst she was engaged his villa at Petersham,” said to Horace in making up Miss Archbold's room. Smith: “It's all very well for once, but
don't do it again. I had been almost for
gotten when you revived me; and now all THOMAS BUSBY, MUS. DOC. the newspapers and reviews ring with this
fashionable and trashy author.'
And a There is a story of a country clergyman third bard, mainly remembered now by the observing of Rejected Addresses, that he parody of his verses in Rejected Addresses, could not understand why they had been was a certain Thomas Busby, Mus. Doc., rejected; they seemed to him very good concerning whom we propose to make some addresses. And a certain critic of the brief mention. period is reputed to have said of Gulliver's The arrow sped at Doctor Busby was Travels that he thought the narrative in the one failure of the satirists. He could teresting, but rather improbable in regard thereafter claim fame both on the score to some of its details. It is plain that, in that he had been thought worth aiming at, the judgment of many lookers-on, satire and that he had been missed.
But he was must often miss its mark. In ed, when in truth too vast and too dense a butt. He it is of a comprehensive kind, one can no had already clothed himself so completely more expect that its every shaft will tell, in ridicule, that there was no room for any than that every shot fired from a mitrail- one to add more. What can the satirist do against
man who has more than suffi- brace the whole British drama in that ciently satirised himself? The doctor's mysterious form of entertainment. Doctor own writings, as the Quarterly Review re- Busby provided a prologue to this ballet marked at the time, “for extravagant folly, of Macbeth. It was a curious composition, tumid meanness, and vulgar affectation, set which reciting that “ with nature and the all the powers of parody at utter defiance.” energies of man, the reign of poesy and Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh, said of the ad- song began,” enumerated all the great dress, Architectural Atoms, which the dramatists from Æschylus to Shakespeare, Smiths had ascribed to Busby, that it ap- and concluded with a reference to the peared to be “far 'more capable of com- peculiar difficulties of the Surrey managebining into good poetry than the few lines ment: we were able to read of the learned doctor's
Though not endowed with fullest powers of speech, genuine address.” Did ever satirists be- The poet's object we aspire to reach ; fore over estimate the merits of their sub- The emphatic gesture, eloquence of eye, ject, or parody so mildly as to raise less
Scenes, music, every energy we try,
To prove we keep our duties full in view, laughter than the thing parodied ?
And what we must not say resolved to do; Yet this Busby, apart from his distinction Convinced that you will deem our zeal sincere,
Since more by deeds than words it will appear. as a butt, was a person of some note in his day. Absurd almost to craziness, he yet Many other addresses were afterwards had fair title to respect on the score of his written by Busby for Elliston; the great abilities and accomplishments. Born at manager and his proceedings supplying Westminster, in 1755, he had studied music sufficient themes for the poet." They conunder Jonathan Battishill, at that time a tributed to each other's fame," writes a famous composer of anthems, catches, and critic;“ it was a joint policy of immortality;" glees, who lies buried by the side of Doctor and it was noted at the time that although Boyce, in St. Paul's Cathedral. Busby Kean was the first actor who talked of “his became organist at the churches of St. secretary,” Elliston was the first manager Mary Woolnoth, Lombard-street, and St. who for his own
own greater glorification Mary, Newington; produced oratorios at the specially retained the services of a bard. Haymarket and Covent Garden Theatres ; Occasionally it would seem, however, that published selections of music in a serial Elliston, unable to commit to memory the form, such as the Divine Harmonist and rhapsodies of Busby, or preferring his own the Beauties of British Song. In 1800 the impromptu ingenuity as a speech-maker
, University of Cambridge conferred upon would pause in the middle of the doctor's him his degree of Doctor of Music. He address, and conclude with an oration of supplied the accompaniments to the popular his own contriving. Something of this melodramas of a Tale of Mystery and kind happened at the opening of the Surrey Rugantino, and the music of the opera of in 1810. The first poetry lines of the the Fair Fugitives. He published a gram- managerial address were Busby's, but premar of music and a new musical dictionary. sently Elliston was found to be delivering Moreover, he produced a translation of in his happiest manner his own florid prose. Lucretius, which was thus cruelly an- "The poetry was conventional, the speech nounced by one of the newspapers in the was special," writes Elliśton's biographer
, register of births : “ Yesterday, at his house “and though the unhappy rhymester was in Queen Anne-street, Doctor Busby of a sadly shorn on the evening in question, still-born Lucretius."
he had the satisfaction of viewing himself It was the doctor's delusion that he was at full length in the newspaper columns of a poet. He was continually pestering the the following morning." newspapers with his effusions. He especi- When the committee of management of ally prided himself upon his prologues and Drury Lane Theatre publicly advertised in occasional addresses to theatrical audiences. August, 1812, for an address to be spoken Elliston, who had become manager of the on the opening of the new building on the Șurrey Theatre, humoured the doctor's 10th of October, be sure that Doctor Busby foible, enlisted his services, and designated availed himself of the opportunity to eIhim “the laureate of the Surrey stage."ercise his muse. It does not appear from In evasion or in defiance of the restrictions the terms of the advertisement that ang mer of the licenser and the privileges of the ward was offered for the most successful patent theatres, Elliston had produced poem. But no doubt an understanding preMacbeth a grand ballet of action with vailed that the chosen bard would be duly music, &c.” He was only entitled to per- recompensed. Nearly a gross of addresses form “burlettas," but he contrived to em- was sent in, each in obedience to the pro
visions of the invitation, “sealed up, with upon the stage were seen gesticulating and a distinguishing word, number, or motto, interchanging profound bows, after the corresponding with the inscription on a manner of Noodle and Doodle in the burseparate sealed paper containing the name lesque of Tom Thumb. Eventually the of the author." These addresses, some stranger was somewhat violently removed written by men of great, some by men of from the stage by two police officers. This little, and some by men of no talent,” were arbitrary proceeding excited great disapall rejected. At the last moment a pro- probation. The concluding performances logue was supplied by Lord Byron, a of the night were subjected to grave intermember of the committee. Probably it ruption. The stage-manager was summoned had been from the first intended that his and was loudly hissed upon his entry. He lordship should be the poet of the occasion. endeavoured to explain that he had only
Of the numerous discarded bards, Doctor acted in accordance with the duties of his Busby was the most angry and disap- office; he had but removed “ an unknown pointed. Fully convinced of its
sur- person,” who had attempted to disturb the passing merits, he had made sure of his representation, and he appealed to the address being chosen before all others. house to know if it was regular or desirable Moreover, as though expressly to aggra- that any one should quit the pit and apvate the sufferings of the poets, no intima- pear on the stage to recite an unauthorised tion had been afforded them of the fate address: A measure of peace was restored, of their manuscripts. It is even probable but Mr. Raymond left many of his auditors that many of them had attended the unconvinced of the propriety of his treattheatre on the opening night in expecta- ment of the “unknown person,” who retion of hearing their own verses delivered mains unknown to this day. from the stage. The rejected candidates A more stormy episode was in store for might surely have been spared this morti- the following evening relative to a rejected fication. And the managers would have address. The entertainments consisted of saved themselves from considerable incon- the Rivals and the farce of Turn Out. venience if they had been more alert to Upon the termination of the comedy, Doctor consult the feelings of the slighted authors. Busby rose from his seat in the boxes, and, Lord Byron's address was recited by bowing repeatedly to all parts of the house, Elliston, in the dress of Hamlet, on the commenced a speech. For some minutes opening night, and was repeated after the the tumult was so great, friends and foes first play on nine or ten subsequent even- were alike so vociferous, hisses and plaudits ings. There was a murmuring in the air were so intermingled, that not a sentence and a leaven of discontent among the an- could be heard. By his more immediate dience, but there would seem to have been neighbours, however, the speaker was unno serious manifestation of feeling until the derstood to say: night of the 14th of October, when, imme- “I am Doctor Busby: a lover, a member diately after the performance of the Hypo- of the drama, and a friend to the theatre.” crite had concluded, an unknown gentle- (Loud cheering, hisses, and cries of " Hear man rose in the pit and addressed the him !"). “Ladies and gentlemen, by some audience with great earnestness. One of I may be blamed for taking this method of the actors appeared upon the stage in ac- addressing you, as being humiliating to a cordance with the custom of that time, to gentleman, but I can see no greater improannounce the entertainments of the follow- priety in speaking from the public box of a ing evening. He was compelled to retire, public theatre than from a forum, or from having failed to make himself heard. The the hustings of an election.” (Cheering attention of the audience was engrossed by and disapprobation.) "Ladies and gettlethe speaker in the pit, and great confusion men, for the talents and qualifications of prevailed. The gentleman was waving a the right honourable, noble, and illustrious paper in his hand, and was therefore in- lord who wrote the address which you have vited by his neighbours to mount to the heard this night recited to you I have the stage and address the house from that highest respect.” (Applause and hisses.) advantageous position. This counsel the un- “It is well known that for several weeks known followed; when in front of the foot- the committee appointed to manage the lights he was met by Mr. Raymond, the concerns of this theatre have, by public adstage-manager. Both addressed the house vertisements, courted the exertions of the and each other, without either making him- literary world to prepare an address to be self heard. The spectators laughed, cheered, spoken at the opening of this truly magniand then hooted. Meantime, the figures ficent structure. This was, on their part, noble and praiseworthy, but it must be allowed by the managers to rehearse it on allowed on all hands that, however right the stage, if you will give him leave." they have been in intention, they have most This proposition was greeted with prolamentably erred in judgment.”
longed applause. But suddenly the speaker The noise now became so great that the was roughly seized by two Bow-street doctor was unable to proceed for some officers, and dragged from the boxes. The minutes. Presently he went on to say that doctor fought gallantly, and by sitting down the number of persons who condescended on the stairs and grasping the banisters to furnish addresses had exceeded one hun. with all his force, he greatly hindered the dred, he believed, and those who thought efforts of the constables. A crowd was colthat out of such a number a better could lected and chivalrously took the part of not have been selected, did not think so the oppressed. The officers were hustled highly of the poetical talent of the country down the stairs, while their victim was as he did.
Among them it might be taken borne in triumph upon the shoulders of his for granted that some were very fine. He friends round the corridors, and reinstated himself knew of four or five answering to in the boxes. Smoothing his ruffled that description. Here arose loud cries of plumage, and gaining breath while the 'Your own and your son's were among house cheered him again and again, the the number.”
doctor resumed his speech. He was underThe orchestra now commenced playing, stood to state that he was now the chamand drowned in music the voice of the pion of the rights of playgoers, as much a speaker. Presently he was further inter- freeman as a conqueror, and he should now rupted by the performance of the farce. give the house an opportunity of hearing Between the acts he made an unsuccessful such a monologue as they had seldom attempt to renew his speech. The audience heard. (Cries of “ Bravo !” and “Go on!") were divided in opinion. Some were for He acknowledged their kind partiality with hearing the doctor, some for hearing the more than common gratitude, for more farce. The actors ventured upon appropri- than common compliment to his muse; ate“ gags.” Dowton, who played Restive, but he had now to mention that if they charged against a misjudging world“ which were as sincere as he was in their desire had rejected many of his works of genius, to hear his verses, they must hear them that he had sent twenty most noble ad- from his son, who was sitting in the pit, dresses to Drury Lane Theatre, none of and who knew the monologue by heart. which had been accepted by the committee. Mr. George Frederick Busby, the docHe had, therefore, determined to go to the tor's son, now mounted to the stage. At the playhouse himself and recite them." This same moment Mr. Raymond reappeared. sally was received with great laughter and In obedience to the wish of the house he applause. And a verse of the song of Turn soon withdrew however, intimating that Out, sung by Knight, in the character of the management had no wish to interfere Forage, also excited great amusement: with the efforts of the reciter. Mr. Busby,
junior, then began the address. But his
great. With difficulty could the opening Expecting their fate,
lines be heard :
When energising objects men pursue
A magic edifice you here survey, But the doctor was not to be dismayed Shot from the ruins of the other day. or silenced. The farce over, he again pre- Then came interruptions, hisses, cries of sented himself to the audience. “I have “Silence !" and laughter. The speaker was a strong, a powerful motive,” he said, “ for inaudible, but he persisted with his task. requesting your attention. I am a friend Thereupon he was in his turn addressed to this theatre. I wish to open the way to by a loud-toned gentleman in the boxes. super-excellence, to bring forward strong "Mr. Busby, I would advise you to go and powerful talent instead of letting it home if you cannot make use of a stronger sink into oblivion. Gentlemen, I am a voice. You ought not to presume to get friend to merit, and more especially to on that stage to detain the company if you modest merit. My son is now in this cannot speak so that we may distinctly house with an address which I had pre- hear, and I must tell you that not a word pared for the opening of the theatre, and of what you say can be understood here nothing would bring greater pride and from the smallness of your voice, however satisfaction to me than that he should be l large and elegant your ideas may be."
The young gentleman claimed further interval, to be compelled to proceed as far indulgence, and for some little time longer as Ascot. I have a recollection of attempt he was permitted to proceed with his mo- ing to console myself for having to work nologue. But still he could not make him during Easter week, by finding that the self heard. The house now took to groan- scene of my operations lay in the Isle of ing and crying "Go home!” At length Wight, and of mitigating the severity of he desisted, and retired from the stage, my autumnal labours, by choosing that leaving his address still in part unheard. period of the year for the inspection of So terminated a scene that was wonderfully the drafts and dockets in connexion with absurd, and must have been also irresistibly the English Lakes. But on consideration, laughable.
I am disposed to think that I never so The doctor published his address in the effectively combined business with pleanewspapers. He was not to be convinced sure, as during the three spring months of its inferiority. At his own house he of last year, which I passed in Devonshire gave private recitations of it, with readings and Cornwall
, a result mainly owing to from his translation of Lucretius, refresh- the suggestive guidance of Mr. Cumbering his audience with tea and bread-and-land. butter. Satire was powerless against such A pleasant man, Mr. Cumberland, but a poet. The Smiths' parody fell flat. Even not without his peculiarities; the most the Parenthetical Address, by. “Doctor noticeable of these being his inability to Plagiary," which Lord Byron hastened to arrive at a railway station until just as the publish, was felt as somewhat superfluoas, train by which he is going is about to start; a thrice slaying of the slain. The opening his inability to remember anybody's name, lines ran thus :
and a consequent habit of calling everybody “When energising objects men pursue,”
“Mr.-Um;" and a most singular knowThe Lord knows what is writ by Lord knows who. ledge of outlying corners in all sorts of "A modest monologue you here survey," Hissed from the theatre " the other day,"
localities--city streets, country roads, and As if Sir Fretful wrote the “slumberous" verse, barren moors—where liquid refreshment,
And gave his son “ the rubbish” to rehearse. always phrased by him as a "glass of The address was directed to be spoken “in bitter,” is procurable. an inarticulate voice by Master P. at the Travelling here and there in the extreme opening of the next new theatre. Stolen west, looking after the well-being of the parts marked with inverted commas. But drafts and dockets, I was continually it was hardly worth while to accuse the coming across Mr. Cumberland, and was doctor of plagiarism, or to consider him immensely puzzled as to the nature of his with any degree of gravity. He was not a occupation. Sometimes I would see him foeman worthy of Lord Byron's steel, or of alight at a station, spring into an open any one's steel, or, indeed, of steel at all trap which was waiting for him, and be employed aggressively. He could þe safely wbirled away by prancing steeds. At trusted to make himself more than suffi- other times he would jump out at a ciently ridiculous.
little bit of a platform, and go clumping up a badly-made road, in company of
a gentleman evidently of the navvy perA CORNISH CARNIVAL.
suasion. I have seen him swathed in
thick leather from his bips to his heels, A PROPER combination of business with with an oil-skin dreadnought on his back, pleasure,
so as to enjoy a sufficiency of the and a fan-tailed hat on his head, and a short latter while persuading oneself that one is black pipe in his mouth, and I have bedoly discharging the former, so as to find held him radiant in blue broadcloth and oneself strongly impelled by duty to pro- white waistcoat, and low-crowned curlyceed to certain places, where, on those par- brimmed hat, of the celebrated Champagne ticular occasions, there happen to be more Charley pattern, perched rakishly on his than ordinary attractions, though difficult head, while he languidly puffed an odoriof achievement, amply repays one for the ferous cigar. He was known to all the pains and labour it entails. I speak with station-masters and guards on the line,
on this subject, becanse my with whom he held muttered conferences
as Commissioner of Drafts and about spare timber-trucks, and taking Dockets
, has given me a certain amount of this in conjunction with the fact that I experience.
It has been my fate to be on once met him riding, with great difficulty, duty in the neighbourhood of Epsom in the a very obstinate looking pony, in the midst last days of May, and after a fortnight's of a thick wood, and pointing out what