A General HISTORY OF THE STAGE, From its Origin in GREECE down to the present TIME. WITH THE MEMOIRS of most of the principal PERFORMERS that have appeared on the ENGLISH and IRISH STAGE for these last Fifty Years. WITH Notes, Antient, Modern, Foreign, Domestic, Se­rious, Comic, Moral, Merry, Historical, and Geographical, containing many Theatrical Anec­dotes; also several Pieces of Poetry, never before published.

Collected and Digested by W. R. CHETWOOD, Twenty Years Prompter to his Majesty's Company of Comedians at the THEATRE-ROYAL in Drury-Lane, London.

—All the World's a Stage,
And ev'ry Man and Woman, merely Actors.

LONDON: Printed for W. OWEN, near Temple-Bar, M, DCC, XLIX.


TO your Censures I commit the following Piece, since you are all the proper Judges of my Tryal. If I am condemned, I shall receive my Sentence without Murmuring; and, if acquitted, with sincere Thanks: But as every Offender would find some Pretence to mitigate his Crime, I will only put [Page] you in mind that I have march'd under all your Banners in many Winter Colds and Summer Heats, and given Proofs of my Conduct, if not of my Courage, and have disciplin'd some of your Troops. Tho' my Enemies have beat me to the Pit (as Brutus said), yet, thank Heaven! some few Friends have interpos'd, and prevented my falling in: There is a Consolation in Innocence that is our best Shield.

I am bad at Compliments, but I wish you all the Success your Merits deserve; Copy the Roman Roscius (tho' a Hea­then) while you live; and, when you die, it may be said of you as the noble Cicero asaid of that celebrated Actor:

[Page] Quis nostrum tam animo agresti ac duro fuit, ut ROSCII morte nuper non commoveretur? qui, cum esset senex mortuus, tamen propter excellentem ar­tem, ac venustatem, videbatur omnino mori non debuisse.

Which of us all would be so unpo­lished and obdurate, as not to be sen­sibly moved with the Death of RO­SCIUS? Who, tho' dying in Old Age, yet his excellent Art, and sweet Manner of Deportment, influenced every one to wish him immortal.

With this I end, and take Leave to subscribe myself,

Your most Obedient, Humble, and Respectful Servant, W. R. CHETWOOD.


A PREFACE is Part of the Habit to a Book, and no Author can appear full­dress'd without it: 'Tis a Cockade to an Of­ficer, a Nosegay to a Lawyer, a Patch or a Fan to a fine Lady, or, a Ribband to her Lap-Dog.

If I should tell my Readers, I am prevailed upon with great Intreaties from my Friends to publish this Piece, I should embark with a Fals­hood (for it is my own Free-will, Act and Deed); and I would willingly have my Readers believe I publish nought but Truth. My Cargo is genu­ine, and I have taken up but little on Credit.

If the good Reader should find better Scraps of Rhyme than my own (which I presume will not be over-difficult), I have given them di­stinguishing Marks, that there may be no Doubts on that Account.

The numerous Notes I have squeezed in, are meant to divert; if I lose my Aim, I shall con­tent myself with considering, I may be but one among ten thousand that have been mistaken.

I have unnumbered Thanks to many in this Kingdom, and in particular to a young Gentleman whose Good-nature has been indefatigable in my Interest. The other a Gentleman eminent in the [Page] Law, who has made my Cause his own. It gives me great Concern I am not permitted pub­licly to own their unbounded Goodness and Generosity, since such Sterling Friends are but seldom met with by Wretches in Misfortune.

I am Unfortunate I own, but (as Oroonoko says) not ashamed of being so. I bear all with Patience and Chearfulness; which I find has occasion'd the following Flight of Poetry from a Friend. I know Authors often write to them­selves; yet I'll assure you, on my Veracity, it is not the Case here; tho' I must allow a little Vanity in my Composition makes me willing to insert it.

Integervitae, scelerisquepurus. Hor. Ode XXII.
SAY, fair Content, lov'd Goddess, say,
How shall I find thy soft Retreat;
Where shall I seek thy Halcyon Seat,
Or trace thy sacred Way?
Love pointed out a pleasing Scene,
Where nought but Beauty could be found,
With Roses and with Myrtles crown'd;
And nam'd thee for its Queen.
Delusion all! a specious Cheat!
At my Approach the Roses fade;
I found each Fragrance quite decay'd,
And curs'd the fond Deceit!
At Courts I've sought, where Splendor shone,
Where Pomp and gilded Cars reside;
'Midst endless Hurry, endless Pride;
But there thou wast unknown.
Yet in the Captive's dreary Cell,
Lodg'd with a long-experienc'd Sage
(With thee, thou CHIRON of the Stage)
The Goddess deigns to dwell.
Integrity, and Truth serene,
Have eas'd the Labours of the Breast,
And lull'd the peaceful Heart to rest,
'Midst Perfidy and Pain.
A Soul, like thine, disrob'd of Guile,
In native Innocence elate;
Above the keenest Rage of Fate,
Can greet IT with a Smile.

I would wish with Horace,

—Nec turpem senectam

‘To pass declining Years without Reproach;’

But that I find impossible; Falshood and Fraud are the Products of the World, and grow spon­taneous. But no more than this; I forgive my Enemies, and shall ever cherish the Memory of my Friends. I must ask Pardon for naming Mr. Barrington in this Theatre, and Miss Bel­lamy in Covent-Garden; the Goodness of them both have often eas'd an aching Heart.


THE STAGE is almost as old as the sacred Inspiration of the Muse; ad­mir'd, when at Nurse, and even in its Infant Prattle, pleasing: Born in Greece, and nourish'd at Athens. A merry Author says, in a Prologue,

Thespis, the first Professor of our Art,
At Country Wakes sung Ballads in a Cart.

And tho' Bacchus is allowed to be the Father, yet all Nations, antient and modern, esteem'd it to be a sober and instructive Entertainment.

The early Stages were, indeed, no more than native Turf, or Sod; and what was first exhibited, of a Piece, simple Pastoral Songs, sometimes mix'd with Scandal or Abuse, and, may be, home Truths; like the Terrae Filius at Oxford, or the blazoning Peccadillos of two [Page 2] opponent Members setting up for the same Borough. Yet, from these Seeds of Satire, we owe a Juvenal, Perseus, Horace, and Petro­nius, and, indeed, the whole Race of Heroic, Epic, Dramatic, and Pastoral Poets and Po­etry; your Spondees and Dactyls, the Buskin and Sock, the Laurel and Bays.

From these Turf Stages, the Players, such as they were, mounted a Cart, or some such Vehicle, and began to travel Bag and Baggage, perhaps like the Picture of the Itinerants in Scarron's comical Romance. Hear what Ho­race says, in Latin:

Ignotum Tragicae genus invenisse Camoenae
Dicitur, & plaustris vexisse Poemata Thespis:
Quae canerent agerentque peruncti faecibus ora.
Post hunc personae pallaeque repertor honestae
Aeschylus & modicis implevit pulpita tignis;
Et docuit magnumquae loqui, nitique Cothurno.

But for fear some People may understand as little Latin as myself, take the Sense in the following English.

a Thespis, the first that did surprise the Age
With Tragedy, ne'er trod a decent Stage;
But in a Waggon drove his Plays about,
And shew'd mean antick Tricks to please the Rout:
His Songs uneven, rude, in ev'ry Part;
His Actors smutted, and the Stage a Cart.
[Page 3]
Next b Aeschylus did greater Art express,
He built a Stage, and taught them how to dress;
In decent Motion he his Parts convey'd,
And made them look as great as those they play'd.

The first Theatre in Athens was built, by the Directions of Aeschylus, at the public Charge. It was a wooden Pile, yet very spacious. But at the Representation of one of the Tragedies compos'd by Aeschylus, according to Suidas, the Building gave way, by the monstrous Weight of 20000 Spectators, and many were kill'd and maim'd. To prevent such fatal Ac­cidents for the future, the City order'd one more magnificent to be erected, intirely built with Stone, capable of holding half the Inhabitants without the former Danger: Some Authors say of Marble, surpassing, in Elegance, the Temples of their Gods. It consisted of two Parts, the Scena, and Cavea: The Scena, that Part which form'd the Stage, and other Conveniencies be­longing to it; the upper Part for their Scenes and Machinery, which were generally flat Cur­tains, with all the Variety of Painting, let oc­casionally down to vary the Prospect, and ma­nage [Page 4] the Machinery; as Lee intimates, in the Tragedy of Oedipus:

O! that, as oft I have at Athens seen
The Stage arise, and the big Clouds descend.

The Cavea was the Place where the Spectators were seated: The under Part of the Stage was form'd for raising any thing particular for the different Performances, where were also placed the brazen Tubes for Thunder, and Utensils for Lightning, and many other Con­veniencies, according to Graevius:

With brazen Thunder, forked Lightning hurl'd,
That blazing stream'd, to fright the mimic World.

They had also different Thunder, for good or bad Omens, according to Athenaeus:

Auspicious Omen rends the Womb of Night,
And forked Lightning flashes from the Right.

And again,

Ill-Omen'd Lightning has the Welkin cleft,
And rolling Thunder bellows from the Left.

It may well be ask'd by Numbers, If these Theatres were so large and spacious, what sort of Theatrical Performers must those distant Ages produce? They must either have Stentro­phon Voices, or their Auditors most delicate auricular Faculties. No; in my Opinion the [Page 5] Senses of Hearing and Seeing were much the same as now: But as to the Voice, that, indeed, doubtless, wanted Assistance; which to help, they had Coverings to the whole Head and Face, and over the Face a Mask, with a Mouth only, to strengthen the Sound of the Voice; in my poor Opinion, wretched Assistance! Where were the Eyes and Muscles of the Countenance, to command, implore, exult, upbraid, consent, refuse, and all those different Passions that agitate the Mind, wherein the Eyes are the Index? These Masks were made to cover the Head, as was said before, adorn'd with Hair proper to the Character the Actor was to represent upon the Stage. Madam Da­cier has given an engrav'd Specimen of several Masks us'd on the Roman Theatre, in her Translation of Terence, which she procur'd in an ancient Manuscript of that Author's Works. The Romans follow'd the Greeks in their Drama; so, we may be assured, these Helps came from Athens to Rome. But as the Voice was to be mo­dell'd, so was the Person; therefore the Cothur­nus, or Buskin, was invented, not like our mo­dern Greek or Roman Buskin, but an Elevation of Person, half a Yard, or so, to emulate the Size of Immortals, or earthly Giants, and He­roes; like our waggish Boys, appearing upon Stilts. But the Cothurnus was only made use of in Tragedy to step stately; for if they had hurry'd, they might have been in some Danger of kissing the Ground: Neither could they, I suppose, pay Homage to their Monarch, or [Page 6] their Mistress, tho' perhaps, in those Days, Kneeling was neither a Mark of Submission, or Adoration, at least among the Greeks. But thus are their Actors pictur'd out by many Au­thors. Cornelius Nepos tells us, most of the Per­formers on the Grecian Theatres were the chief of the Nobility, Persons of great Learning and Dignity, Poets, Orators, and Historians; even Kings did not disdain to appear on the Athe­nian Stage. But, what is most surprising, these monstrous Piles of Buildings were so contriv'd, that two of these large Theatres could turn, join, and form an Amphitheatre for the hunting wild Beasts, &c.

Casaubon, in his Description of the Splendor of Rome, says, that Curio, a Roman Knight, to entertain the People, built two spacious The­atres in such a Manner, Back to Back (if it may be so term'd), first for the Histriones c, or Actors, to perform in the Morning; in the Afternoon they were mov'd, to meet each other, and form one spacious Amphitheatre, where the Combats of Gladiators and Wild Beasts were perform'd. But when we consider the Greek and Roman Engines of War, the Turres d, and a whole Catalogue of others, the Wonder will cease.

[Page 7] The Athenian Theatre was, beyond all doubt, the primal and eldest Child of the Drama; and, consequently, must have the earliest of the Dra­matic Poets, and most in Number. We have not many more of the Roman Dramatic Bards, after naming Seneca efor Tragedy, and Plau­tus f, with Terence g, for Comedy, and this last borrowed from the Greek of Menander. While, among the Grecians, we have this Me­nander, [Page 8] h, Aeschylus, Sophocles i, Euripides k, and Aristophanes l, the first and last for Co­medy, the other for Tragedy; not forget­ing Lycophron m. Therefore we may thank Athens n for her Schools of Science and [Page 9] Arts, whose flourishing Branches by degrees spread over the now learned World, as Horace writes in his Epistle to Augustus Caesar:

Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit, & artes Intulit agresti Latio.

Greece conquer'd, did her Conquerors o'ercome, Polish'd the Rude, and sent her Arts to Rome.

[Page 10] The Socci is no more than we say in Eng­lish (Seck), and used in Comedy only; For Tragedy, with the Chorus, and Comedy, were a long time the Greek and Roman Entertain­ments. The Chorus might, indeed, be term'd Interludes, tho' their Substance were mostly relative to the Story, as Thoughts of the fore­going [Page 11] Subject of the Scene, by Standers-by, or Over-hearers. Yet these, by degrees, melted away, and Mimes or Pantomimes were instituted in their room. Some of our English Authors have their Chorus after the antient Manner, viz. Shakespear in his Henry V. and Winter's Tale; Milton in his Samson Agonistes; Sandys in his Christ's Passion; and the late Duke of Buckingham in his two Tragedies from the Julius Caesar of our Shakespear, and others. The Mimes and Pantomimes crept in, and shov'd out these antient Chorus's; some were loose and wanton Mimics, that the Roman Luxury too well lik'd; others were more de­cent, who by Action and Gesture could de­scribe a Story without speaking, in all its Va­riety of Passions. One of these was so excellent, that when a foreign Prince came to Rome in the Time of Nero the Tyrant, at his Depar­ture, he ask'd no other Favour of the Emperor, but that Mime, whom he had seen perform, for this Reason; that as he had many barba­rous Nations bordering round him, of different Speech, this Man by his Action could be an excellent Interpreter, whose Meaning was so well understood without the Use of Speech. Mimes and Pantomimes are generally the same thing; but to translate them Buffoons (as Coo­per in his Dictionary) is something too low a Meaning. I shall leave the Antients to rest quietly in their Graves.

The Drama in England, and all over Eu­rope, began as meanly as its first Original in [Page 12] Greece or Rome, and our Poetry as crude. The first Play, at least that has appeared in Print, was with this Title, Gammer Gurton's Needle, a Comedy, acted at Christ's-College, Cambridge. Writ by Mr. S. Master of Arts. And an art­ful Piece it is. Gammer Gurton has lost her Needle, and truly great Hunt is made about it; her Boy is sent to blow the Embers in order to light a Candle to help the Search. The damn'd Witch of a Cat is got in the Chim­ney, with her two fiery Eyes. The Boy cries, It is the Devil of a Fire; for when he puffs, it's out; and when he does not, it's in. Stir it! cries Gammer Gurton. The Boy does as he's bid. The Fire, or rather the Cat, flies among a Pile of Wood; the Boy cries, The House will be burnt! All Hands to work. The Cat is disco­ver'd by a Priest (having a little more Cunning than the rest). This is the Episode. The main Plot and Catastrophe are full as good. Gammer Gurton, it seems, had the Day before been mend­ing her Man Hodge's Breeches. Now Hodge in some Game of Merriment was to be pu­nish'd by three Slaps on the Bum, by the brawny open Hand of one of his Fellow Bumpkins. His Head is laid down in Gam­mer Gurton's Lap; the first Slap is given—Hodge, with great Exclamation, bellows out, Oh! He declares his Grief! and searching for the Cause of his Pain—O, happy! the Needle was found bury'd up to the Eye in the Posterior of poor Hodge! It was pull'd out with great Re­joicing [Page 13] by all but the Delinquent, who express'd some Pain; and so ends this excellent Comedy.

But Time has polish'd this Rudeness, and true English Tragedy and Comedy is allow'd to stand in the utmost Perfection. Yet Bunglers will still be dabbling. Every polite Nation delights in the Drama. The heavy Dutch have Plays in their own Language, but they are generally plann'd from the Old Testament. I had a De­scription of one given me, from an English Spectator. It was the Story of Abraham sa­crificing his Son Isaac. But Abraham was arm'd with a Gun instead of a sacrificing Knife. The Angel, to prevent the Gun from firing, sprinkled some warm Water, a Distillation of its own making. The Ram in the Brake (which was represented by Boughs of Laurel) was a plump fat Dutchman (marry'd I suppose) with fair brow-spread Antlers on his Head, fix'd very artificially; and all the Decorations were of a Piece. But they have a handsome regular Theatre at the Hague, occupy'd by a French Troop of Comedians. Even the distant Chinese have very fine Theatres. I saw, in my Youth, a Chinese Performance at Canton, where the Scenes, Machines, and Habits, were sur­prising and magnificent; but not understand­ing the Language, the Glare growing familiar, as Addison says by Beauty,

Faded on the Eye, and pall'd upon the Sense.

Du Halde in his History of China has transla­ted [Page 14] into French several of the Chinese Drama­tic Authors; but they seem plann'd mostly a­like—A Prince secreted in his Youth by an evil Minister, and counterplotted by a good one: The Child at last brought from its Ob­scurity, marry'd to a great Princess, and begins his happy Reign. But these illustrious Ladies have but little to say for themselves, no more than the lost Daughters in the Comedies of Te­rence, found again by the Parents, and mar­ry'd to the Son of a Friend. Tavernier in his Travels to the East-Indies informs us, that Theatres have been many Ages the Diversion of the Chinese, and more magnificent than those of Europe. He relates a long Description of them; and the more to illustrate that Account, gives you the Plan and Picture of one en­grav'd, with the Scenes and Machines. The People of America had their Theatre, accord­ing to Acosta a. But what need we travel so far [Page 15] from Home? 'Tis Time to come back to our own Country, with this Observation, that po­lite Nations allow the Theatre a wise and instructive Amusement. Even the Apostles did not disapprove of Plays, and no doubt read them; for St. Paul, in his First Epistle to the Corin­thians, quotes Menander the Greek Comic Poet, and sets down his own Phrase in his own Words, xvth Chapter, 33d Verse, Be not de­ceiv'd—Evil Communication corrupts good Man­ners. Arts, Sciences, and even Trade, gene­rally flourish with the Theatre, and, I think, Religion and Politeness, and why may not the Drama be a great Mark of a civiliz'd Nation? The Greeks and Romans were in their highest Glory when the Stage flourish'd. I need not say, that the Theatre in England came in with the Reformation, and the long-reign'd Queen Elizabeth, whose great Learning not only made her give it Encouragement, but Sir Roger Naunton tells us, that great Queen translated one of the Tragedies of Euripides from the [Page 16] original Greek for her own Amusement. Our immortal Shakespear met Reward from that illustrious Princess, and her Influence brought forth his inimitable Genius to that high Lustre, where it will shine unrival'd to after Ages, never once clouded but in the Time of Fa­naticism, and drear Darkness of Canting and Hypocrisy. France was poring in the thick Mist, till Hardy their first Poet shewed Dra­matic Light; then all Branches of Learning began to shine, and spread their Lustre, im­prov'd their Arts and Arms, and warm'd their wide-spreading Nation to Glory, when Conquest waited on their Monarch, and Vic­tory cover'd him with Laurels, till check'd by the British Lion. Ambition in great Minds stands rank'd in the Line of Virtue; but I think to bound it is more truly a Virtue, as sweet-tongu'd Waller writes:

If the successful Troublers of Mankind,
With Laurel crown'd, so great Applause do find;
Shall the vex'd World less Honour yield to those,
That stop their Progress, and their Rage oppose?
Next to that Pow'r which does the Ocean awe,
Is to set Bounds, and give Ambition Law.

But let me set Bounds to myself.

As the Stage flourish'd in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth and King James the First, with such excellent Dramatic Poets, viz. Shakespear, Ben Johnson, Massenger, and many others, we may be well assur'd the Actors did not fall much [Page 17] short of the Writers. Nature is the same in every Age. Taylor, Burbidge, Lowen, Hem­mings, Condel, Allen, Mason, Field, Tarlton, and others that performed in the Plays of Shakespear, Johnson, &c. have their public Praises in several cotemporary Authors. Mr. Marlow in his Preface to the Jew of Malta (a Play acted before King Charles the First and his Queen, at Whitehall, in the Year 1633.) writes, "that Mr. Mason and Mr. Taylor perform'd their Parts with that Excellence, that it was beyond conceiving." Sir Richard Baker in his Chronicles of England, at the latter End of Queen Elizabeth, after giving an Account of the eminent Persons in that Reign, writes thus of three Actors: "Excellency in the meanest Things deserves Remembrance. Richard Burbidge, and Edward Allen, two such Ac­tors, as no Age must ever look to see the like: And, to make their Comedies com­plete, Richard Tarlton, for the Clown's Part, never had his Match, nor never will have." What this Writer calls the Clown's Part, were such as Launcelot in the Merchant of Venice, Touchstone in As you like it, the Fool in King Lear, and Parts of the Kind, which required Persons of infinite Humour.

Mr. Thomas Heywood was not only an excel­lent Actor, but a very great Author, and Dra­matic Poet. I have read all his Works that are extant, and in my poor Judgment he may be accounted the first of the second-rank'd Poets in the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and [Page 18] King James the First. I do not think it will displease the Reader, to give him a Catalogue of his great Labours.

1. Robert Earl of Huntingdon's Downfal, 1601.

2. Robert Earl of Huntingdon's Death, 1601. These two Pieces are the History of Robin Hood.

3. The Golden Age, 1611.

4. The Silver Age, 1613.

5. The Brazen Age, 1613.

6. A Woman kill'd with Kindness, 1617.

7. If you know not me, you know no-body. This is the History of Queen Elizabeth, with a Print of that great Queen in the Front, and the Spanish Armada destroy'd by her Majesty's Fleet, 1623.

8. The Royal King, and Loyal Subject, 1627.

9. The fair Maid of the West; or, a Girl worth Gold. First Part. 1631.

10. The fair Maid. Second Part. 1631.

11. The Duchess of Suffolk.

12. The Iron Age. First Part. 1632.

13. The Iron Age. Second Part. 1632.

14. The English Traveller, 1633.

15. A Maidenhead well lost, 1634.

16. The four London 'Prentices, with the Conquest of Jerusalem, 1635.

17. A Challenge for Beauty, 1636.

18. Fair Maid of the Exchange, 1637.

19. The wise Woman of Hogsdon, 1638.

20. The Rape of Lucretia, 1638.

21. Love's Mistress, 1640.

[Page 19] 22. Fortune by Land and Sea, 1655.

23. Lancashire Witches. The Date of this Play was wanting.

24. Edward the Fourth. In Two Parts. The late Mr. Bowman informed me, he was very well assured by Mr. Cleveland, a Poet of the last Age, this double Play was performed on two succeeding Nights, and had a very great Run (a Theatrical Term).

Several modern Authors have borrow'd from Mr. Heywood. I shall only mention two; Shadwell in his Lancashire Witches, and Field­ing in his Intriguing Chamber-Maid, from the English Traveller; or rather Renarde the Frenchman translated it into French from the English, and our English Privateer retook it back again. Though it is very possible, all three might have an Eye upon the Mostella­ria of Plautus. But this is sailing a little out of my Latitude. Yet we may be very well assured, this Poet must be in great Reputa­tion, by the Number and Success of his Dra­matic Works, when Skakespear and Fletcher were the reigning Monarchs of the Stage, not forgetting Ben Johnson and Massenger. And I repeat it here again, the Stage Performers must certainly be great in those Times, since few of our Poets have out-shone those that went before them, more especially Shakespear and Johnson. This last had no other Epitaph than O RARE BEN JOHNSON! and Burbidge, the Tragedian, by way of Estimation, Exit [Page 20] BURBIDGE. Mr. Richard Allen, another great Actor, founded and endowed a College pat Dulwich in Surry, at his own private Ex­pence.

[Page 21] We have had great Generals, knowing Ad­mirals, worthy Discoverers of new Worlds, as well as illustrious Poets, in the two last Ages; and why may not their cotemporary Theatrical Performers be as great in their Way? An Author, who wrote about Forty Years past, speaks thus of Mr. Betterton: ‘In the Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Den­mark, Mr. Betterton performed the Part of young Hamlet. Sir William Davenant q [Page 22] having seen Mr. Taylor, of the Black-Friers Playhouse, act this Part (who was instructed by the Author Shakespear), remembred him so well, that he taught Mr. Betterton, in every Article; which, by his exact Per­formance, gained the Actor Esteem and Reputation superlative to all the other Players.’ This Account makes it plain Taylor must be very great in the Part, since Betterton, his Imitator, performed it so well. And Betterton, in the Memory of many, was [Page 23] esteemed the greatest Actor of his Time. Read what the great Addison writes of him, who may be allowed a Judge of the Drama, as well as the Performers.

Such an Actor as Mr. Betterton ought to be recorded with the same Respect as Ro­scius among the Romans. The greatest Orator (Tully) has thought fit to quote his Judgment, and celebrate his Life. Roscius was the Example to all that would form themselves into proper and winning Beha­viour: His Action was so well adapted to the Sentiments he expressed, that the Youth of Rome thought they wanted only to be virtuous to be as graceful in their Appearance as Roscius. The Imagination took a lovely Impression of what was great and good; and they who never thought of setting up for the Art of Imitation, became themselves inimitable Characters. There is no human Invention so aptly calculated for the form­ing a free-born People, as that of a Theatre. Tully reports, that the celebrated Roscius used frequently to say, the Perfection of an Actor is, only to become what he is doing. I have hardly a Notion, that any Performer of Antiquity could surpass the Action of Mr. Betterton, in any of the Occasions in which he has appeared on our Stage. The wonderful Agony which he appeared in, when he examined the Circumstance of the Handkerchief in the Part of Othello; the Mixture of Love that intrudes upon his [Page 24] Mind upon the innocent Answers Desdemona makes; betrayed in his Gesture such a Va­riety, and Vicissitude of Passion, as would admonish a Man to be afraid of his own Heart, and perfectly convince him, it is to stab it, to admit that worst of Daggers, Jealousy. Whoever reads in his Closet this admirable Scene will find, that he cannot (except he has as warm an Imagination as Shakespear himself) find any but dry, in­coherent, and broken Sentences. But a Reader, that has seen Betterton act it, ob­serves there could not be a Word added; that longer Speeches had been unnatural, nay, impossible, in Othello's Circumstances. Mr. Rymer, the greatest Critic of the Age he lived in, in his Dissertation on Tragedy, speaks thus on Mr. Hart:

The Eyes of the Audience are prepos­sessed and charmed by his Action, before ought of the Poet can approach their Ears; and, to the most wretched of Characters, Hart gives a Lustre which dazzles the Sight, that the Deformities of the Poet cannot be perceived.

Now, after the Opinions of two such emi­nent Judges, why may we not suppose there were as great Stage Performers in Times past, as the present, without lessening the Merit of those that survive? If, in my simple Judg­ment, I allow the present equal to the past, I cannot allow that they exceed them, no more, perhaps, than the next Race of Theatrical Per­formers [Page 25] will excel many that now grace the Stage. Excellency, in this Science, does not always run in the Blood, or, like Estates, fol­low hereditary. They must be born Actors, as well as Poets and Painters: Yet there are many Dabblers in all three; but, alas! how few come to Perfection! We very rarely see Brothers or Sisters, Sons or Daughters. or any of the relative Line (though they sometimes take up the Calling, because one of the Race flourishes in the Theatrical Field) succeed in their Attempts. A Monarch may give Rib­bands, Titles of Honour, or add to his Peers, but no Power but that immortal Goddess Na­ture can form a perfect Actor: Yet some even of these forget their Instructress, and Faults invade them to sully their Perfections. Every Performer on the Stage ought to take Virtue for his Guide. Precepts from the Pulpit will not have all their Efficacy from a Monitor without Morals. A Discourse on Sobriety, on a Sunday, would lose something of its In­tention from an Orator known to baste the Bottle about all the past Saturday Evening till the Noon of Night, as Shakespear says. The Blind may hear, the Dumb and Deaf see, but every Sense must be perfect to instruct, and be instructed. Performers, of both Sexes, ought to imitate those virtuous Characters they re­present upon the Stage; the Dignity of the Theatre, then, might emulate that of Athens. 'Tis not the Business brings Scandal to the Performers, if they will take care to avoid [Page 26] drawing it upon themselves. I have known the Managers of Drury-Lane, and many of the rest of the Fraternity, meet Regard, and even Respect, from Persons of the first Rank, from their proper Behaviour; and I am con­vinced every one, with the like Conduct would meet with the like Treatment from People of Sense and good Breeding; but the Two-legg'd Brutes of the Creation will be ever incorrigible: A decent Dress will become their Station; but Pride ought to be as far di­stant from them, as the licensed Instructors of Divine Institution: For if Theatrical Perform­ers are Servants to the Public (as an eminent Actor publicly declared), they should never attempt to out-dress their Masters. Veluti in Speculum (behold as in a Glass), the Motto over the Front of Drury-Lane Theatre, will serve both Auditors and Actors; and, I think, carries a more instructive Meaning than the other, of Vivitur Ingenio (we live by Wit), which only relates to the Stage. A bad Painter is seldom copy'd, and Excellence is only worth Imitation; Dress beyond Station is Pride, and Pride very often brings Self-punishment. I have known Fidlers and Dancing-masters wear lac'd Cloaths, but they seldom improv'd any thing but the Taylor's Bill, and as much laugh'd at as the Baboon I have often seen in a lac'd Coat and a Bag-wig in the Parade at Bartholomew-Fair—Yet I have seen gold Fringe on silk Vests, with white silk Stockens, worn by the Dancers on the Ropes at Sadlers-Wells, [Page 27] that have bow'd and scrap'd in that rich Dress, picking up Halfpence thrown down by Coblers and Link-Boys. Such Sights put me in mind of the painted Eggs rof Muscovy, they don't relish the better for their Colour­ing, and gaudy Outsides. Even Roscius a­mong the Romans (though the Actors did not keep up their Reputations equal to those of Athens) was mark'd out as a Pattern for the Youth of Rome to follow in Decency of Dress, and Morals. Tully says, Cum artifex ejusmodi sit, ut solus dignus videatur esse, qui in scena spectetur; tum vir ejusmodi est, ut solus dignus videatur qui eo non accedat.‘So excel­lent an Artist, that he seem'd the only Per­son to adorn the Stage; and yet, in all other respects, so complete in every Grace and Virtue, that he seem'd the only Person that should not take up with such a Profession.’

[Page 28] Moral Virtue, and a decent Behaviour, will gain Esteem from People of every Rank, will add Weight to the Characters they represent, and even may atone for want of Excellency.

Lessons for the Stage may be convey'd, in one respect, stronger than from the Pulpit, if the Audience were attentive as they should be at Church: For a Play well wrote, and well perform'd, where Virtue suffers, or meets its just Reward, must have strong Force upon the Mind, where the Eye is suppos'd to view the very Persons in the real Circumstances of Histo­ry. What then will add to this Imagination? Why, the Performers to be as blameless as hu­man Nature will allow. I remember a virtuous Actress (or one reputed so) repeating two Lines in King Lear, at her Exit in the Third Act,

Arm'd in my Virgin Innocence I'll fly,
My Royal Father to relieve, or die,

receive a Plaudit from the Audience, more as a Reward for her reputable Character, than, perhaps, her Acting claim'd; when a different Actress in the same Part, more fam'd for her Stage-Performance than the other, at the Words Virgin Innocence, has created a Horse­laugh (no Reflection on the Audience, since a Theatrical Term), and the Scene of generous Pity and Compassion at the Close turn'd to Ri­dicule. Here the Audience are disconcerted, and the Reality of the Subject before them loses much of its Force, with the Imagination [Page 29] debilitated, if not turn'd another Way. On the other hand, indeed, if a Person who acts Iago, be suspected to wear a Heart that way inclin'd, he appears stronger in that Character, and meets with an Applause that condemns him. We may find, by these Examples, Vir­tue is of some Use upon the Stage, and would be more so, if more practis'd. To give In­structions to an Actor, is a very difficult Task; for if much is wanting, it is not worth while to give any. A rough Diamond may be polish'd, but few Pebbles are worth cutting. After ma­ny Requisites for the Stage, bad Action will even cause a good Figure to appear aukward; and tho' there may be Rules for Action, yet Nature is the best Teacher; and if an Actor of good Understanding is truly possessed with his Character, the true Action will involunta­rily occur. I remember Mrs. Porter, to whom Nature had been niggard in Voice and Face, so great in many Parts, as Lady Macbeth, Alicia in Jane Shore, Hermione in the Distrest Mother, and many Parts of the Kind, that her just Action, Eloquence of Look and Gesture, mov'd Astonishment! and yet I have heard her declare, she left the Action to the Posses­sion of the Sentiments in the Part she per­form'd. I have known some tolerable Actors, as to Countenance and Elocution, that have mortify'd both by the Badness of Action, more especially the proper Use of their Hands: Had they worn each in a Scarf, they had been much more tolerable, as it is the most expres­sive [Page 30] Part in the Action of the Body, so as Shakespear says, like an ill-sheath'd Knife, it will most hurt its Master. I think Quintilian says, all the Parts of the Body assist the Speaker; but the Hands speak without a Tongue, supplicate, threaten, call, dismiss, provoke, shew every Passion of the Soul. The Hands are the ge­neral Language of Mankind, and we need no Grammar but Nature to understand it. So by their aukward Use upon the Stage, we may turn the Serious into Ridicule. Mr. Booth would often regret the want of Opportunity for an Actor to continue in a graceful Attitude, which Nicolini the Italian Singer was so ma­sterly familiar with, between the Retornels of a Song, and other Occasions: Yet when Mr. Booth had the least Opportunity, he shew'd he only wanted it. I remember in the 5th Act of Othello, while he is listening to Emilia's speak­ing to Desdemona, after she is suppos'd to be strangled, he suited his Attitude and Coun­tenance to the Circumstances of the Scene, that I have not Art to describe, but the treble re­peated Applauses of the Audience, while he was silent, spoke such high Approbation, that Miss Santlow (afterwards Mrs. Booth) us'd to say, She thought the Audience were pleas'd poor Desdemona was strangled out of the Way

Of all the various Passions of Grief, a manly Sorrow is the most difficult to express. And of all the Actors I have ever yet seen, I must be pardon'd if I give the Preference to [Page 31] Mr. Wilks. No Heart, that was capable of being touch'd, but must have sympathiz'd at his Manner of speaking one Line in the Orphan to Monimia, in the Fifth Act.

My fatal Love, alas! has ruin'd thee!

And yet I have heard it spoke when it has given me no more Concern, than if a Voice had pierced my Ear with

Kettles or Pots to mend! Old Brass to mend!

If moving the Passions is a great Art in Acting, I think Mr. Wilks was Master of that Art. There was no avoiding feeling his Distress in another Line, when he performed the Part of the Royal Merchant in the Beggars Bush, a Comedy of Fletcher's. The Character is noted for beneficent Charity; and, when his flinty­hearted Creditors had just press'd him for Pay­ment, Clause his old Beadsman (tho' his Fa­ther in Disguise) comes as if to beg his usual Charity, when the Merchant replies with such a Tone that sinks into the Soul:

Clause, I pray thee leave me; for, by my Troth, I have nothing now to give thee.

Comparison is the true Touchstone of Excel­lence, and brighten'd Brass by a false Light might be taken for Gold, if not try'd.

[Page 32] In the 4th Act of Macbeth, when he is told by Lenox of the Loss of his Wife and Children, his Mixture of Sorrow and manly Grief at

He has no Children! Butcher! If he had,
The Thought of them would sure have stirr'd Remorse!

drew Tears from almost every Eye, when if he had blubber'd like a School-boy whipt, the touching Scene would have rais'd Laughter, in the place of Grief. And yet some particular People will not allow Mr. Wilks's Excellence to stand in Tragedy. If, indeed, he had attempted the Parts of Cato, Lear, Macbeth, Henry the VIIIth, Melantius, and a countless Catalogue of others in the same Class, I might have join'd in their Opinion; but while there is a Juba, an Edgar, Macduff, Buckingham, and Amin­tor, in the same Plays, I don't desire to see a better Performer in that Cast of Playing than Mr. Wilks: In Hamlet he pleas'd all the Au­dience; and if the best Judges laugh'd at his Parts in Comedy, I can't conceive they have shed more Tears since his much-lamented Death, at any of the above-mentioned Plays. I remember a few Years ago a Dispute a­rose between Two Theatrical Gentlemen upon this Stage, concerning the Propriety of a par­ticular Speech; the one, to enforce his Argu­ment, told the other, he never heard it spoke otherwise on the English Stage. Pho, reply'd the other Disputant, that was the old Way of [Page 33] Acting! A truly great Actor, that stood by, reply'd, Learn the old Way first, and when you are perfect, then begin a new one, if you can find it out: Art may invent Fashions in our Dress; but Nature is the same as the Habits of the Turks, which they have never yet alter'd. The Cloaths of the first Ottoman Prince is the Model of the Emperor that now reigns, and, as the divine Pope paints the unalterable Goddess,

Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchang'd, and universal Light;
Life, Force, and Beauty, must to all impart,
At once, the Source, and End, and Test of Art.

I have known many Actors with excellent Voices; so I have often known common Bal­lad-singers in the Streets with strong Lungs and Voices; but, for want of a Manner with Judgment, murder an excellent Song, and yet extort Praise from their Auditors. A Sow­gelder's Horn will pierce the Ear, and alarm all the Dogs in the Parish; but I believe most People would rather hear a Trumpet. The Voice, like an Instrument of Music, must be put in Tune, and, if managed by a skilful Actor, whose Mind feels the Passions, will send out the proper Tone, when a Bungler in Music does but harshly grate upon the Ear. But who is ignorant of this? If this is the Disease of the Stage, where is the Remedy? It must cer­tainly be in the Hands of the Manager, tho' no very easy Task. The Circumstances of a [Page 34] Theatre very often oblige the Directors to thrust Persons into Characters too weak to sup­port the Weight of them: Vanity is blended in most human Compositions, and the Stage is seldom free from it; therefore, when an Actor is once in Possession of a Part (Male or Female), they think it a very great Hardship to give it up to a better Performer. There are a much larger Number of common Soldiers in an Army than commanding Officers, and we have some few Instances of a Soldier rising to Preferment by Merit, whilst others grow grey with a Mus­quet upon their Shoulders; and yet, at some Time or other, a Soldier may do the Duty of a Corporal, if he is indisposed, or out of the Way: But that Exigence does not give him a Title to the Post. I remember an Actor was taken into the Theatre in Drury-Lane, for playing the Part of Caesar Borgia in a private Play; and when Mr. Booth was studying the Part, he thought it the greatest Oppression (as he call'd it) that could be thrown upon him: Nay, after Mr. Booth had perform'd the Part, with universal Applause, several successive Nights, this Person said, nay, bound it with an Oath, that Booth did not know how to speak a single Line: Yet this Person was a Man of Sense and Learning. But there are more Requisites to make a fi­nish'd Actor: Therefore, as they do not al­ways judge candidly for themselves, it is requi­site they should have one of unbyass'd and su­perior Knowledge to judge for them. When such Actors above-mention'd take Parts, as they [Page 35] thrust themselves into for their Benefits, as is too often the Case (and I think ought not to be al­low'd), it proves, as Shakespear says,

—Like a Player,
Bellowing his Passion, till he break the Spring,
And his rack'd Voice jar to the Audience.

There are too many Performers, of both Sexes, that are fond of choosing capital Parts for their Benefits, that sit upon them

—Like a Giant's Robe
Upon a dwarfish Thief:

And, at the same Time, excuse themselves from Rehearsals (that should prepare them to act with some Decency, at least), to cultivate their Interest; and, when they come to perform at Night, only take Shame to themselves, tho' they oft disconcert others; and may truly say,

Like a dull Actor, now I have forgot
My Part, and stop ev'n to a full Disgrace.
That's villainous, and shews a most pitiful Ambi­tion in the Fool that uses it. SHAK.

The noble Gift, of Playing well, is not given to all that play: Yet as, in building of Houses, there must be provided many Hands, even to the carrying the Morter; a Morter-carrier must be had, as well as the rest of the Hands in the Work: All are not equal to every Part in the Building, no more than every Actor is fit for [Page 36] every Part. If they attempt to wade out of their Depths, they are in great Danger of drowning; and, as our immortal Poet writes,

As in a Theatre the Eyes of Men,
After a well-grac'd Actor leaves the Stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next;
Will think his Prattle to be tedious.

Yet I have known many Persons belonging to a Theatre, not eminent in any superior Part, ne­ver offend, through their private Characters in Life. A modest Behaviour is commendable in every Station, but much more observed in Per­sons of a public Profession, where the Eyes of Thousands are upon them. Confidence, Pride, and Vanity, will draw down Contempt and Ri­dicule from Superiours, with Disregard from all.

Of all the Causes which conspire to blind
Man's erring Judgment, and misguide the Mind;
What the weak Heart, with strongest Byass, rules,
Is Pride, the never-failing Vice of Fools. POPE.

Humility, Affability, and Good-nature, will claim Regard from all Ranks; and if any Stains are thrown upon the Profession, such Qualifica­tions will wipe them off: Yet I think there are no Spots but what they themselves throw upon it. We are apt, even in strange Company, to out with some Theatrical Quotation, that sel­dom fails of declaring what Business we follow. What need a Taylor talk of his Yard and [Page 37] Sheers, a Smith of his Forge, or a Brewer of his Grains? Let the Buskin and Sock be left in the Theatre. I know an eminent Actor, in­vited to dine in a mix'd Company of both Sexes, of Condition: When the Dinner seem'd a little tedious, before it made its Entrance, a Gentleman, one of the Invited, starts up, and cry'd, Zounds, Mr.—, give us the Ghost in Hamlet, by way of Grace! The Master of the House reply'd, there was no Meat he could give him was worth one Speech; besides, he did not invite Mr.—to pay for his Dinner that Way. It was only in Retaliation for the Supper he gave him the Night before, on the Stage, where no Cook but himself could dress such a Dish of black Broth (meaning Othello). So, by your Rule of Courtesy, if I had invited Fausan, I should have desired him to dance the Buffoon before Dinner. This was the Height of Civility to one, and a sufficient Rebuke to the other. The Fop (for he was no less), to plead his Excuse, told the Company, he had been many Times with several Actors, who took as much Plea­sure to speak Speeches, as he to hear them; and he did not doubt but they were People of great Judgment; for they generally own'd, other Performers did not act so well as them­selves. Yes, reply'd the Master of the House, Self-praise is always to be believed; yet I have known a Sign-painter criticize upon Raphael. Wit will be often entertaining, but a small Por­tion of one's own (if we had it) is better than a Cart-load of other Peoples: Yet Quotations [Page 38] from the Drama may shew some Judgment, when properly apply'd, and not too often. The Author of a Comedy, call'd The Play's the Plot, shews the Strolling Players, not im­properly, by their Style.

It is something surprising to me, that where Vice, in every Shape, with Folly, is expos'd daily to their View, Performers on the Stage should have any Faults, or, at least, Art enough to disguise them so well, that few should find them out. To hide the Passions Nature has sown in the Seeds of the human Race, will prevent their Growth, and, in Time, destroy them. May we not learn Virtue, and avoid Vice, by the instructive Lessons of the Drama? What premeditated Murderer would not feel Com­punction, or, perhaps, Repentance, at the Speech of Torrismond to the Queen in the Spa­nish Fryar, when she has given Commission to the Murder of the good King Sancho?

Think, timely think, on the last dreadful Day!
How will you tremble there to stand expos'd,
And foremost in the Rank of guilty Ghosts,
That must be doom'd for Murder! Think on Murder!
That Troop is plac'd apart from common Crimes:
The Damn'd themselves start wide, and shun that Band,
As far more black, and more forlorn, than they.

The Queen's Answer.

'Tis terrible! it shakes! it staggers me!
I knew this Truth, but I repell'd the Thought.
[Page 39] Sure there is none but fears a future State:
And when the most obdurate swear they do not,
Their trembling Hearts belye their boasting Tongues.

We may find, by this last Speech, the former had its desired Effect; since the Queen re­pented her impious Intentions.

In Rule a Wife we have another, upon the crying Sin of Adultery, which I shall set down as another Memento.

The Duke of Modena tries all his Arts to debauch Margarita, the Wife of Leon, a Wo­man of a vicious Inclination, who consented to marry Leon merely as a Tool, that she might indulge her Passions; but by the Spirit and Con­duct of her Husband was reclaim'd. When the Duke, by the Appointment of the worthy Leon, permits their meeting, after a ridiculous Fright from a Drunkard in the Cellar, which the Duke takes for a Spirit, he cries,

O! I am most miserable!

Margarita, the Wife, answers,

You are, indeed!
And, like a foolish Thing, have made yourself so.
Could not your own Discretion tell ye, Sir,
When I was marry'd, I was none of yours?
Your Eyes were then commanded to look off me,
And I now stand in a Circle, and secure.
Mark me but this, and then, Sir, be most miserable,
'Tis Sacrilege to violate a Wedlock:
You rob two Temples, make yourself twice guilty;
You ruin her's, and spot her noble Husband's.

[Page 40] We might go through the sacred Decalogue, with the Assistance of those Flowers in the spa­cious Fields of Poetry.

‘The Stage (says the Female Spectator), by its Institution, is the School of Virtue, and the Scourge of Vice; and when either of these noble Purposes is defeated, it is no Wonder that Persons of true Sense and Honour choose to absent themselves, and oblige their Fami­lies to do so too.’ So reasonable an Enter­tainment, as the Drama in its Purity, must be, in some sort, a Promoter to Virtue; therefore every Manager of a Theatre should make it his Study to exhibit no other Pieces but what aim to that End; and, by Degrees, throw off the looser Drama, and constitute, in its place, those that the wisest, and most virtuous, need not be asham'd to partake of the innocent Amuse­ment. I do not pretend to set up for a Monitor; but every Stage Performer would find his Ac­count in reforming the Stage, as well as them­selves. I do not mean this Admonition to any particular Theatre, but all in general, at Home and Abroad; for our Plantations in America have been voluntarily visited by some Itine­rants; Jamaica, in particular. I had an Ac­count, from a Gentleman who was possess'd of a large Estate in the Island, that a Company, in the Year 1733. came there, and clear'd a large Sum of Money; where they might have made moderate Fortunes, if they had not been too busy with the Growth of the Country. They receiv'd 370 Pistoles the first Night, to [Page 41] the Beggars Opera; but within the Space of two Months they bury'd their third Polly, and two of their Men. The Gentlemen of the Island, for some Time, took their Turns upon the Stage, to keep up the Diversion; but this did not hold long; for, in two Months more, there were but one old Man, a Boy, and a Woman of the Company, left: The rest died, either with the Country-Distemper s, or the common Beve­rage of the Place, the noble Spirit of Rum­punch, which is generally fatal to New-comers. The shatter'd Remains, with upwards of 2000 Pistoles in Bank, embark'd for Carolina, to join another Company at Charlestown, but were cast away in the Voyage. Had the Company been more blest with the Virtue of Sobriety, &c. they might, perhaps, have liv'd to carry home the Liberality of those generous Islanders.

[Page 42] Even the Wicked have some Regard to Vir­tue, are often aw'd by Persons that are reputed to wear that amiable Character. Persons on the Stage, which is too liable to Insults, escape them there, unless, as in a Crowd of Quarrel­lers, where a Looker on may meet with an ac­cidental Stroke. But these Theatrical Squabbles are too often ungenerous from the Audience, or, I should say, from a small Part of the Au­dience; for a Dozen, when they are pleas'd to take it into their Heads, shall disturb the Whole, and disconcert the best Actors in the World. Is not this a gross Affront upon the rest? What Right have I to rob my Neigh­bour of his Money, and Satisfaction? He pays the Price to be entertain'd for two or three Hours, and, perhaps, would be as well con­tented with a well-acted Play, as a Dinner. Now, if I should come to you, Sir, be you who you will, while you are sat down to your Meal at a Tavern, turn the Drawers down Stairs, throw your Provision about, prevent your eat­ing your Dinner with any Satisfaction; I should think you a very good-natur'd Gentleman, if you only thrust me out of your Room; because I should imagine I deserv'd worse Treatment.

I remember, above twenty Years past, I was one of the Audience, at a new Play: Before me sat a Sea-Officer, with whom I had some Acquaintance; on each Hand of him a Couple of Sparks, both prepar'd with their offensive Instruments vulgarly term'd Cat-calls, which they were often tuning, before the Play began. [Page 43] The Officer did not take any Notice of them till the Curtain drew up; but when they conti­nued their Sow-gelder's Music (as he unpolitely call'd it), he beg'd they would not prevent his hearing the Actors, tho' they might not care whether they heard, or no; but they took little Notice of his civil Request, which he repeated again and again, to no Purpose: But, at last, one of them condescended to tell him, If he did not like it, he might let it alone. Why, really, reply'd the Sailor, I do not like it, and would have you let your Noise alone; I have paid my Money to see and hear the Play, and your ridiculous Noise not only hinders me, but a great many other People that are here, I believe, with the same Design: Now if you prevent us, you rob us of our Money, and our Time; there­fore I intreat you, as you look like Gentlemen, to behave as such. One of them seem'd mollified, and put his Whistle in his Pocket; but the other was incorrigible. The blunt Tar made him one Speech more. Sir, said he, I advise you, once more, to follow the Example of this Gen­tleman, and put up your Pipe. But the Piper sneer'd in his Face, and clap'd his troublesome Instrument to his Mouth, with Cheeks swell'd out like a Trumpeter, to give it a redoubled, and louder Noise; but, like the broken Crow of a Cock in a Fright, the Squeak was stopt in the Middle by a Blow from the Officer, which he gave him with so strong a Will, that his Child's Trumpet was struck thro' his Cheek, [Page 44] and his Companion led him out to a Surgeon; so that we had more Room, and less Noise; and not one that saw or heard the Affair, but what were well pleased with his Treatment; and, notwithstanding his great Blustering, he never thought it worth his while to call upon the Officer, tho' he knew where to find him. It is certainly a Mark of Cowardice to insult in public Company, or strike a Man who has his Hands bound; and yet I have known a poor Actor pelted by Puppies, that would run away at the Sight of a Stage-Foil, that has neither Edge or Point.

As Cheats to play with those still aim,
That do not understand the Game;
So Cowards never use their Might,
But against those that must not fight. Hud.

Actors in France meet with Respect (I mean if they will endeavour to deserve it, which in my Opinion they may easily do); and are ac­ceptable in the Company of Rank and Figure in that polite Nation; and tho' the Clergy scrupled to give Moliere athe Rites of the Church at his Death, yet Lewis the XIVth of­ten convers'd with him in his Closet, as well as in Public.

[Page 45] I shall not say much more on this Subject, and it may be, I have said too much already. For I am convinced, Nil sub sole novum, no not even in Fashions; for what we receive for new, are only the old ones taking their Course over again. The Stage is the Epitome of the great World, as Boileau has said long ago.

Le monde à mon avis est comme une Grand Theatre, &c.
[Page 46] The World, in my Opinion, is a Stage,
Where, in deceiving others, all engage:
Hence the discerning Eye can often scan
The Player widely diff'ring from the Man:
The Blockhead, prating from another's Book,
The Scholar apes with supercilious Look;
And the sly Knave, by putting Virtue on,
Deceives the Virtuous till they are undone.

'Tis very possible Boileau might have Shake­spear in view, in these Lines, from that of An­tonio's Speech in the first Act of the Merchant of Venice;

I hold this World but as a World, Gratiano,
A Stage, where ev'ry Man must play his Part, &c.

The French have borrowed from us, as well as we have from them. Le Comte d' Essex is not only plann'd upon Banks's Earl of Essex, but has many Speeches for several Pages together translated. The best modern Tragic Poet France has produced since Corneille and Racine (Monsieur a Voltaire), has in Oedipus follow'd [Page 47] our English Play of that Name, and ends his third Act with a verbal Translation from Nat. Lee.

To you, just Gods, I make my last Appeal:
Or clear my Virtues, or my Crimes reveal, &c.

His Zaire looks after Othello in its Jealousy, and all the rest of his Plays seem to be of English Extraction.

Now let us leave Greece, Rome, France, Bri­tain, and the rest of the World, and retire to this Kingdom, where no Snake in the Grass will rise to bite the unwary Traveller, no Blind-worm or [Page 48] Adder to hiss us into Fears, Viper or Toad to molest our Eyes, or noisome Spider to spread her Venom, which, according to some of the antient Irish Bards, were banish'd the Island many Ages before St. Patric a.

[Page 49] This Kingdom of Ireland is one of the last in Europe where established Theatres were erected; yet I am assur'd one of the first, whose Bards or Poets have celebrated in Verse the illustrious Actions of their Monarchs, nor any Nation in the World, where Poetry and Poets were in such high Esteem. Every antient and noble Family had one in their Houshold, and their Kings their Poet Laureats, as we have in England, but long, long before the English invaded Ireland. The Poets had their Seats in their great assembled Triennial Coun­cils, which you may find by the following Lines translated from the original Irish by the same Hand.

Once in three Years the great Convention sat,
And for the public Happiness debate.
[Page 50] The King was seated on a Royal Throne,
And on his Face majestic Greatness shone.
A Monarch for heroic Deeds design'd
(For noble Acts become a noble Mind):
Around him, summon'd by his strict Command,
The Peers, the Priests, and Commons of the Land:
The Bards, or POETS, are indulg'd a Place,
And Men of Learning the Assembly grace.
Here Love and Union ev'ry Look confess'd,
And Joy and Friendship beat in ev'ry Breast.
Justice, by nothing biass'd or inclin'd,
Is deaf to Pity, to Temptation blind;
For here with stern and steddy Rule she sways,
And flagrant Crimes with certain Vengeance pays;
Tho' just, yet so indulgently severe,
Like Heav'n, she pities those she cannot spare.

A few Lines more of the same Author, and same Translator, will tell you the Poet Lau­reat's Business at Court; for he was one of the ten Officers that attended the Kings of Ireland.

A Poet to applaud, or boldly blame,
And justly to give Infamy or Fame:
For without him the freshest Laurels fade,
And Vice to dark Oblivion is betray'd.

By these Lines we may gather, that their Poets were their Historians; and it may be suppos'd, if they had thought of the Drama, we might have had some elegant Tragedies handed down to us. But to proceed.

Mr. Ogilby the Master of the Revels in this [Page 51] Kingdom (who had it from proper Authority) inform'd Mr. Ashbury, that Plays had been of­ten acted in the Castle of Dublin when Blount, Lord Mountjoy, was Lord-Lieutenant here in the latter End of the Reign of Queen Eliza­beth. And Mr. Ashbury saw a Bill for Wax Tapers, dated the 7th Day of September, 1601. (Queen Elizabeth's Birth-day) for the Play of aGorboduc done at the Castle, one-and-twenty Shillings and two Groats. But it is to be sup­posed they were Gentlemen of the Court that were the Actors on this Occasion.

I cannot find any established Theatre in Dub­lin till the Year 1635. when the Earl of Straf­ford was Lord-Lieutenant of this Kingdom, in the tenth Year of the Reign of King Charles the First, John Ogilby, Esq then Master of the Revels, under the Title of Historiographer to his Majesty, and Master of the Revels in the [Page 52] Kingdom of Ireland, and I believe the first that wore the last Title. This Theatre was built by his Directions in Warberg-Street, where the Company continued to act, till the unhap­py Rebellion broke out in the Year 1641 a. The Theatre was then shut up, by Order of the Lords Justices, sign'd William Parsons, and John Borlace. We do not find any mention of a Theatre in Dublin, till the Year after the Restoration 1661. which was built on the Spot where the Theatre now stands in Orange-street, commonly call'd Smock-alley; how it came by the last Name, may be easily guess'd.

We find in the Year 1662. Pompey, a Tragedy acted at the Theatre in Dublin, translated from the French of Corneille: It is wrote in Verse by Mrs. Catharine Phillips (the fam'd Orinda) term'd by her cotemporary Poets the English Sappho. This Lady wrote another Play call'd Horace, taken from the same French Author, [Page 53] but neither of them play'd in England, till af­ter her Death, which fell out in the Year 1664. in the 31st Year of her Age, of the Small-Pox. From this we may gather that she resided in Ireland, since both her Plays were acted in this Kingdom some Years before they were per­form'd in England.

The Theatre in Smock-Alley was so badly built, that in the Year 1671. some Part of it sell down, when two were kill'd, and several sorely maimed. We can give little Account of the Theatre here from this Time till after the Revolution; all that can be given will be noted in the Life of Joseph Ashbury, Esq Playing was discontinued during the Troubles between King William and James the Second; but when quiet Peace was restored, the Theatre opened again with Othello Moor of Venice; the Part of Othello, by Mr. Wilks (See more of this in the Memoirs of that excellent Player). This Play was acted by Officers mostly about the Castle, Mr. Ashbury Iago only, for the Com­pany was not form'd till three Months after, when they began again with Othello, which was on March 23. 1691-2. the Day of pro­claiming the End of the Irish War. The Com­pany play'd on with Success many Years, and I find by the Cast of Sir George Etheridge's three Comedies, there has not been a better in all its Branches since, which I shall set down in proper Order, that the Reader may judge for himself. The Cast of these three Plays I had [Page 54] from the late well-received Comedian, Thomas Griffith, Esq

The Comical Revenge; or, Love in a Tub.
  • Lord Bevil by Mr. Schoolding
  • Lord Beaufort by Mr. Buckley
  • Colonel Bruce by Mr. Booth
  • Louis by Mr. Keen
  • Sir Frederic Frolick by Mr. Wilks
  • Dufoy by Mr. Bowen
  • Sir Nicolas Cully by Mr. Norris
  • Wheedle by Mr. Estcourt
  • Palmer by Mr. Trefusis

  • Graciana by Mrs. Knightly
  • Aurelia by Mrs. Ashbury
  • Mrs. Rich by Mrs. Hook
  • Laetitia by Mrs. Harrison
  • Mrs. Grace by Mrs. Martin
  • Jenny by Mrs. Schoolding
She Wou'd if she Cou'd.
  • Sir Oliver Cockwood by Mr. Norris
  • Sir Joscelin Jolly by Mr. Estcourt
  • Mr. Courtal by Mr. Wilks
  • Mr. Freeman by Mr. Booth
  • Mr. Rakehell by Mr. Griffith
  • Thomas by Mr. Trefusis

[Page 55]

  • Lady Cockwood by Mrs. Smith
  • Ariana by Mrs. Schoolding
  • Gatty by Mrs. Hook
  • Mrs. Sentry by Mrs. Ashbury
  • Mrs. Gazet by Mrs. Harrison
  • Mrs. Trinket by Mrs. Martin
The Man of Mode; Or, Sir Fopling Flutter.
  • Dorimant by Mr. Wilks
  • Medley by Mr. Booth
  • Old Bellair by Mr. Estcourt
  • Young Bellair by Mr. Elliot
  • Sir Fopling Flutter by Mr. Griffith
  • Shoemaker by Mr. Bowen
  • Handy by Mr. Norris
  • Parson by Mr. Trefusis
  • Lady Townley by Mrs. Smith
  • Loveit by Mrs. Knightly
  • Belinda by Mrs. Schoolding
  • Emilia by Mrs. Elliot
  • Lady Woodvil by Mrs. Martin
  • Harriet by Mrs. Ashbury
  • Pert by Mrs. Hook
  • Busy by Mrs. Harrison
  • Orange-Woman by Mrs. Cross

Here we may see Messieurs Ashbury, Wilks, Booth, Keen, Estcourt, Norris, Griffith, Bowen, Cross, and Trefusis, on one Stage at the same [Page 56] Time in Dublin, most of them eminently great in their different Way of acting. For the Women, I know little of any but Mrs. Ashbu­ry; yet I have been inform'd by Mr. Wilks, that Mrs. Knightly, Mrs. Hook, and Mrs. Smith, were very good Actresses in their different Parts. Mrs. Ashbury is taken Notice of in the Memoirs of her Husband. I will put down the Cast of three Plays more in Year 1715. when I was first in this Kingdom, and shall begin with

Timon of Athens; or, the Man-Hater.
  • Timon by Mr. Tho. Elrington
  • Alcibiades by Mr. Evans
  • Apemantus by Mr. Ashbury †
  • Nicias by Mr. Fr. Elrington
  • Phaeax by Mr. Thurmond
  • Aelius by Mr. Trefusis †
  • Cleon by Mr. Quin
  • Isidore by Mr. Hall
  • Thrasillus by Mr. Daugharty a
  • Demetrius by Mr. Leigh
  • Poet by Mr. Griffith
  • Painter by Mr. Oates
  • Jeweller by Mr. Bowman
  • Musician by Mr. Hallam

[Page 57]

Those with this Mark † were of the former Company.
  • Evandra by Mrs. Thurmond
  • Melissa by Mrs. Wilkins
  • Chloe by Mrs. Haywood b
  • Thais by Miss Wilson
  • Phrinia by Miss Schoolding c
  • Tamerlane by Mr. Ashbury
  • Bajazet by Mr. Tho. Elrington
  • Axalla by Mr. Leigh
  • Moneses by Mr. Evans
  • [Page 58]Prince of Tanais by Mr. Quin a
  • Omar by Mr. Hall
  • Haly by Mrs. Fitzgerald b
  • Stratocles by Mr. Oates
  • Dervise by Mr. F. Elrington
  • Mirvan by Mr. Minns
  • Zama by Mr. Boman
  • Arpasia by Mrs. Thurmond
  • Selima by Miss Wilson

The Committee; or, the Faithful Irishman.

  • Colonel Careless by Mr. Ashbury
  • Colonel Blunt by Mr. T. Elrington
  • Lieutenant Story by Mr. Evans
  • Mr. Day by Mr. F. Elrington
  • Abel by Mr. Quin
  • Obadiah by Mr. Trefusis
  • Teague by Mr. Griffith
  • 1st Committee-man by Mr. Hall
  • 2d Committee-man by Mr. Minns
  • 3d Committee-man by Mr. Bowman
  • Bookseller by Mr. Hallam
  • Bailiff by Mr. Kendall
  • Mrs. Day by Mrs. Martin c
  • Arabella by Mrs. Ashbury
  • Ruth by Mrs. Thurmond
  • Mrs. Chat by Miss Schoolding

[Page 59] Distinguished Characters in Bills were not in Fashion, at the Time these Plays were per­form'd; they were printed in Order according to the Drama as they stood, not regarding the Merit of the Actor. As for Example, in Mac­beth, Duncan King of Scotland appear'd first in the Bill, tho' acted by an insignificant Person; and so every other Actor appear'd according to his Dramatic Dignity, all of the same-siz'd Letter. But latterly, I can assure my Readers, I have found it a difficult Task to please some Ladies, as well as Gentlemen, because I could not find Letters large enough to please them; and some were so very fond of Elbow-room, that they would have shoved every body out but themselves, as if one Person was to do all, and have the Merit of all, like Generals of an Ar­my; such a Victory was gained by such a King, and such a Prince, while the other Offi­cers and Soldiers are forgot. But as Trim tells us in the Funeral, or, Grief A-la-mode, 50,000 of such Rascals as these will make an Alexander. I shall leave this last Quarter of a Hundred of Years to the Memory of others, that I may the sooner come to the Conclusion of my little History, and fall upon the Memoirs. I have told you the first Theatre was built in 1635. and the old Smock-Alley House in 1661. and now I shall proceed to the rest, as they stand at present.

In the Year 1732. a Theatrical Booth was erected by Mrs. Violante an Italian Lady, cele­brated for Strength and Agility, a Qualifica­tion [Page 60] that does not render the Fair-Sex the least more amiable; the Strength of the Limbs, which these Sort of Undertakers expose, in my Opinion, is shockingly indecent; but hers were masculinely indelicate, and were of a Piece with the Features of her Face. I am informed, the shewing her Limbs did not meet with the Suc­cess in this Kingdom, as she had found in her elder Sister, England; that Lady's Children delight in such Entertainments: Bull-baiting, Boxing, Bear-garden, and Prize-fighting, will draw to them all Ranks of People, from the Peer to the Pedlar: Our late English Gladiator, Mr. Figg, of Cutting-slashing Memory, made much private Emolument by his public Va­lour, more especially in Linen a.

[Page 61] But to Mademoiselle Violante. She, finding her Tumbling tiresome, fell into Playing and Pan­tomime (another Disgrace to the Drama). Mr. Barrington, Mr. John Morris, and, I think, Mr. Beamsly, Miss Woffington, Miss Mackay (now Mrs. Mitchel), and many others, came under her Directions, and play'd several Dramatic Pieces with Grotesque Entertainments, till stopt by the Lord Mayor of the City of Dublin; Mrs. Violante having no Sanction, or proper Au­thority, to exhibit such Entertainments. The hPlace is put to another Use.

[Page 62] I shall take Leave of Violante, and her Po­stures, and give it, as my own Opinion, that I think such Diversions are below the Dignity of the Stage, or Humanity. Where can be the Satisfaction, when Death and Danger attend it? I have the Fate of Lady Isabella iever present to my Memory at the mentioning of such dangerous Entertainments. I should have told my Reader, that Mrs. Violante had let her [Page 63] Booth to Mr. Luke Sparks, Mr. John Barring­ton, Miss Mackay (now Mrs. Mitchel), for three Pounds per Week: The three mentioned Per­sons, being all very young, fell desperately in Love with the Dramatic Poets, and were re­solved to marry them, with their Poetical For­tune, that is, without a Rag to cover their Nakedness, or rather nothing but Rags; for their Scenes had shewed their best Days. How­ever, Cloaths were borrowed, some from Friends, and some to be paid for; and they began with a Comedy of Farquhar's, call'd The Inconstant, or, The Way to win him; the three chief Parts being performed by the three adventurous Un­dertakers; viz.

  • Young Mirabel by Mr. Sparks
  • Duretete by Mr. Barrington
  • Bisarre by Miss Mackay.

Mr. Sparks (as having played before, in a Country Company) was the Manager. The Play was performed much better than was ex­pected, and their Company soon became more numerous, being join'd by others that look'd more to Profit than Pleasure; for these three [Page 64] Lovers of the Drama could play Heroes and Heroines, without eating; Love for the Sub­lime was enough for them: However, other People did not relish this Cameleon Diet, and hunger'd after something more substantial; therefore resolved upon Benefits, and gave the first to Miss Mackay, in order to break the Ice. The Fop's Fortune was the Play, and she then being a young promising Actress, several La­dies, of the first Rank, espous'd her Cause, and brought upwards of Forty Pounds to her Benefit. They might well say, with the Herald in the Rehearsal,

They had not seen so much the Lord knows when.

The Success of this Benefit alarmed the Old Smock-alley House, who applying to the Lord Mayor, he sent Orders to forbid their Acting; and it was with much Difficulty they had Leave to play one more, which was, Woman's a Riddle, to a good House,

And that the last.

This was the Spring from whence Ransford-street arose, out of the Power of the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Ransford-street Theatre was built, and open­ed, for the first Time, under a Licence granted by the Right Honourable the Earl of Meath k, [Page 65] being Part of his Liberties. The first Play that was performed there was, a Comedy call'd

(The Company being under the Directions of Mr. Husband.)
  • Sir Sampson by Mr. Moore l
  • Valentine by Mr. Husband
  • Tattle by Mr. Ravenscroft m
  • Foresight by Mr. Bourne n
  • Ben by Mr. Sparks
  • Trapland by Mr. Daniel
  • Jeremy by Mr. Roch
  • Angelica by Mrs. Ravenscroft o
  • Mrs. Foresight by Mrs. Smith p
  • Mrs. Frail by Miss Mackay q
  • Miss Prue by Miss Barnes r
  • Nurse by Mrs. Talent s

[Page 66] I never saw this Theatre, but have been in­form'd, it was a very neat, compact Building, capable of containing an hundred Pounds, at common Prices, which they never raised, but at Benefits.

The Company performed here above a Year with tolerable Success, sometimes Neap, and sometimes Spring-tides; but when Henry the Eighth, with the pompous Coronation, was exhibited at the Theatre in Aungier-street, they were almost forsaken; good Sense with Shew, for once prevailed, which is not always the Case.

As Poverty is the Mother of Invention, all the Wit of the Company went to work, and, at last, produced a Mock Coronation, with less Expence than a Lady's Tail at Aungier-street Theatre. It was called the Beggars Coronation (and not unworthy that Title), in the Play of The Royal Merchant, or The Beggars Bush; with the following Prologue, on the solemn Occasion, ushered in by this Preamble, in Print:

APROLOGUE spoke at Ransford-street Playhouse, on the Revival of The Royal Merchant, or The Beggars Bush; which was acted with the Mock Coronation, on the playing King Henry the VIIIth and Coro­nation in Aungier-street Playhouse.

WELL, by this Time, your Eyes have ach'd with gazing
On Coronations, Masks, and Sights no less amazing!
[Page 67] Here, then, you come, unwilling to be pleas'd,
Longer than just your dazzled Sight is eas'd.
The Sun, 'tis true, will dim the strongest Eye;
And Darkness, only, can new Force supply—
Yet you must own, that, had no Shew been there,
You'd been content to kill an Ev'ning here.
The Coronation made so great a Noise,
Had there been none, Harry had miss'd your Voice;
Buffoon—Jack-pudding—Jobson—Hob, con­spir'd,
In vain, to make the burlesque King admir'd.
He play'd it, tho', some say, with wond'rous Art!
His Belly—shook; and—that was all the Part.
Yet, faith, 'tis odd—But we surprise you more
Than Harry's Hoh! or Wolsey's envy'd Store.
Here honest Clause shall gain a Beggar's Crown,
Tho' Tyrants threaten, and proud Churchmen frown!
Each willing Subject his small Tribute brings,
Abhorring Slav'ry, yet adoring Kings.
Clause, tho' a Beggar, 'midst his Rags is free;
Henry's a Slave to Tyrants great as he.
How does their Splendor mock their wretched Fate!
They mourn in Pomp, and starve in pageant State.
Like petty Kings, who Rome's Subjection own;
To feed its Pride, they hunger on a Throne.
If any here, with indigested Rage,
Will speak malignly of our sporting Stage,
As if, in Ridicule of Rites so known,
Sacred to Britain's Fame, and GEORGE's Crown,
We thus our Mockery of State pursue,
Let others our Design with Candour view,
[Page 68] And own, if any Disrespect appears,
'Tis them we mock; be, then, the Censure theirs.

As the World is fond of Novelty (and this Mock Coronation appearing new), the Stream of Success flowed upon them with a rapid Tor­rent, swelled their Pockets till they overflow'd their Banks, and water'd the Fields of many a Publican! Debts were cleared, and every single Person might, fearless, look at the Dial on the Tholsel.

Their Success went even beyond their Hopes, and Aungier-street suffered short Allowance (as they say at Sea), because the Current was turn'd another Way: Yet I find, by this Success, all do not think alike.

King Henry the Eighth, with the Coronation, in the utmost Magnificence, was performed in the Year of his present Majesty's Accession to the Throne, at the Theatre Royal in Drury­lane, London: The Success there was beyond the Bounds of Expectation; it was even added to every Play, as a Pantomime, &c. and exhi­bited, that one Season, 75 Times.

The Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn Fields got up a Mock Coronation, as a Burlesque upon that in Drury lane; but the Audience took a different Turn to that in Ransford-street; for the poor Mock Peers and Magistrates were pelted off the Stage, in the utmost Contempt, and all their Study and Labour came to nothing.

However, this Mock Coronation fill'd Rans­ford-street Theatre, seventeen succeeding Nights: [Page 69] But as Mountain-rivers soon overflow, they as soon sink, and rest in their natural Bed again: Ransford-street was too far out of the Way; therefore the Company, after three Years Occu­pation, forsook it. However, I shall subjoin a Couple of poetical Pieces of Poetry, occasioned by the above Prologue: Wits are a Tribe like Jews, and one Production begets another. As every Line of Battle Ship has its own Chaplain, so every Theatre have their own Poets; and sometimes, like Ragotin in Scarron, they may be found in itinerant Troops. The opponent Theatre produced one, spoken by Mrs. Bellamy in Boy's Cloaths, at a Time when an epidemic Cold had reigned greatly in Town.

Dear Ladies, may I perish, but I'm proud
To find you all recover'd, and so loud.
Not one sore Throat amongst you now remains,
Of that vile Cold of which the Town complains:
And, faith, you'll answer for me, I'm sincere,
When I profess I'm glad to see you here!
I found a Female Habit would not do,
And therefore try'd a Pair of Breeches too:
A spruce young Blade, well made, with such Ad­dress,
Among you Belles may speak with some Success—
And I, who am a Woman—to my Cost,
Know, by myself, what please the Ladies most—
In vain we strive our Merit here to show,
For ev'ry Night to Ransford-street you go;
Where painted Scenes, and tinsell'd taudry Dress,
Are only splendid Signs of Emptiness.
[Page 70] But this is Scandal; for all Dublin knows,
That Playhouse deals not over-much in Cloaths.

Two Venders of the same Commodity will be a little too apt to depreciate each other's Goods; therefore the Poet drew his Pen in their De­fence, and furnished forth the following Pro­logue, spoke by Miss Mackay, in the Character of Lady Townley, in the Provok'd Husband.

As some poor 'Squire, to Country Quarters sent,
His Credit gone, and all his Money spent;
A Swarm of Duns, each Morn, attend his Door,
Crying out, Money! Faith we're very poor.
Why ay! the 'Squire replies; but pray have Patience,
Six Months Arrears comes with my next Ac­quittance.
Just so I've told my Duns, this many a Day,
They'd all have Money when I got my Play t.
The other House, we thank their honest Care,
Have, to their Cost, engag'd the good Lord Mayor
To send us, as they thought—the Lord knows where!
Yet we'll forgive them, if they keep their Word;
But that is more than they can yet afford.
'Tis true, alas! we're scant in Cloaths, while they
Abound in more—than they can ever pay—
[Page 71] Our House is new—Thanks to our Benefactors u!
Nor do we envy those enslav'd Detractors:
They may get one, but Lord knows where get Actors w.

We may see, this last Bard did not take the least Advantage of his Antagonist: Their Lines were exactly even, and eighteen Thrusts given on each Side, and therefore neither could claim the Conquest; tho', like Battles in Flanders, each Side claimed the Victory, and each Ge­neral put on the Wreath of Conqueror.

The Theatre in Aungier-street was built by the voluntary Subscription of many of the illu­strious Nobility and Gentry of the Kingdom: The first Stone was laid by the Duke of Dorset, then Lord Lieutenant; but, I think, the Archi­tect had more View to the Magnificent, than Theatrical. The Audience Part is ornamented with rich Embellishment, that gives it a su­perb Countenance; but, no Disparagement to the Architect in other Buildings, this might have been more convenient, with less Cost. But I believe the Contriver had an Eye more to Ridottos, than the Drama: If so, indeed, his Intentions were answered; for, in that Shape, it may vie with that in the Hay-market in Lon­don. Thrusting my own Opinion, in this Man­ner, might have the Air of Presumption, if my Employment and Observation had not [Page 72] taken up full thirty Years of my Time: In other Buildings I would not pretend to give my Judgment on a Pigeon-house, or a Centry­box, or give Directions in erecting a thatched Cabin, or a Turnpike.

Aungier-street Theatre opened March the 9th, 1733-4. with the Comedy of The Re­cruiting Officer; the Parts acted as follows:

  • Captain Plume by Mr. J. Elrington
  • Justice Balance by Mr. Layfield
  • Captain Brazen by Mr. R. Elrington
  • Worthy by Mr. Watson
  • Kite by Mr. Vanderbank
  • Bullock by Mr. F. Elrington x
  • 1st Recruit by Mr. Reed y
  • 2d Recruit by Mr. Butler z
  • Silvia by Mrs. Bellamy
  • Melinda by Mrs. Wrightson
  • Lucy by Mrs. Reynolds
  • Rose by Mrs. Moreau

These were the main Body of the Theatrical Army in its first March, tho' several Auxilia­ries join'd them afterwards.

The Theatre in Smock-alley awas built by a voluntary Subscription. The Architect has [Page 73] considered the Building more for the real In­tention of the Proprietors, I mean for Profit: The Cavea, or that Part where the Audience sit, is much more convenient than that of Aungier-street, and will contain a fifth Part more in Number than the latter, altho' it does not appear so to the Eye: On the contrary, the Stage is more cramp'd for want of Room, which might have been otherwise at the first building.

When I came first from England, in the Year 1741. I brought over an experienc'd Ma­chinist, who alter'd the Stage after the Man­ner of the Theatres in France and England, and formed a Machine to move the Scenes re­gularly all together; but it is since laid aside, as well as the Flies above, which were made as convenient as the Theatre would admit: However, the present Manager has form'd it as regular and convenient as the Spot would al­low of, decorated it with all the Elegance of the Theatres Abroad, with proper Scenery and Habits, that her elder Sisters in England need not blush at the Figure she makes.

[Page 74] This new Theatre opened with a Comedy call'd Love makes a Man; or, The Fop's For­tune:

The Parts played as follows;

  • Don Antonio by Mr. Dash
  • Don Charino by Mr. Bourne
  • Carlos by Mr. Ward
  • Don Lewis by Mr. Wetherilt
  • Don Duart by Mr. Cashel
  • Clody by Mr. Sparks
  • Governor by Mr. Redman
  • Sancho by Mr. Barrington
  • Elvira by Miss Boucher
  • Lovisa by Mrs. Ward
  • Angelina by Miss Barnes b

But so eager were they to open (or to get Mo­ney), that they began to play before the Back-part of the House was til'd in; which the Town knowing, they had not Half an Au­dience the first Night, but mended leisurely by Degrees; where we shall leave them on the mending Hand, and walk to


This Theatre was built, like an aggrieved People in the State of Rebellion, their Forces raised in a Hurry, neither well cloath'd, arm'd, or paid; their Fortifications so slightly thrown [Page 75] up, did not promise a long Defence, though they had a Veteran at their Head, that might have taught them Discipline, had he taken pro­per Pains with his raw Soldiers; or rather, in­deed, had they been more capable of being taught: But this hasty Building was erected in the great Cause of Liberty!

The Love of Liberty with Life is giv'n,
And Life itself's th' inferior Gift of Heav'n.

This Company open'd under the Sanction of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, and call'd them­selves the City Company of Comedians. Their first Play was Shakespear's Merchant of Venice.

  • Duke by Mr. Rivers
  • Morochius by Mr. Brouden
  • Antonio by Mr. Townsend
  • Bassanio by Mr. Marshal
  • Gratiano by Mr. Hall
  • Lorenzo by Mr. Corry
  • Shylock by Mr. Wright
  • Tubal by Mr. Bourne
  • Launcelot by Mr. Morgan
  • Portia by Mrs. Brouden
  • Nerissa by Mrs. Phillips
  • Jessica by Miss Lewis

I shall leave the further Mention of this The­atre to the Memoirs of the worthy Projector of [Page 76] it, Harlequin Phillips, and end with its Neigh­bour,


O happy Manager! whose Servants never disoblige, or contradict his Will! No cla­mouring for Parts, or Pay! No Envy reigns among them! No Sycophants to corrupt his Ears with Falshoods, or cringing Flatterers to tickle his Vices, or swell his Pride and Vanity! But all obey him without Self-interest, or ever trouble themselves whether they are naked, or cloath'd; or ever repine at the Success of each other's Performance, or, like the Spaniards c, [Page 77] lay Faults on the Indians, to cover their own Cruelty. Mr. Punch's Theatre has been built and occupy'd by these decent and well-be­hav'd Performers several Years. It goes by the Name of the first Founder, STRETCH, as the Coffee-houses in London still go by the Names of Tom's, White's, and Will's; tho' the Names of their present Masters may be Jack, Sam, or Ned: However, it intimates, that the first were eminent in their Stations; and it expresses Modesty in the Survivors, in owning it, by continuing their Names, rather than their own.

Thus has this opulent City of Dublin every innocent Diversion, that may unbend the Mind, equal to any City of Europe, leaving the Ita­lian Opera out, which can neither produce Mirth or Sorrow, Pity or Compassion. Yet here is Music, in Perfection, converted to a better Use than in Britain, which produces a double Pleasure—the Charms of Harmony, and the Means to relieve the Poor.

I have been in most Parts of the World in my Youth, and in every Place of Note I have touch'd at (as the Sailors term it) have found the Natives of this Kingdom in Places of Trust and Power, venerated and esteemed by all. I [Page 78] shall therefore conclude with two Lines of that celebrated French Author Monsieur Voltaire d.

Peuple malheureux, doux, genereux, et vaillant,
En tous lieux exiles, mais par tout triomphant.
"Ill-fated Race! brave, generous, and true;
"Tho' Exiles in each Clime; thro' all, subdue."

MEMOIRS of the principal Performers on the STAGE.


THIS worthy Gentleman was born in London, the Year 1638. of an antient Family. His Father married a near Relation of that great Scholar and Soldier, Sir Walter Raleigh, who was first Gentleman to that Duke of Buckingham, that was kill'd by Lieutenant Felton in the Reign of King Charles the First. The Gentleman I am about to give an Ac­count of, was sent very young to a Eton-School, near Windsor, where he received a gen­teel Education, being very well instructed in classical Learning. After the Death of his Fa­ther, his Friends procur'd him a Pair of Co­lours in the Army under the Duke of Ormond, which was the first Time of his coming into [Page 80] this Kingdom, in the last Year of Oliver Cromwell's Administration.

Mr. Ashbury was one of the Number of Of­ficers that seiz'd the Castle of Dublin, when Go­vernor Jones was made Prisoner, and secur'd in Behalf of King Charles II. He was made Lieu­tenant of Foot of a Company granted by that Monarch to the City of Dublin, in the Year 1660. and 1662. the Duke of Ormond, the then Lord Lieutenant, made him one of the Gentlemen of his Retinue, and Deputy-Master of the Revels under John Ogilby, Esq some time after.

In the Year 1682. at the Death of the Master of the Revels, through Mr. Ashbury's Interest with the Duke of Ormond, he was made Pa­tentee, and Master of the Revels in this King­dom. His first Wife was Sister to an eminent Actor of that Time (Mr. Richards), by whom he had two Children, who died in their Infan­cy; and the Mother of them, being a very in­firm Woman, was not long after the Death of her second Child before she left the World.

Mr. Ashbury continued a Widower many Years, till, fixing his Eyes upon Miss Dar­ling, a blooming young Gentlewoman, Daugh­ter to the Reverend Mr. Darling, Dean of Em­ly, by this Lady he had two Sons, the eldest Mr. Boyle Ashbury, Lieutenant in Brigadier Bor's Regiment, and unfortunately killed in a Duel at Sligoe (where he was then on Duty) June the 9th, 1725. The last of the Male Race (Mr. Richard Ashbury) is Deputy Ath­lone Pursuivant, and an eminent Undertaker [Page 81] in Capel-street a. His only Daughter was married to Mr. Thomas Elrington.

Mr. Ashbury was not only the principal Actor in his Time, but the best Teacher of the Rudi­ments of that Science in the three Kingdoms. I speak not from my own Judgment, but that of many others, as Mr. Wilks, Mr. Booth, Mr. Keene, &c. To prove this, give me leave to insert a Letter from Mr. Wilks to Mr. Ashbury concerning Mr. William Wilks his Nephew b.

To Joseph Ashbury, Esq Master of the Re­vels, Dublin.

I Have no Pretence to ask a Favour of Mr. Ashbury, but that he has a thousand times oblig'd me. I take the Liberty, therefore, to recommend the Bearer, my Nephew c, to you for your Countenance and Favour: [Page 82] He was bred an Attorney, but is unhappily fallen in Love with that fickle Mistress the Stage, and no Arguments can dissuade him from it. I have refus'd to give him any Coun­tenance, in Hopes that Time and Experience might cure him: But since I find him de­termined to make an Attempt somewhere, no one, I am sure, is able to give him so just a Notion of the Business as Mr. Ashbury; and indeed I am proud to own, that all the Success I have met with, both with you, and in Eng­land, on the Stage, has been intirely owing to the early Impressions I received from You.

If you find that my Nephew wants either Genius, or any other necessary Qualification, I beg, dear Sir, that you will freely tell him his Disabilities; and then it is possible, he may more easily be persuaded to return to his Friends and Business, which I am in­form'd he understands perfectly well.

Before I had the Favour of yours, honest Jo Trefusis a, I believe, was near his Jour­ney's [Page 83] End; and I had taken care to furnish him with what was necessary, for which I neither expect or desire any Return; 'tis suf­ficient that you esteem it a Kindness, and I wish it were in my Power to lay a more last­ing Obligation upon Mr. Ashbury, or any of his Family. My most humble Service to the dearest Part of you—In plain Terms—your Wife—to Mr. Elrington and his Fanny—and pray believe, that I shall be ready on all Oc­casions, to shew how much I am, dear Sir, your oblig'd and faithful humble Servant,

Mr. William Wilks, the Nephew mentioned in this Letter, came over here, and play'd several Parts in the Old Smock-alley Theatre; and, tho' young and genteel, he was only the Shadow of his Uncle, and his Name befriended him more than his Abilities. He return'd to England, after a Year's Probation here, and was en­tered one of the Company in Drury-lane, at thirty Shil­lings a Week, and died before he had reached his 30th Year, or a higher Salary. He was a good Scholar, and had a tolerable Knack of Rhyming to his PHYLLIS.
Mr. Joseph Trefusis was the original Trapland in Love for Love, and a well-esteem'd low Comedian (a Theatrical Term to distinguish that Branch from the Gen­teel); and was famous for Dancing an aukward Coun­try Clown. He was an experienced Angler. As he was fishing by the Liffy Side, some Friends of his were go­ing in a Boat in order to embark for England. Jo, seeing them, called to them to take him in, that he might see them safe on board. He gave his Fishing-Rod to a Friend on Shore, to take care of till his Return; but Jo, it seems, was prevailed upon by his Companions to make the Journey to London with them, with his Fishing-cloaths upon his Back, not a second Shirt, and but seven Shillings in his Pocket. His Companions left him at London, and Mr. Wilks found him gazing at the Dial in the Square of Covent-Garden. He hardly knew him at first (as Mr. Wilks told me) but by his particular Gait, which was beyond Imitation When he asked him how he came there, and in that Pickle; Hum! ha! why faith, Bobby, reply'd Jo, I only came from Dublin to see what it was o'Clock at Covent Garden. However, Mr. Wilks new-cloath'd him, supply'd him with Money, and sent him back, as mentioned in the above Letter, be­fore he receiv'd Mr. Ashbury's Letter to supply him.

When the Earl of Wharton was Lord Lieu­tenant, some needy Courtier try'd all his In­terest to be made Master of the Revels; in­somuch that Mr. Ashbury was greatly alarm'd at it, which was said to proceed from a Re­port of his Death. Therefore, in the 74th Year of his Age he embark'd for England to solicit the Queen.

[Page 84] He arrived at Chester, from whence he sent the following Letter to his Wife concerning the Affair.

My Dear,

THIS is only to let you know that I am safely arrived at Chester, where I had the good Fortune to meet with Sir John Stanley, who was well pleased to see me. Af­ter I had told him the Cause of my Journey relating to my Patent, he bid me be assured, he would render me all the good Offices in his Power, and was of the Opinion it lay in the Will of the Duke of Shrewsbury our good Lord Lieutenant, without giving our gra­cious Queen the least Trouble concerning it. This Morning I had the Honour of a Visit from Mr. Kightly and Sir Richard Levinze, who are of the same Opinlon with Sir John, and have both promised me their utmost Assistance. Good Mr. Kightly tells me, he will put her Majesty in mind of her old Mas­ter b, as he was pleased to call me. I am so well satisfy'd in the Affair, that I would re­turn to thee on the first Opportunity, if I had not resolved to see my Sister, and my Son Tom Elrington's Father and Mother. [Page 85] Thou knowest it is troublesome to me to write; but to satisfy thee in thy longing De­sire to hear from me, I take the Trouble with Pleasure. I remain thine for ever,

My Blessing to all my dear Children.
I received this from the same Hand with the other.
Mr. Ashbury taught the Queen, when she was Prin­cess Anne, the Part of Semandra in Mithridates King of Pontus, which was acted at Court by Persons of the first Rank in the Banqueting-House, Whitehall, where Mr. Ashbury was Prompter, and conducted the Whole.

Mr. Ashbury suceeded Mr. Darling as Stew­ard of the King's-Inns, a Post of good Profit. I had not the Pleasure of knowing this great Man but till the latter Part of his Life; yet, notwithstanding his great Age, I have seen him perform several Parts with the utmost Satisfac­tion; and tho' at his Years it could not be ex­pected the Fire of Youth and Vigour should blaze out, yet Truth and Nature might be seen in a just Light. His Person was of an advantageous Height well-proportioned and manly; and, notwithstanding his great Age, erect; a Countenance that demanded a reve­rential Awe, a full and meaning Eye, pier­cing, tho' not in its full Lustre; and yet I have seen him read Letters, and printed Books, with­out any Assistance from Art; a sweet-sound­ing manly Voice, without any Symptoms of his Age in his Speech. I have seen him ac­quit himself in the Part of Careless in the Com­mittee so well, that his Years never struck upon Remembrance. And his Person, Figure, and Manner in Don Quixote were inimitable. The Use of a short Cloak in former Fashions on the Stage seem'd habitual to him, and in Comedy he seemed to wear it in Imagination, which [Page 86] often produced Action, tho' not ungraceful, particular and odd to many of the Audience; yet in Tragedy those Actions were left off, and every Motion manly, great, and proper.

Mrs. Ashbury, even in her noon-tide Sun, had an amiable Person, a sweet, innocent, mo­dest, winning Countenance; and, having so great a Master in the Art, was ever just in Speech and Action, without climbing to the Summit of Perfection; yet I have seen her perform one Part that seem'd a finish'd Ori­ginal, where all since have appeared to me but excellent Copies (if I may use the Term), that is, Mrs. Pinchwife in Wycherly's Comedy of the Country Wife.

Joseph Ashbury, Esq died July 24. 1720. in the 82d Year of his Age, retaining his Judg­ment to the last Moment of his Life. Mrs. Ash­bury surviv'd him a few Years, bewailing his Loss till she follow'd him to the Grave. This great Man was Master of the Revels to Five Monarchs of England, viz. K. Charles II. K. James II. K. William, Q. Anne, and K. George the First. I shall lead him to his Grave, with the following Poem on his lamented Death.

As distant Thunder in a rolling Cloud,
First murmurs inwardly, then roars aloud;
Till the dread Clap frights ev'ry mortal Ear,
And strikes them with a just and panic Fear:
Such was the sad distracted News which bore
The Tidings to us—Ashbury's no more!
The Muses speechless to his Shrine repair,
Ev'n Art, and Wit, stand silent Mourners there;
[Page 87] Yet bolder Zeal will Bands of Duty break,
And Gratitude has Liberty to speak:
True Passion too can Inspiration bring:
'Twas Grief first taught the Nightingale to sing—
From his, as from some Hero's awful Tomb,
Ev'n my dead Muse shall vital Warmth resume.
When first in Learning's Orb his Lustreblaz'd,
The World look'd up, transported and amaz'd!
His Words, as if inspir'd, Impression made;
Ulysses' Skill, without his Craft, display'd:
His Counsels ne'er were varnish'd o'er with Art,
With Policy he still did Truth impart,
Spoke Oracles, but always spoke his Heart.
By Judgment's Compass ev'ry Course he steer'd,
And watch'd the Signals ere the Storm appear'd.
His Prudence o'er the Surges did prevail,
With Ballast still proportion'd to his Sail—
Precipitately ne'er assum'd a Trust,
To promise, slow; but in Performance just:
By Grace instructed, and by Nature mild;
Nor relish'd Life, but when he reconcil'd.
His Life and Aspect did just Patterns give,
What Figures we should make, and how to live.

Mr. ANTONY ASTON, commonly called TONY.

THIS Person was bred an Attorney in England; but, having a Smattering of Wit and Humour, he left the Study of the Law for Parts on the Stage. He strain'd sorth a Comedy which was acted on the Theatre in [Page 88] Smock-alley, call'd Love in a Hurry, but with no Success. He play'd in all the Theatres in London, but never continued long in any; his Way of living was peculiar to himself and Fa­mily, resorting to the principal Cities and Towns in England with his Medley, as he call'd it, which consisted of some capital Scenes o Humour out of the most celebrated Plays. His Company were generally compos'd of his own Family, himself, his Wife and Son; between every Scene, a Song or Dialogue of his own Compo­sition, fill'd up the Chinks of the slender Meal. He pretended a Right to every Town he enter­ed; and if a Company came to any Place where he exhibited his Compositions, he would use all his Art to evacuate the Place of these Interlo­pers, as he called them. He was never out of his Way; or if he met with a sightly House when he was Itinerant, he would soon find the Name, Title, and Circumstances of the Fami­ly, curry them over with his humorous Verse, and by that means get something to bear his Charges to his next Station. His Finances, like those of Kingdoms, were sometimes at the Tide of Flood, and as often at low Ebb. In one, where his Stream had left the Chanel dry, yet ready to launch out on a trading Voyage with­out a Cargo, or Provision, he called up his Landlord, to whom there was something due, told him of his Losses in his present Voyage, and being sent for to another Place, desired he would lend him a small Sum upon his Wardrobe (which he shew'd him in a large Box) ten times [Page 89] the Value of the Debt owing, or the Sum bor­row'd. The honest Landlord, seeing a proper Security, easily comply'd, gave him the Sum demanded, lock'd up the Trunk, put the Key in his Pocket, and retired. But as no Vessel can make a Voyage without Sails, and other proper Materials, he had contriv'd a false Bot­tom to this great Box, took out the Stuffing, and by Degrees, sent off his Wardrobe by his Emissaries, unperceiv'd. And that the Weight should not detect him, he filled up the Void with Cabbage-stalks, Bricks and Stones cloath'd in Rags to prevent moving, when the Vehicle was to be taken the next Morning into the Landlord's Custody. Every thing succeeded to his Wish, and away went Tony, but far wide of the Place he mentioned to mine Host. A Week was the stated Time of Redemption, which the Landlord saw elapse with infinite Sa­tisfaction (for he had a Bill of Sale of the Con­tents in the Trunk); he open'd it with great Pleasure; but when he saw the fine Lining! he was motionless, like a Statue carv'd by a bungling Hand. He had recourse to Re­venge. A Bailiff with proper Directions was sent to the Place mentioned; but if he had discover'd the least Wit in his Anger, he might have thought Tony knew better than to tell him Truth. I only mention this little Story, to let the Reader know the Shifts the Itinerant Gentry are sometimes put to. For Tony, when his Finances were in Order, and cur'd of the Consump­tion, honestly paid him. I have had this Tale [Page 90] both from Tony and the Landlord, who then kept the Black-Boy Inn at Chelmsford in Essex.

If Tony by chance ever came to a Town where a Company of Showmen (as People oft call them) had got in before him, he present­ly declar'd War with them; and his general Conditions of Peace were, that they should act a Play for his Benefit, that he might leave the Siege, and march with his small Troop to some other Place. And as he was a Person of Humour, and a proper Assurance, he ge­nerally, like a Cat, skimm'd off the fat Cream, and left the lean Milk to those that stay'd behind. I believe he is Travelling still, and is as well known in every Town, as the Post-Horse that carries the Mail. He shall make his Exit with the two following Lines.

If various Dealers the same Goods exhibit,
They wish each other dangling on a Gibbet.


THIS excellent Tragedian was Son to John Booth, Esq of the County Palatine of Lancaster, a Branch of the Warrington Fa­mily. He was born in the Year 1681. in that County; but soon after his Birth his Father and Family removed to Westminster, and, at that celebrated School, the Son received his Education, under the Correction (as he call'd it) of the great Dr. Busby and Dr. Knipe. He [Page 91] inform'd me, the first Look he cast towards the Theatre, was from the Applause he received in performing in the Andria of Terence in La­tin at Westminster-School, which perverted his Thoughts from the Pulpit, for which his Fa­ther intended him. At Seventeen he was chose out for the University, and had Orders to prepare for his Journey; but his Inclinations prevented the Designs of his Friends.

He first apply'd to Mr. Betterton, then to Mr. Smith, Two celebrated Actors; but they decently refus'd him for Fear of the Resent­ment of his Family: But this did not prevent his pursuing the Point in View; therefore he resolv'd for Ireland, and safely arrived in June 1698. His first Rudiments Mr. Ashbury taught him, and his first Appearance was in the Part of Oroonoko, where he acquitted himself so well to a crouded Audience, that Mr. Ashbury re­warded him with a Present of Five Guineas, which was the more acceptable as his last Shil­ling was reduced to Brass (as he inform'd me). But an odd Accident fell out upon this Occa­sion. It being very warm Weather, in his last Scene of the Play, as he waited to go on, he inadvertently wiped his Face, that, when he enter'd, he had the Appearance of a Chimney-Sweeper (his own Words). At his Entrance, he was surpris'd at the Variety of Noises he heard in the Audience (for he knew not what he had done), that a little confounded him, till he received an extraordinary Clap of Applause, which settled his Mind. The Play was desir'd [Page 92] for the next Night of Acting, when an Actress fitted a Crape to his Face, with an Opening proper for the Mouth, and shap'd in Form for the Nose; but, in the first Scene, one Part of the Crape slip'd off: And Zounds! said he (he was a little apt to swear), I look'd like a Mag­pie! When I came off, they Lamp-black'd me for the rest of the Night 1, that I was flayed before it could be got off again.

He remained here near Two Years, and, in that Time, by Letters, reconciled himself to his Friends in England, and return'd with great Theatrical Improvement, where he gra­dually stept to Perfection. In 1704. he mar­ry'd the Daughter of Sir Wm. Barkham, Bart. an antient Family in the County of Norfolk, who died without Issue in the Year 1711. Pyrrhus in the Distrest Mother plac'd him in the Seat of Tragedy, and Cato fix'd him there; and, to reward his Merit, he was join'd in the Patent, tho' great Interest was made against him by the other Patentees; who, to prevent his soliciting his Patrons at Court, then at Windsor, gave out Plays every Night, where Mr. Booth had a principal Part. Notwith­standing this Step, he had a Chariot and Six of a Nobleman's waiting for him at the End of every Play, that whipt him the Twenty Miles in three Hours, and brought him back to the Business of the Theatre the next Night. [Page 93] He told me, not one Nobleman in the Kingdom had so many Sets of Horses at Command as he had at that Time, having no less than Eight; the first Set carrying him to Hounslow from London, Ten Miles; and the next Set ready waiting with another Chariot to carry him to Windsor.

He had a vast Fund of Understanding as well as Good-nature, and a persuasive Elocu­tion even in common Discourse, that would even compel you to believe him against your Judgment of Things. Notwithstanding his Exuberance of Fancy, he was untainted in his Morals. In his younger Years he admir'd none of the Heathen Deities so much as Jolly Bac­chus; to him he was very devout; yet, if he drank ever so deep, it never marr'd his Study, or his Stomach. But, immediately after his Marriage with Miss Santlow, whose wise Con­duct, Beauty, and winning Behaviour, so wrought upon him, that Home, and her Com­pany, were his chief Happiness, he intirely contemn'd the Folly of Drinking out of Season, and from one Extreme fell, I think, into the other too suddenly; for his Appetite for Food had no Abatement. I have often known Mrs. Booth, out of extreme Tenderness to him, order the Table to be remov'd, for fear of over­charging his Stomach.

His profound Learning was extraordinary, since he left School at Seventeen, took to the Stage at Eighteen, and, by his own Confession, that the Business of the Stage, joined with his [Page 94] Devotion to Bacchus, had taken up most of his Time since, yet I have seen him take a Classic, and render it in such elegant English, that no Translator would hardly excel. I will set down his Character from a Paper call'd the Prompter, by Aaron Hill, Esq whose Writings will be a living Monument of his own Merit.

Mr. Booth was a Man of a strong, clear, and lively Imagination. His Conversation was lively and instructive: He had the Ad­vantage of a finish'd Education to improve and illustrate the bountiful Gifts of Nature. Two Advantages distinguished him in the strongest Light, from the rest of the Frater­nity. He had Learning to understand per­fectly whatever it was his Part to speak, and Judgment to know how far it agreed or disagreed with his Character. Hence arose a peculiar Grace, which was visible to every Spectator, tho' few were at the Pains of ex­amining into the Cause of their Pleasure. He could soften, or slide over, with a kind of elegant Negligence, the Improprieties in a Part he acted; while, on the contrary, he would dwell with Energy upon the Beauties, as if he exerted a latent Spirit, which had been kept back for such an Occasion, that he might alarm, waken, and transport, in those Places only, where the Dignity of his own good Sense could be supported with that of his Author. A little Reflection up­on this remarkable Quality, will teach us to account for that manifest Languor which has [Page 95] sometimes been observed in his Action; and which was generally, tho', I think, falsly, imputed to the Indolence of his Temper. For the same Reason, tho' in the customary Round of his Business he would condescend to some Parts in Comedy, he seldom ap­pear'd in any of them with much Advantage to his Character. The Passions which he found in Comedy, were not strong enough to excite his Fire; and what seem'd Want of Qualification, was only Absence of Im­pression. He had a Talent of discovering the Passions where they lay hid in some ce­lebrated Parts by the injudicious Practice of other Actors; when he had discover'd, he soon grew able to express them: And his Secret for attaining this great Lesson of the Theatre, was an Adaption of his Looks to his Voice, by which artful Imitation of Na­ture, the Variations in the Sound of his Words gave Propriety to every Change in his Countenance: So that it was Booth's Excellence to be heard and seen the same, whether as the pleas'd, the griev'd, the pi­tying, the reproachful, or the angry. His Gesture, or, as it is commonly call'd, his Action, was but the Result and necessary Consequence of his Dominion over his Voice and Countenance; for having, by a Concur­rence of Two such Causes, impressed his Ima­gination with such a Stamp and Spirit of Passion, his Nerves obey'd the Impulse by a kind of natural Dependency, or relaxed [Page 96] or braced successively into all that fine Ex­pressiveness with which he painted what he spoke without Restraint, or Affectation.

As a Proof of Mr. Booth's Learning, I am desired to insert the Latin Inscription wrote by him on the Death of Mr. Smith mthe Actor, [Page 97] with a short Account of him, as I receiv'd it from Mr. Benjamin Husband.

Scenicus eximius,
Regnante Carolo Secundo:
Bettertono Coaetaneus & Amicus,
Nec non propemodum Aequalis:
Haud ignobile stirpe oriundus,
Nec Literarum rudis Humaniorum,
Rem Scenicam
Per multos feliciter Annos administravit,
Justoque moderamine, & morum suavitate,
Omnium intra Theatrum
Observantiam, extra Theatrum laudem,
Ubique benevolentiam & amorem, sibi conciliavit.
In English,
An excellent Actor
Flourished in the Reign of Charles the Second:
Betterton's Cotemporary and Friend,
And very near him in Merit:
Sprung from a genteel Family,
And no Stranger to Literature.
In the Management of the Theatre
Heacquitted himself many Years, with deserved Success;
And, by a just Deportment, and Sweetness of Temper,
[Page 98] Gained the Respect of all within the Theatre,
The Applause of those without;
And every-where claimed the Friendship
And Affection of Mankind.

I shall give a Couple of Songs as a Speci­men of his Taste in English Poetry, among many that do not occur to my Memory. The Source of them both sprung from his growing Passion for the amiable Miss Santlow, before their Marriage.

The First SONG.

CAN then a Look create a Thought
Which Time can ne'er remove?
Yes, foolish Heart, again thou'rt caught,
Again thou bleed'st for Love.
She sees the Conquest of her Eyes,
Nor heals the Wounds she gave;
She smiles whene'er my Blushes rise,
And, sighing, shuns her Slave.
Then, Swain, be bold! and still adore her,
Still the flying Fair pursue:
Love, and Friendship, still implore her,
Pleading Night and Day for you.

The Second SONG.

SWEET are the Charms of her I love,
More fragrant than the Damask Rose;
Soft as the Down of Turtle-Dove,
Gentle as Winds when Zephyr blows;
Refreshing as descending Rains,
On Sun-burnt Climes, and thirsty Plains.
True as the Needle to the Pole,
Or as the Dial to the Sun;
Constant as gliding Waters roll,
Whose swelling Tides obey the Moon:
From ev'ry other Charmer free,
My Life, and Love, shall follow thee.
The Lamb the flow'ry Thyme devours,
The Dam the tender Kid pursues;
Sweet Philomel, in shady Bow'rs,
With verdant Spring her Notes renews:
All follow what they most admire,
As I pursue my Soul's Desire.
Nature must change her beauteous Face,
And vary as the Seasons rise;
As Winter to the Spring gives Place,
Summer th' Approach of Autumn flies:
No Change on Love the Seasons bring,
Love only knows perpetual Spring.
Devouring Time, with stealing Pace,
Makes lofty Oaks and Cedars bow;
And Marble Tow'rs, and Gates of Brass,
In his rude March he levels low:
But Time, destroying far and wide,
Love from the Soul can ne'er divide.
Death, only, with his cruel Dart,
The gentle Godhead can remove;
And drive him from the bleeding Heart,
To mingle with the Blest above;
Where, known to all his Kindred Train,
He finds a lasting Rest from Pain.
Love, and his Sister fair, the Soul,
Twin-born from Heav'n together came;
Love will the Universe controul,
When dying Seasons lose their Name:
Divine Abodes shall own his Pow'r,
When Time, and Death, shall be no more.


HE was born in this Kingdom in the Year 1666. and play'd on the Irish Theatre se­veral Years. He had a loud strong Voice, which gave him the Title of an Actor of Spirit. Through the Interest of the late Duke of Or­mond, [Page 101] he got into the Revenue in London. He was fiery to a Fault, and passionate to his Pre­judice, which drew on his own Death, by the unwilling Hands of Mr. Quin. Mr. Bowen was too tenacious, and could not brook being told, that the late Ben Johnson excell'd in the Part of Jacomo in the Libertine: Tho' it was given against him by the whole Company. He immediately parted, sent to Mr. Quin (in the Name of a Gentleman) to a neighbouring Tavern; when he enter'd, Bowen shut the Door, clapt his Back against it, and drew his Sword. Mr. Quin mildly expostulated with him, but all to no Purpose. He threaten'd to pin him to the Wainscot, if he did not draw that Moment; which he did to defend his own Life, with an Intention to disarm him: But Bowen pressed so furiously upon him, that he receiv'd the Wound which occasion'd his Death three Days after. However, when the Loss of Blood had weakened his Rage, he confess'd his own Folly and Madness had justly drawn on his own Misfortune; and, at the Tryal, Mr. Quin was honourably acquitted. Mr. Bowen had several Children by his Wife, and a Boy illegitimate, who, tho' he bore his Name, had none of his Care; and therefore lived a dissolute Life, without the least Im­provement from Education, and justly gain'd the Nick-name of Rugged-and-Tough. One Day a Clergyman in St. Clement Danes (a Church in the Strand) was catechizing the Chil­dren of the Parish, where Rugged-and-Tough [Page 102] thrust among the rest. Rugged's Dress was none of the cleanest; which the good Parson observing, call'd him the first to be examin'd. I shall put the short Dialogue down just as I had it from an Ear-witness; since the Que­stions are short, as well as the Answers, they will not appear very tedious.


What's your Name?




Who gave you that Name?


The Boys of our Alley, L—d d—n 'em for't.

The good Parson was a little surpris'd, no doubt; and order'd him to wait till the rest of the Children were examin'd, intending to polish Master Rugged-and-Tough; but Tough, not liking to wait so long, stole off unperceiv'd. All I could learn of Mr. Rugged-and-Tough afterwards was, that, having a great Inclina­tion to travel, he contrived Means to do it at the Charge of the Government.

Thus bad Beginning to bad Ending tends,
And Vice in Nature, Nature seldom mends.


THIS Gentleman was born of a good Family in the County of Corke. He was bred to the Law, but his stronger Genius led him to the Drama, where he has prov'd him­self one of its favourite Children. I think his [Page 103] first Commencement in the Drama was in Violante's Booth (as it was then call'd) in George's-Lane. He may be well esteem'd an excellent Comic Actor, of infinite Humour; a much-desir'd pleasing Companion, and (what is not always to be met with) a Person of Sin­cerity. There is a very antient Family of the Barringtons in the County of Essex, in England; where they shew a Record, that their Ancestor was instructed in the Christian Faith by the Preaching of St. Augustine the Monk, afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, and receiv'd Baptism in the River of Thames by that Saint, in the Year of Redemption 597. This Account may, probably, be called a motly one; but what of that? A good Player (from the Poet) may instruct; and, as an old Author writes,

A Verse may find him who a Sermon flies,
And turn Delight into a Sacrifice.


THIS Gentleman was born in Dublin. He was marry'd very young, and, con­sequently, set forward in the World, perhaps, with too little Consideration. A lively Spirit, and good Sense, are not always prosperous, or meet with that Success equal to their Merit. Neither does the Employment of a Father always sit easy upon the Son. Business is not [Page 104] hereditary. One may gain a Fortune by the same Employment that might be lost by the Descendent. Our young Gentleman, by fre­quent Attendance at the Theatre, turned his Genius to the Drama. Inclination and Fancy are two good Instructors, and a Willingness to please is doing some Part of the Work. A good Person, and an excellent Voice, are great Substantives for the Stage.

The first Part he perform'd in this Kingdom was Othello the Moor of Venice: To the sur­prising Satisfaction of the general Audience, he seem'd a finish'd Actor dropt from the Clouds. I hear, that in England he has gained the Sum­mit of Perfection. I would say more upon the Subject, but, as he received the first Ru­diments from me, I shall be silent; yet bor­row a few Lines from the Poet, that may give a Remembrance of his Person,

Such Beauty, as great Strength thinks no Disgrace,
Smil'd in the manly Features of his Face:
His tall strait Body amidst Thousands stood,
Like some fair Pine, the loftiest of the Wood.

I don't think I can give the Reader a greater Pleasure, upon this Occasion, than to insert the following Letter upon Mr. Barry's first Attempt on the Stage; which may serve for a general Instruction to all on the Theatre.

To Mr. Spranger Barry, from a Friend in the Country.

AS I lately heard you were determin'd for the Stage, my Affection for your Person, and Concern for your Misfortunes, gave Oc­casion to some Reflections which may, pos­sibly, be of Use to you in this new Scene of Life. In the Time of Athenian Elegance, when Learning was in Taste, when Liberty was the Blessing of the Public, and the Pa­rent of Arts; which Excellence, alone, found Honour, Capacity, Employment, and Me­rit, Rewards; the Stage grew suddenly from its Infancy to Maturity, and, from be­ing encouraged, became itself the Encou­rager of those Talents and Geniuses with which it was supply'd. It was there that each Spectator was taught his particular Conduct, by seeing his own Representation in the ge­neral Picture of Life, where the Lights were thrown alone upon Virtue, and the Shades upon Vice; where Great and Eminent, of every Age, were set up for Imitation; where every noble, tender, and exalted Sentiment, was recorded, and daily inculcated; where Purity was invited, Obscenity exiled; and where the Heart was attached to Virtue, by affectingly walking through all its Scenes of Misfortunes; and, lastly, exulting in its fi­nal Reward. No Institution, less than divine, could ever be of equal Efficacy, or Advan­tage: [Page 106] For when Instruction becomes our Entertainment, then, only, it is, that Vice grows detestable, and Virtue delightful, from the Pleasure it brings: And hence were the Sentiments of the Grecian Vulgar so exalted, that an immoral Expression, tho' naturally introduced in an immoral Character, has been hiss'd off the Stage. Shall we think, then, that where the Doctrine was so glo­rious, the Preaching was dishonourable? No, sure. To be an Actor, then, was not to be a Mimic; no Trick of Gesture, or Tone of Voice, could avail: Those of Distinction were to be, by Nature, the very Persons they re­presented; they were to have the same Ele­vation of Soul, the same Delicacy of Thought, the same Morality of Life, the same Huma­nity of Heart, and Sweetness of Affections, that could at once constitute the Patriot, the Hero, the Lover, and the Friend. The Words only belonged to the Author, the Sen­timents were, by Nature, their own; and hence flowed that Aptness of Attitude, that Ease in Elocution, that expressive Look, that eloquent Silence, that Freedom of Action, and that Harmony of the Whole, which at once exalted, melted, and subdued a mighty Nation to Elegance and Virtue. Where such an Actor was found, he was justly esteem'd a Blessing to the Community. As his Talents were the Admiration, so his Per­son was the Delight, of all People; in his Life he was honoured, and his Posterity provided [Page 107] for. You will now, perhaps, be tempted to wish, that this was the Stage of the Athe­nians; but Nature and Mankind are always the same; and even on the English Theatre I have known some, who gain'd more Encou­ragement and Respect as Actors, than they deserv'd as Men: But if the Members of your new Province have brought a Scandal on their Profession, let it be your Study to re­trieve it. If I have any Judgment, you are qualified to excel in this Way; nor would I have you imagine, that any will shun you in Private, merely because you give them Plea­sure and Entertainment in Public. Let your Heart be the true Model of whatever is great, or good, in the Characters you re­present: Take Instruction with Pleasure, and Applause with Humility; and then fear not to be received as the Man of Worth, and the Gentleman you have hitherto been esteemed. I am, &c.


WAS born in Dublin, tho' of French Ex­traction. He bent his Thoughts towards the Stage very early in Youth, and, having seen the Performance of the best Actors in England, upon the London Stages (where, at various Times, he has made one in most of the The­atres in that City), if he has not improv'd, it must be owing to himself. His long Inter­course [Page 108] of Theatrical Action has improv'd his Study, and few Parts become amiss to him, ei­ther (as Shakespear says) ‘for Tragedy, Come­dy, History, Pastoral, Pastoral-Comical, Hi­storical-Pastoral, Scene undividable, or Poem unlimited, &c.’ It does not become me to condemn, or uphold his Conduct, in private Life; however, I cannot avoid giving my Opi­nion, that such Disputes that have fallen out, need not trouble the Public in their public Di­versions. I own, if a Person pays his Money for his Entertainment, he ought to enjoy it quietly. If a Cook at an Ordinary has spoil'd another Person's Dinner, that Person, I think, has no Right to spoil mine; more especially, if I had made a Tinker's Bargain, and paid for my Meal before-hand. Give me Leave to add a printed Paper on the Subject, whose Author has said much more than my Capacity will reach.

A small Animadversion on a late Affair in the Playhouse.

I Went, the other Night, to the Playhouse, in full Expectation of seeing the Rehearsal perform'd in as high a Manner as was possible: But, to my great Surprize, the Performance was interrupted, and the Audience disap­pointed, by a Concert of most unmusical In­struments, in the Gallery. The Cause of this Noise and Hurly-burly was soon found to be a private Dispute between somebody in the [Page 109] Gallery and Bardin the Player, which Dis­pute might (with the Consent of the whole Theatre) have subsisted seven Years, so it had not offended a numerous and polite Audience.

—If a Player, in his private Capacity, offends me, will this warrant my offending a thou­sand People at once? Should I have a Dis­pute at Law, or Play with Mr. G—ck, must the whole Town, for this Reason, lose the En­tertainment of the rarest King Lear and Mac­beth that ever were seen in this, or any other Country? If B—n had done any unwar­rantable and injurious Thing to a Gentleman, B—n should have made proper and ample Satisfaction, in his private Capacity, for the Offence. The Audience had no Right in, nor Care for B—n, but they certainly have for Prince Volscius; he was their Player; they had paid for him: The Prince had managed his Horse with wondrous Dexterity, and had an undoubted Right to have ridden him to the Battle. There is nothing more mistaken than that Right which some People imagine they have in Theatres, and other publick Places; for, in Truth, their Right consists only in decently partaking of the Entertainment, and, where they think it deserves it, giving a proper and timely Applause. It is the same Right that a Man has in a Ferry-boat, that is (if he behaves himself properly), to be safe­ly and pleasantly landed on the opposite Shore; but, if he disturbs the Passage, and en­dangers the Boat, the Ferryman and Passen­gers [Page 110] will certainly join, and throw him over­board. A surly Swain at a Horse-race, fan­sying he had a Right to any Part of the Sod, would needs ride directly in the Course; the first of the Racers threw him and his Horse twenty Yards on the Ground; and better had it been if he had died with his Horse on the Spot; for he received a Lash from every Whip in the Field. Every Gentleman, pro­perly habited, has a Right to go to Court; but if a Person, having a Pique to a Battle-ax, should breed an Uproar in the Levee-room, he would certainly have a Halberd in his Guts, or be sent to the Black Hole. There can be no Excuse for doing an Injury to a Multitude.

I have often dined at a Two-dish Ordinary, where I had a Right to partake of each; but if I should have taken it into my Head to have thrown one Dish at the Waiter, and kick'd the other about the Floor, I do verily believe I should have been kick'd down Stairs. If a Gentleman (Heaven defend us!) should have a Quarrel on his Hands with a Porter, the Gentleman certainly has a Right to do himself Justice; but I should think it some­what untimely, if he should knock the Fel­low down when he had a Dozen of my Wine on his Back. Shakespear, who well under­stood the Decorum of Theatres, gives strong Advice for proper Behaviour: He speaks it to the Players, but he meant it to the Spec­tators likewise, tho', in his Modesty, he held [Page 111] it not meet so to set it down. He directs them to be extremely careful not to create the least Noise or Disturbance in the House when the Play should be duly attended to. He concludes, that, to disturb the House, is villainous, and betrays a pitiful Ambition in the Fool that does it.

I am, Sirs,
your humble Servant.

How necessary it is, we may see, for Stage-performers to have a strict Guard on their Be­haviour; and I have said it before, their own Conduct will make them esteemed or slighted, will draw Regard or Insult. To strengthen my own Opinion, I shall insert a very small Paragraph from a very late News-Paper.

Naples, August 16. 1748.

One of the Lords of the Court has been banished, for having publickly insulted, up­on the New Theatre, one of the Singing-women of the Opera.

But many Things are spoke without a Thought,
That, badly constru'd, have Confusion brought.


THIS Person has had a large Experience, of Time and Travel, in England and Ire­land, for improving his Theatrical Genius. He [Page 112] is decent in many Parts, and seldom offends in any; is ever very perfect, a Voice strong and intelligible, not unharmonious, and may rank in the File of good Actors, either in Tragedy or Comedy.

Merit may shine in various Beams of Light,
And diff'rent Men, in diff'rent Roads, are right.


THIS Gentlewoman was the Natural Daughter of the late perfect Comedian Robert Wilks, Esq by Mrs. Rogers, an Actress of Merit, among great Stage Performers. So parented, one might have expected a finish'd Genius for the Stage: She, however, pleas'd in several dramatic Characters, assisted by a graceful Form and Figure. In the Year 1717. she was join'd in Wedlock to Mr. Christopher Bullock, a very promising Comedian, who died in the Road to Excellence.

After various Turns of Fortune, she came over to this Kingdom, with her Daughter (now Mrs. Dyer). Her Person may put us in mind of her Mother; but she is a happy Stranger to any Failing of her's. Mrs. Bullock died in this Kingdom in the Year 1739.

A Scion oft proves diff'rent from the Root,
And better Branches will yield better Fruit.


THIS young and amiable Actress was born in this Kingdom in the Year 1727. She has a most admirable improving Genius; therefore it will be no Wonder, if she soon reaches the Top of Perfection. She has a li­beral open Heart, to feel and ease the Distresses of the Wretched. How amiable must bloom­ing Beauty appear, that forms the Mind with every moral Virtue! She has lately left this Kingdom, to the Regret of all Lovers of the Drama. I cannot avoid, upon this Occasion, setting down a few Lines from a Poem on Bellamy; the Motto from Milton.

Grace was in all her Steps, Heav'n in her Eye,
In ev'ry Gesture Dignity and Love.
The Maid, in Action just, in Judgment strong,
Exacts our Wonder, and inspires our Song;
From slavish Rules, mechanic Forms, unty'd,
She soars, with sacred Nature for her Guide.
The Grace-adorning Smile! the feign'd Despair!
The soft'ning Sigh! the Soul-dissolving Tear!
Each magic Charm, lamented Oldfield knew,
Inchanting Bellamy! revives in you.
'Tis thine, O beauteous Maid! the wond'rous Art,
To search the Soul, and trace the various Heart,
[Page 114] With native Grace, with unaffected Ease,
To form the yielding Passions, as you please.
Oldmixon n, Syren-voice, improv'd by Art,
Steals softly on the Song-enamour'd Heart;
But ah! how weak, how feebly, must she wound,
The Maid whose chiefest Charm consists in Sound.
Or should Mechel o, all languishing, advance,
Her Limbs dissolv'd in well-conducted Dance
(The Soul untouch'd), she may subdue the Sight:
But breathing Wit with Judgment must unite,
To give the Man of Reason unconfin'd Delight.


THIS great Actor, as well as Author, was once in this Kingdom, many Years age, which I gather'd from his saying he landed in the Night; and when he ask'd what Place they were in, was answer'd, Ringsend. O! then I am sure we are right; meaning the Answer a [...] a native Blunder. But, to rescue that Place from the Aspersion, I am credibly inform'd, it was the original Dwelling of a Person whose Surname was Ring, and from him took its De­nomination. The Father of this Gentleman was a Native of Holstein p, a Statuary by Pro­fession, [Page 115] without his Equal in this Kingdom. The Figures over the Gate of Bethlehem (or Bedlam, as it is vulgarly call'd) in Moorfields, and the Pedestal, or Base, of the Monument q, were carv'd by him.

[Page 116] Mr. Colley Cibber, the Son of this great Artist, was born the Sixth of November 1671. in Lon­don; but I shall refer the Reader to the Apo­logy for his own Life, printed for G. Faulkner. The excellent Dramatic Works of this Author are,

  • 1. Love's last Shift; or, The Fool in Fa­shion. 1696.
  • 2. Woman's Wit; or, The Lady in Fa­shion. 1697.
  • 3. Xerxes; a Tragedy. 1699.
  • 4. Love makes a Man; or, The Fop's For­tune. 1700.
  • 5. The Careless Husband. 1704.
  • 6. The Lady's last Stake; or, The Wife's Resentment. 1708.
  • 7. The Comical Lovers.
  • 8. She Wou'd and she Wou'd Not; or, The kind Impostor.
  • 9. Richard the Third.
  • 10. The Rival Fools.
  • 11. Perolla and Izadora, a Tragedy.
  • [Page 117]12. The Double Gallant; or, The Sick Lady's Cure.
  • 13. The School-boy.
  • 14. The Nonjuror. 1717.
  • 15. Venus and Adonis, a Masque; set to Music. 1717.
  • 16. Myrtilla, a Masque. 1717.
  • 17. The Refusal; or, The Lady's Philo­sophy. 1720.
  • 18. Ximena; or, The Heroic Daughter.
  • 19. Caesar in Egypt. 1725.
  • 20. The Provok'd Husband; or, A Jour­ney to London. 1727.
  • 21. Love in a Riddle. 1728.
  • 22. Damon and Phillida.
  • 23. Papal Tyranny in the Reign of King John.
  • 24. The Country Wake.

Besides these Dramatic Pieces, he has wrote innumerable Songs, Prologues, &c. several humorous Pamphlets, the excellent Apology for his own Life, and a Critic upon Middleton's Translation of Cicero.

As Envy seldom attacks any other Object but conspicuous Merit, this Gentleman was ge­nerally attack'd by the Tribe of Scribblers, his cotemporary Authors, that, Like Village-curs, bark when their Fellows do; which he regarded not; and if he ever seem'd to rouse, it was like the Lion in Don Quixot: Rise, stretch, and p—ss in his Face.

[Page 118] As to his Person, he is strait, and well made; of an open Countenance, even free from the conspicuous Marks of old Age. Meet or fol­low him, and no Person would imagine he ever bore the Burden of above two Thirds of his Years. He is Head of a numerous Fa­mily; and it might be said, as a German Au­thor writes of the Nestorian Lady Malburges, of that Country;

Mater ait natae, Dic natae, filia natam
Ut moneat natae plangere filiolam.
"The aged Mother to her Daughter spake,
"Daughter, said she, arise!
"Thy Daughter to her Daughter take,
"Whose Daughter's Daughter cries."


THIS Gentleman came into the World on the Day of the great and destructive Storm in 1703. whose Rage rang'd over the greatest Part of Europe, but, I think, most fatal to England. He is Son to Colley Cibber, Esq that excellent Comedian, the present Poet Lau­reat, whose dramatic Works are so well known.

Mr. Theophilus Cibber receiv'd his Education at Winchester School: His strong Genius for the Theatre brought him early upon the Stage, where he has appear'd in full Lustre in the va­rious Branches of Comedy; and tho' he has [Page 119] perform'd several Parts in Tragedy with Suc­cess, in my Imagination the Sock sits easier up­on him than the Buskin. His first Wife, men­tion'd in the Account of Mrs. Clive, was Miss Johnson, by whom he had two Daughters. The eldest, I am inform'd, has appear'd on the Stage with great Prospect of excelling, first in the Part of Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespear. His second Wife, Miss Arne (by whom he has no living Issue), is arriv'd at the highest Pitch of Excellence in the amiable, soft, and tender.

Mr. Theophilus Cibber has appear'd twice as a dramatic Author; viz. first, Henry the Sixth, alter'd from Shakespear, which was play'd in the Summer-season of 1721. without any Cri­ticks laying hold of it: His second Perform­ance in the Drama was, a Comedy call'd The Lover; but as the Criticks were always ready arm'd to attack the Father, they drew their Indignation on the Son, with the false Ima­gination that the Father was the conceal'd Au­thor. But I am positively convinced to the contrary; for that Gentleman to me refus'd the Sight of it before it appear'd on the Stage, for the very Reasons, he suspected, that fell out ac­cordingly. However, he wrote an Epilogue, that was spoken by Mr. Theophilus and his Wife, that took away the Sting of the Revelrout, and the Play was perform'd six Nights in the Year 1731. The Epilogue, for its Singularity, I shall insert here.

EPILOGUE, Spoken by the AUTHOR, and his WIFE.

NOW, I suppose, you'll find your Work is done;
Did not I say—you were your Father's Son?
Be what it might, your Play, the Town wou'd game it,
That your bare Name were half a Cause to damn it?
Experience, to your Cost, will shew you now,
Who wears the wiser Head, your Wife, or you.
Tho' all this shou'd be true, my pretty Rogue,
Yet what's all this, dear Jane, to th' Epilogue?
Why, what's an Epilogue to such a Play?
Will it be sav'd, by ought that I can say?
No matter what's its Merit—no, my Dear,
When many a Husband's Case has known De­spair,
A wheedling Wife has brought the Thing to bear.
O, I'm your humble Servant, humble Sir!
Now you're distress'd, you my weak Head pre­fer—
No, Sir, since you have had your Frolick, pay it—
When you have rais'd the Storm, your Wife must lay it.
[Page 121]
I'll give you Composition, gentle Spouse,
All my clear Benefit of my Third-day's House,
Which may amount to—not one single Souse.
Were mine, alone, the Case, that may be true;
Yet to your very Sex some Pity's due:
They'll not, with me, destroy the Guiltless, too.
To the Audience.
Gallants, in this,
I hope, he has touch'd your Hearts;
Let not me suffer for his weak Deserts:
Do not to last Extremes your Censure drive;
Give us, at least, an honest Chance to live.
Our Fate is in your Hands—If you are brave,
You'll think the Triumph less to ruin, than to save.

This Comedy the Author dedicated to his Wife, in order to make a perfect Agreement between them. He has also wrote several small Pieces in Verse and Prose, occasionally, besides several Letters in an odd Dispute be­tween him and Mr. Thomas Sheridan, printed here, and in London.

I shall not meddle with conjugal Affairs; these short Memoirs would swell too large, and the Belly, out of Proportion for the Body, ap­pear dropsical, and require Tapping.

Then draw a Veil o'er what must be conceal'd,
To hide those Faults that should not be reveal'd.


THIS true and perfect Actress was Daughter to Mr. Arne, an eminent Up­holder in Covent-Garden. Her first Appearance on the Stage was as a Singer; her Voice and Judgment gain'd her universal Applause: But when she commenced a speaking Actress, she charm'd anew. Her first Appearance was in the Part of Zara, to the Admiration of every Spectator that had their auricular Faculties; and, since that, has prov'd herself the Daughter of Nature in Perfection. I shall add a Prologue wrote by the Laureat, on her first appearing in the Part of Zara, and leave her to enjoy her deserved Praise.

Spoke by Mr. CIBBER.

THE French, howe'er Mercurial they may seem,
Extinguish Half their Fire by critic Phlegm;
While English Writers Nature's Freedom claim,
And warm their Scenes with an ungovern'd Flame.
'Tis strange that Nature never should inspire
A Racine's Judgment with a Shakespear's Fire!
Howe'er, To-night (to promise much we're loth)
But—you've a Chance to have a Taste of both.
[Page 123] From English Plays Zara's French Author fir'd,
Confess'd his Muse beyond herself inspir'd:
From rack'd Othello's Rage he rais'd his Style,
And snatch'd the Brand that lights this tragic Pile:
Zara's Success his utmost Hopes outflew,
And a twice twentieth weeping Audience drew.
As for our English Friend, he leaves to you,
Whate'er may seem to his Performance due.
No Views of Gain his Hopes or Fears engage,
He gives a Child of Leisure to the Stage;
Willing to try, if yet forsaken Nature
Can charm, with any one remember'd Feature.
Thus far the Author speaks—But now the Player
With trembling Heart presents his humble Prayer.
To-night, the greatest Venture of my Life
Is lost, or sav'd, as you receive—a Wife.
If Time, you think, may ripen her to Merit,
With gentle Smiles support her wav'ring Spirit.
Zara, in France, at once an Actress rais'd,
Warm'd into Skill by being kindly prais'd:
O! could such Wonders here from Favour flow,
How would our Zara's Heart with Transport glow!
But she, alas! by juster Fears opprest,
Begs but your bare Endurance, at the best:
Her unskill'd Tongue would simple Nature speak
Nor dares her Bounds for false Applauses break.
Amidst a thousand Faults, her best Pretence
To please—is unpresuming Innocence.
[Page 124] When a chaste Heart's Distress your Grief de­mands,
One silent Tear outweighs a thousand Hands.
If she conveys the pleasing Passions right,
Guard and support her this decisive Night.
If she mistakes, or finds her Strength too small,
Let interposing Pity break her Fall—
In you it rests to save her, or destroy.
If she draws Tears from you—I weep—for Joy.


I Know little more of this Gentleman, than that he was born in Ireland, of a very an­tient reputable Family. He commenced Actor in this Kingdom, where he made but slow Progress, as I have been inform'd. He was recommended to the Manager in Drury-lam by his Friend and Countryman Mr. Charles Macklin, who brought him from the Bristol Theatre, where they both play'd the Summer before, I think in the Year 1738.

The first Part he play'd on Drury-lam Theatre was, Sir Julius Caefar in Sir Walter Ralegh, where his good Figure was his best Friend; for Fear had made his Voice not his own (if I may be allow'd that Term). It is a Theatrical Observation, that Fear, in the first setting-out Attempt on the Stage, is not an il Omen; for many, that have set on without it [Page 125] have play'd their best, and never mended af­terwards. This Gentleman is one Proof of it; for he got the better of his Fear, proving a very good Theatrical Officer in a little Time r: And I hear, since I have left England, has so far excelled in Captain Macheath in the Beg­gars Opera (which requires a good Singer, to the Qualifications of a good Actor), that his Merit has given this excellent Piece a large fresh Run in Covent-garden, which he went to from Drury-lane, eight or nine Years ago.

This Gentleman died at Norwich (the ca­pital City of the County of Norfolk). He was taken speechless on the Stage in the Part of Frankly, in a Comedy call'd The Suspicious Husband: He was carried to his Lodgings, where Physicians and Surgeons attended, but to no Purpose; for he expired in a few Hours, in spight of the Doctor.

Death eases Lovers, sets the Captive free,
And, tho' a Tyrant, offers Liberty.

Mrs. CATHARINE CLIVE (formerly Miss RAFTOR).

THIS celebrated natural Actress was the Daughter of Mr. William Raftor, a Gen­tleman born in the City of Kilkenny in Ireland. The Father of her Father was possessed of a considerable Paternal Estate in the County where he was born; but the Parent of our Actress being unhappily attach'd to the unfor­tunate King James the Second, the late Revo­lution gave it, among many others, to the Crown. Mr. James Raftor, her Brother, went over to Ireland, some Years ago, in order to solicit for his Grandfather's Fortune; but did not meet with Success.

Mr. William Raftor, the Father, was bred to the Law; however, when King James was in Ireland, he enter'd into his Service; and, after the decisive Battle of the Boyne, in the Year 1690. he follow'd his Master's Fortune, and, by his Merit, obtain'd a Captain's Com­mission in the Service of Lewis the Four­teenth; but, gaining a Pardon, with many other Gentlemen in his Condition, he came to England, where he married Mrs. Daniel, Daughter to an eminent Citizen on Fishstreet­hill, with whom he had a handsome Fortune: By her he had a numerous Issue.

[Page 127] Miss Catharine was born in the Year 1711. She had an early Genius for the Stage; for she told me, when she was about twelve Years old, Miss Johnson (afterwards the first Wife of Mr. Theo. Cibber, another rising Genius, if Death had not overtaken her in her Prime of Youth) and she, used to tag after the celebrated Mr. Wilks (her own Words) whenever they saw him in the Streets, and gape at him as a Wonder.

Miss Raftor had a facetious Turn of Hu­mour, and infinite Spirits, with a Voice and Manner in finging Songs of Pleasantry peculiar to herself. Those Talents Mr. Theo. Cibber and I (we all at that Time living together in one House) thought a sufficient Pasport to the Theatre. We recommended her to the Lau­reat, whose infallible Judgment soon found out her Excellencies; and the Moment he heard her sing, put her down in the List of Perfor­mers at twenty Shillings per Week. But never any Person of her Age flew to Perfection with such Rapidity; and the old discerning Mana­gers always distinguish'd Merit by Reward. Her first Appearance was in the Play of Mith­ridates King of Pontus, in Ismenes the Page to Ziphares, in Boy's Cloaths, where a Song pro­per to the Circumstances of the Scene was in­troduced, which she performed with extraor­dinary Applause. But after this, like a Bullet in the Air, there was no distinguishing the Track, till it came to its utmost Execution.

I remember the first Night of Love in a Rid­dle (which was murdered in the same Year) a [Page 128] Pastoral Opera wrote by the Laureat, which the Hydra-headed Multitude resolv'd to worry without hearing, a Custom with Authors of Merit, when Miss Raftor came on in the Part of Phillida, the monstrous Roar subsided. A Person in the Stage Box, next to my Post, called out to his Companion in the following elegant Stile—‘Zounds, Tom! take Care; or this charming little Devil will save all.’

In the Year 1732. she was marry'd to Mr. G. Clive, Son to Mr. Baron Clive. I shall be silent in conjugal Affairs; but in all my long Acquaintance with her, I could never ima­gine she deserved ill Usage.

I shall take Leave of this excellent Actress with the following Lines (as every Part cannot fit the best Performers):

Merit mistaken oft may lose its Way,
And pore in Darkness with the Blaze of Day.

Mademoiselle CHATEAUNEUF.

THIS agreeable Dancer (as she play'd Polly in the Beggars Opera, &c.) must come under my Cognizance. She was born in France, what Town or Province, has stole from my Memory. Her real Name was not what she bore. She was in her Infancy an Orphan, and Monsieur Chateauneuf took her from her Distresses, and bred her up as his own Daugh­ter. Her Virtue never was tainted in most [Page 129] Peoples Opinion; but as our immortal Shake­spear says,

Be thou as chaste as Ice, as pure as Snow,
Thou shalt not 'scape Calumny.

When I was instructing her in the Part of Polly, she told me, a Lady that Morning was surprised to hear from a Gentleman of her Ac­quaintance, that she was taken for a Boy in Disguise. (This Gentleman, it seems, was a Person that would have been very willing to have been certain of the Distinction of Sexes.) I told the Lady, said Miss Chateauneuf, I was very glad he knew no more of me. Which I think was a quick and witty Answer. She was born the same Day that our young Hero the Duke came into the World, April 15. 1721.

Since leaving this Kingdom she is marry'd to her supposed Father, Monsieur Chateauneuf; and now it is made her real Name. This In­telligence I had from a Gentleman that lately came from Bourdeaux a, where he conversed [Page 130] with them, being at the Head of a Troop of Comedians of their own, where he heard Ma­dem Chateauneuf sing several English Songs by Desire of the Audience, particularly the Song of Rosy Wine from the Masque of Comus altered from Milton.

Thus Midwife Time brings many Things to Light,
That long lay hid within the Womb of Night.


SHE was upon this Stage in the Year 1741. an agreeable Actress, when the Part suited her Voice; a tolerable Dancer, and a plea­sing Colombine. Being Grand-daughter to the present Laureat, 'tis no Wonder if she had a little Wit.

But Wit and Wisdom seldom well agree:
Wisdom would fetter what the Wit would free.


IS a Native of Ireland, descended from an antient Family. He received his Educa­tion in Trinity College, Dublin, a Fountain of Learning, whose Streams have watered the Universe.

[Page 131] He appeared first on the Dublin Stage, and was very well received; his Person and ex­cellent Voice, joined with his other Merits, gained him the Esteem as he justly deserved. However, he set out for London, where he was recommended to the Managers of Drury-Lane, I think in the Year 1731. but their Company being brimful, even to the running over, the Managers did not give him the Encourage­ment that the Promise of his Voice and Per­son deserved. Mr. Giffard took hold of the Occasion, and engaged him for his Theatre in Goodman's-Fields, where he had a better Op­portunity of shining without any Rival Ray. Mr. Quin, as I am inform'd (who can distin­guish Merit from his own superior Judgment), prevailed upon him to leave that Corner of the Town, and act on the same Stage with him (Covent-Garden). Persons of the Drama may be compared to the Swiss-Cantons, willing to fight for those who give the best Pay; there­fore it is no Novelty to see them change Sides.

Mr. Delane is now marching under the Ban­ner of Covent-Garden. He has an Estate in this Kingdom, and came over last Year (tho' I had not the Pleasure of seeing him). I am informed he is inclining more to the Bulky since I saw him last, which is a Recommendation to many capital Parts that may sit easy, and give Plea­sure, when the Bloom of Youth is gone.

Truncheons, or Lawn, do seldom Youth become,
For distant War, or Bishopricks at Home.


IS not only a useful, but a very pleasing Actor; his good Voice, and easy-acquired Manner, gives him a Cast above many of his Cotemporaries, being the best allowed Singer on the Dublin Theatre, that is not a profess'd Singer. I am no Friend to Mimicry, yet if I could be pleased with that natural Qualifica­tion (if I may be allowed to call it so), I do not know one could give me more Pleasure than Mr. Dyer; for he can take off (as the Theatri­cal Term expresses it) not only every Actor, Male and Female, he has seen and heard, worth mimicking, but also Singers and Dancers, foreign and domestic. All these Qualifications, join'd to a good Understanding, will render him acceptable in any Theatre.

A just Behaviour claims a due Regard,
Tho' Modesty will fail to meet Reward.


THIS excellent Actor was born in June 1688. in London. His Father having a numerous Issue, put his Son Apprentice to an Upholder in Covent-Garden, where I was first acquainted with him. He was early ad­dicted to the Drama. I remember, when he was an Apprentice, we play'd in several private [Page 133] Plays together: when we were preparing to act Sophonisba, or, Hannibal's Overthrow, af­ter I had wrote out my Part of Massiva, I car­ried him the Book of the Play to study the Part of King Masinissa; I found him finishing a Velvet Cushion, and gave him the Book; but alas! before he could secrete it, his Master (a hot voluble Frenchman) came in upon us, and the Book was thrust under the Velvet of the Cushion. His Master, as usual, rated him for not working, with a Mortbleu! why a you not vark, Tom? and stood over him so long, that I saw, with some Mortification, the Book irrecoverably stitch'd up in the Cushion, ne­ver to be retriev'd till the Cushion is worn to Pieces. Poor Tom cast many a desponding Look upon me when he was finishing the Fate of the Play, while every Stitch went to both our Hearts. His Master observing our Looks, turn'd to me, and with Words that broke their Necks over each other for Haste, abused both of us: The most intelligible of his great Num­ber of Words, were Jack Pudenges, and the like Expressions of Contempt.

But our Play was gone for ever! Another time we were so bold to attempt Shakespear's Hamlet, where our 'Prentice Tom had the Part of the Ghost, Father to young Hamlet. His Armour was composed of Pasteboard, neatly painted. The Frenchman had Intelligence of what we were about, and to our great Surprize and Mortification, made one of our Audience. The Ghost in its first Appearance is dumb to [Page 134] Horatio. While these Scenes past, the French­man only muttered between his Teeth, and we were in Hopes his Passion would subside; but when our Ghost began his first Speech to Ham­let, Mark me, he reply'd, Begar me vil marke you presently! and, without saying any more, beat our poor Ghost off the Stage through the Street, while every Stroke on the Pasteboard Armour grieved the Auditors (because they did not pay for their Seats) insomuch that three or four ran after the Ghost, and brought him back in Triumph, with the avenging French­man at his Heels, who would not be appeas'd till our Ghost promised him never to commit the Offence of Acting again. A Promise made like many others, never intended to be kept. However, in the last Year of his Time, his rigid Master gave him a little more Liber­ty, and our young Actor play'd different Parts, till he was taken Notice of by Mr. Keene, an excellent Player at that Time. He was intro­duced upon the Stage in the Part of Oroonoko, where he met with a good Reception in the Year 1711.

The next Season he was invited over by Joseph Ashbury, Esq and in the Year 1713. wedded the Daughter of that worthy Gentle­man, by whom he had a numerous Issue, par­ticularly three Sons, who are now alive; the eldest, Mr. Joseph Elrington, who makes a con­siderable Figure on the present Theatre here; Mr. Richard Elrington, now of a Country Com­pany in England; and Mr. Thomas Elrington, [Page 135] the youngest, first an Ensign, now a Lieutenant in Colonel Flemming's Regiment in Flanders.

Mr. Elrington the Father was a true Copy of Mr. Verbruggen, a very great Actor in Tra­gedy, and polite Parts in Comedy; but the former had an infinite Fund of (what is called Low) Humour upon the Stage. I have seen him perform Don Cholerick in the Fop's Fortune with infinite Pleasure; he entered into the true Humour of the Character, equal to the Ori­ginal, Mr. William Penkethman. His Voice was manly, strong, and sweetly full-ton'd; his Figure tall and well-proportion'd. His eldest Son, Mr. Joseph Elrington, is most like him in Person and Countenance.

This excellent Player succeeded his Father-in-law, Joseph Ashbury, Esq in the Place of Steward of the King's-Inns; and the more to establish him in the Kingdom, a Post was given him of fifty Pounds a Year in the Quit-Rent Office; also Gunner to the Train of Artillery, a Gift of the Lord Mountjoy, Father to the present Earl of Blessington, which at the Death of that noble Lord, he got Permission to dis­pose of. He was a Gentleman of Honour, Humanity, and extensive Good-nature, of a facetious well manner'd Conversation, a little too desirable for his Health, from Company of the best Condition. He was taken ill the very Day he was consulting a Plan for a new Theatre, after the Form of that in Drury-Lane, London, with an eminent Builder of this City. He went home, where his Malady increas'd to a violent [Page 136] Pleuritic Fever, which never left him (not­withstanding all the Physicians Art) till he ex­pir'd July 22. 1732 a.

I shall leave him to eternal Rest, with the following Lines, and a short Epitaph.

Thus, when our stated Time of Life is come,
And Pow'r Almighty has pronounc'd our Doom;
The best Physician's Art is shewn in vain,
And Death's the Doctor that must end our Pain.


THOU best of Actors here interr'd,
No more thy charming Voice is heard,
This Grave thy Coarse contains:
Thy better Part, which us'd to move
Our Admiration, and our Love,
Has fled its sad Remains.
Tho' there's no monumental Brass,
Thy sacred Relicks to encase,
Thou wond'rous Man of Art!
A Lover of the Muse divine,
O! Elrington, shall be thy Shrine,
And carve thee in his Heart.


WAS born in London in the Year 1692.

He had a small Post in the Wardrobe under his Grace the Duke of Montague; but hearing the Success of his elder Brother in Ire­land, he left his Post, to follow the Call he had to the Stage. By his Theatrical Obser­vations in England, he set out in Ireland with Success, improving his Talents so well, that he gave the utmost Satisfaction in many capital Parts. His Grace the Duke of Dorset, when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, gave him a Post in the Revenue, which he faithfully executed, and enjoy'd to his Death.

He was in a languishing State of Health near two Years; but the last Stroke he re­ceived at Kilkenny, where Part of the Compa­ny were playing during the Time of the Camp being at Bennet's-Bridge; he was carried back to his House in Drumcondra-lane, where, after a few Days Struggle, Death overcame him in August, 1746. in the 53d Year of his Age, of a Polypus a, to the Regret of all his Ac­quaintance.


IS the younger Brother of the late eminent Player Thomas Elrington, Esq born in England, and came early upon the Stage, tho' without any Countenance (as I have been in­form'd) from his Friends and Relations. Since his elder Brother's Death he has under­taken many of his Parts, which he copies as near as possible.

He was admired some Years ago as a good executing Harlequin, Agility and Strength be­ing two main Ingredients in the Composition of that motly Gentleman, where Heels are of more Use than the Head. In one of his Feats of Activity he was much hurt, and was in some Danger of breaking his Neck to please the Spectators, the Ears having little to do in such Entertainments; yet this unlucky Spring met with universal Applause.

I remember a Tumbler in the Hay-market Theatre in London by such an Accident beat the Breath out of his Body, which raised such vociferous Applause, that lasted longer than the vent'rous Man's Life, for he never breathed more. Indeed his Wife had this Comfort, [Page 139] when the Truth was known, Pity succeeded to the Roar of Applause.

Another Accident like this, fell out in Dr. Faustus, a Pantomime Entertainment in Lin­coln's-Inn-Fields Theatre, where a Machine in the Working broke, threw the mock Pierrot down headlong with such Force, that the poor Man broke a Plank on the Stage with his Fall, and expired: Another was so sorely maimed, that he did not survive many Days; and a third, one of the softer Sex, broke her Thigh. But to prevent such Accidents for the future, those Persons are represented by inanimate Fi­gures, so that if they break a Neck, a Leg, or an Arm, there needs no Surgeon.

Another Accident of the same Kind hap­pened in Smock-alley, which gave me much Concern, as having a Hand in the Contrivance. The late Mr. Morgan being to fly on the Back of a Witch, in the Lancashire Witches, thro' the Ignorance of the Workers in the Machine­ry, the Fly broke, and they both fell toge­ther, but thro' Providence they neither of them were much hurt; and such Care was taken afterwards, that no Accident of that Kind could happen.

When Danger's fled, it dwells upon the Mind,
And leaves the strong Impression still behind.


THIS excellent Comedian was born at Tewksbury, in the County of Gloucester, in the Year 1668. where he received his Edu­cation in the Latin School of that Town. He had an early Desire for the Stage; for, in the 15th Year of his Age, he stole from his Fa­ther's House with a Country Company, and at Worcester, for fear of being known, set out with the Part of Roxana, in Woman's Appa­rel (in Alexander the Great); but his Father, having Notice of it, sent to secure the Fugi­tive, who made his Escape in a Suit of Wo­man's Cloaths that he borrowed of one of the Itinerant Ladies, and trudg'd it to Chipping-Norton, a Corporation-town in Oxfordshire, twenty-five long Miles in one Day. When he came to the Inn, Beds were scarce, and he was obliged to take up with that of the Daughter's behind the Bar: The young Woman, going to Bed, found the wearied Traveller in a pro­found Sleep; but, observing the Shirt instead of a Shift, she began to suspect her design'd Bed­fellow; and, stooping to look on the Dress that lay upon the Ground, she saw a Pair of Man's Shoes under the Bed, that convinced her she might have been in an odd Situation, if she had gone to Bed in the Dark. She, upon the Dis­covery, instantly called in the People of the House, and waked our drowsy Traveller. The [Page 141] Landlord had designed to carry him decently to the Horse-pond, till Dick made a true Con­fession of the whole Affair. By Accident, a Person of the Town of Tewksbury put up at the said Inn that Night, who knew our young disguised Wanderer; and that Knowlege signed his Pardon. In two Days afterwards his Cloaths were brought him from Worcester, ac­companied with a Messenger from his Father, who led him the Road home again.

Soon after, the Father went with him to London, where he bound him fast to an Apo­thecary in Hatton-garden. He was too impa­tient to wait so long a Time for Liberty; there­fore he stretched his Bonds till they broke, and, after an itinerant Life two Years in England, he went to try his Fortune in Ireland, where he shone in an exalted theatrical Sphere for some Years, when he returned to London; where, by his Wit, and mimic Humour, his Conversation was taken up by Persons of the highest Rank, and Parts.

He was made Providore of the Beef-Stake-Club, and, for a Mark of Distinction, wore their Badge, which was a small Gridiron of Gold, hung about his Neck with a green silk Ribband. This Club was compos'd of the chief Wits and great Men of the Nation.

Mr. Estcourt was the original Serjeant Kite, and every Night of Performance entertained the Audience with Variety of little Catches, and Flights of Humour, that pleased all but his Critics. He was a great Favourite with [Page 142] the late Duke of Marlborough, whose just Fame he celebrated in several out-of-the way witty Ballads. He was Author of a Comedy called The Wife's Excuse; or, Cuckolds make them­selves; and acted at the Theatre-Royal in the Year 1706. but, as I have been informed, with moderate Success. Another little Piece was produced by him, call'd Prunella, a Bur­lesque upon the Italian Operas, then stole into Fashion, too much supported by the excellent Voice and Judgment of Mrs. Tofts: But such an odd Medley—Mrs. Tofts, a mere English­woman, in the Part of Camilla, courted by Ni­colini in Italian, without understanding one single Syllable each other said or sung; and, on the other Hand, Valentini courting amo­rously, in the same Language, a Dutchwoman, that committed Murder on our good old Eng­lish, with as little Understanding as a Parrot: Though it was reported a Lady, of some Qua­lity, fell desperately in Love with Nicolini; which occasioned the following Lines, that were pinn'd to Nicolini's Coat in a Chocolate­house.

Soft thrilling Notes, swell'd out with Art,
May wound, alas! the fair one's Heart;
Yet these Italians will not feel;
The Wounds they give, they cannot heal.

Yet, notwithstanding the Lashes given by Est­court, and others, the enervating Weakness took more Hold, like Folly, and new Sects in [Page 143] Religion. Persecution but gains more Prose­lytes.

This celebrated Comedian paid his Debt to Nature in the Year 1733. after leaving the Stage some Years. Sir Richard Steele gives him this Character, in his Lucubrations: "An excellent Companion, one who was perfectly Master of well-turned Compliments, as well as smart Repartees; which shews a ready Wit w."


THIS Person was an Actor of very good Repute in this Kingdom, join'd in the Management with Mr. Thomas Elrington, Mr. Thomas Griffith, &c. His Person was incline­able to the Gross; therefore wanted Delicacy for the amiable Parts; he had an excellent har­monious Voice, and just Delivery, but a little too indolent for much Study or Contemplation.

[Page 144] In the last Year of the Reign of Queen Anne, the Company of Dublin went down, in the Sum­mer Season, to play at Corke: One Evening Mr. Evans was invited, by some Officers of a Regiment then on Duty in that City, to a Ta­vern: Many Healths were propos'd, and went round, without Reluctance; when it came to Mr. Evans's Turn, he proposed the Health of her Majesty Queen Anne, which so much dis­gusted one of the Company (tho' cloath'd in the Livery of his Royal Mistress), that he ran down Stairs, and sent up a Drawer to whisper Mr. Evans; who immediately put on his Sword, and went after him, without taking the least Notice to the Company. He found his Anta­gonist in a Room in the Passage of the Tavern, with the Door half open, who courageously made a Thrust at Mr. Evans, which he put by with his left Hand; at this, Mr. Evans drew, thrust the Door wide open, enter'd, and soon drove his Opposer out to the Passage, where he disarmed the doughty Hero, before the Com­pany above Stairs knew any thing of the Mat­ter. The rest of the military Gentlemen ex­pressed an Abhorrence to the Treatment Mr. Evans received, and, seemingly, reconciled them on the Spot; but, notwithstanding, when the Company return'd to Dublin, the Person who sent the Challenge up Stairs at Corke, being then returned also, told his own Story in such a Man­ner, that several warm Gentlemen of the Army were made to believe, that Mr. Evans had af­fronted the whole Body Military; and when the [Page 145] poor suppos'd Culprit came to his Business of the Theatre, their Clamour, in the Audience, was so great, that the House was dismiss'd, and no Play to be acted till Mr. Evans had asked public Pardon upon the Stage. His high Spi­rit was, with great Difficulty, brought to sub­mit, but at last he consented. I remember the Play was, The Rival Queens; or, The Death of Alexander the Great; the Part of Alexander to be acted by the Delinquent. He came to ask Pardon before the Curtain: When he address'd the Audience, one Smart, from the Pit, cried out, Kneel, you Rascal! Evans, then collected in himself, replied, in the same Tone of Voice, No, you Rascal! I'll kneel to none but God, and my Queen! A dangerous Paroxysm, at such a Crisis. However, as there were many worthy Gentlemen of the Army who knew the whole Affair, the new-rais'd Clamour ceas'd, and the Play went through without any Molestation, and, by Degrees, Things return'd to their pro­per Chanel. By this we may see, it is some Danger for an Actor to be in the right.

Three Years after this Affair, Mr. Evans went to the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, and, in his Journey back to Ireland, was taken ill of a Fever, at the Town of Whitchurch in Shorpshire; from whence he was removed, for better Advice, to Chester, where he ended his Progress of Life, in the 41st Year of his Age; and was privately buried in the Cathedral, with­out Monument, Stone, or Inscription.

[Page 146]
Thus may great Merit in Oblivion lie,
And rest forgotten to Eternity.


THIS Gentleman was related to the late Bishop of Waterford. He died in the Prime of Youth, in the Year 1743. 'Tis a Pity he took such Pains in getting the better of his Constitution; but he succeeded at a Time when he might have made some Figure on the Stage. He had Qualifications sufficient for Improve­ment, some Learning, a Person amiable, a sweet Voice, and sung not unpleasingly: Not­withstanding, the Neglect of himself depreciated his Merit. He truly made out a Saying of that late great Comedian Mr. Wilks: "The Man that drinks a Glass of strong Liquor in a Morning, for every one he swallows, drives a Nail in his Coffin." Many a Genius has been drown'd in Drink. I remember an Au­thor, whose sweet Writings will keep his Me­mory fragrant, that was so much addicted to that Weakness, that if there were no other Spi­rits to be come at, he would empty a Lady's Hun­gary Water-bottle; and yet the flowing Num­bers of his Pen seem'd as if he had drank no other Liquid but what came from the pure Streams of Helicon. I shall end this with Shake­spear's Reflection from the Mouth of Cassio in Othello:

[Page 147] ‘O! that Men should put an Enemy in their Mouths to steal away their Brains! O! thou invisible Spirit of Wine! if thou hast no Name to be known by, let us call thee Devil!’

He died of a lingering Illness, the 24th of January 1742-3.

Mrs. ELMY.

HER maiden Name was Mors. She was born in England, but when, or where, I know not x. She has been an Actress about seventeen Years, began very young, and was enter'd first in a Country Company. She knows what she does, as well as what she says. She seems to have more Spirits off the Stage, in a Chamber, than she has in the public Theatre, which is owing to her weak Voice; but she means very well there. I do not know her well enough to be any Judge of her Morals; there­fore I shall not speak of what I do not know; and even this I have gathered more from com­mon Fame, than my own particular Knowlege: Therefore I shall not say any more of her, as Fame is a Gossip not always to be believed, as Hudibras tells us.

There is a tall long-sided Dame,
But wond'rous light, ycleped Fame:
[Page 148] Two Trumpets she does sound at once,
But both of clean contrary Tones;
But whether both with the same Wind,
Or one before, or one behind,
We know not—only this can tell,
The one sounds vilely, t'other well:
And therefore vulgar Authors name
The one Good, t'other Evil Fame.


SINCE this Gentleman owes his Birth to this Kingdom, and on the Irish Stage com­menced Actor, I hope it will not be thought improper to give a short Account of him, which I shall take from his Life, that I col­lected several Years past, to prefix to his Works. The Materials I received from Mr. Wilks, who approved of them before they went to the Pub­lisher.

Mr. George Farquhar was born, in the North of Ireland, of Parents that held no mean Rank in that Part of the Country; who, having a nu­merous Issue, could bestow on him no other Fortune than a genteel Education. As those who are bless'd with a poetical Genius always shew some Glimmerings of their Fancy in their Youth; so he, ere he arriv'd at his tenth Year, gave several Specimens of a peculiar Turn that Way. One of his juvenile Productions I shall here mention, in which he discovered a Way [Page 149] of Thinking, as well as an Elegancy of Ex­pression, far beyond his Years.

y The pliant Soul of erring Youth
Is, like soft Wax, or moisten'd Clay,
Apt to receive all heav'nly Truth,
Or yield to Tyrant Ill the Sway.
Shun Evil in your early Years,
And Manhood may to Virtue rise;
But he who, in his Youth, appears
A Fool, in Age will ne'er be wise.

He was educated in the University of Dublin, where he acquired a considerable Reputation: He began very early to apply himself to the Stage as an Actor, following the Examples of Lee and Otway with our great Shakespear, and with like Success; who, tho' all excellent dra­matic Poets, made but indifferent Actors. However, Mr. Farquhar, having the Advantage of a very good Person, tho' with a weak Voice, was never repulsed by the Audience; but the following Accident made him determine to leave off the Occupation: Playing the Part of Guyomar in the Indian Emperor, who is sup­posed to kill Vasquez, one of the Spanish Gene­rals; not remembring to change his Sword for a Foil z, in the Mock Engagement, he wounded the Person that represented Vasquez, tho' (as it [Page 150] fell out) not dangerously; nevertheless, it put an End to his appearing on the Stage as an Actor.

He was very young when he wrote his first Comedy of Love and a Bottle, acted at the The­atre Royal in Drury-lane 1698. He was pecu­liarly happy in the Choice of his Subjects, which he took Care to adorn with Variety of Characters and Incidents. He lash'd the Vices of the Age, tho' with a merciful Hand. His Plays were wrote in the following Order:

  • 1. Love and a Bottle, 1698.
  • 2. The Constant Couple, 1700. This Piece was play'd 53 Nights the first Season.
  • 3. Sir Harry Wildair, the Sequel to the for­mer, 1701. 9 Nights.
  • 4. Inconstant; or, The Way to Win Him; 1703. 11 Nights.
  • 5. Twin Rivals, 1705. 13 Nights.
  • 6. Recruiting Officer, 1707. 15 Nights.
  • 7. The Beaux Stratagem, 1710. 10 Nights.
  • (All acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-lane.)

His last Comedy he wrote in six Weeks, with a settled Illness all the Time. He perceived the Approaches of Death before he had finish'd the last Act, and (as he had often foretold) died before the Run of the Play was over. It was affirm'd, by some of his near Acquaintance, his unfortunate Marriage shorten'd his Days; for his Wife (by whom he had two Daughters), through the Reputation of a great Fortune, trick'd him into Matrimony. This was chiefly [Page 151] the Fault of her Love, which was so violent, that she was resolv'd to use all Arts to gain him. Tho' some Husbands, in such a Case, would have proved mere Husbands; yet he was so much charm'd with her Love and Un­derstanding, that he liv'd very happy with her. Therefore when I say an unfortunate Marriage, with other Circumstances, conduced to the shortening of his Days; I only mean, that his Fortune, being too slender to support a Family, led him into a great many Cares and Inconve­niencies: For I have often heard him say a, ‘That it was more Pain to him in imagining that his Family might want a needful Sup­port, than the most violent Death that could be inflicted on him b.’

The Mind diseas'd strikes Poison to the Heart,
And baffles all the best Physician's Art.


AS I never had the Fortune to be present at this Gentleman's public Performance, I cannot pretend to be a competent Judge of his Merit; tho', I must own, I have heard him launch out into Mimicry, which might perhaps give Pleasure to others, but, I must own, very little to me.

[Page 153] I remember an Instance of this kind of Sa­tire in my Youth, that gave Satisfaction to some light Hearts, but greater Disgust to the more judicious Sort of the Audience.

Mr. George Powell, a reputable Actor, with many Excellencies, gave out, that he would perform the Part of Sir John Falstaff in the Manner of that very excellent English Roscius, Mr. Betterton. He certainly hit his Manner, and Tone of Voice; yet, to make the Picture more like, he mimick'd the Infirmities of Di­stemper, old Age, and the afflicting Pains of the Gout, which that great Man was often seiz'd with. Certainly Mimicry is a Gift from Nature, and laudable, if made use of like the antient Mimes, who could dumbly describe every Passion of the Mind, and tell a Tale with­out a Tongue: But to mimic the Infirmities of Nature, may well be term'd Incivility, Barba­rity, and Inhumanity.

I remember D'Urfey, the late Lyric Poet, stuttered extremely when in a Passion, tho' he could speak an Oration, read a Scene in a Play, or sing any of his own Songs or Dialogues, without the least Hesitation. He came one Morning to the Rehearsal a little disturbed about a depending Benefit Play, and ask'd, in a Passion, Wh, wh, where wa, wa, was M, M, Mr. Wi, Wilks? The Drole Penkethman answered, H, h, he d, d, did n, n, not kn, kn, know. But the choleric Poet broke his Head for his Joke, and it was with great Difficulty the Bard was appeased.

[Page 154] Mimicry, as it now stands with us, is like a Statue, larger than the Life, made for a cer­tain Height and Distance; while upon the Level with you, its coarse Proportion seems monstrous, and overdone. Many excellent Comedians have had this natural Talent. Mr. Rymer, that great Critic, tells us, that Mr. Mountford was so excellently gifted that Way (if we may call it Excellence), that when he was Train-bearer to the late Chancellor Jefferies, in the Reign of King James the Second, at an Entertainment for the most eminent Lawyers, his Master ordered him to come before him, and plead a feigned Cause, which he perform'd with great Eloquence; and in his Pleadings, to the Admiration of all present, assum'd the Manner and Voice of several of the best Pleaders then at the Bar, even some of those that were pre­sent at the Entertainment. As I said before, every thing of this kind must be over-done, to make it the more ridiculous; and Actors of great Merit, thus mimick'd, are liable to some little Disgrace, which is neither Justice nor Good-nature. I have seen Faces painted in a Scene of a Multitude, which is generally used in Drury lane Theatre at the Coronation of Anna Bullen, that make most ridiculous Fi­gures, so like to be known; and yet the Per­sons they represent have nothing particularly faulty in their Countenance or Figures. But the Painter was a merry Italian Wag, and did it to shew his exuberant Fancy.

[Page 155] But to return to Mr. Foote. He is a Gen­tleman of a good Family, and seems to have some Claim to the Estate of the Goodieres. One of that Family was, not many Years past, murdered by his own Brother at Bristol. I believe he has Merit, or a Wou'd-be-Wit would not have publish'd the following Lines in the News-papers: For, I have observed, those that have Merit, are generally liable to bespattering Defamation. However, here are the Lines.

On a Pseudo-Player.
THOU Mimic of Cibber—of Garrick thou Ape!
Thou Fop in Othello! thou Cypher in Shape!
Thou Trifle in Person! thou Puppet in Voice!
Thou Farce of a Player! thou Rattle for Boys!
Thou Mongrel! thou dirty-face Harlequin Thing!
Thou Puff of bad Paste! thou Ginger-breadKing!
Was a Quin, or Delane, the Boast of our Stage,
Set up as fit Marks for thy Envy, or Rage?
Was a Quin, or Delane, who excel in their Art,
To be ap'd by a Cobler, who bungles his Part?
Thou Mummer in Action! thou Coffee-house Jester!
Thou Mimic sans Sense! Mock Hero in Gesture!
Can the Squeak of a Puppet present us a Quin?
Or a Pigmy, or Dwarf, shew a Giant's Design?
Shall Deficience, unpunish'd, at Excellence rail?
Or a Sprat; without Ridicule, mimic a Whale?
[Page 156] Can a Foot represent us the Length of a Yard?
Where, then, shall such Insolence meet its Re­ward?
Contempt were the best, like the Mastiff that feels,
With superior Derision, the Cur at his Heels—
O Ireland! too prone to encourage new Toys!
In Trinkets, and Novelty, fickle as Boys!
O Dublin! alas! to a Proverb well known,
To receive what is foreign, yet scoff at thy own;
Learn truly to judge 'twixt a F—t and a Tune:
Applaud the good Player—but damn the Buffoon!

This Poet is too passionate to be in the Right; neither would I have inserted it, if I had not received it inclosed with the following Laconic Epistle.


I Know what you are about; insert the in­clos'd in its proper Place, or you will neither do yourself, or your Readers, Ju­stice. If you fail, you shall hear of it—


Notwithstanding this angry Author, I dare swear it will not do the Gentleman any Preju­dice: For Passion is the worst Persuader in the World. For, as the Poet says,

Truth is too naked, of all Art bereav'd:
Since the World will—why—let them be deceiv'd.


I Cannot tell when Mrs. Furnival first com­menced Actress; but I know her Reputa­tion for a Stage-performer was so great, that a Person of high Birth and Station, who had seen her act several capital Parts at the Theatre in York, prevail'd on the Manager of Drury-lane to send for her in the Year 1737. Accordingly, I received a Commission for that Purpose, which she approved of. The first Part she acted, at her Arrival in London, was that of the Scornful Lady, in a Comedy of Beaumont and Fletcher's that bears the Title. I own it was a Character of my own choosing, and for no other Reason, but that the Play had slept since the Death of the inimitable Mrs. Oldfield. The Success did not intirely answer the Mean­ing of my Intention, tho' she acquitted herself so well, that there was a very good Actress in Prospect. But the Parts in Tragedy were so taken up, that her Talent that Way was never once try'd in the Theatre-Royal in Drury-lane: Therefore, by the Advice of the same worthy Gentleman, that was the Cause of her leaving York for London, she left London for Dublin, where her Merit was so conspicuous, that her Loss is much regretted. She is once more re­turned to England, I believe without any other Advice but her own; yet, I fear, she will be remember'd here, till a better Alicia in Jane [Page 158] Shore, Lady Macbeth, Hermione in the Di­stress'd Mother, or Zara in the Mourning Bride, with many other Parts, rises up to out­do her.

But what, at first, gives infinite Delight,
When often seen, hangs heavy on the Sight.


THIS complete Actor was born, in Staf­fordshire, of an antient Family in that County; had a genteel Education, and was, by his Father, design'd for the Law. I doubt not, from his good Sense and Affability, if he had continued in that honourable Society in Lincoln's-Inn, but he might have made a con­siderable Figure at the Bar, and, by his Elo­cution, walk'd in the foremost Rank of emi­nent Orators.

His Genius led him early to study Nature, and leave the crabbed Tracts of the Law. His facetious good Humour gained him Entrance behind the Scenes, two or three Years, in Drury-lane, before he commenced Actor; where his excellent Understanding could pro­fit by the Faults of others, mend them, and improve the Beauties.

In the Year 1740. he set out, in full Lustre, at the Theatre in Goodman's-Fields, with the Part of Richard the Third; and, by the Force of Attraction, drew even the Court to the [Page 159] farthest Suburbs of London. After making that remote Part of the Town as familiar to Courtiers and Quality, as Wapping to Sailors; he came, with a Blaze of Light, to Drury-lane; where he began with an Act of Charity worthy of his Humanity and Goodness, by assisting the Widow of Mr. Harper with a Sum, that, by good Management, will make her Circumstances easy the rest of her Life. She was at Kilkenny, the Place of her Birth, two Summers ago, where I received this Ac­count from her own Mouth. The Part he perform'd was Chamont, in the Orphan.

When this Gentleman was in this Kingdom last, I was unfortunately seized by a stubborn Indisposition, and his Good-nature prevailed upon the eminent Dr. Barry to give me his Assistance: But what need I repeat, to those that are not blind, that the Sun shines in Sum­mer? I shall end with two Copies of Verses that were printed, at his first Arrival, in the News-papers, at that Time.


Cur in Theatrum, Cato severe, venisti?
An ideo tantum veneras, ut exires? MART.
IN Roman Days, once, Cato the severe,
With awful Brow, went to the Theatre:
But, O! instead of manly Fire, and Rage,
And all the true Pathetic of the Stage,
He saw, he heard, the Rant, the Droll, the Stare;
Saw Nature, and the Passions, murder'd there—
Saw, and retir'd—But, shou'd he now revive,
And see glad Nature in her Garrick live,
He'd laugh at Bayes, and weep with injur'd Lear,
Curse Tyrant Richard, but applaud the Player!
By Joy, Rage, Pity, all the Passions mov'd,
Garrick wou'd well by Cato be approv'd:
The Wise, the Virtuous Cato, wou'd forbear
His rigid Censures, and in Raptures swear,
That by some Pow'r Divine the Stage was trod,
And, in the matchless Actor, own the God.

This great Actor is Author of Three Dra­matic Pieces, the Lying Valet, Miss in her Teens, and Lethe; as also several well-wrote Prologues, Epilogues, Songs, and Poems of a peculiar Turn of Wit. I shall take Leave to insert one Song, as a Specimen.


IF Truth can fix thy wav'ring Heart,
Let Damon urge his Claim;
He feels the Passion void of Art,
The pure, and constant Flame.
Tho' sighing Swains their Torments tell,
Their sensual Love contemn:
They only prize the beauteous Shell,
But slight the inward Gem.
Possession cures the wounded Heart,
Destroys the transient Fire;
But when the Mind receives the Dart,
Enjoyment whets Desire.
Your Charms each slavish Sense controul,
A Tyrant's short-liv'd Reign;
But milder Reason rules the Soul,
Nor Time can break the Chain.
By Age your Beauties will decay,
Your Mind improves with Years;
And, when the Blossoms fade away,
The rip'ning Fruit appears.
May Heav'n and Sylvia grant my Suit,
And bless each future Hour,
That Damon, who can taste the Fruit,
May gather ev'ry Flow'r!


IS descended from an antient Family in Wales. His Parents came to settle in Dublin, where this Son was born in the Year 1680. He was put 'Prentice to a Mathema­tical Instrument-maker; but a lively-spirited Genius made him cast his Thoughts towards the Theatre, when he saw a young Actress that had sufficient Charms to engage his Heart. The Passion of Love is not to be controuled in Youth. He marry'd her before he had serv'd a Third Part of his Time, quitting his Ma­thematical Master, and bent his Thoughts in­tirely to the Drama. His Talent led him to Comedy, of the merry Cast, in which he gave great Pleasure to the Audience.

His Wit and facetious Humour gained him many Friends, of the best Sort, and superior Rank. In the Year 1710. the late Lord South­well gave him a Post in the Revenue, which he enjoyed till Death, which fell out in January 24. 1743-4. in his grand Climacteric, two Days before the Night of his Benefit; which was performed for the Widow, his second Wife, who was Daughter to the Rev. Mr. Foxcroft, of Portarlington in the Queen's County, a Gen­tlewoman of Merit and Virtue.

Mr. Griffith was not only a good Actor, but a pleasing Poet, in what he attempted: His Person was well made, tho' low in Stature. I have seen a Bill of mock Alexander runs thus:

The Part of Alexander the Great to be per­form'd by little Griffith.

He was an excellent Companion, and told a Story with a peculiar Grace; and would often tell little Histories of himself, even in Ridicule of himself. I shall mention one I had from his own Mouth.

After his commencing Actor, he contracted a Friendship with Mr. Wilks; which Chain re­mained unbroke till the Death of that excel­lent Comedian. Tho' Mr. Griffith was very young, Mr. Wilks took him with him to Lon­don, and had him enter'd for that Season at a small Salary. The Indian Emperor being or­dered on a sudden to be play'd, the Part of Pizarro, a Spaniard, was wanting, which Mr. Griffith procur'd, with some Difficulty. Mr. Betterton being a little indisposed, would not venture out to Rehearsal, for Fear of increasing his Indisposition, to the Disappointment of the Audience, who had not seen our young Stripling rehearse. But, when he came ready, at the Entrance, his Ears were pierc'd with a Voice not familiar to him: He cast his Eyes upon the Stage, where he beheld the diminutive Pizarro, with a Truncheon as long as him­self (his own Words). He steps up to Downs the Prompter, and cry'd, Zounds, Downs! what sucking Scaramouch have you sent on there? Sir, reply'd Downs, He's good enough for a Spaniard; the Part is small. Betterton re­turn'd, [Page 165] If he had made his Eye-brows his Whiskers, and each Whisker a Line, the Part would have been two Lines too much for such a Monkey in Buskins. Poor Griffith stood on the Stage, near the Door, and heard every Syllable of the short Dialogue, and by his Fears, knew who was meant by it; but, happy for him, he had no more to speak that Scene. When the first Act was over (by the Advice of Downs) he went to make his Excuse, with—Indeed, Sir, I had not taken the Part, but there was only I alone out of the Play. I! I! (reply'd Betterton, with a Smile) Thou art but the Tittle of an I. Griffith seeing him in no ill Humour, told him, Indians ought to be the best Figures on the Stage, as Nature had made them. Very like, reply'd Betterton; but it would be a double Death to an Indian Cobler to be conquer'd by such a Weazle of a Spaniard as thou art! And, after this Night, let me never see a Truncheon in thy Hand again, unless to stir the Fire. This Story, as I said before, was of his own telling. However, he took his Advice, laid aside the Buskin, and stuck to the Sock, in which he made a Figure equal to most of his Cotemporaries.

Our Genius flutters with the Plumes of Youth,
But Observation wings to steddy Truth.


THIS Gentleman is descended from an antient Family, originally in Bucking­hamshire. His Father had a numerous Issue, he being the last of Eight Sons. He was born in London, in 1699. In the Year 1716. he was made a Clerk to the South-Sea Company; in which Post he remained Three Years. But having a strong Propensity to the Stage, he first appeared in Public on the Theatre in Bath, in 1719. and, in two Years Probation, he made such a Progress, that the Manager of Lincoln's-Inn-Fields Theatre invited him to join his Company, where he continued two Years more: From thence he went to try his Fortune in Ireland, where his Merit soon brought him into the Management.

During his Stay there, he marry'd the Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lydal, Persons that made very good Figures in the Theatre. This Gentlewoman died in Child-bed very young, leaving behind her one Son, born in his Fa­ther's House on the North-Strand, who is now an Actor in this Kingdom. Some Years after Mr. Giffard marry'd a second Wife, who is now alive. She has an amiable Person, and is a well-esteemed Actress, both in Tragedy and Comedy; born, if am not misinformed by her Mother, the Widow Lydal, in the Year 1711.

[Page 167] Mr. Giffard and Spouse, if I mistake not, came over to England 1730. where they sup­ported a Company of Comedians, then under the Management of Mr. Odell, now Deputy-Licenser of Plays under the Lord Chamberlain his Grace the Duke of Grafton. Mr. Odell, from not understanding the Management of a Company (as, indeed, how should any one, that is not, in some sort, brought up to that Know­lege?) soon left it to Mr. Giffard that did; who, in the Year 1733. caused to be built an intire, new, beautiful, convenient Theatre, by the same Architect with that of Covent-Garden; where Dramatic Pieces were performed with the utmost Elegance and Propriety. Some Years after he was obliged to quit that The­atre (I may say by Oppression), and occupy'd the vacant Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields: But his Success did not answer his Merit. From thence he transplanted himself into the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane.

Merit will sometimes fail of due Regard,
And Virtue's Self must be its own Reward.


WAS born in Pembrokeshire, January 1672. His Ancestors were an antient and reputable Family, long seated in that County. He fell in Love with the Tragic Muse very young, but dangled after the Dra­ma [Page 168] full two Years, sighing, at great Expence, before he was suffered to declare his Passion publicly. Yet, certainly he possessed most of the Requisites that compound a good Actor, to assure Success. But the Managers of those Theatrical Days were very cautious in their Proceedings; no Persons were fit for their Stages, without a visible Appearance, at least, of not displeasing. And yet it was with some Difficulty he gained Permission to personate Sir Walter Ralegh in the Earl of Essex; but he came off so well, that, the following Pay-Day, he received a Week's Salary, the usual Stipend of young Actors (Ten Shillings a Week); but, unluckily, the Death of good Queen Mary put a Stop to their Acting for near Six Months. However, when Permis­sion was given to open the Theatres again, Mr. Husband soon gained better Parts, and a larger Salary.

In the Year 1696. Mr. Dogget d, being then in Ireland, recommended Mr. Husband to [Page 169] Mr. Ashbury, as a very promising young Actor, and fit for his Purpose. He set out from Lon­don with Mr. Trefusis e, and embarked for [Page 170] Ireland; and was at Sea in that violent Storm when Brigadier Fitzgerald was cast away in the Packet-Boat, near Hoath, where every Sou­perished but the Master of the Vessel. How­ever, after much Difficulty, and great Danger he landed safe in Dublin. Mr. Husband con­tinued on the Stage with great Reputation as an Actor, and a Gentleman of exact Conduct An Example truly worthy imitating.

He afterwards passed and repassed from England to Ireland several Times, till, in the Year 1713. he was settled in this Kingdom for (I believe) the remaining Part of his Days fix'd in the Esteem of all that know him.

[Page 171]
The Lees of Life with Chearfulness he wears,
And from an upright Mind no Death he fears.


THIS Person performed one Season on the Dublin Stage. He was born in the Year 1701. and was by his Father put 'Pren­tice to a Bookseller. By reading of Plays in his Master's Shop, he us'd to repeat Speeches in the Kitchen, in the Evening, to the De­struction of many a Chair, which he substi­tuted in the Room of real Persons in his Drama. One Night, as he was repeating the Part of Alexander, with his wooden Repre­sentative of Clytus (an old Elbow-Chair), and coming to the Speech where the old General is to be kill'd, this young mock Alexander snatch'd a Poker instead of a Javelin, and threw it with such Strength against poor Cly­tus, that the Chair was kill'd upon the Spot, and lay mangled on the Floor. The Death of Clytus made a monstrous Noise, which disturbed the Master in the Parlour, who called out to know the Reason; and was an­swered by the Cook below, Nothing, Sir, but that Alexander has kill'd Clytus.

His Master, Mr. Edmund Curll f(a Per­son [Page 172] well noted in London from Mr. Pope' commencing Physician), finding his Inclina­tion so strong for the Stage, agreed to let him try his Fortune there. He had a most extra­ordinary melodious Voice, strong, and clear and in the Part of Macheath, in the Beggar' Opera, he was allow'd to excel the Original Then he was an excellent Mimic, if Excel­lency may be join'd to Mimicry. He took a little too much Pride in the Firmness of his Voice; for he had an odd Custom of stealing unperceiv'd upon a Person, and, with a Hem! in his Ear, deafen him for some time, with [Page 173] the Strength and Loudness of his Voice. Yet this customary Folly (for Folly it may be justly call'd) prov'd his Fate; for the last Hem! he gave broke a Blood-Vessel, which was the Cause of his Death in Twenty-four Hours after. He was a great Benefactor to the Malt-Tax, which, in my Opinion, was the Cause of that Mountain of Flesh he was loaded with.

At the Time of his Death, he was under Mr. Henry Giffard, at the Theatre in Good­man's-Fields. He was bury'd at the Charge of that Gentleman, in St. Mary's Church, White-chapel, in the 35th Year of his Age. We shall end with Mr. Hulet in Mr. Giffard's own Words.

Mr. Charles Hulet was endowed with great Abilities for a Player; but laboured under the Disadvantage of a Person rather too corpulent for the Hero or the Lover; but his Port well became Henry the Eighth, Falstaff, &c. and many other Characters, both Tragedy and Comedy, in which he would have been equally excellent, had his Application and Figure been proportionable to his Qua­lifications; which had he duly cultivated, he would have become a very considerable Performer.

What Machines are we poor Mortals! that a Person should be kill'd with a Hem!

As in a Watch, if the least Engine flies,
The Work is stopp'd, and the whole Movement dies.


COmmonly called Ben Johnson, was bre [...] a Painter, where his Employment led him to paint, under his Master, the Scenes for the Stage; but he took more Pleasure in hear­ing the Actors rehearse, than in his Pencil or Colours; and, as he us'd to say in his merry Mood, left the Saint's g Occupation to take that of a Sinner.

He arrived to as great a Perfection in Act­ing, as his great Namesake did in Poetry. He seemed to be proud to wear that eminent Poet's double Name, being more particular­ly great in all that Author's Plays that were usually performed, viz. Wasp in the Play of Bartholomew-Fair, Corbaccio in the Fox, Mo­rose in the Silent Woman, and Ananias in the Alchymist.

He was but once in this Kingdom, about fifty Years ago, in the Summer Season. I have heard him often give most extravagant Praises to one Baker, a Master-Paver in Dub­lin, for excelling in Sir John Falstaff, the Spanish Fryar, Sir Epicure Mammon in the Alchymist, and many other Parts. He would be studying in the Streets, while he would be overlooking his Men at their Work. One [Page 175] Day two of his Men, that were newly come under their Master, and were Strangers to his Manner, observing his Countenance, Mo­tions, Gestures, and talking to himself, ima­gined their Master was mad. Baker, seeing his Men neglect their Work to gaze at him, bid them, in a hasty Manner, mind their Busi­ness! The Country-Fellows (for they but lately came from Chester) went to work again, but still with an Eye upon their Master. The Part was Sir John Falstaff that Baker was re­hearsing; and, when he came to the Fifth Act, where the humourous Knight is supposed to see Sir Walter Blunt lie dead upon the Stage—He gives a Look on one of his new Pavers, and muttered loud enough to be heard, with Eyes fix'd upon him,—Who have we here?—Sir Walter Blunt!—There's Honour for you. The Fellow, that was stooping, rose on the Instant, clapping hold of his Master—Wauns! Ise blunt enough to take care of you, Ise warrant you! So, with the Help of his Companion, they bound Mr. Baker's Hands and Feet, assisted by other People, no wiser than themselves; and, notwithstanding their Master's Noise and Struggle, they carried him home in that Con­dition, with a great Mob at their Heels. Mr. Johnson informed me, when he returned to England, he gave Mr. Betterton the Manner of Baker's playing Falstaff; which that great Actor not only approv'd of, but imitated; and allowed the Manner was better than his [Page 176] own. Mr. Husband gave me much the same Account of this Mr. Baker.

Mr. Johnson played to the last Year of his Life, with the same standard Reputation; and died in August 1742. in the 77th Year of his Age.

He fell like Autumn Fruit, that mellow'd long,
Even wonder'd at, because he dropt no sooner.

Miss J. JONES.

THE Father of this young Gentlewoman was born in Wales, a Branch of an an­tient and reputable Family in that Country; but an unforeseen Misfortune falling upon him, he made the Stage his Refuge, and governed a Country Company many Years, with Judgment, Honesty, and Reputation. Miss Jones, more by the Will of her Father than her own Inclinations, was thrust on the Stage a mere Infant, and now makes a very good Figure there: But her Virtue, and sober dis­creet Behaviour, may be a Pattern for Imita­tion; therefore I shall say no more, but con­clude, that she deserves a better Fate.

Our Guardian Angel is fair Innocence,
And virtuous Actions are our best Defence.


I Mention this Gentleman, as receiving In­structions from the late Joseph Ashbury, Esq Mr. Keen was an excellent Scholar, and a very good Actor: But, having some Share in the Government of the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, under Mr. Rich, either for the Want of Performers, or, perhaps, overlooking his Ta­lents (a Fault sometimes very good Actors, of both Sexes, are guilty of), he stood for Parts something out of his Road, as Oroonoko, Earl of Essex, Edgar in King Lear; when, in the Part of Gloster, in the same Play, and others of that Cast, no Actor of his Time could excel him. Altho' a very good Figure and Voice, his Per­son wanted Elegance for the soft Characters.

It was reported, the ill Success of the Thea­tre, when he was Sharer in Profit and Loss, broke his Heart. He died in the Year 1719 and was bury'd in the Body of the Church of St. Clement-Danes, by a voluntary Subscrip­tion from both Houses. It was what we term in England a Walking Funeral; and there were upwards of Two hundred Persons in deep Mourning. His Life was published by Mr. Savage, illegitimate Son to the Earl of Rivers. Several Wou'd-be Wits wrote Copies of Verses upon his Death: One I remember ending with this Line:

And Death was found too Sharp for Keen.


THIS Gentleman is a Native of Ireland, born in Dublin. His good Figure, agree­able Voice, and genteel easy Carriage, render him a pleasing Actor; and we may expect from such Qualifications, that Time may bring him to great Perfection. All Arts are learned by Time, Observation, and Industry; and, when Choice guides Youth in any Occupation, Na­ture seems to lead the Way.

But many blunder on in various Ways;
Some ill succeed, while others merit Praise.


I Think, was born in Ireland. He com­menced Actor, however, on the Irish Thea­tre. He was a Person of some Education, with a particular amiable Form, and genteel Address, insomuch that he gained the Appel­lative of Handsome Leigh. A good Figure was the chief Advantage in the Parts he per­form'd. He was call'd from this Kingdom, to fill up the Troop of Comedians rais'd to garison the New Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, in the Year 1714. at its first Open­ing; where he set forth the First Night in Captain Plume, in the Recruiting Officer; which occasioned the following Lines to be wrote on the Back of one of their Bills:

[Page 179]
'Tis right to raise Recruits; for, faith, they're wanted;
For not one acting Soldier's here, 'tis granted.

Mr. Leigh, I believe, might have been in the good Graces of the Fair-Sex, if his Taste had led him that Way. He was addicted to Poetry, and produced a Comedy call'd Kensing­ton-Gardens, acted at the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields in the Year 1720. which walk'd consumptively six Nights, and then expir'd. He also trimm'd up a Farce call'd, Hob's Wed­ding, taken from a Comedy call'd, The Coun­try Wake, written by that perfect Comedian Mr. Thomas Dogget. He has wrote several humourous Songs. Here follows a Sample, which as it is a Theatrical Anecdote, will re­quire a little Illustration by way of Notes.

To the Tune of, Thomas I cannot.
MY scandalous Neighbours of Portugal-street *,
Come listen awhile to my Ditty;
I'll sing you a Song, tho' my Voice be not sweet,
And that you will say is a Pity:
As merry a Sonnet as Times can afford,
Of Egleton a, Walker b, Jack Hall c, and my Lord d;
If you doubt of the Truth, to confirm ev'ry Word,
[Page 180] I'll call for a Witness—Will Thomas! Will Thomas e!
I'll call for a Witness—Will Thomas!
First, Egleton coax'd the Fool over the Way f
With Sentences sweeter than Honey;
A Toad in a Hole gwas their Dinner that Day,
And my Noodle he lent them his Money.
What tho' I have got by him many a Crown?
What I ne'er can forgive him is, that he came down
Five Guineas the Night ere he went out of Town.
Is this true, or no?—O yes! says Will Thomas,
O yes, &c.
Tom Walker, his Creditors meaning to chouse,
Like an honest good-natur'd young Fellow,
Resolv'd all the Summer to stay in the House,
And rehearse by himself Massianello h.
As soon as he heard of the Baron's Success i,
He stript off his Night-gown, and put on his Dress,
And cry'd, D—mn my B—d! I will strike for no less;
So he call'd o'er the Hatch kfor Will Thomas! Will Thomas!
So he call'd, &c.
Go tell my young Lord, says this modest young Man,
I beg he'd invite me to Dinner;
I'll be as diverting as ever I can,
I will by the Faith of a Sinner!
[Page 182] I mimic all Actors, the worst and the best,
I'll sing him a Song, I'll crack him a Jest,
I'll make him Act better than Henley the Priest l
I'll tell him so, Sir, says Will Thomas, Will Thomas,
I'll tell him so, &c.
Jack Hall, who was then just awaken'd from Sleep,
Said (turning about to Grace Moffet m),
'Twou'd vex any Dog to see Pudding thus creep,
And not have a Share of the Profit:
If you have not, says Grace, you're not Mr. Hall!
And if I have not, it shall cost me a Fall;
For half a Loaf's better than no Bread at all;
And so I'll call out for Will Thomas, Will Thomas,
And so, &c.
Go tell my young Lord, I can teach him to Dance,
Altho' I'm no very great Talker;
I'll shew him good Manners just landed from France,
That's more than he'll learn from Tom Walker!
I Sing, and I Act, I Dance, and I Fence;
I am a rare Judge of—good Eating—and Sense—
[Page 183] And then—as for English—I understand French.
I'll tell him so, Sir, says Will Thomas, Will Thomas,
I'll tell him so, &c.
The Peer was just going his Purse-strings to draw,
In order to lend them his Money—
As soon as his forward Good-nature I saw n,
I cry'd out, My Lord! fie upon you!
To us you're as hard as a Turk, or a Jew;
If you part with your Money, pay where it is due;
Poor Betty's owith Child, and it may be by you.
Here's Fun for us all! cry'd Will Thomas, Will Thomas,
Here's Fun, &c.
When his Lordship heard this, away down he ran,
And drove away strait to the Devil p;
Will Thomas sneak'd over to the Green-man q;
Thus our Customers use us uncivil r.
[Page 184] Poor Betty's Misfortune is pity'd by all,
Who expects ev'ry Moment in Pieces to fall,
Tho' she swears 'tis my Lord's, 'twas got by Jack Hall,
Or else by poor sneaking Will Thomas, Will Thomas,
Or else, &c.
Portugal-street, where the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields is built.
Mr. Egleton, commonly call'd Baron Egleton, for taking that Title upon him in France, where he squan­dered away a small Patrimony. His Person was per­fectly genteel, and a very pleasing Actor; but through a wild Road of Life, he finish'd his Journey in the 29th Year of his Age.
b Mr. Walker (the original Macheath). Vide the Ac­count of his Life.
Mr. John Hall, a Sharer in old Smock alley Thea­tre above thirty Years ago. He went from hence with Mr. Leigh to the New Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. He was something too corpulent, and a Thickness of Speech that might be mimic'd with Ease, which adds some Humour to this Ballad. He understood Music, and was once a Dancing-Master, and the original Lockit in the Beggar's Opera.
My Lord, a young Nobleman weak in Intellects (Title and Estates do not always inherit Wisdom)
A Waiter at a Coffee-house in Portugal-street, over­against the Stage-Door; a Person in Understanding pretty near upon a Par with my Lord.
The young Lord.,
A Cant Word for any bak'd Meat with a Pudding.
Massianello, a Play, or rather two Plays, on the Rebellion of Naples, by Thomas Anello, a Fisherman of that City, who was near subverting the Government, having the whole Power and Command in his Hands for several Days; but plunging himself into Wine instead of his Element of Water, he at last ended his Life and mock Reign in a Ditch. Mr. Walker took some Pains that Summer to contract the two Plays into one, which was perform'd the following Winter, with some Success. The two Plays were originally written by Mr. Thomas Durfey.
Mr. Egleton receiv'd the five Guineas from the Lord.
The Hatch of the Stage-door: The Bounds of those Theatrical Princes, that might receive four Pounds a Week, and by their Industry make Shift to spend six. A great Virtue in some Theatrical Gentry.
Orator Henley, who was taught to speak by Mr. Walker.
Grace Moffet, Daughter to Mr. Hall s Second Wife, that kept the Bell and Dragon in Portugal-street.
As soon, &c. This Ballad was to be supposed to be made by the Woman that kept the Coffee-house.
Betty, Maid to the Coffee-woman, that could serve the Peer, and the Porter.
The Devil Tavern, Temple-Bar.
A Brandy shop over the Way
Thus our Customers, &c. Reflections of the Coffee-woman.

The Author died in 1726. the 37th Year of his Age.

A Time that should to true Perfection tend;
But many promise well, that never mend.


WAS born in England, has been in many Employments both by Sea and Land, and was formerly very active and strong, able to go through Fatigues. As I do not know the Offices he bore in the Service, I must be silent on that Head. I remember him in Drury-lane, when I was in my Youth, a nim­ble active Scaramouch, before he was loaden with that Burden of Flesh he now carries about him. At that Time he was such a Person as his eldest Son, Mr. Robert Layfield, appears at present, who is a very good Player in several Cast of Parts, particularly Serjeant Kite, &c.

[Page 185] Mr. Layfield has been a main Pillar, Time past, in supporting the Dublin Theatre, and therefore ought to be respected in his Decline; but he is happily engaged for Life, and of Con­sequence (if Articles are binding) will receive his Salary to the Day of his Death. There are several Parts he might still perform with Satisfaction, as Hob, Jobson, and many others; for the Audience (in well-esteemed Actors) will 'bate them something of their Years for the Service they have done. I do not know whe­ther that Circumstance will have any Weight with the Managers here, tho' it is an old-fa­shion'd Custom in England; but different Nations, different Customs.

'Tis said the Natives of the Cape Good-Hope s,
When Age is failing, end it with a Rope.


THIS Gentleman was born at Lichfield in Staffordshire the 29th of September in the Year 1702. His Great Grandfather Sir Thomas Milward was Chief Justice of West-Chester, and raised a Troop of Horse in De­fence [Page 186] of that unhappy Monarch King Charles the First, and was then a County Palatine, which occasioned the Rump Parliament in the Year 1659. to vote their Charter void; and I do not find it ever restor'd. The Family were originally from Derbyshire. The Father of our Actor, a few Years after the Birth of his Son, removed to Uttoxeter (commonly called Tociter) in the County of Stafford, distant from London 126 measured Miles, formerly a Colony of the Romans.

He had his Education in a School of that Town, accounted one of the best in that Part of the Country. At fifteen his Father brought him to London, where he was put Apprentice to an eminent Apothecary in Norfolk-street in the Strand; but he has often declared, there were so many Dangers in the Employment, that he could never like it. The following Acci­dent made him determine to leave it.

‘He was ordered by his Master to carry his Prescriptions to a Gentleman and Lady ill of different Maladies at the same time; the Labels were wrong directed, but he did not discover this Mistake till the next Day, when he carried other Medicines to the same Persons, and by his Judgment in the O­peration soon found out the Mistake. He was greatly terrified, but for fear of more, he let fall the Phial he had in his Hand, as by Accident, ran back to his Master, and told him what had been done. The Mas­ter [Page 187] ordered more proper Doses, the Pati­ents recovered, and all was well’

Mr. Milward's first Essay in Acting was among young Gentlemen, privately, for their own Diversion. In a small time after he mixt with a Country Company of Comedians, where his Merit shone so bright, that it open'd the Eyes of the Manager in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, with whom he rose in that Theatre, and Co­vent-Garden, to be placed in the foremost Rank of Perfection. He died in the 40th Year of his Age, in the very Meridian of an Actor, then belonging to the Theatre in Drury-lane.

Mr. Milward shall make his Exit from this worldly Stage, with an Epilogue spoke for the Benefit of his Widow, which will better speak his Excellencies.

WHEN Roscius died, each gen'rous Roman wept,
While Cicero's deathless Page his Plaudit kept;
Such was the Harvest in that Golden Age,
Who toil'd to till the Vineyard of the Stage:
The Romans wept! more gen'rous Britons, ye
Dry up the Tears of Milward's Family:
Your bounteous Cares beyond the Grave extend!
Lo! what a Scene, dead Merit to befriend;
For Merit sure he shar'd in ev'ry Part,
Merit most rare—Integrity of Heart.
Whate'er of Friendly, Gen'rous, Good, he play'd,
In Scenes of real Life he still display'd:
Young Hamlet's Sable when he chose to wear,
Young Hamlet's filial Piety was there:
[Page 188] When the fond Lover t Phocyas was his Part,
Each tender Line sprang glowing from his Heart;
Or when Macduff's dire Anguish was his Theme,
The Husband and the Father bled in him.
Well might he please, when with each virtuous Thought
The Poet penn'd, the Player's Breast was fraught.
Such Milward was, as such his early Grave
Calls down the Pity of the Fair and Brave;
Cut off just at the Noon-tide of his Days,
Just when he hop'd to have deserv'd your Praise:
The Player, steel'd to counterfeit the Tear,
Distills an undissembled Eye-drop here;
Whilst by this splendid Circle fir'd, his Breast
With Emulation burns, and claims his best,
That his own Manes may like Milward's rest.


WAS born in the Kingdom of Ireland, but left that Country very young. He cast his Thoughts towards the Stage in England in his early Years. The Science of Acting is not to be learn'd without great Labour and Study; and, not copying any Performer that went before him, he has at length shone out a finish'd Original. I never knew him under­take any Part, but, as in Painting, I found some Strokes of Nature that gave fresh Touches to the Picture he was drawing.

[Page 189] He rose gradually in the Theatrical Corps, like the late Northern Star of Russia, till he came to be chief Leader; he regularly gained the Topmast Step, and now is seated in the Throne of Perfection, dispensing Laws to that Part of the Province where the SOCK is worn, where he reigns sole Monarch, and de­servedly so, since with long laborious Pains he has found out the true Rule of Reigning. Shy­lock the Jew, in the Merchant of Venice, is so immitably counterfeited, that we cannot say more than what a Gentleman said extempore on seeing him perform the Part:

This is the Jew
That Shakespear drew.

This excellent Comedian is Author of a Play call'd Henry the VIIth, or the Popish Impostor, acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, the Story of Perkin Warbeck. The Piece (in my Judgment) is well-plann'd, the Diction is not considered critically; but no wonder, since he was put upon the Subject, and had but six Weeks from the first Line in Writing to the first Night in Acting. The following One-Act Pieces have been performed with great Success, but not printed.

A Will, or no Will; or, a new Case for the Lawyers.

A Critic on the Suspicious Husband; or, the Plague of Envy.

[Page 190] The Fortune-Hunters; or, the Widow Be­witch'd.

I shall conclude with two Lines, wrote b7 a Gentleman in this Kingdom.

This Jew, this Colonel, Lopez, Ben, has shown,
He makes each various Character his own.


MAY (by her Judgment and Execution in the Parts she undertakes) be equally ranked with the first Class of Actresses, and, in some Articles, lead the Way. She never sets up for a Heroine, or attempts to appear in an improper Light; she knows the Power of her own Talents, and always shines with un­borrow'd Light, without the Danger of being eclipsed. Her Propriety in Dress, for the va­rious Characters she performs, is another Ex­cellence that most of her Cotemporaries either pass over with very little Regard, or not enough.

In my Theatrical Course of above thirty Years, I have not seen her Equal in many Parts, viz. the Widow Black-Acre in Wycherly's Plain-Dealer, Mrs. Day in the Committee, Widow Lackit in Southern's Oroonoko, Lady Pliant in Congreve's Double-Dealer, Doris in Aesop by Sir John Vanbrugh, Mrs. Amelet in the [Page 191] Confederacy by the same Author, Lady Wish­fort in the Way of the World, and a Number of other Characters, that are wrote in the true Spirit of Comedy. But a Vessel need not fail of arriving at the desired Port with the Care of so good a Pilot.

We may find by these two Examples, that Ireland has produced as complete Comedians as her Sister England: But I shall give a few Lines, the Sentiments of a young Gentleman in this City.

WHILE Macklin charms the list'ning Throng,
A nobler Subject warms my Song:
Of Nature's sacred Name I'd sing,
From whom her various Beauties spring;
The swelling Sense!—the genial Fire!
The nameless Graces we admire!
To her—she frankly did impart
A Clue—to trace the mazy Heart:
She gave her Wit—with graceful Ease,
And ev'ry Attribute to please;
But know—thou finish'd Nymph—to you
Nor Wonder—nor Applause—is due
For Charms—which Nature only drew.


WAS born in this Kingdom. I understand his first Entrance on the Stage was under the Conduct of Mrs. Violante: With her he travelled to England, and by various Changes has been in most of the Theatres in London as well as Dublin. There are several old Mens Parts that he masterly executes. He sings passingly, is esteemed a good Teague, and an excellent Pierrot. He has a Brother of the same Calling.

Dancing is certainly one of the Appendages to Education that few polite People would be without; yet, if it mends the Manners, it does not always mend the Mind; but, as Othello says,

—'Tis not to make me jealous,
To say my Wife is fair, feeds well, loves Com­pany,
Is free of Speech, sings, plays, and dances well;
Where Virtue is, these are most virtuous.


WAS born in London in the Year 1717. His Father and Mother both belonging to the Stage at his Birth, the Son play'd the Childrens Parts as soon as he could speak [Page 193] plain. He came into this Kingdom in the Year 1737. with his Parents, where he made a great Progress in what is called low Comedy, and gave great Hopes of Perfection, if a lin­gering Consumptioh had not taken him off in the Flower of his Age. I fear he took a little too much Freedom with his Constitution, and by Perseverance made shift to get the better of it. He died in May 1745. in the 28th Year of his Age. The last Part he performed was Beau Clincher in the Constant Couple, being the first Time of Mr. Sherridan's appearing in the Character of Sir Harry Wildair, where Mr. Morgan, notwithstanding his ill Habit of Body, like a Taper in its last Blaze, gave a brighter Flame than all that shone before. This was November, tho' he lingered on till the May following.

Thus manly Health is often overcome,
When its worst Woe is to be found at Home.


I Think I know enough of him to imagine he is a very improving Actor: He has many Requisites that may make out what I assert for him, a good Person join'd to a genteel Education, Judgment, Voice, and Understanding. His Success already (since he has had but three Years Experience) shews us a larger Prospect of Advantage.

[Page 194] He was born in England (tho' of French Extraction) and (if it is any Honour to him had the much-talk'd-of Dr. Henry Sachevere for a Sponsor.

Mrs. Mozeen (formerly Miss Edwards) knew a Child. She sprung up under the Car [...] of that eminent Actress Mrs. Clive. I know Mrs. Mozeen is an Adept in Music, has a charming Manner and Voice: If her innate Modesty keeps her back as an Actress, Time may get the better of her Timidity. Mo­desty may assume a proper Spirit, when it is assured of being justly right in what is un­dertaken; for Virtue has ever Courage, and is its own Guardian.

Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
By her own radiant Light, tho' Sun and Moon
Were in the flat Sea sunk. Milton.


THIS Gentleman was born of a good Fa­mily, at Weobly in Herefordshire, in the Year 1710. where he received a good Schoo Education: He was sent to London very young to be put into Business, but his Friends or ra­ther Relations (who often prove our greates [...] Enemies) neglecting his Fortune, he turn'd hi Thoughts to the Drama. However he had no the Vanity of most of the Theatrical young Heroes, who jump at once into your Othello [Page 195] Oroonoko, Hamlet, or Captain Plume; but wise­ly weighing his own Talents, step'd into the Part of Polonius in Hamlet, where he gained such Applause, that he resolv'd to put on the Sock, with which he walked an easy Pace in the right Road to Perfection.

His first Trial of Skill was at the Theatre in the Hay-market (commonly called the French House), where he gave such Strokes of Judg­ment that alarmed his best Antagonists. From his beginning Encouragement he was solicited to add a promising Member to the Company of Bath, where there is a regular Theatre, and an Audience as difficult to be pleas'd as that in London, being generally Persons of the highest Rank that frequent those Diversions in the Ca­pital. He had the good Fortune to give Sa­tisfaction there, insomuch that several Persons of Distinction and Taste promised to recom­mend him to one of the establish'd Theatres in London: But a Company that Season set­ting out for Ireland, he was resolv'd to ac­company them, and cultivate his Genius in this Kingdom. His Knowlege in Music is some Addition to his Merit, and in his Walk of Acting he may keep Pace with the best on both Sides the Water.

I never saw Mrs. Mynitt perform any Part; but as she has an amiable Person, and excellent Voice, I have taken it upon Trust, that she is an agreeable Actress both in Tragedy and Comedy. But the Bulk of the Letters in the Bills are the distinguished Characteristics of [Page 196] Merit. It puts me in Memory of a Manda­rin I saw at Canton in China, who was lifted on a Throne of State to public View, while a Dozen of his Slaves that bore him in Triumph through the Streets, were covered with a Curtain, and no more of their Persons seen but the regular Steps of their Feet.

In ev'ry Region 'tis a Maxim try'd,
Custom in spight of Reason will preside.


THIS natural Comedian was born in Sa­lisbury Court in 1665. near the Spot where the Theatre was afterwards erected that went by the Name of Dorset-Garden Theatre, it being in Queen Elizabeth's Days the Gar­dens of the Palace belonging to the Earl of Dorset. He play'd on the Irish Stage in 1695 Tho' a diminutive Figure, there were many Parts that he excelled in, viz. Barnaby Brittle in the Wanton Wife, &c. I remember when Mr. Norris was in his Decline, Mr. Cibber se [...] made some Alterations in the Play, and per­form'd the Part himself; Mrs. Oldfield tha of Mrs. Brittle. But she complain'd she couk not perform it with that Spirit with him, as she did with little Norris (as she call'd him). When asked her the Reason, she reply'd, Cuckold [...] did not sit so easy on Cibber's Figure as it di [...] [Page 197] upon that of Norris's, who seem'd form'd by Nature to be one.

The Mother of this little great Comedian was one of the first Women that came on the Stage as an Actress; for some Time after the Resto­ration of King Charles the Second young smooth-fac'd Men perform'd the Womens Parts. That humourous Monarch, coming be­fore his usual Time to Shakespear's Hamlet, sent the facetious Earl of Rochester to know the Reason of their Delay; who brought Word back, That the Queen was not quite shav'd. Ods Fish (his usual Expression), I beg her Majesty's Pardon! we'll wait till her Barber has done with her.

Mr. Norris married Mrs. Knapton, the Sister of the late Mr. Wilks's first Wife, by whom he had several Children. The Females are since dead, and resembled the Mother in Sta­ture, she being a very personable Woman; but the Sons copied the Father, our Jubilee Dicky, which Nickname came for his inimi­table humourous Performance of a Part so called in The Constant Couple; or, A Trip to the Jubilee.

He spoke Tragedy exceedingly knowing in the different Passions, tho' he never perform'd any Part of the serious Cast: for, notwith­standing his Judgment, on the London Theatres his Figure must have made the Sentiments ri­diculous. After the Death of that celebrated Author Mr. Addison, the merry Mr. Penketh­man, [Page 198] at his Theatre at Richmond d, play'd the Tragedy of Cato, or, rather, defil'd those no­ble Sentiments of Liberty, out of such merry Mouths. Norris was ridiculously dressed for Cato, Penkethman Juba, low Comedians for the other Characters, and the two Ladies sup­plied by Men of the same Cast: Yet a blind Man might have borne with Norris in the Ro­man Patriot, for he spoke it with all the So­lemnity of a suffering Hero; while Penketh­man, and the rest of the motley Tribe, made it as ridiculous by Humour and Action: And yet some of the first Rank in the Kingdom seemed highly diverted, whilst others invoked the Manes of the dead Roman and Briton to rise, and avenge their own Cause. I remember the next Morning the following four Lines were pasted on the Door of the Playhouse:

While Greatness hears such Language spoke,
Where godlike Freedom's made a Joke;
Let such mean Souls be never free
To taste the Sweets of Liberty.

An illustrious Nobleman, who had a Seat near Richmond, seeing several People reading the [Page 199] Lines as he was riding up the Hill, stop'd, and perused them; and said, in his usual grave Manner,—I wish the Poetry had been better.

Mr. Norris died in the 69th Year of his Age. His eldest Son may be remember'd here as an Actor, some few Years ago, on old Smock­alley Stage; but neither he, nor his Brother (who has likewise troubled several Country Stages in England), resembled the Father in any Thing but Stature.

Great Nature differs in the human Race;
Some worthless Stems the Parent-roots disgrace.


THE Reason why I have thrust this cele­brated Actress into my Account, may be learn'd by the following Epistle.


WE find, by the News-papers, you in­tend to give us the History of the Stage. It is desir'd by several, that you would be pleased to add Mrs. Oldfield to the Number (tho' we are all assured she never was in this Kingdom). We know the Task is in your Power; and you will oblige many that have a Regard for you.

Yours, &c.

[Page 200] Every Art has its Origin, but, when brought to full Perfection, it is often in Danger of de­caying, and, sometimes, of being quite lost in Oblivion. Painting on Glass, in this Age, is but a faint Copy of our Forefathers in that Art; and the perdurable Cement of our an­tient Castles, &c. is now unknown. The Sun sets to rise again, but Oldfield's Light is lost for ever.

I was too young to view her first Dawn on the Stage, but yet had the infinite Satisfaction of her Meridian Lustre, a Glow of Charms not to be beheld but with a trembling Eye! which held her Influence till set in Night.

Mr. Farquhar (as I have been informed by herself) brought her first to shine in Public. He accidentally, at a Tavern kept by a near Relation of Mrs. Oldfield's, heard a Person reading a Comedy in a Room behind the Bar, with such a just Vivacity, and Humour of the Characters, as gave him infinite Surprize, and Satisfaction. His Curiosity was too prevalent to observe the Height of good Manners; therefore he made a Pretence to go into the Room, where he was struck dumb, for some Time, with her Figure, and blooming Beauty; but was more astonish'd at her Discourse, and sprightly Wit. Mr. Farquhar press'd her to pursue her Amusement, but was obliged to de­part without that Satisfaction.

Mr. Wilks was, at that Time, in Ireland; therefore he took some Pains to acquaint Sir [Page 201] John Vanbrugh (who had some Share in the Theatre) with the Jewel he had found thus by Accident. It was some Time before she would be prevailed upon; tho' she has merrily told me, I long'd to be at it, and only wanted a little decent Intreaties.

Alinda, in the Pilgrim, was the first Part she was taken Notice of in, which Sir John Van­brugh alter'd and reviv'd upon her Account; which is a Character of different Species of Passions and Variety; where she charm'd the Play into a Run of many succeeding Nights.

I remember, in her full Round of Glory in Comedy, she used to slight Tragedy. She would often say, I hate to have a Page dragging my Tail about. Why do they not give Porter these Parts? She can put on a better Tragedy Face than I can. When Mithridates was re­vived, it was with much Difficulty she was pre­vail'd upon to take the Part; but she perform'd it to the utmost Length of Perfection, and, after that, she seem'd much better reconcil'd to Tragedy. What a majestical Dignity in Cleo­patra! and, indeed, in every Part that required it: Such a finish'd Figure on the Stage, was never yet seen. In Calista, the Fair Penitent, she was inimitable, in the Third Act, with Ho­ratio, when she tears the Letter, with

—To Atoms! thus!
Thus let me tear the vile detested Falshood,
The wicked lying Evidence of Shame!

[Page 202] Her excellent clear Voice of Passion, her piercing flaming Eye, with Manner and Action suiting, us'd to make me shrink with Awe, and seem'd to put her Monitor Horatio into a Mouse-hole. I almost gave him up for a troublesome Puppy; and though Mr. Booth play'd the Part of Lothario, I could hardly lug him up to the Importance of triumphing over such a finish'd Piece of Perfection, that seemed to be too much dignified to lose her Virtue.

Even her Amours seemed to lose that Glare which appears round the Persons of the failing Fair; neither was it ever known, that she trou­bled the Repose of any Lady's lawful Claim; and was far more constant than Millions in the conjugal Noose.

She was of a superior Height, but with a lovely Proportion; and the Dignity of her Soul, equal to her Form and Stature, made up of benevolent Charity, affable and good-natur'd to all that deserv'd it. Mr. Savage, Son to the Earl Rivers, when he was persecuted by his unnatural Mother, received from her ever­giving bountiful Hand, Fifty Pounds a Year during her Life; and she was, with Mr. Wilks, a main Means in saving him from an ignomi­nious End.

The Part of Sophonisba, a Tragedy (by Mr. Thomson, famed for many excellent Poems), was reputed the Cause of her Death; for, in her Execution, she went beyond Wonder, to Astonishment! From that Time her Decay [Page 203] came slowly on, and never left her till it con­ducted her to eternal Rest, the 23d of October 1730. She left several charitable Legacies, and very handsome Fortunes to her two Sons. But let us see what better Writers say of this Phoenix of the Stage. O! that we might have another from her Ashes!

You may read, if you please, what a French Author has wrote on this inimitable Actress, as well as some Touches on our English Drama.

Sir Roger Mostings, Baronet, was passion­ately in Love with a famous Actress called Mrs. Oldfield; and, notwithstanding her In­difference, and even bad Usage, could not be cur'd—He being at Supper with us when his Disgrace and Banishment were no­tified to him, his greatest Concern was for his Mistress, whom he must abandon: His Grief and Love made him shed Tears. His Order bore, That he should retire to his Estate the next Day; and therefore, as the last Remedy for his Love, he proposed in­stant Marriage to Mrs. Oldfield, which pro­duced no other Effect than a mortifying Re­fusal e. This amiable Woman was admitted, [Page 204] with Pleasure, into the Company of Ladies of the first Rank for Birth and Virtue; who seemed to take her Visits as an Honour done them. It must be owned, she is an incomparable sweet Girl! She reconciled me to the English Stage. Her Voice, her Shape, and all her Actions, so charm'd me, that I made the more Haste to learn the Language, that I might understand her.

The English are passionately fond of Dra­matic Entertainments, and I doubt if France can produce so many excellent Works of this kind as Britain; and I have seen some superior to Greece or Rome. They have their Shakespear, Dryden, Otway, Congreve, Cibber, Farquhar, and a numerous Train of excellent Tragic and Comic Poets; that have the Force of moving the Soul, with their Energy of Sentiments and Expression, far beyond the Antients.

I shall conclude this Account with an Abs­tract of a Copy of Verses wrote by Mr. Sa­vage, illegitimate Son to Earl Rivers, tho' the Author of that unfortunate Gentleman's Life seems to deny it; I suppose, because his [Page 205] Name is not in the Title-page: But first, her Epitaph.

Hic juxta requiescit
Tot inter poetarum laudata nomina
Nec ipsa minore laude digna,
Quippe quae eorum opera,
In scenam quoties prodivit,
Illustravit semper & nobilitavit.
Nunquam ingenium idem ad partes diversissimas
Habilius fuit:
Ita tamen ut ad singulas
Non facta, sed nata esse videretur.
In Tragoediis
Formae splendor, oris dignitas, incessus, majestas,
Tanta vocis suavitate temperabantur,
Ut nemo esset tam agrestis, tam durus spectator,
Quin in admirationem totus raperetur.
In Comoedia autem
Tanta vis, tam venusta hilaritas, tam curiosa
Ut neque sufficerent spectando oculi,
Neque plaudendo manus.

In English thus:

Near this (among the celebrated Poets)
Rests the Body of
Herself not less deserving to be celebrated:
For, whenever on the Stage,
Her Action illustrated and ennobled
Their Compositions.
[Page 206] Never was one Genius so adapted to the most
Different Parts:
She seemed born for each distinct.
Her noble Presence, elevated Speech, and
Majestic Gait, tempered with so peculiar
Sweetness of Voice, never failed to transport the
Most Rustic, and Insensible, into Admiration.
She discovered such a happy Air, such a
Sprightly and becoming Gaiety,
And so delicate an Address,
That neither Eyes were satisfied with Seeing,
Nor Hands weary of Applauding.

A POEM to the Memory of Mrs. ANNE OLDFIELD.

OLDFIELD's no more! and can the Muse forbear
O'er Oldfield's Grave to shed a grateful Tear?
Shall she, the Glory of the British Stage,
Pride of her Sex, and Wonder of the Age;
Shall she, who, living, charm'd th' admiring Throng,
Die undistinguish'd, and not claim a Song?
No; feeble as it is, I'll boldly raise
My willing Voice, to celebrate her Praise,
And with her Name immortalize my Lays.
Had but my Muse her Art to touch the Soul,
Charm ev'ry Sense, and ev'ry Pow'r controul,
I'd paint her as she was—The Form divine,
Where ev'ry lovely Grace united shine;
[Page 207] A Mien majestic, as the Wife of Jove;
An Air as winning, as the Queen of Love:
In ev'ry Feature rival Charms should rise,
And Cupid hold his Empire in her Eyes.
A Soul, with ev'ry Elegance refin'd
By Nature, and the Converse of Mankind:
Wit, which could strike assuming Folly dead;
And Sense, which temper'd ev'ry thing she said;
Judgment, which ev'ry little Fault could spy;
But Candour, that would pass a Thousand by:
Such finish'd Breeding, so polite a Taste,
Her Fancy always for the Fashion past;
Whilst ev'ry social Virtue fir'd her Breast
To help the Needy, succour the Distrest;
A Friend to all in Misery she stood,
And her chief Pride was plac'd in doing Good.
But now, my Muse, the arduous Task engage,
And shew the charming Figure on the Stage;
Describe her Look, her Action, Voice, and Mien,
The gay Coquet, soft Maid, or haughty Queen.
So bright she shone, in ev'ry diff'rent Part,
She gain'd despotic Empire o'er the Heart;
Knew how each various Motion to controul,
Sooth ev'ry Passion, and subdue the Soul:
As she or gay, or sorrowful appears,
She claims our Mirth, or triumphs in our Tears.
When Cleopatra's Form she chose to wear,
We saw the Monarch's Mien, the Beauty's Air;
Charm'd with the Sight, her Cause we all ap­prove,
And, like her Lover, give up all for Love:
Antony's Fate, instead of Caesar's, choose,
And wish for her we had a World to lose.
But now the gay delightful Scene is o'er,
And that sweet Form must glad our World no more;
Relentless Death has stop'd the tuneful Tongue,
And clos'd those Eyes, for all, but Death, too strong:
Blasted that Face where ev'ry Beauty bloom'd,
And to eternal Rest the graceful Mover doom'd.


IN the Remembrance of many, was once on the Stage in this Kingdom, to his no small Terror: For a Storm at Sea, he told me, frighten'd him so much, that the Anxiety of returning dwelt so strongly on his Mind, that he could not appear half himself to the Pub­lic; and, to lessen his Sea-voyage back again, he went to Dunaghadee, in the North of Ire­land, and embark'd for Scotland; verifying the old Proverb, The farthest Way about, is the nearest Way home.

He first came upon the Stage as a Singer; and being, as they say, a smock-fac'd Youth, used to sing the Female Parts in Dialogues, with that great Master Mr Leveridge, who has so many Years charm'd with his manly Voice. But Mr. Pack was excellent in many Parts; as Marplot in the Busy Body, Beau Maiden in Tunbridge-Walks, Beau Mizen in the Fair Quaker of Deal, &c. indeed Nature seem'd to mean him for those sort of Characters. He [Page 209] had such an Antipathy to the Water, that he would sooner choose to go from the Haymarket to Lambeth round the Bridge, than just cross in a Boat. I heard a certain Peer (as much fam'd for his Wit as his Principles, who died in the Service of Spain) ask Pack if he would go with him to France for a Month? Yes, re­ply'd Mr. Pack, if your Grace will get a Bridge built from Dover to Calais. For Gads curse me if I ever set my Foot over Salt-water again!

Mr. Pack left the Stage in the Meridian of Life, and set up a a Tavern (the Globe) near Charing-cross, over-against the Haymarket, where he died, having no Wife, or Issue. I know not any Relation he left behind, to la­ment his Death.

Had Transportation been this Player's Doom,
Conviction had brought sudden Death at Home.


THIS extraordinary Person was born in Wales, tho' he never knew one Word of his Mother-tongue; neither did I ever hear of the School-mistress that taught him English: Yet he got perfect in two Parts, and perform'd them both with Applause; viz. the Welsh Col­lier in the Recruiting Officer, and the Drunken Colonel in the Intriguing Chambermaid: But [Page 210] his great Talent lay in the Mimes and Panto­mimes. Tho' the Art does not require much Rhetoric, yet they should have Heads, as well as Heels.

He was taught Tumbling, and Slight of Hand, by that great Master of Arts, the stu­pendous Mr. Faux, and out-did his Master in several Tricks; and was very happy at Inven­tion, in escaping to Ireland f, where he became a Sharer in Smock-alley, till he, with his Name-sake, [Page 211] broke the Fraterhood. He was the first Projector of the Theatre in Capel-street; nei­ther was he much to blame in this, since a Sort of Manager for the Proprietors, who knew as much of the Matter as a Journeyman Taylor does of Bell-founding, by his inimitable Rhe­toric persuaded his Employers, that he and his Wife had too much Salary; and yet, the next Season, gave twenty Times the Sum, to pre­vent their Playing: Yet Phillips open'd, and got Money. But, to shew his Dexterity, he played a Harlequin Trick; and, in one of his Deceits, made his Escape (with his Wife he had here, who was no bad Actress) back to Eng­land; but did not forget to take more Money than his own along with him—Travelling is chargeable. But Capel-street Theatre has been since occupied, and is still ready, on all Occa­sions.

Thus Juglers Tricks are form'd to cheat the Eyes,
And Knaves have found the Art to trick the Wise.


WAS a very sightly Actress, with a good Voice: I have forgot her maiden Name, which she first changed for Ravenscroft, an Actor, I am told, of some Merit. After his Demise, being musically inclin'd, she ty'd her [Page 212] Fate to Signor Pasqualino, an Italian, eminent for his great Talents that Way. She has left the Stage, to follow the Fortune of her Spouse; and, I have been inform'd, they were both lately in Holland. Where-ever he is, he can­not fail of Reward, from his Merit: For

Music has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, and bend the knotted Oak.

I shall conclude with Mrs. Pasqualino, by inserting a few Lines of a Poet, on her leaving the Stage; tho' some Poets, like some Paint­ers, do not draw exact Likenesses; and are too prone to Flattery.

Adieu! unspotted Excellence, adieu!
Chaste, spite of Censure; spite of Envy, true—
Mature in Judgment far above thy Age,
And, what's more wond'rous, virtuous on the Stage!
Ah! yet return! nor rob us of Delight;
Continue still to ravish with thy Sight!
Whether in Desdemona's tender Strain,
Or softer Belvidera, you complain;
Or in Monimia force the pitying Tear,
Or in the Airs of Millamant appear;
Or Lady Betty Modish, you impart,
In Characters assum'd, a real Dart!
Receive this Plaudit from th' admiring Muse,
Nor Tribute, to thy Merit paid, refuse—
And must we, then, the Loss of thee deplore?
Shall we, then, see thy lovely Face no more?
[Page 213] Adieu!—The Stage is, nearly, its Decline;
Since we must thee, the Boast of it, resign.


THIS great and just Actor was born in King-street, Covent-garden, the 24th of February, 1693. tho' Numbers believe he owes his Birth to Ireland. His Ancestors were of an antient Family in this Kingdom: His Grand­father, Alderman Mark Quin, was Lord Mayor of the City of Dublin in the Year 1676. in the Reign of King Charles the Second; the Father of our Roscius received a liberal Education in Trinity College, Dublin; from thence he went over to Lincoln's-Inn, to finish his Studies, where he was called to the Bar; but, at the Death of his Father (who left him a plentiful Estate), he returned with his Son, then an In­fant, to take Possession.

Mr. James Quin was educated under the Care of Dr. Jones, of Dublin (a Person emi­nent for Learning), till the Death of his Father in the Year 1710. Mr. Quin was undoubted Heir to his Estate, but through his Youth, and Inexperience of the Courts, a Suit of Law hung so long in Chancery, till he, unenabled to carry the Cause farther, was obliged to drop it, for want of proper Assistance. I am inform'd, a powerful Guider of the Law was his Anta­gonist; and a Person has but a bad Chance to fight a Duel with a Fencing-master.

[Page 214] Our eminent Actor first appeared on the Stage in old Smock-alley, in the Part of Abel in the Committee. I must take some little Pride, when I declare I imagine myself the first that persuaded him not to smother his rising Genius in this Kingdom, where, at that Time, there was no great Encouragement for Merit, and try his Fortune in London; whither, by his kind and ever-to-be-remember'd Recommendation, I soon follow'd him.

It is, in some sort, a Hardship to a rising Genius, in the first Entrance to a regular esta­blish'd Company: The Parts are all supplied, and, like Under-officers in an Army, they must wait for Preserment, or do something extraor­dinary, before they can expect it. An Acci­dent fell out, that gave our young Actor a happy Opportunity.

The Managers had an Order, from the Lord Chamberlain, to revive the Play of Tamerlane, for the 4th of November 1716. which was got up with the utmost Magnificence. The third Night the late Mr. Mills (who perform'd Ba­jazet) was taken suddenly ill, and, with much Persuasion, Mr. Quin was prevailed upon to read the Part, which was thought a great Un­dertaking for a young Actor of his Standing; but, to the Mortification of several Competi­tors, he succeeded so well, that the Audience gave him their general Applause, through the whole Course of the Part. The next Night he made himself perfect, and performed it with redoubled Applauses of Approbation; and was [Page 215] complimented by several Persons of Distinction, and dramatic Taste, upon his early rising Ge­nius.

But as the Theatrical World is a Picture, in Miniature, of the Great, Envy will shake her snaky Locks; People of twice his Age thought his Progress a little too rapid for their Appro­bation. His Temper took fire at the visible Depression; he bore it some Time with Tem­per, but the first Opportunity he engag'd with Mr. Rich in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, where, by just Degrees, he attained the highest Round of Perfection; and (not to take any Merit from other Performers) was certainly the chief Pillar that supported all the Theatres where-ever he has performed. I will not take upon me to point out his Excellencies in any particular Part, since he is excellent in all: Therefore I shall end, with the immortal Shakespear,

He is a Man, take him for all in all,
I ne'er shall look upon his Like again.

The great Honour this Gentleman has re­ceived from the second Illustrious Person in the Kingdom, in trusting the Royal Blood to his Care, will better speak his Excellence than my weak Skill can do.


THIS Gentleman was once in Ireland with the celebrated Mr. Quin, and Mrs. Clive, in the Year 1741. He was born in England in the Year 1694. The first Part he was taken Notice of in, was that of Marcus in Cato, which was first acted in 1712.

In the Run of that celebrated Tragedy he was accidentally brought into a Fray with some of our Tritons on the Thames; and, in the Scuffle, a Blow on the Nose was given him by one of these Water-bullies, who neither regard Men nor Manners: I remember, the same Night, as he was brought on the Bier, after his suppos'd Death in the Fourth Act of Cato, the Blood, from the real Wound in the Face, gush'd out with Violence; that Hurt had no other Effect than just turning his Nose a little, tho' not to Deformity; yet some People ima­gine it gave a very small Alteration to the Tone of his Voice, tho' nothing disagreeable. He acquitted himself in many capital Parts, both in Tragedy and Comedy, to the Satis­faction of his Auditors; and has been ever esteemed in the first Rank of Actors.

Some few Years ago another unfortunate Accident befel him: As he was going home to his House after his Night's Performance, he was attack'd by a Street robber; and, making Resistance, the Villain shot a Brace of Pistol-Bullets [Page 217] into his Mouth, which broke some Part of his Jaw: By the Help of a Lamp the Rob­ber knew Mr. Ryan, as I have been inform'd, begg'd his Pardon for his Mistake, and ran off. Of this Hurt, too, he recover'd, after a long Illness, and play'd with Success, as before, with­out any seeming Alteration of Voice or Face. His Royal Highness, upon this Accident, sent him a handsome Present; and others, of the Nobility, copy'd the laudable Example of the second illustrious Person in the three King­doms. I shall say no more of Mr. Ryan, but that he is genteel, and well-made.

This Gentleman has made several Excur­sions in the Region of Poetry; particularly a Piece, of one Act, call'd The Coblers Opera, which has often been performed with good Success.

No Mark of Age in Face or Form appears,
But Manhood bord'ring on the Vale of Years.


THE Husband of this Person gathered a Company of Actors in the Hay-market, London, where they, some Years ago, met with Success, for a Time; but at last it fell to-pieces, the Sinews being relax'd by an intemperate Constitution. Mrs. Reynolds was well esteem'd, for a very good Performer, in this Kingdom; [Page 218] but her Reputation seems now to be forgot: She's to be pitied, if it is not her own Fault.

Scandal may heal, like gaping Wounds in War;
Yet leave behind the long-distinguish'd Scar.


THIS excellent Actor was born in this Kingdom, Son to that very eminent the Reverend Dr. Sheridan, a Gentleman whose Memory will never be forgot, while Learning holds the Reins to check the vicious Mind, and guide us in the Paths of Virtue. Men are but human Brutes, poring in the Dark, with­out some Light of Education. Under such a Father, and at such a Fountain of Learning as this Nursery of Erudition (Trinity College), no Wonder for our young Actor to rise in Per­fection. He was some Time in Westminster School, and as his Mind led him to look early towards the Drama, he had the Advantage of seeing the Regularity of the British Theatres, which he does not only copy, but many, who have seen both, find the Colours and Drapery so strong, that, at this Distance, it stands in equal Goodness to the Original.

To this Gentleman we owe the Decency that has been long wanting on the Hibernian Stage, a Difficulty no one Person could have surmounted but himself; and tho' Merit does [Page 219] not always meet its proper Reward, yet the Seeds of Flowers and Roots he had planted and sown in this theatrical Garden, flourish sweet and amiable, and, like a Master in the Art, Reward follows his Pains and Judgment in Culture.

The Unmeritorious pass unobserved, while Merit is commonly the Butt for Envy to empty her whole Quiver of poison'd Arrows at; yet they generally fall short of their in­tended Mark. I shall leave this Gentleman to his prosperous and deserved Success, with the Character of Envy drawn by the inimitable Pen of Mr. Pope.

Envy will Merit, as its Shade, pursue;
But, like the Shadow, proves the Substance too;
For envy'd Wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known
Th' opposing Body's Grossness, not its own.
When first that Sun too-pow'rful Beams dis­plays,
It draws up Vapours, which obscure its Rays;
But ev'n those Clouds, at last, adorn its Way,
Reflect new Glories, and augment the Day.


MR. Sparks was born in this Kingdom, and has, by incessant Attention to the Drama, arrived to be a well-esteemed Person in the Business of the Theatre; and there are many capital Parts in the Compass of his Power; so [Page 220] that he may be accounted a Person in the highest second Class. I have seen him bear up the Burden of a leading Part to please the Au­dience, without thinking of a better to stand in his Place. He is equally useful in the Buskin and Sock, and has the Advantage of a good Person and Voice, join'd to diligent Study. He is esteem'd an excellent Oeconomist, which may be accounted a very valuable Disposition in the theatrical World; there is something in the very Science of the Stage that urges on to pleasurable Expence I knew a Gentleman that call'd London the Body of Pleasure, and the Theatre the Heart.

Mr. Sparks is now in London, at the Foun­tain of theatrical Erudition; and, I make no doubt, from his good Sense, at his Return to his native Country, he will meet with the pro­per Esteem his Merit deserves. All, or most People, find Satisfaction in Novelty; and a long Possession of the best Things is apt to depreciate them.

'Tis Novelty that brightens all our Joys;
Ev'n Beauty's Self, by long Possession, cloys.


THERE are many Parts that become the Figure of this Person, which is of a superior Height; and Nature has bestowed upon him a Vein of Humour that gives Sa­tisfaction [Page 221] to the Audience. I have not seen him act since his Return to his native Country; but I am inform'd, by very good Judges, that he performs the Character of Sir Samson Le­gend, in Love for Love, to the utmost Per­fection, with many Characters of that Cast; which will prove almost as useful in a Theatre as a Hero, or a Lover.

True Merit, with magnetic Impulse, draws
A willing Contribution of Applause.


WAS born in England, in the Town of Lancaster. His strong Inclination for the Stage led him early to try his Fortune there, where he has succeeded very well. His good Understanding keeps him within the Bounds of his own Power, which is the ready Road never to meet with Displeasure. I think his Talent leads him to old Men in Comedy, and the artificial Wrinkles in his Face seem to content him best, which is something singular with young Persons in a Theatre: For to ap­pear pretty Fellows, is generally the Aim of all young Attempters in the theatrical Province. I have seen him give great Satisfaction in Go­mez in the Spanish Fryar, Foresight in Love for Love, with other Parts of the same Cast: And what, in my Opinion, shews the Strength [Page 222] of his Judgment is, that he was some Years before he entered into any establish'd Theatre: Therefore he has followed the best Guide, Na­ture, which is ever sure to be right.

Good Sense and Nature are not form'd by Art;
But spring from secret Movements of the Heart.

Mrs. STORER (formerly Miss CLARK),

REcommends herself by her amiable Person, Good-nature, and her excellent sweet har­monious Manner in Singing; therefore she is too much desired to shew her Excellence that Way, to perform many Speaking Parts, but where her exalted Talent is required: And then, whatever she says, or sings, thus properly introduced, she doubly charms in. I shall end with four Lines of a Poem on Ranelagh Gar­dens, written last Summer in London.

Then Storer—with her sweet inchanting Strains,
Steals to our Hearts, and o'er our Senses reigns;
With ravish'd Ears we hear the pleasing Sounds,
And heav'nly Joys the vaulted Roof resounds.


IS a Gentleman of a good Family, born in England. He was made Manager of the Play-house in Aungier-street; which, I think, was a difficult Attempt for a Gentleman almost a Stranger to the Affairs of a Theatre. It is a very thinking Task; and a Person of Plea­sure must either drop his Pursuits of that Kind, or sink in the boisterous Waves, which will require all his Time and Art to steer his Ves­sel right: As well may a Country Gentle­man, who never saw the Sea, by Interest take the Command of a First Rate Man of War. However, this Person, by a genteel Behaviour, accompany'd with Affability, joined with good Nature, gained the Esteem of every one. He played several Parts with a delicate De­cency. A Person of Distinction asked an Actor his Opinion of Mr. Swan's Perform­ance, who reply'd, He played very well as a Gentleman. The Person replied, I should be very glad to see you play like one with all my Heart.

I have heard Mr. Swan has espoused a Lady of considerable Fortune in England g, which [Page 224] he may know how to use to the best Advan­tage; but the Management of a Theatre was a Task too hard for him.

As well may Readers turn reverse the Book,
Or reap the Harvest with a Pruning-hook.


WAS an Actor of Repute in this Kingdom about Thirty Years past, and stood in many capital Parts, being then a Sharer in old Smock-Alley Theatre with Mr. Thomas El­rington, &c.

To let you see how formerly even Tragedy Heroes were now-and-then put to their Shifts, I'll tell you a short Story that befel Mr. Thur­mond.

It was a Custom, at that Time, for Persons of the First Rank and Distinction to give their Birth-Day Suits to the most favoured Actors. I think Mr. Thurmond was honour'd by General Ingoldsby with his. But his Fi­nances being at the last Tide of Ebb, the rich Suit was put in Buckle (a Cant Word for Forty in the Hundred Interest): One Night, Notice was given that the General would be present with the Government at the Play, and all the Performers on the Stage were preparing to dress out in the Suits presented. The Spouse of Johnny (as he was commonly called) try'd all her Arts to persuade Mr. Holdfast the [Page 225] Pawnbroker (as it fell out, his real Name) to let go the Cloaths for that Evening, to be returned when the Play was over: But all Arguments were fruitless; nothing but the Ready, or a Pledge of full equal Value. Such People would have despised a Demosthenes, or a Cicero, with all their Rhetorical Flourishes, if their Oratorian Gowns had been in Pledge. Well! what must be done? The whole Fa­mily in Confusion, and all at their Wits-End; Disgrace, with her glaring Eyes, and extend­ed Mouth, ready to devour. Fatal Appear­ance! At last Winny the Wife (that is, Win­nifrede) put on a compos'd Countenance (but, alas! with a troubled Heart); stepp'd to a neighbouring Tavern, and bespoke a very hot Negus, to comfort Johnny in the great Part he was to perform that Night, begging to have the Silver Tankard with the Lid, be­cause, as she said, a Covering, and the Vehicle Silver, would retain Heat longer than any other Metal. The Request was comply'd with, the Negus carry'd to the Play-house piping hot—popp'd into a vile earthen Mug—the Tankard L'argent travelled Incog. under her Apron (like the Persian Ladies veil'd), popp'd into the Pawnbroker's Hands, in exchange for the Suit—put on, and play'd its Part, with the rest of the Wardrobe; when its Duty was over, carried back to remain in its old Depo­sitory—the Tankard return'd the right Road; and, when the Tide flow'd with its Lunar In­fluence, the stranded Suit was wasted into safe [Page 226] Harbour again, after paying a little for dry Docking, which was all the Damage receiv'd.

Mr. Thurmond died in London, when he was one of the Company in Drury-Lane Theatre; a merry, good-natured Companion to the last.

Thus Woman's Wit (tho' some account it evil)
With artful Wiles can over-reach the Devil.


HER maiden Name was Lewis, born of reputable Parents at Epsom in Surry. She was married to Mr. John Thurmond, the Son of the above-mentioned: He is a Person of a clean Head and a clear Heart, and inherits the Mirth and Humour of his late Father.

Mrs. Thurmond has an amiable Person and good Voice: She wisely left the Bustle and Business of the Stage, in her full and ripe Per­formance; and, at that time, left behind her but few that excell'd her. Mr. Thurmond contriv'd many profitable Pantomimes for the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, and was esteem­ed formerly a very good Stage Dancer; but left the Practice, before it left him.

The flow'ry Bloom of May adorns the Stage:
We shed our Lustre in declining Age.
But, yet, how few observe the lab'ring Ant,
To save a Winter-Store, when most they want!


WAS born in England, in the Year 1684. His Father came originally from Hol­land. Mr. Vanderbank was brought up in the Sea-Service; but, not liking that inconstant Element, he embarked on a Trading Theatre in England for some time, till he made a Voyage to this Kingdom, where he has re­mained these Two-and-thirty Years. He was, as Shakespear says, Sunk in the Vale of Years, when I arrived here in 1741. and has not per­formed many Parts since that Time, But I am informed, both he and Mrs. Vanderbank stood in high Esteem formerly; but they have both left the Stage some time.

Declining Age to sprightly Youth gives place,
As these must do the next Theatric Race.


I Might have, in one respect, omitted this Gentleman, as he only performed for his own Diversion. But as few Persons, that are not profess'd Actors, know better, as I may say, the Dignity of the Theatre, than himself, I hope he will excuse this mentioning him to the Public. He was bred in London, had a genteel Education, and, from a just Way of [Page 228] Thinking and Acting, has improved his Me­rits. Tho' he does not make Poetry his Pro­fession, yet I have seen several correct little Poems of his. As he has wrote many agree­able Pieces, that have never come to the Press, I shall beg Leave, as a Taste, to give one that has.

Performed at the Castle of Dublin the 21st of January 1747-8. the Birth-Day of his Royal Highness FREDERIC, Prince of WALES. Set to Music by Mr. Dubourg.

LET the soft captivating Strains
Of swelling Harmony begin:
In tuneful Numbers let the Swains
Great Harrington's Attention win:
Hibernia, pleas'd, will listen to the Lay,
That welcomes in our FRED'RIC's natal Day!
Hail! Day of Hope! O Prince renown'd!
Belov'd! with ev'ry Virtue crown'd!
Enrich'd with Merit in thy earliest Youth,
Friend to the Friends of Liberty and Truth!
The social Titles all are thine:
They make the Great illustrious shine!
The Muse can with Delight commend,
The Husband, Father, and the Friend.
Da Capo.
Ne'er shall corroding Cares his Breast intrude;
For such can no Admission find
Within the bright unblemish'd Mind,
That knows the Joys of heav'nly Solitude.
There, happy, free from public Strife,
He tastes the Sweets of private Life;
Bless'd with AUGUSTA, and her Race,
With whom our Hopes and Joys increase;
Future Sceptres they shall wield,
Shine in Courts, and grasp the Shield.
Da Capo.
Live, FRED'RIC! live, to teach their Youth,
How to rule where Freedom reigns;
More than Crowns to value Truth,
And bind fierce Tyranny in Chains.

This Gentleman has usher'd Two little Pieces on the Stage; one, a Pastoral; the other, The Mock Pilgrim, altered into One Act from a Comedy of Beaumont and Fletcher.

Mrs. VINCENT (formerly Miss BINKS),

WHEN I left England, Seven Years ago, was a very promising young Actress; and I am informed, from those that have seen her on the Stage here, that she is greatly im­proved; which I am apt to believe from the [Page 230] Judgment of the Manager, who would cer­tainly give the best Parts to the best Perform­ers. 'Tis the Interest of all Theatrical Ma­nagers to perform every thing in the best Manner; to do otherwise would be hurting themselves.

That Teacher might be justly call'd a Fool,
Who plac'd a Dunce in his first Class at School.


THE Ancestors of this most excellent Co­median, were seated many Ages in an affluent Inheritance at Bromsgrove hin Wor­cestershire, where most of the chief Inhabit­ants bear the Name of Wilks.

The Grandfather of our excellent Comedian (Judge Wilks), in the Civil Wars, rais'd a Troop of Horse, at his own Expence, for the Service of the unfortunate King Charles the First, which was commanded by Col. Wilks, Brother to the Judge, and Great Uncle to our Comedian.

In that unnatural War, the Family suffered greatly by Rapine and Persecution; which was the main Motive that sent Edward Wilks, Esq with his Wife, and the shatter'd Remains of an ample Fortune, to Dublin, for the Security of his Person, &c.

[Page 231] Our great Comedian was born at Rathfarn­ham near Dublin, in the Year 1670. His Fa­ther gave him a genteel Education. He wrote an excellent fine masterly Hand, with such Celerity that was surprising. His Genius re­commended him to Secretary Southwell, who confirm'd him one of his Clerks when Eighteen Years of Age.

His first Inclination to the Theatre proceed­ed from the Praises of Mr. Richards, then an Actor on the Dublin Stage. Mr. Richards lodg'd near Mr. Wilks; and, being intimate with each other, he used to hold the Book of the Play, to hear if Richards was perfect in the Part he was then studying. Mr. Wilks used to read the introductive Speeches, with such proper Emphasis, Cadence, and all the various Passions, that the Encomiums given by Mr. Richards began to fire his Mind for the Drama. It was with very little Persua­sion he ventured to act privately the Colonel in the Spanish Fryar, at Mr. Ashbury's, the ensuing Christmas; where he received such Approbation from that great Master, as confirm'd his Intention.

The first Part he played on the Theatre was Othello, with the utmost Applause; and, as he told me, pleased all but himself. He went on with great Success, for Two Years, when his Friend Mr. Richards iadvised him to try his [Page 232] Fortune in England, and gave him Letters of Recommendation to Mr. Betterton, who re­ceiv'd him very kindly, and entered him at Fifteen Shillings a Week.

His first Appearance on the English Stage, was in the Part of the young Prince in the Maid's Tragedy, a very insignificant Character, requiring little more than an amiable Figure. Mr. Betterton performed Melantius; but when that veteran Actor came to address him on the Battlements, to excuse himself for the Death of the King in the Play, Mr. Wilks affirmed to me, that the Dignity of Mr. Betterton struck him with such an Awe, that he had much ado to utter the little he had to say. Mr. Bet­terton, observing his Confusion, said to him, Young Man, this Fear does not ill become you; a Horse that sets out at the Strength of his Speed will soon be jaded.

However, Mr. Wilks soon shook off his Apprehensions, and began to rise in the Esteem of the Audience, and better Parts gained him a better Salary.

He often assisted Mr. Harris (an eminent Dancing-master at that time) in teaching his Scholars; and, by his genteel Address, gained the Affection of a young Lady, Daughter to Ferdinand Knapton, Esq Steward of the New Forest in Hampshire, and by Consent of the Father they were joined in Wedlock. By this Gentlewoman he had one Son and Daughter; the Son died in his Youth; the Daughter was [Page 233] married to Captain Price k, to whom he made up a Fortune of a thousand Pounds.

Mr. Wilks's Finances not well answering the State of an increasing Family, he press'd for an Addition to his Salary, which every Per­son but the Manager thought he deserved; but his Request was not complied with.

Mr. Ashbury in Ireland, hearing of his Dis­content, came over on Purpose to engage him. He agreed with Mr. Wilks for Sixty Pounds a Year, and a clear Benefit, which in those Times was much more than any other Actor ever had. When he went to take his Leave of Mr. Betterton, the Manager was with him. That great Actor expressed some Concern at his leaving the Company. "I fansy (said Mr. Betterton) that Gentleman (pointing to the Manager), if he has not too much Ob­stinacy to own it, will be the first that re­pents your parting; for, if I foresee aright, you will be greatly wanted here."

Mr. Wilks told me this Speech gave him infinite Pleasure; and made him resolve to search into himself, to find out what Mr. Bet­terton's known Judgment seemed to promise he might find. Praise from an Adept in any Science will excite Emulation, and, with some People, do more than Reward. From this Time Mr. Wilks grew more assiduous, and thought every Moment lost, that was not laid [Page 234] out upon his Studies, till he arrived at that su­preme Excellence, even now remembered by innumerable Judges of the Drama.

It was not long before the prophetic Words of Mr. Betterton were fulfilled. For the unfor­tunate Death of Mountford l was the Sickness of all their genteel Comedies, till his Parts could be supplied. Mr. Wilks, therefore, was immediately sent to, with Proposals of Four Pounds a Week; which was a Salary equal to Mr. Betterton. This was too advantageous an Offer to be refused; therefore he prepared for his Journey privately. Mr. Ashbury was so unwilling to part with him, that he procured an Order from the Duke of Ormond (then Lord Lieutenant) to prevent his going; but a par­ticular Friend giving him timely Notice there­of, he went secretly to Hoath, where a Boat waited to convey him on board, and he landed safe in England.

[Page 235] The first Part he performed of Mountford's was Palamede min Dryden's Marriage Alamode, a Comedy, with such extraordinary Success, as he often said, it made him almost mad with Joy. I need say no more of his Progress in Success, than that he sailed in the full Tide of Fortune, till he arrived safely to reign un­rivalled to his Death.

And, as a Reward for his great Merit, he was joined in the Patent granted by Queen Anne in the Year 1709. He was also Mana­ger of the Whole; and I shall not take from the Merit of others, when I say, From his sole Directions the Stage gained new Life, and Reward followed the Industry. For a conti­nued Course of the Three Managers, for more than Twenty Years, the Stage was in full Perfection; their Green-Rooms nwere free from Indecencies of every Kind, and might justly be compared to the most elegant Draw­ing-Rooms of the Prime Quality: No Fops or Coxcombs ever shew'd their Monkey Tricks there; but if they chanc'd to thrust in, were aw'd into Respect; even Persons of the First Rank and Taste, of both Sexes, would of­ten mix with the Performers, without any [Page 236] Stain to their Honour or Understanding: And, indeed, Mr. Wilks was so genteelly elegant in his Fancy of Dress for the Stage, that he was often followed in his Fashion, tho', in the Street, his Plainness of Habit was re­markable.

In March 1713-14. Mrs. Wilks o left this World, to the inconsolable Sorrow of her wor­thy Husband: He continued unmarried up­wards of Seven Years. In the mean time he renewed his Acquaintance with Mrs. Fell, Re­lict of Charles Fell, Esq of an antient Fa­mily in Lancashire, and married her. This Gentlewoman's maiden Name was Brown, of a reputable Family in Sussex p.

[Page 237] Mr. Wilks's Excellence in Comedy was never once disputed, but the best Judges ex­tol him for the different Parts in Tragedy; as Hamlet, Castalio in the Orphan, Ziphares in Mithridates, Edgar in King Lear, Norfolk in the Albion Queens, Piercy in Anna Bullen, Earl of Essex, Shore, Macduff, Moneses in Tamerlane, Jaffeir in Venice Preserv'd; and a countless Catalogue of other Parts in Tra­gedy, which he was allowed to perform in their full Perfection.

He was not only perfect in every Part he acted, but in those that were concerned with him in every Scene, which often prevented Mistakes.

[Page 238] But let me have recourse to other Pens for his Excellencies. One writes thus:

‘No sooner had Mr. Wilks left the Hiber­nian Stage, and appeared on the British, but that sinking Theatre raised its drooping Head; and what was reckoned almost a Scandal to belong to, has ever since been, by that great Man's Management and Ju­stice, raised to the greatest Theatre in the Universe.’ Female Tatler.

‘The Person and Behaviour of Mr. Wilks, in the Part of Essex, has no small Share in conducing to the Popularity of the Play.’ Tatler, No. 14. Vol. 1.

‘This Performance (The Trip to the Ju­bilee) is the greatest Instance that we can have of the irresistible Force of proper Action. Mr. Wilks enters into the Part with so much Skill, that the Gallantry, the Youth, and Gaiety, of a young Man of a plentiful Fortune, is looked upon with as much Indulgence on the Stage, as in real Life.’ Tatler, No. 19.

In the Preface to the same Play the Au­thor says: "Whenever the Stage has the Misfortune to lose Mr. Wilks, that Wildair may go to the Jubilee."

In the Preface to the Stratagem, the Author ends thus: ‘The Reader may find some Faults in this Play, which my Illness pre­vented the amending of; but there is great Amends made in the Representation, which cannot be matched, no more than [Page 239] the friendly and indefatigable Care of Mr. Wilks, to whom I chiefly owe the Success of the Play.’

Here is enough said to illustrate the per­sonal Qualifications of this Gentleman as an Actor; therefore let me attempt to delineate his Mind.

His Purse was ever open to proper Objects of Charity; and I have often seen Tears in his Eyes at the Relation of any Misfortune that befel others. He was ever the first Pro­poser in any joint Charity from the Theatrical Stock, and, I am convinced, has often pre­vailed upon their unwilling Liberality. His Care of the Orphan Daughters of Mr. Far­quhar, by giving them several Benefit Plays, continued to the last of his Days; and, in losing him, they have in Reality lost a Father: But, I hope, his constant Stream of Bounty has placed them above Want. In short, his private Acts of Charity are numberless. I shall add one in particular.

A Gentleman, a Native of Ireland, whose Name is Smith, who received a liberal Educa­tion in Trinity-College, Dublin, brought a Tra­gedy to the Managers of the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, for their Approbation: The Play was read, and returned, with Desire to make some Alterations for the next Season. This postponing but ill agreed with our Author's Circumstances, that loudly called for a speedy Supply. Mr. Wilks, knowing the ill State of his Finances, bought a Night of his Bro­ther [Page 240] ther Managers, and gave it to Mr. Smith for a Benefit. Yet he did not think that sus­ficient, but used all his Interest to make it truly a Benefit, and put a Hundred Guineas clear in the Author's Pocket; with which he took Leave of his Benefactor, and the Muses; embarked for Holland, where he put himself under the Tuition of the great Boerhaave at Leyden; and, in time, profited so well, that his great Master of Medicine sent him to Petersburgh, at the Request of the Czarina, where, at his first Arrival, a handsome Pen­sion was settled upon him. I have seen several Letters from this Gentleman to Mr. Wilks; a Copy of one I procured from his Widow, which I shall give as a Note, for the Singu­larity of it q.

[Page 241] This great and good Man continued to charm till the last of his performing on the [Page 242] Stage. He left this World the 27th of Sep­tember 1732. and, I must declare, I have not yet seen his Equal in Comedy. His disconsolate Widow caused the following Inscription to be put on his Monument in St. Paul's, Covent­garden r, with the Arms of the Wilks's Fa­mily; which are, Three Roses, and a Rose for the Crest. His second Wife lies also in the same Vault, lately deceased.

Near this Place
(In Hopes of a happy Resurrection)
Lies the Body of ROBERT WILKS, Esq
One of the Patentees of his Majesty's Theatre.
A Man in private Life,
For many amiable Qualities, justly esteemed;
In Public universally applauded.
In the same Vault
(United again in Death)
Lies his beloved and loving Wife, MARY,
Daughter of John Brown, Esq of Spelmonden
In the County of Kent,
[Page 243] Relict of Charles Fell, Esq of Swarthmore-hall In Lancashire;
An affectionate Wife, and indulgent Mother;
A kind Mistress, and a faithful Friend.
Her charitable Disposition to the Poor
Was at all times extended, to the utmost of Her Power,
And flowed from a Heart sensibly affected
With Compassion and Benevolence.

There is no Issue left of this excellent Man to perpetuate his Memory; but his good Deeds will last for ever. I shall finish with two Lines of a Poem wrote upon his Death.

Farewel! O born with ev'ry Art to please!
Politeness, Grace, Gentility, and Ease.


WAS born in the Year 1717. in London, where he received a genteel Education. He is a very thriving Comedian, and a very peaceable Mimic, for he never strikes first; but, if he receives the first Blow, he generally returns it with double the Strength of his Ad­versary. He is an excellent Harlequin, and has what most of the motley-coat Gentry want, an excellent Head to his Heels; and if his black Mask should be thrown aside for a whole Age (tho' Levity will hardly lie so long obscured), yet, as a just and pleasing Actor in Comedy, [Page 244] he can never want Encouragement any-where, if Theatres are in Use, joined to his good Un­derstanding and Pleasantry. His Good-nature is ever conspicuous upon all proper Occasions, cool in his Resentments, and warm in his Friend­ships, a Man fit for the World, and the World for him; and knows how to look on Fortune.

Fortune a Goddess is to Fools alone;
The Wise are always Masters of their own.


THIS Person was born at Stamford in Lincolnshire, in the Year 1708. where his Father and Mother, belonging to a Country Company, were then playing. He play'd, as he inform'd me, the Part of the Duke of York in Richard the Third, before he could speak plain; so that it may be said, he was born an Actor. He came with his Mother (who was a well-esteemed Actress at that Time) to Drury­lane a Boy, where he shewed his rising Ge­nius, first, in the Part of 'Squire Richard in the Provok'd Husband; from thence he went to the Theatre in Goodman's-Fields, where he marry'd the Sister of Mr. Denis Delane, then of that Theatre.

In the Year 1738. he came over into this Kingdom, and may be well remember'd; his Excellence, in several Parts of Comedy, having not yet been outdone. I cannot avoid men­tioning [Page 245] a Passage in the Life of this truly good Comedian.

While he and his Family belong'd to the Theatre-Royal in Drury-lane, after the Com­pany had finish'd the Season of Playing in London (which generally is at the End of May), he, with his Father and Mother, went, for the Summer-season, to play at several Towns in Lincolnshire (the Custom of many of both established Theatres). When the Company were summon'd to meet in London at the usual Time (the latter End of August) to begin the Winter-season, I receiv'd the following short Letter:


MR. Wetherilt, and his Wife, beg you will excuse them to Mr. Wilks; their Son is at the Point of Death. They beg an Answer. Be pleas'd to direct to your humble Servant

R. Stukely, Apothecary,

The Meaning why I mention this Letter is, that the Son, the very Night this Letter was wrote, in all Appearance, expir'd, was stripp'd and wash'd, the Bed taken away, and he laid stretch'd on a Mat, with a Bason of Salt (a common Custom in England) placed on his Sto­mach, the inconsolable Parents remov'd to an­other House, the Coffin brought to the Son's [Page 246] Chamber, and the Windows all open. About Eight at Night a Person was sent with a Light to watch the Corpse: When she open'd the Door, the first Object she perceiv'd was poor Bob (as he was generally call'd by his Fami­liars) sitting up, with his Teeth trembling in his Head (and well they might) with Cold. The Woman, in her Fright, dropp'd the Candle, and scream'd out, The Devil! the Devil! This Fright alarm'd another Woman below, who ran up-stairs to see what was the Matter: In the mean time Bob, with much ado, had made a Shift to get from the Bed; and, tak­ing up the Candle, which lay upon the Floor unextinguish'd, was creeping to the Door to call for Assistance, as naked as from the Womb of his Mother; which the two Women per­ceiving, with joint Voices repeated again, A Ghost! a Ghost! the Devil! the Devil! The Master of the House, hearing this Uproar, ran himself, to know the Reason; where poor Bob, the suppos'd Devil, and he, soon came to a right Understanding. He was put into a warm Bed, to the unspeakable Joy of his desponding Pa­rents, and in ten Days after in London (viva voce) told me the whole Story of his Death.

This Accident, when real Death paid him a Visit, work'd so strongly upon his forlorn Pa­rents, that they would not let his Corpse be coffin'd till five Days after he expir'd. Vain Hope! He died in 1743. in the 35th Year of his Age. Both his Parents died soon after him. I am sorry to end this Account with saying, his [Page 247] Company was so desirable, that he had many Tryals of Skill with his Constitution. He was buried, in a very genteel Manner, in the Round Churchyard.

In Tryals of Drinking, pray let me assure ye,
I never intend to be one of the Jury.


THIS Person was born in the Year 1700. In his Youth he was a very promising Actor. The Part of Charles in the Nonjuror, a Comedy founded upon Moliere's Tartuff, by Mr. Cibber, which was perform'd at the The­atre-Royal in Drury-lane in the Year 1717. gave him the first Establishment as an Actor. The Applause he gain'd from performing the Part of Macheath in the Beggars Opera, was fatal to him: He follow'd Bacchus too ar­dently, insomuch that his Credit was often drown'd upon the Stage, and, by Degrees, al­most render'd him useless.

He was the suppos'd Author of two dramatic Pieces; viz. The Quakers Opera, and a Tra­gedy call'd The Fate of Villainy. This Play he brought to Ireland in the Year 1744. and prevailed on the Proprietors to act it, under the Title of Love and Loyalty. The second Night was given out for his Benefit; but not being able to pay in Half the Charge of the common Expences, the Doors were order'd to be kept [Page 248] shut: But, I remember, few People came to ask the Reason. However, I fear this Disap­pointment hasten'd his Death; for he survived it but three Days; dying, in the 44th Year of his Age, a Martyr to what often stole from him a good Understanding.

He who delights in Drinking out of Season,
Takes wond'rous Pains to drown his manly Reason.


THIS Gentleman was born in the Year 1707. He is descended of a good Fa­mily, and had a liberal Education. It is with some Concern I say he had once a good For­tune.

His first Appearance as an Actor, in Lon­don, was with Mr. Giffard, at the Theatre in Goodman's-Fields, from whence he removed with that Gentleman to Lincoln's-Inn-Fields Theatre; and from thence he was invited to the Theatre-Royal in Drury-lane: But, receiv­ing some ill Usage from Mr. Fleetwood, then Patentee, he came over to this Kingdom in the Year 1741. where he appeared to great Advantage in several capital Characters. He afterwards went out, with a Country Com­pany, to several Parts of this Kingdom, and is now, as I am inform'd, Head of a Company of Players in England. In my Opinion, his De­servings [Page 249] might make him desirable in any re­gular Theatre; he having a proper Person, pleasing Voice, and being always perfect in what he performs, joined to a good Under­standing to feel what he speaks.

But various Causes various Minds employ;
Some love to save, while others would destroy.


THIS facetious Person must not be forgot, whose Performance, as an Actor and a Poet, has often diverted the Town. He was taught the Use of the Pencil under that cele­brated Painter Sir Godfrey Kneller. I do not pretend to rescue him from the Lash of a Lady who has thought fit to correct him; but this I know, that I have been in his Company, when his quick Imagination has struck out several Pieces of Humour that have given great Plea­sure, in his Manner of Singing. To give one Instance of it: He and I were together, with­out any other Company; when, on the Back of a Play-bill, he struck out the following Song, for his little Opera call'd A Cure for a Scold.

WHoe'er to a Wife
Is link'd for his Life,
Is plac'd in a wretched Condition;
Tho' plagu'd with her Tricks,
Like a Blister she sticks,
[Page 250] And Death is his only Physician, Poor Man,
And Death, &c.
So the Cur who possest
A Bone of the best,
Could lick it, or leave it, at Pleasure;
But if to his Tail
'Tis ty'd, without fail
He's harass'd and plagu'd, without Measure, Poor Cur,
He's harass'd, &c.

Now what convinces me of the quick Coin­age of this Song is, that the last Stanza was produced by the Accident of seeing a Dog run, at that Instant, by the Window, with a Bone ty'd to his Tail, follow'd by a hooting Mob.

This may certainly be said of him, that he had an inexhaustible Fund of Good-humour, Good-nature, and Generosity; and might have had a heavier Purse, if he had not been so light of Heart. I shall end with two Lines of his own, with very little Variation.

May be ever from Duns and from Bailiffs be freed,
And shake a loose Leg on each Side of the Tweed.


IS a Person worthy of Imitation, from his Oeconomy and Behaviour in private Life. He belonged to the Stage from his Youth, first as a Prompter, but many Years as an Actor: If he does not excel, he is ever decent. His long Continuance in the Business has made him perfect almost in every Character, and such a Person must be extremely useful in a Theatre.

He best can guide a Stranger in the Road,
Who oft the mazy Labyrinth has trod.


MUST not be forgot, since what he does, he does well; and, in my Judgment, were he put forward in some Parts in Low Comedy, his Execution would not lose him any Reputation. In one Ingredient to make up a Play, I think him the best I have ever known; that is, a Property-man s.

[Page 252]
His bloodless Weapons only kill in Jest;
And those that drink his Poisons, fare the best.


THIS amiable Actress was born in Dublin of reputable Parents, who gave her a genteel Education. Her sprightly Genius led her early to the Stage, where she made a rapid Progress: Her first Establishment was in the Character of Sir Harry Wildair in this King­dom, which was the first Part she perform'd in Covent-garden Theatre, and had a successive Progress of upwards of twenty Nights, with universal Applause. The Manager of that Theatre having some Dispute with her re­lating to Salary (as I am inform'd), she engag'd with the Manager of Drury-lane, where she has reign'd in full Perfection, unrival'd in the Parts she undertakes; till her late Re-establish­ment at Covent-garden.

As Merit too often creates Envy, the little World the Theatre is not free from it. This agreeable Actress, in the Part of Sir Harry, coming into the Green-Room, said, pleasantly, In my Conscience! I believe Half the Men in the House take me for one of their own Sex. An­other Actress reply'd, It may be so; but, in my Conscience! the other Half can convince them to the contrary. As the Theatre is the Test of other Peoples. Wit, why may they not find a little among themselves?

[Page 253] I am informed, she now shines in several ca­pital Parts in Tragedy; viz. Cleopatra in All for Love, Jane Shore, Monimia, Calista in the Fair Penitent, &c. t.

[Page 254] I shall leave this Lady to proceed in her Path of Merit where she still leads, with an Epi­logue wrote purely for her Manner of Speaking: And as Prologues and Epilogues are the most difficult Tasks of both Sexes on the Stage, it is to be remark'd, but few, besides the capital Performers, are trusted with them; and a good Prologue and Epilogue have often help'd a bad Play out of the Mire, or, at least, sent the Audience home a little better humour'd.

Design'd for Mrs. WOFFINGTON in the Character of a Volunteer.

Enters, reading the Gazette.
CURSE on all Cowards! say I—why—bless my Eyes—
No—no—it can't be true—this Gazette lyes—
Our Men retreat before a scrub Banditi,
Who scarce could fright the Buff-coats of the City!
Well—if 'tis so, and that our Men won't stand,
'Tis time we Women take the Thing in Hand—
[Page 255] Thus, in my Country's Cause, I now appear
A bold, smart Khevenhuller Volunteer—
And really, mark some Heroes in the Nation,
You'll think this no unnat'ral Transformation:
For if in Valour real Manhood lies,
All Cowards are but—Women in Disguise—
They cry, These Rebels are so stout and tall!
Ah! Lard! I'd lower the proudest of 'em all:
Try but my Courage, place me in the Van,
And, post me, if I don't bring down my Man—
Had we an Army of such charging Wenches,
What Man, d'ye think, would dare t' attack our Trenches?
O! how the Cannon of our Eyes would maul 'em,
But our mask'd Batt'ries—Lud! how they would gall 'em!
No Rebel 'gainst such Force durst take the Field—
For, damme! we wou'd die before we'd yield!
Joking aparr, we Women have strong Reason
To stop the Progress of this Popish Treason:
For now, when Female Liberty's at stake,
All Women ought to bustle for its Sake.
Should these audacious Sons of Rome prevail,
Vows, Convents, and that Heathen Thing, a Veil,
Must come in Fashion; and such Institutions
Would suit but oddly with our Constitutions.
What gay Coquet would like a Nun's Profession?
And I've some private Reasons 'gainst Con­fession.
Besides, our good Men of the Church, they say
(Who now; thank Heav'n, may love, as well as pray),
[Page 256] Must then be only wed to cloyster'd Houses—
Hold! there we're fobb'd of twenty thousand Spouses;
And, faith, no bad ones, as I'm told—Then judge ye,
Is't fit we lose our—Benefit of Clergy?
In Freedom's Cause, ye Patriot Fair, arise;
Exert the sacred Influence of your Eyes:
On valiant Merit deign alone to smile,
And vindicate the Glory of our Isle.
To no base Cowards render up your Charms;
Disband the Lover who deserts his Arms:
So shall you fire each Hero to his Duty,
And British Rights be fix'd by British Beauty.

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