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late myself, when I considered my situation. I perceived by his countenance that his heart I was interrupted in the midst of these gloomy was big with gratitude, and endeavoured to apprehensions by the arrival of Strap, who prevent his acknowledgements, by asking contributed not a little to the re-establish- pardon for the liberty I had taken : he made ment of my peace, by letting me know that no reply, but, with an aspect full of admiration he had hired himself as a journeyman barber; and esteem, bowed to the ground, while the by which means he would be able not only tears gushed from his eyes. Affected with to save me a considerable expense, but even these symptoms of an ingenuous mind, I shiftmake a shift to lay up something for my sub-ed the conversation, and complimented him sistence after my money should be spent, in on his performance, which, I assured him, afcase I should not be relieved before. forded me infinite pleasure. My approbation
made him happy. Dinner being served, and
Jackson arrived, I begged their permission CHAPTER LXII.
for Strap to sit at table with us, after having
informed them that he was a person to whom I read Melopoyn's tragedy, and conceive a I was extremely obliged: they were kind
vast opinion of his genius-he recounts enough to grant that favour, and we ate to. his adventures.
gether with great harmony and satisfaction.
Our meal being ended, I expressed my While we ate our breakfast together, I wonder at the little regard Mr Melopoyn made him acquainted with the character and had met with from the world; and signified condition of the poet, who came in with his a desire of hearing how he had been treated play at that instant, and, imagining we were by the managers of the playhouses, to whom engaged about business, could not be pre- I understood from Jackson he had offered his vailed upon to sit, but, leaving his perform- tragedy without success. “There is so litance, went away. My friend's tender heart tle entertaining in the incidents of my life," was melted at the sight of a gentleman and said he, “ that I am sure the recital will not Christian (for he had a great veneration for recompence your attention; but, since you both these epithets) in such misery, and as- discover an inclination to know them, I unsented with great cheerfulness to a proposal derstand my duty too well to disappoint your I made of clothing him with our superfluities; desire. a task with which he charged himself, and My father, who was a curate in the coun. departed immediately to perform it.
try, being, by the narrowness of his circumHe was no sooner gone, than I locked my stances, hindered from maintaining me at the door, and sat down to the tragedy, which I university, took the charge of my education read to the end with vast pleasure, not a lit- upon himself, and laboured with such industle amazed at the conduct of the managers try and concern in the undertaking, that I who had rejected it. The fable, in my opin- had little cause to regret the want of public ion, was well chosen, and naturally conduc- masters. Being at great pains to consult ted; the incidents interesting; the characters my natural bias, he discovered in me betimes beautifully contrasted, strongly marked, and an inclination for poetry; upon which he well supported; the diction poetical, spirited, recommended me to an intimate acquainand correct; the unities of the drama main. Itance with the classics, in the cultivation of tained with the most scrupulous exactness; which he assisted me with paternal zeal and the opening gradual and engaging ; the peri- uncommon erudition. When he thought peteia surprising and the catastrophe affect- me suficiently acquainted with the ancients, ing; in short, I judged it by the laws of he directed my studies to the best modern Aristotle and Horace, and could find nothing authors, French and Italian, as well as Enin it exceptionable, but a little too much em- glish, and laid a particular injunction upon bellishment in some few places; which ob- me to make myself master of my mother jection he removed to my satisfaction, by a tongue. cuotation from Aristotle's Poetics, importing, • About the age of eighteen, I grew amthat the least interesting parts of a poem bitious of undertaking a work of some conought to be raised and dignified by the sequence; and, with my father's approbation, charms and energy of diction.
actually planned the tragedy you have read; I revered his genius, and was seized with but, before I had finished four acts, that inan eager curiosity to know the particular dulged parent died, and left my mother and events of a fortune so unworthy of his merit. me in very indigent circumstances. A near At this instant Strap returned with a bundle relation, compassionating our distress, took of clothes, which I sent with my compliments us into his family, where I brought my fable to Mr Melopoyn, as a small token of my re- to a conclusion; and soon after that period gard, and desired the favour of his company my mother quitted, this life. When my to dinner. He accepted my present and in- sorrow for this melancholy event had subvitation, and in less than half an hour made sided, I told my kinsman, who was a farmer, his appearance in a decent dress, which al. that, having paid my last duty to my parent, tered his figure very much to his advantage. I I had now no attachment to detain me in the
country, and therefore was resolved to set | work of iron. Through this a servant, hav. out for London, and offer my play to the ing viewed me for some time, demanded to stage, where I did not doubt of acquiring a know my business. I told him my business large share of fame as well as fortune ; in was with Mr Supple, and that I came from which case I should not be unmindful of my Mr O’Varnish. He examined my appear. friends and benefactors. My cousin was ance once more, then went away, returned ravished with the prospect of my felicity, in a few minutes, and said his master was and willingly contributed towards the ex- busy, and could not be seen. Although I pense of fitting me out for my expedition. was a little mortified at my disappointment,
“ Accordingly I took a place in the wag. I was persuaded that my reception was owing on, and arrived in town, where I hired an to Mr Supple's ignorance of my errand; apartment in a garret, willing to live as and, that I might meet with no more obstrucfrugal as possible, until I should know what tions of the same kind, I desired Mr O’Var. I had to expect from the manager, to whom nish to be my introductor the next time. He I intended to offer my play. For, though I complied with my request, and obtained imlooked upon myself as perfectly secure of a mediate admittance to the manager, who good reception, imagining that a patentee received me with the utmost civility, and would be as eager to receive as I to present promised to read my play with the first conmy production, I did not know whether or venience. By his own appointment I called not he might be pre-engaged in favour of again in a fortnight, but he was gone out ; I another author; a circumstance that would returned in a week after, and the poor gencertainly retard my success. On this con- tleman was extremely ill; I renewed my sideration, too, I determined to be speedy in visit in a fortnight after that, and he assured
а my application, and even to wait upon one of me he had been so much fatigued with busi. the managers the very next day. For this ness, that he had not been able as yet to read purpose, I inquired of my landlord if he knew it to an end, but he would take the first oppor. where either or both of them lived; and he tunity; and, in the mean time, observed, being curious to know my business, and at that what he had just seen of it was very enthe same time appearing to be a very honest tertaining. I comforted myself with this friendly man (a tallow-chandler), 'I made declaration a few weeks longer, at the end him acquainted with my design ; upon which of which I appeared again before his wicket, he told me that I went the wrong way to was let in, and found him laid up with the work; that I would not find such easy ac- gout. I no sooner entered his chamber, than, cess to a manager as I imagined; and that, looking at me with a languishing eye, he if I delivered my performance without proper said," Mr Melopoyn, I'm heartily sorry for recommendation, it would be as one to a an accident that has happened during my ill. thousand if ever it should be minded. “ Take ness. You must know, that my eldest boy, my advice," said he, “and your business is finding your manuscript upon the table in done. One of the patentees is a good cath- the dining-room, where I used to read it, carolic, as I am, and uses the same father who ried it into the kitchen, and leaving it there, a confesses me. I will make you acquainted negligent wench of a cook-maid, mistaking with this good priest, who is an excellent it for waste paper, has expended it all but a scholar; and if he should approve of your few leaves in singing fowls upon the spit. play, his recommendation will go a great But I hope the misfortune is not irreparable, way in determining Mr Supple to bring it on since, no doubt, you have several copies.” the stage." I applauded his expedient, and “I protest to you, my good friend, Mr was introduced to the friar; who, having Random, I was extremely shocked at this perused the tragedy, was pleased to signify information; but the good-natured gentle. his approbation, and coinmended me in par- man seemed to be so much affected with my ticular for having avoided all reflections misfortune, that I suppressed my concern, upon religion. He promised to use all his and told him, that although I had no other influence with his son Supple in my behalf, copy, I should be able to retrieve the loss and to inform himself that very day at what by writing another from my memory, which time it would be proper for me to wait upon was very tenacious. You cannot imagine him with the piece. He was punctual in per- how well pleased Mr Supple was at this asforming his engagement; and next morning surance ; he begged I would set about it imgave me to understand that he had mentioned mediately, and carefully revolve and recollect my affair to the manager, and that I had no every circumstance, before I pretended to more to do than to go to his house any time commit it to paper, that it might be the same in the forenoon, and make use of his name, individual play that he had perused. Encouupon which I should find immediate admit- raged by this injunction, which plainly detance. I took his advice, put my perform- monstrated how much he interested himself ance in my bosom, and having received di- in the affair, I tasked my remembrance and rections, went immediately to the house of industry, and in three weeks produced the Mr Supple, and knocked at the door, which exact image of the former, which was conhad a wicket in the middle, faced with a net. I veyed to him by my good friend Father
O’Varnish, who told me the next day that to a bookseller for a pretty sum of ready Mr Supple would revise it superficially, in money, and perhaps establish_my own order to judge of its sameness with the other, character into the bargain. This event and then give his final answer. For this ex- would infallibly procure friends, and my amination I allotted a week ; and, in full tragedy would appear next season to the confidence of seeing it acted in a little while, best advantage, by being supported both by demanded an audience of the manager, when interest and reputation. I was charmed that term was expired. But, alas ! the sea with this prospect; and having heard what son had slipped away insensibly; he con- friends Mr Pope acquired by his pastorals, vinced me, that, if my play had been put into set about a work of that kind, and in less rehearsal at that time, it could not have been than six weeks composed as many eclogues, ready for performing until the end of March, which I forthwith offered to an eminent when the benefit nights came on; conse- bookseller, who desired me to leave them for quently it would have interfered with the his perusal, and he would give me an aninterest of the players, whom it was not my swer in two days. At the end of that business to disoblige.
time I went to him, when he returned the “I was fain to acquiesce in these reasons, poems, telling me they would not answer his which, to be sure, were extremely just, and purpose, and sweetened his refusal by saying to reserve my performance for the next sea- there were some good clever lines in them. son, when he hoped I would not be so un- Not a little dejected at this rebuff, which, lucky; although it was a grievous disappoint- I learned from Mr O’Varnish, was owing ment to me, who by this time began to want to the opinion of another author, whom this both money and necessaries, having, on the bookseller always consulted on these occastrength of my expectation from the theatre, sions, I applied to another person of the launched out into some extravagances, by same profession, who told me, the town which the sum I brought to town was already was cloyed with pastorals, and advised me, almost consumed. Indeed, I ought to be if I intended to profit by my talents, to ashamed at the circumstance of my conduct, write something satirical or luscious, such for my finances were sufficient, with good as the Button Hole, Shockey and Towzer, economy, to have maintained me comfort. the Leaky Vessel, fc.—and yet this was a ably a whole year. You will perhaps be man in years, who wore a reverend periamazed when I tell you, that in six months wig, looked like a senator, and went regu. I expended not a farthing less than ten larly to church. Be that as it will, I scorned guineas ; but when one considers the temp- to prostitute my pen in the manner he protations to which a young man is exposed in posed, and carried my papers to a third, this great city, especially if he is addicted to who assured ine, that poetry was entirely pleasure, as I am, the wonder will vanish, or out of his way; and asked if i had got never at least abate. Nor was the cause of my a piece of secret history, thrown into a seconcern limited to my own situation entirely; ries of letters, or a volume of adventures, I had written an account of my good reception such as those of Robinson Crusoe and to my kinsman the farmer, and desired him Colonel Jack, or a collection of conundrums, to depend upon me for the money he had wherewith to entertain the plantations? kindly accommodated me with about the end Being quite unfurnished for this dealer, I of February ; which promise I now found had recourse to another with as little sucinyself unable to perform. However, there cess; and I verily believe was rejected by was no remedy but patience; I applied to the whole trade. my landlord, who was a very good-natured “I was afterwards persuaded to offer my. man, candidly owned my distress, and begged self as a translator, and accordingly repaired his advice in laying down some plan for my to a person, who was said to entertain numsubsistence. He readily promised to con- bers of that class in his pay. He assured sult his confessor on this subject, and told me he had already a great deal of that work me I was welcome, in the mean time, to on his hands, which he did not know what to lodge and board with him, until fortune do with ; observed that translation was a should put it in my power to make resti- mere drug, that branch of literature being tution.
overstocked with an inundation of authors “ Mr O’Varnish being informed of my from North Briton; and asked what I would necessity, offered to introduce me to the expect per sheet for rendering the Latin author of a weekly paper, who, he did not classics into English?—That might not doubt, would employ me in that way, pro- make myself too cheap, I determined to set vided he should find me duly qualified; but, a high price upon my qualifications, and de. upon inquiry, I understood that this journal manded half a guinea for every translated was calculated to foment divisions in the sheet. • Half a guinea !" cried he, staring commonwealth, and therefore I desired to at me, then paused a little, and said, he had be excused from engaging in it. He then no occasion for my service at present. I proposed that I should write something in found my error, and, resolving to make the poetical way, which I might dispose of | amends, fell one half in my demand; upon
which he stared at me again, and told me empty praise (you know, my dear friend) will his hands were full. I attempted others, not supply the cravings of nature. I found without finding employment, and was actu- myself in danger of starving in the midst of ally reduced to a very uncomfortable pros- all my fame ; for of ten songs I composed, it pect, when I bethought myself of offering my was well if two had the good fortune to talents to the printers of halfpenny ballads, please. For this reason I turned my thoughts and other such occasional essays as are to prose, and, during a track of gloomy hawked about the streets. With this view, weather, published an apparition, on the I applied to one of the most noted and voci- substance of which I subsisted very comfortferous of this tribe, who directed me to a ably a whole month : I have made many a person whom I found entertaining a whole good meal upon a monster; a rape bas often crowd of them with gin, bread and cheese. afforded me great satisfaction ; but a murder, He carried me into a little back parlour, very well timed, was my never-failing resource. neatly furnished, where I signified my desire What then? I was a most miserable slave of being enrolled among his writers : and to my employers, who expected to be furwas asked what kind of composition I pro- nished at a minute's warning with prose and fessed. Understanding that my inclination verse, just as they thought the circumstances leaned towards poetry, he expressed his of the times required, whether the inclinasatisfaction, telling me one of his poets had tion was absent or present. Upon my sinlost his senses, and was confined in bedlam, cerity, Mr Random, I have been so much and the other was become dosed with drink- pestered and besieged by those children of ing drams; so that he had not done any clamour, that life became a burden to me. thing tolerable these many weeks. When I proposed that we should enter into terms of agreement, he gave me to understand, that
CHAPTER LXIII. his bargains were always conditional, and his authors paid in proportion to the sale of The continuation and conclusion of Mr their works.
Melopoyn's story. “Having therefore settled these conditions, which (I do assure you) were not very ad. “I MADE shift, notwithstanding, to mainvantageous to me, he assigned me a subject tain myself till the beginning of next winter, for a ballad, which was to be finished in two when I renewed my addresses to my friend hours;
and I retired to my garret in order to Mr Supple, and was most graciously received. perform his injunction. As the theme hap- • I have been thinking of your affair, Mr Me. pened to suit my fancy, I completed a pretty lopoyn,' said he, “and am determined to show sort of an ode within the time prescribed, how far I have your interest at heart, by inand brought it to him, big with hope of profit troducing you to a young nobleman of my and applause. He read it in a twinkling, acquaintance, who is remarkable for his fine and, to my utter astonishment, told me, it taste in dramatic writings, and is, besides, a would not do, though indeed he owned Iman of such influence, that, if once he should wrote a good hand, and spelled very well, approve of your play, his patronage will supbut my language was too high flown, and of port it against all the efforts of envy and igconsequence not at all adapted to the capa- norance : for I do assure you, that merit city and taste of his customers. I promised alone will not bring success. I have already to rectify that mistake, and in half an hour spoke of your performance to Lord Rattle, humbled my style to the comprehension of and if you will call at my house in a day or vulgar readers : he approved of the alteration, two, you shall have a letter of introduction and gave me some hopes of succeeding in to his lordship.' I was sensibly touched time, though he observed, that my perform- with this mark of Mr Supple's friendship, ance was very deficient in the quaintness of and looking upon my affair as already done, expression that pleases the multitude; how went home and imparted my good fortune to ever, to encourage me, he ventured the my landlord, who, to render my appearance expense of printing and paper, and, if I re- more acceptable to my patron, procured a member aright, my share of the sale amount- suit of new clothes for me on his own credit. ed to fourpence halfpenny.
“ Not to trouble you with idle particulars, “From that day I studied the Grub-street I carried my tragedy to his lordship’s lodgmanner with great diligence, and at length ings, and sent it up, along with Mr Supple's became such a proficient, that my works letter, by one of his servants, who desired were in great request among the most polite me, by his lord's order, to return in a week. of the chairmen, draymen, hackney coach- I did so, and was admitted to his lordship, men, footmen, and servant maids : nay, I who received me very courteously, told me have enjoyed the pleasure of seeing my pro- he had perused my play, which he thought, ductions, adorned with cuts, pasted upon the on the whole, was the best coup d'essai he wall as ornaments in beer cellars and cob- had ever seen ; but that he had marked some blers' stalls, and have actually heard them places in the margin, which he imagined sung in clubs of substantial tradesmen. But I might be altered for the better. I was trans
ported with this reception, and promised | cused Mr Brayer, on account of the multi(with many acknowledgements of his lord- plicity of business in which he was involved, ship’s generosity), to be governed solely by and bade me beware of teasing the patentee. his advice and direction. • Well, then,' said I treasured this caution, and exerted my pahe, 'write another fair copy with the altera- tience three weeks longer; at the end of tions I have proposed, and bring it to me as which his lordship gave me to understand soon as possible ; for I am resolved to have that Mr Brayer had read my play, and owned it brought on the stage this winter.' You it had indubitable merit; but as he had long may be sure I set about this task with alac- been pre-engaged to another author, he could rity; and although I found his lordship's not possibly represent it that season; though, remarks much more numerous, and of less if I would reserve it for the next, and, in the importance, than I expected, I thought it was interim, make such alterations as he had pronot my interest to dispute upon trifles with posed by observations on the margin, I might my patron ; therefore new modelled it, ac- depend upon his compliance. cording to his desire, in less than a month. Thunderstruck at this disappointment, I
“ When I waited upon him with the manu- could not, for some minutes, utter one syllascript, I found one of the actors at breakfast ble. At length, however, I complained bitwith his lordship, who immediately intro- terly of the manager's insincerity in amusing duced him to my acquaintance, and desired me so long, when he knew from the begin. him to read a scene of my play. This task ning that he could not gratify my desire. he performed very much to my satisfaction, But his lordship reprimanded me for my with regard to emphasis and pronunciation ; freedom, said Mr Brayer was a man of hobut he signified his disgust at several words nour, and imputed his behaviour with respect in every page, which I presuming to defend, to me to nothing else but forgetfulness. And Lord Ratile told me, with a peremptory look, indeed I have had some reason, since that I must not pretend to dispute with him, who time, to be convinced of his bad memory; had been a player these twenty years, and for, in spite of appearances, I will not allow understood the economy of the stage better myself to interpret his conduct in any other than any man living. I was forced to submit, way. Lord Rattle, observing me very much and his lordship proposed the same actor affected with my disappointment, offered his should read the whole play in the evening, interest to bring on my play at the other before some gentlemen of his acquaintance, house, which I eagerly accepting, he forthwhom he would convene at his lodgings for with wrote a letter of recommendation to Mr
Bellower, actor, and prime minister to Mr “ I was present at the reading; and I pro- Vandal, proprietor of that theatre, and detest to you, my dear friend, I never under sired me to deliver it with my tragedy with. went such a severe trial in the whole course ont loss of time. Accordingly I hastened to of my life as at that juncture ; for although his house, where, after having waited a whole the player might be a very honest man, and hour in a lobby, I was admitted to his prea good performer, he was excessively illite- sence, and my performance received with rate and assuming, and made a thousand great state. He told me he was extremely frivolous objections, which I was not per- busy at present, but he would peruse it as mitted to answer: however, the piece was soon as possible, and bade me call again in very much applauded on the whole; the a week. I took my leave, not a little gentlemen present, who, I understood, were astonished at the port and supercilious bemen of fortune, promised to countenance haviour of this stage-player, who had not and support it as much as they could ; and treated me with good manners ; and began Lord Rattle assuring me that he would act to think the dignity of a poet greatly im. the part of a careful nurse to it, desired me paired since the days of Euripides and Soto carry it home, and alter it immediately phocles ; but all this was nothing in according to their remarks. I was fain to comparison of what I have since observed. acquiesce in his determination, and fulfilled “Well, Mr Random, I went back at the his injunctions with all the expedition in my appointed time, and was told that Mr Bel. power; but, before I could present the new lower was engaged, and could not see me. copy, my good friend Mr Supple had disposed I repeated my visit a few days after, and, of his property and patent to one Mr Brayer; having waited a considerable time, was faso that fresh interest was to be made with voured with an audience, during which, he the new manager. This task Lord Rattle said, he had not as yet read my play. Net. undertook, having some acquaintance with tled at this usage, I could contain myself no him, and recommended my performance so longer, but telling him, I imagined he would strongly that it was received.
have paid more deference to Lord Rattle's “I
looked upon myself now as upon the recommendation, demanded my manuscript eve of reaping the fruits of all my labour: I with some expressions of resentment. “Ay,' waited a few days in expectation of its being said he, in a theatrical tone, with all my put into rehearsal, and wondering at the heart.' Then pulling out a drawer of the delay, applied to my worthy patron, who ex- | bureau at which he sat, he took out a bundle,