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And yet, with all their beauties, all their care,
Nor Santlow, Wilks, nor Oldfield, please the fair.
Bless'd with their praise, Italian songsters thrive,
A beaver-race, that geld themselves to live.
Strange force of whimsy! that the fair should prize
A warbling vagabond whom all despise !
Ev'n to himself of old an eunuch seem'd
Worse than a beast, though now so much esteemid;
So frogs by Frenchmen are as dainties stew'd,
And what was Egypt's plague is France's food.
How odd the fancy, how absurd the sight!
To see that Hercules, who in one night
Full fifty dames in heat of blood contented,
Now by a sapless gelding represented ;
With greater justice from the Lydian queen,
Since dwindled from a man, he learn’d to spin.
For loftier lays, and nobler chiefs than these,
Th’ingenious Builder rais'd his edifice;
The architect, whose every work proclaims
The Terence and Vitruvius of his times ; _490
The builder-but a noble structure's praise,
A nobler architect, commands my praise,
A Princess, who, by righteous arms abroad,
At home by fifty temples rais'd to God,
At once the French and Stygian tyrant braves,
At once the christian and the subject saves.
Ilus's niggard son,
to raise his Troy,
The Gods and great Alcides did employ ;
That done, ungrateful grew, nor would defray
His hero and the hireling powers their pay;
But our more pious Princess, who no less
From Heaven and Marlborough has deriv'd success,
By giving Blenheim and these piles, has given
Their just rewards to Hercules and Heaven.
ACTING, dear Thornton, its perfection draws
From no observance of mechanic laws;
No settled maxims of a fav’rite stage,
No rules deliver'd down from age to age,
Let players nicely mark them as they will,
Can e'er entail hereditary skill.
If, 'mongst the humble hearers of the pit,
Some curious vet'ran critic chance to sit,
Is he pleas'd inore because 'twas acted so
By Booth and Cibber thirty years ago?
The mind recals an object held more dear,
And hates the copy, that it comes so near :
Why lov'd we Wilks's air, Booth's nervous tone ;
In them 'twas natural, 'twas all their own.
A Garrick's genius must our wonder raise,
But gives his mimic no reflected praise.
Thrice happy Genius, whose unrival'd name
Shall live for ever in the voice of Fame !
'Tis thine to lead, with more than magic skill,
The train of captive passions at thy will;
To bid the bursting tear spontaneous flow
In the sweet sense of sympathetic woe:
Through ev'ry vein I feel a chillness creep,
When horrors such as thine have murder'd sleep:
And at the old man's look and frantic stare
'Tis Lear alarms me, for I see him there.
Nor yet confin'd to tragic walks alone,
The comic muse too claims thee for her own.
With each delightful requisite to please,
Taste, spirit, judgment, elegance, and ease, 30
Familiar nature forms thy only rule,
From Ranger's rake to Drugger's vacant fool :
With powers so pliant, and so various blest,
That' what we see the last, we like the best.
Not idly pleas’d, at judgment's dear expence,
But burst outrageous with the laugh of sense.
Perfection's top, with weary toil and pain,
'Tis genius only that can hope to gain.
The play'r's profession (tho' I hate the phrase,
'Tis so mechanic in these modern days)
Lies not in trick, or attitude, or start,
Nature's true knowledge is his only art.
The strong-felt passion bolts into the face,
The mind untouch'd, what is it but grimace ?
To this one standard make your just appeal,
Here lies the golden secret ; learn to feel.
Or fool, or monarch, happy, or distrest,
No actor pleases that is not possess’d.
Once on the stage, in Rome's declining days, When Christians were the subject of their plays,» E'er persecution dropp'd her iron rod, And men still wag'd an impious war with God, An actor florish'd of no vulgar fame, Nature's disciple, and Genest his name. A noble object for his skill he chose, A martyr dying 'midst insulting foes ; Resign'd with patience to religion's laws, Yet braving monarchs in his Saviour's cause. Fill’d with th' idea of the secret part, He felt a zeal beyond the reach of art, bo While look, and voice, and gesture all exprest A kindred ardor in the player's breast; Till as the flame thro' all his bosom ran, He lost the actor, and commenc'd the man: Profest the faith, his pagan gods denied, And what he acted then, he after died.
The player's province they but vainly try, Who want these pow'rs, deportment, voice, and eye.
The critic sight 'tis only grace can please, No figure charms us if it has not ease. Yo There are, who think the stature all in all, Nor like the Hero, if he is not tall.