« AnteriorContinuar »
end that well-meaning persons may not be imposed upon by cheats, I would desire my readers, when they meet with this pretender, to look into his parentage, and to examine him strictly, whether or no he be remotely allied to Truth, and lineally descended from Good Sense; if not, they may conclude him a counterfeit. They may likewise distinguish him by a loud and excessive laughter, in which he seldom gets his company to join with him. For as True Humour generally looks serious while every body laughs about him; False Humour is always laughing, whilst every body about him looks serious. I shall only add, if he has not in him a mixture of both parents, that is, if he would pass for the offspring of Wit without Mirth, or Mirth without Wit, you may conclude him to be altogether spurious and a cheat.
The impostor of whom I am speaking, descends originally from Falsehood, who was the mother of Nonsense, who was brought to bed of a son called Phrensy, who married one of the daughters of Folly, commonly known by the name of Laughter, on whom he begot that monstrous infant of which I have been here speaking. I shall set down at length the genealogical table of False Humour, and, at the same time, place under it the genealogy of True Humour, that the reader may at one view behold their different pedigrees and relations:
I might extend the allegory, by mentioning several of the children of Faise Humour, who are more in number than the sands of the sea, and might in particular enumerate the many sons and daughters which he has begot in this island. But as this would be a very invidious task, I shall only observe in general that False Humour differs from the True, as a monkey does from a man.
First of all, He is exceedingly given to little apish tricks and buffooneries.
Secondly, He so much delights in mimicry, that it is all one to him whether he exposes by it vice and folly, luxury and avarice; or, on the contrary, virtue and wisdom, pain and poverty.
Thirdly, He is wonderfully unlucky, insomuch that he will bite the hand that feeds him, and endeavour to ridicule both friends and foes indifferently. For, having but small talents, he must be merry where he can, not where he should.
Fourthly, Being entirely void of reason, he pursues no point either of morality or instruction, but is ludicrous only for the sake of being so.
Fifthly, Being incapable of any thing but mock representations, his ridicule is always personal, and aimed at the vicious man, or the writer; not at the vice, or at the writing.
I have here only pointed at the whole species of false humourists ; but, as one of my principal designs in this paper is to beat down that malignant spirit, which discovers itself in the writings of the present age, I shall not scruple, for the future, to single out any of the small wits, that infest the world with such compositions as are ill-natured, immoral, and absurd. This is the only exception which I shall make to the general rule I have prescribed myself, of attacking
titudes; since every honest man ought to look
́mself as in a natural state of war with the
libeller and lampooner, and to annoy them wherever they fall in his way. This is but retaliating upon them, and treating them as they treat others.
I SHALL not put myself to any further pains for this day's entertainment, than barely to publish the letters and titles of petitions from the playhouse, with the minutes I have made upon the latter for my conduct in relation to them.
"UPON reading the project which is set forth in one of your late papers, of making an alliance between all the bulls, bears, elephants, and lions, which are separately exposed to public view in the cities of London and Westminster; together with the other wonders, shows, and monsters, whereof you made respective mention in the said speculation; we, the chief actors of this playhouse, met and sate upon the said design. It is with great delight that we expect the execution of this work; and, in order to contribute to it, we have given warning to all our ghosts to get their livelihoods where they can, and not to appear among us after day-break of the 16th instant. We are resolved to take this opportunity to part with every thing which does not contribute to the representation of human life; and shall make a free gift
of all animated utensils to your projector. The hangings you formerly mentioned are run away; as are likewise a set of chairs, each of which was met upon two legs going through the Rose tavern at two this morning. We hope, Sir, you will give proper notice to the town that we are endeavouring at these regulations; and that we intend for the future to show no monsters, but men who are converted into such by their own industry and affectation. If you will please to be at the house to-night, you will see me do my endeavour to show some unnatural appearances which are in vogue among the polite and wellbred. I am to represent, in the character of a fine lady dancing, all the distortions which are frequently taken for graces in mien and gesture. This, Sir, is a specimen of the method we shall take to expose the monsters which come within the notice of a regular theatre; and we desire nothing more gross may be admitted by you Spectators for the future. We have cashiered three companies of theatrical guards, and design our kings shall for the future make love, and sit in council, without an army; and wait only your direction, whether will have them reinforce king Porus, or join the troops of Macedon. Mr. Penkethman resolves to consult his pantheon of heathen gods in opposition to the oracle of Delphos, and doubts not but he shall turn the fortunes of Porus, when he personates him. I am desired by the company to inform you, that they submit to your censures; and shall have you in greater veneration than Hercules was in of old, if you can drive monsters from the theatre; and think your merit will be as much greater than his, as to convince is more than to conquer.
"I am, SIR,
"Your most obedient servant,
"WHEN I acquaint you with the great and unexpected vicissitudes of my fortune, I doubt not but I shall obtain your pity and favour. I have for many years last past been Thunderer to the playhouse; and have not only made as much noise out of the clouds as any predecessor of mine in the theatre that ever bore that character, but also have descended and spoke on the stage as the bold Thunderer in The Rehearsal. When they got me down thus low, they thought fit to degrade me further, and make me a ghost. I was contented with this for these two last winters; but they carry their tyranny still further, and, not satisfied that I am banished from above ground, they have given me to understand that I am wholly to depart their dominions, and taken from me even my subterraneous employment. Now, Sir, what I desire of you is, that if your undertaker thinks fit to use fire-arms, as other authors have done, in the time of Alexander, I may be a canon against Porus, or else provide for me in the burning of Persepolis, or what other method you shall think fit.
SALMONEUS OF COVENT-GARDEN."
The petition of all the Devils of the playhouse in behalf of themselves and families, setting forth their expulsion from thence, with certificates of their good life and conversation, and praying relief.
The merit of this petition referred to Mr. Chr. Rich, who made them devils.
The petition of the Grave-digger in Hamlet, to command the pioneers in the Expedition of Alexander. Granted.
The petition of William Bullock, to be Hephestion to Penkethman the Great.