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nounce judgments on their respective I now perceive that the promise was merits,—that is to say, they weigh, a rash one, and I was to blame in conand measure, and count,--and the tracting it. In this species of drapractised eye of the “admiring pub- matic literature there is nothing tanlic” soon perceived that in the In- gible to the understanding; it adstallation there were expended fewer dresses itself solely to the eye. To hundreds of feathers, fewer yards of embody and exhibit its beauties on velvet, fewer bales of silk, fewer paper is therefore nearly impossible ; pounds of spangles, than in the Coro- it is something like an attempt to nation. These are the true modern write a dance upon the tight rope; poetics, and by these was the Installa- and how can the pen represent the tion tried: it was found wanting; and à-plomb with which MADAME SAQUI, after undergoing the process of dam- and a company of French tumblers, nation sundry times, it was finally capered upon three tight ropes at the withdrawn.*
Theatre Royal Covent Garden, or the Having given a short history of agility with which she ran up a the rise of this modern addition to rope extended from the back of its the legitimate drama, it remains for classical and national stage to the me to fulfil my promise of placing a centre of its enlightened and admirspecimen of a Procession among the ing two shilling gallery? † Yet, since Beauties of the Living Dramatists. altogether to omit so important a
According to the play-bills, it appears that poor Giovanni had to struggle against “factious efforts previously organized,” which, for a time, were “completely overpowercd.” In the end, however, they completely overpowered him. Factious efforts previously organized! Unless I give a positive reference, I am persuaded that it will never be believed that a London theatre would dare to qualify by such a phrase the disapprobation expressed by a London public. See then the Drury Lane play-bill of Friday, De. cember 28, 1821, at the bottom of which will be found, in unusually large characters, the following sentence :
“ GIOVANNI IN IRELAND, on its second performance, last night, was received with tumultuous approbation, every factious effort previously organized being completely overpowered."-Would it not have been more decent to use the customary formula, as thus : “ The public is most respectfully informed that its factious efforts previously organized being completely overpowered, &c.”
+ Yes, reader, on the stage of a great national theatre, acting under the authority of the royal patent, have we beheld a set of buffoons and rope dancers, brought from the outskirts of Paris, where, in a trumpery building, they exhibit before a French rabble for troo-pence!!
The following passage, which occurs in Cibber's Life, is so apt to the present subject, and applies so closely to the actual state of our theatres, that I must beg leave to quote it : speaking of the then patentee of Drury-Lane, he says: " It seems he had not purchased his share of the patent to mend the stage, but to make money of it: and to say truth, his sense of every thing to be shown there was much upon a level with the taste of the multitude, whose opinion and whose money weighed with him just as much as that of the best judges. His point was to please the majority, who could more easily comprehend any thing they suw, than the daintiest things that could be said to them. But in this notion he kept no medium ; for in my memory he carried it so far that he was (some years before this time) actually dealing for an extraordinary fine elephant, at a certain sum, for any day he might think fit to show the tractable genius of that vast quiet creature in any play or farce in the theatre (then standing) in Dorset Garden.” [Who would not imagine this to have been written of Covent Garden, where we have actually seen that
vast quiet creature."] “ But from his bricklayer's assuring him it might endanger the fall of the liouse, he gave up so hopeful a prospect of making the receipt of the stage run higher than all thc wit and force of the best writers had ever yet raised them to.
“ About the same time, he put in practice another project, which was his introducing a set of rope-dancers into the same theatre ; for the first day of whose performance he had given out some play in which I had a material part.” (Now mark well whar followed about a century ago.] “ But I was hardy enough to go into the pit and acquaint the spectators near me, that I hoped they would not think it a mark of my disrespect to them if I declined acting upon any stage that was brought to so low a disgrace as ours was like to be by that day's entertainment. My excuse was so well taken, and the whole body of actors, too, protesting against such an abuse of their profession, our cautious master was too much alarmed and intimidated to repeat it."
feature of the modern drama would lecting from them to having recourse leave my collection glaringly deficient to well-known works ; not only on and incomplete, I will endeavour to account of their novelty, but that the illustrate the only two prominent public may be enabled to judge of literary qualities it possesses ;t and the activity excited in the cultivation if, after all, the result of my efforts of this new branch of the drama, and should prove unsatisfactory to my also to form some idea of the stock readers, I trust that they will make of talent on which it may calculate ample allowances on my behalf, in for its future amusement and edificaconsideration of the difficulties of the tion. task which I have iraposed on myself. The first is a project for the re
The specimens I shall exhibit are vival of Foote's Farce of the Mayor from three original MSS. in my pos- of Garrate, for the purpose of introsession ; but though they are greatly ducing the procession of the newlyinferior in puffability and trapacity to elected mayor through the village.-those already marched, I prefer se- The opening is not amiss.
Order of the procession.
Drum and fife.
Tinkers two and two, in their best clothes.
tions, all in their best clothes.
Constable with his staff. §
[Shortly after appears the bellman, the author's master-stroke, as the reader
In his best clothes, a gold-laced three-corner'd hat with gold buttons and loop on his head, carrying in his right hand a magnificent brass bell, decorated with blue ribbons. Il
N. B. The public is respectfully informed that the magnificent real brass
+ There is yet wanting to the modern drama a polite nomenclature expressive of its peculiar beauties. The terms trash, stuff, gag, humbug, &c. are all very appropriate, but rather coarse. The procession, as being the latest invention in the dramatic art, is, consequently, the most deficient in this respect ; so that, in order to designate the two literary qualities I have alluded to, I am compelled to make use of two words, which, though remarkably definite and exact, are somewhat vulgar-puff and trap. Having diligently searched my Johnson for a pair of polite, and at the same time efficient sub. stitutes, and none being to be found, I must be content with the services of puff and trap. I will, however, be as sparing as possible in my employment of them, for were I to bring forward puff and trap on every occasion where the qualities they imply appear in the play-bills of the London Theatres-Royal, poor piff and trap would find their office no sinecure.
This piece of trap is not ill-conceived. The author seems aware that finery is requisite in a procession, but forgets that it must be glittering finery. In the Drury-Lane Coronation we have “ Trumpeters in full state liveries with silver trumpets." But this begets the idea of gold-lace and spangles; a specimen of trap the author may profit by in his next work. § An imitation of that interesting point in the Drury-Lane play-bill :
High Constable of Westminster, with his staff.”
|| Not only is this the best point in the procession, but it will stand a comparison with one of the most effective pieces of trap in the Drury-Lane Coronation : “ The King in his royal robes, wearing his cap of estate, under a canopy of cloth of gold, supported by the barons of the cinque-ports, &c."
The N. B. which follows is admirable; though, perhaps, the imitation of the famous “ Messrs. Johnston and Brookes, New-street-square, for all the magnificent gilt and brass-work,” is .00 apparent.
bell, carried by the bell-man, was cast expressly for this procession, by Messrs. Clapper and Co. Bell Founders, High Holborn.
THE MAYOR OF GARRAT.
Marrow-bones and cleavers.
Punch and Judy.
And thus closes the procession. # The next is The progress of the to look upon her ladyship while passbeautiful lady Godiva through the High ing through the city, he must neStreet of the city of Coventry. cessarily have made her traverse the
Had the author adhered to the stage unaccompanied. He has most naked truth of the history of this ingeniously imagined a mode of overevent, his exhibition, however beau- coming this difficulty, by which her tiful and interesting, must have been ladyship’s delicate scruples are redestitute of pomp and splendour ; for, spected, and a tolerable degree of as it is well known that it was de- éclat is conferred on the procession, clared death to him that should dare which is made to open by
The Town-Crier of Coventry, blindfolded.
Spearmen, two and two, blindfolded.
Archers, two and two, blindfolded.
Cross-bow-men, two and two, blindfolded.
Aldermen of Coventry in their robes, carefully blindfolded.
Bishop of Coventry, most carefully blindfolded.
Virgins, two and two, dancing and strewing flowers. Matrons, two and two, bearing banners, on which are embroidered icicles,
drifted snow, white roses, and other emblems of chastity.
+ The introduction of a real ass on the boards of a London theatre is not altogether new, but I believe this is the first time that such an event was ever intended to be formally announced. Real elephants, real horses, real dogs, and real monkeys, have frequently been held out as the chief attraction in an evening's amusement at the legitimate patent national theatres. Might not the licenser, suspecting a latent satire, object to the decorating of real usscs with blue ribbons ?
# Considering this procession as intended for a London Theatre Royal, I cannot say much in its favour. The subject is injudiciously chosen, for though it will admit of noise, it excludes show and glitter. With the exception of the tumblers and the bellman, there is no opportunity for the display of a yard of gold lace, or one single ounce of spangles. I cannot deny it the praise of purity and precision in its conduct, and of a classical adherence to character and costume ; but those very qualities, inasmuch as they render the work unfit for its destination, become so many defects; and whatever pleasure this procession may produce in the closet, I do unhesitatingly pronounce it unfit for representation on the stage.
The author, it seems, is a young man whose ambition it is to write for the British stage. Processions being the order of the day, the favoured objects of the managers as of the town, he naturally writes a procession, as perhaps he would essay a comedy were comedy in vogue. His first step in the career he has chosen is indicative of talent'; but if he would write successfully and profitably, he must in future be more attentive to glitter, noise, and show.
LADY GODIVA, Mounted on a beautiful milk-white mare, decorated with white ribbons; her long black hair flowing down her neck and shoulders,
and disposed so as completely to conceal her
Matrons, two and two.
Virgins, two and two.
&c. &c. &c. In the course of this scene is intro- The last specimen I shall produce duced an incident which is highly is from a procession pure and uncreditable to the author's fancy. La defiled, that is to say, a procession dy Godiva pauses-a garret window unaccompanied by inferior dramatic is seen to open-Tom (emphatically matter, as play, or opera, or any called Peeping Tom) appears with such impertinent appendage-somean opera glass, a telescope, or some thing after the manner of the Drury other magnifying instrument-as he Lane Coronation. The subject is reputs it to his eye, Diana appears in markably fertile, and affords abunthe clouds-she touches it with her dant opportunities for the exercise of bow-it explodes, and strikes Tom those qualities which are the life with blindness.- -Thus is a well- and soul of the processional drama, attested fact represented in a manner puff and trup. Of those opportunihighly poetical.
ties the author has availed himself It is said, that the farce of Peeping with considerable adroitness, and Tom is about to be revived, for the some originality; but as his imitapurpose of introducing this proces- tions of his predecessors, where he sion, which, though deficient in glit- does imitate them, are so glaring and ter, contains natural beauties which palpable as almost to amount to placannot fail of attracting, admiring giarisms, I shall take particular note audiences. Mlle. Bégrand, who acts of them whenever they occur, not the Chaste Susannah at the Porte only with a view to the benefit of St. Martin, in a costume of ante- the art, but in justice to the illustridiluvian simplicity, might be en- ous dramatists whose works have gaged for the part of Lady Godiva. served as models for
THE LORD MAYOR'S SHOW BY LAND AND WATER. A superb, grand, splendid, and magnificent processionical pageant in five
acts. + Act the first represents the procession by land, as seen from the obelisk in
[its principal features are]
mounted on a real white charger. I
The Twelve City Companies.
+ As these five acts form a programme as long as a bill of the entertainments at Astley's or Drury-Lane, it is impossible to do more than just select its most attractive beauties. The term, processionical pageant, is new and very expressive. # This is an improver
vement on “ The high constable of W'estminster, with his staff." See D. L. Coronation. § Banners of Spain, Ambassador of Spain,-Spaniards.
C. G. Public Entry of the Emp. Eliz.
(Here follow all the Deputies in rotation.)
in his own carriage.
mounted on a real charger,
SIX REAL HORSES. In the coach are seen the Right Honorable the Lord Mayor, bowing graciously to the populace, and the Mace Bearer, immovable at the middle window, bearing the City Mace--all as large as life!!
Act the second is a representation of the ceremony of swearing in the Lord Mayor at Westminster; the chief incident in which is his Lordship’s counting the hob-nails; and the only very striking beauty in the arrangement of this part of the bill is
THE JUDGES IN REAL WIGS! NB. Messrs. Frizzle and Co. of Lincoln's Inn Fields for all the judicial wigs.
Act the third gives us the Lord Mayor's Show by Water, as it is seen from the Temple Gardens; with an accurate representation of Blackfriars Bridge and the Patent Shot Manufactory.
Here we have barges with bands of music, barges with double bands of music, the River Fencibles firing salutes, the Clothworkers' barge, the Vintners? barge, &c. and the LORD MAYOR'S BARGE (in large letters,) gliding down
THE RIVER THAMES (in larger.) The fourth act represents the interior of Guildhall, magnificently illuminated, at the upper end of which are seen
GOG AND MAGOG, THE GIANTS,
of THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE LORD MAYOR through the great centre door of the hall, decorated with variegated lamps expressly for the occasion ; his Lordship being attended by all the City officers, with the Aldermen, and the Deputies of all the City wards; together with many persons of distinction from the west end of the town.ft
The fifth and concluding act is a representation of the ball in the Court + See D. L. Coronation.
# It is impossible to avoid recurring to the “ Car of the Empress drawn by six real horses," in the C. G. Public Entry.
& Again an imitation of “ All the magnificent gilt and brass work." This was a masterly touch of puff certainly, but like excellence of all kinds it has excited a wearisome quantity of imitations.
|| The author seems to consider this as one of the most fortunate hits in his piece, and is desirous of obtaining for it the honour of red letters. I think it deserves it. There are but few touches of puff or trap in the play-bills of the Theatres Royal which surpass it, and as for the minor theatres, they never attempt such mighty flights.
++ This is imitating with a vengeance. The author has made too free with that exquisite piece of trap which occurs in a Covent Garden bill, and is literally as follows:
THE GRAND PUBLIC ENTRY
EMPRESS ELIZABETH, through a TRIUMPHAL ARCI, decorated for the occasion. The procession proceeds in its course to the cathedral, attended by deputations from her TRIBUTARY STATES, by all the dignitaries and public functionaries of the city; and the AMBASSADORS from all the various courts of Europe and Asia,"