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out their days in undisturbed forget fulness, I confess that I am a play goer,-a confession, which certainly demands no extraordinary share of resolution to make, as a thousand people do the same every day. But I persuade myself, that I enjoy many pleasures in my theatrical hours, which other people do not experience. I have not a greater number of senses than the rest of my species, but I possess, perhaps, in theatrical pleasures, a more lively power of association than the door who throng the gallery, pit, and boxes around me. Very probably, there may appear in this a great degree of over-weening egotism, but this I do not much regard. All people are egotists in their hearts; the only difference is between those who keep it pent up, and those who let it loose when occasion offers, without caring where it flies, or whose habits or prejudices it runs a tilt against. To proceed-the primary object with most frequenters of the theatre is, presume, at least nominally,
No one goes, or at any rate ac knowledges that he goes, to sit in a box, or on a bench. But many make going to see a play an excuse for passing away a portion of time, which they would not otherwise know how to occupy. Some go to meet their friends others, for less laudable meetings with "fair mischiefs," as that facete personage, Master Janus Weathercock hath it-some to clap-others to hiss-these go to applaud, and those to damn-some few, perhaps, go out of real love to dramatic entertainments, and a multitude, because they have nothing else to do.
As for myself, I go out of many motives.There are a variety of circumstances which conspire to fur nish the satisfaction I experience.I am not cursed with that disposition to be displeased, which throws the darkest shade on every thing in life. I derive pleasure from that, which any one else may derive pleasure from by using the same means-by absolutely banishing from the mind all inclination to cavil and find fault, by looking on the golden side of the shield, by encouraging that spirit of optimism, which softens down the harsh, and elevates, or brings into
more distinct points of view, the mild and lovely features of what we see spread around us. I go to the theatre purposely as a recreation, and I de termine, from the moment I enter the pit door or box lobby, not to suffer anything to divert me from my object.-I remember, with great delight, the feelings I used to experience in my childhood, on a visit to the theatre. It was but seldom that I went, but it was a real treat, and I know scarce anything that could equal my joy when I found myself fairly seated the portentous green curtain, on which I was wont to gaze with expecting wonderment, before me, while I waited with impatience for the moment that should reveal the hidden scenes. Then, there was the multitude of company; the lights of the house; the painting, gilding, and other decorations, which, to my youthful eye, seemed gorgeous magnificence. Then, too, when the prompter's bell sent forth its silver accents, and was immediately succeeded by the agitation of the dark curtain, as it folded itself up as if by its own voluntary motion, disclosing the scene behind I felt my heart bound within me at the sight of the varied scene, where castles and rocks, and woods and cataracts, and trees, spread forth in mimic beauty-the heroes and kings of gorgeous tragedy went sweeping by-I loved with Romeo-smile not, gentle reader, at a lover of twelve summers-I then but thought I loved, and my imagination was ever on the wing. With Juliet I wept for her sad mischance, and listened with mingled feelings the Denmark prince. But it was in to the "meaning in his madness" of Lear, that my soul was then most strongly excited. There was pity for his misfortunes-hatred for the unnatural daughters to whom he had given his all-wonder and commiseration for the maniac whom the foul fiend torments-and pity, admiration, and esteem for her, who exposed her tender limbs and delicate frame to the "peltings of the pitiless storm," to shield his head, had driven her from his home and and give solace to his misery, who from his heart.
advantages of increasing years, may Amongst the advantages, and disbe reckoned as one of the latter, that
familiarity with the scenes and pleasures of our youth, which takes away their sweetest bloom. The prompter's bell is no longer delightful to me-it is no more the "sweetest achromatic,"
- the rarest and most exquisite, Most spherical, divine, angelical. The mystery of the green curtain has faded away-the scenes are fa
miliar to me-and the multitude of company (for I never can bear to stay to look on empty benches,) with the lights and music and bustle, fail so powerfully to excite in me. But still I am fond of occasionally taking my accustomed seat on the fourth bench of the pit.-'Tis to me like frequenting Wills' coffee-house, the Metropolitan academy of Queen Ann's time-where Pope and Addison, and Wycherley and Steele, and their fellow wits, enjoyed the feast of each other's converse, and laughed at the puny critics, the Dennises of the day. They are gone-but at the theatre, and some other favourite haunts of mine-the Old Hummums in Covent-garden is one-I can sometimes meet with a circle of men, whose conversation is not inferior, I imagine, to that of the author of the Dunciad, or the writers of the Spectator. There is my friend proud am I to call him my friendCharles Lamb, that sportive child of fancy, “Quem qui non prorsus amet, illum omnes et virtutes et veneres odere." With his endless fund
of anecdote derived from his acquaintance with the old fellows-his various reading-his skill in using his resources and his free and open
nature;-who has ever read his essays, and not rejoiced in their strong and energetic application, the full, ancient, lovely quaintness of his style, and then turned, with disgust, from the mawkish, vapid, flat medium insipidity of writers like me and my brethren? Then there is that wild, hair-brained English opiumeater, De Q——y; and there, in der box, in his black coat and silks, and venerable placid-looking countenance, is Bowles-what is he thinking of? Of Pope's follies with Martha Blount, think ye?-or of a sharp "rubber" for his titled and gifted opponent, the wandering Harold?—
Who is that peaceful, but cleverlooking little man? That is Campbell, the Minstrel of Hope, and the Editor of the New Monthly. By the way, speaking of editors, turn your eyes that way, yonder is a bench full of them.-You see the man with the sharp, quick eye, and the black cravat-that is our Princi
pal, the magnus parens®—beside him, is Galt, the Northern Editor, with two of his coadjutors, Lockart and W-n.-That young beauish man with his hair curled up in thick ringlets, rather dark complexion, d'ye see? that is a limb of the law, of the Gazette of Fashion.-Next to a barrister expectant, the head man him, is a man of much repute,-the Editor of the Examiner, and with him, his brother Leigh,—“ par nobile fratrum. As somebody calls them," Arcades ambo."
But the play hour approaches, and I must give up my ideal visionings, in order to enjoy the realities of the scene. I hope to God there will be a full house-I abominate empty benches to sit alone on a whole bench, whose very vacuity increases its infernal extent the house like a desert-the musicians scraping away their rosined bows with careless hands, creating harsh discords-actors looking about them, kicking their heels, and looking, with a most sleepy and insolent indifference on
the rari nantes discernible in the
house, with here and there a stray wanderer like myself, lolling at full length, or wandering in discontented solitariness from one side to the
other; and in the boxes, the expected bright circle of splendour, to spy occasionally a gloomy face looking abroad, or, perhaps, a group of a dozen, forming a half, probably, of the whole set, gathered together in one box, to have something like the appearance of close neighbourhood. I would rather see the face
of a printer's devil, importuning for his damned proof-sheet or unfinished article.-Rap, rap, rap!-Zounds! Speak of the devil, and he's at your elbow 'tis he, by all the gods!And so, kind and fair readers, and you readers who are neither fair nor kind, Good night.
Query.-Meaning ourselves? Ed.
"I see not yet thy bounding sail; O! Ronald! why so long delay ? Must Dora still thy absence wail,
And pass in grief and tears the day?
"Full many a day I've sought this cliff, Since that thou promised I should see,If here I watched-thy white sailed skiff Returning gaily o'er the sea.
"Another chieftain seeks my hand,
"The sun, that gilds to-morrow's sky,
With wild and hurried step she paced
And as the night began to fall
Darker on mountain, moor, and dell;
Full oft did she on Ronald call,
And to the seas her sorrows tell.
"The howling tempests ou me break
"Ye furious storms that lower so dark!
"Thou comest not yet! oh didst thou fall! In battle slain among the brave;
Or has some sudden stormy squall
""Tis night-the sea-gulls scream around— I'm wandering on the cliff alone;
The sun is sunk in deep profound,
That on the mountains faintly shone.
"And with that sun my hopes are past, That glanced as sun-beams bright and fair;
With fears my soul is overcast;
I sink in darkness and despair.”
Thus spoke yet left she not the gloom,
For hope will beam athwart despair.
Seek, maid, thy father's castle-hall,
The moon now broad and silent shone,
Fast fled the gloomy night away,
And island, ocean, cliff, and bay,
Shone dazzling in the morning beam.
But kinder were the gloomy night,
Whose storms and darkening shades concealed The scène, that now met Dora's sight,
At little distance full revealed
There on the sandy beach she spied
The fragments of a storm-wrecked boat; And on the bright high-swelling tide, (It seemed) a warrior's corse afloat :
"Twas Ronald.-To his corse she clung, And tore her long, dishevelled hairLoudly the cliffs and caverns rung,
Her shrieks of horror and despair.
Her reason fled—and till the day
That doomed her to the silent grave,—
Nightly she thither bent her way,
And to the moon would wildly rave.
Now in the grave together lie,
The faithful Dora and her chief,
But unto superstition's eye,
The maid yet wanders on the cliff.
And when the moon shines bright and clear,
The wailing sighs of Dora's ghost.