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THE

DISAGREEABLE SURPRISE;

A MUSICAL FARCE,

In Two Acts.

BY GEORGE DANIEL, 1787-1564

AUTHOR OF “ DOCTOR BOLUS" &c.

PRINTED FROM THE ACTING COPY, WITH REALARKS,

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL.

To which are added,

A DESCRIPTION OF THE COSTUMB,-CAST OF THE CHARACTERS,
EXITS AND ENTRANCES,-RELATIVE POSITIONS OF THE PER-
FORMERS ON THE STAGE, AND THE WHOLE OF THE STAJE

BUSINESS,

As Performed at the

THEATRE-ROYAL, DRURY LANE.

EMBELLISHED WITH

A PORTRAIT OF MR. J.P. HARLEY,

IN THE CHARACTER OF BILLY BOMBAST ;

Engraved on Steel by Mr. WOOLNOTH, from a Drawing made expressly

for this work, by Mr. WAGEMAN.

LONDON:

JOHN CUMBERLAND, 19, LUDGATE-HILL.

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FARCE is that sort of ad libitumwriting, to which no
precise bounds have as yet been assigned. The question is,
not how far an author may go by any dramatic rule, but
how far the humour and temper of the audience will let
him; and so capricious and uncertain is the public taste,
that we have heard an audience loudly and vociferously
applaud The Castle of one thing; and The Siege of ano-
ther ; who, a few nights before, hissed Congreve's' “ Love
for Love," and Sir John Vaubrugh’s “ Confederacy."
At the head of English Farce writers,

“O'Keefe appears—gay Huinour's fav'rite son,
A rare compound of oddity and fun!
Ilis well-wrought scenes, his quaint amusing style,
And wit grotesque, would make a Stoic smile.
Ye, who have laugh'd when Lingo trod the stage,
Before this dull and sentimental age;
Be grateful for the merriment lie gave,

And smooth his cheerless passage to the grave !"* What author ever carried Farce to greater lengths than O'Keefe, and, at the same time, succeeded so admirably? He is the very genius of the grotesque, who has bequeathed to the stage a rich legacy of fun and comicality, that entitles him to the lasting gratitude of every admirer of the drama. That such a man should have endured privation in a season of age and infirmity, is deeply to be lamented; it is, however, a gratifying reflection, that his forlorn situation should have awakened the inunificence of the Sovereign of these realms, who, with that fine feeling which stamps an additional value on a favour conferred, appointed a high dignitary of the church to be his almoner. The Bishop of Chichester was the bearer of the royal bounty ; and we can easily conceive what were the feelings of that amiable

"The Modern Dunciad."

prelate when he entered the abode of genius, and (shame to the age !) of blindness and destitution.

Total eclipse ! no sun, no moon

All dark beneath the blaze of noon!"

The record of such an act is of itself an epitaph.

Deeds such as these shall bring him true renown,
And prove the richest jewel in his crown;
Shall shed around his throne sublimer rays,

And dim the brightness of the diamond's blaze ! It was said by our excellent friend, Doctor Johnsou, " that a man who would make a pun, would pick a pocket!” Were this extraordinary declaration to be generally received, and acted upon, the very merriest portion of his majesty's subjects would be banished from honest society, and your dull heavy fellows (for be it known that your revilers of puns are those only who cannot make them) would be reduced to the wretched alternative of losing either their money, or their mirth. We are, however, inclined to believe that this was a portion of the “lar tulk," that our great moralist, by his own coufession, sometimes indulged in ; and we are confirmed in the belief, by a knowledge that there are puns extant for which the worthy Doctor is himself responsible. We all kuow how highly he was diverted by the quibbling sallies of that inveterate punster, Sam Foote ; thereby, to all intents and purposes, aiding, abetting, and encouraging the said Sam in this licentious practice. It is wisely said, that if there were no receivers, there would be vo thieves ; and, by the same rule, we may reasonably infer, that if there were no laughers, there would be no punsters !

We have been led to these remarks, by the numerous puns that occur in “The Disagreeable Surprise," charitably hoping that they may not operate against the author, with your graver sort of folk, by whom the Doctor's dictum would he received as gospel. To play upon any instrument is reckoned an accomplishment; and experience gives us proof that “title, knee, and approbation, are gained by one half of mankind playing upon the other! Whence, therefore, this mighty objection to a harmless play upon words ? For the extent of punning “hath this offence, no

What a marvellous proper punster was that inimitable master of humour, the Dean of St. Patrick's'

“ Who relish'd a joke, and rejoic'd in a pun!"

more.

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