« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
become exceedingly scarce, had a dash of the comic in them, though for the most part they were farces of one act, with singing and dancing, as Hobbinol, Singing Simpson, and Simpleton the Smith.
By the connivance of the licensers, into whose favour this zealous and adroit purveyor of amusement ingratiated himself, he contrived, as we have mentioned elsewhere, in our account of the Red Bull Theatre, to get his pieces acted under the colour of rope-dancing, &c. The principal parts, in these trifling substitutes for the regular drama, were acted by Cox himself, with such life, spirit, and nature, that he restored to the people their almost forgotten custom of widening their jaws into risibility. Such was the effect produced by his performance of young Simpleton the Smith, at a country fair, that the noted master of a forge in the village, very gravely offered to take him for his journeyman, and to allow him twelve pence a week more than the rest. “I would accept your offer,” returned Cox,“ but you see I have a good shop of my own."
This comedian travelled all over the kingdom with his company, which appears to have con
sisted of himself, a man, and a boy. The universities themselves opened their arms to receive this master of merriment. · When he went to Sturbitch Fair, he did not forget to renew his acquaintance with the heads of houses at Cambridge; and at Oxford he got so far into the good graces of a poetical butler, that he was pleased to oblige him with a prologue, that he might appear in form, as he had once seen the members of a college, when they acted a play at Christmas.
By pursuing this method of itinerant exhibition, and by never staying long in any one place, Cox acquired considerable sums of money, which there is no doubt that he shared with his old colleagues, many of whom were reduced to the most miserable condition, having no means of procuring their bread. There is perhaps no class of men more alive than the players to the feelings of humanity, and more ready to relieve one another's wants.
WYCHERLEY, AND THE
WYCHERLEY was a very handsome man. His acquaintance with the famous Duchess of Cleveland commenced oddly enough. One day, as he passed by that Duchess's coach in the ring, she leaned out of the window, and cried out, loud enough to be heard distinctly by him, “ Sir, you're a rascal: you're a villain !" Wycherley from that instant entertained hope. He did not fail waiting on her the next morning, and, with a very melancholy tone, begged to know how it was possible for him to have so much disobliged her grace. They were very good friends from that time: yet, after all, what did he get by her? He travelled with the young Duke of Richmond; King Charles gave him, now and then, a hundred pounds,-not often. -Spence.
THE MORALITY OF
This old “ Morality” bears no distant resemblance to comedy, its chief aim being to represent characters and manners. logue is spoken by Pity, represented under the character of an aged pilgrim; he is joined by Contemplation and Perseverance, two holy men, who, after lamenting the degeneracy of the age, declare their resolution of stemming the torrent Pity is then left upon the stage, and is presently