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« C H A P. VI.
How a Gallant fhould behave himself in a
The theatre is your poet's Royal Exchange, upon which, their mufes (that are now turn'd to merchants) meeting, barter away that light commodity of words for a lighter ware than words, plaudities and the breath of the great beaft, which (like the threatnings of two cowards) vanifh all into aire. Plaiers and their factors, who put away the ftuffe and make the best of it they poffibly can (as indeed 'tis their parts fo to doe) your gallant, your courtier, and your capten, had wont to be the foundest pay-mafters, and I thinke are still the fureft chapmen: and thefe by meanes that their heades are well ftockt, deale upon this comical freight by the groffe; when your groundling, and gallery commoner buyes his fport by the penny, and, like a hagler, is glad to utter it againe by retailing.
Sithence then the place is fo free in entertainment, allowing a floole as well to the farmer's fonne as to your Templer: that your ftinkard has the felf fame libertie to be there in his tobacco fumes, which your fweet courtier hath: and that your carman and tinker claime as ftrong a voice in their fuffrage, and fit to give judgment on the plaies' life and death, as well as the proudest Momus among the tribe of critick; it is fit that hee, whom the moft tailors' bils do make room for, when he comes, fhould not be bafely (like a vyoll} cas'd up in a corner.
Whether therefore the gatherers of the publique or private play-houfe ftand to receive the afternoone's rent, let our gallant (having paid it) prefently advance himfelf up to the throne of the ftage. I meane not in the lords' roome (which is now but the flage's fuburbs.) No, those boxes by the iniquity of cuftome, confpiracy of waitingwomen, and gentlemen-ufhers, that there sweat together, and the covetous fharers, are contemptibly thrust into the reare, and much new fatten is there dambd by being fmothered to death in darkneffe. But on the very rufhes where the comedy is to daunce, yea and under the ftate of Cambifes himfelfe muft our feather'd eftridge, like a piece. of ordnance be planted valiantly (because impudently) beating downe the mewes and hiffes of the oppofed rafcality.
For do but caft up a reckoning, what large cummings in are purs'd up by fitting on the ftage. First a confpicuous eminence is gotten, by which meanes the best and moft effencial parts of a gallant (good cloathes, a proportionable legge, white hand, the Perfian locke, and a tollerable beard,) are perfectly revealed.
"By fitting on the flage you have a fign'd pattent to engroffe the whole commodity of cenfure; may lawfully prefume to be a girder; and ftand at the helme to fleere the paffage of scænes, yet no man fhall once offer to hinder you from obtaining the title of an infolent over-weening coxcombe,
By fitting on the flage, you may (without trauelling for it) at the very next doore, aske whose play it is: and by that queft of inquiry, the law warrants you to avoid much miftaking: if you know not the
author, you may raile against him; and peradventure fo behave yourfelfe, that you may enforce the author to know you.
By fitting on the ftage, if you be a knight, you may happily get you a miftreffe: if a mere FleetStreet gentleman, a wife but affure yourselfe by continuall refidence, you are the first and principall man in election to begin the number of We three.
"By fpreading your body on the flage, and by being a juftice in examining of plaies, you shall put yourfelfe into fuch a true fcænical authority. that fome poet fhall not dare to present his muse rudely before your eyes, without having firft unmaskt her, rifled her, and discovered all her bare and moft myftical parts before you at a taverne, when you moft knightly, fhal for his paines, pay for both their fuppers.
By fitting on the ftage, you may (with small coft) purchase the deere acquaintance of the boyes : have a good ftoole for fixpence : at any time know what particular part any of the infants prefent: get your match lighted, examine the play-fuits' lace, perhaps win wagers upon laying 'tis copper, &c. And to conclude, whether you be a foole or a justice of peace, a cuckold or a capten, a lord maior's fonne or a dawcocke, a knave or an under fhriefe, of what ftamp foever you be, currant or counterfet, the ftagelike time will bring you to moft perfect light, and lay you open: neither are you to be hunted from thence though the scarcrowes in the yard hoot you, hiffe at you, fpit at you, yea throw dirt even in your teeth: 'tis moft gentleman-like patience to endure all this,
and to laugh at the filly animals. But if the rabble, with a full throat, crie away with the foole, you were worse than a mad-man to tarry by it: for the gentleman and the foole should never fit on the ftage together.
Mary, let this observation go hand in hand with the reft: or rather, like a country-serving man, fome five yards before them. Prefent not your felfe on the stage (especially at a new play) untill the quaking prologue hath (by rubbing) got cullor into his checkes, and is ready to give the trumpets their cue that hees upon point to enter: for then it is time, as though you were one of the properties, or that you dropt of the hangings, to creep behind the arras, with your tripos or threelegged ftoole in one hand, and a teflon mounted betweene a fore-finger and a thumbe, in the other : for if you fhould beflow your perfon upon the vulgar, when the belly of the house is but halfe full, your apparell is quite eaten up, the fashion loft, and the proportion of your body in more danger to be devoured, then if it were ferved up in the Counter amongst the Poultry: avoid that as you would the baftome. It fhall crowne you with rich commendation, to laugh alowd in the middeft of the moft ferious and faddeft fcene of the terribleft tragedy and to let that clapper (your tongue) be toft so high that all the house may ring of it your lords use it; your knights are apes to the lords, and do fo too: your inne-a-court-man is zany to the knights, and (many very fcurvily) comes likewife limping after it : bee thou a beagle to them all, and never lin fnuffing till you have fcented them for by talking and laughing (like a
ploughman in a morris) you heape Pelion upon Offa, glory upon glory as firft all the eyes in the galleries will leave walking after the players, and onely follow you: the fimpleft dolt in the house fnatches up your name, and when he meetes you in the streetes, or that you fall into his hands in the middle of a watch, his word fhall be taken for you: heele cry, Hees fuch a gallant, and you passe. Secondly you publish your temperance to the world, in that you feeme not to refort thither to tafte vaine pleasures with a hungrie appetite; but onely as a gentleman, to spend a foolish houre or two, because you can doe nothing else. Thirdly you mightily difrelifh the audience, and disgrace the author: marry, you take up (though it be at the worft hand) a ftrong opinion of your owne judgement, and inforce the poet to take pity of your weakeneffe, and by fome dedicated fonnet to bring you into a better paradice, onely to flop your
"If you can (either for love or money) provide your felfe a lodging by the water fide: for above the conveniencie it brings to fhun fhoulder-clapping, and to fhip away your cockatrice betimes in the morning, it addes a kind of ftate unto you, to be carried from thence to the staires of your playhouse hate a fculler (remember that) worse then to be acquainted with one ath' fcullery. No, your oares are your onely fea-crabs, boord them, and take heed you never go twice together with one paire often fhifting is a great credit to gentlemen and that dividing of your fare wil make the poore waterfnaks be ready to pul you in peeces to enjoy your cuftome. No matter whether upon