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The GOUTY MERCHANT and the STRANger.
In Broad street buildings, (on a winter night,)
Snug by his parlour fire, a gouty wight
Sate all alone, with one hand rubbing
His feet, rolled up in fleecy hose,
With t'other he'd beneath his nose
The Public Ledger, in whose columns grubbing
He noted all the sales of hops,
Ships, shops, and slops,
Gum, galls and groceries, ginger, gin,
Tar, tallow, turmerick, turpentine, and tin;
When, lo! a decent personage in black,
Enter'd, and most politely said--
"Your footman, Sir, has gone his nightly track To the King's Head,
And left your door ajar, which I
Observed in passing by;
And thought it neighbourly to give you notice."
Ten thousand thanks-how very few get
In time of danger
Such kind attentions from a stranger!
Assuredly that fellow's throat is
Doom'd to a final drop at Newgate:
He knows, too, (the unconscionable elf,)
That there's no soul at home except myself.
Indeed! replied the stranger, (looking grave,)
Then he's a double knave:
He knows that rogues and thieves by scores
Nightly beset unguarded doors;
And see, how easily might one
Of these domestic foes,
Even beneath your very nose,
Perform his knavish tricks ;-
Enter your room, as I have done,
Blow out your candles-thus-and thus,
Pocket your silver candlesticks,
And walk off-thus
The FAT ACTOR and the RUSTIC.
Cardinal Wolsey was a man
"Of an unbounded stomach," Shakspeare says,
Meaning (in metaphor) for ever puffing
To swell beyond his size and span.
But had he seen a player of our days,
Enacting Falstaff without stuffing,
He would have owned that Wolsey's bulk ideal
Equalled not that within the bounds
This actor's belt surrounds,
Which is, moreover, all alive and real.
This player, when the peace enabled shoals
Of our odd fishes
To visit every clime between the poles,
Swam with the stream, a histrionic kraken,
Although his wishes
Must not in this proceeding be mistaken :
For he went out professionally bent
To see how money might be made, not spent.
In this most laudable employ
He found himself at Lille one afternoon,
And that he might the breeze enjoy,
And catch a peep at the ascending moon
Out of the town, he took a stroll,
Refreshing in the fields his soul
With sight of streams and trees and snowy fleeces
And thoughts of crowded houses and new pieces.
When we are pleasantly employed, time flies:
He counted up his profits, in the skies,
Until the moon began to shine,
On which he gazed awhile, and then
Pull'd out his watch and cried, "Past nine!
"Why, zounds, they shut the gates at ten !"
Backwards he turn'd his steps instanter,
Stumping along with might and main;
And though 'tis plain
He couldn't gallop, trot or canter,
(Those who had seen him, would confess it) he March'd well for one of such obesity.
Eyeing his watch and now his forehead mopping,
He puff'd and blew along the road,
Afraid of meeting, more afraid of stopping;
When in his path he met a clown
Returning from the town:
"Tell me," he panted in a thawing state,
"Dost think I can get in, friend, at the gate."
"Get in," replied the hesitating loon,
Measuring with his eye our bulky wight,
"Why-Yes, Sir-I should think you might,
"A load of hay went in this afternoon."
Dramatic pieces demand an exercise of almost all the powers of the reader, and seldom receive justice from the most gifted orator. In pronouncing pieces of this description, we must consider the character represented; the circumstances under which he acted; the state of feeling he possessed, and every thing appertaining to the scene with which he was connected.
SCENE I.-The Court of a Castle surrounded with Woods.
Enter LADY RANDOLPH through the castle gates.
Lady R. Ye woods and wilds, whose melancholy gloom
Accords with my soul's sadness, and draws forth
The voice of sorrow from my bursting heart,
Farewell awhile: I will not leave you long;
For in your
shades I deem some spirit dwells,
Who from the chiding stream or groaning oak,
Still hears and answers to Matilda's moan,
O Douglas! Douglas! if departed ghosts
Are e're permitted to review this world,
Within the circle of that wood thou art,
And with the passion of immortals hear'st
My lamentation: hear'st thy wretched wife
Weep for her husband slain, her infant lost.
My brother's timeless death I seem to mourn:
Who perish'd with thee on this fatal day.
O disregard me not; though I am call'd
Another's now, my heart is wholly thine.
Incapable of change, affection lies
Buried, my Douglas, in thy bloody grave.
But Randolph comes, whom fate has made my lord,
To chide my anguish, and defraud the dead.
Enter LORD RANDOLPH.
Lord R. Again these weeds of woe! say,
To feed a passion which consumes thy life?
The living claim some duty; vainly thou
Bestow'st thy cares upon the silent dead.
Lady R. Silent, alas! is he for whom I mourn :
Childless, without memorial of his name,
He only now in my remembrance lives.
Lord R. Time, that wears out the trace of deepest anguish, Has past o'er thee in vain.
Sure, thou art not the daughter of Sir Malcolm:
Strong was his rage, eternal his resentment:
For when thy brother fell, he smil❜d to hear
That Douglas' son in the same field was slain.
Lady R. Oh! rake not up the ashes of my fathers :
Implacable resentment was their crime,
And grievous has the expiation been.
Lord R. Thy grief wrests to its purposes my words.
I never ask'd of thee that ardent love,
Which in the breast of fancy's children burns.
Decent affection, and complacent kindness
Were all I wish'd for; but I wish'd in vain,
Hence, with the less regret my eyes behold
The storm of war that gathers o'er this land:
If I should perish by the Danish sword,
Matilda would not shed one tear the more.
Lady R. Thou dost not think so; woeful as I am,
I love thy merit and esteem thy virtues.
But whither goest thou now?
Lord R. Straight to the camp,
Where every warrior on the tip-toe stands
Of expectation, and impatient asks
Each who arrives, if he is come to tell
The Danes are landed.
Lady R. O, may adverse winds,
Far from the coast of Scotland drive their fleet!
And every soldier of both hosts return
In peace and safety to his pleasant home!
Lord R. Thou speak'st a woman's; hear a warrior's wish :
Right from their native land, the stormy north,
May the wind blow, till every keel is fix'd
Immoveable in Caledonia's strand!
Then shall our foes repent their bold invasion,
And roving armies shun the fatal shore.
Lady, farewell: I leave thee not alone;
Yonder comes one whose love makes duty light.
Anna. Forgive the rashness of your Anna's love :
Urg'd by affection, I have thus presum'd
To interrupt your solitary thoughts:
And warn you of the hours that you neglect,
And lose in sadness.
Lady R. So to lose my hours
Is all the use I wish to make of time.
Anna. To blame thee, lady, suits not with
But sure I am, since death first prey'd on man,
Never did sister thus a brother mourn.
What had your sorrows been if you had lost,
In early youth, the husband of your heart?
Lady R. Oh!
Anna. Have I distress'd you with officious love,
And ill-tim'd mention of your brother's fate?
Forgive me, lady; Humble tho' I am,
The mind I bear partakes not of my fortune:
So fervently I love you, that to dry
These piteous tears, I'd throw my life away.
Lady R. What pow'r directed thy unconscious tongue To speak as thou hast done? to name
Anna. I know not:
But since my words have made my mistress tremble,
I will speak so no more; but silent mix
My tears with her's.
Lady R. No, thou shalt not be silent.
I'll trust thy faithful love, and thou shalt be
Henceforth th' instructed partner of my woes.
But what avails it; can thy feeble pity
Roll back the flood of never-ebbing time?
Compel the earth and ocean to give up
Their dead alive?
Mangled with wounds, the husband of my youth;
Anna. What means my noble mistress ?
Lady R. Didst thou not ask what had my sorrows been,
If I in early youth had lost a husband?.
In the cold bosom of the earth is lodg'd,