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And firm I trust, when that again is bright,
With all its rightful majesty of light,
Then shall its beams, chasing this paltry band,
Shine on the great and virtuous of the land,
And all our cherish'd hopes, all Britain's trust,
; However vast and glorious, shall prove just.
ASSES VERSUS HORSES.
[From the General Evening Post, Aug. 1.]
TO THE EDITOR, &c.
IN N some remarks I sent you, a few months ago, on the subject of introducing quadruped performers on the stage, I endeavoured to prove that the blame of this absurdity, be it more or less, ought to be shared equally, or nearly so, between the Managers who offer, and the Public who accept. I did not think it quite fair to provoke the indignation of any part of the Public to violent measures, in a case where a much greater part of that same Public seemed inclined to extend their patronage. While I allowed the difference between man and horse, I did not conceive we had any right to abuse the Managers, because there were persons who declared themselves as much amused with the one as the other.
At that time, however, I had no objection to such opposition as might be vented in ridicule; against which, I am persuaded, neither theatrical nor any other absurdities can long maintain their ground; and I am pleased to see ridicule employed in the case of horses, whether they usurp the place of actors, or are more harmlessly employed in drawing a fool in a barouche. Caricature prints, newspaper squibs, epigrams, and essays, prose or verse, have all been useful in their way; and I now remark, with satisfaction, that the powers of ridicule have found an useful
useful ally in the Theatre itself. A kind of farcical parodies have been introduced, and horses, and German plays (which latter were always more absurd and more pernicious), are now in the right road to expulsion, by being fairly laughed off the stage, without any aid from the violence of riotous conspiracies.
Yet, it has been remarked, with some degree of indignation, and as a reproach to the taste of the times, that the same Public which admired and encouraged horse-actors and German plays, amiable adultresses, benevolent highwaymen, and sentimental shoplifters, now flock, with equal pleasure, to see all these extravagancies burlesqued. Be it so-All we can infer from this is what might have, long ago, been concluded from similar premises, namely, that the Public is a very strange and unaccountable being, led by caprice, and in its pursuits various, unstable, and inconstant; untractable if opposed, but if permitted quietly to come to its senses, ready to retract its errors; and, as we now see, not reluctant to join very good-naturedly in the laugh against itself.
Such, I think, is the Public; but let me not be mistaken-I allude only, in this character, to that Public (we have more Publics than one in this country) which is in pursuit of amusement; and when we consider how little the lovers of amusement regard the means a comedy, a tragedy, a farce, an ass-race, a pig-race, &c.it will not, perhaps, appear very inconsistent that they should laugh to-day at what made them cry yesterday. All this apparent difference of feeling is prescribed by Fashion; and whether that despot (the Buonaparte of public places) shall enact floods of tears, or bursts of laughter, she is sure to be obeyed by a Public, which, although we can neither count it, nor measure it, will always be found large enough to fill our Theatres.
I am, Sir, yours,
AFULTON TO THE KING OF ROME.
[From the Morning Post, Aug. 1.]
REAT King, two years ago I wrote
To Lord Marbois a civil note,
Which he ne'er answer'd, like a bear;
So now I send my modest prayer
To your dread throne, or stool, or chair.
The plan, great King, which I have hit on,
Will quite destroy the pride of Britain;
"I will send her navy to the devil,
And bring her to your nation's level.
The great torpedoes I prepare
Will blow her ships up in the air;
And every man of war will soon
Ascend, just like a vast balloon.
In half a day one thousand men
Would scatter all the ships you ken
Now hovering round about Boulogne ;
And, if I'm not completely wrong,
A force but twenty thousand strong,
(Well organiz'd and train'd, you know,
To eat and drink, and sleep below,)
Would clear the Channel, and do over
All between Calais port and Dover.
Thus, in two years, Sir, might be seen
The end of England's proud marine;
And then that isle, without a doubt,
Puff'd, like a farthing rush-light, out,
Instead of reigning o'er the waves,
Would only furnish France with slaves,
How glorious then were such a thing,
To grace your annals, mighty King!
And (turn it over in your mind),
How happy 't were for all mankind!
And more, (but that's a thing between us,)
How worthy of your daddy's gemus !
For who can say that it is not
To happen while his head is hot?
It may be that to raise his name,
And add to his uncommon fame,
(Fame growing out of mighty works-
Pois'ning his troops, and murd'ring Turks,)
This business will be done:-this blow up
Take place, great Monarch, ere you grow up,
Let not the greatness of my plan
Lead you to think 't is not for man
T accomplish such a vast design,
As that which I avow as mine;
I wish you only to retrace
What revolutions have ta en place,
Not those which made your father king,
(I would not speak of such a thing,)
But those which learned scribes disclose,
As science and invention rose :
Reflect, Sir, powder was invented,
And then, Sir-you must feel contented.
In planning this, my first great view
Is but to show my love for you;
Yet (though not greedy after pelf)
I must confess I like myself;
And, if I open in this trade,
I could, Sir, wish-to be well paid.
I shall expect my work well done,
A thousand francs for every gun.
Now, Sir, soon as the haughty foe
Shall feel the meditated blow,
Their ships, perhaps, they will abandon,
That you with ease their coasts may land on:
Or-England, if I don't befriend her,
May quickly all her fleets surrender;
Unless, indeed, she should reduce 'em,
And never from her harbours loose 'em.
For all reduc'd, or prizes made,
I humbly hope I shall be paid;
Though, Sir, (you must have notic'd it,)
I'm apt my interest to forget,
Now render'd master of the seas,
You may let ports out as you please;
These can be rented, understand,
Just as some kingdoms are on land.
England, then prostrate at your feet,
For peace on any terms must treat;
Her power thus shook to dissolution,
You'll lay her under contribution.
Then, Sir, before you grant her
Before you bid your thunders cease,
Be this your language firm and bold,
"While yet the brand of war I hold,
As you are most completely beaten,
This basis only will I treat on,
That you, without the least delay,
Two millions to Bob Fulton pay.'
Observe, great King, I am not greedy, Though, truth to say, I'm rather needy, And, prosecuting these great labours, Have been annoy'd much by my neighbours, Who, jeering, oft my feelings hurt, Because I go without a shirt.
For this, sure no man ought to flout one,
E'en you, great King, were born without one.
Pray mark my moderation well;
The profits of my plan I'll sell,
For this small sum; and this not France,
But humbled England, must advance.
This proves my plan is no vain vision,
And ought not to call forth derision.
A native of a neutral state,
I thought I had a right to wait,
Before I brought my plan to light,
To see who'd best my pains requite.
So first to England, Sir, I went,
And thence my mighty engines sent
Against your fleet, but with th' intention,
That you should profit by th' invention.
However France might feel alarm,
I never meant to do her harm;
On England, after all her toil,
I knew the project would recoil;
But us'd by France against her foe,
It never can recoil-you know.