« 上一頁繼續 »
even at the present, who approve the judgment of Colman in defiance to the decision of the public.
“She Stoops to Conquer" has indeed more the quality of farce than of a regular five-act drama: but, although some of the incidents are improbable, there is not one character in the piece, which is not perfectly in nature–The reader will find his country friends in the whole family of the Hardcastles; and, most likely, one of his town acquaintances in the modest Mr. Marlow.- From the most severe judge, the name of farce can be this comedy's sole reproach; and hemust even then allow, that it is an extremely pleasant one; and a far better evening's entertainment, than the sentimental comedies of Kelly and other dramatists of that day—at which the auditors were never incited either to laugh or to cry.
Although this comedy was pressed on the manager of Covent Garden by the friends of the author, and most authors confide implicitly on the partial judgment of their friends, yet, when the evening of trial came, poor Goldsmith's dread of the event was so powerful, that he is said to have been driven by it, in a hasty walk he knew not whither, as far as Kensington Gravel-pits, to be out of the frightful din which might pronounce its doom.
Who does not envy the friend, that first told him, his fears had been vain? Who does not rejoice, that the whim and frolic of his play delighted the. town for the whole season? Who does not grieve, that he had so short a time to remain in the world to enjoy his triumph ?
It is painful to record the imperfections of men who do not possess qualities which outweigh them -but, were Goldsmith's various faults all pointed out, his various merits would preponderate. A man who has written “ The Deserted Village” and “ The Traveller," may say and do innumerable foolish things, before his follies can overbalance his weight of worth.
Whimsical anecdotes are therefore related of this great poet's foibles and humours, with but slight prejudice to his character; though they all confirm the truth of the following couplet, extracted from lines written on him by one of his most intimate friends :“ Like a fleet-footed hunter, though first in the
chase, On the road of plain sense, he oft slacken'd his pace."
SIRCHARLES MARLOW Mr. Dormer. Mr. Powell.
Mr. Dowton. Mr. Munden.
Mr. Holland. Mr. Whitfield. Tony LUMPKIN Mr. Cherry. Mr. Knight. STINGO
Mr. Maddocks. DIGGORY
Mr. Purser. Mr. Simmons. Roger
Mr. Chatterley. Mr. Abbot. RALPH
Mr. Webb. GREGORY
Mr. Rhodes. Tom Twist
Mr. Sparks. JACK SLANG
Mr. Evans. Mr. Rees. Tom TICKLE
Mr. Fisher. Mr. Furley.
SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER.
ACT THE FIRST.
A Chamber in an old-fashioned House.
Enter MRS. HARDCASTLE and Mr. HARDCASTLE.
Mrs. Hard. I vow, Mr. Hardcastle, you're very particular. Is there a creature in the whole country, but ourselves, that does not take a trip to town now and then, to rub off the rust a little? There's the two Miss Hoggs, and our neighbour Mrs. Grigsby, go to take a month's polishing every winter.
Hard. Ay, and bring back vanity and affectation to last them the whole year. I wonder why London cannot keep its own fools at home. In my time, the follies of the town crept slowly among us, but now they travel faster than a stage-coach. Its fopperies come down, not only as inside passengers, but in the
Mrs. Hard. Ay, your times were fine times, indeed : have been telling us of them for many a long year. Here we live in an old rumbling mansion, that looks for all the world like an inn, but that we never see company, Our best visitors are old
Mrs. Oddfish, the curate's wife, and little Cripplegate, the lame dancing-master; and all our entertainment your old stories of Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough. I hate such old-fashioned trumpery.
Hard. And I love every thing that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine; and, I believe, Dorothy, [Taking her Hand] you'll own I have been pretty fond of an old wife.
Mrs. Hard. Lord, Mr. Hardcastle, you're for ever at your Dorothy's, and your old wife's. You may be a Darby, but I'll be no Joan, I promise you. I'm not so old as you'd make me by more than one good year. Add twenty to twenty, and make money
Hard. Let me see; twenty added to twenty, makes just fifty and seven.
Mrs. Hard. It's false, Mr. Hardcastle: I was but twenty when I was brought to bed of Tony, that I had by Mr. Lumpkin, my first husband; and he's not come to years of discretion yet.
Hard. Nor ever will, I dare answer for him. Ay, you have taught him finely.
Mrs. Hard. No matter, Tony Lumpkin has a good fortune. My son is not to live by his learning. I don't think a boy wants much learning to spend fifteen hundred a year.
Hard. Learning, quotha ! a mere composition of tricks and mischief. Mrs. Hard. Humour, my dear: nothing but hu
Come, Mr. Hardcastle, you must allow the boy a little humour.
Hard. I'd sooner allow him an horsepond. If burning the footmen's shoes, frighting the maids, worrying the kittens, be humour, he has it. It was but yesterday he fastened my wig to the back of my chair, and when I went to make a bow, I popt my bald head in Mrs. Frizzle's face.