Works. A new ed., containing pieces hitherto uncollected, and a life of the author. With notes from various sources by J.W.M. Gibbes
different from those of the state, begin their campaign
when all the others quit the field ; and, at a time when
the Europeans cease to destroy each other in reality, they
are entertained with mock battles upon the stage.
The dancing master once more shakes his quivering feet ;
the carpenter prepares his paradise of pasteboard ; the
hero resolves to cover his forehead with brass, and the
heroine begins to scour up her copper tail, 1 preparative to
future operations ; in short, all are in motion, from the
theatrical letter carrier in yellow clothes, to Alexander the
Great that stands on a stool.
Both houses have already commenced hostilities. War,
open war, and no quarter received or given ! Two singing
women, 2 like heralds, have begun the contest ; the whole
1 Perhaps in allusion to an ornament corresponding with that called
the foong-hodng, and described as worn by the Chinese ladies. See
Letter XXXIX ; also LXXXI, and the end of CV. ED.
a Mrs. Vincent and Miss Brent, mentioned in the last note but one.
Churchill in his ' Rosciad, ' published in the following March, thus alludes
to the rival Follies :
" Lo ! Vincent comes with simple grace arrayed,
She laughs at paltry arts, and scorns parade.
Nature through her is by reflection shown,
Whilst Gay once more knows Polly for his own.
Talk not to me of diffidence and fear
I see it all, but must forgive it here.
Defects like these which modest terrors cause,
From impudence itself extort applause,
Candour and reason still take virtue ' s part ;
We love e ' en foibles in so good a heart.
Let Tommy Arne, with usual pomp of style,
Whose chief, whose only merit ' s to compile,
# * * #
Publish proposals, laws for taste prescribe,
And chaunt the praise of an Italian tribe ;
Let him reverse kind Nature ' s first decrees,
And teach e ' en Brent a method not to please ;
But never shall a truly British stage
Bear a vile race of eunuchs on the stage,
The boasted work ' s call ' d national in vain,
If one Italian voice pollutes the strain.
Where tyrants rule, and slaves with joy obey,
Let slavish minstrels pour th 3 enervate lay,
To Britons far more noble pleasures spring,
In native notes whilst Beard and Vincent sing. "
See also Letter LXXXV, and an essay on Vincent and Brent in our
vol. iv. EL\