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footman was ever admitted, or had presumed to come into it, till after the fourth act was ended." The absurdity of the scheme must have been apparent to every person but the manager; and the futility of it appears from Cibber's saying, the custom was at length established as a right, and “ became the most disgraceful nuisance that ever depreciated the Theatre. How often have the most polite audiences, in the most affecting scenes of the best plays, been disturbed and insulted by the noise and clamour of these savage spectators !"" Nor was the above the only disadvantage entailed upon the stage by the adventrous enterprises or baits contrived by the patentee, who permitted the « unlicked cubs of distinction” to pass and repass, and lounge behind the scenes, both for money and gratis. The consequences of this indulgence may be imagined by the reader, but they were severely felt by the successive directors of the theatre; so much so, that Cibber declares himself and his colleagues were determined to discontinue the practice at the hazard of their lives; “ and our only expedient was, by refusing money from all persons without distinction at the stage-door. By this means we preserved to ourselves the right and liberty of chusing our own company there; and, by a strict observance of this order, we brought what had been before debased into all the licences of a lobby, into the decencies of a drawing-room.”


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As an author, situated as I am, treating on past events, where personal knowledge is impossible, can only draw inferences from observation on facts related by others, it might be thought presumptuous in me to say the age was very immoral which permitted the representation of such plays as we find were offered to public view by Dryden, &c. &c. I shall therefore permit Cibber, who saw the effect they produced, to speak his opinion of the manners of the interval between 1660 and 1700. “ It has often given me amazement, that our best authors of that time could think the wit and spirit of their scenes could be an excuse for making the looseness of them public. The many instances of their talents so abused are too glaring to need a closer comment, and are sometimes too gross to be recited. If, then, to bave avoided this imputation, or rather to have had the interest and honour of virtue always in view, can give merit to à play, I am contented that my readers should think such merit the all that mine have to boast of. Libertines of mere wit and pleasure may laugh at these grave laws that would limit a lively genius; but every sensible honest man, conscious of their truth and use, will give these ralliers smile for smile, and shew a due contempt for their merriment.

“But, while our authors took these extraordinary liberties with their wit, I remember the ladies

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were then observed to be decently afraid of venturing bare-faced to a new comedy, till they had been assured they might do it without the risque of an insult to their modesty; or, if their curiosity were too strong for their patience, they took care at least to save appearances, and rarely came upon the first day of acting but in masks (then daily worn, and admitted in the pit, the side-boxes, and gallery); which custom, however, had so many ill consequences attending it, that it has been abolished these many years. These immoralities of the stage had, by an avowed indulgence, been creeping into it, ever since King Charles his time, Nothing that was loose could then be too low for it. The London Cuckolds, the most rank play that ever succeeded, was then in the highest court favour. In this almost general corruption, Dryden, whose plays were more famed for their wit than their chastity, led the way, which he fairly confesses, and endeavours to excuse in his Epilogue to the · Pilgrim,' revived in 1700 for his benefit, in his declining age and fortune.”

Jeremy Collier, who reproved the licentiousness of the stage with moderation and good humour, effected a change which Prynne and all his puritanical brethren could not accomplish, though they summoned the terrors of endless perdition to their aid, and lavished it upon those who even ventured to see a play, however moral it might be.


; The works of Sir William Davenant furnish us with the means of ascertaining the precise nature of the masques given by the Royal family in his time. The dramatis personæ of that called the Temple of Love were, the queen, a marchioness, four countesses, six ladies, and three mistresses, a duke, two earls, a viscount, two lords, and three gentlemen. The banqueting-house was selected for the exhibition of this entertainment, in which a stage six feet high was erected opposite to the throne; on one side, a figure adorned with feathers and seated on an elephant represented the Indian monarchy; on the other, an Asiatic on a camel, distinguished by his turban from a Turk, denoted the monarchy of Asia.

Shields were suspended over these personages : on that appropriated to the former, a rising sun was painted, and on the other a crescent: above each were the capitals of large pilasters, which supported a frieze and cornice; on the latter reposed the river deities of the Tigris, and Meander, accompanied with characteristic emblems; a compartment in the middle was relieved by a crimson drapery, raised in part by naked boys, and flowing on the sides to the basement of the frontispiece.

The compartment was enriched with gilding, and the figures in correct colours. The first scene which appeared on the raising of a curtain was an extensive grove, with a mountain and path to the summit in the distance, where a temple, shaded by young trees, overlooked a wood of cypress, intended for the Elysium of Poets.

A rose-coloured cloud soon after descended, and, expanding, discovered a beautiful female, clothed in sky-blue, sprinkled with golden stars; her brows were crowned with laurel, her locks flowed in curls on her breast, a spangled veil was suspended from the wreath, and near her sat a swan.

Such was the entrance of Divine Poesy. The strains she sung on her descent attracted the shades of Demodocus Fæmius, Homer, Hesiod, Terpander, and Sappho, who came in various habits, but all crowned with laurel. Divine Poesy having reached the earth, the cloud closed and ascended, while she proceeded to the throne; herself and the Poets singing alternately,

The next change was to a scene of clouds and mist, through which, parts of a temple were discernible, Three magicians entered from caves, from whose converse the audience were informed, that they were enemies to Platonic love; a fourth joined them, and an incantation took place, producing fiery spirits all in flames, airy spirits clothed in feathers, watery spirits covered with scales, and having heads and fins of fish, earthy spirits with habits wrought with leafless trees and bushes, serpents, &c.; and on their heads barren pieces of rock,


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