The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 324 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb Volume 4.
A prudent man in every other matter,
Known at his club-room for an honest hatter;
Humane and courteous, led a civil life,
And has been seldom known to beat his wife;
But Jack is now grown quite another man,
Frequents the green-room, knows the plot and plan

    Of each new piece,

And has been seen to talk with Sheridan! 
In at the play-house just at six he pops,
And never quits it till the curtain drops,
Is never absent on the author’s night,
Knows actresses and actors too—­by sight;
So humble, that with Suett he’ll confer,
Or take a pipe with plain Jack Bannister;
Nay, with an author has been known so free,
He once suggested a catastrophe—­
In short, John dabbled till his head was turn’d: 
His wife remonstrated, his neighbours mourn’d,
His customers were dropping off apace,
And Jack’s affairs began to wear a piteous face.

    One night his wife began a curtain lecture;
    ’My dearest Johnny, husband, spouse, protector,
    Take pity on your helpless babes and me,
    Save us from ruin, you from bankruptcy—­
    Look to your business, leave these cursed plays,
    And try again your old industrious ways.’

    Jack, who was always scared at the Gazette,
    And had some bits of scull uninjured yet,
    Promised amendment, vow’d his wife spake reason,
    ‘He would not see another play that season—­’

    Three stubborn fortnights Jack his promise kept,
    Was late and early in his shop, eat, slept,
    And walk’d and talk’d, like ordinary men;
    No wit, but John the hatter once again—­
    Visits his club:  when lo! one fatal night
    His wife with horror view’d the well-known sight—­
    John’s hat, wig, snuff-box—­well she knew his tricks—­
    And Jack decamping at the hour of six. 
    Just at the counter’s edge a playbill lay,
    Announcing that ‘Pizarro’ was the play—­
    ‘O Johnny, Johnny, this is your old doing.’ 
    Quoth Jack, ’Why what the devil storm’s a-brewing? 
    About a harmless play why all this fright? 
    I’ll go and see it, if it’s but for spite—­
    Zounds, woman!  Nelson’s[26] to be there to-night.’

[Footnote 19:  Four easy lines.]

[Footnote 20:  For which the heroine died.]

[Footnote 21:  In Spain!!]

[Footnote 22:  Two neat lines.]

[Footnote 23:  Or you.]

[Footnote 24:  Or our, as they have altered it.]

[Footnote 25:  Antithesis!!]

[Footnote 26:  “A good clap-trap.  Nelson has exhibited two or three times at both theatres—­and advertised himself.”]

PROLOGUE TO GODWIN’S TRAGEDY OF “FAULKENER”

(1807)

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Project Gutenberg
The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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