The Palmy Days of Nance Oldfield eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 278 pages of information about The Palmy Days of Nance Oldfield.

“As the new epilogue is written conformably to the practice of our best poets, so it is not such an one, which, as the Duke of Buckingham says in his ‘Rehearsal,’ might serve for any other play; but wholly rises out of the occurrences of the piece it was composed for.

“The only reason your mournful correspondent gives against this facetious epilogue, as he calls it, is, that he has a mind to go home melancholy.  I wish the gentleman may not be more grave than wise.  For my own part, I must confess, I think it very sufficient to have the anguish of a fictitious piece remain upon me while it is representing; but I love to be sent home to bed in a good humour.  If Physibulus is however resolved to be inconsolable, and not to have his tears dried up, he need only continue his old custom, and when he has had his half-crown’s worth of sorrow, slink out before the epilogue begins.

“It is pleasant enough to hear this tragical genius complaining of the great mischief Andromache had done him.  What was that?  Why, she made him laugh.  The poor gentleman’s sufferings put me in mind of Harlequin’s case, who was tickled to death.  He tells us soon after, through a small mistake of sorrow for rage, that during the whole action he was so very sorry, that he thinks he could have attacked half a score of the fiercest Mohawks in the excess of his grief.  I cannot but look upon it as a happy accident, that a man who is so bloody-minded in his affliction, was diverted from this fit of outrageous melancholy.  The valour of this gentleman in his distress brings to one’s memory the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance, who lays about him at such an unmerciful rate in an old romance.  I shall readily grant him that his soul, as he himself says, would have made a very ridiculous figure, had it quitted the body and descended to the poetical shades in such an encounter.

“As to his conceit of tacking a tragic head with a comic tail, in order to refresh the audience, it is such a piece of jargon, that I don’t know what to make of it.

“The elegant writer makes a very sudden transition from the playhouse to the church, and from thence to the gallows.

“As for what relates to the church, he is of opinion that these epilogues have given occasion to those merry jigs from the organ-loft, which have dissipated those good thoughts and dispositions he has found in himself, and the rest of the pew, upon the singing of two staves culled out by the judicious and diligent clerk.

“He fetches his next thought from Tyburn; and seems very apprehensive lest there should happen any innovations in the tragedies of his friend Paul Lorrain.

“In the mean time, Sir, this gloomy writer, who is so mightily scandalised at a gay epilogue after a serious play, speaking of the fate of those unhappy wretches who are condemned to suffer an ignominious death by the justice of our laws, endeavours to make the reader merry on so improper an occasion by those poor burlesque expressions of tragical dramas and monthly performances.—­I am, Sir, with great respect, your most obedient, most humble servant,

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The Palmy Days of Nance Oldfield from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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