Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,359 pages of information about Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete.

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INAUGURATION OF THE IMAGE OF SHAKSPERE.

AT THE SURREY THEATRE.

  “Be still, my mighty soul!  These ribs of mine
  Are all too fragile for thy narrow cage. 
  By heaven!  I will unlock my bosom’s door. 
  And blow thee forth upon the boundless tide
  Of thought’s creation, where thy eagle wing
  May soar from this dull terrene mass away,
  To yonder empyrean vault—­like rocket (sky)—­
  To mingle with thy cognate essences
  Of Love and Immortality, until
  Thou burstest with thine own intensity,
  And scatterest into millions of bright stars,
  Each one a part of that refulgent whole
  Which once was ME.”

Thus spoke, or thought—­for, in a metaphysical point of view, it does not much matter whether the passage above quoted was uttered, or only conceived—­by the sublime philosopher and author of the tragedy of “Martinuzzi,” now being nightly played at the English Opera House, with unbounded success, to overflowing audiences[2].  These were the aspirations of his gigantic mind, as he sat, on last Monday morning, like a simple mortal, in a striped-cotton dressing-gown and drab slippers, over a cup of weak coffee. (We love to be minute on great subjects.) The door opened, and a female figure—­not the Tragic muse—­but Sally, the maid of-all-work, entered, holding in a corner of her dingy apron, between her delicate finger and thumb, a piece of not too snowy paper, folded into an exact parallelogram.

    [2] Has this paragraph been paid for as an
        advertisement?—­PRINTER’S DEVIL.—­Undoubtedly.—­ED.

“A letter for you, sir,” said the maid of-all-work, dropping a reverential curtsey.

George Stephens, Esq. took the despatch in his inspired fingers, broke the seal, and read as follows:—­

Surrey Theatre.

SIR,—­I have seen your tragedy of “Martinuzzi,” and pronounce it magnificent!  I have had, for some time, an idea in my head (how it came there I don’t know), to produce, after the Boulogne affair, a grand Inauguration of the Statue of Shakspere, on the stage of the Surrey, but not having an image of him amongst our properties, I could not put my plan into execution.  Now, sir, as it appears that you are the exact ditto of the bard, I shouldn’t mind making an arrangement with you to undertake the character of our friend Billy on the occasion.  I shall do the liberal in the way of terms, and get up the gag properly, with laurels and other greens, of which I have a large stock on hand; so that with your popularity the thing will be sure to draw.  If you consent to come, I’ll post you in six-feet letters against every dead wall in town.

Yours,
WILLIS JONES.

When the author of the “magnificent poem” had finished reading the letter he appeared deeply moved, and the maid of-all-work saw three plump tears roll down his manly cheek, and rest upon his shirt collar.  “I expected nothing less,” said he, stroking his chin with a mysterious air.  “The manager of the Surrey, at least, understands me—­he appreciates the immensity of my genius.  I will accept his offer, and show the world—­great Shakspere’s rival in myself.”

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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.