Spoken in the character of Steady.
Written by Constantia, in 1790.
Ladies, and gentlemen, a moment stay,
And give good nature its accustom’d sway,
For since the first old Grecians trod the stage,
Through every epoch of dramatick rage;
Down to the present moment of vexation,
Nay, I had almost said of wild distraction,
A single instance so mal a pro pos,
Thalia’s annals never could show.
Behind the curtain there is such a pother,
Such coaxing, scolding, pleading this, and t’other,
Excuses urging, and then flaming out,
Dear self acquitting, clear, beyond a doubt,
“‘Tis wrong I say-‘Tis not-you are to blame,
For ’twas to you for Epilogue we came.”
To me, why sure you jest, I sat perdue,
And scarce the time of exhibition knew,
Heav’ns-is there no Epilogue to night,
I say, sir manager, this is not right,
And, look ye sir, who ever once pretends,
To say tis well, we are no longer friends.
He cock’d his eye, and kimboing his arm,
Express’d himself in language rather warm,
“Why surely five long acts, and a good farce,
Two Prologues and an Epilogue in verse,
This is enough for any decent conscience,
And, trust me, sir, another line were nonsense:
But hark, whence can proceed that noise and clamor,
‘Tis the bell ringing on my word and honour!
Fly my sweet fellow-our excuses make,
Dear Steady, do not now your friends forsake.”
Fly, why for what; to bow, and gape, and stare?
They’ll wonder what strange caprice brought me there.
“No matter-tell them-and he strok’d his chin,
“Next Monday eve we act the play again,
And that an Epilogue shall then be ready,
Fresh from the mint, and spoke by you good Steady,
Say that once more their countenance we claim,
As a new plume to our theatrick fame.”
And as an advocate I now appear,
Taking in this request an ample share,
As plenipo-extraordinary I stand,
And feel beneath your smiles my hopes expand,
On your indulgence thus I learn to draw,
And grateful add-dear audience, Bon Soir.