« PreviousContinue »
Yes, 'tis the pulse of life! my fears were vain;
* After a Tragedy, performed for her benefit, at the Theatre Royal in Drury-lane, April 27, 1795.
Blanching each honest cheek with deeds of night,
-To drop all metaphor, that little bell
But, Ladies, say, must I alone unmask?
First, how her little breast with triumph swells,
A school-girl next, she curls her hair in papers, And mimics father's gout, and mother's vapours; Discards her doll, bribes Betty for romances; Playful at church, and serious when she dances ;
Tramples alike on customs and on toes,
Too soon a flirt, approach her and she flies!
Then comes that good old character, a Wife, With all the dear, distracting cares of life; A thousand cards a day at doors to leave, And, in return, a thousand cards receive; Rouge high, play deep, to lead the ton aspire, With nightly blaze set PORTLAND-PLACE on fire; Snatch half a glimpse at Concert, Opera, Ball, A meteor, traced by none, tho' seen by all; And, when her shattered nerves forbid to roam, In very spleen--rehearse the girls at home.
Last the grey Dowager, in ancient flounces, With snuff and spectacles the age denounces; Boasts how the Sires of this degenerate Isle Knelt for a look, and duelled for a smile.
The scourge and ridicule of Goth and Vandal,
cages ; And shuffles round to bear her tale to all, Like some old Ruin, “nodding to its fall!”
Thus Woman makes her entrance and her exit; Not least an actress when she least suspects it. Yet Nature oft peeps out and mars the plot, Each lesson lost, each poor pretence forgot; Full oft, with energy that scorns controul, At once lights up the features of the soul; Unlocks each thought chained down by coward Art, And to full day the latent passions start! -And she, whose first, best wish is your applause, Herself exemplifies the truth she draws. Born on the stage-thro' every shifting scene, Obscure or bright, tempestuous or serene, Still has your smile her trembling spirit fired! And can she act, with thoughts like these inspired ? Thus from her mind all artifice she flings, All skill, all practice, now unmeaning things! To you, unchecked, each genuine feeling flows; For all that life endears-to you she owes.
ON ... ASLEEP.
SLEEP on, and dream of Heaven awhile.
Ah, now soft blushes tinge her cheeks,
She starts, she trembles, and she weeps ! Her fair hands folded on her breast.
- And now, how like a saint she sleeps! A seraph in the realms of rest!
Sleep on secure! Above controul,