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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,
Blanching each honest cheek with deeds of night, Done here so oft by dim and doubtful light.
-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, And whispers all she hears to all she knows; Terror of caps, and wigs, and sober notions ! A romp! that longest of perpetual motions ! -Till tamed and tortured into foreign graces, She sports her lovely face at public places; And with blue, laughing eyes, behind her fan, First acts her part with that great actor, MAN.
Too soon a flirt, approach her and she flies ! Frowns when pursued, and, when entreated, sighs! Plays with unhappy men as cats with mice; Till fading beauty hints the late advice. Her prudence dictates what her pride disdained, And now she sues to slaves herself had chained !
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,
Last the grey Dowager, in ancient flounces,
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,