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much new fatten is there dambd by being smothered to death in darknesse. But on the very ruthes where the commedy is to daunce, yea and under the state of Cambises himselfe must our feather'd eftridge, like a piece of ordnance be planted valiantly (because impudently) beating downe the mewes and hisses of the opposed rascality.
For do but caft up a reckoning, what large cummings in are purs'd up by fitting on the ftage. Firit a conspicuous eminence is gotten, by which meanes the best and most efsenciall parts of a gallant (good clothes, a proportionable legge, white hand, the Persian locke, and a tollerable beard,) are perfectly revealed.
By fitting on the stage you have a sign'd pattent to ena grofíe the whole commodity of censure; may lawfully presume to be a girder; and stand at the helme to steere the passage of scænes, yet no man fhall once offer to hinder you from obtaining the title of an insolent over-weening coxcombe.
By fitting on the stage, you inay (withont trauelling for it) at the very next doore, ake whose play it is: and by that queft of inquiry, the law warrants you to avoid much mitaking: if you know not the author, you may raile against him; and peradventure so behave yourselfe, that you may enforce the author to know you.
By fitting on the itage, if you be a knight, you may happily get you a mistresse: if a meere Fleet-street gentleman, a wife: but affure yourfelfe by continuall residence, you are the first and principall man in election to begin the number of We three.
By spreading your body on the stage, and by being a juftice in examining of plaies, you shall put yourselfe into fuch a true scænical authority, that some poet shall not dare to present his muse rudely before your eyes, without having firit unmaskt her, rifled her, and discovered all her bare and most mystical parts before you at a taverne, when you most knightly, thal for his paines, pay for both their fuppers.
By fitting on the stage, you may (with small cost) purchase the deere acquaintance of the boyes: have a good stoole for fixpence: at any time know what particular part any the infants present: get your match sighted, examine the play-suits' lace, and perhaps win wagers upon laying 'tis copper, &c. And to conclude, whether you be a foole or a justice of peace, a cuckold or a capten, a lord maior's sonne VOL. 1,
or a dawcocke, a knave or an under thriefe, of what stamp feever you be, currant or counterfet, the ftagelike time will bring you to most perfect light, and lay you open: neither are you to be hunted from thence though the scar-crowes in the yard hoot you, hitle at you, spit at you, yea throw dirt even in your teeth: ’tis most gentleman-like patience to endure all this, and to laugh at the filly animals. But if the rabble, with a full throat, crie away with the foole, you were worse than a m..d-man to tarry by it: for the gentleman and the foole should never sit on the stage together.
Mary, let this observation go hand in hand with the rest: or rather, like a country-ferring man, fome five yards before them. Present not your selfe on the stage (especially at a new play) untill the quching prologue hath (by rubbing) got cullor into his cheekcs, and is ready to give the trumpets their cue that hees upon point to enter: for then it is time, as though you were one of the properties, or that you dropt of the hangings to creep from behind the arras, with your tripes or three-legged icole in one hand, and a teston mounted betweene a forc-finger and a thumbe, in the other: for if you should bestow your person upon the vulgar, when the belly of the house is but halfe full, your apparell is quite eaten up, the fathion loft, and the proportion of your body in more danger to be devoured, then if it were served up in the Counter amongst the Poultry: avoid that as you would the bafiome. It shall crowne you with rich commendation to laugh alowd in the middest of the most serious and faddest scene of the terribleft tragedy: and to let that clapper (your tongue) be tost so high that all the house may ring of it: your lords use it; your knights are apes to the lords, and do so tòo: your inne-2-court-man is zany to the knights, and (many very scurvily) comes likewise' limping after it: bee thou a beacle to them all, and never lin fnutling till you have sented them: for by talking and laughing (like a ploughman in a morris) you heape Pilion upon Olja, glory upon glory: as first all the eyes in the galleries will leave walking after the players, and onely follow you: the fimplest dolt in the house snatches up your name, and when he meetes you in the streetes, or that you fall into his hands in the middle of a watch, his word thail be taken for you: heele cry, Hees such a gallant, and you passe. Secondly you publish your temperance to the world, in that you seeme not to refort thither to taste vaine pleatures with a hungrie appetite; but onely as a gentleman, to spend a foolish houre or two,
because you can doe nothing else. Thirdly you mightily difrelish the audience, and dilgrace the author: marry, you take up (though it be at the worst hand) a strong opinion of your owne judgement, and inforce the poet to take pity of your weakenetle, and by fome dedicated sonnet to bring you into a better paradice, onely to stop your mouth,
If you can (either for love or money) provide your selfe a lodging by the water fide: for above the conveniencie it brings to fhun shoulder-clapping, and to ship away your cockatrice betimes in the morning, it addes a kind of state unto you, to be carried from thence to the staires of your play-houfe: hate a sculler (remember that) worfe then to be acquainted with one ath' fcullery. No, your oares are your oncly sca-crabs, boord them, and take heed you never go twice together with one paire: often shifting is a great credit to gentlemen: and that dividing of your fare wil make the poore watersnaks be ready to pul you in pecces to enjoy your custome. No matter whether upon landing you have moncy or 110; you may swim in twentie of their boates over the river upon ticket : mary, when filver comes in, remembir to pay trchble their fare, and it will make
floundur-cuichers to send more thankes after you, when you doe not draw, then when you doe: for they know, it will be their owne another daie.
Before the play begins, fali to cardes; you may win or loose (as fencers doe in a prize and beate one another by confederacie, yet thare the money when you mecte at fupper: notwithstanding, to gul the ragga-nullins that stand a loofe gaping at you, throw the cards (having firit torne foure or hve of thenil round about the itage, juft upon the third found, as though you had loft: it ikils not if the foure knaves ly on their bichs, and outface the audience, there's none such fooles as dare take exceptions at them, because ere the play go off, better knares than they, will fall into
Now, Sir, if the writer be a fellow that hath either epigram'd you, or hath had a flirt at your millris, or hath brought either your feather, or your red beared, or your little legs, &c. on the hare, you shall disgrace hin worse then by tolling him in a blanket, or giving him the ballinada in a taverne, if in the niddle of his play, (bee it pastorail or comedy, morall or tra edic) you rire with a fkreud and discontented face from your foole to be goue: no matter whether the scenes be good or no; the better they are, the (2]
worse doe you distast them: and beeing on your feete, sneake not away like a coward, but salute all your gentle acquaintance that are spred either on the rushes or on stooles about you, and draw what troope you can from the stage after you: the mimicks are beholden to you, for allowing them elbow rocme: their poet cries perhaps, a pox go with you, but care not
for that; there's no musick without frets.
Nary, if cither the company, or indifpofition of the wcather binde you to fit it out, my countell is then that you turne plaine ape: take up a rush and tickle the earnest eares of your fellow gallants, to make other fooles fall a laughiing: mewe at the pailionate speeches, blare at merrie, finde fault with the musiche, whewe at the children's action, whitle at the forgs; and above all, curte the sharers, that whereas the same day you had bestowed forty shillings on an embroidered fult and further (Scotch-fathion) for your mistres in the court, or your punck in the cittie, within two houres afier, you encounter with the very fame block on the stage, when the haberdather swore to you the impie'lon was extant but that morning.
To conclude, hoord up the hincit play-fcraps you can get, upon which your leane wit may most favourly feede, for want of other stuffe, when the Arcadian and Euphuis'd gentlewomen have their tongues tharpened to set upon you: that qualitie (next to your thittlecocke) is the only furniture to a courtier that's but a new beginner, and is but in his ABC'or complement. The next places that are fil'd after the play-houles bee emptied, are (or ought to be) tavernes: into a taverne then let us next march, where the braines of one hogshead must be beaten out to make up another.”
I should have attempted on the present occafion to enumerate all other pamphlets, &c. from whence particulars relative to the conduct of our early theatres might be collecta ed, but that Dr. Percy, in his first volume of the Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, (third edit. p. 128, &c.) has extracted such passages from them as tend to the illustration of this subject; to which he has added more accurate remarks than my experience in these matters would have enabled me to supply.