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In the temporary absence of the ingenious gentleman, who presents the BEAuties of the Liv ING DRAMAtists, a theatrical friend has kindly offered his services to read the part: and he begs us to request for him that kind indulgence which is usually shown to those who appear on so short a notice.
Mr. M ff is decidedly one of the readiest and most industrious of the modern dramatists, for he is not only prime-parodist of Drury-Lane Theatre," which is no sinecure situation ;-but he is melodrame-manufacturer for the Coburg Theatre, for the Olympic, and the Adelphi. His pen is, beyond dispute, the pen of a ready writer. The Opera from which the following scenes are taken, is one of those dashing, careless whimsicalities, for which the present age manifests so marked an attachment, and by which Thalia carries the town, treading on the toes of all favourite recollections. The secret of such success is this. Let a piece at the Italian Opera House become a favourite, or let any particular book of narrative create an interest, and Mr. M ff is set to work to traduce it into a mock opera or a merry afterpiece. He immediately vulgarizes the characters, introduces
two or three hackney-coachmen, hal
a dozen constables of the night, and a lawyer:—tears the language into slang tatters—whips up a variety of ...]". rhymes to good old tunes— and commits it to the hands of the #. or the lesser lessee. The pubic instantly and eagerly squeezes itself as flat as a sixpence to see what it declares to be vulgar and low,and enjoys the exaggerated discourse of hackney coachmen, King's Bench debtors, watchmen and thieves, until the supper hour comes, when it forthwith becomes serious and pretends to be critical. It is impossible to say how long the days of the Giovannis and the Toms and Jerrys will last,--but, certainly, our theatrical taste is becoming as depraved and disorderly as our streets, no drama at present stands a chance of popularity, that does not introduce the audience to a prison or a pot-house,_to a gin-shop of St. Catherine's, or the back slums
of St. Giles's. The present opera court are mixed up with the old fatakes the audience a step lower, and vourite propensities of Don Giovanni; is so far an advance towards a better —and the songs are written in the style, if it be true that extremes very last fashion. “Heaven send it meet. The intrigues of Pluto and his may be the last!”
First Watchman. Past twelve, and a foggy night! What Mr. O'Connell,t is that you, now, with yourself behind your lantern—is all well? Second Watchman. No is it! I've got a cough under my grate coat that'll carry me off. First Watchman. That's a new manes of conveyance—I suppose you call that going inside s—you spake as if you'd the rattles in the throat. Second Watchman. Aye—that's the wind-up of a watchman l—I think the fog gets worse and worse, like the gas lights:–It's as dark as lamp light! when there's no moon! First Watchman. How goes on business? have you sprung any game? Second Watchman. None—if I had, I should have sprung my rattle. I hardly ever gets a good row now—and a row's very dear to me ! First Watchman. Rows is riz! a good row shall fetch you in a clane five shilling bit, if you can but provoke a gentleman, and then put your head under his fist and let him pump it on you. Second Watchman. Ah–the people get cruel quiet o' mights now. I remember better times, when things went on well and badly But beating the watch is out of fashion So a watchman's beat § now is worth little or nothing. First Watchman. I now and then catch a young apprentice running home from the play, and make him come down something, for being a suspicious character in my eyes | But there a'n't no bloods now-a-days the bloods are all skin-flints' . I looks keenly after the blunt || but the new gashes do away all the calling for the watch.
* This commencement of the scene with Watchmen is extremely ingenious and natural. Besides, like Puff's morning gun in the Critic, they explain the hour at once, and save a great deal of fine nonsense about the moon tipping with silver all the fruit-tree tops, and the bell from the castle tower tolling the midnight hour upon the bosom of the still air. . No persons understand so well the meaning of this “tipping with silver,” as the watchmen. + These gentlemen seem sons of the Sister Isle, that is to say, our Cousins Irish. : A slap at a city improvement is a sure hit. The modern Thalia is a sort of commissioner of paving, lighting, and watching. § This is one of your thorough-bred puns. The first part of the sentence is set, as the reader will observe, like a trap; and the pun is sure to be caught in the sequel. This is better than putting Attic salt on its tail. | Blunt, money. To understand the modern operas, the audience should be hand *wo Life in London, Hardy vous and Grose's Slang Dictionary. OL. W. 2
Second Watchman. Well, let's hope the times” will mend and grow troublesome yet !—But I say,+do you think that singing devil in featherst will go by again—have you seen him, Murphy? First Watchman. No,-but Pat Daly the constable of the night says, “tis but our fancy! t” and will not let Bill Leaf $ take hold of him. Second Watchman. I think he's a ghost—for I see him come out of the Adelphi || archway singing like winking. First Watchman. Aye –that's a song to “Ladies' eyes!” Women have an arch way of singing. If we see him again—we'll give him in charge. Second Watchman. Which way does he come? First Watchman. From the Opera. Second Watchman. Which way does he go P First Watchman. Towards the Fleet!” Second Watchman. They says ghosts be always Fleet goers' We'll spring our rattles if he walks the streets our way again. First Watchman. That we will—howsomever!
Calling, * * * Watch | What not There is old Pat Daly, he's the chap, - Black-strap, - - That I love to lap ; Lantern,-Can't earn Cash, by a gallant turn Women, Brimming Full, for a mishap ! There is old Pat Daly, &c. First Watchman. Here comes Pat Daly – walking along as big as a bullrush | There's no sleeping like a true watchman when he's on one's beat! He expects one to keep a sharp look out, when one's up to one's eyes in fog, like a gooseberry in milk. Second Watchman. He's clane a nuisance; if I should like just to spring my rattle in his eye l—But hush, here he is. o
* No allusion is intended to the Newspaper of this name. + This first allusion to Don Giovanni is strictly conformable with the taste of the age, and coming from the Watchman it is familiar, and by no means vulgar. : Put flashice for phantasy. § Whether one of the guardians of the night was really a Mr. Leaf, has never been settled "but if the fact was so, the line in Hamlet is extremely apposite, “and will not let belief take hold of him.” The author of this interesting piece seems to have had one eye for pathos and one for parody. | This must mean the theatre; and as Mr. M ff has been so extremely successful in his dramatic hashes at that house, the compliment is neat and ingenious. ** Neither Mr. Carey nor Mr. Faden could be more geographically correct. All, or nearly all the theatres are situated between the Opera and the Fleet. The Circus or Surrey is out of the line to be sure, but then it is in the rules of the Bench; and that is some compensation. ++ This Duet is beautifully introduced, and combines all the spirit of poetry with all the familiarity of domestic life. It is quite pleasant to have a song full of little else but rhyme. The great secret of music and songs in modern operas is the choice of old favourite airs, with close, but ridiculous parodies committed to the care of low and vulgar characters.
:::: Men in office are proverbial for hating their superiors.
Enter Pat DALY, Constable of the Night. Pat Daly. Past two o'clock — Second Watchman. And the stars in wooll Pat Daly. What are you there, Mr. Connell —Well! Has this thing" appeared again to night? Second Watchman. Not yet—but it's the usual hour that he toddles out of the Playhouse. Pat Daly. Psha! There a'n't no ghost ! First Watchman. I tell you there is, Mr. Daly, and be damm'd to you. Look you!—Just as Mr. Connell's lantern had come round from the corner of Bedford-street to the place where now it darkens!—St. Martin's clock striking twelve—when—But dash my rags and rattle,t here he comes again. Enter GiovaNN1 smartly. Song by Giovanni: Air, “Midas.” Wenches are my delight, Whether I woo or buy; Woman shines out by night, And a star is a fool to her eye' Be she pretty, And witty, I'll kiss her for ever and ever, and Swear she is mine, And divine— Diviner than any thing reverend ? Pat Daly. Why, this is the ghost of an old hurdy-gurdy! he grinds away and gets his bread by music. Second Watchman. He will not speak.-Shall I hit him over the nob with my rattle?— First Watchman. Hush—he makes a motion as he would speak—silence. Song: Air, “Midas.”f Don Giovanni. Do you think you've got a catch, man : Get you gone, you sleepy rogue ! I'm the lad to floor a Watchman 1– I'm the lad to floor a Watchman 1– Beat him blue, and homeward jog ' Fal, lal, la : Pat Daly. Pou beat me—You talk it gaily For to me a beating's sweet: I'm an Irishman, Pat Daly, I keep watch—and here's my beat 1 Fal, lal, la : Both Watchmen. We are Irish, you would Scotch us– You presume to make a row ! * * You must with us to the watchhouse, Come along—be asy now ! Fal, lal, la.
Don Giovanni. No—no–I sha'n't trouble myself about you to-night, and
you sha'n't trouble me. I'm going by water. Pat Daly. Through which means—you'll come by fire. § First Watchman. All we can say is “ you must walk on.” You infest
every house in town. Is your name Bill Soames 2
* A Ghost is called a thing in Hamlet, so no offence is meant, no offence in the world. This scene is largely borrowed from Hamlet, but how else could a parody walk? Mr. M ff is quite correct.
+ Alliteration is the soul of wit in pieces of this nature. th # The airs in Midas are so well known that Mr. M-ff has borrowed lustily from frn.
Ś Oons, this passage smells of sulphur.
Don Giovanni. No-It's Giovanni-away, you common herd of old women!” Begone!—Charon waits for me with his immortal wherry at the Hungerford Stairs—and I'm off to my old home!t—away ! (Singing.) Be she witty, And pretty, I’ll kiss her for ever and ever. (Erit Giovanni.)
(The Watchmen stand astonished, it and then sing)
And it's pray have you seen such a feather'd impostor, as
Scene II.-The Burning Lake. On one side, Pluto and Proserpine, &c. on a Throne; on the other, a lake of liquid sulphur.
Grand Chorus, in which Pluto's voice is heard the loudest.
Air, “ Midas.”
Cock of the walk,
* There is nothing so offensive to the watchmen of this metropolis—as to have their “sex dispersed.” + From this it should seem that this part of Giovanni's life is subsequent to his Italian death. tA fine piece of nature. In Operas, it is quite usual for surprise to vent itself in nausic. § A very grand piece of choral boasting !—I have no doubt, that, with a liberal allowance of base singers, this would be one of the most effective chorusses in the whole range of English music! It is in Mr. M-'s very best style.