WRITTEN BY MR. LLOYD,1
AND SPOKEN BY MR. GARRICK.2
The Jealous Wife! a Comedy! Poor man!
A charming subject, but a wretched plan!
His skittish wit, o'erleaping the due bound,
Commits flat trespass upon tragic ground.
Grow too familiar in the comic scene. Tinge but the language with heroic chime,
Quarrels, upbraidings, jealousies, and spleen, 5
'Tis passion, pathos, character, sublime!
What round big words had swelled the pompous scene,
Then might Distraction rend her graceful hair, See sightless forms, and scream, and gape, and stare.
A king the husband, and the wife a queen! 10
Drawcansir3 Death had raged without control,
Here the drawn dagger, there the poisoned bowl.
What hands had thundered at each ha! and oh!
What eyes had streamed at all the whining woe! 15
But peace! the gentle Prologue custom sends,
Like drum and sergeant, to beat up for friends.
At vice and folly, each a lawful game,
He read the manners, open as they lie
Our author flies, but with no partial aim. 20
In Nature's volume to the general eye.
Books too he read, nor blushed to use their store --
He does but what his betters did before.
Caught truth of character from Homer's page.
Shakespeare has done it, and the Grecian stage 25
If in his scenes an honest skill is shown,
And borrowing little, much appears his own;
If what a master's happy pencil drew
To your decision he submits his cause, Secure of candor, anxious for applause.
He brings more forward in dramatic view; 30
But if, all rude, his artless scenes deface
The simple beauties which he meant to grace;
He spoil and plunder with a robber's hand; Do justice on him! -- as on fools before --
If, an invader upon others' land, 35
And give to blockheads past one blockhead more.
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Publication information: Book title: British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan. Contributors: George Henry Nettleton - Editor, Arthur Eillicot Case - Editor. Publisher: Boston ; Houghton Mifflin company,.. Place of publication: Boston; New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 677.