The History of Henry Fielding - Vol. 1

By Wilbur L. Cross; Humphrey Milford | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
DRAMATIC CAREER

AN EXPERIMENT IN POLITICAL SATIRE

Fielding appears to have enjoyed the society of Celia through the summer, for there is no sign of his being in London till well on in September, when "The Craftsman" had the following news-item.: "We hear that the Town will shortly be diverted by a Comedy of Mr. Fielding's, call'd, 'The Modern Husband,' which is said to bear a great reputation." Whereupon "The Grub-street Journal" remarked: "I don't understand how a Comedy so little known can be said to bear a great reputation."* For reasons that will eventually become clear enough, the comedy which Fielding's friends were praising was deferred to another season. The Little Theatre in the Haymarket opened on October 21, 1730, with "The Author's Farce" and "Tom Thumb," for which Thomas Cooke, the translator of Hesiod, supplied a general prologue, in which the actors asked the indulgence of the audience on the score of youth and lack of experience.

As in the previous season, the company's main reliance was the pen of Fielding. While waiting for new farces from him they continued to play the old ones. A novelty in the performance of "The Coffee-House Politician" and "Tom Thumb" on November 30, was the addition of a farce, probably by Cooke, called "The Battle of the Poets; or the Contention for the Laurel," which was adroitly

____________________
*
" The Grub-street Journal," Sept. 24, 1730.
Printed with " The Battle of the Poets."
Advertised for this date in " The Daily Post," Nov. 28. Published Dec. 17.

-95-

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