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.
Quarrels, upbraidings, jealousies, and spleen, 5 Grow too familiar in the comic scene. Tinge but the language with heroic chime,
'Tis passion, pathos, character, sublime!
What round big words had swelled the pompous scene,
A king the husband, and the wife a queen! 10 Then might Distraction rend her graceful hair, See sightless forms, and scream, and gape, and stare.
Drawcansir3 Death had raged without control,
Here the drawn dagger, there the poisoned bowl.
What eyes had streamed at all the whining woe! 15 What hands had thundered at each ha! and oh!
But peace! the gentle Prologue custom sends,
Like drum and sergeant, to beat up for friends.
At vice and folly, each a lawful game,
Our author flies, but with no partial aim. 20 He read the manners, open as they lie 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.
Shakespeare has done it, and the Grecian stage 25 Caught truth of character from Homer's page.
If in his scenes an honest skill is shown,
And borrowing little, much appears his own;
If what a master's happy pencil drew
He brings more forward in dramatic view; 30 To your decision he submits his cause, Secure of candor, anxious for applause.
But if, all rude, his artless scenes deface
The simple beauties which he meant to grace;
If, an invader upon others' land, 35 He spoil and plunder with a robber's hand; Do justice on him! -- as on fools before --
And give to blockheads past one blockhead more.