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as well as sweet I can scourge as well as tickle, I can bite
Esop. You can do any thing, no doubt; but to the business of this visit, for I expect a great deal of company what are your troubles, Sir?
Poet. Why, Mr Esop, I am troubled wi:h an odd kind of disorder-'I have a sort of a whistling - - a si:iginga whizzing as it were in my head, which I cannot get rid of
Esop. Our waters give no relief to bodily disorders, they only affect the memory.
Poet. From whence all my disorder proceeds I'l teil you my case, Sir-You must know, I wrote a Play some tine ago, presented a dedication of it to a certain young nobleman-he approv’d, and accepted of it, but before I could taste his bounty, my piece was unfortunately damn'd; - lost my benefit, lior could I have recourse to iny patron, for I was told that his lordship play'd the best catcall the first night, and was the merriest person in the whole audience.
Esop Pray what do you call damning a play?
Poet. You cannot possibly be ignorant, what it is to be damn'd, Mr Esop?
Esop. Indeed 'I am, Sir;-We had no such thing among the Greeks,
Poet. No, Sir! No wonder then that you Greelis were such fine writers is impossible to be described or truly felt, but by the author himself-If you could but get a leave of absence from this world for a few hours you might perhaps have an opportunity of seeing it yourself
There is a sort of a new piece comes upon our stage this very night, and I am pretty sure it will meet with its deserts, at least it shall not want my helping hand, rather than you should be disappointed of satisfying your curiosity.
Esop. You are very obliging, sir; -but to your own misfortunes if you please.
Poet. Envy, malice, and party destroy'd me-You must know, Sir, I was a great damner myself, before I was damı'd-So the frolicks of my youth were returned to me with double interest, from my brother authors But, , to say the truth my performance was terribly handled, before it appear'd in public. A 3
Escp. Esop. How so, pray?
Poét. Why, Sir, some sqeamish friends of mine prun'd ît of all the bawdy and immurality, the actors did not speak a line of the sense or sentiment, and the manager (who writes himself) struck out all the wit and humour, in order to lower my performance to a level with his own.
Esop. Now Sir, I am acquainted with your case, what Have you to propose ?
Poet. Notwithstanding the success of my first play, I am strongly persuaded that my next may defy the severity of critics, the sneer of wits, and the malice of authors.
Esop. What! have you been hardy enough to attempt another ?
Poet. I must eat, Sir--I must live- -but when I set down to write, and am glowing with the heat of my imaginatio:', then this damn'd whistling or whizzing in my head, I told you of, so disorders me, that I grow giddy- In short, Sir, I am haunted as it were, with the gliost of my deceas'd play, and its dying groans are for ever in mine ears- -Now, Sir, if you will but give me a draught of Lethe, to forget this unfortunate performance, it will be of more real service to me, than all the waters of Helicon.
Esop. I doubt friend you cannot possibly write better, by merely forgetting that you have written before; bevides, if, when you drink to the forgetfulness of your own works, you should unluckily forget those of other people too, your next piice will certainly be the worse for it.
Peet. You are certainly in the right--What then would Voii advise me to?
Esop. Suppose you would prevail upon the audience to drink the water; the forgetting your former work might be of no small advantage to your future productions,
Poet. Ah, Sir! if I could but do that - but I'm afraid Lethe will never go down with the audience.
Esop. Well, since you are bent upon it, I shall indulge you ---If you please to walk in that grove, (which will afford you may subjects for your poetical contemplation) till I have examined the rest, I will dismiss you
Poet. And I in return, Sir, will let the world know, in a prefacc lu my next piece, that your politeness is equal in
your sagacity, and that you are as much the fine gentleman as the philosopher.
[Exit Poet. Esop. Oh! your servant, Sir-In the name of misery and mortality what have we here!
Enter an Old Man, supported by a SERVANT, Old Man. Oh! la! wh! bless me I shall never recover the fatigue--Ha! what are you friend ? are you the famous Esop? ard are you so kind, so very good to give people the waers of forgetfulness for nothing?
Esop. I am th.it person, Sir; but you seem to have no need of my water; for you must have already out-liv’ok your memory.
Old Man. My memory is indeed impair’d, it is not so good as it was, but still it is better than I wish it, at least in regard to one circumstance; there is one thing which sits very heavy at my heart, and which I would willingly forget.
Esop. What is it pray?
Old Man. Oh la Oh!-I am horribly fatigued—I am an old inan, Sir, iurn'd of ninety-- We are all mortal you know, so I wouli fain forget, if you please that I am to die,
Esop. My good frien:1, you have mistaken the virtue of the waters ; they can cause you to forget only what is past; but if this was in their power, you should surely be your uwn enemy, in disinrg to forget what would be the only comfort of one, so poor and wretched as you What! ]
suppose now, you have left some dear loving wife behind, that you can't bear to think of part
Old Man. No, no, no; I have buried my wife and forgot her long ago.
Esop. What, you have children then, whom you are unwilling to leave behind
you. Old Man. No, no, no; I have no children at present hugh I don't know what I may
have. Esop. Is threre any relation or friend, the loss of whom,
Old Man. No, no; I have out-liv'd all my relations ; and as for friends, I have none to lose Esqp. What can be the reason then, that in all this apA 4
parent misery you are so afraid of death, which would be your only cure.
Old Man. -Oh, Lord! I have one friend, and a true friend indeed, the only friend in whom a wise man places any confidence- I have get a little farther off, John [Servant retires. J I have to say, the truth, a little moneyit is that indeed, which causes all my uneasiness.
Esop. Thou never spok'st a truer word in thy life, old gentleman-[ Aside.] But I can cure you of your uneasiness immediately.
Old Man. Shall I forget then that I am to die, and leave my_money behind me?
Esop. No, but you shall forget that you have it. which will do altogether as well-One large draught of Lethe, to the forgetfulness of your money, will restore you to perfect ease of mind; and as for your bodily pains, no water can relieve them. Old Man. What does he
John- Leh? I am hard of hearing.
Fobn. He advices your worship to drink to forget your money.
Old Man. What!--what!-will his drink get me mor ney, does he
? Esop. No, Sir, the waters are of a wholesome nature for they'll teach you to forget your money.
Old Man. Will they so? Come, come, John, we are got to the wrong place—The poor old fool here does not know what he says-Let us go back again, John-llll drink none of your waters; not Forget my money! Come along, John.
[Eraunt. Esop. Was there ever such a wretch! If these are the cares of mortals, the waters of oblivion cannot cure them.
Re-enter Old Man and SERVANT. Old Man. Lookee, Sir, I am come a great way, and am loth to refuse favours that cost nothing
so I don't care if I drink a little of your waters- Let me see ay I'll drink to forget how I got my moneyservant there, he shall drink a little, to forget that I have any money at all—and, d’ye hear, John- -take a hearty draught. If my money must be forgot, why e'en let bim forget it. Esop. Well, friend, it shall be as you would have it
You'd find a seat in that grove yonder, where you may rest yourself till the waters are distributed.
Qid Man. I hope it won't be long, Sir, for thieves are busy now and I have an iron chest in the other world, that I should be sorry any body peep'd into but myself So pray be quick, Sir.
[Escunt Esop. Patience, patience, old gentleman.But here .comes something tripping this way, that seems so be neither man nor woman, and yet an odd mixture of both,
Enter a Fine GENTLEMAN, Fine Gent. Harkee, old friend, do you stand drawer here?
Esop. Drawer, young fop! do you know where you are, and who you talk to?
Fine Gent. Not I dem me! But 'lis a rule with me, wherever I am, or whosoever I am with, to be always easy and familiar.
Esop. Then let me advice you, young gentleman, to drink the waters, and forget that ease and familiarity.
Fine Gent. Why so, daddy? would you not have me well-bred?
Esop. Yes; but you may not always meet with people 80 polite as yourself, or so passive as I am; and if what you call breeding, should be constru’d impertinence, you may have a return of familiarity, may make you repent your education as long as you live.
Fine Gent. Well said, old dry-beard; egad you have a smattering of an odd kind of a sort of humour; but come. come, prithee give me a glass of your waters, and keep your advice to yourself.
Esod. I must first be inform’d, Sir, for what purpose you drink 'em.
Fine Gent. You must know, philosopher, I want to forget two qualities - My modesty, and my good-nature.
Esop. Your modesty and good-nature?
Fine Gent. Yes, Sir I have such a consummate modesty, that when a fine woman (which is often the case) yields to my addresses, egad I run away from her; and am so very good-natured, that when a man affronts me, egad I run awav tvo.
I sop. As for your modesty, Sir, I'm afraid you are come to the wrong waters and if you would take a large cup