Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EPILOGUE: HURLO-THRUMBO; A PLAY BY SAMUEL JOHNSON, by JOHN BYROM



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EPILOGUE: HURLO-THRUMBO; A PLAY BY SAMUEL JOHNSON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Hurlo: ladies and gentlemen, my lord of flame
Last Line: Their looks make sense or nonsense in our isle.
Subject(s): Authors & Authorship; Johnson, Samuel (1709-1784); Supernatural; Writing & Writers


HURLO-THRUMBO, CRITIC, AND AUTHOR.

HURLO. LADIES and Gentlemen, my Lord of flame
Has sent me here to thank you in his name;
Proud of your smiles he's mounted many a story
Above the tip-top pinnacle of glory;
Thence he defies the sons of clay—the critics—
"Fellows," says he, "that are mere paralytics;
"With judgments lame and intellects that halt,
"Because a man outruns them, they find fault."
He is, indeed, to speak my poor opinion,—
Out of the reach of critical dominion.
(Enter Critic.)
Adso! here's one of them—
CRITIC. A strange odd play, Sir;—
(Enter Author who pushes Hurlo-Thrumbo aside.)
AUTHOR. Let me come to him.—Pray, what's that you say, Sir?
CRITIC. I say, Sir, rules are not observ'd here—
AUTHOR. Rules,
Like clocks and watches, were all made for fools.
"Rules make a play?" that is—
CRITIC. What, Mr. Singer?
AUTHOR. As if a knife and fork should make a finger.
CRITIC. Pray, Sir, which is the hero of your play?
AUTHOR. Hero? why they're all heroes in their way.
CRITIC. But here's no plot! or none that's understood.
AUTHOR. There's a rebellion, tho'; and that's as good.
CRITIC. No spirit, nor genius in't—
AUTHOR. Why, didn't here
A SPIRIT and a GENIUS both appear?
CRITIC. Poh! 'tis all stuff and nonsense—
AUTHOR. Lack-a-day!
Why that's the very essence of a play.
Your old house, new house, opera, and ball,—
'Tis NONSENSE, critic, that supports them all;
As you yourselves ingeniously have shewn,
Whilst on their nonsense you have built your own.
CRITIC. Here wants—
AUTHOR. Wants what?—Why, now, for all your canting,
What one ingredient of a play is wanting?
Music, love, war, death, madness without sham,
Done to the life by persons of the Dram;
Scenes and machines descending, and arising,
Thunder and lightning;—ev'ry thing surprising!
CRITIC. Play, farce, or op'ra is't?
AUTHOR. No matter whether;—
'Tis a REHEARSAL of them all together.
But come, Sir, come! troop off, old blundermonger!
And interrupt the epilogue no longer.
(Author drives the Critic off the stage.)
Hurlo, proceed!—
HURLO. Troth! he says true enough;
The stage has given rise to wretched stuff.
Critic or player, a Dennis or a Cibber,
Vie only which shall make it go down glibber.
A thousand murd'rous ways they cast about
To stifle it, but, murder like, 'twill out.
Our author fairly, without so much fuss,
Shews it in "puris naturalibus,"
Pursues the point beyond its highest height,
Then bids his men of fire and ladies bright
Mark how it looks, when it is out of sight.
So true a stage, so fair a play for laughter
There never was before, nor ever will come after.
Never; no, never! not while vital breath
Defends ye from that long liv'd mortal—Death.
Death!—Something hangs on my prophetic tongue;
I'll give it utt'rance, be it right or wrong;—
Handel himself shall yield to Hurlo-Thrumbo,
And Bononcini too shall cry, "Succumbo."
That's if the ladies condescend to smile,
Their looks make sense or nonsense in our isle.





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