TO MR. HOPPY'S BENEFIT-NIGHT, AT SMOCK-ALLEY
HOLD! hold, my good friends; for one moment, pray stop ye, I return ye my thanks, in the name of poor Hoppy. He's not the first person who never did write, And yet has been fed by a benefit-night. The custom is frequent, on my word I assure ye, In our famed elder house, of the Hundreds of Drury. But then you must know, those players still act on Some very good reasons, for such benefaction.
A deceased poet's widow, if pretty, can't fail; From Cibber she holds, as a tenant in tail. Your emerited actors, and actresses too, For what they have done (though no more they can do) And sitters, and songsters, and Chetwood and G----, And sometimes a poor sufferer in the South Sea; A machine-man, a tire-woman, a mute, and a spright, Have been all kept from starving by a benefit-night.
Thus, for Hoppy's bright merits, at length we have found That he must have of us ninety-nine and one pound, Paid to him clear money once every year: And however some think it a little too dear, Yet, for reasons of state, this sum we'll allow, Though we pay the good man with the sweat of our brow.
First, because by the King to us he was sent, To guide the whole session of this parliament. To preside in our councils, both public and private, And so learn, by the by, what both houses do drive at. When bold B---- roars, and meek M---- raves, When Ash prates by wholesale, or Be----h by halves, When Whigs become Whims, or join with the Tories; And to himself constant when a member no more is, But changes his sides, and votes and unvotes; As S----t is dull, and with S----d, who dotes; Then up must get Hoppy, and with voice very low, And with eloquent bow, the house he must show, That that worthy member who spoke last must give The freedom to him, humbly most, to conceive, That his sentiment on this affair isn't right; That he mightily wonders which way he came by't: That, for his part, God knows, he does such things disown; And so, having convinced him, he most humbly sits down.
For these, and more reasons, which perhaps you may hear, Pounds hundred this night, and one hundred this year, And so on we are forced, though we sweat out our blood, To make these walls pay for poor Hoppy's good; To supply with rare diet his pot and his spit; And with richest Margoux to wash down a tit-bit. To wash oft his fine linen, so clean and so neat, And to buy him much linen, to fence against sweat: All which he deserves; for although all the day He ofttimes is heavy, yet all night he's gay; And if he rise early to watch for the state, To keep up his spirits he'll sit up as late. Thus, for these and more reasons, as before I did say Hop has got all the money for our acting this play, Which makes us poor actors look je ne scai quoy.
[Footnote 1: This piece, which relates, like the former, to the avaricious demands which the Irish Secretary of State made upon the company of players, is said, in the collection called "Gulliveriana," to have been composed by Swift, and delivered by him at Gaulstown House. But it is more likely to have been written by some other among the joyous guests of the Lord Chief Baron, since it does not exhibit Swift's accuracy of numbers.--Scott. Perhaps so, but the note to this piece in "Gulliveriana" is "Spoken by the Captain, one evening, at the end of a private farce, acted by gentlemen, for their own diversion at Gallstown"; the "Captain" being Swift, as the leader of the "joyous guests." This is very different from "composed."--W. E. B.]
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