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Title: A Book of Burlesque - Sketches of English Stage Travestie and Parody
Author: Adams, Willam Davenport
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Book of Burlesque - Sketches of English Stage Travestie and Parody" ***



    "_Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum._"


"_We shall spare no pains to make instruction agreeable to our readers
and their diversion useful. For which reasons we shall endeavour to
enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality, that
our readers may, if possible, both ways find their account in the
speculation of the day._"

    ADDISON (adapted).




  _Author of "A Dictionary of English Literature," "Rambles in Book-Land"
  etc., etc._

    AND G. R. SIMS_



    The Whitefriars Library of Wit
    and Humour.

  _Vol. I._

  [_Seventh Thousand._

  _Vol. II._

  _SAWN OFF: A Tale of a Family Tree._
  By G. MANVILLE FENN. [_Fourth Thousand._

  _Vol. III._

  _A LITTLE IRISH GIRL._ By the Author
  of "Molly Bawn." [_Ready._

  _Vol. IV._


  _Vol. V._


  Vol. VI.

  O. E. PAIN, B.A. [_July._


In the pages that follow, I make no attempt to supply a consecutive and
comprehensive history of English stage travestie. This would have been
impossible within the limits assigned to me. My object has been simply
to furnish an introduction to such a history, supplemented by sketches
of the various groups into which English stage burlesques naturally
fall, with such extracts as might serve to exhibit the respective
methods of individual travestie-writers. My business has been with
the literary rather than the histrionic side of burlesque--with the
witty and humorous, rather than the purely theatrical, features of the
subject with which I had to deal. At the same time, I hope that the
details I have been able to give concerning dates, and "casts," and so
on, may be useful to at least a large section of my readers.

       *       *       *       *       *

I ought to say that, while I have endeavoured to mention all the most
representative burlesques of which our stage history keeps record,
I have intentionally left outside of my scheme all "extravaganzas,"
"bouffoneries musicales," and other such miscellaneous varieties
of comic literature,--confining myself to definite and deliberate
travesties of subjects previously existent.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have to thank more than one kind friend for information and material
supplied, and more than one living writer of burlesque for the
opportunity of consulting his "prompt books" and thus quoting from
unpublished work.


 NOTE.--Those who desire to extend their acquaintance with the
 literature of English stage burlesque may be recommended to turn
 first to the travesties published by Mr. French, which include those
 by Planché, and many by the Broughs, H. J. Byron, Talfourd, F. C.
 Burnand, etc. Mr. Gilbert's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" is to be
 found in his volume entitled "Foggerty's Fairy, and Other Stories." A
 large proportion of the burlesques discussed, quoted, or mentioned in
 the following chapters are out of print, and to be seen only at the
 British Museum, on the second-hand bookstalls, or on the shelves of
 private collectors.

 [_We beg to acknowledge the courtesy of MM. Walèry, Limited, in
 permitting us to avail ourselves of their photographs of Messrs.
 Burnand and Gilbert; and of Mr. Bassano for the same permission in
 regard to that of Mr. G. R. Sims._--ED. _W. L._]




  II. THE "PALMY" DAYS               33


  IV. BURLESQUE OF FAËRIE            72

  V. BURLESQUE OF HISTORY            99





  X. THE NEW BURLESQUE              207




Who shall say when the spirit of burlesque first made its appearance on
our stage? There were traces of it, we may be sure, in the Mysteries
and Moralities of pre-Elizabethan days; the monkish dramatists were not
devoid of humour, and the first lay playwrights had a rough sense of
ridicule. The "Vice" which figured in so many of our rude old dramas
had in him an element of satire, and the pictures drawn of his Satanic
Majesty were conscious or unconscious caricatures of the popular
conception of the Evil One.

In all these cases, however, the burlesque was general. It was of the
nature of travestie, and of the vaguest sort. Of particular parody one
finds but few signs in the Elizabethan drama. There is a little of it
in Shakespeare, where he pokes fun at the turgidity of contemporary
tragedy or at the obscurity of contemporary Euphuism. The Pyramus and
Thisbe episode is less burlesque than satire. It is an _exposé_ of
the absurdities of the amateur performer, for whom Shakespeare, as a
professional actor, could have only an amused contempt.

"The Bard" parodied, but he did not burlesque. That was left to the
initiative of the gifted literary Dioscuri, Beaumont and Fletcher.
"The Knight of the Burning Pestle," which saw the light in 1611, is
not wholly a travestie, but it contains a travestie within itself. In
the main it is a dramatic exposition of a love story, the scene of
which is laid in the middle-class life of the time. Ralph, the Knight
of the Burning Pestle, is by no means the hero of the tale; rather is
he an excrescence upon it. A grocer and his wife sit on the stage,
and suggest to the actors that Ralph, their apprentice, shall take
part in the performance. They want a play in which a grocer shall do
"admirable things," and Ralph is bound to do them. The apprentice, it
would seem, is an amateur actor--he "hath played before," and so finds
no difficulty in adapting himself to the situation. When he enters, it
is "like a grocer in his shop, with two prentices, reading 'Palmerin of
England.'" This gives us the key to the satire. Ralph is to burlesque
the romances of chivalry, which were then so common in England, as
elsewhere. "Palmerin of England" had been "translated out of French"
by Anthony Munday and assistants, and published between 1580 and 1602.
Ralph starts with a quotation from it, and then goes on to say:--

 Certainly those knights are much to be commended who, neglecting their
 possessions, wander with a squire and a dwarf through the deserts
 to relieve poor ladies.... There are no such courteous and fair
 well-spoken knights in this age.

He whom Palmerin would have called "Fair Sir," and she whom Rosiclear
would have called "Right beauteous Damsel," are now spoken of
opprobriously. But why should not Ralph be the means of wiping out this

 Why should I not pursue this course, both for the credit of myself
 and our company? For amongst all the worthy books of achievements,
 I do not call to mind that I yet read of a grocer-errant: I will be
 the said knight. Have you heard of any that hath wandered unfurnished
 of his squire and dwarf? Thy elder prentice Tim shall be my trusty
 squire, and little George my dwarf. Hence, my blue apron! Yet, in
 remembrance of my former trade, upon my shield shall be portrayed a
 burning pestle, and I will be called the Knight of the Burning Pestle.
 My beloved squire, and George my dwarf, I charge you that henceforth
 you never call me by any other name but "the right courteous and
 valiant Knight of the Burning Pestle"; and that you never call any
 female by the name of a woman or wench, but "fair lady," if she have
 her desires; if not, "distressed damsel"; that you call all forests
 and heaths "deserts," and all horses "palfreys."

After this, Ralph reappears at various points in the action. He
interposes, Quixote-like, in the aforesaid love-affair, and gets
belaboured by the favoured lover for his pains. Later, he puts up at
an inn, and, about to leave, is surprised when the tapster draws his
attention to the fact that the reckoning is not paid:--

    _Ralph._ Right courteous Knight, who for the order's sake
    Which thou hast ta'en, hang'st out the holy Bell,
    As I this flaming pestle bear about,
    We render thanks to your puissant self,
    Your beauteous lady, and your gentle squires,
    For thus refreshing of our wearied limbs,
    Stiffen'd with hard achievements in wild desert.

    _Tapster._ Sir, there is twelve shillings to pay.

    _Ralph._ Thou merry squire Tapstero, thanks to thee
    For comforting our souls with double jug:
    And if adventurous fortune prick thee forth,
    Thou jovial squire, to follow feats of arms,
    Take heed thou tender ev'ry lady's cause,
    Ev'ry true knight, and ev'ry damsel fair,
    But spill the blood of treacherous Saracens,
    And false enchanters that with magic spells
    Have done to death full many a noble knight.

_Host._ Thou valiant Knight of the Burning Pestle, give ear to me:
there is twelve shillings to pay, and as I am a true knight, I will not
bate a penny....

    _Ralph._ Sir knight, this mirth of yours becomes you well;
    But, to requite this liberal courtesy,
    If any of your squires will follow arms,
    He shall receive from my heroic hand
    A knighthood, by the virtue of this pestle.

The host, however, insists upon receiving his twelve shillings, and the
grocer's wife, in great fear lest harm shall befall her Ralph, requests
her husband to pay the money. In a subsequent scene, Ralph conquers
the giant Barbaroso, and releases his captives. By-and-by he goes into
Moldavia, where he touches the heart of the king's daughter, but tells
her that he has already pledged his troth to Susan, "a cobbler's maid
in Malte Street," whom he vowed never to forsake. At the end of the
play he comes on to explain, at length, that he is dead, taking the
opportunity to recount his various performances.

The fun is never very brilliant; and the "Knight of the Pestle," albeit
by writers so distinguished, is not, for the present-day Englishman,
particularly exhilarating reading. One can imagine, however, how droll
it seemed to our ancestors, with whom it remained popular for over half
a century, surviving till the time of Mistress Eleanor Gwynne, who once
spoke the prologue to it.

Our first burlesque, then, was a satire upon exaggerated fiction. Our
second was a satire upon extravagant plays. It is possible that "The
Rehearsal" was represented before "The Knight of the Burning Pestle"
left the boards. Begun in 1663, and ready for production before 1665,
it was first performed in 1671. It is ascribed to George Villiers, Duke
of Buckingham; but probably there were several hands engaged in it. It
was the outcome of the boredom and the laughter caused by the wildness
and bombast of the Restoration plays. There were some things in the
stage of that day which the wits could not abide:--

    Here brisk insipid rogues, for wit, let fall
    Sometimes dull sense; but oft'ner none at all.
    There, strutting heroes, with a grim-fac'd train,
    Shall brave the gods, in King Cambyses' vein.
    For (changing rules, of late, as if man writ
    In spite of reason, nature, art, and wit)
    Our poets make us laugh at tragedy,
    And with their comedies they make us cry.

So runs the prologue to "The Rehearsal," which was destined to strike
the first blow at the mechanical dramas that had succeeded the
masterpieces of the Shakespearian period. Bayes, the playwright whose
tragedy is supposed to be "rehearsed," is usually accepted as a skit
upon Dryden, whose dress, speech, and manner were openly mimicked by
Lacy, the interpreter of the part. But there is reason to believe
that Davenant first sat for the portrait, and in the end Bayes became
a sort of incarnated parody of all the Restoration playwrights. This
preposterous play travesties a whole school of dramatic writing. Dramas
by Dryden, Davenant, James and Henry Howard, Mrs. Behn, and Sir William
Killigrew and others, are directly satirised in certain passages; but
in the main the satire is general. For instance, in one place fun is
made of the prevalence of similes in the dramas aimed at. Prince
Prettyman, in the rehearsed play, falls asleep, and Chloris, coming in,
finds him in that situation:--

   _Bayes._ Now, here she must make a simile.

   _Smith_ (one of the spectators). Where's the necessity of that, Mr.

   _Bayes._ Because she's surpris'd. That's a general rule: you must
   ever make a simile when you are surpris'd; 'tis the new way of

Elsewhere it is confusion of metaphor, very common among the
second-rate "tragedians," that is derided. Says the physician in the

   All these threat'ning storms, which, like impregnant clouds, do hover
   o'er our heads (when once they are grasped but by the eye of reason),
   melt into fruitful showers of blessings on the people.

   _Bayes._ Pray mark that allegory. Is not that good?

   _Johnson_ (another spectator). Yes, that grasping of a storm with the
   eye is admirable.

In one place, Smith, the aforesaid onlooker, complains that, amid all
the talk, the plot stands still; to which Bayes replies, "Why, what the
devil is the plot good for but to bring in fine things?" At another
juncture we have the first hint of a bit of persiflage which Sheridan
afterwards imitated in "The Critic." It has reference to the portentous
reticence of some of the dialogue in Restoration plays. An usher and a
physician are on the stage:--

    _Phys._ If Lorenzo should prove false (which none but the great gods
    can tell) you then perhaps would find that----      (_whispers_).

    _Usher._ Alone, do you say?

    _Phys._ No, attended with the noble----             (_whispers_).

    _Usher._ Who, he in grey?

    _Phys._ Yes, and at the head of----                 (_whispers_).

    _Usher._ Then, sir, most certain 'twill in time appear,
    These are the reasons that have induc'd 'em to't;
    First, he----                                       (_whispers_).
    Secondly, they----                                  (_whispers_).
    Thirdly, and lastly, both he and they----           (_whispers_).

    [Exeunt whispering.

"Well, sir," says Smith to Bayes, "but pray, why all this whispering?"
"Why, sir," replies the dramatist, "because they are supposed to be
politicians, and matters of state ought not to be divulg'd."

In its direct travestie "The Rehearsal" is often very happy. Dryden
had claimed for his tragedies that they were written by "th' exactest
rules"; so Bayes exhibits to his friends Smith and Johnson what he
calls his "Book of Drama Commonplaces, the mother of many plays,"
containing "certain helps that we men of art have found it convenient
to make use of." "I do here aver," he says, "that no man yet the sun
e'er shone upon has parts sufficient to furnish out a stage, except
it were by the help of these my rules." Davenant, in his "Love and
Honour," had portrayed a mental and spiritual struggle between those
potent forces. Bayes, accordingly, is made to introduce a scene in
which Prince Volscius, sitting down to pull on his boots, wonders
whether he ought or ought not to perform that operation:--

    My legs, the emblem of my various thought,
    Show to what sad distraction I am brought.
    Sometimes, with stubborn Honour, like this boot,
    My mind is guarded, and resolv'd to do't:
    Sometimes, again, that very mind, by Love
    Disarmèd, like this other leg does prove.
    Shall I to Honour or to Love give way?
    Go on, cries Honour; tender Love says, Nay;
    Honour aloud commands, Pluck both boots on;
    But softer Love does whisper, Put on none.

In the end, he "goes out hopping, with one boot on, and t'other off."
Again, there was a passage in the drama called "The Villain," in which
the host supplied his guests with a collation out of his clothes--a
capon from his helmet, cream out of his scabbard, and so on. In like
manner, Pallas, in Mr. Bayes's tragedy, furnishes forth the two
usurping kings:--

    Lo, from this conquering lance
    Does flow the purest wine of France:
    And to appease your hunger, I
    Have in my helmet brought a pie;
    Lastly, to bear a part with these,
    Behold a buckler made of cheese.

Of the direct parody in the burlesque a few instances will suffice.
Almanzor, in "The Conquest of Granada," becomes the Drawcansir of Mr.
Bayes's work; and while the former ejaculates--

    He who dares love, and for that love must die,
    And, knowing this, dares yet love on, am I,--

the latter caps it with--

    He that dares drink, and for that drink dares die,
    And knowing this, dares yet drink on, am I.

Again, while Almanzor says to his rival in love--

    Thou dar'st not marry her, while I'm in sight;
    With a bent brow, thy priest and thee I'll fright,--

Drawcansir, snatching the bowls of wine from the usurpers, cries--

    Whoe'er to gulp one drop of this dare think,
    I'll stare away his very power to drink.

The simile of the boar and the sow has often been quoted; it seems
to have been always a favourite with our playgoing ancestors. In "The
Conquest of Granada" we read:--

    So two kind turtles, when a storm is nigh,
    Look up, and see it gathering in the sky....
    Perch'd on some dropping branch, they sit alone,
    And coo and hearken to each other's moan.

Mr. Bayes imitated this in what he called "one of the most delicate,
dainty similes in the world, egad":--

    So boar and sow, when any storm is nigh,
    Snuff up, and smell it gath'ring in the sky....
    Pensive in mud they wallow all alone,
    And snort and gruntle to each other's moan.

The example set by Buckingham in "The Rehearsal" was followed, more
than half a century later, by Henry Fielding, in "The Tragedy of
Tragedies, or the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great." This was
brought out in 1730, in two acts, and was so immediately and largely
successful that the author was induced to expand its two acts into
three. It was afterwards published, with elaborate notes, setting forth
a number of "parallel passages" from Dryden downwards, and with a
preface, in which the supposed editor, H. Scriblerus Secundus, gravely
assigned the origin of the "tragedy" to the age of Elizabeth. Apropos
of parallel passages, the editor says:--

 Whether this sameness of thought and expression [on the part of the
 authors quoted] ... proceeded from an agreement in their way of
 thinking, or whether they have borrowed from our author, I leave
 the reader to determine. I shall adventure to affirm this of the
 Sentiments of our author, that they are generally the most familiar
 which I have ever met with, and at the same time delivered with the
 highest dignity of phrase; which brings me to speak of his diction.
 Here I shall only beg one postulatum--viz., that the greatest
 perfection of the language of a tragedy is, that it is not to be
 understood; which granted (as I think it must be), it will necessarily
 follow that the only ways to avoid this is by being too high or too
 low for the understanding, which will comprehend everything within its

The editor goes on to say that "our author excelleth" in both these
styles. "He is very rarely within sight through the whole play, either
rising higher than the eye of your understanding can soar, or sinking
lower than it careth to stoop."

Fielding does not adopt in "Tom Thumb" the machinery of "The
Rehearsal." "Tom Thumb" is a burlesque tragedy, standing by itself, and
intended for representation in the serious spirit which should animate
all true burlesque. Tom Thumb is "a little hero, with a great soul,"
who, as a reward for his victories over the race of giants, demands in
marriage the hand of Huncamunca, the daughter of King Arthur. As he

    I ask not kingdoms, I can conquer those;
    I ask not money, money I've enough;
    For what I've done, and what I mean to do,
    For giants slain, and giants yet unborn
    Which I will slay--if this be call'd a debt,
    Take my receipt in full: I ask but this--
    To sun myself in Huncamunca's eyes.

"Prodigious bold request," remarks the King; but he decides,
nevertheless, to give Huncamunca to Tom Thumb. Unhappily, Lord Grizzle
is enamoured of the princess, and, in revenge, leads an insurrection
against the Court. He is, however, conquered by the little hero, who
is about to be wedded to his charmer, when, alas! as he is marching
in triumph through the streets, he is swallowed by "a cow, of larger
than the usual size." Queen Dollallolla, who is in love with Tom,
slays with her own hand the messenger who brought the news. Thereupon,
Cleora, who is in love with the messenger, kills the Queen. Huncamunca,
by way of reprisal, kills Cleora. A certain Doodle kills Huncamunca;
one Mustacha kills Doodle; the King kills Mustacha, and then kills
himself, exclaiming--

    So when the child, whom nurse from danger guards,
    Sends Jack for mustard with a pack of cards,
    Kings, queens and knaves throw one another down,
    Till the whole pack lies scatter'd and o'erthrown;
    So all our pack upon the floor is cast,
    And all I boast is--that I fall the last.

We have here a happy satire upon the sanguinary conclusions given
to the tragedies of the seventeenth century. Great pains, too, are
taken, throughout the "tragedy," to travestie that _bête noire_ of the
humourists, the dragged-in simile, to which not even "The Rehearsal"
had given the _coup de grâce_. The ghost of Tom Thumb's father is made
to say--

    So have I seen the bees in clusters swarm,
    So have I seen the stars in frosty nights,
    So have I seen the sand in windy days,
    So have I seen the ghost on Pluto's shore,
    So have I seen the flowers in spring arise,
    So have I seen the leaves in autumn fall,
    So have I seen the fruits in summer smile,
    So have I seen the snow in winter frown.

Whereupon the king says, "D--n all thou hast seen!" Grizzle, when on
the point of expiring, cries--

    Some kinder sprite knocks softly at my soul,
    And gently whispers it to haste away.
    I come, I come, most willingly I come.
    So, when some city wife, for country air,
    To Hampstead or to Highgate does repair,
    Her to make haste her husband does implore,
    And cries, "My dear, the coach is at the door":
    With equal wish, desirous to be gone,
    She gets into the coach, and then she cries, "Drive on!"

Some of the mock similes in "Tom Thumb" are among the most familiar
things in literature. We all remember the lines--

    So, when two dogs are fighting in the streets,
    When a third dog one of the two dogs meets,
    With angry teeth he bites him to the bone,
    And this dog smarts for what that dog has done.

And these--

    So, when the Cheshire cheese a maggot breeds,
    Another and another still succeeds;
    By thousands and ten thousands they increase,
    Till one continued maggot fills the rotten cheese.

The burlesque contained within the pages of "Tom Thumb" covers a
considerable field. Dryden is once more very freely satirised, some
nine or ten of his plays being held up to ridicule. But much attention
is at the same time paid to dramas which saw the light after the
production of "The Rehearsal." Thus, there are allusions to the
"Mithridates," "Nero," and "Brutus" of Nathaniel Lee, which belong
to 1674-1679; to the "Marius" of Otway (1680); to the "Anna Bullen,"
"Earl of Essex," "Mary Queen of Scots," and "Cyrus the Great" of Banks
(1680-1696); to the "Persian Princess" of Theobald (1711), to Addison's
"Cato" (1713), to Young's "Busiris" and "The Revenge," and even to
Thomson's "Sophonisba," which had come out only in the year preceding
that in which "Tom Thumb" was performed. "O Sophonisba, Sophonisba O"
(which had already been parodied in the form of "O Jemmy Thomson,
Jemmy Thomson O") is here laughed at in "O Huncamunca, Huncamunca O!"
In "Cyrus the Great" the virtuous Panthea remarks to one lover--

    For two I must confess are gods to me,
    Which is my Abradatus first, and thee.

And, in a like spirit, Huncamunca, after wedding Tom Thumb, is quite
willing to wed Grizzle:--

    My ample heart for more than one has room:
    A maid like me Heaven form'd at least for two.
    I married him, and now I'll marry you,--

thereby reminding us of the obliging defendant in Mr. Gilbert's "Trial
by Jury," who is ready to "marry this lady to-day, and marry the other
to-morrow." In the third act of "Cato" is a simile which Fielding
parodies thus--putting it into the mouth of Grizzle:--

    So have I seen, in some dark winter's day,
    A sudden storm rush down the sky's highway,
    Sweep through the streets with terrible ding-dong,
    Gush thro' the spouts, and wash whole crowds along,
    The crowded shops the thronging vermin screen,
    Together cram the dirty and the clean,
    And not one shoe-boy in the street is seen.

Finally, we have this equally well-known passage, suggested by the
remark of Lee's Mithridates that he "would be drunk with death":--

    _Doodle._ My liege, I a petition have here got.

    _King._ Petition me no petitions, sir, to-day;
    Let other hours be set apart for business.
    To-day it is our pleasure to be drunk,
    And this our queen shall be as drunk as we.

It was the fate of "Tom Thumb" to be transformed--so far as it was
possible to transform it--into a burlesque of Italian opera as well
as of conventional drama. "Set to music after the Italian manner," it
was brought out in 1733 as "The Opera of Operas," and had considerable
vogue in the new guise thus given to it. It had been preceded in 1727
by Gay's "Beggar's Opera"; but that famous work was a social and
political satire rather than a travestie of the exotic lyrical drama.
It may be regarded as a species of prototype of the burletta or ballad
opera of later days. Not even the transformed "Tom Thumb"[1] could be
called an effective _reductio ad absurdum_ of the Italian opera of
those days. For that the public had to wait a short time longer.

  [1] "Tom Thumb" was performed in 1740, with Yates as the ghost and
  Woodward as Noodle, Glumdalca (the giantess) being represented by a
  man. In 1745 Yates played Grizzle, Tom being enacted by a lady. The
  burlesque was seen at Covent Garden in 1828.

Meanwhile, four years after the production of "Tom Thumb" came the
"Chrononhotonthologos" of Henry Carey, author of "Sally in our Alley."
This also is a burlesque tragedy, but the travestie is purely general.
No individual play is directly satirised; the satire is aimed at a
whole class of dramas--the same class as that which had suggested the
composition of "Tom Thumb."

Carey says, in his prologue:--

    To-night our comic muse the buskin wears,
    And gives herself no small romantic airs;
    Struts in heroics, and in pompous verse
    Does the minutest incidents rehearse;
    In ridicule's strict retrospect displays
    The poetasters of these modern days,
    Who with big bellowing bombast rend our ears,
    Which, stript of sound, quite void of sense appears;
    Or else their fiddle-faddle numbers flow,
    Serenely dull, elaborately low.

"Chrononhotonthologos" is a short piece, in one act and seven scenes.
It is described in its sub-title as "the most tragical tragedy
that ever was tragedised by any company of tragedians," and it
bears out the description tolerably well. When the curtain rises,
there enter two courtiers of Queerummania--Rigdum-Funnidos and
Aldiborontiphoscophornio. Says the latter to the former:--

    Where left you Chrononhotonthologos?

Chrononhotonthologos is the king, and we learn that he is in his tent,
in a kind of waking slumber. Presently he enters, very much put out
that he should be so inclined to doze, and very angry, consequently,
with the God of Sleep. Says he:--

    Sport not with Chrononhotonthologos,
    Thou idle slumb'rer, thou detested Somnus;

and "exits in a huff." Whereupon the two courtiers, who have retired,

   _Rigdum._ The King is in a most cursed passion! Pray who is the Mr.
   Somnus he's so angry withal?

    _Aldi._ The son of Chaos and of Erebus,
    Incestuous pair! brother of Mors relentless,
    Whose speckled robe, and wings of blackest hue,
    Astonish all mankind with hideous glare:
    Himself, with sable plumes, to men benevolent
    Brings downy slumbers and refreshing sleep.

   _Rigdum._ This gentleman may come of a very good family, for aught I
   know; but I would not be in his place for the world.

    _Aldi._ But lo! the king his footsteps this way bending,
    His cogitative faculties immers'd
    In cogibundity of cogitation.

Thereupon the king re-enters, followed almost immediately by the
captain of the guard, who informs him that "th' antipodean pow'rs
from realms below have burst the entrails of the earth" and threaten
the safety of the kingdom. "This world is too incopious to contain
them; armies on armies march in form stupendous"--"tier on tier, high
pil'd from earth to heaven." The king, however, is not alarmed. He
bids Bombardinian, his general, draw his legions forth, and orders the
priests to prepare their temples for rites of triumph:--

              Let the singing singers,
    With vocal voices, most vociferous,
    In sweet vociferation, out-vociferise
    Ev'n sound itself.

Happily the Antipodeans (who walk upon their hands) are badly beaten,
and all run away except their king, with whom, alas! Fadladinida, the
wife of Chrononhotonthologos, promptly falls in love. As she herself
says to her favourite maiden:--

    Oh, my Tatlanthe! Have you seen his face,
    His air, his shape, his mien, his ev'ry grace?
    In what a charming attitude he stands,
    How prettily he foots it with his hands!
    Well, to his arms--no, to his legs--I fly,
    For I must have him, if I live or die.

Meanwhile, Bombardinian has invited the King to drink wine with him
in his tent. The King accepts, but, not content with liquor, asks for
something more substantial:--

    Hold, Bombardinian, I esteem it fit,
    With so much wine, to eat a little bit.

The cook suggests "some nice cold pork in the pantry," and is instantly
slain by the irate monarch, who, deeming that Bombardinian is "braving"
him, strikes him. Whereupon the General:--

    A blow! shall Bombardinian take a blow?
    Blush! blush, thou sun! start back, thou rapid ocean!
    Hills! vales! seas! mountains! all commixing crumble,
    And into chaos pulverise the world;
    For Bombardinian has receiv'd a blow,
    And Chrononhotonthologos must die.

    [_They fight. He kills the king._

                        Ha! what have I done?
    Go, call a coach, and let a coach be call'd;
    And let the man that calls it be the caller;
    And, in his calling, let him nothing call,
    But coach, coach, coach! Oh, for a coach, ye gods!

    [_Exit, raving._

The doctor, pronouncing the king dead, is killed by the General, who
then kills himself. The Queen mourns her widowhood, and Tatlanthe
proposes that she should wed Rigdum-Funnidos. To this, however,
Aldiborontiphoscophornio objects; and so, to save discussion, the Queen
will give no preference to either:--

                      To make the matter easy,
    I'll have you both; and that, I hope, will please ye.

Produced in 1734, "Chrononhotonthologos" was performed at intervals
until 1815, when it was seen at Drury Lane, with Oxberry in the
title-part and Dowton as the General. After that it remained out
of the theatrical repertory until 1880, when Mr. John Hollingshead
revived it, for one representation, at the Gaiety.[2] It is a slight
piece of work, but contains some elements of comicality. It will
always be esteemed by literary students, if only because the names of
Rigdum-Funnidos and Aldiborontiphoscophornio struck the fancy of Sir
Walter Scott, who bestowed them, in fun, upon the brothers Constable,
the publishers. "Aldiborontiphoscophornio" is surely the perfection of
mock-tragedy nomenclature.

It is to Carey that we owe, not only "Chrononhotonthologos," but the
first really effective burlesque of Italian opera. In 1737 there was
brought out at the Haymarket "The Dragon of Wantley," a "burlesque
opera," of which Carey had written the dialogue and songs, and for
which John Frederick Lampe had composed the music. Its object,
according to the author, was "to display in English the beauty of
nonsense, so prevailing in the Italian operas." The story was founded
on the old ballad, with which, however, liberties were taken. In the
first act, the natives of "that part of Yorkshire near Rotherham" are
shown in much excitement, due to the ravages of the dragon, which has
just entered the Squire's residence and consumed all the coffee, toast,
and butter that was set out for breakfast. Says one Gubbins:--

    This Dragon very modish, sure, and nice is:
    What shall we do in this disastrous crisis?

To which his daughter Margery replies:--

    A thought, to quell him, comes into my Head;
    No Way more proper, than to kill him dead.

  [2] The parts of Chrononhotonthologos, Bombardinian, Rigdum-Funnidos,
  Aldiborontiphoscophornio, Fadladinida, and Tatlanthe were then taken
  by Messrs. Murray, Shine, Soutar, Squire, Mrs. Leigh, and Miss Bella
  Howard respectively.

Not far hence lives "a valiant knight," named Moore, of Moore Hall, who
may be trusted to destroy the dragon. Moore accordingly is approached,
surrenders to the charms of Margery, and undertakes to do the deed.
Meanwhile, Mauxalinda, an old flame of Moore's, becomes jealous of
Margery, and seeks to slay her with a bodkin--a fate from which Moore
happily rescues her. Mauxalinda is then threatened with quarter
sessions; but she cries--

    O give me not up to the Law,
      I'd much rather beg upon Crutches;
    Once in a Sollicitor's Paw,
      You never get out of his Clutches.

Moore thereupon prepares to start for the Dragon's den:

    But first I'll drink, to make me strong and mighty,
    Six quarts of ale, and one of Aqua Vitæ.

Duly encountering the monster, Moore kills him (say the stage
directions) with a kick in the rear, the Dragon crying "Oh, oh, oh! the
Devil take your toe!" After that, Gubbins declares:--

    The Loves of this brave Knight, and my fair Daughter,
    In Roratorios shall be sung hereafter.
    Begin your Songs of Joy; begin, begin,
    And rend the Welkin with harmonious Din.

Thereupon there is this general chorus:--

    Sing, sing, and rorio
    An Oratorio,
    To gallant Morio,
            Of Moore Hall.
    To Margereenia
    Of Roth'ram Greenia,
    Beauty's bright Queenia,
            Bellow and bawl.

"The music," says the chronicler, "was made as grand and pompous as
possible, to heighten the contrast between that and the words"--thus
anticipating the comic method which has been utilised with so much
success by Mr. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan.

From "The Dragon of Wantley," which, as might be expected, had
a very considerable vogue, we come to "The Critic, or a Tragedy
Rehearsed"--the last, and not the least, of Sheridan's dramatic works,
produced in Drury Lane in 1779. Of so familiar a piece, what is there
to be said? Is it not played with tolerable frequency at "benefits,"
for the sake of the "exceptional casts" it can supply? Have not all
middle-aged playgoers seen and admired the younger Mathews as Sir
Fretful Plagiary and Mr. Puff? Assuredly there are certain features
of "The Critic" which everybody remembers. Everybody remembers Sir
Fretful's famous lines on the plagiarists, who "serve your best
thoughts as gypsies do stolen children--disfigure them to make 'em pass
for their own"; as well as his special addendum about the "dexterous"
writer who "might take out some of the best things in my tragedy and
put them into his own comedy." Everybody remembers, too, Mr. Puffs
no less famous catalogue of the varieties of _réclame_; his remark
that "the number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for
themselves is very small indeed"; his explanation of the fact that
he and Shakespeare had made use of the same thought; Lord Burleigh's
shake of the head, which meant so much, and has become proverbial; the
Spanish fleet, which could not be seen because it was not yet in sight;
Tilburina, "mad in white satin"--and the like. It must be recollected,
however, that "The Critic" as played and "The Critic" as written and
printed are two very different things. In the acting version, the
earlier scenes between Puff and Dangle and Sneer, as well as the latter
portion of the "tragedy rehearsed," are very much compressed--no doubt
with advantage to the public, for, clever as "The Critic" is as a
whole, certain portions of it are out of date, and would not "go" well
with a modern audience.

In glancing through the printed version, one is struck anew by the
similarity that "The Critic" bears to "The Rehearsal," not only in
form, but in detail. In both cases a dramatic author rehearses a
tragedy in the presence of a couple of friends, who interject comments
upon the performance. But the likeness does not end here--possibly
because the theatrical world of 1779 was, in all essentials, very like
the theatrical world of 1671. Bayes, in "The Rehearsal," says that he
has "appointed two or three dozen" of his friends "to be ready in the
pit" (at the _première_ of his piece), "who, I'm sure, will clap." And
so Sneer, in "The Critic," expects that he will not be able to get
into Drury Lane on the first night of Puff's play, "for on the first
night of a piece they always fill the house with orders to support it."
Again, Bayes says that

 Let a man write never so well, there are, nowadays, a sort of persons
 they call critics, that, egad, have no more wit in them than so many
 hobby-horses; but they'll laugh at you, sir, and find fault, and
 censure things that, egad, I'm sure they are not able to do themselves.

In a similar spirit Sir Fretful stigmatises the newspapers as "the most
villainous--licentious--abominable--infernal---- Not that I ever read
them--no. I make it a rule never to look into a newspaper."

In one respect Sheridan's work is quite unlike the Duke of
Buckingham's. It contains no direct travestie or parody of any kind.
The burlesque is "at large" throughout. The satire embodied in the
dialogue between Puff and his friends reflects upon all old-fashioned
playwriting of the "tragic" sort. Puff opens the second scene of his
"Spanish Armada" with a clock striking four, which, besides recording
the time, not only "begets an awful attention in the audience," but
"saves a description of the rising sun, and a great deal about gilding
the eastern hemisphere." He makes his characters tell one another what
they know already, because, although they know it, the audience do
not. He hears the stage cannon go off three times instead of once, and
complains, "Give these fellows a good thing, and they never know when
to have done with it." "Where they do agree on the stage," he says,
in another hackneyed passage, "their unanimity is wonderful." In the
rehearsed tragedy itself the travestie is general, not particular.
Here Sheridan satirises a different class of tragedy from that which
Buckingham dealt with. As the prologue (not by Sheridan, however)

    In those gay days of wickedness and wit,
    When Villiers criticised what Dryden writ,
    The tragic queen, to please a tasteless crowd,
    Had learn'd to bellow, rant, and roar so loud,
    That frighten'd Nature, her best friend before,
    The blustering beldam's company forswore.

The later "tragedy" took another tone:--

    The frantic hero's wild delirium past,
    Now insipidity succeeds bombast;
    So slow Melpomene's cold numbers creep,
    Here dulness seems her drowsy court to keep.

Dulness, then, is what Sheridan is chiefly girding at, but he has a
keen eye also for the unconscious banalities of the _genre_ he is
dealing with. How truly comic, for instance, is the prayer to Mars
offered up by Leicester and his companions!--

    Behold thy votaries submissive beg
    That thou wilt deign to grant them all they ask;
    Assist them to accomplish all their ends,
    And sanctify whatever means they use
    To gain them.

How delicious, too, in their absolute nonsense, are the lines given to
the distraught Tilburina!--

    The wind whistles--the moon rises--see,
    They have killed my squirrel in his cage;
    Is this a grasshopper?--Ha! no; it is my
    Whiskerandos--you shall not keep him--
    I know you have him in your pocket--
    An oyster may be cross'd in love!--who says
    A whale's a bird?--Ha! did you call, my love?--
    He's here! he's there!--He's everywhere!
    Ah me! he's nowhere!

For the rest, the text of the tragedy, as printed, is very dissimilar
from the text as played. In representation, most of the fun is got out
of intentional perversion of certain words or phrases. Thus, "martial
symmetry" becomes "martial cemetery";

    The famed Armada, by the Pope baptised,


    The famed Armada, by the Pope capsised;

"friendship's closing line" is turned into "friendship's clothes-line";
"My gentle Nora" into "My gentle Snorer"; "Cupid's baby woes" into
"Cupid's baby clothes"; "matchless excellence" into "matchless
impudence," and so on. This is sorry stuff; and those who desire to
appreciate Sheridan's travestie of the tragedy of his day must read
"The Critic" in its published shape.

The next notable attempt at the burlesque of conventional tragedy was a
return to the methods of "Chrononhotonthologos." In "Bombastes Furioso"
(first played in 1816[3]) all satirical machinery was discarded; all
that the author--William Barnes Rhodes--sought to do was to travestie
his originals in a brief and telling story. "Bombastes" is not now
so often performed as it used to be; but not so very long ago it was
turned into a comic opera, under the title of "Artaxominous the Great,"
and its humours are fairly well known to the public. Some of these the
world will not willingly let die. One still thinks with amusement of
the "army" of Bombastes, consisting of "one Drummer, one Fifer, and
two Soldiers, all very materially differing in size"; of the General's
exhortation to his troops--

  [3] The elder Mathews was Artaxominous; Liston, Bombardinian; and Miss
  H. Kelly, Distaffina. A few years later Munden played Bombardinian, and
  Farren, Fusbos.

    Begone, brave army, and don't kick up a row;

and of the boastful challenge of the General, so promptly accepted by

    Who dares this pair of boots displace
    Must meet Bombastes face to face.

And the piece bears re-perusal wonderfully well. Its literary merit is
assuredly not less than that of "Chrononhotonthologos": it is perhaps
even greater. The opening colloquy between the King and Fusbos is
genuinely diverting, embodying as it does one of those mock similes so
dear to the satirists of old-fashioned tragedy. The King admits to
Fusbos that he is "but middling--that is, _so so_!" It is not, however,
either the mulligrubs or the blue-devils that disturb him:--

    _King._ Last night, when undisturb'd by state affairs,
    Moist'ning our clay, and puffing off our cares,
    Oft the replenish'd goblet did we drain,
    And drank and smok'd, and smok'd and drank again!
    Such was the case, our very actions such,
    Until at length we got a drop too much.

    _Fusbos._ So when some donkey on the Blackheath road,
    Falls, overpower'd, beneath his sandy load,
    The driver's curse unheeded swells the air,
    Since none can carry more than they can bear.

By-and-by the King confides to Fusbos that his heart is not wholly
faithful to Queen Griskinissa--that he is also hopelessly in love
with Distaffina, the acknowledged sweetheart of Bombastes. Under the
circumstances he asks for Fusbos' advice:--

    Shall I my Griskinissa's charms forego,
    Compel her to give up the regal chair,
    And place the rosy Distaffina there?
    In such a case, what course can I pursue?
    I love my queen, and Distaffina too.

    _Fusbos._ And would a king his general supplant?
    I can't advise, upon my soul I can't.

    _King._ So when two feasts, whereat there's nought to pay,
    Fall unpropitious on the self-same day,
    The anxious Cit each invitation views,
    And ponders which to take and which refuse:
    From this or that to keep away is loth,
    And sighs to think he cannot dine at both.

These, however, are not the best known of the mock similes in
"Bombastes." For those we have to look to the scene in which the King,
observing his General's abovementioned challenge, reviles Bombastes
and knocks down his boots. Then we have the familiar lines:--

    _Bomb._ So have I heard on Afric's burning shore
    A hungry lion give a grievous roar;
    The grievous roar echo'd along the shore.

    _King._ So have I heard on Afric's burning shore
    Another lion give a grievous roar,
    And the first lion thought the last a bore.

Next comes the fight between the monarch and the warrior; the
King is killed, and then Fusbos kills Bombastes. Finally, the two
deceased (despite the assertion of Fusbos that they are "dead as
herrings--herrings that are red") come to life again, and all ends

Of ordinary parody there is little in the piece, and what there is
can scarcely be said to be of the best. There is a suggestion, in one
ditty, of "Hope told a flattering Tale." But better than this is the
song suggested by "My Lodging is on the Cold Ground," which is happy
both intrinsically and as an imitation. Fusbos is the singer:--

    My lodging is in Leather Lane,
      A parlour that's next to the sky;
    'Tis exposed to the wind and the rain,
      But the wind and the rain I defy:
    Such love warms the coldest of spots,
      As I feel for Scrubinda the fair;
    Oh, she lives by the scouring of pots,
      In Dyot Street, Bloomsbury Square.

    Oh, were I a quart, pint, or gill,
      To be scrubb'd by her delicate hands,
    Let others possess what they will
      Of learning, and houses, and lands;
    My parlour that's next to the sky
      I'd quit, her blest mansion to share;
    So happy to live and to die
      In Dyot Street, Bloomsbury Square.

    And oh, would this damsel be mine,
      No other provision I'd seek;
    On a look I could breakfast and dine,
      And feast on a smile for a week.
    But ah! should she false-hearted prove,
      Suspended, I'll dangle in air;
    A victim to delicate love,
      In Dyot Street, Bloomsbury Square.

At this point, English stage burlesque suddenly takes a new departure,
combining, with satire of the contemporary native "boards," satire
not less keen of certain products of the foreign muse. The incident
came about in this way:--Just before the close of the eighteenth
century, the English book-market had been flooded with translations of
certain German plays, including Schiller's "Robbers" and "Cabal and
Love," Goethe's "Stella," and Kotzebue's "Misanthropy and Repentance"
("The Stranger") and "Count Benyowsky." Canning, Ellis, and Frere,
who were then bringing out _The Anti-Jacobin_, were struck by the
absurdities contained within these dramas, and accordingly composed
and printed (in June 1798) that well-known skit, "The Rovers, or the
Double Arrangement." In this the plays chiefly parodied are "Stella,"
"The Stranger," and "Count Benyowsky." By "Stella" was suggested not
only "the double arrangement" (by which Matilda and Cecilia share the
affections of their lover Casimere), but the famous scene in which the
two women, before they know they are rivals, become, on the instant,
bosom friends. Both admit that they are in love, and then--

    _Cecilia._ Your countenance grows animated, my dear madam.

    _Matilda._ And yours is glowing with illumination.

    _Cecilia._ I had long been looking out for a congenial spirit! My
    heart was withered, but the beams of yours have rekindled it.

    _Matilda._ A sudden thought strikes me: let us swear an eternal

    _Cecilia._ Let us agree to live together!

    _Matilda._ Willingly.

    _Cecilia._ Let us embrace.

    (_They embrace._)

"The Rovers," however, would hardly come within the scope of the
present volume, were it not that, in 1811, at the Haymarket, there
was produced, by Colman junior, a piece called "The Quadrupeds of
Quedlinburgh, or the Rovers of Weimar," in which the adapter made use
of the squib in _The Anti-Jacobin_. Colman's aim in this work was to
ridicule not only the German plays, including Kotzebue's "Spaniards in
Peru" ("Pizarro"), which had lately been brought before the English
playgoer, but also the prevailing fancy for bringing animals upon
the stage. At Astley's horses had figured both in "Blue Beard" and
in "Timour the Tartar," and dogs had previously been seen in "The
Caravan." To this, as well as to the unhealthy importations from
Germany, allusion was made in the prologue:--

    To lull the soul by spurious strokes of art,
    To warp the genius and mislead the heart,
    To make mankind revere wives gone astray,

(a hit at "The Stranger"),

    Love pious sons who rob on the highway,
    For this the foreign muses trod our stage,
    Commanding German schools to be the rage....
    Your taste, recovered half from foreign quacks,
    Takes airings now on English horses' backs;
    While every modern bard may raise his name,
    If not on lasting praise, on stable fame.

"The Quadrupeds of Quedlinburgh" was not printed, and one does not
know to what extent Colman took advantage of the text of "The Rovers."
It is certain, however, that Casimere, Matilda, and Cecilia, as well
as Rogero (a creation of the original parodists), all appeared in the
burlesque, being enacted respectively by Munden, Mrs. Glover, Mrs.
Gibbs, and Liston, Elliston taking the _rôle_ of Bartholomew Bathos,
a lineal descendant (no doubt) of Bayes and Puff. We read that, in
addition to the travestie supplied by _The Anti-Jacobin_, fun was poked
at the sentimental sentinel in "Pizarro," and the last scene of "Timour
the Tartar" was closely imitated. The piece was acted thirty-nine
times, and must therefore have been what, in those days, was accounted
a success.

We come now to a travestie of the old-fashioned tragedy which helps
to connect the Old burlesque with the New, inasmuch as it was the
production of James Robinson Planché. Of his "Amoroso, King of Little
Britain: a serio-comick bombastick operatick interlude," played at
Drury Lane in 1818, Planché was not particularly proud. He was very
young when he wrote it; he wrote it for amateur performance; and it
got on to the stage of Drury Lane without his knowledge and consent.
Harley, the comedian, appears to have seen or read the little trifle,
and to have recommended it to the manager of "the national theatre."
He himself represented Amoroso; Knight was Roastando (a cook); Smith
was Blusterbus (a yeoman of the guard); Mrs. Bland was Coquetinda
(the Queen of Little Britain), and Mrs. Orger was Mollidusta (a
chambermaid). The piece was much applauded, and had the distinction of
being quoted in the _Times_. It opens with the King being awakened by
his courtiers, to whom he angrily exclaims:--

    Leave at what time you please your truckle beds--
    But if you break my rest I'll break your heads.

           *       *       *       *       *

    I swear I'm quite disordered with this rout.
    Ahem! My lords and gentlemen--get out!

The _Times_ applied the last line to a Parliamentary incident which
had just occurred; and Planché admits that he was flattered by the
compliment. But he would not include "Amoroso" in the testimonial
edition of his burlesques and extravaganzas,--mainly, I imagine,
because the piece is so obviously an imitation of "Bombastes Furioso,"
which it by no means equals in literary distinction.

The plot is simplicity itself. Amoroso is in love with Mollidusta,
Mollidusta with Blusterbus, and the Queen with Roastando. "The King
sees Roastando and the Queen salute: he discharges Roastando. The Queen
sees the King and Mollidusta together: she stabs Mollidusta. The King
stabs the Queen, Roastando stabs the King, the King stabs Roastando."
In the end, all come to life again. In the course of the play the King
thus declares his passion to Mollidusta:--

    When gooseberries grow on the stem of a daisy,
      And plum-puddings roll on the tide to the shore,
    And julep is made from the curls of a jazey,
      Oh, then, Mollidusta, I'll love thee no more.

    When steamboats no more on the Thames shall be going,
      And a cast-iron bridge reach Vauxhall from the Nore,
    And the Grand Junction waterworks cease to be flowing,
      Oh, then, Mollidusta, I'll love thee no more.

Amoroso also sings the following pseudo-sentimental ditty:--

    Love's like a mutton-chop,
      Soon it grows cold,
    All its attractions hop
      Ere it grows old.
    Love's like the colic sure,
    Both painful to endure,
    Brandy's for both a cure.
      So I've been told!

    When for some fair the swain
      Burns with desire,
    In Hymen's fatal chain
      Eager to try her,
    He weds soon as he can,
    And jumps (unhappy man!)
    Out of the frying-pan
      Into the fire.

Not to be outdone by the other lovers, the Queen and Roastando warble a
duet, in which they confess their feelings for each other:--

    _She._ This morning I to Covent Garden went,
    To purchase cabbages was my intent,
    But, my thoughts dwelling on Roastando's looks,
    Instead of cabbages I asked for cooks!

    _He._ Last night, neglecting fricassés for stews,
    On Coquetinda's charms I paused to muse,
    And, 'stead of charcoal, did my man desire
    To put some Coquetinda on the fire.

Three months after "Amoroso" had been seen at Drury Lane, there was
produced at the English Opera House a "serio-comic-bombastic-operatic
interlude," written by George Daniel, and called "Doctor Bolus"--yet
another burlesque of the old-fashioned drama, owing quite as much
to "Bombastes Furioso" as did "Amoroso." In this piece the King,
Artipadiades (Harley), is in love with Poggylina, a maid of honour,
while the Queen, Katalinda (Miss Kelly), is enamoured of General
Scaramoucho (Chatterley). The General revolts, and is defeated by
the King. His amour is discovered, and, while the Queen is poisoned
with one of Bolus's "infallible" pills, the General is stabbed by
Artipadiades. The Queen, however, revives, and is thereupon stabbed by
the King, who also stabs himself. But, in the end, as in "Amoroso," all
the dead people are resuscitated. There are some gleams of humour in
the dialogue, but not many. Bolus was played by John Wilkinson.



After the production of "Amoroso," Planché remained silent, so far
as travestie was concerned, till 1831, when he began in earnest his
successful career as a burlesque writer. In the interval a new votary
of travestie appeared in the person of Fox Cooper, of whose "Elbow
Shakers" and "Ion" I shall have something to say by-and-by. Moncrieff
and Buckstone, too, followed the example of T. Dibdin, in dealing more
or less humorously with the subject of "Don Giovanni," while Buckstone
also essayed to do the same with that of "Billy Taylor." None of these
effusions, however, were burlesques in the ordinary acceptation of the
word; and 1831, therefore, may still be taken as the starting-point of
the new theatrical era, of which Planché was the herald.

This era may be said to divide naturally into fairly balanced parts,
the first extending from 1831 to 1865, the period covered by Planché's
activity in the work; the second from 1865 to 1885, by which time
Mr. Edward Terry and Miss Kate Vaughan had retired from the Gaiety.
Within the former moiety are comprised the labours of four men who for
many years shared with Planché the throne of stage travestie. Need
I say that I mean Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett (with whom Mark Lemon so
frequently collaborated), Francis Talfourd, and the Brothers Brough?
Planché's "Olympic Revels" (1831) was followed by A'Beckett's "Son of
the Sun" in 1834, by Talfourd's "Macbeth" in 1847, and by the Brothers
Brough's "Enchanted Isle" in 1848. The "Joan of Arc" of William Brough
was seen in 1869; its writer had been producing burlesque for over
twenty years. Talfourd's career as a dramatist was comparatively brief.
Beginning in 1847, it ended in 1860, but was brilliant while it lasted.

Modern burlesque was fortunate indeed in its founders--all of them men
of education and refinement, all of them men of letters as well as
playwrights. To the literary merit of their products it is unnecessary
to bear more than the briefest testimony, for it is everywhere, and by
everybody, acknowledged. In the writings of these four men theatrical
burlesque was seen at its best. They came fresh to the task, and
made the most of their opportunities. They set themselves really to
travestie and to parody, and were careful to present, amid their
wildest comicalities, a definite, intelligible story. They dropped
naturally into the decasyllabic couplet, and made free use of the pun;
but in neither case did they become mechanical or strained. The verse
of Planché and A'Beckett is smoothness itself, and they do not descend
to word-torturing. Talfourd and the Broughs took more licence in this
latter respect, but they never sank into drivel. Above all, not one
of these five masters of burlesque permitted themselves to be vulgar
either in general treatment or in verbal detail. They were nice in
their choice of subjects, and, like Mr. W. S. Gilbert in the case of
"The Princess," perverted them respectfully. One finds no horseplay
in the fun of these genuine humourists. All their effects are made
legitimately, and in decent fashion.

They were happy, too, in the good influence they exercised. The list of
their colleagues during the period named is notable. One meets early
with the names of Charles Selby and W. H. Oxberry. Then come those
of Albert Smith, Kenny, and Shirley Brooks, Leicester Buckingham,
and Andrew Halliday, by whom much excellent work was achieved in the
'forties and 'fifties. Of lesser note, in this particular department of
endeavour, were Leman Rede, Stirling Coyne, and Tom Taylor, who were
more distinguished in other fields. Selby and Oxberry had the knack of
writing for the stage which so often results from experience in acting.
Smith, Brooks, Buckingham, Halliday, Rede, Coyne, and Taylor, were
men whose literary skill, acquired in other quarters, was of eminent
service to the comic stage. Especially is it to be regretted that the
genial and witty author of "Sooner or Later" did not devote more of
his time and talent to the service of burlesque, of the qualities and
possibilities of which he had so keen a sense.

But to turn now to the second moiety of the period above named--that
extending from 1865 to 1885. We find that this, too, has had the good
fortune to be dominated by some burlesque writers of very special
capacity--to wit, Mr. F. C. Burnand, the late H. J. Byron, Mr. W.
S. Gilbert, and Mr. Robert Reece. Mr. Burnand has been bringing out
burlesques ever since 1855, when he wrote "Villikins and his Dinah"
for the Cambridge A.D.C. His first London production was his "Dido,"
seen at the St. James's in 1860. His metropolitan career, therefore,
has covered more than thirty years. Byron began at the Strand in 1858,
and ended at the Gaiety in 1879. Mr. Gilbert's labours as a producer
of travestie in the ordinary sense started early in the 'sixties with
"Dr. Dulcamara," and closed in 1870 with "The Princess."[4] Mr. Reece
opened in 1865 with "Prometheus"; and work in which he had a part was
witnessed so recently as 1886.

  [4] In the preparation of "The Happy Land" (1873) Mr. Gilbert had only
  a share, the scenario being his, but nearly all the writing being done
  by Mr. Gilbert Arthur a'Beckett.

Mr. Gilbert soon found that his true _métier_ lay outside the bounds
of ordinary burlesque, and his "Princess" was the stepping-stone to
"The Palace of Truth," and, in due course, to "H.M.S. _Pinafore_"
and its successors. His travesties of "L'Elisir d'Amore," "La Fille
du Régiment," "The Bohemian Girl," "Norma," and "Robert le Diable,"
had, however, what all the best specimens of English stage burlesque
have had--a literary quality and an entire absence of coarseness or
suggestiveness; and no doubt they had, at the time, their due effect
upon the public taste. Meanwhile, the premier burlesque writers of
the past thirty years are Mr. Burnand, Byron, and Mr. Reece, whose
productions have been as notable for their multiplicity and variety as
for their technical excellence. All three, like the ablest of their
predecessors, have written extravaganza as well as travestie; and, in
travestie, they have gone far afield, essaying and succeeding in all
subjects and all styles. They, too, have favoured, in the main, the
decasyllabic couplet and the pun, bringing both of them to all the
comic perfection of which they were capable. The pun, in particular,
has reached its highest phase in the writings of these consummate
jugglers with words.

Mr. H. B. Farnie had a considerable vogue in burlesque from 1870 to
1885, but never displayed the neatness or the spontaneity of the
writers above mentioned. He was fluent, but that was all. Mr. Alfred
Thompson at one time did good things in this direction, and so did
Mr. Conway Edwardes. Mr. G. A. Sala composed one burlesque, but has
not been induced to give it a successor. Mr. Herman Merivale has
been content to write two: that he has not written more is to be
regretted. Among other recent writers of travestie may be named--Mr.
Gilbert Arthur a'Beckett, Mr. Harry Paulton, Mr. F. W. Green, Mr.
Arthur Matthison, Mr. Savile Clarke, Mr. W. Younge, Mr. Edward Rose,
Mr. Alfred Murray, Mr. Albert Chevalier, Mr. George Dance, Mr. G. P.
Hawtrey, Mr. Horace Lennard, Mr. Geoffrey Thorn, and Mr. Cecil Raleigh.
In the provinces great successes have been made by Mr. J. McArdle and
Mr. Wilton Jones. Of Messrs. Sims and Pettitt, Stephens and Yardley,
"Richard Henry," and "A. C. Torr" and H. Mills, I shall have something
to say when I come to consider "The New Burlesque," of which they
have been the principal producers. If, within the last twenty years
or so, travestie has been confined to a smaller number of theatres
than before, and if it has been proportionately "depressed," that has
been owing, chiefly, to the popularity of comic opera and farcical
comedy, into the composition and exposition of which has been thrown,
of necessity, very much of the talent which otherwise would have been
devoted to the writing and acting of burlesque.

On the whole, the days between 1831 and 1885 were, for burlesque,
"palmy" days indeed. They produced not only many admirable writers of
the _genre_, but many admirable actors thereof. Planché was generous
in his praise of the artists who helped so greatly to make his pieces
"go"; and he did well to be so, for never, I suppose, was a comic
writer so fortunate in his interpreters. During his first years at the
Olympic he had the aid of the incomparable Vestris, of Rebecca Isaacs,
of Miss Murray, of Mrs. Macnamara, of Mrs. Honey, of John Brougham,
of James Bland, of James Vining, and of Charles James Mathews,--all
in the first rank of their art. At Covent Garden, from 1840 to 1843,
the company included, at different times, not only Mme. Vestris, Mrs.
Macnamara, Brougham, Bland, and Vining, but Harley, Wm. Harrison,
Morris Barnett, Selby, Miss Fairbrother, Miss Priscilla Horton, Mrs. C.
Jones, and Mrs. Alfred Wigan. At the Haymarket, during the three years
following, Planché had his ideas carried out, not only by Bland and
Miss Horton, and during one year by Mme. Vestris and Charles Mathews,
but also by Caulfield, Widdicomb, Tilbury, Brindal, Braid, Julia
Bennett, Miss Reynolds, and Mrs. L. S. Buckingham. Continuously lucky
in this respect, Planché enjoyed--from 1847 to 1853, at the Lyceum--the
services of Miss Fitzwilliam, Julia St. George, Miss Oliver, John
Reeve, Robert Roxby, Basil Baker, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Matthews, in
addition to Vestris and Mathews and many others of the artists named
above. Finally, and best, when Planché brought out, at the Olympic, his
"Yellow Dwarf," his "Discreet Princess," and his "Young and Handsome,"
his chief comedian was the "great little Robson," the fame of whose
tragi-comic outbursts still lingers among us, and who had for his
successive supporters Horace Wigan, Emery, James Rogers, Julia St.
George, Miss Maskell (Mrs. Walter Baynham), and Miss Swanborough.

What, meanwhile, had been the _personnel_ at the other houses of
burlesque? At the Strand in the 'thirties, the great favourites were
W. J. Hammond, H. Hall, Mitchell, Oxberry, G. Cooke, Miss Daly, Miss
Horton. At the Fitzroy one finds Miss Chaplin and W. Rogers; at the
Victoria, Rogers and Mitchell; at the St. James's, Hall and Mme.
Sala; at Sadler's Wells, Rogers and C. H. Pitt; at the Queen's, T. F.
Matthews and Mrs. Selby; and at the Adelphi, O Smith, John Reeve, and
Mrs. Stirling. Early in the 'forties we see Wright and Paul Bedford
moving from the Princess's to the Adelphi, where Miss Chaplin and Miss
Woolgar are also located. At the Strand we find Wigan, Hammond, and
R. Romer. Later, we come across Keeley in burlesque at the Haymarket,
along with Bland, Miss Reynolds, and Miss Horton. The second half of
the century opens brilliantly at the Strand, where Reeve, Rogers,
Romer, and Maskell are the male comedians, with Miss Marshall, Miss
Romer, Miss Maskell, and Mrs. Horsman as their helpmates. Was not that
a truly strong company? And was not the Adelphi fortunate, about the
same time, in the possession of Miss Woolgar, Miss Mary Keeley, Keeley
himself, and Paul Bedford? At the Haymarket were Buckstone and Mrs.
Caulfield. Some of these may be names only to the uninstructed reader;
but to the theatrical student they all convey a world of meaning,
conjuring up a multitude of delightful associations.

When we come to 1856 we reach a landmark in the history of burlesque
acting. William Brough's "Perdita" is "put up" by Charles Dillon at
the Lyceum, and in the cast of it we find not only Miss Woolgar and the
author, but that very youthful actress Marie Wilton, and that rising
young comedian J. L. Toole. Here, then, is the beginning of the modern
_régime_. Robson and Julia St. George are still playing at the Olympic;
but the "palmy" days of the Strand Theatre are about to flash upon us.
Marie Wilton stays for another year at the Lyceum, but in 1858 she is
comfortably lodged at the little playhouse across the way, together
with Bland and Poynter and Mrs. Selby, and Johnny Clarke, H. J. Turner,
and Miss Ternan. In 1859 Charlotte Saunders is playing a mock Romeo to
Marie Wilton's mock Juliet, and Eleanor Bufton and Maria Simpson and
"Jimmy" Rogers are also members of the troupe--the one troupe which
can regard itself as the legitimate successor to the Vestris-Mathews
"combinations." In the year following, a new star arises at the Lyceum
in the person of Lydia Thompson; at the St. James's are Nelly Moore
and Cecilia Ranoe and Charles Young; at the Haymarket are Chippendale,
Compton, and C. Coghlan. A few months more, and the name of Kate Terry
appears on the burlesque bill at the St. James's. Fanny Josephs and
E. Danvers have been added to the Strand establishment, which shortly
welcomes Fanny Hughes and Ada Swanborough, Polly Marshall and George

Next comes the turn of the little Royalty. We are in 1863, and Mr.
Burnand's "Ixion" is announced, with Jenny Wilmore in the title-part,
David James as Mercury, Felix Rogers as Minerva, Mrs. Charles Selby as
the Queen, and Ada Cavendish as Venus. Here, again, is a landmark, not
to be left unnoted; here we have to record the first of many triumphs
to come. Next year both David James and Thomas Thorne are in the troupe
at the Strand, where they are destined to remain till they open the
Vaudeville in 1870. In the year next again, the burlesque company at
the Olympic is seen to include a young actress of the name of Ellen
Farren, one day to become the chief tender of the "sacred lamp"; along
with her are Amy Sheridan, Louisa Moore, Patti Josephs, and Mrs.
Stephens. Meanwhile, the Royalty has been running neck and neck with
the Strand, and growing greatly in public favour. By 1866 it is ripe
for another success--the most remarkable ever achieved on the burlesque
boards--secured by the "Black-eyed Susan" of Mr. Burnand, with Fred
Dewar as Captain Crosstree, Mr. Charles Wyndham as a Deal smuggler,
Miss Oliver as Susan, Miss Nellie Bromley as Dolly Mayflower, and E.
Danvers as Dame Hatley. After this one notes the addition to the Strand
troupe, first, of Miss Eliza Johnstone, Miss Elise Holt, and Miss
Weathersby; and next, of Miss Lydia Thompson. At the New Queen's in
1868, Miss Kate Santley and Miss Henrietta Hodson are playing burlesque
with W. H. Stephens and "Lal" Brough. In the same year the Gaiety
Theatre is opened, by Mr. John Hollingshead with a new burlesque by Mr.
W. S. Gilbert--"Robert the Devil," in which the leading character is
undertaken by Miss Ellen Farren.

From this date onwards it is not necessary to do more than indicate a
few salient points in connection with burlesque acting in this country.
The opening of the Gaiety was the first step towards the expansion of
the Old burlesque into the New. In the following year Mr. Edward Terry
entered on an engagement at the Strand--an engagement which lasted
till 1877, and did as much for the progress of stage travestie as did
that of Miss Farren at the other house. In 1869 there was burlesque
at the Globe, with Edward Marshall and Miss Maggie Brennan, and at
the St. James's with Mrs. John Wood in "La Belle Sauvage."[5] In 1870
Harry Paulton went to the Strand; and at the Royalty were Rachel
Sanger, Arthur Wood, and Alfred Bishop. In 1871 there was burlesque at
the Court, with Mlle. D'Anka, Miss Oliver, Miss Kate Bishop and Mr.
Righton. At the Vaudeville, next year, Miss Nelly Power and Miss Marie
Rhodes were supporting Messrs. James and Thorne; while at the Royalty
were Miss Emma Chambers, Miss Kate Phillips, and Miss Harriett Coveney.

  [5] An adaptation of John Brougham's American burlesque, "Pocohontas."
  Into this was introduced a travestie of the Bancroft's garden scene in
  "School." Mr. Lionel Brough played Captain John Smith.

In 1873 Mr. E. W. Royce goes to the Gaiety, and Miss Lottie Venne
is seen at the Court in "The Happy Land." At the Folly, next year,
Mr. Edouin takes the fancy of the town as the Heathen Chinee in Mr.
Farnie's "Blue Beard;" Belmore, Mr. Odell, and Mr. Leonard Boyne all
essay to burlesque Mr. Irving as Hamlet; and Miss Pattie Laverne plays
the hero in Mr. Burnand's "Ixion Re-Wheeled." A "Robinson Crusoe," by
Mr. Farnie, at the Folly in 1876, brings to the front a droll Will
Atkins in the form of Mr. George Barrett.

In 1877, at the Gaiety, Edward Terry joins Miss Farren and Mr. Royce,
and in 1878 Selina Dolaro and G. W. Anson are playing at the Folly in
"Another Drink," while Alma Stanley and Charles Groves are playing in
"Venus" at the Royalty. Miss Kate Vaughan, at the Gaiety, is already
beginning to revolutionise stage dancing, making it at once graceful
and decorous. At the Royalty, in 1880, are Miss Kate Lawler and Mr.
Frank Wyatt; at the Gaiety are Mr. Dallas and Miss Gilchrist. In 1882,
Mr. Toole, who has not been seen in burlesque for some time, takes part
in a skit on rural melodrama. A year later Mr. Harry Monkhouse figures
at the Gaiety; Mr. E. D. Ward and Miss Marie Linden first show, at
Toole's, their talent for travestie; and Miss Laura Linden does the
same thing at the Strand. In 1884 Mr. Willie Edouin and Miss Alice
Atherton make, in "The Babes," their first joint success in London; and
Mr. Edward Terry and Miss Kate Vaughan appear at the Gaiety for the
last time in burlesque.

It is from this point that we may date the foundation of the New
Burlesque, to which I shall return in my last chapter. In the chapters
that immediately follow we shall be able to see how numerous were the
topics essayed by burlesque writers in the "palmy" days, and also with
how much wit and humour those writers were able, for the most part, to
charge the stories that they told and the pictures that they presented.



Planché was not only the founder of modern burlesque: he was the
originator, in particular, of that form of travestie which is commonly
described as "classical"--which deals with the characteristics and
adventures of the gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines, of the
Greek and Latin mythology and fable. It is true that comic pieces on
classical subjects had been played in England before Planché brought
out, at the Olympic, his "Olympic Revels"[6] (January 1831). But these
pieces were not burlesques in the present-century sense of the word.
Take, for example, the "Midas" of Kane O'Hara, which, produced in 1762,
remained popular for so many years, and will always be remembered as
including the once famous ditty:--

    Pray, goody, please to moderate the rancour of your tongue:
      Why flash those sparks of fury from your eyes?
    Remember, where the judgment's weak the prejudice is strong,
      A stranger why will you despise?

  [6] In "Olympic Revels," as in some other pieces, Planché had the
  valuable assistance of Charles Dance.

The gods and goddesses are presented in "Midas" in a light more or
less ludicrous, and the dialogue, songs, and choruses are flavoured
with contemporary allusion, more or less humorous. But the form given
to the work is that of the old-fashioned burletta. Indeed, the chief
merit of "Midas," from a historical point of view, lies in the fact
that it was its successful revival, with Mme. Vestris as Apollo, which,
coupled with the publication of Colman junior's story, "The Sun-Poker,"
suggested to Planché the composition of his first "classical"
burlesque. This had for subject the story of Prometheus and Pandora,
and was remarkable, not only for the smooth flow of its versification
and the general refinement of its tone, but also for the accuracy and
consistency of the costumes, which were throughout "classical," and
therefore in strong contrast to the haphazard, incongruous attire in
which "classical" characters had hitherto been exhibited on the comic

Prometheus and Pandora, I may note, figured later--in 1865--as the
leading personages in Mr. Reece's "Prometheus, or the Man on the
Rock,"[7] in which the writer differed from his predecessor in
admitting into his dialogue a large infusion of the punning element.
In this direction Mr. Reece has always been proficient. Here are a few
specimens of his work, picked out at random:--

  [7] Byron also wrote a burlesque in which Prometheus
  figures--"Pandora's Box," seen at the Prince of Wales's in 1866.

    "Those steeds of yours will burn my house some day.
    Fine animals."

                            "That leader came from Sestos;
    Stands _fire_ well, and so he counts _as best 'os_."

    "What! don't you think me handsome?"

                            "Not very.
    You've got _red hair_!"

                            "Well, that's _hair-red_-itary."

    "Why, darn your impudence!"

                            "There, stop your clatter.
    With all your _darning_ you'll not _mend_ the matter."

    "A couch that's made 'midst buttercups, he's shy on;
    The verdant sward how could a _dandy lie on_?"

    "You jeer at Pallas 'cos she's strict and staid.
    With all your _railing_ you'll need _Pallas' aid_!"

Planché's "Olympic Revels" proved so brilliantly successful that he was
encouraged to follow it up, at the end of the year, with a companion
composition--"Olympic Devils, or Orpheus and Eurydice." In this work,
James Bland, the son of the lady who "created" Planché's Coquetinda,
made his first appearance in burlesque, and among the female Bacchantes
who took part in the groupings was a clever young girl, named Leonora
Pincott, who was destined one day to be a great public favourite as
"Mrs. Alfred Wigan." In "Olympic Devils" Planché's style is seen to
excellent effect. Note, as an instance, the remarks addressed by Minos,
Lord _Low_ Chancellor, to the Fates:--

    I vow you Fates are most industrious spinsters!
    Miss Clotho there--man's destiny beginning--
    Life's thread at tea, like a tee-totum spinning.
    And then Miss Lachesis that same thread measures,
    Taking great pains, but giving little pleasures.
    Last comes Miss Atropos, her part fulfilling,
    And cuts poor mortals off without a shilling.
    The saddest sister of the fatal three,
    Daughter, indeed, of _shear_ necessity!
    Plying her awful task with due decorum,
    A never-ceasing game of "snip-snap-snorum"!
    For help, alas! man pleads to her in vain--
    Her motto's "Cut and _never_ come again."

Elsewhere Orpheus says to Eurydice:--

    I am a lunatic for lack of thee!
    Mad as a March hare--oh, _ma chère_ amie!

But Planché had a higher wit than that of punning. His satire and
sarcasm have an agreeable, because not too pungent, cynicism--as in
such little scraps of song as this (following upon the scene in which
Orpheus, hearing that his wife is flirting with Pluto, cannot resist
looking back at her and thus consigning her again to Pluto's tender

    _Orpheus._ I have looked back--in your snare I am caught, sir--
      Pluto, thou'st cut a fond pair to the core!
    Oh, have I come all this way to be taught, sir,
      That folks who would thrive must keep looking before?

    _Euryd._ You have looked back--in the snare you are caught, sir--
      They who cheat him, faith, have none to cheat more!
    A man of the world--have you yet to be taught, sir,
      When your wife flirts behind you, to look straight before?

In after years H. J. Byron wrote two burlesques on the legend of
Orpheus and his wife, both of them produced at the Strand Theatre,[8]
and it is notable that when Planché made, in 1865, at the Haymarket,
his last appearance as a writer of extravaganza, it fell to his lot to
treat once more of Orpheus and his surroundings.[9]

  [8] In 1863 and 1871.

  [9] "Orpheus in the Haymarket." An opera buffo, founded on the French
  of Hector Cremieux. Performed, with music by Offenbach, by David
  Fisher, W. Farren, Louise Keeley, Nelly Moore, and Miss H. Lindley.

Planché's third classical burlesque was "The Paphian Bower, or Venus
and Adonis," in which Benjamin Webster was seen for the first time in
this class of histrionic work. Mme. Vestris, of course, was Venus, and
in the course of the piece had to sing this eminently clever parody of
"Sally in our Alley":--

    Of all the swains that are so smart,
      I dearly love Adonis;
    And pit-a-pat will go my heart,
      Till he bone of my bone is.
    No buckskin'd beau of Melton Mow-
      bray rides so capitàlly.
    Oh, he's the darling of my heart,
      And he hunts in our valley!

    Jupiter and the neighbours all
      Make game of me and Doney;
    But, notwithstanding, I with him
      Contemplate matrimony.
    For he can play on the _cornet_,
      And sing most musically;
    And not a Duke in all the land
      Can beat him at "Aunt Sally."

Venus and Adonis have always been great favourites with the producers
of travestie. Among those who have made them the central figures of
burlesque are Mr. Burnand, whose work was brought out in 1864, and
Mr. Edward Rose, whose "Venus," written in collaboration with the Mr.
Augustus Harris, and first performed at the Royalty in 1879 (with Miss
Nelly Bromley as the heroine), was re-written for revival, and finally
taken as the foundation of a third production in 1880.

In "The Deep, Deep Sea," brought out in 1833, Planché selected as the
basis of his work the story of Perseus and Andromeda. He treated it
with his usual reverence for the original legend. He represented Juno
and the Nereids as being angry with King Cepheus, and sending the
sea-serpent to devastate his shores. James Vining played the Serpent,
and his approach was announced to the monarch in the following strain:--

    Mighty monarch, stir your stumps as if Old Nick were following:
      A serpent with an awful twist has landed on your shore;
    Our gallant soldiers, guns and all, by regiments he's swallowing;
      And munching up musicians and composers by the _score_!

    Of counsel learned in the law but _brief_ work he is making--
      Apothecaries just as they were pills, sir, he is taking;
    He snaps the parson right in two, as well as his oration;
      And ere the beadle bolts the door, he bolts the congregation!

    Mighty monarch, stir your stumps, for court and caravansary
      Are emptied of inhabitants all crazy with affright;
    The monster he is longer far than any suit in Chancery,
      And beats the Court of Aldermen, by chalks, for appetite!

The Serpent, when he arrives, introduces himself to the king in an
engaging fashion:--

    All bones but yours will rattle when I say
    I am the sea serpent from America.
    Mayhap you've heard that I've been round the world;
    I guess I'm round it now, mister, twice curled....
    Of all the monsters through the deep that splash,
    I'm "number one" to all immortal smash.
    When I lie down, and would my length unroll,
    There ar'n't half room enough 'twixt pole and pole.
    In short, I grow so long that I've a notion
    I must be measured soon for a new ocean.

The exaggeration which is so characteristic of American humour is here
happily satirised. In another passage, Perseus, addressing himself
to Andromeda, sings a neatly turned parody of "We met--'twas in a

    We met! 'twas at the ball,
      Upon last Easter Monday;
    I press'd you to be mine,
      And you said, "Perhaps, one day."
    I danced with you the whole
      Of that night, and you only;
    Ah, ne'er "cavalier seul"
      Felt more wretched and lonely.
    For when I squeezed your hand,
      As we turned one another,
    You frown'd and said, "Have done!
      Or I'll speak to my mother!"

    They called the Spanish dance,
      And we flew through it fleetly--
    'Twas o'er--I could not breathe,
      For you'd blown me completely.
    I led you to a seat
      Far away from the dancers;
    Quadrilles again began,
      They were playing "the Lancers";
    Again I squeezed your hand,
      And my anguish to smother
    You smiled, and said, "Dear Sir,
      _You_ may speak to my mother."

In 1861 Perseus and Andromeda reappeared upon the comic stage at the
instance of William Brough, who made them the hero and heroine of a
burlesque at the St. James's.

The story of Telemachus was the subject which engaged the attention of
Planché immediately after he had done with Perseus. Fénelon's tale had
become extremely familiar to the British schoolboy, who at that time
was not thought to have "grounded" himself sufficiently in French until
he had read the narrative in the original. Hence Planché's "Telemachus,
or the Island of Calypso,"[10] concerning which the author took
credit to himself once more for having "preserved the well-known
plot with the most reverential fidelity." Ten years later the same
subject was treated in the "Telemachus" of Stirling Coyne, played at
the Adelphi with Miss Woolgar in the title-part, Wright as Calypso (a
ballet-dancer!) and Paul Bedford as the hero's Mentor or "tor-Mentor."
In 1863 the story of the parents of Telemachus proved attractive to Mr.
Burnand, whose "Patient Penelope" made her curtsey at the Strand, to
be followed at the St. James's, two years later, by the same writer's

  [10] Played at the Olympic in 1834.

Still tracing the course of Planché's labours in burlesque, we come
next to the production, at the Haymarket in 1845, of "The Golden
Fleece"--perhaps, on the whole, the most delightful of the series.
In this ingenious and brilliant piece, the two parts of which were
entitled respectively "Jason in Colchis" and "Medea in Corinth,"
Planché had taken the narrative of Apollonius Rhodius and the tragedy
of Euripides, and had built upon them a composition in which he sought
less to cast ridicule upon the legends selected than to travestie what
he called "the _modus operandi_ of the classical period, which really
illustrates the old proverbial observation that there is but one step
from the sublime to the ridiculous." He brought again upon the stage
the ancient Chorus, incarnated in a single person, who explained the
action of the piece as it went on, not hesitating even to interrupt
it when the humorous opportunity occurred. Charles Mathews undertook
the part, heralded by a jocose announcement on the "bills" to the
effect that "The lessee has, regardless of expense, engaged Mr. Charles
Mathews to represent the whole body of the chorus, rendering at least
fifty-nine male voices entirely unnecessary." In the opening scene, the
Chorus thus described his functions:--

    Friends, countrymen, lovers, first listen to me:
    I'm the Chorus; _whatever_ you hear or you see
    That you don't understand, I shall rise to explain--
    It's a famous old fashion that's come up again,
    And will be of great service to many fine plays
    That nobody can understand nowadays;
    And think what a blessing if found intervening,
    When the author himself scarcely knows his own meaning.
    You may reap from it, too, an advantage still further:
    When an actor is bent upon marriage or murther,
    To the Chorus his scheme he in confidence mentions,
    'Stead of telling the pit all his secret intentions;
    A wondrous improvement you all will admit,
    And the secret is just as well heard by the pit.
    _Verbum sat._--To the wise I'll not put one more word in,
    Or instead of a Chorus, they'll think me a _burden_.

Later in the piece, announcing the approach of King Æetes (Bland), the
Chorus interposed with:--

    Æetes comes, looking as black as thunder,
    And when you hear the cause you'll say "No wonder";
    For Jason, aided by Medea's spell,
    Has done the trick, and done the King as well.
    You'll think, perhaps, you should have seen him do it,
    But 't isn't classical--you'll hear, not view it.
    Whatever taxed their talents or their means,
    These sly old Grecians did _behind_ the scenes;
    So, fired with their example, boldly we
    Beg you'll suppose whate'er you wish to see.

Elsewhere occurred this famous bit of badinage between King and

    _Chorus._ Be calm, great King--'tis destiny's decree.

    _Æetes._ How dare you talk of destiny to me!
    What right have you with such advice to bore us?

    _Chorus._ Sir, I'm the Chorus.

    _Æetes._                  Sir, you're indecorous.

In the course of the piece Mathews sang, among other things, an
excellent ditty, to the tune of "The Tight Little Island":--

      'Twas very ungrateful, you'll say, sir,
      But, alas! of the world it's the way, sir,
    When all a friend can, you have done for a man,
      He'll cut you quite dead the next day, sir.

But perhaps the most successful parody in "The Golden Fleece" was that
on "The Fine Old English Gentleman," assigned to Mme. Vestris as Medea.
This is worth quoting in full:--

    I'll tell you a sad tale of the life I've been led of late,
    By the false Boeotian Boatswain, of whom I am the mate:
    Who quite forgets the time when I pitied his hard fate
    And he swore eternal constancy by all his gods so great;
                  Like a fine young Grecian gentleman,
                  One of the classic time!

    Now he lives in a fine lodging, in the palace over there,
    Whilst I and his poor children are poked in a back two-pair;
    And though he knows I've scarcely got a second gown to wear,
    He squanders on another woman every farthing he's got to spare,
                  Like a false young Grecian gentleman,
                  One of the classic time.

    He leaves me to darn his stockings, and mope in the house all day,
    Whilst he treats her to see "Antigone," with a box at the Grecian play,
    Then goes off to sup with Corinthian Tom, or whoever he meets by the
    And staggers home in a state of beer, like (I'm quite ashamed to say)
                  A fine young Grecian gentleman,
                  One of the classic time.

    Then his head aches all the next day, and he calls the children a
      plague and a curse,
    And makes a jest of my misery, and says, "I took him for better or
    And if I venture to grumble, he talks, as a matter of course,
    Of going to Modern Athens, and getting a Scotch divorce!
                  Like a base young Grecian gentleman,
                  One of the classic time.

"Medea," it will be remembered, was the title and subject of a
burlesque by Robert Brough, brought out at the Olympic in 1856, with
Robson in the title-part, Emery as Creon (King of Corinth), and Julia
St. George as Jason. Medea ("the best of mothers, with a brute of a
husband," as the sub-title has it) was one of Robson's most impressive
_rôles_, being charged at more than one point (notably in the closing
scene, which was played by all the characters in serious fashion) with
real tragic intensity. In the lighter vein were such episodes as the
duet with Jason (to the air of "Robinson Crusoe"), which I quote as
illustrative of the neatness and humour with which Brough constructed
such trifles:--

    _Medea._ I have done for this man
            All that tenderness can,
    I have followed him half the world through, sir;
            I've not seen him this year,
            And the first thing I hear
    Is "he's going to marry Creusa."
            Going to marry Creusa,
            Going to marry Creusa,
            Ting a ting ting!
            Ting a ting ting!
    All I can say, sir, is, _do_, sir.

    _Jason._ If you'll take my advice,
            You'll pack up in a trice,
    Nor of time to pack off be a loser;
            For the popular wrath
            Will be likely to froth
    'Gainst a foe to myself or Creusa.
            I am going to marry Creusa,
    And, believe me, the best thing for you's a
            Fast ship to bespeak,
            And some desert isle seek,
    Like a sort of she Robinson Cruiser.

The last of Planché's classical burlesques was produced at the Lyceum
in 1848. It was on the subject of "Theseus and Ariadne," and was
fortunate in the services of Charles Mathews as Dædalus. In this
character Mathews sang a song which Planché had written for private
performance and had brought "down to date" for the occasion. It is one
of the happiest _mélanges_ ever put together, beginning--

    I'm still in a flutter--I scarcely can utter
      The words to my tongue that come dancing--come dancing;
    I've had such a dream that I'm sure it must seem
      To incredulous ears like romancing--romancing.
    No doubt it was brought on by that Madame Wharton,
      Who muddled me quite with her models--her models;
    Or Madame Tussaud, who in waxwork can show
      Of all possible people the noddles--the noddles.

The only song, of the kind, worthy to compare with this, is the
description of the Heavy Dragoon sung by Colonel Calverly in the
"Patience" of Mr. Gilbert, who, as a master of light badinage and
intricate rhythm and rhyme, is the lineal descendant of the author of
"Theseus and Ariadne."

After Planché, the most notable of the deceased writers of "classical"
burlesque is undoubtedly Francis Talfourd. Planché's knowledge of the
Greek mythology and drama was admittedly derived from translations
and from dictionaries; Talfourd was a university man, and had an
at-first-hand acquaintance with the masterpieces which he so skilfully
travestied. The marks of this are visible in all his "classical"
pieces, and notably in the first of them--"Alcestis, the Original
Strong-minded Woman, being a most Shameless Misinterpretation of the
Greek drama of Euripides." This was played at the Strand in 1850. The
"argument" prefixed to it is an excellent bit of punning:--

 Admetus, being due to Death, and as such totally unprepared to take
 himself up, is about to betake himself down, according to previous
 arrangement, when Orcus, who had meanwhile been trying his mean wiles
 on Alcestis (Admetus' very much better half), expresses himself
 willing to receive her as a substitute; her husband, friends, and
 relations not feeling quite so disposed to be disposed of. Alcestis,
 however, consents, packs up her traps, and then obligingly goes
 packing down those of Orcus. At this melancholy juncture, Hercules
 chances to be passing through Thessaly, on his return from his
 provincial engagements, and, having a knack of turning up a trump at a
 _rub_, plays his club so judiciously as to retake the queen, in spite
 of the deuce, and restores her to her family and friends.

In the dialogue of "Alcestis" we have such quips as these:--

    E'en like a detonator down he goes
    To pay the _debt o' natur_ which he owes.

    To curb my rising love I idly tries,
    I _eyes the idol_ that I _idolise_!

    I may be captivating; but Death, stronger,
    Will not be _kept-a-vaiting_ any longer.

    I'd no time to aggravate Mamma,
    Or make my _Pa_ my _foe_ by a _faux pas_!

In one place Alcestis, apropos of the marriage which is being forced
upon her, cries bitterly:--

    Why was I ever _saddled_ with this _bridal_?

Phædra sings a parody on "I'm afloat, I'm afloat!":--

    I'm a flirt, I'm a flirt, yet on thirty's bright side,
    And numbers have offer'd to make me their bride;
    Yet, though suitors don't flag in attention to me,
    I'm a flirt, I'm a flirt, and my hand is yet free!

In 1851 came "Thetis and Peleus," in which Talfourd had a collaborator.
In 1857 he produced, at the Haymarket, "Atalanta, or the Three Golden
Apples," inserting in the "bill" a comic note to the effect that "Lest
he should be accused of murdering a good subject, the Author begs to
state that it was FOUN' DED from unknown causes many years ago." Miss
Oliver was the Atalanta, and Miss Wilton the Cupid. Among the other
characters is Mississarris, Atalanta's duenna, "the Guard of the Old
Greek Stage, with, in this instance, an eye to the Males, subsequently
attached to the old Coach, Paidagogos," played by Compton. One of
the cleverest scenes in the piece is designed and written in parody
of the balcony scene in "Romeo and Juliet." Hippomenes, the hero, is
seen climbing "over the garden wall," guitar in hand. Descending, he

    He jests at scars who ne'er in climbing hit upon
    A place with spikes and broken glass to sit upon.
    But soft, a light!--where lights are there's a liver.
    'Tis she! I'll try a gentle hint to give her
    Upon my mandoline, though I'm afraid
    I'm somewhat too hoarse for a serenade.
    This night air is too musical by far,
    And on my chest has struck a light _catarrh_....
    Ah, see! The window opens--it is she,
    More fair than ever in her _robe de nuit_.

    (_Atalanta appears on balcony above._)

    She speaks--yet nothing says! She's not to blame,
    Members of Parliament do much the same.
    Her mouth rests on her hand--I'm not above
    Wishing I were upon that hand a glove.
    Gladly the storms of Poverty I'd weather,
    So we might live from hand to mouth together!

Elsewhere Hippomenes delivers himself of a superexcellent pun. Some one
says to him, referring to his studies,--"But think of your degree"; to
which he replies:--

                      I do--and see
    'Tis a _degree_ too _far-in-height_ for me.

After "Atalanta"[11] came Talfourd's "Pluto and Proserpine, or the
Belle and the Pomegranate," played at the Haymarket in 1858, and his
"Electra in an Electric Light," performed at the Haymarket the year
following. In "Pluto and Proserpine," as in his other pieces, the
original myth is followed closely. One passage supplies a happy parody
of the famous "palace-lifting-to-eternal-summer" speech in "The Lady of
Lyons." Pluto has appeared to Proserpine as a young man, and has laid
siege to her heart in proper form. He is careful not to disclose his
identity. At last Proserpine says:--

  [11] Of recent years Atalanta has been made the heroine of a burlesque
  by Mr. G. P. Hawtrey. Of this I give some account in my final chapter
  on "The New Burlesque."

    But I must know at least, sir, where you lodge.

    _Pluto_ (_aside_). I'll try the popular Claude Melnotte dodge.

    (_Walks her across the stage, as Claude does Pauline._)

    If, therefore, dearest, you would have me paint
    My residence exactly (_aside_) as it ain't,
    (_Aloud_) I would entreat you, Proserpine, to come where
    A palace lifting to eternal--somewhere--
    Its marble halls invites us.

    _Proserp._                    By-the-bye,
    Where is this place?

    _Pluto_ (_embarrassed_). In the Isle of Skye.
    Thy days all cloudless sunshine shall remain,
    For on our pleasure we will ne'er draw _rein_;
    At noon we'd sit beneath the vine-arched bowers,
    And, losing all our calculating powers,
    Think days but minutes--reckoning time by _ours_;
    Darkness shall be at once with light replaced,
    When my hand lights on that light taper waist;
    Our friends shall all true constant lovers be
    (So we should not be bored with company);
    Love's Entertainments only would we seek,
    And, sending up to Mudie's once a week,
    No tales that were not Lover's we'd bespeak,
    No sentiments in which we were not sharers
    (Think what a lot of rubbish that would spare us)....
    Dost like the picture, love, or are you bored?

    _Proserp._ Beautiful!

    _Pluto_ (_aside_).   'Tis a copy after _Claude_.

"Pluto and Proserpine" has the usual supply of puns, as in the
following couplet:--

    _Diana._ You never weigh a word, dear, you're so wild.

    _Proserp._ You used to call me such a _wayward_ child.

But Talfourd, like Planché, could rise above mere _jeux d'esprit_, and
furnish, when necessary, bits of persiflage which deserve to linger in
the memory. Thus, in one of the scenes, Pluto addresses Cerberus in a
fashion intended to suggest Launce's colloquy with his dog in "The Two
Gentlemen of Verona":--

    You've yet to learn the notions of propriety,
    Observed by dogs in upper-air society;
    So I'll exhibit in a bird's eye view
    Th' ordeal well-bred puppies must go through.
    Your thoughts you show too openly--on earth
    They oft are saddest who display most mirth;
    You must by no means growl to mark resentment,
    Or wag your tail in token of contentment;
    When most you're doing wrong, be most polite,
    And ne'er your teeth show _less_ than when you bite,
    So may you still enjoy, when youth is past,
    The sunshine of your dog-days to the last.

I have already referred to three classical burlesques by H. J. Byron. A
fourth exists in the "original classical pastoral" called "Pan," which
first saw the light at the Adelphi in 1865. Pan, it may be recorded,
was impersonated by Mr. J. L. Toole. He had a good deal to say, and
much of it was in the form of _jeux de mots_. Take, for example, the
passage in which Pan discovers that Syrinx, whom he loves, is in love
with Narcissus. He calls down thunder from the skies; and then follows
this tirade:--

    _Narcissus._ What means this sudden dreadful change, I wonder?

    _Pan._ It means, great Pan is outraged!

    _Omnes._ Pan!

    _Pan._ Ah, Pan!

    Beware his hate and jealousy, young man.
    Blight shall o'erwhelm ye! See, your native corn
    Turns into ashes with my withering scorn.
    Your wheat shall shrink and shrivel, every sheaf;
    Your cattle swell the _cattle_logue of grief;
    With murrain all your sheep rot in their pens,
    The pip shall finish all your cocks and hens;
    Dry rot shall spoil your flails, your ploughs, and harrows,
    Break up your waggons; even your _wheel_-barrows
    Shall come to _woe_.
    Your land shall grow so hard, in vain you tills.
    Like lazy volunteers, with weakish wills,
    It will object to being _bored_ by _drills_.
    Your turnip-tops shan't spring up from the roots,
    Your rye shall grow awry, your corn shan't shoot,
    Your peas, towards which the Arcadian feeder leans,
    Become things of the _past_, and all turn _beans_,
    Ha, ha! the prospect cuts you to the core,
    Probes, punctures, penetrates.--Pour, torrents, pour!
    Descend, ye hailstones, bumpers, thumpers, fizzers;
    It cuts you like a _knife_, doesn't it, Nar-_scissors_?

This is a very fair specimen of Byron's rather careless method; and
another is at hand in the following lines, which are spoken after the
Carian captain has shown to Pan a jar of wine:--

    _Captain._ That's wine.

    _Pan._                 What's wine?

    _Captain._             A fluid very rare;
    It's unknown here; we bring it from afar;
    Don't speak a word of thanks--there, hold your _jar_....

    _Pan._ The jar's a most uncommon sort of shape,
    (_Smells it_) Oh, oh! may I be shot if it ain't grape!

    [_Tastes it, and smacks his lips._

    Gollopshus! (_drinks_). More gollopshus than the first!
    It quenches, yet somehow increases, thirst.
    (_Drinks_) Talk about nectar. These celestial fellers
    Have no such drink as this stuff in their cellars.
    I must bid Ganymede to earth to fly--
    Ganymede, brin-_g an immed_-iate supply.

    [_Drinks, and becomes gradually elevated--hiccups._

    Nectar celestial drink's supposed to be;
    It's called divine--this is _de vine_ for me!
    (_Sings_) We'll drown it in the bowl! (_Staggers_) I see two bottles!
    I only wish I'd got a pair of throttles!
    My, everything's in two! As for that there tree,
    It was a single tree, it's now a _pair_ tree.
    That bay I thought Arcadian--but, I say,
    It seems to me, my friend, you're _Dublin_ bay.
    Fact, 'tis a pair of bays. The earth seems reeling,
    While this is still so gently o'er me stealing.

To the burlesques by William Brough already mentioned may be added
"Endymion, or the Naughty Boy who cried for the Moon" (St. James's,
1860), and "Pygmalion, or the Statue Fair" (Strand, 1867). The
former,[12] of course, has to do with the fabled fondness of Diana for
Endymion, and _vice versâ_. The goddess sees the youth lying asleep
upon Mount Latmos, and, descending, kisses him:-

  [12] Miss Herbert was Diana, and Miss Kate Terry one of the nymphs
  attending on her. Charles Young was Actæon; Belmore, Pan.

    Strange weakness--thus my beams so bright to dim!
    I should _be more_ myself--not _beam o'er_ him.
    The gods all mock my silvery splendour paling;
    Not silvery, but irony, _their_ railing.
    Paling and railing!--what dread fears that calls up,
    Their _bitter raillery_ suggesting _All's up_!

Before Endymion has seen Diana, he is asked by Actæon whether he is in
love; to which he replies:-

                Oh, no! We men of fashion
    Have long ago forsworn the tender passion.
    We can't afford it.

    _Actæ._                       Why not?

    _Endym._                      Well, a wife
    May suit folks in the lower walks of life;
    But in our station, what girls seek in marriage
    Is not a _walk_ in life;--they want a carriage.
    Then, what with dress and crinoline extensive,
    The sex which should be _dear_ becomes _expensive_.
    Once hearts were trumps;--that suit no more we follow;
    Since a good suit of diamonds beats them hollow.

Here he drops into a parody of "Our Hearts are not our Own to Give":--

    Our hearts we've not alone to give,
      When we to wed incline;
    In lowly cots on love to live,
      In poetry sounds fine.

    But folks to live on love have ceased;
      Our hearts when we'd bestow,
    Some hundreds sterling, at the least,
      Should with the fond hearts go.

When, again, Actæon asks Endymion whether he ever shoots, he replies,
"No, I don't care about it":--

    _Actæ._ Not care for shooting, man? What's life without it?
    All nature shoots. Say, what's the earliest thing
    Boys learn at school? Why, shooting in the ring.
    The seed you sow must shoot before it grows;
    We feel the very corns shoot on our toes.
    We shoot our bolts, our game, our foes--what not?
    We're told where even rubbish may be shot.
    The stars shoot in the sky--nay, I've heard say,
    Folks sometimes shoot the moon on quarter-day.

Among the _personæ_ in the piece is Pan, whom we find addressing the
fauns in this punning style:--

    Oh long-ear'd, but short-sighted fauns, desist;
    To the great Pan, ye little pitchers, list;
    Pan knows a thing or two. In point of fact,
    He's a deep Pan--and anything but cracked.
    A perfect oracle Pan deems himself; he
    Is earthenwarish--so, of course, is _delfy_.
    Trust, then, to Pan your troubles to remove;
    A warming-Pan he'll to your courage prove.
    A prophet, he foresees the ills you'd fear;
    So for them all you have your _Pan-a-seer_.

In "Pygmalion"[13] we are asked to suppose that Venus is indignant with
the sculptor for his lack of susceptibility to female charms. Cupid
therefore undertakes to punish him by making him fall in love with his
new statue, Galatea. To this statue Venus, at Pygmalion's request,
gives life; but she withholds the power of loving. Galatea, therefore,
is for ever slighting the sculptor's affection. Here is the opening of
their first interview, which the curious may compare with the similar
situation in Mr. Gilbert's "Pygmalion and Galatea:"--

  [13] Miss Raynham was the hero; Mr. David James, his apprentice
  Cambyses; Mr. Thomas Thorne, the Princess Mandane; Miss Ada
  Swanborough, Venus; Miss Elsie Holt, Cupid; and Miss Eliza Johnstone,

    _Pygmal._ My beautiful--my own! (_embracing her_).

    _Statue._                      Oh! don't, sir, please;
    I'm sure I'm much too soft to stand a squeeze.

    _Pygmal._ Too soft! What mean you?

    _Statue._                      Nay, I hardly know.
    I was so firm and hard an hour ago;
    Suddenly I grew soft----

    _Pygmal._            Nay, speak no farder.
    You're getting softer but renews my (h)_ardour_;
    Unrivalled maid!

    _Statue._          You rivals talk about,
    Who've done your best yourself to cut me out;
    With chisel--mallet--sir, 'tis my conviction,
    Your mallet ought to have my _mallet_-diction.

    _Pygmal._ Your sculptor, _amorous_, implores you madly.

    _Statue._ Yes! sculptors (h)_ammer-us_ poor statues sadly;
    Yet I ne'er felt it till an hour ago;
    I _stood, heigho!_ there in your _stud-i-o_,
    Within a niche!

    _Pygmal._        Speak on, oh form bewitching!

    _Statue._ Standing the _niche-in_, straight I felt _an itching_;
    Throughout my frame a feeling seemed to tingle,
    Bade me go forth with human kind to mingle.

    _Pygmal._ Oh, joy! 'twas life! and life you must go through
    with me.

    _Statue._ Well, having made me, what d'ye mean to do with me?
    Of course I can't _disparage_ what you've done;
    But say, can I _dis parish_ claim upon?
    Or must I trust of casual wards the mercy?
    Have I a settlement, or _vice versy?_

    _Pygmal._ Come to my arms!

    _Statue._              Nay, as the matter stands,
    It's not your arms--I'm left upon your hands.
    What's to be done with me? I never sought
    Into a human figure to be wrought.
    You're great at figures; I, a wretched sad stone,
    Know nought of figures--I'm far from a Glad-stone!

In the end, Psyche infuses soul into Galatea, and she and the sculptor
understand each other.

In 1883 Mr. H. P. Stephens submitted to Gaiety audiences a one-act
piece which he called "Galatea, or Pygmalion Re-versed." In this
Galatea was the sculptor, and Pygmalion the statue; and with Miss
Farren as the former, and Mr. Edward Terry as the latter, the result
was eminently laughable. Cynisca, by the way, was turned into a man
(Cyniscos), and was played by Elton.

Two mythological burlesques stand to the credit of Gilbert Abbott
a'Beckett--"The Son of the Sun, or the Fate of Phaeton," played at the
Fitzroy Theatre so long ago as 1834; and "The Three Graces," a two-act
piece, seen at the Princess's in 1843, with Oxberry, Wright, and
Paul Bedford in the cast. Both of these travesties are very smoothly
and gracefully written, with fewer puns than the author afterwards
permitted himself. "The Three Graces," moreover, is not very prolific
in contemporary allusion; though here and there, as in the following
passage, between the heroines--Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne--there is
some gentle satire:--

    _Agl._ Euphrosyne, we shall be miss'd by Venus.

    _Eup._ With her we easily can make our peace,
    If something, her attractions to increase,
    We take from earth.

    _Agl._             Why, yes, that's very true,
    If we could only meet with something new.

    _Eup._ That mixture for the hair, what is it call'd?
    It's advertised as "solace for the bald."

    _Agl._ I'll take her some of that.

    _Eup._                             Or what's that's stuff--
    For which, I saw the other day a puff?
    Something to be upon the features sprinkled,
    And offering "Consolation to the wrinkled."

    _Tha._ Venus don't want such aids.

    _Eup._                             That's very true;
    Want them, indeed! the ladies never do;
    But when such little purchases are made,
    Of course 'tis only to encourage trade.

    _Agl._ They've got on earth a very odd idea
    Of what the Graces really are, I fear.

    _Eup._ They have indeed: I chanced one day to go
    Into a first-rate milliner's _depôt_,
    That is _par excellence_--the first of places
    To meet with earthly notions of the Graces.

    _Agl._ That's very true--and there what did you see?

    _Eup._ Things unbecoming either of us three.

    _Agl._ What wear they on their heads? I think I've known
    Mortals who've dress'd them something like our own.

    _Eup._ Bonnets they lately wore, but oh, so small,
    They nearly dwindled into none at all.

In "The Son of the Sun" there is an episode which helps to illustrate
the condition of the drama in London at that period (1834). Apollo is
questioning the Muses who have just returned from London to Olympus:--

    _Apol._ Euterpe, Music's Muse, I understand
    That you had lodgings somewhere in the Strand.

    _Eut._ Oh! the Lyceum! Yes; I had a bout of it
    For a short time, until they burnt me out of it.

    _Apol._ Melpomene, Thalia,--still remain
    Your temples, I suppose, near Drury Lane?

    _Thal._ Our temples! Yes; as usual they stand,
    Extensively superb, and coldly grand.
    But, oh! the worship's wholly chang'd! Ah me! it is
    A cruel thing--they've turn'd out us poor deities.

    [Illustration: F. C. BURNAND.]

    My friend Melpomene's dagger, and her bowl,
    Are in the clutches of a noisy soul
    With Madame Melodrama for her name.

    _Apol._ That's downright usurpation.

    _All._                               Shame! oh, shame!

    _Thal._ And as for me, my place--a pretty pass!--
    Is taken by a vulgar thing, called Farce.

    _Apol._ But where is Shakspeare?

    _Thal._                          Bless me, don't you know?
    Shakspeare is trampled on.

    _Apol._              By whom?

    _Thal._                      Ducrow.

Mr. Burnand has written more "classical" burlesques than any man living
or dead. A university man, like Talfourd, he has displayed complete
mastery of mythologic themes, submitting them to ingenious perversion,
and adorning them with a wealth of pun and parody of which it is
impossible, in these brief limits, to give more than a few samples. He
has shown special interest in the legends connected with the siege of
Troy,[14] producing three burlesques more or less connected with that
event. First, in 1860, came "Dido," at the St. James's, with Charles
Young as the heroine; next, in 1866, "Paris, or Vive Lemprière," at
the Strand;[15] next, in 1867, "The Latest Edition of Helen, or Taken
from the Greek," at Liverpool.[16] Helen of Troy, I may note, _en
parenthèse_, had been the heroine of two other travesties: one by
Vincent Amcotts--"Fair Helen" (Oxford, 1862); the other by Mr. Robert
Reece--"Our Helen" (Gaiety, 1884).

  [14] "The Siege of Troy," by the way, was the title and subject of a
  burlesque by Robert Brough (Lyceum, 1858).

  [15] Paris, Miss Raynham; OEnone, Mr. Thomas Thorne; Castor, Mr.
  David James; Orion, J. D. Stoyle; Venus, Miss A. Swanborough; Juno,
  Maria Simpson; Jupiter, Miss Eliza Johnstone.

  [16] Paris, Miss Raynham; Helen, Miss Furtado. "Helen" is described by
  the writer as a "companion picture to 'Paris,'"

In "Dido," Mr. Burnand's genius for word-play is agreeably manifested.
I take some lines at random:--

    "Æneas, son of Venus, sails the sea,
    Mighty and _high_."

                            "As _Venus' son_ should be."

    On the sea-shore, dear, I've just come from walking,
    Studying my fav'rite poets. Need I tell ye
    The works I read were those of _Crabbe_ and _Shelley_?

    It is the Queen--of life she seems aweary;
    And mad as _Lear_, looking just as _leary_.
    A riddle strikes me: "Why's she thus behaving,
    Just like a bird of night?" "'Cos she's a _raving_."

    Mad as a March hare. It is the fate
    Of _hares_ to be then in a _rabid_ state.

    "I ne'er shall move as heretofore so gaily,
    I feel quite ill and dizzy."

                                "_Dizzy? Raly?_"

Æneas comes on first as a begging sailor, with "I'm starving" inscribed
on a paper suspended from his neck. He strikes up a song, but soon
stops it:--

    What? no one here? Thy singing vain appears.
    Land may have _necks_ and _tongues_--it has no _ears_.
    None to be done, and nothing here to do.

    [_Takes off begging paper_.]

    "I'm starving." Ah, it happens to be true!
    On air I cannot feed, howe'er one stuffs,
    Not even when it comes to me in _puffs_.
    I wonder what's become of our small party,
    Who, yesterday, were sailing well and hearty?
    I saw our shipwrecked crew sink in the _bay_;
    'Twould be a subject fit for _Frith_, R.A.
    And if the shore last night they failed in gaining,
    I am the only _Landseer_ now remaining.
    Being no gambler, I'll ne'er trust again
    My fortunes to the chances of the _main_.

In 1863 Mr. Burnand brought out, at the Royalty, "Ixion, or the Man at
the Wheel,"[17] which proved to be one of the happiest of his efforts.
This he followed up, at the same theatre, two years later, with
"Pirithous," in which the adventures of Ixion's son were as humorously
depicted. In the interval he had produced at the Olympic "Cupid and
Psyche" (December, 1864), a burlesque on an ever-popular subject. Years
before--so early as 1837--a piece called "Cupid," written by Joseph
Graves, had been represented at the Queen's and Strand, with Wild and
Miss Malcolm at the one house and Hammond and Miss Daly at the other
as the God of Love and his beloved. In "Cupid," however, there was
little verbal wit. The god figured as a gay deceiver, who had promised
marriage to Psyche, but had refused to "implement" the undertaking.
Whereupon Jupiter decides that Cupid shall be shot dead by Psyche; but
she, using the god's own arrows, does but transfix him with the love
she yearns for. Cupid sings, early in the piece, a parody of "The Sea!
the Sea!" beginning--

  [17] See p. 40. Eleven years later, Mr. Burnand wrote for the Opera
  Comique his "Ixion Re-Wheeled," the cast of which included, beside Miss
  Laverne, Miss Amy Sheridan and Miss Eleanor Bufton.

    Psyché! Psyché! my own Psyché,
    The pretty, fair, and ever free!--

But, otherwise, Graves's "book" is not particularly brilliant, Though
smoothly written and fairly brisk in action.

In "Cupid and Psyche" Mr. Burnand made Psyche the daughter of a king,
who, because she will not marry and thus relieve him of the anxiety
caused by a certain Prophecy, chains her to a rock on the sea-shore.
To this he is incited by Venus, who regards Psyche as her rival in
beauty. Psyche is duly rescued and espoused by Cupid, who (as in the
old myth) remains invisible to her until her curiosity gets the better
of her prudence; and, in the end, Venus abates her enmity, and the
union of the pair is duly recognised. In one place, Psyche, entering,
distractedly, in search of Cupid, cries:--

    A river! I debate with myself wedder
    I'll end my _tale_ with a sensation _header_
    From a small boat. It could not clear the reeds;
    One cannot make a_n oar way_ through these _s_(_weeds_).
    Why should I live? Alas, from me forlorn
    Each lad turns on his _heel_ to show his (s)_corn_!
    The county lads to me make no advances;
    The county girls avert their _county-nances_.
    Counties! (_struck with an idea_) I'll drown myself,--
                                   Down hesitation!
    Nor men, _nor folk_, shall stop my _suffoc_-ation!

Elsewhere Mars says to Cupid:--

                  Stop, you ill-bred little pup!
    Is this the way an 'Arrow boy's brought up?
    Your conduct would disgrace the lowest Cretan.

    _Bacchus._ "An 'Arrow boy!"--egad, that joke's a n_eat 'un_.

At another point Cupid himself says that

                          A _yawn_, however gentle,
    Is to the face not ver_y orn_amental.

At the very end of the piece, there is a skilful bit of rhyming. Psyche
"comes down" and says:--

                                    Now, stupid--
    Why don't you speak the tag and finish, Cupid?

    _Cupid._ Because I'm in a fix, my charming friend.

    _Psyche._ How so?

    _Cupid._          The piece with your name ought to end;
    And, though I should give all my mind and time to it,
    I know that I shan't get a word to rhyme to it.

    _King_ (_cleverly_). There's Bikey.

    _Bacchus_ (_as if he'd hit it--rather_). Dikey!

    _Zephyr_ (_suggestively_). Fikey!

    _Venus_ (_authoritatively_). Likey!

    _Cupid_ (_who has shaken his head at each suggestion_). Pooh!

    _Chrysalis._ Oh! (_every one interested, as if she'd got it now_)
    Crikey! (_every one disgusted_).

    _Psyche._ Ma'am, that's vulgar, and won't do.

    _Grubbe_ (_calmly and complacently_). Ikey!

    _Cupid._ Absurd. I yield it in despair.

    Come--the finale; I'll commence the air (_sings two very high
    notes_--_all shake their heads_).

    _Mars._ Oh no! we cannot sing in such a high key.

    _Cupid_ (_joyfully to Psyche, catching the rhyme at once_). That's it.
    (_takes her hand--to audience_). Pray smile on Cupid.

    _Psyche._                                And on Psyché.

Among other "classical" burlesques may be mentioned Mr. Burnand's
"Arion," seen at the Strand in 1871, with Mr. Edward Terry, Mr. Harry
Paulton, and Miss Augusta Thomson; and H. B. Farnie's "Vesta," produced
at the St. James's in the same year, with Mr. John Wood and Mr. Lionel
Brough. Mr. Burnand's "Sappho" (1866), and "Olympic Games" (1867), also
call for mention. John Brougham's "Life in the Clouds" belongs to 1840;
Tom Taylor's "Diogenes and his Lantern" to 1849; the Brothers Brough's
"Sphinx" to the same year; William Brough's "Hercules and Omphale" to
1864; and Mr. Reece's "Agamemnon and Cassandra, or The Prophet and Loss
of Troy," to 1868.



As Planché was, in effect, the Father of Classical Burlesque, so was he
also, even more irrefragably, the Father of the Burlesque of Faërie--of
the fairy tales of the nursery, and especially of those derived from
French sources. Memorable, indeed, was the production of Planché's
"Riquet with the Tuft[18]"; this piece was the precursor of something
like twenty others from the same pen, all written on the same principle
and in the same vein. Planché had been to Paris, and had there seen
Potier playing in "Riquet à la Houppe." He came home and straightway
wrote his own version of the story, partly in verse, partly in prose,
having in Charles Mathews a Riquet not equal indeed to Potier, but with
obvious merits of his own. Vestris was the Princess Emeralda, and James
Bland Green Horn the Great--Rebecca Isaacs, then only a little girl,
being the Mother Bunch. The result was complete success, carrying with
it great encouragement to the dramatist to persevere in the new path on
which he had entered.

  [18] At the Olympic in 1836.

These fairy pieces of Planché's were not burlesques quite in the sense
in which his classical pieces were, but they belong, nevertheless,
to the burlesque _genre_. Each treats lightly and humorously a story
already in existence; each includes parodies of popular lyrics, as well
as songs written to the airs of popular ditties; and the burlesque
spirit animates the whole. Every now and then, the writer, rising
superior to parody, produces a lyric which has a definite accent of its
own. Here, for example, in "Riquet with the Tuft," is a song accorded
to the grotesque and misshapen hero. It has genuine wit as well as
genial philosophy:--

    I'm a strange-looking person, I am,
      But contentment for ever my guest is;
    I'm by habit an optimist grown,
      And fancy that all for the best is.
    Each man has of troubles his pack,
      And some round their aching hearts wear it;
    My burden is placed on my back,
      Where I'm much better able to bear it.

    Again, tho' I'm blind of one eye,
      And have but one ear that of use is,
    I but half the world's wickedness spy,
      And am deaf to one half its abuses;
    And tho' with this odd pair of pegs,
      My motions I own serpentine are,
    Many folks blest with handsomer legs
      Have ways much more crooked than mine are!

    Nature gave me but one tuft of hair,
      Yet wherefore, kind dame, should I flout her?
    If one side of my head must be bare,
      I'm delighted she's chosen the outer!
    Thus on all things I put a good face,
      And however misshapen in feature,
    My heart, girl, is in the right place,
      And warms towards each fellow-creature!

The origin of "Riquet with the Tuft" is to be found in Perrault's
"Contes de ma Mère l'Oye." Planché went to the same source for his
"Puss in Boots: an original, comical, _mews_-ical fairy burletta"
(Olympic, 1837), in which Charles Mathews was an incomparable Puss,
with Bland as Pumpkin the Prodigious, Vestris as the Marquis of
Carabas, and Brougham as a very Irish ogre. In this there was a good
deal of prose dialogue, of which the following scene between Puss and
the three maids-of-honour may be taken as a diverting specimen:--

    _Chatterina._ You're in the army, I presume?

    _Puss._ No, ma'am.

    _Chatt._ Why, you wear moustaches.

    _Puss._ Yes, ma'am, yes; but that's because--because I can't help it,
    you see. I belong to a club, and all the members are obliged to wear

    _Chatt._ What club?

    _Puss._ It's a sort of Catch Club.

    _Arietta._ What, musical?

    _Puss._ Very.

    _Ari._ And where do you meet?

    _Puss._ We meet alternately upon each other's roof.

    _Skipperella._ _Upon_ each other's roof?--that's quite a new step.

    _Puss._ I beg pardon, did I say _upon_? I meant _under_.

    _Ari._ You can sing, then?

    _Puss._ I can squall a little, _à la_ Cat-oni.

    _Ari._ Who taught you?

    _Puss._ Cat-alani.

    _Skip._ And dance, too?

    _Puss._ I remember the time when I would have run anywhere after a

    _Skip._ What is your favourite dance?

    _Puss._ The Cat-alonian Cat-choucha.

    _Chat._ Well, never mind about singing and dancing; suppose we fix
    upon some game to pass away the time, at which we can all play?

    _Ari._ I'm content.

    _Skip._ And I.

    _Puss._ And I. What shall it be?

    _Chat._ "Puss in the Corner."

    _Puss._ No, no, I don't like that.

    _Chat._ Choose one yourself, then.

    _Puss._ My favourite game is "Cat's Cradle."

    _All._ Oh no, we can't bear that!

    _Chat._ Come, name another from your catalogue.

    _Puss_ (_aside_). Cat-alogue! They grow personal!

The subject of "Puss in Boots" was afterwards handled by H. J.
Byron.[19] In this case we find the monarch of the piece called
Noodlehead IX.; the Princesses are named Biddi, Coobiddi, and
Chickabiddi; and there are two woodcutters called Gnarl and Knot. The
puns in the dialogue on the word _cat_ are even more numerous than in
the older piece, and somewhat more varied. As thus:--

  [19] At the Strand in 1862, with Rogers, Clarke, Miss A. Swanborough,
  Miss C. Saunders, Miss F. Josephs, and Miss F. Hughes in the principal
  parts. The full title of the piece was "Puss in a New Pair of Boots."

    _Will._ What! left his youngest child, a cat!

    _Bob._                                        It's true.

    _Will._ Well, that's a _feline_ sort of thing to do.


    _Cat._ I am, as you perceive, sir, an I-_tale_-ian,
    But never scratch my friends, though I'm an n_ailey'un_;
    It's only foes that ever raise my fur.

    _Will._ Well, really you're a charming _furry_-ner.

Once more:--

    _Will._ What can you do?

    _Cat._                   My pictures folk applaud;
    They say they're scratchy, but resemble _Claude_.
    I'm not much of a linguist, my good friend,
    But I've a-_talion_ at my finger's end;
    I can't dance well amongst young ladies, yet
    I come out very well in a _puss-et._
    I sing at times like any _cat-a-lani_.

    _Will._ Your favourite opera is----

    _Cat._                          The _Purr_-itani.

In the course of the piece King Noodlehead sings a song in which some
fun is made of the conventionalities of Italian opera:--

    At the Opera, and at Covent Garden as well,
    I have always observed that the expiring swell,
    Tho' you'd fancy just there he'd be shortest of breath,
    Sings a difficult song just before his own death.
                    Such as diddle, diddle, diddle,
                    Chip chop ri chooral i day,
    That's how they arrange things at the Operay.

    And I've likewise remarked that the young hero-ine
    Walks about in a low dress of thin white sat-in,
    Defying the fog, and the cold and the damp,
    And also rheumatics, and likewise the cramp.
                    With a diddle, diddle, diddle, etc.

    I've remarked that the peasants who come on the scene,
    Are, p'raps, awkward, but still most offensively clean,
    They lay monstrous stress on the "_whens_" and the "_whats_,"
    And sing--"Oh, joy"--together like mere idi-ots.
                    With a diddle, diddle, diddle, etc.

One of the prettiest and wittiest of Planché's adaptations from
Perrault's store was "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood," seen at Covent
Garden in 1840. The Beauty was the Princess Is-a-Belle--of course,
Mme. Vestris; the inevitable King--Thomas Noddy of No-Land--was
the inevitable Bland; James Vining was Prince Perfect; and
Brougham was a woodcutter--one Larry O'Log. But the most whimsical
character in the piece was played by Harley--the Baron Factotum,
"Great-Grand-Lord-Everything," who may be compared with Pooh-Bah in Mr.
Gilbert's "Mikado." In "The Mikado," Ko-Ko is "Lord High Executioner of
Titipu," and Pooh-Bah is "Lord High Everything Else"--he is "First Lord
of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High
Admiral, Master of the Buckhounds, Groom of the Backstairs, Archbishop
of Titipu, and Lord Mayor, both acting and elect, all rolled into one."
The Baron Factotum is even more embarrassed with offices and duties. As
he says at one juncture:--

    I shall go crazy. Ye who sigh for place,
    Behold and profit by my piteous case.
    As Lord High Chamberlain, I slumber never;
    As Lord High Steward, in a stew I'm ever!
    As Lord High Constable, I watch all day;
    As Lord High Treasurer, I've the deuce to pay;
    As Great Grand Cupbearer, I'm handled queerly;
    As Great Grand Carver, I'm cut up severely.
    In other States the honours are divided,
    But here they're one and all to me confided;
    They've buckled Fortune on my back--until
    I really feel particularly ill!
    Young man, avoid the cares from State that spring,
    And don't you be a Great Grand anything.

He then sings, to the tune of "Where the bee sucks":--

    Who would be a Great Grand Lord High,
    All the blame on him must lie;
    Everywhere for him they cry,
    Up and downstairs he must fly--
    After all folks, verily!
    Verily, verily! Few would live now
    Under the honours beneath which I bow.

The programme of the "The Sleeping Beauty" bore the following notice:--

 In strict accordance with the Modern School of Melodramatic
 Composition, Eighteen years are to be supposed to have elapsed between
 the First and Second Parts; One Hundred years between the Second and
 Third Parts; and considerably more than One Hundred after the piece is

Planché went again to Perrault--directly or indirectly-- for his "Blue
Beard" (1839) and his "Discreet Princess" (1855). The last named (from
"L'Adroite Princesse") was notable as including in its cast Robson
as Prince Richcraft, and Emery as Gander the Stupendous. In "Blue
Beard" Bland played the Baron Abomelique (the hero), Mme. Vestris the
heroine (Fleurette), and John Brougham, the actor-dramatist, an Irish
character--the O'Shac O'Back. How often has this fascinating subject
been dealt with since! Dozens of pantomimes have had it for a basis;
the burlesques founded on it are not quite so numerous. The best known
are those by H. J. Byron (1860) and Mr. Burnand (1883); there are also
two others by H. T. Arden and Frank Green.

But it was to the "Contes des Fées" of Madame D'Aulnoy that Planché
was most largely indebted for his fairy stories. The list (extending
from 1842 to 1854) is quite an imposing one. First came "Fortunio, and
his Seven Gifted Servants," based on "Belle-Belle, ou le Chevalier
Fortuné." Next, "The Invisible Prince, or the Island of Tranquil
Delights," taken from "Le Prince Lutin." "Le Rameau d'Or" suggested
"The Golden Branch," and "The King of Peacocks"[20] had its origin
in "La Princesse Rosette." From "Le Serpentin Vert" was derived "The
Island of Jewels"; from "L'Oiseau Bleu," "King Charming, or the Blue
Bird of Paradise"; from "La Grenouille Bienfaisante," "The Queen of
the Frogs"; from "La Biche au Bois,"[21] "The Prince of Happy Land,
or the Fawn in the Forest"; from "La Princesse Carpillon," "Once upon
a Time there were Two Kings"; and from "Le Nain Jeune," "The Yellow
Dwarf and the King of the Gold Mines." "Beauty and the Beast" was taken
from a tale by Mme. le Prince de Beaumont; but Planché claimed that the
treatment was wholly new. He had Vestris for his Beauty, Harrison the
tenor for his Beast, and Bland for his Sir Aldgate Pump, the father of
Beauty. "The Good Woman in the Wood" was from a story by Mme. de la
Force; and "Young and Handsome" from a faërie by the Countess de Murat.
"Graciosa and Percinet" likewise had a French origin.

  [20] This, first played at the Lyceum in 1860, was afterwards revived
  at the St. James's with Miss Kate Terry as the Princess.

  [21] Other versions of this tale have been written by Maddison Morton
  (at Drury Lane), and by Mr. Burnand (at the Holborn in 1868, under the
  title of "The White Fawn").

It was, however, in each case only for the fable that Planché
had to give thanks: everything else--even in most instances the
nomenclature--was his own. And that nomenclature was often very
ingenious and amusing. Thus, in "Fortunio," we have an impecunious
noble called Baron Dunover (played by Morris Barnett). In "The
Invisible Prince" the name of the Queen of Allaquiz is Blouzabella;
her son is the Infante Furibond;[22] and among her courtiers are the
Marquis of Anysidos, Count Palava Torquemova (who introduces the
ambassadors), and Don Moustachez de Haro y Barbos (Captain of the
Guard). In the same piece, the Princess of the Island of Tranquil
Delights is called Xquisitelittlepet, and her ladies in waiting are
Toxaloto-tittletattle and Itsaprettipetticoat. Soyez Tranquille (with
a clever suggestion of Soyer) is the _chef de cuisine_ in "The King of
the Peacocks," in which there is also an Irishman, The O'Don't Know
Who, and a German, the Baroness Von Huggermugger. Planché's kings and
queens have mostly comic names. There is Giltgingerbread the Great,
with Tinsellina, his consort, in "The Island of Jewels." There is
Henpeckt the Hundredth in "King Charming"; there is Fulminoso the
Pugnacious in "The Queen of the Frogs"; there is Periwigulus the Proud
in "Once upon a Time there were Two Kings." Henpeckt, again, has a
valet called Natty, and a porter called Nobby. Elsewhere we come across
an usher named Antirumo, an Indian named Tan-tee-vee (of the tribe of
Tal-hee-ho), and an evil genius named Abaddun. The Yellow Dwarf is
christened, very appropriately, Gambogie.[23]

  [22] This part, originally played (in 1846) by James Bland, was played
  by Mr. Toole at the Adelphi in 1859, and afterwards by George Honey at
  the Princess's.

  [23] The part of the Yellow Dwarf was first played (Olympic, 1854) by
  Robson, of whose performance Planché says that "So powerful was his
  personation of the cunning, the malignity, the passion and despair of
  the monster, that he elevated extravaganza into tragedy." At one point
  his delivery of the lines moved Thackeray almost to tears. "It is not a
  burlesque," he exclaimed: "it is an idyll."

"The Yellow Dwarf," it may here be chronicled, is the title of a
burlesque by Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett and by Mr. Robert Reece;
A'Beckett's being produced in 1842, Planché's in 1854, and Mr. Reece's
in 1882. "Beauty and the Beast" has been made the subject of travestie
by Mr. Burnand. The "Fortunio" of Planché was also rivalled in the
"Lady Belle Belle, or Fortunio and his Seven Magic Men" of H. J. Byron
(Adelphi, 1863).[24] This last was in a thoroughly H. J. Byronic vein,
with a Count Collywobbol among its characters and the usual supply
of puns and parodies. Here are a few of the best of the puns. The
Princess Volante is a very Atalanta in her fondness for race running:--

  [24] Byron was indebted to Mme. D'Aulnoy for the idea of his "Orange
  Tree and the Humble Bee, or The Little Princess who was Lost at Sea"
  (Vaudeville, 1871).

                        I'll run a race
    With any living ped, through wind or rain;
    Some like what's handsome--I prefer the _plain_.
    I have this morning run a spanking heat,
    Two miles in just ten minutes.

    _King._ Wondrous _feat_!

    _Prin._ Everything pedal has its charms for me.
    I'd have gone miles the great Miss _Foote_ to see.
    My tastes are visible e'en at my meals;
    My favourite fish, of course, are _soles_ and _eels_.
    Pota_toes_ I consider are _A-oners_,
    Though I've a preference for scarlet-_runners_.
    And when at children's parties I am present,
    I think a game at four-_feits_ very pleasant.

"The White Cat," by Planché (1842), has among its _personæ_
Wunsuponatyme, King of Neverminditsnamia; Prince Paragon; and Jingo, a
Court fool. In "The Fair One with the Golden Locks" (1843), the King
is called Lachrymoso,[25] and the woman of the bedchamber Molly-mopsa.
Finally, there is "The Seven Champions of Christendom" (1849), in which
Charles Mathews played Charles Wag, Esq., "in attendance on" St. George
of England. With this ends the list of Planché's compositions of this
kind--a remarkable contribution to the stage literature of wit and

  [25] Lachrymoso was played by Mr. Toole at the Adelphi so recently as

From Planché's "Seven Champions of Christendom" to the "St. George and
the Dragon" of Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett (1845) and the "Sir George
and a Dragon, or We are Seven" of Mr. Burnand (1856) is a natural
and easy transition. In A'Beckett's piece, Kalyba, the sorceress, has
stolen St. George when a child, in order that he might fall in love
with her, and so rescue her from prophesied destruction. Getting rid of
her with a wave of her own wand, he turns up with his fellow Champions
at Memphis, where King Ptolemy is in a state of impecuniosity, the
Dragon having swallowed up all his resources. The monster demands the
King's daughter Sabra, but St. George contrives to trick him out of the
legal securities he holds, and eventually destroys him by the power
of the steam press. There is a vein of allegory running through the
piece, which has, however, its share of _jeux de mots_. Thus, Kalyba's
handmaid says to her:--

    Your hair, my lady, 's getting rather dry,
    Some of the Russian balsam shall I try?

    _Kaly._ Well, p'raps you may--yet no--upon the whole,
    Anything Russian's hurtful to the _Pole_.
    The very thought my nervous system shocks,
    O! would that mine were like Chubb's--safety locks!
    Should I turn grey, I'd bid the world good-bye.

    _Maid._ If you turn grey, it would be time to _dye_.

Elsewhere there is some sarcasm at the expense of the newspapers. St.
George says to Sabra:--

    These evening papers, blow the horn and cry them;
    Inviting every one to come and buy them.
    This is the way the sort of thing is done--
    (_Crying_) Se-cond edition here! the _Memphis Sun_,
    Wondrous intelligence! for here you have in it
    The sudden resignation of the Cabinet.

    _Sab._ The Cabinet resigned!

    _St. G._ No, that's mere vapour!
    You must say something, just to sell the paper.

In Mr. Burnand's version, which is the longer of the two, there is
much more story, and there are many more puns. St. George has not so
prominent a place in the action, which is more elaborate and varied;
while the dialogue is in the writer's most rollicking mood. Take, for
example, these, lines of Kalyba's, addressed to her sirens:--

   _1st Siren._ Madame, there is a four-oared boat in view without a

    _Kalyba_ (using pince-nez). P'raps the Harvard crew.
    No, they don't row _half hard_ enough for that;
    Take care! they'll go ashore upon the flat.
    They don't row well, but with uncommon pluck;
    The stroke wants art--p'raps he's a stroke of luck.
    I wonder where they come from! maybe Dover!
    A crab! as sure as _eggs_ is _eggs_ they're _ova_!
    Attract them here; you must not let them pass;
    Some visitors--give me my looking-glass (_they offer telescope_).
    Not that (_they give her a hand-mirror_).
            Now sing, as Sirens did before us;
    We _lure_ all here with tooral _looral_ chorus.
    To practise bathing arts we've our diploma.
    (_All have by this time produced the hand-mirrors and combs._)
    To attitudes! (_All pose themselves combing hair, etc._)
                We're in a state of _comber_.

Here, again, is a specimen of daring pun-making:--

    _Vizier._ Sultan of Egypt, this pathetic tear
    Proves you've one faithful _Vizier_ left--_viz. here_.

    _Sultan._ My star is set.

    _Vizier_ (_looking at star on Sultan's breast_). With honour you
      have borne it.
    Stop! if your _star is set_ in diamonds, pawn it.

    _Sultan._ The real one--this sham one's rather tasty--
    Is gone: so _requiescat_--sir--_in pastey_.

A popular subject with the writers of burlesque for Christmastide has
been the time-honoured one of Cinderella. The first travestie of any
importance was by Albert Smith and Kenny, seen at the Lyceum so long
ago as 1845. Next came H. J. Byron's version at the Strand in 1860,
followed by Mr. Green's in 1871, Mr. Wilton Jones's (at Leicester) in
1878, and Mr. Reece's (at the Gaiety) in 1883. A provincial burlesque
on this topic was called "Done-to-a-Cinderella," and in America there
has been a "Cinder-Ellen." Mr. Reece's piece was called, simply, "Our
Cinderella"; Mr. Jones's, "Little Cinderella." Byron's was christened
"Cinderella, or the Lover, the Lackey, and the Little Glass Slipper."
It has been a great favourite with the public ever since it was first
played with Maria Simpson as Cinderella, Miss Oliver as the Prince
(Popetti), Miss Charlotte Saunders as his valet Dandino, John Clarke
as the Baron Balderdash, and Rogers and Miss Lavine as Clorinda and
Thisbe. Over and over again has this clever piece of work served as the
basis of pantomime "openings" both in town and country.

Following the traditional story closely enough, it bristles with the
puns in which Byron revelled, and which he poured forth with singular
and somewhat exhausting lavishness. Thus, we find Dandino saying:--

    As I've made my bed so I must lie.
    Continuing _bed_ metaphor, sir--I,
    When quite a child, the blackest draught would drain,
    And took my _pill_--oh! on _account o' pain!_
    And as my youthful feathers all unfurled
    Seemed formed to make a _bold stir_ in the world,
    Little dreamt I I should appear a valet as,
    For I seemed born to reign in royal _palliasse_;
    But suddenly the future seemed to frown;
    Fortune gave me a quilt, an' _I'd a down_.

A little farther on Dandino and the Prince, who are about to exchange
characters for the nonce, have the following little contest in

    _Dandi._ But I must have a change of toggery:
    This coat, you will admit, is not the best cut,
    And neither is my waistcoat quite the _West cut_.
    I must di_vest_ myself of that affair:
    These buckles ain't the thing for _Buckley_ Square.

    _Prince._ You shall be decked in gems of vast expense,
    And be a gem-man in a double sense.
    Your servant, I will wait, clean boots, wash glasses;
    Thus serve a nob, a_n' ob-serve_ all that passes.

    _Dandi._ Then you'll obey me till you've found La Donna?
    You _pledge_ your princely word?

    _Prince_ (_shaking his hand heartily_). _A-pawn_ my honour.

An even better instance of Byron's tendency to run a pun to death is to
be found in this colloquy between the Prince and Cinderella. The latter

    _Cind._ Cinders and coals I'm so accustomed to,
    They seem to me to tinge all things I view.

    _Prince._ That fact I can't say causes me surprise,
    For _kohl_ is frequently in ladies' eyes.

    _Cind._ At morn, when reading, as the fire up-burns,
    The print to stops--to semi-_coaluns_--turns.
    I might as well read Coke.

    _Prince._                  Quite right you are,--
    He's very useful reading at the _bar_.
    (_Chaffingly_) Who is your favourite poet?--Hobbs?

    _Cind._                                            Not quite.
    No, I think, _Cole_-ridge is my favourite;
    His melan-_coally_ suits my situation;
    My dinner always is a _coald coal_-lation,
    Smoked pictures all things seem, whate'er may be'em,
    A _cyclorama_, through the "_Coal I see 'em_"

More acceptible in, pantomime than in travestie, "Little Red Riding
Hood" has nevertheless been the heroine of at least one burlesque which
has made its mark--namely, that which Leicester Buckingham brought
out at the Lyceum just thirty years ago, under the auspices of Edmund
Falconer. He had Miss Lydia Thompson for his Blondinette (Red Riding
Hood), and Miss Cicely Nott for the young lady's lover, Colin. The
fairy element was freely introduced, and instead of the wolf of the
original there was a Baron Reginald de Wolf ("the would-be abductor of
Blondinette, who finds he is sold when she 'ab duck'd herself to escape
him"). Here and there one gets in the "book" a glimpse of parody; as

    My protegè--my protegè,
      Ah! never look so shy,
    For pretty girls seem ugly
      When a gloom is in their eye.

Or, again, in--

    They say the peasant's life is sweet,
      But that we know all trash is, O;
    He very little gets to eat,
      For often scarce his cash is, O.

      Teeth then he gnashes, O,
      Gnaws his moustaches, O;
    But jolly are the hours he spends
      When plentiful the cash is, O.

Passing over "Jack the Giant Killer," which H. J. Byron made the
subject of a burlesque, and "Jack and the Beanstalk," which was
treated in the same vein by the late Charles Millward, we come
to the travesties suggested by stories in the "Arabian Nights'
Entertainments." These are fairly numerous. We may note, in particular,
some of the versions of the tales of Aladdin, Ali Baba, Prince
Camaralzaman, and Abon Hassan, which seem to have offered most
attractions to our comic writers.

The first "Aladdin" of importance was that given to the world by
Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett in 1844. This was entitled "The Wonderful Lamp
in a New Light," and had Wright for its Aladdin and Paul Bedford for
its Magician. Next in order of time comes H. J. Byron's "Aladdin, or
the Wonderful Scamp,"[26] which has shared the fate of his "Cinderella"
as a basis for pantomimes. In this his fondness for _jeux de mots_ is
as patent as ever, as well as the ease (without conspicuous finish)
with which he fitted words to the songs of the day. Of direct parody
there is little in this "Aladdin," which, however, opens with a brief
suggestion of "The sea, the sea," sung by the Vizier:--

  [26] In this the original Aladdin was Miss Marie Wilton; the Princess
  Badroulbadour, Miss Bufton; Widow Twankay, Rogers; Abanazar, Clarke;
  The Sultan, Miss Charlotte Saunders; and Pekoe, Miss Fanny Josephs
  (Strand, 1861).

          The tea! the tea!
            Refreshing tea.
          The green, the fresh, the ever free
            From all impurity.
    I may remark that I'll be bound
    Full shillings six was this the pound--
    Full shillings six was this the pound.
    I'm on for tea--I'm on for tea!
    For the savour sweet that doth belong
    To the curly leaf of the rough Souchong,
    Is like nectar to me, nectar to me, nectar to me.
    Let others delight in their _eau de vie_--
    What matter, what matter? I'm on for tea.

During the last twenty years there have been four other notable
burlesques on the "Aladdin" subject--Mr. Alfred Thompson's (1870), Mr.
Green's (1874), Mr. Reece's (1881), and Mr. Geoffrey Thorn's (1890).
With Mr. Reece's are associated pleasant memories of the bright "street
boy" of Miss Farren, Mr. Edward Terry's whimsical magician, and the
grace and refinement of Miss Kate Vaughan's Badroulbadour.

Second only to "Aladdin" in acceptability both to authors and to
public, is the story of "Ali Baba, or the Forty Thieves." Here, again,
A'Beckett is (with Mark Lemon) to the fore with the travestie called
"Open Sesame, or a Night with the Forty Thieves." This was produced at
the Lyceum Theatre, and had Mr. Frank Matthews for its Ali Baba, Mrs.
Alfred Wigan for its Ganem, Wigan himself for its O'Mustapha (he was
an Irish Mussulman), the beautiful Miss Fairbrother for its Abdallah,
Keeley for its Hassarac, Miss Georgina Hodson for its Cogia, and Mrs.
Keeley for its Morgiana. _There_ was a cast for you! How many burlesque
casts of our own time could lay claim to so much talent and beauty?
Cassim, in this piece, had to make one admirable pun:--

    Such heaps of gems I never saw before:
    E'en Mortimer can't boast of such a Storr.

Elsewhere, O'Mustapha, who was a shoemaker, had to say:--

    Business is dreadful bad--what's to be done?
    Where I sold fifty boots, I don't mend one.
    No longer Wellingtons are all the go:
    High-lows alone are worn by high and low.
    In vain upon my door this bill I fix--
    "Five thousand Bluchers, all at 8_s._ 6_d._,
    Strong boys' at 3_s._ 9_d._"--folks once would use,
    But now it's quite another pair of shoes.

A'Beckett, however, did not lay himself out for punning in and out of
season. His chief merit is the neatness of his style and the pervading
nature of his wit.

The most famous of all the Ali Baba travesties was that "joint-stock"
burlesque, "The Forty Thieves," written by members of the Savage Club,
and performed by the authors themselves at the Lyceum, in 1860, for the
benefit of the families of two literary men just then deceased. Planché
wrote the prologue for this piece, and it was at once so brilliant and
so admirably delivered by Leicester Buckingham that it nearly obtained
the extraordinary honour of an encore. It was followed, three years
later, by H. J. Byron's "Ali Baba, or the Thirty-Nine Thieves (in
accordance with the author's habit of taking one off!)."[27] Abdallah,
the captain of the thieves (played by Miss Ada Swanborough), was here
depicted as a rascal of the quiet, elegant order, in sharp contrast
to the Surrey-side villainy of his lieutenant, Hassarac. A colloquy
between these gave Byron an opportunity of satirising the melodramatic
criminal of the "good old times":--

  [27] Miss P. Marshall, Ganem; George Honey, Hassarac; Miss Bufton,
  Cogia; Miss F. Hughes, Zaide; Miss C. Saunders, Morgiana (Strand, 1863).

    _Abdal._ From all you say, my friend, you see it's plain
    That vulgar violence is on the wane;
    Therefore become more polished in your style,
    And, like King Richard, murder when you smile.
    I go into society, and none
    Know I'm a thief, or could conceive me one;
    I start new companies--obtain their pelf,
    And, having started them, I start myself;
    Swindle the widow--the poor _orphan_ do--
    And then myself become an _off 'un_ too.

    _Hassarac._ Bother! that's not of villainy my notion;
    Give me the tangled wood or stormy ocean--
    A knife--dark lantern--lots of horrid things,
    With lightning, every minute, at the wings;
    A pistol, big enough for any crime,
    Which never goes off at the proper time;
    Deep rumbling, grumbling music on the drums--
    A chord whenever one observes "She comes";
    An opening chorus, about "Glorious wine";
    A broadsword combat every sixteenth line;
    Guttural vows of direst vengeance wreaking,
    And thunder always when one isn't speaking.
    That was the style--exciting, if not true,
    At the old Cobourg;

    _Abdal._ Oh, _coburg_lar, do--(_crosses to R._)
    You're horrifying me!

    _Hassarac_ (_draws_). Spoon! sappy! duffer!
    Ha, ha! lay on, you milk-and-water muff-a,
    And _hem'd_ be he who first cries hold enough-a!

In 1872 Mr. Reece wrote for the Gaiety a piece called "Ali Baba à la
Mode"; in 1880 he prepared for the same theatre another version called
"The Forty Thieves."[28] This latter, if I remember rightly, was the
first of the burlesques in three acts. It presented in Mr. Terry (Ali
Baba), Miss Farren (Ganem), Mr. Royce (Hassarac), and Miss Vaughan
(Morgiana), a quartett which is specially well remembered for the
_verve_ and vivacity of its performance.

  [28] A burlesque on the subject of "Ali Baba" was written by Mr.
  Gilbert Arthur a'Beckett.

The fortunes of Prince Camaralzaman have been pictured on the burlesque
stage by the Brothers Brough, by Messrs. Bellingham and Best, by H.
J. Byron, and by Mr. Burnand.[29] "Camaralzaman and Badoura, or the
Peri who loved the Prince," was the Broughs' title, and they had the
assistance of Mrs. Keeley, of Keeley (as a Djinn), of Bland (as the
Emperor Bung), of Miss Reynolds (as Badoura), and of Miss Horton (as
the hero). Dimpl Tshin was the name given to one of the characters,
and Skilopht that of another. The original story was followed in the
main. Camaralzaman declines to marry at his father's request, and is
incarcerated. In that position he soliloquises:--

  [29] In the years 1848, 1865, 1871 and 1884 respectively.

    'Tis now the very witching time of night,
    Which, were I free, would bring with it delight;
    Now could I drink hot grog, hear comic songs,
    Or join the gay Casino's gladsome throngs,
    Or drain, 'midst buzzing sounds of mirth and chaff,
    The foaming stout, or genial half-and-half;
    But here a prisoner condemned to stop,
    I can indulge in neither malt nor "hop."
    O, cruel Pa! to place me in this state,
    Because I would avoid your own sad fate.
    Dear mother, though a model of a wife,
    Gave me a slight distaste for married life.
    Better be thus than free, and have to stand
    "An eye like Ma's, to threaten and command."

Camaralzaman then breaks out into the following little bit of vocal

    The Pope he leads a happy life,
    Because he hasn't got a wife;
    And one to take he's not so flat,
    He knows a trick worth two of that.
    No shrill abuse his ear affrights
    For stopping out too late at nights;
    No curtain lectures damp his hopes:
    A happy lot must be the Pope's.

The Broughs were always ingenious in their word-plays. Says one of the
characters in this burlesque:--

    Soon, I feel, with passion and disgust,
    Within this _bosom_ there will be a _bust_.


    I wonder how he'd look with a moustache;
    He's got none yet, though, thanks to sorrow's growth,
    He feels a little _down about the mouth_.

Says Badoura to a suitor whom she does not favour:--

    I may be handsome, but I'll now be plain;
    So, I'll not have you, sir--you kneel in vain;

to which he replies:--

    Can one so fair thus speak to her adorer?
    Your form a _Venus_, but your words a _Floorer_.

In the piece by Messrs. Bellingham and Best--"Prince Camaralzaman,
or the Fairies' Revenge"[30]--we find, amid many well-conceived and
well-executed puns, a rather successful adaptation of the "To be, or
not to be" soliloquy, possessing the merit of being quite in keeping
with the character of the matrimony-scorning Camaralzaman:--

  [30] These authors were happy in having Miss Ellen Farren to represent
  their hero, Miss Henrietta Lindley being the Badoura, W. H. Stephens
  and Mrs. Stephens the King and Queen, and Mr. Soutar the Skidamalink
  (King of the Isle of Ebony) (Olympic, 1865).

    To wed or not to wed--that is the question
    Which weighs me down like midnight indigestion.
    Whether it is nobler in a man to bear
    The stings and taunts of an outrageous fair,
    Or to take arms against a married life,
    And, by opposing, shun it? To wed a wife--
    No more; for by a wife we say we end
    The undarned stockings laundresses won't mend,
    The buttonless shirts and all the botheration
    That single flesh is heir to--a consummation
    Devoutly to be wished--forswear the club
    And wed, perchance, a flirt,--ay, there's the rub;
    For in our married lives what rows there would be,
    If all were not precisely as it should be!
    And who would bear a scolding vixen's tongue,
    Backed by a mother-in-law, not over young;
    The cook, who, when annoyed, the dinner burns,
    The insolence of Buttons, and the spurns
    That patient masters from their servants take,
    When one a quiet house might always make
    By keeping single? I'll not change my lot,
    But rather bear the ills that I have got
    Than fly to others that I yet know not.

In another passage, the "spiritualistic" craze is satirised in a
so-called "chant":--

    Abracadabra, mystic word, come down to us from the cosmogony,
    'Tis the spell that binds the spirits beneath Mr. Home's mahogany;
    You've been to a _séance_, of course, when darkness baffles the
    And a spectral hand rises quivering--sceptics hint that it's
    When ghostly fingers are tickling some foolish old fellow's fat
      dumpy knee,
    And the medium floats as easily as a modern bubble company;
    'Tis then that the spirits are working--to asses the men they
    By spells that have nothing in common with the generally received

Two of the burlesques on "Arabian Nights" topics are from the pen
of Francis Talfourd. First came--in 1852, at the Olympic--"Ganem,
the Slave of Love" (with Miss Fanny Maskell as Fetnah, the caliph's
favourite); and later--in 1854, at the St. James's--"Abon Hassan, or
the Hunt after Happiness" (with Mr. Toole as Haroun-al-Raschid). In the
former piece the wealth of felicitous punning is remarkable. Thus, in
his very, first speech, Ganem, coming in intoxicated, says:--

    All things around me seem involved in doubt,
    I only know that I've been, dining out.
    I've made some blunder, sure--but how I've made it
    Is from my dizzy pate quite dissipated.
    A light upon my understanding breaks--
    I must be drunk! Or what is it thus makes
    My head to stoop and butt the ground incline,
    Unless the butt of beer or stoop of wine?
    Now, to go on--so--Ganem, my boy, steady--
    I can't go far--I'm too far gone already.
    Ah! could I swarm this lime, I might, _sans doute_,
    Learn from its friendly branch my proper route.

In other places we read:--

    A needlewoman's life's, at best, but _sew-sew_

(which is as true as it is witty);

    _Alkalomb._ He had the freedom, sir, to squeeze me.

    _Giaffar._                                          Yes,
    You wouldn't check the freedom of the _press_.

    _Caliph._ In his affections I stand no competitor

    (_squaring up_),

    And for that _belle's life_ you'll find I'm a _head-hitter_.

    _Malevola._ I'm her abettor in the plucky course.

    _Caliph._ You couldn't, ma'am, _abet her_ in a _worse_.

"Abon Hassan" is less freely endowed with verbal pleasantry, but it has
its fair share of puns, and the songs are numerous and bright. At the
close, the hero, addressing the audience, allows himself to drop into
the reflective mood:--

    In mine, read a too common history--
    How many an unfortunate, like me,
    With feverish haste the cup of pleasure begs,
    To find experience in its bitter dregs!
    The wretched man sips at the draught now hated.
    Unless, like me, he gets _a-man-sip-hated_.
    Beware, then, how you mix and make your cup,--
    I'll give you a receipt for it: boil up
    In a clean vessel--say your own clay crock--
    As much good humour as will form your stock;
    Throw in to others' faults a modest blindness,
    Adding a quart of milk of human kindness;
    Scrape up a few acquaintances, but you
    Had better take care they're your wife's friends too:
    Omit the mother-in-law, if you've the power,
    As apt to turn the milk aforesaid sour!
    Skim off bad habits from the surface: you'll
    Then let it stand--'tis better taken cool;
    Or, should you be in love a far-gone coon,
    Stir the whole gently with a virtuous "spoon";
    In which case, flavour with a dash of sentiment,
    Garnish with smiles, and drink it with contentment![31]

  [31] Another burlesque on the same story, entitled "Abon Hassan, or An
  Arabian Knight's Entertainment," was brought out at the Charing Cross
  Theatre in 1869. The author's name was Arthur O'Neil, and the cast
  included Miss Emily Fowler as the hero, and Mr. Flockton as Haroun

On German faërie our comic dramatists have not drawn at all largely.
Such pieces as Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett's "Knight and the Sprite,
or the Cold-Water Cure," with Ondine as its heroine; H. J. Byron's
"Nymph of the Lurleyburg, or the Knight and the Naiads," based on the
Lurline legend; and Mr. Burnand's "Rumpelstiltskin, or the Woman at
the Wheel," founded on one of the Brothers Grimm's narratives, are
exceptional incursions in this field. The first was seen at the Strand
in 1884, with Mrs. Walter Lacy as Sir Hildebrand, and with Hall and
Romer in other parts. "The Nymph of the Lurleyburg" has often done
duty for the purposes of Christmas extravaganza. When it was first
performed--in 1859--Miss Woolgar was the Sir Rupert the Reckless, Mr.
Toole the Seneschal, and Paul Bedford the Baron Witz, the _locale_
being the Adelphi. Mr. Burnand introduced into "Rumpelstiltskin"
(Royalty, 1864) a few modifications of the German tale, inventing and
importing new characters. In one of the scenes he furnished a diverting
suggestion of the situation in "The Ticket of Leave Man," when there
comes the sudden and effective revelation of "Hawkshaw the Detective!"
Among the _personæ_ are King Tagarag the Tremendous, Prince Poppet,
Baron Higgle-de-Piggle, Wriggleletto (the court spy), Jolinosio (a
miller), and Fraulein Splitaharter (the belle of the village). Miss Ada
Cavendish was the Princess Superba.

"The Vampire"--a burlesque by Mr. Reece, which was played at the Strand
in 1872--appears to have owed its origin about equally to the German
legend, the romance which Lord Byron wrote on the subject, and the play
which Dion Boucicault founded on the topic in 1852. As, however, the
legend was the inspiration alike of romance, play, and travestie, the
travestie may be mentioned here. Mr. Reece had drawn the Vampire as a
being so fond of "blood," that he sought to possess it in the shape of
the notebooks of two "sensation"-novelists, one of whom, Lady Audley
Moonstone, was admirably represented by Mrs. Raymond.[32] The following
specimen of the dialogue has been handed down to us. Some one says to a
Welsh corporal:--

    On Monday and on Tuesday you were queer:
    Why drink on Wednesday?

    _Corporal._             'Cause I'm _Thursday_, dear.

  [32] Mr. Edward Terry was the Vampire himself, and other parts were
  taken by Harry Cox, Miss Rose Cullen, and Miss Topsy Venn.

In the realm of Spanish legend there have been still fewer explorers.
Albert Smith took one of Washington Irving's tales of the Alhambra,
and fashioned it into "The Alhambra, or The Beautiful Princess," played
at the Princess's in 1851, with the Keeleys, Wigan, Harley, Flexmore,
and Miss Vivash. H. J. Byron afterwards went to the same source for
"The Pilgrim of Love," in the first cast of which--at the Haymarket
in 1860--we find the names of Mrs. Buckingham White as the Pilgrim,
Chippendale as his tutor, Compton as the King of Toledo, Rogers as the
King of Granada, and C. Coghlan as Mafoi, a Frenchman: a rather notable
collocation of distinguished players.

The Fables of Æsop have inspired at least one travestie--"Leo the
Terrible," by Stirling Coyne and Francis Talfourd. In this piece
(brought out at the Haymarket in 1852) all the characters but four
wore the heads of beasts or birds--a lion (Bland), a wolf (Buckstone),
a fox, an owl, a ram, a poodle, a cat (Miss Maskell), and so on. The
four exceptions were Sir Norval de Battersea, Timoleon Sindbad Potts
(Keeley), Æsop, and Gay; and the play opened with a _rencontre_ between
the two last-named worthies. Æsop began with a vocal parody on "The
Light of other Days":--

    To write in other days as Gay did,
      The world is grown too fast;
    The rage for La Fontaine has faded--
      The stream run dry at last.
    On me the world has turned the tables
      And turned to bad, I guess;
    For they who thus can spurn my Fables
      Must care for morals less.
    Stop; who comes here? If I to judge am able,
    'Tis Gay, the worthiest son of modern Fable.

    _Enter Gay dejectedly._

    How dull and sad he seems!

    _Gay_ (_soliloquising_). My old dominion
    On earth is gone.

    _Æsop_ (_rising_). Gad! that's just my opinion.

    _Gay._ Æsop! What brings you here? Why thus, by Styx,
    Are you, your staff and luggage, in a fix?
    As downcast as a 'prentice runaway.

    _Æsop._ Am I? Well, _you_ look anything but Gay,
    But tell me--whither have you wandering been?

    _Gay._ About the world. Such changes now I've seen--
    Such altered views of virtue and rascality;
    There's not a fable left--'tis all reality.

    _Æsop._ Reality! Why, bless your simple soul,
    The world's a fable now from pole to pole!
    Pills, politics, or projects made to cram one,--
    What we called fables once are now called gammon.

In the end, the various animals express repentance for the wrong they
have committed; and Æsop, in recognition thereof, restores them to the
shapes they formerly presented.



In this department the artists in travestie have not done so much as
might have been expected. Even when we include in the word "history"
such things as myths, legends, and traditions, we find that the
historical, in comparison with the other fields open to the parodists,
has been quite "second favourite." Particularly little has been
achieved in the burlesque of foreign persons and events; and, in the
case of our own celebrities, the only really familiar figure on the
comic stage has been that of "Bluff King Hal." King Arthur, Alfred
the Great, Elizabeth, Oliver Cromwell, have made rare appearances in
motley. In the by-paths of history, general and local, the burlesque
writers have devoted themselves most frequently to popular personages
like Herne the Hunter, the Lady Godiva, Robin Hood, Dick Whittington,
Guy Fawkes, Claude Duval, and Richard Turpin.

The story of Rome has supplied subjects for two of the most notable
burlesques of the past twenty years--the "Romulus and Remus" of
Mr. Reece, and the "Field Marshal Julius Cnæsar" of Mr. Burnand.
The former was played at the Vaudeville in 1872, and had for its
chief interpreters Messrs. James and Thorne, who had not yet wholly
surrendered burlesque for comedy. Mr. James was Romulus, and Mr. Thorne
was Remus; and they came on in the first scene as children, dressed in
pinafores and socks, and carrying toys. The pair begin by quarrelling
as to which of them was born first. Remus rests his claim on his
superior size:--

    Nature, perceiving "true grit" and "no shoddy,"
    Made me thus "double stout" with "extra body."

To which Romulus replies:--

    Though at our birth (when both kicked up a shine)
    His cry was _stout_, mine was the _elder whine_!
    Hence this thin body, wise folks say who've been here,
    "We're sure you are the _elder_, now we've _seen yer_."

When the two grow up (as they do between the first scene and the
second), the question is, which is to be King of Rome--a question
decided eventually by personal combat, in which Remus falls. Ultimately
the pair decide to be partners in the throne--an obvious allusion to
the position held by the two actors in reference to the Vaudeville

The date of the production of "Romulus and Remus" (1872) could be
fixed by the aid of a brief passage introduced in travestie of a
scene between Cromwell and the King in Mr. Wills's "Charles I.," then
"running" at the Lyceum. Early in the piece we have these lines:--

    _Remus._ The public will have (though to me it's pills)
    The classic drama. Well, they have their _Wills_.

    _Apollo._ One manager this line keeps without swerving--

    _Baccharia._ And he succeeds!

    _Romulus._                    But not without des-_erving_.

Later, Remus says to Romulus:--

    I can't express to you the pain I suffer
    In saying it; but, brother, you're a duffer!
    I am the happy man! Pride has a tumble!
    Your hopes of reigning, sir, are _all of a crumble_!

    _Rom._ You dare to scoff at me, rebellious thing! (_knocks his hat
    Uncover in the presence of your king!
    (_To audience_) That's historical!

    _Rem._                             What! strike me, dare you?
    (_Quietly_) Give me an earldom, and perhaps I'll spare you!

    _Rom._ Your base insinuation I resent.
    I go in for king and parliament.

    _Rem._ Your parliament's all gingerbread! (How nice!)
    I am a patriot and will have my price.

    _Rom._ Defied! (_blows trumpet_). What, ho! my faithful guards,
      where be 'em?
    (_Enter, from various entrances, all the characters, and
    supers. Tableau as in "Charles I."_)
    (_To audience_) I say! They can't beat _that_ at the Lyceum.

In this piece Apollo (Miss Nelly Power) figures as a sort of Chorus,
commenting on the action and interposing in it; while Baccharia
(Miss Maria Rhodes) is represented as the sister of Tatius and a
husband-huntress. The burlesque has all Mr. Reece's ingenuity in
_jeu-de-mot_ work. For instance:--

    _Tatius._ This is too much!

    _Baccharia._               To boast of deeds audacious.

    _Tatius._ Too callous!

    _Romulus._             _Calais!_ Don't be _Ostend-Tatius!_

Mr. Burnand's "Julius Cnæsar" made the walls of the Royalty resound
with laughter in the autumn of 1870. In the spring of 1869 William
Brough had brought out at the Strand his version of the tale of Joan
of Arc, whom he represented as the leader of a troop of Amazons,
extremely interested in Woman's Rights. She comes, as in history, to
the French king's assistance; but, falling in love with a young English
soldier, is captured by the invaders and condemned to resume female
attire,--a sentence which in the end she manages to evade. A leading
part is played by the Duke of Burgundy, who is for ever uncertain on
which side he shall fight, and whose name provides frequent opportunity
for punning. Thus:--

    _Dunois._ See, Burgundy comes!

    _King._                        Is he indeed with me?
    As a rule Burgundy ne'er yet agreed with me.
    He says he is my friend!

    _Duchatel._              Well, that's a thumper!
    The name of Burgundy suggests a bumper!

    _La Hire._ He comes!

    _King_ (_looking off_). With what a swagger, too! It's clear
    Burgundy doesn't think himself small beer!


    _Lionel._ Then, my lord, Burgundy, with all his train,
    Will join our ranks.

    _Talbot._            My plans are changed again!
    He'll lick the foe in no time--if not quicker!
    Burgundy's such a very potent _licker_!
    Strengthened by him, war's hardest blows we'll mock--
    With a strong Burgundy, despise a kn_ock_.

Here, too, is a clever bit of word-play:--

    _Burgundy._ The _proffer'd table_ I must needs refuse;
    My time I can more _profitably_ use.
    I can't _dine nicely_ while with projects vasty
    My mind is filled for changing the _dy-nasty_.

On this occasion Joan was impersonated by Mr. Thomas Thorne, Mr. David
James being the Duke of Burgundy, Miss Eleanor Button the King, Miss
Bella Goodall the Dunois, and Miss Amy Sheridan the Lionel. In the
present year Joan of Arc has again become the subject of "respectful
perversion,"--this time by Messrs. J. L. Shine and "Adrian Ross," and
after a fashion to which I shall draw attention in my final chapter.

Of foreign notabilities, the only other subject of burlesque worth
mentioning is Christopher Columbus, who gave the title to, and was the
principal character in, a piece written by Mr. Alfred Thompson, and
performed at the Gaiety two-and-thirty years ago. He was also the hero
of a travestie by John Brougham, played in America.

The first English personage in burlesque, in point of historical
order, is the legendary King Arthur, who was the chief figure in an
"extravaganza" produced at the Haymarket in 1863.[33] Of this the
author was William Brough, who owed considerably more to Malory than
to Tennyson. There was a scene in which, as in the "Idylls," Vivien
makes Merlin the victim of his own spell; but otherwise the laureate's
withers were unwrung. Arthur (Miss Louise Keeley) becomes King of
Britain by virtue of his power to draw the magic sword from the stone
in which it is embedded. He is looking forward to wed Guinevere (Miss
Wright), when suddenly she is captured by Cheldric, the Saxon invader,
from whom, however, she is successfully re-captured by the aid of
Vivien (Miss Romer) as the wielder of Merlin's wand. Sir Launcelot
(Miss Lindley) is exhibited less as the lover of Guinevere than as a
warrior; another prominent knight is the cowardly Sir Key, represented
by Compton. Of direct parody, as I have said, the piece has little; of
punning, as usual, it is all compact. Vivien says to Merlin:--

  [33] "King Arthur, or the Days and Knights of the Round Table."

    Teach me your art. In magic I'd excel;
    In studies deep I'd plunge, a _diving belle_.

And again,--

    Now for my lesson. It's a curious thing,
    But knowledge is _increased_ by _lessoning_.

Arthur says to Guinevere:--

                  Fortune us has made alike;
    I've acted like a _spoon_--while you act _ladle_-like!

Also, when he has lost his _ladle_-love:--

    My Guinevere made prisoner, Merlin too!
    Both I've to rue, if 'tis indeed _ter-rue_.
    To cope with all these horrors can I hope?
    What evil stars affect my horrors-cope!
    No one can I, the slightest aid to lend, see;
    I'm in a frenzy since I can no _friend see_.
    My wits, unstrung, hang loose my head inside,
    What should be Christmas feels like _wits-untied_.

Guinevere, on her part, is equally afflicted with the punning mania.
While immured in Cheldric's castle, she soliloquises:--

    Shall I endure this state of things unjust?
    I, Arthur's destined spouse? I _spouse_ I must.
    How _sad a loss_ is mine! regrets are idle!
    A _saddle 'oss_, including _reign_ and _bridal_.
    My star uprising side by side with his'n,
    No more uprising now, my fate's _a-prison_.
    This roomy kingdom, mine in expectation--
    Now I have nought but my own _room-i-nation_.
    Kept by the Saxon in this den of his,
    I'm numbed with cold--no doubt the _room-it-is_.

In Australia, twenty-three years ago, there was produced a burlesque
called "King Arthur, or Launcelot the Loose, Gin-ever the Square, and
the Knights of the Round Table, and other Furniture"; the perpetrator's
name was W. M. Akhurst. Of recent years, the only prominent travestie
of the subject has been that produced in 1889, by Messrs. Richard
Butler and Henry Chance Newton ("Richard-Henry"), who entitled their
work "Launcelot the Lovely, or the Idol of the King." Here, again,
Tennyson and Malory were both very loyally and lightly treated, and,
though Mr. Arthur Roberts as Launcelot was eminently funny, the
prepossessions of the audience were in no way shocked.

The romantic tale of the loves of Fair Rosamond and His Majesty Henry
II. has naturally attracted the notice of the travestie writers. In
one instance, I regret to record, it fared very ill at the hands of
the "dramatist." One T. P. Taylor brought out at Sadler's Wells in the
'thirties a one-act piece which he called "Fair Rosamond according to
the History of England," in which the story was at once modernised
and degraded. Henry became a Mr. Henry King--"a ruler, having been
a stationer"; the Queen necessarily figured as "Mrs. Ellinor King."
Rosamond herself was transmogrified into "a black girl, fair yet
faulty," talking in "darkey" patois, and furnished with a father, black
like herself, who combined the profession of fiddler and boot-black.
The piece appears to have been successful in its day, but, to read, it
is both vulgar and without a spark of wit.

Happily, the subject was taken up in our own time by Mr. Burnand, whose
"Fair Rosamond, or the Maze, the Maid, and the Monarch," seen at the
Olympic in 1862, is among the most vivacious of his productions.[34]
Here the writer boldly breaks away from historical tradition. He makes
Henry in love with Rosamond, it is true; but Rosamond (Miss Hughes), on
her side, has given her heart to Sir Pierre de Bonbon (Horace Wigan)--a
Frenchman, as his name betokens. As Rosamond sings in the _finale_:--

  [34] Mr. Frederick Langbridge has printed a burlesque on this subject,
  with a title somewhat similar.

    Hist'ry says that Rosamond
    Of King Hen-e-ry was fond;
    Thus my character was wronged,
      By a base aspersion;
    To old stories don't _you_ trust,
    Covered up with ages' dust.
    For the truth henceforth you must
      Take our Wych Street version.

Rosamond, therefore, being innocent, it stands to reason that it would
not be fair to poison her, as in the story; and so the Queen (played
originally by Robson) is made to excuse her clemency in not forcing the
girl to accept the "cup" she offers her:--

    Why's Rosamond not killed at all? You see,
    She isn't poisoned as she ought to be!
    Because, in deference to modern ways,
    No poisoned heroines can end our plays;
    Besides, the brimming cup she held this minute,
    Like the objection, friends, has nothing in it.
    You'll say, with history we freedom use;
    Well, don't historians write to suit their views?
    We answer to the critical consistory,
    That we have made _our_ views to suit our history.

One of the most amusing scenes in the burlesque is that in which
Ellinor meets Henry for the first time after hearing of his

    _Q. Ellinor_ (_coming down close to Henry_). Ahem!

    _K. Henry._ You spoke. (_Aside_) I see with rage she's brimming.

    _Q. Ellin._ (_aside_). I gave a "hem"--now I'll begin my trimming.
    False man!

    _K. Hen._ Pooh, pooh! the epithet's beneath
    Contempt--I cast it in your false teeth.

    _Q. Ellin._ False teeth!

    _K. Hen._                False hair!

    _Q. Ellin._                          Your speech, sir, is too blunt.
    _False hair!_ I will not put up with affront,
    I'd rather dye.

    _K. Hen._       For my consent don't wait;
    _Die early!_ on this subject don't _di-late_.

    _Q. Ellin._ Dost thou remember once a foreign land,
    Dost thou remember lovers hand in hand,
    Dost thou remember those soft murmuring lispers,
    Dost thou remember 'twas the hour of _Vispers_,
    Dost thou remember, as I think you must,
    _Dost_ thou----

    _K. Hen._ Oh! do not kick up such a _dust_.
    I really cannot stand and listen to it,
    Thank goodness, no one but yourself _du'st_ do it.

    _Q. Ellin._ Treat me with scorn--that's right. Oh, ne'er was seen
    A _suv'rin_ King with such a _suff'rin_ Queen!

Following the stream of time, we arrive next at a travestie of the
insurrection, in the reign of Richard II., in which Wat Tyler was the
prime mover. Tyler deserves celebration in the history of burlesque
as the hero of the only work of this kind produced by Mr. George
Augustus Sala. This well-known _littérateur_ came out as a writer of
travestie at the Gaiety in 1869, but has not been tempted to repeat
the achievement. The fact is to be regretted, for his "Wat Tyler,
M.P." had many strokes of wit and satire. Wat, being named Tyler,
naturally became, in a piece of this _genre_, a hatter. He is portrayed
as aspiring to Parliament, succeeding in his candidature, resisting
payment of a tax upon chignons, heading a revolt against the powers
that were, penetrating triumphantly into the royal palace, there
getting drunk, and being, in the end, overpowered by the forces of the
King. In his address to the electors from the hustings, there is a
pleasant amalgam of pun and sarcasm. Tyler (who was impersonated by Mr.
Toole) begins by saying:--

    A poor industrious hatter I stand here (_cheers_),
    And standing now proceed to take that _cheer_.
    You know me!

    _Crowd._    Sartainly.

    _Wat._                 Am I a fool?

    _Crowd._ No!

    _Wat._       Was I ever base corruption's _Toole_?
    Patriots, potwallopers, and townsmen dear,
    Voters unbribable and pure, look 'ere.
    Your sympathy my warmest thanks evokes,
    For you I'd brave the very _block_--my _blokes_!
    Tho' yonder dandy may treat me with scorn,
    I was of poor but honest parents born.
    Just twenty years ago, in ragged gown
    And soleless shoes, I trudged into this town,
    With one-and-ninepence and two plated spoons
    Within the pockets of my pantaloons.

    _Beaumanners._ Where did you get the spoons from?

    _Wat._               See how malice
    Ever conspires to drug the poor man's chalice!
    Where did I get the spoons from? Well, so far
    As I remember--from my grandmamma!
    But you, my friends, my whole career have seen.
    People of Essex, both these hands are clean (_holds out his hands_).

    _Oldest inhabitant._ They ain't.

    _Wat._               They is! Who's that? Some tyrant's minion.
    Gag him! and vote for freedom of opinion,

    (_Inhabitant is hustled off the stage._)

    Few are the promises you'll hear from me.
    Send me to Westminster as your M.P.,
    And you shall see----

    _Crowd._     What?

    _Wat._              Here's what you shall see:
    Wealth, splendour, carriages and four--that's what;
    The strongest ale a halfpenny a pot,
    Taxes abolished, grievances amended,
    And all the theatres' free lists ne'er suspended,
    Washing for nothing, pickles, pastry, fun,
    And Wallsend coals at eighteenpence a ton.
    Give me your votes, and by next Michaelmas quarter
    Each man shall have the moon who owns a pail of water.
    Then a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
    Shall live on eggs and bacon neatly fried.
    The workhouse poor shall feed on buttered crumpets,
    And eat roast mutton to the sound of trumpets;
    The beggar smoke the best Bengal cheroots,
    And have another man to clean his boots.

    _Beaumanners._ Suppose to this the other makes objection?

    _Wat._ You hear my honourable friend's reflection.
    In such a case, deny it if you can,
    It's plain that we must hang the other man.
    I've said my say; the Commons are my goal;
    I am a hatter--let me head the poll.

Beaumanners, who is in love with Tyler's daughter Ellen (Miss Constance
Loseby), was represented by Miss Ellen Farren,[35] to whom Mr. Sala
assigned the delivery of some of his best puns--as, for instance:--

  [35] The cast was particularly good, including Miss Rose Coghlan as the
  King, Miss Litton as the Queen, Maclean as Walworth, Mrs. Leigh as Mrs.
  Tyler, Miss Tremaine, and J. B. Rae.

    It seems to me the business of a _pa_
    Is simply all his children's bliss to _mar_.

Jane Shore has been the heroine of a burlesque written by Mr. Wilton
Jones, and brought out in the provinces eleven years ago. Messrs.
"Richard Henry" have also composed a travestie of her story, as handed
down by chroniclers. In Mr. Jones's piece reliance was placed, as of
old, upon humorous situation and ear-splitting pun. I give an example
of both qualities. Jane has denounced Richard, Duke of Gloucester, as
the murderer of the Princes in the Tower, and he now proclaims her

    _Gloucester._ Policemen, hear the sentence on Jane Shore--
    (_Reading from scroll_) She's never to have dinner any more;
    No breakfast, tea nor supper--that's her fate--
    No matter how much she may _supper_-licate.
    She'll starve to death for being over pert.

    _Jane_ (_feebly_). No _dinner_?

    _Gloucester._                  No, ma'am; only your _desert_.
    High treason is her crime, and I repeat
    No one shall give her anything to eat;
    She'll have the fields, the roads to rest her knees on,
    And if she likes can even sleep _high trees on_;
    But take good care no pity she arouses--
    And mind you keep her from the public-houses!

    _Jane_ (_aghast_). And is that _all_ the sentence? I shall drop!

    _Gloucester._ Yes--there the sentence comes to a _full stop_.

    _Jane._ Then for the sentence I had best prepare.
    Will some one kindly let down my back hair?

    (_Catesby and Hastings let her back hair down._)

    _Jane._ Well, if you won't remove this dreadful ban,
    I'll die as picturesquely as I can!

  In three well-known travesties, Henry VIII. plays the most conspicuous
part--in William Brough's "Field of the Cloth of Gold" (1868, Strand),
in Mr. Burnand's "Windsor Castle" (Strand, 1865), and Mr. Conway
Edwardes' "Anne Boleyn" (Royalty, 1872). I name these in the order in
which they deal with historical events. In "The Field of the Cloth of
Gold" Katherine of Arragon is Queen, with Anne Boleyn (Miss F. Hughes)
as maid of honour and (as Her Majesty suspects) a rival. To this
suspicion Anne makes reference in the following lines:--

    Queen Katherine! her I'm quite afraid of;
    She vows it isn't _honour_ that I'm _maid_ of;
    Declares King Henry loves me--as for me,
    I am no better than I ought to be;
    Such language she employs, I'm grieved to state
    Queen _Kate_ gets daily more _in-daily-Kate_.
    If I remonstrate, or to her appeal,
    Katherine goes off like a Katherine wheel.

In "Windsor Castle" the King is in love, more or less, with Anne (Mr.
Thomas Thorne), but inclined to let his vagrant fancy wander after
Mabel Lynwood (Miss Ada Swanborough), who turns out to be Anne's
sister. Anne, it is recorded, sang like a siren, and was especially
addicted to a few French ditties. Of these Mr. Burnand makes her sing a
diverting parody, printed, in "the book of the play," in French "as she
is pronounced." The song is called





    Le Sh'valiay ay sar Bellay,
      Ker deetial Sir Grong Mossoo lar?
    Avec lespree der Jernessay
      "Commongvoo portayvoo?"
    Parley voo frarngsay?
    Parley voo--Tra-la-la-la-la-la.
          (_Refrang_). Parley voo, etc.

    "O Sh'valiay," dit sar Bellay,
      "Cumbeang ler caffy newaur lar?"
    "Ay p'tee tas o der veeay?"
      Toot sweet o reservoir.
    Jenner comprong par
    Jenner com--Tra-la-la-la-la.
        (_Refrang_). Jenner com, etc.


    Kong Johnteyomme L'Onglay say
      Daymarnd lay pomme de tare lar
    Partong poor lar Syreeay
      Ay Veve lar Lester Square!
    Charnsong ay finny
    O sey ay finny mong tra-la-la-la.

In "Anne Boleyn," again, Anne (E. Danvers) is at last Queen, but with
her life embittered by King Henry's flirtations with Jane Seymour (Miss
Harriet Coveney). Thus, in one place, Anne exclaims:--

    Again he slights me! Bubbling heart, be still!
    Keep Henry from that girl I must, and will!
    She hinted I--in language far from vague--
    Like _Xantippe_, was _sent to be_ a plague;
    Openly told that corpulent barbarian
    I'm his "grey mare," and also no _grey-mare-ian_;
    Said I'm a vixen, and in manner rude
    Told him he wasn't _wise_ to be so _shrew'd_.
    My happiness she's marred, my heart she's wrung
    With _hideous hints_ from her (h)insidious tongue.
    She would ke-rush me!--ah! But soft--no riot!
    Now, bubbling heart, oblige me, and lie quiet.

The King himself describes the course of his feelings towards Anne in
the following ditty:--

    When I courted Anne Boleyn, with love I was drunk,
    Oh, I cannot remember the thoughts that I--_thunk_,
    I know I winked at her, and she at me--_wunk_,
        With my itheremyky, kitheremyky,
        Katheremyku-etty cum, fol de rol liddle de ray.

    I said, "Let me kneel at your feet," and I--_knole_,
    And I asked her upon me to smile, and she--_smole_,
    Then I said, "I feel happier than ever I--_fole_"
                        With my, etc.

    She murmured, "My waist do not squeeze," but I--_squoze_,
    And remained at her feet till she told me to--_rose_,
    For she wanted to sneeze, and softly she--_snoze_,
                        With my, etc.

    For a time I continued to woo, yes, I--_wode_,
    Then I asked her to go to the church, and we--_gode_,
    Having made up our minds to be tied, we were--_tode_,
                        With my, etc.

    Time winged his swift course, yes, his swift course Time--_wung_;
    And this was the thing he was bringing, and--_brung_;
    Dislike for Anne Boleyn, I wish she was _hung_!
                        With my, etc.

"The Field of the Cloth of Gold" (which was revived in London, with
only tolerable success, a year or two ago) has to do mainly with
the meeting of Henry VIII. and Francis I. (Mr. David James) on that
historic spot--an event which is here surrounded with the most
ludicrous circumstances possible. There is a sub-plot which deals with
the loves of Constance de Grey (Miss A. Swanborough) and the Earl
of Darnley (Miss Lydia Thompson), as interrupted and jeopardised by
the pretensions and machinations of Sir Guy the Cripple (Mr. Thomas
Thorne). The comic incidents are somewhat pantomimical, and the main
merit of the piece lies in the humour of its dialogue, which is always
sparkling. One of the puns in this burlesque is among the very best
ever perpetrated, and is, indeed, a historical possession. Need I quote
it? The King has crossed over from Dover to Calais on a stormy day, and
arrives in a very "indisposed" condition:--

    _Henry._ I am ill.

    _Suffolk._         Nay, sire, cheer up, I pray.

    _Henry._ Yesterday all was fair--a glorious Sunday,
    But this _sick transit_ spoils the _glory o' Monday_.

But the piece is full of quips almost equally good. Mark the puns that
the two kings fire off at each other when they foregather on the Field
of the Cloth of Gold:--

    _Henry._ Pshaw! Bluff King Hal fears not to make advances
    So long as the great King of _France is Francis_.

    _Francis._ With pride I this alliance look upon,
    While _Hal be on_ the throne of _Albion_.

    _Henry._ The English Harry'd flattery despise,
    He deems _all truths_ here uttered by _al-lies_.
    Of good old racy stock, he scorns hypocrisy.

    _Francis._ We've heard much of the English _Harri-stock-racy_.

After this, one thinks comparatively little of such sallies as:--

    "You an _exile_ here are _rated_."
    It's not _exile-a-rating_, I confess."

    So, sire, I on the Tuesday ran away,
    To 'scape the _wedding_ on the _Wedding's day_.

    "Oh, mind! my hair you out in handfuls pull."
    "Why so much cry about a little wool?"

At one point we have:--

    _De Bois._ Your Majesty, we've sought you everywhere.
    Your absence much alarm has been creating,
    Even the royal dinner's been kept waiting
    Till you came home.

    _Francis._          So you regret, I see,
    The _missing dinner_--not the _absentee_.

Surrey, in "Windsor Castle," is represented not only as poet but as
composer, and in the combined characters puts together a love song
addressed to his Geraldine. Unfortunately, when he comes to sing it to
her, he finds he has forgotten some of the words:--

    _Surrey._ Well! the _refrain_ which I composed as well,
    Is no "Fol de riddle lol," made in my cell;
    Where, 'stead of idly _lolling_ all the day,
    My time I fol de riddle _lolled_ away,
    I cannot somehow call each verse to mind,
    But substitutes for words I soon can find;
    Toodle um, or something of that sort;
    I'll sing the air; 'tis very sweet and short.


                        Oh my Geraldine,
    No flow'r was ever seen so toodle um.
    (_Fondly_) You are my lum ti toodle lay,
                        Pretty, pretty queen
                 Is rum ti Geraldine and something teen,
    (_Rapturously_) More sweet than tiddle lum in May.
                    Like the star so bright,
                    That something's all the night,
                    My Geraldine!
    (_With intensity_) You're fair as the rum ti lum ti sheen,

    _Boleyn_ (_without_). What, ho!

    _Surrey_ (_speaks impressively_). This is impromptu.
    Hark! there is what--ho!
    From something-um, you know,
                  Dear, what I mean.
    (_With deep feeling_) Oh! rum! tum!! tum!!! my Geraldine.

"Anne Boleyn" is particularly prolific in good puns, in the making of
which the author showed himself an adept. It would be a pleasure to
quote a few of them, but I give instead some lines in which, speaking
through the mouth of one of his characters, the writer satirises the
methods of the old-fashioned drama:--

    _Mine_ were the "palmy days" when, I declare,
    A little table and two chairs, sir, were
    Thought furniture sufficient for a scene;
    When a baize drugget--generally green--
    Covered the stage where'er the place was laid,
    Serving alike for palace, cot or glade;
    When, in a drawing-room, a servant-maid
    Would sing a duet with the comic man;
    When dramas only for a few nights ran;
    When a rhymed tag to every piece was tacked;
    When most plays had a dozen scenes an act;
    When bucket boots and ringlet wigs were worn,
    "Acting's a lost art," sir, since _you_ were born;
    Those are the days which I look back upon,
    Of broadsword combats with--"Ha, ha! Come on!"

Good Queen Bess was added to Mr. Burnand's gallery in 1870, when his
"E-liz-a-beth, or the Don, the Duck, the Drake, and the Invisible
Armada," was brought out at the Vaudeville, with Mr. Thorne as the
Queen, Mr. David James as Whiskerandos, and George Honey as Drake.
The "Maiden Queen" has not been greatly tantalised by the burlesque
writers, who, on the other hand, have made very free with a gentleman
who much disturbed her successor--Guy Fawkes. Mr. Burnand handled him
in 1866 (at the Strand); H. J. Byron followed suit at the Gaiety in
1874; last year we had the "Guy Fawkes, Esq." of Messrs. "A. C. Torr"
(Fred Leslie) and H. F. Clark; and I believe that Mr. Wilton Jones,
too, has written a travestie on the subject. Charles II. was burlesqued
by Mr. Gilbert Arthur a'Beckett in 1872, the _locale_ being the Court
Theatre, and the full title of the piece "Charles II., or Something
like History." In this, as in Mr. Reece's "Romulus and Remus," there
was some parody of the Lyceum "Charles I."--Mr. Righton, as Cromwell,
imitating both Mr. Irving and George Belmore, besides indulging in the
cancan! W. J. Hill was the King, and Mme. Cornèlie D'Anka the Queen
(Catherine of Braganza). Pepys, Rochester, and Lily the Astrologer also
figured in the piece. Cromwell was afterwards the leading personage in
the "Oliver Grumble" of Mr. George Dance (Novelty, 1886).

About the names of such heroes and heroines as the Lady Godiva, Dick
Whittington, Robin Hood, Herne the Hunter, and those distinguished
footpads Claude Duval and Dick Turpin, there hangs a good deal that
is clearly mythical. Still, some myths have more real vitality than
absolute fact; and who does not believe firmly that the Lady Godiva
rode round Coventry "clothed on" with nothing but her chastity, and, by
taking away a grinding tax, "built herself an everlasting name"? Her
adventure has been burlesqued at least twice--once by Francis Talfourd
and a collaborator, at another time by Mr. H. Chance Newton. The
Talfourd piece was called "Godiva, or Y^e Ladye of Coventrie and Y^e
Exyle Fayrie" and produced at the Strand in 1851. Mr. Newton christened
his work "Giddy Godiva." In the earlier burlesque, "y^e exyle fayrie"
Ignota (Miss Romer) is introduced merely as a _dea ex machinâ_ in
the interests of the heroine (Miss Marshall), who, in a passage of
Shakespearean reminiscence, discusses the undertaking to which she has
been incited by her husband:--

    To be, or not to be, at his suggestion,
    A pose plastique, is yet a doubtful question!
    To bare my arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by a pose to end them! Each day doubles
    The people's wrongs, the proud Earl's heavy tax;
    To help to ease them I would not be lax;
    But then to ride--riding, by some low scrub
    Perhaps be seen!--Ah, bother--there's the rub!
    The fear that still my courage may be less
    When I have shuffled off this mortal dress,
    Must give me pause.

A prominent character in the piece is Our Own Reporter, "Y^e Specyall
Commyssionere and Correspondente of y^e _Busie Bee_" (John Reeve), who
would fain play the part of Peeping Tom, and who, early in the play,
sings a song wittily descriptive of his ordinary avocations:--

    _Rep._ I'm a mercantile man, and my living is got
    By selling of articles----

    _Leofric and Godwin._ What? what? what?

    _Rep._ They're white and black, they're short and long,
    And some of them sometimes go for a song;
    And during my time, of labour by dint,
    I've set up many a column of----

    _Leo._                           Granite?

    _Godwin._                        Iron?

    _Leo._                           Gutta Percha?

    _Rep._ No, no; that's not the sort of thing to make up the business
           that I do!

           *       *       *       *       *

    _Rep._ I'm a military man, for I often have a shot
    At public foes with----

    _Leofric and Godwin._ What? what? what?

    _Rep._ If I fire at you 'twill be no joke,
    For you'll hear the report, but see no smoke;
    And my charge is prepared with what do you think?
    By a devil and steam, of paper and----

    _Leo._                                 Sulphur and brimstone?

    _Godwin._                              Gunpowder?

    _Leo._                                 Gun-cotton?

    _Rep._ No, no; that's not the sort of thing to make up the business
           that I do!

           *       *       *       *       *

    _Rep._ I'm a literary man, and I can put a blot
    On a proud snob's scutcheon----

    _Leofric and Godwin._           Hey! what? what? what?

    _Rep._ And if I mention the people's woes,
    And show you up, why down you goes;
    And the flow of language that I possess
    Will open the tide of the Public----

    _Leo._                               Water Companies?

    _Godwin._                            Baths and Washhouses?

    _Leo._                               I have it--Press!

    _Rep._ Just so! Now you know the sort of thing that makes up the
           business that I do!

Three burlesques have been devoted to the life and adventures of Sir
Richard Whittington. There was, first, the "Whittington Junior, and
his Sensation Cat," of Mr. Reece (Royalty, 1870); next, the "Young
Dick Whittington" of Mr. Wilton Jones (Leicester, 1881); and next, the
"Whittington and his Cat" of Mr. Burnand (Gaiety, 1881). Mr. Reece had
Miss Henrietta Hodson (Mrs. Labouchere) for his Whittington, while Miss
Farren was Mr. Burnand's. Robin Hood has had at least as many burlesque
biographies as Whittington. A travestie, written by Stocqueler, Shirley
Brooks, and Charles Kenny, and produced at the Lyceum in 1846, with
the Keeleys, Wigan and Frank Matthews, was followed in 1862, at the
Olympic, by one from the pen of Mr. Burnand. Mr. Reece wrote one,
called "Little Robin Hood," which was seen at the Royalty in 1871,
and this was revived--in three-act form--at the Gaiety in 1882, with
Mr. Arthur Williams as a particularly droll Richard I. Robin Hood, it
may also be noted, was a prominent character in Mr. Burnand's "Hit or
'Miss,'" at the Olympic in 1868. Herne the Hunter (who has a place in
Mr. Burnand's "Windsor Castle") was made the leading personage in, and
gave the title to, a travestie composed by Messrs. Reece and Yardley,
and performed at the Gaiety in 1881. Five years later, at the Folly,
we had "Herne the Hunted," in which Mr. H. P. Stephens had a hand,
as well as Messrs. Yardley and Reece. Claude Duval was turned into a
burlesque hero by Mr. Burnand, and strutted his hour upon the stage at
the Royalty in 1869; followed _longo intervallo_ by Turpin--here called
"Dandy Dick Turpin, the Mashing Highwayman,"--whom Mr. Geoffrey Thorn
(Charles Townley) made the chief personage of a travestie performed in
London in 1889.



Travestie of the drama and things dramatic has naturally played a
large part in the history of English stage burlesque. Side by side
with the producers and interpreters of tragedy, melodrama, and plays
of sentiment, have been the possessors of the humorous spirit,
who--whether as writers or as actors--have been quick to see the
points in which works of serious plan and treatment have been open
to the shafts of ridicule and raillery. As we have seen, most of the
earliest efforts in English stage burlesque were directed against the
extravagant tragedies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As
time went on, and the limits of the serious drama became more extended,
so did the limits of burlesque expand, and, from the days of John
Poole downwards, the large variety of serious dramatic production has
co-existed with a corresponding variety in the subject and style of the
travesties submitted to the public.

Among those travesties a prominent place has been taken by the pieces
devoted to the burlesque of Shakespeare--not because they have been
particularly numerous, for they have not been so--nor because they have
been uniformly successful, for the earlier specimens were singularly
weak--but because of the general daring of the attempts, and because
also of the genuine sense of fun exhibited by such baiters of "the
Bard" as Gilbert a'Beckett, Francis Talfourd, Stirling Coyne, William
Brough, Andrew Halliday (Duff), F. C. Burnand, H. J. Byron, and W.
S. Gilbert. The business of burlesquing Shakespeare has never, so
far as I can see, been taken up in a wholesale or an intentionally
irreverent spirit. The seventeenth and eighteenth-century satirists
left "the Bard" severely alone, and it was not until 1810 that the
first formal travestie of Shakespeare--Poole's "Hamlet Travestie"--saw
the light.[36] The author then made all due apology for his temerity,
at the same time pointing out the absurdity of the idea that any amount
or kind of burlesque could possibly sully the fame of the dramatist.
Two years later, in the course of his preface to the fourth edition
of his work, Poole ironically congratulated "those who, on its first
appearance, were apprehensive for the reputation of Shakespeare," upon
the fact "that, notwithstanding Three Editions already before the
public, he is neither expelled from our libraries, nor banished from
our stage."

  [36] It was performed at Covent Garden in 1813, with Mathews as Hamlet,
  Blanchard as the King, Liston as Ophelia, and Mrs. Liston as the Queen.
  It was revived in 1874 on one occasion with Mr. Odell as Hamlet, and
  shortly afterwards with Mr. Leonard Boyne as the Prince, both actors
  indulging in an imitation of Mr. Irving's performance.

The truth is, a brilliant burlesque does harm to nobody; and a
bad burlesque does but recoil upon the head of its author and
his exponents. Poole's "Hamlet Travestie" is marked by the best
intentions, but, as a whole, it makes dreary reading. The opening
colloquy between Hamlet, King Claudius, and Queen Gertrude will give,
to those who have not already perused the piece, a notion of the
quality of the dialogue:--

    _King_ (_to_ Hamlet). Cheer up, my son and cousin, never mind--

    _Ham._ A little more than kin, and less than kind.

    _King._ Why hang the clouds still on you? Come, have done.

    _Ham._ You're out, my lord; I'm too much in the sun.--

    _Queen._ Come, Hamlet, leave off crying; 'tis in vain,
    Since crying will not bring him back again.
    Besides, 'tis common: all that live must die--
    So blow your nose, my dear, and do not cry.

    _Ham._ Ay, madam, it is common.

    _Queen._                        If it be,
    Why seems there such a mighty fuss with thee?

    _Ham._ Talk not to me of seems--when husbands die,
    'Twere well if some folks seem'd the same as I.
    But _I_ have that within, you can't take from me--
    As for black clothes--that's all my eye and Tommy.

    _King._ Cheer up, my hearty; though you've lost your dad,
    Consider that your case is not so bad:
    Your father lost a father; and 'tis certain,
    Death o'er your great-grandfather drew the curtain.
    You've mourn'd enough; 'tis time your grief to smother;
    Don't cry: you shall be king some time or other.

    _Queen._ Go not to Wittenburg, my love, I pray you.

    _Ham._ Mamma, I shall in all my best obey you.

    _King._ Well said, my lad! Cheer up, no more foul weather:
    We'll meet anon, and all get drunk together.

It was part of Poole's method to put the soliloquies into the form of
songs, and so we find the lines beginning "O that this too too solid
flesh would melt!" appearing in the following form:--

    A ducat I'd give if a sure way I knew
    How to thaw and resolve my stout flesh into dew!
    How happy were I if no sin was self-slaughter!
    For I'd then throw myself and my cares in the water.
                        Derry down, down, down, derry down.

    How weary, how profitless,--stale, and how flat,
    Seem to me all life's uses, its joys, and all that:
    This world is a garden unweeded; and clearly
    Not worth living for--things rank and gross hold it merely.
                                        Derry down, etc.

    Two months have scarce pass'd since dad's death, and my mother,
    Like a brute as she is, has just married his brother.--
    To wed such a bore!--but 'tis all too late now:
    We can't make a silk purse of the ear of a sow.
                                        Derry down, etc.

The time-honoured "To be or not to be" is sung in this version to the
tune of "Here we go up, up, up":--

    When a man becomes tired of his life,
      The question is, "to be, or not to be?"
    For before he dare finish the strife,
      His reflections most serious ought to be.
    When his troubles too numerous grow,
      And he knows of no method to mend them,
    Had he best bear them tamely, or no?--
      Or by stoutly opposing them, end them?
                                Ri tol de rol, etc.

    To die is to sleep--nothing more--
    And by sleeping to say we end sorrow,
    And pain, and ten thousand things more,--
    Oh, I wish it were _my_ turn to-morrow!
    But, perchance, in that sleep we may dream,
    For we dream in our beds very often--
    Now, however capricious 't may seem,
    I've no notion of dreams in a coffin.
                                Ri tol de rol, etc.

    [Illustration: W. S. GILBERT.]

    'Tis the doubt of our ending all snugly,
      That makes us with life thus dispute;
    Or who'd bear with a wife old and ugly,
      Or the length of a chancery suit?
    Or who would bear fardels, and take
      Kicks, cuffs, frowns, and many an odd thing,
    When he might his own quietus make,
      And end all his cares with a bodkin?
                                  Ri tol de rol, etc.

The "annotations" appended to the text of the burlesque are in parody
of the performances of the commentators, who at least are fair game for
chaff of this sort, and on whom Poole, in his preface, lavishes some
excellent indignation.

Of subsequent burlesques of "Hamlet" there have not been many, but
some of them have been really clever and commendable. There was, for
instance, Talfourd's, published at Oxford in 1849; there was the
"Hamlet à la Mode" of Messrs. G. L. Gordon and G. W. Anson, performed
at Liverpool in 1877; there was the "Very Little Hamlet" of Mr. William
Yardley, seen at the Gaiety in 1884; and last, but assuredly not least,
we have had the "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" of Mr. Gilbert, which,
written originally without thought either of public or of private
representation, has been enacted at a benefit _matinée_ during the
present year.

In "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern," which is an unpretentious little
"skit," covering only some sixteen or seventeen printed pages, Mr.
Gilbert supposes that Hamlet is the son (not the step-son) of Claudius.
"Rosencrantz is a lover of Ophelia, to whom Hamlet is betrothed, and
they lay their heads together to devise a plan by which Hamlet may be
put out of the way. Some Court theatricals are in preparation." Now,
once upon a time, Claudius had written a tragedy, which was damned, and
to which no one is allowed to make reference on pain of death. "Ophelia
and Rosencrantz persuade Hamlet to play his father's tragedy before the
king and court. Hamlet, who is unaware of the proscription, does so;
and he is banished, and Rosencrantz happily united to Ophelia."

In the first act, Rosencrantz, who has never seen Hamlet (apparently,
because the former has been abroad), asks Ophelia what the Prince is
like, and that gives Mr. Gilbert an opportunity for some characteristic
satire. Ophelia says of Hamlet that he is "alike for no two seasons at
a time":--

    Sometimes he's tall--sometimes he's very short--
    Now with black hair--now with a flaxen wig--
    Sometimes an English accent--then a French--
    Then English with a strong provincial "burr."
    Once an American and once a Jew--
    But Danish never, take him how you will!
    And, strange to say, whate'er his tongue may be,
    Whether he's dark or flaxen--English--French--
    Though we're in Denmark, A. D. ten--six--two--
    He always dresses as King James the First!

    _Guild._ Oh, he is surely mad!

    _Oph._                        Well, there again
    Opinion is divided. Some men hold
    That he's the sanest far of all sane men--
    Some that he's really sane, but shamming mad--
    Some that he's really mad, but shamming sane--
    Some that he will be mad, some that he _was_--
    Some that he couldn't be! But, on the whole
    (As far as I can make out what they mean),
    The favourite theory's somewhat like this:
    Hamlet is idiotically sane
    With lucid intervals of lunacy.

In the second act, the Queen, observing that Hamlet is about to
soliloquise, urges Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to "prevent this,
gentlemen, by any means":--

                    Anticipate his points,
    And follow out his argument for him;
    Thus you will cut the ground from 'neath his feet,
    And leave him nought to say.

The result is as follows:--

    _Enter_ Hamlet; _he stalks to a chair, throws himself into it_.

    _Ham._ To be--or not to be!

    _Ros._ (R. _of chair_)          Yes--that's the point!
    Whether he's bravest who will cut his throat
    Rather than suffer all--

    _Guild._ (L. _of chair_) Or suffer all
    Rather than cut his throat?

    _Ham._ (_annoyed at interruption, resumes_) To die--to sleep----

    _Ros._ It's nothing more--Death is but sleep spun out--
    Why hesitate?

    (_Offers him a dagger_.)

    _Guild._ The only question is
    Between the choice of deaths which death to choose.

    (_Offers another_.)

    _Ham._ (_in great terror_) Do take these dreadful things away.
      They make
    My blood run cold. (_Resumes_) To sleep, perchance to----

    _Ros._                                                     Dream.
    That's very true. I never dream myself,
    But Guildenstern dreams all night long out loud.

    _Guild._ With blushes, sir, I do confess it true!

    _Ham._ This question, gentlemen, concerns me not.
    (_Resumes_) For who would bear the whips and scorns of time----

    _Ros._ (_as guessing a riddle_) _Who'd_ bear the whips and scorns?
      Now let me see.
    Who'd bear them, eh?

    _Guild._ (_same business_) Who'd bear the _scorns_ of time----

    _Ros._ (_correcting him_) The _whips_ and scorns.

    _Guild._             The whips and scorns, of course.

    (_Hamlet about to protest_)

    Don't tell us--let us guess--the whips of time?

    _Ham._ Oh, sirs, this interruption likes us not.
    I pray you give it up.

    _Ros._                 My lord, we do.
    We cannot tell _who_ bears these whips and scorns!

The third act opens with a passage in which the turns and rhythm of
Shakespearean prose are happily imitated:--

    _Enter_ King _and_ Queen, _meeting_ Rosencrantz.

    _Queen._ A fair good morrow to you, Rosencrantz. How march the Royal

    _Ros._ Lamely, madam, lamely, like a one-legged duck. The Prince has
    discovered a strange play. He hath called it "A Right Reckoning Long

    _Claud._ And of what fashion is the Prince's play?

    _Ros._ 'Tis an excellent poor tragedy, my Lord--a thing of shreds and
    patches welded into a form that hath mass without consistency, like an
    ill-built villa.

    _Queen._ But, sir, you should have used your best endeavours to wean
    his phantasy from such a play.

    _Ros._ Madam, I did, and with some success; for he now seeth the
    absurdity of its tragical catastrophes, and laughs at it as freely as
    we do. So, albeit the poor author had hoped to have drawn tears of
    sympathy, the Prince hath resolved to present it as a piece of pompous
    folly intended to excite no loftier emotion than laughter and surprise.

After Poole published his "Hamlet,"[37] Shakespearean burlesque
slumbered until 1834, when Maurice G. Dowling produced at Liverpool
his "Othello Travestie." In this dull production, the Moor of Venice
figures as "an independent nigger from the Republic of Hayti," and
talks in "darkey" dialect (as does the same writer's Clifford in "Fair
Rosamond"). Here, for example, is this Othello's address to the Senate
(written and sung to the air of "Yankee Doodle"):--

  [37] In "Hamlet Improved," by Colonel Colomb, a Mr. Mendall is supposed
  to have revised the last act of "Hamlet" in accordance with modern
  notions. Polonius is alive, having been only wounded by Hamlet;
  Hamlet's father also is alive, having only pretended to be dead. At the
  close, the King, Queen, Laertes, and Ophelia, all come to life again.
  Hamlet is represented by a stuffed figure, the actor chosen for the
  part having refused to enact it.

    Potent, grave, and rev'rend sir,
      Very noble massa--
    When de maid a man prefer
      Den him no can pass her.
    Yes, it is most werry true,
      Him take dis old man's daughter;
    But no by spell, him promise you,
      But by fair means him caught her.

    'Tis true she lub him berry much,
      'Tis true dat off him carry her,
    And dat him lub for her is such,
      'Tis werry true him marry her.
    All dis be true--and till him dead,
      Him lub her widout ending--
    And dis, my massa, is the head
      And tail of him offending.

    Dis old man once him lub me too,
      Do' now in rage before ye,
    And often say, "Come Othello,
      And tell us pretty story,
    About der time when yon young child,
      (You naughty lilly child ye),
    And when you 'bout de wood run wild,
      And when you sold for slavey."

    Den ebery day him tell all dis,
      And sometimes lilly lie, too,
    And him look in de eye of miss.
      And den him hear her sigh, too,
    Den missee meet him all alone,
      And den him ax her wedder,
    Him make de both two hearts in one,
      Den off dey run togedder.

W. J. Hammond played Othello in this piece, both at Liverpool, and
afterwards at the Strand Theatre, where popular Miss E. Daly was the
Desdemona and H. Hall the Iago. What can these presumably capable
actors have thought of their _rôles_? The text of the burlesque is
almost wholly without humour, of which, however, there is a gleam in
the complaint made by Cassio that he has been ruined by a pint of

    My reputation's lost--my reputation!
    I'm bother'd, sir--I'm bother'd quite with thinking;
    I've lost my reputation, sir, for drinking.
    I, who to good brown stout ne'er yet turn'd tail,
    Drunk and bedevil'd with a mug of ale!
    Was ever man in such a situation?
    My reputation, sir--my reputation!

H. J. Byron's "Rival Othellos" (played at the Strand in 1876) was not
a travestie of the tragedy; but it gave opportunity for some clever
burlesque of tragic acting.

We come now to the first (and, so far as I know, the only) travestie of
"King John," which happily was essayed by the capable pen of Gilbert
Abbott a'Beckett. The year was 1837, the _locale_ the St. James's
Theatre, and Hall the representative of the title-part, with Mme. Sala
as Lady Constance. The play was lucky in being dealt with by so deft a
workman. The subject was not very promising, and all was done with it
that was possible. The scene in which the King incites Hubert to get
rid of Arthur was thus travestied:--

    Hubert, my friend, I had a thing to say.
    But let it pass--the sun is shining bright:
    To suit my purpose, it had needs be night,
    If where we stand could be a railroad tunnel,
    As if we looked at Tartarus through a funnel;
    If you could only scent what I propose,
    Yet let it not smell rankly in your nose,
    If you could, or if I--Hubert, my lad,
    Who made that coat?--indeed, the cut's not bad.

    _Hub._ Great king, you know I always lov'd you well,
    Then why not in a word your wishes tell?
    Why roll your troubled eye about its socket?
    My lord, your heart is in your breeches pocket.
    Though it would cost my life, what is't you need?
    I'll do your bidding--

    _K. John._            You're a friend indeed!
    But Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw your eye
    On that young lad, that now is standing by;
    I'll tell you what, my friend: that boy, I feel,
    Is, in my path, a piece of orange peel,
    And wheresoe'er I tread he'll throw me down,
    And if I fall, you know, I crack my crown.

    (_Taking out his snuff-box_.)

    You are his keeper--are you up to snuff?

    _Hub._ I am! I'll keep the urchin safe enough.

    _K. John._ Remove him----

    _Hub._ He shall die!

    _K. John._ Egad, I feel
    So merry, Hubert, I could dance a reel.
    What shall I give thee?

    _Hub._                  What you please.

    _K. John._ Then let it--
    Stand over, gentle Hubert, till you get it.

Here, again, is the perversion of the famous scene between Hubert and
the boy:--

    _Arth._ Hubert, good Hubert, how are you to-day?

    _Hub._ I must not listen to his childish chatter,
    For if I do he'll melt my heart like batter.
    (_Aside_) Look here, young Arthur (_gives warrant_): can you understand
    This paper, written in a large text hand?

    _Arth._ Oh, can I read it?--oh, unhappy youth!
    Must you with pinchers then take out my tooth?

    _Hub._ Young boy, I must.

    _Arth._                   And will you?

    _Hub._                                  Yes, I will.

    _Arth._ Oh, it's too bad--when you were taken ill,
    Who was it to the chemist's ran full gallop,
    To get a penny dose of salts and jalap!
    And when I've seen you, after dining out,
    When you've made free at some hot drinking bout,
    Have I not always been extremely willing
    To give for soda-water my last shilling?
    And you'll take out my tooth? If you will, come--
    I'll not resist,--here is my tooth, by gum!

    _Hub._ Young boy, I've sworn to do it--do not flinch:
    These instruments must help me at a pinch.
    Come forth! (_Stamps_.)

    _Enter_ Ruffian, _with a pewter basin_, _towel_, etc.

    (_To_ Ruffian). Do as I bid you.

    _Arth._                          Hubert, stay:
    My tooth is out--do send that man away. (Ruffian _seizes_ Arthur.)

    _Hub._ Now for the pinchers--now for one bold tug.

    _Arth._ Why be so boisterous? I will hold my mug.
    For Heaven's sake, Hubert, send that man away,
    And not a word against it I will say.
    Hubert, thy word indeed shall be my law;
    My tooth is out: see, I will hold my jaw!

    _Hub._ (_to Ruffian_). Go, stand without; I by myself will do it.

    _Ruffian._ Indeed 'twould make me ill were I to view it.

    [_Exit_ Ruffian.

Elsewhere King John sings, to the air of "The Light of other Days,"
this excellent parody:--

    The robe of other days has faded,
      Its gloss has from it pass'd;
    For dust with little specks has shaded
      The stuff too fine to last.
    The robe of velvet made of cotton,
      For wear much better pays;
    But, alas! how shabby this I've got on,
      The robe of other days!

    The coat that is not worth a stiver,
      An old and worn-out thing,
    When touch'd with black and blue reviver,
      Like a new one up will spring.
    You may dye the coat of one that's needy,
      Of stuff as coarse as baize;
    But the robe is done for when 'tis seedy,
      The robe of other days.

The first burlesque of "Romeo and Juliet" was brought out at the Strand
in the same year as that which saw the birth of A'Beckett's "King
John." The author was Maurice G. Dowling, who succeeded in producing
something worthy to rank with his "Othello." In his "Romeo and Juliet"
Montagu and Capulet are rival basket-makers, "Mr." Mercutio being
foreman to the former, who also has "Mr. Ben Volio" in his employ.
Tybalt is a fireman and ratcatcher to the Duke of Mantua; "Mr." Friar
Laurence, a "black-and-white-smith" at Gretna Green. Romeo talks in
illiterate fashion, and at one point sticks a pin into Paris's back!
Miss Daly was the Juliet, and she and Hammond (as Romeo) had to speak,
in the balcony scene, such lines as these:--

    _Enter_ Romeo _over wall_.

    _Rom._ He just knows nothing who's been scratched with pins,
    Unless he's felt the pain of broken shins.

   (Juliet _appears at balcony with lantern_.)

    Oh my! what light is that upon the wall
    Rising like yeast? Crikey, if she should fall!
    Come down, my duck: the moon can't stand no chance--
    You'll easy stare her out of countenance.
    You're prettier far than she--I'm not in joke,
    Miss; what did you say? Oh, la, I thought she spoke!
    I wish she was in heaven, and then her eyes
    Would be two stars a twinkling in the skies.
    There! now she puts her hand upon her head--
    I wish I was that hair--those curls instead,
    That she might comb me when she went to bed.

    _Jul._ Oh, my! I wish that nice young man would come!

    _Rom._ She speaks! a sign she isn't deaf and dumb.

    _Jul._ O Romeo!--Romeo! perhaps you're not to blame,
    But it's a very shocking, ugly name;
    Go to your godfather, and refuse to wear it,
    Or if you won't, be but my love, and swear it;
    And I'll leave home, and go live with you,
    And be young Mistress Romeo Montague.
    The name is not so bad--what's in a name?
    A Rose if Garlick call'd would smell the same.

The Friar's directions to Juliet are given in the course of a song, of
which the following is the opening verse:--

    Here's a bottle of gin--do take it, dear,
    Put it under your pillow, or somewhere near,
    And when the old Nurse to her bed is gone,
    First make yourself certain you're quite alone.
    Then take this bottle--drink part of it off--
    'Tis double distill'd, and may make you cough--
    When presently through your veins will walk
    A comical tremor--a wish to talk,
                              Oh, the bottle of gin!

When, in 1859, Andrew Halliday produced, at the Strand, a "Romeo and
Juliet Travestie, or the Cup of Cold Poison,"[38] he did better, I
need hardly say, than his predecessor. His treatment of the balcony
scene, for instance, was at least not vulgar:--

  [38] This was the piece in which Miss C. Saunders played Romeo, and
  Miss Marie Wilton Juliet. Maria Simpson was the Mercutio, J. Clarke
  the Nurse, Rogers the Apothecary, Bland the Friar, and Miss Bufton the

    Romeo _appears on the top of the wall and comes down ladder_.

    _Rom._ He jests at scars, who never wore a patch,
    Or mounted garden wall and got a scratch
    From row of broken bottles.

   (Juliet _appears on balcony_.)

    _Jul._                 Ha! 'tis he!

    _Rom._ Juliet!

    _Jul._         Romeo! ah, yes! 'tis he!

    _Rom._ Oh, say that name again!

    _Jul._                         Oh, me! oh!
    Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

    _Rom._ Well, 'pon my soul, my love, my sweet, my dear,
    I haven't got the most remote idea;
    My father perhaps----

    _Jul._            Deny him.

    _Rom._                      Then my mother.
    She does not know I'm out.

    _Jul._                     Oh, what a bother!

    _Rom._ What is a bother, sweet?

    _Jul._                          That you,
    My Romeo, should be a Montague,
    And I a Capulet--and yet what's in a name?
    Were you called Jones, I'd love you all the same;
    You'd be no worse: mark this, I do entreat--
    The Serpentine by other name would smell as sweet.

    _Rom._ Would I were some one else----

    _Jul._                                 But fate assigns
    A bitter lot, and rules the hardest lines.

    _Rom._ (_sneezes, and as if with cold in his head_) It's getting
    chilly, dear, but hear me swear--
    By the boon, green cheese of heaven--look there,
    Shining as brightly as a silver spoon.

    _Jul._ (_sneezing, and with a cold_) Swear not by the boon--the
      inconstant boon,
    Who changes oft, and twelve times in a year
    Hooks it like a tenant in arrear.

    _Rom._ What shall I swear by, then, to gain a seat
    In your affections?

    _Jul._              Oh, do not swear, my sweet,
    At all. A good rule we now commence with:
    We take our seats--the oaths we do dispense with.

For the rest, the burlesque followed many lines of the original closely
enough,[39] save that, at the end, Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio, Tybalt,
and Paris, were all revived, much to the indignation of Shakespeare, a
statue of whom appeared, with finger held up in a menacing manner.

  [39] Juliet was sent to sleep, not by a potion, but by a perusal of the
  latest work of Mr. Tupper.

The piece was well stocked with puns; as, for example:--

    Who doubts Mercutio's courage him mistakes:
    He hates a _broil_, but he will fight for _stakes_.

And again:--

    By reason of this _bunion_ on my toe,
    This _pilgrim's progress_ has been very slow.

After "Romeo and Juliet," the first of Shakespeare's plays to be
burlesqued was "Richard III.," of which Charles Selby, the comedian,
and Stirling Coyne, the well-known man of letters, each perpetrated a
travestie in 1844. Selby's piece[40] was founded on the Colley Cibber
adaptation, and introduced Henry VI., who, at the end, was represented
as coming to life again and quietly assuming the crown which Richmond
was about to take. Richard also is resuscitated, after a fashion very
popular in burlesques of Shakespeare. Of literary merit Selby's work
had little.

  [40] Produced at the Strand, with Hammond as Richard, Wigan as Henry
  VI., Romer as Tressel, Miss L. Lyons as Lady Anne, and so on.

Take, for example, his arrangement of the scene in which Richard woos
the Lady Anne:--

    _Lady A._ Well, I never! You ugly, naughty man,
    Why do you thus torment the wretched Anne?

    _Richard._ Torment! sweet saint, recall that killing word,
    And substitute adore.

    _Lady A._             Indeed! I've heard
    Old gossips say he's but a silly calf,
    Who fondly thinks to catch old birds with chaff.
    Look on that pattern of thy gentle love! (_pointing off_ R.)

    _Richard._ I do, and weep, my pretty turtle-dove.
    And yet methinks I can excuse myself.

    _Lady A._ Wholesale butcher!

    _Richard._                   Thou dost abuse thyself!
    (_Rapidly, with great passion_) Thou art the cause of all my
    Thy beauty (like Battersean billows,
    Which market barges smash to shivereens,
    And cheat the town of _sparrow grass_ and greens),
    Thy fatal beauty, for whose dear sake,
    Of all the world I'd Epping sausage make!
    Or kill myself--(if thou shouldst wish me die)
    One hour on that soft breast to lie.

    _Lady A._ Nonsense! I don't believe you! get along!

    (_hitting him playfully with her fan_.).

    _Richard._ I know, dear love, I've done thee grievous wrong!
    But though by me thy husband's death was done,
    'Twas but to help thee to a better one.

    _Lady A._ His better does not wear a head.

    _Richard._ He lives who loves thee better.

    _Lady A._                                  Whom?

    _Richard._                                       Nay, guess.

    _Lady A._ I can't. I'm a dunce at riddle-me-ree.
    Some lunatic, of course?

    _Richard._ Made so by thee! (_kneels_)
    Turn thy bright eyes on _this_ devoted head--

    _Lady A._ Would they were _baganets_, to stick thee dead!
    (_crosses_ R.)

    Richard. I would they were--that I at once might hop the twig!
    For now, with cruel scorn, they at me dig,
    And _homoeopathically_ mill me.
    If thou art determined, sweet, to kill me,
    This "Trifle from Sheffield" in my buzzum stick,
    And let the daylight through your loving Dick.

    (_kneels and gives her his sword._)

Twenty-four years later, Mr. Burnand took up this subject. His work was
called "The Rise and Fall of Richard III.," and was performed at the
Royalty. His treatment of the wooing scene may well be contrasted with
that of Selby. For instance:--

    _Richard._ I see that you a passion for me foster----

    _Anne._ Passion for you! High, mighty, double Glo'ster.

    _Rich._ Oh, call me double Glo'ster, if you please,
    As long as I, in your eyes, am the cheese.

    _Anne._ A cheese! Why, then I cut you. (_going_)

    _Rich._                                I've the daring
    To ask you to consider this cheese _paring_.

    _Anne._ You are hump-backed.

    _Rich._                      Oh, hump-bug!

    _Anne._                                    And knock'd knee'd.

    _Rich._ A friend in-knee'd, ma'am, is a friend indeed.

  In puns, and good puns too, this piece is particularly prolific. Thus,
Richard's mother says of him that

    He as a child took early to the bottle,
    As all our family did, and my relations--
    I can look back on many _ginny_-rations.
    Yes, and my ancestors--they never fought
    With greater spirit than at A-_gin_-court.

Buckingham says to Richard--

    Don't be Protector, Richard--be Dick-tator.

Richmond says of him:--

    There Richard lays;

whereupon Richard replies:--

                          To order sir, I rise;
    Who says "_he lays_" grammatically _lies_.

Of Richmond, the Duchess of York observes:--

    His hair is cut so short where once it flowed.

    _Richard._ Tis a French crop, like grass--'tis _à la mowed_.

Richmond, by the way, is supposed to be fresh from France, and talks
broken English. The Duchess aforesaid asks him:--

    How are you, Richmond? well? or _Richmond 'ill_?

Buckingham says to Anne:--

    I'll introduce, allow me, to your Grace,
    The Lord Mayor, the Recorder, and Jem _Mace_.

    _Anne._ Their robes are beautiful. Oh, nicey, nicey!
    Especially the _Mace_--he does look _spicey_!

But perhaps the best pun in the piece is that which is made apropos of
the fact that Catesby and Tyrell have fallen over the coal-scuttle on
the stairs and hurt themselves:--

    _Richard._ My friends are hurt, so you'll excuse them grinning.

    _Elizabeth._ Excuse! oh, they're more shinned against than shinning!

Talfourd's "Macbeth, somewhat removed from the Text of Shakespeare,"
was first performed in 1847 at Henley-on-Thames during the regatta;
next, at the Strand, in 1848; afterwards at the Olympic, in 1853. At
the last-named theatre it had the advantage of the aid of Robson in
the title-part, of G. Cooke as Duncan, and of Mrs. A. Phillips as Lady
Macbeth. It paraphrases the original fairly well until near the close,
when, after Macduff has slain Macbeth, Duncan reappears (like Henry VI.
in Selby's piece) and takes the crown from Malcolm. Similarly, Macbeth,
his wife, and Banquo turn up again, and announce their willingness to
die nightly.

In the first act Lady Macbeth comes in reading her husband's letter, as

    We met, 'twas on a heath, and on that day
    When victory had flushed us; really they
    Both turned our blood to _curds_ and stopped our _way_;
    Sally, report has said, and I have got
    A gothic notion, they know what is what;
    They called me, dear, all manner of rum things:
    While Cawdor's title in my noddle rings,
    Would you believe it? but a flunkey brings
    The news of Cawdor's death; I have to thank
    That queer old file for giving me his rank.
    One hailed me King--I pause to wipe my eye,
    For it's affecting.--Sally, dear, good-bye!
    Ever affectionately yours, till death
    Pops on his extinguisher,


Lady Macbeth comments on this:--

    Of all rum goes, this is about the rummest!
    Cawdor thou art, and shalt be--what thou'rt promised.
    Yet will thy scruples my intentions clog;
    To go at once the unadulterate hog
    Is not thy nature. Thou'rt the style of buck
    That has the _will_ to sin, but not the _pluck_.

When Macbeth enters, she cries:--

    Welcome, great Glamis!--welcome, worthy Cawdor!
    Nay greater! (_they embrace_).

    _Macb._       Ducky! Duncan comes to-night,
    To stay and sup with us.

    _Lady M._                Yes, that's all right.
    (_Significantly_) When _goes_ he hence?

    _Macb._                             To-morrow he'll endeavour.

    _Lady M._ (_mysteriously_) Not if I knows it, Sammy--
    trust me, never!

    _Macb._ What mean you?

    _Lady M._             Why, at such things you a muff are!

    _Macb._ You wouldn't have me spifflicate the buffer?
    I must think more of this.

    _Lady M._                  Look (so thou wilt less
    Suspicion rouse) particularly guiltless--
    Leave all the rest to me.

    _Macb._                   The _rest_? Don't fret at all;--
    If I do this, no _rest_ for me--you'll get it all.

Then they sing a duet, to the tune of "There's a good time coming":--

    _Lady M._ There's a good chance coming, Sam--
        A good chance coming!
    If the King comes here to-day,
    We're not such flats as throw away
        The good chance coming!

    _Macb._ But, my love, it's very wrong--
        Nothing could be wronger
    Than such a thing----

    _Lady M._         Well, hold your tongue,
    And wait a little longer!

The first burlesque of "The Tempest" made its appearance at the
Adelphi in 1848. It was from the pen of the Brothers Brough, and
was entitled "The Enchanted Isle, or Raising the Wind on the most
Approved Principles." "O." Smith was Prospero, with Miss Taylor as his
daughter Miranda; Miss Woolgar being the Ferdinand, with Paul Bedford
for her father--the Ariel Mme. Celeste, and the Caliban Munyard. Some
years were destined to elapse before the subject again attracted the
burlesque writer; and the writer then was Mr. Burnand, who gave to his
work the name of "Ariel," submitting it to the public in 1883 at the
Gaiety. Miss Ellen Farren took the title-part, with Mr. Henry Monkhouse
as Prospero, Mr. Frank Wyatt as Sebastian, Mr. Dallas as Alonso, and
Miss Connie Gilchrist as Miranda. This "perversion" was in three acts,
and was one of the productions which led the way to the New Burlesque.

To Talfourd belongs the distinction of being the first to burlesque
"The Merchant of Venice." He called his work "Shylock, or the Merchant
of Venice Preserved: an entirely New Reading of Shakespeare, from an
edition hitherto undiscovered by modern authorities, and which it is
hoped may be received as the stray leaves of a Jerusalem Hearty-Joke."
This came out at the Olympic in 1853, and again Talfourd had Robson as
the exponent of his principal character. Again, too, he followed his
original with some care, burlesquing rather in detail than on broad
lines. Take, for example, his "reading" of a portion of the trial
scene. Shylock has been foiled by Portia, and wishes to leave the

    _Shy._ Give me my principal, and I'll away.

    _Por._ Best _carry out_ your _principle_ and stay.
    Nay, Shylock, though you choose forgive the debt,
    You'd find the law had hold upon you yet.

    _Shy._ I say, young man, your practice rather sharp is.

    _Grat._ Not when he practises on the _Jews-harp-ies_.

    _Ant._ Shylock, although your conduct in this case
    In its whole tenor has been thorough base,
    On one condition I won't press the charge,
    And you're at liberty to go at large.

    _Shy._ At large? I feel particularly small,
    (_Aside_) But thank my stars that I can go at all.

    (_Shylock is going, but is prevented by the officers of the Court_)

    _Ant._ There are two points, though, that I must insist on:
    You'll shave your face and look more like a Christian,
    And take your daughter to your arms again.

    _Shy._ Well, since you've got the upper hand, it's plain
    I must knock under--and I will, I swear,
    Receive my heiress and cut off my _hair_!
    (_Jessica and Lorenzo come forward._)

    _Jess._ You pardon us, pa?

    _Shy_.                    Yes, howe'er distressing
    To my paternal feelings, take my blessing.
    Fathers, I think, will own my case a hard 'un,
    She's done for pa, and now she asks her _par-don_.

Gratiano, in this version, is represented as a flunkey, in which
character he makes love to Nerissa:--

    Blush not that I'm a footman, I conjures;
    Let not my _plushes_ be the cause of yours.
    _You_ to the eyes--but, though more difficulter,
    _I_ to the knees plush as the _knee plush ultra_.

Everywhere the puns are as clever as they are bright. Portia says to

                           Mind, a maiden should
    Of kisses to a bearded man be chary.

    _Nerissa._ Such a salute, ma'am, must be _salute-hairy_.

Launcelot, again, says to Jessica:--

    But smile again, and all will sunshine be,
    Sweet Israelite, you _is real light_ to me!...
    Mock not my misery--I know full well
    I'm a poor _serf_ and _he's_ a heavy _swell_.

Once more, Shylock says:--

    My only heiress, folks will say in mock,
    Fled like a _timid hair_ from a _Shy-lock_!...
    Unfeeling child, who's left her sire to sigh,
    Without a _tie_ or _prop_ or _prop-er-ty_.

We come now to the production, at the Lyceum in 1856, of William
Brough's perversion of "The Winter's Tale,"--"Perdita, or the Royal
Milkmaid."[41] This was fitted with a prologue in which Time sang an
effective song, descriptive of the author's aims and intentions, and
winding up with this ingenuous verse:--

  [41] See pp. 39, 40.

    This period to match, in each single snatch
      Of music to be sung, I've tried of
    The oldest tunes to get, including that as yet
      Unknown melody the old cow died of.
                And that all might be
                In antiquity
    Alike, I for my puns cry quarter,
                For I've chosen, good folks,
                The most ancient jokes
    For this worthy old dramatist's slaughter.

When Autolycus appears upon the scene, with his pedlar's box, he is
made to excuse his "conveying" propensities in a ditty suggested by the
then popular song called "Bobbing Around":--

    The shopkeeper who gives short weight
      Is robbing all round, all round, all round;
    The grocers who adulterate,
      Like me go robbing all round.

    The milkman in his lowly walk
      Goes robbing all round, all round, all round;
    When, 'stead of milk, he walks his chalk,
      And so goes robbing around.

    The publican dilutes our beer,
      A robbing all round, all round, all round;
    With water, and still worse, I fear,
      So he goes robbing all round.

    In all we eat, or drink, or buy,
      There's robbing all round, all round, all round,
    And tradesmen with each other vie,
      Who'll best do robbing all round.

    Who'll first at me, then, throw a stone
      For robbing around, around, around?
    My trade's as honest as their own,
      Since all go robbing around.

Mr. Burnand has written two burlesques on "Antony and Cleopatra"--one
brought out under that title at the Haymarket in 1866; the other
produced at the Gaiety in 1873, under the name of "Our Own Antony
and Cleopatra." A third travestie of the tragedy, called "Mdlle.
Cleopatra," and written by Mr. W. Sapte, junior, was seen at the Avenue
in the present year.



We now pass to a department of burlesque writing larger in extent and
greater in variety than any other--that in which the finger of ridicule
has been pointed at poetic and melodramatic plays (other than those of
Shakespeare). This department is far-reaching in the matter of time.
It goes back, for subject, so far as Lee's high-sounding "Alexander
the Great" (better known, perhaps, as "The Rival Queens"), which,
first produced in 1678, was travestied by Dibdin, in "Alexander the
Great in Little," a "grand tragi-comic operatic burlesque spectacle,"
originally seen at the Strand in 1837, with Hammond as Alexander and
Mrs. Stirling as Roxana. Seven years later there was performed at the
Surrey a burlesque, by Montagu Corri, of Lillo's famous tragedy "George
Barnwell" (1730), here called "Georgy Barnwell"--a title which H. J.
Byron altered to "George De Barnwell" when in 1862 he travestied the
old play at the Adelphi.

Home's "Douglas", which was given to the public in 1756, appears to
have escaped stage satire until 1837, when it was taken in hand by
William Leman Rede. The Adelphi was the scene of the production,
and the performers included "O." Smith as Glenalvon, J. Reeve as
Norval, and Mrs. Stirling as Lady Randolph. The piece does not supply
very exhilarating reading. The ultra-familiar soliloquy, "My name is
Norval," is here put into lyric form, and comes out as follows:--

    My name is Norval, sir; upon the Grampian Hills
    My father feeds his flocks, beside the streams and rills.
    He often said to me, "Don't roam about at nights."
    But I had heard of sprees, of larks, and rows, and fights.
        Tol de rol lol tol lol, tol de rol lol lol lay.
        Tol de rol lol tol lol--list to what I say.

    The moon rose up one night, as moons will often do,
    And there came from left and right a ragged ruffian crew;
    They broke into our house, they swigged our beer and ale,
    They stole our flocks and herds, and caught our pig by the tail.
        Tol, lol, etc.

    The shepherds fled, the curs! but I was not to be chizzled,
    So with a chosen few after the fellows we mizzled;
    We fought and larrupped 'em all! indeed, it isn't a flam,
    I stole the togs of the chief, and, blow me, here I am!
        Tol lol, etc.

We have already seen that, in his "Quadrupeds of Quedlinburgh," Colman
junior extracted some fun out of scenes in "The Stranger," "Pizarro,"
and "Timour the Tartar." The first of these plays was made the subject
of more elaborate satire in 1868, when Mr. Robert Reece wrote for the
New Queen's Theatre his burlesque called "The Stranger, Stranger than
Ever!" This, with Miss Santley as Peter, Mr. Lionel Brough as the
Stranger, and Miss Henrietta Hodson as Mrs. Haller, had many points of
attraction. In this _reductio ad absurdum_ the lady's chief complaint
is that her husband first neglected her and then deserted her, taking
away the children. Moreover, "he taught the infants all the comic
songs," and so, "instead of gloating over Peter Parley, the boy
declared himself as Champagne Charley." In despair the deserted one set
to work and took in washing:--

    You'll ask, "why washing?"--give your fancy scope:
    In that profession while there's life there's _soap_!
    Was I to live?--of course came this suggestion!
    "_Tub_ be or not _tub_ be?" that _was_ the question.
    So with a will I turned me to my work,
    Carried a _blue bag_ like a lawyer's clerk;
    Yet still I grieved--the trade's of woe prolific,
    I couldn't sleep, for all this _soap-horrific_;
    Hard was my lot, for I could plainly see
    My source of living must end _sud_-denly;
    And in her downward course, say, what could stop her
    Whose sole subsistence was a single _copper_?

As usual with Mr. Reece, the puns are excellent. Tobias says of the
stranger that

    Each evening you may see him sitting so,
    Under that _linden when the sun was low_;
    On close inspection, too, you'll also see
    His noble _eye, sir, rolling rapidly_.

Then the Stranger says to Peter:--

              Mrs. Haller's gifts you showed,
    As hint that _I_ should help you _Haller-mode_.

To the Countess he remarks:--

    Madam, this river-water's _eau-de-riverous_!

And of his children he says:--

    They're fighting through their alphabet. Oh, lor!
    I quit them in their _A-B-C-nian war_!

Of his wife:--

    When first I married thee (then somewhat shady),
    Oh, Adelaide! I thought I _had a lady_!

But, in truth, there is no end to these _jeux-de-mots_.

"Pizarro," which nowadays has quite gone out of the theatrical
repertory, was dealt with from the comic point of view by Leicester
Buckingham, whose "Pizarro, or the Leotard of Peru," was seen at the
Strand in 1862, with Johnny Clarke as the hero, and Miss Swanborough,
Miss Charlotte Saunders, Miss Bufton, Miss Fanny Josephs, Miss Fanny
Hughes, and Rogers, in other parts. Of the "literature" of this piece
the following is a very fair example: it is supposed to be spoken by

    Tho' to use vulgar phrases I've no wish,
    I may say, here's a pretty kettle of fish!
    But then the world's all fishy--poets fail
    To prove that life is not a tearful _wale_!
    Though fancy's prospect oft in-_witing_ glows,
    Experience tends to _mull-it_, goodness knows;
    Grave moralists aver that from our birth
    We are all _herring_ mortals here on earth.
    Dancers stick to their _eels_, and live well by 'em;
    And most folk can appreciate "_carpe_ diem."
    Some statesmen--theirs is no uncommon case--
    Will give their _soul_ in barter for a _place_,
    And call, to mend a diplomatic mess,
    The conger-eel's fond mate--a _conger-ess_.
    Nay, folks strive even in a college cloister
    Over a rival's head to get a _hoister_.

"The Wood-Demon," by "Monk" Lewis, played originally in 1811, suggested
to Albert Smith and Charles Kenny a travestie, of the same name, which
they brought out at the Lyceum in 1847. "Timour the Tartar," another
of Lewis's dramas, received equally satiric treatment at the hands of
John Oxenford and Shirley Brooks, whose work made its appearance at
the Olympic in 1860. In the last-named year Messrs. Francis Talfourd
and H. J. Byron founded on Pocock's "Miller and his Men" (1813) a
"mealy-drama," similarly entitled, which was played at the Strand.

Jerrold's "Black-ey'd Susan," first performed in 1822, waited till 1866
for the travestie by Mr. Burnand, to which I have already adverted.
This "Latest Edition of Black-eyed Susan, or the Little Bill that was
Taken Up,"[42] was made specially gay by a wealth of song and dance;
but it had other merits. Here, for instance, is an amusing soliloquy by
Dame Hatley:--

  [42] See p. 41.

    It's very hard, and nothing can be harder
    Than for three weeks to have an empty larder;
    I'm in the leaf of life that's sere and yellar,
    Requiring little luxuries in the cellar.
    There are no _cellars_ such as I requires,
    But there soon will be when there are some _buyers_.
    Destiny's finger to the "work"-us points,
    A stern voice whispers, "Time is out of joints."
    I used to live by washing; now, no doubt,
    As I can't get it, I must live without.
    The turncock turned the water off--dear me!
    I showed no quarter--and no more did he.
    Thus, with the richer laundress I can't cope,
    Being at present badly off for soap.
    My son, the comfort of the aged widdy,
    Is still a sailor, not yet made a middy,
    But sailing far away; it may be _my_ son
    Is setting somewhere out by the horizon.
    He's cruising in the offing, far away,
    Would he were here, I very _offing_ say.

Here also is the Wolsey-ish speech made by Captain Crosstree, after he
has revealed himself as "alive and kicking," at the close:--

    Farewell, a long farewell to all imbibing!
    This is the state of man as I'm describing:
    To-day he takes a glass because he's dry,
    To-morrow, one to wet the other eye;
    The third day takes one extra, just to shed
    A tear--he feels it gets into his head:
    The fourth day takes two extra ones, and feels
    'Stead of his head it's got into his heels;
    And in the morning, with perhaps two suits on,
    He finds himself--in bed, but with two boots on;
    Then after that he's nowhere; and that's how
    He falls as I did--which I won't do now.[43]

  [43] Another burlesque on the same subject, called "Ups and Downs of
  Deal, and Black-eyed Susan," was seen at the Marylebone in 1867, with
  Miss Augusta Thomson as Captain Crosstree.

Five years after the production of Jerrold's play, the London stage was
surfeited for a time with adaptations from the French, all bearing upon
the evils of the gaming-table. These bore such titles as "The Gambler's
Fate," "Thirty Years of a Gambler's Life," and so on, and were brought
out at Drury Lane, the Surrey (by Elliston), and the Adelphi (by Terry
and Yates). They did not last, however; and "The Elbow-Shakers, or
Thirty Years of a Rattler's Life," in which Fox Cooper made fun of
them, was scarcely needed to effect their overthrow. Reeve and Yates
were the two Elbow-Shakers, but the piece had little intrinsic value.

In 1867, at the Haymarket, Mr. Gilbert Arthur a'Beckett brought out
a travestie of Planché's "Brigand" (1829), under the title of "The
Brigand, or New Lines to an Old Ban-Ditty." In this, Massaroni, the
hero, was represented by Compton as a poltroon, objecting very much to
the dictation of Marie Grazia as portrayed by Ione Burke. Young Mr.
Kendal also had a part in this production. Nor had we yet done with the
old school of melodrama. Yet another specimen thereof was destined to
come under the lash of the parodist--namely, the piece called "My Poll
and my Partner Joe," written by J. T. Haines, first seen at the Surrey
in 1838, and interpreted by T. P. Cooke as Harry Halyard, R. Honner as
Joe Tiller, and Miss Honner as Poll (Mary Maybud). The "happy thought"
of burlesquing this typical piece came to Mr. Burnand, who, in his
travestie named after the original, made, at the St. James's in 1871,
a success second only to that of "Black-ey'd Susan." It was in this
burlesque that Mrs. John Wood (as Mary) had so notable a triumph with
her song, "His Heart was true to Poll," which she still sings sometimes
in public. Miss Emma Chambers was the Harry in this piece, and Mr.
Lionel Brough the Black Brandon, with Harry Cox, Gaston Murray, and
Miss Sallie Turner in other parts.

Now comes the turn of the poetic drama, as represented in and by the
works of Lord Byron, Sergeant Talfourd, the first Lord Lytton, and Mr.
W. S. Gilbert. The first of Lord Byron's plays to be burlesqued was
"Manfred," which fell to the lot of Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett in 1834.
In the "burlesque ballet opera," called "Man-Fred," which thus issued
from A'Beckett's pen, Man-Fred figured as a master-sweep, very much
perturbed and disturbed by the Act in reference to chimney-sweeping
which had just been passed, and which, he plaintively declares, has
killed the trade:--

    That horrible new act has marr'd his pleasure;
    It really was a very _sweeping_ measure.

His lady-love, Ann Starkie, is equally unfortunate in her
business--that of apple-seller. As she remarks:--

    "The trade is at a stand," the people whine:
    If it be at a _stand_, 'tis not at mine.
    In vain down Fleet Street with my wares I go;
    Though Fleet they call the street, its trade is slow.

In the course of the piece Ann appears disguised as Mme. Grisi, and
some badinage is directed at the "stars" of the Italian Opera.

A'Beckett further undertook, along with Mark Lemon, a skit upon
another of the Byronic dramas--"Sardanapalus"--which they reproduced
as "Sardanapalus, or the 'Fast' King of Assyria." The Adelphi was the
theatre of operations; 1853 was the year; and while Miss Woolgar was
Sardanapalus, Paul Bedford was Arbaces, Keeley was Salymenia (mother of
the Queen), Miss Maskell was Beleses, and Miss Mary Keeley was Altada.
Arbaces is here shown as impervious to the charm of melody:--

    Such music to my ears is a mere hum;
    Of minims let me have the minimum.

Salymenia says to the King's favourite:--

    Your conduct, madam, 's not at all correct:
    If you're a Myrrha, why don't you reflect?

Of such are the quips and the quiddities with which the piece abounds.

In 1858 came, from the workshop of H. J. Byron, the first travestie of
his "noble kinsman's" play, "Mazeppa." This, produced at the Olympic,
had Robson for its hero, with other parts in the hands of Horace Wigan,
Mr. Lewis Ball, Miss Wyndham, Miss Bromley, and Mrs. W. S. Emden. Of
its punning dialogue, which throughout is in the genuine H. J. Byronic
manner, the following is a fair example. Olinska is conversing with her
father, the Castellan:--

    _Oli._ You hate romance,--are one of its deriders.
    (_Very romantically_) Give me a summer-house with _lots_ of spiders,
    A poet-husband too, with rolling eyes,
    In a fine phrenzy----

    _Cas._                Poets I despise!
    And in his phrenzy that you mention, daughter,
    His _friends see_ often nought but gin and water.

    _Oli._ In our sweet bower of bliss what could we fear?

    _Cas._ Why, Quarter Day, which comes four times a year!
    And although landlords show each quarter day,
    They show _no quarter_ when you do not pay,
    Your poet-spouse grows thin, and daily racks his
    Poor brains to pay the butcher or the taxes.

    _Oli._ A verse would pay the tax-man all we owed.

    _Cas_ (_aside_). I think he'd be _averse_, though, to that mode.
    To see with _my_ eyes, if I could but make her!

    _Oli._ With a few _flowery_ lines we'd pay the baker.
    (_With enthusiasm_) Tradesmen with _gentle_ feelings we'd pay so, sir;
    A comic song would satisfy the _grosser_.
    A poet never yet was a great eater,
    We'd pay the butcher with a little _meat-a_.

The subject of "Mazeppa" was afterwards treated by Mr. Burnand in a
burlesque brought out at the Gaiety in 1885.

Of Sergeant Talfourd's dramatic works the only one, apparently, that
has been travestied is "Ion," which had to submit to the ridicule of
Fox Cooper in 1836. In that year Cooper's perversion was played both at
the Garrick Theatre and at the Queen's, in the first case with Conquest
as the hero, in the latter with a lady in the _rôle_--an arrangement
quite defensible, inasmuch as, in the original play, the name-part had
been played (at the Haymarket) by Ellen Tree.

The pseudo-Elizabethanisms of Sheridan Knowles naturally attracted the
attention of the comic playwrights. The opportunities were, indeed,
only too tempting; and so I have to record the production of burlesques
based upon five plays--"The Wife," "Virginius," "Alfred the Great,"
"William Tell," and "The Hunchback." The first named has for its full
title "The Wife: a Tale of Mantua." The "burlesque burletta," by Joseph
Graves (Strand, 1837), is called "The Wife: a Tale of a Mantua Maker."
Mariana (first played by Ellen Tree) here becomes Mary Ann Phipps,
the said mantua-maker; Floribel is Flora, a servant-of-all-work.
Leonardo and Ferrardo Gonzaga figure as Marmaduke Jago, landlord of
the Green Man, and Zachariah Jago, usurping that dignity; Count Florio
is Floor'em (a police-sergeant), Julian St. Pierre is Jack Peters--and
so forth. The travestie is fairly close, but the wit and humour are
not of brilliant quality. Even less to be commended is "Virginius the
Rum 'Un," perpetrated by William Rogers, the comedian, and performed
at Sadler's Wells in the same year as Graves's effort. This is but
a tedious assault upon "Virginius." The scene is laid in Islington,
and Virginius is a butcher. Appius Claudius, here called Sappyis, is
a sergeant of police. Dentatus is "Tentaties"; Icilius is "Isilyus."
Claudius claims Virginia as his apprentice, and Virginius stabs her
with a skewer; the instrument, however, sticks only in her stay-bone,
and so no harm is done.

"Virginius" had very much more justice done to it when Leicester
Buckingham made it the basis of a burlesque at the St. James's in
1859. Then Charles Young was the Virginius, Mrs. Frank Matthews the
Virginia, and Miss Lydia Thompson a "Mysterious Stranger," introduced,
apparently, only for the sake of a _pas seul_. In this piece the puns
are very plentiful, if not always good. Thus, Virginia says:--

    Oh, deary me! each day I'm growing thinner:
    Nurse says, because I never eat my dinner;
    But that's not it;--in my heart there's a pain
    Which makes me sigh, and sigh, and all in vain!
    I've lost the plump round waist I used to prize,
    And grow thin, spite of my long-_wasted_ sighs.
    I love--oh! such a nice young man!--but, oh!
    Does he love me?--that's what I want to know.
    When we met at a party, I could see
    That he was just the party to suit me;
    And to the words I spoke, on his arm leaning,
    Love lent a sigh to give a _si-lent_ meaning.
    But he said nothing soft--that's what I cry for;
    I sigh for one whose heart I can't de_ci-pher_.

Virginius, like so many other burlesque characters, delivers himself of
a reminiscence of "To be or not to be," and at the close it is found
that Virginius has not really killed his daughter, because she "pads."

"Alfred the Great," one of Knowles' historical plays, suggested
portions of the burlesque called "Alfred the Great, or the Minstrel
King," which Robert B. Brough wrote for the Olympic in 1859. In this,
Robson was the King, Miss Herbert his aide-de-camp, and F. Vining his
commander-in-chief, with other parts by Horace Wigan and Miss Hughes.
Knowles's "William Tell" (1825), or the story embodied in it has
been the basis of half a dozen travesties. First came Mr. Burnand's
"William Tell," at Drury Lane, in 1856; next, Leicester Buckingham's,
at the Strand, in 1857; next, Talfourd's "Tell! and the Strike of the
Cantons, or the Pair, the Meddler, and the Apple!" at the Strand,
in 1859-60; next, again, Byron's "William Tell with a Vengeance! or
the Pet, the Parrot, and the Pippin," at the Strand, in 1867; a few
days later, A. J. O'Neill's "William Tell," at Sadler's Wells; and,
lastly--so far--Mr. Reece's "William Tell told Over Again," at the
Gaiety, in 1876. "The Hunchback" has been "guyed" less often than might
have been expected, considering its popularity. Mr. Burnand brought out
at the Olympic, in 1879, "The Hunchback Back Again," and this comic
version of the hackneyed old play is not likely to be superseded.

The first Lord Lytton's verse-plays--bristling as they do with fustian
and bombast--have naturally been frequently travestied. Note the number
of occasions on which "The Lady of Lyons" has fallen a prey to the
irreverent. Altogether there have been six notable burlesques of this
drama. H. J. Byron wrote two, the first of which--"The Latest Edition
of the Lady of Lyons"--was produced at the Strand in 1858. This, in the
following year, was freshened up and re-presented to the public as "The
Very Latest Edition" of the popular drama.

In 1878, at the Gaiety, came Mr. Herman Merivale's "vaudeville," "The
Lady of Lyons Married and Settled," which is not only quite the best of
the travesties on this topic, but one of the cleverest ever written. It
sparkles with good things from beginning to end. Claude, it seems, has
"taken to philosophy, and says we are all descended from monkeys." It
is not surprising, therefore, to find him singing a long song in praise
of the Darwinian theory:--

    Power to thine elbow, thou newest of sciences,
      All the old landmarks are ripe for decay;
    Wars are but shadows, and so are alliances,
      Darwin the Great is the man of the day.

    All other 'ologies want an apology;
      Bread's a mistake--Science offers a stone;
    Nothing is true but Anthropobiology--
      Darwin the Great understands it alone.

    Mighty the great evolutionist teacher is,
      Licking Morphology clean into shape;
    Lord! what an ape the professor or preacher is,
      Ever to doubt his descent from an ape.

    Man's an Anthropoid--he cannot help that, you know--
      First evoluted from Pongos of old;
    He's but a branch of the _cat-arrhine_ cat, you know--
      Monkey, I mean--that's an ape with a cold.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Fast dying out are man's later Appearances,
      Cataclysmitic Geologies gone;
    Now of Creation completed the clearance is,
      Darwin alone you must anchor upon.

    Primitive Life-Organisms were chemical,
      "Busting" spontaneous under the sea;
    Purely subaqeous, panaquademical,
      Was the original Crystal of Me.

    I'm the Apostle of mighty Darwinity,
      Stands for Divinity--sound much the same--
      Only can doubt whence the lot of us came.

    Down on your knees, Superstition and Flunkeydom!
      Won't you accept such plain doctrines instead?
    What is so simple as primitive Monkeydom,
      Born in the sea with a cold in its head?

This has some claim to rank with the ditties on the same subject by
Lord Neaves and Mortimer Collins. But Claude has also gone in for
something less innocent than Darwinianism. He is flirting with Babette,
a pretty laundry-maid, the beloved of Gaspar. Of her, Gaspar sings as
follows, in a clever parody of "Sally in our Alley":--

    To catch a lover on the hip,
      There's none like fair Babet-te!
    You'd love to kiss her rosy lip,
      But, ah! she'll never let 'ee!
    Yet shall she wash my Sunday suit,
      Tho' she my suit refuses,
    For, oh! she washes far the best
      Of all the blanchissooses!

    For washing-day all round the year,
      She ever sticks to one day;
    She takes my linen Friday night,
      And brings it back o' Monday!
    When I bestow the lordly franc,
      'Tis sweet to hear her "Thankee"--
    She mends my hooks and darns my eyes,
      And marks my pocky-hanky!

    She calls the wandering button home,
      However hard I cuss it;
    She's good at collar and at cuff,
      And truly great at gusset!
    To catch a lover on the hip,
      There's none like fair Babet-te!
    You'd love to kiss her rosy lip,
      But, ah! she'll never let 'ee!

In the course of the piece there is a good deal of direct parody of
Lytton's style, both in prose and verse. For example, Claude says at
one point to Babette:--

 Come with me to my mother's lonely cot! I have preserved it ever in
 memory of mine early youth; and, believe me, that the prize of virtue
 never, beneath my father's honest roof, even villains dared to mar!
 Now, maiden, now, I think thou wilt believe me! Wilt come?

 _Babette._ I wilt!


 In the sweet suburb of Richemont or Tedainton, on the banks of the
 broad Garonne, one of those expensive spots where, during the summer
 months, the river is at the bottom of the lawn--during the winter, the
 lawn at the bottom of the river--but where it is damp-pleasant all
 the year round; there will we babble to the murmuring stream, and the
 babbling stream shall murmur back to us, and softly whisper----

 _Dowager Morier_ (_coming down_). Hold on![44]

  [44] Mr. Merivale was fortunate in the cast of his production (played
  at the Gaiety in 1878). Mr. Edward Terry was the Claude, Miss Farren
  the Pauline, Mr. Royce the "Beauseong," Mrs. Leigh the Dowager Morier,
  and Miss Amalia the Babette, other parts being taken by Messrs. Elton,
  Maclean, Squire, and Fawcett.

After Mr. Merivale's piece came one on the same subject by Mr. W.
Younge (1879); another by Mr. Clifton (Lyne), played in the country
in 1882; and yet another, by Mr. Reece (also played in the country)
in 1884. This last was entitled "The Lady of Lyons Married and Claude

Ten years after the first burlesque of "The Lady of Lyons" appeared
the first burlesque of Lord Lytton's "Rightful Heir." This was "The
Frightful Hair" of Mr. Burnand, seen at the Haymarket in 1868-9. In
1868 also, publicity was given to "The Right-Fall Heir" of Mr. H. T.

In the autumn of 1873 Mr. Irving revived at the Lyceum Lord Lytton's
"Richelieu," and the play was speedily followed at the Olympic by the
"Richelieu Redressed" of Mr. Reece. This is remarkable, to begin with,
as being written throughout in blank verse--an agreeable departure
from the time-honoured couplet. The general travestie is close, and
there is a certain amount of direct parody, as where Richelieu is made
to say that

    In the great Lexicon of Politics
    There's no such word as Truth!

In the "curse of Rome" scene, Richelieu draws around himself "the awful
circle of the Daily Press!" Fun, too, is made of the well-known exit
of Baradas at the words "All in despite of my lord Cardinal," and also
of the various ways in which actors are wont to pronounce the simple
word "Julie." The piece has a strong political flavour throughout,
in compliment, no doubt, to the general election, which was then in
prospect. Richelieu thus soliloquises:--

    A general election! At the word
    Upspring a thousand hopes--ten thousand fears!
    From the great Limbo of past sessions rise
    The ghost of certain Legislative Acts
    To taunt me with my shifting policy:
    Amidst them, gaunt and frowning--Income-tax
    Broods o'er my heart--I cannot take it off!
    While lesser demons, labelled--Sugar, Tea,
    Malt, Hops, and kindred duties--hover round
    And gibber, "Where's your popularity?"
    For this reward I have to bear the brunt
    Of deputations--tedious committees,
    The dull assaults of country members, and
    Whitebait as large as herrings. Ah, the fish
    At ministerial banquets should be _Plaice_!

Of Richelieu's genius for suspicion the Duke of Orleans and his party
thus discourse:--

    _Duke._ Breathe not the words "'Tis wet." He'll twist that phrase
    Into reflections on th' existing _reign_,
    Or with some public measure discontent
    Because you chanced to say, "It isn't _fair_!"

    _Baradas._ There's truth, sir, in your jest; 'tis hard to say
    What is a safe discussion nowadays!

    _La Foix._ Even the King falls under his distrust!

    _Malesherbes._ He treats him like a child in leading-strings!

    _Duke._ Ay! at the royal breakfast Richelieu stands,
    And cracks each egg--to see no treason's hatched.

    _All_ (_laughing_). Well said!

    _Duke._                     His caution o'er the dinner broods,
    And in each _pâté_ sees a dangerous _spy_.

    _Baradas._ Escorts the King to bed, and, lest his charge
    Should dream of _marriage_, secretly removes
    The _Royal matches_, as suggestive!

It was characteristic of Mr. W. S. Gilbert that he should himself set
the example of burlesquing his own work. I have already made reference
to "The Happy Land," the travestie of his "Wicked World," which he and
Mr. Gilbert Arthur a'Beckett prepared for the Court Theatre in 1873.
It was in this piece that the personal appearance of three prominent
living statesmen was closely imitated by certain of the performers,
with the result of bringing down upon the culprits the veto of His
High-and-Mightiness the Lord Chamberlain. In 1876 two of Mr. Gilbert's
plays were burlesqued--"Broken Hearts" and "Dan'l Druce"; the former
under the name of "Cracked Heads," the latter under that of "Dan'l
Tra-Duced"; both being brought out at the same theatre--the Strand,
and both being the work of the same author--Mr. Arthur Clements, who,
however, had in "Cracked Heads" the assistance of Mr. Frederick Hay.
"Dan'l Druce" was not a particularly good subject; but "Broken Heads,"
with its occasionally overstrained sentiment, was fairly open to polite
ridicule. In the original, the Lady Vavir feigns love for a sun-dial,
while the Lady Hilda expends much sentiment upon a streamlet. In
"Cracked Heads" the Lady Vapid bestows her affections upon a clock, and
the Lady Tilda hers upon a pump. Says the latter to the former:--

    Why do you love the clock, good sister? tell.

    _Vapid._ The earth goes round; the moon, with silvery smile;
    The p'lice cerulean who the cooks beguile;
    The turncock, too, precursor of the spring;
    The German band, and all that sort of thing.
    Most things go round, in fact; and who shall mock?
    The clock goes round: that's why I love the clock.

In this genial little piece, presented at the Strand in 1876, Mr.
Edward Terry was the monster, here called Monsta; Miss Lottie Venne and
Miss Angelina Claude were the ladies Tilda and Vapid, and Mr. Harry Cox
was the Prince Florian, here called Dorian. It will be remembered, by
the way, that it has been the fate of one of Mr. Gilbert's comic operas
to be parodied--surely a case of gilding refined gold! The opera was
"Ruddigore," which was chaffed, more or less effectively, in the little
_pièce d'occasion_ called "Ruddy George, or Robin Redbreast," brought
out at Toole's Theatre in 1887.

The melodrama of the last half-century has received due attention at
the hands of the stage satirists. Buckstone's "Green Bushes," for
example, had its comic counterpart in H. J. Byron's "Grin Bushes,"
performed at the Strand in 1864. It was Byron, too, who burlesqued
Boucicault's "Colleen Bawn," under the title of "Little Eily O'Connor"
(Drury Lane, 1861). The story of Rip Van Winkle, made so popular in
England by Mr. Jefferson, has been handled in the spirit of travestie
both by Mr. Reece (at the Folly in 1876) and by Mr. H. Savile Clarke
(in 1880). "The Lights o' London" suggested "The De-lights of London"
(1882), which we owed to the co-operation of Messrs. Mackay, Lennard,
and Gordon. After "The Silver King" came "Silver Guilt," a clever
piece by Mr. Warham St. Leger, in which, at the Strand in 1883, Miss
Laura Linden imitated Miss Eastlake to admiration. In like manner,
after "Claudian" came the diverting "Paw Claw-dian" of Mr. Burnand,
which, at Toole's in 1884, gave Miss Marie Linden the opportunity of
emulating (as Almi-i-da) her sister's success. In this piece Mr. Toole,
as Claudian, and E. D. Ward, as Coal-Holey Clement, were particularly
amusing. "Chatterton," another of Mr. Wilson Barrett's triumphs, has
lately reappeared, disguised as "Shatter'd Un"--the author in this
instance being Mr. A. Chevalier. "In the Ranks" naturally led to the
production of "Out of the Ranks" (by Mr. Reece, Strand, 1884); and
"Called Back" was found especially provocative of ridicule, no fewer
than three travesties being written--Mr. Herman Merivale's "Called
There and Back" (Gaiety, 1884), Mr. Yardley's "The Scalded Back"
(Novelty, 1884), and Mr. Chevalier's "Called Back again" (Plymouth,

In 1888 Mrs. Bernard Beere was playing at the Opéra Comique in
"Ariane," a rather full-blooded drama by Mrs. Campbell Praed. This was
at once burlesqued at the Strand by Mr. Burnand, whose "Airey Annie"
(as rendered by Mr. Edouin, Miss Atherton, and Miss Ayrtoun) proved
to be a very mirth-provoking product. The heroine, Airey Annie thus
accounted for her sobriquet:--

    Untaught, untidy, hair all out of curl,
    A gutter child, a true Bohemian girl,
    Like Nan, in "Good for Nothing," so I played,
    And up and down the airey steps I strayed,
    Until the little boys about began
    To call me by the name of "Airey Anne."

Among miscellaneous satires upon the conventional stage products may be
named Byron's "Rosebud of Stinging-Nettle Farm" (Crystal Palace, 1862),
Mr. Reece's "Brown and the Brahmins" (Globe, 1869), and Mr. Matthison's
"More than Ever" (Gaiety and Court, 1882)--the last-named being written
in ridicule of the modern Surrey-side "blood-curdler."

So much for the travestie of English melodrama. When we come to deal
with the burlesque of melodrama derived from the French, a large field
opens out before us. Going back to 1850, we find that Hugo's "Nôtre
Dame," as dramatised in England, has suggested to Albert Smith a comic
piece called "Esmeralda," brought out at the Adelphi. The subject is
next taken up by H. J. Byron, whose "Esmeralda or the 'Sensation' Goat"
belongs to the Strand and 1861. Then Fanny Josephs was the Esmeralda,
Marie Wilton the Gringoire, Eleanor Bufton the Phoebus, Clarke the
Quasimodo, and Rogers the Claude Frollo. Gringoire was made to
introduce himself in this punning fashion:--

    I am a comic, tragic, epic poet.
    I'll knock you off a satire or ode Venice on,
    Aye, or write any song like Alfred T_enny-song_.
    Something from my last new extravaganza--
    Come now (_to Clopin_), a trifling stanza shall I stand, sir?
    Let me in some way merit your esteem:
    _Ode to a creditor_--a first-rate theme.

    _Clop._ Thankee, I'd rather not; the fact is, you're----

    _Gring._ But a poor author--that is, _rauther poor_.
    The baker, a most villainous character,
    Has stopped supplies....
    The milk purveyor to my chalk cried "Whoa,"
    Because I did a trifling _milk-bill owe_.
    My tailor, who for years this youth hath made for,
    Closed his account, _account o' clothes_ not paid for.
    The gasman, looking on me as a cheater,
    Finished my rhyme by cutting off my _metre_.

Esmeralda, who is a dancer, expresses her "delight in all things

    Some people like dear wine, give me cheap _hops_,
    Where fountains spout and where the weasel pops;
    My love for trifling _trips_ I can't conceal:
    E'en when I read I always _skip_ a deal;
    I prefer _columbine_ before all plants,
    And, at the play, give me a piece by _Dance_.

Phoebus, declaring his love for Esmeralda, makes use of a pun
somewhat above the Byronic average:--

    Alonzo Cora loved with all his might,
    And Petrarch was forlorn for Laura quite:
    You're worth to me, dear maid, a score o' Coras;
    Yes, to this bachelor, a _batch o' Lauras_.

In 1879, at the Gaiety, Byron returned to the topic, and produced the
piece which he called "Pretty Esmeralda." At the same theatre, in 1887,
one saw the same subject treated in the "Miss Esmeralda" of Messrs. F.
Leslie and H. Mills--a piece in which Miss Marion Hood, as the heroine,
played prettily to the Frollo of Mr. E. J. Lonnen, and in which the
late George Stone laid the foundation of his too brief success.

Boucicault's version of "Les Frères Corses" was produced in London by
Charles Kean in 1852, and was quickly followed by a travestie. This was
furnished by Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett and Mark Lemon at the Haymarket
(April, 1852), under the title of "O Gemini! or the Brothers of
Co(u)rse." Those who did not witness the production can nevertheless
conceive how droll Buckstone must have been as the Brothers, and how
well he was supported by Bland, also in a dual _rôle_--that of Meynard
and Montgiron (or Montegridiron, as he was called)--and by Mrs. L.
S. Buckingham as Chateau Renaud. The burlesque was not wholly of the
punning sort; it relied chiefly upon its travestie of the incidents
in the original play. Fabien was made to give (to the sound of "low
music") the following account of the extraordinary sympathy existing
between himself and his brother:--

    Listen! this hour, five hundred years ago--
    It may be more or less a second or so--
    In the Dei Franchi family there died,
    I think it was upon the female side,
    The very greatest of our great-great-grandmothers,
    Leaving ('tis often thus) two orphan brothers.
    They took an oath, and signed it, as I think,
    In blood--a horrid substitute for ink.
    They swore if either was in any mess,
    If either's landlord put in a distress,
    Or of their goods came to effect a clearance,
    They'd to each other enter an appearance.

    _Maynard._ But you have never seen a ghost--

    _Fabien._ That's true;
    But I shall see one soon, by all that's blue:
    For 't is a fact not easily explained,
    The ghost has in the family remained,
    We've tried all means--still he has stalked about,
    And nobody could ever pay him out.
    We let apartments, sir; but deuce a bit
    Will the ghost take our notices to quit.

Later, just before Louis' apparition, Fabien says:--

    I feel a pain about my ears and nose,
    As if the latter had repeated blows.
    I'm sure my brother's in a fearful row--
    I shouldn't wonder if they're at it now.
    I'll write to him. (_Writes_) "Dear brother, how's your eye?
    Yours ever, Fabien. Send me a reply."
    I'm sure he's subjected to fierce attacks,
    For as I seal my note I feel the _whacks_!

H. J. Byron, who travestied nearly everything, of course did not let
the "Corsican Brothers" escape him, and his "Corsican 'Bothers'" duly
figured at the Globe in 1869. Messrs. Burnand and H. P. Stephens
followed, at the Gaiety in 1880, with "The Corsican Brothers & Co.,"
and in 1881 (at the Royalty) Mr. G. R. Sims made his _début_ as a
writer of burlesque with "The Of Course-Akin-Brothers, Babes in the
Wood." In this he began the action with Fabien and Louis as the Babes
and Chateau Renaud as the Wicked Uncle, introducing a certain Rosie
Posie, who is maid to Mme. dei Franchi and sweetheart of Alfred
Meynard. At the end of the first scene Father Time came on, and summed
up the situation in a song:--

    Kind friends in front, you here behold a figure allegorical:
    Excuse me if at times I pause and for my paregoric call.
    I want to tell you all about this story Anglo-Corsican,
    And do the best in spite of cough and voice that's rather hoarse I can.
    Old Father Time I am, you guess; 't is I who rule the universe,
    And cause the changes which I sing in this the poet's punny verse!
    So while the scene is changing, here I sing this song preparative,
    To help you, as a chorus should, to understand the narrative.
            Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho!
            As chorus to this tragedy, to act my painful doom it is.
            In spite of cough, sciatica, lumbago, and the rheumatiz.

    The little boys who in the wood the robins saved from perishing
    Are two young men for one young girl a hopeless passion cherishing.
    In Corsica with his mamma young Fabien dei Franchi is;
    The other one in Paris lives, and growing rather cranky is.

    [Illustration: G. R. SIMS.]

    Sweet Rosie Posie followed them. The ma of these phenomena
    As lady-help accepted her for foiling the abomina-Ble
    plans the wicked uncle laid the brothers to assassinate,
    And Rosie still in Corsica contrives all hearts to fascinate.

    To Paris went the uncle, too, to let coiffeurs their talent try,
    And now he is an agèd buck and famous for his gallantry.
    He's bought a wig, and paints his face--three times a day he'll
      carmine it,
    He asks young wives to opera balls, and swears there's little harm
      in it.

In the second act Meynard brings a friend with him to Corsica, and thus
presents him to Mme. dei Franchi:--

    A friend of mine who's come this trip with me,
    The customs of the country for to see.
    The customs, when he landed, landed him--
    He's _cust 'em_ rather, I can tell you, mim!

    _Friend._ 'Tain't pleasant when a chap on pleasure's bent
    To find the call of duty cent. per cent.

    _Mad._ You're welcome, sir, although our customs seize you:
    A triple welcome, and I hope the _trip'll_ please you.

Previous to the first entry of Louis' ghost, Fabien says:--

    I feel so strange, I know poor Loo is seedy;
    I dreamt I saw his ghost all pale and bleedy.
    I'll write him. Where's the ink? Lor, how I shudder!
    (_Looks about for ink_) I'm on the ink-quest now--poor absent brudder.
    The ink!--the quill! Ah! this, I think, will do.
    (_Sits and writes_) "Louis, old cock, how wags the world with you?"
    (_Music--he shudders_) I feel as if a ghost were at my elbow handy.
    This _goes to_ prove I want a drop of brandy.

Of the other puns in the piece the following are perhaps fair
specimens. At the _bal masqué_, Louis, meeting Emilie de Lesparre,

    Why are you here?

    _Emilie._ I came because I'm asked (_puts on mask_).

    _Louis._ This is no place for you to cut a shine;
    'Tain't _womanly_.

    _Emilie._ I know it's masky-line.


    _Louis._ My dagger awaits you--for your blood I faint!

    _Renaud._ Your dagger awaits--you'_d aggerawate_ a saint.

In the final tableau, Chateau Renaud is advised to take some brandy;
but he asks instead for "a go of gin--I want the _gin-go_ spirit."

The latest of the burlesques on this subject was supplied--also for
the Royalty--by Mr. Cecil Raleigh, whose "New Corsican Brothers"
played in 1889, had more than one whimsical feature to recommend it.
One of the brothers (Mr. Arthur Roberts) was supposed to be an English
linen-draper, who, whenever anything was happening to the other
brother, had a wild desire to measure out tape--and so on. The dialogue
was in prose.

"Belphegor," the generic name bestowed upon the numerous adaptations of
"Paillasse," gave birth to at least one travestie of importance--that
by Leicester Buckingham, which saw the light at the Strand in 1856,
the year in which Charles Dillon played in one of the adaptations (at
the Lyceum). "The Duke's Motto," in which Fechter "starred" at the
same theatre, was the origin of H. J. Byron's "The Motto: I am 'All
There'"--a piece seen at the Strand in 1863, with Miss Maria Simpson as
the Duke Gonzaque, George Honey as Lagardère, and Ada Swanborough and
Fanny Josephs as Blanche and Pepita. Among much which is mere punning,
though deter enough for that commodity, I find this little bit of
social satire:--

    Receipt to make a party:--First of all,
    Procure some rooms, and mind to have 'em small;

    Select a good warm night, so draughts may chill 'em;
    Ask twice as many as it takes to fill 'em;
    For though the half you ask may not attend,
    The half that comes is sure to bring a friend;
    Select a strong pianist, and a gent
    Who through the cornet gives his feelings vent;
    Give them some biscuits, and some nice Marsala;
    Make a refreshment-room of the front parlour;
    Garnish with waltzes, flirtings, polking, ballads,
    Tongue, fowl, and sandwiches, limp lobster salads,
    Smiles, shaking hands, smirks, simpers, and what not;
    Throw in the greengrocer, and serve up hot.

It is to H. J. Byron that we owe the burlesque of "Robert Macaire,"
which, with Fanny Josephs and J. Clarke as Macaire and Strop,
brightened the boards of the Globe Theatre in 1870. The drama of which
Ruy Blas is the central figure has been twice travestied among us--once
in 1873 by Mr. Reece ("Ruy Blas Righted," at the Vaudeville), and more
recently (in 1889) by Messrs. F. Leslie and H. Clark ("Ruy Blas, or the
Blasé Roué," at the Gaiety). "Diplomacy," adapted from "Dora," appealed
to Mr. Burnand's sense of the ridiculous, and the result was "Dora and
Diplunacy" (Strand, 1878), in which the weak spots of the original were
divertingly laid bare. In the same year, Mr. Burnand burlesqued, at the
Royalty, his own adaptation, "Proof, or a Celebrated Case," under the
title of "Over-Proof, or What was Found in a Celebrated Case." To 1879
belong two clever travesties--"Another Drink," by Messrs. Savile Clarke
and Clifton (Lyne), suggested by "Drink," and brought out at the Folly;
and "Under-Proof," Mr. Edward Rose's _reductio ad absurdum_ of "Proof."
In the latter piece, besides many well-constructed puns, there are many
pleasant turns of humour, as when Pierre satirises the conventional
stage pronunciation of his name:--

    In my native land, as you're aware,
    My Christian name's pronounced like this--Pi-erre,
    But here I'm made a nobleman of France,
    For everybody calls me _Peer_ Lorance.

Of the Anglo-French melodrama of recent years, Mr. Burnand has been the
frequent and successful satirist. He capped "Fedora" with "Stage-Dora"
(Toole's, 1883), "Theodora" with "The O'Dora" (same theatre, 1885), and
"La Tosca" with "Tra la la Tosca" (Royalty, 1890). This last contained
some of the happiest of its author's efforts, in the way both of
ingenious punning and effective rhyming. Here, for example, is a song
put into the mouth of the Baron Scarpia, the "villain" both of the play
and of the travestie:--

    I am the bad Baron Scarpia!
    You know it at once, and how sharp y'are.
    Than a harpy I am much harpier--
        How harpy I must be!
    There never was blackguard or scamp
    To me could hold candle or lamp.
    I'm equal to twenty-five cargoes
    Of Richards, Macbeths, and Iagos!
    For nobody ever so far goes
        As Scarpia--meaning me.

    I'm chief of the Italiani
    Peelerini Me-tropoli-tani!
    Around me they wheedle and carney--
        They'd all curry favour, you see.
    And, buzzing about me like flies,
    Are myrmidons, creatures, and spies.

    They're none of them mere lardy-dardy,
    But cunning, unprincipled, hardy,
    And come from Scotlandini Yardi,
        La Forza Constabular_ee_.

During the present year, the interest gradually excited by successive
performances of plays by Henrik Ibsen has culminated in the production
of the inevitable burlesques. More than one clever travestie of Ibsen
has been printed--_e.g._, those by Mr. J. P. Hurst and Mr. Wilton
Jones; but the first to be performed was that entitled "Ibsen's
Ghost, or Toole up to Date," which is from the witty pen of Mr. J.
M. Barrie. This starts as a sort of sequel to "Hedda Gabler," which
it mainly satirises; but there are allusions also to "Ghosts" and
to "A Doll's House," with some general sarcasm at the expense of
Ibsen's peculiarities. The dialogue is in prose, with a concluding
vocal quartett; the writer's touch is as light as it is true; and the
composition, as a whole, is thoroughly exhilarating. The three-act
piece, "The Gifted Lady," in which Mr. Robert Buchanan sought to
ridicule not only Ibsen but other "emancipating" agencies of the time,
was, unfortunately, not so successful as Mr. Barrie's slighter and
brighter work. It abounded in excellent epigram, but lacked geniality
and humour. In "Ibsen's Ghost" Mr. Toole and Miss Eliza Johnstone
renewed old successes, while Miss Irene Vanbrugh gave signs of aptitude
for burlesque. In "The Gifted Lady" Miss Fanny Brough, Miss Cicely
Richards, Mr. W. H. Vernon, and Mr. Harry Paulton showed all their
usual skill, but, unfortunately, to no purpose.



We have already seen that, in burlesquing mythology, faërie, and
other matters, our comic playwrights have not been able to resist the
temptation to introduce occasional travesties of things operatic.
Opera, indeed, has always had a magnetic power over them. They have
been unable to maintain their gravity in presence of the singularities
which distinguish opera, even in its most modern guise, from the more
natural and realistic drama. Operatic conditions demand, of necessity,
certain stereotyped regulations, especially of stage management, which
detract from probability and excite derision. Especially is this so
in the case of the older school of Opera, and notably in that of the
Italian school, whose products were largely on the same simple and
ingenuous model--a model on which the travestie writers were able to
construct some genuinely entertaining imitations.

Beginning, then, with the Italian school, we note that Donizetti has
been particularly favoured by the parodists. His "Lucrezia Borgia,"
"Linda di Chamouni," "Elisir d' Amore," and "Fille du Régiment" have
all had to submit to deliberate perversion. Of "Lucrezia" there have
been three notable burlesques--one by Leicester Buckingham, at the St.
James's, in 1860; another by Sydney French, at the Marylebone, in 1867;
and the third by H. J. Byron, at the Holborn, in 1868. Buckingham's was
entitled "Lucrezia Borgia! at Home, and all Abroad," and had Charles
Young for the exponent of the title character. Miss Wyndham was Johnny
Raw ("known as Gennaro, through the defective pronunciation of his
Italian friends--a British shopkeeper, who has left for awhile the
countertenor of his way, and is travelling on the Continent for his
pleasure"). Miss Cecilia Ranoe was Alfonso, and a small part was played
by Miss Nellie Moore. Lucrezia figures in this piece as a dabbler in
monetary speculations, the failure of which gives opportunity for a
speech parodying some Shakespearean lines with more freshness than such
things usually possess:--

    Oh! that dishonoured notes of hand would melt,
    Thaw, and dissolve themselves when overdue,
    And never leave the holder time to sue;
    Or that in pickle no such sharp rod lay
    As the unpleasant writ called a _ca sa_!
    How weary, flat, unprofitable, stale,
    To kick one's heels inside a debtor's gaol!
    Fie on't! 'Tis an unweeded garden clearly;
    Blackguards and seedy swells possess it merely.
    That it should come to this! At two months' date!--
    No, not two months; six weeks is less than eight.
    So excellent a bill! The blow will floor me!
    Is this a bailiff that I see before me,
    A capias in his hand? Come, let me dodge thee;
    Or in a sponging-house I know thou'lt lodge me.
    I've turned my back, and yet I see thee still!
    Canst thou then be two gentlemen at will?
    Or art thou but a grim dissolving view--
    A phantom officer--in short, a _do_?
    I see thee yet--so palpable in form,
    My prospects seem uncomfortably warm.
    Thou marshall'st me to Whitecross Street, I see,
    Clutching protested bills endorsed by me;
    Indictments, too, for fraud and false pretences!
    Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
    Or else I'm tight! I see thee still, my man;
    And by thy side appears the prison van,
    Which was not so before. There's no such thing!

In the course of the piece, Johnny Raw is poisoned by Alfonso with
publican's port, and afterwards Lucrezia seeks to destroy Orsini and
his companion with London milk. Byron's burlesque on the subject was
called "Lucrezia Borgia, M.D."

"Linda di Chamouni" exercised the wit both of Mr. Conway Edwardes and
of Mr. Alfred Thompson. The former writer's "Linda di Chamouni, or the
Blighted Flower," was played at Bath in 1869; the latter's work was
presented, later in the same year, at the Gaiety. In Mr. Edwardes'
book one is most struck by the multiplicity and occasional felicity of
the "word-plays." Here, for instance, is what Pierotto says when he is
asked to take a cup of wine:--

    Well, if you ask me _what_ I'll take, I think
    Tea I prefer 'bove every other drink.
    For when I'm teazed, vex'd, worried beyond measure,
    A _cup_ of tea's to me a _source o'_ pleasure.
    Whene'er I play, the game is _tea_-to-tum;
    My fav'rite instrument's a "kettledrum."
    I've faith, when suff'ring ills heir to humanity,
    _In senna tea_ that you may say's _insanitee_.
    And also p'rhaps a little odd 'twill seem here,
    That I prefer the scenery of _Bohea_-mia.
    And if I were engaged in deadly strife,
    I'd stab my en'my with a _Bohea_ knife.

Two of Donizetti's operas--"L'Elisir d'Amore" and "La Fille du
Régiment"--were travestied by Mr. W. S. Gilbert; the former under the
title of "Doctor Dulcamara, or the Little Duck and the Great Quack,"
the latter under that of "La Vivandière, or True to the Corps." "Doctor
Dulcamara" was played at the St. James's, with Frank Matthews in the
title-part. "La Vivandière" (1868) was written for the Queen's Theatre,
where it employed the talents of Miss Henrietta Hodson, Mr. Toole, Mr.
Lionel Brough, Miss Everard (the original Little Buttercup), and Miss
Fanny Addison.

Of Verdi's operas two have been singled out for special attention--"Il
Trovatore" and "Ernani." The first of these suggested H. J. Byron's
"Ill-Treated Trovatore," seen at the Adelphi in 1863, and another
version by the same hand, played at the Olympic seventeen years after.
Byron also wrote a travestie of "Ernani," which he called "Handsome
Hernani" (Gaiety, 1879); but in this he had been anticipated by William
Brough, whose work was seen at the Alexandra Theatre in 1865.

Three travesties have been founded on the "La Sonnambula" of Bellini.
The first, which was played at the Victoria Theatre in 1835, was
from the pen of Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett, and entitled "The Roof
Scrambler"--a title explained in lines spoken by Rudolpho and

    _Rud._ I tell you, there are beings in their dreams
    Who scramble 'pon the house-tops.

    _Swel._ So it seems.

    _Rud._ Roof-scramblers they are called; for on the roofs
    They walk at night--Molly is one.

Molly is the name here given to Amina; Swelvino, of course, is Elvino.
He is a sexton, and has plighted his troth to Lizzy; but before the
piece opens, he has transferred his affections to Molly Brown, a
charity girl--"a Greasy Roamer over the tops of houses." Swelvino
and Molly are about to be married, when there arrives at the village
Rodolpho, the new Inspector of Police, who introduces himself as

    Ah, here I am again!--I know this scene,
    In which, when I was young, so oft I've been.
    I recognise each spot I see around,
    The stocks know me, and well I know the pound!
    The sight of these my eyes with tears is filling:
    I knew that pound when I had not a shilling!

Molly, walking in her sleep, enters Rodolpho's apartment, and is found
there by Swelvino, but is vindicated, like her prototype in the opera,
by being subsequently discovered in a somnambulant condition. The story
of "La Sonnambula" is, in fact, followed closely, but caricatured
throughout. W. Rogers, who was the Swelvino, and Mitchell, who was the
Molly, appear to have been highly successful in exciting the hilarity
of their audiences. The latter portrayed the heroine as "a waddling,
thick-set, red-and-ruddy, blowzy-faced goblin, with turn-up nose and
carroty hair, wrapt in a pea-soup or camomile-tea-coloured negligée,
and carrying," in the sleep-walking scene, "a farthing rushlight in one
of Day & Martin's empty blacking-bottles." Of Swelvino's appearance we
may judge from a remark made by Molly to her lover:--

    I, by looking in your face, can tell
    What are your feelings excellently well.
    Oh, yes! the fulness of that ruby nose
    Your love for me doth passing well disclose;
    Your agitated whisker shows full well
    What throbs of passion underneath it dwell!

The two other skits upon the opera were the work of H. J. Byron, who
produced the first at the Prince of Wales's in 1865, under the title of
"La! Sonnambula! or the Supper, the Sleeper, and the Merry Swiss Boy;
being a passage in the life of a famous 'Woman in White': a passage
leading to a tip-top story." Miss Marie Wilton was the Merry Swiss Boy
(Alessio); Miss Fanny Josephs was Elvino; Mr. Dewar, Rodolpho; "Johnny"
Clarke, Amina; Miss Bella Goodall, Lisa; Mr. Harry Cox undertaking the
_rôle_ of "a virtuous peasant (by the kind permission of the Legitimate
Drama)." This was Miss Wilton's first production at the Prince of
Wales's, and it was a great success. In 1878 Byron brought out at
the Gaiety a piece which he called "Il Sonnambulo, or Lively Little
Alessio." In this he introduced several variations on the operatic
story; making the Count (Edward Terry) the somnambulist, instead
of Amina--in burlesque of Mr. Henry Neville's sleep-walking scene
in Wilkie Collins's "Moonstone." Miss Farren was the lively little
Alessio, and Mr. Royce the "local tenor," Elvino.

Of Bellini's "Norma" the first burlesque produced was that which W. H.
Oxberry, the comedian, contributed to the Haymarket in 1841. In this
the title-part was played by Paul Bedford, with Wright as Adalgisa and
Mrs. H. P. Grattan as Pollio. The piece had no literary pretensions,
and it would be unfair to compare it, in that or any other respect,
with "The Pretty Druidess, or the Mother, the Maid, and the Mistletoe
Bough," which Mr. W. S. Gilbert wrote for the Charing Cross Theatre
(now Toole's) just twenty-eight years later. This was one of the best
of Mr. Gilbert's operatic travesties, the dialogue being characterised
by especial point and neatness. Here, for example, is the advice given
by Norma (Miss Hughes) to the ladies presiding over the stalls at a
fancy fair. Hamlet's address to the players is very happily suggested:--

    With pretty speech accost both old and young,
    And speak it trippingly upon the tongue;
    But if you mouth it with a hoyden laugh,
    With clumsy ogling and uncomely chaff--
    As I have oft seen done at fancy fairs,
    I had as lief a huckster sold my wares.
    Avoid all so-called beautifying, dear.
    Oh! it offends me to the soul to hear
    The things that men among themselves will say
    Of some _soi-disant_ "beauty of the day,"
    Whose face, when with cosmetics she has cloyed it,
    Out-Rachels Rachel!--pray you, girls, avoid it.
    Neither be ye too tame--but, ere you go,
    Provide yourselves with sprigs of mistletoe;
    Offer them coyly to the Roman herd--
    But don't you "suit the action to the word,"
    For in the very torrent of your passion
    Remember modesty is still in fashion.
    Oh, there be ladies whom I've seen hold stalls--
    Ladies of rank, my dear--to whom befalls
    Neither the accent nor the gait of ladies;
    So clumsily made up with Bloom of Cadiz,
    Powder-rouge--lip-salve--that I've fancied then
    They were the work of Nature's journeymen.

The "Gazza Ladra" of Rossini lives on the burlesque stage in the
counterfeit presentment furnished by Byron's "Maid and the Magpie, or
the Fatal Spoon." This was one of the writer's greatest triumphs in the
field of travestie. Produced at the Strand in 1854, with Miss Oliver
as Ninette, Miss Marie Wilton as Pippo, Bland as Fernando, and Clarke
as Isaac (the old-clothes man), it at once hit the public taste, as it
well deserved to do, for it is full of clever writing and ingenious
incidents. The best scene of all, perhaps, is that in which the
broken-down Fernando reveals himself to Ninette--a happy satire upon a
familiar melodramatic situation:--

    _Ninette_ (_entering_).              A stranger here!

    _Fernan._ How beautiful she's grown! I say, my dear!
    (_she starts_) Start not--ha, ha!--do I alarm you?

    _Ninette_ (_uneasily_).                            Rather!

    _Fernan_ (_hesitatingly_). Why, miss, you see--the fact is--I'm
    your father!

    _Ninette._ Impossible! I never had one!

    _Fernan._                               Law!

    _Ninette._ That is--I had none that I ever saw.

    _Fernan._ Oh, why in battle did no friendly blow
    Finish her luckless parent long ago?
    (_in choked accents_) Doth not the voice of nature seem quite

    _Ninette._ The voice of nature seems a little beery.

    _Fernan_ (_seizing her arm--music piano_). Look at me well!

   (_Ninette appears gradually to recognise him._)

    _Ninette._                          Upon a close inspection,
    I seem to have a dreamy recollection
    Of having seen those eyes of yours somewhere,
    Also that most extensive head of hair;
    The accents of the voice, too, now I think,
    Seem broken by emotion, not by drink;
    Yes, it's all coming back to me, of course.

    _Fernan._ Remember, dear, I bought you once a horse,
    A wooden toy--remember, you had lots--
    It ran on wheels--all mane and tail and spots--
    Also a dog, a little dog, I vow,
    Which, when you squeezed it, used to go Bow-wow!
    Likewise a spade, which, on your nurse's head
    You broke, and got well spanked and sent to bed----

    _Ninette_ (_wildly_). A flood of memory rushes through my brain!

    _Fernan_ (_excitedly_). Ninette, my daughter, look at me again.

    _Ninette_ (_seizing his nose_). Yes, yes, that nose decides
    me--yes--you are--

    _Fernan._ At last--at last! he--he! she _knows_ her pa!

In a mock love-scene with Ninette, Gianetto (Miss Ternan) draws the
following comic picture:--

    Fancy a bower with rose and jasmine graced,
    Such as we see in small tea-gardens placed;
    Where friendly spiders and black-beetles drop
    On to your bread and butter with a flop;
    Where mouldy seats stain sarsnet, satin, silk,
    And suicidal flies fall in the milk;
    Where we can scorn the heartless world's attack,
    Though daddy-longlegs may creep down your back;
    Smile at society's contemptuous sneer,
    Though caterpillars tumble in your beer;
    Where chimneys never smoke, and soot don't fall,
    Where income-tax collectors never call,
    Where one's wife's mother never even once
    Visits her darling daughter for six months;
    Where bills, balls, banks, and bonnets are not known--
    Come, dwell with me, my beautiful--my own.

Turning to the burlesques of opera of the German school, we begin,
naturally, with Mozart, whose "Don Giovanni" found humorous reflection
in two pieces, by H. J. Byron and Mr. Reece. The former's "Little Don
Giovanni"[45] belongs to 1865, when it was performed at the Prince
of Wales's, with Miss Wilton (Mrs. Bancroft) as the hero, Clarke as
Leporello, Miss Fanny Josephs as Masetto, Mr. Hare as Zerlina (probably
his only appearance on the stage in petticoats), Miss Sophie Larkin
as Elvira, and Miss Hughes as Donna Anna. Don Giovanni was the last
burlesque part written by Byron for Miss Wilton, and, moreover, it was
the last burlesque part she ever played. She records in her Memoirs
that an amusing feature of the piece was the spectacle presented in
the last act by the Commandant's horse, which, in allusion to a recent
freak in Leicester Square, had been covered with a variety of spots,
and "looked like an exaggerated Lowther Arcade toy." Mr. Reece's
burlesque was called "Don Giovanni in Venice," and came out at the
Gaiety in 1873.

  [45] Byron's "Don Juan," brought out at the Alhambra in 1873, was
  about equally indebted for its plot to the libretto of Mozart's
  opera and to Lord Byron's poem.

In 1842 Macready revived at Drury Lane Handel's delightful "Acis and
Galatea," and the opera was promptly caricatured by W. H. Oxberry in a
piece produced three days afterwards at the Adelphi. The travestie of
"Acis and Galatea" which was seen at the Olympic in 1863 was from the
pen of Mr. Burnand. Its full title was "Acis and Galatea, or the Nimble
Nymph and the Terrible Troglodyte"; and the Nimble Nymph (described
as "a Nymph of the Sea, who also visits the land--a nymphibious young
lady") was played by Miss Hughes. The puns were prolific, and so were
the parodies, the best of which are written in caricature of the absurd
English translations in the operatic "books of the play." Here, for
example, is a setting of the trio in "Trovatore"--"Il tuo sangue":--

    _Polyphemus._ With you, oh, sanguine, I'd share your 'art, oh!
    'Twould be a stinger, ho! if no go.
    (_As to her_) Dear! (_as to himself_) Oh, folly! be calm, oh!
    I'm misty!

   (_Holding his hands over his bursting heart--operatically singing_).

    Eh, pooh, we've here a lump, oh! (_alluding to his heart_).
    No, eh, pooh, we've 'ere a
              Lump, oh no.
    Ah! de gal, oh, so de gal, oh, so coy, press 'art to (_enraptured_)
    And it may then end in no go! (_with a tinge of sadness_).
    And it may then end in no go!
    I'm a gent, oh, over-misty (_with his hand to his heart_),
    Cease of her to be fond, ah, no!
                  No! fond! ah! no!
                              Ah! etc.

    _Phyllis._ {Come, ah! come, will you o-ver-awe, eh? (_fiercely_).
    _Galatea._ {Come, ah! come, will you o-ver-awe me? (_distractedly_).

    _Phyllis._ {You'll ar-ray, ah! wi' Pol trudge, oh![46] (_fiercely_).
    _Galatea._ {You'll ar-ray, ah! wi' Pol trudge, oh! (_distractedly_).

    _Phyllis._ {Veep! ye'll ne'er go to rest o' shore, eh! (_fiercely_).
    _Galatea._ {Veep! we'll ne'er go to rest o' shore, eh?

    _Phyllis._ {Gay! tomb! ah! one full! no beau!
      (_wildly and demoniacally_).
    _Galatea._ {Gay! tomb! ah! one full! no beau!
      (_wildly and distractedly_).

  [46] This, says Mr. Burnand in a note, is the poetic for "You'll get on
  your bonnet and accompany Polyphemus."

Six years after the production of Mr. Burnand's piece, Mr. T. F.
Plowman brought out at Oxford "a piece of extravagance," to which he
gave the name of "A Very New Edition of Acis and Galatea, or the Beau!
the Belle! and the Blacksmith!"

Of Meyerbeer's operas three have been burlesqued in England--"Dinorah,"
"L'Africaine" and "Robert le Diable." The first of these was parodied
in "Dinorah under Difficulties," a burlesque by William Brough, which
dates back as far as 1859 (at the Adelphi). "L'Africaine" was handled
by Mr. Burnand six years later at the Strand. Three years more, and
"Robert le Diable" was being travestied at the Gaiety by Mr. Gilbert,
under the title of "Robert the Devil, or the Nun, the Dun, and the Sun
of a Gun."[47] This last is on the old lines of "palmy-day" burlesque,
and has not much in it that is characteristically Gilbertian. The
lyrics are written chiefly to operatic airs, and there is no room,
therefore, for rhythmical invention. In the dialogue, however, one
comes across an occasional passage which strikes one as quite
Gilbertian in its cynicism. Take, for example, these lines from the
scene in which fun is made of the Tussaud "Chamber of Horrors":--

  [47] In this Miss Farren, as Robert, was supported by Miss Constance
  Loseby as Raimbault, Miss Emily Fowler as Alice, Miss Annie Tremaine as
  Prince of Granada, and Joseph Eldred as Gobetto.

    _Bertram._ These are all statues, raised from time to time
    To people who're remarkable for crime.

    _Robert._ But if their wicked deeds could so unnerve one,
    Why give them statues?

    _Bert._           'Cause they don't deserve one.
    That's our strict rule--a rule we never garble--
    Good deeds we write in sand, bad deeds in marble.

Some of the puns in the piece are worth recording. Thus, Alice says of
a porter, to whom half a crown has been given:--

    He'll spend it all upon his favourite wets--
    He tipsy gets with all the _tips he gets_.

Again, Gobetto says of Robert:--

    He's smoking to a pretty tune, I'll bet, oh!

    _Prince._ That pretty tune must be "Il Cigaretto."

Gobetto says to Robert:--

    We saw you through the window, pouring fizz in!

    _Robert._ I liked the wines, but didn't like the _quizzin_.


    _Alice._ Why, Robert, how you've changed in speech and tone!
    Your forehead, once so smooth, now bears a frown on it;
    As for your mouth, 'tis evident you're down in it!

    _Robert._ Yes, though I'm young, it's plain to all who con it,
    Down _in_ the mouth before I've down _upon_ it!

Weber's "Der Freischutz" has been travestied both by Mr. Burnand and
by H. J. Byron, both productions taking place in 1866, within two days
of each other--the one at the Strand, and the other at the Prince
of Wales's. Mr. Reece is responsible for a burlesque of Flotow's
"Martha," performed at the Gaiety in 1873, with Miss Constance Loseby,
Miss Rachel Sanger, Mr. Lionel Brough, and Mr. Aynsley Cook in the
leading parts.

Wagnerian "music-drama" has more than once been desecrated on the
burlesque stage. First of all there came, at the Royalty in 1869, the
"Flying Dutchman" of William Brough; then Messrs. Green and Swanborough
brought out at the Strand, in 1876, "The Flying Dutchman" (with M.
Marius and Miss Lottie Venne); and the "Little Lohengrin" of Mr. Bowyer
saw the light in 1884 at the Holborn Theatre.

So much for the German school. Of the French composers, Auber has had
more pieces travestied in this country than has any one of his fellows.
There is "Masaniello," for instance, and "Fra Diavolo," and "Les
Diamans de la Couronne." "Masaniello, or the Fish 'oman of Naples," was
the title given by Robert B. Brough to the "fish tale, in one act,"
which he wrote for the Olympic in 1857. He had, for the impersonator of
his hero, Robson, whose presence in the cast suggested to Mrs. Wigan
the addition to the mad scene of sundry indications of the actor's
former successes at the Olympic. The result was very successful.
Masaniello came on, crying--

    My lord, the Earl of Hammersmith is taken!
    Stop! That's in _Hamlet_! I'm Masaniello!
    To be or not to was--that's in _Othello_,
    Translated into Irish--for Ristori.
    Pop goes the Weasel--that's from _Trovatore_.

He then breaks off into a portion of the dagger dance from "Macbeth
Travestie," following this up with a scrap from Italian opera and part
of the hornpipe in "The Yellow Dwarf." Then Borella says:--

    You are our chief! Do you not know me, sir?

    _Mas._ Excellent well! You are a fishmonger!
    And I'm your chieftain.

    _Pietro._              Are you not, my lad?

    _Mas._ Ay, every inch a King-fisher--not bad! (_chuckles_).
    The monarch of the deep--my lord of scales;
    Here's a discovery--I'm Prince of Whales!...
    Think not to pierce this hide of Indian rubber (_weeps_).
    A whale! Oh yes! A whale of tears! All blubber!

    _Suzanna._ Oh! this side-piercing sight!

    _Mas._ I'm very limp--
    And small--and flabby! Hang it! I'm a shrimp!

Then followed a song, in parody of "I'm Afloat":--

    I'm a shrimp! I'm a shrimp, of diminutive size:
    Inspect my antennæ, and look at my eyes;
    I'm a natural syphon, when dipped in a cup,
    For I drain the contents to the latest drop up.
    I care not for craw-fish, I heed not the prawn,
    From a flavour especial my fame has been drawn;
    Nor e'en to the crab or the lobster I'll yield,
    When I'm properly cook'd and efficiently peel'd.
    Quick! quick! pile your coals--let your saucepan be deep!
    For the weather is warm, and I'm not sure to keep;
    Off, off with my head--split my shell into three--
    I'm a shrimp! I'm a shrimp--to be eaten with tea.

After this, Robson was wont to introduce a bit of "business" from "The
Discreet Princess," ending with a ditty from the "Medea" burlesque.
The travestie of the pantomime-action of the dumb girl Fenella was
naturally another feature of Brough's work, which had the usual supply
of puns, and, altogether, more than the usual amount of literary and
dramatic merit. The little travestie, called "Masse-en-Yell-Oh,"
written by Messrs. Harry Paulton and Mostyn Tedde for the Comedy in
1886, was an unpretending piece of work, not challenging comparison
with its predecessor.

Auber's "Fra Diavolo" was another of the operatic originals on which
H. J. Byron based his comic fancies. He wrote, to begin with, "Fra
Diavolo, or the Beauty and the Brigands," first seen at the Strand in
1858; and then, twenty years after, "Young Fra Diavolo," which made its
appearance at the Gaiety. "Les Diamans de la Couronne" fell to the lot
of Mr. Reece, who, in 1875, prepared for the Holborn Theatre the piece
entitled "The Half-crown Diamonds," a revised edition of which found
its way to the stage of the Imperial Theatre just five years later.

Hérold's "Zampa" was burlesqued by Mr. T. F. Plowman at the Court in
1872, and by Mr. J. McArdle for the provincial stage in 1876. The
"Mignon" of M. Thomas has also been transmogrified into the "Merry
Mignon" of Mr. Wilton Jones (1882). The "Carmen" of Georges Bizet has
had its mirthful side portrayed in no fewer than four comic pieces--the
"Carmen, or Sold for a Song" of Mr. Reece (Folly, 1879); the "Cruel
Carmen" of Mr. Wilton Jones (1880); the "Little Carmen" of Mr. Alfred
Murray (Globe, 1884); and the "Carmen Up to Data" of Messrs. Sims and
Pettitt (Gaiety, 1890). The Carmen of the first of these productions
was Miss Lydia Thompson,--of the last, Miss Florence St. John, a
charming vocalist, gifted with the true _vis comica_.

But the most popular, by a long way, of all French operas, for purposes
of burlesque, has been the "Faust" of Gounod. Of the many travesties
of this, or of the story embodied in it, the earliest was that of
Halford, brought out at the Olympic in 1854. This was followed in
1857 by a piece called "Alonzo the Brave," written by Mr. Burnand for
performance by University amateurs at Cambridge, and mingling the story
of Alonzo, as told in the ballad, with that of Faust, in a fashion
effective, if a little puzzling. In this piece of extravagance (in
which, by the way, Mr. Burnand played Mephistopheles), Imogene is the
heroine, taking the place of Marguerite in the affections of Faust.
For a while, in the absence of Alonzo, she yields to the snares of the
tempter; but, in the end, her first sweetheart appears to her as his
own ghost, her inconstancy is forgiven, and Faust retires from the

Seven years later Mr. Burnand wrote a burlesque called "Faust and
Marguerite" for the St. James's. He had Ashley for his Faust, Charles
Mathews and Mrs. Charles Mathews for his Mephistopheles and Marguerite,
H. J. Montague for his Valentine, and "Johnny" Clarke for his Martha.
In this instance he followed the story of the opera pretty closely till
near the end, when Faust was sued for breach of promise of marriage,
and escaped the clutches of Mephistopheles only by consenting to pair
off with Martha! A visit to a music-hall formed part of the action, and
gave occasion for some pointed lines. Said Faust:--

    I'm saddened by your modern comic singing;

and Mephistopheles went on to describe the scene:--

    There sat the draper's clerk, who wildly loves
    The tenth-rate _prima donna_ in cleaned gloves;
    The would-be swell, who thinks it mighty grand
    To shake the comic singer by the hand;
    Who pays for his amusement through the nose,
    And stands not on the order of his "goes."
    He thinks the dark girls dressed in blue first-raters,
    And is familiar with the seedy waiters;
    He sips his sling or takes some sort of toddy,
    And encores everything and everybody.

Marguerite says at one point--

    That _circled orb_, you think, 's the moon; it ain't:
    We know 'tis but a _circle daub_ of paint.

And she remarks elsewhere that

    The minnow is the _minnow_-mum of fishes.

Faust says, in one place--

    Our _prima donna_, sir, has gone, I guess,
    To make herself _primmer_ and to _don her_ dress.

There is a diverting parody on "My Mother":--

    Who guided you o'er lake and fell,
    Who told you all there was to tell,
    Ne'er missed a place, but showed it well?

    Your Murray!

In 1869 Mr. Burnand was to the fore again with "Very Little Faust
and More Marguerite," which was played at the Charing Cross Theatre
(as the building was then called). A few years later--in 1877--H. J.
Byron entered the field with "Little Doctor Faust," in which he had
for interpreters the Gaiety artists, headed by Miss Farren and Mr.
Edward Terry. Later still--in 1885--came a provincial writer with
"Faust in Forty Minutes." In 1886 we had at the Royalty a piece called
"Mephisto," of which the only characteristic feature was an imitation
of Mr. Irving by Mr. E. J. Henley, clever in its way, but not to be
compared for sustained truthfulness to the performance given by Mr.
H. E. Dixey in "Adonis" (at the Gaiety) a week or two previously.
In 1886, also, Mr. Burnand brought out at Toole's--with Mr. Toole as
Mephistopheles (_à la_ Irving)--"Faust and Loose"; and, two years
after, we had at the Gaiety the "Faust up to Date" of Messrs. G. R.
Sims and Henry Pettitt, of which more hereafter. A notable fact about
"Faust and Loose" is the appearance on the stage, for the first time,
of Marguerite's mother--a lady unaccountably neglected by all previous
writers, serious or otherwise! In the burlesque she thus introduces

    My name it is---- Really,
    I can't state it clearly;
    But I'll observe, merely,
              That I'm not to blame.
    To save further bother,
    I'm Margaret's mother,
    And, as I've no other,
              Why, that is my name.

    They can't do without me,
    The play's all about me,
    They flout me, they scout me;
              Oh! I call it mean!
    Each version where Ma is,
    In London or Paris,
    Makes me Mrs. Harris,
              Much talked of, not seen.

    I'm griping and grasping,
    I'm snoring, I'm gasping,
    With fear my voice rasping
              Miss Marguerite fills.
    They speak thus behind me--
    You'll speak as you find me--
    But all have maligned me,
              From Goethe to Wills!

English serious opera has not often fallen a prey to the untender
mercies of the parodist. Balfe and Vincent Wallace alone have been
victimised in that way--Balfe through his "Bohemian Girl" and "Rose
of Castile"; Wallace through his "Maritana." The "Bohemian Girl" has
taken four different shapes on the burlesque boards. In 1851, as
transmogrified by the Brothers Brough, she figured at the Haymarket as
"Arline." In 1864, under the auspices of Messrs. Best and Bellingham,
she appeared at Sadler's Wells under the same designation. At the
command of Mr. W. S. Gilbert she posed at the Royalty in 1868 as "The
Merry Zingara." In 1877, as portrayed by H. J. Byron at the Opéra
Comique and Gaiety, she appeared as "The Bohemian Gy-url." For his
Arline Mr. Gilbert had Miss "Patty" Oliver; for his Gipsy Queen,
Miss Charlotte Saunders; for his Count Arnheim, Fred Dewar; and for
his Devilshoof, Danvers. Byron's piece was interpreted by the Gaiety
Company. "The Rose of Castile," as treated by Mr. Conway Edwardes,
was seen in 1872 at the Brighton Theatre as "The Rows of Castile."
"Maritana," of course, was the origin and basis of Mr. Burnand's
"Mary Turner" (Holborn Theatre, 1867), as well as of Byron's "Little
Don Cæsar de Bazan" (Gaiety, 1876), in which Mr. Terry was such an
entertaining King Charles.



The writers of stage travestie have gone less to fiction for
subject-matter than might have been expected. Half a dozen romances
previous to Scott, half a dozen of Scott's own stories, about the same
number of modern novels, and still fewer foreign masterpieces--these
represent the sources of all the most important of the burlesques which
have been based upon invented prose narrative.

The earliest of the tales which have been thus dealt with is "Robinson
Crusoe." Of this time-honoured story, the first whimsical treatment
was that which took the shape of a piece called "Crusoe the Second,
or the Shipwrecked Milliners," presented at the Lyceum in 1847. This
was written by Stocqueler, and had for interpreters Mr. and Mrs.
Keeley, with Alfred Wigan (as Crusoe). It was followed, in 1860, at the
Princess's, by the "Robinson Crusoe" of H. J. Byron. Seven years later,
no fewer than six writers joined in the production of a perversion of
Defoe's tale, brought out at the Haymarket in 1867, and bearing the
names of H. J. Byron, W. S. Gilbert, T. Hood, jun., H. S. Leigh, W. J.
Prowse, and Arthur Sketchley. In this (which was given at a _matinée_
for the benefit of the family of Paul Gray, the artist) the parts
were all sustained by well-known men of art and letters. After this
there came, in 1876, at the Folly, the "Robinson Crusoe" of Mr. H. B.
Farnie,[48] which, in its turn, was followed, just ten years later,
by yet another arrangement of the story, in which Mr. Farnie had the
co-operation of Mr. Reece.

  [48] With Miss Lydia Thompson as Robinson, Mr. Lionel Brough as Jim
  Cocks, and Mr. Willie Edouin as Man Friday.

To the Adelphi, in 1846, belongs an "extra extravagant extravaganza,"
founded by Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett and Mark Lemon on the "Peter
Wilkins" of Robert Paltock (first printed in 1750). This burlesque
had for its full title--"Peter Wilkins, or the Loadstone Rock and the
Flying Indians," and had for its chief interpreters--Miss Woolgar as
the hero, Paul Bedford as Jack Adams, and Miss E. Chaplin as Youriwkee.
Dr. Johnson's "Rasselas" attracted the attention of William Brough,
and was made, in 1862, the foundation of a burlesque produced at the

In 1765 Horace Walpole published his mediæval imagining, "The Castle
of Otranto," by which so many of us have in our youth been thrilled.
In 1848 Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett set himself to make fun of its
singularities, and the result was a very brightly written piece,
enacted at the Haymarket.[49] In this, Manfred's son Conrad is found
imprisoned under the gigantic helmet of Alphonso, and the distracted
father at once begins to give way to comic word-splitting:--

  [49] With Keeley as Manfred, Bland as the Marquis Vincenza, Miss P.
  Horton as Theodore, Miss Reynolds as Isabella, and Mrs. W. Clifford as

                        If he's beneath that hat,
    His bier, by this time, must be precious flat!
    I'll not believe it! no, my life upon it!
    No one would dare my Conrad thus to bonnet.
    But stay!--has anybody got a lever,
    To give a lift to this gigantic beaver?
    (_The helmet is raised at the back; Manfred looks under it._)
    Alas! he speaks the truth--my son lies low,
    Poor little chap, under this great _chapeau_.
    My. Conrad gone!--This is a sad disaster,
    The die is cast by this unlucky castor!
    Can no one tell me how or whence it came?
    Is there no ticket with the hatter's name?
    If I knew grief before, this hat has capped it,--
    My boy, crush'd 'neath this hated nap, has napped it!

In the opening scene, Hippolita, Conrad's mother, ventures to suggest
to Manfred that the boy is not of marriageable age, sixteen summers not
having yet passed o'er his head:--

   _Man._ Time flies, you know; thro' life one quickly flings
   One's sixteen summersets, after sixteen springs.

   _Hip._ 'Tis my maternal tenderness that speaks:
   As yet no whiskery down adorns his cheeks.

   _Man._ I'll hear no more! talk not of down to me--
   The boy's as downy as a boy need be.

In the year following the publication of "The Castle of Otranto," the
"Vicar of Wakefield" was given to the world. It appears to have escaped
travestie until 1885, when--thinking more, no doubt, of Mr. Wills's
"Olivia" than of Goldsmith's _chef d'oeuvre_--Messrs. Stephens and
Yardley brought out at the Gaiety "The Vicar of Wideawakefield,"
in which Mr. Arthur Roberts and Miss Laura Linden sought, not
unsuccessfully, to reproduce and heighten some of the artistic
peculiarities of Mr. Irving and Miss Ellen Terry. Mrs. Shelley's
"Frankenstein," published in 1818, received its first dramatic
_reductio ad absurdum_ in 1849, when the Brothers Brough made it the
subject of a burlesque;--its second in 1887, when Messrs. "Richard
Henry" turned out at the Gaiety a travestie, of which I shall have
something to say in my next chapter. In the Broughs' version Wright was
Frankenstein and Paul Bedford the Monster, and much fun was made out of
the finishing touches which Frankenstein gave to his work. "O." Smith,
Miss Woolgar, and Miss Chaplin were also in the cast.

Sir Walter Scott's novels have obtained a fair amount of notice from
the comic dramatists. "Ivanhoe," for example, has exercised the
humorous powers of three--of Robert Brough (at the Haymarket in 1850),
of H. J. Byron (at the Strand in 1862), and of T. F. Plowman (at the
Court in 1871). Byron (who called his work "Ivanhoe in accordance with
the Spirit of the Times"[50]) had the aid of Miss Charlotte Saunders as
his Wilfred, of Charles Rice as his Brian de Bois-Guilbert, of "Johnny"
Clarke as his Isaac of York, of Miss Eleanor Bufton as his Black
Knight, of Miss Swanborough as Rowena, of Jenny Rogers as his Rebecca,
and of Miss Polly Marshall, Miss Fanny Hughes, and Poynter in other
parts. In the provinces he was his own Isaac of York.

  [50] This burlesque has been used, during the present year, as the
  foundation for a travestie played by the Cambridge Amateur Dramatic
  Company, under the title of "Ivanhoe à la Carte" (in allusion to Mr.
  D'Oyly Carte's production of Sir Arthur Sullivan's "Ivanhoe"). To this
  adaptation, it is said, new lyrics were contributed by Messrs. J. K.
  Stephen and R. C. Lehmann.

"Isaac of York," by the way, was the title given by Mr. Plowman to his
effort, which had a good deal of ingenuity and "go." Here, for example,
is an extract from the scene at the banquet at which Cedric entertains
his guests. Ivanhoe is soliloquising aside, and his utterances are
interrupted by the demands of the _personæ_ sitting at table:--

    _Ivanhoe_ (_soliloquising aside_). 'Tis strange once more my native
      boards to tread,
    Beneath the roof where I was born and----

    _Rowena._                        _Bread!_

    _Ivan._ If she should recognise me, she'd be flustered.
    My utmost self-possession must be----

    _Rebecca._                   _Mustard!_

    _Ivan._ She's lovelier than ever. Happy fate,
    Her beauteous face once more to contem----

    _Isaac._                          _Plate!_

    _Ivan._ That scamp, Sir B., I'll challenge--that's quite clear,
    And (if I can) despatch him to his----

    _Cedric._                     _Beer!_

    _Ivan._ I'll meet him boldly with my----

    _Isaac._                             _Knife and fork!_

    _Ivan._ And fight till one of us is dead as----

    _Sir Brian._                                _Pork!_

    _Ivan._ When Richard comes he'll stop such idle praters,
    These plottings Normans and base agi----

    _Isaac._                       _Taters!_

    _Ivan._ He'll make 'em in their knavish doings halt;
    His action will be battery and as----

    _Reb._                       _Salt!_

    _Ivan._ Out of his land he'll soon make each a stepper,
    When he returns, by Jove, he'll give 'em----

    _Isaac._                            _Pepper!_

In another scene Isaac gives vent to a piece of mock-heroic execration
directed against Brian de Bois-Guilbert:--

    Avenge me, then, ye fates, I do implore.
    May he, like me, be martyr to lumbag_er_,
    Tic-doloreux, sciatica, and ag_er_,
    Sore-throats, neuralgia, hooping-cough, and sneezing,
    Rheumatics, asthma, colds, and bronchial wheezings.
    And while the north-east wind doth round him blow,
    Ye clouds, hail, mizzle, drizzle, sleet, and snow;
    Rain rakes and pitchforks, kittens, cats and dogs,
    While down his throat pour vapours, mists, and fogs.
    May broken chilblains ever stud his toes,
    May icicles hang pendent from his nose,
    May winter's cold his shaving-water freeze,
    May he be stopped whene'er he's going to sneeze.
    And when appalled you loudly call for helps,
    May palsies seize you----

    _Sir B._ Oh, shade of Mr. Phelps![51]

  [51] Mr. Plowman had Mr. Righton for his Isaac, Miss Kate Bishop for
  his Ivanhoe, Miss Nelly Bromley for his Rowena, Miss Oliver for his
  Rebecca, Mr. Alfred Bishop for his Brian de Bois-Guilbert, and Mlle.
  Cornélie D'Anka for his Richard Coeur-de-Lion.

Next to "Ivanhoe" in popularity for travestie we may place "Rob Roy."
Mr. Sydney French took it in hand at the Marylebone in 1867, and Mr.
William Lowe gave it a very Scotch rendering, in 1880, under the title
of "Mr. Robert Roye, Hielan Helen his Wife, and Dougal the Dodger." But
the "standard" burlesque on the subject is, of course, Mr. Burnand's
"Robbing Roy" (Gaiety, 1879), in which Mr. Terry was such a diverting
"Roy," with Miss Farren as Francis, Miss Vaughan as Diana, and Mr.
Royce as an admirable Dougal. Of the "Bride of Lammermoor" there have
been two burlesque versions--Oxberry's, at the Strand in 1848; and H.
J. Byron's, at the Prince of Wales's in 1865. "Kenilworth" has been
similarly honoured. There was the piece brought out at the Strand in
1858 by Andrew Halliday and a collaborator, and there was that which
Messrs. Reece and Farnie contributed to the Avenue Theatre in 1885.
"Guy Mannering" has engaged the attention of Mr. Burnand: we can all
remember his "Here's another Guy Mannering," brought out at the
Vaudeville in 1874. For the solitary travestie of "The Talisman," the
late J. F. M'Ardle is responsible. It was first played at Liverpool in
the year last named.

Lord Lytton's novels and romances have been ridiculed on the stage
very much less frequently than have his dramas. "The Very Last Days
of Pompeii," by Mr. Reece, and "The Last of the Barons," by Mr. Du
Terreaux, are, so far as I know, the only stage works in which his
prose fiction has been perverted. The former was seen at the Vaudeville
in 1872, and the latter at the Strand in the same year. In "The Last
of the Barons," Atkins was the Kingmaker, Mr. Edward Terry portraying
Edward IV. as a great dandy, and endowing him with an amusing lisp.

When we turn to the stories of more recent times, we think at once
of the "No Thoroughfare" of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, and
of the "Foul Play" of Charles Reade and Dion Boucicault, as having
suffered at the hands of the irreverent scribes. The former romance
suggested to Hazlewood junior his "No Thorough-fair beyond Highbury,
or the Maid, the Mother, and the Malicious Mountaineer." This was in
1868; and in the following year the elder George Grossmith emulated
Hazlewood's example at the Victoria Theatre. "Foul Play" was parodied
by Mr. Burnand, not only in the pages of _Punch_, but in "Fowl Play,
or a Story of Chikkin Hazard," produced at the New Queers in 1868.[52]
Of the bright writing in this "book," no better specimen could well
be furnished than the song which Wylie sings in description of the
scuttling of the _Proserpine_. This I give in full:--

  [52] In this piece Mr. Toole was the Robert Penfold, Mr. Lionel
  Brough the Joseph Wylie, Mr. Gaston Murray the General Rollingstone,
  Mr. Wyndham the Arthur Waddles, and Miss Ellen Farren (then in her
  novitiate) the Nancy Rouse.

    I'm a werry wicked cove, with my one, two, three
      _Characters_ in the history as follars
    Of a sickly gal and me, and a missionary_ee_,
      In a choker white and nobby pair o' collars.
        The _Proserpine_ an' guns
        Weighed such a lot of tuns,
      And I was the mate and the butler,
        And as I wanted funs
        You gave two thousand puns
      To me to go below, and so to scuttle her.

      _Both._ {He's} a werry wicked cove, with {his} one, two,
              {I'm} {my} three
      Cha_rac_ters in the history as follars;
    Of the sickly girl and {he} and the missionary_ee_,
      In a choker white and nobby pair of collars.

    There was copper there and gold, both o' yours not mine,
      'Twas a werry awful risk, but I ran 'un;
    And the Copper, labelled Gold, went aboard the _Proserpine_
      And the Gold, labelled Copper, on the _Shannon_.
        Oh, it went down like a line,
        On board the _Proserpine_,
    And it was not my little game to stop'er,
      And the gold comes safe in the _Shannon_ ship,
    While you gets the walue for the copper.

    The _Proserpine_ went down in a one, two, three,
      Which she did to the werry bottom;
    They called out for the boats, and the ropes, and floats,
      But couldn't get 'em cos I'd _got_ 'em.
        So they got a boat and sail,
        As wouldn't stand a gale,
      And the lady and the gent jumps _in_ her,
        And the missionary_ee_
        Took a pound of tea,
      But they hadn't got no grub for their dinner.

    _Both._ {I'm} a very wicked cove, with my one, two, three,
      Which is a quotation from Cocker;
    But I mourns for that Gal and the Missionaryee
      Which is both gone down to Davy Jones's Locker.

Among other recent fictions which have obtained the distinction of
stage travestie may be named "Lady Audley's Secret," "Little Lord
Fauntleroy," and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." In
the first of these instances H. J. Byron was the operator--the scene,
the St. James's Theatre in 1863. Mrs. Burnett's pretty conception
was tortured into "The Other Little Lord Fondleboy" (1888), and Mr.
Stevenson's weird invention into "The Real Case of Hide and Seekyll"
(Royalty, 1888), for which the younger George Grossmith must bear the

The literature of dramatic parody does not owe much to foreign fiction.
Farnie gave us "Little Gil Bias" at the Princess's in 1870, and in the
same year Mr. Arthur Wood produced at the Olympic a comic paraphrase
of "Paul and Virginia." It was in 1870, too, that Messrs. Eldred and
Paulton turned out, at Liverpool, "The Gay Musketeers," which was
followed at the Strand in 1871 by "The Three Musket-Dears" of Messrs.
J. and H. Paulton. Of the "Monte Cristo Junior" of Messrs. "Richard
Henry" I shall have something to say anon.

Dividing Song for the moment into Poem and Ballad, we note that the
poems of Lord Byron have been the inspiring cause of at least four
notable burlesques. His lordship's "Don Juan" suggested the "Beautiful
Haidee" of H. J. Byron (1863) and the "Don Juan Junior" of the
"Brothers Prendergast" (1880); while his "Corsair" is the basis of
William Brough's "Conrad and Medora" (Lyceum, 1856), and his "Bride
of Abydos" prompted the piece with the same title which H. J. Byron
wrote for the Strand Theatre. In "Conrad and Medora" Miss Marie Wilton
was "the Little Fairy at the Bottom of the Sea," the title-parts being
given to Miss Woolgar and Mrs. Charles Dillon, and that of Birbanto
to Mr. Toole. The Bride of Abydos--Zuleika--had Miss Oliver for her

With Byron it seems natural to associate his friend Tom Moore, whose
"Lalla Rookh" has had exceptional favour with the parodists. Four of
these have been fascinated by her charms--Mr. J. T. Denny in 1885,
Mr. Horace Lennard in the previous year, Vincent Amcotts in 1866, and
last, but not least, William Brough (at the Lyceum) in 1857. It was to
be expected that, when travestying Moore, Brough should parody "The
Minstrel Boy," and so we have from him the following lines, sung by
Miss Woolgar as Feramorz:--

    The minstrel boy through the town is known,
      In each quiet street you'll find him,
    With his master's organ--it is ne'er his own,
      And his monkey led behind him.
    "Straw laid down!" cries the minstrel boy,
      "Some sick man here needs quiet;
    'Bobbin' around' will this house annoy,
      At any rate, I'll try it!"

    The minstrel grinds, and his victims pay;--
      To his claims he's forced compliance!
    To the poet's study then he takes his way--
      To the men of art and science.
    And cries, "My friends, in vain you'd toil
      At books, at pen, or easel;
    One roving vagabond your work shall spoil,"--
      He plays "Pop goes the Weasel."

Elsewhere, Namouna, the Peri, gave utterance to the following
reflections on the levelling power of love[53]:--

  [53] Reminding one of H. J. Byron's couplet:--

    Love levels all--it elevates the clown,
    And often brings the fattest people down.

    Love makes all equal--scorns of rank the rules;
    Makes kings and beggars equal--equal fools.
    Love brings (distinctions overboard all pitchin')
    The low-born peeler to the grandee's kitchen;
    Makes the proud heiress of paternal acres
    Smile kindly on the young man from the baker's.
    Kings will forget their state at love's dictation,
    Cabmen their rank, and railway-guards their station.
    Love makes the housemaid careless--masters wroth,
    And makes too many cooks to spoil their broth.

In this piece Mrs. Charles Dillon was the Lalla Rookh, and Mr. Toole
represented "a fabulous personage, not found in the poem," called

One, at least, of our burlesque writers--Mr. Gilbert Arthur
a'Beckett--has had the courage to tackle a poem of Coleridge; to wit,
his "Christabel," from which, however, Mr. A'Beckett derived only
certain suggestions for his work. In his "Christabel, or the Bard
Bewitched," represented at the Court in 1872, the Bard, Bracy, was
played by Mr. Righton, who made a special feature of a travestie of Mr.
Irving in "The Bells." He pretended that he had murdered a muffin-man,
and that, consuming all he could of the muffins left in the man's
basket, he had deposited the remainder in the area. Miss Nelly Bromley
was the Christabel.

Scott's "Lady of the Lake" gave Mr. Reece the idea for a burlesque
performed at the Royalty in 1866. In the same year Andrew Halliday
brought out at the Adelphi a comic piece, happily entitled "The
Mountain Dhu, or the Knight, the Lady, and the Lake." Mr. Toole was the
impersonator of the Mountain Dhu, Paul Bedford the Douglas, Miss Hughes
the Malcolm Graeme, Miss Woolgar (Mrs. Mellon) the Fitzjames, and Miss
Furtado the Lady of the Lake. "The Lady of the Lane" was the title
given by H. J. Byron to the travestie from his pen which saw the light
at the Strand in 1872. In this case Mr. Edward Terry was the Roderick
and Miss Kate Bishop the Ellen, Mrs. Raymond making a great hit as the
demented Blanche.

Our present Laureate provoked in 1870 the satiric powers of Mr. W. S.
Gilbert, whose "Princess," played at the Olympic, was described by the
author as "a whimsical allegory," as well as "a respectful perversion
of Mr. Tennyson's poem."[54] In this production Mr. Gilbert wrote his
lyrics to the melodies of popular airs, after the manner of the time.
The major portion of the travestie is familiar to present-day audiences
as having formed, in the main, the text of "Princess Ida," for which
Sir Arthur Sullivan composed such charming music. Nevertheless, I
cannot refrain from quoting, as a happy specimen of Mr. Gilbert's
later manner in burlesque,[55] the speech addressed by the Princess
to her disciples--a speech marked by agreeable _naïvétè_ and happy

  [54] Mr. David Fisher was the King Hildebrand, and Miss Maria Simpson
  (Mrs. W. H. Liston), his son Prince Hilarion; Miss Augusta Thomson
  being the Cyril, Miss Mattie Reinhardt the Princess Ida, Miss Fanny
  Addison the Lady Psyche, Mrs. Poynter the Lady Blanche, and Miss Patti
  Josephs the Melissa.

  [55] In a sense, all Mr. Gilbert's comic operas are burlesques, for
  they are full of travestie, especially of the conventionalities of
  grand opera and melodrama. At the same time, they cannot be called
  burlesques in the everyday, theatrical sense of the term.

    In mathematics Woman leads the way!
    The narrow-minded pedant still believes
    That two and two make four! Why, we can prove--
    We women, household drudges as we are--
    That two and two make five--or three--or seven--
    Or five-and-twenty, as the case demands!...
    Diplomacy? The wily diplomate
    Is absolutely helpless in our hands:
    He wheedles monarchs--Woman wheedles him!
    Logic? Why, tyrant man himself admits
    It's waste of time to argue with a woman!
    Then we excel in social qualities--
    Though man professes that he holds our sex
    In utter scorn, I'll undertake to say
    If you could read the secrets of his heart,
    He'd rather be alone with one of you
    Than with five hundred of his fellow-men!
    In all things we excel. Believing this,
    Five hundred maidens here have sworn to place
    Their foot upon his neck. If we succeed,
    We'll treat him better than he treated us;
    But if we fail--oh, then let hope fail too!
    Let no one care one penny how she looks!
    Let red be worn with yellow--blue with green,
    Crimson with scarlet--violet with blue!
    Let all your things misfit, and you yourselves
    At inconvenient moments come undone!
    Let hair-pins lose their virtue; let the hook
    Disdain the fascination of the eye,--
    The bashful button modestly evade
    The soft embraces of the buttonhole!
    Let old associations all dissolve,
    Let Swan secede from Edgar--Grant from Gask,
    Sewell from Cross--Lewis from Allenby--
    In other words, let Chaos come again!

Into the region of the Ballad the comic playwrights have made
comparatively few incursions. "The Babes in the Wood," "Lord Bateman,"
"Billy Taylor," "Villikins and his Dinah," and "Lord Lovel,"--these are
the stories which have been most in favour with burlesque purveyors.
R. J. Byron took up the first-named subject in 1859, when the company
at the Adelphi (where the piece was produced) included Miss Woolgar
(Sir Rowland Macassar), Mr. Toole and Miss Kate Kelly (the Babes), Paul
Bedford (the First Ruffian), and Mrs. Billington (the Lady Macassar).
Then, in 1877, there came a provincial version by Messrs. G. L. Gordon
and G. W. Anson; and, next, in 1884, at Toole's Theatre, the "Babes"
of Mr. Harry Paulton, in which Mr. Edouin and Miss Atherton were the
central figures. The first travestie of "Lord Bateman" was made by
Charles Selby at the Strand in 1839; then there was the production by
R. B. Brough in 1854 at the Adelphi; and, still later, there was the
piece by H. J. Byron, at the Globe (1869). Passing over the "Billy
Taylor" of Buckstone (1829), we arrive at "The Military Billy Taylor"
of Mr. Burnand, which came out forty years later. It is to Mr. Burnand,
also, that we owe "Villikins and his Dinah," played by amateurs at
Cambridge, as well as "Lord Lovel and the Lady Nancy Bell," which he
wrote for the same place and performers.



With the year 1885 there dawned a new epoch for stage travestie in
England. The old Gaiety company had broken up, Miss Farren alone
remaining; and with the accession of fresh blood there came fresh
methods. The manager who had succeeded Mr. Hollingshead recognised the
tendencies of the times; and with "Little Jack Sheppard"--a travestie
by Messrs. Stephens and Yardley of the well-known story, familiar both
in fiction and in drama--a novel departure was made.

In the "palmy" days, burlesque had not, as a rule, formed the whole of
an evening's entertainment. The one-act travestie had grown on occasion
into two and even three acts; but, until recent years, the one act (in
several scenes) had usually been deemed sufficient, the remainder of
the programme being devoted to comedy or drama. The musical part of the
performance had generally been made up of adaptations or reproductions
of popular airs of the day--either comic songs or operatic melodies:
very rarely had the music been special and original. The scenery had
never been particularly remarkable; nor, save during the various
_régimes_ of Vestris, had there been any special splendour in the
dresses. For the most part, the old school of burlesque did not rely
upon a brilliant _mise-en-scène_. In the prologue to his "Alcestis,"
produced just forty-one years ago, we find Talfourd expressly drawing
attention to the simplicity of the stage show. Speaking of the
productions at the houses of serious drama, he said:--

    Plays of the greatest and the least pretence
    Are mounted so regardless of expense
    That fifty nights is scarce a run accounted--
    Run! They should gallop, being so well _mounted_

But with "Alcestis" it was to be different:--

    What you enjoy must be all "on the quiet."
    No horse will pull _our_ play up if it drag,
    No banners when our wit is on the flag;
    No great effects or new-imported dance
    The drooping eye will waken and entrance; ...
    But an old story from a classic clime,
    Done for the period into modern rhyme.

A very different policy was to characterise the New Burlesque. The
pieces, having now become the staple of the night's amusement, were to
be placed upon the boards with all possible splendour. Money was to
be spent lavishly on scenery, properties and costumes. Dancing was to
be a prominent feature--not the good old-fashioned "breakdowns" and
the like, but choreographic interludes of real grace and ingenuity.
The music was to be written specially for the productions, and pains
were to be taken to secure artists who could really sing. Something
had already been done in each of these directions. So long ago as
1865 Mr. Burnand's "Windsor Forest" had been fitted with wholly new
music; and at the Gaiety, under Mr. Hollingshead, burlesque had grown
in elaborateness year by year. Not, however, till the production of
"Little Jack Sheppard," in 1885, had the elaboration been so marked and
complete in all departments.

Meanwhile, how were the librettists to be affected? Clearly, they
would have to give more opportunities than usual for musical and
saltatory illustration; and accordingly we find the book of "Little
Jack Sheppard" full of lyrics--solos, duets, quartets and choruses, all
of them set to new airs by competent composers. At the same time, the
authors took care not to omit the element of punning dialogue. In this
respect the old traditions were to be maintained. Byron, for instance,
might very well have written the lines which follow, in which the
interlocutors strive to outdo one another in the recklessness of their
_jeux de mots_:--

    _Thames Darrell._ Wild and Uncle Roland trapped me,
    They caught this poor _kid napping_, and _kidnapped_ me;
    Put me on board a ship in half a crack.

    _Winifred._ A ship! Oh, what a _blow_!

    _Thames._                          It was--a _smack_!
    When out at sea the crew set me, Thames Darrell,
    Afloat upon the waves within a barrel.

    _Win._ In hopes the _barrel_ would turn out your _bier_.

    _Thames._ But I'm _stout_-hearted and I didn't fear.
    I nearly died of thirst.

    _Win._             Poor boy! Alas!

    _Thames._ Until I caught a fish----

    _Win._                          What sort?

    _Thames._                                  A _bass_.
    Then came the worst, which nearly proved my ruin--
    A storm, a thing I can't _a-bear, a brewin'_.

    _Win._ It makes me pale.

    _Thames._              It made me _pale_ and _ail_.
    When nearly coopered I descried a sail;
    They did not hear me, though I loudly whooped;
    Within the barrel I was _inned and cooped_.
    _All's up_, I thought, when round they quickly brought her;
    That ship to me of safety was the _porter_.

"Little Jack Sheppard"--which had for its chief exponents Miss Farren,
Mr. Fred Leslie (a brilliant recruit from the comic opera stage),
Mr. David James (who had returned for a time to his old love), Mr.
Odell, Miss Harriet Coveney, and Miss Marion Hood (who had graduated
in Gilbert-Sullivan opera)--was followed at the Gaiety by "Monte
Cristo Junior," in which Messrs. "Richard Henry" presented a bright
and vivacious travestie of Dumas' famous fiction, greatly aided by
the _chic_ of Miss Farren as the hero, and the inexhaustible humorous
resource of Mr. Leslie as Noirtier. Here, for example, is a bit of the
scene between these two characters in the Château d'If:--

    (_Noirtier, disguised as Faria, pokes his head through the hole in the
    prison wall. He wears a long grey beard, and is clad in rags._)

    _Dantès_ (_startled_). This is the rummiest go I e'er heard tell on!

    _Noirtier._ Pray pardon my intrusion, brother felon--
    I'm Seventy-Seven.

    _Dantès._          You look it--and the rest!

    _Noirtier_ (_with senile chuckle_). Ah! youth will always have its
      little jest.
    My _number's_ Seventy-seven: my age is more!
    In point of fact, I've lately turned five score:
    Time travels on with step that's swift, though stealthy.

    _Dantès_ (_aside_). A hundred years of age! This prison's healthy,
    To judge by this old joker. (_aloud_) What's your name, sir?
    To which I'd add--and what's your little game, sir?

    _Noirtier._ My name is Faria--I'm a ruined Abbé--
    All through my country's conduct, which was shabby.
    They've kept me here since I was three years old,
    Because I wouldn't tell of untold gold--
    Of countless coin and gems and heaps of treasure
    Which I'd discovered in my baby leisure--
    (_chuckles_) But we will foil their schemes, and that ere long.

    _Dantès_ (_aside, touching forehead significantly_). The reverend
    gentleman has gone quite wrong.

    _Noirtier_ (_clutching Dantès wildly_). But, ah, they starve me!
    Hence thy strange misgiving--
    For what's a parson, boy, without his living?
    Hast e'er a bone to give an old man squalid?

    _Dantès._ Not me! They never give us nothing solid;
    They seem to think an appetite's unlawful:
    In fact, their bill of fare is fairly awful.

    _Noirtier._ But now to business! You must know, fair youth,
    Though I in prison lie, I love the truth.
    Therefore---- But stay (_glancing suspiciously around_)--are we alone?

    _Dantès._ Of course we are, old guy fox! (_business_).

    _Noirtier._ Then now I will confess my little game.

   (_Removes wig, beard, rags, etc., and appears in convict dress, with
   [77] conspicuously marked on breast._)

    And so, behold!

    _Dantès._       What! Noirtier?

    _Noirtier._                          The same!

Here, again, is the duet sung by the same characters in the course of
the same scene:--


    _Dantès._ Here in this gloomy old Château d'If
    We don't get beer, and we don't get beef.

    _Noirtier._ They never give us mutton or veal or pork,
    On which to exercise knife and fork.

    _Dantès._ No nice spring chicken, or boiled or roast--
    No ham-and-eggs, and no snipe-on-toast!

    _Noirtier._ So no wonder we're rapidly growing lean
    On the grub served up from the prison cuisine.

    (_With treadmill business_.)

    _Both._ Poor prisoners we! Poor prisoners we!
    With skilly for breakfast and dinner and tea,
    And such dismal diet does not agree

    _Noirtier._ With Seventy-seven!

    _Dantès._                      And Ninety-three!

    (_Grotesque pas de deux_.)


    _Dantès._ Our wardrobe has long since run to seed,
    For _ci-devant_ swells we are sights indeed!

    _Noirtier._ I shiver and shake, and the creeps I've got--
    I'd give the world for a "whiskey hot!"

    _Dantès._ And as in my lonely cell I lie,
    I think of _her_ and the by-and-by.

    _Noirtier._ Don't buy or sell, or you'll come to grief,
    And never get out of the Chateau d'If!

    _Both._ Poor prisoners we! etc.       (_Dance as before._)

After "Monte Cristo Junior" there came, at the same theatre and from
the pens of the same writers, a travestie of "Frankenstein," produced
in 1887, with Miss Farren as the hero, and Mr. Leslie as the Monster
that he fashions. Here much ingenuity was shown in the management of
the pseudo-supernatural business connected with the Monster. Previous
to the vivifying of the figure, Frankenstein thus soliloquised:--

    _Frankenstein._ At last I am alone--now let me scan
    My wondrous figure fashioned like a man.
    All is now ready--every joint complete,
    And now to oil the works--and then--_toute suite_!
    O Science! likewise Magic! lend a hand
    To aid the awful project I have planned.
      (_Sings_) I've invented a figure
                     Of wonderful vigour,
                      A gentleman-help, so to speak;
                     A chap automatic
                     Who'll ne'er be erratic,
                       Who'll live upon nothing a week
            It will fetch and will carry,
            And won't want to marry,
              Or try on the wage-raising plan;
            It will do all my bidding
            Without any kidding--
              My Patent Mechanical Man.
    Now to my cell I'll post with due cell-erity,
    And do a deed that shall astound post-erity.
    But thrills of horror now run through my veins.
    What if I fail in spite of all my pains?
    A nameless dread doth in my bosom lurk.
    My scheme is good--but what if it won't work?

The Monster's first utterances were as follows:--

    _Monster._ Where am I? also what--or which--or who?
    What is this feeling that is running through
    My springs--or, rather, joints?--I seem to be
    A comprehensive (_feeling joints_) joint-stock companee;
    My Veins--that's if they are veins--seem to glow----
    I've muscles--yea--in quarts--I move them--so!

    (_Creaks horribly all over: fiddle business in orchestra._)

    Horror! I've broken something, I'm afraid!
    What's this material of which I'm made?
    It seems to be a sort of clay--combined
    With bits of flesh and wax--I'm well designed--
    To see, to move, to speak I can contrive--
    I wonder if I really am alive!

    (_Sings_) If my efforts are vain and I can't speak plain,
      Don't laugh my attempts to scorn!
    For, as will be seen, I am but a machine
      Who doesn't yet know if he's born.
    I can move my feet in a style rather neat,
      And to waggle my jaws I contrive;
    I can open my mouth from north to south,
      I--I--wonder if I'm a-live, a-live!
        I wonder if I'm a-live!

In 1888 Mr. G. R. Sims and Mr. Henry Pettitt joined forces in
burlesque, and the result was seen in a piece happily entitled "Faust
up to Date." In this version Marguerite (Miss Florence St. John)
figures first as a barmaid at an Exhibition. She is a young lady of
some astuteness, though she insists upon her general ingenuousness:--

                      I'm a simple little maid,
                      Of the swells I am afraid,
    I tell them when they're forward they must mind what they're about.
                      I never go to balls,
                      Or to plays or music-halls,
    And my venerated mother always knows when I am out.
                      When I leave my work at night,
                      I never think it right
    To talk to any gentleman I haven't seen before.
                      But I take a 'bus or tram,
                      Like the modest girl I am,
    For I know that my big brother will be waiting at the door.

Martha introduces herself thus:--

    I'm Martha, and my husband's never seen;
    Though fifty, my complexion's seventeen.
    In all the versions I've one _rôle_ to play,
    To mind Miss Marguerite while her _frère's_ away.
    You ask me why she don't live with her mother,
    And I reply by asking you another--
    Where is my husband? I oft wonder if
    The public know he left me in a tiff,
    And not a single word from him I've heerd
    Since Marguerite's mother also disappeared.
    Not that I draw conclusions--oh dear, no!
    The gents who wrote the opera made them go.
    And Goethe lets a gentleman in red
    Inform me briefly my old man is dead.
    These details show my character's _not_ shady--
    I am a widow and a perfect lady.

When Valentine returns home and hears the scandal about his sister, he
breaks out into the following terrific curse:--

    When to the drawing-room you have to go,
    With arms all bare and neck extremely low,
    For four long hours in biting wind and snow,
    May you the joys of England's springtime know!
    Whene'er you ride, or drive a prancing pair,
    May the steam roller meet you everywhere!
    When thro' the Park you wend your homeward way,
    Oh, may it be a Home Rule gala day!
    When for a concert you have paid your gold,
    May Mr. Sims Reeves have a dreadful cold!
    May you live where, through lath-and-plaster walls,
    Come loud and clear the next-door baby's squalls!
    Your husband's mother, when you are a wife,
    Bring all her cats, and stay with you for life!

At the end, when Mephistopheles (Mr. E. J. Lonnen) comes to claim
Faust, it turns out that Faust and Marguerite have been duly married,
but have been obliged to conceal the fact because Marguerite was a ward
in Chancery. Moreover, Old Faust reappears, and insists that, as it
was he who signed the bond, it is he and not young Faust who ought to
suffer for it.

"Faust up to Date" includes some clever songs and some excruciating
puns, of which these are perhaps the most excruciating:--

    _Marg._ These sapphires are the finest I have seen.

    _Faust._ Ah! what I've sapphired for your sake, my queen!

    _Marg._ An opal ring, they say, bad luck will be;
    This one I opal not do that for me.


    _Mephis._ Along the Riviera, dudes her praises sing.

    _Val._ Oh, did you Riviera such a thing?

"Atalanta," the travestie by Mr. G. P. Hawtrey brought out at the
Strand in 1888, was fitted with prose dialogue, much of which was very
smart and amusing. The songs were numerous and well-turned, and certain
details of the travestie were ingenious. Hippomenes, the hero, wins
the race he runs with Atalanta, by placing in her path a brand-new
"costume," of modern cut and material, which she finds it impossible
not to stop for. For the rest, while possessing a decidedly "classical"
flavour, "Atalanta" was, in essence, a racing burlesque, abounding
in the phraseology of the turf, and introducing in the last scene
counterfeit presentments of a number of well-known sportsmen.

An agreeable cynicism ran through both the talk and the lyrics, from
one of which--a duet between King Schoeneus and his High Chamberlain,
Lysimachus--I extract the following satire on turf _morale_:--

    _Lys._ There's a time to win and a time to lose.

    _Sch._           Of course, of course, of course.

    _Lys._ You can make 'em safe whenever you choose--

    _Sch._           By force, by force, by force.

    _Lys._ Then doesn't it seem a sin and a shame
    To stop such a pleasant and easy game?
    If a horse doesn't win, why, who is to blame?

    _Sch._           The horse, the horse, the horse.

           *       *       *       *       *

    _Lys._ If it's cleverly managed, I always think--

    _Sch._           Proceed, proceed, proceed--

    _Lys._ At a neat little swindle it's proper to wink.

    _Sch._           Indeed, indeed, indeed!
    I don't understand what it's all about;
    But a man must be punished, I have no doubt,
    If he's such a fool as to get found out.

    _Lys._           Agreed, agreed, agreed.

    _Lys._ It's all because jockeys have played such tricks--

    _Sch._           They go too far, too far.

    _Lys._ That the stewards are down like a thousand of bricks--

    _Sch._           They are, they are, they are.
    For a season or two, you'll observe with pain,
    They'll hunt out abuses with might and main;
    Then the good old times will come back again.
                     Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

Elsewhere, there is a diverting bit of parody suggested by the extreme
cautiousness and bad grammar of some newspaper racing prophecies.
Hippomenes and Atalanta are the sole competitors in the race, and the
local "tipster" thus discusses their prospects:--

 I have from time to time gone through the chances of the several
 competitors, so that to repeat what I have written is to go over very
 well-worn ground. Although the race is reduced to a match, it has lost
 none of its interest in the eyes of the public. It is a difficult race
 to meddle with, but the plunge must be made; I shall, therefore, give
 my vote to Atalanta, which, if beaten, it may be by Hippomenes.

Of "Joan of Arc," the "operatic burlesque" written by Messrs. J. L.
Shine and "Adrian Ross" to music by Mr. Osmond Carr (Opéra Comique,
1891), the distinguishing feature--apart from the fact that the music
is all original and all the work of one composer--is the neatness of
the lyric writing, with which special pains appear to have been taken.
Of Joan herself her father is made to sing as follows:--

    Oh, there's nobody adepter
      Than our Joan, Joan, Joan!
    She is born to hold a sceptre
      On a throne, throne, throne;
    She's the head of all her classes,
    And in fervour she surpasses
    All the Hallelujah lasses,
      As they own, own, own!

    Don't call her preaching dull, for
      It is not, not, not!
    She can do Salvation sulphur
      Hot and hot, hot, hot!
    She can play the drum and cymbal,
    With her fingers she is nimble,
    And the pea beneath the thimble
      She can spot, spot, spot.

    She can tell you by your faces
      What you'll do, do, do;
    She can give you tips for races
      Good and new, new, new!
    She can cut a martial swagger,
    She's a dab at sword and dagger,
    And will fight without a stagger
      Till all's blue, blue, blue!

Of all the songs in the piece, however, perhaps the most vivacious is
that in which De Richemont (Mr. Arthur Roberts) describes how he "went
to find Emin":--

    Oh, I went to find Emin Pasha, and started away for fun,
    With a box of weeds and a bag of beads, some tracts and a Maxim gun;
    My friends all said I should come back dead, but I didn't care a pin,
    So I ran up a bill and I made my will, and I went to find Emin!
    I went to find Emin, I did, I looked for him far and wide,
    I found him right, I found him tight, and a lot of folks beside;
    Away through Darkest Africa, though it cost me lots of tin,
    For without a doubt I'd find him out, when I went to find Emin!

    Then I turned my face to a savage place, that is called
    Where the natives go on _petits chevaux_ and the gay _chemin de fer_;
    And the girls of the tribe I won't describe, for I'm rather a modest
    They are poor, I suppose, for they're short of clothes, when they
      take what they call _les bains_!
    And they said to me, "_Oh, sapristi!_" and the men remarked,
    And _vive la guerre aux pommes de terre_, and _vingt minutes d'arrêt_!
    _Voulez-vous du boeuf? j'ai huit! j'ai neuf!_ till they deafened me
      with their din,
    So I _parlez_'d _bon soir_ and said _au revoir_, for I had to find

           *       *       *       *       *

    And at last I found Emin, poor chap, in the midst of the nigger bands
    Who daily prowl, with horrible howl, along the Margate sands;
    I heard the tones of the rattling bones, and I hurried down to the
    Full well I know that they will not go till you give them sixpence
    Said they, "Uncle Ned, oh! he berry dead, and de banjo out ob tune!
    Oh! doodah, day! hear Massa play de song of de Whistling Coon!
    If you ain't a snob, you'll give us a bob for blacking our blooming
    But I took that band to the edge of the sand, and there I dropped

I have not thought it necessary, in the preceding pages, to offer any
apology for stage burlesque. One must regret that it sometimes lacks
refinement in word and action, and that in the matter of costume it
is not invariably decorous; but that we shall always have it with us,
in some form or other, may be accepted as incontrovertible. So long
as there is anything extravagant in literature or manners--in the way
either of simplicity or of any other quality--so long will travestie
find both food and scope. That is the _raison d'être_ of theatrical
burlesque--that it shall satirise the exaggerated and the extreme. It
does not wage war against the judicious and the moderate. As H. J.
Byron once wrote of his own craft:--

    Though some may scout it, ...
    Burlesque is like the winnowing machine:
    It simply blows away the husks, you know--
    The goodly corn is not moved by the blow.
    What arrant rubbish of the clap-trap school
    Has vanished--thanks to pungent ridicule!
    What stock stage-customs, nigh to bursting goaded,
    With so much "blowing up" have been exploded!
    Had our light writers done no more than this,
    Their doggrel efforts scarce had been amiss.

In this defence of his calling, Byron had been anticipated by Planché,
who, in one of his occasional pieces, introduced the following passage,
in which Mr. and Mrs. Wigan and the representatives of Tragedy and
Burlesque all figured. When Burlesque entered, Tragedy cried out--

    Avaunt, and quit my sight! let the earth hide thee.
    Unreal mockery, hence! I can't abide thee!

    _Burlesque._ Because I fling your follies in your face,
    And call back all the false starts of your race,
    Show up your shows, affect your affectation,
    And by such homoeopathic aggravation,
    Would cleanse your bosom of that perilous stuff
    Which weighs upon our art--bombast and puff.

    _Mr. Wigan._ Have you so good a purpose, then, in hand?

    _Burlesque._ Else wherefore breathe I in dramatic land?

    _Mrs. Wigan._ I thought your aim was but to make us laugh.

    _Burlesque._ Those who think so but understand me half.
    Did not my thrice-renownèd Thomas Thumb,
    That mighty mite, make mouthing Fustian dumb?
    Is Tilburina's madness void of matter?
    Did great Bombastes strike no nonsense flatter?
    When in his words he's not one to the wise,
    When his fool's bolt _spares_ folly as it flies,
    When in his chaff there's not a grain to seize on,
    When in his rhyme there's not a grain of reason,
    His slang but slang, no point beyond the pun,
    Burlesque may walk, for he will cease to run.


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       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Variations in spelling, accents, punctuation and hyphenation are
as in the original, except in cases of obvious typographical error.

The use of upper or lower case at the beginning of abbreviated
proper names (e.g. a'Beckett and A'Beckett) is inconsistent. This
inconsistency has been retained.

Page 9 "whether they have borrowed from or author, I leave the reader
to determine." the or has been changed to our.

Italics are represnted thus _italic_ and bold thus =bold=.

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