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Illuminations, Temptations, Life's Travails Endured

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Blog- In Tribute to Samuel Johnson, reference, drury-lane-prologue-spoken-by-mr-garrick-at-the-opening-of-the-theatre-in-drury-lane-1747

Blog Posted:8/7/2020 8:16:00 AM


 Blog- Tribute to Samuel Johnson
 
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44447/drury-lane-prologue-spoken-by-mr-garrick-at-the-opening-of-the-theatre-in-drury-lane-1747
 
 
Drury-lane Prologue Spoken by Mr. Garrick at the Opening of the Theatre in Drury-Lane, 1747
BY SAMUEL JOHNSON
 
When Learning’s triumph o’er her barb’rous foes
First rear’d the stage, immortal Shakespear rose;
Each change of many-colour’d life he drew,
Exhausted worlds, and then imagin’d new:
Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
And panting Time toil’d after him in vain:
His pow’rful strokes presiding Truth impress’d,
And unresisted Passion storm’d the breast.
 
         Then Jonson came, instructed from the school,
To please in method, and invent by rule;
His studious patience, and laborious art,
By regular approach essay’d the heart;
Cold Approbation gave the ling’ring bays,
For those who durst not censure, scarce could praise.
A mortal born he met the general doom,
But left, like Egypt’s kings, a lasting tomb.
 
         The Wits of Charles found easier ways to fame,
Nor wish’d for Jonson’s art, or Shakespear’s flame,
Themselves they studied, as they felt, they writ,
Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit.
Vice always found a sympathetic friend;
They pleas’d their age, and did not aim to mend.
Yet bards like these aspir’d to lasting praise,
And proudly hop’d to pimp in future days.
Their cause was gen’ral, their supports were strong,
Their slaves were willing, and their reign was long;
Till Shame regain’d the post that Sense betray’d,
And Virtue call’d Oblivion to her aid.
 
         Then crush’d by rules, and weaken’d as refin’d,
For years the pow’r of tragedy declin’d;
From bard, to bard, the frigid caution crept,
Till Declamation roar’d, while Passion slept.
Yet still did Virtue deign the stage to tread,
Philosophy remain’d, though Nature fled.
But forc’d at length her ancient reign to quit,
She saw great Faustus lay the ghost of wit:
Exulting Folly hail’d the joyful day,
And pantomime, and song, confirm’d her sway.
 
         But who the coming changes can presage,
And mark the future periods of the stage?—
Perhaps if skill could distant times explore,
New Behns, new Durfoys, yet remain in store.
Perhaps, where Lear has rav’d, and Hamlet died,
On flying cars new sorcerers may ride.
Perhaps, for who can guess th’ effects of chance?
Here Hunt may box, or Mahomet may dance.
 
         Hard is his lot, that here by Fortune plac’d,
Must watch the wild vicissitudes of taste;
With ev’ry meteor of caprice must play,
And chase the new-blown bubbles of the day.
Ah! let not censure term our fate our choice,
The stage but echoes back the public voice.
The drama’s laws the drama’s patrons give,
For we that live to please, must please to live.
 
         Then prompt no more the follies you decry,
As tyrants doom their tools of guilt to die;
’Tis yours this night to bid the reign commence
Of rescu’d Nature, and reviving Sense;
To chase the charms of Sound, the pomp of Show,
For useful Mirth, and salutary Woe;
Bid scenic Virtue form the rising age,
And Truth diffuse her radiance from the stage.
********* From my new blog.. Illuminations, Temptations, Life's Travails Endured Weep for Truth that man's inherent evil betrayed Zeus hurled lightning bolts, paradise dreams delayed; Intriguing words, those tales of mythological beasts Sirens tempt, alluring songs, dark orgasmic feasts: Man that so blindly eats, stirring to walk upright, Consuming illusions of life's selfish delights: No more than mere cannibals of impish degrees Born of midnight madness and seed from dying trees. Man in darkened lusts seeking illicit spoils Raping with greed, as seas of sewage churns and boils Flying through phantasms of barbaric hate Rising as a charred Phoenix of dooming Fate Unto dawn's fiery breath, its unfulfilled dreams While harbinger of death, drowns with malignant streams Gasping from a multitude of overwhelming lust Avoiding light, truth of one day turning back to dust. From the beginnings of aspirations and greed First wailing cry, signifying an evil seed Crawling as a mere babe down in well trodden dirt Yet unacquainted, to life's many flesh-born hurts Weak, ever needful under mother's tender cloak Destined to serve, slave under temptation's yoke Taught to seek, what sensual pleasures thus abound Ecstasy's whispers, allures that truly astound. Born of flesh, a searing flame too oft set to rage Whether a pauper or prince, each coming of age Reaching that mature stage when new blacken chart sets Course of life, and all, whatever future begets Allowing dark to sully, run its wicked course Rampaging, destroying, without fear or remorse A Caesar in power, born of demonic ways God of deceit, creator of sad dancing malaise. Standing aloft, contemptuous of good and light Evolving monster, lurking into darker nights Beset by arrogance, stand of a know it all An Achilles well before his sad fated fall Ignorant of Time, ill winds of eternal wrath Prancing, before a tumble from a crumbling path Left behind as humanity's cycles repeat Death touched, final blow, mankind's greatest defeat. Cast into oblivion, reduced to bleached bones Memory, marked by a plot, one white headstone Perhaps some tears that time too will one day erase Fruit of iniquity, sad harvests, a disgrace Ending, befit for one that embraced the dark Reduced to dust and sorrows, a stained mark Alas! To in error, such futile life so choose Playing with a marked deck, destined to lose! Robert J. Lindley, started 2-03- 2020. completed to post 8-06-2020 A tribute to Samuel Johnson...inspired by his-- " drury-lane-prologue"...

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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Date: 8/13/2020 3:23:00 PM
You got your Mojo back with this piece; well penned imagery and metaphor lay within. Enjoyed.
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Robert Lindley
Date: 8/18/2020 5:23:00 AM
Thank you my friend. Lately due to illness my mojo had been lost. It is great when it comes back- even if it is just for a brief spell.. God bless..
Date: 8/11/2020 9:03:00 AM
I like the way you added the one from Samuel Johnson. You have a wonderful story/poem here. I love your first and your last line. They are deep. Enjoy your day...........
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Robert Lindley
Date: 8/18/2020 5:22:00 AM
Thank you my friend. This tribute took me a long time to get finished and presented here. God bless...
Date: 8/10/2020 10:54:00 AM
Hi Robert, I loved the content of both the writes you have placed before us. You are back and your creative pen still shines bright with gold. Your tribute to Samuel Hohnson is writtin the highest skill. Emotions are real as they flow down the written page. The mind sings as it reads your wonderful words. The visions so real. Have a wonderful Monday. Your friend always....Mike. Into my faves.
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Robert Lindley
Date: 8/18/2020 5:20:00 AM
Thank you my friend. I appreciate your commenting and your constant support. God bless...
Date: 8/8/2020 2:01:00 PM
I don't know who Samuel Johnson is.. but you have written a great tribute... The last stanza is so deeply emotive..
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Robert Lindley
Date: 8/8/2020 3:46:00 PM
Thank you my friend. This one was started about six months ago, then put on hold, at least three times and finally finished two days ago to post. Samuel Johnson was a very famous poet/wit, especially so in his time. I have read and admired so much of his magnificent poetry and benefited deeply from having done so. God bless....