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as good company as ever; and told me the Queen would determine something for me to-night. The dispute is, Windsor or St. Patrick's. I told him I would not stay for their disputes, and he thought I was in the right. Lord Masham told me that Lady Masham is angry I have not been to see her since this business, and desires I will come to-morrow. Nite deelest MD.
16. I was this noon at Lady Masham's, who was just come from Kensington, where her eldest son is sick. She said much to me of what she had talked to the Queen and Lord Treasurer. The poor lady fell a shedding tears openly. She could not bear to think of my having St. Patrick's, etc. I was never more moved than to see so much friendship. I would not stay with her, but went and dined with Dr. Arbuthnot, with Mr. Berkeley, one of your Fellows, whom I have recommended to the Doctor, and to Lord Berkeley of Stratton. Mr. Lewis tells me that the Duke of Ormond has been to-day with the Queen; and she was content that Dr. Sterne should be Bishop of Dromore, and I Dean of St. Patrick's; but then out came Lord Treasurer, and said he would not be satisfied but that I must be Prebend [ary] of Windsor. Thus he perplexes things. I expect neither; but I confess, as much as I love England, I am so angry at this treatment that, if I had my choice, I would rather have St. Patrick's. Lady Masham says she will speak to purpose to the Queen to-morrow. Nite, . . dee MD. 17. I went to dine at Lady Masham's to-day, and she was taken ill of a sore throat, and aguish. She spoke to the Queen last night, but had not much time. The Queen says she will determine tomorrow with Lord Treasurer. The warrants for the deaneries are still stopped, for fear I should be gone. Do you think anythink will be done? I don't care whether it is or no. In the meantime, I prepare for my journey, and see no great people, nor will see Lord Treasurer any more, if I go. Lord Treasurer told Mr. Lewis it should be done to-night; so he said five nights ago. Nite MD.
18. This morning Mr. Lewis sent me word that Lord Treasurer told him the Queen would determine at noon. At three Lord Treasurer sent to me to come to his lodgings at St. James's, and told me the Queen was at last resolved that Dr. Sterne should be Bishop of Dromore, and I Dean of St. Patrick's; and that Sterne's warrant
should be drawn immediately. You know the deanery is in the Duke of Ormond's gift; but this is concerted between the Queen, Lord Treasurer, and the Duke of Ormond, to make room for me. I do not know whether it will yet be done; some unlucky accident may yet come. Neither can I feel joy at passing my days in Ireland; and I confess I thought the Ministry would not let me go; but perhaps they can't help it. Nite MD.
"TALKING OF HIMSELF"
[From An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber written by Himself, Chap. II. 1740. Edited by R. W. Lowe, John C. Nimmo, London, 1889.
CIBBER, COLLEY (1671-1757), actor and dramatist; son of Caius Gabriel Cibber [q. v.]; educated at Grantham school, 1682-7; served in the Earl of Devonshire's levy for the Prince of Orange, 1688; joined united companies at Theatre Royal, 1690; known as 'Mr. Colley'; played minor parts, 1691; failed in tragedy, but made a good impression in comedy, 1692-4; brought out his first play, 'Love's Last Shift,' 1696; recognised as the leading actor of eccentric characters, 1697-1732; brought out some thirty dramatic pieces, 1697-1748, including several smart comedies; obtained a profitable share in the management of Drury Lane, c. 1711, and held it in spite of the machinations of the tories; brought out 'The Nonjuror,' 1717, a play directed against the Jacobites; fiercely attacked by other writers on his appointment as poet laureate, December 1730; retired' from the stage, 1733, but reappeared at intervals till 1745; published an autobiography entitled 'Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber, Comedian,' 1740, two letters to Pope, 1742-4, a poor 'Character . . of Cicero,' 1747, and some worthless official odes; made by Pope the hero of the 'Dunciad' (1742). The title of the chap-book, 'Colley Cibber's Jests,' 1761, shows his notoriety. Index and Epitome of D. N. B.
"And Cibber himself is the honestest man I know, who has writ a book of his confessions, not so much to his credit as St. Augustine's, but full as true and as open. Never had impudence and vanity so faithful a professor. I honour him next to my Lord." ALEXANDER POPE, Letter to Lord Orrery, 1742-3; Pope's Works, ed. Elwin and Courthope, Vol. VIII, p. 509.
"He was not, indeed, a very wise or lofty character - nor did he affect great virtue or wisdom- but openly derided gravity, bade defiance to the serious pursuits of life, and honestly preferred his own lightness of heart and of head, to knowledge the most extensive or thought the most profound. He was vain even of his vanity. At the very commencement of his work, he avows his determination not to repress it, because it is part of himself, and therefore will only increase the resemblance of the picture. Rousseau did not more clearly lay open to the world the depths and inmost recesses of his
soul, than Cibber his little foibles and minikin weaknesses. The philosopher dwelt not more intensely on the lone enthusiasm of his spirit, on the alleviations of his throbbing soul, on the long draughts of rapture which he eagerly drank in from the loveliness of the universe, than the player on his early aspirings for scenic applause, and all the petty triumphs and mortifications of his passion for the favour of the town." SIR THOMAS NOON TALFOURD, 'Cibber's Apology for His Life," Critical and Miscellaneous Writings, p. 72.]
It often makes me smile to think how contentedly I have set myself down to write my own Life; nay, and with less Concern for what may be said of it than I should feel were I to do the same for a deceased Acquaintance. This you will easily account for when you consider that nothing gives a Coxcomb more delight than when you suffer him to talk of himself; which sweet Liberty I here enjoy for a whole Volume together! A Privilege which neither cou'd be allow'd me, nor wou'd become me to take, in the Company I am generally admitted to; but here, when I have all the Talk to myself, and have no body to interrupt or contradict me, sure, to say whatever I have a mind other People shou'd know of me is a Pleasure which none but Authors as vain as myself can conceive. -But to my History.
However little worth notice the Life of a Schoolboy may be supposed to contain, yet, as the Passions of Men and Children have much the same Motives and differ very little in their Effects, unless where the elder Experience may be able to conceal them: As therefore what arises from the Boy may possibly be a Lesson to the Man, I shall venture to relate a Fact or two that happen'd while I was still at School.
In February, 1684-5, died King Charles II. who being the only King I had ever seen, I remember (young as I was) his Death made a strong Impression upon me, as it drew Tears from the Eyes of Multitudes, who looked no further into him than I did: But it was, then, a sort of School-Doctrine to regard our Monarch as a Deity; as in the former Reign it was to insist that he was accountable to this World as well as to that above him. But what, perhaps, gave King Charles II. this peculiar Possession of so many Hearts, was his affable and easy manner in conversing; which is a Quality that goes farther with the greater Part of Mankind than many higher Virtues, which, in a Prince, might more immediately regard the publick Prosperity. Even his indolent Amusement
of playing with his Dogs and feeding his Ducks in St. James's Park, (which I have seen him do) made the common People adore him, and consequently overlook in him what, in a Prince of a different Temper, they might have been out of humour at.
I cannot help remembering one more Particular in those Times, tho' it be quite foreign to what will follow. I was carry'd by my Father to the Chapel in Whitehall; where I saw the King and his royal Brother the then Duke of York, with him in the Closet, and present during the whole Divine Service. Such Dispensation, it seems, for his Interest, had that unhappy Prince from his real Religion, to assist at another to which his Heart was so utterly averse. - I now proceed to the Facts I promis'd to speak of.
King Charles his Death was judg'd by our Schoolmaster a proper Subject to lead the Form I was in into a higher kind of Exercise; he therefore enjoin'd us severally to make his Funeral Oration: This sort of Task, so entirely new to us all, the Boys receiv'd with Astonishment as a Work above their Capacity; and tho' the Master persisted in his Command, they one and all, except myself, resolved to decline it. But I, Sir, who was ever giddily forward and thoughtless of Consequences, set myself roundly to work, and got through it as well as I could. I remember to this Hour that single Topick of his Affability (which made me mention it before) was the chief Motive that warm'd me into the Undertaking; and to shew how very foolish a Notion I had of Character at that time, I raised his Humanity, and Love of those who serv'd him, to such Height, that I imputed his Death to the Shock he receiv'd from the Lord Arlington's being at the point of Death about a Week before him. This Oration, such as it was, I produc'd the next Morning: All the other Boys pleaded their Inability, which the Master taking rather as a mark of their Modesty than their Idleness, only seem'd to punish by setting me at the Head of the Form: A Preferment dearly bought! Much happier had I been to have sunk my Performance in the general Modesty of declining it. A most uncomfortable Life I led among them for many a Day after! I was so jeer'd, laugh'd at, and hated a pragmatical Bastard (School-boys Language) who had betray'd the whole Form, that scarce any of 'em wou'd keep me company; and tho' it so far advanc'd me into the Master's
Favour that he wou'd often take me from the School to give me an Airing with him on Horseback, while they were left to their Lessons; you may be sure such envy'd Happiness did not encrease their Good-will to me: Notwithstanding which my Stupidity cou'd take no warning from their Treatment. An Accident of the same nature happen'd soon after, that might have frighten'd a Boy of a meek Spirit from attempting any thing above the lowest Capacity. On the 23rd of April following, being the CoronationDay of the new King, the School petition'd the Master for leave to play; to which he agreed, provided any of the Boys would produce an English Ode upon that Occasion. The very Word, Ode, I know makes you smile already; and so it does me; not only because it still makes so many poor Devils turn Wits upon it, but from a more agreeable Motive; from a Reflection of how little I then thought that, half a Century afterwards, I shou'd be call'd upon twice a year, by my Post, to make the same kind of Oblations to an unexceptionable Prince, the serene Happiness of whose Reign my halting Rhimes are still so unequal to — This, I own, is Vanity without Disguise; but Haec olim meminisse juvat: The remembrance of the miserable prospect we had then before us, and have since escaped by a Revolution, is now a Pleasure which, without that Remembrance, I could not so heartily have enjoy'd. The Ode I was speaking of fell to my Lot, which in about half an Hour I produc'd. I cannot say it was much above the merry Style of Sing Sing the Day, and Sing the Song, in the Farce: Yet bad as it was, it serv'd to get the School a Play-day, and to make me not a little vain upon it; which last Effect so disgusted my Play-fellows that they left me out of the Party I had most a mind to be of in that Day's Recreation. But their Ingratitude serv'd only to increase my Vanity; for I consider'd them as so many beaten Tits that had just had the Mortification of seeing my Hack of a Pegasus come in before them. This low Passion is so rooted in our Nature that sometimes riper Heads cannot govern it. I have met with much the same silly sort of Coldness, even from my Contemporaries of the Theatre, from having the superfluous Capacity of writing myself the Characters I have acted.
Here, perhaps, I may again seem to be vain; but if all these Facts are true (as true they are) how can I help it? Why am I