Saturday 1 August 1668

All the morning at the office. After dinner my wife, and Deb., and I, to the King’s house again, coming too late yesterday to hear the prologue, and do like the play better now than before; and, indeed, there is a great deal of true wit in it,1 more than in the common sort of plays, and so home to my business, and at night to bed, my eyes making me sad.

4 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"hear the prologue, and do like [*The Old Troop, or Monsieur Raggou* by John Lacy] better now than before; and, indeed, there is a great deal of true wit in it"


To you that judges are i' th' public street
Of ballad without sense, or even feet;
To you that laugh aloud with wide-mouth'd grace,
To see Jack Pudding's custard thrown in's face—
To you I do address; for you I write;
From you I hope protection here to-night.
Defend me, O my friends of th' upper region,
From the hard censure of this lower legion.
I was in hope that I should only see
My worthy crew of th' upper gallery.
What made you wits so spitefully to come?
To tell you true, I'd rather had your room.
Order there was, and that most strictly gi'n,
To keep out all that look'd like gentlemen.
You have e'en bribed the doorkeepers, I doubt,
Or else I'm sure they would ha' kept you out.
You must nor censure poet nor his play,
For that's the work o' the upper house to-day.
Deal you, Sirs, with your match, your Dryden wit,
Your poet-laureate both to box and pit.
It is some conquest for to censure him
That's filled with wit and judgment to the brim:
He is for your censure, and I'm for theirs,
Pray therefore meddle with your own affairs.
Let wits and poets keep their proper stations;
He writes to th' terms, I to th' long vacations.

DiPhi  •  Link

Your eyes are making me sad too, Sam.

JWB  •  Link

But 'Mens cujusque is est Quisque'! I guess Pepys writing to th' terms on his bookplate, and to long vacations in the diary.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"true wit"

Clever, methinks, how Lacy maps the theatre audience onto the larger sociopolitical space and time and locates himself and the poet laureate. Nice lines, those last: Dryden writes for the parliament in session, Lacy for the rest of the people (those in the pits) in the greater times when parliament is prorogued.

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