Epilogue to Manuel

  • Posted on: 18 September 2009
  • By: David Thrale

Mr Murphy dined here Yesterday—his Company & conversation reminded me of past Times: The Greatheeds & Mrs Siddons were our party & Mr Parsons who is likewise a Conspirator in forming this new Play1: which turning on maternal Tenderness towards her little Son Carlos, I thought the following Epilogue would suit Mrs Siddons nicely, but I believe She dont like it herself.

Sarah Siddons by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1784

Carlos is safe: to sooth maternal Sorrow
Sav’d for tonight; You’ll meet him here tomorrow.
But this first Offspring of our Poet’s Brain
By you protected bids my Cares be vain.
If early prone each Danger to deride
On Bladders borne he dares this dashing Tide,
Let him not sink; but lend a Hand to raise,
Whate’er his Fate such Courage merits Praise.
The brawny Brat in Guy’s old Caverns bred,
Still in Gigantick Steps desir’d to tread,
Warwick’s bold Champion in each Dream beheld
And long’d to lift the imitative Shield:
By you encouraged in this Course t’ advance,
In Nature s Cause he’ll shake hls Gothic Lance,
Nor heed St Denys, and the Wits of France.
Yet lest conforming to this new Convention,
Stage Commerce should become our State’s Intention,
Let us remember still our ancient Charter,
And keep some sterling stuff to bring for Barter.
In Change of Congreve’s Wit let them prepare,
To yield polite Des Touches and gay Moliere;
And think themselves too happy to have caught her,
If for their Cid we truck our Grecian Daughter.2
While Shakespear’s Tomb oerlooks the Plains below
Where Avon’s consecrated Waters flow,
So long, so clear Britannia’s Fame shall last,
For Strength of Nature, and for Truth of Taste,
Warm’d yet unscorch’d by Phœbus’ friendly Ray,
Verdant our Meads—immortal is our Bay:
Nor shall this Primrose I present tonight,
Pluck’d from fair Avon’s Brink—tho’ pale with fright;
Be deemd inferior to a Gallick Laurel,
If Ladies you’ll assert your Country’s Quarrel.

Written by Hester Lynch Thrale. Thraliana entry dated 11 October 1787.

  • 1. The title of the play was changed from ’Epilogue to Manuel’ to ’The Regent’ before the play was presented.
  • 2. 1772 play by Arthur Murphy called 'The Grecian Daughter'.

Hester Thrale's spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalisation, some of which may not conform to today's standards, are reproduced faithfully throughout. More writings by Hester Thrale