Page:Poems of Anne Countess of Winchilsea 1903.djvu/70

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Ixvi INTRODUCTION ���Clink. Hold! I conceive �The roaring seas o'er the tall woods have broke And Whales now perch upon the sturdy Oak. Roaring? Stay. Rumbling, roaring, rustling. No; raging seas. (Writing.) �The raging seas o'er the tall woods have broke Now, perch, thou whale, upon the sturdy oak. Sturdy oak? No; steady, strong, strapping, stiff stiff. No, stiff is too short. �(Fossile and Townley come forward.) What feast for fish ! Oh too luxurious treat ! When hungry dolphins feed on butcher's meat. Foss. Neice, why neice, neice! Oh, Melpomene, thou goddess of tragedy, suspend thy influence for a moment, and suffer my niece to give a rational answer. This lady is a friend of mine. �Clinic. Madam, excuse this absence of mind; my animal spirits had deserted the avenues of my senses, and retired to the recesses of the brain, to contemplate a beautiful idea. I could not force the vagrant creatures back again into their posts, to move those parts of the body that express civility. �Mistress Clinket's eagerness to get her play, the theme of which is The Universal Deluge; or The Story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, on the stage, leads her to invite Sir Tre- mendous and some of the players to a private reading of the tragedy in her own parlor. But in order to escape the prejudices sure to bias their judgments if the play is known to be by a woman, she introduces young Mr. Plotwell as the author, while she poses as a lady patroness of letters willing to encourage obscure merit by this preliminary reading at her tea-table. The indifference with which Mr. Plotwell submits his supposed play to the critics, allowing them to blot or insert at their pleasure; Phoebe's frantic defense of every mooted point; her unconcealed agony as the players and Sir Tremendous confide to her that the young gentleman knows nothing of poetry, that his play neither can take nor ought to take, make a very clever situation. The stage ��� �