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Pantomimic Presentiments

Fun, II - 7th October 1865


Looking lately in at LACY's, at the photographic faces
Of the many Thespian races who are living or have gone;
I began aloud to wonder on the next dramatic blunder
Which my criticism's thunder would be exercised upon.

(Passing MENKEN as Mazeppa, on her omnibus high-steppah,)
There was glorious PAREPA — there were BILLINGTON and TOOLE;
There was BUCKSTONE slying winking — there was pretty Eily sinking,
There was Rip Van Winkle drinking like a poor besotted fool.


There were KATE and ELLEN TERRY, looking beautiful and merry, WIDDICOMB about to bury poor Ophelia in her tomb;
There was SOTHERN as Dundreary, FANNY JOSEPHS as a Peri;
There was Richard Pride all beery, there was Manfred in his gloom.


And I thought on all the pleasure that each photographic treasure
Had afforded, in my leisure, twenty times apiece to me;
But I'm only what one calls a man — e'en chronic Winkle palls a man, And only CamaraIzaman remains for me to see!


I'm beginning to get weary of dramatic desert dreary,
And I ask myself a query, when will novelties begin?
But, alas! there's nothing novel, from the "Lane" to barn and hovel, Until Harlequin Lord Lovel, Goody Two Shoes, Gaffer Gin!


As I turn away from LACY's, I'm detected making faces
As I scan the queer oasis now unfolding to my view;
It's a green I can't admire, for it comes of coloured fire;
I'm beginning now to tire of it — green, or red, or blue!


Seedy sprites forever vaulting, seedy metre ever halting,
Men of "property" cobalting eighteen-penny devil's face;
And the foolish culmination in a weary "transformation,"
Whose complete elaboration takes a twenty minutes' space!


Then the green and crimson fire, and the women hung on wire
Rising higher, rising higher — oh, their bony, baggy knees!
And the never-failing "rally," and the fine old crusted sally,
And the "Ladies of the Bally," and the fays who sniff and sneeze!


All the stockings gone in ladders — then the sausages and bladders, And the chromes, and greens, and madders, that I've seen five

  thousand times;
And the glitter, gauze, and spangle, and the clown turned in the
  mangle,
And the everlasting jangle of the mutilated rhymes.

There's that fickle Covent Garding, promised operas retarding,
And perhaps for aye discarding, in their love of Dividend;
But they've failed in English operer, and wisely think it properer,
By pantomime tiptop-erer their balance sheet to mend!


So, with gorge-e-ous Aladdin, dream of luring swell and cad in
(Who are always to be had in for a showy pantomime),
And abandoning old trammels, wean poor Opera on mammals,
In the shape of four live camels, draped as in Aladdin's time.
So I turn away from LACY's, making unbecoming faces
At this Pantomime oasis, — fun and fire, and leg and rhyme!

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