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And in his sleep he smileth. I, meantime,
Poor and proud fool, with my presumptuous hands,
Not God's, was dealing judgments on his head,
Which God himself had cradled!Oh, methinks
There's more in this than prophet yet hath known,
And Faith, some day, will all in Love be shown.


As one half of the world is said not to know
how the other half lives, so it maybe affirmed
that the upper half of the world neither knows
nor greatly cares how the lower half amuses
itself. Believing that it does not care, mainly
because it does not know, we purpose
occasionally recording a few facts on this subject.

The general character of the lower class of
dramatic amusements is a very significant
sign of a people, and a very good test of
their intellectual condition. We design to
make our readers acquainted in the first place
with a few of our experiences under this head
in the metropolis.

It is probable that nothing will ever root
out from among the common people an innate
love they have for dramatic entertainment in
some form or other. It would be a very
doubtful benefit to society, we think, if it could
be rooted out. The Polytechnic Institution
in Regent Street, where an infinite variety of
ingenious models are exhibited and explained,
and where lectures comprising a quantity of
useful information on many practical subjects
are delivered, is a great public benefit and
a wonderful place, but we think a people
formed entirely in their hours of leisure
by Polytechnic Institutions would be an
uncomfortable community. We would rather
not have to appeal to the generous
sympathies of a man of five-and-twenty, in
respect of some affliction of which he had
had no personal experience, who had passed
all his holidays, when a boy, among cranks
and cogwheels. We should be more disposed
to trust him if he had been brought into
occasional contact with a Maid and a Magpie;
if he had made one or two diversions into the
Forest of Bondy; or had even gone the length
of a Christmas Pantomime. There is a range
of imagination in most of us, which no amount
of steam-engines will satisfy; and which The-
all-nations, itself, will probably leave
unappeased. The lower we go, the more natural
it is that the best-relished provision for this
should be found in dramatic entertainments;
as at once the most obvious, the least troublesome,
and the most real, of all escapes out of
the literal world. Joe Whelks, of the New
Cut, Lambeth, is not much of a reader, has no
great store of books, no very commodious
room to read in, no very decided inclination to
read, and no power at all of presenting vividly
before his mind's eye what he reads about.
But, put Joe in the gallery of the Victoria
Theatre; show him doors and windows in the
scene that will open and shut, and that people
can get in and out of; tell him a story with
these aids, and by the help of live men and
women dressed up, confiding to him their
innermost secrets, in voices audible half a mile
off; and Joe will unravel a story through all
its entanglements, and sit there as long after
midnight as you have anything left to show
him. Accordingly, the Theatres to which
Mr. Whelks resorts, are always full; and
whatever changes of fashion the drama knows
elsewhere, it is always fashionable in the
New Cut.

The question, then, might not unnaturally
arise, one would suppose, whether
Mr. Whelks's education is at all susceptible
of improvement, through the agency of his
theatrical tastes. How far it is improved at
present, our readers shall judge for themselves.

In affording them the means of doing so,
we wish to disclaim any grave imputation on
those who are concerned in ministering to the
dramatic gratification of Mr. Whelks. Heavily
taxed, wholly unassisted by the State,
deserted by the gentry, and quite unrecognised
as a means of public instruction, the higher
English Drama has declined. Those who
would live to please Mr. Whelks, must please
Mr. Whelks to live. It is not the Manager's
province to hold the Mirror up to Nature,
but to Mr. Whelksthe only person who
acknowledges him. If, in like manner, the
actor's nature, like the dyer's hand, become
subdued to what he works in, the actor can hardly
be blamed for it. He grinds hard at his
vocation, is often steeped in direful poverty,
and lives, at the best, in a little world of
mockeries. It is bad enough to give away a
great estate six nights a-week, and want a
shilling; to preside at imaginary banquets,
hungry for a mutton chop; to smack the lips
over a tankard of toast and water, and declaim
about the mellow produce of the sunny
vineyard on the banks of the Rhine; to be a
rattling young lover, with the measles at
home; and to paint sorrow over, with burnt
cork and rouge; without being called upon
to despise his vocation too. If he can utter
the trash to which he is condemned, with
any relish, so much the better for him,
Heaven knows; and peace be with him!

A few weeks ago, we went to one of Mr.
Whelks's favourite Theatres, to see an attractive
Melo-Drama called MAY MORNING, OR
We had an idea that the former of these
titles might refer to the month in which
either the Mystery or the Murder happened,
but we found it to be the name of the heroine,
the pride of Keswick Vale; who was ' called
May Morning ' (after a common custom among
the English Peasantry) ' from her bright eyes
and merry laugh.' Of this young lady, it may
be observed, in passing, that she subsequently
sustained every possible calamity of human
existence, in a white muslin gown with blue
tucks; and that she did every conceivable
and inconceivable thing with a pistol, that