Reference > Quotations > Hoyt & Roberts, comps. > Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations
Hoyt & Roberts, comps.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.
Acting; The Stage
Farce follow’d Comedy, and reach’d her prime,
In ever-laughing Foote’s fantastic time;
Mad wag! who pardon’d none, nor spared the best,
And turn’d some very serious things to jest.
Nor church nor state escaped his public sneers,
Arms nor the gown, priests, lawyers, volunteers;
“Alas, poor Yorick!” now forever mute!
Whoever loves a laugh must sigh for Foote.
We smile, perforce, when histrionic scenes
Ape the swoln dialogue of kings and queens,
When “Chrononhotonthologos must die,”
And Arthur struts in mimic majesty.
        Byron—Hints from Horace. L. 329.
As good as a play.
        Saying ascribed to Charles II. while listening to a debate on Lord Ross’s Divorce Bill.
          But as for all the rest,
There’s hardly one (I may say none) who stands the Artist’s test.
The Artist is a rare, rare breed. There were but two, forsooth,
In all me time (the stage’s prime!) and The Other One was Booth.
        Edmund Vance Cooke—The Other One was Booth.
  I think I love and reverence all arts equally, only putting my own just above the others; because in it I recognize the union and culmination of my own. To me it seems as if when God conceived the world, that was Poetry; He formed it, and that was Sculpture; He colored it, and that was Painting; He peopled it with living beings, and that was the grand, divine, eternal Drama.
        Charlotte Cushman.
  See, how these rascals use me! They will not let my play run; and yet they steal my thunder.
        John Dennis—See Biographia Britannica. Vol. V. P. 103.
Like hungry guests, a sitting audience looks:
Plays are like suppers; poets are the cooks.
The founder’s you: the table is this place:
The carvers we: the prologue is the grace.
Each act, a course, each scene, a different dish,
Though we’re in Lent. I doubt you’re still for flesh.
Satire’s the sauce, high-season’d, sharp and rough.
Kind masks and beaux, I hope you’re pepper-proof?
Wit is the wine; but ’tis so scarce the true
Poets, like vintners, balderdash and brew.
Your surly scenes, where rant and bloodshed join.
Are butcher’s meat, a battle’s sirloin:
Your scenes of love, so flowing, soft and chaste,
Are water-gruel without salt or taste.
        George Farquhar—The Inconstant; or, The Way to Win Him. Prologue.
Prologues precede the piece in mournful verse,
As undertakers walk before the hearse.
        David Garrick—Apprentice. Prologue.
Prologues like compliments are loss of time;
’Tis penning bows and making legs in rhyme.
        David Garrick—Prologue to Crisp’s Tragedy of Virginia.
On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting,’Twas only that when he was off, he was acting.
        Goldsmith—Retaliation. L. 101.
  Everybody has his own theatre, in which he is manager, actor, prompter, playwright, sceneshifter, boxkeeper, doorkeeper, all in one, and audience into the bargain.
        J. C. and A. W. Hare—Guesses at Truth.
It’s very hard! Oh, Dick, my boy,
It’s very hard one can’t enjoy
  A little private spouting;
But sure as Lear or Hamlet lives,
Up comes our master, Bounce! and gives
  The tragic Muse a routing.
        Hood—The Stage-Struck Hero.
And Tragedy should blush as much to stoop
To the low mimic follies of a farce,
  As a grave matron would to dance with girls.
        Horace—Of the Art of Poetry. L. 272. Wentworth Dillon’s trans.
The drama’s laws, the drama’s patrons give.
For we that live to please, must please to live.
        Samuel Johnson—Prologue. Spoken by Mr. Garrick on Opening Drury Lane Theatre. (1747) L. 53.
Who teach the mind its proper face to scan,
And hold the faithful mirror up to man.
        Robert Lloyd—The Actor. L. 265.
This many-headed monster.
        Massinger—Roman Actor. Act III. Sc. 4.
A long, exact, and serious comedy;
In every scene some moral let it teach,
And, if it can, at once both please and preach.
        Pope—Epistle to Miss Blount. With the Works of Voiture. L. 22.
This is the Jew that Shakespeare drew.
        Attributed to Pope when Macklin was performing the character of Shylock, Feb. 14, 1741.
There still remains to mortify a wit
The many-headed monster of the pit.
        Pope—Horace. Ep. I. Bk. II. L. 30.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold,
Live o’er each scene, and be what they behold—
For this the tragic Muse first trod the stage.
        Pope—Prologue to Addison’s Cato. L. 1.
Your scene precariously subsists too long,
On French translation and Italian song.
Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage;
Be justly warm’d with your own native rage.
        Pope—Prologue to Addison’s Cato. L. 42.
Tom Goodwin was an actor-man,
  Old Drury’s pride and boast,
In all the light and spritely parts,
  Especially the ghost.
        J. G. Saxe—The Ghost Player.
  The play bill which is said to have announced the tragedy of Hamlet, the character of the Prince of Denmark being left out.
        Scott—The Talisman. Introduction.
  If it be true that good wine needs no bush, ’tis true that a good play needs no epilogue.
        As You Like It. Epilogue. L. 3.
          Like a dull actor now,
I have forgot my part, and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace.
        Coriolanus. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 40.
  Good, my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time: after your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.
        Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 545.
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wann’d.
        Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 577.
What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do.
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears.
        Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 585.
          I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play,
Have, by the very cunning of the scene,
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaim’d their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak.
With most miraculous organ.
        Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 617.
          The play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.
        Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 633.
  Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
        Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 1.
  Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature.
        Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 19.
  O, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of nature’s journeymen had made men and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
        Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 32.
A hit, a very palpable hit.
        Hamlet. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 294.
Come, sit down, every mother’s son, and rehearse your parts.
        Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 74.
          Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
        Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 36.
A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,
Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
Which makes it tedious.
        Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 61.
          As in a theatre, the eyes of men,
After a well-grac’d actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious.
        Richard II. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 23.
I can counterfeit the deep tragedian;
Speak and look back, and pry on every side,
Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,
Intending deep suspicion.
        Richard III. Act III. Sc. 5. L. 5.
A beggarly account of empty boxes.
        Romeo and Juliet. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 45.
And, like a strutting player, whose conceit
Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich
To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
’Twixt his stretch’d footing and the scaffoldage.
        Troilus and Cressida. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 153.
(The) play of limbs succeeds the play of wit.
        Horace and James Smith—Rejected Addresses. By Lord B. Cui Bono. 11.
Lo, where the Stage, the poor, degraded Stage,
Holds its warped mirror to a gaping age!
        Charles Sprague—Curiosity.
The play is done; the curtain drops,
  Slow falling to the prompter’s bell:
A moment yet the actor stops,
  And looks around, to say farewell.
It is an irksome word and task:
  And, when he’s laughed and said his say,
He shows, as he removes the mask,
  A face that’s anything but gay.
        Thackeray—The End of the Play.
In other things the knowing artist may
Judge better than the people; but a play,
(Made for delight, and for no other use)
If you approve it not, has no excuse.
        Edmund Waller—Prologue to the Maid’s Tragedy. L. 35.

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