The Amateur Orlando
It was an Amateur Dram. Ass.
(Kind reader, although your
Knowledge of French is not first-class
Don't call that Amature.)
It was an Amateur Dram. Ass.,
The which did warfare wage
On the dramatic works of this
And every other age.
It had a walking gentleman,
A leading juvenile,
First lady in book-muslin dressed,
With a galvanic smile;
Thereto a singing chambermaid,
Benignant heavy pa,
And oh, heavier still was the heavy vill-
Ain, with his fierce "Ha! ha!"
There wasn't an author from Shakespeare down--
Or up--to Boucicault
These amateurs weren't competent
(S. Wegg) to collar and throw.
And when the winter time came round--
"Season" 's a stagier phrase--
The Am. Dram. Ass. assaulted one
Of the Bard of Avon's plays.
'Twas As you Like It that they chose;
For the leading lady's heart
Was set on playing Rosalind,
Or some other page's part.
And the President of the Am. Dram. Ass.,
A stalwart, dry-goods clerk,
Was cast for Orlando, in which role
He felt he'd make his mark.
"I mind me," said the President
(All thoughtful was his face),
"When Orlando was taken by Thingummy
That Charles was played by Mace.
Charles hath not many lines to speak,
Nay, not a single length--
Oh, if find we can a Mussulman
(That is, a man of strength),
And bring him on the stage as Charles--
But, alas! it can't be did!"
"It can," replied the Treasurer;
"Let's get The Hunky Kid."
This Hunky Kid of whom they spoke
Belonged to the P. R.;
He always had his hair cut short,
And always had catarrh.
His voice was gruff, his language rough,
His forehead villainous low,
And 'neath his broken nose a vast
Expanse of jaw did show.
He was forty-eight about the chest,
And his fore-arm at the mid
Did measure twenty-one and a half--
Such was The Hunky Kid!
The Am. Dram. Ass., they have engaged
This pet of the P. R.;
As Charles the Wrestler he's to be
A bright, particular star.
And when they put the programme out,
Announce him thus they did:
Orlando ... Mr. Romeo Jones;
Charles ... Mr. T. H. Kid.
The night has come; the house is packed
From pit to gallery,
As those who through the curtain peep
Quake inwardly to see.
A squeak's heard in the orchestra,
As the leader draws across
Th' intestines of the agile cat
The tail of the noble hoss.
All is at sea behind the scenes.
Why do they fear and funk?
Alas, alas, The Hunky Kid
Is lamentably drunk!
He's in that most unlovely stage
When men resent the hint they're tight
As a personal imputation!
"Ring up! ring up!" Orlando cried,
"Or we must cut the scene;
For Charles the Wrestler is imbued
With poisonous benzine,
And every moment gets more drunk
Than he before has been."
The wrestling scene has come and Charles
Is much disguised in drink;
The stage to him's an inclined plane,
The footlights make him blink,
Still strives he to act well his part
Where all the honour lies,
Though Shakespeare would not in his lines
His language recognise
Instead of "Come, where is this young----?"
This man of bone and brawn,
He squares himself and bellows, "Time!
Fetch your Orlandos on!"
"Now, Hercules be thy speed, young man,"
Fair Rosalind said she,
As the two wrestlers in the ring
Grapple right furiously;
But Charles the Wrestler had no sense
Of dramatic propriety.
He seized on Mr. Romeo Jones
In Graeco-Roman style;
He got what they call a grapevine lock
On that leading juvenile;
He flung him into the orchestra,
And the man with the ophicleide,
On whom he fell, he just said--well,
No matter what--and died!
When once the tiger has tasted blood,
And found that it is sweet,
He has a habit of killing more
Than he can possibly eat.
And thus it was with The Hunky Kid.
In his homicidal blindness
He lifted his hand against Rosalind,
Not in the way of kindness.
He chased poor Celia off at L.,
At R. U. E. Le Beau,
And he put such a head upon Duke Fred,
In fifteen seconds or so,
That never one of the courtly train
Might his haughty master know.
* * * * *
And that's precisely what came to pass
Because the luckless carles
Belonging to the Am. Dram. Ass.
Cast The Hunky Kid for Charles!