The Opera of Operas; Or, Tom Thumb the Great Alter'd from the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great and Set to Musick after the Italian Manner. As It Is Performing at the New Theatre in the Hay-Market


The Opera of Operas; Or, Tom Thumb the Great Alter'd from the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great and Set to Musick after the Italian Manner. As It Is Performing at the New Theatre in the Hay-Market


TOM THUMB was the Son of Gaffer Thumb, tho' some Authors assert, Thumb was not the Father's Name, but a Sirname given the Son from the Diminitiveness of his Stature, agreeable to a Wish his Parents made, that they might have a Son and Heir, tho' he were no bigger than their Thumb. Like another Homer, his Birth is much contended, and many claim the Honour of it. Some will have him of German Extraction, Others of French, but the most received Opinion is, that he was an Englishman, born of very honest, but simple Parents, living in the Reign of King Arthur, a British Monarch of the sixth Century, who was Chief General against the Saxons; but whether ever Arthur existed, is a Point much controverted.
     However that be, Tom Thumb is the Hero of the subsequent Opera, and Favourite of Arthur. He returns about this Time from the Wars, leading a Captive Giantess in Triumph. The King gives him a most gracious Reception, and in Recompence of his signal Services, bestows on him his Daughter the Princess Huncamunca in Marriage. At the same Time, his Majesty conceives a violent Passion for the fair Captive Glumdalca, whose Heart is already devoted to Tom Thumb. The Queen, who is likewise enamour'd of the Generalissimo Thumb, strenuously opposes the Match agreed to by the King, upon which a great Quarrel arises between their Majesties. On the other Hand, Lord Grizzle, a Courtier, is passionately fond of the Princess Huncamunca, whose Pretensions her Majesty seems to cherish, as a Means to frustrate the intended Nuptials, and thereby gratify her own Inclinations; but perceiving her Policy of espousing his Interest does not answer her Design, but on the contrary, adds Fewel to the enflam'd Grizzle, and makes him breathe nothing but Destruction on his Rival, she immediately breaks with Grizzle; who, in Return, vows Revenge on Thumb, and also threatens to involve the Nation in the Disappointment of his Love.
     Tom Thumb is not content to gain Glory only in the Field, but he likewise gives a singular Mark of Prowess, and Heroick Virtue, soon after his Arrival; for his Friend Noodle being arrested, he gallantly assails the Bailiff, and triumphant kills both him and his Follower.
     Thumb's intended Spouse being of a Disposition, apt for the State of Matrimony, appears in a very sad, and languishing Condition, till the Proposition the King her Royal Father makes of a Husband, when her heavy Melancholy soon dissipates, and she is transported beyond Expression with the Idea of changing her Condition. Lord Grizzle paying his Respects at this Juncture, she faintly rejects his Suit, alledging her being promis'd to Thumb; and Grizzle using the Rhetorick of a slighted Lover, detracting from his Rival's Merit, but above all urging his Insufficiency, she is overcome by his prevailing Arguments, and gives her Consent to marry him privately. Wing'd with the high Thoughts of Possession, Grizzle flies to fetch the Licence. In the mean Time Tom Thumb waits on the Princess to commence his Courtship. He makes some amorous Speeches, but is told by her Highness, that she is promis'd to another. Glumdalca, who thinks herself injur'd in her Love by Huncamunca, enters at this Crisis, and a Scene of Contention between the two fair Rivals ensues, but Glumdalca is defeated, Tom giving his Preference to Huncamunca. Glumdalca is left full of Fury and Resentment. The King, like a solitary Lover, throws himself in her Way, which occasions a Scene of Groans, finely wrought up.
     Tom Thumb, who a little before found the Princess wavering in her Love, has now remov'd all her late Difficulties, and the Ceremony is perform'd, which puts an End to a Lover's Anxieties. Huncamunca soon after sees Grizzle, and tells thim that, rather than incur his Displeasure, she will marry him likewise; but the incens'd Grizzle rejects the Proposal with the greatest Contempt, and vows Destruction on Thumb, and the whole Kingdom, which puts Huncamunca in a terrible Pannick.
     The Ghost of Gaffer Thumb appears to Arthur, who is foretold of the Rebellion of Grizzle. The Queen having some Presage of this in her Sleep, quits her Bed in Search of Arthur, when a Messenger arrives, who informs their Majesties that Grizzle is in Arms. Tom Thumb is appointed to go against him. Grizzle with the Rebels appear. Tom Thumb marching in Pursuit of them, is told by Merlin the Manner of his being begot, and withal shews him his Fate. The two Armies come to an Engagement. Glumdalca is slain by Grizzle, and he by Tom Thumb. The King causes Rejoicings to be made on this Success, but in the midst, a Messenger arrives, that brings Word of Tom Thumb's being devour'd by a huge Red Cow, as he was bearing off Grizle's Head to his Majesty. This News puts a Damp on the King's Liberality, and he is much in Wrath. The Queen stabs the Messenger, and like Children at the Play of Strike your next Neighbour, etc. they stab at one another all round.
     But this Scene of Horror is soon transform'd. Tom Thumb by Conjuration, is emitted from the Belly of the Cow, and all the rest are rais'd to Life again, by Virtue of Merlin's Wand, in perfect Harmony with each other.

Dramatis personae.
TOM THUMB the Great.
GHOST of Gaffer THUMB.
DOODLE, } Courtiers.

HUNCAMUNCA her Daughter.
GLUMDALCA Captive Giantess.
CLEORA, } Maids of Honour.


SCENE the Court of KING ARTHUR, and a PLAIN thereabouts.

Tom Thumb the Great.
SCENE, The Palace.

Enter Doodle, and Noodle.


Doodle. Sure, such a day was never seen!
The sun himself on this harmonious day,
Shines like a beau in a new birthday suit;
All nature wears one universal grin.
Noodle. This day, O Doodle! doubtless is a day,
A day we never saw before.
The mighty Thumb, call'd Tom, victorious comes;
Millions of Giants, like as many Bees,
Swarm round his chariot wheels,
Giants! to whom the Giants in Guild Hall
Are fools, are infant dwarfs.
They frown, they foam, they roar, while Tom,
Regardless of their din, rides on.

                           AIR I.
     So the Cock-Sparrow, at barn-door,
     Huge flocks of
Turkeys hops before;
     The lubberd
Red-Heads does despise,
     Nor at their noisy gugling flies.

Doodle. 'Tis whisper'd in the books of all our sages,
This mighty little hero,
By Merlin's art begot,
Has not a bone within his skin,
But is a lump of Gristle.
Noodle. Then 'tis a gristle of no mortal kind!
Doodle. Some god, O Noodle! stept into the place
Of gaffer Thumb, and more than half begot
This matchless warriour Tom.
Noodle. Sure he was sent express from Heav'n,
To be the pillar of our state
Tho' small his carcass be, so very small,
A chairman's Leg is more than twice as large,
Yet is his soul like any mountain big,
And as a mountain once brought forth a mouse,
So does this mouse contain a mighty mountain.
Doodle. Mountain indeed!
Noodle. But hark!     [Flourish.]
Those trumpets speak the King's approach.
Doodle. He comes most luckily for my petition.

Enter King, Queen, Grizzle, and Doodle.

King. Let nothing but a face of joy appear;
The man who frowns this day shall lose his head,
That he may have no face to frown withal.
Smile Dollalolla--ha! what wrinkled sorrow
Hangs, sits, lies, frowns upon thy knitted brow.
Whence flow those tears fast down thy blubber'd cheeks,
Like a swoln gutter, gushing thro' the streets?
Queen. Excess of joy, folks say my lord,
Gives tears as certain as excess of grief.
King. If it be so, let all men cry for joy,
'Till my whole Court be drown'd with tears,
Nay, till they overflow my utmost land,
And leave me nothing
But a sea of tears to rule.
Doodle. My liege! I humbly petition--     [Kneeling.]
King. Petition me no petitions, Sir, to day;
Let other hours be set apart for business;
To day it is our pleasure to be drunk,
And this our queen shall be as drunk as we.
Queen. Already I am half seas over,
Yet let the cistern overflow
With goodRack punch--'fore George, I'll see it out--
Of Rum and Brandy I'll not taste a drop.
King. Tho' Rack in punch 10 s. be a quart,
And Rum and Brandy be no more than six,
Rather than quarrel, you shall have your will.

                          AIR II.
     When your dames of superior class,
          Submit to the pow'r of drams,
     This virtue attends the kind glass,
          It makes 'em as quiet as lambs.
     If then without
Brandy, or Rum,
          Your Wives will not study to please,
     Let 'em swill till they're tight as a drum
          Or they'll live the longer to teaze.

But, ha! the warrior's come--the great Tom Thumb     [Trumpets.
The little hero-giant killing boy,
Preserver of my kingdom is arriv'd!

Enter Tom Thum.

With Officers, Prisoners, and Attendants.

O welcome! most welcome to my arms!
What gratitude can thank--away the debt,
Thy valour lays--upon me!
Queen. Oh! ye gods!     [Aside.]
Thumb. When I'm not thank'd at all, I'm thank'd enough;
I've done my duty, and I've done no more.
Queen. Was ever such a god-like creature seen!     [Aside.]
King. Thy modesty's a candle to thy merit;
It shines itself, and shews thy merit too--
But say, my Boy--
Where didst thou leave the Giants?
Thumb. My liege, without the castle gates,
The castle gates too low for their admittance.
King. What look they like?
Thumb. Like nothing but themselves.
Queen. And sure thou'rt like to nothing but thyself.     [Aside.]
King. Enough! the vast idea fills my soul.
I see them--yes, I see them before me--
The monstrous, ugly, barb'rous sons of whores!--
But, ha!
What finish'd piece of human nature strikes us!
Sure she was drawn by all the gods in council!
Who paus'd, and then cry'd out--this is a woman!
Thumb. Then, were the gods mistaken--
She's not a woman, but a giantess,
A High-German Giantess.
Glumdalca. We yesterday were both a queen and wife;
One hundred thousand Giants own'd our sway,
Twenty whereof were marry'd to ourself.
Queen. Oh! happy state of giantism!

                         AIR III.
     Our Passions are of Giant kind,
          And have to th' full as large a sense;
     'Tis hard to one to be confin'd,
          When with a score we could dispense.

Glumdalca. But then to lose full twenty in one day!
Queen. Madam, believe,
I view your sorrows with a woman's eye,
But be as patient as you can,
To morrow we will have our Grenadiers
Drawn out before you, when you may chuse
What Husband you think fit.
Glumdalca. Madam, I am your most obedient Servant.
King. Think, lovely princess, think this court your own,
Nor think my house an Inn, myself the landlord;
Call for whate'er you will, you'll nothing pay.
I feel a sudden pain within my breast;
Nor know I whether it proceeds from love,
Or only the wind-cholick--time must shew,      [Aside.]
Oh! Tom! what do we to thy valour owe?
Ask some reward, great as we can bestow.
Thumb. I ask not kingdoms, I can conquer those;
I ask not money, money I've enough;
If what I've done be call'd a debt,
Take my receipt in full--I ask but this;
To sun myself in Huncamunca's Eyes.
King. Prodigious bold request!
Queen. Be still my Soul! }     [Aside.]
Thumb. My heart is at the threshold of your Mouth,
And waits it's answer there.
King. It is resolved--the princess is your own.
Thumb. Oh! happy, happy, happy Thumb!
Queen. Consider, Sir,--reward your Soldiers merit,
But give not Huncamunca to Tom Thumb!
King. Tom Thumb!
Odzooks! my wide extended Realm
Knows not a name so glorious as Tom Thumb!

                    AIR IV
     Your Alexander's, Scipio's,
          Inferior are to Tommy,
     While others brag of Mac's and O's,
          Let England boast of Thummy.

     A Title is an empty name,
          Like many we have knighted;
     His merit bids us aid his fame,
Tom shall not be slighted.

Queen. Tho' greater yet his boasted merit was,
He shall not have my daughter, that is pos!
King. Ha! sayst thou Dollalolla?
Queen. I say he shan't.
King. Then, by our royal self we swear you lie
Queen. Who but a dog--who but a Dog
Wou'd use me thus?
But I will be reveng'd, or hang myself.

                         AIR. V.
     Then tremble all, who ever weddings made,
     But tremble more, who did this match perswade;
     For riding on a Cat, from high I'll fall,
     And squirt down royal vengeance on you all.
     [Exit Queen.

Doodle. Her majesty, the queen, is in a passion.
King. Be she, or be she not--now, by ourself
We were indeed a pretty king of clouts,
To truckle to our consort's will,

                         AIR VI.
          We politic Kings,
          Know far better things
     Than e'er to our consorts stoop;
          For once you give way
          To Petticoat sway,
     You may for your Breeches go whoop.

Come Thumb--I'll to the girl, and pave thy way.     [Exeunt all but Grizzle.
Grizzle. Where are now thy glories, Grizzle?
Where are the drums that waken'd thee to honour?
O, what art thou greatness?
A lac'd coat from Monmouth-street,
Worn to day, put on anothers back to-morrow.
Yesterday as St. Paul's high,
To day as Fleet-ditch low.

Enter Queen.

Queen. Teach me to scold, oh, Grizzle!
Mountain of treason! ugly as the devil!
Teach this confounded mouth
To spout forth words might shame
All Billingsgate to speak.
Grizzle. But first I beg to ask,
Wherefore my Queen wou'd scold?
Queen. Wherefore? oh! blood and thunder! han't you heard,
What ev'ry corner of the court resounds,
That little Tom will be a great man made?
Grizzle. I heard it, I confess.
Queen. Odsbobs! I have a mind to hang myself,
A grand-mother by such a rascal.
Sure, the King forgets
His mother put the bastard in a pudding,
And on a stile was drop'd?
O, good lord Grizzle! can I bear
To see him from a pudding mount the throne?
Or can my Huncamunca bear
To take a pudding's offspring in her arms?
Grizzle. Oh, horror! horror!
Queen. Then rouse thy spirit--we may yet prevent
This hated Match.
Grizzle. We will, in spite of fate.

                         AIR VII.
     The Spaniel, when bid, does obey,
          And twenty fine tricks shew with all;
     The Soldier's observant as Tray,
          And both will come to a call.

     The Lover's more fawning than these,
          Or any Court Sycophant spark,
     He'll shoot, fetch, and carry to please,