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Disraeli, as producer, lines up his actors for the final scene. They are kneeling at the foot of the stage in Elizabethan dress. The theatre featured quite heavily in the Punch issue of 17th August 1867 and this is reflected in this cartoon. Some of the most effective of Tenniel's cartoons rely on allusions to specific plays. Sheridan's satirical comedy The Critic (1779) is the basis for this cartoon, a cynical portrayal of Disraeli following his success over the new Reform Bill, in which he directs his fellow-MPs to kneel in a row on the stage and pray for blessing on all they do.
Puff. "Now, pray all together."
All. (Kneeling) "Behold thy votaries submissive beg,
That thou wilt deign to grant them all they ask;
Assist them to accoumplish all their ends,
And sanctify whatever means they use
To gain them!"
Vide "The Critic"
Mr Disraeli's ascendancy over the Conservative Party was evidenced by the Radical nature of his Reform Bill, which received the Royal assent August 15th. — 1867.
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