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sense. It is full of child's play, and old wives' tales; but is not unadorned with passages displaying strong good sense, and powers of fantastic description.
Mr. Lamb has quoted two passages from it— the admirable enumeration of the characteristics of different languages, "The Chaldee wise, the Arabian physical," &c.; and the striking description of the ornaments and uses of tragedy and comedy. The dialogue between Memory, Common Sense, and Phantastes, is curious and worth considering.
"Common Sense. Why, good father, why are you so late novv-a-days?
Memory. Thus 'tis; the most customers I remember myself to have, are, as your lordship knows, scholars, and now-adays the most of them are become critics, bringing me home such paltry things to lay up for them, that I can hardly find them again.
Phantasies. Jupiter, Jupiter, I had thought these flies bad bit none but myself: do critics tickle you, i'faith? •
Mem. Very familiarly: for they must know of me, forsooth, how every idle word is written in all the musty motheaten manuscripts, kept in all the old libraries in every city, betwixt England and Peru.
Common Sense. Indeed I have noted these times to affect antiquities more than is requisite.
Mem. 1 remember in the age of Assaracus and Ninus, and about the wars of Thebes, and the siege of Troy, there were few things committed to my charge, but those that were well worthy the preserving; but now every trifle must be wrapp'd up in the volume of eternity. A rich pudding-wife, or a cobler, cannot die but I must immortalize his name with an epitaph; a dog cannot water in a nobleman's shoe, but it must be sprinkled into the chronicles; so that I never could remember my treasure more full, and never emptier of honourable and true heroical actions."
And again Mendacio puts in his claim with great success to many works of uncommon merit.
"Appe. Thou, boy! how is this possible? Thou art but a child, and there were sects of philosophy before thou wert born.
Men. Appetitus, thou mistakest me; I tell thce three thousand years ago was Mendacio born in Greece, nursed in Crete, and ever since honoured every where: I'll be sworn 1 held old Homer's pen when he writ his Iliads and his Odysseys.
Appe. Thou hadst need, for I hear say he was blind.
Men. I helped Herodotus to pen some part of his Muses; lent Pliny ink to write his history; rounded Rabelais in the ear when he historified Pantagruel; as for Lucian, I was his genius; O, those two books de Vera Historia, however they go under his name, I'll be sworn I writ them every tittle.
Appe. Sure as I am hungry, thou'lt have it for lying. But hast thou rusted this latter time for want of exercise?
Men. Nothing less. I must confess I would fain have jogged Stow and great Hollingshed on their elbows, when they were about their chronicles; and, as I remember, Sir John Mandevill's travels, and a great part of the Decads, were of my doing: but for the Mirror of Knighthood, Bevis of Southampton, Palmerin of England, Amadis of Gaul, Huon de Bourdeaux, Sir Guy of Warwick, Martin Marprelate, Robin Hood, Garagantua, Gerilion, and a thousand sucb exquisite monuments as these, uo doubt but they breathe in my breath up and down."
The Merry Devil of Edmonton which has been sometimes attributed to Shakespear, is assuredly not unworthy of him. It is more likely, however, both from the style and subject-matter to have been Heywood's than any other person's. It is perhaps the first example of sentimental comedy we have—romantic, sweet, tender, it expresses the feelings of honour, of love, and friendship in their utmost delicacy, enthusiasm, and purity. The names alone, Raymond Mounchersey, Frank Jerningham, Clare, Millisent, e( sound silver sweet like lovers' tongues by night." It sets out with a sort of story of Doctor Faustus, but this is dropt as jarring on the tender chords of the rest of the piece. The wit of the Merry Devil of Edmonton is as genuine as the poetry. Mine Host of the George is as good a fellow as Boniface, and the deer-stealing (scenes in the forest between him, Sir John the curate, Smug the smith, and Banks the miller, are " very honest knaveries," as Sir Hugh Evans has it. The air is delicate, and the deer, shot by their cross-bows, fall without a groan! Frank Jerningham says to Clare,
"The way lies right: hark, the clock strikes at Enfield: what's the hour I
Young Clare. Ten, the bell says.
Jem. It was but eight when we set out from Cheston: Sir John and his sexton are at their ale to-night, the clock runs at random.
F. Clare. Nay, as sure as thou livest, the villainous vicar is abroad in the chase. The priest steals more venison than half the country.
Jern. Millisent, how dost thou?
Mil. Sir, very well.
A volume might be written to prove this last answer Shakespear's, in which the tongue says one thing in one line, and the heart contradicts it in the next; but there were other writers living in the time of Shakespear, who knew these subtle windings of the passions besides him,— though none so well as he!
The Pinner of Wakefield, or George a Green, is a pleasant interlude, of an early date, and the author unknown, in which kings and coblers, outlaws and maid Marians are " hail-fellow well met," and in which the features of the antique world are made smiling and amiable enough. Jenkin, George a Greene's servant, is a notorious wag. Here is one of his pretended pranks.
"Jenkin. This fellow comes to me,
No, marry shall he, Sir, quoth I.
George. Thou clown, did'st thou set his horse upon thy cloak1?
Jenk. Aye, but mark how I served him.
and made his horse stand on the bare ground."
The first part of Jeronymo is an indifferent piece of work, and the second, or the Spanish Tragedy by Kyd, is like unto it, except the interpolations idly said to have been added by Ben Jonson, relating to Jeronymo's phrensy "which have all the melancholy madness of poetry, if not the inspiration."