« AnteriorContinuar »
Upon the Effigies of my worthy Friend, the Author, 1 Nor shall I e'er believe or think thee dead,
(Though miss'd) until our bankrupt stage be sped
(Impossible) with some new strain t' out-do Spectator, this life's shadow. is :-to see
Passions of Juliet, and her Romeo; The truer image, and a livelier he,
Or till I hear a scene more nobly take, Turn reader. But observe his comic vein,
Than when thy half-sword parleying Romans spake:? Laugh; and proceed next to a tragic strain,
Till these, till any of thy volume's rest, Then weep : 50,-when thou find'st two contraries,
Shall with more fire, more feeling, be express'd, Two different passions from thy wrapt soul rise,
Be sure, (our Shake-speare,) thou canst never die, Say, (who alone effect such wonders could)
But, crown'd with laurel, live eternally.", Rare Shake-speare to the life thou dost behold.
L. DIGGES. An Epitaph on the admirable Dramatic Poet, W. Shake-| To the Memory of M. W. Shake-speare. speare,
We wonder'd (Shake-speare) that thou went'st so soon What need my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones, From the world's stage to the grave's tiring-room : The labour of an age in piled stones ;
We thought thee dead; but this thy printed worth Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid
Tells thy spectators, that thou went'st but forth Under a star-ypointing pyramid ?
To enter with applause. An actor's art Dear son of memory, great heir of fame,
Can die, and live to act a second part: What need’st thou such dull witness of thy name?
That's but an exit of mortality, Thou, in our wonder and astonishment,
This a re-entrance to a plaudite.
I. M.S Hast built thyself a lasting monument: For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art, To the Memory of my beloved, the Author, Mr. William Thy easy numbers flow; and that each part Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalued book,
Shakespeare, and what he hath left us. Those Delphic lines with deep impression took;
To draw no envy (Shakespeare) on thy name, Then thou, our fancy of herself bereaving,
Am I thus ample to thy book, and fame; Dost make us marble with too much conceiving ;
While I confess thy writings to be such, And, so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
As neither man, nor muse, can praise too much; That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage ; but these ways Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise:
For seeliest ignorance on these may light, To the Memory of the deceased Author, Master W. Shake Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right; speare.
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance ;
These are, as some infamous bawd, or whore,
Should praise a matron ; what could hurt her more When brass and marble fade, shall make thee look But thou art proof against them; and, indeed, Fresh to all ages; when posterity
Above th’ill fortune of them, or the need. Shall loathe what's new, think all is prodigy
I, therefore, will begin :-Soul of the age, That is not Shakespeare's, every line, each verse,
The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage, Here shall revive, redeem thee from thy hearse.
My Shakespeare, rise! I will not lodge thee by Nor fire, nor cankering age, as Naso said
Chaucer, or Spenser; or bid Beaumont lie Of his, thy wit-fraught book shall once invade :
A little further, to make thee a room :
1 An Epitaph on the admirable Dramatic Poet, W. Shakespeare. 1
When, some new day, they would not brook a line These lines, like the preceding, have no name appended to them in
Of tedious, though well-labour'd, Cataline; the folio, 1032, but the authorship is ascertained by the publication
Sejanus too, was irksome : they priz'd more of them as Milton's, in the edition of his Poems in 1645. 8vo. We
"Honest' Iago, or the jealous Moor. give them as they stand there, because it is evident that they were
And though the Fox and subtil Alchymist, then printed from a copy corrected by the author : the variations aro
Long intermitted, could not quite be mist, interesting, and Malone pointed out only one, and that certainly the
Though these have sham'd all th' ancients, and might raise least important. Instead of a weak witness" in line 6, the folio 1632
Their author's merit with a crown of bays, has "dull witness :" instead of "live-long monument," in line 8, the
Yet these sometimes, even at a friend's desire, folio has « lasting monument:" instead of 6 heart," in line 10, the
Acted, have scarce defray'd the sea-coal fire, folio has part," an evident misprint; and instead of " itself be
And door-keepers: when, let but Falstaff come, reaving," in line 13, the folio has herself bereaving." The last is
Hal, Poins, the rest,---you scarce shall have a room, the difference mentioned by Malone, who also places " John Milton"
All is so pester'd : let but Beatrice at the end, as if the name were found in the folio of 1632.
And Benedick be seen, lo! in a trice 2 Than when thy half-sword parleying Romans spake :) Leonard
The cock-pit, galleries, boxes, all are full, Digges prefixed a long copy of verses to the edition of Shakespeare's
To hear Malvolio, that cross-garter'd gull. Poems in 1640, 8vo, in which he makes this passage, referring to
Brief, there is nothing in his wit-fraught book, 6 Julius Cæsar," more distinct; he also there speaks of the audiences
Whose sound we would not hear, on whose worth look," &c Shakespeare's plays at that time drew, in comparison with Ben. Jon 13 Perhaps the initials of John Marston. son's. This is the only part of his production worth adding in a note. 4 Referring to lines by William Basse, then circulating in MS., " So have I seen, when Cæsar would appear,
and not printed (as far as is now known) until 1633, when they were And on the stage at half-sword parley were
falsely imputed to Dr. Donne, in the edition of his poems in that Brutus and Cassius, o, how the audience
year. All the MSS. of the linés, now extant, differ in minute par- . Were ravish'd! with what wonder they went thence ! I ticulars.
narrare ROC TORTO
Thou art a monument without a tomb;
In that deep dusky dungeon to discern
This, and much more, which cannot be express'd
Now, when they could no longer him enjoy,
I. M. S.
On worthy Master Shakespeare, and his poems.?
A mind reflecting ages past, whose clear
1 On worthy Master Shakespeare, and his Poems.7 These lines are I may have been appended to the other copy of verses by him prefixed subscribed I. M. S. in the folio 1632, " probably Jasper Mayne," says ) to the folio of 1632, in order that his initials should stand at the end Malone. Most probably not, because Mayne has left nothing behind of the present. We know of no other poet of the time capable of him to lead us to suppose that he could have produced this surpassing writing the ensuing lines. We feel morally certain that they are by tribute. 1. M. S. may possibly be Iohn Milton, Student, and no namo Milton.
Upon the Lines, and Life, of the famous Scenic Poet, | The following are Ben Jonson's lines on the Portrait of Master W. Shakespeare.
Shakespeare, precisely as they stand on a separate leaf Those hands which you so clapp'd, go now and wring, opposite to the title-page of the edition of 1623, and You Britons brave; for done are Shake-speare's days : which are reprinted in the same place, with some trifling His days are done that made the dainty plays, '. variation of typography, in the folio of 1632. Which made the Globe of heaven and earth to ring.
TO THE READER. Dried is that vein, dried is the Thespian spring,
This Figure, that thou here seest put, Turn'd all to tears, and Phæbus clouds his rays;
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut; That corpse, that coffin, now bestick those bays,
Wherein the Graver had a strife Which crown'd him poet first, then poet's king.
With Nature, to out-do the life : If tragedies might any prologue have,
D, could he but have drawn his wit All those he made would scarce make one to this;
As well in brass, as he hath hit Where fame, now that he gone is to the grave,
His face; the Print would then surpass (Death's public tiring-house) the Nuntius is :
All, that was ever writ in brass. For, though his line of life went soon about,
But since he cannot, Reader, look
Not at his picture, but his book.
THE NAMES OF THE PRINCIPAL ACTORS IN ALL THESE PLAYS.
THE ENGLISH DRAMA AND STAGE
THE TIME OF SHAKESPEARE.
In order to make the reader acquainted with the origin of which it relates, and of the persons concerned in them. The the English stage, such as Shakespeare found it when he title of the piece, and the year in which the events are supbecame connected with it, it is necessary to mention that a posed to have occurred, are given at the close, where we miracle-play or mystery, (as it has been termed in modern are told that it is “The Play of the Blessed Sacrament, times), is the oldest form of dramatic composition in our and that the miracle to which it refers was wrought“ in language. The stories of productions of this kind were the forest of Arragon, in the famous city of Araclea, in the derived from the Sacred Writings, from the pseudo-evan-year of our Lord God 1461." There can be no doubt that gelíum, or from the lives and legends of saints and martyrs. the scene of action was imaginary, being fixed merely for
Miracle-plays were common in London in the year 1170; the greater satisfaction of the spectators as to the reality and as early as 1119 the miracle-play of St. Katherine had of the occurrences, and as little that a legend of the kind been represented at Dunstaple. It has been conjectured, was of a much older date than that assigned in the manuand indeed in part established', that some of these perform- script, which was probably near the time when the drama ances were in French, as well as in Latin ; and it was not had been represented. until the reign of Edward III. that they were generally In its form it closely resembles the miracle-plays which acted in English. We have three existing series of miracle- had their origin in Scripture-history, and one of the characplays, all of which have been recently printed; the Towne- ters, that of the Saviour, common in productions of that ley collection by the Surtees Club, and those known as the class, is introduced into it: the rest of the personages Coventry and Chester pageants by the Shakespeare Society. engaged are five Jews, named Jonathas, Jason, Jasdon, The Abbotsford Club has likewise printed, from a manu- Masphat, and Malchus; a Christian merchant called Arisścript at Oxford, three detached miracle-plays which once, torius, a bishop, Sir Isidore a priest, a physician from probably, formed a portion of a connected succession of pro- Brabant called“ Mr. Brundyche,” and Colle his servant* ductions of that class and description.
The plot relates to the purchase of the Eucharist by the During about 300 years this species of theatrical enter- Jews from Aristorius for 1001., under an assurance also tainment seems to have flourished, often under the auspices that if they find its miraculous powers verified, they will of the clergy, who used it as the means of religious instruc- become converts to Christianity. Aristorius, having postion; but prior to the reign of Henry VI., a new kind of session of the key of the church, enters it secretly, takes drama had become popular, which by writers of the time away the Host, and sells it to the Jews. They put it to was denominated a moral, or moral play, and more recently various tests and torments: they stab “the cake" with a morality. It acquired this name from the nature and their daggers, and it bleeds, while one of the Jews goes purpose of the representation, which usually conveyed a mad at the sight. They next attempt to nail it to a post, Iesson for the better conduct of human life, the characters but the Jew who uses the hammer has his hand torn off employed not being scriptural, as in miracle-plays, but alle- and here the doctor and his servant, Mr. Brundyche and gorical, or symbolical. Miracle-plays continued to be repre- Colle, make their appearance in order to attend the wounded sented long after moral plays were introduced, but from a Jew; but after a long comic scene between the quack and remote date abstract impersonations had by degrees, not his man, highly illustrative of the manners of the time, now easily traced, found their way into miracle-plays: thus, they are driven out as impostors. The Jews then proceed perhaps, moral plays, consisting only of such characters, to boil the Host, but the water turns blood-red, and taking grew out of them.
it out of the cauldron with pincers, they throw it into a A very remarkable and interesting miracle-play, not blazing oven: the oven, after blood has run out “at the founded upon the Sacred Writings, but upon a popular crannies," bursts asunder, and an image of the Saviour legend, and all the characters of which, with one exception, rising, he addresses the Jews, who are as good as their purport to be real personages, has recently been discovered word, for they are converted on the spot. They kneel to in the library of Trinity Collége, Dublin, in a manuscript the Christian bishop, and Aristorius having confessed his certainly as old as the later part of the reign of Edward crime and declared his repentance, is forgiven after a suitIV? It is perhaps the only specimen of the kind in our able admonition, and a strict charge never again to buy or language ; and as it was unknown to all who have hitherto sell. written on the history of our ancient drama, it will not here This very singular and striking performance is opened, be out of place to give some account of the incidents to as was usual with miracle-plays, by two Vexillators, who
i See Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage, yol. ji. p. 131. 4 This name may possibly throw some light on, an obscure passage,
2 We are indebted for a correct transcript of the original to the zeal in a letter dated about 1535, and quoted in "The History of Engl. and kindness of Dr. J. H. Todd, V.P., R.S.A.
Dram. Poetry, and the Stage, I, 131, where a person of the name of 3 In another part of the manuscript it is called “The Play of the Thomas Wylley informs Cromwell, Earl of Essex, that he had written Conversion of Sir Jonathas, the Jew, by the Miracle of the Blessed a play in which a character called " Colle, clogger of Conscience," was Sacrament; but inferior Jews are converted, besides Sir Jonathas, introduced, to the great offence of the Roman Catholic clergy. who is the head of the tribe in the famous city of Araclea."