Imagens das páginas
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is contingally flearing and making of mouthes : he not common. Artists formerly did not devote
laughs intemperately at every little occasion, and much of their time to theatrical subjects; the dis-
dances about the house, leaps over tables, out-skipscovery of a single painting of this kind would be
men's beads, trips up his companions' heeles, burns more valuable than a folio of conjectural disserta-
Back witb a candle, and bath all the feats of a lord | tion. As, however, the costume of the time would
of misrale in the countrie: feed him in his humour, in some degree be preserved on the stage, the
you shall have bis heart; in mere kindness he will materials which remain to illustrate the dress of
bag Fou in bis armes, kisse you on the cheeke, and the real fools may sapply the defect.
rapping out an horrible oath, crie "God's soule, The garb of domestic fools in Shakspeare's day,
Tum, I love you, you knowe my poore heart, come was of iwo sorts. In the first, the coat was motley
to my chamber for a pipe of tobacco, there lives not or parti-coloured, and attached to the body by a
a man in this world that I more honour.' In these girdle, with bells

at the skirts and elbows, though Ceremonies you shall know his courting, and it is a not invariably. The hose and breeches close, and speciall mark of him at table, he sits and makes frequently each leg of a different colour. A hood, faces: keep not this fellow company, for in jingling like a monk's cowl, covered the head entirely, with bim, your wardropes shall be wasted, yoar falling down over part of the breast and shoulders. credits crackt, your crownes consumed, and time it was sometimes adorned with asses' ears, or ter

the most precious riches of the world,) utterly minated in the neck and bead of a cock, a fashion lost."

as old as the fourteenth century. It often had the As these birelings required considerable skill and comb or crest only of the animal, whence the term dexterity to please their employers, they sometimes cockscomb was afterwards applied to any silly upfailed of saccess, and their paucity of talents ex start. This fool carried in his hand a sceptre or cited disgust. Cardinal Perron, being in company banble, ornamented with a fool's head, a doll, or a with the duke of Mantua, the latter observed of bis puppet. The bauble originally used in King Lear, fool that be was “a meagre, poor spirited buf was extant so late as Garrick's time, and the figure foon.” The cardinal replied' that nevertheless of it would have been worth preserving. To this he had wit. “Why so?" demanded the duke; instrument, was annexed an intlated bladder, with "Because,” replied Perron," he lives by a trade which the fool belaboured those who offended him, which he does not understand.” The license al or with whom he was disposed to make sport. The lowed them was very great, but did not always form of it varied, and was often obscene in the afford them protection. Archbishop Laud's dis- highest degree. In some old prints, the fool apgraceful severity to poor Archee is well known. pears with a sort of flapper or rattle, surrounded The doke d'Espernon, though a high-spirited man, with bells. This implement was used for the same conducted himself with much more discretion purpose as the bladder. The fool's dagger, occaMaret, the fool of Louis XIII. whose chief talent sionally mentioned, was probably the wooden was mimicry, frequently mocked the duke's Gascon sword of the Vice in the Moralities, a thin piece of accent; and Richelieu, who was fond of admonishing lath which he used to belabour the devil. him, desired him, among other things, to get rid of In Elizabeth's time, the archbishop of Canterbis provincial tones, at the same time counterfei'ing bury's fool wore a coxcomb and a wooden dagger. bis speech, and sarcastically begging be would not In Chapman's Widow's Tears, an upstart governor take the advice in ill part. «Why should I ?" is called "a wooden dagger gilded o'er, and in replied the dake ; "when I bear as much from the the

Noble Gentleman, a person likened to a fool king's fool, who mocks me in your presence.” is desired to wear a great wooden dagger. Fools, however, did not always escape with impu The other dress, which seems to have been most mit Whipping was the punishment commonly worn in Shakspeare's time, was the long petticoat, inflicted. Hence, in Twelfth Night, Olivia, ad which originally belonged to the idiot or natural dressing her jester, says, “Sirrah, you shall be fool, and was adopted for the porpose of cleanliness. abipped.” Ontbecontrary, they were often treated How it came into use for the allowed fool, is not with great tenderness, as is feelingly exemplified in so obvious. It was, like the former, of various the conduct of Lear.

colours, the materials often rich, as of velvet, and With regard to the fool's business on the stage, guarded or fringed with yellow. In one instance it was nearly the same as in reality, with this dif we have a yellow leather doublet. In Bancroft's Middleton's Mayor of Quinborough, a company of ference, that the wit was more highly seasoned. In Epigrams, 1639, quarto, there is one addressed

“ to a giglot with lier greene sicknesse,” in which actors, with a clown, make their appearance, and are these lines :the following dialogue ensues:

“Thy sicknesse mocks thy pride, that's seldom seene ist Cheater. This is our clown, sir.

But in foole's yellow, and the lover's greene."
Simcs .......Fre, lye, sour company

(i faith,
Must Tall upon him and beat him; he's too fair,

And from a manascript note we learn, that yellow To make the people laugh

was the fuole's colour in the time of the Common1x Cheater.. Not »s he may be dress'd, sir: Sims ....Faith, dress him how you will. I'll give bim

wealth. That gist, he will never look half scarvily enough.

Yet the foregoing were not the only modes in Oh! the clowns that I have seen in my time,

which domestic fools were habited. The hood The very peeping out of one of them would have Made a young heir laugh, though his father lay

was occasionally without a coxcomb, instead of A man undove in law the day before,

which a bell or bells appeared. A feather was
The saddest case tbat can be) might for his second frequently added to the comb; and in an old Mo-
Have burst himself with laughing, and ended all rality, the fool says,
His miseries. Here was a merry world, my masters!
Some talk of things of state, of puling stuff';

" By my trouth the thing that I desire most
There's nothing in a play like to a clown,

Is in my cappe to have a goodly feather."
If he have the grace to hit on it, that's the thing

In nimicry of a monk's crown, the head was
Sieca .......Away then, shift; clown, to thy motley erupper. sometimes shaved, and in one instance the hair is

Those who desire accurate information concern made to represent a triple or papal tiara. The ing the dresses that belonged to the characters in garment was often decorated with fox or squirrel question at various periods, should consult ancient tails. In The Pope's Funeral, 1605, quarto, we prints and paintings, particularly the miniatures find this passage :-" I shall prove 'bim such a that embellish manuscripts. But the difficulty of noddy before I leave him, that all the world will Skakspeare's age were always habited, is insuper-combe for his foolishness, and on his back a fox by references which leave little doubt; but this is I designed to ridicule a fashion common among the

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ut of the phool.

bann Londo Dame line and reas: o bad been Xecution on, sro he first


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ladies in the reign of Edward III. which is thus / gave the author an opportunity of shewing his in-
alluded to in the old Chronicle of England :-"And genuity in extemporary wit. It is undeniable,
the women more nysely yet passed the men in aray that Sbakspeare's fools were pre-emivent above
and coriouslaker, for they were so streyt clothed all others. Shadwell declares they had more hu-
that they let hange for tailles sowed bineth within mour than any of the wits and critics of his age.
hir clothes for to bale and bide their a--- ; tbe which | Beaumont and Fletcher seldom introduce them;
disguysinges and pride, paradventure, afterward Ben Jonson and Massinger never.
brouzi forth and encaused many myshappes and The practice of putting the fools and clowns in
meschief in the reame of Englond."

requisition between the acts and scenes, and after Idiots or naturals wore calf or sheep's skin; for the play was finished, to amuse the spectators with in the Gesta Grayorum, 1088, quarto, we read, their tricks, may be traced to the Greek and Ro“ The scribe claims the manor of Noverinte, by man theatres ; and their usages being preserved in providing sheep skins and calve skins to urappe his the middle ages, wherever the Roman inlluence had highness wards and idiolts in.” A purse or wallet spread, it would not, of course, be peculiar to at the waist, was part of the fool's dress. Tarl-England. The records of the French theatre deton, who personated the clowns in Shakspeare's monstrate this fact; in the Mystery of Saint Barday, appears to have worn it; Triboulet, in Ra- bara, we find this stage direction :="Pausa. Vabelais, is described as having a budget of tortoise- dunt, et stultus loquitur;(A pause. They quit the shell.

stage, and the fool speaks.) and in this way he is The fools, however, did not invariably wear a frequently brought on between the scenes. distinguishing habit : this appears from some of The decline of domestic fools, and its causes, their portraits still remaining. A painting at have been already touched on; the same reason Kensington-palace, by Holbein, represents Will may, in part, be assigned for their dramatic exile. Somers, the fool of Henry VIII. in a common In the præludium to Gofle's Careless Shepherdess, dress. In an account of that sovereign's wardrobe, 1656, quarto, there is a panegyric on them, and are these particulars ; —"For making a dubblette some concern is shown for the fool's absence in the lyned withi canvas and cotton for William Som’ar, play itself, while it is stated that “the motley coat oure foole. Item, for making of a coote and a was banished with trunk-hose.” Yet in Charles cappe of grene clothe, fringed with red crule, and II.'s reign, some efforts were made to restore the lyned with fryse, for oure said foole.” But the character. In the tragedy of Thorney Abbey, or account goes on thus :-" Item, for making of a the London Maid, 1662, 12mo. the prologue is de. coote of greene clothe, with a hoode to the same, livered by a fool, who uses these words : “ The fringed with white crule lyned with fryse and bo- poet's a fool who made the tragedy, to tell a story kerham, for our foole aforesaid.”. From these, of a king and a court, and leave a fool out on't, we infer that he also wore the distinctive habit of when in Pacey's, and Sommer's, and Patche's and the fool. In families where the fool acted as a Archer's times, my venerable predecessours, a menial servant, he might have kept bis oflicial fool was alwaies the principal verb.” Shadwell's garb for occasions of ceremony. Want of mate-play of The Woman Captain, 1680, is perhaps the rials to illustrate our subject, renders this part of lasi in which a regular fool is introduced; and even it very imperfect; but the plays of Shakspeare there, bis master is made to say at the character furnish more information than those of any other was exploded on the stage. In real life, as was writer. It is strange that the domestic fool should formerly stated, the professed fool was to be met so seldom appear in the old dramas, because it not with at a much later period, but the custom has merely excited mirth among a rude audience, but long been obsolete.

Shakspeare's Dramatic Contemporaries. Periars there is no period in the literary bistory, away the veil from the human heart, and publishe of mankind distinguished by so many rare examples all jis wonderful secrets, with a fidelity and powe of real genios, as that which elapsed from the ac. which instantly insured universal attention. N cession of Elizabeth to the commencement of that department of literature received so much advan stormy era which ended in the destruction of tage by the change as the drama. Prior to the tim royally. The mind of man, which had for ages laid of the first Heywood, we find nothing but tbe My dormant in the sloth of ignorance and superstition, teries, compositions always pnerile and insipi was, at length, by a variety of concurring causes, and sometimes blasphemous; but the light of pa but more especially by the Reformation, roused to sion and imagination which broke with him, broad sbake off her trammels, and exert her native ener ened and brightened into the full glory of perfe gies with irresistible force. Beings, that for many day, in Shakspeare, and the brilliant host centuries had scarcely deserved the denomination exalted spirits, that flamed and corruscated roun of rational, determining once more to choose their his orbit, like the planetary worlds that revolve an own principles of action, like awakening giants, sbine round their great source and centre, the su emerged from their intellectual prison-honse, to Volumes would be required to do justice to th expatiate at full freedom over the universe of splendid names alluded to; and, ai present, w nature, and the boundless worlds of imagination. intend little more than briellv to enumerate some Literature, so long confined to the cell and the those mighty magicians of the heart, whose tone cloister, extended its empire, and found willing and opened all the flood-gates of feeling, and lit up enthusiastic worshippers, where, heretofore, the face with smiles, or channelled it with tears at ple privilege of mental liberty bad been unappreciated sure. To the disgrace of our country, some of the and unknown. A string of saintly legends, remark. | intellectual benefactors of their species are suffer able only for their folly and extravagance, and to sleep in the dust of oblivion, but this cannot composed in barbarous Latin, or volumes of idle for ever; they must yet arise in glory and strengt sonnets, crammed with pitiful conceits, uncouthly for while we acknowledge the transcendent geni expressed, had been all the aliment supplied to the of Shakspeare, we should not forget his conte paralysed intellect; but now, a daring, unfettered poraries. originality, rife with intense feeling, and command

SPENSER ing a wild profusion of ideas newly dug from the This illustrious poet is, from a variety of caus yet unbroached mines of passion and genius, tore but little read, and less understood, at the pres

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day. The allegorical character of his great work, , venerable spirit of antiquity, and conjures up before
The Fairy Queen, is in itself a very unfavourable us all the grandeur and glory of old Rome. And
circamostance for bis fame; since few readers have why are such dramas as these consigned to oblivion ?
patience to go through a long poem, which has little Dryden's character of Ben is magnificent; the fol-
er ao langible interest, however beautiful and ori- lowing passage is admirable and extremely just :
zinal the imagery with which it abounds. The “If I would compare him with Shakspeare, I must
eritie will not liesitate to acknowledge its superla- acknowledge him the more correct poet, but Shak-
tive merit, whether considered as a work of art or speare the greater wit. Sbakspeare was the Homer
a triumph of imagination ; but the general reader, or father of our dramatic poats; Jonson was the
while he freqgently pauses to admire the inimitable Virgil, the pattern of elaborate.writing ; I admire
grace and delicacy of particular passages, will, him, but I love Sbakspeare."
probably, lay down the work with a feeling of
wearioess. Yet when we consider the rude state

in which Spenser found the language, and the dilli This dramatist, second to none but him who
calties be must have encountered in adapting it to never had an equal, Shakspeare, was born 1581,
the elaborate species of metre he has employed, we and received his education at Oxford. He was
shall surely feel that it is impossible to praise his singularly modest and unassuming, claiming no
predactious too bighly.

precedence of bis associates on account of his lofty

endowments, and accepting their praise more as a BEN JONSON.

favour than a right. He lived long and happily; This erudite and excellent dramatist, who was his years glided away in peace, for they were soborn at Westminster, 1571, had the singular happi- laced by ihe applauses of the virtuous, and the mess of receiving his education under the illustrious testimony of his own conscience. In his old age he Camden. His family was reputable, but his mother reposed in the shade of bis laurels, and delighted marrying a second time, his step-father, a brick to direct the energies of those young and ardent layer, taught him his own trade; and we are in- spirits who were about to run the race which he formed, on tolerably good authority, that a portion had concluded with honour. He lies buried in the of Ben's brick and mortar still exists in Chancery same grave with his friend Fletcher, in the churchlage. Disgusted with this servile employment, he yard of St. Saviour, Southwark. The following eatered the army, and served in the low countries epitaph is from the poems of sir Aston Cokain, with great credit; he soon, however, returned to

1659 : England, and completed his studies at Cambridge.

“In the same grave was Fletcher buried, here

Lies the stage poet, Philip Massinger. A mere accident seems to have given a direction to Plays they did write together, were great friends, his talents : to procure bread, he joined a miserable

And now one grave includes them in their ends.

So whom on earth nothing did part, beneath company of players at the Curtain, in Shoreditch; Here in their fame they lie, in spite of death." bat bis excellence was not to be developed here, It is quite unaccountable bow this author's works he remained poor and unnoticed. In a tavern brawl should have fallen into neglect, since a profound he had the misfortane to kill his opponent, and knowledge of human nature is evident in every being thrown into prison, languished there a consi page; and his poetry is rich in that manly sen derable time. It does not appear how he obtained tious eloquence which is so peculiarly effective on bis liberty; but he now became the intimate of the stage. Till very lately, A New Way to Pay Stakspeare, whose kindliness of disposition ever Old Debts was the only play of his generally known. prompted him to assist the aspirations of real talent; Rowe, indeed, had pilfered largely from his Fatal and under his ac spices, he commenced a dramatic Dowry, and foisted this stolen property on the writer. His success was complete ; his annual public under the title of The Fair Penitent'; but the play was looked for anxiously, and hailed affec- trick was unsuspected, for who would take the lionately; he became one of the chief ornaments of trouble to read Massinger? A better taste seems å stage, ennobled with many kindred spirits; and, now gaining ground. The Duke of Milan has been however it may be the fashion to disregard his successfully revived; The Fatal Dowry bas apwritings at present, they certainly abound with peared in a form more equitable to its author; and, excellencies of the highest description. In 1619, be for the credit of the age, we trust the trash of the succeeded Daniel as laureat: the salary was only modern stage will soon give place to the sterling one hundred marks per annum; but on Jonson's productions the old English drama. application in 1030,' it was increased_to $100 and a tierce of Spanish wine, annually. Poor Ben,

BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. bowever, often sutiered all the pangs incident These authors, the Pylades and Orestes of liteto want; and once, when on a sick bed, in extreme rature, are remarkable on several accounts. Their wretchedness, he petitioned Charles I. for pecuniary friendship presents the singular and pleasing specaid. The monarch sent him ten guincas, on which tacle of two great geniuses so closely united in Jonson said, “ His majesty has sent me ten guineas, their feelings and pursuits, that in upwards of fifty because I am poor and live in an alley; go and tell dramas which they wrote conjunctively, it is utterly him that his soul lives in an alley." Yet, in jus impossible to distinguish to which of them we are tice we are bound to state, that Charles once gave indebted for any particular scene or character. hina £100, then a large sum, and the above bitter Their compositions are so bomogenous, that were Temark might have been breathed in the irritation we not assured of the contrary, we should ascribe of a wounded spirit. Jonson died in 1637, aged them, without hesitation, to the efforts of a single sinty-three years. His moral character has been mind. Here we may observe, that nothing in Shakgarstioned ; in particular, he is accused of ingrati- speare's age is more worthy of commemoration, lade to Shakspeare ; and, indeed, a passage in bis than the good understanding which subsisted Bartbolomer Fair inight countenance the charge, among the galaxy of master-spirits that

adorned did we not possess a noble

poem dedicated by Ben those times. They lived together like a family of to his benefactor's memory.

brothers, no petly jealousies disturbed their comJonson's dramas are exiremely numerous ; they munity; we continually find them advancing, withare much more correct and classical than Shak'- oat ostentation, each other's labours, and engaged speare's, bat they are not so constantly irradi- in a friendly competition of good ollices. Hence ated by the beams of genius. Every Man in His we observe many plays written by three or four Humour is the only one of his plays that retains a different hands; and this practice, so opposite to base on the stage. Yet Volpone bas never been the grovelling selfishness of modern writers, seems equalled in its way, and Sejanus breathes of the to have excited no surprise. The solitary anti


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As short as are the nights

If we were wise to see't,

Oh, sweetest melancholy!

social pride of intellectual superiority was sacrificed his early years owed much to the patrona on the altar of friendship. The poetry of Beaumont | Thomas Walsingham. Prince Henry, that and Fletcher's dramas is oftenexceedingly fine; they scion of royalty, and the far-famed earl of are frequently prosaic, and even common-place, set, were also his friends; but bis comedy but these feelings are redeemed by bursts of pas ward Hoe, in which he bitterly reflects on the sion and eloquence truly overpowering. In nice so oftended king James that he was obliged discrimination of character too, they are by no the court, and relinquish bis prospects of means deficient, and nothing can excuse the de ment. However, he was one of heaven's n pravity of taste which has consigned their works to and the frowns of the great could not dimin dust and silence. They are said to have ridiculed self-esteem. He lived respected and died lan Shakspeare in some of their plays, particularly in by the best and greatest men of his age. The Knight of the Burning Pestle. If such liberties Translation of Homer surpasses in genius an were taken, they gave no offence, for that wonder- has yet appeared. Pope's is more elegan ful man often assisted them in their compositions. doubt; but in all the essentials of true poetr The following song is from The Nice Valour, or Chapman bas much the advantage. His dra The Passionate Madman, to which Milton must performances savour considerably of antiq have been indebted when he wrote his Il Penseroso : but in reading them we find frequent occasio “Hence all ye vain delights,

commend and admire. Ben Jonson, we are t

was jealous of bis great abilities; Shakspeare Wherein you spend your folly! There's nought in this life sweet,

uoured and fostered them. There is an anonyme

poem in praise of this last author which has be But only melancholy;

attributed to Chapman, and it is calculated Welcome, folded arms, and fixed eyes,

heighten our estimation even of his powers.
A sigh that piercing mortities;
A look that's fastend to the ground,

A tongue chain'd up without a sound!
Fountain heads, and pathless groves,

This poet, whose situation in life was very humble
Places which pale passion loves!

his highest worldly distinction having been that o Moonlight walks, when all the fowls Are warmly hous'd, save bats and owls!

parish clerk at St. Andrew's, Holborn, was cerA midnight bell, a parting groan!

tainly endowed with talents of no commov order; These are the sounds we feed upon ! Then stretch our bones in a still glooiny valley:

and although, from the want of the discipline which Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy." education affords, his genius frequently run riot, MARLOWE.

and developed itself in the most eccentric manner,

there can be little doubt that the representation This great tragic poet was educated at Cam

of bis plays was attended by delighted and apbridge, where he took the degree of B. A. 1583, plauding audiences. The public of his day were and of M. A. 1587; bis passions appear to have been very violent, and his whole life was stormy passion and imagination; and if an author could

content with the great elements of all true poetry, and unseitled. His mind was of the highest order; supply these, his productions were not rejected but, imagining for himself a universe of perfect for any deficiencies of elegance and refinement. beauty and felicity, he was filled with disgust at

In his 'White Devil, and the Duchess of Malfer, the sorrows and disappointments of the real world his capital works, Webster continually sins against around him. The manner of his death was extremely the arbitary enactments of criticism, and not seldom tragical: he was passionately fond of a beautiful against the more equitable laws of taste ; but he girl, whose circumstances were but humble : visiting her one evening, be found a low fellow in passion, and a boldness of imagination, whicti havo

atones for these faults by displaying a strength of her company of whom he was jealous ; in the frenzy hardly ever been surpassed. of the moment he drew his poniard, (a weapon then commonly worn,) intending to stab the unwelcome

MARSTON. intruder, but his antagonist wrenched the dagger This poet, like many of his gifted contemporaries, from his grasp, and Marlowe falling forwards, re has left 'no record behind hiin but his works. He ceived it in his heart. The wits of his age seem to appears, however, to have studied at Oxford ; and have bad a very high opinion of Marlowe's talents. judging from the chastity and purity of bis lanHeywood, no incompetent judge, styles bim the guage, we may suppose, that be formed his style best of poets; and Drayton writes of him thus : on classic models. His plays are eight in number, “ Next, Marlowe bathed in the Thespian springs,

but the most remarkable are Antonio and Mellida, Had in him those brave translunary things,

1602; The Malcontent, 1604; and The Wonder That your first poets had ; his raptures were All air and fire, which made his verses clear;

of Women, or Sophonisba, 1606; which last is For that fiue madness still he did retain,

dedicated in warm terms to Ben Jonson, though Which rightly should possess a poet's brain.”

he afterwards bad some disagreement with that The phrase, fine madness, very aptly expresses the

poet. character of his genius. In The Tragical History

MIDDLETON. of Dr. Faustus, ibe reader is continually startled by the wildness and incoherence of the poet's con

The companion of Jonson, Fletcher, Massinger, ceptions; be transports us into a world of shadows, wrote in concert, though his fame may safely rest

and Rowley, with all of wbom he occasionally and surrounds us with the terrible creations of an over-excited fancy; yet so distinctly and vividly of his dramas bear date so recently as the reign of

on compositions which are entirely his own. Some are these strange imaginations pourtrayed, that we tremble and weep while they pass in review before earlier. A Mad World, my Masters, acted by the

Charles I. but bis best plays were published much us. Notwithstanding all bis powerful claims to our

Children of Paul's, 1608, is an excellent play; and admiration, Marlowe is scarcely known at present but as the author of a little poem, beginning. Come many modern writers

, thinking themselves sase in live with me, and be my love." Kean brought out

its obscurity, have pillaged from it very freely, bis Jew of Malta, (perbaps, the worst of his plays,) his Country Lasses, have taken the most liberties.

Mrs. Behn, in her City Heiress, and Johnson, in at Drury-lane Theatre; it attracted for a few nights, but four-legged performers were just then coming

ROWLEY. into fashion, and the aflair was hopeless.

This dramatist, though inferior to some of his

illustrious companions, will deservedly rank high CHAPMAN.

as one of the benefactors of the English stage. This writer, whose lofty endowments have sel. He flourished in the reign of James I. and was dom been duly appreciated, was born 1557, and in 1 attached to a company of players belonging to the

prince of Wales. He was rather eminent as a masterpiece, and would have done honour to Shakcomedian ; little is known of him more than his speare. The character of Annabella, the heroine, close connexion with all the greatest wits and is exquisitely beautiful; and though, in a moral poets of bis age, by whom he was much beloved. point of view, the situations of the drama are obHe assisted Middleton, Day, Heywood, and Web-jectionable, we cannot deny that all the legitimate ster, in their writings, and has left us five plays of purposes of tragedy, the powerful excitement of bis own, besides one which he wrote in conjunc- terror and pity, are fully attained. tion with Sbakspeare. One of his comedies, A

DECKER. New Wonder, a Woman never Vext, has been revived at Covent Garden Theatre, with consi- creased by his quarrel with Ben Jonson, in ridi

This writer's reputation bas probably been inderable saccess.

cule of whom he wrote a play called, The UntrussJOHN HEYWOOD.

ing of a humourous Poet. Yet he was the bosom Ose of the first of our dramatic writers, both in friend of Webster, Forde, and Rowley, a distinction point of time and genius. Sir Thomas More was which nothing but his genius could have purchased particularly fond of him; he was a frequent com- him. Brome, too, calls bim father, and constantpanion of the princess Mary, and his musical skill ly speaks of him with the utmost reverence and made him a great favourite with Henry VIII. Da- afection. His Honest Whore, and Old Fortunaring the short reign of Edward VI. be still con tus, are his best works; the latter, notwithstanding unded at court, admired and beloved ; and on the extreme absurdity of the fable on which it is Mary's accession to the throne, he was admitted founded, is illustrated with so much fine writing, to the closest intimacy that subject could enjoy. that it give us the highest opinion of Decker's The insingating mildoess of his temper, though in abilities. absolate contrast to the barshness and irritability

SHIRLEY. of ber disposition, frequently softened its asperi This prolific dramatist was of a very ancient ties; and we are even told that the playful humour family, and was born in London, 1594. He was a of his conversation, occasionally beguiled even the pupil at Merchant Tailors' School, and afterwards agony of her death-bed. He was of course a zeal- studied at Oxford, where Dr. Laud covceived a ogs catholic; and on the accession of Elizabeth, he warm affection for him, in regard to his great tawent into voluntary exile, and died at Mechlin, in lents; yet, Shirley purposing to take orders, he Brabant, 1565. His longest work is entitled A would often tell hím, “that he was an unfit person Parable of the Spider and the Flie, of which Ho to take the sacred function upon him, and should linsbed says, “One also bath made a booke of the

never have his consent.” Why does the reader Spider and the Flie, wherein be dealeth so pro suppose ? On account of some moral defect? No; fogodlie, and beyond all measure of skill, that but because Shirley bad a large mole on his left beither be bimselle that made it, neither anie one cheek, which Laud thought a deformity. He took that readeth it, can reach into the meaning there- orders, notwithstanding, and obtained a living at 6f.". His great merit is that he contributed much St. Albans; but he shortly became a Romanist, and to bring the Mysteries into disrepute, and to create resigning bis preferment, commenced schoolmaså taste for more rational stage representations. ter; this new profession growing odious to him, None of his dramas extend beyond the limits of an be went to London and began to compose plays. interlude; among them we find A Play of Love, In this way he gained, not merely an existence, 1533, and A Play of Gentleness and Nobilitie, 1535. but was much encouraged by many of the nobility; Herwood can scarcely be called a contemporary and ultimately, queen Henrietta being mach pleasof Shakspeare ; but he is mentioned here as the ed with his writings, attached bim to her housefirst regalar dramatist our stage has produced. hold. During the rebellion, he attended the earl THOMAS HEYWOOD.

of Newcastle, and was in several battles. The The most voluminous of all play-wrights, with king's cause being rained, he returned to London, the exception of Lope de Vega ; for, in a preface and was supported for some time by Mr. Stanley, to one of his dramas, be informs us, that it was the

the author of The Lives of the Philosophers. last of two hundred and twenty in which he “had Plays were now denounced as an abomination, and either an entire hand, or at least a main finger.” he recommenced pedagogue in the White Friars, Sach crade and hasty productions were not written

and continued to brandish his birchen sceptre till før posterity ; of most of them we are ignorant, the Restoration. The theatre was again open to even of the names. Among those preserved are him, and many of his dramas were performed with the following: Edward IV. two parts, 1599; Four great applause. In 1666, occurred the terrible Prentices of London, 1615 ; and Maidenhead well fire of London ; he was burnt out of his house near Lost, 1634. Heywood also wrote an Apology for Fleet-street, and removed into the parish of St. Actors, of which fraternity he was himself a mem

Giles's, but being overcome with horror at the ber. He was undoubtedly a man of talent: his frightful conflagration, he and his wife both expircomic scenes were fall of humour, and his tragic ed within a few hours, and were buried in the same opes abound with situations deeply pathetic ; but grave. Shirley succeeded best in comedy ; there he always writes like an author who is composing is a light airy playfulness in his hamour which is by contract, unless bis Woman killed with Kind peculiarly delighiful, and must have been quite bess be an exception.

refreshing to the royalists after the sour fanaticism FORDE.

of the puritans. The Ball, 1639, is a favourable This admirable dramatist was born 1586, and his specimen; but all bis dramas, nearly forty in

number, are highly amusing. A contemporary great talents procured the esteem and friendship of all the excellent writers in whose age he flourish' poet has this couplet in his honour:

* Shirley (the morning child) the Muses bred, ed. He was most successful in delineating the And sent him born with bays upon his head." gloomy scenes of life; he delighted not in the in

DRAYTON. spirations of Thalia, bat mixed all the powers of his melancholy spirit with the dark and terrible

Few writers have been more famous in their day visions of Melpomene. Hence one of his contem

than the author of the Poly-Olbion; a poem, poraries pleasantly says,

which though at present scarcely ever read, “Deep in dump, John Forde was alone got,

abounds with animated description and elegant With folded arms and melancholy hat."

illustration. Drayton was a favourite court pott; A fine vein of tragedy runs through all bis plays; he assisted at the coronation of James 1. and was but 'Tis Pity She's a Whore is undoubtedly his uevcr in circumstances to make the praises of the

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