תמונות בעמוד
[merged small][ocr errors]

tions of the Christian virtues, were not calculated to make so quick and easy a transition to the representations of real life and rational action.

In the year 1501, when the princess Catharine of Spain came to London, to be married to prince Arthur, her procession through the city was very magnificent. The pageants were numerous, and superbly furnished; in which the principal actors, or speakers, were not only God the father, saint Catharine, and saint Ursula, but king Alphonsus the astronomer and an ancestor of the princess, a Senator, an Angel, Job, Boethius, Nobility, and Virtue. These personages sustained a sort of action, at least of dialogue. The lady was compared to Hesperus, and the prince to Arcturus ; and Alphonsus, from his skill in the stars, was introduced to be the fortuneteller of the match. These machineries were contrived and directed by an ecclesiastic of great eminence, bishop Fox; who, says Bacon, “was not only a grave counsellor for war or peace, but also a good surveyor of works, and a good master of ceremonies, and any thing else that was fit for the active part, belonging to the service of court, or state of a great king” It is probable, that this prelate's dexterity and address in the conduct of a court-rareeshow procured him more interest, than the gravity of his counsels, and the depth of his political knowledge: at least his employment in this business presents a striking picture of the importance of those popular talents, which even in an age of blind devotion, and in the reign of a superstitious monarch, were instrumental in paving the the most opulent dignities of the church. “Whosoever,” adds the same penetrating historian, “had these toys in compiling, they were not altogether PEDANTICAL".” About the year 1487, Henry the Seventh went a progress into the north; and at every place of distinction was received with a pageant; in which he was saluted, in a poetical oration, not always religious, as, at York by Ebranck, a British king and the founder of the

way to

[ocr errors]

1 Chron. MS.

'Bacon's HENRY THE SEVESTH. Compl. Hist. Eng.vol.i.p.628.

city, as well as by the holy virgin, and king David : at Worcester by Henry the Sixth his uncle: at Hereford by saint George, and king Ethelbert, at entering the cathedral there : at Bristol, by king Bremmius, Prudence, and Justice. The two latter characters were personated by young girls s.

In the mean time it is to be granted, that profane characters were personated in our pageants, before the close of the fourteenth century. Stowe relates, that in the year 1377, for the entertainment of the young prince Richard, son of Edward the black prince, one hundred and thirty citizens rode disguised from Newgate to Kennington where the court resided, attended with an innumerable multitude of waxen torches, and various instruments of music, in the evening of the Sunday preceding Candlemas-day. In the first rank were forty-eight, habited like esquires, with visors; and in the second the same number, in the character of knights. “Then followed one richly arrayed like an EMPEROR, and after him, at some distance, one statelytyred like a Pope, whom followed twenty-four CARDINALLS, and after them eyght or tenne with blacke visors not amiable, as if they had been LEGATES from some forrain princes.” But this parade was nothing more than a DUMB SHEW, unaccompanied with any kind of interlocution. This appears from what follows. For our chronicler adds, that when they entered the hall of the palace, they were met by the prince, the queen, , and the lords; "whom the said mummers did salute, shewing by a pair of dice their desire to play with the prince,” which they managed with so much complaisance and skill, that the prince won of them a bowl, a cup, and a ring of gold, and the queen and lords, each, a ring of gold. Afterwards, having been feasted with a sumptuous banquet, they had the honour of dancing with the young prince and the nobility, and so the ceremony was concluded'. Matthew Paris informs us, that

* From a manuscript in the Cotton li- but a MUMMERY. But these are frivobrary, printed in Leland. COLLECTAN. lous distinctions: and, taken in a ge. ad calc, vol. iii. p. 185.

neral view, this account preserves a cuStowe's Surv. Lond. pag. 71. edit. rious specimen of early PERSONATION, 1599. 4to. It will perhaps be said, that and proves at least that the practice was this shew was not properly a Pageant not then in ils infancy. (The most

at the magnificent marriage of Henry the Third with Eleanor of Provence, in the year 1236, certain strange pageants, and wonderful devises, were displayed in the city of London; and that the number of HISTRIONES on this occasion was infiniteu.

splendid spectacle of this sort which oc venerunt autem vocata ad convivium curs in history, at least so early as the nuptiale tanta nobilium multitudo utrifourteenth century, is described by Frois- usque sexus, tanta religiosorum numesart, who was one of the spectators. It rositas, tanta plebium populositas, tanta was one of the shews at the magnificent HISTRIONUM Varietas, quod vix eos cientrance of queen Isabell into Paris, in vitas Londoniarum sinu suo capaci comthe year 1389. The story is from the prehenderet. Ornata est igitur civitas crusade against Saladin. I will give tota olosericis, et vexillis, coronis, et the passage from lord Berners's Transla- palliis, cereis et lampadibus, et quibustion, printed by Pinson in 1523. “ Than dam prodigiosis ingenüs et portentis," fe. after, under the mynster of the Trinyte, Hist. p. 406. edit. Tig. 1589. sub Hen. in the strete, there was a stage, and ther- RICO III. Here, by the way, the expresupon a castell. And along on the stage sion' Varietas histrionum' plainlyimplies there was ordeyned the PassE OF KYNG the comprehensive and general meaning Salhadyx, and all their dedes in Per- of the word HISTRIO ; and the multifasonages : the cristen men on the one rious performances of that order of men. parte, and the Sarazins on the other Yet in the Injunctions given by the Baparte. And there was, in Personages, rons to the religious houses, in the year all the lordes of name that of olde tyme 1258, there is an article which seems to hadde ben armed, and had done any shew, that the · Histriones' were somefeates of armes at the Passe of Sal- times a particular species of public enHADYNE, and were armed with suche tertainers. “ HISTRIOXUM LUDI non viarmure as they than used. And thanne, deantur vel audiantur, vel perinittantur a lyttel above them, there was in Per- fieri, coram abbate vel monasticis.” Ansonages the Frenche kynge and the nal. Burton. p. 437. Oxon. 1684. Whereas twelve Peeres of Fraunce armed, with minstrels, harpers, and juglers, were nothe blason of their armes. And whan toriously permitted in the monasteries. the Frenche quenes lytter was come be- We cannot ascertain whether Lup here fore this stage, she rested there a season, means plays, then only religious : LUDI

Thenne the Personages on the stage of theatrales in churches and church-yards, kynge Rychard departed fro his com on vigils and festivals, are forbidden in pany, and wente to the Frenche kynge, the Synod of Exeter, dat. 1287. cap. xiii, and demaunded lycence to go and as Concil. Mac:. Brit.per Wilkins.tom.i. sayle the Sarazins; and the kynge gave p. 140. col. 2. edit. 1737, fol. hym (them) leave. Thanne kynge Ry I cannot omit the opportunity of adcharde retourned to his twelve compa. ding a striking instance of the extraornyons. Thanne they all sette them in dinary freedom of speech, permitted to order, and incontynente wente and as these people, at the most solemn celesayled Salhadyne and the Sarazins. Then brities. About the year 1250, king in sporte there seemed a great bataile, Henry the Third, passing some time in and it endured a good space. This France, held a most magnificent feast in pageaunt was well regarded.” Cron. the great hall of the knights-templars at tom. ii. c. 56. fol. clxxii. col. 1. By the Paris ; at which, beside his own suite, two kings, he means Philip of France, were present the kings of France and and our king Richard the First, who Navarre, and all the nobility of France. were jointly engaged in this expedition. The walls of the hall were hung all over It is observable, that the superiority is with shields, among which was that of here given to the king of France. our king Richard the First. Just beAdditions. ]

fore the feast began, a JOCULATOR, or " I will cite the passage more at large, minstrel, accosted king Henry thus. and in the words of the original. “Con. “My lord, why did you invite so many

But the word HISTRIO, in the Latin writers of the barbarous ages ", generally comprehends the numerous tribe of mimics, juglers, dancers, tumblers, musicians, minstrels, and the like public practitioners of the recreative arts, with which those ages abounded : nor do I recollect a single instance in which it precisely bears the restrained modern interpretation.

As our thoughts are here incidentally turned to the rudiFrenchmen to feast with you in this hall? seems to be pointed out the whole system Behold, there is the shield of Richard, of antient exhibition or entertainment. the magnanimous king of England !-- I must add another pertinent passage All the Frenchmen present will eat their from this writer, whoin the reader will dinner in fear and trembling !” Matt. recollect to have flourished about the Paris. p. 871. sub Henr. III. edit. Tic year 1140. “ Non facile tamen credigur. 1589. fol. Whether this was a pre- derim ad hoc quemquam impelli posse concerted compliment, previously sug- litteratorem, ut HISTRIONEM profiteatur, gested by the king of France, or not, it –Gestus siquidem exprimunt, rerum is equally a proof of the familiarity with utilitate deducta.” Ibid. lib. viii. cap. xii. which the minstrels were allowed to ad- p. 514. [Compare Blount's Ant. TEdress the most eminent personages. NURES, p. 11. Hemingston.]

There is a passage in John of Salis With regard to APOLOGI, mentioned bury much to our purpose, which I am above, I have farther to observe, that obliged to give in Latin, “ At eam (de- the Latin metrical apologues of the dark sidiam] nostris prorogant HISTRIONES. ages, are probably translations from the Admissa sunt ergo SPECTACULA, et infi- Provencial poetry. Of this kind is nita lenocinia vanitatis.-Hinc mimi, Wircker's Speculum STULTORUM, or salii vel saliares, balalrones, amiliani, gla- BURNELL'S Ass. See supr. vol. ii. p. 254. diatures, palæstritæ, gignadii

, præsligia- And the Asinus Penitentiarius, in tores, malefici quoque multi, et tota Jo which an ass, wolf, and fox, are introCULATORUM scena procedit. Quorum duced, confessing their sins, &c. See adeo error invaluit, ut a præclaris domi- Matt. Flacius, Catal. Test. Verit. p. 903. bus non arceantur etiam illi, qui obscænis edit. 1556. In the British Museum there partibus corporis, oculis omnium eam in- is an antient thin folio volume on velgerunt turpitudineni, quam erubescet vi- lum, containing upwards of two hundere vel cynicus. Quodque magis mi- dred short moral tales in Latin prose, rere, nec tunc ejiciuntur, quando TUMUL which I also class under the APOLOGI TUANTES INFERIUS crebro sonitu aerem here mentioned by John of Salisbury. fredant, et turpiler inclusum turpius pro- Some are legendary, others roinantic, dunt. Veruntamen quid in singulis pose and others allegorical. Many of them sit aut deceat, animus sapientis advertit, I believe to be translations from the nec APOLOGos refugit, aut NARRATIONES, Provencial poetry. Several of the Esoaut quæcunque SPECTACULA, dum vir- pian fables are intermixed. In this coltutis,” &c. Polycrat. lib. i. cap. viii. lection is Parnell's HERMIT, De Angelo p. 28. edit. Lugd. Bat. 1595. Here, et Heremita Peregrinum occisum sepelienGIGNADII, a word unexplained by Du tibus, Rubr. 32. fol. 7. And a tale, I Cange, signifies wrestlers, or the per- think in Fontaine, of the king's son who formers of athletic exercises : for gigna- never saw a woman. Rubr. 8. fol. 2. sium was used for gymnasium in the bar- The stories seem to have been collected barous Latinity. By apologos, we are by an Englislıman, at least in England: perhaps to understand an allegorical for there is, the tale of one Godfrey, a story or fable, such as were common in priest of Susser. Rubr. 40. fol. 8.“ MSS. the Provencial poetry; and by narra Harl. 463. The story of Parnell's Hektiones, tales of chivalry: both which were Mit is in Geste Romanorum, MSS. Ilarl. recited at festivals by these HISTRIONES. 2270. ch. Ixxxx. Spectacula I need not explain: but here


ments of the English stage*, I must not omit an anecdote, entirely new, with regard to the mode of playing the MYSTERIES at this period, which yet is perhaps of much higher antiquity. In the year 1487, while Henry the Seventh kept his residence at the castle at Winchester, on occasion of the birth of prince Arthur, on a sunday, during the time of dinner, he was entertained with a religious drama called CHRISTI DESCENSUS AD INFEROS, or Christ's descent into helly. It was represented by the Pueri ELEEMOSYNARII, or choir-boys, of Hyde abbey, and saint Swithin's priory, two large monasteries at Winches

This is the only proof I have ever seen of choir-boys acting in the old MYSTERIES : nor do I recollect any other instance of a royal dinner, even on a festival, accompanied with this species of diversion?. The story of this interlude, in which the chief characters were Christ, Adam, Eve, Abraham, and John the Baptist, was not uncommon in the antient religious drama, and I believe made a part of what is called the Ludus PASCHALIS, or Easter Playa. It occurs in the Coventry plays acted on Corpus Christi dayb; and in the Whitsun-plays at Chester, where it is called the HARROWING OF HELL. The representation is Christ entering hell triumphantly, delivering our first parents, and the most sacred characters of the Old and New Testaments, from the dominion of Satan, and conveying them into Paradise. There is an ancient poem, perhaps an interlude, on the same subject, among the Harleian manuscripts; containing our Saviour's dialogues in hell with Sathanas, the Janitor, or porter of hell, Adam,


* See supr. vol. ii. p. 70. seq. his companyons plaid." This was in the

y Registr. Priorat. S. Swithin. Win- year 1503. Apud Leland. col. iii. p. 300. ton. MS. ut supr.

299. APPEND, edit. 1770. Except, that on the first Sunday of The Italians pretend that they have the magnificent marriage of king James a Ludus Paschalis as old as the twelfth of Scotland with the princess Margaret century. TEATRO ITALIANO, toin. i. See of England, daughter of Henry the Un Istoria del Teatro, &c. prefixed, p. ii. Seventh, celebrated at Edinburgh with Veron. 1723. 12mo. high splendour, “after dynnar a Mo [See supr, vol. i. p. 95.) “ Nunc dorRaline was played by the said master miunt milites, et veniet anima Christi de Inglyshe and hys companyons in the inferpo cum Adam et Eva, Abraham, presence of the kyng and qwene.” On Joh. Baptiste, et aliis." one of the preceding days, “ After soup · MSS. Harl. 2015. PAGEAUNT A vii. per the kynge and qwenc beyng togader fol. 198. in hyr grett chamber, John Inglyshi and


« הקודםהמשך »