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mancer: for the only business and use of this character, is to open the subject in a long prologue, to evoke the devil, and summon the court. The devil kicks the necromancer, for waking him so soon in the morning : a proof, that this drama was performed in the morning, perhaps in the chapel of the palace. A variety of measures, with shreds of Latin and French, is used: but the devil speaks in the octave stanza. One of the stage-directions is, Enter Balsebub with a Berde. To make him both frightful and ridiculous, the devil was most commonly introduced on the stage, wearing a visard with an immense beard'. Philargyria quotes Seneca and saint
a Thus in Turpin's HISTORY OF CHARLEMAGNE, the Saracens appear,
** Ha66 bentes LARVAS BARBATAS, cornutas, " DEMONIBUS confimiles.” c. xvii. And in LEWIS THE EIGHT., an old French romance of Philip Mouskes.
Jot apries lui une barboire,
Com diable cornu et noire. There was a species of masquerade celebrated by the ecclefiaftics in France, called the Shew OF BEARDS, entirely consisting of an exhibition of the most formidable beards. Gregory of Tours says, that the abbess of Poičtou was accused for suffering one of these shews, called a BARBATORIA, to be performed in her monastery. Hist, lib. x. c. vi. In the Epistles of Peter de Blois we have the following passage, “ Regis curiam fequuntur affidue histrio
nes, candidatrices, aleatores, dulcorarii, caupones, nebulatores, mimi, BARBA
TORES, balatrones, et hoc genus omne.". EPIST. xiv. Where, by Barbatores, we are not to understand Barbers, but mimics, or buffoons, disguised in huge bearded malks. In Don Quixote, the barber who personates the squire of the princess Micomicona, wears one of these masks,
gran barba, &c.” Part. prim. c. xxvi. 1.
3. And the countefs of Trifaldi's squire has “ la mas larga, la mas horrida, &c." Part. fec. c. xxxvi. 1. 8. See Observat. on Spenser, vol. i. p. 24. Sect. ii.
About the eleventh century, and long
before, beards were looked upon by the clergy as a fecular vanity; and accordingly were worn by the laity only. Yet in England this distinction seems to have been more rigidly observed than in France. Malmesbury says, that king Harold, at the Norman invasion, fent spies into Duke William's camp; who reported, that most of the French army were priests, because their faces were shaved. Hist. lib. iii. p. 56. b. edit. Savil. 1596. The regulation remained among the English clergy at least till the reign of Henry the eighth : for Longland bishop of Lincoln, at a Visitation of Oriel college, Oxford, in 1531, orders one of the fellows, a priest, to abftain, under pain of expulsion, from wearing a beard, and pinked shoes, like a laic; and not to take the liberty, for the future, of insulting and ridiculing the governor ana fellows of the society. ORDINAT. Coll. Oriel. Oxon. Append. ad Joh. TROKELOWE, p. 339. See Edicts of king John, in Prynne, LIBERTAT. Eecles. ANGL. tom. iii. p. 23. But among the religious, the Templars were permitted to wear long beards. In the year 1311, king Edward the second granted letters of safe conduct to his valet Peter Auger, who had made a vow not to save his beard ; and who having resolved to visit some of the holy places abroad as a pilgrim, feared, on-account of the length of his beard, that he might be mistaken for a knight-templar, and insulted. Pat. iv. Edw. ii. In Dug
Austin: and Simony offers the devil a bribe. The devil rejects her offer with much indignation : and swears by the foule Eumenides, and the hoary beard of Charon, that she shall be well fried and roasted in the unfathomable sulphur of Cocytus, together with Mahomet, Pontius Pilate, the traitor Judas, and king Herod. The last scene is clofed with a view of hell, and a dance between the devil and the necromancer. The dance ended, the devil trips up the necromancer's heels, and disappears in fire and smoke. Great must have been the edification and entertainment which king Henry the seventh and his court derived from the exhibition of so elegant and rational a drama! The royal taste for dramatic representation seems to have suffered a very rapid transition: for in the year 1520, a goodlie comedie of Plautus was played before king Henry the eighth at Greenwich. I have before mentioned Skelton's play of MAGNIFICENCE..
dale's WARWICKSHIRE, p. 704. Many HISTORY OF MUSIC, has first printed a orders about Beards occur in the registers Song written by Skelton, alluded to in the of Lincoln's-inn, cited by Dugdale. In CROWNE OF LAWRELL, and fet to music the year 1542, it was ordered, that no mem by William Cornishe, a mufician of the ber, wearing a BEARD, Nould presume to chapel royal under Henry the seventh. dine in the hall. In 1553, says Dugdale, B. i. ch. i. vol. iii. p. 3. Lond. 1776. It “ such as had beards should pay twelve begins, pence for every meal they continued
Ah, beshrew you, by my fay, “ them; and every man to be shaven,
These wanton clarkes are nice alway, &c. upon pain of being put out of commons." Orig. Jurid. cap. 64. p. 244. In 1559, The same diligent and ingenious inquirer no member is permitted to wear any beard has happily illustrated a passage in Skelabove a fortnight's growth; under pain of ton's description of Riot. Ibid. B. iii. expulsion for the third transgression. But
ch. ix. vol. ii. p. 354. the fashion of wearing beards beginning to
Counter he coulde O Lux upon a potte. spread, in 1560 it was agreed at a council, that “ all orders before that time made, That is, this drunken disorderly fellow “ touching BEARDS, Mould be void and could play the beginning of the hymn, O “ repealed." Dugd. ibid. p. 245.
Lux beata Trinitas, a very popular meb In the Mystery of MARY MAGDA lody, and on which many fugues and LENE, just mentioned, one of the stage canons were antiently composed, on a quartdirections is, “ Here enters the prynse of pot at the tavern. See also, ibid. B. i. “ the devylls in a stage, with hell onder ch. vii. p. go. ii. 1. p. 130. “ neth the stage." MSS. Dige. 133. By the way, the abovementioned Wilc Hollinsh. iii. 850.
liam Cornish has a poem printed at the end d It is in Mr. Garrick's valuable col. of Skelton's Works, called a Treatise beledion. No date. 4to. Hawkins, in the Inveen Troathe and Information, containing A a a 2
MORALITIES seem have arrived at their heighth about the close of the seventh Henry's reign'. This sort of spectacle was now so fashionable, that John Rastall, a learned typographer, brother in law to fir Thomas More, extended its province, which had hitherto been confined, either to moral allegory, or to religion blended with buffoonery, and conceived a design of making it the vehicle of science and philosophy. With this view he published, A new INTERLUDE and a mery, of the nature of the iiii Elements, declaringe many proper points of phylosophy naturall and dyvers straunge landys, &c". In the cosmographical part of the play, in which the poet professes to treat of dyvers straunge regyons, and of the new founde landys, the tracts of America recently discovered, and the manners of the natives, are described. The characters are, a Melsenger who speaks the prologue, Nature, Humanity, Studious Desire, Sensual Appetite, a Taverner, Experience, and Ignorance
D. ii. 4:
fome anecdotes of the fate of antient mufic, written while the author was in the Fleet, in the year 1504. MSS. Reg. 18
See Thoresby's Leedes, for Old mufical compositions by several mafiers, among ibem by WILLIAM CORNISH. p. 517: Morley has asligned Cornysh a place in his Catalogue of English musicians. • See supr. p. 206.
Among Mr. Garrick's Old Plays. [Imperf.] i. vol. 3. It was written about 1510, or rather later. One of the characters is NATURE naturate : under which title Bale inaccurately mentions this piece. viii. 75. See Percy, Ess. ENG. STAGE, p. 8. edit. 1767: Who supposes this play to have been written about 1510, from the following lines,
Within this xx yere Weftwarde be founde new landes,
That we never harde tell of before this. The West-Indies were discovered by Columbus in 1492.
& For the sake of connection I will here mention some more of Raftall's pieces. He
was a great writer of INTERLUDES. He has written, “ Of GENTYLNESS AND “ NOBYLYTE. A dyaloge between the “ marchaunt, the knyght, and the plow
man, disputynge who is a veray gentyl
man, and how men muld come to auc“ toryte, compiled in maner of an Inter“ LUDE. With dyvers TOYES and GESTIS '“ addyd therto, to make mery pastyme “ and difport.7. Raftall me fieri fecit." Printed by himself in quarto, without date. Pr. “ O what a gret welth and.” Also, “ A new Commodyte in Englysh in maner “ of an ENTERLUDE ryght clygant and “ full of craft of rhetoryck : wherein is “ Thewed and dyscrybyd, as well the “ beute of good propertes of women, as '" theyr vyces and evyll condicions, with
a morall conclusion and exhortation to “ vertew. J. Rafall me imprimi fecit.” In folio, without date. This is in English verse, and contains twelve leaves. PR. “ Melebea, &c.” He reduced a dialogue of Lucian into English verse, much after the manner of an interlude, viz. “ Necro“ MANTIA. A Dialogue of Lucy
I have before observed, that the frequent and public exhibition of personifications in the PAGEAUNTS, which antiently accompanied every high festivity, greatly contributed to cherish the spirit of allegorical poetry, and even to enrich the imagination of Spenser. The MORALITIEs, which now began to acquire new celebrity, and in which the same groupes of the impersonated vices and virtues appeared, must have concurred in producing this effect. And hence, at the same time, we are led to account for the national relish for allegorical poetry, which so long prevailed among our ancestors. By means of these spectacles, ideal beings became common and popular objects: and emblematic imagery, which at present is only contemplated by a few retired readers in the obsolete pages of our elder poets, grew familiar to the general eye.
6 his fantasy fayned for a mery paffyme, “ &c.-J. Rafall
, me peri fecit.' translated from the Latin, and has Latin notes in the margin. It may be doubted, whether Raftall was not the printer only of these pieces. If the printer only, they might come from the festive genius of his brother fir Thomas More. But Raftall appears to have been a scholar. He was educated at Oxford ; and took up the employment of printing as a profession at that time esteemed liberal, and not unsuitable to the character of a learned and ingenious man. An English translation of Terence, called TERENS in ENGLISH, with a prologue in ftanzas, beginning
The famous renown through the worlde “ is fpronge,” is believed, at least from fimilarity of type, to be by Raftall. In quarto, without date. He published, in 1525, The MERY Gestys of one callyd EDYTH tbe lyeng wydow. This is a description, in English rhymes, of the frauds practised by a female sharper in the neighbourhood of London: the scene of one of her impoftures is laid in fir Thomas More's house at Chelsea. The author, one of her dupes, is Walter Smyth. Emprynted at London af tbe ligne of the Meremaydi at
Pollis gate next to Chepesyde by J. Raftall. fol. It will be sufficient to have given this short incidental notice of a piece which hardly deserves to be named. Raftall wrote and printed many other pieces, which I do not mention, as unconnected with the history of our poetry: I shall only observe further, in general, that he was eminently skilled in mathematics, cosmography, history, our municipal law, and theology. He died 1536.
And of Shakespeare. There is a parSage in ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, where the metaphor is exceedingly beautiful ; but where the beauty both of the expression and the allusion is lost, unless we recollect the frequency and the nature of these shews in Shakespeare's age. Act iv. Sc. xi. I muft cite the whole of the context, for the fake of the last hemistich.
s E c T. XVI.
which the fluctuations of genius are surveyed, and the dawnings or declensions of taste must alike be noticed, it is impossible that every part of the subject can prove equally splendid and interesting. We have, I fear, been toiling for some time through materials, not perhaps of the most agreeable and edifying nature. But as the mention of that very rude species of our drama, called the MORALITY, has incidentally diverted our attention to the early state of the English stage, I cannot omit so fortunate and seasonable an opportunity of endeavouring to relieve the weariness of my reader, by introducing an obvious digression on the probable causes of the rise of the MYSTERIES, which, as I have before remarked, preceded, and at length produced, thefe allegorical fables. In this respect I shall imitate those map-makers mentioned by Swift, who
O'er inhospitable downs,
Nor shall I perhaps fail of being pardoned by my reader, if, on the same principle, I should attempt to throw new light on the history of our theatre, by pursuing this enquiry through those deductions which it will naturally and more immediately suggeft.
About the eighth century, trade was principally carried on by means of fairs, which lasted feveral days. Charlemagne established many great marts of this fort in France; as did William the conqueror, and his Norman successors, in