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entered at an early age of Christ-church college, and having taken his degree of Master of Arts, was appointed archdeacon of the diocese of Oxford. He died in 1661, leaving " behind him," says Langbaine, " the character of a general scholar, a good preacher, a skilful philosopher, and an excellent poet." Holiday is better known for his translations of Juvenal and Persius, illustrated with learned notes, than for his other works, which consist of sermons; Philosophic politico-barbara Specimen, de Anima, 1635; Orbis terrarum inspectio, 1661; and the above comedy. The drama is allegorical, the actors being, Polites, a magistrate; Physica, and Astronomia, her daughter; Ethicus, an old man; and (Economa, his wife; Geographus, a traveller and courtier; and Phantastes, his servant; Geometres, Arithmetica, Logicus, and Phlegmaticus, his man; Grammaticus, a schoolmaster, and Choler, his usher; Poeta, and Melancholico, his man; Historia, Rhetorica, Musica, Medicus, and Sanguis, his man; Causidicus,Magus,and Astrologia,his wife; andPhysiognomus and Cheiromantes, two gypsies—a very efficient corps of actors to edify, if not to please, the gownsmen of Oxford, and all attired in a goodly and appropriate fashion. Astronomia, for instance, is "in an azure gown and a mantle seeded with stars; on her head a tiara, bearing on the front the seven stars, and behind, stars promiscuously; on the right side the sun, on the left the moon, in gloves and white pumps."—" Geometres, in a coloured hat, ascending in a pyramidal form, with a square in it instead of a feather," &c. and so the rest. Astronomia is the brilliant heroine of the piece—the heaven to which Geographus desires to travel, of which Geometres endeavours to take the measure, and in which Poeta sighs to repose. On the other hand, Arithmetica has a more legitimate passion for Geometres, and Historia is in arms to be related to Poeta.—Grammaticus, in an amorous mood, solicits Rhetorica, whose flowers bloom only for Logicus. These conflicting attachments, as might be expected, cause some confusion in the commonwealth of learning. Each of the enamoured personages endeavours to obtain the object of his affection: Geographus is assisted by the influence of Polites; Magus conjures, with all the mystery of his art, in favour of Geometres; and Poeta woos under the auspices of the nine muses. Polites is at length forced to interfere for the purpose of composing the unquiet members of the commonwealth. Physiognomus and Cheiromantes, having picked the poet's pocket, (in which, however, the only booty is an Anacreon, and a purse containing a translation from the Teian bard) are sentenced, the first to be branded on the face for a rogue, that every body may know him by his physiognomy; and the other in the hand, and, together with Magus and Astrologia, (who had attempted to poison Astronomia) are banished the commonwealth of the Sciences. Geographus, having discarded his servant Phantastes, is married to Astronomia; Arithmetica is united to Geometres; Grammaticus becomes master of Rhetorica; Melancholico obtains the hand of Musica, and receives Phantastes into his service; and Logicus, being a dry, heartless sort of fellow, is left without a mate, and becomes an assistant to Polites. And thus is harmony restored amongst the sciences. There is considerable ingenuity displayed in the invention, and many strokes of wit in the dialogue of this piece, mingled with some humorous satire on the professors of the sciences represented. Geographus, amongst many veracious relations, swears that he has heard a man speak six languages at the same instant; " with his tongue, he'd vowel you out as smooth Italian as any man breathing; with his eye, he would sparkle forth the proud Spanish; with his nose, blow out most robustuous Dutch; the creaking of his high-heeled shoe would articulate exact Polonian; the knocking of his shin-bones feminine French; and his belly would grumble most pure and scholarlike Hungary."
Phlegmatico is habited " in a pale russet suit; on the back whereof was expressed one filling a pipe of tobacco; his hat beset round about with tobacco-pipes: with a can of drink hanging at his girdle." He enters, exclaiming, " 'Fore Jove, most meteorological tobacco! pure Indian! not a jot sophisticated: a tobacco-pipe is the chimney of perpetual hospitality. 'Fore Jove, most metropolitan tobacco!" and then breaks out very unphlegmatically, into the following jovial song, in praise of The Plant.
"Tobacco's a musician,
It descends in a close,
Through the organ of the nose,
This makes me sing So, ho, ho; So, ho, ho, boys,
Earth ne'er did breed
Such a jovial weed
"Tobacco is a lawyer,
His pipes do love long cases:
When our brain it enters,
Our feet do make indentures,
This makes me sing So, ho, &c.
Tobacco's a physician,
Good both for sound and sickly:
Tis a hot perfume
That expels cold rheum,
This makes me sing, &c.
Tobacco is a traveller
Come from the Indies hither;
It pass'd sea and land
Ere it came to my hand,
This makes me sing, &c.
Tobacco is a critic,
That still old paper turneth;
Whose labour and care
Is as smoke in the air,
This makes me sing, &c.
Tobacco's an ignis fatuus,
That leads men about
Till the fire be out,
This makes me sing, &c.
Tobacco is a whiffler,
And cries huff snuff with fury;
His pipe's his club and link;
He's the visor that does drink;
This makes me sing—So, ho, ho; So, ho, ho, boys,
Earth ne'er did breed
Such a jovial weed,
Poeta and his man having quarrelled and fought with Grammaticus and Logicus, the former soliloquizes on their ingratitude.
"O, the serpentine ingratitude of man! that these snakes, whom I have nourished in my bosom, should now sting me! This Logicus, a base, dry-brained, kecks-witted clinch-fist, not long ago, perceiving his fortunes to be brought to a desperate precipitation, through the incomprehensible difficulty of his artless curiosities, most fawningly
VOL. VIII. PART II. Y
embosoms himself into my acquaintance, upon a former consideration of my alluring faculty; and in the dusty terms of some cobweb eloquence, blunderingly stammered out his extreme, his extreme wants: for he had only so much enforced rhetoric, as to bring out those words twice, and so by chance light upon a sorry figure; then brutishly he expressed the rest, rather by crying than speaking; (and indeed he had no more moisture else in him, than only to bewail his own misery) when asking what was his request, he answered, that I would turn his unpleasant rules into pleasant verse. I straight, out of the open freeness of my nature and an effuse goodness, prevented the repetition of his suit, by a quick consent; thereupon set myself a-work, and after some travel performed it:—some travel, I say j for, by the nine muses, I think I was above nine months in travel with that monstrous birth. If one but consider what splay-footed verses they were, a man would swear that some infernal hag, not a muse (though unwilling) had been the mother of them; which unhappy labour, when I had shewed unto him, the reviving wretch falls on his knees, admires the work, calls me the iEsculapius of his salvation, and, with hands lifted up, vows to pay his vows at the muses' altar: that I now more admired at his admiration, than at the deformities of mine own work; for, by Jove, they are such unblest, such unlucky verses, that, besides the loss of custom, which they may justly procure the author, they are able to make a man be suspected for a conjuror; there wants nothing but a circle to make a complete conjuration. * * * Well, he enjoys them; and upon the happiness of this success, came Grammaticus to me with the like suit: 'faith I did it, and cast most of his rules likewise into verse; but, by Jove, since the proud schoolmaster has showed himself thus ungracious and stiff-necked towards me, I'll be even with him; and now I think on't, there's all his Syntaxis yet to do; but by this hand, if ever I turn line of it into verse, let me hereafter be a mere Heteroclite, and the very Aptoton of a fool, per omnes casus."
The description which Poeta gives of Astronomia is not only novel, but ingenious.
"Her brow is like a brave heroic line,
Her chin is an adonik; and her tongue
Is an hypermeter, somewhat too long.
Her arms, like two iambicks, rais'd on high,
Ethicus invites Poeta, Grammaticus, and Logicus, to a feast, in order to make up their disagreement. The following extract will shew the more peculiar style of this drama.
"Ethic, Here, Logicus, you shall drink to Poeta.
"Logic. I accept your proposition, sir; Poeta, to set a conclusion to our former dissentions, and to make a plain demonstration of reconcilement, I drink to you.
"Poet. With the most ingenuous freedom of a poet, I accept it: Grammaticus, that our contention, ending in love, may make a tragiccomedy, I drink to you.
"Gram. I protest to you, sir, I do put all former wrongs in the prseter-plu-perfect tense, and am glad of this happy conjunction, and that we are all of us in such a merry mood: but by the way, my masters, these noun-adjectives of the feminine gender sit all this while un-drunk to: Astronomia—
"Astron. In truth, Grammaticus, I am not in case to pledge you: I pledg'd Astrologia even now, and I am not since half well.
"Arith. If you count again, you shall find that I drunk last.
"Gram. Rhetorica—here's to moisten your eloquent tongue.
"Rhet. An eloquent tongue is never dry; Astrologia will pledge you for me.
"Astrol. In troth I have been drinking my belly full of nectar; but just now, my thoughts were upon the present conjunction of Mars and Venus.
"Poet. Why how now, Grammaticus! who do you drink to? faith thou art now a noun-substantive, indeed, for thou stand'st alone by thyself, without being join'd to any of these adjectives.
"Gram. Nay, do not you jest.
"Poet. What, dost thou make a jester of me?
"Mag. Nay, I conjure you both, by our present meeting, that you go not out of the circle of harmless mirth.
"Poet. Methinks I see a direct line pass from the eye of Geometres to Astronomia's.
"Mag. Nay, will you, Poeta? you make Astronomia blush.
"Poet. Some aqua-vitse, I say, for Geometres.
"Mag. Why, Poeta?
"Poet. Why, he's a dying I think, his eyes are fix'd in's head already.
"Mag. It may be, Poeta, you measure Geometres his looks by your own.
"Poet. Methinks I see a direct line pass from the eye of Geometres to Astronomia's."