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whom all sharp sounds are unpleasant; and secondly, we may attribute much of it to the peevishness of his age, or the wayward authority of an old man in his own house?! As if it could strengthen his argument, Dryden repeated a tradition imparted to him by 'diverse persons, that Ben Johnson was actually acquainted with such a man, one altogether as ridiculous as he is here represented'.

Upton and Whalley also attacked the character of Morose. It was in defending him against these students of Jonson that Gifford charged them with mistaking Jonson's meaning. Morose's dislike of noise is an accidental quality altogether dependent upon the masterpassion, or "humor,” a most inveterate and odious selflove. This will explain his conduct in many places where it has been taxed with inconsistency, and vindicate the deep discernment of the poet 2.'

We choose to think of Morose thus : to take him, despite his ridiculousness, to a certain extent seriously; to place him, because of the mental and moral source of his ridiculousness, with legitimate comic characters. He may be adequately understood through his speech and actions in the comedy of which he is the central figure, and to understand a character is to recognize it as true to nature. If it can be traced home to that fountain-head, and if the circumstances which effect its development act upon it in consonance with its real "humor”, all has been done which can be done by dramatic characterization 3.'

Sir John Daw and Sir Amorous La-Foole are the greatest triumphs in character-drawing that the comedy affords. In the first Jonson shows the irresistibly comic aspects of the garrulous, ignorant, would-be poet and statesman, who 'buys titles, and nothing else of bookes in him', who has no reverence for the achievements of scholar or artist, but proclaims his own virtues with harmless insistence. In the Essays, ed. Ker, p. 1. 83 ff.

? Jonson's IV'orks 3. 399. 3 Ward, Hist. of Eng. Dram. Lit. 2. 405.

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second is ridiculed the courtier whose love of feminine society and the family name incite him to plan continual festivities, invite his guests'aloud, out of his windore', and 'giue 'hem presents ... to be laught at'. Both are types of extreme cowardice, and the picture Jonson has drawn of them in the famous scene in Act 4, where they are ready to give 'any satisfaction, sir, but fighting', is immortal. John Daw in his madrigal scene is reminiscent of Mathew?; in his criticisms of the ancients, of Tucca and Ovid Senior; in his knowledge of titles, of Clove 3 ; while Asotus is his legitimate ancestor, letting Crites call him without rebuke Fack-daw 4; and Madrigal inherits his qualities of a bad versifier and worse critic 5. Jonson had grown practised in making 'braveries' also, before he reached the height of his success in Amorous, whose weakness for the ladies had been the 'humour' of Fastidious Brisk, and whose slavery to fashion had been shared by Mathew, Sogliardo, and Asotus. Jonson uses both Daw and La-Foole as vehicles for his satire on the gallants of the day--their extravagant habits of speech and dress, their attempted witticisms, assumed melancholy, and various affectations.

There is not space for all the diverse and admirable characters of Epicæne to be discussed, but a word is due to the ‘ladies-collegiates' upon whose periwigged and pomatumed heads Jonson poured his most humiliating satire. This group of women represent various social spheres, but they are all satirized for ungrounded pretention to knowledge and worldly position, for their manifold affectations, and their frankly profligate behavior. To identify the organizations aimed at in the new foundation', is as unnecessary as it is impossible, but it is agreed that women's clubs existed, as Ward says, 'devoted to the pursuit of a very undesirable course of education'.. Colman asserts that in his day they were to be found in London, and Gifford's account of the matter is that 'some combinations of the kind'existing at the time Epicæne was written were exposed with such overwhelming contempt that 'no traces of them, as here drawn, are ever afterwards discoverable. Our days have witnessed an attempt to revive the “collegiates”but this was a water-suchy club, merely ridiculous; and so unsubstantial as not to require the clarion of the cock, but “to melt into thin air" at the twittering of a wren'?. Later, Molière exposed with a lighter touch, but with much the same fearlessness and unmitigated derision, the pedantry and affectations of the women of his generation. But he did not, like Jonson, depict unmoral beings. Jonson's lack of sympathetic insight is always apparent in his portrayal of women, and never more so than here. These heartless, soulless ladies bustle through the comedy, conciliating the men, and betraying one another, professedly searching for admiration. There is not an alleviating quality to divide among the group, unless it be found in the broadly comical character of Mrs. Otter, who is after all only a pretender to the 'college honours'. She is an excellent foil for the exquisite ladies, and her awkward attempts to imitate them, her ignorance, and her highflown language, make her a natural and not unwholesome comic figure.

1 Every Man In 4. I, p. 99.
3 Every Man Out 3. I, p. 95.
5 S. of News 4. I, p. 255.

Poet, 1. 1, p. 380.

Cyn. Rev. 5. 2, p. 323. . Hist, of Eng. Dram. Lit. 2. 366.

When we come to the question whether Epicæne belongs to comedy, or to farce, we must recognize that the classification depends on the interpretation given these words. There is no doubt that Jonson, working with classic models in mind, intended to produce a pure comedy 3. Modern love of exactness has given to the · Supra, p. xix.

Jonson's Works 3. 481. s Aristotle, Poetics, ed. Butcher, 5. 21: 'An imitation of people of mean type, having some defect or ugliness not painful.' Sidney, Defense of Poesy, ed. Cook, p. 28: 'An imitation of the common errors of our life, which he representeth in the most ridiculous and scornful sort that may be, so as it is impossible that any beholder can be content to be such a one.'

lower sorts of comedy the name farce, where, however, according to the latest dictionary definition of the term, Epicæne does not belong? As dramatic critics, Dryden? and Schlegel 3 have left other opinions of the exact nature of farce, the former making it depend on the characterization, the latter on the plot and the dramatist's attitude toward his work. Under Dryden's definition Epicæne would be comedy, under Schlegel's it, and all comedies of satire, would be farce. But classification is, after all, of secondary importance, and may change as tastes and ideas change. What is important is the unalterable character of the drama itself—a comedy built on classic models, developing a carefully planned intrigue, exhibiting studies in 'humour' and the manners of early seventeenth century London, satirizing contemporary follies as intellectually and socially rather than morally awry, and because of an abnormal weakness in its central character, introducing into the action an unusual amount of low comedy.


1 N. E. D.: 'A farce is a dramatic work (usually short) which has for its sole object to excite laughter.' Essays,

ed. Ker, 1. 135: "The persons and actions of a farce are all unnatural, and the manners false.' 'Farce consists of forced humours, and unnatural events.'

: Dram. Art and Lit., p. 181: ‘If the poet plays in a sportive humour with his own inventions, the result is farce'; p. 311: Whatever forms a singular exception, and is only conceivable amid an utter perversion of ideas, belongs to the arbitrary exaggeration of farce.'





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