« 上一頁繼續 »
OVERBURy’s ‘VERY WOMAN.” 183
Where being now enlightened, she doth know The truth of all argue of below. Only this dust doth here in pawn remain, That, when this world dissolves, she come again.' His ‘Very Woman' is amongst the wittiest of his “Characters.’ “She is marriageable and fourteen at once, and after she doth not live but tarry;' like the young French ladies who never exceed eighteen. “She reads her face every morning, and sometimes blots out pale, and writes red. She thinks she is fair, though many times her opinion goes alone, and she loves her glass, and the knight of the sun, for lying. She is hid away, all but her face, and that's hung about with toys and devices, like the sign of a tavern, to draw strangers. She is a man’s ‘walking consumption, when single. ‘Her next part, the marriage state, shows her as a wife and mother.
‘Her devotion is good cloaths, they carry her to church, ex
press their stuff and fashion, and are silent.” If she be more devout, she lifts up a certain number of eyes instead of prayers, and takes the sermon, and measures out a nap by it, just as long. She sends religion afore to Sixty, where she never overtakes it, or “drives it before her again –she is, at last, ‘delivered to a chair, and old age, where everybody leaves her.’
‘The Courtier' is, “to most men's thinking, a man, and to most men the finest; all things else are defined by this understanding, but this by the sense; but his surest mark is that he is to be found only about princes. He knows no man that is not generally known. His wit, like the marygold, openeth with the sun; and, therefore, he riseth not before ten of the clock.” “He follows nothing but inconstancy, admires nothing but beauty, honours nothing but fortune, loves nothing. The substance of his discourse is news, and his censure, like a shot, depends upon the charging. He is not, if he be out of Court; but, fish-like, breathes destruction if out of his own element. Neither his motions nor aspect are regular, but he moves by the upper spheres, and is the reflection of higher substances.’
184 His ‘AFFECTED TRAVELLER.’
“If you find him not here, you shall in Paul's, with a toothpick in his hat, a cape-cloak, and a long stocking.’ “An Affected Traveller' is a ‘speaking fashion; he hath taken care to be ridiculous, and hath seen more than he hath perceived. His attire speaks friend or Italian, and his gait says, “Behold me!” He will choak rather than confess beer good drink, and his tooth-pick is a good part of his behaviour.’ ‘A Noble Spirit, hath ‘surveyed and fortified his disposition, and converts all occurrence into experience, between which experience and his reason there is marriage. The issue are his actions.” “He loves glory, scorns shame, and governeth ‘and obeyeth with one countenance, for it comes from one consideration. He calls not the variety of this world chances, for his meditation hath travelled over them, and his eyes, mounted upon his understanding, seeth them as things underneath.’ ‘He licenceth not his weakness to wear fate, but knowing reason to be no idle gift of nature, he is the steersman of his own destiny.” ‘A Fine Gentleman' Overbury compares to a cinnamon tree, whose bark is more worth than his body. “He speaks Euphues not so gracefully as heartily; “he is a calendar of ten years, and marriage rusts him.’ “A Sailor’ is a “pitched piece of reason, caulk'd and tackled, and only studied to dispute with tempests. He is part of his own provision, for he lives ever pickled.” “He sees God's wonders in the deep, but so as they rather appear his playfellows, than stirrers of his zeal. His wisdom is the coldest part about him, for it ever points to the north, and it lies lowest, which makes his valour every tide overflow it. His keel is the emblem of his conscience; till it be split he never repents, then no farther than the land allows him.’ “A Tailor” he defines as a creature made up of shreds that were pared off from lead cases when he was rough cast. “A Puritan' he terms “a diseased piece of apocrypha; bind him to the Bible, and he corrupts the whole text.” “His life
is but a borrowed blast of wind, for between two religions, as between two doors, he is ever whistling.” “His faith allows him no father, only thus far his pedigree is known.” “Where the gate stands open he is ever seeking a stile, and where his learning ought to climb, he creeps through; give him advice, you run into traditions; and urge a modest course, he cries out, Counsels.’ “A Meer Common Lawyer’ ‘is a Materia Prima, informed by reports, actuated by statistics, and hath his motion by the favourable intelligences of the Court. His law is always furnished with a commission to arraign his conscience, but upon judgment given he usually sets it at large.’ ‘The Meer Fellow of a House, already quoted, ‘the distaste of the times, and the ‘Fantastic young Gallant’ are all excellent. ‘The Ordinary Widow, who is like the “herald's hearse-cloth,” is a specimen of bitter and coarse satire. ‘The Server to many Funerals’ is like the herald's hearse-cloth with a very little altering the colour. The end of her husband begins in tears, the end of her tears begins in a husband. These are but few of Sir Thomas Overbury's ‘Characters,' but they will show, at any rate, the nature of the work, and there were no doubt some personalities conveyed in the Essays, which raised up enemies to this unfortunate man.
MASQUES ; THEIR POPULARITY DURING JAMES THE FIRST's REIGN. — ANECDOTE OF SHAKESPEARE AND DAVENANT.-BEN JONSON ; HIS UNPOPULARITY AS A DRAMATIST.-SUCCESS OF HIS MASQUES.—HIS ‘HYMENEI” AND ‘MASQUE OF QUEENS ’ PERFORMED BEFORE THE courT.—THE ENGLISH STAGE owes THE CLASSICAL DRAMA TO JONSON.—QUARRELS OF JONSON AND INIGO JONES.— SHAKESPEARE AND JONSON.—THE CLUB IN THE DEVIL TAVERN.—TEIE TONE OF LITERATURE IN THE TIME OF ELIZABETH AND CHARLES II.