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EDITED BY

W. J. LINTON AND R. H. STODDARD

DRAMATIC SCENES

AND

CHARACTERS

NEW YORK

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

1883

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INTRODUCTION.

THE origin of the drama in English Verse must be sought in the twelfth century in the Miracle plays which were then in vogue, and by which the learned clerks who wrote them endeavored to entertain and instruct their unlearned countrymen through the scenic representation of Bible histories and legends of saints and martyrs. The characters in these rude compositions, of which a sufficiency, even for historical purposes, has reached us in the Chester, Coventry, and Wakefield Mysteries, were always actual personages. They were succeeded by a race of allegorical shadows in the Moralities, which began to appear early in the reign of Henry the Sixth, and which lingered upon the stage until after the death of Elizabeth. The golden age of this primitive drama was the reign of Henry the Eighth, and the master-spirits were Skelton and Heywood. Skelton wrote four pieces, one of which, Magnificence, a goodly interlude and a mery, may still be read in his works. It contains eighteen. characters; is about the length of one of Shakespeare's plays; and, if somewhat heavy and inartificial, is not without vigor and earnestness. Heywood wrote

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