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The pageants thus performed by the tion of Jerusalem. The Smiths applied to Guilds of Coventry were of various subjects, one who had been educated in their own but all scriptural. The Smith's pageant town, in the Free School of Coventry, and was the crucifixion; and most curious are who in 1584 belonged to St. John's, Oxford, their accounts, from 1449 till the time of to write this new play for them. The folwhich we are speaking, for expenses of hel- lowing entry appears in the city accounts: mets for Herod, and cloaks for Pilate; of

“Paid to Mr Smythe of Oxford the xyth daye tabards for Caiaphas, and gear for Pilate's

of aprill 1584 for hys paynes for writing of the of a staff for the Demon, and beard

tragedye--xiij', vj', viija." for Judas. There are payments, too, to a man for hanging Judas, and for cock-crow- We regret that this play, so liberally paid ing. The subject of the Cappers' pageant for when compared with subsequent paywas the Resurrection. They have charges ments to the Jonsons and Dekkers of the for making the play-book and pricking the true drama, has not been preserved. It songs; for money spent at the first rehearsal would be curious to contrast it with the and the second rehearsal ; for supper on the beautiful dramatic poem on the same subplay-day, for breakfasts and for dinners. ject, by an accomplished scholar of our own The subject of the Drapers' pageant was day, also a member of the University of Oxthat of Doomsday; and one of their articles ford. But the list of characters remains, of machinery sufficiently explains the cha- which shows that the play was essentially racter of their performance—“A link to set historical, exhibiting the contests of the the world on fire,” following “Paid for the Jewish factions as described by Josephus. barrel for the earthquake.” We may readily The accounts manifest that the play was got believe that the time was fast approaching up with great magnificence in 1584; but it when such pageants would no longer be was not played again until 1591, when it tolerated. It is more than probable that was once more performed along with the the performances of the Guilds were origin- famous Hock Tuesday. It was then ordered ally subordinate to those of the Grey Friars; that no other plays whatever should be perperhaps devised and supported by the paro- formed; and the same order, which makes chial clergy*. But when the Church be- this concession “at the request of the Comcame opposed to such representations—when, mons," directs “ that all the May-poles that indeed, they were incompatible with the now are standing in this city shall be taken spirit of the age—it is clear that the efforts down before Whitsunday next, and none of the laity to uphold them could not long hereafter to be set up.” In that year Cobe successful. They would be certainly per- ventry saw the last of its pageants. But formed without the reverence which once

Marlowe and Shakspere were in London, belonged to them. Their rude action and building up something more adapted to that simple language would be ridiculed ; and, age; more universal: dramas that no change when the feeling of ridicule crept in, their of manners or policies can destroy. nature would be altered, and they would be

The Chester Mysteries,' which appear come essentially profane. There is a very greatly to have resembled those of Coventry, curious circumstance connected with the were finally suppressed in 1574. Archdeacon Coventry pageants, which shows the struggle Rogers, who in his MSS. rejoices that such that was made to keep the dramatic spirit a cloud of ignorance” would be no more of the people in this direction. In 1584 the seen, appears to have been an eye witness of Smiths performed, after many preparations their performance, of which he has left the and rehearsals, a new pageant, the Destruc- following description :--(See Markland’s ‘In

troduction to a Specimen of the Chester * It is clear, we think, that the pageants performed by Mysteries.') the Guilds were altogether different from the ‘Ludus

They weare divided into 24 pagiantes Coventriæ,' which Dugdale expressly tells us were performed by the Grey Friars.

according to the cöpanyes of the Cittie; and

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every companye broughte forthe theire pa- | maior, and before that was donne the seconde giant, wcb was the cariage or place wch the came; and the firste went into the Waterplayed in; and before these playes weare gate Streete, and from thense unto Bridge played, there was a man wch did ride, as I Streete, and so one after an other 'till all take it, upon St Georges daye throughe the the pagiantes weare played appoynted for Cittie, and there published the tyme and the the firste daye, and so likewise for the matter of the playes in breeife: the weare seconde and the thirde daye. These pagiantes played upon Mondaye, Tuesday, and Wense- or carige was a hyghe place made like a daye in. Whitson weeke. And thei first be- howse with 2 rowmes, beinge open on the ganne at the Abbaye gates; and when the tope; the lower rowme theie apparrelled and firste pagiante was played at the Abbaye dressed themselves, and the higher rowme gates, then it was wheled from thense to the theie played, and thei stoode upon vi Pentice, at the hyghe Crosse, before the wheeles.”



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We have very distinct evidence that stories but none comes away reformed in manners. from the Sacred Scriptures, in character per- And of all abuses this is most undecent haps very little different, from the ancient and intolerable, to suffer holy things to be Mysteries, were performed upon the London handled by men so profane, and defiled by stage at a period when classical histories, interposition of dissolute words.” (Page 103.) romantic legends, and comedies of intrigue, Those who have read the ancient Mysteries, attracted numerous audiences both in the and even the productions of Bishop Bale capital and the provinces. At the period which appeared not thirty years before which immediately preceded the true drama this was written, will agree that the players there was a fierce controversy on the sub- ought not wholly to have the blame of the ject of theatrical exhibitions; and from the “interposition of dissolute words.” But unvery rare tracts then published we are en- questionably it was a great abuse to have abled to form a tolerably accurate estimate “ histories of the Bible set forth on the of the character of the early theatre. In stage;" for the use and advantage of such one of these tracts, which appeared in 1580, dramatic histories had altogether ceased. entitled “A Second and Third Blast of Re- | Indeed, although scriptural subjects might trait from Plaies and Theaters,' we have the have continued to have been represented in following passage:

“ The reverend word of 1580, we apprehend that they were princiGod, and histories of the Bible, set forth on pally taken from apocryphal stories, which the stage by these blasphemous players, are were regarded with little reverence even by so corrupted by their gestures of scurrility, those who were most earnest in their hosand so interlaced with unclean and whorish tility to the stage. Of such a character speeches, that it is not possible to draw any is the very curious play, printed in 1565, profit out of the doctrine of their spiritual entitled 'A pretie new Enterlude, both moralities. For that they exhibit under pithie and pleasaunt, of the story of King laughing that which ought to be taught Daryus, being taken out of the third and received reverendly. So that their au- and fourth chapter of the third book of ditory may return made merry in mind, Esdras.'

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“The Prolocutor” first comes forward to Charity comes in, and reads him a very explain the object of “The worthy Enter- severe lecture upon the impropriety of his tainment of King Daryus :”.

deportment. It is of little avail; for two

friends of Iniquity-Importunity and Par“Good people, hark, and give ear awhile, For of this enterlude I will declare the style. drive Charity off the stage. Then Equity

tiality—come to his assistance, and fairly

enters to take up the quarrel against A certain king to you we shall bring in Whose name was Darius, good and virtuous;

Iniquity and his fellows; but Equity is This king commanded a feast to be made,

no match for them, and they all make way And at that banquet many people had.

for King Darius. This very long scene has

nothing whatever to do with the main acAnd when the king in counsel was set

tion of the piece, or rather what professes to Two lords commanded he to be fet,

be its action. Its tediousness is relieved by As concerning matters of three young men;

the Vice, who, however dull was his profligacy, Which briefly showed their fantasy then: contrived to make the audience laugh by the In writings their meanings they did declare, whisking of his tail and the brandishing of And to give them to the king they did not his sword, assisted no doubt by some wellspare.

known chuckle like that of the Punch of our

own days. King Darius, however, at length Now silence I desire you therefore,

comes with all his Council; and most capiFor the Vice is entering at the door.”

tal names do his chief councillors bear, not The stage-direction then says, “ The Pro- unworthy to be adopted even in courts of logue goeth out and Iniquity comes in." greater refinement—Perplexity and Curiosity. This is “the formal Vice Iniquity” of The whole business of this scene of King ‘Richard III.;' the “Vetus Iniquitas” of Darius is to present a feast to the admiring 'The Devil is an Ass;' the Iniquity with spectators. Up to the present day the a “wooden dagger,” and “a juggler's jerkin English audience delights in a feast, and with false skirts,” of “The Staple of News.' will endure that two men should sit upon But in the interlude of 'Darius' he has less the stage for a quarter of an hour, uttering complex offices than are assigned him by the most unrepeatable stupidity, provided Gifford—“to instigate the hero of the piece they seem to pick real chicken-bones and to wickedness, and, at the same time, to pro- drink real port. The Darius of the intertect him from the devil, whom he was per- lude feasted whole nations—upon the repremitted to buffet and baffle with his wooden sentative system; and here Ethiopia, Persia, sword, till the process of the story required Judah, and Media eat their fill, and are very that both the protector and the protected grateful. But feasts must have their end; should be carried off by the fiend, or the and so the curtain closes upon the eaters, latter driven roaring from the stage by some and Iniquity “cometh in singing:”miraculous interposition in favour of the re

La, soule, soule, fa, my, re, re, pentant offender.”* The first words which

I miss a note I dare well say: Iniquity utters indicate, however, that he

I should have been low when I was so high; was familiar with the audience, and the I shall have it right anon verily.” audience familiar with him :

Again come his bottle-holders, Importunity How now, my masters ; how goeth the world and Partiality; and in the course of their

now? I come gladly to talk with you.”

gabble Iniquity tells them that the Pope

is his father. Unhappily his supporters go And in a most extraordinary manner he out; and then Equity attacks him alone. does talk; swaggering and bullying as if Loud is their debate; and faster and more the whole world was at his command, till furious is the talk when Constancy and * Ben Jonson's Works, Note on The Devil is an Ass.' Charity come in. The matter, however,

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ends seriously; and, they resolving that it is

“ UPON A STAGE PLAY, WHICH I saw WHEN useless to argue longer with this impenitent sinner, “somebody casts fire to Iniquity,” and

I was A CHILD. he departs in a tempest of squibs and crackers. “ In the city of Gloucester the manner is The business of the play now at length begins. (as I think it is in other like corporations) Darius tells his attendants that the three men that, when players of interludes come to town, who kept his chamber while he slept woke they first attend the mayor to inform him him by their disputing and murmuring, what nobleman's servants they are, and so

to get license for their public playing; and Every man to say a weightier matter than the

if the mayor like the actors, or would show other."

respect to their lord and master, he appoints The subject of their dispute was, what is the them to play their first play before himself strongest thing; and their answers, as we are

and the aldermen and common council of informed by the King's attendants, had been the city; and that is called the mayor's play, reduced to writing :

where every one that will comes in without

money, the mayor giving the players a re“ The sentence of the first man is this,

ward as he thinks fit, to show respect unto Wine a very strong thing is;

them. At such a play my father took me The second also I will declare to you, That the king is stronger than any other

with him, and made me stand between his thing verily; legs, as he sat upon one of the benches,

The The third also I will declare

where we saw and heard very well. Women, saith he, is the strongest of all,

play was called “The Cradle of Security,' Though by women we had a fall.”

wherein was personated a king or some great

prince, with his courtiers of several kinds, Of their respective texts the three young amongst which three ladies were in special men are then called in to make exposition ; grace with him, and they, keeping him in and certainly, whatever defects of manners delight and pleasures, drew him from his were exhibited by the audiences of that day,

graver counsellors, hearing of sermons, and they must have possessed the virtue of pa- listening to good counsel and admonitions, tience in a remarkable degree to have en- that in the end they got him to lie down in abled them to sit out these most prolix

a cradle upon the stage, where these three harangues. But they have an end ; and ladies, joining in a sweet song, rocked him the king declares Zorobabel to be deserv- asleep, that he snorted again, and in the ing of signal honours, in his demonstration

mean time closely conveyed under the clothes that, of all things, woman is the strongest. wherewithal he was covered a vizard like a A metrical prayer for Queen Elizabeth, ut- swine's snout upon his face, with three wire tered by Constancy, dismisses the audience

chains fastened thereunto, the other end to their homes*.

whereof being holden severally by those The most precise and interesting account three ladies, who fall to singing again, and which we possess of one of the earliest of then discovered his face, that the spectator the theatrical performances is from the re- might see how they had transformed him collection of a man who was born in the

going on with their singing. Whilst all this same year as William Shakspere. In 1639

was acting, there came forth of another door R. W. (R. Willis), stating his age to be se- at the farthest end of the stage two old men, venty-five, published a little volume, called the one in blue, with a sergeant-at-arms his • Mount Tabor,' which contains a passage mace on his shoulder, the other in red, with which is essential to be given in any his- a drawn sword in his hand, and leaning with tory or sketch of the early stage :

the other hand upon the other's shoulder, court was in greatest jollity, and then the sion in me, that when I came towards man's foremost old man with his mace stroke a estate it was as fresh in my memory as if fearful blow upon the cradle, whereat all I had seen it newly acted.” the courtiers, with the three ladies and the It would appear from Willis's descripvizard, all vanished; and the desolate prince, tion that “The Cradle of Security' was for starting up barefaced, and finding himself the most part dumb show. It is probable thus sent for to judgment, made a lament- that he was present at its performance at able complaint of his miserable case, and so Gloucester when he was six or seven years was carried away by wicked spirits. This of age. It evidently belongs to that class prince did personate in the moral the of moral plays which were of the simplest wicked of the world ; the three ladies, construction. And yet it was popular long pride, covetousness, and luxury ; the two after the English drama had reached its old men the end of the world and the last highest eminence. judgment. This sight took such impres

and so they two went along in a soft pace, * There is a copy of this very curious production in the

round about by the skirt of the stage, till at Garrick Collection of Plays in the British Museum; and a transcript of Garrick's copy is in the Bodleian Library. last they came to the cradle, when all the



In a later period of the stage, when the men hath decayed, and they are thought actors chiefly depended upon the large sup- to be covetous by permitting their servants, port of the public, instead of receiving which cannot live by themselves, and whom the wages of noblemen, however wealthy for nearness they will not maintain, to live and powerful, the connection of a company on the devotion or alms of other men, passof players with a great personage, whose ing from country to country, from one gentle“servants” they were called, was scarcely man's house to another, offering their service, more than a licence to act without the in- which is a kind of beggary. Who, indeed, terference of the magistrate. But, in the to speak more truly, are become beggars for period of the stage which we are now de- their servants. For commonly the good-will scribing, it would appear that the players men bear to their lords makes them draw were literally the retainers of powerful the strings of their purses to extend their lords, who employed them for their own liberality to them, where otherwise they recreation, and allowed them to derive a would not.” Speaking of the writers of profit from occasional public exhibitions. plays, the same author adds,—“ But some In The Third Blast of Retreat from Plays perhaps will say the nobleman delighteth and Theatres' we have the following pas- in such things, whose humours must be consage, which appears decisive upon this point: tented, partly for fear and partly for com—“What credit can return to the nobleman modity; and if they write matters pleasant to countenance his men to exercise that they are best preferred in Court among the quality which is not sufferable in any com- cunning heads.” In the old play of “The monweal ? Whereas, it was an ancient cus- Taming of a Shrew' the players in the 'Intom that no man of honour should retain duction are presented to us in very homely any man but such as was as excellent in guise. The messenger tells the lordsome one good quality or another, whereby, if occasion so served, he might get his own

“ Your players be come, living. Then was every nobleman's house a And do attend your honour's pleasure here." commonweal in itself. But since the retaining of these caterpillars the credit of noble- | The stage-direction then says,

“ Enter two



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