Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

By gods bread thou sayest trouth

Dirisio. But this to help we must not vse slouth. No and therfore harke me to an ende

Iniuri. Thou and I shall thys matter defende For thou shalt to Albyon a messenger bee And say thou were present when principalitie With Justyce fell at great debate When that his message he dyd delate From Albio and tel him that principalitie in no wyse His will with equytie will graunt to exercyse But that the law should be but after his lykyng And every wryt after hys entytelyng And that his will who ever lyst to stryfe Shuld be the best part for hys prerogatyfe And than they both sodeinly uppon thys In great rages departed iwys Wherfore Justice said I am in such confusyon That I am a shamed to turne againe to Albyon And when this message thou hast done soberly Tell hym thy name is Polysy. What the devill meanest thou by that

Dirisio. Shuld I decemble from a wyld cat That euer before thys haue vsed patchyng And now to play the wise man and leaue scratching.

Why horson it is a poynt of hye madnes Iniuri, For a tyme to desemble sadnes And though thou be all redy as mad as a harte Yet will I make thee madder then thou arte. Well say on then

Dicisio. Mary then euen thus I say

Iniuri, When that to Albion thou hast taken thy way And done thy message as thee I bad He wyll for a while be pensife and sad And hee will aske thyne advise Then must thou dissemble tlıy selfe wyse

I make god a vowe that is unpossyble

Dirisio. That I and wysdome shuld knyt in one quyneble Or in my braine to print such abusyon That wysdome and I shuld be in one conclusion For when I was yonge my mother charged mee And said beware wyt son though thou neuer thee. And I am not disposed to chaunge much Iniuri.

your lyve But here me speke an end though you neuer thrive

Well say on then and tell mee what counsell Dirisio. I shall geve Albion that may sound well To both our profits that wolde I know.

Thou shalt teche him a wronge crosse row And tell him best it is after thine advise With myrth and prodigalitie him to exercyse And take of his owne good while he maye Lest all at last be brybid awaye

P.S. Since the above was transcribed, I have found that a drama called “ Albion” is included in Kirkman's list, published shortly after the Restoration. It was very likely a much more modern production than “ Albion, Knight,” and Aurelian Townshend was the author of a Masque entitled “ Albion's Triumph,” printed in 1631.

J. P. C.

Art. XV.-Shakespeare's Puck.

It strikes the writer that a passage in one of Thomas Nash's rare tracts, in his possession, will form an interesting illustration of the following lines in “ Midsummer Night's Dream,” act ii., scene 1:

Fairy. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Call’d Robin Good-fellow. Are you not he,
That frights the maidens of the villagery,
Skims milk, and sometimes labours in the quern,
And bootless makes the breathless housewife churn,
And sometimes makes the drink to bear no barm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck."

The illustrative passage referred to is contained in “The Terrors of the Night,” a tract by Nash, printed in 1594, which may give some support to the opinion of Mr. Halliwell that “Midsummer Night's Dream” was written about that year.

It does not seem that the following, which is copied literally from the original now before me, has ever been met with by the commentators.

“ The Robin-good-fellowes, Elfes, Fairies, Hobgoblins of our latter age, which idolatrous former daies, and the phantastical world of Greece, yeleped Fawnes, Satyres, Dryades, and Hamadryades, did most of their merry prankes in the night. Then ground they malt, and had hempen shirts for their labours, daunst in rounds in greene meadows, pincht maids in their sleep that swept not their houses cleane, and led poor travellers out of their way notoriously."

In his “ Introduction to Midsummer Night's Dream," printed in 1841.

Of course the words “then ground they malt” convey the same as what Shakespeare means by “and sometimes labours in the quern,” the “quern ” being a hand-mill used of old in the triturition of malt and flour, but especially the former. In one of the Shakespeare Society's publications (John Northbrooke's " Treatise against Dicing, Dancing, Plays, and Interludes,") the following explanatory words will be found : “ Histories report that he (Plautus) was brought into such povertie, that he was fayne to serve a baker in turning a querne or handmill to get his living.” This fact Northbrooke adduces as a judgment upon Plautus for having written comedies, and thence he immediately afterwards proceeds to rail against the Theatre and the Curtain, the two houses in Shoreditch, built about 1576 and set apart for dramatic performances.

A BOOK-LOVER.

London, 1811.

---

Art. XVI.—Skeltonical Song, by John Heywood, the dramatist.

[ocr errors]

Any illustration of our old dramatic poetry, or of our ancient stage, I presume, comes within the objects of the Shakespeare Society: I therefore enclose a specimen of what has been termed “Skeltonical verse," by John Heywood, who may,

in some sense, be called the father of our dramatic poetry, since he was the earliest author of productions which are neither “ Miracle-plays,” founded upon Scripture history, nor “Moralities,” consisting of allegorical or abstract impersonations, nor an union of both species of dramatic composition, but are original humorous performances, intended to depict the life and manners of the times in which he flourished—the reign of Henry VIII. In this respect, justice has never been done to John Heywood; and while the comparatively worthless and indecent rhymes of some of his contemporaries have been republished in portly volumes, John Heywood's works, full of variety and interest, have been almost entirely neglected. I hope yet to live long enough to see this deficiency supplied ; and in the mean time I have the less reserve in forwarding the subsequent extract, because the Rev. A. Dyce, in his late edition of “Skelton's Works," and in his enumeration of the writers of “Skeltonical verses," has wholly omitted John Heywood, although one of Skelton's contemporaries. He will probably not object to see this deficiency supplied, which possibly has arisen in some degree out of the undue neglect with which the works of a man, who was unquestionably the greatest dramatic genius of his age, have been treated. My quotation is from John Heywood’s “ Play of Love,” of which there is an edition in the Bodleian Library, “ Printed at London in

יי

« ZurückWeiter »