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Hodge (answers with disdain). Know'st not with what
Tom tailor's man sits broching through a clout? A neele, a neele, my Gammer's neele is gone."
Diccon threatens to shew Hodge a spirit; but though Hodge runs away through pure fear before it has time to appear, he does not fail, in the true spirit of credulity, to give a faithful and alarming account of what he did not see to his mistress, concluding with a hit at the Popish Clergy.
“ By the mass,
I saw him of late call up a great black devil. Oh, the knave cried, ho, ho, he roared and he thunder'd; And ye had been there, I am sure you'd murrainly ha' won
der'd. Gam. Wast not thou afraid, Hodge, to see him in his place? Hodge (lies and says). No, and he had come to me,
should have laid him on his face, Should have promised him.
Gam. But, Hodge, had he no horns to push ?
Painted on a cloth, with a fine long cow's tail,
brother: Look even what face Friar Rush had, the devil had such an
He then adds (quite apocryphally) while he is in for it, that “ the devil said plainly that Dame Chat had got the needle,” which makes all the
disturbance. The same play contains the wellknown good old song, beginning and ending
“ Back and side, go bare, go bare, Both foot and hand
I love no roast, but a nut-brown toast,
And Tib, my wife, that as her life
Back and side go bare, go bare,
Such was the wit, such was the mirth of our ancestors :-homely, but hearty ; coarse per-, haps, but kindly. Let no man despise it, for “Evil to him that evil thinks.” To think it poor and beneath notice because it is not just like ours, is the same sort of hypercriticism that was exercised by the person who refused to read some old books, because they were “such very poor spelling.” The meagreness of their literary or their bodily fare was at least relished by themselves; and this is better than a surfeit or an indigestion. It is refreshing to look out of ourselves sometimes, not to be always holding the glass to our own peerless perfections : and as there is a dead wall which always intercepts the prospect of the future from our view (all that we can see beyond it is the heavens), it is as well to direct our eyes now and then without scorn to the
page of history, and repulsed in our attempts penetrate the secrets of the next six thousand years, not to turn our backs on old long syne !
The other detached plays of nearly the same period of which I proposed to give a cursory account, are Green's Tu Quoque, Microcosmus,
Lingua, The Merry Devil of Edmonton, The Pinner of Wakefield, and the Spanish Tragedy. Of the spurious plays attributed to Shakespear, and to be found in the editions of his works, such as the Yorkshire Tragedy, Sir John Oldcastle, The Widow of Watling Street, &c. I shall say nothing here, because I suppose the reader to be already acquainted with them, and because I have given a general account of them in another work.
Green's Tu Quoque, by George Cook, a contemporary of Shakespear's, is so called from Green the actor, who played the part of Bubble in this very lively and elegant comedy, with the cant phrase of Tu Quoque perpetually in his mouth. The double change of situation between this fellow and his master, Staines, each passing from poverty to wealth, and from wealth to poverty again, is equally well imagined and executed. A gay and gallant spirit pervades the whole of it; wit, poetry, and morality, each take their turn in it. The characters of the two sisters, Joyce and Gertrude, are. very skilfully contrasted, and the manner in which they mutually betray one another into the hands of their lovers, first in the spirit of mischief, and afterwards of retaliation, is quite dramatic. you cannot find in your heart to tell him you love him, I'll sigh it out for you. Come, we little creatures must help one another," says the Madcap to the Madonna. As to style and matter, this play has a number of pigeon-holes full of wit and epigrams which are flying out in almost every sentence. I could give twenty pointed conceits, wrapped up in good set terms. Let one or two at the utmost suffice. A bad hand at cards is thus described. Will Rash says to Scattergood, “ Thou hast a wild hand indeed: thy small cards shew like a troop of rebels, and the knave of clubs their chief leader.” Bubble expresses a truism very gaily on finding himself equipped like a gallant—“How apparel makes a man respected! The very children in the street do adore me." We find here the first mention of Sir John Suckling's “ melancholy hat,” as a common article of wear the same which he chose to clap on Ford's head, and the first instance of the theatrical double entendre which has been repeated ever since of an actor's ironically abusing himself in his feigned character.