« السابقةمتابعة »
brothel; the pope bad bis fool, and the bawd speare; bul, perbaps, a good idea may be ner's; they excited the mirth of kings and beg- formed of their general conduct from a passage gars ; the hovel of the villain and the castle in a curious tract by Lodge, entitled, Wit's of the baron were alike exhilarated by their Miserie, 1599, quarto : "Imoderate and disjokes. With respect to the antiquity of this ordinate joy became incorporate in the bodie custom in England, it appears to have existed of a jeaster; this fellow in person is comely, even during the period of our Saxon history, in apparell courtly, but in behaviour a very but we are certain of the fact in the reign of ape, and no man; his studie is to coin bitter William the Conqueror. Maitre Wace, an jeasts, or to shew antique motions, or lo sing historian of that lime, bas an account of the baudie sonnels and ballads ; give him a little preservation of William's life, when duke of wine in his head, he is continually flearing and Normandy, by his fool, Goles; and, in Domes- making of mouthes : he laughs intemperately day-book, mention is made of Berdia joculator at every little occasion, and dances about the regis; and though this term sometimes denoted house, leaps over tables, out-skips men's heads, a minstrel, evidence might be adduced to trips up his companions' heeles, burns sack prove, that in this instance it signified a with a candle, and hath all the feats of a lord busloon.
of misrole in the countrie: feed him in his The accounts of the household expenses of humour, you shall have his heart; in mere our kings contain many payments and rewards kindness he will hug you in his armes, kisse you 10 fools, both foreign and domestic. Dr. on the cheeke, and rapping out an horrible Fuller, speaking of the court jester, remarks, oath, crie .God's soule, Tum, I love you, you in his usual quaint way; that it is an office which knowe my poore heart, come to my chamber none but he that bath wit can perform, and for a pipe of tobacco, there lives not a man in none but he that wants it will perform. The this world that I more honour.' In these names of many of these buffoons are preserved; ceremonies you shall know his courting, and it they continued an appartenance to the English is a speciall mark of him at lable, he sits and court to a late period. Muckle John, the fool makes faces : keep not this fellow company, for of Charles I., the successor of Archee Arm- in jingling with him, your wardrobes shall be strong, was, perhaps, the last regular personage wasted, your credits crackt, your crownes conof that kind. The downfall of royally, and the sumed, and time (the most precious riches of puritanical manners that came into vogue, the world), utterly lost.” banished this privileged salirist; and, at the As these hirelings required considerable skill Restoration, it was deemed of no moment to and dexterity to please their employers, they restore the office, for the stories told of Killi- sometimes failed of success, and their paucity grew, as jester to Charles II., are without autho- of talents excited disgust. Cardinal Perron, rity. The discontinuance of the court fool being in company with the duke of Mantua, influenced the manners of private life, and from the latter observed of his fool that he was “a one of Shadwell's plays we find, that it was meagre, poor spirited buffoon." The cardinal then unfashionable for the great to retain do- replied that nevertheless he bad wit. “Why mestic fools. Yet the practice was not abolish- so p” demanded the duke: “Because," replied ed; it kept its ground so late as the comence- Perron, “be lives by a trade which he does ment of the last century. Dean Swift wrote not understand.” The license allowed them an epitaph on Dicky Pearce, the earl of Suffolk's was very great, but did not always afford them fool buried in Berkeley churchyard, June 18, protection. Archbishop Laud's disgraceful 1728. Lord Chancellor Talbot kept a Welsh severity to poor Archee is well known. The jester, named Rees Pengelding; he was a duke d'Epernon, though a high-spirited man, shrewd fellow, and rented a farm of his master. conducted himself with much more discretion. The steward, who had been a tailor, and bore Maret, the fool of Louis XIII., wbose chief him a grudge, put in execution for his rent, talent was mimicry, frequently mocked the saying surlily, “I'll fit you, sirrah.” “ Then,” duke's Gascon accent; and Richelieu, who was replied Rees, " it will be the first time in your fond of admonishing him, desired him, among life that you ever filted any one.”
other things, to get rid of bis provincial tones, The entertainment fools were expected to at the same time counterfeiting his speech, and afford, may be collected in great variety from sarcastically begging he would not take the our old plays, especially from those of Shak-advice in ill part. “Why should I?" replied
the duke; “when I bear as much from the breeches close, and frequently each leg of a king's fool, who mocks ine in your presence.” different colour. A hood, like a monk's cowl, Fools, however, did not always escape with covered the head entirely, falling down over impanily. Whipping was the punishment part of the breast and shoulders. It was somecommonly indicted. Hence, in Twelfth Night, times adorned with asses's ears, or terminated Olivia, addressing her jester, says, “ Sirrah, in the neck and head of a cock, a fashion as you shall be whipped.” However, they were old as the fourteenth ce ry. It often had often treated with great tenderness, as is feel the comb or crest only of the animal, whence ingly exemplified in the conduct of Lear. the term cockscomb was afterwards applied to
With regard to the fool's business on the any silly opstart. This fool carried in his hand stage, it was nearly the same as in reality, with a sceptre or bauble, ornamented with a fool's this difference, that the wit was more highly head, a doll, or a puppet. The bauble origiseasoned. In Middleton's Mayor of Quin- nally used in King Lear, was extant so late as borough, a company of actors, with a clown, Garrick's lime, and the figure of it would have make their appearance, and the following been worth preserving. To this instrument dialogue ensues:
was annexed an inflated bladder, with which
the fool belaboured those who offended him, or Ik Cheater. This is our clown, sir. Šiaca....Fye, fye, your company
[i'faith, with whom he was disposed to make sport. Nast fall upon him and beat him; he's too fair, The form of it varied, and was often obscene in
To make the people laugh.
the highest degree. In some old prints, the Simon........Faith, dress him how you will. I'll give him That gift, he will never look half scurvily
fool appears, with a sort of dapper or rattle, enough.
surrounded with bells. This implement was Oh! the clowns that I have seen in my time. The very peeping out of one of them would have
used for the same purpose as the bladder. The Made a young heir laugh though his father lay fool's dagger, occasionally mentioned, was pro
bably the wooden sword of the Vice in the
on it, that's the dagger. In Chapman's Widow's Tears, an thing indeed. Simon...Away then, shift; clown, to thy motley crupper. gilded o'er; and in the Noble Gentleman, a
upstart governor is called "a wooden dagger Those who desire accurate information con- person likened to a fool is desired to wear a cerning the dresses that belonged to the cha- great wooden dagger. racters in question at various periods, should The other dress, which seems to have been consult ancient prints and paintings, parti- most worn in Shakspeare's time, was the long cularly the miniatures that embellish manu- pellicoat, which originally belonged to the idiot scripts. But the difliculty of learoing how the or natural fool, and was adopted for the purpose theatrical fools and clowns of Shakspeare's of cleanliness. How it came into use for the age were alırays habited, is insuperable. In allowed fool, is not so obvious. It was, like tome cases the dramas themselves assist, by the former, of various colours, the materials references which leave little doubt; but this is often rich, as of velvet, and guarded or fringed tot common. Artists formerly did not devote wilh yellow. In one instance we have a yellon much of their time to theatrical subjects; the leather doublet. In Bancroft's Epigrams, 1639, discovery of a single painting of this kind would quarto, there is one addressed “to a giglot be more valuable than a folio of conjectural with her greene sicknesse,” in which are these dissertation. As, however, the costume of the lines: time would in some degree be preserved on the * Thy sicknesse mocks thy pride, that's seldom seene stage, the materials which remain to illustrate
But in foole's yellow, and the lover's greene." the dress of the real fools may supply the defect. And from a manuscript note we learn, that
The garb of domestic fools in Shakspeare's yellow was the foole's colour in the time of the day, was of two sorts. In the first, the coat Commonwealth. vas molley or party-coloured, and altached to Yet the foregoing were not the only modes the body by a girdle, with bells at the skirls and in which domestic fools were habited. The ebons, though not invariably. The hose and hood was occasionally without a coscomb, in
stead of which a bell or bells appeared. A garb for occasions of ceremony. Want of matefeather was frequently added to the comb; and rials to illustrate our subject, renders this part in an old Moralily, the fool says,
of it very imperfect; but the plays of Shak"By my trouth the thing that I desire most speare furnish more information than those of
Is in my cappe to have a goodly feather.” any other writer. It is strange that the domestic In mimicry of a monk's crown, the head was fool should so seldom appear in the old dramas, sometimes shaved, and in one instance the hair because it not merely excited mirth among a is made to represent a triple or papal tiara. rude audience, but gave the author an opporThe garment was often decorated with fox or tunity of shewing his ingenuity in extemporary squirrel lails. In The Pope's Funeral, 1605, wit. It is undeniable, that Shakspeare's fools quarto, we find this passage :-"1 shall prove were pre-eminent above all others. Sbadwell him such a noddy before I leave him, that all declares they had more humour than any of the the world will deeme him worthy to wear in wits and critics of his age. Beaumont and bis forehead a coxcombe for his foolishness, and Fletcher seldom introduce them ; Ben Jonson on his back a fox tayle for his badge.” This and Massinger never. custom was perhaps designed to ridicule a The practice of putling the fools and clowns fashion common among the ladies in the reign in requisition between the acts and scenes, and of Edward III. which is thus alluded to in the after the play was finished, to amuse the specold Chronicle of England :-"And the women talors with their tricks, may be traced to the more nysely yet passed the men in aray and Greek and Roman theatres; and their usages coriouslaker, for they were so streyt clolhed being preserved in the middle ages, wherever that they let hange for tailles sowed bineth the Roman influence had spread, it would not, within bir clothes for to bale and bide their a—; of course, be peculiar to England. The records the which disguysinges and pride, paradventure, of the French theatre demonstrate this fact; afterward brouzt forth and encaused many my- in the Mystery of Saint Barbara, we find this sbappes and meschief in the reame of Englond.” stage direction :-“Pausa. Vadunt, et stullus
Idiots or naturals wore calf ur sheep's skin ; loquitur ;” (A pause. They quit the stage, for in the Gesta Grayorum, 1660, quarto, we and the fool speaks.) and in this way be is read, “The scribe claims the manor of No-frequently brought on between the scenes. verinte, by providing sheep skins and calve The decline of domestic fools, and ils causes, skins to wrappe his highness wards and idiotls have been already touched on ; the same reason in.” A purse or wallet at the waist, was part may, in part, be assigned for their dramatic of the fool's dress. Tarllon, who personaled exile. In the præludium to Goffe's Careless the clowns in Shakspeare's day, appears to have Shepherdess, 1656, quarto, there is a panegyrie worn it ; Triboulet, in Rabelais, is described on them, and some concern is shewn for the as having a budget of lortoise-shell.
fool's absence in the play itself, while it is The fools, however, did not invariably wear stated that “the motley coat was banished a distinguishing habit; this appears from some with trunk-hose.” Yet in Charles II.'s reign, of their portraits still remaining. A painting some efforts were made to restore the character. at Kensington-palace, by Holbein, represents In the tragedy of Thorney Abbey, or the London Will Somers, the fool of Henry VII., in a com- Maid, 1662, 12mo, the prologue is delivered mon dress. In an account of that sovereign's by a fool, who uses these words :—“The poet's wardrobe, are these particulars ;_" For mak- a fool who made the tragedy, to tell a story of ing a doubblelle lyned with canvas and colton a king and a court, and leave a fool out on’t, for William Som’ar, oure foole. llem, for when in Pacey's, and Sommer's, and Patche's making of a coole and a cappe of grene cloche, and Archer's times, my venerable predecessours, fringed with red crule, and a lyned with fryse, a fool was alwaies the principal verb.” Shadfor oure said foole.” But the account goes on well's play of The Woman Caplain, 1680, is thus :—“ltem, for making of a coote of greene perbaps the last in which a regular fool is clothe, with a hoode to the same, fringed with introduced; and even there, his master is made while crule lyned with fryse and bokerham, for to say that the character was exploded on the our foole aforesaid.” From these, we infer stage. In real life, as was formerly stated, the that he also wore the distinctive babit of the professed fool was to be met with at a much fool. In families where the fool acted as a later period, but the custom has long been menial servant, he might have kept his oflicial obsolete.
Perhaps there is no period in the literary | cated round his orbit, like the planetary worlds history of mankind distinguished by so many that revolve and shine round their great source rare examples of real genius, as that which and centre, the sun. Volumes would be reelapsed from the accession of Elizabeth to the quired to do justice to the splendid names alluded commencement of that stormy era which ended to; and, at present, we intend lillle more than in the destruction of royalty. The mind of man, briefly to enumerate some of those mighty mawhich had for ages lain dormant in the sloth of gicians of the heart, whose louch opened all the ignorance and superstition, was, at length, by a food-gates of feeling, and lit up the face with variety of concurring causes, but more especially smiles, or chandelled it with tears at pleasure. by the Reformation, roused lo shake off her To lhe disgrace of our country, some of these trammels, and exert her native energies with intellectual benefactors of their species are sufirresistible force. Beings, that for many cen- fered 10 sleep in the dust of oblivion, but this turies had scarcely deserved the denomination cannot be for ever; they must yet arise in glory of rational, determining once more to choose and strength; for while we acknowledge the their own principles of action, like awakening transcendent genius of Shakspeare we should gianls, emerged from their intellectual prison- not forget his contemporaries. bouse, to espatiate at full freedom over the universe of nature, and the boundless worlds of
SPENSER imagination. Literature, so long confined to the cell and the cloister, extended ils empire, This illustrious poet is, from a variety of and found willing and enthusiastic worshippers, causes, but lillle read, and less understood, at wbere, heretofore, the privilege of mental li- the present day. The allegorical character of berty had been unappreciated and unknown. A his great work, The Fairy Queen, is in itself string of saintly legends, remarkable only for a very unfavourable circumstance for his fame; their folly and extravagance, and composed in since few readers have patience to go through barbarous Latin, or volumes of idle sopnels, a long poem, which has little or no langible crammed with pitiful conceits, uncouthly ex- interest, however beautiful and original the pressed, had been all the aliment supplied to imagery with which it abounds. The crilic will the paralysed intellect; but now, a daring, un- not hesitate to acknowledge ils superlative merit, fettered originality, rise with intense feeling, whether considered as a work of art or a triumph and commanding a wild profusion of ideas of imagination ; but the general reader, while newly dug from the yet anbroached mines of he frequently pauses to admire the inimitable passion and genius, lore away the veil from the grace and delicacy of particular passages, will, boman heart, and published all its wonderful probably, lay down the work with a feeling of secrels, with a fidelity and power which instantly weariness. Yet when we consider the rude slate insured universal altention. No department in which Spenser found the language, and the of literature received so much advantage by the difficulties he must have encountered in adaptchange as the drama. Prior to the time of the ing it to the elaborate species of metre he has first Heywood, we find nothing but the Mys-employed, we shall surely feel that it is impose teries, compositions always puerile and insipid, sible to praise his productions too highly. and sometimes blasphemous; but the light of passion and imagination wbich broke with him,
BEN JONSON. broadened and brightened into the full glory of perfect day, in Sbakspeare, and the brilliant This erudile and excellent dramalist, who host of exalted spirits, that flamed and corrus- was born at Westminster, 1574, had the singular happiness of receiving his education under they are much more correct and classical than the illustrious Camden. His family was repu- Shakspeare's, but they are not so constantly ir table, but his mother marrying a second time, radiated by the beams of genios. Every Man bis step-father, a bricklayer, taught him his own in His Humour is the only one of his plays that trade; and we are informed, on tolerably good retains a place on the stage. Yet Volpone has authority, that a portion of Ben's brick and mor- never been equalled in its way, and Sejanus tar still exists in Chancery-lane. Disgusted breathes of the venerable spirit of antiquity, with this servile employment, be entered the and conjures up before us all the grandeur and army, and served in the low countries with great glory of old Rome. And why are such dramas credit; he soon, however, returned to England, as these consigned to oblivion ? Dryden's chaand completed his studies at Cambridge. A racter of Ben is magnificent; the following pas. mere accident seems to have given a direction sage is admirable and extremely just: "If to bis talents; to procure bread, he joined a would compare him with Shakspeare, I must miserable company of players at the Curtain, acknowledge him the more correct poet, but in Shoreditch; but bis excellence was not to be Sbakspeare the greater wit. Shakspeare was developed here, he remained poor and unno- the Homer or father of our dramatic poets; Jonticed. In a tavern brawl he had the misfortune son was the Virgil, the pattern of elaborate to kill his opponent, and being thrown into writing; I admire him, but I love Shakspeare." prison, languished there a considerable time. It does not appear how he oblained his liberty;
MASSINGER. but he now became the intimale of Shakspeare, whose kindliness of disposition ever prompted This dramatist, second to none but him who him to assist the aspirations of real talent; never had an equal, Shakspeare, was born 1584, and under his auspices, be commenced a dra- and received his education at Oxford. He was matic writer. His success was complete; his singularly modest and unassuming, claiming no annual play was looked for anxiously, and hailed precedence of his associates on account of his affectionately; he became one of the chief orna- lofty endowments, and accepting their praise ments of a stage, ennobled with many kindred more as a favour than a right. He lived long spirits; and however it may be the fashion to and happily; his years glided away in peace, disregard his writings at present, they certainly for they were solaced by the applauses of the abound with excellencies of the highest de- virluous, and the testimony of his own conscription. In 1619, he succeeded Daniel as science. In his old age he reposed in the shade laureat: the salary was only one hundred marks of his laurels, and delighted to direct the enerperanoum; but on Jonson's application in 1630, gies of those young and ardent spirits who were It was increased to 1001. and a lierce of Spanish about to run the race which he had concluded wine, annually. Poor Ben, however, often with honour. He lies buried in the same grave suffered all the pangs incident to want; and with his friend Fletcher, in the church-yard of once, when on a sick bed, in extreme wretched- St. Saviour, Southwark. The following epiness, be pelilioned Charles I. for pecuniary aid. laph is from the poems of Sir Aston Cokain, The monarch sent him ten guineas, on which 1659 : Jonson said, “His majesty bas sent me ten gui
«In the same grave was Fletcher buried, here neas, because I am poor and live in an alley; go Lies the stage poet, Philip Massinger, and tell him that his soul lives in an alley."
Plays they did write together, were great friends,
And now one grave includes them in their ends. Yet, in justice we are bound to state, that So wbom on earth nothing did part, beneath Charles once gave him 1001., tben a large som,
Here in their fame they lie, in spite of death." and the above bitter remark might have been It is quite unaccountable how this author's breathed in the irritation of a wounded spirit. works should have fallen into neglect, since a Jonson died in 1637, aged sixty-three years. profound knowledge of human nature is evident His moral character has been questioned; in in every page; and his poetry is rich in that particular, he is accused of ingratitude lo Shak- manly sententious eloquence which is so pespeare; and, indeed, a passage in his Bar-culiarly effective on the stage. Till very lately, Cholomew Fair might countenance the charge, A New way to Pay Old Debls was the only did we not possess a noble poem dedicated by play of bis generally known. Rowe, indeed, Ben lo his benefactor's memory.
had pilfered largely from bis Fatal Dowry, and Jónson's dramas are extremely numerous; roisted this stolen property on the public under