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How durst thou cast a glance on this rich jewel,
Spring. Bought! art thou sold then?
these. Ray. What dowry can you bring me ?
Spring. Dowry? ha!
Ray. I must turn bird-catcher.
Play'd to by the spheres, I'll teach thee;
1 Not a lark, &c.] I attribute, without scruple, all these incidental glimpses of rural nature to Decker. Ford rarely, if ever, indulges in them. The lark is justly a great favourite with our old poets; and I should imagine, from my own observations, that a greater number of descriptive passages might be found respecting him than of the nightingale. A judicious collection of both would furnish not a few pages of surpassing taste and beauty. While I am writing this, the following simple and pretty address occurs to me. It is that of young Fitzwalter to his mistress, whom he meets at daybreak.
“So early! then I see love's the best larke.
For the corne-builder has not warbled yet
Ray. Live by singing ballads !
Fol. Oh, base! turn poet? I would not be one myself. Hum. Dwell in mine arms aloft we'll hover, And see fields of armies
fighting : Oh,
part not from me! I'll discover
There all but books of Fancy's writing.
Ray. Hang knowledge, drown your Muses !
Fol. Ay, ay, or they'll drown themselves in sack and claret. Hum. Do not regard their toys;
Be but my darling, age to free thee
From her curse shall fall a-dying ;
Shall forget his art of Aying.
[To HEALTH. Health. Leave her; take this, and travel through
the world, I 'll bring thee into all the courts of kings, Where thou shalt stay, and learn their languages;
Kiss ladies, revel out the nights in dancing,
Fol. All lies! gallop over the world, and not grow old, nor be sick ? a lie. One gallant went but into France last day, and was never his own man since; another stepped but into the Low Countries, and was drunk dead under the table ; another did but peep into England, and it cost him more in good-morrows blown up to him under his window, by drums and trumpets, than his whole voyage ; besides he ran mad upon 't.' Hum. Here's my last farewell: ride along with
1 The streets of London appear to have been grievously infested at this time with noises (i. e. little knots) of fiddlers, who pressed into all companies, and pestered every new-comer with their salutations.GIFFORD.
2 The original copy appears, from some mutilated remains of it, to have contained a description of the palace itseif, and also its garden: it was thought useless, however, to excite the reader's regret by insers ing the mere fragments.
Win. How do these pleasures please ? · Hum. Pleasures !
of our old dramatic literature may be enlarged by a few observations on the “masque" of which the mere title is given in the text. The mask itself grew out of an opinion strongly current among our ancestors (and which appears to have been derived to them through the schools from the Greek physicians), that man was composed of the four elements, the due proportion and commixture of which in his composition was what produced in him every kind of perfection, mental and bodily. Hence (not to multiply examples) the well-known commendation of Brutus by the first of all dramatic writers :
“His life was gentle, and the elements
And say to all the world, This was a man."-Jul. Cæs. v.5. I ne disposition, again, of every man was supposed to arise from four principal humours or fluids in his body; and, consequently, that which was prevalent in any one might he called his particular humour. Blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy were the four humours; the two latter being not so properly different fluids, as one Auid, bile, in two different states; common bile, xoln, choler, and black bile, uehayxonía. From these fluids were supposed to arise the four principal temperaments or complexions,--the sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic; the fluids themselves being more remotely referred to the four elements. Their connexion is thus stated by Howell:
“And it must be so while the starrs poure different influxes upon us, but especially while the humours within us have a symbolization with the four elements, who are in ruthlesse conflict among themselfs who shall have the mastery, as the humors do in us for a predominancy.”Parley of Beasts, p. 80.
It is upon this more immediate origin of the four temperaments or complexions from the four humours, and their more remote reference to the four elements, that much of “the morall maske” termed “ Microcosmus” is founded. This drama, evidently formed upon “ The Sun's Darling," was written by Thomas Nabbes, an author “concerning whom,” according to the usual language of our old dramatic calendar, “scarce any thing is recorded," and was printed in 1637. The reader who has not a copy of Dodsley's collection of old plays may be amused by a transcription of some of the dramatis persona.
FIRE, a fierce-countenanced young man, in a flame-coloured rope, wrought with divers-coloured gleams of fire; his hair red, and on his heud a crown of flames. His creature a Vulcan.
Air, a young man of a variable countenance, in a blue robe, wrought with divers-coloured clouds; his hair blue, and on his head a wreath of clouds. His creature a giant, or sylvan.
Water, a woman in a sea-green robe, wrought with waves ; her hair sea-green, and on her head a wreath of sedge, bound about with waves. Her creature a siren.
EARTH, a young woman of a sad countenance, in a grass green robe, wrought with sundry fruits and flowers; her hair black, and on her head a chaplet of flowers. Her creature a pigmy.
CHOLER, a fencer; his clothes red.
Boun. Live here, And be my lord's friend; and thy sports shall vary A thousand ways; Invention shall beget Conceits, as curious as the thoughts of Change Can aim at.
Hum. Trifles! Progress o'er the year Again, my Raybright; therein, like the Sun, As he in Heaven runs his circular course, So thou on earth run thine; for to be fed With stale delights, breeds dulness and contempt: Think on the Spring.
Ray. She was a lovely virgin.
Win. My royal lord ! Without offence, be pleased but to afford me To give you my true figure; do not scorn My age, nor think, 'cause I appear forlorn, I serve for no use: 't is my sharper breath Does purge gross exhalations from the earth; My frosts and snows do purify the air From choking fogs, make the sky clear and fair: And though by nature cold and chill I be, Yet I am warm in bounteous charity; And can, my lord, by grave and sage advice, Bring you to the happy shades of paradise. Ray. That wonder! Oh, can you bring me
thither? Win. I can direct and point you out a path..
Hum. But where's the guide ? Quicken thy spirits, Raybright; I'll not leave thee: We'll run the self-same race again, that happiness; These lazy, sleeping, tedious Winter's nights Become not noble action.
Blood, a dancer, in a watchet-coloured (i. e. a pale blue) suit.
PHLEGM, a physician, an old man; his doublet white and black; trunk hose.
MELANCHOLY, a musician ; his complexion, hair, and clothes black; a lute in his hand. He is likewise an amorist.
For further information on this subject the reader is referred to Archdeacon Nares's valuable glossary, under the words Elements and Humours.