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found in humble life, and for which even the refinements of breeding and education seem at times but unequal substitutes. It will ensure the reader's detestation of Frank, to know that his seduction of Winnifrede must have been planned with a full knowledge on his part of a previous engagement to marry this excellent creature ; it will add to this détestation to find the villain in his father's presence offering to fulfil this engagement, and with the most solemn oaths maintaining that there was nothing in his connexion with Winnifrede to prevent such an accomplishment of his father's wishes. The strong and multiplied assertions of young Thorney conquer even his father's violent suspicions; and the old man's fears being at last relieved, it is decided that the marriage between the young couple shall take place on the following day.
The fearful perjuries of Frank, and the cold, calculating villany which he displays throughout, render the scene between him and his father a painful one to the feelings, and the entrance of even a more frightful creature than Mother Sawyer, upon whom much of the underplot hinges, would have been found a relief after such an interview ; but the underplots of Ford or Decker-after the greatest reductions--will be found a sufficient infliction on the reader's patience, without his undergoing a previous analysis of them ; even though embracing, as the present one does, those prime attractions of our ancestors' fancies, a witch, a black dog, or the Devil
, and a morris with all its accompaniments of tabor and pipe, double bells, trebles, means, forehorse,' hobby-horse, and Maid Marian to boot.
Susan and Frank are now married; and conscience already begins to do its work with this double husband. His days seem but a waking dream; and in his sleep sudden and distracted accents show a mind at enmity with peace. These appearances give birth to one of the tenderest and
1 In Gosson's “Plays confuted in five Actions,” the attractions of the hobby-horse and morris are included among the other delights which the Devil, according to this repentant dramatist, had created for the seduction of men's souls. “For the eye, beeside the beautie of the houses and the stage, hee (the Devil) sendeth in gearish apparel, mashes, ranting, tumbling, dauncing of gigges, galiardes, moriscos, hobbi-horses, nothing forgot that might serve to set out the matter with pompe, or ravish the beholders with varietie of pleasure.” What would poor Gosson's language have been bad he seen the embellishments of the present stage 3
Therefore, as I am Winter, worn and spent
Ray. Never till now
Win. Attendance on our revels! let delight
(A flourish. (Here a Masque of the four Elements, Air, Fire,
Water, and Earth: and the four Complexions, Phlegm, Blood, Choler, and Melancholy.) i We have consulted the reader's taste by omitting, as much as poss!ble, whatever might tend to adulterate the rich but somewhat careless poetry with which this drama is inlaid throughout; but his knowledge
Win. How do these pleasures please ?
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
So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up
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 froin 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, xoàn, choler, and black bile, uɛlayxolía. From these Auids 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" fermed “ 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 fames. 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,
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; alute 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.
Ray. To the Spring I am resolv'd
(Recorders. The Sun appears
above. Oh, what strange light appears! The Sun is up, sure.
Sun. Wanton Darling, look,
Omnes. Gracious lord !
gree Of his creation, with a royal bounty, Give him Health, Youth, Delight, for free attend