« PreviousContinue »
Hack. He would never tire, it may be he would be so weary, hee would goe no further, or so.
Dro. Yes, he was a notable horse for service, he would tire, and retire.
Huck. Do you think I'le be jested out of my horse ? Sergeant, wreake thine office on him.
Ris. Nay, let him be bailde.
Dro. It was a very good horse, I must confesse, and now hearken of his qualities, and have patience to heare them, since I must pay for him; he would stumble three houres in one mile; I had thought I had rode upon addices between this and Canterbury: if one gave him water, why he would lie downe and bathe himselfe like a hawke: if one ranne him, hee would simper and mumpe, as though hoe had gone a wooing to a malt-mare at Rochester : hee trotted before and ambled behind, and was so obedient, that he would doe dutie every minute on his knees, as though every stone had beene his father.
Hack. I am sure he had no diseases.
Dro. A little rheume or pose, he lackt nothing but an handkercher.
Serg. Come, what a tale of a horse have wee here, I cannot stay, thou must with me to prison.
Lic. If thou be a good Hackneyman, take all our foure bonds for the payment, thou knowest we are towne-borne children, and will not shrink the citie for a pelting jade.
Half. I'le enter into a statute marchant to see it answered. But if thou wilt have bonds, thou shalt have a bushell full.
Hack. Alas, poore Ant, thou bound in a statute marchant: a browne threed will binde thee fast enough: but if you will be content all foure joyntly to enter into a bond, I will withdraw the action.
Dro. Yes, I'le warrant they will. How say you?
Ris. A Scrivener's shop hangs to a Serjeant's mace, like a burre to a freeze coat.
Scri. What's the matter?
Dro. Nay, a pint of courtesie puls on a pot of wine; in this taverne wee'le dispatch.
Ris. Now if our wits bee not in the waine, our knaverie shall bee at the full, we will ride them worse than Dromio rid his horse, for if the wine master their wits, you shall see them bleed their follies.”
The piece from which the last extract is taken is a regular comedy, and does not derive its subject from a classical origin like his other comedies, from which it also differs, in being much more dramatic and less pedantic, although it does not possess any high degree of excellence. This, as well as the other comedies of Lilly, is divided into acts and scenes.
We must now leave our facetious Euphuist, only observing, in conclusion, that he was a man of assiduous application and great knowledge, and that because he has not, in his comedies, exhibited much creative power, we are not, therefore, to infer that he was destitute of this, the omnipotent faculty of the poet. He was a courtier in a pedantic court-poor and an anxious expectant of preferment, and it was necessary, in order to please the taste of his mistress, that he should confine his genius within the narrow bounds of classical subjects. Notwithstanding all this, notwithstanding his nicely folded compliments and ingenious flattery, of which he gives abundant and skilful proof in his plays, he died, like most, if not all, of his contemporary poets, in poverty and obscurity; at what time, however, is not known, although it appears, from Wood, that he was alive in 1597 ; but a hard matter it is, as the same author says of Peele, to trace a poor poet to his grave. Neither the gross and undisguised flattery of Peele,* nor the classical pedantry -the myriads of sparkling conceits, and the highly polished diction and insinuating compliments of Lilly, nor the fecundity of invention and glowing imaginations of other poets, seem to have soothed the dull cold ear of the Maiden Queen to gratitude or liberality.
We shall, in our next article, consider the dramatic works of Marlowe, and having gleaned up a few stray pieces which have dropped in our progress, we shall have arrived at the age of Shakspeare.
ART. VIII. The Anatomie of Abuses : containing a Discoverie,
or briefe Summarie of such notable vices and corruptions, as nowe raigne in many Christian countreyes of the worlde: but [especially] in the countrey of Ailgna: together, with most fearfull examples of God's judgements, executed upon the wicked for the same, as well in Ailgna of late, as in other places elsewhere. Very godly, to be read of all true Christians every where : but most chiefly to be regarded in England. Made dialogue-wise by Phillip Stubbes. And now newly revised, recognised, and augmented the third time by the same author. London, 1585, black letter, 264 pp.
* At the conclusion of his Araynment of Paris.
The Second Part of the Anatomie of Abuses: containing the Display of Corruption, with a perfect description of such imperfections, blemishes, and abuses, as now reigning in everie degree, require reformation for feare of God's vengeance to be poured upon the people and countrie, without speedie repentance and conversion unto God. Made dialogue-wise by Phillip Stubbes. London, 1583, black letter.
This is the most amusing and diversified of the many splenetic works which have been levelled, by the sour spirit of puritanism, against the gaieties and the elegancies, as well as the vices and follies of life. It shows us the very age and body of the time, its form and pressure," seen, it is true, with a jaundiced eye, but delineated with spirit and effect. Alas, poor Stubbes? How would it have tortured thy querulous spirit, couldst thou have anticipated that thy writings would, one day, be valued as a record of the pomps and vanities which thou didst so boldly and perseveringly denounce; that thy book should be laid under contribution by the remorseless antiquary; thy anathemas be pressed into the service of the vain historian of church-ales and may-games, of ruffs and fardingales; and thy pious effusions be dismembered to grace the margins of “profane stage-plaies and enterludes.” To such base uses have thy labours been applied, and so powerful is the contagion of bad example, that even we (with shame and sorrow we speak it) recur with equal, if not greater relish, to thy descriptions of the frivolities of the day, than to thy moral precepts, thy fearful examples, or thy climaxes of execration.
The object and scope of the Anatomie of Abuses is pretty clearly expressed in its wordy title-page : it is little more than a catalogue raisonné of the vices of the age, or of the gaieties which were deemed such by the dark sect which was now extending its ramifications throughout the country, and which, in the succeeding century, overturned the altar and the throne, proscribed cheerfulness and refinement, and perverted the very language into a jargon of enthusiasm. Stubbes, however, does not go the same lengths as the redoubted Mar-prelate, and some of his turbulent brethren. He seldom attacks existing institutions, but confines himself to the abuses which have crept into them. His style is well adapted to his subject and his sect; it is coarse, familiar, and forcible, and generally seasoned with scurrility: it exhibits that incongruous mixture of solemnity and buffoonery, which, even in the present day, characterizes the declamations of some of the more enthusiastic sectarians, and which has always been found effective “ to warp and wield the vulgar will.” He is not unfrequently betrayed by his zeal and his subject into a grossness of expression which could hardly be exceeded by the “ hethnical pamphlets” which he reviles. His work appears to have been a great favourite with those of his own persuasion, and went through several editions between 1583 and 1595. Its extreme scarcity, and the exorbitant prices obtained for copies of it, have induced us to devote an article of some length to the examination of this once-popular book.*
The Anatomie of Abuses is dedicated to Philip Earl of Arundel, and is ushered into the world by four copies of commendatory verses, and by a metrical dialague between the Author and his “ seely Booke,” in which the former coquets it very prettily with his diminutive, but ambitious, offspring. The two concluding verses will suffice for a specimen of “ the keen encounter of their wits.” “ Author.-Well, sith thou wouldst so faine be gone,
I can thee not withholde:
And blesse thee an hundred folde.
God blesse you with his gracem
In Heaven a dwelling-place.”
The work is written in the form of a dialogue between Philopoņus, who, doubtless, is intended for-honest Philip himself, and Spudeus, a very useful personage, who, like a confidant in a French play, duly rails, weeps, and goes mad along with his hero. Philoponus relates to his companion his visit to “a certaine famouse island, once named Ainabla, after Anatirb; but now presently called Ailgna.”
“ Philoponus.-A pleasant and famous island, immured about with the sea, as it were with a wall, wherein the air is temperate, the
* We are not aware of the existence of any authentic particulars of the life of Philip Stubbes. Wood states that he was of genteel parentage, and received an university education. He is of opinion that he was either the son or brother of John Stubbes, who had his right hand cut off for writing a satirical work on the Queen's intended marriage with the Duke of Anjou. Nash, in his Almond for a Parrot, or Cuthbert Curry-knave's Almes, thus alludes to our author :-“ I can tell you Phil. Stu. is a tall man also for that purpose; and that his Anatomie of Abuses, for all that, will serve very fitly for an antispast before one of Egerton's Sermons. I would see the best of your Traverses write such a treatise as he hath done against short-heeled pantofles. But one thing, it is a great pity for him, that, being such a good fellow as he is, he should speake against dice as he doth.”
ground fertile, the earth aboundyng with all things either necessarie to man or needful for beast, [inhabited by] * *** a strong kinde of people, audacious, bolde, puissant, and heroicall, of great magnanimitie, valiance, and prowess, of an incomparable feature, of an excellent complexion, and in all humanitie inferior to none under the sunne."
The first count in the indictment preferred against the people of Ailgna is for their pride and ostentation of dress, in which they are said to excel all other countries : this, indeed, is the “ head and front of their offending," in the estimation of Stubbes. No less than eighty-eight pages are devoted to a vituperative description of the fashions and abuses of apparel-a greater space than is allotted for the whole of the seven deadly sins. As this is amongst the most amusing parts of the book, we shall not quarrel with our moral anatomist for his malicious partiality.
“ But now there is such a confuse mingle-mangle of apparell in Ailgna, and suche a preposterous excesse thereof, as every one is permitted to flaunt it out in what apparel he lusteth hymself, or can get by any kinde of means; so that it is very hard to know who is noble, who is worshipfull, who is a gentleman, who is not: for you shall have those, which are neither of the nobilitie, gentilitie, or yeomanrie, no, nor yet any officer or magistrate in the commonwealth, go daiely in silkes, velvetts, satens, damaskes, taffeties, and suche like; notwithstanding that they be both base by birthe, meane by estate, and servile by callyng : and this I coumpt a great confusion, and a general disorder. God be mercifull unto us !"
Then follows a detail of all the extravagant minutiæ of dress, from the feather in the cap to the spangle on the pantofle.
“ Sometymes they use them (the hats] sharpe on the croune, pearking up like the spire or shaft of a steeple, standyng up a quarter of a yarde above the croune of their heades, some more, some lesse, as please the phantasies of their inconstante mindes. Other some be flat, and broad in the croune, like the battlementes of a house. Another sorte have round crounes, sometymes with one kind of bande, sometymes with another; now blacke, now white, now russet, now red, now grene, now yellow; now this, now that; never content with one colour or fashion two daies to an ende. And thus in vanitie they spend the Lorde his treasure, consumyng their golden yeres and silver daies in wickednesse and sinne. And as the fashions be rare and straunge, so is the stuffe whereof their hattes be made divers also ; for some are of silke, some of velvet, some of taffetie, some of sarcenet, some of wooll, and, which is more curious, some of a certaine kind of fine haire. These they call bever hattes, of twentye, thirtye, or fortye shillinges price, fetched from beyonde the seas, from whence a great
VOL. III. PART I.