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fair Bethsabe: with the Tragedie of Absalon. Lond. 1599, 4to. Reprinted in Hawkins's Origin of the English Drama.

12. The Turkish Mahomet, and Hyren the Fair Greek, a play mentioned in his Jests as written by our author, but never printed. It is sarcastically alluded to by Shakspeare in the Second Part of King Henry IV.

13. Jests. Lond. 1607, &c.

14. The Praise of Chastitie, a Poem inserted in a miscellaneous collection of old English Poetry, called The Phenix Nest, Lond. 1593, 4to. Short Poetical Pieces by Peele will be found also in England's Helicon, 1600; England's Parnassus, 1600; and in Belvedere or the Garden of the Muses, 1610; three very rare poetical collections, the first and second of which have been reprinted. And in one of Dr. Rawlinson's MSS. in the Bodleian library, there is a metrical description of love by our author, which we regret is not of a nature to invite insertion. Mr. Malone supposes Peele to have been the author of The Battle of Alcazar, with the death of Captaine Stukeley, a play printed Lond. 1594, 4to. although written long before that date.

Peele's Merrie Conceited Jests rather contain an account of his tricks and cheateries, than the record of his brilliant sayings. They consist, indeed, of his gesta or roguish exploits, and not of his dicta or witty sallies, but they are, nevertheless, curious, and are every way entitled to some mention in our FACETIE; although as they have been so recently reprinted, we shall content ourselves with a brief specimen of their contents.

How George helped his Friend to a Supper. George was inuited one night by certaine of his freinds to supper, at the White Horse in Friday street; and in the Euening as he was going, he met with an old friend of his, who was so ill at stomacke, hearing George tel him of ye good cheere he went to, himselfe being vnprouided both of meat and mony, that he swore he had rather haue gone a mile about than haue met him at that instant. And beleeue me,

quoth George, I am hartily sorry that I cannot take thee along with me, my selfe being but an inuited guest; besides, thou art out of cloathes, vnfitting for such a company. Marry this Ile doe; if thou wilt follow my aduice, Ile helpe thee to thy

supper. Any way, quoth he to George, doe thou but deuise the meanes and Ile execute it. George presently told him what he should doe; so they parted. George well entertained, with extraordinary welcome, and seated at the vpper end of the table, supper being brought vp, H. M. watched his time below, and when he saw that the meat was carried vp, vp he followes (as George had directed him) who when George saw, "You whorson rascall (quoth George) what make you here ?" Sir, quoth he, I am come from the party you wot of. “You rogue (quoth George) have I not forewarned you of this ?" I pray you sir, "Doe quoth he, heare my errand. prate, you slave," quoth George, and with that tooke a rabbet out of the dish, and threw it at him. Quoth he, you vse me "You dunghill," quoth George, doe you out-face me?" and very hardly. with that tooke the other rabbet, and threw it at his head: after that a loafe; then drawing his dagger, making an offer to throw it, the gentleman staid him. Meane while H. M. got the loafe and the two rabbets, and away he went: which when George saw he was gone, after a little fretting, he sate quietly. So by that honest shift he helped his friend to his supper, and was neuer suspected for it of the company.


From one of the jests we learn that Peele contributed towards his own and his wife's support, by translating from the learned languages for persons who were desirous to read the contents of Greek authors in their mother tongue, but, says his biographer, he was of the poetical disposition, neuer to write so long as his mony lasted." One of his employers finding that all attempts to procure a translation he had undertaken for him, were vain, had recourse to this stratagem-" some quarter of the booke being done and lying in his hands at randome,' George calls upon his friend for more money-" the gentleman bids him welcome, causeth him to stay dinner, where falling into discourse about his booke, found that it was as neere ended as he left it two moneths agoe." The gentleman upon this calls up his servants, binds Peele hand and foot, and sending for the barber, had his head and beard clean shaved, then "putting his hand into his pocket gaue him two brace of angels: quoth he, M. Peele drinke this,

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and by that time you have finished my booke your beard will be growne, vntill which time I know you will be ashamed to walke a

broad." The plot succeeded, for although Peele contrived to get five pounds more from him, by a second device, which is made the subject of another jest, the translation was nevertheless finished within a few days.

Oldys, in his very curious manuscript additions to Langbaine, justly remarks that Peele's jests might with more propriety be termed the tricks of a sharper. The supper story was somewhat of this nature, and nearly all his other witty pranks are of a similar description. He robs a poor tapster of an angel by borrowing that sum from him on the pledge of "an old Harry groat" which he delivers to his gull with great ceremony, assuring him that by it he holds the lease of a house, and making him swear that he will return it, whenever he shall call upon him so to do. The tapster falls into decay, as he well may with many such customers as George, and going to our author begs him to receive his pawne and restore him his borrowed angel"not for the world, quoth George, thou saist thou hast but that groat in

the world, my bargaine was, that thou shouldst keepe that groat vntill I did demand it of thee. I aske thee none. I will do thee more good, because thou art an honest fellow, keepe thou that groat still, till I call for it, and so doing, the proudest Jacke in England cannot iustifie thou art not worth a groat, otherwise they might: and so honest Michael, farewell." The tapster finding he has no redress, breaks out into a lamentation, and concludes with what is called a proverb, but is only curious at present, as it proves that an angel was the price of a barrel of beer in those days: "For the price of a barrell of beere I haue bought a groatsworth of wit. Is not that deare?

We will close this article with a specimen of Peele's blank verse, which is far more creditable to his abilities and patriotism than any thing we have as yet been able to produce. The extract is from his Farewell to Sir John Norris and Sir Francis Drake, 1589, and is part of an address to their brave followers.

Have done with care, my hearts! aboard amain,
With stretching sails to plow the swelling waves.
Bid England's shore and Albion's chalky cliffs
Farewell: bid stately Troynovant adieu,
Where pleasant Thames, from Isis' silver head,
Begins her quiet glide, and runs along

To that brave bridge, the bar that thwarts her course,
Near neighbour to the ancient stony Tower

The glorious hold that Julius Cæsar built.

Change love for arms; girt to your blades, my boys!

Your rests and muskets take, take helme and targe
And let God Mars's concert make you mirth :
The roaring cannon, and the brazen trump,
The angry sounding drum, the whistling fife,
The shrieks of men, the princely courser's neigh.
Now vail your bonnets to your friends at home,
Bid all the lovely British dames adieu,
That under many a standard, well advanc'd,
Have hid the sweet alarms and braves of love.
Bid theatres and proud tragedians

Bid Mahomet's Poo, and mighty Tamberlain,
King Charlemagne, Tom Stukeley + and the rest
Adieu! To arms, to arms, to glorious arms
With noble Norris and victorious Drake

Under the sanguine cross, brave England's badge,
To propagate religious piety.

* i. e. a groat of Henry VIII. Shakspeare, by one of those anachronisms so common to him, talks of a "Harry ten shillings" in King Henry IV. forgetting that there was no such coin at that period.

+ The titles of four dramatic compositions, which we may suppose to have been great favourites with the public. The last had the following title: "The Life and Death of Captaine Thomas Stukeley, with his marriage to Alderman Curteis daughter, and valiant Ending of his Life at the Battaile of Alcazar." It was printed in 1605, and differs from the play already mentioned in the text. We may add that Mr. Malone thought it probable they were both written by Peele..

MORE GHOST-PLAYING: BANQUO'S SPIRIT BROUGHT TO BOOK. has sufficient assurance to tax the absentee with not keeping his appointment at supper.—

MR. EDITOR,-In your April number was promulgated for the benefit of those whom it might concern, the Ghost-player's Guide, being an attempt to reform our theatres in the important affair of ghost-playing. Certain rules were propounded in that Essay, and certain hints communicated, which I flatter myself would, if acted upon, serve, in a great measure, to remedy the evils, and to vanquish the difficulties, complained of, respectively, by the public and the performers; evils and difficulties of too serious magnitude I am well aware, to permit any one who is able duly to appreciate them, even the faintest hope that they will, by any device or code of regulations, be completely the one eradicated, the other overcome. Having thus taken upon myself the office of guide and instructor in this honorable but very refractory department of the stage, I am determined to let nothing which comes within the length of my rod, pass without such castigation, as I shall think due to its demerits. In pursuance of this resolution I have to inform the public, that some weeks ago I went to see the play of Macbeth represented at Drury-lane theatre; and I beg leave moreover to offer a few remarks upon the indecent behaviour of Banquo's ghost on that occasion. To the point, then.

You recollect, Mr. Editor, the Banquet-scene: According to the favorite economy of Drury-lane in this particular, a table is spread along each side of the stage; at these tables are seated in due order the guests, every one with his platter and cup before him, just as it should be. Very good. You will also please to remember that Banquo had been invited, was expected by the guests, but is (ill for himself and well for the wine), at the moment I speak of, biding

Safe in a ditch,
With twenty trenched gashes on his head,
The least a death to nature.

Good again. Besides all this, you
will call to mind, that Macbeth, who
has just been informed, by one of the
murderers, of Banquo's present plight
and place of abode, to both of which
he had preferred him,―nevertheless

Here had we now our country's honor roof'd,
Were the graced person of our Banquo pre-


Than pity for mischance.
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness,

Still, very good. Now, mark! The ghost of Banquo upon hearing this impudent accusation, and resolving that his kind host should not be altogether disappointed, immediately enters the refectory, and in a fine vein of easy gentility, pops his "graced person"-Where do you think, Sir? At one of the tables? -Bah! At Macbeth's tripod?-Poh! No, Sir; neither at table nor tripod, -but in an elbow-chair, that stands as if it didn't know what to do with itself, all agape in the middle of the room! During his short trip to the court of Proserpine, our ghost had so far improved in the knowledge of politeness as to judge, that the best way of "roofing his country's honor," was to sit with his back to the company. In short, to make use of a very expressive, and I believe royally authorised term of the present day,-he fairly rumps the Queen and her coterie. Besides, with a very philosophic contempt for all the good things of this world, which indeed are sour grapes to a spirit,-he is perfectly satisfied to play fool in the middle, with nothing before him but his hands (as if, like a bear, he could

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quarter himself on his paws"),— while his quondam chums are employed in the sublunary occupation of discussing his share of the supper in addition to their own. Seriously; will the ghost of Drury-lane have the goodness to inform me on what principle he selects such a preposterous attitude, and to whose spiritual teaching he is indebted for his knowledge, that it is anything but ridiculous to see him, a presumptive guest, seated, like a showman's baboon, in the middle of the stage, for the people to gape at? But let us bring him to book; let us see if the text sanctifies ill-breeding and absurdity: if it does, I am dumb. From the lines

Macbeth. The table's full.

Lenox. Here is a place reserved, şir.
Mac. Where ?

From these lines it is evident, even if
the margin did not so advise us, that
the ghost occupies Macbeth's chair,
whilst he "mingles with society and
plays the humble host." It is also
evident that that chair was at a table
(ergo not in the middle of the room
where there is no table); and from
the same, corroborated by the follow-
ing passage, it is equally clear that
that table was one of the tables at
which the guests were seated-

Macbeth. (Surveying the guests and tables.)
Both sides are even: Here I'll sit i' the

midst :

Be large in mirth; anon we'll drink and


The table round.

Thus it is plain, that if the text be of any authority, the ghost should sit at one of the tables; and if common sense be of any authority, it is plain that the ghost should not sit solus in sicca secum, with the back of his "graced person" turned upon both supper and supper-eaters, queen and canopy, whilst he himself (" Alas! poor ghost!") is engaged in the very unprofitable avocation of reckoning the number of footlights, or staring the pit out of countenance.

A difficulty may be started by the advocates of the present mode, about where the ghost is to sit, and how he is to dispose of his person, so that he shall be seen by the whole audience, and Macbeth at the same time shall play with his face towards the proscenium. There are half a dozen ways of accomplishing this besides the absurd one now in vogue; but surely that ingenuity, which reaped so much glory in marshalling a procession to Westminster Abbey, cannot want my assistance in setting out the tables for Macbeth and his companions.

I have not the least expectation that the ghost of Drury-lane will demean himself with a whit more propriety for all I have said above. Whilst the audience is willing to connive at his misbehaviour, he will only laugh in his sleeve at my animadversions. But if my fellowcountrymen would only engage to support me a few nights in this just cause, I would undertake to bring the ghost quickly to terms, and put

an end to such indecorums on his part for ever. Men in general, and Englishmen in particular, claim a higher place (we will not now dispute with what semblance of reason) than geese, in the scale of two-legged animals; yet if they enjoyed but one faculty of these satirical creatures, they would, by the mere force of hissing, teach the Ghost of Banquo to mend his manners, and study the mysteries of his part with a little more diligence than he devotes to it at present. But I have done my part in this business, and will leave the more effective measures altogether which that the ghost may render un to the wisdom of a public audience; necessary by a timely alteration of his conduct, is the earnest hope of his friend and adviser,


P. S.-I am much beholden to your correspondent with the ominous name (HORRIDA BELLA, I think he calls himself), for his assistance in the matter of corpulent ghosts. The remainder of his "Observations on the Ghost-player's Guide," however, almost cancel the obligation. They hurt the cause; and light as the term ghost-playing may seem, every true lover of Shakspeare ought to have the thing itself more nearly at heart, than to trifle with it as I think your correspondent has done. Not that I object to a witty treatment of the subject, the only way indeed in which it can be safely handled. But your correspondent, by mixing up indiscriminately the serious with the ironical, argument with foolery, real with pretended objections, has, I fear, with the superficial part of his readers (that is to say, with nineteen out of every twenty), counteracted the good effects which might have resulted, had he either fairly and distinctly impugned the rules given in the Ghost-player's Guide, if he thought them erroneous, or expended his wit on another subject, if he thought them judicious. Your correspondent should have reflected that as the chief use of wit is to convey instruction, so the greatest abuse of it is to introduce confusion, into the mind of his reader. Of this abuse, I think he has been guilty; his Essay is such a melange of puns, extracts, arguments, incoherencies, jokes, ironies, thread-bare quotations, &c. &c. that

I dare say ninety-nine out of every hundred who read it, have now a less distinct idea of how the ghost in Hamlet ought to be played than when the subject was first brought before them. To correct as far as in me lies this injurious proceeding on the part of your correspondent, and to render the question of ghost-playing again intelligible, it will be necessary to cull those parts of the Observations intended for argument, from the leather and prunella with which they are surrounded, and to see in how far their value surpasses that of the paper they stand on. Signior Horrida informs us that he has" devoted much time and thought to Shakspeare's ghosts,"-a piece of intelligence by no means superfluous, inasmuch as it certainly does not beam through the Observations themselves. Of the kind of success how ever which attended this devotion of "time and thought" on the part of the Signior, he affords us the following very unequivocal example:-In the Guide, I had objected to King Hamlet's ghost walking" within truncheon's length of the footlights;" and for this simple reason: that thereby the defects of his person and paraphernalia, are displayed with unnecessary candour to the audience. In combating this position of mine, the knowledge derived by Signior Horrida from his aforesaid expenditure of" time and thought" becomes first conspicuous. He proves (by the aid of " time and thought," mind!) that the ghost should walk within truncheon's length of the footlights, by citing genuine passages which show, that the ghost walks within truncheon's length of-Horatio and Marcellus! O wonderful effect of "time and thought!" As if, Horatio and Marcellus being supposed to stand about the middle of the stage, the ghost could not walk a truncheon's length on one side of them as well as on the other! As if the judicious ghost-player could not sport his belly and his buckram between them and the back or side scene, as well as between them and the footlights, yet keep to the text all the while!--Ah! Signior, verily I fear your wit threw its dust in the eyes of your judgment on this occasion. When the text describes the ghost as appearing "before" Hora

tio and Marcellus, you very inhocently mistook these gentlemen for rusty weather-cocks, and thereupon concluded that they could not turn upon their heel towards the back or side scene, so as to have the ghost before their faces, yet behind or beside their persons.

Again: I had entered an objection to the ghost's wearing a crimson scarf, or a blanket-cloak (i. e. such a veritable blanket as the ghost of Drury Lane wore when I saw him). I objected to the scarf as unsuitable to the dim and shadowy being whose very element is perpetual gloom; I objected to the blanket as unsuitable to any ghost but that of Mad Tom or the King of the Beggars. To overturn these objections, our critic "supposes" that the king might have worn such articles of dress in his lifetime. But suppose (and the supposition is very probable) that he had worn, not a red scarf or a blanket cloak, but—a red nightcap, or the skin of a brown bear, let us say ;by your method of argument, Signior, King Hamlet's ghost might enter with propriety in this amiable costume, under the chance indeed of being mistaken by the audience for a Danish witch or a watchman. No, my most pleasant, pun-cracking fellow! You evidently do not see the hinge upon which this simple question turns. We are not to apparel King Hamlet's ghost, as the King himself might possibly have been apparelled in his lifetime, but in such a manner as will have the best effect on the stage. Now if you are of opinion that a flaring scarf or a mud-coloured cloak enhances the dignity of a ghost, you do well to recommend it, and though I may not applaud the delicacy of your taste, I cannot but admire its singularity. For my own poor part, I think the ghost should either wear nothing at all but armour, or if he must indulge in superfluities of dress, they should, all and each, be of the most solemn cut, and of the gravest colour.

The second paragraph of the Observations looks as if it very much wished to endeavour to contest my opinion, that of all the characters in Shakspeare, the ghost in Hamlet is farthest removed from the possibility of adequate representation. This I had concluded from the unearthly

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