« PreviousContinue »
- Doe you
fair Bethsabe: with the Tragedie of supper. Any way, quoth he to George, Absalon. Lond. 1599, 4to.
Re- doe thou but deuise the meanes and Ile · printed in Hawkins's Origin of the executę it. George presently told him English Drama.
what he should doe; so they parted. 12. The Turkish Mahomet, and George well entertained, with extraordinary Hyren the Fair Greek, a play men
welcome, and seated at the vpper end of tioned in his Jests as written by our watched his time below, and when he saw
the table, supper being brought vp, H. M. author, but never printed. It is sar
that the meat was carried vp, vp he followes eastically alluded to by Shakspeare (as George had directed him, who when in the Second Part of King Henry George saw, “ You whorson rascall (quoth IV.
George) what make you here ?" Sir, quoth 13. Jests. Lond. 1607, &c. he, I am come from the party you wot of.
14. The Praise of Chastitie, a “You rogue (quoth George) have Į not Poem inserted in a miscellaneous col- forewarned you of this ?” I pray you sir, lection of old English Poetry, called quoth he, heare my errand. The Phænix Nest. Lond. 1593, 4to. prate, you slave," quoth George, and with
Short Poetical Pieces by Peele will that tooke a rabbet out of the dish, and be found also in England's Helicon, threw it at him. Quoth he, you vse me 1600; England's Parassus, 1600 ; George,
very hardly. " You dunghill," quoth
“ doe you out-face me?" and and in Belvedere or the Garden of with that tooke the other rabbet, and threw the Muses, 1610; three very rare it at his head : after that a loafe; then poetical collections, the first and se- drawing his dagger, making an offer to cond of which have been reprinted. throw it, the gentleman staid him. Meane And in one of Dr. Rawlinson's MSS. while H. M. got the loafe and the two rabin the Bodleian library, there is a me- bets, and away he went: which when trical description of love by our author, George şaw he was gone, after a little which we regret is not of a nature to fretting, he sate quietly. Só by that honest invite insertion. Mr. Malone sup
shift he helped his friend to his supper, and poses Peele to have been the author
was neuer suspected for it of the company. of The Battle of Alcazar, with the From one of the jests we learn death of Captaine Stukeley, a play that Peele contributed towards his printed Lond. 1594, 4to. although own and his wife's support, by transwritten long before that date. lating from the learned languages for
Peele's Merrie Conceited Jests ra- persons who were desirous to read ther contain an account of his tricks the contents of Greek authors in their and cheateries, than the record of his mother tongue, but, says his biobrilliant sayings. They consist, in- grapher, he “ was of the poetical deed, of his gesta or roguish ex- disposition, neuer to write so long as ploits, and not of his dicta or witty his mony lasted.” One of his emsallies, but they are, nevertheless, ployers finding that all attempts to curious, and are every way entitled procure a translation he had underto some mention in our FACETIÆ; taken for him, were vain, had realthough as they have been so re- course to this stratagem," some cently reprinted, we shall content quarter of the booke being done and ourselves with a brief specimen of lying in his hands at randome,” their contents.
George calls upon his friend for more How George helped his Friend to a Supper. money—“ the gentleman ,bids him
George was inuited one night by certaine welcome, causeth him to stay dinner, of his freinds to supper, at the White where falling into discourse about his Horse in Friday street; and in the Eueri- booke, found that it was as neere ing as he was going, he met with an old ended as he left it two moneths friend of his, who was so ill at stomacke, agoe.” The gentleman upon this hearing George tel him of ye good cheere calls up his servants, binds Peele he went to, himselfe being vnprouided both hand and foot, and sending for the of meat and mony, that he swore he had barber, had his head and beard clean rather haue gone a mile about than haue shaved, then “putting his hand into met him at that instant. And beleeue me, his pocket gaue him two brace of quoth George, I am hartily sorry that I cannot take thee along with me, my selfe angels: quoth he, M. Peele drinke being but an inuited guest ; besides, thou this, and by that time you have art out of cloathes, vnfitting for such a
finished my booke your beard will be company. Marry this Ile doe; if thou growne, vntill which time I know wilt follow my aduice, Ile helpe thee to thy you will be ashamed to walke a
broad.” The plot succeeded, for al- the world, my bargaine was, that though Peele contrived to get five thou shouldst keepe that groat vntill pounds more from him, by a second I did demand it of thee. I aske thee device, which is made the subject of none. I will do thee more good, another jest, the translation was never- because thou art an honest fellow, theless finished within a few days. keepe thou that groat still, till I call
Oldys, in his very curious manu- for it, and so doing, the proudest script additions to Langbaine, justly Jacke in England cannot iustifie thou remarks that Peele's jests might with art not worth a groat, otherwise they more propriety be termed the tricks might: and so honest Michael, fare of a sharper. The supper story was well.” The tapster finding he has somewhat of this nature, and nearly no redress, breaks out into a lamenall his other witty pranks are of a tation, and concludes with what is similar description. He robs a poor called a proverb, but is only curious tapster of an angel by borrowing at present, as it proves that an angel that sum from him on the pledge of was the price of a barrel of beer in “ an old Harry groat"* which he those days: “For the price of a barrell delivers to his gull with great cere- of beere I haue bought a groatsworth mony, assuring him that by it he of wit. Is not that deare?” holds the lease of a house, and making We will close this article with a him swear that he will return it, specimen of Peele's blank verse, whenever he shall call upon him so to which is far more creditable to his do. The tapster falls into decay, as abilities and patriotism than any he well may with many such custom- thing we have as yet been able to ers as George, and going to our au- produce. The extract is from his thor begs him to receive his pawne Farewell to Sir John Norris and Sir and restore him his borrowed angel- Francis Drake, 1589, and is part of “ not for the world, quoth George, an address to their brave followers. thou saist thou liast but that groat in
Have done with care, my hearts ! aboard amain,
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.
MR. EDITOR,-In your April num- has sufficient assurance to tax the ber was promulgated for the benefit absentee with not keeping his apof those whom it might concern, the pointment at supper.Ghost-player's Guide, being an attempt to reform our theatres in the Here had we now our country's honor roofd, important affair of ghost-playing. Were the graced person of our Banquo preCertain rules were propounded in that Who may I rather challenge for unkindness,
sent ; Essay, and certain hints communi- Than pity for mischance. cated, which I flatter myself would, if acted upon, serve, in a great mea- Still, very good. Now, mark! The sure, to remedy the evils, and to ghost of Banquo upon hearing this vanquish the difficulties, complained impudent accusation, and resolving of, respectively, by the public and that his kind host should not be al the performers ; evils and difficulties together disappointed, immediately of too serious magnitude I am well enters the refectory, and in a fine aware, to permit any one who is able vein of easy gentility, pops his duly to appreciate them, even the “ graced person”-Where do you faintest hope that they will, by any think, Sir? At one of the tables ? device or code of regulations, be -Bah! At Macbeth's tripod ?-Poh! completely the one eradicated, the No, Sir; neither at table nor tripod, other overcome. Having thus taken —but in an elbow-chair, that stands upon myself the office of guide and as if it didn't know what to do with instructor in this honorable but very itself, all agape in the middle of the refractory department of the stage, room! During his short trip to the I am determined to let nothing which court of Proserpine, our ghost had comes within the length of my rod, so far improved in the knowledge of pass without such castigation, as I politeness as to judge, that the best shall think due to its demerits. In way of “ roofing his country's hopursuance of this resolution I have nor," was to sit with his back to the to inform the public, that some weeks company. In short, to make use of ago I went to see the play of Mac
a very expressive, and I believe roybeth represented at Drury-lane the- ally authorised term of the present atre; and I beg leave moreover to day,-he fairly rumps the Queen and offer a few remarks
upon the indecent her coterie. Besides, with a very behaviour of Banquo's ghost on that philosophic contempt for all the good occasion. To the point, then. things of this world, which indeed
You recollect, Mr. Editor, the Ban- are sour grapes to a spirit,- he is quet-scene : According to the favor- perfectly satisfied to play fool in the ite economy of Drury-lane in this middle, with nothing before him but particular, a table is spread along his hands (as if, like a bear, he could each side of the stage; at these tables quarter himself on his paws”), are seated in due order the guests, while his quondam chums are emevery one with his platter and cup ployed in the sublunary occupation before him, just as it should be. Very of discussing his share of the supper good. You will also please to re- in addition to their own. Seriously; member that Banquo had been in- will the ghost of Drury-lane have vited, was expected by the guests, the goodness to inform me on what but is (ill for himself and well for the principle he selects such a preposterwine), at the moment I speak of, ous attitude, and to whose spiritual biding
teaching he is indebted for his knowSafe in a ditch, ledge, that it is anything but ridicuWith twenty trenched gashes on his head, lous to see him, a presumptive guest, The least a death to nature.
seated, like a showman's baboon, in Good again. Besides all this, you the middle of the stage, for the peowill call
to mind, that Macbeth, who ple to gape at ? But let us bring has just been informed, by one of the him to book ; let us see if the text murderers, of Banquo's present plight sanctifies ill-breeding and absurdity: and place of abode, to both of which if it does, I am dumb. From the he had preferred him,--nevertheless lines
Macbeth. The table's full.
an end to such indecorums on his Lenox. Here is a place reserved, şir. part for ever. Men in general, and Mac. Where?
Englishmen in particular, claim a From these lines it is evident, even if higher place (we will not now disthe margin did not so advise us, that pute with what semblance of reason) the ghost occupies Macbeth's chair, than geese, in the scale of two-legged whilst he“ mingles with society and animals; yet if they enjoyed but one plays the humble host.” It is also faculty of these satirical creatures, evident that that chair was at a table they would, by the mere force of hiss(ergo not in the middle of the room ing, teach the Ghost of Banquo to where there is no table); and from mend his manners, and study the the same, corroborated by the follow- mysteries of his part with a little ing passage, it is equally clear that more diligence than he devotes to it that table was one of the tables at at present. But I have done my part which the guests were seated- in this business, and will leave the Macbeth. (Surveying the guests and tables.)
more effective measures altogether Both sides are even : Here l’n sit i' the to the wisdom of a public audience ; midst :
which that the ghost may render unBe large in mirth ; anon we'll drink and necessary by a timely alteration of measure
his conduct, is the earnest hope of The table round.
his friend and adviser, Thus it is plain, that if the text be
UMBRA. of any authority, the ghost should P.S.-I am much beholden to your sit at one of the tables; and if com- correspondent with the ominous name mon sense be of any authority, it is (HORRIDA BELLA, I think he calls plain that the ghost should not sit himself), for his assistance in the solus in sicca secum, with the back of matter of corpulent ghosts. The rehis “graced person” turned upon both mainder of his “ Observations on the supper and supper-eaters, queen and Ghost-player's Guide," however, alcanopy, whilst he himself" (" Alas! most cancel the obligation. They poor ghost!”) is engaged in the very hurt the cause; and light as the term unprofitable avocation of reckoning ghost-playing may seem, every true the number of footlights, or staring lover of Shakspeare ought to have the pit out of countenance.
the thing itself more nearly at heart, A difficulty may be started by the than to trifle with it as I think your advocates of the present mode, about correspondent has done. Not that I where the ghost is to sit, and how object to a witty treatment of the he is to dispose of his person, so that subject, the only way indeed in he shall be seen by the whole audi- which it can be safely handled. But ence, and Macbeth at the same time your correspondent, by mixing up shall play with his face towards the indiscriminately the serious with the proscenium. There are half a dozen ironical, argument with foolery, real ways of accomplishing this besides with pretended objections, has, I the absurd one now in vogue; but fear, with the superficial part of his surely that ingenuity, which reaped readers (that is to say, with nineteen so much glory in marshalling a pro- out of every twenty), counteracted cession to Westminster Abbey, can- the good effects which might have renot want my assistance in setting out sulted, had he either fairly and disthe tables for Macbeth and his com- tinctly impugned the rules given in panions.
the Ghost-player's Guide, if he thought I have not the least expecta- them erroneous, or expended his wit tion that the ghost of Drury-lane on another subject, if he thought will demean himself with a whit them judicious. Your correspondent more propriety for all I have said should have reflected that as the above. Whilst the audience is willing chief use of wit is to convey instructo connive at his misbehaviour, he tion, so the greatest abuse of it is to will only laugh in his sleeve at my introduce confusion, into the mind of animadversions. But if my fellow- his reader. Of this abuse, I think he countrymen would only engage to has been guilty ; his Essay is such a support me a few nights in this just melange of puns, extracts, argucause, I would undertake to bring ments, incoherencies, jokes, ironies, the ghost quickly to terms, and put thread-bare quotations, &c. &c. that
I dare say ninety-nine out of every tio and Marcellus, you very innohundred who read it, have now a less cently mistook these gentlemen for distinct idea of how the ghost in rusty weather-cocks, and thereupon Hamlet ought to be played than concluded that they could not turi when the subject was first brought upon their heel towards the back or before them. To correct as far as in side scene, so as to have the ghost me lies this injurious proceeding on before their faces, yet behind or beside the part of your correspondent,
and their persons. to render the question of ghost-play- Again : I had entered an objection ing again intelligible, it will be ne- to the ghost's wearing a crimson cessary to cull those parts of the scarf, or a blanket-cloak (i. e. such a Observations intended for argument, veritable blanket as the ghost of from the “ leather and prunella Drury Lane wore when I saw him). with which they are surrounded, and I objected to the scarf as unsuitable to see in how far their value sur- to the dim and shadowy being whose passes that of the paper they stand on. very element is perpetual gloom; I
Signior Horrida informs us that he objected to the blanket as unsuitable has a devoted much time and thought to any ghost but that of Mad Tom to Shakspeare's ghosts,"--a piece of or the King of the Beggars. To intelligence by no means superfluous, overturn these objections, our critic inasmuch as it certainly does not supposes” that the king might beam through the Observations them- have worn such articles of dress in selves. Of the kind of success how- his lifetime. But suppose (and the ever which attended this devotion of supposition is very probable) that he « time and thought" on the part of had worn, not a red scarf or a blanket the Signior, he affords us the follow- cloak, but-a red nightcap, or the ing very unequivocal example :-In skin of a brown bear, let us say ;the Guide, I had objected to King by your method of argument, SigHamlet's ghost walking “ within nior, King Hamlet's ghost might entruncheon's length of the footlights ;" ter with propriety in this amiable and for this simple reason that costume, under the chance indeed of thereby the defects of his person and being mistaken by the audience for a paraphernalia, are displayed with Danish witch or a watchman. No, unnecessary candour to the audience. my most pleasant, pun-cracking felIn combating this position of mine, low! You evidently do not see the the knowledge derived by Signior hinge upon which this simple question Horrida from his aforesaid expen- turns. We are not to apparel King diture of “ time and thought” be- Hamlet's ghost, as the King himself comes first conspicuous. He proves might possibly have been apparelled (by the aid of « time and thought,” in his lifetime, but in such a manner mind !) that the ghost should walk as will have the best effect on the within truncheon's length of the foot- stage. Now if you are of opinion lights, by citing genuine passages that a flaring scarf or a mud-coloured which show, that the ghost walks cloak enhances the dignity of a ghost, within truncheon's length of-Horatio you do well to recommend it, and and Marcellus ! O wonderful effect though I may not applaud the deliof “time and thought!” As if, Ho- cacy of your taste, I cannot but adratio and Marcellus being supposed mire its singularity. For my own to stand about the middle of the poor part, I think the ghost should stage, the ghost could not walk a either wear nothing at all but armour, truncheon's length on
one side of
or if he must indulge in superfluities them as well as on the other! As if of dress, they should, all and each, the judicious ghost-player could not be of the most solemn cut, and of sport his belly and his buckram be- the gravest colour. tween them and the back or side The second paragraph of the Obscene, as well as between them and servations looks as if it very much the footlights, yet keep to the text wished to endeavour to contest my all the while !--Ah! Signior, verily opinion, that of all the characters in I fear your wit threw its dust in the Shakspeare, the ghost in Hamlet is eyes of your judgment on this occa- farthest removed from the possibility sion. When the text describes the of adequate representation. This I ghost as appearing “ before ” Hora- had concluded from the unearthly