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in the deuil's garments," &c.-Again, ibid : “ Euen in her maiesties chapel do these pretty upstart youthes profane'the Lordes day by the lascivious writhing of their tender limbes, and gorgeous decking of their apparell, in feigning bawdie fables gathered from the idolatrous heathen poets,' &c.
Concerning the performances and success of the latter in attracting the best company, I also find the following passage in Jack Drum's Entertainment, or Pasquil and Katherine, 1601:
“ I saw the children of Powles last night;
“ 'Tis a good gentle audience,” &c. It is said in Richard Flecknoe's Short Discourse of the English Stage, 1664, that “ both the children of the chappel and St. Paul's, acted playes, the one in White-Friers, the other behinde the Convocation-house in Paul's; till people growing more precise, and playes more licentious, the theatre of Paul's was quite supprest, and that of the children of the chappel converted to the use of the children of the revels." STEEVENS.
The suppression to which Flecknoe alludes took place in the year 1583-4; but afterwards both the children of the chappel and of the Revels played at our author's playhouse in Black. friars, and elsewhere; and the choir-boys of St. Paul's at their own house. See my Account of our old Theatres. A certain number of the children of the Revels, I believe, belonged to each of the principal theatres.
Our author cannot be supposed to direct any satire at those young men, who played occasionally at his own theatre, Ben Jonson's Cynthia's Revels, and his Poetaster, were performed there by the children of Queen Elizabeth's chapel, in 1600 and 1601; and Eastward Hoe by the children of the revels, in 1604 or 1605. I have no doubt, therefore, that the dialogue before us was pointed at the choir-boys of St. Paul's, who in 1601 acted two of Marston's plays, Antonio and Mellida, and Antonio's Revenge. Many of Lyly's plays were represented by them about the same time, and in 1607, Chapman's Bussy d'Ambois was performed by them with great applause. It was probably in this and some other noisy tragedies of the same kind that they cry'd out on the top of question, and were most tyrannically clapped for't.
| At a later period indeed, after our poet's death, the Children of the Revels had an established theatre of their own; and some dispute seems to have arisen between them and the king's company. They performed regularly in 1623, and for eight years afterwards, at the Red Bull in St. John's Street; and in 1627 Shakespeare's company obtained an inhibition from the Master of the Revels to prevent their performing any of his plays at their house : as appears from the following entry in Sir Henry Herbert's Office-book, already mentioned: “ From Mr. Heminge, in their company's name, to forbid the playinge of any of Shakespeare's playes to the Red Bull company, this 11th of Aprill, 1627,4-5 0 0." From other passages in the same book, it appears that the Children of the Revels composed the RedBull company.
Heywood, in his Apology for Actors, 1612, says, “ Now to speake of some abuse lately crept into the quality, as an inveighing against the state, the court, the law, the citty, and their governments, with the particularizing of private mens humours, yet alive, noblemen and others, I know it distastes many; neither do I any way approve it, nor dare I by any means excuse it. The liberty which some arrogate to themselves, committing their bitterness and liberal invectives against all estates to the mouthes of children, supposing their juniority to be a priviledge for any rayling, be it never so violent, I could advise all such to curbe, and limit this presumed liberty within the bands of discretion and government. But wise and judicial censurers before whom such complaints shall at any time hereafter come, will not, I hope, impute these abuses to any transgression in us, who have ever been carefull and provident to shun the like.”
Prynne in his Histriomastix, speaking of the state of the stage, about the year 1620, has this passage: “ Not to particularise those late new scandalous invective playes, wherein sundry persons of place and eminence [Gundemore, the late lord admiral, lord treasurer, and others] have been particularly personated, jeared, abused in a gross and scurrilous manner.”
(31) yases] Nestlings, just out of the egg, ey, ovum. “ Eyiesse, A potrophus. Although she be an Eyiesse, yet she is somewhat coy. Licet domi sit alumnus, manet tamen aliquanto aversior." Rider's Dict. 1589. “ Tobie Matthew is here; but what with the journey, and what with the affliction he endures—he is grown extreme lean, and looks as sharp as an eyas, i. e. a young hawk just taken out of the nest.” The D. of Buckingham to Lå. Visc. St. Alban, May 29, 1623. st. vet. Birch's Letters of L. Bacon, 8vo. 1763, p. 344. It is sometimes written nyas.
Mr. Steevens just notices the booke of Haukynge, as offering another etymology. “ And so bycause the best knowledge is by the eye, they be called eyessed. Ye may also know an eyesse by the paleness of the seres of her legges, or the sere over the
(32) cry out on the top of question] Recite at the highest pitch of the voice; as in asking a question we generally close with a high note, the key in which children usually declaim throughout; and of course in a tone unrelieved and unvaried. In this scene Hamlet, upon the introduction of the Players, uses almost the same language, “ cried in the top of my judgment:" i. e. surpassed, exceeded, surmounted, over-topped mine: and Laertes, in correspondent terms, sets out a similar idea. “ Stood challenger on mount of all the age.” IV. 7.
(33) are tyrannically clapt] Receive outrageous, extravagant applause for that, which, from the very nature of the thing, as above explained, could not convey to an auditory the nice marks and discriminations of character, with any thing like adequate expression.
(34) It is not strange : for my uncle] I do not wonder that the new players have so suddenly risen to reputation: my uncle supplies another example of the facility with which honour is conferred upon new claimants. JOHNSON.
It is either this, or a reflection upon the mutability of fortune, or rather the variableness of man's mind. The quartos read “ very strange.”
(35) I know a hark from a hand-saw] A common proverb.
“ Ignorat quod distant æra lupinis.” Hor.
- Langston's Lusus poeticus, 12mo. 1675, p. 26.
(36) Buz, buz] A term of contempt, applied to idle babblers, who droningly hum, heap and huddle stale intelligence. It is an extinguishing interjection; when, as Sir W. Blackstone says, « any one begins a story, that was generally known before." Ducange, under the article Buzi, says, as we learn from Mr. Douce, « Interpretatur despectus vel contemptus. Papias, Ab Hebraico Bus vel bouz, sprevit.” Illustr. II. 231.
(37) Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light] The tragedies of Seneca were translated into English by Thomas Newton, and others, and published first separate, at different times, and afterwards all together in 1581. One comedy of Plautus, viz. the Menachmi, was likewise translated and published in 1595. STEEVENS.
I believe the frequency of plays performed at public schools, suggested to Shakespeare the names of Seneca and Plautus as dramatic authors. T. WARTON.
Prefixed to a map of Cambridge in the Second Part of Braunii Civitates, &c. is an account of the University, by Gulielmus Soonus, 1575. In this curious memoir we have the following passage : “ Januarium, Februarium, & Martium menses, ut noctis tædia fallant in spectaculis populo exhibendis ponunt tanta elegantia, tanta actionis dignitate, ea vocis & vultus moderatione, ea magnificentia, ut si Plautus, aut Terentius, aut Seneca revivisceret mirarentur suas ipsi fabulas, majoremque quam cum inspectante popul. Rom. agerentur, voluptatem credo caperent. Euripidem vero, Sophoclem & Aristophanem, etiam Athenarum suarum tæderet.” Steevens.
(38) too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the only men] In this difficult, and probably corrupted passage, we follow the modelling and pointing of the modern editors; and propose this interpretation : " For the observance of the rules of the drama, while they take such liberties, as are allowable, they are the only men.”
Mr. Steevens says, writ is used for writing: and instances Nashe's Apologie of Pierce Pennilesse, 1593 : “ For the lowsie circumstance of his poverty before his death, and sending that miserable writte to his wife, it cannot be but thou liest, learned Gabriel.” And Earle's Character of a mere dull Physician, 1638: “ Then followes a writ to his drugger, in a strange tongue, which he understands, though he cannot conster.” In our own author, II. H. VI. we have,
“Now, good my lord, let's see the Devil's writ.” 1. 4. York. Most of the modern Editors had substituted wit for writ; and the last have thought proper, in contradiction to the quartos as well as the folios, to read~" too light. For the law of writ and the liberty these are,” &c.
(39) As by lot, God wot—it came to pass, &c.] The ballad of “Jepha Judge of Israel,” imperfectly given in Percy's Reliques, I. 189, 179+, is printed in Evans's Old Ballads, 8vo. 1810, I. 7. The first stanza is,
“ I have read that many years agoe,
“ When Jepha, judge of Israel,
“ Whom he loved passing well.
" It came to passe most like it was,
“ Great warrs there should be, “ And who should be the chiefe, but he, but he.” From the Stationers' Company Books Mr. Steevens states, that “ ballets” upon this subject were entered there in 1567 and 1624. To this there is no date. He adds, that this story was one of the favourite subjects of ancient tapestry.
(40) my abridgments come] The compendious views or breviaries of our lives. They afterwards in this scene are called “ the abstract and brief chronicles of the time:" and the term is used in M, N. Dr. V. 1. Thes. The quartos read “ abridg, ment comes.”
(41) Why, thy face is valiant, since, &c.] Is become manly and fierce, as he says of the Soldier in As you, &c. II. 7. Duke S. “ bearded like the pard.” The quartos read “valanced;" which is adopted by the modern editors, and interpreted fringed with a beard. The valance is the fringes or drapery hanging round the tester of a bed. Malone. Dryden, in one of his epilogues, has the following line : “ Criticks in plume, and white valancy wig."
(42) choppine] Chapin, Span, a high corked shoe. Minshieu. Mr. Steevens cites Jonson's Cynthia's Revels: “ I do wish myself one of my mistress's cioppini.” Another demands, why would he be one of his mistress's cioppini ? a third answers, “ because he would make her higher." And Decker's Match me in London, 1631: “ I'm only taking instructions to make her a lower chopeene; she finds fault that she's lifted too high." And Chapman's Cæs. and Pompey, 1613:
and thou shalt
« Of life thou canst wish.” Tom Coryat, in his Crudities, 1611, p. 262, calls them chapineys, and gives the following account of them : “ There is one thing used of the Venetian women, and some others dwelling in the cities and townes subject to the signiory of Venice, that is not to be observed (I thinke) amongst any other women in Christendome: which is so comnon in Venice, that no woman whatsoever goeth without it, either in her house or abroad, a thing made of wood and covered with leather of sundry colors, some with white, some redde, some yellow. It is called a chapiney, which they wear under their shoes. Many of them are curiously painted; some also of them I have seen fairely gilt: so uncomely a thing (in my opinion) that it is pitty this foolish custom is not cleane banished and exterminated out of the citie. There are many of these chapineys of a great height, even half a yard high, which maketh many of their women that are very short, seeme much taller than the tallest women we have in England. Also I have heard it observed among them, that by how much the nobler a woman is, by so much the higher are her chapineys. All their gentlewomen, and most of their wives and widowes that are of any wealth, are assisted and supported eyther by men or women, when they walke abroad, to the end they may not fall. They are borne up most commonly by the left arme, otherwise they might quickly take a fall.” Reed.
“ This place [Venice] is much frequented by the walking may poles, I meane the women. They weare their coats halfe too long for their bodies, being mounted on their chippeens,