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the lord chamberlain of the King's household is prayed and required to give order to be executed. And immediately the same was put in execution !"* In a pamphlet printed in 1641, entitled "Archy's Dream,"f the following reason is given fdr Archy's banishment from court. A certain nobleman asking him what he would do with his handsome daughters, he replied he knew very well what to do with them, but he had sons whom he knew not well what to do with; he would gladly make scholars of them, but that he feared the archbishop would cut off their ears.
XIX. SHAPED POEMS.
Op all tne caprices that have ever entered into the heads of poets or verse-makers, this seems to be one of the most paltry and mean. It was however cherished by many in the middle of the seventeenth century, when it often happened that more attention was paid by the writer to the shape of his poem, or to that form it would present to the eye supposing an outline to be drawn round it, than to the sense of the words or the melody of the verse. This truly Chinese ingenuity must have had its admirers, or it never would have been so much exercised. There are things of that period (we cannot seriously call them poems) where the lines are here stretched out and there drawn in, and so cut, twisted, and tortured as to have a rude general resemblance to the most fantastic objects. There are amatory poems in the shape of roses, lookingglasses, fans, and ladies' gowns; drinking songs in the shape of wine-glasses, bottles, and flagons; religious verses in the shape of pulpits and altars; rhymed epitaphs in the shape of tomb-stones; and, not to mention flying
* Rushworth, part ii. vol. i. pp. 470, 471. Welwood's Memoirs, p. 278.
f "Archy's Dream, sometime Jester to his Majestie; but exiled the court by Canterburie's malice: with a relation for whom an odde chair stood Toid in hell. London, 1641."
angels and trumpets of Fame, there are patriotic odes in the shape of Grecian temples and Egyptian pyramids.
A certain Edward Benlowes, who, though now forgotten, was a great man in his day, being styled by his Cambridge contemporaries " the excellently learned," was a distinguished proficient in this species of composition. Benlowes, however, and the school of poets to which he belonged, did not escape the lash of criticism, as there were people even in those days who preferred sense to shape, and who thought that verse ought not to be reduced to a piece of cabinet-maker's work, or the patterncutting of a milliner. Samuel Butler, in his " Character of a Small Poet," thus severely handles Mr. Benlowes on this particular head.
"There is no feat of activity, nor gambol of wit, that ever was performed by man, from him that vaults on Pegasus, to him that tumbles through the hoop of an anagram, but Benlowes has got the mastery of it, whether it be high-rope wit, or low-rope wit. He has all sorts of echoes, rebuses, chronograms, &c., besides carwitches, cleriches, and quibbles. As for altars and pyramids in poetry, he has outdone all men that way; for he has made a gridiron and a frying-pan in verse, that, besides the likeness in shape, the very tone and sound of the words did perfectly represent the noise that is made by these utensils, such as the old poet called Sartago loquendi. When he was a captain, he made all the furniture of his horse, from the bit to the crupper, in the beaten poetry, every verse being fitted to the proportion of the thing, with a moral allusion of the sense to the thing; as the bridle of moderation, the saddle of content, and the crupper of constancy : so that the same thing was to the epigram and emblem even as a mule is both horse and ass."—Butler's Genuine Remains: quoted by Sir Egerton Brydges, Restituta, vol. iii. p. 43.
These mean extravagances were far from being confined to England, for about the same period they infected Italian, Spanish, and French literature. We have seen a manuscript quarrel in shaped rhymes between two Neapolitan poetasters, where one of the contending parties . . you." Something of the sort will be found in the composition quoted by Mr. D'Israeli, where the line of the poem ends in " edify," and echo says" O fie!" or where the line says " belied," and echo (rather indecently) replies " bellied ;" or where " lie all," is given as the reflected sound of " loyal."
The poem written by Francis Cole of Cambridge, who seems to have been a sturdy advocate for the royal cause, was published in 1642, or two years after the obstinacy and treachery of Charles I. had driven the English people to take up arms against him. The objects of the poet's satire, and he meant to be very satirical, are the roundheads, the citizens of London, and the puritans.—See Curiosities of Literature, vol. v.
XX. HISTORY OF STAGE COSTUME.
If Stratford-upon-Avon be the Mecca of our dramatic world, Dunstable may surely be called the Medina,—the second sacred city in the estimation of the zealous playgoer; not that Shakspeare fled thither from the vengeance of Sir Thomas Lucy, his Abu Sopbian ; nor that the immortal actor-bard was the real original Sylvester Daggerwood of the Dunstable Company, whose benefit was fixed, &c. &c.; but because the little town of Bedfordshire, which is only famous in Gazetteers for the manufacture of straw hats and pillow-lace, has the honour of furnishing us with the earliest precise information concerning an English play and an English theatrical wardrobe, through the medium of Matthew Paris, who tells us, in his " Lives of the Abbots,"* that Geoffrey the Norman, afterwards abbot of Saint Albans, while yet a secular person, was invited over to England by Richard the then abbot to teach the school belonging to that monastery ; but, in consequence of some delay when Geoffrey arrived, the vacant office had been filled, and he
* VitiB Abbatuin, Edit. 1640, vol. i. p. 56.
therefore took up his residence at Dunstable, where he brought out the miracle-play of " St. Catherine," and borrowed from the sacrist of St. Albans some of the ecclesiastical vestments of the abbey to adorn his actors! On the following night, Geoffrey's house took fire, and the borrowed wardrobe perished in the flames ; upon which, the said Geoffrey, considering it a judgment of Heaven, assumed the habitvm religionis in good earnest, and subsequently becoming himself abbot of St. Albans, expired in the odour of sanctity, A.d. 1146.* This "judgment," however, does not appear to have equally terrified the successors of Geoffrey in theatrical management; for in the" Manuel de Peche," a Norman-French poem,t written about the middle of the thirteenth century, the author charges the clergy not only with contriving and inventing miracle-plays, but says, they painted or disguised their faces with vizards, to act in them; and denounces as downright sacrilege the lending of any holy vestment, or horse, or harness, (most likely armour,) for the representation thereof. In the reign of Edward the Third, we find a glorious catalogue of dresses and properties furnished for the plays, maskings, or disguisings that took place when the King kept his Christmas in the Castle of Guilford ; % such as visors for men and for women, some to represent angels, " made with silver," mantles embroidered with heads of dragons, white tunics wrought with heads and wings of peacocks, others with heads and wings of swans, some painted with eyes of peacocks, and some embroidered with stars of gold and silver. These habits, how ever, were evidently so fantastic that it is probable they were assumed merely for a
* Bulaeus, Historia Universitatis Parisiensis. Paris, 1665, vol. ii. p. 225.
t MS. Royal. 20-B. xiv. and Harl. Coll. 1701. Collier's Annals of the Stage, vol. i. p. 7. 9.
J Comp. J. Cooke, Provisoiis Magnse Gardarobae, ab ann. 21 Edw. III. ad ann. 23. Membr. ix. Wharton's Hist, of Knglish Poetry, vol. ii. p. 72. Collier's Annals of the Stage, vol. i. p. 15.
addressed a lampoon to the other in the form of a cocozzo or gourd, which is their national emblem of stupidity: to this the antagonist replied by verses shaped like a certain vase de nuit; and this again was met by a poem shaped like a what we cannot name. It sometimes required a little force of imagination to trace any resemblance between the outline of the verses and the objects meant to be typified ; but, generally speaking, the name of the object was introduced somewhere in the lines, and thus did the same duty as the old sign-painters' inscriptions, " This is meant for a horse—this is an eagle," &c. &c.; and so saving a good deal of trouble in the way of conjecture.
Now and then a man of real genius would put on these
ridiculous shackles, and write good poetry in spite of them.
The two following old French specimens are very cur iou
and spirited. The first of them, or the bottle, may be
even called a fine bacchanalian poem. We believe they
were both written by Panard, about the year 1640.
f 1 a c o n
me semble bon!
Sans l ui
F e n n u i
j e sens
p e s a n t s.
Quand je le tiens.
Dieux ! que je suis bien!
que son aspect est agreable!
queje fais cas deses divins pr&ens!
C'est de son sein fecond, c'est de ses heureux (lanes
que coule ce nectar si doux, si delectable,
qui rend tous les esprits, tous les crews' satisfaits I
Cher objet de mes voeux, tu fais toute ma gloire.
Tant que mon coeurvivra, de tes charmants bienfaits
il saura conserver la fidele memoire.