Page images

and happinesseofthiskingdome, they licentiously dissolve into wicked vanities and pleasures; and all hope of ever doing good either unto God, the church, their country, or owne soules, melteth as the winter ice, and floweth away as unprofitable waters. These infamous spectacles are condemned by all kinde of sound learning, both divine and humane. Distinctions devised for their upholding and defence may give some shallow and weake contentment to partiall and sensuall affections possest with prejudice; but how shall they be able to satisfie a conscience sensible of all appearance of evill? How can they preserve the inclinablenesse of our corrupt nature from the infection of these schooles of lewdnesse, and sinckes of all sinne, as (toomit divines, councels, fathers, moralists, because the point is not directly incident) even a politician,* calls them. Alas, are not our wretched corruptions raging and fiery enough, being left to themselves, dispersed at their naturall liberty; but they must be united at these accursed theatres, as in a hollow glasse, to set on fire the whole body of our naturall viciousnesse at once, and to enrage it further with lust, fiercenesse, and effeminatenesse, beyond the compasse of nature ? f Doth any man think it possible that the power of saving grace, or the pure spirit of God, can reside in his heart, that willingly and with full consent feeds his inward concupiscence with such variety of sinfull vanities and lewd occasions, which the Lord himselfe hath pronounced to be an abomination % unto him? How can any man, that ever felt in his heart the love or feare of so dredfull a Majesty as the Lord of heaven and earth, endure to be present, especially with delight and contentment, at oathes, blasphemies, obscenities, and the abusing sometimes of the most precious things in the booke of God (whereat we should tremble), to most base and scurrill

* "Theatra definire possumus, tnrpitudinis vitiorumq. omnium sentinam ac scbolam.—Bodin, De Bepub. lib. 6, cap. 1."

'f "Marke this, O play-haunters, and then judge yourselves.

I « Deut. xxii. 5."

jests? Certainly, every childe of God is of a most noble and heroicke spirit, and therefore is most impatient of hearing any wrong, indignity, or dishonour, offered to the word, name, or glory of his Almighty Father, &c. Thus this grave reverend divine in proofe of my assumption."*

Archbishop Laud and the Star-Chamber certainly dealt harshly with poor Prynne, who, however, was singularly unfortunate, or very bold, in choosing the moment for publishing his book. It came out just at the time that Henrietta Maria, the queen of Charles I., was rehearsing a part, which she afterwards acted, in a play with her maids of honour. Hence every abusive term was held to be directed against her Majesty, and Prynne's offence deemed little short of high treason. In Sir Henry Ellis's interesting collection there is a letter of the time written by Mr. Pory to Sir Thomas Puckering, which contains the following court news :—

"That which the Queen's Majesty, some of her ladies, and all her maides of honour are now practising upon, is a pastorall penned by Mr. Walter Montague, wherein her Majesty is pleased to acte a parte, as well for her recreation as for the exercise of her English. Ben Jonson (who I thought had bene dead) hath written a play against next terme, called the Magnetick Lady." And in another letter in the same collection, from Mr. Gresley to Sir Thomas Puckering, Prynne's case is thus stated: "Mr. Prynne, an Utter Barrister of Lincoln's lime, is brought into the High Commission Court and Star-Chamber, for publishing a booke (a little before the Queene's acting of her play) of the Unlawfulness of Plaies, wherein, in the table of his booke, and his brief additions thereunto, he hath these words, ' Women actors notorious

w s,' * * * which wordes it is thought by some

will cost him his eares, or heavily punisht and deepely fined."—Original Letters, illustrative of English History, vol. vi. p. 270 and p. 280.

• Prynne's Histrio-Mastix, Lond. 1663, part i. p. 358, e».


Prynne's writings did indeed cost him his ears, and something more; but the punishments so barbarously heaped upon him, and Burton and Bastwick, became burning coals on the head of Laud, and contributed more than any other single circumstance to the execution of that prelate, and the march of the revolution which brought his royal master also to the scaffold.


Jean Paul Richter said, that the French had the dominion of the land, the English of the sea, and the Germans of the air.


"we are apt to say in a proverbial way, 'as rich as a Jew ;' but the Jews, take them in general, are not a rich people. There have been always some few among them that were immensely wealthy, and it was from the observation of these that the observation arose."—Pegge.

The learned antiquary is probably mistaken in his explanation; for had the reason been the one which he assigns, namely, the great wealth of a few, it would have been far more natural to say " as rich as a lord," or, "as rich as a duke." The truth seems to be, that as the Jews long monopolised the trades of bill-broker, moneychanger, &c., the vulgar, dazzled by the large quantity of specie possessed by such persons, by a very natural mistake confounded capital with income; and because a Jew usurer had more ready money than the first nobleman in the land, they imagined him to be more opulent; though the money constituted the whole capital of the former, and only a part of the revenue of the latter.


We do not recollect where we met with the following antithesis, but it seems just as well as elegant:—

"Ce sont deux scaurs que la langue Italicnne et I'Espagnole; celle-ci est la prude, et l'autre la coquette."



The Speakers are Theodorus and Amphilogus.

Theod.What say you of the barbers and trimmers of men? are they so neate, and so fine fellowes as they are said to be?—There are no finer fellowes under the sunne, nor experter in their noble science of barbing than they be; and therefore, in the fulness of their overflowing knowledge, (oh I ingenious heads, and worthie to' be dignified with the diademe of follie and vain curiositie!) they have invented such strange fashions and monstrous manners of cuttings, trimmings, shavings, and washings, that you would wonder to see. They have one maner of cut called the French cut, another the Spanish cut; one the Dutch cut, another the Italian; one the newe cut, another the old; one the bravado fashion, another of the meane fashion; one a gentleman's cut, another the common cut; one cut of the court, another of the country; with infinite the like vanities, which I overpasse. They have also other kinds of cuts innumerable; and therefore when you come to be trimed they will aske you whether you will be cut to looke terrible to your enemie, or amiable to your freend; grime and sterne in countenance, or pleasant and demure (for they have divers kinds of cuts for all these purposes, or else they lie). Then when they have done all their feats, it is a world to consider how their mowchatowes must be preserved and laid out, from one

cheke to another, yea almost from one eare to another, and turned up like two homes towards the forehead. Besides that, when they come to the cutting of the haire, what snipping and snapping of the cycersis there; what tricking and trimming, what rubbing, what scratching, what combing and clawing, what trickling and toying, and all to tawe out money, you may be sure. And when they come to washing, oh! how gingerly they behave themselves therein; for then shall your mouth be bossed with the lather or fome that riseth of the balles (for they have their sweete balles wherewithall they use to washe); your eyes closed must be anointed therewith also. Then snap go the fingers; ful bravely, God wot. Thus, this tragedy ended, comes me warme clothes to wipe and dry him withall; next theeares must be picked, and closed togither againe artificially forsooth; the hair of nostrils cutaway, and every thing done in order comely to behold. The last action in this tragedie is the paiment of monie. And least these cunning barbers might seeme unconscionable in asking much for their paines, they are of such a shamefast modesti'e, as they will aske nothing at all, but, standing to the curtesie and liberaltie of the giver, they will receive all that comes, how much soever it be, not giving anie againe, I warrant you; for take a barber with that fault, and strike off his head. No, no, such fellowes are Rarce in ten-is, nigrisque simillirni cygnis,—Rare birds upon the earth, and as geason as black swans. You shall have also your Orient perfumes for your nose, your fragrant waters for your face, wherewith you shall bee all to besprinkled: your musicke againe, and pleasant harmonie shall sound in your eares, and all to tickle the same with vaine delight. And in the end your cloke shall be brushed, and, God be with you, gentleman I

Theod.—All these curious conceits, in my judgement, are rather done 1'or to allure and provoke the minds of men to be bountifull and liberall towards them, than lor any good else which they bring either to the bodie or health of man.

Amphil.—True it is that you say; and therefore you

« PreviousContinue »