Page images
PDF
EPUB

The distraction of the jailer's daughter, which is as extreme as that of Ophelia, is caused by an unrequited passion for Palamon, of whom she talks continually. She is cured by soft lights, pleasant odors, sleep, etc., and by having her wooer impersonate Palamon. After the consummation of her marriage the madness disappears. It is only in this lastmentioned detail that the plot agrees with that of the Antipodes. 1

Of minor influences discernible in the play we have the two marked Jonsonian humor-characters, Letoy and Joyless. Letoy, the 'fantastick lord’ who is very conscious of his eccentricities, has no prototype in Jonson, but Brome has compounded his character after the recipe of the master. For Joyless, the groundlessly jealous husband, there are, of course, many precedents outside of Jonson, but in Kitely in Every Man in his Humor we have the same characteristic exaggerated for comic effect, that we see in Brome's absurd creation. Kitely, in the first scene of the second act in Jonson's play, regrets his own jealously as a disease from which he suffers, much as Joyless does in the last act of the Antipodes. Jonson's influence is further discernible in the introduction of projectors in 4. 9 (pp. 308 ff).

Finally, there are three passages in the play that seem to be conscious verbal imitations. The scene in which Blaze tells Joyless of the doctor's famous cures (1.1, pp. 234 ff.) is very like one in Marmion's Fine Companion (1633) 5. 2, where Aurelio disguised as a doctor tells how, without the aid of drugs, he cured the madness of an astrologer, a soldier, a Puritan chandler, a musician, a huntsman, and a poet. Letoy's advice to his actors in 2. 2 is undoubtedly reminiscent of

Melancholy (Schelling says 1612), but Fletcher, writing in 1625 (Fleay), four years after its appearance, may have been influenced by it. This might be a further argument for Spalding's view.

1 The madness of Peregrine and Martha is but one of several examples of different kinds of insanity in Brome's plays. It occurs in some form in Northern Lass, Queen's Exchange, Court Begger, and Queen and Concubine.

Hamlet's speech to his players. Both are directed against
bombastic acting and interpolations into the text.
The passage from Brome is worth quoting in full :

Let. Let me not see you act now,
In your Scholasticke way, you brought to towne wi'yee,
With see saw sacke a downe, like a Sawyer ;
Nor in a Comicke Scene, play Hercules furens,
Tearing your throat to split the Audients eares.
And you Sir, you had got a tricke of late,
Of holding out your bum in a set speech ;
Your fingers fibulating on your breast,
As if your Buttons, or your Band-strings were
Helpes to your memory. Let me see you in't
No more I charge you. No, nor you sir, in
That over-action of the legges I told you of,
Your singles, and your doubles, Looke you—thus-
Like one o'th' dancing Masters o'the Beare-garden ;
And when you have spoke, at end of every speech,
Not minding the reply, you turne you round
As Tumblers doe ; when betwixt every feat
They gather wind, by firking up their breeches.
Ile none of these absurdities in my house,
But words and action married so together,
That shall strike harmony in the eares and eyes
Of the severest, if judicious Criticks.

Qua. My Lord we are corrected.
Let.

Goe, be ready :
But you Sir are incorrigible, and
Take licence to your selfe, to adde unto
Your parts, your owne free fancy; and sometimes
To alter, or diminish what the writer
With care and skill compos'd : and when you are
To speake to your coactors in the Scene,
You hold interloquutions with the Audients.

Bip. That is a way my Lord has bin allow'd
On elder stages to move mirth and laughter.

Let. Yes in the dayes of Tarlton and Kempe,
Before the stage was purg'd from barbarisme,

And brought to the perfection it now shines with. i Hamlet 3. 2. Compare also Chapman's Gentleman Usher (1601 or 1602) 2. 1. 170.

Then fooles and jesters spent their wits, because
The Poets were wise enough to save their owne
For profitabler uses. Let that passe.

The last example of borrowing to be pointed out is that in the passage in which Letoy tells of his ancestry (1.5, p. 244). Here there is a close verbal reminiscence of Lafoole's in the Silent Woman 1. 4.1

By way of summary of the investigation of Brome's sources in the Antipodes, I think we may conclude that he deserves the credit of originating the idea at the basis of his comedy, possibly acting on the slight suggestions to be found for it in Jonson's masque, Lucian's Vera Historia, or in Mandeville. This last source he made free use of, at any rate, though possibly not as the germ of his idea. For the play within a play as a means of curing mental derangement, the Roman Actor is the most probable precedent, though the idea is to be found in the Anatomy of Melancholy, and two more dramas beside the one mentioned. Of minor imitations of passages the surest cases are those from Burton, Shakespeare, Jonson, and Marmion.

II. THE SATIRE OF THE ANTIPODES Brome, following the principle of Jonson, is wholly impersonal in his satire. Jonson declared that he himself never departed from this principle, but it would be difficult to deny that in the Poetaster he actually did satirize individuals. Brome, however, although he of course has frequent allusions to contemporaries like Coryat and Prynne, has never in any of his extant plays characterized any but types or classes of men. The Antipodes has more satire in it than any other of his works, but the fun here is always of the most goodnatured sort.

Some of the minor points that are touched on satirically in the Antipodes are the ranting delivery and extemporal

i Quoted above, p. 96.

interpolation of contemporary actors, mentioned above, and the loose conduct of young gentlemen with the wives of citizen-tradesmen. This last mentioned theme occurs as an episode or an underplot in the New Academy, Sparagus Garden, City Wit, and Mad Couple, and is touched on in the Court Begger (1.1, p. 194), where there is a 'project' mentioned to prevent cavaliers and courtiers from mixing with tradesmen's wives. Then there are humorous hits at poets for their poverty and reckless living3—the sort of fun at the author's expense that most of the playwrights seemed willing to make.

The stilted languaget of the courtier, and his affected courtesy, were very obvious marks for the satirist. Brome makes fun of the same thing in the Sparagus Garden (4.9, 10) and the New Academy (4. 2). This does not mean that the bourgeois poet is ridiculing the elegance and greater correctness of usage of a sphere above his own, but rather that he is deriding a relic of Euphuism that seems to have persisted in the language of courtesy. Brome is here following Jonson, who satirized the same tendency in Cynthia's Revels. Other examples are to be found in Newcastle's Captain Underwit (2. 2), Shirley's Lady of Pleasure (5. 1), and Lovetricks.

The legal profession was in the seventeenth century, as it has been before and since, a favorite target for satirical shafts. The character-books did not spare them, and the drama was particularly violent in its attacks. A study of lawyers as dramatic characters has been made by Dr. H. Bormann in his thesis, Der Jurist im Drama der Elisabethanischen Zeit (Halle, 1906). Brome makes sly hits at the profession in short passages in Covent Garden Weeded (2. 1) and the Sparagus Garden (5. 1). Here, again, Jonson may be considered as the

1 2. 2, p. 250.

2 2.7; 3. 8. The same old joke occurs in Massinger's Fatal Dowry 4. 3, 'The Courtier's Song of the Citizens' (Marmion's Fine Com. panion 2. 2), and Nabbes' Tottenham Court. Middleton and Dekker's Roaring Girl 2. 1 gives a very realistic picture of the manners of a wife in her husband's shop.

3 1. 6, p. 254, and 3. 2. 3. 5; 4. 7.

5 The justice is introduced as a comic figure in the Damoiselle, Northern Lass, and Jovial Crew.

readiest example for Brome, if he needed any predecessor at all to show him the possibilities of the theme. Jonson makes fun of lawyers in his Epigrams, and, in some form, either by introducing them as characters, or by directing witty remarks against them, in eight plays. 1

Brome's satire on the lawyers in the Antipodes is rather commonplace. It is brought in purely for the humor of the inversions, with apparently little animosity to the profession. The harshest comment is

The lawes the river, ist ? Yes tis a river,
Through which great men, and cunning wade or swimme,
But meane, and ignorant must drowne in't. 3

The Puritans, natural enemies of the playwrights, were undoubtedly ridiculed by them more than any other class of people. It is useless to discuss the question here, for Dr. E. N. S. Thompson, in his Controversy between the Puritans and the Stage, 4 has given it detailed consideration. In satirizing them, Brome is following the lead of practically all the comic dramatists. He has really added nothing new in the way of abuse. This is also true of the rest of the Caroline dramatists. In fact, after Middleton and Jonson had finished their work, there was really nothing that could be added.

Brome repeats some of the points for which Jonson had satirized the Puritans in the Alchemist, Bartholomew Fair, and the Sad Shepherd. Jonson made fun of their dress ; strange long names ; fondness for large and solemn language ; sophistry; the narrowness, which, because of its own virtue, objected to cakes and ale ; and he even made against them the more serious accusations of hypocrisy and dishonesty." Brome, in Covent Garden Weeded, has drawn a typical stagePuritan, Gabriel. He whines through his nose, hates the

1 Bormann omits mention of the satire in the Silent Woman and the Poetaster. See also Magnetic Lady (second intermean).

? 1. 6, p. 254; 3. 2, 3, 4, 5. 3 4. 4, p. 301. Yale Studies, No. 20.

6 See C. S. Alden's edition of Bartholomew Fair, Introduction, pp. xx ff.

« PreviousContinue »