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therefore, probably not known to Brome, I assign the parts in which these characters occur to Heywood.
Another interest in the play is the comic situation brought about by the reversal of the relations of father and son, mother and daughter, and servant and master, as an effect of witchcraft. This part of the play, which includes the characters of Old Seely, his son Gregory, and a friend, Doughty, I can find no good reason for attributing to Brome. On the other hand, as this reversed situation has some bearing on the relation of Arthur and Generous (pp. 178 and 182) in the main plot, it seems to me it must be assigned to Heywood.
The greater part of the rest of the play is taken up with the strange events at the marriage of Lawrence and Parnell, the servants of the Seely family. The witches play all sorts of pranks with the wedding-feast and frighten the guests ; and one of them, Mall Spenser, gives Lawrence a bewitched cod-piece point, which causes a great deal of vulgar comedy by preventing him from consummating his marriage. This plot is involved to such an extent with all the different interests I have mentioned before, that I cannot see any possibility of a separate authorship for it. Arthur, Bantam, Shakstone, Whetstone, Seely, Doughty, and Gregory-characters in the other plotsare present in some capacity at most of the wedding scenes ; Mall Spenser, who gives Lawrence the fatal present, has an intrigue with Robin, the servant who plays such an important part in the Nan Generous plot. Furthermore, there is a piece of external evidence which, I think, indicates that the Lawrence-Parnell plot was in the early version of the play. In Field's Woman is a Weathercock (5. I), one character, addressing another as a very lusty person, says, O thou beyond Lawrence of Lancashire.' As Field's play was entered in the Pp. 179–187.
Stationers' Register Nov. 23, 1611, and the trial in Lancashire, from which Heywood drew his play, was not over until Aug., 1612, Field cannot be referring to Heywood's Lawrence. However, the probability is that both dramatists are using the name of a real character well-known to the audience, or a proverbial name for a person of his type. Whichever be the case, I think it safer to infer that the allusions to Lawrence should be dated as close together as possible. An allusion of this sort twenty years old would probably be forgot. Therefore, this external evidence also points to 1613 as the date of composition of the Lawrence-Parnell plot. Fleay seems to imply that the part of Lawrence and Parnell was added by Brome, because he says that the dialect which they speak is that of the Northern Lass. This, however, is not true. The speech of Lawrence and Parnell, which is considered fairly good Lancashire dialect, is much more difficult for the average reader than that of Constance in the Northern Lass, who speaks a sort of general North English dialect.3 As Heywood also has used a northern dialect elsewhere—e. g. in Edward IV.-as well as Brome, Fleay's argument is useless.
This attribution leaves very little part in the play to Brome. I think that all that can be shown positively to be his work are the passages that are undoubtedly based on the evidence gathered at the second trial for witchcraft in Lancashire in 1633. These are the short scene of the boy and the greyhounds in Act 2 (pp. 196-197); the sequel to it, in which one of the grayhounds turns into Goody Dickison (pp. 199–201); the scene of the meeting
1 Fleay, op. cit. 1. 303.
3 Compare the words listed from the two plays by Eckhardt, Die Dialekt- und Ausländertypen des Alteren Englischen Dramas. 1900, 1. 86 and 87.
of the witches (pp. 218-221)?; and the boy's report of his adventure, at the beginning of Act 5 (pp. 241-244). This assigns to Brome about nine pages in all, out of a play of eighty-nine. Besides this, Brome changed the names of the witches and spirits throughout the play, and probably altered slightly the riming scene in Act 4 (p. 235), to introduce the references to Meg, Mamilion, Dickison, Hargrave, and All Saints' night. He also must have added the prologue and epilogue, and probably the song for Act 2, appended to the play.
All these details of the play, just enumerated, were drawn from the Examination of Edmund Robinson and the Confession of Margaret Johnson. They must, therefore, because of their later date, have been the additions of Brome. These interpolations have nothing to do with the rest of the play. In fact, Brome's reworking here has resulted in making a worse play out of a very poor one, merely to be up to date.
The authorship of the rest of Brome's work we have no reason to question. Four of the plays appeared during the author's lifetime, apparently under his supervision, for they have prefaces by him, and numerous commendatory verses by his friends. Moreover, the Antipodes has an appended note which I think assures us absolutely of its authorship. Ten more plays appeared under the editorship of Alexander Brome, the author's close friend. For the authenticity of the Queen's Exchange we have only the word of Henry Brome, the bookseller, but internal evidence, I think, confirms this. In fact, in all fifteen plays said to be by Brome alone, I can find no reason
1 The original idea of this scene was probably in the first version, but the getting a feast by pulling at ropes and the presence of the boy, come from the 1633 source.
? Both found in Crossley's introduction to T. Potts, op. cit., pp. 59–76.
either in the Stationers' Register, the Herbert Officebook, or in internal evidence, for doubting the statement of the title-pages.
STRUCTURE OF THE COMEDIES OF MANNERS
There is a great deal of sameness about the comedies of Brome, but this is due, not to a lack of variety in types of plot, as Dr. Faust has suggested, but rather to a repetition of the stock characters and stock situations that seem to have pleased Caroline audiences.3 Brome's plots, I think, may be divided into four distinct types. The Antipodes must be put into a class by itself, for but one-third of it has a regular plot, which is the framework for the satiric masque with which the rest of the piece is taken up. Randolph's Muses Looking-Glass is the only other play I know which approaches this type.
The City Wit is a very good play, modeled on the type
1 E. H. Oliphant in 'The Problem of Authorship in Eliz. Drama' (Mod. Phil., 8. 3), says there are but three plays of Brome on which we may base a knowledge of his style with anything like absolute safety, - Antipodes, Jovial Crew, and Covent Garden Weeded, and adds that there are eleven more which may be accepted unless internal evidence cause us to doubt the external. He gives no reason for the particular selection of Covent Garden Weeded. His suggestion that the Mad Couple is probably founded on a play by Rowley, because it appears on the Cockpit list of 1639 between plays by Rowley and those of Shirley, I consider ill grounded.
Op. cit., p. 31. 3 Dr. Allen (op. cit., pp. 44–46) has mentioned Brome's re. petition of himself as his most provoking habit. This is shown in the repeated types of character (see below p. 64); in the similarity of the disgrace-situation at the basis of the main plots of Novella, Damoiselle, and New Academy; and in the wearisome frequency of disguise as a motive in fourteen plays. Secrets of birth, false marriages, a man marrying one person when he thinks he is marrying some one else, changed letters, confused identities, timely disappearances, drunken scenes, last scene conversions, -all appear just as one expects them to.'
of the Alchemist, that is, it consists of a series of tricks rather than of a regularly developed intrigue. Crasy, a fallen tradesman who discovers that his relations and friends turn against him when he is in trouble, plots a revenge upon every one of them in turn by means of a series of disguises, with the help of his servant Jeremy. This gives a chance for six or seven excellent situations, almost any one of which could, like those of the Alchemist, be separated from the others. Some of them, however, again like those of the Alchemist, grow out of one another. This same sort of duping Brome has used again in the underplots of two more plays, Covent Carden Weeded and the Sparagus Garden. Here we have the fleecing of one or more country fellows by a band of London scoundrels or 'roarers.' As I have not come across this
conycatching' plot in drama before the Alchemist, I suppose we may consider that play the origin of all these scenes and underplots in Cartwright's Ordinary, Marmion's Fine Companion, Nabbes' Bride, and Glapthorne's Hollander, as well as those in the two plays of Brome just mentioned.2 If these scenes were as typical of the lost plays of the period as they are of those extant, cony-catching must have been a stock situation of the late drama.
None of the other plays of Brome can be considered as merely a series of tricks. The rest of the plots are extremely complicated intrigues. But these I divide again into two classes, those made up of three, four, or five interests separable from one another, but united in the end; and those in which the various threads of the intrigue are completely involved in one another from the first act. Of the first class the Sparagus Garden is typical. This has five distinct interests, two of them wholly epi
1 Woodbridge, Studies in Jonson's Comedy, p. 60.
2 Cf. also Middleton's Fair Quarrel 4. 1 and 4, where Chough is taught to be a 'roarer.'