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Ancient Plays--Miracle Plays, Dramas from Scripture, etc. continued several days--The Coventry Play--Mysteries described--How enlivened--The "Pageant" or Stage--Cornish Miracle Plays--Moralities described--Secular Plays--Interludes--Chaucer's Definition of the Tragedies of his Time--Plays on Holy Days--Royal Companies of Players--The Puritans--Court Plays--Play in honour of the Princess Mary's Marriage--The Play of Hock-Tuesday--Decline of Secular Plays--Sir Miles Stapleton and Yorkshire Players--Origin of Puppet Plays--Nature of the Performances--Giants and other Puppet Characters--Puppet Plays superseded by Pantomimes--The modern Puppet-show Man--Moving Pictures described.

ANCIENT PLAYS.--It is not my design to enter deeply upon the origin and progress of scenic exhibitions in England: this subject has already been so ably discussed, that very little new matter can be found to excite the public attention: I shall, therefore, be as brief as possible, and confine myself chiefly to the lower species of comic pastimes, many of which may justly claim the sanction of high antiquity.

MIRACLE PLAYS, DRAMAS FROM SCRIPTURE, ETC. CONTINUED SEVERAL DAYS.--The theatrical exhibitions in London, in the twelfth century, were called Miracles, because they consisted of sacred plays, or representations of the miracles wrought by the holy confessors, and the sufferings by which the perseverance of the martyrs was manifested. 1 Such subjects were certainly very properly chosen, because the church was usually the theatre wherein these pious dramas were performed, and the actors were the ecclesiastics or their scholars. 2 The first play of this kind specified by name, is that of St Katherine, Ludus de St Katharine. According to Matthew Paris, it was written by Geoffrey, a Norman, afterwards abbot of St Albans: he was sent over into England by abbot Richard, to take upon him the direction of the school belonging to that monastery, but coming too late, he went to Dunstable and taught there, where he caused his play to be performed about the year 1110, and borrowed from the sacrist of St Albans some of the choir copes of the abbey, to adorn the actors.

* In the first half of the twelfth century three Latin plays were composed by Hilarius, an Englishman of French education; they deal respectively with the stories of Daniel, Lazarus, and St Nicholas. The earliest known manuscript that gives any sequence of Scriptural plays dates from the same century, and pertains to Tours, in France. In this series occurs the first mention of a stage

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erected outside the church door. From that date the plays which had originated in the quire, and hence transferred to the nave of the church, took up their position in the churchyard. In the thirteenth century various bishops protested against the use of churchyards as consecrated places for the miracle plays with their somewhat coarse associations, and priests were often forbidden to take part in them. Nevertheless, down to Reformation days, these dramas were usually written by the clergy and controlled by them, whilst the actors were frequently drawn from the ranks of the minor orders of the ministry and from the friars. Particularly was this the case with the parish clerks, like Chaucer's "Joly Absolon," of whom the poet says:--

Sometimes to show his lightness and maistrie,
He plaieth Herod on a scaffold hie.

According to the Wife of Bath's prologue in the Canterbury Tales, the miracle plays of Chaucer's days were exhibited during the season of Lent, and sometimes a sequel of Scripture histories was carried on for several days. In the reign of Richard II. (1391 the parish clerks of London put forth a play at Skinners Wells, near Smithfield, which continued three days; the king, queen, and many of the nobility, being present at the performance. 1 In the succeeding reign, 10 Henry IV. A.D. 1409, another play was acted by them at the same place, and lasted eight days; this drama began with the creation of the world, and contained the greater part of the history of the Old and New Testament. It does not appear to have been honoured with the royal presence, but was well attended by most of the nobility and gentry of the realm.

* Although Gregory I X. prohibited in strong terms the exhibition of dramatic spectacles in consecrated places, and secured their prohibition by the Council of Treves in 1227, the first year of his papacy, the Church almost inadvertently gave a great impetus to religious pageantry and plays at the hands of one of his immediate successors. Pope Urban IV. instituted the festival of Corpus Christi in 1263, and its general use was established by the Council of Vienne in 1311. The peculiar honour paid to this new festival by the trading gilds and corporations of our English towns and cities led to their seizing on the occasion of the great Corpus Christi procession as the appropriate time for the setting forth of the miracle plays with much pageantry.

* Chester claims by tradition to have been the first, circa 1270, to start its cycle of Corpus Christi plays. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries it is known that religious plays were performed at Bassingbourne, Bath, Bethersden, Beverley, Cambridge, Coventry, Heybridge, Kendal, Lancaster, Leeds, Lincoln, London, Morebath, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Preston, Reading, Shrewsbury, Sleaford, Tewkesbury, Tintinhull, Winchester, Worcester, Woodkirk near Wakefield, Wymondham, and York. Such a list as this proves how thoroughly these religious plays had taken hold of the English

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people, especially as the names given are probably not a tithe of those whose definite performances of this character were regularly enacted. At several of these places, not only in villages of Somersetshire, Cambridgeshire, Kent or Essex, but in small towns such as Reading and Tewkesbury, the churchwardens' accounts are charged with the expenses of the performance. This points to the probability that, where there were no flourishing trading gilds to support them, these performances were carried on under a certain amount of clerical direction.

THE COVENTRY PLAY.--The best known of °these mysteries is that entitled Corpus Christi, or Ludus Coventrie, the Coventry Play; transcripts of this play, nearly if not altogether coeval with the time of its representation, are yet in existence; one in particular is preserved in the Cotton Library. 1 The prologue to this curious drama is delivered by three persons, who speak alternately, and are called vexillators; it contains the argument of the several pageants, or acts, that constitute the piece, and they amount to no less than forty; and every one of these acts consists of a detached subject from the Holy Writ, beginning with the creation of the universe and concluding with the last judgment. In the first pageant, or act, the Deity is represented seated on His throne by Himself, delivering a speech of forty lines beginning thus:

Ego sum de Alpha et Omega principium et finis.

    My name is knowyn God and Kynge,
    My worke for to make now wyl I wende,
    In myself restyth my reyneynge,
    It hath no gynnyg ne non ende.

[paragraph continues] The angels then enter, singing from the Te Deum, "To Thee all angels cry aloud, the heavens and all the powers therein; To Thee Cherubin and Seraphin continually do cry, Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth." Lucifer next makes his appearance, and desires to know if the hymn they sang was in honour of God or in honour of him? The good angels readily reply, in honour of God; the evil angels incline to worship Lucifer, and he presumes to seat himself in the throne of the Deity, who commands him to depart from heaven to hell, which dreadful sentence he is compelled to obey, and with his wicked associates descends to the lower regions. I have given a much fuller account of this curious mystery in the third volume of the Manners and Customs of the English People, with long extracts, and from several others nearly equal in antiquity, to which the reader is referred. This play was acted by the Friars Minors, or Mendicant Friars, of Coventry; and commenced on Corpus Christi day, whence it received its title. 2

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MYSTERIES DESCRIBED.--The mysteries often consisted of single subjects, and made but one performance. In the Bodleian Library at Oxford 1 I met with two mysteries that to the best of my knowledge have not been mentioned: the subject of one is the conversion of Saint Paul, and of the other the casting out of the devils from Mary Magdalene; they are both very old and imperfect, especially the latter, which seems to want several leaves. The first is entitled Saulus; and after a short prologue the stage direction follows, "Here outeyth Saul, goodly besene in the best wyse lyke an adventrous knyth, thus sayynge:

Most dowtyd man, I am lyvynge upon the grounde
Goodly besene with many a ryche harlement;
My pere on lyve I trow ys nott yfound
Thorow the world, fro the oryent to the occydent."

[paragraph continues] The interlocutors, besides the poet who speaks the prologue, and Saul, are Caiaphas, Ananias, first and second soldiers, the "Stabularyus," or hostler, the servant, and Belial.

MYSTERIES, HOW ENLIVENED.--Notwithstanding the seriousness of the subjects that constituted these mysteries, it seems clear that they were not exhibited without a portion of pantomimical fun to make them palatable to the vulgar taste; and indeed the length and the dulness of the speeches required some such assistance to enliven them, and keep the spectators in good humour; and this may be the reason why the mysteries are in general much shorter than the modern plays. Beelzebub seems to have been the principal comic actor, assisted by his merry troop of under-devils, who, with variety of noises, strange gestures, and contortions of the body, excited the laughter of the populace. 2

* In towns such as York, Chester, and Coventry, where the cycle of plays was divided into a number of pageants or acts that extended over several days, great care was taken that the scenes should be divided amongst those gilds or companies who could most readily furnish the desired "properties." Thus the shipwrights were called upon to build up Noah's ark, the plasterers to represent the creation of the earth, the goldsmiths to have charge of the Adoration of the Magi, the vintners the turning of water into wine, and the bakers the Last Supper.

* THE "PAGEANT" OR STAGE.--The term pageant was originally applied in England to the movable platform that served as a stage, and hence to the play exhibited upon it. The original pageant was a wooden structure of two stories on wheels, the lower of which was the "green room," and the upper the stage proper. Archdeacon Rogers, who died in 1595, and who saw the Whitsuntide

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plays performed at Chester in the previous year, gives a clear description of these stages and the method-of procedure:--

"The maner of these playes were, every company had his pagiant, wth pagiante were a high scafold with 2 roomes, a higher and a lower, upon 4 wheeles. In the lower they apparelled themselves, and in the higher roome they played, beinge all open on the tope, that all behoulders might heare and see them. The places where they played them was in every streete. They began first at the Abay gates, and when the first pagiante was played, it was wheeled to the highe crosse before the Mayor, and so to every streete, and soe every streete had a pagiante playing before them at one time, till all the pagiantes for the day appointed were played, and when one pagiant was neere ended, worde was brought from streete to streete, that soe they might come in place thereof, exceedinge orderly." 1

CORNISH MIRACLE PLAYS.--In Cornwall the miracle plays were differently represented: they were not performed in the churches, nor under any kind of cover, but in the open air, as we learn from Carew, whose words upon this subject are as follow: "The guary-miracle, in English, a miracle play, is a kind of interlude compiled in Cornish out of some scripture history, with that grossness which accompanied the Romanes vetus comedia. For representing it, they raise an earthen amphitheatre in some open field, having the diameter of his enclined plain some forty or fifty feet. The country people flock from all sides many miles of, to hear and see it, for they have therein devils and devices to delight as well the eye as the Bare. The players conne not their parts without booke, but are prompted by one called the ordinary, who followeth at their backs with the book in his hand, and telleth them what to say." 2 In the Harleian Library is preserved a miracle play of this kind in the Cornish language, written by William Gordon, A.D. 1611, accompanied with an English translation by John Keygwyn, A.D. 1693. It begins with the creation and ends with Noah's flood. Noah himself concludes the play, with an address to the spectators, desiring them to "come to-morrow betimes" to see another play on the redemption of man; and then speaking to the musicians, says, "Musicians, play to us, that we may dance together as is the manner of the sport." This species of amusement continued to be exhibited in Cornwall long after the abolition of the miracles and moralities in the other parts of the kingdom, and when the establishment of regular plays had taken place. 3

MORALITIES DESCRIBED.--When the mysteries ceased to be played, the subjects for the drama were not taken from historical facts, but consisted of moral reasonings in praise of virtue and condemnation of vice, on which account they were called Moralities; and these performances requiring some degree of

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invention, laid the foundation for our modern comedies and tragedies. The dialogues were carried on by allegorical characters, such as Good Doctrine, Charity, Faith, Prudence, Discretion, Death, and the like, and their discourses were of a serious and exceedingly dull cast; but the province of making the spectators merry, descended from the Devil in the mystery, to Vice or Iniquity of the morality, who usually personified some bad quality incident to human nature, as Pride, or Lust, or any other evil propensity. Alluding to the mimicry of this motley character, Jonson, in Epig. 159, has these lines:--

      But the old Vice
Acts old Iniquity, and in the fit
Of mimicry gets th' opinion of a wit.

[paragraph continues] In the Staple of Newes, acted in 1625, it is said, "Iniquity came in like Hokos-pokos in a jugler's jerkin, with false skirts like the knave of clubs"; and afterward, "Here is never a fiend to carry him, the Vice, away; besides, he has never a wooden dagger: I'd not give a rush for a Vice that has not a wooden dagger to snap at every one he meetes": in another part, the Vice is described, "in his long coat, shaking his wooden dagger." Hence it appears this character had a dress peculiar to himself. Philip Stubs, in his Anatomie of Abuses, printed A.D. 1595, says, "You must go to the playhouse if you will learne to play the Vice, to sweare, teare, and blaspheme both heaven and hell": and again, "Who can call him a wise man, who playeth the part of a Foole or a Vice?" I remember to have seen a stage direction for the Vice, to lay about him lustily with a great pole, and tumble the characters one over the other with great noise and riot, "for dysport sake." Even when regular tragedies and comedies were introduced upon the stage, we may trace the descendants of this facetious Iniquity in the clowns and the fools which so frequently disgraced them. The great master of human nature, in compliance with the false taste of the age in which he lived, has admitted this motley character into the most serious parts of one of his best tragedies. The propensity to laugh at the expense of good sense and propriety, is well ridiculed in the "Intermeane" at the end of the first act of the Staple of Newes, by Jonson, and again in the prelude to the Careless Shepherdess, a pastoral tragi-comedy by Thomas Goffe, in 1656, where several characters are introduced upon the stage as spectators, waiting for the commencement of the performance. One of them says:--

Why, I would have a fool in every act,
Be’t comedy or tragedy: I've laugh’d
Until I cr’yd again, to see what faces
The rogue will make. Oh! it does me good
To see him hold out's chin, hang down his hands,
And twirle his bawble. There is nere a part
About him but breaks jests. I heard a fellow
Once on the stage, cry doodle doodle dooe
Beyond compare; I’de give th’ other shilling
To see him act the Changling once again.

[paragraph continues] To this another character replies:--

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And so would I; his part has all the wit,
For none speakes, carps, and quibbles besides him;
I'd rather see him leap, or laugh, or cry,
Than hear the gravest speech in all the play;
I never saw Rheade peeping through the curtain,
But ravishing joy entered into my heart.

A boy then comes upon the stage, and the first speaker inquires for the Fool; but being told he is not to perform that night, he says:

Well, since there will be nere a fool i’ th’ play,
I'll have my money again; the comedy
Will be as tedious to me as a sermon.

SECULAR PLAYS.--The plays mentioned in the preceding pages, and especially the miracles and mysteries, differed greatly from the secular plays and interludes which were acted by strolling companies, composed of minstrels, jugglers, tumblers, dancers, bourdours or jesters, and other performers properly qualified for the different parts of the entertainment, which admitted of a variety of exhibitions. These pastimes are of higher antiquity than the ecclesiastical plays; and they were much relished not only by the vulgar part of the people, but also by the nobility. The courts of the kings of England, and the castles of the great earls and barons, were crowded with the performers of the secular plays, where they were well received and handsomely rewarded.

INTERLUDES.--The interludes, which, I presume, formed a material part of the performances exhibited by the secular players, were certainly of a jocular nature, consisting probably of facetious or satirical dialogues, calculated to promote mirth, and therefore they are censured by Matthew Paris 1 as "vain pastimes." Something of this kind was the representation made before king Henry VIII. at Greenwich, in 1528, thus related by Hall: "Two persons plaied a dialogue, the effect whereof was, whether riches were better than love; and, when they could not agree upon a conclusion, each called in thre knightes all armed; thre of them woulde have entered the gate of the arche in the middle of the chambre, and the other thre resisted; and sodenly betweene the six knightes, out of the arche fell downe a bar all gilte, at the which bar the six knightes fought a fair battail, and then they departed, and so went out of the place; then came in an olde man with a silver berd, and he concluded that love and riches bothe be necessarie for princes, that is to say, by love to be obeyed and served, and with riches to rewarde his lovers and frendes; and with this conclusion the dialogue ended." We hereby find, that these dialogues were not only a part of the entertainment, but also ingeniously made the vehicles for the introduction of other sports. Sometimes they were of a satirical nature; and, when occasion required, they took another turn, and became the agents of flattery and adulation: both these purposes were answered by the following dialogue, taken from the author just now quoted: "On Sonday at night the fifteenth of June, 1523, in the great halle at Wyndsore," the emperor Maximilian

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and Henry VIII. being present, "was a disguisiyng or play; the effect of it was, that there was a proud horse which would not be tamed nor bridled; but Amitie sent Prudence and Policie which tamed him, and Force and Puissance brideled him. This horse was meant by the Frenche kyng, and Amitie by the kynge of England, and the emperor and the other persons were their counsail and power."

TRAGEDIES IN CHAUCER'S TIME.--Comedies were not known, nor tragedies according to the modern acceptation of the word in Chaucer's time; for what he calls tragedies, are simply tales of persons who have fallen from a state of prosperity, or worldly grandeur, to great adversity; as he himself tells us in the following lines:--

Tragedy is to tel a certayne story,
As olde bokes maken memory,
Of them that stode in great prosperite,
And be fallen out of hye degre
Into misery and ended wretchedly. 1

PLAYS ON HOLY DAYS.--A short poem in the Harleian Collection, temp. Henry VI., which is a quaint amalgam of English and Latin, shows that the performance of plays, even on God's holidays, was then frequent. The author says:

Ingland goith to noughte, plus fecit horn viciosus,
To lust man is brought, nimis est homo deliciosus;
Goddis halidays non observantur honeste,
For unthryfty pleyis in eis regnant manifeste2

* The households of Henry VI. and of Edward IV. included twelve minstrels who were permanently engaged; possibly they occasionally played interludes. A sumptuary law of 1464 exempted "players in their enterludes" from its enactments. In the Rolls of Winchester College for 1466 is the entry of a payment of 4s. to iiij interludentibus et J. Meke cithariste. The Household Book of the duke of Norfolk, from 1483 to 1501, contains entries of payments to the players of the duke of Gloucester (afterwards Richard III.), and to the players of Cocksale, Chelmsford, and Lavenham. 3

* ROYAL COMPANIES OF PLAYERS.--Dramatic performances were frequent throughout England in the reign of Henry VII. The king had two distinct sets of actors, namely the "players of interludes," and the "players of the chapel," who performed set pieces at Christmas-tide; each of the former received a salary of five marks yearly. The king's household books from 1492 to 1509 show that the players of the duke of Buckingham and of the earls of Oxford and Northumberland performed at court; and that separate companies of players were attached to London, Coventry, Wycombe, Mile-End, Wimborne Minster, and Kingston. 4

* On the accession of Henry VIII. every form of court amusement was at

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once placed on a more costly and extensive footing. He retained "the King's old players," but added a new company of "the King's players"; the children of the chapel were converted at particular seasons into a company of comedians; and masks and revels of every kind were fostered on extravagant lines. On the death of Henry VIII. there was a considerable reduction in the establishment of both musicians and players; only four of the latter were retained by Protector Somerset. The number of "Players of Enterludes" sustained by royalty, was raised to eight under queen Mary.

* In the first year of Elizabeth, the performance of plays and interludes was forbidden unless licensed by mayors of towns, or lords lieutenant, or two justices of counties. In June 1559, Sir Robert Dudley (afterwards earl Leicester), wrote to the earl of Shrewsbury, as lord president of the North, asking that his company of "plaiers of interludes," already licensed to perform in divers shires, might have his sanction to play in Yorkshire. Between July 1567 and March 1568 "seven plays and one tragedy" were performed before the queen. There is abundance of evidence of the frequency of play-acting throughout the kingdom during Elizabeth's reign. The companies of actors belonging to the nobility did not disdain to perform in the open air by daylight in towns, when suitable buildings could not be found. Towards the latter part of this reign there was much discord between the Court and the City of London on the subject of plays, particularly as to Sunday acting. In 1591 the lord mayor and aldermen addressed themselves to the archbishop of Canterbury, representing the evils produced by the number of players and playing houses within the city, and requesting his help towards reforming and banishing the same.

* THE PURITANS.--Considerable use was at the same time made by the Puritans of the printing press as an engine against players. One of the earliest and the fiercest of these publications was a treatise issued in 1579 by John Northbrooke, "Minister and Preacher of the Worde of God" against "Dicing, Dancing, Vaine Plaies or Enterludes, with other idle pastimes, commonly used on the Sabbath day." The section against players comes first, and occupies more than half of the book. The writer in his list of persons "to be rejected and cast out of this Commonwealth" places "Enterlude plaiers" between Thieves and Cutpurses. He names separately the "histrioners which play upon Scaffoldes and Stages Enterludes and Comedies or otherwise with gestures, etc.," and those who acted in places specially constructed for them with theatre and curtain. He complains that "Many can tary at a vayne Playe two or three houres, when as they will not abide scarce one houre at a Sermon. They will runne to everie Plaie, but scarce will come to a preached Sermon."

COURT PLAYS.--There was another species of entertainment which differed materially from any of the pastimes mentioned in the preceding pages, I mean the ludi, or plays exhibited at court in the Christmas holidays: we trace them as far back as the reign of Edward III. The preparations made for them at that time are mentioned without the least indication of novelty, which admits of the


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supposition that they were still more ancient. From the numeration of the dresses appropriated in 1348 to one of these plays, which consisted of various kinds of disguisements, they seem to have merited rather the denomination of mummeries than of theatrical divertisements. 1 The king then kept his Christmas at his castle at Guildford; the dresses are said to be ad faciendum ludos domini regis, and consisted of eighty tunics of buckram of various colours; forty-two visors of different similitudes, namely, fourteen of faces of women, fourteen of faces of men, and fourteen heads of angels made with silver; twenty-eight crests; fourteen mantles embroidered with heads of dragons; fourteen white tunics wrought with the heads and wings of peacocks; fourteen with the heads of swans with wings; fourteen tunics painted with the eyes of peacocks; fourteen tunics of English linen painted; and fourteen other tunics embroidered with stars of gold. 2 How far these plays were enlivened by dialogues, or interlocutory eloquence is not known; but probably they partook more of the feats of pantomime than of colloquial excellency, and were better calculated to amuse the sight than to instruct the mind.

The magnificent pageants and disguisings frequently exhibited at court in the succeeding times, and especially in the reign of Henry VIII., no doubt originated from the ludi above mentioned. These mummeries, as a modern writer justly observes, were destitute of character and humour, their chief aim being to surprise the spectators "by the ridiculous and exaggerated oddity of the visors, and by the singularity and splendour of the dresses; every thing was out of nature and propriety. Frequently the masque was attended with an exhibition of gorgeous machinery, resembling the wonders of a modern pantomime." 3

The reader may form some judgment of the appearance the actors made upon these occasions, from the masquerade figures at the top and bottom of plate nineteen, which are taken from a beautiful manuscript in the Bodleian written and illuminated in the reign of Edward III. 4

The performance seems to have consisted chiefly in dancing, and the mummers are usually attended by the minstrels playing upon different kinds of musical instruments.

These pageants were frequently movable and drawn upon wheels. In honour of the marriage of Arthur, prince of Wales, with Catherine of Spain, there were three pageants exhibited in Westminster Hall, which succeeded each other, and were all of them drawn upon wheels: the first was a castle with ladies; the second a ship in full sail, that cast anchor near the castle; and the third a mountain with several armed knights upon it, who stormed the castle, and obliged the ladies to surrender. The show ended in a dance, and the pageantry disappeared. 5

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PLAY IN HONOUR OF THE PRINCESS MARY.--In the tenth year of the same king's reign, in honour of his sister the princess Mary's marriage with the king of France, there was exhibited in the great hall at Greenwich, "a rock full of al maner of stones very artificially made, and on the top stood five trees: the first was an olive tree, on which hanged a shield of the armes of the church of Rome; the second was a pyne aple tree, 1 with the arms of the emperor; the third was a rosyer, 2 with the armes of England; the fourth a braunche of lylies, bearing the armes of France; and the fifth a pomegranet tree, bearing the armes of Spayn; in token that all these five potentates were joined together in one league against the enemies of Christe's fayth: in and upon the middes of the rock satte a fayre lady, richely appareyled, with a dolphin in her lap. In this rock were ladies and gentlemen appareled, in crimosyn sattyn, covered over with floures of purple satyn, embroudered with wrethes of gold knit together with golden laces, and on every floure a hart of gold moving. The ladies' tyer 3 was after the fashion of Inde, with kerchiefes of pleasaunce 4 hached with fyne gold, and set with letters of Greeke in gold of bullion, and the edges of their kerchiefes were garnished with hanging perle. These gentlemen and ladyes sate on the neyther part of the rock, and out of a cave in the same rock came ten knightes armed at all poyntes, and faughte together a fayre tournay. And when they were severed and departed, the disguysers dissended from the rock and daunced a great space, and sodeynly the rock moved and receaved the disguysers and imediately closed agayn. Then entred a person called report, appareled in crymosyn satin full of tongues, sitting on a flying horse with wynges and feete of gold called Pegasus; this person in Frenche declared the meaning of the rocks, the trees, and the tourney." 5

PLAY OF HOCK-TUESDAY.--Among the pastimes exhibited for the entertainment of queen Elizabeth during her stay at Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, was a kind of historical play, or old storial show, performed by certain persons who came for that purpose from Coventry. It was also called the old Coventry play of Hock-Tuesday, but must not be confounded with the Ludus de Corpus Christi, or Coventry Mystery, mentioned before, to which it did not bear the least analogy. The subject of the Hock-Tuesday show was the massacre of the Danes, a memorable event in the English history, on St Brice's night, November 13, 1002, which was expressed "in action and in rhimes." It is said to have been annually acted in the town of Coventry, according to ancient custom; but that it was suppressed soon after the Reformation, at the instance of some of their preachers, whose good intention the towns-people did not deny, but complained of their severity; urging in behalf of the show, that it was "without ill example of manners, papistry, or any superstition." 6 The rhimes originally belonging to the play, I presume, were omitted upon the abovementioned

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occasion; for it appears to have been performed without any recitation in mere dumb show, and consisted of hot skirmishes and furious encounters between the English and the Danish forces: first by the launce knights on horseback, armed with spears and shields, who being many of them dismounted, fought with swords and targets. Then followed two "host of foot men," one after the other, first marching in ranks, then, turning about in a warlike manner, they changed their form from ranks into squadrons, then into triangles, then into rings, and then "winding out again they joined in battle; twice the Danes had the better, but at the last conflict they were beaten down, overcome, and many of them led captive for triumph by our English women." Her majesty was much pleased with this performance, "whereat," says my author," she laughed well," and rewarded the actors with two bucks, and five marks in money; and with this munificence they were highly satisfied. 1

DECLINE OF SECULAR PLAYS.--The secular plays, as we have seen, consisted of a medley of different performances, calculated chiefly to promote mirth without any view to instruction; but soon after the production of regular plays, when proper theatres were established, the motley exhibitions of the strolling actors were, as a rule, only relished by the vulgar; the law set her face against them, the performers were stigmatised with the names of rogues and vagabonds, and access was usually denied them at the houses of the opulent.

* Certain companies, however, continued to move about the country, as has been shown in the Introduction in the account given of the licensing by the Master of the Revels.

* Moreover, in many a place there were local companies formed to visit the houses of the gentlefolk of the immediate district at Christmas and other festive seasons. Such companies could not properly be termed either amateurs or professionals. They were not amateurs, for they received largesse from their patrons; they were not professionals, for at ordinary seasons they followed their usual town or country occupations.

* SIR MILES STAPLETON AND YORKSHIRE PLAYERS.--After the Restoration such local companies came greatly into favour in certain districts. The extracts recently published from the Household Books of Sir Miles Stapleton, of Carlton, Yorkshire, afford various interesting particulars of this character. 2

* Sir Miles was ever ready to encourage local or itinerant players and musicians to entertain the household at Carlton. In Easter week, 1661, he gave to Joseph Robinson and the Selby players 10s. "for playing the play called Musidorus." Mucedorus and Amadine was a comedy frequently acted at the Globe and at Whitehall; it was first published in 1598, and had passed through eleven editions by 1668. The gaieties of Christmas-tide 1662, were duly observed by the newly-made baronet at Carlton. The following entries

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in his accounts show that he did his best to make it a bright season for his neighbours:--







Given to two fidlers of Selbye that was here one day in Christmas when I had invited some neighbours to diner





Given to Bartle Fular and his boy who was here fidling two days in Christmas when I invited some neighbours and tenants to diner





Given to Will. Peares and the rest of our neighbours of Carleton when they played their play in the house on Tuesday, December the 30th, 1662, the play is called the gentle craft





Given to some mumers yt came in Christmas





Given to Nicholas Daniell and the rest of the players yt came from about Beedall when they played their two playes here on Friday night, January the 23rd, 1662-3 one of the playes was the tragadye of Baitman and the other was called the courageous generall




* The Gentle Craft or the Shoemaker's Holiday was a play by Thomas Deaker, first printed in 1638. The Tragedy of Bateman was probably another name for The Fair Maid of Bristol, by John Day, first played before the king and given at Hampton in 1605. The Courageous General was probably The General, a tragi-comedy by James Shirley; Pepys saw it acted in 1669 and was pleased with it.

* The accounts for 1664 contain various entries relative to entertainments. The following are all of this year:--







Given then to Marmaduke Grainge and his son and daughter Pearson and their boy for playing on the musicke that time when wee were all merry together at Will Lodge





Given to a trumpeter yt came and sounded his trumpett





Given to a poore fidler yt came in Christmas and was here two or three dayes &c.





Given to Pocklington players yt played the shepherdes play





Given to Rickall players yt played the play here called wilye beguilee in Christmas





Given to Nickolas Daniell and the players that came from about Beedall January the 19th, 1664 (5) for playing two playes here, the one called the two constant lovers, and the other called a maidens head well lost





Given to Selbye musicke yt came beging March the 11th




* The cultivation of the dramatic art at this period in the small towns and large villages of Yorkshire is not a little remarkable. The actors were no mere country mummers, for the plays chosen were all ones of some repute. The Shepherd's Holiday was a pastoral tragi-comedy which had been presented before their Majesties at Whitehall by the queen's servants in 1635; the author was Joseph Rutter, a dependant of the family of Lord Dorset, and a playwright of some experience. Wily Beguiled was "a pleasant comedy," of which there are four editions extant between 1606 and 1638. The Two Constant Lovers was probably another name for The Constant Maid, by James Shirley, first

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published in 1640. A Maiden-head Well Lost was a comedy by that well-known early dramatist, Thomas Heywood; it was first acted at the Cockpit, Drury Lane, in 1633.

The following is a later entry of expenditure in the like direction:--








Given to Beedale players when they acted here January 11th Sir John Dauncy and his company and Sir Tho. Yarbrough and his being here yt night and the play is called a girl worth gold




But the frequent bands of professional strolling players undoubtedly diminished most rapidly in numbers as permanent theatres multiplied. The tragitour now became a mere juggler, and played a few paltry tricks occasionally, assisted by the jester, transformed into a modern jack-pudding. It is highly probable, that necessity suggested to him the idea of supplying the place of his human confederates by automaton figures made of wood, which, by means of wires properly attached to them, were moved about, and performed many of the actions peculiar to mankind; and, with the assistance of speeches made for them behind the scenery, produced that species of drama commonly distinguished by the appellation of a droll, or a puppet-play; wherein a facetious performer, well known by the name of Punchinello, supplied the place of the Vice, or mirth-maker, a favourite character in the moralities. In modern days this celebrated actor, who has something to say to the greater part of his auditory, is called plain Punch. In the moralities, the Devil usually carried away the Iniquity, or Evil, at the conclusion of the drama; and, in compliance with the old custom, Punch, the genuine descendant of the Iniquity, is constantly taken from the stage by the Devil at the end of the puppet-show. Ben Jonson, by way of burlesque, in the comedy entitled The Devil is an Asse, reverses the ancient usage, and makes the Iniquity run away with the Fiend, saying

The Divell was wont to carry away the Evill,
But now the Evill out carries the Divell.--Act v. scene 6.

The first appearance of a company of wooden actors excited, no doubt, the admiration of the populace, and the novelty of such an exhibition was probably productive of much advantage to the inventor. I cannot pretend to determine the time that puppet-plays were first exhibited in England. I rather think this species of entertainment originated upon the Continent. Cervantes has made Don Quixote a spectator at a puppet-show, and the knight's behaviour upon this occasion is described with great humour. The puppets were originally called motions: we find them mentioned in Gammer Gurton's Needle, which is supposed to have be written in 1517; and there the master of the puppet-show seems to have been considered as no better than an idle vagrant. One of the characters says, he will go "and travel with young Goose, the motion-man, for a puppet-player."

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ORIGIN OF PUPPET-PLAYS.--Previous to the invention of puppets, or rather to the incorporating of them into companies, there were automatons that performed variety of motions. The jack of the clock-house, often mentioned by the writers of the sixteenth century, was also an automaton, that either struck the hours upon the bell in their proper rotation, or signified by its gestures that the clock was about to strike. In a humorous pamphlet called Lanthorn and Candle, or the Bellman's Second Walk, published at London, 1605, it is said, "The Jacke of the Clocke-house goes upon screws, and his office is to do nothing but strike"; and in an old play still more early, "He shakes his heade and throws his arms about like the Jacke of the Clocke-house."

* There are also references to these Jacks in Shakespeare's plays of Richard II. and Richard III. The figure was at one time a fairly common adjunct of the larger church clocks of the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. There are two Jacks o’ the Clock still to be seen in neighbouring Suffolk churches. At Southwold the figure clad in armour has been removed from the tower window and placed over the screen at the east end of the north aisle. Jack strikes a bell suspended before him with a battle-axe, and it is customary to make him ring just before the beginning of service. At Blythburgh, the Jack has also been removed from the tower to the body of the church; in this case the somewhat mutilated figure, which is about four feet high, is also clad in plate armour, but with the addition of a flowing beard. 1

NATURE OF PERFORMANCES BY PUPPETS.--From such figures as these originated the more modern heroes of the puppet-show. The puppet-shows usually made their appearance at great fairs, and especially at those in the vicinity of the metropolis; they still (1801) continue to be exhibited in Smithfield at Bartholomew-tide, though with very little traces of their former greatness; indeed, of late years, they have become unpopular, and are frequented only by children. It is, however, certain, that the puppet-shows attracted the notice of the public at the commencement of the last century, and rivalled in some degree the more pompous exhibitions of the larger theatres. 2 Powel, a famous puppet-show man, is mentioned in one of the early papers of the Spectator3 and his performances are humorously contrasted with those of the Opera House. At the same time there was another motion-master, who also appears to have been of some celebrity, named Crawley; I have before me two bills of his exhibition, one for Bartholomew Fair, and the other for Southwark Fair. These are preserved in a miscellaneous collection of advertisements and title-pages among the Harleian MSS. 4 The first of these bills runs thus: "At Crawley's Booth, over against the Crown Tavern in Smithfield, during the time of Bartholomew Fair, will be presented a little opera, called the Old Creation of the World, yet newly revived; with the addition of Noah's Flood; also several fountains playing water during the time of the play.--The last scene does

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present Noah and his family coming out of the Ark, with all the beasts two and two, and all the fowls of the air seen in a prospect sitting upon trees; likewise over the ark is seen the Sun rising in a most glorious manner: moreover, a multitude of Angels will be seen in a double rank, which presents a double prospect, one for the sun, the other for a palace, where will be seen six Angels ringing of bells.--Likewise Machines descend from above, double and treble, with Dives rising out of Hell, and Lazarus seen in Abraham's bosom, besides several figures dancing jiggs, sarabands, and country dances, to the admiration of the spectators; with the merry conceits of squire Punch and Sir John Spendall." This curious medley was, we are told, "completed by an Entertainment of singing, and dancing with several naked swords, performed by a Child of eight years of age." In the second bill, we find the addition of "the Ball of little Dogs"; it is also added, that these celebrated performers had danced before the queen (Anne) and most of the quality of England, and amazed everybody. 1

GIANTS AND OTHER PUPPET CHARACTERS.--The subjects of the puppet-dramas were formerly taken from some well-known and popular stories, with the introduction of knights and giants; hence the following speech in the Humorous Lovers, a comedy, printed in 1617: "They had like to have frighted me with a man dressed up like a gyant in a puppet-show." In my memory, these shows consisted of a wretched display of wooden figures, barbarously formed and decorated, without the least degree of taste or propriety; the wires that communicated the motion to them appeared at the tops of their heads, and the manner in which they were made to move, evinced the ignorance and inattention of the managers; the dialogues were mere jumbles of absurdity and nonsense, intermixed with low immoral discourses passing between Punch and the fiddler, for the orchestra rarely admitted of more than one minstrel; and these flashes of merriment were made offensive to decency by the actions of the puppet. In the reign of James II. there was a noted merry-andrew named Philips. "This man," says Granger, "was some time fiddler to a puppet-show; in which capacity he held many a dialogue with Punch, in much the same strain as he did after-wards with the mountebank doctor, his master upon the stage. This zany, being regularly educated, had confessedly the advantage of his brethren." 2

PUPPET-PLAYS SUPERSEDED BY PANTOMIMES.--The introduction, or rather the revival of pantomimes, which indeed have long disgraced the superior theatres, proved the utter undoing of the puppet-show men; in fact, all the absurdities of the puppet-show, except the discourses, are retained in the pantomimes, the difference consisting principally in the substitution of living Puppets for wooden ones; but it must be confessed, though nothing be added to the rationality of the performances, great pains is taken to supply the defect, by fascinating the eyes and the ears; and certainly the brilliancy of the dresses and scenery, the skilful management of the machinery, and the excellence of the

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music, in the pantomimes, are great improvements upon the humble attempts of the vagrant motion-master.

THE MODERN PUPPET-SHOW MAN.*--In April 1751 the tragedy of "Jane Shore" was advertised for representation at "Punch's Theatre in James Street in the Haymarket," by puppets. Italian Fantoccini were exhibited in the same place, better known as Hickford's Rooms, in 1770. There was another like exhibition at No. 22 Piccadilly, in 1780, on an elaborate scale, when comic operas, harlequinades, and other pieces were represented by puppets. It was a fashionable entertainment, for the tickets were 5s. and 2s. 6d. "The room," say the advertisements, "is neatly fitted up, kept warm, and will be illuminated with wax." 1

In the present day (1801) the puppet-show man travels about the streets when the weather will permit, and carries his motions, with the theatre itself, upon his back! The exhibition takes place in the open air; and the precarious income of the miserable itinerant depends entirely on the voluntary contributions of the spectators, which, as far as one may judge from the square appearance he usually makes, is very trifling.

MOVING PICTURES.--Another species of scenic exhibition with moving figures, bearing some distant analogy to the puppets, appeared at the commencement of the eighteenth century. Such a show is thus described in the reign of queen Anne, by the manager of a show exhibited at the great house in the Strand, over against the Globe Tavern, near Hungerford Market; the best places at 1s., and the others at 6d. each: "To be seen, the greatest Piece of Curiosity that ever arrived in England, being made by a famous engineer from the camp before Lisle, who, with great labour and industry, has collected into a moving picture the following figures: first, it doth represent the confederate camp, and the army lying intrenched before the town; secondly, the convoys and the mules with prince Eugene's baggage; thirdly, the English forces commanded by the duke of Marlborough; likewise, several vessels, laden with provisions for the army, which are so artificially done as to seem to drive the water before them. The city and the citadel are very fine, with all its outworks, ravelins, hornworks, counter-scarps, half-moons, and palisados; the French horse marching out at one gate, and the confederate army marching in at the other; the prince's travelling coach with two generals in it, one saluting the company as it passes by; then a trumpeter sounds a call as he rides, at the noise whereof a sleeping centinel starts, and lifts up his head, but, not being espied, lies down to sleep again; besides abundance more admirable curiosities too tedious to be inserted here." He then modestly adds, "In short the whole piece is so contrived by art, that it seems to be life and nature." These figures, I presume, were flat, painted images moving upon a flat surface, like those frequently seen upon the tops of clocks, where a carpenter's shop, or a stone-mason's yard, are by no means unusually represented. A juggler named Flockton, some few years back,

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had an exhibition of this kind, which he called a grand piece of clock-work. In this machine the combination of many different motions, and tolerably well contrived, were at one time presented to the eye.

Pinkethman's Pantheon, mentioned in the Spectator, was, I presume, an exhibition something similar to that above described, and probably the heathen deities were manufactured from pasteboard, and seated in rows one above the other upon clouds of the same material; at least I have seen them so fabricated, and so represented, about 1760, at a show in the country, which was contrived in such a manner, that the whole group descended and ascended with a slow motion to the sound of music.


130:1 Fitzstephen's Description of London.

130:2 * Dr A. W. Ward, in his English Dramatic Literature (1899), vol. i. chap. i, has pointed out how the dramatic illustration of the liturgy of the Church, such as the Office of the Shepherds after the Te Deum on Christmas Day, or the use of the Sepulchre in Holy Week, gradually developed into the popular mystery plays.

See, too, the opening chapter of The English Religious Drama, by K. L. Bates, 1893.

131:1 Stow's Survey of London, p. 76.

132:1 Vesp. D. viii.

132:2 * It is thought best to leave Strutt's brief account of the Coventry Play and his subsequent reference to the two plays of St Paul and St Mary Magdalene just as they were issued in 1801. To attempt to deal with this great subject in a page or two would be altogether vain, for so much has come to light during the nineteenth century about these miracle plays, and they have been subjected to so much critical scholarship. In addition to Miss Bates's admirable English Religious Drama, already cited, Hone's Ancient Mysteries Described, Pollard's English Miracle Plays, and Wright's Early Mysteries may be named. A large number of the original cycles of plays of Chester, Coventry, Woodkirk, and York are extant, and many have been separately edited. There is a good bibliography at the end of Miss Bates's book.

133:1 Digby, 113.

133:2 "Dr Ward, in his discussion of the literary features of these mystery plays (English Dramatic Literature, vol. i. PP. 63, 64), has some admirable remarks on the homeliness and vigour of their style, from which the following sentence may be quoted:--"It certainly would not have occurred either to author or audience that the former were dishonouring the sacred narrative by patching it with rude lappets of their own invention; or that a bit of buffoonery introduced into a religious play implied irreverence towards its holy theme, any more than a grotesque head disfigured the columns in a church of which it diversified the ornamentation,"

134:1 See Wright's Introd. to Chester Plays, xix. xx.

134:2 Survey of Cornwall, Lond. 1602, p. 71.

134:3 * Three of these Cornish miracle plays, in the native Cymric dialect, were edited and translated by Mr Edward Norris, in two volumes, in 1859, under the title, The Ancient Cornish Drama. He considers their date to be fifteenth century, but the language used shows their origin to belong to a period earlier than the fourteenth.

136:1 Vitæ Abbatum, p. 6.

137:1 Prologue to the Monk's Tale, which consists of seventeen short stories or tragedies, of which, he tells us, he had an hundred in his cell.

137:2 There were two copies, Nos. 536 and 941.

137:3 Collier's Hist. of Dramatic Poetry, i. 34-37.

137:4 Collier's Hist. of Dramatic Poetry, i. 43.64.

139:1 Wardrobe Roll of Edward III.

139:2 Warton's Hist. Eng. Poet. vol. i. p. 238.

139:3 Warton, vol. iii. p. 156. See also Henry's Hist. Brit. vol. vi. book vi. chap. 7.

139:4 No. 264. This MS. was completed in the year 1343.

139:5 Harl. MS. 69, p. 31.

140:1 Pine-apple.

140:2 A rose tree.

140:3 Head-dress.

140:4 Pleasaunce was a fine thin species of gauze, which was striped with gold.

140:5 Hall, ut sup. fol. 59.

140:6 Laneham's account of the sports at Kenilworth Castle, in Nichols' Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 22.

141:1 Laneham, ut supra, p. 24.

141:2 See papers of Rev. Dr Cox in Ancestor, Nos. 2 and 3, 1902.

144:1 In vol. xxv. of the Journal of Brit. Arch. Assoc. there is an article on this subject.

144:2 See the Introduction.

144:3 No. xiv. vol. i. first published in 1711.

144:4 No. 5931.

145:1 * See H. Morley's Memoirs of Bartholomew's Fair, first issued in 1859.

145:2 Biogr. Hist. vol. iv. p. 350.

146:1 Notes and Queries, Ser. III. v. 52.

Next: Chapter III