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To the pray we, as prince incomparable,
the well, Thou bring unto thy joye eterminable
The soull of this lorde from all daunger of hell,
In endles blys with the to, byde and dwell
O quene of mercy, O lady full of grace,
Mayden most pure, and goddes moder dere, To forowful hartes chef comfort and solace,
Of all women O lowre without pere,
Pray to thy fon above the sterris clere,
In joy triumphaunt the hevenly yerarchy,
With all the hole forte of that glorious place, His soull mot receyve into theyr company
Thorow bounty of hym that formed all solace :
Wel of pite, of mercy, and of grace, The father, the sonn, and the holy ghoft In Trinitate one God of myghts mofte.
THE END OF THE FIRST BOOK.
AR CIERT SONGS AND BALLADS,
SERIES THE FIRST.
в оок II,
BALLADS THAT ILLUSTRATE SHAKESPEARE.
Our great dramatic poet having occasionally quoted many arcient ballads, and even taken the plot of one, if not more, of his plays from among them, it was judged proper to pre
serve as many of these as could be recovered, and that they might be the more easily found, to exhibit them in one collective view. This Second Book is therefore set apart for the reception of such ballads as are quoted by SHAKESPEARE, or contribute in any degree to illustrate his writings: this being the principal point in view, the candid reader will pardon the admission of some pieces, that bave no other kind of merit.
The design of this BOOK being of a Dramatic tendency, it may not be improperly introduced with a few obfervations
THE ENGLISH STAGE, and on THE CONDUCT OF OUR FIRST DRAMATIC POETS: a subject, which though not unsuccessfully handled by several good writers already *, will get perhaps admit of some fariber illustration.
THE ORIGIN OF THE ENGLISH STAGE,
It is well known that dramatic poetry in this and most other națions of Europe owes its origin, or at least its revival, to those religious shows, which in the dark ages were usually exhibited on the more folemn festivals. At those times they were wont to reprejent in the churches the lives and miracles of the saints, or some of the more important stories of fcripture. And as the most mysterious subjects were frequently cholen, such as the Incarnation, Pasion, and Resurrection of Chrift, &c. thefeexhibitions acquired the general name of MYSTERIES. At first they were probably a kind of dumb fhews, intermingled, it may be, with a few short speeches; at length they grew into a regular series of connected dialogues, formally divided into a&ts and scenes. Specimens of these in their moft impreved flate (being at best but poor artless compofitions)
• Bp. Warburton's Shakesp. vol. 5. p. 338.-Pref. to Dodfley's Old Plays.-Riccoboni's Acct. of Theat. of Europe.
may be seen among Dodsley's OLD PLAY's and in Osborne's HARLEYAN Miscel. How they were exhibited in their moft fimple form, we may learn from an ancient novel (often quoted by our old dramatic poets *) intitled . , :. a merge Jest of a man that was called Howreglas t, &c. being a translation from the Dutch language, in which he is named Ulenspiegle. Howleglas, whose waggis tricks are the subject of this book, after many adventures comes to live with a priest, who makes him his parish-clark. This priest is described as keeping a Leman or concubine, who had but one eye, to whom Howleglas oweda grudge for revealing his rogueries to his master. The story thus proceeds, " And than in “ the meane season, while Howleglas was paryshe clarke, at “ Easter they should play the resurrection of our lorde : and
for because than the men wer not learned, nor could not " read, the priest toke his leman, and put her in the grave
for “ an Aungell : and this feing Howleglas, toke to hym iij of “ the sympleft persons that were in the towne, that played “ the iij Maries; and the Person [i. e. Parson or Rector] " played Christe, with a baner in his hand. Than Jaide
Howleglas to the symple persons, Whan the Aungel asketh “ you, whome you seke, you may saye, The parsons leman 56 with one ije. Than it fortuned that the tyme was come " that they must playe, and the Angel asked them whom they
fought, and than fayd they, as Howleglas had shewed and « lerned them afore, and than answered they, We seke the “ priests leman with one iye. And than the prieste might « beare that he was mocked And whan the priestes leman “ herd that, she arose out of the grave, and would have “ myten with her fifi Howleglas upon the cheke, but she missed « him and finote one of the simple persons that played one of
• See Ben Yonfon's Poetafler, A. 3. fc. 4. and bis Masque of the Fortunate Ines.
# Howleglas is said in the Preface to have died in M.cccc.l. At the end of the book, in M.ccc.l.
" the thre Maries; and he gave her another ; and than " toke she him by the heare [hair] ; and that seing his wife, “ came running hajtely to smite the priestes leaman; and than “ the priest seeing this, cafte down hys baner and went to
belpe his woman; so that the one gave the other fore “ firokes, and made great noyse in the churche. And than
Howleglas leyng them lyinge together by the eares in the “ bodi of ihe churche, wint bis way out of the village, and
came no more there t."
As the old Mysteries frequently required the representation of jome allegorical personage, such as Death, Sin, Charity, Faith, and the like, by degrees the rude poets of those unlettered ages began to form compleat dramatic pieces confifting intirely of such personifications. These they intitled MORAL Plays, or MORALITIES. The Mysteries were very inartificial, representing the scripture stories fimply according to the letter. But the Moralities are not devoid of invention ; they exhibit outlines of the dramatic art ; they contain something of a fable or plot, and even attempt to delineate characters and manners. I have now before me two that were prinied early in the reign of Henry VIII; in which I think one may plainly discover the feeds of Tragedy and Comedy: for which reason I fall give a short analysis of them both.
One of them is intitled Every man"The subject of this piece is the summoning of man out of the world by death; and its moral, that nothing will then avail him but a well-spent life and the comforts of religion. This subject and moral are spened in a munologue /poken by the Messenger (for that was the name generally given by our ancestors to the prologue on their rude lage:) then God I is represented, who after Some general complaints on the degeneracy of mankind, calls for
+1. Impronted... by Wpllpam Copland : without date, in 40. bl. Lei. among Mr. Garrick's Old Plays. K. vol. 10.
* See a farther account of this play in Vol. 2. p. 104. 105. where infiead of “ Wynkyn de Worde" read Rycharde Pynjon.”
The second person of the Trinity seems to be meant.