« PreviousContinue »
gothic shrine, which yet, amid the profusion of embellishments, preserved uniform principles of architecture.
In the second Satire, our author moralizes on these empty memorials, which were alike allotted to illustrious or infamous characters.
Some stately tombe he builds, Egyptian-wise,
The third is the description of a citizen's feast, to which he was invited,
With hollow words, and ouerly 60
But the great profusion of the entertainment was not the effect of liberality, but a hint that no second invitation must be expected. The effort was too great to be repeated. The guest who dined at this table often, had only a single disho
The fourth is an arraignment of ostentatious piety, and of those who strove to push themselves into notice and esteem by petty pretensions. The illustrations are highly humorous.
Who euer gives a paire of velvet shoes
The same affectation appeared in dress.
Nor can good Myron weare on his left bond,
58 He alludes to the discovery of king Arthur's body in Glastonbury Abbey. Lately, in digging up a barrow or tumulus on the downs near Dorchester, the body of a Danish chief, as it seemed, was found in the hollow trunk of a huge oak for a coffin. 59 B. iii. 2. f. 50. 60 Slight; shallow.
61 B. iii. 3. f. 52. 62 In a gallery over the screen, at entering the choir, was a large crucifix, or rood, with the images of the holy Virgin and saint John. The velvet shoes were for the feet of Christ on the cross, or of one of the attendant figures. A rich lady sometimes bequeathed her wedding-gown, with necklace and ear-rings, to dress up the Virgin Mary. This place was called the rood-loft.
But he must cut his gloue to show his pride,
The fifth is a droll portrait of the distress of a lustie courtier, or fine gentleman, whose periwinkle, or peruke, was suddenly blown off by a boisterous puff of wind while he was making his bows 0.
He lights, and runs and quicklie hath him sped
These are our satirist's reflections on this disgraceful accident.
Fie on all courtesie, and unruly windes,
In the next, is the figure of a famished gallant, or beau, which is much better drawn than in any of the comedies of those times. His hand is perpetually on the hilt of his rapier. He picks his teeth, but has dined with duke Humphry. He professes to keep a plentiful and open house for every straggling cavaliere, where the dinners are long and enlivened with music, and where many a gay youth, with a high-plumed hat, chooses to dine, much rather than to pay his shilling. He is so emaciated for want of eating,
63 Some rich citizen.
65 B. iji. 4. f. 55. 66 In a set of articles of inquiry sent to a college in Oxford, about the year 1676, by the visitor bishop Morley, the commissary is ordered diligently to remark, and report, whether any of the senior fellows wore periwigs. I will not suppose that bobwigs are here intended. But after such a proscription, who could imagine, that the bushy grizzle-wig should ever have been adopted as a badge of gravity? So arbitrary are ideas of dignity or levity in dress! There is an Epigram in Harrington, written perhaps about 1600, Of Gallia's goodly Periwigge. B. i. 66. This was undoubtedly false hair. In Hayman's Quodlibets or Epigrams, printed 1628, there is one To a Periwiggian. B. i. 65. p. 10. Again, To a certaine Periwiggian. B. ii. 9. p. 21. Our author mentions a periwig again, B. v. 2. f. 63.
A golden periwigg on a blackmoor's brow. 6 B. iii. 5. f. 57.
43 That is, he has walked all day in Saint Paul's church without a dinner. In the body of old Saint Paul's was a huge and conspicuous monument of sir John Beauchamp, buried in 1358, son of Guy, and brother of Thomas, earls of Warwick. This, by a vulgar mistake, was at length called the tomb of Humphry duke of Gloucester, who was really buried at Saint Alban's, where his magnificent shrine now remains. The middle aisle of Saint Paul's is called the Dukes Gallery, in a chapter of the Guls Horne Booke, “how a gallant should behaue himself in Powles Walkes." Ch. iii p. 17. Of the humours of this famous ambulatory, the general rendezvous of lawyers and their clients, pickpockets, cheats, bucks, pimps, whores, poets, players, and many others who either for idleness or busines found it convenient to frequent the most fashionable crowd in London, a more particular description may be seen in Dekker's Dead Terme, or Westminsters Complaint for long Vacations and short Termes, under the chapter, Pawles Steeples Complaint. Signat. D. 3. Lond. for ohn Hodgetts, 1608, 4to. Bl. Lett. VOL. y.
that his sword-belt hangs loose over his hip, the effect of hunger and heavy iron. Yet he is dressed in the height of the fashion,
All trapped in the new-found brauerie. He pretends to have been at the conquest of Cales, where the nuns worked his bonnet. Hi hair stands upright in the French style, with one long lock hanging low on his shoulders, which, the satirist adds, puts us in mind of a native cord, the truly English rope, which he probably will one day wear.
His linen collar labyrinthian set,
In the prologue to this book, our author strives to obviate the objections of certain critics who falsely and foolishly thought bis Satires too perspicuous. Nothing could be more absurd than the notion, that because Persius is obscure, therefore obscurity must be necessarily one of the qualities of satire, If Persius, under the severities of a proscrip- . tive and sanguinary government, was often obliged to conceal his meaning, this was not the case of Hall. But the darkness and difficulties of Persius arise in great measure from bis own affectation and false taste. He would have been enigmatical under the mildest government. To be unintelligible can never naturally or properly belong to any species of writing. Hall of himself is certainly obscure: yet he owes some of his obscurity to an imitation of this ideal excellence of the Roman satirists.
The fourth book breathes a stronger spirit of indignation, and abounds with applications of Juvenal to modern manners, yet with the appearance of original and unborrowed satire.
The first is miscellaneous and excursive, but the subjects often lead to an unbecoming licentiousness of language and images. In the following nervous lines, he has caught and finely heightened the force and manner of his master.
Who list, excuse, when chaster dames can hire
69 Barnaby Rich in his Irish Hubbub, printed 1617, thus describes four gallants coming from an ordinary.
“ The third was in a yellow-starched band, that made him looke as if he had been troubled with the yellow iaundis. They were all four in white bootes and gylt spurres, &c." Lond. 1617, 4to. p. 36.
70 B. üi. 7. f. 62.
Had I some snout-faire brats, they should indure
Before some pedant, &c. In Satires and Epigrams, called The Letting of Humors Blood in the Head-Vayne, 1600, we have " some pippin-squire." Epigr. 33.
Whom staked vp, like to some stallion steed,
He thus enhances the value of certain novelties, by declaring them to be,
Worth little less than landing of a whale,
The allusion is to Spenser's Talus in the following couplet:
Gird but the cynicke's helmet on his head,
He adds, that the guilty person, when marked, destroys all distinction, like the cuttlefish concealed in his own blackness.
Long as the craftie cuttle Lieth sure,
He thus describes the effect of his satire, and the enjoyment of his own success in this species of poetry.
Now see I fire-flakes sparkle from his eyes,
72 Cadiz was newly taken.
73 A fish. Jonson says, in The Silent Woman, “ of a fool, that would stand thus, with a playse mouth, &c.” A. i. S. ii. See more instances in Old Plays, vol. iii. p. 395, edit. 1780.
14 “ Then led they cosin (the gull) to the gase of an enterlude, or the beare-bayting of Paris Garden, or some other place of thieving.” A Manifest Detection of the most vyle and detestable use of Dice Play, &c. No date, Bl. Lett. Signat. D. iii. Abraham Vele, the printer of this piece, lived before the year 1548. Again, ibid. “ Some ii or iii (pickpockets) hath Paules church on charge, other hath Westminster bawle in terme time, diuerse Chepesyde with the flesh and fishe shambles, some the Borough and beare-bayting, some the court, &c.” Paris Garden was in the Borough.
* Piping or fifing to a tabour. I believe Kempe is here ridiculed.
It is in Juvenal's style to make illustrations satirical. They are here very artfully and ingeniously introduced 6.
The second is the character of an old country 'squire, who starves himself, to breed his son a lawyer and a gentleman. It appears, that the vanity or luxury of purchasing dainties at an exorbitant price began early.
Let sweet-mouth'd Mercia bid what crowns she please,
He predicts, with no small sagacity, that Lollio's son's distant posterity will rack their rents to a treble proportion,
And hedge in all their neighbours common lands.
Enclosures of waste lands were among the great and national grievances of our author's
76 B. iv. 1. f. 7.
......... 'Gin not thy gaite
And piggard lanterns shade the moon-shine night. The lamps about Saint Paul's were at this time the only regular night-illuminations of London. But in an old collection of jests, some bucks coming drunk from a tavern, and reeling through the city, amused themselves in pulling down the lanterns, which hung before the doors of the houses. A grave citizen unexpectedly came out and seized one of them, who said in defence, “ I am only snuffing your candle.” Jests to make you Merie. Written by T. D. and George Wilkins. Lond. 1607, 4to. p. 6. Jest, 17.
80 The law is the only way to riches. Fools only will seek preferment in the church, &c.
And seuen more, plod at a patron's tayle,
To get some gilded chapel's cheaper sayle. I believe the true reading is gelded chapel. A benefice robbed of its tythes, &c. Sayle is sale. So in The Return from Parnassus, A. iii, S. 1: “ He hath a proper gelded parsonage."