Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

In this comedy we find more intricacy of plot than distinction of character; and our attention is less forcibly engaged, because we can guess in great measure how the denouement will be brought about. Yet the subject appears to have been reluctantly dismissed, even in this last and unnecessary scene, where the same mistakes are continued, till their power of affording entertainment is entirely lost. STEEvens.

The long doggrel verses that Shakspeare has attributed in this play to the two Dromios, are written in that kind of metre which was usually attributed, by the dramatick poets before his time, in their comick pieces, to some of their inferior characters; and this circumstance is one of many that authorize us to place the preceding comedy, as well as Love's Labour's Lost, and The Taming of the Shrew, (where the same kind of versification is likewise found,) among our author's earliest productions; composed probably at a time when he was imperceptibly infected with the prevailing mode, and before he had completely learned "to deviate boldly from the common track." As these early pieces are now not easily met with, I shall subjoin a few extracts from some of them :

LIKE WILL TO LIKE.

1568.

26

Royst. If your name to me you will declare and showe, "You may in this matter my minde the sooner knowe. "Tos. Few wordes are best among freends, this is true, "Wherefore I shall briefly show my name unto you. "Tom Tospot it is, it need not to be painted, "Wherefore I with Raife Roister must needs be acquainted," &c.

COMMONS CONDITIONS.*

[About 1570.]

"Shift. By gogs bloud, my maisters, wee were not best longer here to staie,

"I thinke was never suche a craftie knave before this daie.

[Exeunt Ambo.

*This dramatick piece, in its entire state, has not been met with. The only fragment of it known to be existing, is in my possession. STEEVENS.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

"Cond. Are thei all gone? Ha, ha, ha, wel fare old Shift at a neede:

20

"By his woundes had I not devised this, I had hanged indeede. "Tinkers (qd you) tinke me no tinks; Ile meddle with them

no more;

"I thinke was never knave so used by a companie of tinkers before.

66

By your leave Ile bee so bolde as to looke about me and spie, "Least any knaves for my commyng doune in ambush doe lie. "By your licence I minde not to preache longer in this tree, "My tinkerly slaves are packed hence, as farre as I maie see."&c.

PROMOS AND CASSANDRA.
1578.

"The wind is yl blows no man's gaine: for cold I neede not

care,

"Here is nine and twentie sutes of apparel for my share; "And some, berlady, very good, for so standeth the case, "As neither gentleman nor other Lord Promos sheweth any

grace;

"But I marvel much, poore slaves, that they are hanged so

[ocr errors]

soone,

They were wont to staye a day or two, now scarce an afternoone." &c.

THE THREE LADIES OF LONDON.

1584.

"You think I am going to market to buy rost meate, do ye not?

"I thought so, but you are deceived, for I wot what I wot: "I am neither going to the butchers, to buy veale, mutton, or beefe.

"But I am going to a bloodsucker, and who is it? faith Usurie, that theefe."

THE COBLER'S PROPHECY.

1594.

"Quoth Niceness to Newfangle, thou art such a Jacke, "That thou devisest fortie fashions for my ladie's backe. "And thou, quoth he, art so possesst with everie frantick toy, "That following of my ladie's humour thou dost make her coy.

VOL. XX.

2 H

"For once a day for fashion-sake my lady must be sicke, "No meat but mutton, or at most the pinion of a chicke: (6 To-day her owne haire best becomes, which yellow is as gold, "A periwig is better for to-morrow, blacke to behold: "To-day in pumps and cheveril gloves to walk she will be bold, "To-morrow cuffes and countenance, for feare of catching cold: "Now is she barefast to be seene, straight on her muffler goes; "Now is she hufft up to the crowne, straight nusled to the

nose."

See also Gammer Gurton's Needle, Damon and Pythias, &c.
MALONE.

END OF VOL. XX.

Printed by S. Hamilton, Weybridge.

[ocr errors]

Princeton University Library

32101 068143484

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »