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words of direction, Exit and Exeunt. After the exclusion of the clergy from the religious stage, lay-brothers, parish clerks, and the bangers-on of the priesthood naturally took the place of their spiritual fathers, under whose superintendence, or to speak precisely, management, the miracle-plays were brought out. Excluded from the church itself, the miracle-play found fitting refuge in the church-yard. But it was finally forbidden within all hallowed precincts, and was then presented upon a movable scaffold, or pageant, which was dragged through the town, and stopped for the performance at certain places designated by an announcement made a day or two before,
At last the presentation of these plays fell entirely into the hands of laymen, and handicraftsmen became their actors; the members of the various guilds undertaking respectively certain plays which they made for the time their specialty. Thus the Shearmen and Taylors would represent one; the Coppers another; and so with the Smiths, the Skinners, the Fishmongers, and others. In the Chester series, Noah's flood was very appropriately assigned to the Water-dealers and Drawers of Dee. It is almost needless to remark that female characters were always played by striplings and young men. Women did not appear upon the English stage until the middle of the seventeenth century. It would seem that the priests appeared only as amateurs, and that their performances were gratuitous. But when laymen, or, at least, when handicraftsmen undertook the business, they were paid, as we know by the memorandums of accounts still existing."--R. G. White.
MORAL-PLAYS.—“The Morality was the next step to these, and in it we come to a representation which is closely connected with the drama. It was a play in which the characters were the Vices and Virtues, with the addition afterwards of allegorical personages, such as Riches, Good Deeds, Confession, Death, and any human condition or quality needed for the play. These characters were brought together in a rough story, at the end of which Virtue triumphed, or some moral principle was established. The dramatic fool grew up in the Moralities out of a personage • The Vice,' and the humorous element was introduced by the retaining of The Devil'from the Miracle play, and by making the Vice torment him. They were continually represented, but, becoming
coarser, were finally supplanted by the regular drama about the end of Elizabeth's reign.
The Transition between these and the regular Drama is not hard to trace. The Virtues and Vices were dull, because they stirred no human sympathy. Historical characters were therefore then introduced, who were celebrated for a virtue or a yice; Brutus represented patriotism, Aristides represented justice; or, as in BALE's Kynge Johan, historical and allegorical personages were mixed together. The transition was hastened by the impulse of the Reformation. The religious struggle came so home to men's hearts that they were not satisfied with subjects drawn from the past, and the Morality was used to support the Catholic or the Protestant side. Real men and women were shown under the thin cloaks of its allegorical characters; the vices and the follies of the time were displayed. It was the origin of satiric comedy. The stage was becoming a living power when this began. The excitement of the audience was now very different from that felt in listening to Virtues and Vices, and a demand arose for a comedy and tragedy which should picture human life in all its forms.
The Interludes of John HEYWOOD, most of which were written for Court representation in Henry VIII.'s time, 1530, 1540, represent this further transition. They differed from the Morality in that most of the characters were drawn from real life, but they retained the Vice' as a personage. The Interlude-a short, humorous piece, to be acted in the midst of the Morality for the amusement of the people-had been frequently used, but Heywood isolated it from the Morality, and made of it a kind of farce. Out of it we may say grew English comedy.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. THE DRAMA.—R. G. White's Account of the Rise and Progress of; Whipple's Lit. of Age of Eliz.; W. Hazlitt's Lectures on the Dra. Lit. of Age of Eliz.; T. Gilliland's Dramatic Mirror;H. N. Hudson's Origin and Growth of ; J Skelton's Early Eng. Life in; H. Ulrici's Sketch of Hist. of Eng. Drama ; Nat. Quar, Rev., Dec., 1873.
LESSON 24. THE REGULAR DRAMA.-" The first stage of the regular drama begins with the first English comedy, Ralph Roister Doister, written by NICHOLAS UDALL, master of Eton, known to have been acted before 1551, but not published till 1566. It is our earliest picture of London manners; the characters are well drawn; it is divided into regular acts and scenes and is made in rhyme. The first English tragedy is Gorboduc, written by SACKVILLE and Norton, and represented in 1562. The story was taken from British legend, and the characters are gravely sustained. But the piece was heavy and too solemn for the audience, and RICHARD EDWARDS by mixing tragic and comic elements together in his play, Damon and Pythias, acted about 1564, succeeded better.
These two gave the impulse to a number of dramas from classical and modern story, which were acted at the Universities, Inns of Court, and the Court up to 1580, when the drama, having gone through its boyhood, entered on a vigorous manhood. More than fifty-two dramas, so quick was their production, are known to have been acted up to this time. Some were translated from the Greek, as the Jocasta from Euripides, and others from the Italian, as the Supposes from Ariosto, both by the same author, GEORGE GASCOIGNE, already mentioned as a satirist. These were acted in 1566.
THE THEATRE.—There was as yet no theatre. A patent was given in 1574 to the Earl of Leicester's servants to act plays in any town in England, and they built in 1576 the Blackfriars Theatre. In the same year two others were set up in the fields about Shoreditch— The Theatre' and 'The Curtain.' The Globe Theatre, built for Shakespeare and his fellows in 1599, may stand as a type of the rest. In the form of a hexagon outside, it was circular within, and open to the weather except above the stage. The play began at three o'clock; the nobles and ladies sat in boxes or in stools on the
stage, the people stood in the pit or yard. The stage itself, strewn with rushes, was a naked room with a blanket for a curtain. Wooden imitations of animals, towers, woods, etc., were all the scenery used, and a board, stating the place of action, was hung out from the top when the scene changed. Boys acted the female parts. It was only after the Restoration that movable scenery and actresses were introduced. No 'pencil's aid' supplied the landscape of Shakespeare's plays. The forest of Arden, the castle of Duncan were seen only by the intellectual eye.'
“ The private theatres were entirely roofed in, while in the others the pit was uncovered, and of course the stage and the gallery were exposed to the external air. A flag was kept flying from the staff on the roof during the performance. The price of admission to the pit, or yard, varied, according to the pretensions of the theatre, from twopence, and even a penny, to sixpence; that to the boxes or rooms, from a shilling to two shillings, and even, on extraordinary occasions, half a crown. The theatre appears to have been always artificially lighted, in the body of the house by cressets, and upon the stage by large, rude chandeliers. The small band of musicians sat, not in an orchestra in front of the stage, but, it would seem, in a balcony projecting from the proscenium. People went early to the theatre, and, while waiting for the play to begin, they read, gamed, smoked, drank, and cracked nuts and jokes together; those who set up for wits and gallants, or critics liked to appear upon the stage itself, which they were allowed to do all through the performance, lying upon the rushes, or sitting upon stools, for which they paid an extra price. Each day's exhibition was closed by a prayer for the Queen, offered by all the actors kneeling.”—R. G. White.
THE SECOND STAGE OF THE REGULAR DRAMA. from 1580 to 1596. It includes the work of Lyly, author of the Euphues, the plays of Peele, Greene, Lodge, Marlowe, Kyd, Munday, Chettle, Nash, and the earliest works of Shakespeare. During this time we know that more than 100 different plays were performed by four out of the eleven companies; so swift and plentiful was their production. They were written in prose and in rhyme, and in blank verse mixed with prose and rhyme. Prose and rhyme prevailed before
6. This ranges
1587, when Marlowe, in his play of Tamburlaine, made blank verse the fashion.
JOHN LYLY illustrates the three methods, for he wrote seven plays in prose, one in rhyme, and one (after Tamburlaine) in blank verse. Some beautiful little songs scattered through them are the forerunners of the songs with which Shakespeare made his dramas bright, and the witty 'quips and cranks,' repartees, and similes of their fantastic prose dialogue were the school of Shakespeare's prose dialogue. PEELE, GREENE, and MARLOWE are the three important names of the period. They are the first in whose hands the play of human passion and action is expressed with any true dramatic effect. Peele and Greene make their characters act on, and draw out, one another in the several scenes, but they have no power of making a plot, or of working out their plays, scene by scene, to a natural conclusion. They are, in one word, without art, and their characters, even when they talk in good poetry, are neither natural nor simple.
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE, on the other hand, rose by degrees and easily into mastery of his art. The difference between the unequal and violent action and thought of his Doctor Faustus and the quiet and orderly progression to its end of the play of Edward II. is all the more remarkable when we know that he died at thirty. Though less than Shakespeare, he was worthy to precede him. As he may be said to have invented and made the verse of the drama, so he created the English tragic drama. His plays are wrought with art to their end, his characters are sharply and strongly outlined. Each play illustrates one ruling passion in its growth, its power, and its extremes.
Tamburlaine paints the desire of universal empire; the Jew of Malta the passions of greed and hatred; Doctor Faustus the struggle and failure of man to possess all knowledge and all pleasure without toil and without law; Edward II. the misery of weakness and the agony of a king's ruin. Marlowe's verse is mighty,' his poetry