art; His goodness is unlimited; He has bestowed on thee a large portion of his spirit; and as to thy calling, if thy soul upbraid thee not, the Lord forbid that I should.”

Thus reconciled, and the rain having abated, they left the porch together : the offer of his arm was accepted ; and the female Roscius of Comedy, and the disciple of John Wesley, proceeded, arm in arm, to the door of Mrs. Jordan's dwelling. At parting, the preacher shook hands with her, saying, “ Fare thee well, sister ; ; I know not what the principles of people of thy calling may be ;-thou art the first I ever conversed with; but if their benevolent practices equal thine, I hope and trust, at the great day, the Almighty God will say to each, Thy sins are forgiven thee.'


When Quin and Garrick performed at the same Theatre, and in the same play, one night, being very stormy, each ordered a chair. To the mortification of Quin, Garrick's chair came up first. " Let me get into the chair,” cried the surly veteran, “ let me get into the chair, and put little Davy into the lantern."-" By all

means," rejoined Garrick, • I shall ever be happy to give Mr. Quin light in any thing."


WILLIAM Lyon, a strolling player, who performed at the Theatre in Edinburgh, and was excellent in the part of Gibby, the Highlander, gave a surprising instance of memory. One evening, over his bottle, he wagered a crownbowl of punch, that the next morning, at the rehearsal, he would repeat a Daily Advertiser, from beginning to end. At the rehearsal, his opponent reminded him of his wager, imagining that, as he was intoxicated the night before, he , must certainly have forgotten it, and rallied him on his ridiculous boast of memory. Lyon, pulling out the paper, desired him to look at it, and to judge for himself, whether he did or did not win his wager. Notwithstanding the want of connexion between the paragraphs, the variety of the advertisements, and the general chaos which marks the composition of any newspaper, he repeated it from beginning to end, without the least hesitation or mistake. Lyon died in 1748, at Edinburgh.


The two most considerable collections of this ancient species of dramatic entertainment, which have survived until the present time, are in the Cotton and Harleian Libraries. The former, which is very extensive, is entitled, in the Catalogue, “ Ludus Coventriæ," but upon what authority does not appear.

That the Coventry Mysteries enjoyed considerable celebrity, appears from the following passage in the “ Four P.'s," a sort of nondescript drama, printed in Dodsley's Collection, in which the Pardoner is made

to say,

" This Devil and I were of old acquaintance ;

For oft in the play of. Corpus Christi,'

He hath play'd tbe Devil at Coventry.” This collection contains forty distinct pageants.

The Chester Whitsun-Plays, in the Harleian Library, are also very voluminous. They are said to have been composed by Ralph Higden, a monk of the Abbey of Chester, about the year 1320. For the following particular account of them we are indebted to the Harleian Catalogue.

“ M. S. Harl. 2013, &c. Exhibited at Chester in the year 1327, at the expense of the different trading companies of

[ocr errors]

that city, “ The Fall of Lacifer," by the tanners ; “ The Creation, by the drapers ; “ The Deluge,” by the dyers ; Abraham, Melchizedeck, and Lot,” by the barbers ; “ Moses, Balak, and Balaam,” by the cappers ; “ The Salutation and Nativity,” by the wrights (carpenters); “ Thé Shepherds feeding their Flocks by Night,” by the painters and glaziers ; “ The Three Kings,” by the vintners; “ The Oblation of the Three Kings,” by the mercers

« The Killing of the Innocents,” by the goldsmiths; “ The Purification,” by the blacksmiths ; “ The Temptation,” by the butchers; “ The Blind Men and Lazarus," by the glovers ; " Jesus and the Lepers,” by the cowesarys; “ Christ's Passion," by the bowyers, filetchers, and ironmongers ; « Descent into Hell,” by the cooks and innkeepers; “ Resurrection," by the skinners; Ascension,” by the taylors ; " The Election of St. Matthias," " Sending of the Holy Ghost, &c.” by the fishmongers ; “ Antichrist,” by the clothiers ; “ Day of Judgment,” by the websters (weavers). The reader will perhaps smile at some of these combinations. This is the substance and order of the former part of the play. God enters, creating the world ; he breathes life into Adam, leads him into Paradise, and opens his side while sleeping. Adum and Eve appear naked, and not ashamed ; and the Old Serpent enters, lamenting his fall. He converses with Eve. She eats part of the forbidden fruit, and gives part to Adam. They propose, according to the stage directions, to shake theinselves, subligacula a foliis quibus tegamus pudenda, cover their nakedness with leaves, and converse with God. God's curse. The Serpent exit, hissing. They are driven from Paradise by four angels, and the cherubim with a flaming sword, Adam

appears digging the ground, and Eve spinning. Their chil. dren, Cain and Abel, enter; the former kills his brother. Adam's lamentation. Cain is banished, &c. &c.”


In a note to the preface to one of his tragedies, his Lordship says: “While I was in the Subcommittee of Drury Lane Theatre, I can vouch for my colleagues, and I hope for myself, that we did our best to bring back the legitimate drama. I tried what I could to get · De Montfort revived, but in vain; and equally in vain in favour of Sotheby's ' Ivan,' which was thought an acting play: and I endeavoured also to make Mr. Coleridge write a tragedy. Those who are not in the secret will hardly believe that the School for Scandal,' is the play that has brought least money, averaging the number of times that it has been acted since its production :--50 Manager Dibdin assured me. Of what has occurred since Maturin's Bertram,' I am not aware; so that I may be traducing, through ignorance, some excellent new writers; if so, I beg their pardon. I have been absent from England nearly five years; and, till last year, I never read an English newspaper since my departure ;' and am now only aware of thea

« ElőzőTovább »