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Know, that what dy'd our faces, was an ointment
THE MASQUE OF AUGURS.] From the folio 1641, where it is wretchedly printed. Every page that I turn over in this volume renews my regret at the remissness of Jonson, in not giving these little pieces himself, to the press. In this, as in every thing else, his character has been misrepresented. He is constantly spoken of as extremely jealous of the fate of his works, as tremblingly alive to the accuracy of his page; whereas nothing is so certain, as that, for the greatest part of his dramatic career, he was as careless of their appearance as any of his contemporaries, not excepting Shakspeare. Want itself could not drive him to the revision and publication of a single drama; and for the long space of twenty years, (i. e. from the appearance of the first folio to his death,) he gave nothing to the press, (unless Love's Triumph, or Chloridia, was published by him, which I can scarcely believe,) but the New Inn, to which he was compelled by the triumphant ridicule of his enemies, who represented that unfortunate piece as worse, perhaps, than it really was.
A new whim has seized the editors in this place, and they have given the dramatis personæ, or "presenters of the first Antimasque."
Notch, a brewer's clerk.
Her two women.
All from St. Katherine's.
THE MASQUE OF AUGURS.
The Court Buttery-hatch.
Enter NOTCH and SLUG.
SOME, now my head's in, I'll even venture the whole; I have seen the lions ere now, and he that hath seen them may see the king.
Slug. I think he may; but have a care you go not too nigh, neighbour Notch, lest you chance to have a tally made on your pate, and be clawed with a cudgel; there is as much danger going too near the king, as the lions.
Enter Groom of the Revels.
Groom. Whither, whither now, gamesters? what is the business, the affair? stop, I beseech you.
Notch. This must be an officer or nothing, he is so pert and brief in his demands: a pretty man! and a pretty man is a little o' this side nothing; howsoever we must not be daunted now, I am sure I am a greater man than he out of the court, and I have lost nothing of my size since I came to it.
Groom. Hey-da! what's this? a hogshead of beer broke out of the king's buttery, or some Dutch hulk!
whither are you bound? the wind is against you, you must back; do you know where you are?
Notch. Yes, sir, if we be not mistaken, we are at the court; and would be glad to speak with something of less authority, and more wit, that knows a little in the place.
Groom. Sir, I know as little as any man in the place. Speak, what is your business? I am an officer, groom of the revels, that is my place.
Notch. To fetch bouge of court,' a parcel of invisible bread and beer for the players; (for they never see it;) or to mistake six torches from the chandry, and give them one.
Groom. How, sir?
Notch. Come, this is not the first time you have carried coals, to your own house, I mean, that should have warm'd them.
Groom. Sir, I may do it by my place, and I must question you farther.
1 To fetch bouge of court.] A corruption of bouche, fr. An allowance of meat and drink for the tables of the inferior officers, and others who were occasionally called to serve and entertain the court. (See p. 203.) Skelton has a kind of little drama called Bouge of Court, from the name of the ship in which the dialogue takes place. It is a very severe satire, full of strong painting and excellent poetry. The courtiers of Harry must have winced at it.
In a collection of Epigrams and Satires, by S. Rowlands, 1600, and lately re-published, this line occurs :
"His jacket faced with moth-eaten budge."
Upon which the editor observes, that budge was probably some paltry imitation of velvet. Have we always to begin our studies! Budge had been rightly explained in a hundred places to mean fur, and it seems somewhat of the latest to blunder about it at this period. As to what follows, that "the word was used in Elizabeth's time to signify an allowance of liquor to those who attended her progresses," it is sufficient to observe that this is to confound all language, as well as all sense. If an editor cannot disentangle the loose orthography of our old poets, he had better not meddle with them at all.