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Chris. How now? what's the matter? Ven. A place, forsooth, I do want a place: I would have a good place, to see my child act in before the King and Queen's majesties, God bless 'em! tonight.
Chris. Why, here is no place for you. Ven. Right, forsooth, I am Cupid's mother, Cupid's own mother, forsooth; yes, forsooth. I dwell in Pudding-laneay, forsooth, he is prentice in Love-lane, with a bugle-maker, that makes of your bobs and bird-bolts for ladies.
Chris. Good lady Venus of Puddinglane, you must go out for all this.
Ven. Yes, forsooth, I can sit anywhere, so I may see Cupid act: he is a pretty child, though I say it, that perhaps should not, you will say. I had him by my first husband; he was a smith, forsooth, we dwelt in Do-little-lane then he came a month before his time, and that may make him somewhat imperfect; but I was a fishmonger's daughter.1
Chris. No matter for your pedigree, your house: good Venus, will you depart? Ven. Ay, forsooth, he'll say his part, I warrant him, as well as e'er a play-boy of 'em all I could ha' had money enough for him an I would have been tempted, and ha' let him out by the week to the
1 But I was a fishmonger's daughter.] This alludes to the prolific nature of fish. The jest, which, such as it is, is not unfrequent in our old dramatists, needs no farther illustration.
2 Post and Pair wants his pur-chops and his pur-dogs.] Here I am fairly at fault. None of the prose descriptions of this game which I have perused make any mention of either of these terms; and Mr. Douce, on whose assistance I mainly relied in this difficulty, fails me altogether. He has never encountered the words; and all chance of explaining them must therefore, I fear, be looked upon as desperate.
The Rev. Mr. Todd transmitted the following extract to me from a scarce volume of poetry by John Davies, called Wittes Pilgrimage:
"Mortall Life compared to Post and Pare. "Some being Cock, like Crauens give it ore To them that haue the worst Cards in the stock:
For if the one be ritch, the other poore,
Some, having lost the double Pare and Post,
king's players. Master Burbage has been about and about with me, and so has old Master Hemings too, they ha' need of him: where is he, trow, ha! I would fain see him-pray God they have given him some drink since he came.
Chris. Are you ready, boys! Strike up, nothing will drown this noise but a drum: a' peace yet! I ha' not done. Sing"Now their intent is above to present"
Car. Why, here be half of the properties forgotten, father.
Offer. Post and Pair wants his pur-chops and his pur-dogs.?
Car. Have you ne'er a son at the groom porter's, to beg or borrow a pair of cards quickly 23
Gam. It shall not need, here's your son Cheater without, has cards in his pocket.
Offer. Ods so! speak to the guards to let him in, under the name of a property. Gam. And here's New-year's-gift has an orange and rosemary, but not a clove to stick in't.
New-Year. Why, let one go to the spicery.
Chris. Fy, fy, fy! it's naught, it's naught,
Ven. Why, I have cloves, if it be cloves
PUR Ceit deceaues the expectation
This only involves the matter in greater difficulty, by adding other terms as unintelligible to me as those in the text. Pur Ceit is probably what the Compleat Gamester calls the Seat at which you must stake, when two cards have been dealt about; but this does not much advance the explanation ;-all that the reader can gain from this long note is a confirmation of what was suggested on a former occasion (vol. i. tors," as the commentators call them, were comsimple games of our ancesp. 29), that the " plicated in a very extraordinary degree.
3 A pair of cards. i.e., a pack of cards. This term is common to all the writers of our author's time. Thus Heywood,
Chris. Let him hold his peace, and his disgrace will be the less: what! shall we proclaim where we were furnished? Mum! mum! a' peace! be ready, good boys.
"Now their intent is above to present,
Which they do bring, and afore the king,
The queen, and prince, as it were now Drawn here by love; who over and above, Doth draw himself in the geer too.
Here the drum and fife sounds, and they march about once. In the second coming up, CHRISTMAS proceeds in his SONG.
Hum drum, sauce for a coney;
No more of your martial music;
And now to ye, who in place are to see,
I pray you know, though he want his bow,
He might go back, for to cry What you lack?
But that were not so witty :
And he leads on though he now be gone,
Which you may know by the very show,
For there you may see what his ensigns be, The rope, the cheese, and the basket.
1 But now comes in, Tom of Bosoms-inn.] "Blossoms-inn, but corruptly Bosoms-inn, in Laurence-lane, and hath to sign St. Laurence
This Carol plays, and has been in his days
But who is this? O, my daughter Cis,
And comes out of Scalding-alley.
And to make my tale the shorter,
My son Hercules, tane out of Distafflane,
But an active man and a porter.
Now Post and Pair, old Christmas's heir,
Next in a trice, with his box and his dice,
For he is a costermonger.
But New-year's-gift of himself makes shift
Clem Waspe of Honey-lane 'tis.
And for Twelfth-night more meet too : She works by the ell, and her name is Nell, And she dwells in Threadneedle-street
Then Offering, he, with his dish and his tree,
That in every great house keepeth,
Last, Baby-cake, that an end doth make
Though he come out of Crooked-lane-a. There should have been, and a dozen I ween,
But I could find but one more Child of Christmàs, and a Log it was, When I them all had gone o'er.
the deacon, in a border of blossoms or flowers." Stow. WHAL.
2 Mac-pippin.] The costermongers were then, as now, chiefly from Ireland.
I prayed him, in a time so trim,
That he would make one to prance it: And I myself would have been the twelfth, O, but Log was too heavy to dance it.1
Now, Cupid, come you on.
Robin: how does his majesty like him, I pray? will he give eightpence a day, think you? Speak out, Robin.
Chris. Nay, he is out enough, you may take him away and begin your dance : this it is to have speeches.
Ven. You wrong the child, you do wrong
Cup. You worthy wights, king, lords, the infant; I 'peal to his majesty.
Or Queen and ladies bright, Cupid invites you to the sights He shall present to-night."
Ven. 'Tis a good child, speak out; hold up your head, Love.
Cup. And which Cupid-and which Cupid
Ven. Do not shake so, Robin; if thou be'st a-cold, I ha' some warm waters for thee here.
Chris. Come, you put Robin Cupid out with your waters and your fisling; will you be gone?
Ven. Ay, forsooth, he's a child you must conceive, and must be used tenderly; he was never in such an assembly before, forsooth, but once at the Warmoll Quest, forsooth, where he said grace as prettily as any of the sheriff's hinchboys, forsooth.
Chris. Will you peace, forsooth? Cup. And which Cupid-and which Cupid,
Ven. Ay, that's a good boy, speak plain,
10 but Log was too heavy to dance it.] Every one knows that this alludes to the huge log of wood which was placed in the kitchen chimney-a chimney, be it remembered, that would contain "twelve starveling chimneys of these degenerate days,"-on Christmas eve with appropriate ceremonies, and which it was a matter of religion, as Jonson calls it, to preserve from being wholly consumed till the conclusion of the festival.
The mention of log recals to my mind another circumstance which I once hoped to find an opportunity of introducing in a more appropriate place, but which certain monitions, not to be mistaken, no longer encourage me to expect. I shall therefore advert to it here.
"If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire," occurs, as the reader knows, in Romeo and Juliet, and has proved a very torment to the commentators from the days of Dr. Gray to the present. Grievous have been the efforts to explain it, and pitiable the result, since they all terminate in this unsatisfactory conclusion, that "it is an old proverb." Even Mr. Douce (by far the most excursive of the whole) is at fault here: "There is no doubt (he says) that it is an allusion to some now forgotten game." And again, "How it was practised we have yet to learn."-Illustrations, ii. p. 179. For the com
fort of posterity, who are thus delivered over by the critics to flat despair, I can unfold the mystery. If I happen to prove somewhat tedious, I beseech the reader to advert to the importance of the information, and the heart's ease which it will afford to commentators yet unborn. Dun is in the mire! then is a Christmas gambol, at which I have often played. A log of wood is brought into the midst of the room: this is Dun (the cart-horse), and a cry is raised that he is stuck in the mire. Two of the company advance, either with or without ropes, to draw him out. After repeated attempts, they find themselves unable to do it, and call for more assistance.-The game continues till all the company take part in it, when Dun is extricated of course; and the merriment arises from the awkward and affected efforts of the rustics to lift the log, and from sundry arch contrivances to let the ends of it fall on one another's toes. This will not be thought a very exquisite amusement; and yet I have seen much honest mirth at it; and have been far more entertained with the ludicrous contortions of pretended struggles than with the real writhing, the dark scowl of avarice and envy exhibited by the same description of persons, in the genteeler amusement of cards, the universal substitute for all our ancient sports.
Though put the case, when they come in They should, sir, I tell ye, spare't out of
And thus it ended.
Presented in the house of the Right Honourable the Lord HAY, by divers of noble quality his friends; for the entertainment of Monsieur le BARON DE TOUR, Extraordinary Ambassador for the French King, on Saturday, February 22, 1617.1
Quid titulum poscis ? versus duo tresve legantur.-MART.
A MASQUE, &c.] The Lord Hay had been sent on a grand embassy to France in 1616, ostensibly to congratulate the King of France on his marriage with the Infanta of Spain, but with private instructions to endeavour to discover if there was any likelihood of forming a match between the Prince (Charles) and the daughter of Henry IV. Nothing in the annals of diplomacy had ever equalled the splendour, not to say the preposterous extravagance, of this nobleman's public entry into Paris. "Six trumpeters and two marshals in tawny velvet liveries, completely suited and laced all over with gold richly and closely laid, led the way; the ambassador followed with a great train of pages and footmen in the same rich livery, encircling his horse, and the rest of his retinue, according to their qualities and degrees, in as much bravery as they could devise or procure, followed in couples, to the wonderment of the beholders, who filled the windows, balconies, and streets.' This is but a small part of what is said by Arthur Wilson on the subject, who seems almost at a loss for language to convey an adequate idea of the costly pageantry. "After the ambassador had been feasted magnificently (he adds), with all his gallant train, in several places, to show the grandeur of France, he came back and practised it here, making many times, upon several occasions, such stupendous feasts, and heaped banquets, as if all the creatures had contributed to his excess."-Life of Fames, p. 94. It was on one of these " occasions" that the present entertainment (which I have called the Masque of Lethe) was presented.
1 [So says the folio, but the 22nd February, 1617-18, fell on a Sunday.-F. C.)