Lapas attēli

Had it but been five hundred, though some sixty
Above; that's fifty years agone, and six,

When every great man had his Vice stand by him,
In his long coat, shaking his wooden dagger,

I could consent, that then this

your grave choice
Might have done that, with his lord chief, the which
Most of his chamber can do now.
But, Pug,

As the times are, who is it will receive you?
What company will you go to, or whom mix with?
Where canst thou carry him, except to taverns,
To mount upon a joint-stool, with a Jew's trump,
To put down Cokely, and that must be to citizens?
He ne'er will be admitted there, where Vennor comes.5
He may perchance, in tail of a sheriff's dinner,
Skip with a rhyme on the table, from New-nothing,
And take his Almain-leap into a custard,
Shall make my lady mayoress and her sisters
Laugh all their hoods over their shoulders. But
This is not that will do, they are other things
That are received now upon earth, for Vices;

5 Cokely and Vennor.] Cokely is elsewhere mentioned by Jonson as master of a puppet-show; he seems also to have been famous for tricks of legerdemain. Of Vennor, his superior in the art, I can give the reader no information. In Taylor's Cast over the Water, he mentions

"Poor old Vennor, that plain dealing man,

Who acted 'England's Joy' at the Old Swan."

If the Vennor of the text be, as I suppose, the son of this person, he seems to have turn'd aside from the plain dealing of his


6 And take his Almain-leap into a custard.] In the earlier days, when the City kept a fool, it was customary for him, at public entertainments, to leap into a large bowl of custard set on purpose: there is an allusion to this piece of mirth in Shakspeare. WHAL. Whalley alludes to All's well that end's well. "You have made a shift to run into it, boots and all, like him that leapt into the custard." A. ii. S. 5.

Our old dramatists abound with pleasant allusions to the enormous size of these "quaking custards," which were served up at the

Stranger and newer and changed every hour.
They ride them like their horses, off their legs,
And here they come to hell, whole legions of them,
Every week tired. We still strive to breed,
And rear up new ones; but they do not stand;
When they come there, they turn them on our hands.
And it is fear'd they have a stud o' their own
Will put down ours: both our breed and trade
Will suddenly decay, if we prevent not.
Unless it be a vice of quality,

Or fashion now, they take none from us.


Are got into the yellow starch, and chimney-sweepers To their tobacco, and strong waters, Hum,

Meath and Obarni.' We must therefore aim

city feasts, and with which such gross fooleries were played. Thus

Glapthorne :

"I'll write the city annals

In metre, which shall far surpass Sir Guy
Of Warwick's history; or John Stow's, upon
The custard, with the four and twenty nooks
At my lord mayor's feast."

Wit in a Const.

Indeed, no common supply was required; for, besides what the Corporation (great devourers of custard) consumed on the spot, it appears that it was thought no breach of city manners to send, or take some of it home with them for the use of their ladies. In the excellent old play quoted above, Clara twits her uncle with this practice :


"Nor shall you, sir, as 'tis a frequent custom,

'Cause you're a worthy alderman of a ward,
Feed me with custard, and perpetual white broth
Sent from the lord mayor's feast, and kept ten days,
Till a new dinner from the common hall

Supply the large defect."


Are got into the yellow starch, and chimney sweepers
To their tobacco, and strong waters, Hum,

Meath and Obarni.] The ridiculous fashion, affected both by the great and small vulgar, of having their ruffs and linen stiffened with a kind of yellow starch was an object of satire to the wits of Jonson's age. It was first brought into vogue by Mrs. Turner, one of the persons employed by the countess of Essex in the poisoning

At extraordinary subtle ones now,
When we do send to keep us up in credit :
Not old Iniquities. Get you e'en back, sir,
To making of your rope of sand again;
You are not for the manner, nor the times.
They have their vices there, most like to virtues :
You cannot know them apart by any difference:
They wear the same clothes, eat the same meat,
Sleep in the self-same beds, ride in those coaches,
Or very like, four horses in a coach,

As the best men and women.

Tissue gowns, Garters and roses, fourscore pound a pair,

Embroider'd stockings, cut-work smocks and shirts,
More certain marks of letchery now and pride,

Than e'er they were of true nobility! [Exit INIQ.
But, Pug, since you do burn with such desire
To do the commonwealth of hell some service,
I am content, assuming of a body,

You go to earth, and visit men a day.
But you must take a body ready made, Pug;
I can create you none: nor shall you form
Yourself an airy one, but become subject
To all impression of the flesh you take,


of sir Thomas Overbury and as she was soon after executed for her dealings in that affair, with a yellow starched ruff about her neck, the mode became for a time disreputable. WHAL.

Enough, and more than enough has been produced on this tritest of all subjects, yellow starch. On the strong waters mentioned in the quotation, Whalley has nothing; and I have very little to the purpose. Meath is familiar to every reader under the name of metheglin. Hum, I have always understood to be an infusion of spirits in ale or beer. It is mentioned by several of our old dramatists, and appears to have been considered as a kind of cordial. Thus Fletcher: "Lord, what should I ail! what a cold I have over my stomach; would I had some hum!" Wild Goose Chace. Obarni is probably a preparation of usquebaugh; but this is merely conjecture. The word is an árak λeyoμɛvov, (as far as my knowledge reaches,) and I have endeavoured in vain to ascertain the meaning

So far as human frailty. So, this morning,
There is a handsome cut-purse hang'd at Tyburn,
Whose spirit departed, you may enter his body:
For clothes, employ your credit with the hangman,
Or let our tribe of brokers furnish you.

And look how far your subtilty can work
Thorough those organs, with that body, spy
Amongst mankind, (you cannot there want vices,
And therefore the less need to carry them with you,)
But as you make your soon at night's relation,
And we shall find it merits from the state,

You shall have both trust from us, and employment.
Pug. Most gracious chief!

Sat. Only thus more I bind you,

To serve the first man that you meet; and him
I'll shew you now: observe him. Yon is he,

[Shews him FITZDOTTREL coming out of his house
at a distance.

You shall see first after your clothing. Follow him:
But once engaged, there you must stay and fix;
Not shift, until the midnight's cock do crow.

Pug. Any conditions to be gone.

Sat. Away then.

[Exeunt severally.

SCENE II. The Street before FITZDOTTREL'S House.



Y, they do now name Bretnor, as before

They talk'd of Gresham, and of doctor Fore


Franklin, and Fiske, and Savory, he was in too;

8 Ay, they do now name Bretnor, as before

They talk'd of Gresham, and of doctor Foreman,


Franklin, and Fiske, and Savory, he was in too.] These were pretenders to soothsaying, in other words, receivers of stolen goods,

But there's not one of these that ever could
Yet shew a man the devil in true sort.

They have their crystals, I do know, and rings,
And virgin-parchment, and their dead men's sculls,
Their ravens' wings, their lights, and pentacles,
With characters; I have seen all these. But—
Would I might see the devil! I would give
A hundred of these pictures to see him
Once out of picture. May I prove a cuckold,
And that's the one main mortal thing I fear,
If I begin not now to think, the painters
Have only made him: 'slight, he would be seen
One time or other else; he would not let
An ancient gentleman, of [as] good a house
As most are now in England, the Fitzdottrels,
Run wild, and call upon him thus in vain,

As I have done this twelvemonth. If he be not
At all, why are there conjurers? if they be not,

pimps, and poisoners. They were all, with the exception of Bretnor, who came later into notice, connected with the infamous countess of Essex and Mrs. Turner, in the murder of sir Thomas Overbury. Of Foreman the reader will find some account in a note to the Silent Woman, A. iv. S. 1. Gresham succeeded him in the service of Mrs. Turner, and being, as Arthur Wilson says, "a rotten engine," was preserved, like his predecessor, from the gallows by an early death. Franklin was hanged at the same time with Mrs. Turner, "a swarthy, sallow, crook-backed fellow, (Wilson says,) as sordid in his death as pernicious in his life, and deserving not even so much as memory, p. 82. He was the purveyor of the poison. Fiske is often mentioned by Lilly; and appears to have been just such another ignorant and impudent impostor as himself and Dr. Foreman. "He was a licentiate in physick, exquisitely skilful in the art of directions upon nativities, and had a good genius in performing judgment thereupon -Oh learned esquire!" this pathetic apostrophe is to the dupe of these miscreants, the worthy Ashmole, "he died about the seventyeighth year of his age, poor." Lilly's History, p. 44. Fiske is introduced as a cheating rogue, in Fletcher's Rollo Duke of Normandy. if they be not, &c.] It is not a little amusing to find Fitzdottrel deep in the Dialectics of Chrysippus. This is the very syllogism by which that acute philosopher triumphantly proved the reality of augury. De Divinatione, Lib. 1. § 71.


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