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dnlge himself most freely in the gross indecencies tolerated in the earlier ages. When those mysteries began to be refined into moralities, the vice gradually superseded the former clown, if he may be so designated; and at the commencement of such change, frequently shared the comic part of the performance with him. The vice was armed with a dagger of lath, with which he was to belabour the devil, who, sometimes, however, at the conclusion of the piece, carried off the vice with him. Here we have something like the club wielded by Punch, and the wand of hatlequin, at the present time, and a similar finish of the devil and Punch, may be seen daily in our streets. About the beginning of the sixteenth century the drama began to assume a more regular form, and the vice, in his turn, had to make way for the clown or fool, who served to fill up the space between the acts, by supposed extemporaneous witticisms; holding, occasionally, trials of wit with any of the spectators who were bold enough to venture with him. The last play, perhaps, in which the regular fool was introduced, was "The Woman Captain" of Shadwell, in the year 1680. Tarleton, in the time of Shakspeare, was a celebrated performer of this description. The fool was frequently dressed in a motley or party-coloured coat, and each leg clad in different coloured hose. A sort of hood covered his head, resem. bling a monk's cowl: this was afterwards changed for a cap, each being usually surmounted with the neck and head of a cock, or sometimes only the crest, or comb; hence the term cockscomb. In his hand he carried the bauble, a short stick, having at one end a fool's head, and at the other, frequently a bladder with peas or sand, to punish those who offended him. His dress was often adorned with morris-bells, or large knobs. We may observe much similarity to this dress, in the present costume of Punch. He degenerated into a wooden performer, about the time that the regular tragedy and comedy were introduced, i. e. in the beginning of the sixteenth century. Strolling players were prohibited a few years afterwards, and some of those performers who had not skill or interest enough to get a situation in any established company, went about the country with puppet shows, or " motions," as they were then called, wherein Punch was a pro
minent character, though not by that name, which wj>s a subsequent importation, originally Policinello, or Punchinello; and when this name was introduced from the continent, some modifications were made also in the character to whom the name was attached. The civil wars, and subsequent triumph of puritanism, depressed theatrical proceedings, and Punch with other performers was obliged to hide himself) or act by stealth; but in the jovial reign of Charles II., he, and his brother actors, broke out with renewed splendour, and until the time of George I. he maintained his rank manfully, being mentioned with considerable respect even by the " Spectator." About this time, however, harlequinades were introduced, and have been so successfully continued, that poor Punch is contented to walk the streets like a snail, with his house on his back, though still possessing as much fun as ever.
Pantomime, in its more extended sense, was known to the Greek and Roman stages, being introduced on the latter by Pylades and Bathyllus, in the time of Augustus Ca»sar. From that time to the present, different modifications of this representation have taken place on the continent, and the lofty scenes of ancient pantomime, are degenerated to the bizarre adventures of harlequin, pantaloon, xany, pierrot, scaramouch, &c.
The first pantonine performed by grotesque characters in this country, was at Drury-lane theatre, in the year 1702. It was composed by Mr. Weaver, and called "The Tavern Bilkers." The next was performed at Drury-lane in 1716, and it was also composed by Mr. Weaver, in imitation of the ancient pantomime, and called "The Loves of Mars and Venus."
In 1717, the first harlequinade, composed by Mr. Rich, was performed at the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, called, "Harlequin Executed." This performer, who acted under the name of Lun, was so celebrated for his taste in composing these entertainments, and for his skill, as a harlequin, that they soon became established in the public favour. He flourished until the year 1761, and all his productions succeeded.
The harlequin on the French stage differed from ours, for he had considerable license of speech, somewhat similar to the theatric fools of the sixteenth century. Many of the witticisms of Dominique, a celebrated harlequin in the time of Louis XIV. are still on record; it is said, indeed, that before his time, harlequin was but a grotesque ignorant character, but that he being a roan of wit, infused it into his representation, and invented the character of Pierrot as a foolish servant, to fill up the piece. The old character of zany was similar to our modern clown, who now is generally the possessor of all the wit in the performance. The name of pantaloon is said to have been derived from the watch-word of the Venetians, pianta leone; if so, (which is doubtful) it must have been applied in derision of their fallen state, as compared with their former splendour. A more doubtful origin has been given of the name of harlequin; a young Italian actor of eminence in this style of character, came to Paris in the time of Henry III. of France, and having been received into the house of the president, Achilles de Harlai, his brother actors, are said to have called him harlequino, from the name of his master. There was a knight called Harlequin, an extravagant dissipated man, who spent his substance in the wars of Charles Martel, against the Saracens, and afterwards lived by pillage. Tradition says he was saved from perdition in consequence of his services against the infidels, but condemned for a certain time to appear nightly upon earth, with those of his lineage.
But, as to derivations, some have derived the term merry-andrew, from the time of the Druids, an Drieu, i. e. ArchDruid,—others, from the celebrated Andrew Borde, the writer and empiric. The. merry-andrew used at fairs to wear a patched coat like the modern harlequin, and sometimes a hunch on his back. It has been remarked that the common people are apt to give to some well-known facetious personage, the name of a favourite dish; hence, the jack-pudding of the English; the jean-potage of the French; the macaroni of the Italians, &c.
A word or two more about Punch, and I have done. There are some hand-bills in the British Museum, of the time of queen Ann, from whence I made a few extracts some time ago. They principally relate to the shows at Bartlemy fair, and I observe at " Heatly's booth," that "the performances will be compleated with the merry humors of sir John Spendall and Punchinello;" and James Miles, at " the Gun-Musick booth," among' other dances
Ace., exhibited "a new entertainment between a scaramouch, a harlequin, and a punchinello, in imitation of bilking a reckoning,—and a new dance by four scaiamouches, after the Italian manner," &c.
The famous comedian Edwin, (the Liston of his day) acted the part of Punch, in a piece called " The Mirror," at Coventgarden theatre: in this he introduced a burlesque song by C. Dibdin, which obtained some celebrity; evidently through the merit of the actor, rather than the song, as it has nothing particular to recommend it.
Can't you see by my hunch, sir,
Faddeldy daddeldy oiuo, I am master Punch, sir, Riberi biberi bino, Fiddeldy, diddeldy, faddeldy, daddeldy, Robbery, bobbery, ribery, bibery, Faddeldy, daddeldy, dino, Ribery, bibery, bino.
That merry fellow
Dancing here, you see, sir,
Whose mirth not hell
Itself can quell
He's ever in such glee, sir, Niddlety, noddlety, niddlety, noddlcty, niddlety, noddlety, nino.
Then let me pass, old Grecian,
Faddeldy, daddeldy, dino.
To the fields Elysian,
Bibery, bibery, bino. Fiddledy, diddledy, faddledy, daddledy. Robbery, bobbery, ribery, bibery, Faddledy, daddledy, dino, Ribery, bibery, bino.
My ranting, roaring Pluto,
Faddledy, daddledy, dino,
Just to a hair will suit oh,
Bibery, bibery, bino.
Faddledy, daddledy, &c.
Each jovial fellow.
Will, laughing o'er his cup roar,
I'll rant and revel.
And play the devil,
And set all hell in an uproar,
Niddlety, noddlety, nino.
I therewith conclude this hasty communication, begging you to shorten it if you think proper.
I am, 8tc.
W. 8 .
Edwin's song in the character of Punch is far less offensive than many of the songs and --".w» in "Don Juan," which
Islington Parish Dinner.
In March, an anonymous correspondent obligingly enclosed, and begged my acceptance of a ticket, for a parish dinner at Islington, on the 11th of April, 1738. It would have been rudeness to decline the civility, and as the editor was not prepared to join the guests at the great dinner, "not where they eat, but where they are eaten," he appropriates the ticket to the use for which it was intended by the donor, T. H. of St. Johnstreet.
It would do the readet's heait good to
see this ticket—" printed from a copper plate," ten inches high, by seven inches wide—as large as a lord mayor's ticket, and looking much better, because engraved by Toms, a fne firm artist of " the good old tchool," which taught truth as an essential, and prohibited refinements, not existing in nature or sensible objects, as detraction of character.
It would do the reader's heart good, I say, to see the dinner ticieet I am now looking at. First, above the invitation— which is all that the lover of a dinner first sees—and therefore, because ncthmg precedes it, "above all,"—is a capital view of the old parish church, and the churchyard, wherein "lie the remains" of most of the company who attended the parish dinner—it being as certain that the remains of the rest of the company, occupy other tenements, of "the house appointed for all living," as that they all lived, and ate and drank, and were merry.
This is not a melancholy, but a natural -iew. It may be said, there is "a time for all things," but if there be any time, wherein we fear to entertain death, we are not fully prepared to receive him as we ought. It is true, that with "the cup of kindness" at our lips, we do not expect his friendly "snake," before we finish the draught, yet the liquor will not be the worse for our remembering that his is a previous engagement; and, as we do not know the hour of appointment, we ought to be ready at all hours. The business of life is to die.
I am not a member of a parish club, but I have sometimes thought, if I could "do as others do," and "go to club," I should elect to belong to an old one, which preserved the minutes of its proceedings, and its muniments, from the commencement. My first, and perhaps last, serious motion, would be, "That each anniversary dinner ticket of the club, from the first ticket to the last issued, should be framed and glazed, and hung on the walls of the club room, in chronological order." Such a series would be a never-failing source of interest and amusement. If the parish club of Islington exists, a collection of its tickets so disposed, might be regarded as annals of peculiar worth, especially if many of its predecessors in the annual office of "stewards for the dinner," maintained the consequence of the club in the eyes of the parish, by respectability of execution and magnitude in the anniversary ticket, commensurate with that of the year 1738, with Toms's view of the old parish church and churchyard. I regret that these cannot be here given in the same size as on the ticket; the best that can be effected, is a reduced facsimile of the original, which is accomplished in the accompanying engraving. Let any one who knows the new church of Islington, compare it with the present view of the old church, and say which church he prefers. At this time, however, the present church mi, be
more suitable to Islington, grown, or grown up to, as it is, until it is a part of London ; but who would not wish it still a village, with the old edifice for its parish church. That Islington is now more opulent and more respectable, may be very true; but opulence monopolizes, and respectability is often a vain show in the stead of happiness, and a mere flaunt on the ruins of comfort. The remark is, of course, general, and not of Islington in particular, all of whose opulent or respectable residents, may really be so, for aught I know to the contrary. Be it known to them, however, on the authority of the old dinner ticket, that their predecessors, who succeeded the inhabitants from whose doings the village was called "merry Islington," appear to have dined at a reasonable hour, enjoyed a cheerful glass, and lived in good fellowship.
Immediately beneath the view of the old church on the ticket, follows the stewards' invitation to the dinner, here copied and subjoined verbatim.
*t. ittati), Sttlmgton.
You are desir'd to meet many others, Natives of this place, on Tuesday, y« 11th Day of April, 1738, at Mrs. Eliz. Grimstead's, yc Angel & Crown, in yc upper Street, about ye Hour of One; Then, & there w«h- Fill Dishes, Good Wine, & Goon Humour, to improve & make lasting that Harmony, and Friendship which have so long reigned among us.
N.B.—The Diss Eh will be on the Table peremptorily at Two.
Pray Pay the Bearer Five Shilling*.
"Merry Islington 1"—We may almost fancy we see the "jolly companions, every one," in their best wigs, ample coats, and embroidered waistcoats, at their dinner; that we hear the bells ringing out from the square tower of the old church, and the people and boys outside the door of the "Angel and Crown, in y* Upper Street," huzzaing and rejoicing, that their betters were dining "for the good of the
parish" — for so they did: read the ticket again.
England is proverbially called "the ringing island, which is not the worst thing to say of it; and our forefathers were great eaters and hard drinkers, and that is not the worst thing to say of them; but of our country we can also tell better things, and keep our bells to cheer our stories; and from our countrymen we can select names among the living and the dead that would dignify any spot of earth. Let us then be proud of our ancient virtue, and keep it alive, and add to it. If each will do what he can to take care that the world is not the worse for his existence, posterity will relate that their ancestors did well in it.
Mean Temperature ... 46 • 60.
Sign Of Rain.
One of the "Hundred Mery Tales" teacheth that, ere travellers depart their homes, they should know natural signs; insomuch that they provide right array, or make sure that they be safely housed against tempest. Our Shakspeare read the said book of tales, which is therefore called "Shakspeare's Jest Book;" and certain it is, that though he were not skilled in learning of the schoolmen, by reason that he did not know their languages, yet was he well skilled in English, and a right wise observer of things; wherein, if we be like diligent, we, also, may attain unto his knowledge. Wherefore, learn to take heed against rain, by the tale ensuing.
Of the herdsman that laid, "Ride apace, ye shall have rain."
A certain scholar of Oxford, which had
studied the judicials of astronomy, upon a time as he was riding by the way, there came by a herdman, and he asked this herdman how far it was to the next town; "Sir," quoth the herdman, "it is rather past a mile and an half;" but, sir," quoth he, " ye need to ride apace, for ye shall have a shower of rain ere ye come thither." "What," quoth the scholar, "maketh ye say so? there is no token of rain, for the clouds be both fair and clear." "By my troth," quoth the herdsman, "but ye shall find it so."
The scholar then rode forth, and it chanced ere he had ridden half a mile further, there fell a good shower of rain, that the scholar was well washed, and wet to the skin. The scholar then turned him back and rode to the herdman, and desired him to teach him that cunning. "Nay," quoth the herdman, " I will not teach you mv cunning for naught." Then the scholar proffered him eleven shillings to teach him that cunning. The herdman, after he had received his money, said thus :— "Sir, see you not yonder black ewe with the white face?" "Yes," quoth the scholar. "Surely," quoth the herdman, "when she danceth and holdeth up her tail, ye shall have a shower of rain within half an hour after."
By this ye may see, that the cunning of herd men and shepherds, as touching alterations of weathers, is more sure than the judicials of astronomy.
Upon this story it seemeth right to conclude, that to stay at home, when rain be' foreboded by signs natural, is altogether wise; for though thy lodging be poor, it were better to be in it, and so keep thy health, than to travel in the wet through a rich country and get rheums thereby.
Lconidas of Tarentum.
Mean Temperature ... 46 • 76.