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happier sphere. Several attempts are made to enliven the serious part of the 'interlude,' by comic incident and dialogue, the burden chiefly resting upon Fancy

, and Folly, who on one occasion get Crafty-conveyance into their company, and persuade him to lay a wager that Folly will not be able to laugh him out of his coat: it is accomplished in the following humorous, but not very delicate manner.

* [Here foly maketh semblaunt to take a lowse from

* crafty conveyaunce shoulder. Fancy. What hast thou found there? Foly. By god, a lowse.

Crafty-convey. By cockes harte, I trowe thou lyste. Foly. By the masse, a spanyshe moght with a gray lyste. Fancy. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Crafty-convey. Cockes armes, it is not so, I trowe.

. [Here crafty convaunce putteth of his gowne. Foly. Put on thy gowne agayné, for nowe thou hast

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· Fancy. Lo, John a bonam, where is thy brayne ?'

The versification is varied, and the length of the piece required that much should be done to lighten the burden. What were subsequently called Skeltonic verses, from the use this poet made of them, (but which Skelton himself in this piece terms · bastarde ryme of doggrell guise,' and which were of much older invention and application,) are frequently employed : the syllables are few, and the same rhyme repeated for six or eight lines together, but the effort is far more ingenious than the result is agreeable. A short specimen, from a speech where Counterfeit

countenance describes himself, will be all that is ne

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cessary :

· For counterfet countenaunce knowen am I:
• This worlde is full of my foly.
• I set not by hym a fly
• That cannot counterfet a lye,
• Swere and stare and byde therby,
· And countenaunce it clenly,
• And defende it manerly.
• A knave wyll counterfei now a knyght,
• A lurdayne lyke a lorde to fyght,
' A mynstrell lyke a man of myght,
• A tappyster lyke a lady bryght.

Thus make I them wyth thryft to fyght;
· Thus at the last I brynge hym ryght
• To tyburne, where they hange on hyght*.'

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The moralization at the end of the piece is spoken


* Among his ' Ancient Songs' Ritson does not include any specimen by Skelton. The following may, therefore, be worth adding in a note. It is sung by Liberty on re-entering, before he finds Magnificence in adversity :

"With ye, mary syrs, thus sholde it be.
I kyst her swete, and she kyssyd me:
I daunsed the darlynge on my kne,
'I garde her gaspe, H garde her gle
With daunce on the le, the le,
I bassed that baby with harte so free:

• She is the bote of all my bale.
"A, so that syghe was farrefet,
"To love that lovesome I wyll not let,

My harte is holly on her set.
'I plucked her by the patlet,
At my devyse I wyth her met,
My fancy fayrly on her I set :
• So merely syngeth the nyghtyngale.'




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by Redress, Circumspection, Perseverance and Mag-
nificence; and, from one of the stage-directions—Hic
aliquis buccat in cornu a retro post populum-we
might gather, that it was not played merely for a court
entertainment, but before a popular assembly. The
two last lines, in accordance with general custom, pray
for the audience :-

And ye that have harde this dysporte and game,
Jhesus preserve you frome endlesse wo and shame.'

Skelton's aim in this Moral-play was against grandeur in general, but that of the new and merry interlude,' under the title of The Trial of Treasure, was directed particularly at the vanity of wealth*. It was written some years before it was printed, but subsequent to Lusty Juventus, which in fact is mentioned in it. The characters are sixteen, but the construction is so managed that only five actors were necessary for the representation, no more being on the stage at any one time. The plot is this:-Lust wrestles with Just, and is overthrown : he fetches Sturdiness to assist him, but they become acquainted with Inclination, the Vice of the piece, who introduces them to Elation and Greedy-gut. Just and Sapience in vain endeavour to convert and correct Inclination; and when he is alone, force upon him the

* The title is the following :— A new and mery Enterlude called • the Triall of Treasure, newly set foorth, and never before this tyme

imprinted.--Imprinted at Londo in Paules Churchyarde, at the signe of the Lucrece, by Thomas Purfoote, 1567. 4to. B. L.

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bridle of restraint, curbing him so tightly that he can scarcely move. Lust sets him at liberty again, and in

recompense Inclination carries Lust to Lady Treasure (with whom he falls in love), and to her brother, Pleasure. God's Visitation soon afterwards takes away Pleasure, and Time turns Treasure into rust and slyme.' The author promises in the preface' ( (for so he calls the prologue) to be merry and short;' but he is neither the one nor the other. The versification is tolerably easy, but Just, Trust and Contentation have several wearisome colloquies, varied only by the singing of a psalm. Some songs are also introduced, of which the following, by Lust, is the best :

• Am not I in blissed case

• Treasure and Pleasure to possesse ? • Í would not wish no better place,

If I may still have welthines;
· And to enjoy in perfect peace,

My Lady, Lady!
• My pleasant pleasure shall increase

My deare Lady.

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. Helene may not compared be,

• Nor Cresseda that was so bright.
• These cannot staine the shine of thee,

• Nor yet Minerva of great might.
• Thou passest Venus far away,

Lady, Lady!
• Love thee I will both night and day,

My dere Lady.

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My mouse, my nohs, my cony swete,

My hope and joye, my whole delight !

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· Dame Nature may fall at thy feete,

• And may yelde to thee her crowne of righte.
. I will thy body now embrace,

Lady, Lady!
• And kisse thy swete and pleasaunt face,

My dere Lady.'

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Preceding the epilogue is the stage-direction, ' Praie for all Estates;' but no such prayer is given, and perhaps it was done in a set form.

The longer thou livest the more Foole thou art, by W. Wager, must have been an amusing production of its kind, consisting of fifteen characters, although the title states that · foure may playe it easely.' It appears to have been written soon after Elizabeth came to the throne, but the exact date, either of the authorship or of the publication, cannot be fixed*. The moral enforced by the piece is the necessity of giving children a good and pious education; the hero, Moros, being represented in the outset as an ignorant and vicious fool, acquainted only with ballads and songs, some scraps of which he enters singing. The enumeration is curious. The stage-direction is, 'Here entreth Moros

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* It is called, "A very mery and Pytbie Commedie called The longer thou livest the more foole thou art.-A Myrrour very necessarie for youth, and specially for such as are like to come to dignitie and promotion: As it may well appeare in the Matter folowynge. Newly compiled by W. Wager.-Imprinted at London by Wyllyam How, for Richarde Johnes: and are to be solde at his shop under the • Lotterie house. This is followed by a list of the characters at the back of the title. Of W. Wager, the author, nothing is known; but he may have been related to the learned clerk, Lewis Wager,' who wrote the Life and Repentance of Mary Magdalen.

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