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sorte, as made me remember my examiner at Cambridge aforetyme. He soughte muche to knowe my advances in philosophie, and utterede profounde sentences of Aristotle, and suche lyke wryters, whiche I had never reade, and which some are bolde enoughe to saye, others do not understand: but this I must passe by. The Prince did nowe presse my readinge to him parte of a canto in Ariosto; praysede my utterance, and said he had been informede of manie, as to my lernynge, in the tyme of the Queene. He asked me what I thoughte pure witte was made of; and whom it did best become? Whether a Kynge shoulde not be the best clerke in his own countrie; and, if this lande did not entertayne goode opinion of his lernynge and good wisdome?' His Majestie did much presse for my opinion touchinge the power of Satane in matter of witchcraft; and askede me, with muche gravitie,- If I did trulie understande, why the devil did worke more with anciente women than others?' I did not refraine from a scurvey jeste, and even saide (notwithstandinge to whom it was said) that-we were taught hereof in scripture, where it is tolde, that the devil walketh in dry places. — His Highnesse tolde me the Queene his mothers deathe was visible in Scotlande before it did really happen, being, as he saide, spoken of in secrete by those whose power of sight presentede to them a bloodie heade dancinge in the aire.' He then did remarke muche on this gifte, and saide he had soughte out of certaine bookes a sure waie to attaine knowledge of future chances. Hereat, he namede many bookes, which I did not knowe, nor by whom written; but advisede me not to consult some authors which woulde leade me to evill consultations —at lengthe he saide: Now, Sir, you have seene my wisdome in some sorte, and I have pried into yours. I praye you, do me justice in your reporte, and in good season, I will not fail to add to your understandinge, in suche pointes as I find lacke amendment." * This is an extract which lays open the heart of James, and speaks volumes on

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the subject.

* Ibid. vol. i. pp. 367-370.

The manners of the reigning monarch imperceptibly give a colouring to those of every class of society, stronger in proportion to its approximation to the source; a remark which is fully exemplified in the females of the reign of Elizabeth, those especially who constituted, or were near, the court, copying, according to their ability, the virtues, accomplishments, and foibles of the Queen. They were learned, skilled in needle-work, and wrote a beautiful hand, in emulation of the Queen's, which, in the earlier period of her life, was peculiarly elegant; but they were, also, vain, capricious, and in their habits and language often masculine and coarse. It was customary for ladies of the first rank to give manual correction to their servants of both sexes; a practice of which Shakspeare has given us an instance in his Twelfth Night, where Maria, alluding to Malvolio's whimsical appearance, says, "I know my lady will strike him.” * Nor were often their daily occupations, or their language, when provoked, in the least degree more feminine; we are told that Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury," was a builder, a buyer and seller of estates, a money lender, a farmer, and a merchant of lead, coals and timber;" and her daughter Mary, who married Gilbert, seventh Earl of Shrewsbury, sent the following message to Sir Thomas Stanhope, with whom she had quarrelled, by one George Williamson, which message was "delivered by the said Williamson, February 15, 1592, in the presence of certain persons whose names were subscribed My Lady hath commanded me to say thus much to you. That though you be more wretched, vile, and miserable, than any creature living; and, for your wickedness, become more ugly in shape than the vilest toad in the world; and one to whom none of reputation would vouchsafe to send any message; yet she hath thought good to send thus much to you that she be contented you should live, (and doth nowaies wish your death) but to this end: that all the plagues and miseries that may befall any man may light upon such a caitiff as you are;

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you should live to have all your friends forsake you; and, without your great repentance, which she looketh not for because your hath been so bad, you will be damned perpetually in hell fire.' With many other opprobrious and hatefull words, which could not be remembered, because the bearer would deliver it but once, as he said he was commanded; but said if he had failed in any thing, it was in speaking it more mildly, and not in terms of such disdain as he was commanded." *

Of the male population of this period, the manners seem to have been compounded from the characters of the two sovereigns. Like Elizabeth, they were brave, magnanimous, and prudent; and sometimes, like James, credulous, curious, and dissipated. On the virtues, happily from their notoriety, there is little occasion to comment; foreigners, as well as natives, bearing testimony to their existence : thus Hentzner tells us," The English are serious, like the Germans; -they are powerful in the field, successful against their enemies, impatient of any thing like slavery." But of the foibles and vices, as more evanescent and mutable, it may be interesting to state a few particulars.

Of the credulity and superstition which abounded during this era, and which had been fostered by the weakness of James, a sufficient detail has already been given in a former part of this work; and we shall here merely add, that Alchemistry was one of the foolish pursuits of the day. Scot, who has devoted the fourteenth book of his treatise on the "Discoverie of Witchcraft," to this subject, tells us that the admirable description given by Chaucer of this folly, in his Chanones Yemannes prologue and tale, still strictly applied to its cultivators in 1584, who continued to

*

"looke ill-favouredlie,

And were alwaies tired beggarlie,

Lodge's Illustrations of British History, vol. i. Introduction, pp. xviii. xix. from a MS. in the possession of the Rev. Sir Richard Kaye, Dean of Lincoln.

+ Hentzner's Travels, pp. 63, 64.

So as by smelling and thredbare araie,

These folke are knowne and discerned alwaie." *

to

An insatiable curiosity for seeing strange sights, and hearing strange adventures, together with an eager desire for visiting foreign countries, prevailed in an extraordinary degree during the age of Shakspeare, who has, in several parts of his works, satirized these propensities with much humour. In the Tempest, for instance, he has held up scorn the first of these foibles in an admirable strain of sarcasm:"A strange fish! Were I in England now, (as once I was,) and had but this fish painted, not a holiday fool there but would give a piece of silver; there would this monster make a man; any strange beast there makes a man: when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian †;" a passage which Mr. Douce has very appositely illustrated by a quotation from Batman. "Of late years," says the Gothic Pliny, "there hath been brought into England, the cases or skinnes of such crocodiles to be seene, and much money given for the sight thereof; the policy of strangers laugh at our folly, either that we are too wealthy, or else that we know not how to bestow our money." ‡

Of the influence arising from the relation of strange adventures, we have a striking proof in the character of Othello, who won the affections of his mistress by the detail of his "hair-breadth

"Wherein of antres vast, and desarts idle,

scapes :"

Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose head touch heaven

It was 'his' hint to speak." §

It appears, indeed, that the conversation of this period very frequently turned upon the wonderful discoveries of travellers, whose

* Discoverie of Witchcraft, 4to. pp. 355, 356.-Scot has taken great liberties with the text of Chaucer, both in modernising the language, and in tacking together widely separated lines and couplets.

+ Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iv. p. 83. Act ii. sc. 2.

Illustrations of Shakspeare, vol. i. p. 14.—Batman upon Bartholome, fol. 359. b. § Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xix. pp. 269, 270.

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14. olis passage alludes to a practice then common among evous travellers of those times, of putting out their money, ghly when about to undertake a long and hazardous journey, aw the purpose of receiving exorbitant interest on their return; a custom which, Moryson informs us, originated among the nobility, but before 1617 had become frequent even with men of base condition. Thus we find Ben Jonson, in 1599, representing Puntarvolo, in Every Man out of his Humour, disclosing such a scheme:-" I do intend," says he, "this year of jubilee coming on, to travel: and, because I will not altogether go upon expence, I am determined to put forth some five thousand pound, to be paid me five for one, upon the return of myself, my wife, and my dog from the Turk's court in Constantinople. If all or either of us miscarry in the journey, 'tis gone: if we be successful, why there will be five and twenty thousand pound to entertain time withal." ‡

To such a height had this passion for travelling attained, that those who were not able to accomplish a distant expedition, crossed over to France or Italy, and gave themselves as many airs on their return, as if they had been to the antipodes; a species of affectation which Shakspeare acutely satirizes in the following terms:-" Farewell,

Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iv. pp. 114, 115. + Whalley's Works of Ben Jonson; act ii. sc. 3.

† Itinerary, Part I. p. 198.

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