London, Volume 1

Knight, Charles


Ben Jonson's London.

Ben Jonson's London.




In the map of London, according to the survey of Aggas in , presents to us only a few scattered houses at the ends which connect it with and . Nearly the whole of the eastern side exhibits large enclosed garden; whilst the western has a corresponding garden of greater length,.containing a smaller enclosure, that of . In the reign of Elizabeth, when the militant spirit of the owners of the soil displayed itself in the battle-field of the Court of Chancery, and the law was fast rising into the most thriving of professions, would of necessity partake more than an equal share of the common improvements of London. The garden of was a pleasant place, with its formal walks and shady avenues; and the reverend benchers would naturally desire that the eye of the vulgar passenger should look not upon their solemn musings or their frequent mirth. And so they built a wall in to shut out the garden. Upon that wall laboured with his own hands the most illustrious of bricklayers, Benjamin Jonson.

His mother, after his father's death, married a bricklayer, and it is generally said that he wrought some time with his father-in-law, and particularly on the garden-wall of

Lincoln's Inn

, next to

Chancery Lane


This is Aubrey's account; and there can be no doubt of the fact of Jonson's early occupation. But the young bricklayer had been building up something better than the garden-wall of . He had raised for himself an edifice of sound scholarship, as a boy of ; and whilst his mother and step-father, according to Fuller,

lived in Hartshorn Lane near

Charing Cross


he was studying under the great Camden, then a junior master of that celebrated school. The good old author of the thus continues :--

He was statutably admitted into Saint John's College in Cambridge (as many years after

incorporated a honorary member of

Christ Church

in Oxford), where he continued but few weeks for want of further maintenance, being fain to return to the trade of his father-in-law. And let not them blush that have, but those that have not, a lawful calling. He helped in the building of the new structure of

Lincoln's Inn

, when, having a trowel in his hand, he had a book in his pocket.

Aubrey tells the story of his going to college with a little more romance. He had not only the book in his pocket, but he was heard to repeat

Greek verses out of Homer ;

and a bencher, discoursing with him, gave him an exhibition at Trinity College. Jonson's name does not appear in any of the Cambridge registers; and he probably remained at the University a very short time.

Aubrey continues,

Then he went into the Low Countries, and spent some time (not very long) in the army, not to the disgrace of it, as you may find in his epigrams.

The little poem to which Aubrey alludes is an address

To True Soldiers:


I swear by your true friend, my muse, I love

Your great profession, which I once did prove;

And did not shame it with my actions then.

In Jonson's

Conversation with Drummond of Hawthornden

he is made to tell that

In his service in the Low Countries he had, in the face of both the camps, killed


enemy and taken

opima spolia

from him.

Jonson was born in ; and there is little doubt that his feats of arms were performed before he was . In we find him in London, a player and a writer for the stage.

Philip Henslow, of the theatrical managers in that prosperous time of theatres, records in his diary of , a loan of to Benjamin Jonson, player; and on the of the same year he also advances him

upon a book which he was to write for us before Christmas next.

At this time he had written

Every Man in his Humour,

for Henslow's theatre; not, however, in its present state, but with its scene laid in Italy. In the

Life of Alleyn,

recently published by Mr. Collier, there is a letter from Henslow to Alleyn, for the time printed, which contains the following very curious passage:--

Since you were with me I have lost


of my company, which hurteth me greatly--that is Gabrell, for he is slain in Hogsden Fields by the hands of Benjamin Jonson, bricklayer.

This letter is dated in . The use of the term


to designate Jonson's calling, is most remarkable. Either Henslow was ignorant (which appears very improbable) that the man who slew


was of his own authors; or Jonson, with that manly independence which we cannot enough admire in his character, followed his step-father's laborious occupation even at the time when he was struggling to attain the honours of a poet. That he unhappily killed a man in a duel there can be no doubt; he himself told the story to Drummond.

Since his coming to England, being appealed to the fields, he had killed his adversary, which hurt him in the arm, and whose sword was


inches longer than his; for the which he was imprisoned and almost at the gallows.

Aubrey, in his loose way, says,

He killed Mr. Marlowe, the poet, on Bunhill.

Marlowe was killed in . Gifford supposes that this unfortunate event happened in ; but, if there be no error as to the date of Henslow's letter,

Benjamin Jonson, bricklayer,

was a poet of no mean reputation at the time of this event. His enemies


never forgot that he had wielded the trowel. Dekker calls him the

lime-and-mortar poet.

Jonson had precisely the mind to prefer the honest labour of his hands to the fearful shifts and hateful duplicities to which the unhappy man of genius was in those days too often degraded.

Thus, then, about years before the death of Elizabeth, there was a dramatic writer in London who, though scarcely years of age, had studied society under many aspects. He was a scholar, bred up by the most eminent teachers, amongst aristocratic companions; but his home was that of poverty and obscurity, and he had to labour with his hands for his daily bread. He delighted in walking not only amidst the open fields of ancient poetry and eloquence, but in all the by-places of antiquity, gathering flowers amongst the weeds with infinite toil: but he possessed no merely contemplative spirit: he had high courage and ardent passions, and whether with the sword or the pen he was a dangerous antagonist. This humbly-born man, with the badge of the

hod and trowel

fixed on him by his enemies-twitted with ambling

by a play-waggon in the highway

--with a face held up to ridicule as being

like a rotten russet apple when it is bruised,


punched full of eylet-holes, like the cover of a warming pan

--described by himself as remarkable for

His mountain belly and his rocky face



eye lower than t'other and bigger,

as Aubrey has it-and, according to the same authority,

wont to wear a coat like a coachman's coat, with slits under the arm-pits ;

--this ;uncouth being was for a quarter of a century the favourite poet of the court,-- that wrote masques not only for kings to witness, but for to perform in,--the founder and chief ornament of clubs where the greatest of his age for wit, and learning, and rank, gathered round him as a common centre; but, above all, he was the rigid moralist, who spared no vice, who was fearless in his denunciation of public or private profligacy, who crouched not to power or riches, but who stood up in the worst of days a real man. The pictures which Jonson has left of the London of his time are more full, more diversified, and more amusing, than those of any contemporary writer,--perhaps of all his contemporaries put together. He possessed a combination of the power of acute and accurate observation with unrivalled vigour in the delineation of what he saw. Aubrey, of the shrewdest as well as the most credulous of biographers, has a very sensible remark upon the characteristics of Shakspere's comedy, as compared with the writers after the Restoration.

His comedies will remain wit as long as the English tongue is understood, for that he handles

mores hominum

; now, our present writers reflect so much upon particular persons and coxcombeities, that


years hence they will not be understood.

This is precisely the case with Jonson as compared with Shakspere; but he is on this account a far more valuable authority for what essentially belongs to periods and classes. Shakspere has purposely left this field uncultivated; but it is Jonson's absolute domain. Studied with care, as he must be to be properly appreciated, he presents to us an almost inexhaustible series of ,--forms copied from the life with absolute certainty of the manners of reigns,--when there was freedom enough for men to abandon themselves without disguise to what they called their , and the conflicts of opinion had not yet become so violent as to preclude


the public satirist from attacking sects and parties. There is a peculiar interest, too, about Jonson and his writings, if we regard him as the representative of the literary class of his own day. In his hands the stage was to teach what the Essayists of a century afterwards were to teach. The age was to be exhibited; its vices denounced; its follies laughed at. Gifford has remarked that there is a singular resemblance between Benjamin Jonson and Samuel Johnson. Nothing can be more true; and the similarity is increased by the reflection that they are both of them essentially London men: for them there is no other social state. Of London they know all the strange resorts: they move about with the learned and the rich with a thorough independence and self-respect; but they know that there are other aspects of life worthy to be seen, and they study them in obscure places where less robust writers are afraid to enter. The subject of

Ben Jonson's London

is a very large , and in looking therefore at his living pictures, either separately or in the aggregate, we pretend to no completeness. But if we fail to amuse our readers, we shall at any rate make them more familiar with some things that are worth remembering. Ben Jonson has been somewhat neglected; but he belongs to that band of mighty minds whose works can never perish.

We have said that Ben Jonson is essentially of London. He did not, like his illustrious namesake, walk into the great city from the midland country, and throw his huge bulk upon the town as if it were a wave to bear up such a leviathan. Fuller traces him

from his long coats;

and from that poor dwelling

in Hartshorn Lane near

Charing Cross

he sees him through

a private school in

St. Martin's Church

into the form at



What wanderings must the bricklayer's stepson have had during those school-days, and in the less happy period when they were passed! And then, when the strong man came back from the Low Countries, and perhaps on day was driven to the taverns and the playhouses by the restlessness of his genius, and on another ate the sweeter bread of manual labour, how thoroughly must he have known that town in which he was still to live for years; and how familiarly must all its localities have come unbidden into his mind! There is no writer of that age, not professedly descriptive, who surrounds us so completely with London scenes as Ben Jonson does. As his characters could only have existed in the precise half-century in which he himself lived, so they could only have moved in the identical places which form the background in these remarkable groups. We open

Every Man in his Humour:

Master Stephen dwells at Hogsden, but he despises the

archers of Finsbury and the citizens that come a-ducking to



We look upon the map of Elizabeth's time, and there we see Finsbury Field covered with trees and windmills; and we understand its ruralities, and picture to ourselves the pleasant meadows between the Archery-ground and . But the dwellers at have a long suburb to pass before they reach London.

I am sent for this morning by a friend in the

Old Jewry

to come to him; it is but crossing over the fields to



The presented the attraction of

the Windmill

tavern; and near it dwelt Cob, the waterman, by the wall at the bottom of ,

at the sign of the Water Tankard, hard by

the Green


Some years after this we have in

The Tale of a Tub

a more extended picture of suburban London.


The characters move about in the fields near Pancridge (Pancras) to Holloway, Highgate, , Kentish Town, Hampstead, Wood, Paddington, and Kilburn: Totten-Court is a mansion in the fields: a robbery is pretended to be committed in

the ways over the country

between Kentish Town and Hampstead Heath, and a warrant is granted by a


justice. In London the peculiarities of the streets become as familiar to us as the names of the taverns. There is

a rare motion (puppet-show) to be seen in

Fleet Street


The Fox.



a new motion of the city of Nineveh with Jonas and the Whale at Fleet Bridge.

[n.369.2]  This thoroughfare was the great show-place up to the time of the Restoration. Cromwell, according to Butler's ballad, was to be there exhibited. was the chief road for ladies to pass through in their coaches; and there Lafoole in the

Silent Woman

has a lodging,

to watch when ladies are gone to the china-houses, or the Exchange, that he may meet them by chance and give them presents.

Cole-Harbour, in the parish of All Hallows the Less, is not so genteel--it is a sanctuary for spendthrifts. Sir Epicure Mammon, in

The Alchymist,

would buy up all the copper in ; and we hear of the rabbit-skins of and the stinking tripe of Panyer Alley.[n.369.3]  At the bottom of was a nest of alleys (some remains of which existed within the last years) the resort of infamy in every shape. Jonson calls them

the Straits,

where the quarrelling lesson is read,

and the

seconds are bottle-ale and tobacco.

[n.369.4]  The general characteristics of the streets before the Fire are not forgotten. In the Lady and her lover speak closely and gently from the windows of contiguous buildings. Such are a few examples of the local proprieties which constantly turn up in Jonson's dramas.

Before we proceed to our rapid and necessarily imperfect review of the more prominent exhibitions of the social state of London to be found in Jonson's comedies, we may properly notice the personal relations in which this great dramatist stood in regard to his literary compeers; for indeed his individual history, as exhibited in his writings, is not an unimportant chapter in the history of the social state of London generally. The influence of men of letters even upon their own age is always great; it is sometimes all-powerful. In Jonson's time the pulpit and the stage were the great teachers and writers; and the stage, taken altogether, was an engine of great power, either for good or evil. In the hands of Shakspere and Jonson it is impossible to over-estimate the good which it produced. The carried men into the highest region of lofty poetry (and the loftier because it was comprehensible by all), out of the narrow range of their own petty passions and low gratifications: the other boldly lashed the follies of individuals and classes, sometimes with imprudence, but always with honesty. If others ministered to the low tastes and the intolerant prejudices of the multitude, Jonson was ever ready to launch a bolt at them, fearless of the consequences. No man ever laboured harder to uphold the dignity of letters, and of that particular branch in which his labour was embarked. He was ardent in all he did; and of course he made many enemies. But his friendship was as warm as his enmity. No man had more friends or more illustrious. He was the father of many sons, to use the affectionate phrase which indicated the relation between


the illustrious writer and his disciples. Jonson was always poor, often embarrassed; but his proper intellectual. ascendency over many minds was never doubted. Something of this ascendency may be attributed to his social habits.

In the year , when Henslow, according to his records, was lending Benjamin Jonson , and , and other small sums, in earnest of this play and that-sometimes advanced to himself alone, oftener for works in which he was joined with others-he was speaking in his own person to the audiences of the time with a pride which prosperity could not increase or adversity subdue. In

Every Man out of his Humour,

acted in , he thus delivers himself in the character of

Asper, the Presenter :


If any here chance to behold himself,

Let him not dare to challenge me of wrong;

For if he shame to have his follies known,

First he should shame to act 'em: my strict hand

Was made to seize on vice, and with a gripe

Squeeze out the humour of such spongy souls

As lick up every idle vanity.

The spirit which dictated these lines was not likely to remain free from literary quarrels. Jonson was attacked in turn, or fancied he was attacked. In he produced

The Poetaster;

and in his

Apologetical Dialogue which was only once spoken upon the stage,

he thus defends his motives for this supposed attack upon some of his dramatic brethren:--

Sure I am, three years

They did provoke me with their petulant styles

On every stage: and I at last, unwilling,

But weary, I confess, of so much trouble,

Thought I would try if shame could win upon 'em;

And therefore chose Augustus Caesar's times.

When wit and arts were at their height in Rome,

To show that Virgil, Horace, and the rest

Of those great master-spirits, did not want

Detractors then, or practisers against them:

And by this line, although no parallel,

I hop'd at last they would sit down and blush;

But nothing I could find more contrary.

And though the impudence of flies be great,

Yet this hath so provok'd the angry wasps,

Or, as you said, of the next nest, the hornets,

That they fly buzzing, mad, about my nostrils,

And, like so many screaming grasshoppers

Held by the wings, fill every ear with noise.

If Dekker and Marston were the




attacked under the names of Crispinus and Demetrius, he has bestowed the most lavish praise upon another of his contemporaries under the name of Virgil. We believe with Gifford that the following lines were meant for the most illustrious of Jonson's contemporaries; and that

all this is as undoubtedly true of Shakspere as if it were pointedly written to describe him


That which he hath writ

Is with such judgment labour'd, and distill'd

Through all the needful uses of our lives,

That, could a man remember but his lines,

He should not touch at any serious point,

But he might breathe his spirit out of him.

His learning savours not the school-like gloss

That most consists in echoing words and terms,

And soonest wins a man an empty name;

Nor any long or far-fetch'd circumstance

Wrapp'd in the curious generalties of arts;

But a direct and analytic sum

Of all the worth and first effects of arts.

And for his poesy, 't is so ramm'd with life,

That it shall gather strength of life with being,

And live hereafter more admir'd than now.


The Poetaster

Jonson is characterised as Horace; and his enemy, Demetrius, says,

Horace is a mere sponge-nothing but humours and observations. He goes up and down sucking upon every society, and when he comes home squeezes himself dry again.

This reminds of Aubrey :--

Ben Jonson and he (Shakspere) did gather humours of men daily wherever they came.

They used their observations, however, very differently; the was the Raphael, the other the Teniers, of the drama When we look at the noble spirit with which Jonson bore poverty, it is perhaps to be lamented that he was so impatient of censure. If the love of fame be

The last infirmity of noble minds,

the horror of ridicule or contempt is too often its companion. The feelings are mixed in the fine--lines with which Jonson concludes the

Apologetical Dialogue:


I, that spend half my nights, and all my days,

Here in a cell to get a dark, pale face,

To come forth with the ivy or the bays,

And in this age can hope no other grace-

Leave me! There's something come into my thoughts

That must and shall be sung high and aloof,

Safe from the wolf's black jaw and the dull ass's hoof.

The actors come in for some share of Jonson's ridicule; and he seems to


point more especially at some at the Fortune Theatre. But enough of these quarrels.

Every has heard of the wit-combats between Shakspere and Ben Jonson, described by Fuller:--

Many were the wit-combats betwixt him and Ben Jonson; which


. I behold like a

Spanish great galleon

and an

English man-of-war

: Master Jonson (like the former) was built far higher in learning;


, but


in his performances. Shakespeare, with the

English man-of-war

, lesser in


but lighter in


, could turn with all tides, tack about, and take advantage of all winds, by the quickness of his wit and invention.

When Fuller says

I behold,

he meant with his

mind's eye;

for he was only years of age when Shakspere died--a circumstance which appears to have been forgotten by some who have written of these matters. But we have a noble record left of the wit-combats in the celebrated epistle of Beaumont to Jonson:

Methinks the little wit I had is lost

Since I saw you; for wit is like a rest

Held up at tennis, which men do the best

With the best gamesters: what things have we seen

Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been

So nimble, and so full of subtile flame,

As if that every one from whence they came

Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,

And had resolv'd to live a fool the rest

Of his dull life; then when there hath been thrown

Wit able enough to justify the town

For three days past-wit that might warrant be

For the whole city to talk foolishly

'Till that were cancell'd: and when that was gone

We left an air behind us, which alone

Was able to make the two next companies

Right witty; though but downright fools, mere wise.

Gifford has thus described the club at the Mermaid:--

l About this time [


] Jonson probably began to acquire that turn for coniviality for which he was afterwards noted. Sir Walter Raleigh, previously to his unfortunate engagement with the wretched Cobham and others, had instituted a meeting of

beaux esprits

at the Mermaid, a celebrated tavern in

Friday Street

. Of this club, which combined more talent and genius than ever met together before or since, our author was a member; and here for many years he regularly repaired with

Shakspeare, Beaumont, Fletcher, Selden, Cotton, Carew, Martin, Donne, and many others, whose names, even at this distant period, call up a mingled feeling of reverence and respect.

Jonson has been accused of excess in wine; and certainly temperance was not the virtue of his age. Drummond, who puts down his conversations in a spirit of detraction, says,

Drink.was the element in which he lived.

Aubrey tells us

he would many times exceed in drink; Canary was his beloved liquor.

And so he tells us himself in his graceful poem

Inviting a Friend to Supper:


But that which most doth take my muse and me

Is a pure cup of rich Canary wine,

Which is the Mermaid's now, but shall be mine.

But the rich Canary was to be used, and not abused:--

Of this we will sup free, but moderately;

Nor shall our cups make any guilty men:

But at our parting we will be as when

We innocently met. No simple word,

That shall be utter'd at our mirthful board,

Shall make us sad next morning, or affright

The liberty that we'll enjoy to-night.

This is not the of intemperance, at any rate; nor were the associates of Jonson at the Mermaid such as mere sensual gratification would have allied in that band of friendship. They were not such companions as the unhappy Robert Greene, whose genius was eaten up by his profligacy, describes himself to have lived amongst:--

His company were lightly the lewdest persons in the land, apt for pilfery, perjury, forgery, or any villany. Of these he knew the cast to cog at cards, cozen at dice; by these he learned the legerdemains of nips, foysts, conycatchers, crossbyters, lifts, high lawyers, and all the rabble of that unclean generation of vipers; and pithily could he point out their whole courses of craft: so cunning was he in all crafts, as nothing rested in him almost but craftiness.

This is an unhappy picture; and in that age, when the rewards of unprofessional scholars were few and uncertain, it is scarcely to be wondered that their morals sometimes yielded to their necessities. Jonson and Shakspere passed through the slough of the theatre without a stain. Their club meetings were not the feasts of the senses alone. The following verses by Jonson were inscribed over the door of the Apollo Room in the Devil Tavern:--

Welcome all who lead or follow

To the oracle of Apollo:

Here he speaks out of his pottle,

Or the tripos, his tower bottle;

All his answers are divine,

Truth itself doth flow in wine.

Hang up all the poor hop-drinkers,

Cries old Sim, the king of skinkers;

He the half of life abuses

That sits watering with the Muses.

Those dull girls no good can mean us;

Wine--it is the milk of Venus,

And the poet's horse accounted:

Ply it, and you all are mounted.

'Tis the true Phlebian liquor,

Cheers the brains, makes wit the quicker;

Pays all debts, cures all diseases,

And at once three senses pleases.

Welcome all who lead or follow

To the oracle of Apollo!

In the Apollo Room Jonson sat, the founder of the club, perhaps its dictator. of his contemporary dramatists, Marmion, describes him in his presidential chair:--

The boon Delphic god

Drinks sack, and keeps his Bacchanalia,

And has his incense, and his altars smoking,

And speaks in sparkling prophecies.


the boon Delphic god

had his , (written in the purest Latinity) engraved in black marble over the chimney. They were gone when Messrs. Child, the bankers, purchased the old tavern in ; but the verses over the door, and the bust of Jonson, still remained there. These laws have been translated into very indifferent verse, to quote which would give an imperfect idea of their elegance and spirit. They were not laws for common booncompanions; but for the The tavern has perished: it has long been absorbed by the all-devouring appetite of commerce. But its memory will be ever fresh, whilst the laws of its club record that were elegance without expense, wit without malice, high converse without meddling with sacred things, argumentation without violence. If these were mingled with music and poetry, and sometimes accomplished women were present, and the dance succeeded to the supper, we must not too readily conclude that there was licence,--allurements for the careless, which the wise ought not to have presided over. We must not judge of the manners of another age by those of our own. Jonson was too severe a moralist to have laid himself open to the charge of being a public example of immorality.

Such, then, was the social life of the illustrious men of letters and the more tasteful of the aristocracy of the reign of James I. But where did the great painters of manners

pick up humours daily?

Where did they find the classes assembled that were to be held up to ridicule and reproof? We open Jonson's great comedy,

Every Man in his Humour,

and there in the list of characters we find

Captain Bobadill, a Paul's man.

Adventurers like Bobadill were daily frequenters of Paul's. The middle aisle of the old cathedral was the resort of all the idle and profligate in London. The coxcomb here displayed his finery, and the cutpurse picked his pocket. Serving-men here came to find masters, and tradesmen to attract purchasers by their notices on the pillars. Bishop Earle, in his


(), has given a most amusing description of this habitual profanation of a sacred place:--

It is the land's epitome, or you may call it the lesser isle of Great Britain. It is more than this--the whole world's map, which you may here discern in its perfectest motion, justling and turning. It is a heap of stones and men, with a vast confusion of languages; and, were the steeple not sanctified, nothing liker Babel. The noise in it is like that of bees--a strange humming or buzz, mixed of walking, tongues and feet. It is a kind of still roar or loud whisper. It is the great

exchange of all discourse, and no business whatsoever but is here stirring and afoot. It is the synod of all pates politic, jointed and laid together in the most serious posture: and they are not half so busy at the Parliament. It is the antic of tails to tails, and backs to backs, and for vizards you need go no further than faces. It is the market of young lecturers, whom you may cheapen here at all rates and sizes. It is the general mint of all famous lies, which are here, like the legends of popery,


coined and stamped in the church. All inventions are emptied here, and not few pockets. The best sign of a temple in it is that it is the thieves' sanctuary, which rob more safely in the crowd than a wilderness, whilst every searcher is a bush to hide them. It is the ears' brothel, and satisfies their lust and itch. The visitants are all men without exceptions; but the principal inhabitants and possessors are stale knights and captains out of servicemen of long rapiers and breeches--which after all turn merchants here, and traffic for news. Some make it a preface to their dinner, and travel for a stomach: but thrifty men make it their ordinary, and board here very cheap. Of all such places it is least haunted with hobgoblins, for if a ghost would walk more he could not.

Jonson has, up and down, constant allusions to Paul's, which abundantly testify to the correctness of Bishop Earle's description. It was here that, wrapped up in his old coachman's coat, he studied the fopperies in dress which were so remarkable a characteristic of his times. According to Dekker, in his

Gull's Horn Book,

the tailors here caught the newest fashions:--

If you determine to enter into a new suit, warn your tailor to attend you in Paul's, who, with his hat in his hand, shall like a spy discover the stuff, colour, and fashion of any doublet or hose that dare be seen there; and, stepping behind a pillar to fill his tablebooks with those notes, will presently send you into the world an accomplished man, by which means you shall wear your clothes in print with the



It was here, probably, that Jonson got the hint of Bobadill's boots worn over his silk stockings, and the jewel in his ear. Here, too, he heard the gingle of the silver spurs which the gallants wore in spite of the choristers, who had a vigilant eye to enforce the fine called spur-money. Gifford has a note on the passage in

Every Man out of his Humour

where Carlo Buffone talks of the

sound of the spur,

in which he quotes

a presentment to the visitor,

made in , which reproves the choristers for

hunting after spur-money, whereon they set their whole minds, and do often abuse divers if they do not bestow somewhat on them.

The practice is not yet obsolete. Here, too, Jonson might have seen the

wrought shirt

of Fastidious Brisk, embroidered all over with fruits and flowers, which fashion the Puritans imitated by ornamenting their shirts with texts of Scripture. Here he saw the

gold cable hatband


the Italian cut work band


the embossed girdle

--and the

ruffle to the boot

of the same distinguished fop. The

mirror in the hat,

and the

finger that hath the ruby,

could not fail to be noticed in Paul's by the satirist. The


and the

cut beard

were displayed in every variety that caprice and folly could suggest. Jonson touches upon these, here and there; but Lyly, in his


has given us a complete description of these absurdities :--

How will you be trimmed, sir? Will you have your beard like a spade or a bodkin? A penthouse on your upper

lip, or an alley on your chin? A low curl on your head like a ball, or dangling locks like a spaniel? Your mustachioes sharp at the ends like shoemakers' awls, or hanging down to your mouth like goat's flakes? Your love-locks wreathed with a silken twist, or shaggy to fall on your shoulders?

The profanation of sacred edifices in London, by making them lounges and places of appointment, was not confined to the old cathedral. In

The Alchymist

we have-

Here's one from Captain Face, sir,

Desires you meet him in the Temple Church

Some half-hour hence, and upon earnest busi-ness.

But the competed with Paul's in its attractions for loungers of every description. Samuel Rolle, who wrote of the burning of London, thus describes the treasures of the Exchange before the fire:--

What artificial thing could entertain the senses, the fantasies of men, that was not there to be had? Such was the delight that many gallants took in that magazine of all curious varieties, that they could almost have dwelt there (going from shop to shop like bees from flower to flower), if they had but had a fountain of money that could not have been drawn dry. I doubt not but a Mahomedan (who never expects other than sensual delights) would gladly have availed himself of that place, and the treasures of it, for his heaven, and thought there were none like it.

The upper walk of the Exchange, called

the Pawne,

was great bazaar. In a little work published in , called

London and the Country Carbonadoed,

the perils of the Exchange to the pocket are described as very fearful:--

Here are usually more coaches attendant than at church-doors. The merchants should keep their wives from visiting the upper rooms too often, lest they tire their purses by attiring themselves........ There's many gentlewomen come hither, that, to help their faces and complexions, break their husband's backs; who play foul in the country with their land, to be fair and play false in the city.

The doors were open till in the summer, and in the winter; and the crowd of loungers who came for any other purpose than to buy, after they had spent the afternoon in Paul's, gave the evening to the Exchange. An epigram

to Sir Pierce Pennilesse,

by Hayman (), alludes to this variety in the daily exercise of those who lived upon the town:--:

Though little coin thy purseless pockets line, Yet with great company thou'rt taken up, For often with Duke Humfray thou dost dine, And often with Sir Thomas Gresham sup.

A dramatic author lived, of course, much about the theatres. Shakspere and Jonson, being actors at period of their lives, must have been in the constant habit of familiarity with many of the frequenters of their respective stages. And these were not only the mere herd of the gay and the dissolute: Essex and Southampton, when banished from the Court, went daily to hear the lessons of philosophy which the genius of Shakspere was pouring forth at the Globe. This was their academy. The more distinguished portion of the audience--that is, those who could pay the highest price--were accommodated on the stage itself. Jonson


has an exceedingly humourous passage in his Induction to

Cynthia's Revels,

which very clearly describes the arrangements for the critics and gallants; and shows also the intercourse which the author was expected to have with this part of the audience. The play was originally performed by the children of the Queen's Chapel; and in this Induction they give us a picture of the ignorant critic and another gallant with remarkable spirit:--

3 Child.Now, Sir, suppose I am one of your genteel auditors, that am come in, having paid my money at the door, with much ado, and here I take my place and sit down: I have my three sorts of tobacco in my pocket, my light by me, and thus I begin:-- By this light, I wonder that any man is so mad to come to see these rascally tits play here!-They do act like so many wrens, or pismires --not the fifth part of a good face amongst them all.-And then their music is abominable-able to stretch a man's ears worse than ten-pillories; and their ditties-most lamentable things, like the pitiful fellows that make them-poets. By this vapour, an 'twere not for tobacco--I think--the very stench of 'em would poison me. I should not dare to come in at their gates.-A man were better visit fifteen jails-or a dozen or two of hospitals-than once adventure to come near them. How is't? Well?

1 ChildExcellent. Give me my cloak.

3 ChildStay; you shall see me do another now, but a more sober, or better gather'd gallant; that is, as it may be thought, some friend or well-wisher to the house: and here I enter.

1 ChildWhat, upon the stage too?

2 ChildYes; and I step forth like one of the children, and ask you, Would you have a stool, Sir?

3 ChildA stool, boy?

2 ChildAy, Sir, if you'll give me sixpence, I'll fetch you one.

3 ChildFor what, I pray thee? What shall I do with it?

2 Child0 Lord, Sir! Will you betray your ignorance so much? Why throw yourself in state on the stage, as other gentlemen use, Sir.

3 ChildAway, wag! What, wouldst thou make an implement of me? . I would speak with your author; where is he?

2 ChildNot this way, I assure you, Sir; we are not so officiously befriended by him as to have his presence in the tiring-house, to prompt us aloud, stamp at the bookholder, swear for our properties, curse the poor tireman, rail the music out of tune, and sweat for every venial trespass we commit, as some author would, if he had such fine engles as we.

The great into which society was divided in Jonson's time were, the gentry and the citizens. During the law-terms London was full of the country squires and their families; who sometimes came up to town with the ostensible purpose of carrying on their law-suits, but more generally to spend some portion of that superfluous wealth which the country could not so agreeably absorb. The evil--if evil it was-grew to be so considerable that James, by proclamation, directed them to return to their own counties. But this, of course, was mere idle breath. Jonson, though the theatres might be supposed to gain by this influx of strangers, boldly satirized the improvidence and profligacy of the squires, whom he has no hesitation in denouncing as

country gulls,


come up every term

to learn to take tobacco and see new motions.

He does this in the spirit of the fine song of the Old and Young Courtier:--

With a new fashion, when Christmas is drawing on,

On a new journey to London straight we must all begone,

And leave none to keep house, but our new porter John,

Who relieves the poor with a thump on the back with a stone,

Like a young courtier, &c.

Jonson's rules for making a town gentleman out of a country clown are drawn from the life :


, to be an accomplished gentleman--that is, a gentleman of the timeyou must give over housekeeping in the country, and live altogether in the city amongst gallants; where, at your


appearance, 't were good you turn'd




acres of your best land into




trunks of apparel,--you may do it without going to a conjurer: and be sure you mix yourself still with such as flourish in the spring of the fashion, and are least popular (vulgar) : study their carriage and behaviour in all; learn to play at primero and passage, and ever (when you lose) have




peculiar oaths to swear by, that no man else swears: but, above all, protest in your play, and affirm,

Upon your credit,

As you are a true gentleman,

at every cast: you may do it with a safe conscience, I warrant you.

You must endeavour to feed cleanly at your ordinary, sit melancholy, and pick your teeth when you cannot speak: and when you come to plays be humorous, look with a good starched face, and ruffle your brow like a new boot, laugh at nothing but your own jests, or else as the noblemen laugh. That's a special grace, you must observe.

You must pretend alliance with courtiers and great persons; and ever, when you are to dine or sup in any strange presence, hire a fellow with a great chain (though it be copper it's no matter) to bring you letters, feigned from such a nobleman, or such a knight, or such a lady.

All this is keen satire. It is directed against what has been the bane of English society up to the hour in which we write-pretence--the aping to be what we are not--the throwing aside our proper honours and happiness to thrust ourselves into societies which despise us, and to sacrifice our real good for fancied enjoyments which we ourselves despise.

Turn we from the gentlemen to the citizens. The satire which we have transcribed is followed by a recommendation to get largely in debt amongst the

rich fellows that have the world, or the better part of it, sleeping in their counting-houses.

According to Jonson's picture in another comedy () the citizens were as anxious to get the gentlemen in their books as the gentlemen to be there. The following dialogue takes place between Gilthead, a goldsmith, and Plutarchus, his son:--

Plu.0, but, good father, you trust too much.

Gilt.Boy, boy, We live by finding fools out to be trusted. Our shop-books are our pastures, our corn-grounds; We lay 'em open, for them to come into; And when we have them there, we drive them up Into one of our two pounds, the compters, straight; And this is to make you a gentleman! We citizens never trust, but we do cozen: For if our debtors pay, we cozen them; And if they do not, then we cozen ourselves. But that's a hazard every one must run That hopes to make his son a gentleman!

Plu.I do not wish to be one, truly, father. In a descent or two we come to be Just in their state, fit to be cozen'd like them; For, since the gentry scorn the city so much, Methinks we should in time, holding together, And matching in our own tribes, as they say, Have got an act of common-council for it, That we might cozen them out of rerum natura.

Gilt.Ay, if we had an act first to forbid The marrying of our wealthy heirs unto them, And daughters with such lavish portions: That confounds all.

Plu.And makes a mongrel breed, father. And when they have your money, then they laugh at you, Or kick you down the stairs. I cannot abide them: I would fain have them cozen'd, but not trusted.

The age in which Jonson wrote was remarkable for things which generally go together-boundless profusion, and the most extravagant desire for sudden wealth. The poet has left us of the most vivid personifications of an insane abandonment to the longing for boundless riches that were ever conceived by a deep philosophical spirit working upon actual observation. Sir Epicure Mammon, in the


is a character for

all time.

The cheating mysteries by which his imagination was inflamed have long ceased to have their dupes; but there are delusions in the every-day affairs of life quite as exciting, perhaps more dangerous. The delights which this unfortunate dupe proposes to himself when he shall have obtained the philosopher's stone are strong illustrations indeed of the worthlessness of ill-employed riches:--

We will be brave, Puffe, now we have the med'cine.

My meat shall all come in in Indian shells,

Dishes of agate set in gold, and studded

With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths, and rubies.

The tongues of carps, dormice, and camels' heels,

Boil'd in the spirit of sol, and dissolv'd pearl,

Apicius' diet, 'gainst the epilepsy:

And I will eat these broths with spoons of amber,

Headed with diamond and carbuncle.

My footboy shall eat pheasants, calver'd salmons,

Knots, god wits, lampreys: I myself will have

Oil'd mushrooms; and the swelling unctious paps

Of a fat pregnant sow, newly cut off;

Dress'd with an exquisite and poignant sauce;

For which, I'll say unto my cook, There's gold;

Go forth, and be a knight.

And then comes the little tobacconist, Abel Drugger, who

this summer will be of the clothing of his company ;

and he would give a crown to the Alchymist to receive back a fortune. This satire, it may be objected, is not permanent, because we have no alchymy now; but the passion which gave the alchymists their dupes is permanent: and Jonson has exhibited another mode in which it sought its gratification, which comes somewhat nearer to our own times. The


Norfolk Squire of meets with a projector- who pretends to influence at court to obtain monopolies--an


who makes men's fortunes without the advance of a penny, except a mere trifle of a ring or so by way of present to the great lady who is to procure the patent. But let the projector speak for himself:--

He shall not draw A string of's purse; I'll drive his patent for him. We'll take in citizens, commoners, and aldermen, To bear the charge, and blow them off again, Like so many dead flies, when it is carried. The thing is for recovery of drown'd land, Whereof the crown's to have a moiety, If it be owner; else the crown and owners To share that moiety, and the recoverers To enjoy the t'other moiety for their charge.

Eng.Throughout England?

Meer.Yes; which will arise To eighteen millions-seven the first year: I have computed all, and made my survey Unto an acre.

(To be concluded in No. XXII.)


[n.369.2] Every Man out of his Humour.

[n.369.3] Bartholomew Fair.

[n.369.4] Bartholomew Fair.