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Ben Jonson's "Tale of a Tub," 1 in Fletcher and Shirley's "Night Walker, or the Little Thief” (lic. 1634), in Heywood's “Late Lancashire Witches,"3 and also in Shadwell's play. The motive persisted down to the beginning of the eighteenth century, when it was utilized in Addison's "Drummer" (1716).”
With all these lesser strands disposed of, we may finally approach the plays of witchcraft itself. Handled with anything like realism, this is a new motive in the drama. The non-extant 1597-98 group, "The Witch of Islington” and “Black Joan," has already been noted. In 1603 appeared Marston's "Sophonisba," in which, as Mr. Kittredge puts it, he presents Erictho in a scene which out-Lucans Lucan. In 1608, in Middleton's "Mad World, My Masters," ? a real succubus figures, - not the counterfeit sort with which we are elsewhere familiar. The distinguished witchcraft scenes of "Macbeth" (160506?) need here only the recalling. In 1609 appeared Jonson's "Masque of Queens," with a demonology most full and erudite, compiled from the most diverse sources in the classics and witch-mongers. In 1615 was published “The Valiant Welshman," by “R. A.,” which employs a very dignified and pompous witch, as well as her wizard son. Some time between 1614 and the thirties was composed Ben Jonson's beautiful fragmentary pastoral, “The Sad Shepherd." 10 In this imaginative piece, the witch Maudlin, although poetically conceived, is endowed with most of the vulgar attributes of her kind. She transforms herself into a hare, curses in characteristic
1 IV. v. Lic. 1633 (J. Q. Adams, Dramatic Records of Sir Henry Herbert, 19, 34), but probably a revision of a play written at a much earlier period, perhaps as early as 1601. See Cunningham-Gifford, Jonson, 1 : xv; Fleay, Biog. Chron., 1 : 370; and Schelling, Elizabethan Drama, I : 326.
2 In Waller's Beaumont and Fletcher, vol. 7 (see 11. ii; 111. iii; iv. i). Pr. in 1640 as Fletcher's. According to Herbert's license (1633), “corrected” by Shirley (J. Q. Adams, Dramatic Records of Sir Henry Herbert, 34). Original play put by Fleay as early as 1614 (Biog. Chron., 1 : 197), by Oliphant, before 1610-11 (Eng. Stud., xv. 350. 1891).
3 In act v (the haunted mill). See below, p. 484. 4 iv. i, iii; v.
6 "Works of Addison" in Bohn's Standard Library, vol. 5 (1891) (see especially I. i; 11. i; iv. i; v. i). Pub. anonymously, 1716. See bibliographical note, p. liv, in Selections from the Writings of Joseph Addison, "Athenaeum Press Ser." (ed. B. Wendell and C. N. Greenough).
6 Works (ed. A. H. Bullen), vol. 2 (see iv. i. 99–125; and G. L. Kittredge, "English Witchcraft and James I" in Toy Presentation Volume, p. 45).
7 Bullen's Middleton, vol. 3 (see iv. i., 29-99; iv. iv. 17–62).
10 See W. W. Greg, who holds for a late date ("Ben Jonson's Sad Shepherd," in Bang's Materialen z. Kunde d. altengl. Dramas, 11 (19051 : xviii); and F. E. Schelling, who holds for an early date (Elizabethan Drama, 2 : 166–168).
fashion, and practises witchcraft for her own ends and to harm neighbors,
"To make ewes cast their lambs, swine eat their farrow,
To open locks with, and to rivet charms.” 1 Clearly this is a highly realistic portrait to be introduced into a pastoral!
Continuing with the enumeration of plays, we may observe Dekker, Ford, and Rowley's "Witch of Edmonton" (doubtless 1621 ?), based on the recent trial of Mother Sawyer, but handling the old hag, her temptation and submission to the Devil, her traffic with her dog-familiar, and all the hard facts of her life as a social outcast, with a sympathy unknown to the trials, and seldom found anywhere in the literature of the age. In 1623 was licensed “The Black Lady" (non-extant), which may have been a witch play. Some time in the twenties probably was written Middleton's "Witch," which, like Jonson's "Masque of Queens," gathers together a vast amount of devil-lore from the witch-mongers and others. In 1631 was printed Thomas May's "Antigone," which includes three hags who, when consulted by Creon, as the weird sisters are consulted by Macbeth, cause a corpse to prophesy. 6
Two other important dramas may appropriately conclude the list. They are the two plays based on the witch trials in Lancashire. The first, shortly after the trials of 1633–34, and before the fate of the witches had been finally settled, came "hot off the press," like a newspaper extra. This is “The Late Lancashire Witches" of Heywood and Brome.? It contains witches' revels, to which the apparently honest wife of a gentleman rides on a boy whom she has transformed
1 i. ii.
• The date of Mother Sawyer's trial and execution. In Works of Thomas Dekker, vol. 4 (1873).
3 See above, p. 470.
• See J. Q. Adams, Dramatic Records of Sir Henry Herbert, 23; and Fleay, Biog. Chron., 2 : 325.
• In Bullen's Middleton, vol. 5. Bullen dates toward the end of Middleton's career (1 : liii). Middleton d. 1627.
• See Schelling's Elizabethan Drama, 2 : 44, 45 (play not seen by the present writer).
? In Dramatic Works of Thomas Heywood, vol. 4 (1874). Pub. 1634. The Epilogue shows the affair was not yet concluded: —
"Perhaps great mercy may, After just condemnation give them day
Of longer life." See also Notestein's History, 158–160.
into a horse, and from which she is herself ridden back, the boy having learned her charm. There are other changes of shape into hares, there are queer tricks played at a wedding feast, there is rough treatment of the soldier who guards the haunted mill, there is the identification of the gentleman's wife as a witch by means of a severed hand. In short, there are represented in this topical play most of the stories which were narrated at the trial on which it was based, and at others like it. The last play calling for pointed mention is Shadwell's revival of the "Lancashire Witch" story in 1681, with many additions and changes, the whole constituting the most composite as well as the most confused mass of witch-lore in our dramatic literature. The drama is set in a comic key by the interpolated Irish priest and exorciser, Tegue O'Divelly.
Among these plays, two groups call for special comment. The first group may be said to exemplify “the mythology of witchcraft.” In this group may be gathered "Sophonisba,” “Macbeth,” “The Masque of Queens," "The Witch," and perhaps others. In these dramas the traditional conceptions of the witch as handed down from the classics, from the treatises on witchcraft, and from the conventional features of popular superstition, have influenced the poet powerfully. His play may be a compendium of learning on these matters; or, if his treatment be freer, more artistic, at any rate he has had his eye very largely on these sources. There is nothing from recent cases or recent discussion, much less any attempt to present notorious figures.
The second group embraces the two Lancashire witch plays and “The Witch of Edmonton.” They purport to give, in reportorial style, accounts of celebrated trials. Actual known incidents are introduced; although much may be changed, much added, and the whole coloring may be accordant to the author's attitude and purpose. Only in "The Witch of Edmonton," however, is there any emotional approach to the material. In the other plays the attitude is one of detachment, of impersonality. They are in the highest sense "realistic."
After this review of Elizabethan magic and witchcraft plays, the summary may be brief.
The public interest in the themes under consideration was continuous throughout the period usually called “Elizabethan” (15581642). The appearance and popularity of the themes in the drama are to be explained, not by any specific shifts in public interest, but by the history of dramatic vogue. The vogue of the fairy plays was strong in the 80's. They continued later, particularly because of their lyric and decorative qualities and ready adaptability to the
In Works of Thomas Shadwell, vol. 3 (1720).
court masque. Plays containing magic of the romance type are few and incidental, occurring just as the romances or chronicles on which they were based contained such material. Folk-lore plays are even rarer, a few specimens standing quite isolated, apart from any vogue. The motive of the "practising magician," initiated by Marlowe, proved very attractive, and had a long and extended dramatic history. The “emissary to earth" plays were popular relatively late. Conjurers, wise women, and witches, when they appear early, are usually in characters borrowed from other literatures or from the chronicles; some approach toward realistic treatment is evident in the 1590's; there seems to be an irruption of more realistic plays in 1597-98; and thereafter the vogue of such plays is established, although the real "topical" play is extremely late in development. The vogue of all the plays considered seems to tally very well with trends in the development of the Elizabethan drama generally, particularly the development of realistic and satiric plays in the late 90's.
1 In view of the persistent attacks on King James I as a violent and bigoted persecutor of witches, and the spirited defence of the monarch's record by G. L. Kittredge ("English Witchcraft and James I," in Studies in the History of Religions, presented to C. H. Toy, 1912), the evidence of this study should be brought to bear. Nothing has shown any special intensity of persecution in the reign of James I, nor any special intervention by the King. The development of the dramatic genres serves well enough to explain the various types of witchcraft plays when they appear.
SOME PLAY-PARTY SONGS FROM EASTERN ILLINOIS.
BY CARL VAN DOREN.
The following songs, for the most part, by 1900 were no longer current in the section of Vermilion County, Illinois, from which they have been collected, but were remembered, if at all, only by the older members of the community, and by the young people in certain families which had been little touched by a more sophisticated world. They are here given as they were taken down in 1907 from the recitation of Mr. and Mrs. Knight of Muncie, in that county, who remembered them from the day, not long after the Civil War, when they were widely known in the neighborhood, and furnished the music for all dances or “play-parties." A previous intention to study them at length, when opportunity offered, has given way before the feeling that it is perhaps better to print them (I have only the words) for the use of scholars who have devoted special attention to the subject of American song and dance.
I. THERE COMES TWO DUKES A-ROVING.
There comes two dukes a-roving, a-roving, a-roving,
This piece will be recognized as the one discussed by Newell ("Games and Songs of American Children," No. 3), under the title "Here comes