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In accomplishing this, four persons play somewhat involved parts : Nicholas Udal, sometime head master in Eton School ; Thomas Wilson, who published a “ Logicke” in 1551; a certain Rev. Mr. Briggs, an old Etonian; and J. P. Collier, the dramatic critic. Udal's share was in writing a comedy or interlude called “ Ralph Roister Doister,” and Wilson's share in quoting a part of this comedy in his Logic, published in 1551. For two centuries every copy of Roister Doister was supposed to be lost; and that it had once existed was known only from the quotation in Wilson. So matters stood till 1818, when Mr. Briggs discovered a very old play, unfortunately lacking title-page, and had a few copies printed. The original, by a very happy stroke of fate, he gave to Eton Library. Lastly, Mr. Collier discovered that the passage cited in Wilson from Udal's comedy, Ralph Roister Doister, formed an integral part of the titleless play. Thus was accomplished the dethronement of Bishop Still, erstwhile first of English comic dramatists.
Nicholas Udal was a man of note in his day, as a schoolmaster and theologian. As a schoolmaster he evidently “impressed” his pupils. One of them has left us his impression in the following significant lines :“ From Paul's I went, to Eton sent
“ For fault but small, or none at all,
It came to pass, thus beat I was.
See Udal, see, the mercy of thee to me,
TUSSER. He apparently used kindred methods of persuasion in theology, for after taking his B. A. at Oxford in 1524, his religious opinions prevented him from getting his M. A. till ten years later. The resentment of his pupils was undoubtedly keen. His theological views, however, seem to have been of more immediate concern to him, for in 1543, while head master of Eton, a position which he obtained on taking his Master's degree, his zeal for reform carried him to the extent of joining with two of his scholars and his own servant in the appropriation (he called it removal of some valuable silver images from the school chapel. Now Henry VIII. had reforming tendencies, to be sure, but he allowed no one but himself to reap the temporal rewards of reform, and consequently Udal lost his position. For the rest of his life he was active as a preacher and writer. From such apparently uncongenial soil English comedy took its rise.
Many things confirm us in the belief that Ralph Roister Doister was written early in the life of the author. The play itself, in connection with the circumstances of the author's life, leads us to think that it was written while he was at Eton.
The Eton boys used to act plays, even before Udal came there in 1534, but in Latin, and their parents and friends came to see the spectacles. Udal, thinking probably the custom a good one, conceived the idea of writing a comedy in English, not in Latin, and of having the boys present it. Working with the best Latin models constantly before him, Udal produced a play, in the full sense of the word, a regularly constructed play, having scarcely any relation to the Moralities and Miracle Plays which were at that time and had been so popular among the vulgar. And here lies its great historical interest : the relation of all subsequent English comedy to this first exemplar; its relation, or lack of relation, to the preceding English scenic productions; and its immediate descent from the Latin comedy of Plautus and Terence.
But it is not less interesting as a literary and social study. It presents us with a bustling, fairly intricate plot, cleverly setting forth an amusing story of every-day life of the time. The plot is carried on in a series of keenly humorous and at times almost farcical scenes and situations, while a stream of bright and witty dialogue is poured forth continuously from the first line of Act I., Scene I., to the singing of the prayer for the sovereign by all the actors on their knees (then the custom at dramatic representations).
The motif of the play is the wooing by a “doughty kite,” Roister Doister by name, of one Dame Custance, who scornfully rejects his suit, as she is already promised to another. Thereupon Ralph, who is a cowardly, blustering fellow, arms his men-servants, and goes to attack his beloved, who arms her maids with spit and distaf, and after a lively battle beats off the invaders. In the meanwhile, the report of Roister Doister's actions has aroused suspicion in the heart of Dame Custance's true love, and further complications ensue, but all finally ends well.
Happily, as it was written for schoolboys, it is entirely free from the gross license of so many of the early dramatists. No line of the play need be omitted for other reason than to bring it within easy acting compass. Vigorously presented, as a mere play, it should arouse interest.
But more than entertainment is intended. The aim of the department is to reproduce, as closely as the very limited means at disposal will allow, the conditions of its first production. The intention is not so much to give us the favor of 1540 by scenery, stage settings, etc., but to present to us the actual circumstances of its Eton presentation : the plain, bare platform for stage, no scenery, no footlights, no side-scenes, no curtains. It must not be thought, however, that this means a mere abandonment of these stage accessories. The early stage, it is well known, lacked those accessories which play so important a part in modern dramatic production. Consequently the absence of these aids to the imagination will necessitate all the more care in the presentation. Old contemporary music for the songs and for the three or four violins which were the germ of the modern orchestra must be patiently sought and adapted, costumes must be made to represent exactly those of the steady middle-class London citizens of the day, while questions regarding the facilities possessed by the Eton scholars for presenting plays must be carefully weighed and investigated now for the first time, in a great measure, for it must not be forgotten that Ralph Roister Doister antedates the Elizabethan stage by some thirty years. Such an attempt, it must be seen, concerns the whole college, and not alone the English department. It brings Tufts into line with the other colleges which have been investigating minutely some particular period of dramatic history. The co-operation and interest of all friends of the college, undergraduates, and alumni are required successfully complete the undertaking. *
Chas. St. C. Wade.
Beneath her chin, and nestling close to it,
But ah ! these day-dreams are of fragile kind.
* The writer has aimed to give merely a succinct account of the play and its author, free from technical details. Several assumptions have been made which the student of English literature probably would not accept without proof, such as the early date of the comedy and the assignment of its origin to the Latin rather than to a development from the Moralities as is generally held,
THE LIGHT DIVINE.
To seek in other realms some heart to glad,
And melancholy with its train so sad
And mid-day rays of light no hope reveal.
In vain we search the glowing orb, to steal
Bidding return to dwell in peaceful bliss
Howe'er so far we may have strayed amiss.
A BIT OF HISTORY. Two Children.
Once upon a time there was a little girl, a tiny little girl, with large brown eyes and soft brown hair, small runaway feet, and dimpled hands that sometimes did a great amount of mischief. And oh, she was so very, very wise; and her name was Carol when she was good, but Caroline when she was naughty. She had a big, tall sister, whom in her baby fashion she called “Tusan,” and whom she loved three bushels running over full.
Suppose it to be a winter's morning. At five o'clock Miss Carol suddenly opens her bright eyes, and finding herself six whole inches away from Susan, with one quick movement winds her arms around that beloved sister as a little barnacle glues itself to a rock. Then a small hand begins to smooth Susan's face. Dear sister groans drowsily, “Carol, go right to sleep again; it's all dark and no one's up.” Carol replies sweetly, as she continues her smoothing, “O my dea tister! O my dea tister !” “ Caroline, shut your eyes immediately; why, the birdies are n’t up yet.” This argument sometimes quiets her for a moment; but Susan's breathless suspense is soon broken.
“O my dea tister ! O my dea tister!”
“ Tister” gives up in dismay, and for the next hour and a half Caroline meditates aloud upon her cares for the coming day. Suddenly the electric light in front of the house goes down and Carol sits up and begins to blow like a small pair of bellows. Susan, who, strange to say, is wide awake, asks her what she is doing.
“Oh, I'm tryin' to blow ’at 'ittle 'tar out!'
The elder sister, looking through the window, sees a great morning planet shining in the sky, and while beginning to dress that one small child ponders upon her astonishing ideas. Then Miss Carol is very apt to begin a series of questions like this:
“ Where do shoeses come from?'
“What's” but she gets no farther, for Susan catches her up and whirls her down-stairs so fast she does n't have breath to speak with till she is landed in her high-chair, and then breakfast occupies her attention.
On summer mornings she runs out-of-doors and brings in a great yellow dandelion for sister to admire.
“Where did you get that pretty, pretty flower ?”
When night-time comes and sister is taking off the little rumpled clothes, she asks, “ When the birdies go to bed, do they take their feathers off?” Sister says “ No,” and explains while slipping on Carol's robe of oblivion; and now it is prayer-time. Usually she kneels and meekly says, “God bless papa and mama and sister and brothers and Bridget and Mary Ann and help
, Carol to be a good little girl. Amen.” But saying prayers is getting to be an old story, so to-night, as she clambers into bed, she startles her dear sister by loudly remarking, “ All of 'em! Amen!” And then she goes to sleep while Susan sings her cradle songs and prays the dear God to watch over that little one forever and forever.
A FANTASY. Once upon a time, early in a summer morning, a little girl stood in a meadow sweet with clovers
a and tall waving grasses. She had always lived midst the frowning walls of a great city, and now, as she gazed over the far-stretching vista of woodland and meadow, her heart was filled with unspeakable joy. In silence she stood, with her blue-ribboned hat fallen back on her shoulders, and the fresh breezes tossing her yellow hair about her wondering face. In her hands were the pretty field-Aowers she had gathered, and her eyes, as blue as the skies of that June morning, were raised toward the Aeecy clouds sailing like white-winged ships o'er the fathomless deep. The great snowy masses were piled and billowed in every fantastic shape, and the little maiden, as she looked, smiled and thought, “ If I were a bird, I'd Ay up there to that great white castle with shining turrets and silver walls, and on the topmost tower I'd sit, and sing and sing, and sail and sail, till I reached the golden stars that swing and sway above.”
And then she went on, wandering away across the meadow, and the tallest grasses reached her waist and her little slippers were wet with dew. A runaway brook came gurgling by and she exclaimed, “ O you baby river! How unsteady you are on your feet!
When you find your mother she will put her soft arms about you and keep you from tumbling and scrambling so!” Off she ran with the little brook till they came to a beautiful wood. The unthinking stream Aowed on, but the child stood still, her soul was touched by the great silent loneliness before her.
The tall trees lifted their brown columns on high, and through the interwoven boughs some sunbeams fell, spattering their molten gold over the green leaves, and here on a lichen-covered log, and there on a carpet of emerald moss. The song of a sweet-voiced bird afar, the patter of the little brook's hurrying feet, the rustling of the leaves in the gentle noonday wind, disturbed not the silence, but only made it the more profound. Over the woodland path wandered the child, walking with hushed feet through the aisles of the temple of God. She ate the red berries and plucked the blue violets that grew there, and once burst into a little song when a great gaudy butterfly lazily Aoated across her way. She was perfectly happy, but, alas, she was too young to know that! By and by she sat down at the foot of an old tree, a monarch of the wood, and leaning her gentle head against its rough bark, fell asleep. The Aush of the setting sun was just dying from the sky when a mother bent over her lost child and cried, “ Why, where have you been this long day, little girl ?” The blue eyes opened, and a reverent voice dreamily answered, “ In heaven.”
F. L. C., '97.
Tufts Beats Harvard !
Just as the TUFTONIAN goes to press, the sidering the fact that it is only the second of the news comes from Cambridge that the College season. Every man played his position well. Hill nine has defeated Harvard to-day, by a score Johnston's coolness and magnificent headwork of eleven to seven. This is the first time in the ought to be particularly commended. This is history of the college that Tufts has beaten only the second game he has pitched; although Harvard at baseball.
a little wild at times, he showed admirable comThe game was a remarkably good one, con- mand of the ball.
The Minnesota Magazine is at hand and is a certain class of people. Is it reasonable to welcome periodical. It is unique from the fact suppose that they will go down in history as that several articles are illustrated, presumably masterpieces? Would any of us be desirous by students of the university. While one
of having our great-grandchildren see them might find fault with the wearing apparel of the at some future day and have them regarded and hero pictured in the story " Jack's Atonement,
“ Jack's Atonement,” advertised as standard plays of the nineteenth still the ambition to illustrate the articles is a century? No, and there is no danger of this good one and the results are generally satis- happening. The modern drama
have factory. The contribution to this paper en- faults and grievous ones, but it will hardly do to titled “ The Modern Drama; Why Has It resort to the melodrama and comic opera for Failed ? ” failed itself in one important particu- an antidote. lar, in making evident to the reader just what The Brown Magazine contains an ambitious the author regarded as a typical modern drama. poem which introduces two songs of beauty, The article contains some good ideas, but the the one by the dame gazing from her window general result would have been better if
expanse of the sea being as follows: citations had been made from the realm “ Swift and slow, onward go of the modern drama. The author takes
In the wake of years that ceaseless flow. the ground of many people in declaring that
Rest, rest, forever rest the modern drama is too heavy for a nervous,
On the billow of hope at its flood-tide crest.
Gather the waifs of the winds that blow, hard-working people who go to the theatre
Bury them deep in the hearts that grow, simply for recreation. This may be true to a Never a storm may thy brave bark know. certain extent, but when he says, “ We are a
May thy voyage be blest." terribly sensible, practical, unromantic people The sailor lad sings this song: in this age of science and realism, and we had “ No work have I, 't is play for me rather see a light, airy performance which lays
To sound the deep no claim to artistic merit than a serious produc
Where finnies leap ; tion which, despite its pretensions, is still full
But they're not spry enough for me,
For I'm the prince of the broad deep sea.' of inconsistency and frivolity,” we beg to differ most decidedly. In the place of the standard
The poem, which is too long to quote in drama the writer would have the “ light and full, ends as follows: airy”
” comic opera and melodrama. But in Breathe softly, O winds of the south, the entire field of stage productions, what can
Roll smoothly, 0 waves of the sea ;
Let never a sigh from thy murmuring depth be found more “ inconsistent and frivolous"
Be willingly lost to me. than a comic opera or a melodrama? Is “Sowing the Wind ” more “inconsistent ” than
Thy tale can never be told
Of hearts that worship thee ; “The Cotton King” or “ In Old Kentucky”? But the brightest pictures are often found Is «The Manxman more “ frivolous" than
'Midst the toilers of the sea. “ Dr. Syntax”? The author has failed to
Clarence Mason Gallup. make any actual comparisons of his own, and
A PASSING FACE. why not make some for him ? It is true that
A passing face, exceeding fair, comic operas and melodramas draw fair audi
Goes swiftly by, in crowded place ; ences, but they are not representative audiences
A smiling glance from eyes a pair : by any means. The modern melodrama draws
A passing face. “top-heavy ” houses, and the gallery gods fairly
I look, and wish some little space go frantic when the culmination of the play
In her regard, yet do not dare results in the bursting of a bomb or the appear
To speak, lest I incur disgrace. ance of a train of cars, affording the heroine a
Mine's not experience so rare, chance to save the hero from the diabolical
It happens thus in many a case ; plot of the villain. These “light and airy
We every one have met somewhere
A passing face. plays are only of temporary pleasure to
-- Southern Collegiar.