Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Elizabethan Drama as a Mirror :: Plays Literature Essays

A. How [God] hath dealt with some of our countrymen your ancestors, for sundry vices not yet left, this book named A Mirror for Magistrates can shew; which therefore I humbly offer unto your Honors, beseeching you to accept it favorably. For here as in a looking glass, you shall see (if any vice be in you) how the like hath been punished in other heretofore, whereby, admonished, I trust it will be a good occasion to move you to the sooner amendment. William Baldwin, A Mirror for Magistrates (1559) B. In Playes, all cosonages, all cunning drifts ouer guylded with outward holinesse, all strategems of warre, all the cankerwormes that breede on the rust of peace, are most lieuely anatomiz'd: they shew the ill successe of treason, the fall of hastie climbers, the wretched end of vsurpers, the miserie of ciuill dissention, and how iust God is euermore in punishing of murther. And to proue euery one of these allegations, could I propound the circumstances of this play and that play ... they are sower pils of reprehension, wrapt vp in sweete words ... and as for corrupting [prentices] when they come, thats false; for no Play they haue, encourageth any man to tumults or rebellion, but layes before such the halter and the gallowes; or praiseth or approoueth pride, lust, whoredome, prodigalitie, or drunkennes, but beates them downe vtterly. Thomas Nashe, Pierce Penilesse (1592) C. 0 London, mayden of the misstresse Ile, Wrapt in the foldes and swathing cloutes of shame: In thee more sinnes then Niniuie containes, Contempt of God, dispight of reuerend age. Neglect of law, desire to wrong the poore: Corrpution, whordome, drunkennesse, and pride. Swolne are thy browes with impudence and shame. 0 proud adulterous glorie of the West, The neighbors burn, yet doest thou feare no fire Thy Preachers crie, yet doest thou stop thine eares. The larum rings, yet sleepest thou secure. London awake, for feare the Lord do frowne, I set a looking Glasse before thine eyes. 0 turne, 0 turne, with weeping to the Lord Repend 0 London Thomas Lodge and Robert Green, A Looking Glass for London and England (1590), lines 2388-2404 D. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you overstep not the modesty of nature: for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as Å’twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.

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