Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

of Caricature 
which fuch excrefcences had been lopped off. However, in the play of 
" Noah's Flood," we have the old quarrel between Noah and his wife, 
which is carried fo far that the latter actually beats her hutband in the 
pretence of the audience. There is a little drollery in the play of " The 
Shepherds," a confiderable amount of what may be called "Billingfgate " 
language in the play of the " Slaughter of the Innocents," but lefs than the 
ufual amount ofinfolence in the tormentors and demons)? It is probable, 
however, that thefe droll fcenes were not always coniidered an integral 
part of the play in which they were introduced, but that they were kept as 
feparate fubjects, to be introduced at will, and not always in the fame play, 
and therefore that they were not copied with the play in the mauufcripts. 
In the Coventry play of"Noah's Flood," when Noah has received 
the directions from an angel for the building of the ark, he leaves the 
ttage to proceed to this important work. On his departure, Lamech 
comes forward, blind and led by a youth, who direfts his hand to [hoot at 
a beaft concealed in a bufh. Lamech fhoots, and kills Cain, upon which, 
in his anger, he beats the youth to death, and laments the misfortune into 
which the latter has led him. This Was the legendary explanation of the 
patfage in the fourth chapter of Genefisz " And Lamech faid . . . . . 
I have {lain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt; if 
Cain {hall be avenged feven-fold, truly Lamech feventy and feven-fold." 
It is evident that this is a piece of fcriptural Iiory which has nothing to 
do with Noah's Hood, and accordingly, in the Coventry play, we are told 
in the Itage directions, that it was introduced in the place of the " inter- 
lude," T as if there were a place in the machinery of the pageant where 
4 The editions of the three principal collections of English mysteries are- 
1. " The Towneley Mysteries," 8vo.,Lon don, 1836, published bythesnrtees Society. 
2. " Ludus Covcntriae : a Collection of Mysteries, formerly represented at Coventry 
on the Feast of Corpus Christi," edited by James Orchard Halliwell, Esq-, 8vo., 
London, I841, published by the Shakespeare Society; 3. " The Chester Plays: a 
Collection of Mysteries founded upon Scriptural Subjects, and formerly represented 
by the Trades of Chester at Whitsuntide," edited by Thomas Wright, Esq., 
2 vols. 8vo., London, 184.3 and 1847, Published by the Shakespeare Society. 
1' "Hie transit Noe cum familia sua pro navi,quo exeunte, locum inrerludiifubintrzr 
statim Lameth, conductus ab adolescente, et dicens," 8:0-


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