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

Literature and Art. 
the epifode, which was not an integral part of the fubjecl, was performed, 
and that this part of the performance was called an interlude, or play 
introduced in the interval of the action of the main fubjecl. The word 
interlude remained long in our language as applied to fuch {hort and 
iimple dramatic pieces as we may fuppofe to have formed the drolleries of 
the myfteries. But they had another name in France which has had a 
greater and more lafting celebrity. In one of the early French miracle- 
plays, that of " St. Fiacre," an interlude of this kind is introduced, con- 
taining Hive perfonages-a brigand or robber, a peafant, a fergeant, and the 
wives of the two latter. The brigand, meeting the peafant on the highway, 
aiks the way to St. Omer, and receives a clownifh anfwer, which is followed 
by one equally rude on a fecond queftion. The brig:-ind, in revenge, iteals 
the peat:-int's capon, but the fergeant comes up at this moment and, 
attempting to arreft the thief, receives a blow from the latter which is 
fuppofed to break his right arm. The brigand thus efcapes, and the peafant 
and the fergeant quit the fcene, which is immediately occupied by their 
wives. The fergeant's wife is informed by the other of the injury 
fuftained by her hufband, and the exults over it becaufe it will deprive him 
of the power of beating her. They then proceed to a tavern, call for 
wine, and make merry, the converfation turning upon the faults of their 
refpeetive hufbands, who are not fpared. In the midit of their enjoy- 
ments, the two liuibands return, and Ihow, by beating their wives, that 
they are not very greatly difabled. In the manufcript of the miracle-play 
of " St. Fiacre," in which this amufing epifode is introduced, a marginal 
ftage direction is expreffed in the following words, " cy gfi interpqfe une 
favfje" (here a farce is introduced). This is one of the earlieft inftances of 
the application of the term farce to tliefe [hort dramatic facetiae. Different 
opinions have been expreffed as to the origin of the word, but it feems 
moft probable that it is derived from an old French verb, farcer, to jeft, to 
make merry, whence the modern Word farceur for a joker, and that it 
thus means merely a drollery or merriment. 
I have jult fuggeited as a reafon for the abfence of thefe interludes, or 
farces, in the myiteries as they are found in the manufcripts, that they 
were probably not looked upon as parts of the mytteries themfelves, but


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