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

of C zzricature 
to making mifchief, and he accufes a neighbour, Dame Chat, of Healing 
the needle. At the fame time, the fame tnifchierous individual tells 
Dame Chat that Gammer Gurton's cock had been Ptolen in the night from 
the henrooft, and that fhe, Dame Chat, was acculed of being the thief. 
Amid the general mifunderltanding which refults from Dicc0n's fucirefsful 
endeavours, they fend for the parfon of the parifh, Dr. Rat, who appears 
to unite in himfelf the three parts of preacher, phytician, and conjurer, in 
order to have advantage of his experience in iinding the needle. Diccon 
now contrives a new piece of mifchief. He perfuades Dame Chat that 
Hodge intends to hide himfelf in a certain hole in the premifes, in order, 
that night, to creep out and kill all her hens; and at the fame time he 
informs Dr. Rat, that if he will hide in the fame hole, he will give him 
ocular demonttration of Dame Chat's guilt of fit-aling the needle. The 
confequence is that Dame Chat attacks by furpriie, and fomewhat 
violently, the fuppofed depredator in the hole, and that Dr. Rat gets a 
broken head. Dame Chat is brought before "Mafier Bayly" for the 
afiault, and the proceedings in the trial bring to light the deceptions 
which have been played upon them all, and Diccon Hands convicted as 
the wicked perpetrator. In fact, the " bedlam " confeffes it all, and it is 
finally decided by "Matter Bayly" that there {hall be a general recon- 
ciliation, and that Diccon {hall take a iolemn oath on Hodges breech, 
that he will do his bett to find the loft needle. Diccon has {till the Ipirit 
of mifchief in him, and inftead of laying his hand quietly on Hodge's 
breech, he gives him a {harp blow, which is refponded to by an unexpected 
fcream. The needle, indeed, which has never quitted the breeches, is 
driven rather deep into the iieihy part of Hodge's body, and the general 
joy at having found it again overruling all other confiderations, they 
all agree to be friends over a jug of " drink." 
We cannot but feel aitonifhed at the ihort period which it required 
to develop rude attempts at dramatic compofition like this into the 
wonderful creations of a Shakefpeare; and it can only be explained by 
the fact that it was an age remarkable for producing men of extraordinary 
genius in every branch of intelleetual development. Hitherto, the litera- 
ture of the ttage had reprefented the intelligence of the mafs ; it became 


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