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

of Caricature 
which the pretended conjurers and alchemilts contributed to all the vices 
of the town. At length their bafe dealings are on the point of being 
expofed by the cunning of one upon whom they had attempted to impale, 
when Truewit, the matter of the houle, returns unexpectedly, and all is 
difcovered, but the alchemitt and his female atfociate contrive to efcape. 
The object of their laft intrigue had been to entrap dame Pliant, who 
was rich, into a marriage with a needy tharper; and Lovewit, finding the 
lady in the houfe, and liking her, marries her himfelf, and, in confidera- 
tion of the fatisfaclion he has thus procured, forgives his unfaithful fervant. 
Many have confidered the Alchemift to be the bell of .lonfon's dramas. 
"Epicoene, or the Silent Woma11," which belongs to the year 1609, is 
another fatirical picture of London ibciety, in which the fame clafs of 
characters appear. Morofe, an eccentric gentleman of fortune, who has 
a great horror for noife, and even obliges his fervants to communicate 
with him by figns, has a nephew, a young knight named Sir Dauphine 
Eugenie, with whom he is diH'atisf1ed, and he refutes to allow him money 
for his fupport. A plot is laid by his friends, whereby the uncle is led 
into a marriage with a Ihppofed Hlent woman, named Epicoene, but {he 
only fuflains the chara6ter until the wedding formalities are completed, 
and thefe are followed by a fcene of noife and riot, which completely 
horrifies Morofe, and leads to a reconciliation with his nephew, to whom 
he makes over half his fortune. The earlielt of Ben Jonfon's comedies, 
" Every Man in his Humour," was compofed in its prefent form in I598, 
and is the Iirit of thefe dramatic fatires on the manners and character of 
the citizens of London, of whom it was fafhionable at the courts of 
James I. and Charles I. to fpeak contemptuoufly. Kno'well, an olcl 
gentleman of refpeetability, is highly difpleafed with his (on Edward, 
becaufe the latter has taken to writing poetry, and has formed a friendlhip 
with another gentleman of his own age, who loves poetry and frequents 
the rather gay fociety of the poets and wits of the town. Wellbred has 
a half-brother, a "plain fquire," named Downright, and a filter married 
to a rich city merchant named Kitely. Kitely, the merchant, who is 
extremely jealous of his wife, has a great defire to reform Wellbred, and 
draw him to a ileadier line of life, a fentiment in which Downright 


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