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

Hzfory of Caricature 
took from the comedy of " Eaftward Hoe," the idea of his feries of plates 
of the hiliory of the Idle and Indultrious Apprentices. 
When we conlider the ridicule which was continually thrown upon 
them in this earlier period of the Englith comedy, we can eafily under- 
{tand the bitternefs with which the Puritans regarded the ftage and the 
drama. When they obtained power, the ftage, as might be expected, 
was fupprelied, and for fome years England was without a theatre. At 
the Reltoration, however, the theatres were opened again, and with 
greater freedom than ever. At iirft the old comedies of the days of 
James I. and Charles I. were revived, and many of them, modilied and 
adapted to the new circumttances, were again brought upon the tiage. 
The original comedies which appeared immediately after the Reftoration, 
were often marked with a political tinge; as the Gage Yaw its natural pro- 
teeters in the court, and in the court party, it embraced their politics; and 
Puritans, Roundheads, "Whigs, all whofe principles were fuppofed to be con- 
trary to royalty and arbitrary power, fell under its fatire. Such was the 
character of the comedy of "The Cheats," by a playswriter of fome repute 
named Wilton, which was brought out in 1662. The objeet of this play 
appears to have been, in the firft place, to fatirife the Nonconformifts or 
Puritanical clergy--with whom were clatled the aftrologers and conjurers, 
who had increafed in number during the Commonwealth time, and infeited 
fociety more than ever-and the city magiftrates, who were not looked 
upon as being generally over-loyal. The three cheats who are the heroes 
of this comedy, are Scruple, the Nonconformiit, Mopus, a pretender to 
phyiic and aftrology, and alderman XVhitebroth. Direct perlonal attacks 
had been introduced into the comedy of the Reitoration, and it is probable 
that fornebody of infiuence was fatirited under the name of Scruple, for 
the play was fuppretied by authority, and at a later period, when it was 
revived, the prologue announces this faet in the following Words  
Sad nezux, my nnwzrx; and too true, Iflar, 
PVou1d_ye rile mzffe .7 The brellzrenfni-zlel,  
'Ti:_ftandalou: Ilmt any client but llzey. 
M an y 
of good an d 


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