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

Hzjiory qf Caricature and Grotqfgue 
females, with two exceptions, belong to the fame clafs. The plot of this 
play is very Iimple. The elder fon of fir William Belfond has taken to 
Aliatia, but fir William, on his return from abroad, hearing talk of the 
fame of a fquire Belfond among the Alfatians, imagines that it is his 
younger fon, and out of this miftake a confiderable amount of mifunder- 
{landing arifes. At laft fir William difcovers his error, and finds his 
eldeft fon in Whitefryers, but the youth fets him at defiance. The father, 
in great anger, brings tipltaff conftables, to take away his fon by force; 
but the Alfatians rife in force, the oflicers of the law are beaten, and fir 
William himfelf taken prifoner. He is refcued by the younger Belfond, 
and in the conclufion the elder brother becomes penitent, and is 
reconciled with his father. There is an underplot, far from moral in its 
character, which ends in the marriage of Belfond junior. It is a bufy, 
noify play, and was a great favourite on the Rage ; but it is now chiefly 
interefting as a vivid picture of London life in the latter half of the 
feventeenth century. "Bury Fair," by Shadwell, is another comedy 
of the fame defcription, with little intereit in the plot, but full of 
life and movement. If " The Squire of Alfatia" was noify, " The 
Scowrers," another comedy by the fame author, Brit brought on the 
ftage in 1691, was [till more fo. The wild and riotous gallants who, 
in former times of inetiicient police regulation, infefted the {lreets at 
night, and committed all forts of outrages, were known at different periods 
by a variety of names. In the reign of James I. and Charles I. they 
were the "roaring boys  in the time of Shadwell, they were called the 
" fcowrers," becaufe they fcowered the itreets at night, and rather roughly 
cleared them of all paffengers; a few years later they took the name of 
Mohocks, or Mohawks. During the night London lay at the mercy of 
thefe riotous cialles, and the ftreets witnelied fcenes of brutal violence, 
which, at the prefent day, we can hardlyimagine. This ftate of things 
is pictured in Shadwell's comedy. Sir William Rant, Wildfire, and 
Tope, are noted fcowrers, well known in the town, whofe fame has 
excited emulation in men of leis diitinction in their way, Whachum, 
"a city wit and fcowrer, imitator of fir William," and " two fcoundrells," 
his companions, Bluiter and Dingboy. Great enmity arifes between the 


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