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« other elegancie that may be thought upon *.” Hara rison, who wrote a Description of England about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, observes; “ Certes “ in noblemens houses it is not rare to see abundance “ of arras, rich hangings of tapestrie, &c. .. Likewise, “ in the houses of knights, gentlemen, &c. it is not “ geson to behold generallie this great provision of

tapestriet." Before the use of tapestry became very common, they painted the walls of their rooms. Chaucer tells us, that the room in which he slept, in his Dreme, was painted with the history of the Romaunt of the Rose I.

And soothe to faine my chamber was
Full well depaintid.

And all the walls with colours fine
Were paint, both text and glose,
And [with] all the Romaunt of the Rose.

The interior walls of the churches were also frequent

* Of Building. Effay, xlv. + Prefixed to Hollingshed's Chron. p. 188.

I Dreame of Chaucer, v. 322. ed. Urry, p. 406. or Speght fol. 228. verso. col. 2. There are other instances in Chaucer. By the way, PORTRAYING is mentioned as an accomplishment in the character of Chau. cer's Squire.

He could songs make, and eke well endite,
Jiuft, and eke daunce, PORTRAY, and well write.
Cani, T. Prol, ed. Speght, sign. A ii.

ly

ly painted. Thus the author of Pierce Plowman's Crede, defcribing a church

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Walles well heye,
That mote bene portraid, and paints and pulched

full clene. Again,

The pilers weren ypaint, and pulched full clene.

Though this last instance may mean plain colouring, as was the fashion. The cloysters of monasteries were often decorated with paintings. Thus the same author.

Than cam I to the cloyster, and gaped abouten,
Wough it was piléred and peint, and portreyed full

clene *. The Dance of Death, painted in the cloysters of St. Paul's, about 1440, I have mentioned above. Hearne imagines, that the cloysters of the nunnery at Godstowe were curiously painted t. The roofs of the churches were often painted with fantastic decorations, those I mean, that were flat and not vaulted, as at St. Alban's, and Peterborough. A common ornament of the roofs of state-rooms, was a blue ground, sprinkled with golden stars. Queen Elizabeth's cham

* Edit. Owen Rogers, 4to. 1561, fign. A. iii. † Gul, Neubrig. vol. 3. p. 773. This was written before I had seen Mr. Walpole's valuable and entertaining anecdotes of antient painting. VOL. II

Hh

ber,

ber, in the palace at Woodstock, had such a roof *. The ceiling of the Bodleian library, and picture gallery at Oxford, are curious remains of this stile. ... Taste and imagination make more antiquarians, than the world is willing to allow. One looks back with a romantic pleasure on the arts and fashions of an

age, which,

Employ'd the power of fairy hands t.

B. vii. c. vii. s. xxxv.

Like that ungracious crew which faines demurest grace.

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He seems here to have intended a satirical stroke against the puritans who were a prevailing party in the queen Elizabeth; and, indeed, our author, from his profession, had some reason to declare himself their enemy, as poetry was what they particularly stigmatised, and bitterly inveighed against. In the year 1579, one Stephen Goffon wrote a pamphlet, with this title, “ The School of Abuse, containing a o pleasaunt invective against poets, pipers, plaiers, “ jefters, and such-like caterpillers of a common

# It remained almost complete, about fifty years since. It was destroyed with the magnificent ruins of the old royal manor, when Blenheimpalace was built.

+ Gray.

16 wealth."

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sc wealth [.” This was soon followed by many others of the same kind.

But the most ridiculous treatise of this sort was one written many years afterwards by W. Prynne ; as a specimen of which, I shall beg leave to entertain the reader with its title-page. “ HISTRIOMASTIX, “ the Players Scourge, or Actors Tragedie, divided into “ two parts; wherein it is largely evidenced by divers “ arguments, by the concurring authorities, and reso“ lutions of sundry texts of Scripture; of the whole “ primitive church, both under the law and gospel ; “ of fifty-five fynods and councils, of seventy-one “ fathers, and christian writers, before the

year our Lord 1200; of above one hundred and fifty

foraigne and domestic protestant and popish authors “ fince; of forty heathen philosophers, historians, “ poets ; of many heathen, many christian nations, “ republicks, emperors, princes, magistrates; of fun“ dry apostolical, canonical, imperial constitutions, « and of our own english statutes, magistrates, uni“ versities, writers, preachers.... That popular stage“ playes (the very pompes of the devil, which we

renounce in baptisme, if we believe the fathers)

of

1 I think, in one of the abfurd books of this kind, there is a chapter “ Of the Vanity of wearing cork-beeled shoes."

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" are sinfull, heathenish, lewd, ungodly spectacles, 46 and most pernicious corruptions; condemned in all 66 ages as intolerable mischiefes, to churches, to re& publicks, the manners, mindes, and soules of men ; ” and that the profession of play-poets, of stage,

players, together with penning, acting, and fre so quenting of stage-playes, are unlawfull, infamous, • and misbeseeming christians : all pretences to the ss contrary are here likewise fully answered; and the s unlawfullness of acting, of beholding academical «« enterludes, briefly discussed; besides fundry other ” particulars concerning dancing, dicing, health, s drinking, &c.” London, 1633.

This extravagant and absurd spirit of puritanical enthufiafm, proved at last, in its effects, as pernicious to polite learning, and the fine arts, as to the liberties and constitution of our country: while every {pecies of elegance was represented, by these austere and melancholy zealots, as damnable luxury, and every degree of decent adoration, as popish idolatry *, In fhort, it is not fufficiently considered, what a rapid and national progress we were, at that time, making

* Oliver Cromwell, however, was fond of music; and, what may seem surprising, was particularly fond of the music of an organ : as appears from the following remarkable anecdote. In the grand Rebellion, when the organ at Magdalen-college in Oxford, among others, was taker down, Cromwell ordered it to be carefully conveyed to Hampton

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