« PreviousContinue »
collaboration with Robert Greene—will presently be described. Produced earlier, they were first printed in 1594, two years after the death of Greene.
In 1595, with its “ Letter to the Reader" dated on the sixth of May that year, followed Lodge's popular book, “A Fig for Momus ; Containing Pleasant
"A Fig Varietie in Satyres, Eclogues, and Epistles. By for Momus.” T. L. of Lincolnes Inn, Gent.” It had an Italian motto signifying that whatever the sheep does, the wolf eats him. Sheep stood here for writer, wolf for critic. The book was dedicated to William Stanley, Earl of Derby, who had succeeded to the earldom only a year before, by the death of his brother Ferdinando, formerly Lord Strange. Thomas Lodge dedicates to the new earl as “the true Mæcenas of the Muses.” He tells his gentlemen readers that by his title, “A Fig for Momus,” he means not contempt of the learned, nor disdain of the well-minded, “but in despight of the detractor, who hauing no learning to judge, wanteth no liberty to reproue.”
Lodge's first satire in “ A Fig for Momus” is on the world's dissembling with the world
“ Houlding it true felicitie to flie,
Not from the sinne, but from the seeing eie;
Whate'er men do, let them not reprehend,
This satire was addressed “To Master E. Dig.”—Everard Digby. There were in Elizabeth's reign two persons of that name, little related to each other.
One Everard Digby, born about 1550, a Cambridge
divine, who became Senior Fellow of St. John's in 1585,
was deprived of his fellowship by the Master of Digby.
the College in 1587 for various irregularities and
for taking “a popish position" by preaching voluntary poverty at Saint Mary's. This Everard Digby published in 1579, dedicated to Sir Christopher Hatton, a “ Theoria Analytica,” in which he sought to classify the sciences, and he continued his philosophical speculation upon science in the next year, 1580, with two books,“ De Duplici Methodo," against the teaching of Pierre Ramée.* Digby wrote also two books in Latin on the Art of Swimming, which were published in 1587, and of which a translation by Christopher Middleton appeared in 1595. In 1589 Digby published, with dedication to Sir Christopher Hatton, “Everard Digbie his Dissuasiue from taking away the Lyvings & Goods of the Church," to which was annexed a translation into English of “Celsus of Verona his Dissuasive."
But the “Master E. Dig.” to whom Lodge inscribed a satire in his “Fig for Momus” could hardly have been this divine-who was, I believe, not living in 1595—but the young Everard Digby, tall and vigorous, who was of the same Rutlandshire family, and in 1595 was seventeen years old, with some small office at Court. In 1596 young Digby, at the age of eighteen, married an heiress. Two or three years later he became a close friend of John Gerard, the Jesuit. He was among the crowd of the be-knighted at the accession of James I., and on the thirtieth of January, 1606, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot. At some time in his life Lodge became Roman Catholic. In those unquiet days of feud about religion many crossed from one camp to the other, who in
* Replied to at once, with a defence of Ramus, by William Temple of King's College, to which Digby published a rejoinder in 1581.
quiet days would not have questioned their inherited opinions. Lodge's experience of the harsher side of Puritanism, at home in his youth, may have had something to do with the reaction. His change to Catholicism we may take to be complete when, in the “Fig for Momus,” we find Everard Digby singled out as friend. There is an eclogue in this pleasant book inscribed to Samuel Daniel, and there is an epistle “To Master Michael Drayton,” opened with earnest lines upon the poet's duty to make high and pure use of his gifts. In 1598 there were three more publications—“The Devil Conjured,” “Wit's Miserie,” and “A Margarite from America”-chiefly translations from the Spanish. These Lodge made, “being at sea four years before with Master Cavendish in passing through the Straits of Magellan.”
After this, Thomas Lodge gave himself to the study of medicine. He graduated at Avignon as Doctor of Physic, was incorporated at Oxford in 1602 with the same degree, and in the same year published, in
Lodge, a folio of more than eight hundred pages, a trans
Doctor of lation of Josephus-_“The Famovs and Memorable Workes of Iosephus, a Man of Mvch Honour and Learning among the lewes, Faithfully translated out of Latin, and French, by Tho. Lodge, Doctor in Physicke.” Lodge published a Treatise of the Plague in 1603, and another folio, “The Works, both Moral and Natural, of Lucius Annæus Seneca, done into English,” in 1614. He lived as a Roman Catholic physician, with a good practice among Roman Catholic families, through the reign of James I., and died in 1625, when he was almost eighty years old.
Through Josephus and Seneca, as through his own earlier books, Lodge sought to give occasion for the proper use of thought. In the preface to his “ Josephus" he spoke of the men who vainly imagine themselves wise because they have read much, when they have not applied wisely what they
read. He compares them to an ignorant mob that during “the late disturbances in France” broke into an apothecary's shop, and were so pleased with the colours of the drugs and tinctures that they freely ate and drank of them, with terrible and very mixed results.
We turn now to the play written by Lodge alone, “The Wounds of Civil War," which he produced, probably, about the
time when the three parts of “King Henry VI.'' were written. It was first published, in 1594, as “ The Wounds of Civil War. Lively set forth
in the true Tragedies of Marius and Scilla. As it hath been publiquely plaide in London, by the Right Honourable the Lord high Admirall his Servants. Written by Thomas Lodge, Gent. O vita ! misero longa, fælici brevis. London. Printed by John Danter, and are to be sold at the signe of the Sunne in Paules Churchyard.” Based upon Plutarch's “Lives,” this play has poet's music in it, notwithstanding the bombastic rhetoric supplied in much of its blank verse, notwithstanding also the poor wit of its clown scenes, and crudities in conduct of the action, as in the abrupt change of Sylla's mind before his death. Nearly all the tricks of rhetoric could be illustrated from passages in this play, yet one feels in it strongly—as, more or less, in any one of these pieces produced between 1586 and 1593 upon our early stage—that the writer meant to provide real entertainment for an audience that was always present to his mind-a rude audience of men simple as nature made them, with a sprinkling in it of fine gentlemen and wits and critics, but also with a soul in it of rough earnestness that answered to the poet's touch.
“ The Wounds of Civil War.”
The senate of Rome, met on the Capitol in Sylla's absence, discusses civil feuds, and substitutes old Marius for Sylla as “chiel general against
Mithrídátes.” Sylla, with captains and soldiers, enters and learns what trust has just been given
" To Marius ? Jolly stuff! why then I see
Your lordships mean to make a babe of me."
Dissension becomes civil war : “Here let the senate rise and cast away their gowns, having their swords by their sides." Old Anthony, with a
“ honied tongue Washed in a syrup of sweet conservatives,"
warns in vain. There is “a great alarum. Let young Marius chase Pompey over the stage, and oli Marius chase Lucretius.' Then Sylla wraps his colours round him, and animates his retreating men to battle with a What, what, what :
“ What, will you leave your chieftains, Romans, then,
And lose your honours in the gates of Rome?
(Ileartless treasons, happy town : h,t: h, l.)
“ What, will you stand and gaze with shameless looks,
Whilst Marius' butchering knise assails our throats ?
Sylla, triumphant in the Second Act, cuts heads off cheerily. At Minturnum enters “ Marius very melancholy," with the magistrates, who find him a dangerous guest and plan to kill him since he does not go. Young Marius, with lords and soldiers, seeks his father, but finds
“ friends are geason* nowadays, And grow to fume before they taste the fire."
Now, however, comes a slave from the consul, Cinna, with a secret letter to young Marius declaring himself strong friend of his father's faction.
* Geason, scarce, wanting. First English, gæsne, barren, wanting, lifeless.