Friday, February 12, 2010

William Haughton, Enlgishmen for My Money; Or, a Woman Will Have Her Will

William Haughton, Englishmen for My Money; Or, a Woman Will Have Her Will, Ed. Albert Croll Baugh, Thesis, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1917.

The haste with which the average Elizabethan dramatist produced plays left little time for him to invent his plots. In most cases he took his material from any source that was conveniently at hand and there is an a priori probability in the case of any Elizabethan play that the plot is not original. (Introduction, 30)

The usurer motive is the most important in the plot of the play and is the basis of the action. The theme is as old as the Middle Ages and in its most general form may be stated as follows: The victim of a usurer contrives to marry the usurer’s daughter and thus regain his money or property. (31)

The garb of men and women in the Elizabethan age was not always so dissimilar as it is to-day and the difficulty of distinguishing the one from the other was at times very real. (36)

The scenes depicted are those of the everyday middle-class life of the metropolis and the play thus belongs to that type of drama which has been happily called the “citizens’ drama”. Of the two branches of this citizens’ drama, portraying respectively rural life and London life, “the latter [was] by far the most popular, dependent as it was upon local color and typical allusion, the success of which lay in its familiarity to the auditor.” [Schelling, F. E. English Drama, 1914, p. 107.] (39)

But the idea of writing a play solely on so familiar a subject as the daily life of the people in London seems to have occurred to no one before this date. … the chronicle play is in general far removed from the spirit of the comedy of London life. It apparently remained for Haughton to show for the first time the full possibilities that lay ready to hand in the familiar city life about him. …His Englishmen for My Money is, so far as we cal tell, the first regular comedy of realistic London life in the English drama. (40)

…the realistic comedy of London life enjoyed a continued popularity for almost twenty years and, in the case of some plays, down to the very end of the Elizabethan period. … Professor Gayley… “It is probably the earliest extant effort to transfer to London the comic realism of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor.” (Rep. Eng. Com., vol. II, Intro., p. xxx.) (41)

The usurer play is a drama in which the action turns upon the successful attempt of the chief characters to outwit a usurious money lender [41] … While Haughton was not the inventor of this situation, he carried it a step further than it had been carried before and was the first to present it in its fully developed form in Elizabethan drama. (42)

Englishmen for My Money… Judged by absolute standards it is one of the sprightliest comedies that we have. Its bustling intrigue and somewhat noisy exuberance are, perhaps, its most characteristic qualities. It is true that, as has been observed, the characters have no romantic charm and the daughters are lacking in refinement both of manners and morals. But the character of Anthony, the intriguing schoolmaster and that of Frisco, the clown, are full of a racy naturalness that sorts well with the rest of the play and is itself not without a certain attractiveness. (43)

In the first place, the verse is distinctly end-stopped and characterized by masculine endings, although feminine endings are sufficiently frequent (18%) to give variety to the rhythm. Again, for the first work of a dramatist it is remarkably free from rime. [The proportion of rime is also somewhat dependent upon the nature of the play.] The percentage of rimed lines is about fifteen, and when we remember that Shakespeare’s first play contains about sixty-six rimed lines in every hundred, Haughton’s relative freedom in this respect is rather noteworthy. The verse is likewise characterized by the almost complete absence of weak and light endings. In placing the caesura Haughton shows considerable freedom, although a preference is observable for a pause after the fourth or sixth foot. In the position of the accents within the line and in the admission of incomplete lines, Haughton’s verse again is decidedly free. Between speeches in blank verse he frequently inserted lines of two or three words, which are outside the metrical scheme. Moreover, whenever the blank verse became at all inconvenient, he had no hesitation in dropping it for more simple and rapid prose dialogue. These and other practices are evidence that his matter dominated his form. He wrote blank verse freely and apparently without difficulty. Sometimes, in rapid dialogue, he divided a blank verse line among as many as three speakers, even when the final syllable of the verse was part of a rime. On the whole, while it cannot be said that the verse of Haughton is remarkable for its grace or variety, it is in general smooth, sufficiently varied to be agreeable, and quite adequate to the demands made upon it. (45-46)

He seems to have written in the fashion of the moment and to have changed as often as the fashioned changed. When towards the end of 1599 the murder play attained a renewed vogue, he wrote Thomas Merry and Cox of Collumpton; when towards the end of the century the pastoral fad touched the drama, he wrote the Arcadian Virgin; after Chettle and Munday had aroused interest in the story of Robin Hood, he produced his play of Robin Hood’s Pen’orths; … He was particularly fond of the drama of contemporary incident, the journalistic drama, and in this we again see him in the role of an opportunist. But eclectic as he was in his practice and prone as he was to follow the fashion of the day, he was by no means incapable of striking out new path for himself and undertaking types not yet attempted. … We have in Haughton a dramatist who tried everything with apparent carelessness, who succeeded without effort, and whose mind was yet capable, when he chose to give it free rein, of work notable for its novelty and originality. (87)

…we see in Haughton chiefly the first notable example of the kind of drama later so cultivated by Middleton. …Haughton’s art is not romantic and his attitude is not that of the moralist. In this and other respects, too, he suggests Middleton. His realism, his worldliness, the absence of poetry from his work, his content to look at the world as it is and to make laughter out of the daily life about him—all these things are as typical of Middleton as of Haughton. Haughton differs slightly from Middleton in the absence of the satirical—or should we say cynical?—purpose. He portrays simply and realistically the world and the world’s follies because they are subjects of laughter and comedy; Middleton treats the follies of mankind satirically, not, it is true, because they are not moral, but because they are foolish. (87-88)

There was, we fell, in the character of Dekker a certain grace and charm and kindliness which we cannot perceive in Haughton. (88)

In conclusion, we have in Haughton a man in every way typical of the Henslowe class of playwrights. Able, facile and business-like, he has the air of competence characteristic of the professional as opposed to the amateur. With an inexhaustible store of material and an unusual capacity for work, he is characteristically the fertile maker of ‘popular’ plays, productive of temporary success and immediate financial return. Writing in haste for the present and with no concern for the future, he is sharply distinguished from such a man as Ben Jonson, who consciously produced ‘literature’, spent a year upon a play, and was careful to publish his work during his lifetime in an authoritative edition for the discerning. (88-89)

How smugge this gray-eyed Morning seems to bee,
A pleasant sight; but yet more pleasure haue I
To thinke vpon this moystning Southwest Winde,
That driues my laden Shippes from fertile Spaine:

(Pisaro, 1.1.1-4)

And by the sweete loude trade of Vsurie

(Pisaro, 1.1.17)

Thinke euery golden circle that thou see’st,
The rich vnualued circle of his worthe.

(Laurentia, 1.1.72-73)

What though their Lands be morgag’d to your Father;
Yet may your Dowries redeeme that debt:

(Mathea, 1.1.79-80)

Pisaro: If he speake French, thus he will say, Awee awee:
What, canst thou remember it?
Frisco: Oh, I haue it now, for I remember my great Grandfathers Grandmothers sisters coosen told mee, that Pigges and French-men, speake one Language, awee awee; I am Dogg at this: But what must he speake else?
Pisaro: Dutch.
Frisco: Let’s hear it?
Pisaro: Haunce butterkin slowpin.
Frisco: Oh this is nothing, for I can speake perfect Dutch when I list.
Pisaro: Can you, I pray let’s heare some?
Frisco: Nay I must haue my mouth full of Meate first, and then you shall heare me grumble it foorth full mouthe, as Haunce Butterkin slowpin frokin: No, I am a simple Dutchman: Well, Ille about it. (1.1.170-184)

Frisco: Why that is the easiest of all, for I can tell whether he haue any Italian in him euen by loking on him.
Pisaro: Can you so, as how?
Frisco: Marry by these three points; a Wanton Eye,
Pride in his Apparel, and the Diuell in his Countenance. (1.1.191-195)

Frisco: …Parley vous signiour? one that neuer washes his fingers, but lickes them cleane with kisses; a clipper of the Kings English: and to conclude, an eternall enemie to all good Language.
Haruey: What’s this? what’s this?
Frisco: Doe not you smell me? Well, I perceiue that witte doth not always dwel in a Satten-dublet: why, tis a Frenchman, Bassimon cue, how doe you? (1.2.309-316)

Vandalle: Seker Mester Pisaro, mee do so groterly dancke you, dat you macke mee so sure of de Wench, datt ic can neit dancke you genough. (1.3.399-401)

Heighan: Gentlemen you know, must want to Coyne,
Nor are they slaues vnto it, when they haue: (1.3.447-448)

Pisaro: Heres such a common hant of Crack-rope boyes,
That what for feare to haue m’apparell spoyld,
Or my Ruffes durted, or Eyes strucke out:
I dare not walke where people to expect mee: (1.3.551-554)

Haruie: Marry sir, thou seemes to haue bin in the hot countries, thy face looks so like a peece of rusty Bacon: … (1.3.570-570)

Walgrave: What will you swagger sirra, will yee swagger?
Browne: I beseech you Sir, hold your hand; Gette home yee patch, cannot you suffer Gentlemen Iest with you?
Post: Ide teach him a Gentle tricke and I had him of the burse; (1.3.580-584)

Aluaro: Signor si, how de Spaniola haue almost tacke de Ship dat go for Turkie: my Pader, harke you me on word, I haue recieue vn letter from my Factor de Vennise, dat after vn piculo battalion, for vn halfe howre de come a Winde fra de North, & de Sea go tumble here, & tumble dare, dat make de Gallies run away for feare be almost drowned. (1.3.633-638)

Aluaro: Wil you no beleuue me? see dare dan, see de letter.
Pisaro: What is this world? or what this state of man,
How in a moment curst, in a trice blest? (1.3. 647-649)

Pisaro: That I your carefull Father haue prouided
To be your Husbands: therefore bid them welcome.
Matthe: Nay by my troth, tis not the guyse of maydes, (aside,
To giue a slauering Salute to men:
If these sweete youths haue not the witte to doe it,
Wee haue the honestie to let them stand. (2.1.733-738)

Aluaro: Bella Madona, dare is no language so dulce; dulce, dat is sweete, as de language, dat you shall speake, and de vell come dat you sal say, sal be well know perfaytemente. (2.1.758-760)

Anthony: I am nominated Monsieur Le Mouche, and rest at your bon seruice.
Frisco: I vnderstand him parly; yea, and partly nay: Can you speak French? Content pore vous monsieur Madomo.
Anthony: If I could not sir, I should ill vnderstand you:
you speake the best French that euer trode vpon Shoe of Leather.
Frisco: Nay, I can speake more Languages then that: This is Italian, is it not? Nella slurde Curtezana. (2.2.902-910)

Vandalle: Mester Pisaro, de Dochter maistris Laurentia calle me de Dyel, den Asse, for that ic can neit englesh spreken.
Aluaro: Ande dat we sal no parler, dat we sal no hauar den for de wiue.
Pisaro: Are they so lust? Dare they be so proude?
Well, I shall find a time to meete with them:
In the meane season, pray frequent my house. (2.3.1126-1132)

Frisco: Why sir, I can tell where I am; I am in Tower-streete: Where a Diuell be you?
Delio: Io be here in Lede-hall.
Frisco: In Leaden-hall? I trow I shall meete with you a-none: in Leaden-hall? What a simple Asse is this Frenchman. Some more of this: Where are you sir? (4.1.1570-1575)

Laurentia: Put your selfe into that Basket, and I will draw you vp:
But no words I pray you, for feare my Sister heare you. (4.2.1698-1699)

Laurentia: Are you vp sir?
Vandalle: Neit, neit.
Marina: Nor neuer are you like to climbe more higher:
Sisters, the Woodcock’s caught, the Foole is cag’d. (4.2.1707-1710)

Matthe: Ah sirra now weele bragge with Mistres Moore,
To haue as fine a Parret as she hath,
Looke sisters what a pretty foole it is:
What a greene greasie shyning Coate he hath,
An Almonde for Parret, a Rope for Parret.
Vandalle: Doe you moc que me seger seger,
I sal seg your vader.
Laurentia: Doe and you dare, you see here is your fortune,
Disquiet not my father; if you doe,
Ile send you with a vengeance to the ground, (4.2.1715-1724)

Walgrave: Old Fornicator, had I my Dagger,
Ide breake his Costard.
Pisaro: Young men are slippery, fickle, wauering;
Constant abiding graceth none but Age:
Then Maydes should now waxe wise, and doe so,
As to chuse constant men, let fickle goe,
Youth’s vnregarded, and vnhonoured:
An auncient Man doth make a Mayde a Matron:
And is not that an Honour, how say you? how say you?
Walgrave: Yes forsooth.
(Oh old lust will you neuer let me goe.)
Pisaro: You say right well, and doe but thinke thereon,
How Husbands, honored yeares, long card-for wealth,
Wise stayednesse, Experient gouernment,
Doth grace the Mayde, that thus is mad a Wife,
And you will wish your selfe such, on my life.
Walgrave: I think I must turne womankind altogetather,
And scratch out his eyes:
For as long as he can see me, hele nere let me goe.
Pisaro: But go (sweet-heart) to bed, I doe thee wrong,
The latenesse now, makes all our talke seeme long. (4.5.2216-2237)


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