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-----THE ENGLAND OF SHAKESPEARE.

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THE ENGLAND OF SHAKESPEARE. LECTURE BY THE REV. J. IRVON DAVIE8. IV. Briefly touching upon the religious life of that period, we observe that' Protest- antism had been finally established as the national religion the year before Shake- speare was born, and he was born on St. George's day, April 25rd, 1564. So from his earliest days he would be famili.a.r with its rights and ceremonies. Puritanism was at this tjime beginning to make itself felt. It was not merely against- Roman Cathdiibism that the Protestantism of that period had to contend. But against the puritan element within its own pale, whijch agitated for a more drastic reform of the reformed Church. The puritans would fain purge the Church of every bit of what they were pleased to c.a,Il "the leaven of Romanism." But there were protestants who were unwilling to go so far. Indeed the queen herself, though she had been persecuted for her faith, wa,s fond of an imposing ritual, and in this matter Leaned more to Rome than to Geneva.. Very often she would manifest- her disHk& for Protestant methods in an irritating manner, as when she ad- monished. "Dean Nowell," who in preach- ing before her Majesty in St. Paul's handled rather roughly "The subject of images." "To your text, to your text, Mr Dean," she exclaimed. We have had enough of that. To your subject. But the Dean we are told could not nnd his way back to his text or subject. Much has been written, .whitch is derogatory to the puritans of that and of subsequent periods. They were the theme of unmeasured in- vective and derision. The ostentatious simplicijty of their dress, their morose and sullen .countenances, their nasal twang and unbending posture, their long graces before meals. Their old Testament names, Ohad.ia,h, Jabez, Zerubbabel, Jedidiah, Abimelecb, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed- nego, furnished no end of material for the scorn and ridicule of their enemies. But believe me, those who roused a nation to resistance, who directed important measures through a. long series of eventful years, all bearink upon the liberty of the subject, and who trampled upon the hydra-headed form of despotism were no vulgar fanatics. But like the gra.nits hills riven and scarred by the tumultuous lightnings, they were strong, rugged and fearless. Having so much of the fear of 'God before their eyes, they could enter- ta.in no fear of man. On the rich, elo- quent, the noblte, the priest they wasted no vain plaudits. For they esteemed themselves richer, in a more precious treasure, and more eloquent, in a. sublimer language. They felt themselves to be nobles by the right, of an earlier creation, and priests by the imposition of a mightier hand. For them the Almighty had pro- claimed His wiill, by the pen of the Evangelist, and the harp of the seer. They 'n y had been wrested by no common deliverer, from the grasp of no common foe. They had been ransomed by the sweat of no ordinary agony. By the blood of no earthly sacrifice. For them the sun had been .darkened, the rocks had been rent, and all nature had shuddered, when He expired whom they called "their Lord and their God." Congregational singing" wa,s one of the conspicuoas changes which was made in the Reformed Church. Psalm singing and heresy were both supposed to be of foreign origin. To sing psalms was to be strongly -'bl 1:71 Lutheran but not puritanical. According to Negate, the Puritans allowed Congrega- tional singing in a, pLain tune on one. note, but not of tossing the psalms from one side to the other, wiith intermingling of organs. The Puritans drawled their tunes and psalms Geneva fashion, through their nasal appendages. All singing for the b,- t) edincation of 8a,;nts, as though they had an attack of influenza, or a bad cold in the head. The protestants, as they were termed, sang in a livelier and more tossing style to the accompaniment of instru- ments. They were not averse to a. lMtl<e fugue music—you know the kind of music I mean. The treble peeps out of a hole to see if the coast is clear, and after a few falterm.gs and hesitations, it,, comes forth and begijns to frisk a, little, and to run up and down to see what it can nnd. It nnds what it never expected to find. A purring "tenor," lying in ambush and waiting for a. spring, and as the "Treble" comes in- cautiously i-ie,-ir, the savage cat of a "tenor" pitches at it, misses its hold, a.nd then takes after it, with terrible earnest- ness. But the "tenor" has miscalculated the agility of the "Treble." All that it can do wdth the most desperate eSort is to keep it from getting back into the hole again. And so they run up and down, in and out, around and around, untid the whole choir i.s aroused, and the "Alto" begins to walia forth as though it had lost the train. Then the "Bas," the moment it begins to take. part, slips down the b cellar steps, and there at. the bottom, it lies, moaning and growling in a most awful mamer, and for a long time refuses to be comforted. Presently there is a general belter, skelter. The "tenor" catches the "treble," and holds it until the "Bass" limps up the cellar steps. Then the "Alto" finding after all it has not lost ifts train, determines to take sides with the "treble." Then there is war to the knife. Two against two. The organ losing al.'l patience, has all the stops pulled out. But in spite of all the brave organist can do the tune breaks up into a regular row, every part pummelling some other part, until at length with two or three terrinc cra-shes, the organist puts an end to the riot." This is what is called a "fugue." No wonder an old puritan diivi.ne exclaimed, "If this is the kind of singing they have In heaven I do not want to go there." The clown in "The Winter's tale" is speaking ironically, when he speaks of the singers coming to the sheep shearing feast. But I that one puritan amongst them "sang psalms to hornpipes." Considering how freely Shakespeare touched upon the life, of his time, it augurs on his part either absolute indifference;, or a studied neutrality, that .so little was said by him, that could be considered offensive to rea- sonable hearers. Or that can be quoted by the various religious communities in proof of his religious leaning and faith. V. Our lecture would .be incomplete with- out making some reference to the Armv and Navy of that peribd. There was no standing' army, but one was soon mobilised when danger threaten- ed our shores, and a wonderful thing was a,n English army in those days, for in dress and weapons the na/tior.al array exhibited a picturesque variety. The archers had on a, shhjrt of light chain armour, over which they wore a buff padded jacket, which gave them the appearance of stuffed pillow cases moving on stilts. The pike- men wore heavy corslets and carried twenty foot pikes, and when on parade they all looked as though their b mothers had sent them out to sell clothes props. The billmen wore lighter armour, and their weapons were considerably shorter. Pikemen and were em- ployed in protecting the archers from the de.adf.ly swoops of the enemy's cavalry, and in covering such neld guns as were then in use. The .Spaniards were evidently more afraid of an Englishman on sea than on land. Though there was practically no Beet as there was no army. But when the final tussle came with Spain England mustered 197 ships, rea.li'siing an aggre- gate tonnage of nearly 50,000 tons, manned by 15, 785 seamen, as brave heroes as ever stepped on British oak. With this fleet this I'.i'tti.e Island of ours was ready to do batle with the "Invinc.a.biLe 0'1 Armada," which Spain had been pre- pariJng for years, on the strength of the Pope's bendMion and blessing. The Arma-da .consisted of 130 ships, compris- ing H, totail tonnage of 59, 120 tons, 5,165 guns, 19,295 .soldiers, 8,252 sailors, 2,088 galley slaves, illustriious volunteers num- bering 2,000 men. Then the Duke of Parma was to join the armament in Calais roads, with 17,000 soldiers, and to take supreme command. He was to land at Margate, and march straight to London. Why here was a, fleet! and an army enough to overawe this little "Nook shotten isle. of England." But wa.s it overawed? Did the PhiliJstine Goliath frighten the stripling David? No! A thousand times no Livito.g on short commons and tossed about by wild winds in Plymouth sound, Our seamen use, to sing :— "We will not change our Credo, For Pope, nor book, nor bell And if the devH comes himself, We will send him back to"- where I am sure none of us presnt want to go. Upon the fate of the Armada. I need not dwe-11, you know what became of it. Thanks to the storm, and to the valiancy of our seamen, it was broken to pieces and scattered with wind and wave, until every headland and promontory was covered with its finery—like the. rags of a dandy lost in a gorse bush, and to their eternal honour, let this be borne in mind: — Catholics as wetH' as Protestants helped in repelling the invasion. Beaten and shuffled together from the Lizard to Calais. Driven with squib.s from their anchors. Chased out of sight of England that dread- ful navy dji. not as much as sink an Eng- lish ship, or cockboat, or burn so much as one sheepcote on the land. It is sup- posed that Shakespeare wrote a, ballad about the Armada, fight, but that it was subsequently lost. His auditors, however, could not fai'l to catch the purport of the following' lines in "King John" — "This Ehga.nd never did, nor never shall, LLe. at the. proud foot of a conqueror."

-.---THE MARCH "STRAND MAGAZINE."

- OH!LDREN'S COUGHS

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--. SCENE IN RHYL COURT, i

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