XV ORIGIN OF THE DRAMA.
The last place in the world, perhaps, that one would look for a great impulse to the development of the modern drama, which is entirely a new invention, an outgrowth of Christian culture and has practically no connection with the classic drama, would be in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. His utter simplicity, his thorough-going and cordial poverty, his sincere endeavor all during his life to make little of himself, might seem quite enough to forbid any thought of him as the father of a literary movement of this kind. "The poor little man of God," however, as he liked to call himself, in his supreme effort to get back to nature and out of the ways of the conventional world, succeeded in accomplishing a number of utterly unexpected results. His love for nature led to his wonderful expression of his feelings in his favorite hymn, one of the first great lyrical outbursts in modern poetry, a religious poem which as we shall see in the chapter on the Father of the Renaissance, Renan declares can only be appreciated properly by comparing it with the old Hebrew psalms, beside which it is worthy to be placed.
Those who know the life of St. Francis best will easily appreciate how dramatic, though unconsciously so, were all the actions of his life. After all, his utter renunciation of all things, his taking of holy poverty to be his bride, his address to the birds, his sisters, his famous question of the butcher as to why he killed his brothers, the sheep, his personification of the sun and the moon and even of the death of the body as his brothers and sisters, are all eminently dramatic moments. His life is full of incidents that lent themselves, because of their dramatic quality, to the painters of succeeding centuries as the subjects of their striking pictures. Before the end of the century Giotto had picked out some of the most interesting of these for the decorative illustration of the upper church at Assisi. During the succeeding century, the author of the Little Flowers of St. Francis, embodied many of these beautiful scenes in his little work, where they have been the favorite reading of poets for many centuries since.
It should not be such a surprise as it might otherwise be, then, to find that St. Francis may he considered in one sense as the father of the modern drama. The story is a very pretty one and has an additional value because it has been illustrated by no less a brush than that of Giotto, One Christmas Eve just at the beginning of the Thirteenth Century, St. Francis gathered round him some of the poor people living outside of the town of Assisi, in order to recall vividly to them the great event which had taken place on that night so many centuries before. A little figure of a child, dressed in swaddling clothes, was laid on some straw in a manger with the breath of the nearby animals to warm it. To this manger throne of the Child King of Bethlehem, there came in adoration, after the hymns that recalled the angels' visit, first some of the shepherds from the surrounding country and then some of the country people who represented the kings from the East with their retinues, bringing with them their royal gifts. After this little scene, probably one of the first Nativity plays that had ever been given, St. Francis, according to the old legend, took the little image in his arms and in an excess of devotion pressed it to his heart. According to the old-time story, the infant came to life in his embrace and putting its little arms around his neck embraced him in return. Of course our modern generation is entirely too devoted to "common sense" to accept any such pretty, pious story as this as more than a beautiful poetic legend. The legend has provided a subject for poet and painter many a time in subsequent centuries. Perhaps never has it been used with better effect than by Giotto, whose representation is one of the favorite pictures on the wall of the upper church of Assisi. Whether the little baby figure of the play actually came to life in his arms or not we do not know, but one thing is certain, that infant modern dramatic literature did come to life at the moment and that before the end of the Thirteenth Century it was to have a vigor and an influence that made it one of the great factors in the social life of the period. The Franciscans were soon spread over the world, With filial reverence they took with them all the customs of their loved Father of Assisi, and especially such as appealed to the masses and brought home to them in a vivid way the great truths of religion. By the middle of the century many of the towns had cycles of mystery plays given at various times during the year, associated with the different feasts and illustrating and enforcing the lessons of the liturgy for the people in a manner so effective that it has probably never been equaled before or since.
While the most potent factor in the dissemination of the early religious drama can be traced to Francis and the Franciscans, they were but promoters of a movement already well begun. Mystery plays were attempted before the Thirteenth Century in England and in North France. There is a well-known story from Matthew Paris, who wrote about the middle of the Thirteenth Century, of one Geoffrey who afterwards became Abbot of St. Albans. While yet a secular he borrowed certain precious religious vestments to be used in some sort of a miracle play in honor of St. Catherine. During the performance of the play, these vestments were destroyed by fire and. Geogory was so much afflicted by the misfortune that in a spirit of reparation he became a religious in the Abbey of St. Albans. This must have been about the beginning of the Twelfth Century. Towards the end of this century mystery plays were not infrequent, though not in anything like the developed form nor popular character which they acquired during the Thirteenth Century. Fitz Stephen, writing the life of St. Thomas a Becket, towards the end of the Twelfth Century, contrasts the holier plays of London in his days with the theatrical spectacles of ancient Rome. The plays he mentioned were, however, scarcely more than slight developments of Church ceremonial with almost literal employment of scripture and liturgical language.
The first cycle of mystery plays of which there is definite mention is that of Chester. According to the proclamation of the Chester plays, the representation of this cycle dates in some form from the mayoralty of John Arneway, who was the Mayor of Chester, between 1268 and 1276. Of the series of plays as given in the Thirteenth Century there are few remains. It is probable, even, that at this early date they were not acted in English but in French. English plays were probably first given in some of the Cathedral towns along the east coast of England, and perhaps York should have the credit of this innovation. It is easy to understand how the simpler dramatic additions to the ritual of the Church would inevitably develop in the earnest and very full religious life of the people which came with the building of the cathedrals, the evolution of Church ceremonial and the social life fostered by the trade-guilds of the time. While we have none of the remains of the actual plays of the Thirteenth Century, there is no doubt that an excellent idea of their form and content can be gathered from the English mystery plays, that have recently been edited in modern form and which serve to show the characteristics of the various cycles.
It might perhaps be thought that these mystery plays would not furnish any great amount of entertainment for the populace, especially after they had seen them a certain number of times. The yearly repetition might naturally be expected to bring with it before long a satiety that would lead to inattention. As is well known, however, there is an enduring interest about these old religious stories that makes them of much greater attractiveness than most ordinary historical traditions. Many a faithful reader of the Bible finds constantly renewed interest in the old Biblical stories in spite of frequent repetition. Their significance to the eye of faith in the Middle Ages gave them, beyond any doubt, that quality which in any literary work will exemplify and fulfil Horace's dictum, decies repetita placebit. Besides, it must not be forgotten that the men and women of the Thirteenth Century had not the superficial facilities of the printing press to cloy their intellectual curiosity, and by trivial titillation make them constantly crave novelty.
It must not be thought, in spite of the fact that these were religious plays, that they were always so serious as to be merely instructive without being amusing. A large fund of amusement was injected into the old biblical stories by the writers of the different cycles and undoubtedly the actors themselves added certain personal elements in this matter, which still further enhanced some of the comical aspects of the solemn stories. Nearly always the incidents of the Scriptural narrative though followed more or less literally, were treated with a large humanity that could scarcely fail to introduce elements of humor into the dramatic performances. Such liberties, however, were taken only with characters not mentioned by the Bible -- the inventions of the writers. A series of quotations from the Chester Cycle of Plays will best illustrate this. We give them in the quaint spelling of the oldest version extant.
The scene we quote is from the play dealing with Noah's flood and pictures Noah's wife as a veritable shrew.
NOYE -- |
Wyffe, in this vessel we shall he kepte:
My children and thou, I woulde in ye lepte.
NOYE'S WIFFE --
In fayth, Noye, I hade as leffe thou slepte!
For all thy frynishe fare,
I will not doe after thy reade.
Good wyffe, doe nowe as I thee bydde.
NOYS'S WIFFE --
Be Christe! not or I see more neede,
Though thou stande all the daye and stare.
Lorde, that wemen be crabbed aye,
And non are meke, I dare well saye,
This is well seene by me to daye,
In witnesse of you ichone (each one).
Goodwiffe, lett be all this beare,
That thou maiste in this place heare;
For all the wene that thou arte maister,
And so thou arte, by Sante John!
All Noah's artful concession of his wife's mastery in the household does not avail to move her and so he tries objurgation.
NOYE -- |
Wiffe, come in: why standes thou their?
Thou arte ever frowarde, I dare well sweare;
Come in, one Godes halfe! tyme yt were,
For feare leste that. we drowne.
NOYE'S WIFFE --
Yes, sir, sette up youer saile,
And rowe fourth with evill haile,
For withouten (anye) fayle
I will not oute of this towne;
But I have my gossippes everyechone,
One foote further I will not gone:
The shall not drowne, by Sainte John!
And I may save ther life.
The loven me full well, by Christe!
But thou lett them into thy cheiste, (ark)
Elles rowe nowe wher thee leiste,
And gette thee a newe wife.
It is evident that he will not succeed so Noah, wise doubtless with the wisdom of experience, forbears to urge but appeals to her sons to bring her.
NOYE -- |
Seme, sonne, loe! thy mother is wrawe:
Forsooth, such another I doe not knowe.
Father, I shall fetch her in, I trowe,
Withoutten anye fayle. --
Mother, my father after thee sends,
And byddes thee into yeinder shippe wende.
Loke up and see the wynde,
For we bene readye to sayle.
NOYE'S WIFFE --
Seme, goe againe to hym, I saie;
I will not come theirin to daye.
Come in, wife, in twentye devilles waye!
Or elles stand there without.
Shall we all feche her in?
Yea, sonnes, in Christe blessinge and myne!
I woulde you hied you be-tyme,
For of this flude I am in doubte.
Mother, we praye you all together,
For we are heare, youer owne childer,
Come into the shippe for feare of the weither,
For his love that you boughte!
NOYE'S WIFFE --
That will not I, for all youer call,
But I have my gossippes all.
In faith, mother, yett you shalle,
Wheither thou wylte or (nought).
(Her Sons bring her in;
as she steps aboard she is greeted by Noah.)
Weickome, wiffe, into this botte.
NOYE'S WIFFE --
Have thou that for thy note!
(Giving her husband a cuff on the head).
Ha, ha! Marye, this is hotte!
It is good for to be still.
Ha! children, me thinkes my botte remeves,
Our tarryinge heare highlye me greves,
Over the lande the watter spreades;
God doe as he will.
This quotation will give a good idea of the human interest of these Mystery Plays and serve to show that they did not fail in dramatic power for any lack of humor or acute observation. It would be easy to illustrate this much more amply. The opportunities to enjoy these plays were abundant. We have said that the Chester Cycle is the one of which there is earliest mention. The method of its presentation has been described by Mr. Henry Morley in the fourth volume of his English Writers. He says:
"There were scaffolds erected for spectators in those places to which the successive pageants would be drawn; and a citizen who on the first day saw in any place the first pageant (that of the Fall of Lucifer), if he kept his place and returned, to it in good time on each successive morning, would see the Scripture story, as thus told, pass in its right order before him. Each pageant was drawn on four or six wheels, and had a room in which the actors and properties were concealed, under the upper room or stage on which they played."
Mr. Morley then describes the action of the various parts of the cycle, showing how clearly the lessons of the Old Testament history apd its symbolic and typical meaning were pointed out so that the spectators could not miss them. How completely the story of the Bible was told may be judged from the order of the Pageants of the Play of Corpus Christi, in the time of the mayoralty of William Alne, in the third year of the reign of King Henry V., compiled by Roger Burton, town clerk.
1. TANNRRS. God the Father Almighty creating and forming the heavens, angels and archangels, Lucifer and the angels that fell with him to hell.
2. PLASTERERS. God the Father, in his own substance, creating the earth and all which is therein, in the space of five days.
3. CARDMAKERS. God the Father creating Adam of the clay of the earth and making Eve of Adam's rib, and inspiring them with the breath of life.
4. FULLERS. God forbidding Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of life.
5. COOPERS. Adam and Eve and a tree betwixt them; the serpent deceiving them with apples; God speaking to them and cursing the serpent, and with a sword driving them out of paradise.
6. ARMOURERS. Adam and Eve, an angel with a spade and distaff assigning them work.
7. GAUNTERS (Glovers). Abel and Cain offering victims in sacrifice.
8. SHIPWRIGHTS. God warning Noah to make an Ark of floatable wood.
9. PESSONERS (Fishmongers) and MARINERS. Noah in the Ark, with his wife; the three sons of Noah with their wives; with divers animals.
10. PARCHMENT-MAKERS, BOOKBINDERS. Abraham sacrificing his son, Isaac, on an altar, a boy with wood and an angel.
11. HOSTERS. Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness; King Pharaoh; eight Jews wondering and expecting.
12. SPICERS. A Doctor declaring the sayings of the prophets of the future birth of Christ. Mary; an angel saluting her; Mary saluting Elizabeth.
13. PEWTERERS, FOUNDERS. Mary, Joseph wishing to put her away; an angel speaking to them that they go to Bethlehem.
14. TYLERS. Mary, Joseph, a midwife; the Child born, lying in a manger betwixt an ox and an ass, and an angel speaking to the shepherds, and to the players in the next pageant.
15. CHANDLERS. The shepherds talking together, the star in the East; an angel giving the shepherds the good tidings of the Child's birth.
16, 17. ORFEVERS (Goldsmiths), GOLDBEATERS, MONEYMAKERS. The three kings coming from the East, Herod asking them about the child Jesus; the son of Herod, two counsellors, and a messenger. Mary with the Child, a star above, and the three kings offering gifts.
How completely the people of each town were engaged in the presentation of the plays, can be judged from the following supplementary list of the other trade guilds that took parts. Many of them bear quaint names, which are now obsolete. They included the girdellers, makers of girdles; nailers, sawyers, lorymers (bridle makers), the spurriers (makers of spurs), the fevers or smiths, the curriers, the plumbers, the pattern-makers, the bottlers, the cap-makers, the skinners, the bladesmiths, the scalers, the buckle-makers, the cordwainers, the bowyers (makers of bows), the fletchers (arrow-featherers), the tilemakers; the hayresters (workers in horse hair), the bollers (bowl-makers), the tunners, the sellers or saddlers; the fuystours (makers of saddle tree), the verrours (glaziers), the broggours (brokers), the dubbers (refurbishers of clothes), the luminers or illuminators, the scriveners, the drapers, the potters, the weavers, the hostlers and mercers. The men of no occupation, however menial it may seem to us, were barred. Each of these companies had a special pageant with a portion of the Old or New Testament to represent and in each succeeding year spent much of their spare time in preparing for their dramatic performance, studying and practising their parts and making everything ready for competition with their brother craftsmen in the other pageants. Only those who know the supreme educative value of dramatic representations for those actively interested in them, will appreciate all that these plays meant for popular education in the best sense of the word, but all can readily understand how much they stood for in popular occupation of mind with high thoughts and how much they must have acted as a preventive of debasing dissipations.
It is extremely interesting to follow out some of the details of the management of these Mystery Plays. We shall find in even the meagre accounts that we have of them, sufficient to show us that men were not expected to work for nothing, nor even to be satisfied with what compensation there might be in the honor of being chosen for certain parts, nor in the special banquets that were provided for the actors after the performances. A definite salary was paid to each of the actors according to the importance of the part he took. Not only this, but the loans of garments for costume purposes, or of furniture or other material for stage properties, was repaid by definite sums of money. These are not large, but, considering the buying power of money at that time and the wages paid workmen, which enabled them to live at least as well, comparatively, as modern workmen, the compensation is ample. Mr. Morley, in the fourth volume of his "English Writers," has given us some of these details and as they have a special social interest and the old documents rejoice in a comic literalness of statement, they deserve citation.
When about to set up a play, each guild chose for itself a competent manager, to whom it gave the rule of the pageant, and voted a fixed sum for its expenses. The play-book and the standing wardrobe and other properties were handed over to him, and he was accountable, of course, for their return after the close of the performances. The manager had to appoint his actors, to give them their several parts written out for them (perhaps by the prompter, who was a regular official), and to see to the rehearsals, of which there would be two for an old play and at least five for a new one.
At rehearsal time, as well as during the great performance the actors ate and drank at the cost of the guild, ending all with a supper, at which they had roast beef and roast goose, with wine for the chiefs, and beer for the rest. The actors were paid, of course, according to the length of their parts and quantity of business in them, not their dignity. Thus in a play setting forth the Trial and Crucifixion of our Lord, the actors of Herod and Caiaphas received each 3S. 4d.; the representative of Annas, 2s. 2d.; and of Christ 2s.; which was also the sum paid to each actor in the parts of His executioners, and 6d. more than was paid for acting the Devil or Judas. In the united plays of the "Descent into Hell" and the "Ascension," the payment was to the actor who represented Christ, 1s. 6d.; and 1s. 4d. to him who played the Devil. In one play we find this gradation of the scale of payment to performers "Paid, for playing of Peter, xvid.; to two damsels, xiid.; to the demon, vid.; to Fawston for hanging Judas, ivd.; paid to Fawston for cock-crowing, ivd."
Of the costume of the actors, and of the stage furniture a tolerably clear notion is also to be drawn from the Coventry account-books, of which Mr. Sharp printed all that bears upon such questions. They record, of course, chiefly repairs and renewals of stage properties and wardrobe. "In one year Pilate has a new green cloak, in another a new hat. Pilate's wife was Dame Procula, and we have such entries as, 'For mending of Dame Procula's garments, viid.' 'To reward to Mrs. Grimsby for lending of her gear for Pilate's wife, xiid.' 'For a quart of wine for hiring Porcula's gown, iid.' No actor had naked hands. Those not in masks had their faces prepared by a painter. The costume of each part was traditional, varied little in the course of years, and much of it was originally designed after the pictures and painted sculpture in the churches. As in those medieval decorations, gilding was used freely; the performer of Christ wore a gilt peruke and beard, so did Peter, and probably all the Apostles or saints who would be represented on church walls with a gilt nimbus." Christ's coat was of white sheep-skin, painted and gilded, with a girdle and red sandals. The part of the High Priests Caiaphas and Annas were often played in ecclesiastical robes hired from a church, a practice (one sad result of which because of fire has already been noted) that was eventually condemned as likely to lead to disrespect for sacred objects. Herod, who wore a mask, was set up as a sceptred royal warrior in a gilt and silvered helmet, in armour and gown of blue satin, with such Saracen details of dress as the Crusaders connected with the worship of Mahomet, including the crooked faulchion, which was gilt. The tormentors of Christ wore jackets of black buckram with nails and dice upon them. The Virgin Mary was crowned, as in her images. The angels wore white surplices and wings. The devil also had wings, and was played in an appropriate mask and leather dress trimmed with feathers and hair. He was, as the Prologue to the Chester Plays describes him, "the devil in his feathers all ragged and rent," or, as the Coventry account-books show, carried three pounds of hair upon his hose. "There was probably no greater impulse for social uplift and for real education of the masses than these mystery and morality plays, in which the people took part themselves and in which, as a consequence of the presence of friends in the various roles, the spectators had a livelier interest than would have been otherwise the case under even the most favorable circumstances, or with elaborate presentation. In recent years there has come the realization that the drama may thus be made a real educational influence. Unfortunately at the present time, whatever of influence it has is exerted almost exclusively upon the better-to-do classes, who have so many other opportunities for educational uplift. These plays during the Thirteenth Century brought the people intimately into contact with the great characters of Old Testament and New Testament history, and besides giving them precious religious information, which of itself, however, might mean very little for true education, helped them to an insight into character and to a right appreciation of human actions and a sympathy with what was right even though it entailed suffering, such as could not have otherwise been obtained.
Of course it is easy to say that such dramas constantly repeated, the subjects always the same and only the cast varying from year to year, would become intolerably familiar and might after a time degenerate into the merely contemptible. As a matter of fact, however, they did not, These old stories of religious heroes were written so close to the heart of nature, involved so intimately all the problems of life that they are of undying interest. Their repetition was only from year to year and this did not give the opportunity for the familiarity which breeds contempt. Besides, though the plays in the various cycles existed in definite forms there seems no doubt that certain changes were made by the players themselves and by the managers of the plays from time to time, and indeed such changes of the text of a play as we know from present-day experience, are almost inevitable.
It might be urged, too, that the people themselves would scarcely be possessed of the histrionic talent necessary to make the plays effective. Ordinarily, however, as we know from our modern city life, much less of the actor's art is needed than of interest in the action, to secure the attention of the gallery. It must not be assumed too readily, however, that the guilds which were able to supply men for the great artistic decoration of the cathedrals of the Thirteenth Century, could not supply actors who would so enter into the artistic expression of a part as to represent it to the life. The actor is more born than made, in spite of the number of schools of acting that are supposed to be turning out successful rivals of Roscius, on recurring graduation days. It must not be forgotten that the only example of these mystery plays which is still left to us is the Passion Play at Oberammergan, and that is one of the world's greatest spectacles. On the last occasion when it was given about half a million of people from all over the world, many of them even from distant America and Australia, found their way into the Tyrolese Mountains in order to be present at it. It is only the old, old, old story of the Passion and death of the Lord. It is represented by villagers chosen from among the inhabitants of a little village of fourteen hundred inhabitants, who while they have a distinct taste for the artistic and produce some of the best wood-carving done anywhere in Europe, thus approximating very interestingly the Thirteenth Century peoples, are not particularly noted for their education, nor for their dramatic ability. No one who went up to see the Passion Play came away dissatisfied either with the interest of the play or with its manner of representation. It is distinctly an example of how well men and women do things when they are thoroughly interested in them, and when they are under the influence of an old-time tradition according to which they must have the ability to accomplish what is expected of them. Such a tradition actually existed during the Thirteenth and Fourteenth centuries, leading to a gradual development of dramatic power both in writers and actors, that eventually was to result in the magnificent outburst of dramatic genius during the Elizabethan period. For it must not be forgotten, that mystery and morality plays continued to hold the stage down almost, if not quite, to the time of Shakespeare's early manhood, and he probably saw the Coventry Cycle of plays acted.
While we have a certain number of these old-time plays, most of them, of course, have disappeared by time's attrition during the centuries before the invention of printing, when they were handed round only in manuscript form. Of some of these plays we shall have something to say after a moment, stopping only to call attention to the fact that in this literary mode of the mystery and morality plays, dramatic literature in English reached a height of development which has been equaled only by our greatest dramatic geniuses.
Within the last few years most of the large cities of the English-speaking world, besides the more important universities, have been given the opportunity to hear one of the great products of this form of literary activity. "Everyman" is probably as great a play as there is in English and comparable with the best work of Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson. Its author only took the four last things to be remembered -- Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell -- the things which must come to every man, and wrote his story around them, yet he did it with such artistic effectiveness as to make his drama a triumph of literary execution.
The Mystery Plays were as interesting in their way to the medieval generations as "Everyman" to us. As may be seen from the list quoted from Mr. Morley, practically all the significant parts of the Bible story were acted by these craftsmen. Too much can scarcely be said of the educational value of such dramatic exercises; the Bible itself with its deep religious teachings, with its simple but sublime style, with its beautiful poetry,entered for a time into the very lives of these people. No wonder that our English speech during these centuries became saturated with biblical thoughts and words. Anyone who has ever had any experience with amateur theatricals when a really great play was given, will be able to realize how much more thoroughly every quality, dramatic, literary, poetic, even lyric and historical, that there might be in the drama, entered into the hearts and minds of those who took part. It is this feature that is especially deserving of attention with regard to these mystery plays which began in the Thirteenth Century. The people's interest in them, lifted them out of themselves and their trivial round of life into the higher life of this great religious poetry. On the other hand the teachings of the Bible came down from the distant plane on which they might otherwise have been set and entered into the very life of the people. Their familiarity with scripture made it a something not to be discussed merely, but to be applied in their everyday affairs.
Besides this, the organization of the company to give the play and the necessity for the display and exercise of taste in the costumes and of ingenuity in the stage settings, were of themselves of great educative value. The rivalry that naturally existed between the various companies chosen from the different guilds only added to the zest with which rehearsals were taken up, and made the play more fully occupy the minds of those actively engaged in its preparation. For several dull winter months before Easter time there was an intense preoccupation of mind with great thoughts and beautiful words, instead of with the paltry round of daily duties, which would otherwise form the burden of conversation. Gossip and scandal mongering had fewer opportunities since people's minds were taken up by so much worthier affairs. The towns in which the plays were given never had more than a few thousand inhabitants and most of them must have been personally interested in some way in the play. The Jesuits, whose acumen for managing students is proverbial, have always considered it of great importance to have their students prepare plays several times a year. Their reason is the occupation of mind which it affords as well as the intellectual and elocutionary training that comes with the work. What they do with premeditation, the old guilds did unconsciously but even more effectively, and their success must be considered as one of the social triumphs of this wonderful Thirteenth Century.
Only in recent years has the idea succeeded in making way in government circles on the continent, that the giving of free dramatic entertainments for the poor would form an excellent addition to other educational procedures. Such performances have now been given for nearly a score of years in Berlin. After all, the subvention allowed by government to the great theaters and opera houses in Europe is part of this same policy, though unfortunately they are calculated to affect only the upper classes, who need the help and the stimulus of great dramatic art and great music less than the lower classes, who have so little of variety or of anything that makes for uplift in their lives. In the Thirteenth Century this very modern notion was anticipated in such a way as to benefit the very poorest of the population, and that not only passively, that is by the hearing of dramatic performances, but also actively, by taking parts in them and so having all the details of the action and the words impressed upon them.
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