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12                                  ORTHOMETRY.
regularly represented at holiday times throughout Christendom about the end of the Middle Ages. They were produced all over Europe under the direc­tion of the clergy as aids to religious and moral in­struction. We see their survival down to the present day in the triennial representation of the Passion Play in the Bavarian village of Ober Ammergau. The former were coarse, and, to us, profane bur­lesques of Scripture narratives, the Deity Himself being frequently introduced; the latter consisted of quaint, comical dialogues, and frequently of furious disputes between characters personating abstract virtues and vices, the devil being the most impor­tant personage, as he always overcame the vices, and carried them off in triumph on his back or in a wheel-barrow at the finish.
Interludes occupy an intermediate place between the Moralities and the regular Comedy, as charac­ters drawn from life were introduced. Hey wood's Four P'Sy which we should consider a broad farce at the present day, may be taken as a fair specimen. The first comedy was Ralph Roister Doister, written by NicholasUdall, master of Eton, about 1550, which was modelled after the Comedies of Terence; and this was followed a year or two later by Gammer Gur-ton's Needle, the work of John Still, bishop of Bath and Wells. The earliest known tragedy in English was Gorbudocy or Ferrex aridPorrexy the joint compo­sition of Norton and Lord Buckhurst, which was represented in 1562, before Queen Elizabeth, at Whitehall. Within an amazing short time after this, Peele, Greene, Marlowe, and others, produced a

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III