Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > The Restoration Drama > Tatham
  Comedies reflecting the Political Reaction: The Rump and Cutter of Coleman Street John Wilson  

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

V. The Restoration Drama.

§ 9. Tatham.


General Monck was still in the north, and Lambert, sent to oppose him, had been but recently deserted by his troops, when John Tatham staged his satirical piece of dramatic journalism, The Rump. Tatham had been a contriver of pageants for the city and had written a pastoral, Love Crowns the End, so far back as 1632, a tragedy of no great merit, ominously called The Distracted State, and a piece of bitter satire against the Scots, whom the author appears especially to have hated, entitled The Scotch Figgaries. In The Rump, or the Mirrour of the Late Times, Tatham boldly lampoons Lambert, Fleetwood, Hewson and other notabilities of the moment, representing the widow of Cromwell as an undignified scold and lady Lambert as preposterously and irrationally eager to thrust her husband into the succession to the protectorate, so that she may be addressed “your highness.” Several scenes of this comedy are not without a certain comic effectiveness; and the final reduction of these lofty personages to street vendors, peddling their wares, displays the popular humour and temper of the moment. Another typical comedy of the type is Sir Robert Howard’s The Committee, produced in 1665 and long popular. 17  It tells directly and not without force the story of a hypocritical puritan committee of sequestration, made up of such personages as Nehemiah Catch, Jonathan Headstrong and Ezekiel Scrape, and how they and a dishonest guardian were outwitted by two clever maidens and their cavalier lovers. A better written comedy, though it was less successful in its day, is Cowley’s Cutter of Coleman Street, brought out by D’Avenant among his earliest ventures. 18  While such characters as “merry, sharking” Cutter, who turns puritan for his worldly welfare and has visions of the downfall of Babylon, are amusing, and the dialogue abounds in clever thrusts at the cant and weaknesses of fallen puritanism, Cowley’s comedy cannot be pronounced a dramatic success. Nevertheless, the truthfulness of his portraiture of colonel Jolly, the drunken cavalier, reeling on the edge of dishonesty, and driven in his need to composition with “the saints,” brought down on the poet’s head the displeasure of some who know no vices excepting those that flourish among their enemies. Comedies satirising the puritans continued popular throughout the reign of Charles II, as is seen from such productions as Lacy’s The Old Troop (before 1665), Crowne’s City Politics, 1673, and Mrs. Behn’s The Roundheads, 1682, a shameless appropriation of Tatham’s The Rump.   10

Note 17. Cf. ante, Chap. I, p. 23, note 1. [ back ]
Note 18. Cowley’s play was originally called The Guardian. It was acted at Cambridge in 1641, and published under this earlier title in 1650. Cf. ante, Vol. VII, p. 71. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Comedies reflecting the Political Reaction: The Rump and Cutter of Coleman Street John Wilson  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors