Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/133

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95
LIFE IN THE CAPITAL

At whose conception, till Lucina reign'd,
Nature this dowry gave, to glad her presence,
The senate house of planets all did sit,
To knit in her their best perfections."

Yet King Lear, which furnishes one of the above quotations also furnishes the following piece of ridicule which in sense, though not in quality, is quite of a piece with the quotations from Nash and Greene:

"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit of our own behaviour—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on; an admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Ursa major; so that it follows that I am rough and lecherous. Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing."


One can hardly over-estimate the shocking prevalence of venery among the Elizabethans. Per-