24 APRIL 1915, Page 41


Tale of a Tub is not among the best of Ben Jonson's comedies, but there are some points of interest connected with it, extraneous to the play itself, which justify the care which Miss F. H. Such has bestowed upon producing the first separate edition of it that has appeared in English (Long. mans and Co., 7e. 6d. net). In the first place, although the play is one of Joneon's latest (Miss Snell suggests that it is actually the teat), it shows in its style a curious return to the methods of the earlier comedy writers. Next, we may recall the strange puppet-show (" motion ") with which the play ends, and which summarizes the action of the piece. But perhaps the chief interest of the work lies in the fact of its containing a savage attack- upon Inigo Jones, part of which has not survived, having been "struck out by command from my lord chamberlain." Ben Jenson felt very bitterly about the usurpations of Inigo Jones in his office of "producer "; for the latter claimed, in the most modern manner, to be the real author of any play that he produced, while the poet considered him as no more than a stage carpenter. Miss Snell has given us a scholarly edition of the work.