This document was originally published in The Drama: Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization, vol. 7. ed. Alfred Bates. London: Historical Publishing Company, 1906. pp. 10-11.

The success of the Mystery speedily led to the introduction of a lighter and purely secular drama. Foremost among the guilds in Paris at this time was that of the Clercs de la Basoche, minor officials of the city courts. Established in the thirteenth century by Philippe le Bel, this guild took an important part in the administration of the law, attained to the dignity of a royaume, and was reviewed once a year by the reigning monarch. Eager to add to their renown by means of dramatic performances on their fête days, the Basochians now introduced forms of plays which have already been described--the Moralité, the figures in which are chiefly personifications of sentiments and abstract ideas, and the Farce, which may be roughly described as a resuscitation of the homely fable in dramatic form. The farces were the first French writings in which the mirror of drama was held up to everyday life and character. Henpecked husbands, imperious wives, exasperating mothers-in-law, good-for-nothing monks, lip-valorous soldiers, and other personages were connected with more or less whimsical adventures, the dialogue being often lighted up by flashes of with, by satires on some common foible, or pleasantries at the expense of the younger officials. Except at times of public rejoicing, when they played on a scaffold in the street, the theatre of the Basochians was the hall of the Palais de Justice, their stage, the great marble table on which were served the banquets formerly given by kings of France. But the Basochians were not long permitted to monopolize these new forms of drama. The Enfants sans Souci, a band of educated and frolicsome youths, all of whom figured in the revels of the court, and who, wearing on their heads a sort of hood, garnished on each side with an ass's ear, annually made a formal entry into Paris under the leadership of their chief, the prince of Fools, began to represent in the Halles what they termed a Sottie, in substance a copy of the farce, but weaker in story, political in purpose, and keenly satirical in character. That it hit the taste of its hearers there can be no doubt; for the Basochians added Sotties to their repertory, while the Brethren of the Passion induced the Enfants sans Souci to play a piece at the Hôpital de la Trinité after each representation of the Mystery.

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