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and we are sure that it would not be mending the matter to accumulate needless horrors on the occasion. Some day or other an interesting problem for critics will be whether Suffolk was not a mono-maniac. His love for the princess seems certainly a little to have disordered him, but we incline to a verdict of sanity. His soliloquies are too well-ordered for those of a madman, and the propriety of his conduct when he checks Dorset;
“Dorset, forbear—the princess moves this way;"
shows how perfectly he could control himself, even in her immediate presence.
The introduction of the princess to Francis is well managed, and the amenity of her disposition, even under unpleasant circumstances, is shown skilfully by the emphasis she gives her English on addressing him, a foreigner, doubtless, without much practice in that language:
“My good kinsmán, we are boundén to you." Dorset throws out a hint, by the way, in this scene, which we were sorry to see, as it is the first contemporary evidence we have met with which gives any colour to Henry's charges against Anna Boleyn.
-" there may be Campaspes in our train." Now Anna formed a part of that train, and, though very young, (Mary calls her "young mistress Boleyn”) must take her share of the stigma. Henry, however, married her seventeen years afterwards, and she was then in her youth, so that we trust her fair fame may not be much tarnished; but Dorset and Mr. Brown should have been careful. The act closes with a most edifying scene between the Chevalier Bayard and Francis, which we recommend to the earnest perusal of all gay young bachelors.
Act III. introduces us to Louis XII., the cause of all this pother, in a most unexpected frame of mind. He discovers, rather late, that he has no business with a young wife, and comes to the determination that she shall be
“his daughter and a maiden queen,”
an arrangement to which no one but the Prophet of St. Paul's can object. His response made her a
“Maiden mother-throneless queen,
Which, in an important point, was going farther than the oracle in “ The Crusaders,” which the Prophet seems very properly to have studied. Be that as it may, Francis gets speedy notice of the arrangement, and in the very next scene proceeds to make love to the “maiden mother," spite of all the fine promises he had made to his Mentor, the chevalier sans peur et sans réproche. The princess coolly asks him if he studies astronomy, a question as well adapted as if Mr. Brown had purposely so designed it, to get from him the gallant and uncommon reply :
" The only stars I ever studied, lady,
Are those bright eyes."
Whereupon the princess becomes aroused, indignant, alarmed, and deems that her fancy had led her into
“Some lawless haunt, where ruffian robbers lurk.”
She at length gives, as a princess ought to do, a peremptory notice to quit, to Francis, which Suffolk enters very opportunely to enforce. Francis draws his sword, but Suffolk being of Mrs. Malaprop's opinion, that there should be “no honour before ladies,” begs him to put it up again, which he does, and retires until a fitting opportunity to settle the quarrel shall present itself. The princess and Suffolk continue the interview, during which the latter tenderly asks a question which so many applicants for credit have asked in vain ;
“ will you not trust ?” To which the princess, confiding, as all ladies ought to do, in her lover, replies, without so much as hinting at an endorser,
“Aye, with my life; nay more, my lord, my honour.” In the mean time Dorset has fallen in love with the Duchess of Montmorenci, and the Duchess of Montmorenci with Dorset, he having saved her as her horse fell, as lovers have saved ladies before, both in romance and reality. Neither party knows the other. Dorset, therefore, concludes the third act by telling his story to Suffolk, and the duchess opens the fourth by relating hers to her waiting woman. The loquacious duke also consumes scene in making a confidant of Francis. These three scenes are extremely good specimens of economy of incident. It is true that they occupy nearly eight pages without contributing one iota to the developement of the main plot, but they do better—they give the author an opportunity to let off his stray similes, and to use up the eloquent odds and ends
his commonplace-book affords. Mr. Brown does not content himself with the classics of the language. He enriches his style with forms of expression which he draws from the pure well of provincial English. Such is that phrase of Dorset's,
-“ most true, your grace, I am engaged in solving of a riddle ;” which no man who had not read the Journal of Barnabas, whom purists call drunken Barnaby, could possibly have hit on. Barnaby, in his account of the puritan cobbler, very happily repeals the expression;
"A hanging of his cat on Monday,
For killing of a rat on Sunday.” A felicity which Mr. Brown will, no doubt, aim at in his next play. Dorset's identification of his stomach and his heart, in a subsequent passage, shows some oriental knowledge, too, for the Brahmins placed the intellect and in a well-ordered system, like Dorset's, the affections go with it*) in the gastronomic regions. The theory is well worthy the attention of physiologists and metaphysicians.
The tournament which concludes the fourth act, induces us to believe that the author had in view a representation of his piece by an equestrian company. It carries us back to the age of chivalry, and forward to the circus on the old York road. Mr. Hunter's feat of riding three horses at once will be nothing to it. Observe the order.
Scene IV. Tournament. Court procession with Johnson's band ?]. King and queen take their seats in the centre of the balcony, while the ladies arrange themselves in the order of their rank, on either side, with their attendants. Lastly, enter Stella of Montmorency with Charmean, who take their seats near to the queen."
So much for the spectators. Now for the actors.
“ (Trumpet. Enter herald, knights, and pages, wearing their respective colours ! and, after kneeling to the king and queen, bow before their mistresses, and pass off the stage into the lists.)
“Enter Suffolk magnificently attired, and Dorset in black armour, [L'Allegro and Il Penseroso have changed habits,] engaged in conversation. Visors down.”
Now if any thing can be finer than this, unless it be the
* The contrary holds of a different class of characters. Berchoux says of Nero :
“Je sais qu'il fut cruel, assassin, suborneur.
Mais de son estomac je distingue son cæur."
cavalcade of robbers in “ The Forty Thieves,” or the grand procession in “Blue Beard,” we are not acquainted with it. Then the tilt itself is a meet sequel to the previous description. We are transported to the very scene and made spectators of it. We see Valois unhorse young Percy, and Dorset's equivocal strife with an anonymous gentleman, designated as the foe.” From subsequent circumstances Dorset appears to have been the victor, but the text leaves us for some time in a state of delicate ambiguity :
“All.-See! see! behold the knight in sable armour.
How gallantly he dashes on the foe!
Whether the “Shouts— Dorset! Dorset!" are shouts congratulatory, or shouts sympathetical, we do not learn till the end of the scene, when we are relieved from our suspense by the distribution of the rewards. If that had never been the case, however, the first line of the extract would have repaid us for our disappointment, by its poetical abruptness and variety“See, see, BEHOLD," works us by. imperceptible stages to the highest pitch of expectation, and, though we are not able to see or behold any thing distinctly, we feel grateful to the attendant for exciting our curiosity so powerfully. The scene closes with a swoon on the part of the queen at Suffolk's supposed defeat by a burly Bavarian--a “huge knight” with a battle-axe, and a command by the king “to sound a retreat,” which Suffolk disregarding, and taking advantage of the Bavarian who observed it, (as we conjecture,) gives his antagonist a finishing blow with his “falchion which gleams in the air,” and thus ends the tournay.
As this contest takes place in open day, and we are all present at it
, we are not quite aware of the author's precise object in telling the story over again, in the fifth act, to Twist, the tailor, unless it be to impress a lesson of industry upon the craft by letting them see that they lose nothing by staying at home and minding their business. If that is his intention, it is a laudable one, and we are willing to listen to some tailor; like jokes in the recital for the sake of the moral. In the second scene Dorset tells Suffolk that the object of his regard is a widow, and recommends a speedy elopement with her.
"Scarce shall the sun set on the obsequies
Of the departed king, ere you assert
Suffolk rather starts at the idea of carrying off a lady of such dignity from the very grave of her husband, but at length boldly resolves on the measure in high heroics suitable to the occasion.
“Give me thy hand—'tis but one effort more !
To which every reader will respond, as Dorset did—“bravely resolved;" and every reader will rejoice to know that it was as bravely executed.
In the midst of her grief, Mary is surprized by a visit from the Prophet of St. Paul's, who comes with his ring to demand the promised “boon,” which is no less than her hand. She recognizes him with some difficulty:
“Ah! that voice—that look-but still it cannot be !
The waves divide us. Speak quickly! who art thou ?-
These broken verses indicate a state of anxious wonder, and of curiosity too intense to care for the forms of speech or metrical propriety. The Prophet, however, at length puts an end to her difficulty, by announcing himself:
“Mary.—Amazement! Suffolk !
and the queen redeems her pledge with all proper vivacity, considering she had not yet put on second mourning-
“Take thy reward-this free and willing hand
Was thine, is thine, and shall be thine for ever,"
and consents, forth with, to the proposed elopement.
Arrived at the Carthusian convent, the friar, in his anxiety to render the marriage perfectly formal, gives time for Francis to interrupt it, and an opportunity for Suffolk to show his determination to lose his life rather than his love. Much to the astonishment of the reader, however, and here Mr. Brown has again improved upon history, Francis insists that there is no occasion to bluster, for that he is determined to give away the bride himself, and that Suffolk shall marry her under his own special supervision; a grace which is likewise accorded to Dorset and the duchess, who had run away for company. VOL. XX.--NO. 39.