« PreviousContinue »
The multitudes of high employments could not
Bass. This is a testament !
Near. All this should be perform’d.
Cal. Lastly, for Prophilus;
Pro. I am unworthy
Euph. Excellent lady!
[Places a ring on the finger of ITHOCLES. Thus I new-marry him, whose wise I am: Death shall not separate us. Oh, my lords, I but deceiv'd your eyes with antic gesture, When one news straight came huddling on another, Of death! and death! and death! still I danced for
ward! But it struck home, and here, and in an instant. Be such mere women, who, with shrieks and out
cries, Can vow a present end to all their sorrows, Yet live to (court) new pleasures, and outlive them : They are the silent griefs which cut the heart
strings; Let me die smiling.
Near. 'Tis a truth too ominous.
Near. Sirs, the song!
Cho. Glories, pleasures, pomps, delights, and
Can but please
Is [or) untroubled, or by peace refined.
Beauties shine, but fade away. Second. Youth
inay revel, yet it must
Lie down in a bed of dust. Third. Earthly honours flow and waste,
Time alone doth change and last.
Rest for care,
Can find no comfort for a BROKEN HEART. Arm. Look to the queen!
Bass. Her“ heart is broke” indeed.
Arm. Wise Tecnicus! thus said he.
Near. I am your king.
All. Long live
Near. Her last will
Shall never be digress'd from; wait in order
(Exeunt. 1 “I do not know," says Mr. Lamb, who brings to the perusal of our od dramatists a sensibility almost painfully exquisite," where to find, in any play, a catastrophe so grand, 50 solemn, and so surprising as this. This is indeed, according to Millon, to describe high passions and high actions. The fortitude of the Spartan Boy, who let a beast gnaw out his bowels till he died, without expressing a groan, is a faint bodily image of this dilaceration of the spirit, and exenteration of the inmost mind, which Calantha, with a holy violence against her nature, keeps closely covered till the last duties of a wife and a queen are fulfilled.-But Ford was of the first order of poets. He sought for sublimity, not by parcels in metaphors or visible images, but directly where she has full residence in the heart of man, in the actions and sufferings of the greatest minds."--LAMB's Specimens of Dramatic Poets.
WHERE noble judgments and clear eyes are fix'd
PERKIN WARBECK.] The youth of Margaret of Burgundy had been unfruitful; but her age-to borrow the quaint language which Ford has thought fit to adopt from Sir W. Warham-gave birth “to two tall striplings, able, soon after their coming into the world, to give battle to mighty kings.” It need hardly be observed, that of these monstrous births, the one was the notorious Lambert Simnel, and the other the hero of the following drama.
The reader of Perkin Warbeck must not expect much of that delight which is derived from the artful intricacies and skilful development of a well-conducted fable. The play itself is styled by its author a “Chronicle History ;" it follows accordingly the march of events, and stretches over a considerable period of time; and it must be confessed that the tone of the dialogue does not always afford a sufficient relief for the languor with which the plot “ drags its dull length along.” It is to the delineation of character, therefore, that the reader of Perkin Warbeck must look for his principal source of gratification; and that gratification, his feelings will soon tell him, is rather to be supplied from Scotland than England, in which two countries the scene is alternately laid. A stronger opposition might, perhaps,
I "Some have supposed,” says Mr. Malone, “that Shakspeare was the first dramatic poet who introduced dramas formed on the Chronicles; but this is an undoubted error. Every one of the subjects on which he constructed his historical plays appears to have been brought upon the scene before his time." It is clear, indeed, from the curious volume of Gosson, that the Chronicles had been ransacked for plays before 1580, while Shakspeare perhaps, as Aubrey says, was killing calves in fine style;" and, for very obvious reasons, this species of dramatic entertainment seems to have been held in no small request by our ancestors. “Plays,” says Heywood, in his Apology for Actors (printed in 1612), “have taught the unlearned the knowledge of many famous histories, instructed such as cannot read in the discovery of our English Chronicles; and what man have you now of that weake capacity that, being possest of their true use, cannot discourse of any notable thing recorded even from William the Conqueror until this day?" Hence, in the introduction to an old tragedy called "A Warning for Fair Women,” we find Tragedy, Comedy, and History personified, and each claiming superiority and possession of the stage. Tragedy threatens to scourge and kick her two competitors from off the stage, and, indeed, actually applies the whip to them; but History remains, nevertheless, undaunted :
“And, Tragedie, although to-day thou raigne,