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Perkin must hearken to; but Frion, cúnning
K. Hen. Still more Frion !
Clif. Oh, sir, here I must break
K. Hen. Well, well, be brief, be brief.
K. Hen. Churchmen are turn'd devils.
Clif. One more remains
K. Hen. Ha, Clifford ! one more ?
Clif. Great sir, do not hear him ;
K. Hen. Urswick, the light !
Dur. You alter strangely, sir. K. Hen. Alter, lord bishop! 1 All these were seized, tried, and condemned for high-treason: most of them perished upon the scaffold. Worsley and the two Dominicans wero spared.--GIPTORD.
have been given to the characters of the Scotch and English monarchs ; but still the wary, politic, and far-sighted Henry is not a little in contrast with the chivalrous and romantic James; and the incidents which distinguish the courts of the two monarchs are in fair keeping with the complexion of those who sway them. In the one we have solemn councils of state ; detected conspiracies and defections; secret embassies, wisely conceived and dexterously managed ; preparations for war vigorously adopted and steadily pursued : in the other are exhibited snatches of court-delights and bridal gayeties; a princely sympathy with unfortunate greatness ; that brilliant personal courage which to many minds forms an excuse for every other defect, and which was here wanted, not only to cover weak and vacillating coun. cils, and enterprises hastily assumed and as hastily dropped, but to atone for errors which do not lie so immediately upon the surface. Mr. Gifford has characterized the Henry of our author as cold, calculating, stern, shrewd, and avaricious. These are harsh epithets, for which some qualification might surely have been found in the burst of feeling and emotion which breaks from him when the name of Stanley is found in the band of conspirators against his ‘royal power and person,-in his princely munificence to the wife of his vanquished rival,-in his sympathy with the fallen fortunes of Dalyell,--in the indignation which breaks from him at the bare supposition that his interests have been served at the expense of religious propriety,—and even in the liberal treatment which Warbeck and his followers receive when the chances of war first throw them into his hands. That these redeeming traits in Henry's character should have escaped Mr. Gifford's acute observation is not less remarkable than that he should overlook the flaw in James's generosity, of which the outward credit is allowed to rest with himself, but of which the real cost is paid by one of the noblest and most loyal of his subjects,--the poor broken-hearted Earl of Huntley.
But it is not on the characters of either James or Henry that the reader's attention will soon learn to rest. Huntley, Dalyell, the Lady Katherine Gordon, and Jane Douglas are four such creations as we might almost imagine the modern magician of the north to have shadowed forth, but which, under his hands, would have expanded into a breadth and
depth of effect which it is no derogation to say that the genius of Ford, powerful and mighty as it is, was incapable of giving. The very first speech of Huntley-his fluctuation between a sense of real and artificial greatness, and the honest heart which finally throws the casting weight into the right scale-wins for him a regard which his strong parental feelings, his blunt, bluff language, and that strong sense of right, which, even in scenes most trying to a father's heart, is sure to gain a final victory over his feelings and prejudices, maintain undiminished, or rather continue to increase, till the very close of the drama. The personal charms of his daughter, the Lady Katherine Gordon, have been consecrated even in the page of history; "the name of the White Rose," as Bacon prettily observes, “which had been given to her husband's false title, having been continued to her true beauty.” But outward beauty was the least recommendation of Huntley's daughter. With such filial feelings as the Lady Katherine possessed, the honeyed accents of Warbeck's tongue and the princely fascinations of his language may be supposed to have gained a readier conquest than strict consistency admitted ; but if she sinks at all in her character as a daughter, it is only to rise in her character as a wife. A more perfect specimen of conjugal tenderness and constancy than the Lady Katherine exhibits will not easily be found ; and that Ford should have disfigured this fine picture by a debasing trait for which there was no occasion, and which he must have known to be at variance with historical facts,' is one of those pieces of gratuitous folly for which the mind is at a loss to account. His judgment did not thus betray him in delineating her wedded lord. The character of Warbeck is maintained with admirable consistency throughout. He utters on all occasions the language of a prince and a Plantagenet. “No colloquies, no side-speeches," as Mr. Gifford justly observes, “are allowed to compromise his public assertions.” When the Scottish king grows “frosty and wayward,”—when the treacherous Frion's tongue is leaning to the weak part of his story,-in the utmost wreck of his fortunes and his hopes,
-in imprisonment, and at the axe's edge,-his identity with the Duke of York is never suffered to betray itself in a single thought or expression.
i See notes m p. 307,
Ir? If I will appear ?
or a prince murther d, and a living baffled." Mr. Gifford's testimony to the humbler characters in this drama, though sufficiently encomiastic, is much too valuable to be omitted.
“In most of Ford's tragedies the trivial and comic personages are poorly drawn: if they attempt to be witty, they usually fall into low buffoonery; and if they am at a scene of mirth, are sure to create sadness or disgust. The low characters of this play do neither. They are uniformly sustained; their language, though technical, is not repulsive; and the style of that wise piece of formality, the Mayor of Cork, who does not venture on one positive expression from first to last, is not only supported with undeviating skill, but rendered really amusing."