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Vin. I was the man ;
Defy me now, let's see, do't modestly.
Moth. O hell unto my soul !
Vin. In that disguise, I, sent from the duke's son,
Tri'd you, and found you were base metal,
As any villain might have done.
Moth. O no, no tongue but yours could have bewitch'd
me so. Vin. O nimble in damnation, quick in turn ! There is no devil could strike fire. so soon : I am confuted in a word. Moth. Oh sons, forgive me! to myself I'll prove more
true; You that should honour me, I kneel to you.
Vin. A mother to give aim to her own daughter !
Hip. True, brother; how far beyond nature 'tis,
Tho' many mothers do't!
Vin. Nay, and you draw tears once, go you to bed ;
Wet will make iron blush and change to red.
Brother, it rains, 'twill spoil your dagger, house it.
Hip. 'Tis done.
Vin. I'faith, tis a sweet shower, it does much good.
The fruitful grounds and meadows of her soul,
Have been long dry: pour down, thou blessed dew.
Rise, mother; troth this show'r has made you higher.
Moth. O you heavens! take this infectious spot out of
I'll rince it in seven waters of mine eyes !
Make my tears salt enough to taste of grace.
To weep, is to our sex naturally given :
But to weep truly, that's a gift from heaven. '
Vin. Nay, I'll kiss you now. Kiss her, brother :
Let's marry her to our souls, wherein's no lust,
And honourably love her.
Hip. Let it be.
Vin. For honest women are so seld and rare,
'Tis good to cherish those poor few that are.
O you of easy wax! do but imagine
Now the disease has left you, how leprously
That office would have cling'd unto your forehead !
All mothers that had any graceful hue,
Would have worn masks to hide their face at you :
It would have grown to this, at your foul name,
Green-colour'd maids would have turn’d red with shame.
Hip. And then our sister, full of hire and baseness
Vin. There had been boiling lead again,
The duke's son's great concubine!
A drab of state, a cloth o'silver slut,
To have her train borne up, and her soul trail i'th'dirt!
Hip. To be great, miserable; to be rich, eternally wretched.
Vin. O common madness !
Ask but the thriving'st harlot in cold blood,
She'd give the world to make her honour good.
Perhaps you'll say, but only to the duke's son
In private; why she first begins with one,
Who afterward to thousand proves a whore:
. Break ice in one place, it will crack in more.'
Moth. Most certainly apply'd !
Hip. Oh, brother, you forget our business.
Vin. And well remember'd; joy’s a subtil elf,
I think man's happiest when he forgets himself.
Farewell, once dry, now holy-water'd mead;
Our hearts wear feathers, that before wore lead.
Moth. I'll give you this, that one I never knew,
Plead better for, and ’gainst the devil, than you.
Vin. You make me proud on't.
Hip. Commend us in all virtue to our sister.
Vin. Ay, for the love of heaven, to that true maid.
Moth. With my best words.
Vin. Why that was motherly said.
Moth. I wonder now what fury did transport me!
I feel good thoughts begin to settle in me.
Oh with what forehead can I look on her,
Whose honour I've so impiously beset ?
And here she comes.
Cast. Now, mother, you have wrought with me so strongly,
That what for my advancement, as to calm
The trouble of your tongue, I am content.
Moth. Content, to what ?
Cast. To do as you have wish'd me;
To prostitute my breast to the duke's son ;
And put myself to common usury.
Moth. I hope you will not so!
Cast. Hope you I will not ?.
That's not the hope you look to be sav'd in.
Moth. Truth but it is.
· Cast. Do not deceive yourself,
I am as you, e'en out of marble wrought.
What would you now? are ye not pleas'd yet with me?
You shall not wish me to be more lascivious
Than I intend to be.
Moth. Strike not me cold.
Cast. How often have you charg'd me on your blessing
To be a cursed woman? When you knew
Your blessing had no force to make me lewd, ..
You laid your curse upon me; that did more,
The mother's curse is heavy; where that fights,
Sons set in storm, and daughters lose their lights.
Moth. Good child, dear maid, if there be any spark
Of heavenly intellectual fire within thee, oh let my breath
Revive it to a flame!
Put not all out, with woman's wilful follies.
I am recover'd of that foul disease
That haunts too many mothers; kind, forgive me,
Make me not sick in health !-if then
My words prevail'd when they were wickedness,
How much more now when they are just and good ?
Cast. I wonder what you mean! are not you she,
For whose infect persuasions I could scarce
Kneel out my prayers, and had much ado
In three hours' reading, to untwist so much
Of the black serpent, as you wound about me?
Moth. 'Tis unfruitful, held tedious to repeat what's past ; I'm now your present mother.
Cast. Pish, now 'tis too late. Muth. Bethink again, thou know'st not what thou say’st. Cast. No! deny advancement! treasure ! the duke's son! Moth. O see, I spoke those words, and now they poisonme! What will the deed do then? Advancement, true; as high as shame can pitch ! For treasure; who e'er knew a harlot rich ? Or could build by the purchase of her sin, An hospital to keep her bastards in? The duke's son ; Oh! when women are young courtiers, they are sure to be
To know the miseries most harlots taste,
Thoud'st wish thyself unborn, when thou’rt unchaste.
Cast. O mother, let me twine about your neck,
And kiss you till my soul melt on your lips;
I did but this to try you.
Moth. O speak truth !
Cast. Indeed I did not; for no tongue has force to alter
me from honest.
If maidens would, men's words could have no power ;
A virgin's honour is a crystal tower,
Which, being weak, is guarded with good spirits ;
Until she basely yields, no ill inherits.”
This is Vindici's address to the skull of Gloriana.
“ Thou sallow picture of my poison'd love,
My study's ornament, thou shell of death,
Once the bright face of my betrothed lady,
When life and beauty naturally fill'd out
These ragged imperfections ;
When two heaven-pointed diamonds were set
In those unsightly rings,-then 'twas a face
So far beyond the artificial shine
Of any woman's bought complexion,
That the uprightest man, (if such there be,
That sin but seven times a day) broke custom,
And made up eight with looking after her.
Oh, she was able to ha’made a usurer's son
Melt all his patrimony in a kiss; .
And what his father fifty years had told,
To have consum'd, and yet his suit been cold.”
The revenge which slowly but effectually falls on the head of the Duke, is of the most elaborate and refined kind.—Whilst Vindici is attending upon Lussurioso in disguise, he is employed by the Duke to introduce him to a lady. Vindici promises, and appoints the place of meeting, where he is prepared with the skull of the poisoned Gloriana, dressed in seeming like a woman. The Duke, with court gallantry, salutes her, and recoils with horror, but not before he had imbibed the poison which Vindici had spread around its bony mouth. There is another adjunct to the death-scene of this hoary sinner, which it is not necessary to mention. Vindici reads a fine lecture on mortality, on this “ dome of thought, the palace of the soul."
. “ Here's an eye,
Able to tempt a great man- to serve God :
A pretty hanging lip, that has forgot now to dissemble.
Methinks this mouth should make a swearer tremble;
A drunkard clasp his teeth, and not undo 'em
To suffer wet damnation to run through 'em.
Here's a cheek keeps her colour let the wind go whistle :
Spout rain, we fear thee not : be hot or cold,
All's one with us ; and is not he absurd,
Whose fortunes are upon their faces set,
That fear no other God but wind and wet ?
Hip. Brother, you've spoke that right:
Is this the form that living shone so bright?
Vind. The very same.
And now methinks I cou'd e'en chide myself,
For doating on her beauty, tho’ her death
Shall be reveng'd after no common action.
Does the silk-worm expend her yellow labours
For thee? For thee does she undo herself?
Are lordships sold to maintain ladyships,
For the poor benefit of a bewitching minute ?
Why does yon' fellow falsify highways,
And put his life between the judge's lips,
To refine such a thing”? keeps horse and men
To beat their valours for her ?
Surely we're all mad people, and they
Whom we think are, are not: we mistake those;
'Tis we are mad in sense, they but in clothes.
Does every proud and self-affecting dame
Camphire her face for this? and grieve her maker
In sinful baths of milk, when many an infant starves,
For her superfluous out-side, all for this?
Who now bids twenty pound a night? prepares
Music, perfumes, and sweet meats? All are hushid,
Thou may’st lie chaste now! it were fine, methinks,
To have thee seen at revels, forgetful feasts,
And unclean brothels : sure 'twould fright the sinner,
And make him a good coward : put a reveller
Out of his antic amble,
And cloy an epicure with empty dishes.
Here might a scornful and ambitious woman
Look through and through herself.”
The Atheist's Tragedy possesses no scene of equal interest with those we have before quoted, nor indeed any scene of impassioned interest,-its value is in its insulated beauties, and they are not very thickly sown. Although the date of its being printed is posterior to the Revenger's Tragedy, it was probably his earliest effort.-The style is more measured and stately, and less natural than that of the latter.
We shall proceed to narrate the incidents in the Atheist's Tragedy, interspersing them with such extracts as are worth transplanting. D’Amville, (the atheist) in order to further his design of obtaining possession of his brother Montferrers' estate, for which he has an unhallowed affection, persuades his nephew Charlemont to go to the wars, and furnishes