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OF

WHO LIVED

Co. BOHNIY.
COK YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.

SPECIMENS
ENGLISH DRAMATIC POETS
ABOUT THE TIME OF SHAKSPEARE.

Uith Notes.
BY CHARLES LAMB.

NEW EDITION,
THE EXTRACTS FROM THE GARRICK PLAYS.

LONDON:

INCLUDING

HENRY

1854.

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PREFACE.

MORE than a third part of the following specimens are from plays which are to be found only in the British Museum and in some scarce private libraries. The rest are from Dodsley's and Hawkins's collections, and the works of Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger.

I have chosen wherever I could to give entire scenes, and in some instances successive scenes, rather than to string together single passages and detached beauties, which I have always found wearisome in the reading in selections of this nature.

To every extract is prefixed an explanatory head, sufficient to make it intelligible with the help of some trifling omissions. Where a line or more was obscure, as having reference to something that had gone before, which would have asked more time to explain than its consequence in the scene seemed to deserve, I have had no hesitation in leaving the line or passage out. Sometimes where I have met with a superfluous character, which seemed to burthen without throwing any light upon the scene, I have ventured to dismiss it altogether. I have expunged, without ceremony, all that which the writers had better never have written, that forms the objection so often repeated to the promiscuous reading of Fletcher, Massinger, and some others.

The kind of extracts which I have sought after have been, not so much passages of wit and humour, though the old plays are rich in such, as scenes of passion, sometimes of the deepest quality, interesting situations, serious descriptions, that which is more nearly allied to poetry than to wit, and to tragic rather than to comic poetry. The plays which I have made choice of have been, with few exceptions, those which treat of human life and manners, rather than masques, and Arcadian pastorals, with their train of abstractions, unimpassioned deities, passionate mortals, Claius, and Medorus,

and Amintas, and Amarillis. My leading design has been, to illustrate what may be called the moral sense of our ancestors. To show in what manner they felt, when they placed themselves by the power of imagination in trying situations, in the conflicts of duty and passion, or the strife of contending duties; what sort of loves and enmities theirs were; how their griefs were tempered, and their full-swoln joys abated: how much of Shakspeare shines in the great men his contemporaries, and how far in his divine mind and manners he surpassed them and all mankind.

Another object which I had in making these selections was, to bring together the most admired scenes in Fletcher and Massinger, in the estimation of the world the only dramatic poets of that age who are entitled to be considered after Shakspeare, and to exhibit them in the same volume with the more impressive scenes of old Marlowe, Heywood, Tourneur, Webster, Ford, and others. To show what we have slighted, while beyond all proportion we have cried up one or two favourite names.

The specimens are not accompanied with anything in the shape of biographical notices'. I had nothing of consequence to add to the slight sketches in Dodsley and the Biographia Dramatica, and I was unwilling to swell the volume with mere transcription. The reader will not fail to observe, from the frequent instances of two or more persons joining in the composition of the same play (the noble practice of those times), that of most of the writers contained in these selections it may be strictly said, that they were contemporaries. The whole period, from the middle of Elizabeth's reign to the close of the reign of Charles I., comprises a space of little more than half a century, within which time nearly all that we have of excellence in serious dramatic composition was produced, if we except the Samson Agonistes of Milton.

CHARLES LAMB.

1808.

1 The few notes which are interspersed will be found to be chiefly critical,

The present new edition contains, in addition to what is indicated in the above preface, CHARLES LAMB's Extracts from the Garrick Plays, first published in Hone's Table Book, and now reprinted here by permission.

H. G. B.

TABLE OF REFERENCE TO THE EXTRACTS.

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THOMAS SACKVILLE AND

Page

Bussy d'Ambois.

78

THOMAS NORTON.

Page Byron's Conspiracy

82

Gorboduc.

1

Byron's Tragedy

85

THOMAS KYD.

THOMAS HEYWOOD.

Spanish Tragedy.

5

A Challenge for Beauty 88

GEORGE PEELE.

The Royal

King and the Loyal

David and Bethsabe

12

Subject:

93

A Woman Kill'd with Kind-

CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE.

ness

ib.

Lust's Dominion

14 The English Traveller 100

First part of Tamburlaine 16

Edward II.

THOMAS HEYWOOD AND

18

The Rich Jew of Malta

26

RICHARD BROOME.

Doctor Faustus

28 The Late Lancashire Witches 106

ROBERT TAYLOR.

THOMAS MIDDLETON AND

The Hog hath Lost his Pearl 37 WILLIAM ROWLEY.

A Fair Quarrel

110

ANTHONY BREWER.

Lingua .

43

WILLIAM ROWLEY.

All's Lost by Lust .

122

AUTHORS UNCERTAIN.

A New Wonder .

127

Nero .

The Merry Devil of Edmonton 45 THOMAS MIDDLETON.

Women Beware Women 134

JOSEPH COOKE.

More Dissemblers

Green's Tu Quoque .

besides

Women

139

THOMAS DECKER.

No Wit Help like a Woman's. 141

Old Fortunatus

50 The Witch.

143

First part of the Honest Whore 57

WILLIAM ROWLEY, THOMAS

Second part of the Honest Whore ib.

Satiromastix

59

DECKER, JOHN FORD, ETC.

The Witch of Edmonton . 153

THOMAS DECKER AND

CYRIL TOURNEUR.

JOHN WEBSTER.

The Atheist's Tragedy 156

Westward Hoe

63

The Revenger's Tragedy 158

JOHN MARSTON.

JOHN WEBSTER.

Antonio and Mellida

64 The Devil's Law Case 171

Antonio's Revenge

66 Appius and Virginia

. 174

The Malcontent.

70 Duchess of Malfy

. 177

The Wonder of Women 71 The White Devil

189

The Insatiate Countess

73

JOHN FORD.

What You Will .

74

The Lover's Melancholy 203

GEORGE CHAPMAN.

The Ladies' Trial

205

Cæsar and Pompey

"C'sSacrifice

ib.

49

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