« PreviousContinue »
And when I took thee home, my most chaste bosom
Methought was fill’d with no hot wanton fire,
But with a holy flame, mounting since higher,
On wings of cherubims, than it did before.
Ang. Proud am I that my lady's modest eye
So likes so poor a servant.
Dor. I have offer'd
Handfuls of gold but to behold thy parents.
I would leave kingdoms, were I queen of some,
To dwell with thy good father; for, the son
Bewitching me so deeply with his presence,
He that begot him must do't ten times more.
I pray thee, my sweet boy, shew me thy parents;
Be not asham'd.
Ang. I am not : I did never
Know who my mother was; but, by yon palace,
Fill’d with bright heav'nly courtiers, I dare assure you,
And pawn these eyes upon it, and this hand,
My father is in heav'n; and, pretty mistress,
If your illustrious hour-glass spend his sand
No worse, than yet it doth, upon my life,
You and I both shall meet my father there,
And he shall bid you welcome.
Dor. A bless'd day !109
109 This scene has beauties of so very high an order that, with all my respect for Massinger, I do not think he had poetical enthusiasm capable of furnishing them. His associate Decker, who wrote Old Fortunatus, had poetry enough for any thing. The very impurities which obtrude themselves among the sweet pieties of this play (like Satan among the Sons of Heaven) and which the brief scope of my plan fortunately enables me to leave out, have a strength of contrast, a raciness, and a glow, in them, which are above Massinger. They set off the religion of the rest, somehow as Caliban serves to shew Miranda.
THE FATAL DOWRY. A TRAGEDY. BY PHILIP
MASSINGER AND NATHANIEL TILLD.
The Marshal of Burgundy dies in prison at Dijon for debts con
tracted by him for the service of the state in the wars. His dead body is arrested and denied burial by his creditors. His son, young Charalois, gives up himself to prison to redeem his father's body, that it may have honourable burial. He has leave from his prison doors to view the cere. mony of the funeral, but to go no farther. . Enter three gentlemen, Pontalier, Malotin, and Beaumont,
as spectators of the funeral.
Mal. 'Tis strange. .
Beaum. Methinks so.
Pont. In a man but young,
Yet old in judgment; theoric and practic
In all humanity; and, to increase the wonder, .
Religious, yet a soldier,--that he should
Yield his free-living youth a captive, for
The freedom of his aged father's corpse ;
And rather chuse to want life's necessaries,
Liberty, hope of fortune, than it should
In death be kept from christian ceremony.
Mal. Come, 'tis a golden precedent in a son,
To let strong nature have the better hand,
In such a case, of all affected reason.
What years sit on this Charalois ?
Beaum. Twenty eight.
For since the clock did strike him seventeen old,
Under his father's wing this son hath fought,
Sery'd and commanded, and so aptly both,
That sometimes he appear'd his father's father,
And never less than his son; the old man's virtues
So recent in him, as the world may swear
Nought but a fair tree could such fair fruit bear.
Mal. This morning is the funeral.
And from this prison 'twas the son's request
That his dear father might interment have.
(Charalois appears at the door of the prison.) See the young son interr'd, a lively grave.
Beaum. They come. Observe their order. · The funeral procession enters. Captains and soldiers, mourn
ers. Romont, friend to the deceased. Three creditors
ure among the spectators. Charalois speaks.
Char. How like a silent stream shaded with night,
And gliding softly with our windy sighs, .
Moves the whole frame of this solemnity!
Tears, sighs, and blacks, filling the simile;
Whilst I, the only murmur in this grove
Of death, thus hollowly break forth !-vouchsafe
To stay awhile. Rest, rest in peace, dear earth!
Thou that broughtst rest to their unthankful lives,
Whose cruelty denied thee rest in death!
Here stands thy poor executor, thy son,
That makes his life prisoner to bail thy death ;
Who gladlier puts on this captivity, i
Than virgins, long in love, their wedding weeds.
Of all that ever thou hast done good to,
These only have good memories; for they
Remember best, forget not gratitude.
I thank you for this last and friendly love.
And though this country, like a vip'rous mother,
Not only hath eat up ungratefully
All means of thee, her son, but last thyself,
Leaving thy heir so bare and indigent,
He cannot raise thee a poor monument,
Such as a flatterer or an usurer hath;
Thy worth in every honest breast builds one,
Making their friendly hearts thy funeral stone.
Char. Peace! O peace! This scene is wholly mine What! weep you, soldiers ?-blanch not.--Romont
Ha! let me see! my miracle is eas’d;
The jailors and the creditors do weep;
E'en they that make us weep, do weep themselves.
Be these thy body's balm : these, and thy virtue,
Keep thy fame ever odoriferous,
Whilst the great, proud, rich, undeserving man,
Alive stinks in his vices, and, being vanish’d,
The golden calf that was an idol, deck'd
With marble pillars, jet and porphyry, '
Shall quickly both in bone and name consume,
Tho' wrapt in lead, spice, searcloth, and perfume.
Char. What!-away for shame--you prophane rogues Must not be mingled with these holy relics : This is a sacrifice-our show'r shall crown His sepulchre with olive, myrrh, and bays, The plants of peace, of sorrow, victory; Your tears would spring but weeds.
Rom. Look, look, you slaves ! your thankless cruelty, And savage manners of unkind Dijon Exhaust these floods, and not his father's death.
Char. One moment more, But to bestow a few poor legacies, All I have left in my dead father's right, And I have done. Captain, wear thou these spurs, That yet ne'er made his horse run from a foe. Lieutenant, thou this scarf; and may it tie Thy valour and thy honesty together, For so it did in him. Ensign, this cuirass, Your general's necklace once. 'You gentle bearers, , Divide this purse of gold: this other strew Among the poor. Tis all I have. Romont,
Wear thou this medal of himself, that like
A hearty oak grewst close to this tall pine,
E'en in the wildest wilderness of war,
Whereon foes broke their swords, and tir'd themselves.
Wounded and hack'd ye were, but never fell’d.
For me, my portion provide in heaven:
My root is earth’d, and I, a desolate branch,
Left scatter'd in the highway of the world,
Trod under foot, that might have been a column
Mainly supporting our demolish'd house.
This 110 would I wear as my inheritance,
And what hope can arise to me from it,
When I and it are here both prisoners?
Only may this, if ever we be free,
Keep or redeem me from all infamy.
Jailor. You must no farther.-
The prison limits you, and the creditors
Exact the strictness.