Imatges de pÓgina
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and upon the stone that indicated their last resting place, Sir Aston Cockaine incribed the following quaint epitaph:-

In the same grave Fletcher was buried, here
Lies the stage-poet, Philip Massinger.
Plays they did write together, were great friends,
And now one grave includes them at their ends.
So whom on earth nothing did part, beneath

Here in their fames they lie, in spite of death,

Massinger wrote a number of dramas conjointly with Fletcher, Middleton, Rowley, Field, Dekker, and others; and such was his popularity that most of his contemporaries esteemed it an honor to be thus connected with him. Of the dramas exclusively his own, The Virgin Martyr, The Bondman, The Fatal Dowry, The City Madam, and A New Way to Pay Old Debts, are his best known productions. Massinger's comedy resembles, in its eccentric strength and wayward exhibitions of human nature, that of Ben Jonson. The greediness of avarice, the tyranny of unjust laws, and the miseries of poverty, are drawn with a powerful hand. The luxuries and vices of a city life, also, afforded scope for his indignant and forcible invective. The tragedies of Massinger have a calm and dignified seriousness, and a lofty pride, that impresses the imagination very powerfully. His genius was more eloquent and descriptive than impassioned and inventive; yet his pictures of suffering virtue, its struggles and its trials, are calculated to touch the heart, as well as gratify the taste. The versification is so smooth and mellifluous, as to be second only to that of Shakspeare.

Massinger's dramas afford fine scope for extracts, but our space will allow us to introduce only the following:

A MIDNIGHT SCENE.

[Angelo, an Angel, attends Dorothea as a Page.]

Dor. My book and taper.

Ang. Here, most holy mistress.

Dor. Thy voice sends forth such music, that I never

Was ravish'd with a more celestial sound.

Were every servant in the world like thee,

So full of goodness, angels would come down

To dwell with us; thy name is Angelo,
And like that name thou art. Get thee to rest;
Thy youth with too much watching is opprest.
Ang. No, my dear lady. I could weary stars,
And force the wakeful moon to lose her eyes,
By my late watching, but to wait on you.
When at your prayers you kneel before the altar,
Methinks I'm singing with some quire in heaven,

So blest I hold me in your company.

Therefore my most lov'd mistress, do not bid
Your boy, so serviceable, to get hence;

For then you break his heart.

Dor. Be nigh me still, then.

In golden letters down I'll set that day
Which gave thee to me. Little did I hope
To meet such worlds of comfort in thyself,
This little, pretty body, when I, coming
Forth of the temple, heard my beggar-boy,
My sweet-faced, godly beggar-boy, crave an alms,
Which with glad hand I gave, with lucky hand;
And when I took thee home, my most chaste bosom
Methought, was filled 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 begat him must do 't ten times more.
I pray thee, my sweet boy, show 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.

COMPASSION FOR MISFORTUNE.

Luke. No word, sir,

I hope shall give offence; nor let it relish

Of flattery, though I proclaim aloud,

I glory in the bravery of your mind,

[Virgin Martyr.]

To which your wealth 's a servant. Not that riches
Is, or should be, contemn'd, it being a blessing

Deriv'd. from heaven, and by your industry
Pull'd down upon you; but in this, dear sir,
You have many equal: such a man's possessions
Extend as far as yours: a second hath
His bags as full; a third in credit flies
As high in the popular voice: but the distinction
And noble difference by which you are
Divided from them, is, that you are styled
Gentle in your abundance, good in plenty;

And that you feel compassion in your bowels

Of others' miseries (I have found it, sir;

Heaven keep me thankful for 'it !), while they are curs'd
As rigid and inexorable *

*

Your affability and mildness, clothed

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In your unquestion'd wisdom, I beseech you,
The goods of this poor man sold at an outcry,
His wife turn'd out of doors, his children forc'd
To beg their bread; this gentleman's estate
By wrong extorted, can advantage you?
Or that the ruin of this once brave merchant,
For such he was esteem'd, though now decay'd,
Will raise your reputation with good men?
But you may urge (pray you, pardon me, my zeal
Makes me thus bold and vehement), in this
You satisfy your anger, and revenge

For being defeated. Suppose this, it will not
Repair your loss, and there was never yet
But shame and scandal in a victory,

When the rebels unto reason, passions, fought it.
Then for revenge, by great souls it was ever
Contemn'd though offer'd; entertain'd by none
But cowards, base and abject spirits, strangers
To moral honesty, and never yet
Acquainted with religion.

Sir John. Shall I be

Talk'd out of my money?

Luke. No sir, but intreated

*

To do yourself a benefit, and preserve
What you possess entire.

Sir John. How, my good brother?

Luke. By making these your beadsmen. When they eat,
Their thanks, next heaven, will be paid to your mercy;

When your ships are at sea, their prayers will swell

The sails with prosperous winds, and guard them from
Tempests and pirates; keep your warehouses
From fire, or quench them with their tears.

[City Madam.]

Before we pass on to the writers who close this important dramatic period, we must very briefly notice their less eminent contemporaries, Taylor, Rowley, Tourneur, Cooke, Nabbes, Field, Day, Glapthorne, Randolph and Brome.

The public demand for theatrical novelties, called forth, at this time, a succession of writers in this popular, and profitable department of literature, who, though not men of the most exalted genius, still left the rich stamp of the age, both in style and thought, upon many of their pages. Of the

personal history of these writers little is known, a few scattered dates usually making up the whole amount of their biography.

Of ROBERT TAYLOR, the author here first mentioned, nothing farther is known than that he wrote an amusing drama under the quaint title, The Hog hath Lost his Pearl, and some other pieces of a similar character.

WILLIAM ROWLEY was an actor as well as author. Besides other plays written conjointly with Middleton and Dekker, he produced a tragicomedy, The Witch of Edmonton, in the composition of which Ford also is suspected of having taken a part. His drama embodies, in a striking form, the vulgar superstition respecting witchcraft, which so long debased the popular mind in England. We quote the following passage :—

[Mother Sawyer alone.]

Saw. And why on me? why should the envious world
Throw all their scandalous malice upon me?

'Cause I am poor, deform'd, and ignorant,
And like a bow buckled and bent together
By some more strong in mischiefs than myself;
Must I for that be made a common sink
For all the filth and rubbish of men's tongues
To fall and run into? Some call me witch,

And being ignorant of myself, they go
About to teach me how to be one: urging

That my bad tongue (by their bad usage made so)
Forespeaks their cattle, doth bewitch their corn,
Themselves, their servants, and their babes at nurse:
This they enforce upon me; and in part

Make me to credit it.

[Banks, a Farmer, enters.]

Banks. Out, out upon thee, witch!

Saw. Dost call me witch?

Banks. I do, witch; I do;

And worse I would, knew I a name more hateful.

What makest thou upon my grounds?

Saw. Gather a few rotten sticks to warm me.

Banks. Down with them when I bid thee, quickly;

I'll make thy bones rattle in thy skin else.

Saw. You won't! churl, cut-throat, miser! there they be. Would they stuck 'cross thy throat, thy bowels, thy maw, thy midriff

Banks. Say'st thou me so. Hag, out of my ground.

Saw, Dost strike me, slave, curmudgeon? Now thy bones aches, thy joints

cramps,

And convulsions stretch and crack thy sinews.
Banks. Cursing, thou hag? take that, and that.

[Exit.]

Saw. Strike, do: and wither'd may that hand and arm,

Whose blows have lam'd me, drop from the rotten trunk.
Abuse me! beat me! call me hag and witch!
What is the name? where, and by what art learn'd?

What spells, or charms, or invocations,

May the thing call'd Familiar be purchased?
I am shunn'd

And hated like a sickness; made a scorn

To all degrees and sexes. I have heard old beldams
Talk of familiars in the shape of mice,

Rats, ferrets, weasels, and I wot not what,

That have appear'd; and suck'd, some say, their blood.
But by what means they came acquainted with them,
I'm now ignorant. Would some powers, good or bad,
Instruct me which way I might be reveng'd

Upon this churl. I'd go out of myself,
And give this fury leave to dwell within
This ruin'd cottage, ready to fall with age:
Abjure all goodness, be at hate with prayer,
And study curses, imprecations,

Blasphemous speeches, oaths, detested oaths,
Or any thing that's ill; so I might work

Revenge upon this miser, this black cur,

That barks, and bites, and sucks the very blood,

Of me, and of my credit. 'Tis all one

To be a witch as to be counted one.

CYRIL TOURNEUR, besides being concerned in the production of many others, wrote, himself, two very good dramas, The Atheist's Tragedy, and The Revenger's Tragedy. From the former we may select the following characteristic description of a Drowned Soldier :—

Walking upon the fatal shore,

Among the slaughter'd bodies of their men,
Which the full-stomach'd sea had cast upon
The sands, it was my unhappy chance to light
Upon a face, whose favour, when it lived,
My astonish'd mind inform'd me I had seen.
He lay in his armour, as if that had been
His coffin; and the weeping sea (like one
Whose milder temper doth lament the death
Of him whom in his rage he slew) runs up
The shore, embraces him, kisses his cheek;
Goes back again, and forces up the sands
To bury him; and every time it parts,
Sheds tears upon him; till at last, (as if
It could no longer endure to see the man
Whom it had slain, yet loath to leave him,)
With a kind of unresolv'd unwilling pace,
Winding her waves one in another, (like
A man that folds his arms, or wrings his hands
For grief,) ebb'd from the body, and descends;
As if it would sink down into the earth,

And hide itself for shame of such a deed.

GEORGE COOKE was the author of a lively comedy under the title of Greene's Tu Quoque. From the character and finish of this play, we

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