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there to be kept by the aforesaid jailer Argus, lutes, a bandora, a double sackbut, a harpsichord, otherwise Circumspection, for ever, unto whom and two treble violins—besides whom there were Prudentia shall deliver a lock, whereupon shall nine violins, three lutes, six cornets, and six be written In Eternum. Then Temperantia shall chapel-singers. The stage was concealed by a likewise deliver unto Argus a key, whose name curtain resembling dark clouds, which being withshall be Nunquam, signifying that, when False drawn, disclosed a green valley with green round Report and Discord are committed to the prison about it, and in the midst of them nine golden of Extreme Oblivion, and locked there everlast- clouds of fifteen feet high. The bower of Flora was ingly, he should put in the key to let them out on their right, the house of Night on the left ; nunquam (never); and when he hath so done, between them a hill hanging like a cliff over the then the trumpets to blow, and the English ladies grove. The bower of Flora was spacious, garto take the nobility of the strangers, and dance.' nished with flowers and flowery branches, with
On the second night, a castle is presented in lights among them; the house of Night, ample the hall, and Peace comes in riding in a chariot and stately, with black columns studded with drawn by an elephant, on which sits Friendship. golden stars; while about it were placed, on wires, The latter pronounces a speech on the event of artificial bats and owls continually moving. As the preceding evening, and Peace is left to dwell soon as the king entered the great hall, the hautwith Prudence and Temperance. The third night boys were heard from the top of the hill and from shewed Disdain on a wild boar, accompanied by the wood, till Flora and Zephyrus were seen busily Prepensed Malice, as a serpent, striving to procure gathering flowers from the bower, throwing them the liberation of Discord and False Report, but into baskets which two sylvans held, attired in opposed successfully by Courage and Discretion. changeable taffety. Besides two other allegorical At the end of the fight, ‘Disdain shall run his characters, Night and Hesperus, there were nine ways, and escape with life, but Prepensed Malice maskers, representing Apollo's knights, and pershall be slain ; signifying that some ungodly men sonated by young men of rank. may still disdain the perpetual peace made between After songs and recitative, the whole vale was these two virtues ; but as for their prepensed suddenly withdrawn, and a hill with Diana's tree malice, it is easy trodden under these ladies' feet.' | discovered. Night appeared in her house with The second night ends with a flowing of wine Nine Hours, apparelled in large robes of black from conduits, during which time the English taffety, painted thick with stars; their hair long, lords shall mask with the Scottish ladies : the black, and spangled with gold ; on their heads, third night terminates by the six or eight lady- coronets of stars, and their faces black. Every maskers singing a song as full of harmony as Hour bore in his hand a black torch painted with may be devised.
The whole entertainment indi- stars, and lighted. cates a sincere desire of reconciliation on the part of Elizabeth ; but the first scene-a prison-seems As she doth burn in rage ; come, leave our shrine,
Night. Vanish, dark vales ; let Night in glory shine, strangely ominous of the events which followed You black-haired Hours, and guide us with your lights ; six years after.
Flora hath wakened wide our drowsy sprites. The mask, as has been stated, attained the See where she triumphs, see her flowers are thrown, zenith of its glory in the reign of James I.-the And all about the seeds of malice sown. most festive reign in England between those of Despiteful Flora, is 't not enough of grief, Henry VIII. and Charles II. The queen, the That Cynthia's robbed, but thou must grace the thief? princess, and nobles and ladies of the highest Or didst not hear Night's sovereign queen complain rank, took parts in them, and they engaged the Hymen had stolen a nymph out of her train, genius of Jonson and Inigo Jones, one as poet, And matched her here, plighted henceforth to be and the other as machinist, while no expense was Love's friend and stranger to virginity? spared to render them worthy of the place, the And mak'st thou sport for this ?
Flora. Be mild, stern Night; occasion, and the audience. It appears from the
Flora doth honour Cynthia and her right ; ... accounts of the Master of the Revels, that no less The nymph was Cynthia's while she was her own, than £4215 was lavished on these entertainments But now another claims in her a right, in the first six years of the king's reign. Jonson By fate reserved thereto, and wise foresight. himself composed twenty-three masks; and
Zephyrus. Can Cynthia one kind virgin's loss bemoan ? Dekker, Middleton, and others of the leading How, if perhaps she brings her ten for one? dramatic authors, Shakspeare alone excepted, were glad to contribute in this manner to the pleas
After some more such dialogue, in which Hesures of a court from which they derived their best perus takes part, Cynthia is reconciled to the loss
of her nymph; the trees sink, by means of machinpatronage and support.
The marriage of Lord James Hay to Anne, ery, under the stage, and the maskers come out daughter and heir of Lord Denny (January 6, of their tops to fine music. Dances, processions, 1607), was distinguished at court (Whitehall) by speeches, and songs follow, the last being a duet what was called the Memorable Mask, the produc- between a Sylvan and an 'Hour, by the way of tion of Dr Thomas Campion, an admired musician tenor and bass. as well as poet of that day, now forgotten. On Sylvan. Tell me, gentle Hour of Night, this occasion, the great hall of the palace was Wherein dost thou most delight? fitted up in a way that shews the mysteries of Hour. Not in sleep. Syl. Wherein, then ? theatrical scenery and decoration to have been Hour. In the frolic view of men. better understood, and carried to a greater height,
Syl. Lov'st thou music? Hour. Oh, 'tis sweet! in that age than is generally supposed. One end
Syl. What's dancing? Hour. Even the mirth of
feet. of the hall was set apart for the audience, having the king's seat in the centre ; next to it was a
Syl. Joy you in fairies and in elves ? space for ten concerted musicians-base and mean
Hour. We are of that sort ourselves.
Full of arrows, that outbrave But, Sylvan, say, why do you love
Dian's shafts; where, if he have Only to frequent the grove?
Any head more sharp than other,
With that first he strikes his mother.
Still the fairest are his fuel.
When his days are to be cruel, Then the maskers made an obeisance to the king,
Lovers' hearts are all his food, and attended him to the banqueting-room.
And his baths their warmest blood; The masks of Jonson contain a great deal of
Nought but wounds his hand doth season, fine poetry, and even the prose descriptive parts
And he hates none like to Reason. are remarkable for grace and delicacy of language
Second Grace. -as, for instance, where he speaks of a sea at the back of a scene catching the eye afar off with a
Trust him not ; his words, though sweet,
Seldom with his heart do meet. wandering beauty. In that which was produced
All his practice is deceit; at the marriage of Ramsay, Lord Haddington, to
Every gift it is a bait; Lady Elizabeth Ratcliff, the scene presented a
Not a kiss but poison bears; steep red cliff, topped by clouds, allusive to the
And most treason in his tears. red cliff from which the lady's name was said to be derived ; before which were two pillars charged
Third Grace. with spoils of love, amongst which were old and
Idle minutes are his reign; young persons bound with roses, wedding-gar- Then the straggler makes his gain, ments, rocks, and spindles, hearts transfixed with By presenting maids with toys, arrows, others flaming, virgins' girdles, garlands, And would have ye think them joys; and worlds of such like.' Enter Venus in her
'Tis the ambition of the elf chariot, attended by the Graces, and delivers a
To have all childish as himself. speech expressive of her anxiety to recover her
First Grace. son Cupid, who has run away from her. The Graces then make proclamation as follows:
If by these ye please to know him,
Beauties, be not nice, but shew him.
Though ye had a will to hide him,
Now, we hope, ye 'll not abide him.
Since you hear his falser play,
Cupid enters, attended by twelve boys, repre-
senting the Sports and pretty Lightnesses that Shall to-night receive a kiss,
accompany Love,' who dance; and then Venus How or where herself would wish;
ар ehends her son ; and a dialogue ensues But who brings him to his mother,
between them and Hymen. Vulcan afterwards Shall have that kiss, and another.
appears, and, claiming the pillars as his workmanship, strikes the red cliff
, which opens, and Third Grace.
shews a large luminous sphere containing the He hath marks about him plenty;
astronomical lines and signs of the zodiac. He You shall know him among twenty.
makes a quaint speech, and presents the sphere as All his body is a fire,
his gift to Venus on the triumph of her son. The And his breath a flame entire,
Lesbian god and his consort retire amicably to That, being shot like lightning in,
their chariot, and the piece ends by the singing Wounds the heart, but not the skin.
of an epithalamium, interspersed with dances of First Grace.
Up, youths and virgins, up, and praise
The god, whose nights outshine his days;
Hymen, whose hallowed rites
Could never boast of brighter lights ;
Whose bands pass liberty.
Two of your troop, that with the morn were free,
Are now waged to his war :
And what they are,
If you 'll perfection see,
Yourselves must be.
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!
What joy, what honours can compare
With holy nuptials, when they are
Made out of equal parts
Of years, of states, of hands, of hearts !
When in the happy choice
The spouse and spoused have foremost voice !
Such, glad of Hymen's war,
Heaved from a sheep-cote to a sceptre raised
So high in thoughts as I: you left a kiss
Upon these lips then, which I mean to keep
From you for ever. I did hear you talk,
I grew acquainted with my heart, and searched
What stirred it so. Alas ! I found it love ; FRANCIS BEAUMONT-JOHN FLETCHER.
Yet far from lust; for could I but have lived The literary partnerships of the drama which we In presence of you, I had had my end. have had occasion to notice were generally brief
For this I did delude my noble father and incidental, confined to a few scenes or a single
With a feigned pilgrimage, and dressed myself
In habit of a boy; and for I knew play. In BEAUMONT and FLETCHER, we have
My birth no match for you, I was past hope the interesting spectacle of two young men of
Of having you. And, understanding well high genius, of good birth and connections, living That when I made discovery of my sex, together for ten years, and writing in union a I could not stay with you, I made a vow, series of dramas, passionate, romantic, and comic, By all the most religious things a maid thus blending together their genius and their Could call together, never to be known, fame in indissoluble connection. Shakspeare was Whilst there was hope to hide me from men's eyes, undoubtedly the inspirer of these kindred spirits. For other than I seemed, that I might ever They appeared when his genius was in its meri- Abide with you : then sat I by the fount dian splendour, and they were completely subdued
Where first you took me up.
Act V. sc. 5. by its overpowering influence. They reflected its leading characteristics, not as slavish copyists, but Philaster had previously described his finding as men of high powers and attainments, proud of the disguised maiden by the fount, and the borrowing inspiration from a source which they description is highly poetical and picturesque : could so well appreciate, and which was at once ennobling and inexhaustible. Francis Beaumont
Hunting the buck, was the son of Judge Beaumont, a member of an
I found him sitting by a fountain-side, ancient family settled at Grace Dieu, in Leicester
Of which he borrowed some to quench his thirst, shire. He was born in 1586, and educated at
And paid the nymph again as much in tears.
A garland lay him by, made by himself,
Of many several flowers, bred in the bay,
Stuck in that mystic order, that the rareness not seem to have prosecuted the study of the law.
Delighted me : But ever when he turned He was married to the daughter and co-heiress
His tender eyes upon them he would weep, of Sir Henry Isley of Kent, by whom he had two As if he meant to make them grow again. daughters. He died before he had completed his Seeing such pretty helpless innocence thirtieth year, and was buried March 9, 1615-16, Dwell in his face, I asked him all his story. at the entrance to St Benedict's Chapel, West- He told me that his parents gentle died, minster Abbey.-John Fletcher was the son of Dr Leaving him to the mercy of the fields, Richard Fletcher, bishop of Bristol, and afterwards
Which gave him roots : and of the crystal springs, of Worcester. He was born ten years before his
Which did not stop their courses; and the sun,
Which still, he thanked him, yielded him his light. friend, in 1576, and he survived him ten years,
Then took he up his garland, and did shew dying of the Great Plague in 1625, and was buried
What every flower, as country people hold, in St Mary Overy's Church, Southwark, on the
Did signify; and how all, ordered thus, 19th of August.
Expressed his grief ; and to my thoughts did read The dramas of Beaumont and Fletcher are fifty- The prettiest lecture of his country art two in number. The greater part of them were That could be wished ; so that methought I could not printed till 1647, and it is impossible to Have studied it. I gladly entertained him, assign the respective dates to each. Dryden men- Who was as glad to follow.
Act I. sc. 2. tions that Philaster was the first play that brought them into esteem with the public, though they had written two or three before. It is improbable in about the same time, is a drama of a powerful but
The Maid's Tragedy, supposed to be written plot, but interesting in character and situations. The jealousy of Philaster is forced and unnatural; in Amintor and Aspatia, is well contrasted with
unpleasing character. The purity of female virtue the character of Euphrasia, disguised as Bellario, the guilty boldness of Évadne ; and the rough the page, is a copy from Viola, yet there is some soldier-like bearing and manly feeling of Melanthing peculiarly delicate in the following account tius, render the selfish sensuality of the king more of her hopeless attachment to Philaster:
hateful and disgusting. Unfortunately, there is Extracts from ' Philaster.'
much licentiousness in this fine play-whole scenes
and dialogues are disfigured by this master-vice My father oft would speak
of the theatre of Beaumont and Fletcher. Their Your worth and virtue ; and, as I did grow
dramas are 'a rank unweeded garden,' which grew More and more apprehensive, I did thirst To see the man so praised; but yet all this
only the more disorderly and vicious as it advanced Was but a maiden longing, to be lost
to maturity. Fletcher must bear the chief blame As soon as found; till, sitting in my window,
of this defect, for he wrote longer than his assoPrinting my thoughts in lawn, I saw a god,
ciate, and is generally understood to have been I thought—but it was you—enter our gates.
the most copious and fertile composer. Before My blood flew out, and back again as fast
Beaumont's death, they had, in addition to Philaster As I had puffed it forth and sucked it in
and the Maid's Tragedy, produced King and no Like breath. Then was I called away in haste King, Bonduca, the Laws of Candy (tragedies); To entertain you. Never was a man
and the Woman-hater, the Knight of the Burning 11
Pestle, the Honest Man's Fortune, the Coxcomb, Beaumont and Fletcher, but in comedy he falls and the Captain (comedies). Fletcher afterwards infinitely below them. Though their characters are produced three tragic dramas and nine comedies, deficient in variety, their knowledge of stage-effect the best of which are : the Chances, the Spanish and contrivance, their fertility of invention, and Curate, the Beggar's Bush, and Rule a Wife and the airy liveliness of their dialogue, give the charm Have a Wife. He also wrote an exquisite pastoral of novelty and interest to their scenes. Macaulay drama, the Faithful Shepherdess, which Milton fol- considers that the models which Fletcher had lowed pretty closely in the design, and partly in principally in his eye, even for his most serious the language and imagery, of Comus. A higher, and elevated compositions, were not Shakspeare's. though more doubtful honour has been assigned tragedies, but his comedies. 'It was these, with to the twin authors; for Shakspeare is said to their idealised truth of character, their poetic have assisted them in the composition of one of beauty of imagery, their mixture of the grave with their works, the Two Noble Kinsmen, and his the playful in thought, their rapid yet skilful tranname is joined with Fletcher's on the title-page of sitions from the tragic to the comic in feeling; it the first edition. The bookseller's authority in was these, the pictures in which Shakspeare had such matters is of no weight; and it seems un- made his nearest approach to portraying actual likely that our great poet, after the production of life, and not those pieces in which he transports some of his best dramas, should enter into a the imagination into his own vast and awful world partnership of this description. The Two Noble of tragic action, and suffering, and emotion-that. Kinsmen is certainly not superior to some of the attracted Fletcher's fancy, and proved congenial other plays of Beaumont and Fletcher.
to his cast of feeling.' This observation is strikThe genius of Beaumont is said to have been ingly just, applied to Shakspeare's mixed comedies more correct, and more strongly inclined to or plays, like the Twelfth Night, the Winter's tragedy, than that of his friend. The later works Tale, As You Like It, &c. The rich and genial of Fletcher are chiefly of a comic character. His comedy of Falstaff, Shallow, and Slender was not plots are sometimes inartificial and loosely con- imitated by Fletcher. His Knight of the Burning nected, but he is always lively and entertaining. Pestle is an admirable burlesque of the false taste There is a rapid succession of incidents, and the of the citizens of London for chivalrous and dialogue is witty, elegant, and amusing. Yet no romantic adventures, without regard to situation one ever recollects the plots of their dramas. or probability. On the whole, the dramas of Shakspeare's are ineffaceably stamped on the Beaumont and Fletcher impress us with a high memory, but those of Beaumont and Fletcher seem idea of their powers as poets and dramatists. The *writ in water. Dryden considered that they vast variety and luxuriance of their genius seem understood and imitated the conversation of gen- to elevate them above Jonson, though they were tlemen much better than Shakspeare; and he destitute of his regularity and solidity, and to states that their plays were, in his day, the most place them on the borders of the magic circle' pleasant and frequent entertainments of the stage of Shakspeare. The confidence and buoyancy of --two of theirs being acted through the year, for youth are visible in their productions. They had one of Shakspeare's or Jonson's.' It was different not tasted of adversity, like Jonson or Massinger ; some forty years previous to this. In 1627, the and they had not the profoundly meditative spirit King's Company bribed the Master of the Revels of their great master, cognizant of all human with £5, to interfere in preventing the players of feelings and sympathies; life was to them a scene the theatre called the Red Bull from performing of enjoyment and pleasure, and the exercise of the dramas of Shakspeare. One cause of the pre- their genius a source of refined delight and ambierence of Beaumont and Fletcher may have been tion. They were gentlemen who wrote for the the licence of their dramas (suited to the perverted stage as gentlemen have rarely done before or taste of the court of Charles II.), and the spirit of since. intrigue which they adopted from the Spanish stage, and naturalised on the English. "We can
Generosity of Cæsar. not deny,' remarks Hallam, 'that the depths of Ptolemy, king of Egypt, having secured the head of Pompey, Shakspeare's mind were often unfathomable by comes with his friends Achoreus and Photinus to present it to an audience; the bow was drawn by a matchless Cæsar, as a means of gaining his favour. To them enter Cæsar,
, . hand, but the shaft went out of sight. All might listen to Fletcher's pleasing, though not profound From kingly Ptolemy I bring this present,
Photinus. Do not shun me, Cæsar. or vigorous language ; his thoughts are noble, and The crown and sweat of thy Pharsalian labour, tinged with the ideality of romance; his metaphors The goal and mark of high ambitious honour. vivid, though sometimes too forced; he possesses Before, thy victory had no name, Cæsar ; the idiom of English without much pedantry, Thy travel, and thy loss of blood, no recompense ; though in many passages he strains it beyond Thou dream’dst of being worthy, and of war, common use; his versification, though studiously and all thy furious conflicts were but slumbers: irregular, is often rhythmical and sweet; yet we Here they take life; here they inherit honour, are seldom arrested by striking beauties. Good Grow fixed, and shoot up everlasting triumphs. lines occur in every page, fine ones but rarely. Take it, and look upon thy humble servant, We lay down the volume with a sense of admira- With noble eyes look on the princely Ptolemy, tion of what we have read, but little of it remains That offers with this head, most mighty Cæsar, distinctly in the memory. Fletcher is not much What thou wouldst once have given for 't–all'Egypt
Achoreus. Nor do not question it, most royal conqueror, quoted, and has not even afforded copious materials Nor disesteem the benefit that meets thee, to those who cull the beauties of ancient lore? Because 'tis easily got, it comes the safer : His comic powers are certainly far superior to Yet, let me tell thee, most imperious Cæsar, his tragic. Massinger impresses the reader more Though he opposed no strength of swords to win this, deeply, and has a moral beauty not possessed by | Nor laboured through no showers of darts and lances,
Yet here he found a fort, that faced him strongly, To send you for a present, king of Egypt,
I mean a head of equal reputation,
And that you loved, though 'twere your brightest And beaten from this kingdom by strong hand,
sister's And had none left him to restore his honour,
But her you hate-I would not be behind you. No hope to find a friend in such a misery,
Ptol. Hear me, great Cæsar! Then in stept Pompey, took his feeble fortune,
Cæsar. I have heard too much ; Strengthened and cherished it, and set it right again : And study not with smooth shows to invade This was a love to Cæsar.
My noble mind, as you have done my conquest : Sceva. Give me hate, gods !
You ’re poor and open. I must tell you roundly, Pko. This Cæsar may
account a little wicked ; That man that could not recompense the benefits, But yet remember, if thine own hands, conqueror, The great and bounteous services of Pompey, Had fallen upon him, what it had been then ;
Can never dote upon the name of Cæsar.
I gave you no commission to perform it.
Cæsar. O Sceva, Sceva, see that head! See, captains, My fortune never failing to befriend me,
My noble strengths, and friends about my person, Sce. He was basely ruined;
I durst not try you, nor expect a courtesy, But let the gods be grieved that suffered it,
Above the pious love you shewed to Pompey. And be you Cæsar.
You ’ve found me merciful in arguing with ye; Czsar. O thou conqueror,
Swords, hangmen, fires, destructions of all natures, Thou glory of the world once, now the pity;
Demolishments of kingdoms, and whole ruins,
And now you ’ve found the nature of a conqueror, The life and light of Rome to a blind stranger,
That you cannot decline, with all your flatteries, That honourable war ne'er taught a nobleness,
That where the day gives light, will be himself still ; Nor worthy circumstance shewed what a man was? Know how to meet his worth with humane courtesies ! That never heard thy name sung but in banquets, Go, and embalm those bones of that great soldier, And loose lascivious pleasures?
to a boy,
Howl round about his pile, fling on your spices, That had no faith to comprehend thy greatness,
Make a Sabæan bed, and place this phoenix No study of thy life to know thy goodness?
Where the hot sun may emulate his virtues, And leave thy nation, nay, thy noble friend,
And draw another Pompey from his ashes Leave him distrusted, that in tears falls with thee, Divinely great, and fix him ’mongst the worthies ! In soft relenting tears? Hear me, great Pompey; Plol. We will do all. If thy great spirit can hear, I must task thee !
Cæsar. You've robbed him of those tears Thou hast most unnobly robbed me of my victory, His kindred and his friends kept sacred for him, My love and mercy.
The virgins of their funeral lamentations ; Antony. Oh, how brave these tears shew !
And that kind earth that thought to cover himHow excellent is sorrow in an enemy!
His country's earth—will cry out 'gainst your cruelty, Dolabella. Glory appears not greater than this goodness. And weep unto the ocean for revenge,
Cæsar, Egyptians, dare ye think your highest pyramids, Till Nilus raise his seven heads and devour ye ! Built to outdure the sun, as you suppose,
My grief has stopt the rest! When Pompey lived, Where your unworthy kings lie raked in ashes, He used you nobly; now he's dead, use him so. Are monuments fit for him? No, brood of Nilus,
The False One, Act II. sc. I. Nothing can cover his high fame but heaven ; No pyramids set off his memories, But the eternal substance of his greatness, To which I leave him. Take the head away,
Grief of Aspatia for the Marriage of Amintor and
EVADNE, ASPATIA, DULA, and other Ladies.
[To Dula. thee :
Some of thy mirth into Aspatia. But great men may dissemble, 'tis held possible,
Aspatia. It were a timeless smile should prove my And be right glad of what they seem to weep for ;
Were pacifying the offended powers
With sacrifice, than now. This should have been And you that have been agents in this glory,
My night, and all your hands have been employed For our especial favour?
In giving me a spotless offering Ptolemy. We desire it.
To young Amintor's bed, as we are now Casar. And doubtless you expect rewards ?
For you : pardon, Evadne ; would my worth Sce. Let me give 'em.
Were great as yours, or that the king, or he, I'll give 'em such as Nature never dreamed of ; Or both thought so! Perhaps he found me worthless ; I'll beat him and his agents in a mortar,
But till he did so, in these ears of mineInto one man, and that one man I'll bake then.
These credulous ears—he poured the sweetest words Cæsar. Peace !-I forgive you all; that's recompense. That art or love could frame. You ’re young and ignorant; that pleads your pardon ; Evad. Nay, leave this sad talk, madam. And fear, it may be,
more than hate, provoked you. Asp. Would I could, then should I leave the cause. Your ministers, I must think, wanted judgment, Lay a garland on my hearse of the dismal yew. And so they erred : I'm bountiful to think this,
Evad. That 's one of your sad songs, madam.