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Did signify; and how all, order'd thus,
Express'd his grief: and to my thoughts did read
The prettiest lecture of his country art
That could be wish'd; so that methought I could
Have studied it. I gladly entertain'd him
Who was as glad to follow.


TO 1649.

profound or vigorous, language; his thoughts are noble, and tinged with the ideality of romance; his metaphors vivid, though sometimes too forced; he possesses the idiom of English without much pedantry, though in many passages he strains it beyond common use; his versification, though studiously irregular, is often rhythmical and sweet; yet we The Maid's Tragedy, supposed to be written about are seldom arrested by striking beauties. Good lines the same time, is a drama of a powerful but un- occur in every page, fine ones but rarely. We lay pleasing character. The purity of female virtue in down the volume with a sense of admiration of what Amintor and Aspatia, is well contrasted with the we have read, but little of it remains distinctly in guilty boldness of Evadne; and the rough soldier- the memory. Fletcher is not much quoted, and has like bearing and manly feeling of Melantius, render not even afforded copious materials to those who cull the selfish sensuality of the king more hateful and the beauties of ancient lore.' His comic powers are disgusting. Unfortunately, there is much licentious- certainly far superior to his tragic. Massinger imness in this fine play-whole scenes and dialogues presses the reader more deeply, and has a moral are disfigured by this master vice of the theatre of beauty not possessed by Beaumont and Fletcher, but Beaumont and Fletcher. Their dramas are a rank in comedy he falls infinitely below them. Though unweeded garden,' which grew only the more disor- their characters are deficient in variety, their knowderly and vicious as it advanced to maturity. Flet-ledge of stage-effect and contrivance, their fertility cher must bear the chief blame of this defect, for he of invention, and the airy liveliness of their dialogue, wrote longer than his associate, and is generally give the charm of novelty and interest to their understood to have been the most copious and fertile scenes. Mr Macaulay considers that the models composer. Before Beaumont's death, they had, in which Fletcher had principally in his eye, even for addition to Philaster,' and the Maid's Tragedy,' his most serious and elevated compositions, were not produced King and no King, Bonduca, The Laws of Shakspeare's tragedies, but his comedies. 'It was Candy (tragedies); and The Woman Hater, The these, with their idealised truth of character, their Knight of the Burning Pestle, The Honest Man's For- poetic beauty of imagery, their mixture of the grave tune, The Corcomb, and The Captain (comedies). Flet- with the playful in thought, their rapid yet skilful cher afterwards produced three tragic dramas, and transitions from the tragic to the comic in feeling; nine comedies, the best of which are, The Chances, it was these, the pictures in which Shakspeare had The Spanish Curate, The Beggar's Bush, and Rule a made his nearest approach to portraying actual life, Wife and Have a Wife. He also wrote an exquisite and not those pieces in which he transports the imapastoral drama, The Faithful Shepherdess, which Mil-gination into his own vast and awful world of tragic ton followed pretty closely in the design, and partly action, and suffering, and emotion-that attracted in the language and imagery, of Comus. A higher Fletcher's fancy, and proved congenial to his cast of though more doubtful honour has been assigned to feeling.' This observation is strikingly just, applied the twin authors; for Shakspeare is said to have to Shakspeare's mixed comedies or plays, like the assisted them in the composition of one of their works, Twelfth Night,' the 'Winter's Tale,' As You Like The Two Noble Kinsmen, and his name is joined with It,' &c. The rich and genial comedy of Falstaff, ShalFletcher's on the title page of the first edition. The low, and Slender, was not imitated by Fletcher. His bookseller's authority in such matters is of no weight; Knight of the Burning Pestle' is an admirable burand it seems unlikely that our great poet, after the lesque of the false taste of the citizens of London for production of some of his best dramas, should enter chivalrous and romantic adventures, without regard into a partnership of this description. The Two to situation or probability. On the whole, the dramas Noble Kinsmen' is certainly not superior to some of of Beaumont and Fletcher impress us with a high the other plays of Beaumont and Fletcher. idea of their powers as poets and dramatists. The vast variety and luxuriance of their genius seem to elevate them above Jonson, though they were destitute of his regularity and solidity, and to place them on the borders of the 'magic circle' of Shakspeare. The confidence and buoyancy of youth are visible in their productions. They had not tasted of adversity, like Jonson or Massinger; and they had not the profoundly-meditative spirit of their great master, cognisant of all human feelings and sympathies; life was to them a scene of enjoyment and pleasure, and the exercise of their genius a source of refined delight and ambition. They were gentlemen who wrote for the stage, as gentlemen have rarely done before or since.

The genius of Beaumont is said to have been more correct, and more strongly inclined to tragedy, than that of his friend. The later works of Fletcher are chiefly of a comic character. His plots are sometimes inartificial and loosely connected, but he is always lively and entertaining. There is a rapid succession of incidents, and the dialogue is witty, elegant, and amusing. Dryden considered that they understood and imitated the conversation of gentlemen much better than Shakspeare; and he states that their plays were, in his day, the most pleasant and frequent entertainments of the stage; two of theirs being acted through the year, for one of Shakspeare's or Jonson's.' It was different some forty years previous to this. In 1627, the King's Company bribed the Master of the Revels with £5, to interfere in preventing the players of the theatre called the Red Bull, from performing the dramas of Shakspeare. One cause of the preference of Beaumont and Fletcher, may have been the license of their dramas, suited to the perverted taste of the court of Charles II., and the spirit of intrigue which they adopted from the Spanish stage, and naturalised on the English. We cannot deny,' remarks Hallam, 'that the depths of Shakspeare's mind were often unfathomable by an audience; the bow was drawn by a matchless hand, but the shaft went out of sight. All might listen to Fletcher's pleasing, though not

[Generosity of Caesar.]

[Ptolemy, king of Egypt, having secured the head of Pompey, comes with his friends Achoreus and Photinus to present it to Cæsar, as a means of gaining his favour. To them enter Cæsar, Antony, Dolabella, and Sceva.]

Pho. Do not shun me, Cæsar.
From kingly Ptolemy I bring this present,
The crown and sweat of thy Pharsalian labour,
The goal and mark of high ambitious honour.
Before, thy victory had no name, Cæsar,
Thy travel and thy loss of blood, no recompense;
Thou dream'dst of being worthy, and of war,

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And all thy furious conflicts were but slumbers:
Here they take life; here they inherit honour,
Grow fix'd, and shoot up everlasting triumphs.
Take it, and look upon thy humble servant,
With noble eyes look on the princely Ptolemy,
hat offers with this head, most mighty Cæsar,
What thou wouldst once have given for't, all Egypt.
Ach. Nor do not question it, most royal conqueror,
Nor disesteem the benefit that meets thee,
Because 'tis easily got, it comes the safer:
Yet, let me tell thee, most imperious Cæsar,
Though he oppos'd no strength of swords to win this,
Nor labour'd through no showers of darts and lances,
Yet here he found a fort, that faced him strongly,
An inward war: He was his grandsire's guest,
Friend to his father, and when he was expell'd
And beaten from this kingdom by strong hand,
And had none left him to restore his honour,
No hope to find a friend in such a misery,
Then in stept Pompey, took his feeble fortune,
Strengthen'd, and cherish'd it, and set it right again:
This was a love to Cæsar.

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Casar. Oh thou conqueror,

Thou glory of the world once, now the pity;
Thou awe of nations, wherefore didst thou fall thus ?
What poor fate follow'd thee and pluck'd thee on
To trust thy sacred life to an Egyptian?
The life and light of Rome to a blind stranger,
That honourable war ne'er taught a nobleness,
Nor worthy circumstance show'd what a man was?
That never heard thy name sung but in banquets,
And loose lascivious pleasures? to a boy,
That had no faith to comprehend thy greatness,
No study of thy life to know thy goodness?
And leave thy nation, nay, thy noble friend,
Leave him distrusted, that in tears falls with thee,
In soft relenting tears? Hear me, great Pompey;
If thy great spirit can hear, I must task thee!
Th' hast most unnobly robb'd me of my victory,
My love and mercy.

Ant. Oh, how brave these tears show! How excellent is sorrow in an enemy!

Dol. Glory appears not greater than this goodness. Casar. Egyptians, dare ye think your highest pyra


Built to outdare the sun, as you suppose,
Where your unworthy kings lie rak'd in ashes,
Are monuments fit for him? No; brood of Nilus,
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,
And, with the body, give it noble burial :
Your earth shall now be bless'd to hold a Roman,
Whose braveries all the world's earth cannot balance.

Sce. If thou be'st thus loving, I shall honour thee:
But great men may dissemble, 'tis held possible,
And be right glad of what they seem to weep for;
There are such kind of philosophers. Now do I wonder
How he would lock if Pompey were alive again;
But how he'd set his face.


Cæsar. You look now, king,

And you that have been agents in this glory, For our especial favour?

Ptol. We desire it.

Cæsar. And doubtless you expect rewards? Sce. Let me give 'em :

I'll give 'em such as Nature never dream'd of;
I'll beat him and his agents in a mortar,

Into one man, and that one man I'll bake then.
Cæsar. Peace!-I forgive you all; that's recom-


You're young and ignorant; that pleads your pardon;
And fear, it may be, more than hate, provok'd you.
Your ministers, I must think, wanted judgment,
And so they err'd: I'm bountiful to think this,
Believe me, most bountiful. Be you most thankful;
That bounty share amongst ye. If I knew what
To send you for a present, king of Egypt,
I mean a head of equal reputation,

And that you lov'd, tho' 'twere your brightest sister's
(But her you hate), I would not be behind you.
Ptol. Hear me, great Cæsar!

Cæsar. I have heard too much;

And study not with smooth shows to invade
My noble mind, as you have done my conquest:
You're poor and open. I must tell you roundly,
That man that could not recompense the benefits,
The great and bounteous services of Pompey,
Can never dote upon the name of Cæsar.
Though I had hated Pompey, and allow'd his ruin,
I gave you no commission to perform it.
Hasty to please in blood are seldom trusty;
And, but I stand environ'd with my victories,
My fortune never failing to befriend me,
My noble strengths, and friends about my person,
I durst not try you, nor expect a courtesy,
Above the pious love you show'd to Pompey.
You've found me merciful in arguing with ye;
Swords, hangmen, fires, destructions of all natures,
Demolishments of kingdoms, and whole ruins,
Are wont to be my orators. Turn to tears,
You wretched and poor reeds of sun-burnt Egypt,
And now you've found the nature of a conqueror,
That you cannot decline, with all your flatteries,
That where the day gives light, will be himself still;
Know how to meet his worth with humane courtesies!
Go, and embalm those bones of that great soldier,
Howl round about his pile, fling on your spices,
Make a Sabean bed, and place this phenix
Where the hot sun may emulate his virtues,
And draw another Pompey from his ashes
Divinely great, and fix him 'mongst the worthies!
Ptol. We will do all.

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My night, and all your hands have been employ'd
In giving me a spotless offering

To young Amintor's bed, as we are now
For you: pardon, Evadne; would my worth
Were great as yours, or that the king, or he,
Or both thought so; perhaps he found me worthless;
But till he did so, in these ears of mine
(These credulous ears) he pour'd the sweetest words
That art or love could frame.

Erad. Nay, leave this sad talk, madam. Asp. Would I could, then should I leave the cause. Lay a garland on my hearse of the dismal yew. Erad. That's one of your sad songs, madam. Asp. Believe me, 'tis a very pretty one. Evad. How is it, madam?

Asp. Lay a garland on my hearse
Of the dismal yew;
Maidens, willow branches bear,
Say I died true.
My love was false, but I was firm,
From my hour of birth;
Upon my buried body lie
Lightly, gentle earth!
Madam, good night; may no discontent
Grow 'twixt your love and you; but if there do,
Inquire of me, and I will guide your moan,
Teach you an artificial way to grieve,
To keep your sorrow waking. Love your lord
No worse than I; but if you love so well,
Alas! you may displease him; so did I.
This is the last time you shall look on me:
Ladies, farewell; as soon as I am dead,
Come all and watch one night about my hearse;
Bring each a mournful story and a tear
To offer at it when I go to earth:
With flattering ivy clasp my coffin round,
Write on my brow my fortune, let my bier
Be borne by virgins that shall sing by course
The truth of maids and perjuries of men.
Evad. Alas! I pity thee.

[Amintor enters. Asp. Go and be happy in your lady's love;

[To Amintor.

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And to that destiny have patiently

Laid up my hour to come.

Pal. Oh, cousin Arcite,

Where is Thebes now? where is our noble country?
Where are our friends and kindreds ? never more
Must we behold those comforts, never see
The hardy youths strive for the games of honour,
Hung with the painted favours of their ladies,
Like tall ships under sail; then start amongst them,
And as an east wind leave them all behind us
Like lazy clouds, whilst Palamon and Arcite,
Even in the wagging of a wanton leg,
Outstript the people's praises, won the garlands
Ere they have time to wish them ours. Oh, never

Shall we two exercise, like twins of honour,
Our arms again, and feel our fiery horses
Like proud seas under us, our good swords now
(Better the red-eyed god of war ne'er wore)
Ravish'd our sides, like age, must run to rust,
And deck the temples of those gods that hate us;
These hands shall never draw them out like lightning
To blast whole armies more!
Arc. No, Palamon,

Those hopes are prisoners with us; here we are,
And here the graces of our youths must wither
Like a too timely spring; here age must find us,
And (which is heaviest) Palamon, unmarried;
The sweet embraces of a loving wife
Loaden with kisses, arm'd with thousand Cupids,
Shall never clasp our necks, no issue know us,
No figures of ourselves shall we e'er see,

To glad our age, and like young eagles teach them
Boldly to gaze against bright arms, and say,
'Remember what your fathers were, and conquer.'
The fair-eyed maids shall weep our banishments,
And in their songs curse ever-blinded Fortune,
Till she for shame see what a wrong she has done
To youth and nature. This is all our world :
We shall know nothing here but one another;
Hear nothing but the clock that tells our woes.
The vine shall grow, but we shall never see it :
Summer shall come, and with her all delights,
But dead-cold winter must inhabit here still.

Pal. 'Tis too true, Arcite. To our Theban hounds That shook the aged forest with their echoes, No more now must we halloo, no more shake Our pointed javelins, whilst the angry swine Flies like a Parthian quiver from our rages, Struck with our well-steel'd darts. All valiant uses (The food and nourishment of noble minds) In us two here shall perish: we shall die (Which is the curse of honour) lastly Children of grief and ignorance.

Arc. Yet, cousin,

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Pal. How, gentle cousin?

Arc. Let's think this prison holy sanctuary, To keep us from corruption of worse men!

We are young, and yet desire the ways of honour, That liberty and common conversation,

The poison of pure spirits, might (like women) Woo us to wander from. What worthy blessing Can be, but our imaginations

May make it ours? And here being thus together,
We are an endless mine to one another;
We are one another's wife, ever begetting

New births of love; we are father, friends, acquaint


We are, in one another, families;

I am your heir, and you are mine. This place
Is our inheritance; no hard oppressor

Dare take this from us; here, with a little patience,
We shall live long, and loving; no surfeits seek us;
The hand of war hurts none here, nor the seas
Swallow their youth. Were we at liberty,

A wife might part us lawfully, or business;
Quarrels consume us; envy of ill men
Crave our acquaintance; I might sicken, cousin,
Where you should never know it, and so perish
Without your noble hand to close mine eyes,
Or prayers to the gods: a thousand chances,
Were we from hence, would sever us.

Pal. You have made me

(I thank you, cousin Arcite) almost wanton

With my captivity: what a misery

It is to live abroad, and everywhere!

'Tis like a beast, methinks! I find the court here, I'm sure, a more content; and all those pleasures, That woo the wills of men to vanity,

I see through now; and am sufficient

To tell the world, 'tis but a gaudy shadow,
That old Time, as he passes by, takes with him.
What had we been, old in the court of Creon,
Where sin is justice, lust and ignorance
The virtues of the great ones? Cousin Arcite,
Had not the loving gods found this place for us,
We had died, as they do, ill old men, unwept,
And had their epitaphs, the people's curses.
The Two Noble Kinsmen.

[Disinterestedness of Biancha.]

[From the Fair Maid of the Inn.'] Enter CESARIO and a SERVANT.

Cesa. Let any friend have entrance. Serv. Sir, a' shall.

Cesa. Any; I except none.

Serv. We know your mind, sir.


Cesa. Pleasures admit no bounds. I'm pitch'd so high,

To such a growth of full prosperities,
That to conceal my fortunes were an injury
To gratefulness, and those more liberal favours
By whom my glories prosper. He that flows
In gracious and swoln tides of blest abundance,
Yet will be ignorant of his own fortunes,
Deserves to live contemn'd, and die forgotten:
The harvest of my hopes is now already
Ripen'd and gather'd; I can fatten youth
With choice of plenty, and supplies of comforts;
My fate springs in my own hand, and I'll use it.
Enter two SERVANTS, and BIANCHA.

1st. Serv. 'Tis my place.

2d. Serv. Yours? Here, fair one; I'll acquaint My lord.

1st. Serv. He's here; go to him boldly.

2d. Serv. Please you

To let him understand how readily

I waited on your errand!

1st. Serv. Saucy fellow!

You must excuse his breeding.
Cesa. What's the matter?

Biancha! my Biancha?—To your offices!

[Exeunt Serv.
This visit, sweet, from thee, my pretty dear,
By how much more 'twas unexpected, comes
So much the more timely: witness this free welcome,
Whate'er occasion led thee!

Bian. You may guess, sir;
Yet, indeed, 'tis a rare one.
Cesa. Prithee, speak it,
My honest virtuous maid.
Bian. Sir, I have heard

Of your misfortunes; and I cannot tell you
Whether I have more cause of joy or sadness,
To know they are a truth.

Cea. What truth, Biancha?
Misfortunes-how ?-wherein ?

Bian, You are disclaim'd

For being the lord Alberto's son, and publicly Acknowledg'd of as mean a birth as mine is: It cannot choose but grieve you.

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That I might turn more fool to lend attention
To what I durst not credit, nor yet hope for;
Yet still as more I heard, I wish'd to hear more.
Cesa. Didst thou in troth, wench?

Bian. Willingly betray'd

Myself to hopeless bondage.
Cesa. A good girl!

I thought I should not miss, whate'er thy answer was.
Bian. But as I am a maid, sir, (and i' faith
You may believe me, for I am a maid),
So dearly I respected both your fame
And quality, that I would first have perish'd
In my sick thoughts, than ere have given consent
To have undone your fortunes, by inviting
A marriage with so mean a one as I am:

I should have died sure, and no creature known
The sickness that had kill'd me.

Cesa. Pretty heart!

Good soul, alas, alas!

Bian. Now since I know

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Then I am lost again! I have a suit too; You'll grant it, if you be a good man. Cesa. Anything.

Bian. Pray do not talk of aught what I have said t'ye. That sleeping lies in a deep glade,
Cesa. As I wish health, I will not!
Bian. Pity me;

Under a broad beech's shade.
I must go, I must run,
Swifter than the fiery sun.

But never love me more!

Clor. And all my fears go with thee.
What greatness, or what private hidden power,
Is there in me to draw submission

Cesa. Nay, now you're cruel:

Why all these tears?—Thou shalt not go.

Bian. I'll pray for you,

That you may have a virtuous wife, a fair one; And when I'm dead

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Satyr. Through yon same bending plain That flings his arms down to the main, And through these thick woods have I run, Whose bottom never kiss'd the sun. Since the lusty spring began, All to please my master Pan, Have trotted without rest, To get him fruit; for at a feast He entertains, this coming night, His paramour the Syrinx bright: But behold a fairer sight! By that heavenly form of thine, Brightest fair, thou art divine, Sprung from great immortal race Of the gods, for in thy face Shines more awful majesty Than dull weak mortality Dare with misty eyes behold, And live therefore on this mould Lowly do I bend my knee In worship of thy deity. Deign it, goddess, from my hand To receive whate'er this land From her fertile womb doth send Of her choice fruits; and but lend Belief to that the Satyr tells, Fairer by the famous wells To this present day ne'er grew, Never better, nor more true. Here be grapes whose lusty blood Is the learned poet's good,

Sweeter yet did never crown

The head of Bacchus; nuts more brown
Than the squirrel whose teeth crack them;
Deign, O fairest fair, to take them:
For these, black-eyed Driope
Hath oftentimes commanded me
With my clasped knee to climb.
See how well the lusty time
Hath deck'd their rising cheeks in red,
Such as on your lips is spread.
Here be berries for a queen,
Some be red, some be green;
These are of that luscious meat
The great god Pan himself doth eat:
All these, and what the woods can yield,

The hanging mountain or the field,

I freely offer, and ere long

Will bring you more, more sweet and strong; Till when, humbly leave I take,

Lest the great Pan do awake,

From this rude man and beast? sure I am mortal;
The daughter of a shepherd; he was mortal,
And she that bore me mortal; prick my hand
And it will bleed; a fever shakes me, and


The self-same wind that makes the young lambs shrink,
Makes me a-cold: my fear says I am mortal:
Yet I have heard (my mother told it me),
And now I do believe it, if I keep

My virgin flower uncropt, pure, chaste, and fair,
No goblin, wood-god, fairy, elf, or fiend,
Satyr, or other power that haunts the groves,
Shall hurt my body, or by vain illusion
Draw me to wander after idle fires,

Or voices calling me in dead of night
To make me follow, and so tole me on
Through mire and standing pools, to find my ruin.
Else why should this rough thing, who never knew
Manners nor smooth humanity, whose heats
Are rougher than himself, and more misshapen,
Thus mildly kneel to me? Sure there's a power
In that great name of Virgin, that binds fast
All rude uncivil bloods, all appetites
That break their confines. Then, strong Chastity,
Be thou my strongest guard; for here I'll dwell
In opposition against fate and hell.

PERIGOT and AMOREт appoint to meet at the Virtuous Well.

Peri. Stay, gentle Amoret, thou fair-brow'd maid, Thy shepherd prays thee stay, that holds thee dear, Equal with his soul's good.

Amo. Speak, I give

Thee freedom, shepherd, and thy tongue be still
The same it ever was, as free from ill,
As he whose conversation never knew
The court or city, be thou ever truc.

Peri. When I fall off from my affection,
Or mingle my clean thoughts with ill desires,
First let our great God cease to keep my flocks,
That being left alone without a guard,
The wolf, or winter's rage, summer's great heat,
And want of water, rots, or what to us

Of ill is yet unknown, fall speedily,
And in their general ruin let me go.

Amo. I pray thee, gentle shepherd, wish not so:

I do believe thee, 'tis as hard for me

To think thee false, and harder than for thee To hold me foul.

Peri. O you are fairer far

Than the chaste blushing morn, or that fair star
That guides the wand'ring seamen through the deep,
Straiter than straitest pine upon the steep

Head of an aged mountain, and more white
Than the new milk we strip before daylight
From the full-freighted bags of our fair flocks.
Your hair more beauteous than those hanging locks
Of young Apollo.

Amo. Shepherd, be not lost,

Y'are sail'd too far already from the coast
Of our discourse.

Peri. Did you not tell me once

I should not love alone, I should not lose
Those many passions, vows, and holy oaths,

I've sent to heaven? Did you not give your hand,

Even that fair hand, in hostage? Do not then
Give back again those sweets to other men
You yourself vow'd were mine.

Amo. Shepherd, so far as maiden's modesty
May give assurance, I am once more thine,

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