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I have Authority for what I say :
For He himself says 80 that Writ the Play,
Though in the Muses Garden he can walk ;
And choicest flowers pluck from every stalk
To deck the Stage ; and purposeth, hereafter,
To take your Judgements : now he implores your laughter.

This boast Brome never succeeded in making good, for an analysis of the verse of his three tragi-comedies, in which he evidently expected to take our judgments, shows no more metrical skill than is apparent in the comedies of manners. His verse always averages rather poor, and shows carelessness and lack of ear. Every scene presents difficulties of scansion that frequently make the reader prefer to read the so-called verse as prose rather than take the trouble to determine the author's intention, if indeed, he had any. Lines of no rhythm at all are occasionally introduced, like these two in the Queen and Concubine (1. 1.):

I was i' the way : but the Queen put me out on't.
But what of him now in the battail ?

A very irritating rhythm that is a marked mannerism with Brome, is produced by a huddling of unstressed syllables in the middle of an eleven-or twelve-syllable line. For instance, in the first scene of the Antipodes, he allows the following:

Might make a gentleman mad you'll say and him.
And not so much by bodily physieke (no !)

Another effect that may become very annoying is caused by the jolt at the end of a line with a hovering stress on the tenth and eleventh syllables. For example:

With an odd Lord in towne, that looks like no Lord.
Some of your project searchers wait without sir.
With his old misbeliefe. But still we doubt not.

Another annoying point in Brome's rhythm is the uncertainty as to whether some twelve-syllable lines are Alexandrines, or lines with extra mid-line syllables, or lines with double feminine endings. For instance :

In competition for the crown as any man.
For you to rectifie your scrupulous judgement.
I am an old Courtier I, still true to th' Crown.

Other examples of carelessness in versification are the two fourteeners 'in the first scene of the Lovesick Court, and the occurrence, four times in Brome's work, of a word divided at the end of a line.1

This accusation of general carelessness in technique is not a random generalization based on the verse-writer's early work. I can find no indication of development in skill, no progress of any sort. The examples quoted below, of the best verse I can find in Brome, are both from plays written probably in 1635, the middle period of his production. The late plays, the Antipodes, Court Begger, and Jovial Crew show no attempts at remedying the faults of the early work. The number of feminine endings and of run-on lines shows some slight variation, but no regular chronological progress. In the use of a certain definite type of verse to introduce variety, the four-stress heroic line, or' ten-syllable tetrameter,' as Professor Cobb 2 calls it, there is again no evidence of increase or decrease in frequency. While Shakespeare's use of this, varying

1 Antipodes 2. 3 ; New Academy 4. 1 ; Queen's Exchange 1. 1; Weeding Covent Garden, Prologue. Shirley is guilty of this in the Cardinal 1. 2, and Jonson used it in a few doggerel passages.

2 C. W. Cobb, ‘A Type of Four-Stress Verse in Shakespeare,' New Shakespeareana 10. 1-15. Examples of this type in the Queen's Exchange l. l are :

Betwixt smooth flat ry and honest judgements.
Whom my great wisdom would allot the Queen.

from sixteen to six per cent, makes an added chronological verse-test possible, no such check can be found for Brome, whose use does not vary much from an average of eight per cent.

The model of Brome in his versification I think was Fletcher. The evidence of personal friendship between the two men, and of some influences in details, as well as in the general style of tragi-comedy,' makes the theory a priori not untenable. Among the distinguishing characteristics of the use of Fletcher given by Fleay ? are the large number of feminine endings, and the 'abundance of trisyllabic feet, so that his lines have to be felt rather than scanned; it is almost impossible to tell when Alexandrines are intended. Both these points are markedly characteristic of Brome's prosody. Professor C. H. Herford 3 has pointed out another distinguishing trait of Fletcher-that 'the pause after two emphatic monosyllables, the first of which bears the verse stress, is common within the line, as well as at the end, and is very rare in Shakespeare.' The use of this in the middle of the line I have not noticed in Brome, but the jolting effect of it at the end, which is a serviceable BeaumontFletcher test, 4 is one of the traits which I have tabulated as distinctly a mark of Brome.

The following table summarizes all these metrical peculiarities. It is based on the first hundred lines of six plays of different periods of Brome's work.

1 See above, pp. 20; 68. 2 Shakespeare Manual, p. 153. 3 Eversley edition, Works of Shakspere (1904) 7. 154, note 1.

4 In an examination of a thousand lines of the work that is assigned to Beaumont alone, on external evidence. I have found practically no cases of hovering stress on the tenth and eleventh syllables.

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After exhibiting Brome's faults as a versifier, it is only fair to quote a few passages of his best work. The following is from the Sparagus Garden (3. 5, P. 163):

You dare not sir blaspheme the virtuous use
Of sacred Poetry, nor the fame traduce
Of Poets, who not alone immortal be,
But can give others immortality.
Poets that can men into stars translate,
And hurle men down under the feet of Fate :
Twas not Achilles sword, but Homers pen,
That made brave Hector dye the best of men :
And if that powerful Homer likewise wou'd,
Hellen had beene a hagge, and Troy had stood.

Poets they are the life and death of things,
Queens give them honour, for the greatest Kings
Have bin their subjects.

Brome's best verse is to be found in the Queen's Exchange. The Shakespearian influence shown in situations and characters may also be felt occasionally in the verse. I quote two of the most effective passages:

At the same place again ?
If there be place, or I know any thing,
How is my willingness in search deluded ?

It is the Wood that rings with my complaint,
And mocking Echo makes her merry with it.
Curs'd be thy babling and mayst thou become
A sport for wanton boys in thy fond answers,
Or stay, perhaps it was some gentle Spirit
Hovering i’ th' air, that saw his flight to Heaven,
And would direct me thither after him.
Good reason, leave me not, but give me leave
A little to consider nearer home ;
Say his diviner part be taken up
To those celestial joys, where blessed ones
Find their inheritance of immorality.

(2. 3, p. 496.)
Ha ! Do hear or dream ? is this a sound,
Or is it but my fancy ? 'Tis the music,
The music of the Spheres that do applaud
My purpose of proceeding to the King.
I'l on ; but stay ; how ? What a strange benummednesse
Assails and siezes my exterior parts ?
And what a Chaos of confused thoughts
Does my imagination labour with ?
Till all have wrought themselves into a lump
Of heaviness, that falls upon mine eyes
So ponderously that it bows down my head,
Begins to curb the motion of my tongue,
And lays such weight of dulness on my Senses,
That my weak knees are doubling under me.
There is some charm upon me. Come thou forth
Thou sacred Relique ! suddenly dissolve it.
I sleep with deathlesse ? ; for if thus I fall,
My vow falls on me, and smites me into Ruine.
But who can stand against the power of Fate ?
Though we foreknow repentence comes too late.

(3. 1, p. 504.)


The ideas of decency in the seventeenth century were certainly very different from those of subsequent times. The numerous contributors to Jonsonus Virbius unite

1 A word seems to have dropped out here.

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