« PreviousContinue »
Breed him in virtue, and the paths of honour.
Pier. Is't fit a soldier, who has liv'd with honour, But never let him know his father's story:
Fought nations' quarrels, and been crown'd with conI charge thee, guard him from the wrongs my fate
quest, May do his future fortune or his name.
Be expos'd a common carcass, on a wheel? Now-nearer yet
Jaf. Hah! Oh, that my arms were riveted
Pier. Speak! is't fitting! Thus round thee ever! But my friends! my oath!
Jaf. Fitting? This, and no more.
(Kisses her. Picr. I'd have thee undertake Bel. Another, sure another,
Something that's noble, to preserve my memory
Capt. The day grows late, sir.
Pier. I'll make haste. Oh, Jaffier Bel. For ever?
Though thou hast betray'd me, do me someway justice. Jaf. Heav'n knows, for ever! all good angels guard Jaf. What's to be done ? thee!
Pier. This, and no more. [He whispers Jap. Bel. All ill ones, sure, had charge of me this moment. Jaf. Hah! is't then so! Oh, give me daggers, fire or water:
Pier. Most certainly. How I could bleed, how burn, how drown, the waves Jaf. i'll do't. Huzzing and foaming round my sinking head,
Pier. Remember. Till I descended to the peaceful bottom!
Capt. Sir Oh! there's all quiet-here, all rage and fury!
Pier. Come, now I'm ready. The air's too thin, and pierces my weak brain; Captain, you should be a gentleman of honour : I long for thick substantial sleep: Hell! helli | Keep off the rabble, that I may bave room Burst from the centre, rage and roar aloud,
To entertain my fate, and die with decency. If thou art half so hot, so mad as I am. (Exit. You'll think on't ?
Jaf. 'Twont grow stale before to-morrow. Scene-St Mark's Place-Scaffold and a Wheel prepared for
[PIERRE and JAFFIER ascend the scaffold. the Execution of PIERRE.
EXECUTIONER binds PIERRE. Enter CAPTAIN, PIERRE, GUARDS, EXECUTIONER, and Pier. Now, Jaffier ! now I'm going! Now Rabble.
Jaf. Have at thee,
Thou honest heart, then!—there [Stabs him.
[Stabs himself. Enter JAFFIER.
Pier. Now thou hast indeed been faithful ! Jaf. Oh, Pierre!
This was nobly done!-We have deceived the senate. Pier. Dear to my arms, though thou'st undone my Jaf. Bravely. fame,
Pier. Ha, ha, ha- oh! oh! I can't forget to love thee. Pr'ythee, Jaffier,
(Falls down on the scaffold, and dies. Forgive that filthy blow my passion dealt thee! Jaf. Now, ye curs'd rulers, I am now preparing for the land of peace,
Thus of the blood ye’ve shed, I make libation, And fain would have the charitable wishes
And sprinkle it mingling. May it rest upon you Of all good men, like thee, to bless my journey. And all your race. Oh, poor Belvidera! Capt. The time grows short; your friends are dead Sir, I have a wife; bear this in safety to her, already.
| A token that, with my dying breath, I bless'd her, Jaf. Dead!
And the dear little infant left behind me. Pier. Yes, dead, Jaffier; they've all died like men I'm sick-I'm quiet.
[The scene closes upon them. Worthy their character.
Scene-Apartment in Priuli's House. Jaf.' And what must I do?
Enter PRIULI, BELVIDERA distracted, and two of her Pier. Oh, Jaffier!
women. Jaf. Speak aloud thy burden'd soul,
Pri. Strengthen her heart with patience, pitying And tell thy troubles to thy tortur'd friend.
Heaven. Pier. Friend ! Couldst thou yet be a friend, a gene
Bel. Come, come, come, come, come ; nay, come to rous friend,
bed, I might hope comfort from thy noble sorrows.
Pr'ythee, my love. The winds ! hark how they whistle! Heaven knows I want a friend!
And the rain beats! Oh, how the weather shrinks me! Jaf. And I a kind one,
I say you shall not go ; you shall not: That would not thus scorn my repenting virtue,
Whip your ill-nature ; get you gone, then. Oh! Or think, when he's to die, my thoughts are idle.
Are you returned ? See, father, here he's come again : Pier. No! live, I charge thee, Jaffer.
Am I to blame to love him! O, thou dear one, Jaf. Yes, I will live:
Why do you fly me! are you angry still, then i But it shall be to see thy fall reveng'd,
Jaffier, where art thou ! Father, why do you do thus ! At such a rate, as Venice long shall groan for.
Stand off-don't hide him from me. He's there somePier. Wilt thou ?
where. Jaf. I will, by Heaven!
Stand off, I say! What! gone? Remember, tyrant, Pier. Then still thou'rt noble,
I may revenge myself for this trick one day.
Enter CAPTAIN, and whispers PRIULI.
Pri. News—what news!
Jaffier, upon the scaffold, to prevent
A shameful death, stabb'd Pierre, and next himself; I never saw thee melted thus before ;
Both fell together. And know there's something labouring in thy bosom, | Bel. Ha ! look there! That must have vent; though I'm a villain, tell me. My husband bloody, and his friend too! Murder !
Pier. Seest thou that engine ? [Pointing to the wheel. Who has done this? Speak to me, thou sad vision : Jaf. Why?
I On these poor trembling knees I beg it. Vanish'd !
Here they went down.-Oh, I'll dig, dig the den up! | With all his dreadful bristles raised on high ;
They seem'd a grove of spears upon his back :
| Whetting his huge long tusks, and gaping wide, My love! my dear! my blessing! help me! help me! | As he already had me for his prey; They've hold of me, and drag me to the bottom! Till, brandishing my well-pois d javelin high, Nay-now they pull so hard-farewell — [Dies. With this bold executing arm I struck Pri. Oh! lead me into some place that's fit for The ugly brindled monster to the heart.
mourning: Where the free air, light, and the cheerful sun, May never enter; hang it round with black,
NATHANIEL LEE. Set up one taper, that may light a day
Another tragic poet of this period was NATHANIEL As long as I've to live; and there all leave me: LEE, who possessed no small portion of the fire of geSparing no tears when you this tale relate,
nius, though unfortunately 'near allied' to madness. But bid all cruel fathers dread my fate.
Lee was the son of a Hertfordshire clergyman, and [Exeunt Omnes. received a classical education, first at Westminster
school, and afterwards at Trinity college, Cambridge. [Parting.]
He tried the stage both as an actor and author, Where am I? Sure I wander 'midst enchantment,
was four years in bedlam from wild insanity ; but
recovering his reason, resumed his labours as a draAnd never more shall find the way to rest.
matist, and though subject to fits of partial derangeBut O Monimia ! art thou indeed resolv'd To punish me with everlasting absence !
ment, continued to write till the end of his life. He Why turn'st thou from me! I'm alone already !
was the author of eleven tragedies, besides assisting Methinks I stand upon a naked beach
Dryden in the composition of two pieces, Ædipus Sighing to winds and to the seas complaining ;
and the Duke of Guise. The unfortunate poet was Whilst afar off the vessel sails away,
| in his latter days supported by charity: he died in Where all the treasure of my soul's embark'd !
London, and was buried in St Clement's church, Wilt thou not turn ! O could those eyes but speak !
| April 6, 1692. The best of Lee's tragedies are the I should know all, for love is pregnant in them !
Rival Queens, or Alexander the Great, Mithridates, They swell, they press their beams upon me still !
Theodosius, and Lucius Junius Brutus. In praising Wilt thou not speak ? If we must part for ever,
Alexander, Dryden alludes to the power of his friend Give me but one kind word to think upon,
in moving the passions, and counsels him to despise And please myself with, while my heart is breaking. those critics who condemn
The too much vigour of his youthful muse. [Picture of a Witch.]
We have here indicated the source both of Lee's Through a close lane as I pursued my journey,
strength and of his weakness. In tenderness and And meditating on the last night's vision,
genuine passion, he excels Dryden; but his style often I spied a wrinkled hag, with age grown double,
degenerates into bombast and extravagant frenzyPicking dry sticks, and mumbling to herself;
a defect which was heightened in his late productions Her eyes with scalding rheum were galld and red, by his mental malady. The author was aware of his And palsy shook her head ; her hands seemed wither'd; weakness. 'It has often been observed against me,' And on her crooked shoulder had she wrapp'd he says in his dedication of Theodosius, 'that I The tatter'd remnant of an old striped hanging, abound in ungoverned fancy; but I hope the world will Which served to keep her carcass from the cold. pardon the sallies of youth: age, despondency, and So there was nothing of a piece about her.
dulness, come too fast of themselves. I discommend Her lower weeds were all o'er coarsely patched no man for keeping the beaten road; but I am sure With different coloured rags--black, red, white, yellow, the noble hunters that follow the game must leap And seem'd to speak variety of wretchedness.
hedges and ditches sometimes, and run at all, or I ask'd her of the way, which she informed me; never come into the fall of a quarry. He wanted Then craved my charity, and bade me hasten
discretion to temper his tropical genius, and reduce To save a sister.
his poetical conceptions to consistency and order;
yet among his wild ardour and martial enthusiasm [Description of Morning.]
are very soft and graceful lines. Dryden himself has Wish'd Morning 's come ; and now upon the plains,
no finer image than the following : And distant mountains, where they feed their flocks, Speech is morning to the mind; The happy shepherds leave their homely huts,
It spreads the beauteous images abroad, And with their pipes proclaim the new-born day.
Which else lie furled and clouded in the soul. The lusty swain comes with his well-fill'd scrip Of healthful viands, which, when hunger calls,
Or this declaration of love :With much content and appetite he eats,
I disdain To follow in the field his daily toil,
All pomp when thou art by : far be the noise And dress the grateful glebe that yields him fruits. Of kings and courts from us, whose gentle souls The beasts that under the warm hedges slept,
Our kinder stars have steer'd another way, And weather'd out the cold bleak night, are up; Free as the forest-birds we'll pair together, And, looking towards the neighbouring pastures, raise Fly to the arbours, grots, and flowery meads, Their voice, and bid their fellow-brutes good morrow. And, in soft murmurs, interchange our souls : The cheerful birds, too, on the tops of trees,
Together drink the crystal of the stream, Assemble all in choirs; and with their notes
Or taste the yellow fruit which autumn yields ; Salute and welcome up the rising sun.
And when the golden evening calls us home,
Wing to our downy nest, and sleep till morn. [Killing a Boar.)
The heroic style of Lee (verging upon rhodomonForth from the thicket rush'd another boar,
tade) may be seen in such lines as the following, So large, he seem'd the tyrant of the woods, | descriptive of Junius Brutus throwing off his dis
guise of idiocy after the rape of Lucrece by Tar The violated genius of thy country quin :
Rears his sad head, and passes sentence on thee: As from night's womb the glorious day breaks forth,
This morning sun, that lights thy sorrows on
To the tribunal of this horrid vengeance,
Shall never sce thee more.
Tit. Alas! my lord,
Why art thou moved thus ? why am I worthy of thy
sorrow 1 I see the pillars of his kingdom totter: The rape of Lucrece is the midnight lantern
Why should the godlike Brutus shake to doom me? That lights my genius down to the foundation.
Why all these trappings for a traitor's hearse ? Leave me to work, my Titus, O my son !
The gods will have it so. For from this spark a lightning shall arise,
Bru. They will, my Titus; That must ere night purge all the Roman air,
Nor Heaven, nor earth, can have it otherwise ;
Nay, Titus, mark; the deeper that I search,
Methinks I see the very hand of fire
That whirl thee, like a machine, to thy fate; (Titus having joined the Tarquin conspiracy, is condemned
It seems as if the gods had pre-ordaind it, by his own father to suffer the death of a traitor. Brutus takes
| To fix the reeling spirits of the people, a last farewell of him.]
And settle the loose liberty of Rome. Brutus. Well, Titus, speak; how is it with thee now? 'Tis fix'd: 0, therefore, let not fancy fond thee : I would attend awhile this mighty motion,
So fix'd thy death, that 'tis not in the power Wait till the tempest were quite overblown,
Of gods or men to save thee from the axe. That I might take thee in the calm of nature
T'it. The axe? O heaven! Then must I fall so basely! With all thy gentler virtues brooding on thee. | What! Shall I perish by the common hangman ! So hush'd a stillness, as if all the gods
Bru. If thou deny me this, thou giv’st me nothing. Look'd down and listen'd to what we were saying: Yes, Titus, since the gods have so decreed Speak, then, and tell me, O my best beloved,
That I must lose thee, I will take th' advantage My son, my Titus, is all well again !
Of thy important fate-cement Rome's flaws, Titus. Só well, that saying how, must make it no And heal their wounded freedom with thy blood; thing;
I will ascend myself the sad tribunal,
The lictor's lashes bleed before the people;
See thy head taken by the common axe, Bru. How's that, my son I would death for thee be Without a groan, without one pitying tear, happy?
If that the gods can hold me to my purpose, Tit. Most certain, sir; for in my grave I 'scape To make my justice quite transcend example. All those affronts which I in life must look for,
Tit. Scourg'd like a bondman ? Ha! a beaten slave!
O sir, O Brutus, must I call you father,
Of cruel rigour? to behold me too?
To sit unmov'd and see me whipt to death? Where'er my melancholy thoughts shall guide me. Where are your bowels now? Is this a father?
Bru. But is not death a very dreadful thing! Ah! sir, why should you make my heart suspect Tit. Not to a mind resolv'd. No, sir; to me
That all your late compassion was dissembled ? It seems as natural as to be born:
How can I think that you did ever love me? Groans, and convulsions, and discolour'd faces,
Bru. Think that I love thee by my present passion, Friends weeping round us, blacks, and obsequies, By these unmanly tears, these earthquakes here, Make it a dreadful thing; the pomp of death
These sighs that twitch the very strings of life : Is far more terrible than death itself.
Think that no other cause on earth could move me Yes, sir; I call the powers of heaven to witness, To tremble thus, to sob, or shed a tear, Titus dares die, if so you have decreed ;
Nor shake my solid virtue from her point, Nay, he shall die with joy, to honour Brutus,
But Titus' death : 0, do not call it shameful, To make your justice famous through the world, That thus shall fix the glory of the world. And fix the liberty of Rome for ever.
I own thy sufferings ought t' unman me thus, Not but I must confess my weakness too:
To make me throw my body on the ground, Yet it is great thus to resolve against it,
To bellow like a beast, to gnaw the earth, To have the frailty of a mortal man,
To tear my hair, to curse the cruel fates But the security of the immortal gods,
That force a father thus to drag his bowels. Bru. O Titus, O thou absolute young man!
Tit. O rise, thou violated majesty, Thou flattering mirror of thy father's image,
Rise from the earth ; or I shall beg those fates Where I behold myself at such advantage !
Which you would curse, to bolt me to the centre. Thou perfect glory of the Junian race!
I now submit to all your threaten’d vengeance : Let me endear thee once more to my bosom ;
Come forth, you executioners of justice, Groan an eternal farewell to thy soul;
Nay, all you lictors, slaves, and common hangmen; Instead of tears, weep blood, if possible:
Come, strip me bare, unrobe me in his sight, Blood, the heart-blood of Brutus, on his child; And lash me till I bleed ; whip me like furies; For thou must die, my Titus ; die, my son :
And when you'll have scourg'd me till I foam and I swear the gods have doom'd thee to the grave.
For want of spirits, grovelling in the dust,
Pen. Against our oaths ? Then take my head, and give it his revenge:
I cannot stem the vengeance of the gods. By all the gods, I greedily resign it.
Thy. Here are no gods; they've left this dire abode. Bru. No more-farewell-eternally farewell :
Pen. True race of Tantalus ! who parent-like If there be gods, they will reserve a room,
Are doom'd in midst of plenty to be starved, A throne for thee in Heaven. One last embrace His hell and yours differ alone in this : What is it makes my eyes thus swim again?
When he would catch at joys, they fly from him;
When glories catch at you, you fly from them. [Self-Murder.]
Thy. A fit comparison ; our joys and his
Are lying shadows, which to trust is hell.
[Wishes for Obscurity.]
How miserable a thing is a great man ! Through the dark caves of death to wander on,
Take noisy vexing greatness they that please; Like wilder'd travellers, without a guide ;
Give me obscure and safe and silent ease. Eternal rovers in the gloomy maze,
Acquaintance and commerce let me have none Where scarce the twilight of an infant morn,
With any powerful thing but Time alone: By a faint glimmer check’ring through the trees,
My rest let Time be fearful to offend, Reflects to dismal view the walking ghosts,
And creep by me as by a slumbering friend;
Till, with ease glutted, to my bed I steal,
Oh, wretched he who, call'd abroad by power,
To know himself can never find an hour !
Strange to himself, but to all others known,
[Passions.) talent. The former is, indeed, founded on a repulsive classical story. Atreus invites his banished |
We oft by lightning read in darkest nights; brother, Thyestes, to the court of Argos, and there
And by your passions I read all your natures, at a banquet sets before him the mangled limbs and
Though you at other times can keep them dark. blood of his own son, of which the father unconciously partakes. The return of Thyestes from his
[Love in Women.] retirement, with the fears and misgivings which fol These are great maxims, sir, it is confess'd; low, are vividly described:
Too stately for a woman's narrow breast.
Poor love is lost in men's capacious minds;
In ours, it fills up all the room it finds.
[Inconstancy of the Multitude.] I feel my lov'd long look'd-for native soil !
I'll not such favour to rebellion show, And oh ! my weary eyes, that all the day
To wear a crown the people do bestow; Had from some mountain travellid toward this place,
Who, when their giddy violence is past, Now rest themselves upon the royal towers
Shall from the king, the Ador'd, revolt at last; Of that great palace where I had my birth.
And then the throne they gave they shall invade, O sacred towers, sacred in your height,
And scorn the idol which themselves have made. Mingling with clouds, the villas of the gods, Whither for sacred pleasures they retire :
[Warriors.) Sacred, because you are the work of gods ; Your lofty looks boast your divine descent;
I hate these potent madmen, who keep all And the proud city which lies at your feet,
Mankind awake, while they, by their great deeds, And would give place to nothing but to you,
Are drumming hard upon this hollow world, Owns her original is short of yours.
Only to make a sound to last for ages.
LIAM WYCHERLEY-MRS APHRA BEHN.
A more popular rival and enemy of Dryden was Phil. What ails my father that he stops, and shakes. THOMAS SHADWELL (1640–1692), who also wrote And now retires ?
seventeen plays, chiefly comedies, in which he affected Thy. Return with me, my son,
to follow Ben Jonson. Shadwell, though only known And old friend Peneus, to the honest beasts,
now as the Mac-Flecknoe of Dryden's satire, possessed And faithful desert, and well-seated caves;
no inconsiderable comic power. His pictures of Trees shelter man, by whom they often die,
society are too coarse for quotation, but they are And never seek revenge ; no villany
often true and well-drawn. When the Revolution Lies in the prospect of a humble cave.
threw Dryden and other excessive loyalists into the Pen. Talk you of villany, of foes, and fraud ? shade, Shadwell was promoted to the office of poetThy. I talk of Atreus.
laureate. SIR GEORGE ETHEREGE (1636–1694) gave Pen. What are these to him
a more sprightly air to the comic drama by his Man Thy. Nearer than I am, for they are himself. | of Mode or Sir Fopling Flutter, a play which contains Pen. Gods drive these impious thoughts out of your the first runnings of that vein of lively humour and mind.
witty dialogue which were afterwards displayed by Thy. The gods for all our safety put them there. Congreve and Farquhar. Sir George was a gay Return, return with me.
I libertine, and whilst taking leave of a festive party
one evening at his house in Ratisbon (where he re- Should I your friendship and my honour rate
Enter the five villains with drawn swords.
1st Villain, pulling of his vizard.—Bruce, look on me, gaily upon town.' Pope says he had .a true noble
and then prepare to die. man look,' and he was one of the favourites of the
Bruce. O treacherous villain ! abandoned Duchess of Cleveland. He wrote various
1st Villain. Fall on and sacrifice his blood to my comedies, Love in a Wood (1672), the Gentleman
revenge. Dancing Master (1673), the Country Wife (1675), and
Lovis. More hearts than one shall bleed if he must the Plain Dealer (1677). In 1704 he published a
[They fight. volume of miscellaneous poems, of which it has been
Enter BEAUFORT and SIR FREDERICK. said 'the style and versification are beneath criti Bear. Heavens ! what is this I see? Sir Frederick, cism ; the morals are those of Rochester.' In ad
draw. vanced age, Wycherley continued to exhibit the follies Their blood's too good to grace such villains' swords. and vices of youth. His name, however, stood high Courage, brave men; now we can match their force ! as a dramatist, and Pope was proud to receive the Lovis. We'll make you slaves repent this treachery. notice of the author of the Country Wife.' Their
[The villains run. published correspondence is well-known, and is in Bruce. They are not worth pursuit; we'll let them teresting from the marked superiority maintained
go. in their intercourse by the boy-poet of sixteen over Brave men ! this action makes it well appear his mentor of sixty-four. The pupil grew too great 'Tis honour, and not envy, brings you here. for his master, and the unnatural friendship was Beau. We come to conquer, Bruce, and not to see dissolved. At the age of seventy-five, Wycherley mar- Such villains rob us of our victory. ried a young girl, in order to defeat the expectations | Your lives our fatal swords claim as their due; of his nephew, and died ten days afterwards, in We'd wrong'd ourselves had we not righted you. December 1715. The subjects of most of Wycherley's plays were borrowed from the Spanish or French
Song. stage. He wrought up his dialogues and scenes
[In Mrs Behn's • Abdelazer, or the Moor's Revenge. ] with great care, and with considerable liveliness and wit, but without sufficient attention to character or
Love in fantastic triumph sat, probability. Destitute himself of moral feeling or Whilst bleeding hearts around him flow'd, propriety of conduct, his characters are equally
For whom fresh pains he did create, objectionable, and his once fashionable plays may be And strange tyrannic power he show'd. said to be quietly inurned' in their own corruption From thy bright eyes he took his fires, and profligacy. A female Wycherley appeared in
Which round about in sport he hurl'd; MRS APPRA BEHN, celebrated in her day under the
But 'twas from mine he took desires name of Astræa
Enough t' undo the amorous world.
From me he took his sighs and tears,
From thee his pride and cruelty ;
From me his languishment and fears, The comedies of Mrs Behn are grossly indelicate ;
And every killing dart from thee : and of the whole seventeen which she wrote (besides
Thus thou, and I, the god have arm’d, various novels and poems), not one is now read or And set him up a deity; remembered. The history of Mrs Behn is remarkable.
But my poor heart alone is harm'd, She was daughter of the governor of Surinam, where While thine the victor is, and free. she resided some time, and became acquainted with Prince Oroonoko, on whose story she founded a MISCELLANEOUS PIECES OF THE PERIOD 1649-1689. novel, that supplied Southerne with materials for a tragedy on the unhappy fate of the African prince.
[Hallo my Fancy.] She was employed as a political spy by Charles II.,
[Anonymous.] and, while residing at Antwerp, she was enabled, by
In melancholic fancy, the aid of her lovers and admirers, to give infor
Out of myself, mation to the British government as to the intended
In the vulcan dancy,
All the world surveying,
Just like a fairy elf; [Scene from Sir George Etherege's Comical Revenge.] Out o'er the tops of highest mountains skipping, [A portion of this comedy is written in rhyme. Although Out o'er the hills, the trees and valleys tripping, the versification of the French dramatic poets is mostly so,
Out o'er the ocean seas, without an oar or shipping. its effect in our own language is far from good, especially in
Hallo my fancy, whither wilt thou go i passages of rapid action. In the following scene, the hero and
Amidst the misty vapours, bis second arrived at the place of meeting for a duel; but are
Fain would I know set upon by hired assassins. Their adversaries opportunely
What doth cause the tapers ; appear, and set upon them.]
Why the clouds benight us.
And affright us,
While we travel here below.
And what these lightnings be that rend the clouds Your present happiness, your future joy;
asunder, You for the hopeless your great hopes destroy. And what these comets are on which we gaze and
Lovis. What can I'venture for so brave a friend ! wonder. ( have no hopes but what on you depend.
Hallo my fancy, whither wilt thou go !