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in the memory. But his mind was poctical; his better characters, especially females, express pure thoughts in pure language; he is never tumid or affected, and seldom obscure; the incidents succeed rapidly, the personages are numerous, and there is a general animation in the scenes, which causes us to read him with some pleasure. No very good play, nor possibly any very good scene, could be found in Shirley; but he has many lines of considerable beauty. Of these fine lines, Dr Farmer, in his Essay on the Learning of Shakspeare,' quoted perhaps the most beautiful, being part of Fernando's description, in the 'Brothers,' of the charms of his mistress :
Her eye did seem to labour with a tear,
In the same vein of delicate fancy and feeling is the following passage in the Grateful Servant, where Cleona learns of the existence of Foscari, from her page Dulcino:
Cle. The day breaks glorious to my darken'd thoughts. He lives, he lives yet! Cease, ye amorous fears, More to perplex me. Prithee speak, sweet youth; How fares my lord? Upon my virgin heart I'll build a flaming altar, to offer up
A thankful sacrifice for his return
To life and me. Speak, and increase my comforts. Is he in perfect health?
Dul. Not perfect, madam,
Until you bless him with the knowledge of
Cle. O get thee wings and fly then;
Relate his gestures when he gave thee this.
Cle. The sun's lov'd flower, that shuts his yellow
When he declineth, opens it again
At his fair rising with my parting lord I clos'd all my delight; till his approach It shall not spread itself.
The Prodigal Lady. [From the 'Lady of Pleasure."]
ARETINA and the STEWARD.
Stew. Be patient, madam, you may have your plea
Aret. 'Tis that I came to town for; I would not Endure again the country conversation
To be the lady of six shires! The men,
Stew. These, with your pardon, are no argument
Prais'd for your hospitality, and pray'd for:
No doubt, you have talk'd wisely, and confuted
Enter SIR THOMAS BORNWELL.
Aret. I am angry with myself,
To be so miserably restrain'd in things
Born. In what, Aretina,
Dost thou accuse me? Have I not obeyed
For a lady of my birth and education?
Born. I am not ignorant how much nobility
And be the fable of the town, to teach
Brought in the balance so, sir ?
Born. Though you weigh
Me in a partial scale, my heart is honest,
1 A favourite though homely dance of those days, taking its title from an actor named St Leger.
And perfumes that exceed all: train of servants,
Aret. Have you done, sir?
Born. I could accuse the gaiety of your wardrobe And prodigal embroideries, under which Rich satins, plushes, cloth of silver, dare Not show their own complexions. Your jewels, Able to burn out the spectator's eyes, And show like bonfires on you by the tapers. Something might here be spared, with safety of Your birth and honour, since the truest wealth Shines from the soul, and draws up just admirers. I could urge something more.
Aret. Pray do; I like
Your homily of thrift.
Born. I could wish, madam, You would not game so much. Aret. A gamester too?
Born. But are not come to that repentance yet Should teach you skill enough to raise your profit; You look not through the subtlety of cards And mysteries of dice, nor can you save Charge with the box, buy petticoats and pearls; Nor do I wish you should. My poorest servant Shall not upbraid my tables, nor his hire, Purchas'd beneath my honour. You may play, Not a pastime, but a tyranny, and vex Yourself and my estate by 't.
Born. Another game you have, which consumes more
Into more costly sin. There was a play on 't,
Some darks had been discover'd, and the deeds too;
Aret. Have you concluded
Born. I have done; and howsoever
My language may appear to you, it carries
In the Ball,' a comedy partly by Chapman, but chiefly by Shirley, a coxcomb (Bostock), crazed on the point of family, is shown up in the most admirable manner. Sir Marmaduke Travers, by way of fooling him, tells him that he is rivalled in his suit of a particular lady by Sir Ambrose Lamount.
Mar. He thinks he has good cards for her, and likes His game well.
Bos. Be an understanding knight,
And take my meaning; if he cannot show
As much in heraldry
Mar. I do not know how rich he is in fields, But he is a gentleman.
Bos. Is he a branch of the nobility?
How many lords can he call cousin ?-else
Mar. You will not kill him?
Bos. You shall pardon me ;
I have that within me must not be provok'd;
Mar. Some living that have been kill'd!
Bos. I mean some living that have seen examples, Not to confront nobility; and I
Am sensible of my honour.
Mar. His name is
Bos. Lamount; a knight of yesterday,
And he shall die to-morrow; name another.
To kick any footman; an Sir Ambrose were
Enter SIR AMBROSE LAMOUNT.
Mar. Unluckily he's here, sir.
How does thy knighthood? ha!
Amb. My nymph of honour, well; I joy to see thee. Bos. Sir Marmaduke tells me thou art suitor to Lady Lucina.
Amb. I have ambition
To be her servant.
Bos. Hast thou'rt a brave knight, and I commend Thy judgment.
Amb. Sir Marmaduke himself leans that way too. Bos. Why didst conceal it? Come, the more the
But I could never see you there.
Sir, we may live.
Bos. I'll tell you, gentlemen,
Cupid has given us all one livery;
I serve that lady too; you understand me?
But who shall carry her, the fates determine;
I could be knighted too.
Amb. That would be no addition to
Bos. I think it would not; so my lord told me ;
Mar. You did but jest before.
Of your heroic blood should fall to th' ground:
There was a long cessation of the regular drama. In 1642, the nation was convulsed with the elements of discord, and in the same month that the sword
was drawn, the theatres were closed. On the 2d of September, the Long Parliament issued an ordinance, suppressing public stage plays throughout the kingdom during these calamitous times.' An infraction of this ordinance took place in 1644, when some players were apprehended for performing Beaumont and Fletcher's King and no King'-an ominous title for a drama at that period. Another ordinance was issued in 1647, and a third in the following year, when the House of Commons appointed a provost marshall, for the purpose of suppressing plays and seizing ballad singers. Parties of strolling actors occasionally performed in the country; but there was no regular theatrical performances in London, till Davenant brought out his opera, the Siege of Rhodes, in the year 1656. Two years afterwards, he removed to the Cockpit Theatre, Drury Lane, where he performed until the eve of the Restoration. A strong partiality for the drama existed in the nation, which all the storms of the civil war, and the zeal of the Puritans, had not been able to crush or subdue.
MISCELLANEOUS PIECES OF THE PERIOD 1558-1649. [Convivial Song, by Bishop Still.]
[From the play of Gammer Gurton's Needle,' about 1565.] I cannot eat but little meat,
My stomach is not good;
But sure I think that I can drink
I stuff my skin so full within
Back and side go bare, go bare;
Both foot and hand go cold;
But, belly, God send thee good ale enough,
I love no roast but a nut-brown toast,
And little bread shall do me stead;
No frost, no snow, no wind, I trow,
I am so wrapp'd, and thoroughly lapp'd,
Back and side, &c.
And Tib, my wife, that as her life
Loveth well good ale to seek,
And saith,Sweetheart, I took my part
Back and side, &c.
Now let them drink till they nod and wink,
Good ale doth bring men to.
And all poor souls that have scour'd bowls, Or have them lustily troul'd,
God save the lives of them and their wives, Whether they be young or old.
Back and side, &c.
No princely port, nor wealthy store,
No shape to win a loving eye;
Mishap doth threaten most of all; These get with toil, and keep with fear: Such cares my mind can never bear.
I press to bear no haughty sway;
I laugh not at another's loss,
I loathe not life, nor dread mine end.
My wealth is health and perfect ease, And conscience clear my chief defence;
I never seek by bribes to please,
Nor by desert to give offence; Thus do I live, thus will I die; Would all do so as well as I!
[From the same.]
What pleasure have great princes
And Fortune's fate not fearing,
On favourite presumptuous,
All day their flocks each tendeth,
His ship into the East,
For lawyers and their pleading
Meditation when we go to Bed. [From the Handful of Honeysuckles.' By William Hunnis: 1585.]
O Lord my God, I wandered have
As one that runs astray,
And have in thought, in word, and deed,
"From the Poor Widow's Mite.' By William Hunnis: 1585.]
Thou, God, that rul'st and reign'st in light,
Thou, God, that know'st the thoughts of men
Thou, God, whom neither tongue of man
Thou pity my distress!
Thy seat, O God, is everywhere,
Thy power all powers transcend ;
Thou art the power and wisdom too,
But I a lump of sinful flesh,
The thrall of sin and shame :
One depth, good Lord, another craves;
Requires the depth of mercy great,
For saving health in time.
Sweet Christ, grant that thy depth of grace
The maid, with whom he fell in love, as much as one might be.
Unhappy youth! what should he do? his saint was kept in mew,
Nor he, nor any noble man admitted to her view.
At length the high controller, Love, whom none may disobey,
Imbased him from lordliness unto a kitchen drudge, That so, at least, of life or death she might become his judge.
Access so had to see, and speak, he did his love bewray, And tells his birth: her answer was, she husbandless
Assured therefore of his love, but not suspecting who The lover was, the king himself in his behalf did woo. The lady, resolute from love, unkindly takes that he Should bar the noble, and unto so base a match agree; And therefore, shifting out of doors, departed thence by stealth,
Preferring poverty before a dangerous life in wealth. When Curan heard of her escape, the anguish in his heart
Was more than much; and after her from court he did depart :
Forgetful of himself, his birth, his country, friends, and all,
And only minding whom he mist-the foundress of his thrall!
Nor means he after to frequent, or court, or stately towns,
So wasting, love, by work and want, grew almost to the
And whilst his pieba. 1 cur did sleep, and sheep-hook lay him by,
On hollow quills of saten straw he piped melody. But when he spied her, his saint, he wip'd his greasy shoes,
And clear'd the drivel from his beard, and thus the shepherd woos:
I have, sweet wench, a piece of cheese, as good as tooth may chaw,
And bread, and wildings, souling well;' and therewithal did draw
His lardry; and, in eating, 'See yon crumpled ewe,' quoth he,
'Did twin this fall; faith thou art too elvish, and too coy;
Am I, I pray thee, beggarly, that such a flock enjoy? I wis I am not; yet that thou dost hold me in disdain is brim abroad, and made a gibe to all that keep this plain.
There be as quaint, at least that think themselves as quaint, that crave
The match which thou (I wot not why) may'st, but mislik'st to have.
How would'st thou match? (for well I wot, thou art a female); I,
I know not her, that willingly, in maidenhood would
Her stature comely tall, her gait well graced, and her wit
To marvel at, not meddle with, as matchless, I omit. A globe-like head, a gold-like hair, a forehead smooth and high,
An even nose, on either side stood out a grayish eye: Two rosy cheeks, round ruddy lips, with just set teeth within,
A mouth in mean, and underneath a round and dimpled chin.
Her snowy neck, with bluish veins, stood bolt upright upon
Her portly shoulders; beating balls, her veined breasts,
A nymph, no tongue, no heart, no eye, might praise, might wish, might see,
For life, for love, for form, more good, more worth, more fair than she !
Yet such an one, as such was none, save only she was such :
Of Argentile, to say the most, were to be silent much.' 'I knew the lady very well, but worthless of such praise,'
The neatress said; ' and muse I do, a shepherd thus should blaze
The coat of beauty. Credit me, thy latter speech bewrays Thy clownish shape, a coined show. But wherefore dost thou weep ?'
(The shepherd wept, and she was woe, and both did silence keep.)