« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
sally; it has suffered too much. At characters are necessary to sustain last the gravedigger comes with execu- these terrible dramas. All these per tioners, a coffin, and they sing before sonages are ready for extreme acts, ner a funeral dirge :
their resolves break forth like blows of " Duchess. Farewell, Cariola .
a sword; we follow, meet at every I pray thee, look thou giv'st my little boy change of scene their glowing eyes, Some syrup for his cold, and let the girl wan lips, the starting of their muscles, Say her prayers ere she sleep.-Now, what the tension of their whole frame. Their
you please : What death?
powerful will contracts their violent Bosola. Strangling ; here are your execu- hands, and their accumulated passion tioners.
breaks out in th inder-bolts, which tear D. I forgive them :
and ravage all around them, and in The apoplexy, catarrh, or cough of the lungs Would do as much as they do. ... My body their own hearts. We know them, the Bestow upon my women, will you?.
heroes of this tragic population, Iago, Go, tell my brothers, when I am laid out, Richard III., Lady Macbeth, Othello, They then may feed in quiet.” *
Coriolanus, Hotspur, full of genius, After the mistress the maid; the latter courage, desire, generally mad or crimcries and struggles :
inal, always self-driven to the tomb.
There are as many around Sbakspeare " Cariola. I will not die ; I must not; I am as in his own works. Let me exhibit
contracted To a young gentleman.
one character more, written by the 1st Executioner. Here's your wedding- same dramatist, Webster. ring.
except Shakspeare, has seen further C. If you kill me now, - am damn’d, I have not been at confession into the depths of diabolical and unThis two years.
chained nature. The “ White Devil” B. When ?
is the name which he gives to his C. I am quick with child.” 1
heroine. His Vittoria Corombona reThey strangle her also, and the two ceives as her lover the Duke of Brachichildren of the duchess. Antonio is ano, and at the first interview dreams assassinated; the cardinal and his mis of the issue : tress, the duke and his confidant, are “ To pass away the time, I'll tell your grace poisoned or butchered ; and the solemn A dream I had last night." words of the dying, in the midst of this It is certainly well related, and still bet butchery, utter, as from funereal trum- ter chosen, of deep meaning and very pets, a general curse upon existence :
Her brother Flaminio “We are only like dead walls or vau’ted graves, says, aside : That, ruin'd yield no echo. Fare you well, .. O, this gloomy world!
“ Excellent devil! she hath taught him in a In what a shadow, or deep pit of darkness,
dream Doth womanish and fearful mankind live ! ” To make away his duchess and her bus
band.” In a!l our quest of greatness, Like wanton boys, whose pastime is their So, her husband, Camillo, is strangled, care,
the Duchess poisoned, and Vittoria, We follow after bubbles blown in the air. Pleasure of life, what is't? only the good before the tribunal. Step by step, like
accused of the two crimes, is brought hours Of an ague ; merely a preparative to rest, a soldier brought to bay with his back To endure vexation.
against a wall, she defends herself, re Whether we fall by ambition, biood, or lust, futing and defying judges and advo Like diamonds, we are cut with our own
cates incapable of blenching or quail. You will find nothing sadder or greater insults and proofs, even menaced with
ing, clear in mind, ready in word, amid from the Edda to Lord Byron.
death on the scaffold. The advocate We can well imagine what powerful begins to speak in Latin. * Duchess of Malfi, iv. 2.
“ Vittoria. Pray my lord, let him speak bio + " When,
an exclamation of impatience, usual tongue; equivalent to “make haste," very commoi I'll make no answer else. among the old English dramatists.-TR.
Duchess of Malfi, iv. 2. $ Ibid. v. 5. | Ibid. v. 4 and 3.
* Vittoria Corombona, i. a.
Francisco de Medicis. Why, you under- she will not weep. She goes off erect stand Latin.
bitter and more haughty than ever : V. I do, sir ; but amongst this auditory Which come to hear my cause, the half or
+ I will not weep;
No, I do scorn to call up one poor tear May be ignorant in't.”
To fawn on your injustice: bear me bence
Unto this house of -, what's your mitigating She wants a due., bare-breasted, in
title? open day, and challenges the advocate :
Mont. Of convertites.
V. It shall not be a house of convertites; "I am at the mark, sir: I'll give aim to you,
My mind shall make it honester to me A id tell you how near you shoot."
Than the Pope's palace, and more peaceab's She mocks his legal phraseology, in
Than thy soul, though thou art a cardinal." aults him, with biting irony :
Against her furious lover, who accuses " Surely, my lords, this lawyer here hath swal- her of unfaithfulness, she is as strong low'd
as against her judges ; she copes with Some pothecaries' bills, or proclamations ; him, casts in his teeth the death of his And now the hard and undigestible words Come up like stones we use give hawks for duchess, forces him to beg pardon, tu physic:
marry her; she will play the comedy Why, this is Welsh to Latin."
to the end, at the pistol's mouth, with
the shamelessness and courage of a Then, to the strongest adjuration of courtesan and an empress ;ť snared the judges :
at last, she will be just as brave and “ To the point,
more insulting when the dagger's point Find me but guilty, sever head from body, threatens her: We'll part good friends ; I scoru to hold my life
“ Yes, I shall welcome death At yours, or any man's entreaty, sir. .
As princes do some great ambassadors ; These are but feignéd shadows of my evils: I'll meet thy weapon half way. . . . 'Twas a Terrify babes, my lord, with painted devils; manly blow; I am past such needless palsy. For your The next thou giv'st, murder some sucking names
infant; Of whore and murderess, they proceed from And then thou wilt be famous." I As if a man should spit against the wind ;
When a woman unsexes herself, her The filth returns in's face." *
actions transcend man's, and there is
nothing which she will not suffer or Argument for argument: she has a
dare. parry for every blow : a parry and a thrust :
VII. " But take you your course : it seems you
have beggar'd me first,
Opposed to this band of tragic char. And now would fain undo me. I have acters, with their distorted features, houses,
brazen fronts, combative attitudes, is a Jewels, and a poor remnant of crusadoes :
troop of sweet and timid figures, pre Would those would make you charitable !"
eminently tender-hearted, the most l'hen, in a harsher voice :
graceful and loveworthy, whom it has In faith, my lord, you might go pistol flies
been given to man to depict. In ShakThe sport would be more noble.
speare you will meet them in Miranda, [hey condemn her to be shut up in a Cordelia, Imogen ; but they, abound
Juliet, Desdemona, Virgilia, Ophelia, mouse of convertites :
also in the others; and it is a character • V. A house of convertites! What's that? istic of the race to have furnished Monticelso. A house of penitent whores. them, as it is of the drama to have rep
V. Do the noblemen in Rome
resented them. By a singular coin To lodge there?”t
cidence, the women are more of women,
the men more of men, here than else The sarcasm comes home like a sword
where. The two natures go each to thrust; then another behind it; then cries and curses. She will not bend,
# Ibid. p. 24•
t Compare Mme. Marneffe in Balzac's La * Webster Dyce, 1857, Vittoria Coranbona, Cousine Bette. op. 20-21.
| Vittoria Corombona, v 'ast scene, pp + Vittoria Corombona, iii. 2, p. 23
is extreme in the one to boldness, the room.* Domestic life and o-vedience spirit of enterprise and resistance, the are more easy to them. More pliant warlike, imperious, and unpolished and more sedentary, they are at the character ; in the other to sweetness, same time more concentrated and in devotion, patience, inextinguishable af- trospective, more disposed to follow fection, a thing unknown in distant the noble dream called duty, which is lands, in France especially so: a wo- hardly generated in mankind but by man in England gives herself without silence of the senses. They are co1 Irawing back, and places her glory and tempted by the voluptuous sweetr. esc Luty in obedience, forgiveness, adora- which in southern countries is breath. ion, wishing and professing only to be ed out in the climate, in the sky a hielted and absorbed daily deeper and the general spectacle of things; which deeper in him whom she has freely and dissolves every obstacle, which causes forever chosen.t It is this, an old privation to be looked upon as a snare German instinct, which these great and virtue as a theory. They can rest painters of instinct diffuse here, one content with dull sensations, dispense and all: Penthea, Dorothea, in Ford with excitement, endure weariness; and and Greene ; Isabella and the Duchess in this monotony of a regulated exist of Malti, in Webster; Bianca, Ordella, ence, fall back upon themselves, obey Arethusa, Juliana, Euphrasia, Amoret, a pure idea, employ all the strength and others, in Beaumont and Fletcher : of their hearts in maintaining their there are a score of them who, under moral dignity. Thus supported by inthe severest tests and the strongest nocence and conscience, they introduce teinptations, display this wonderful into love a pr found and upright senpower of self-abandonment and devo- timent, abjra coquetry, vanity, and tion. The soul, in this race, is at firtation : tney do not lie nor simper. once primitive and serious. Women When they love, they are not tasting keep their purity longer than elsewhere. a forbidden fruit, but are binding them They lose respect less quickly; weigh selves for their whole life. Thus un. worth and characters less suddenly:derstood, love becomes almost a holy they are less apt to think evil, and to thing; the spectator no longer wishes take the measure of their husbands. to be spiteful or to jest; women do not To this day, a great lady, accustomed think of their own happiness, but of to company, blushes in the presence of that of the loved ones; they aim no: an unknown man, and feels bashful at pleasure, but at devotion. Eiphralike a little girl : the blue eyes are sia, relating her history to Philaster, dropt, and a child-like shame flies to says: her rosy cheeks. English women have not the smartness, the boldness of
My father oft would speak
Your worth and virtue ; and, as I did grow ideas, the assurance of bearing, the More and more apprehensive, I did thirst precocity, which with the French make To see the man so prais'd; but yet all this of a young girl, in six months, a woman
Was but a maiden longing, to be lost
As soon as found; till sitting in my window. of intrigue and he queen of a drawing- Printing my thoughts in lawn, I saw a god,
I thought, (but it was you) enter our gates. * Hence the haypiness and strength of the
My blood few out, and back again as fast, parriage tie. In France it is but an association
As I had puff'd it forth and suck'd it in
Like breath : Then was I call'd away in of Wo comrades, tolerably alike and tolerably equal, which gives rise to endless disturbance ind bickering
To entertain you. Never was a man, + See the representation of this character
Heav'd from a sheep-cote to a sceptre, rais' & hroughout English and German literature.
So high in thoughts as I : You left a kiss Steudhal, an acute observer, saturated with
Upon these lips then, which I mean to keep Italian and French morals and ideas, is aston
From you for ever.
'I did hear you talk, ished at this phenomenon. He understands
Far above singing! After you were going nothing of this kind of devotion, “ this slavery
I grew acquainted with my heart, ana
search'd which English husbands have had the wit to im
What stirr'd it so: Alas! I found it love ; pose on their wives under the name of duty.' These are
“ the manners of a seraglio." See also Corinne, by Madame de Staël. A perfect woman already: meek and pa-women, so French; even Agnes and little
* See, by way of contrast, all Molière'a bioat.--HeYWOOD
Yet far from lust; for could I but have livd | There is no di Terence iwixt your birth av
; In presence of you I had had my end." +
Not much 'twixt our estates (if any be, She had disguised herself as a page,f The advantage is on my side) I come willingly followed him, was his servant; what To tender you the first-fruits of my heart, greater happiness for a woman than to And am content t'accept you for my husband. serve on her knees the man she loves ? Now when you are at lowest.
Why, Biancha, She let him sculd her, threaten her Report has cozen'd thee ; I am not fallen with death, wound her.
From my expected honours or possessions,
Tho' from the hope of birth-right.
Are you not?
You'll grant it, if you be a good man, . tenderness and adoration can proceed t'ye. . . from this heart, these wan lips. More
Pity me; over, she takes upon herself a crime of But never love me more ! ... I'll pray for which he is accused, contradicts him That you may have a virtuous wife, a fair one;
you, when he asserts his guilt, is ready to And when I'm dead C. Fy, fy! B. die in his place. Still more, she is of
Think on me sometimes, use to him with the Princess Arethusa, At parting, as at coming! B. This I have
With mercy for this trespass !' C. Let u3 kise whom he loves; she justifies her rival, As a free dower to a virgin's grave, brings about their marriage, and asks All goodness dwell with you1* no other thanks but that she may serve Isabella, Brachiano's duchess is be them both. And strange to say, the trayed, insulted by her faithless hus princess is not jealous.
band; to shield him from the ven Euphrasia. Never, Sir, will I geance of her family, she takes upon Marry ; it is a thing within my vow:
herself the blame of the rupture, pur But if Í
may. have leave to serve the princess, posely plays the shrew, and leaving To see the virtues of her lord and her, I shall have hope to live.
him at peace with his courtesan, dies Arethusa.
Come, live with me; embracing his picture. Arethusa al. Live free as I do. She that loves my lord, Curst be the wife that hates her!"$
lows herself to be wounded by Philas
ter, stays the people who would hold What notion of love have they in back the murderer's arm, declares that this country
Whence happens it he has done nothing, that it is not he, that all selfishness, all vanity, all ran- prays for him, loves him in spite of all cor, every little feeling, either personal even to the end, as though all his acts er base, fees at its approach? How were sacred, as if he had power of life comes it that the soul is given up and death over her.. Ordella devotes wholly, without hesitation, without re- herself, that the king, her husband, serve, and only dreams thenceforth of may have children; t she offers her: prostrating and annihilating itself, as self for a sacrifice, simply, without in the presence of a god ? Biancha, grand words, with her whole heart: thinking Cesario ruined, offers herself
" Ordella. Let it be what it may then, what to him as his wife ; and learning that it dare, he is not so, gives him up straightway, I have a mind will hazard it. without a murmur :
But, bark you;
What may that woman merit, makes this bles w Biancha. So dearly I respected both your fame
0. Only her duty, sir. T. 'Tis terrible! And quality, that I would first have perish'd
0. 'Tis so much the more noble. In my sick thoughts, than e'er have given con
T. 'Tis full of fearful shadows 0. Sc
sleep sir, To have undone your fortunes, by inviting Or anything that's merely ours, and mortal; A marriage with so mean a one as I am:
We were begotten gods else: but those feara I should have died sure, and no creature known Feeling but once the fires of nobler thoughts, The sickness that had kill'd me. . . . Now | Fly, like the shapes of clouds we form, to noth since I know
• Beaumont and Fletcher, The Fair Maia * Beaumont and Fletcher, Works, ed. G.Cols of the Inn, iv. man, 3 vols., 1811, Philastor, v.
Beaumont and Fletcher, Thierry and Like Kaled in Byron's Lara.
Theodoret, The Maid's Tragedy, Philaster i Philaster, iv.
§ Philaster, v. See also he part of T.ucina in Valentinian,
T. Suppose it death! 0. I do. T. And from duty or submission, allos thein endless parting
selves to be married, while their heart With all we can call ours, wit all our sweet
belongs to another. They are not re. ness, With youth, strength, pleasure, people, time, signed, do not recover, like Pauline in nay reason!
Polyeucte. They are crushed to death. For in the silent grave, no conversation, No ,oyful tread of friends, no voice of lovers,
Penthea, in Ford's Broken Heart, is as No careful father's counsel, nothing's heard, upright, but not so strong, as Pauline; Nor nothing is, but all oblivion,
she is the English wife, not the Roma. Dast and an endless darkness : and dare you, stoical and calm.* She despairs,
woman, Desire this place? O. 'Tis of all sleeps the sweetly, silently, and pines to death sweetest:
In her innermost heart she holds her Children begin it to us, strong men seek it, self married to him to whom she has And kings from height of all their painted pledged her soul : it is the marriage of
glories fall, like spent exhalations, to this centre. . . .
the heart which in her eyes is alone T. Then you can suffer? O. As willingly genuine; the other is only disguised as say it.
adultery. In marrying Bassanes she T. Martell, a wonder! Iere is a woman that dares die.--Yet, tell me fidelity is worse than legal infidelity,
has sinned against Orgilus; moral in Are you a wife? 0. I am, sir. children?
and thenceforth she is fallen in her own She sighs and weeps! O. Oh, none, sir. T. eyes. She says to her brother :
Dare you venture For a poor barren praise you ne'er shall hear, “ Pray, kill me. • . : l'o part with these sweet hopes ? O. With all Kill, me, pray; nay, will ye? but Heaven."*
Ithocles. How does thy lord esteem thee?
P. Such an one Is not this prodigious ? Can you un- As only you have made me ; a faith-breaker, derstand how one human being can A spotted whore ; forgive me, I am one thus be separated from herself, forget
In act, not in desires, the gods must wit and lose herself in another? They do
For she that's wife to Orgilus, and lives so lose themselves, as in an abyss. In known adultery with Bassanes, When they love in vain and without Is, at the best, a whore. Wilt kill me
now?. hope, neither reason nor life resist;
The handmaid to the wages they languish, grow mad, die like
Of country toil, drinks the untroubled streams Ophelia. Aspasia, forlorn,
With leaping kids, and with the bleating
lambs, “Walks discontented, with her watry eyes And so allays her thirst secure ; whiles I Bent on the earth. The unfrequented woods
Quench my hot sighs with fleetings of my Are her delight; and when she sees a bank
tears." + Stuck full of flowers, she with a sigh will tell Her servants what a pretty place it were With tragic greatness, from the height To bury lovers in ; and make her maids
of her incurable grief, she throws her Pluck 'em, and strew her over like a corse. She carries with her an infectious grief, Thal etrikes all her beholders ; she will sing “My glass of life, sweet princess, bath few T'he mournful'st things that ever ear hath
minutes heard, Ar i sigh and sing again; and when the rest
Remaining to run down; the sands are Of our young ladies, in their wanton blood,
spent ; Tell mirthful tales in course, that fill the
For by an inward messenger I feel With laughter, she wil. with so sad a look
* Pauline says, in Corneille's Polycucte (iii. Bring forth a story of the silent death
??; Of some forsaken virgin, which her grief
Avant qu'abandonner mon âme à mes dor Will put in such a phrase, that, ere she end,
leurs, She'll send them weeping one by one
Il me fant essayer la force de mes pleurs;
En qualité de femme ou de fille, j'espère away." +
Qu'ils vaincront un époux, ou fléchiront mis Like a spectre about a tomb, she wan- père. ders forever about the remains of her
Que si sur l'un et l'autre ils manquent de
pouvoir, destroyed love, languishes, grows pale, Je ne prendrai conseil que de mon désespoir. bwoons, ends by causing herself to be
Apprends-moi cependant ce qu'ils ont fait ar killed. Sadder still are those who, , We could not find a more reas onable and rea
" • Thierry and Theodoret, iv. 1.
gaze on life :
soning woman. So with Eliant , and Henrietta * Beaumont and Fletcher, The Maid's Tragen in Molière.
# Ford's Broken Heart, iü 2.