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FAGE

John Howard Payne.

Brutus ; or, the Fall of Tarquin......

431

NATHANIEL PARKER Willis.

Bianca Visconti; or, the Heart overtasked.....
Tortesa, the Usurer....

444 473

EPES SARGENT.

Velasco..

479

Cornelius Mathews.

Witchcraft..........

490

ANNA Cora MowATT (Mrs. RITCHIE).

Armand; or, the Peer and the Peasant......

511

George H. Boker.

The Betrothal......
Calaynos ......
Francesca da Rimini..........

525

546

549

GO L D E N LE A V ES

FROM THE DRAMATIC POETS.

Thomas Sackville Earl Worset, and Thomas

Norton.

THE TRAGEDY OF FERREX AND PORREX.

(THE EARLIEST KNOWN SPECIMEN OF ENGLISH Tragedy.)

(1561.)

FERREX and PORREX, sons of GORBODUC, a King of the Ancient Britons,

are rivals. FERREX, the eldest son, is slain by his brother. The news is brought to his father, and whilst GORBODUC is lamenting the death of his eldest-born, MARCELLA, a court lady, enters and informs the King that Porrex has been stabbed by his mother in his bed.

GORBODUC, AROSTUS, EUBULUS, and others.

Gorb. What cruel destiny,
What froward fate hath sorted us this chance?
That even in those where we should comfort find,
Where our delight now in our aged days
Should rest and be, even there our only grief,
And deepest sorrows to abridge our life,
Most pining cares and deadly thoughts do grave.

Arost. Your grace should now, in these grave years of

yours,
Have found ere this the price of mortal joys,
How full of change, how brittlc our estate,
How short they be, how fading here in earth,
Of nothing sure, save only of the death,
To whom both man and all the world doth owe
Their end at last ; neither should Nature's power
In other sort against your heart prevail,
Than as the naked hand, whose stroke assays
The armèd breast where force doth light in vain.

Gorb. Many can yield right grave and sage advice
Of patient sprite to others wrapt in woe,
And can in speech both rule and conquer kind, *
Who, if by proof they might feel Nature's force,
Would show themselves men as they are indeed,
Which now will needs be gods : but what doth mean
The sorry cheer of her that here doth come?

*

MARCELLA enters.

Marc. Oh, where is ruth? or where is pity now?
Whither is gentle heart and mercy Aed?
Are they exiled out of our stony breasts,
Never to make return? is all the world
Drowned in blood, and sunk in cruelty ?
If not in women mercy may be found,
If not (alas !) within the mother's breast
To her own child, to her own flesh and blood;
If ruth be banished thence, if pity. there
May have no place, if there no gentle heart

* Nature; natural affection.

Do live and dwell, where should we seek it then?

Gorb. Madam (alas !) what means your woful tale :

Marc. O silly woman I! why to this hour Have kind and fortune thus deferred

my

breath,
That I should live to see this doleful day?
Will ever wight believe that such hard heart
Could rest within the cruel mother's breast,
With her own hand to slay her only son ?
But out (alas !) these eyes beheld the same,
They saw the dreary sight, and are become
Most ruthful records of the bloody fact.
Porrex, alas ! is by his mother slain,
And with her hand, a woful thing to tell,
While slumb'ring on his careful bed he rests,
His heart stabbed in with knife is reft of life.

Gorb. O Eubulus, oh draw this sword of ours,
And pierce this heart with speed. O hateful light,
() loathsome life, O sweet and welcome death !
Dear Eubulus, work this, we thee beseech.

Eub. Patient your grace, perhaps he liveth yet, With wound received, but not of certain death.

Gorb. O let us then repair unto the place, And see if that Porrex live, or thus be slain. [Exit

Marc. Alas! he liveth not, it is too true, That with these eyes, of him a peerless prince, Son to a king, and in the flower of youth, Even with a twink a senseless stock I saw.

Arost. O danınèd deed !

Marc. But hear his ruthful end.
The noble prince, pierced with the sudden wounds,
Out of his wretched slumber hastily start,
Whose strength now failing, streight he overthrew,

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