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Preserve your greatness and forget a trifle,
That shall at best when you have drawn me up,
But hang about you like a cloud, and dim
The glories you are born to.
“ Dut. Misery
Of birth and state ! that I could shift into
A meaner blood, or find some art to purge
That part which makes nay veins unequall; yet
Those nice distinctions have no place in us,
Ther's but a shadow difference, a title,
Thy stock partakes as much of noble sap
As that which feeds the root of Kings, and he
That writes a Lord, hath all the essence of
“ D'Alv. 'Tis not a name that makes
Our separation, the Kings displeasure
Hangs a portent to fright us, and the matter
That feeds this exhalation is the Cardinals
Plot to advance his Nephew; then Columbo,
A man made up for some prodigious Act;
Is fit to be considered ; in all three
There is no character you
upon But has a form of ruine to us, both. “ Dut. Then
do look on these with fear.
« D'Alv. With eys
That should think tears a duty to lament
Your least unkind fate; but my youth dares boldly
Meet all the tyranny o'th' stars, whose black
Malevolence but shoot my single tragedy;
You are above the value of many worlds,
Peopled with such as I am.
“ Dut. What if Columbo ..
Engag'd to war, in his hot thirst of honor,
Fivd out the way to death?
“ D'Alv. Tis possible.
“ Dut. Or say, no matter by what art or motive
He gives his title up, and leave me to
My own Election ?
är D'Alv. If I then be happy
To have a name within your thought, there can
Be nothing left to crown me with New blessing;
But I dream thus of heaven, and wake to find
My amorous soul a mockery; when the Priest
Shall tie you to another, and the joys
Of mariage leave no thought at leisure to
Look back upon Alvarez, that must wither
For loss of you, yet then I cannot lose
So much of what I was, once in your favour,
But in a sigh pray still you may live happy.
Crit. REV. Vol. IV. Dec. 1816.
Dut. My Heart is in a mist, some good star smile
Upon my resolution, and direct
Two lovers in their chast embrace to meet;
Columbo's bed contains my winding sheet.";
Erit. The catastrophe principally turns upon a letter which Columbo writes from his camp to the Duchess, in which, in the confidence of the success of bis suit, backed by the King and the Cardinal, he desires her to marry wbom she pleases; she takes him at his word, and immediately unites herself to Alvarez, but previously in triumph shews the letter to the Cardinal, who thus addresses her:
" What lethargy could thus unspirit him?
I am all wonder; do not believe Madam,
But that Columbo's love is yet more Sacred
To honour, and yourself, than thus to forfeit
What I have heard him call the glorious wreath
To all his merits given him by the King,
Froin whom he took you with more pride than ever
He came from victory; his kisses hang
Yet panting on your lips, and he but now
Exchang'd religious farewell to return,
But with more triumph to be yours.
“ Dut. My Lord,
You do believe your Nephew's hand was not
Surpriz'd or strain'd to this?
« Car. Strange arts and windings in the world, most dark, And subtill progresses ; who brought this Letter?
“ Dut. I enquir'd not his name, I thought it not Considerable to take such narrow knowledge.
“ Car. Desert, and honour urg'd it here, nor can
I blame you to be angry, yet his person
Oblig'd, you should have giveu a nobler pause,
your faith and change so violent
From his known worth, into the arms of one,
However fashioned to your amorous wish,
Not equal to his cheapest fame, with all
The gloss of blood and merit.
“ Dut. This comparison,
My good Lord Cardinal, I cannot think,
Flows from an even justice, it betrayes
You partiall where your blood runs.
“ Car. I fear Madam,
Your own takes two much licence, and will soon,
Fall to the censure of unruly tongues ;
Because Alvarez has a softer cheek,
Can like a woman trim his wanton hair,
Spend half a day with looking in the glass
To find a posture to present himself,
And bring more effeminacy than man,
Or honour to your bed; must he supplant him?
Take heed the common murmur when it catches
The sent of a lost Fame
“ Dut. My Fame Lord Cardinal ?
It stands upon an innocence as clear
As the devotions you pay to heaven,
I shall not urge my Lord your soft indulgence
next shrift. “ Car. You are a fine Court Lady, “ Dut. And you should be a reverend Churchman.
“ Car. One, that if you have not thrown off modesty. Would counsell you to leave Alvarez.
“ Dut. Cause you dare do worse
Than Marriage, must I not be admitted what
The Church and Law allowes me?
" Car. Insolent? then
“ Dut. Dare ? Let your contracted flame and malice, with
Columbo's rage, higher than that, meet us.
When we approach the holy place, clasp'd hand
In hand, wee'l break through all your force and fix
Our sacred vows together there.
56 Car. I knew When with as chast a brow you promis'd fair To another ; you are no dissembling Lady.
“ Dut. Would all your actions had no falser lights About 'em.
“ Car, Ha?
“ Dut. The people would not talk and curse so loud.
“ Car. I'l have you chid into a blush for this.
“ Dut. Begin at home great man, ther's cause enough,
You turn the wrong end of the perspective
Upon your crimes, to drive them to a far,
And lesser sight, but let your eys look right
What giants would your pride and surfeit seem ?
How gross your avarice, eating up' whole families ?
How vast are your corruptions and abuse
Of the king's ear? at which you hang a pendent,
Not to adorn, but ulcerate, while the honest
Nobility, like pictures in the Arras,
Serve only for Court-Ornament; if they speak,
'Tis when you set their tongues, which you wind up,
Like clocks to strike at the just hour you please;
Leave, leave, my Lord, these usurpations,
And be what you were meant, a man to cure,
Not let in Agues to Religion ;
Look on the Churches wounds.
Car. You dare presume In
your rude spleen to me, to abuse the Church?
• Dut. Alas you give false aym, my Lord, ?tis your
Ambition and Scarlet Sins that rob
Her Altar of the glory, and leave wounds
Upon her brow; which fetches grief and paleness,
Into her cheeks; Makeing her troubled bosome
Pant with her groanes, and shroud her holy blushes
Within your reverend purples.
“ Cur. Will you now take breath?
“ Dut. In hope, iny Lord, you will behold yourself
In a true glass, and see those unjust acts
That so deform you, and by timely cure,
Prevent a shame before the short haird men.
Do croud and call for justice I take leave.
“ Car. This woman has a spirit, that may rise
To tame the Devils, ther's no dealing with
Her angry tongue, 'tis action and revenge
Must calm her fury; were Columbo here,
I could resolve, but Letters shall be sent
To th’ Army which may wake him into sense
Of his rash folly, or direct his spirit
Some way to snatch his honour from this fame,
All great men know, The soul of life is fame.
Erit. We apprehend that no finer invective address is to be found in any writer, than that which the Duchess pronounces against the Cardinal; and indeed the whole scene is in the best strain of tragic dignity. It must, we think, be admittéd, that Shirley is not often so happy in the management of his catastrophes, as many other poets, and particularly Massinger, though the Traitor is, we think, a fine exception to our remark.
As a descriptive poet, Shirley is not often exceltéd, whether upon lively or grave subjects: the following picture of a deserted and blasted valley, may serve as a specimen of the latter : it is froin the Court Secret.
“ This is the place by his commands to meet in:
It has a sad and fatali invitation !!!
A Hermit that forsakes the world for prayer
And solitude, would be timorous to live here,
There's not a spray for birds to perch upon;
For every tree that overlooks thievale
Carries the mark of lightning, and is blasted!
The day which smiled as I canie forth and spread
Fair beams about, has taken a deep me
That sits more ominous in her face than' night,
All darkness is less horrid than half light.
Never was such a scene for death presented !
And there's a ragged mountain peeping over,
With many heads, seeming to crowd themselves
Spectators of some tragedy.”— The impression of such a scene upon the mind is admirably expressed by a living poet.
“ It seems as if the spring-time came not here
And nature here were willing to decay.”
Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads. In the same play, (The Court Secret,) are two or three delightful love scenes, but deficiency of space compels uş merely to refer to them : that which concludes the first act, is peculiarly excellent; the point of the song wbich ends with the lines,
" Or let me kiss your hand, the book
And I have made my choice.” has been a thousand times imitated.
Although Shirley has produced a greater number of comedies than tragedies, we do not think that he is generally so successful in the former, as in the latter : his comedies are very unequal; and both the plot and the dialogue sometimes flag. Shakspeare seems almost the only writer who was equally eminent in both; Marston approaches nearest to him, and Massinger is scarcely inferior; though, perhaps, his excellence does not consist in the, wit or sprightliness of the interlocutions. Shirley, however, is decidedly above Chapman in this line, who, as his Gentle man Usher witnesses, could condescend to the lowest trash, and the merest buffoonery. One great excellence of Shirley's comedies to modern readers, will be, that if wit and humour, be now and then absent, he seldom calls in grossness and indecency to supply their place. The Witty Fair One, is unquestionably one of his best, and the Author himself bears testimony to its success in representation. A principal incident in it, occupying the fourth-act, reminds us of the story of the monk in Boccacio, who persuaded a living man that he was dead, and in purgatory for the punishment of his sins." Foxter is a gay libertine, who has been paying his court to Penelope, who procures bis and her friends to join in a plot, to pretend that Fowler is dead; and to convince him of it, against the evidence of his senses, and by introducing him to a supposed chamber of