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Wake me, for then by magicke art l'le worke
Then, farewell Bacon's glory and his fame.”.
The head at length finds a tongue-it speaks,“ time is”–Miles thinks this too insignificant a speech for which to disturb his master;-again it is heard, “time was”- Miles waits for something more ;—the head 'exclaims, “ time's past”a horrible noise succeeds, the head is dashed to pieces, and the friar awakes to see his hopes of fame crumbled in the dust, with the object of his seven years' labour.-In consequence of this failure, and the tragical effect of one of his magical representations, the friar becomes penitent, and abandons the black art.
Margaret, when about to retire to a nunnery, thus tenderly bids adieu to her young hopes, with “sweet reluctant amorous delay.”
“ Marg. Now, farewell, world, the engin of all woe!
But even to that as to the rest, farewell.”
The play of A Looking Glasse for London was written by Thomas Lodge, in conjunction with Greene. The subject is the abominations of Nineveh, which, by means of a monologue, spoken by the prophet “ Oseas,” in the nature of a chorus, is made applicable to London. On this foundation, the writers have framed a sort of drama, which they have peopled with divers insane persons. Indeed, we never met with any thing more outrageously extravagant than the greater part of it. The style, which is abundantly metaphorical, is in the most vile and perverted taste. The comic parts are infinitely the best, and are by no means contemptible.
The following is the only sober piece of blank verse we could find, which is not without a touch of feeling. A son having, on his elevation to a place of dignity, disowned his parents, the mother appeals to Rasni, the king.
“ Samia. O, politicke in sinne and wickednesse,
This is his father, worne with care and age,
From the comic parts of the drama, we extract the following short scene as a specimen.
“ Clowne. Why, but heare you mistresse, you know a woman's eyes are like a paire of pattens, fit to save shoo-leather in summer, and to keepe away the colde in winter; so you may like your husband with the one eye, because you are marryed, and mee with the other, because I am your man. Alasse, alasse, thinke, mistresse, what a thing love is; why, it is like to an ostry-faggot, that once set on fire, is as hardly to be quenched, as the bird crocodill driven out of her neast.
Wife. Why, Adam, cannot a woman winke but shee must sleep: and can shee not love, but shee must crie it out at the crosse? know, Adam, I love thee as myselfe, now that we are together in secret.
Clowne. Mistresse, these words of yours are like a foxe-tayle, placed in a gentlewoman's fanne, which, as it is light, so it giveth life. Oh, these wordes are as sweete as a lilly, whereupon, offering a borachio of kisses to your unseemely personage, I entertaine you upon further acquaintance.
Wife. Alasse, my husband comes.
Smith. Syrrah you, and you houswife, well taken together, I have long suspected you, and now I am glad I have found you together.
Clowne. Truly, sir, and I am glad I may doe you any way pleasure, either in helping you or my mistresse.
Smith. Boy, here, and knave, you shall know it straight, I will have you both before the magistrate, and there have you severely punished.
Clowne. Why then, maister, you are jealous ?
Smith. Jealous, knave, how can I be but jealous to see you ever so familiar together? Thou art not onely content to drinke away my goods, but to abuse my wife,
Clowne. Two good qualities, drunkennesse and letchery; but, maister, are you jealous ?
Smith. Yea, knave; and that thou shalt knowe it ere I passe, for I will beswindge thee while this roape will hold.
Wife. My good husband, abuse him not, for he never proffered you any wrong.
Smith. Nay, woman, and thy part shall not be behinde.
Clowne. Why, suppose, maister, I have offended you, is it lawful for the maister to beat the servant for all offences ?
Smith. I, marry is it, knave.
Clowne. Then, inaister, will I prove by lodgicke, that seeing all sinnes are to receyve correction, the maister is to be corrected of the man: and, sir, I pray you, what greater sinne is than jealousie? 'tis like a mad dogge, that for anger bites himselfe. Therefore, that I may do my duty to you, my good maister, and make a white sonne of you, I will beswinge jealousie out of you, as you shall love me the better while you live..
Smith. What, beat thy master, knave?
Clowne. What, beat thy man, knave? I, maister, and double beate you, because you are a man of credite; and therefore have at you, the fayrest of forty pence.
Smith. Alasse, wife, helpe, helpe, my man kils me. • Wife. Nay, even as you have baked, so brue; jealousie must be driven out by extremities.
Clowne. And that will I doe, mistresse.
Smith. Hold thy hand, Adam, and not onely I forgive and forget all, but I will give thee a good farme to live on. • Clowne. Bee gone, peasant, out of the compasse of my further wrathe, for I am a corrector of vice; and at night I will bring home my mistresse.
Smith. Even when you please, good Adam.
Clowne. When I please; marke thy words, tis a lease paroll, to have and to hold ; thou shalt be mine for ever; and so let's goe to the alehouse."
(exeunt. The authors we have been considering possess not, it must be confessed, magicians' wands to move our feelings to any point they list. They do not display any deep insight into the mysteries of the heart, whose sweet affections they hardly touch,-neither is there any strong exhibition of the stormy conflicts of the mind, nor yet any deep vein of impassioned poetry. We see things as in "a glass, darkly.” But we must not forget that the drama was then in its nonage, nor expect that infancy will produce the fruits of maturity. For, although Greene, as well as Kyd, Lilly, Peele, and Marlowe, were living at the time when Shakspeare began his dramatic career, they preceded him as writers for the stage, from which they departed just as he appeared.
ART. V. The Miscellaneous Works, in Verse and Prose, of Sir · Thomas Overbury, Knt. with Memoirs of his Life. The tenth edition. London, 1754.
This little volume contains the remains of the unfortunate Sir Thomas Overbury, “ one of the most finished gentlemen about the court” of James I. who fell a victim, as is well known, before the ungovernable passions of the Countess of Essex. The murder of this accomplished man is one of the most disgraceful passages of the history of England; but as the tragical story is always related there, we shall turn our attention from so gloomy a subject to the agreeable little volume before us. The sympathy which was universally felt for his melancholy fate is demonstrated by the first forty pages, which consist of elegies and tributes of grief and admiration from all quarters, “ on the untimely death of Sir Thomas Overbury, poisoned in the Tower,” and on his poem the “Wife,” with manifold regrets that she “had grown husbandless of late.” The only “ Verse" by Sir Thomas Overbury himself, in the book, are his famous poem termed the “Wife," a smaller one on the “ Choice of a Wife,” and two or three elegies. The “ Wife” is a didactic poem, and though the precepts which it gives are certainly not of a kind which the reader feels disposed to dispute, they have truly very little to recommend them, being far from remarkable for their ingenuity, and certainly not set off by any charms of poetical grace or ornament. Our rage for reviving the forgotten does not extend so far as to inflict upon our readers many passages, containing nothing better than injunctions to disregard beauty, which, as Sir Thomas observes, is but “skin deep,” and to prefer good, which “is a fairer attribute than white,” expressed in a dry style and crabbed versification, though they may be on so universally interesting a subject as the Choice of a Wife. Nevertheless, there are some passages in this little poem which, if they are not of themselves worthy of being quoted, will at least serve as specimens of a composition which has been no small favourite in its day.
The following verses, though they may contain no sentiment of a very striking description, are written with some force of expression.
“ So fair, at least, let me imagine her,
That thought to me is truth : opinion
With no eyes shall I see her, but mine own,
The face we may the seat of beauty call,
In it the relish of the rest doth lie;
And of the face the life moves in the eye.
Beauty in decent shape and colours lies,
Colours the matter are, and shape the soul;
But from the just proportion of the whole;
Love is a kind of superstition,
Which fears the idol which itself hath fram'd;
Temper than from the object is inflam’d.”
He thus expresses his opinion on the due portion of learning to be allowed in women; an important question, which doubtless is not unfrequently debated in the minds of all those who take an interest in the education of the female mind. Sir Thomas, it will be observed, is of the old school; and we fear the term “domestic charge” is obnoxious to unpleasant commentaries in these days, when cookery books and needleworks are not, as in the “ olden time,” the study and pursuits of our ladies of beauty and fashion.
“Give me next good, an understanding wife,
By nature wise, not learned by much art:
More scope of conversation impart;
And judgement to discern, I wish to find :
Learning and pregnant wit in womankind.
Domestic charge doth best that sex befit,
Contiguous bus’ness, so to fix the mind,
Their leisure 'tis corrupteth womankind;
Books are a part of man's prerogative,
In formal ink they thoughts and voices hold,
And make time present travel that of old.