« AnteriorContinuar »
The next appears to have been a favourite with the author if we may judge from the circumstance of his having also introduced it in the" Challenge for Beauty.” It is on national predilection, and is an odd and at the same time an amusing collection of contrasts.
“The Spaniard loves his ancient slop,
The Turk in linen wraps his head,
The German loves his coney-wool,
The Russ drinks quass; Dutch, Lubeck beer,
The Italian in her high chopine,
The Spanish Donna, French Madam,
On which he dare not venture.” In this play there is a strange mixture of the solemn and ludicrous. Heywood has assigned to most of the honest patricians of Rome an assumed gaiety, a reckless spirit of merriment, a love of “ merry tunes, which have no mirth in them;" all to hide the discontent and sorrow which lurk beneath; but, instead of making them merry patricians, he has overstepped the modesty of nature, and converted them into vulgar buffoons, and invested them with the livery of fools.
The next play we shall notice, is “ The English Traveller;" a production which abounds with good scenes, good writing, and excellent sentiment, and is distinguished by pure, gentle, and attractive characters, Heywood's characters. “His country gentlemen,” says the writer before quoted, “ are exactly what we see (but of the best kind we see) in life;" we should say, that they are what we might, rather than what we do, see in real life. They are perfectly natural, and yet appear to belong to a superior order to any which we see in ordinary life, not in reach of intellect, but in sweetness of disposition and perfection of moral character, the influence of which is diffused over the whole of the dialogues of his best plays. They are calculated, as we have before intimated, to make us wiser and better. We might instance, for example, Mr. Generous, in “ The Lancashire Witches," a play in which Heywood was assisted by Brome; in two or three characters in “ The Woman killed with Kindness ;" and in Young Geraldine, in “ The English Traveller.” The chief and most interesting part of this play turns on the following circumstances :-Young Geraldine, on his return from travel, visits his father's friend, Wincot, a kind-hearted, honest old gentleman, who has married a young lady, formerly the traveller's playmate, and whom it had been reported, previously to his going abroad, he was to have married. Without children himself, Wincot has the utmost fondness for Young Geraldine, and when he is present can hardly bear to hear any other person speak; he desires him to command his house, servants, &c.; in short, treats him like a son.
The following scene is as admirable for beauty and simplicity, and for noble innocence of feeling, as it is felicitous in diction. Such a colloquy might well have occurred in the golden age of the world. It is between Geraldine and Wincot's wife.
“ Y. Ger. We now are left alone.
Wife. Why, say we be, who should be jealous of us ?
Y. Ger. I must confess,
Wife. Most true: it is withal an argument,
Y. Ger. A villain were he to deceive such trust,
Wife. And she no less, whom either beauty, youth,
Y. Ger. You deserve,
Wife. I know your meaning:
Y. Ger. In those times,
Wife. Troth they had,
Y. Ger. However, let us love still, I entreat;
That, neighbourhood and breeding will allow;
Wife. If they should not,
Y. Ger. Will ye resolve me one thing ?
Wife. As to one,
Y. Ger. That's the thing I crave,
Wife. Presume on that already ; but perhaps,
Y, Ger. Only thus far:
Wife. You ask the thing I was about to beg;
Y. Ger. Vow to that.
Y. Ger. 'Tis enough ; that word
Wife. Nay, Master Geraldine,
Y. Ger. Make ye donbt?
Entire the honour of your father's house,
Y. Ger. You charge me deeply, lady.
Wife. Till that day come, you shall reserve yourself
Y. Ger. By all that you have said, I swear,
Wife. You're now my brother : But then my second husband.”
Idine prole famil,ccordinovate mestayingourse,
Geraldine introduces his friend Delavel ; Delavel conceives a passion for the wife, and proves a villain ; he insinuates into the mind of Geraldine's father, that his son's visits to Wincot were neither consistent with his own honour, nor the lady's reputation. Old Geraldine takes the alarm, and prevails upon his son to promise that he will cease his visits to Wincot. The latter, surprised at his unusual absence, and ignorant of the cause, urges him to renew the intercourse, or, at least, satisfy him as to the cause of his staying away for so long a time, and proposes a private meeting for that purpose. An appointment is accordingly made at Wincot's house, at a time when the family have retired to rest. They meet, and Geraldine proceeds to explain the cause of his absence.
“ Y. Ger. Then I proceed, with due acknowledgment
Winc. What might then be
Y. Ger. Out of many,