Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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 Lombard his Venetian,
And some like breechless women go,
The Russ, Turk, Jew, and Grecian :
The thrifty Frenchman wears small waist,
The Dutch his belly boasteth,
The Englishman is for them all,
And for each fashion coasteth.

The Turk in linen wraps his head,
The Persian his in lawn too,
The Russ with sables furs his cap,
And change will not be drawn to :
The Spaniard's constant to his block,
The French inconstant ever,
But of all felts that can be felt,
Give me your English beaver.

The German loves his coney-wool,
The Irishman his shag too,
The Welsh his Monmouth loves to wear,
And of the same will brag too.
Some love the rough, and some the smooth,
Some great and others small things;
But, oh, your lecherous Englishman,
He loves to deal in all things.

The Russ drinks quass; Dutch, Lubeck beer,
And that is strong and mighty ;
The Briton he metheglin quaffs,
The Irish aqua vitæ ;
The French affects the Orleans grape,
The Spaniard tastes his sherry,
The English none of these can 'scape,
But he with all makes merry.

The Italian in her high chopine,
Scotch lass, and lovely Frow too,

The Spanish Donna, French Madam,
He will not fear to go to;
Nothing so full of hazard dread,
Nought lives above the centre,
No fashion, health, no wine, no wench,

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 ?
This is not first of many hundred nights,
That we two have been in private, from the first
Of our acquaintance: when 'our tongues but clipp'd
Our mother's tongue, and could not speak it plain,
We knew each other : as in stature, so.
Increas'd our sweet society: since your travel,
And my late marriage, through my husband's love,
Midnight hath been as midday, and my bed-chamber
As free to you, as your own father's house.
And you as welcome to’t.

Y. Ger. I must confess,
It is in you, your noble courtesy;
In him, a more than common confidence,
And, in this age, can scarce find precedent.

Wife. Most true: it is withal an argument,
That both our virtues are so deep impress'd
In his good thoughts, he knows we cannot err..

Y. Ger. A villain were he to deceive such trust,
Or (were there one) a much worse character.

Wife. And she no less, whom either beauty, youth,
Time, place, or opportunity, could tempt,
To injure such a husband.

Y. Ger. You deserve,
Even for his sake, to be for ever young;
And he for yours, to have his youth renew'd ;
So mutual is your true conjugal love.
Yet had the fates so pleas'd

Wife. I know your meaning:
It was once voic'd, that we two should have match'd;
The world so thought, and many tongues so spake ;
But heaven hath now dispos'd us otherwise ;
And being as it is, (a thing in 'me,
Which I protest was never wish'd nor sought),
Now done, I not repent it.

Y. Ger. In those times,
Of all the treasures of my hopes, and love,
You were th' exchequer, they were stor’d in you ;
And had not my unfortunate travel cross’d them, -
They had been here reserved still.

Wife. Troth they had,
I should have been your trusty treasurer.

Y. Ger. However, let us love still, I entreat;

That, neighbourhood and breeding will allow;
So much the laws divine and human both,
”Twixt brother and a sister, will approve :
Heaven then forbid, that they should limit us
Wish well to one another.

Wife. If they should not,
We might proclaim they were not charitable,
Which were a deadly sin but to conceive.

Y. Ger. Will ye resolve me one thing ?

Wife. As to one,
That in my bosom bath a second place,
Next to my dear husband.

Y. Ger. That's the thing I crave,
And only that; to have a place next him.

Wife. Presume on that already ; but perhaps,
You mean to stretch it further. .

Y, Ger. Only thus far:
Your husband's old, to whom my soul doth wish
A Nestor's age; so much he merits from me:
Yet if (as proof and nature daily teach,
Men cannot always live, especially
Such as are old and crazed) he be call'd hence,
Fairly, in full maturity of time,
And we two be reserv'd to after-life,
Will you confer your widowhood on me?

Wife. You ask the thing I was about to beg;
Your tongue hath spoke mine own thoughts.

Y. Ger. Vow to that.
Wife. As I hope mercy.

Y. Ger. 'Tis enough ; that word
Alone instates me happy; now, so please you,
We will divide; you to your private chamber,
I to find out my friend.

Wife. Nay, Master Geraldine,
One ceremony rests yet unperform'd ; :
My vow is pass’d, your oath must next proceed ;
And as you covet to be sure of me,
Of you I would be certain.

Y. Ger. Make ye donbt?
Wife. No doubt; but love's still jealous, and in that
To be excus'd; you then shall swear by heaven,
And as in all future acts, you hope
To thrive and prosper ; as the day may yield
Comfort, or the night rest; as you would keep

Entire the honour of your father's house,
And free your name from scandal and reproach ;
By all the goodness that you hope to enjoy,
Or ill to shun-

Y. Ger. You charge me deeply, lady.

Wife. Till that day come, you shall reserve yourself
A single man; converse nor company
With any woman; contract por combine
With maid, or widow; which expected hour,
As I do wish not haste, so when it happens,
It shall not come unwelcome ; you hear all;
Vow this.

Y. Ger. By all that you have said, I swear,
And by this kiss confirm.

Wife. You're now my brother : But then my second husband.”

[Kisses her.

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
Of all your more than many courtesies ;
You've been my second father; and your wife,
My noble and chaste mistress; all your servants
At my command ; and this, your bounteous table,
As free and common as my father's house ;
Neither 'gainst any, or the least of these,
Can I commence just quarrel.

Winc. What might then be
The cause of this constraint, in thus absenting
Yourself from such as love you?

Y. Ger. Out of many,
I will propose some few; the care I have
Of your (as yet unblemished) renown;

« AnteriorContinuar »