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Fire. Well, mother, I thank you for your kindness,
You must be gambolling i'th' air, and leave me here like a
fool and a mortal.”


In this play there is a thought

“ Nothing lives But has a joy in somewhat” —

which will remind the poetical reader of Mr. Wordsworth. The words themselves would form a good text for all the “Loves”—from the Angels,' and 'Plants,' and Minerals, &c. down to (almost) the Triangles' themselves.

The next play, from which we select a passage, is the tragedy of The Changeling, which Middleton wrote in conjunction with Rowley. And here we may observe a peculiarity which occurs frequently in Middleton's plays, which is, that his heroines, in contradiction to custom, are generally women faithless and abandoned. As other poets seem to raise for themselves a standard of excellence, and appear to be for ever moulding characters and images to approach their ideal model of perfection ; so, on the other hand, Middleton seems to have continually contemplated an opposite model - a standard of treachery and infidelity. His worship was like an Egyptian’s, and his idols are all moral deformities--monsters and hideous creatures, whom no pure and healthy imagination could consent perpetually to cherish. His Dutchess, in The Witch-Biancha, (or Brancha,) in Women beware of Women-Beatrice, in The Changelingare women who rebel against the conjugal duties, and conspire against their husbands' lives-and, indeed, there is scarcely a single instance of one of his females possessing real virtue, or any share of gentle affection. They are almost all lascivious, faithless, or cruel. His best personages (where none good) are amongst the men; for though the titles of Middleton's dramas may seem occasionally to convey a compliment to the sex, as it is called-(as More dissemblers besides Women, and A Woman never vect)—yet the detail but seldom answers to the heading of the chapter of praise. In the play called More dissemblers besides Women there are (independantly of a waiting-woman) three female characters, two of whom are of the frailest possible material, and the third but little better, if at all.

But, with respect to our extract from The ChangelingBeatrice Joanna, the heroine, is married to Alonzo de Piracquo : she dislikes him, and employs Deflores, a deformed dwarf, to kill him. The deed is effected, and the following


is the first interview between the guilty parties,--the beautiful Beatrice and the hideous dwarf. It contains a lesson for ladies.

Beat. Deflores.
Def. Lady.
Beat. Thy looks promise cheerfully,

Def. All things are answerable, time, circumstance,
Your wishes, and my service.

Beat. Is it done, then?
Def. Piracquo is no more.

Beat. My joys start at mine eyes; our sweet'st delights
Are evermore born weeping.

Def. I've a token for you.
Beat. For me?

Def. But it was sent somewhat unwillingly,
I could not get the ring without the finger.

Beat. Bless me! what hast thou done?

Def. Why, is that more than killing the whole man?
I cut his heart strings.
A greedy hand thrust in a dish at court,
In a mistake, hath had as much as this.

Beat. 'Tis the first token my father made me send him.

Def. And I made him send it (you] back again
For his last token; I was loath to leave it,
And I'm sure dead men have no use of jewels;
He was as loath to part with’t, for it stuck
As if the flesh and it were both one substance.

Beat. At the stag's fall, the keeper has his fees;
'Tis soon apply'd, all dead men's fees are yours, sir :
I pray bury the finger, but the stone

may make use on shortly; the true value,
Tak’t of my truth, is near three hundred ducats.

Def. 'Twill hardly buy a capcase for one's conscience
To keep it from the worm, as fine as 'tis :
Well, being my fees, I'll take it:
Great men have taught me that, or else


merit Would scorn the


Beat. It might justly, sir;
Why thou mistak'st, Deflores; 'tis not given
In state of recompense.

Def. No, I hope so, lady;
You should soon witness my contempt to't then.

Beat. Prithee! thou look'st as if thou wer't offended.
Def. That were strange, lady ; 'tis not possible

my service.

My service should draw such a cause from you.
Offended! Could


think So ? That were much
For one of my performance, and so warm
Yet in

Beat. 'Twete misery in me to give you cause, sir.

Def. I know so much, it were so; misery
In her most-sharp condition.

Beat. 'Tis resoly'd then;
Look you, sir, here's three thousand golden florins,
I have not meanly thought upon thy merit.

Def. What! salary? now you move me.
Beat. How, Deflores?

Def. Do you place me in the rank of verminous fellows,
To destroy things for wages ? offer gold
[For] the life blood of man? Is any thing
Valued too precious for my recompense?

Beat. I understand thee not.

Def. I could have hired
A journeyman in murder at this rate,
And mine own conscience might have (slept at ease],
And had the work brought home.

Beat. (Aside.) I'm in a labyrinth;
What will content him? I would fain be rid of him.

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I prithee make away with all speed possible;
And if thou be'st so modest not to name
The sum that will content thee, paper blushes not,
Send thy demand in writing, it shall follow thee;
But prithee take thy flight.

Def. You must fly too then.
Beat. I?
Def. 'I'll not stir a foot else.
Beat. What's your meaning?

Def. Why, are not you as guilty, in I'm sure
As deep as I ? and we should stick together.
Come, your fears counsel

you but ill; my absence
Would draw suspect upon you instantly,
There were no rescue for you.

Beat. (Aside.) He speaks home.

Def. Nor is it fit we two engag'd so jointly,
Should part and live asunder.”

The tragedy of Women beware of Women is on the whole, we think, Middleton's finest play. It is founded on the story of Biancha Capello, long since translated into our language from the Italian. The heroine was a beautiful Venetian who married a native of Florence, and accompanying him to that city, was seen and admired by the reigning Duke, one of the family of the De Medici. Biancha yielded to the Duke's passion, and finally conspired with him to put an end to her husband's life. This is the principal vein that runs through the play ; though there is an underplot also, and they both branch out into other unexpected, but not unnatural consequences, making the whole as full of incident as any play in the English language. – The drama opens with the arrival of Leantio and his wife Biancha at his poor cottage at Florence. He consigns her to his mother's care, and resolves, after one day of enjoyment, to return to the labour which is necessary for his own and his wife's support. Leantio exults exceedingly in his wife's personal perfections, and she, on her part, rates as nothing the ordinary evils of poverty. She is compensated by the entire love of her husband, whose fondness breaks out upon all occasions.

“Oh, fair-ey'd Florence !
Didst thou but know what a most matchless jewel
Thou now art mistress of, a pride would take thee,
Able to shoot destruction through the bloods
Of all thy youthful sons : but ’tis great policy
To keep choice treasures in obscurest places :
Should we show thieves our wealth, 'twould make 'em bolder :
Temptation is a devil will not stick
To fasten upon a saint; take heed of that;
The jewel is cas'd up from all men's eyes.
Who could imagine now a gem were kept,
Of that great value under this plain roof ?”

Nevertheless, it is necessary, as we have said, that he should leave her to follow his occupations. He resolves upon this, while she, on her part, endeavours to detain him.

Bian. I perceive, sir,
You're not gone yet; I have good hope you'll stay now.

Lean. Farewell; I must not.

Bian. Come, come, pray return !
To-morrow (adding but a little care more)
Will dispatch all as well ; believe me 'twill, sir.

Lean. I could well wish myself where you would have me;
But love that's wanton, must be rul'd awhile
By that that's careful, or all goes to ruin :

As fitting is a government in love,
As in a kingdom.”

And now for a change, to startle the simple reader and to tickle the ear of a woman-hater. Biancha, (she is called * Brancha throughout the play, but it is evidently wrong, that name coinciding neither with the fact, nor being sufficient to complete the line,)-Biancha is seen at her window by the Duke of Florence. He contrives to meet her, by the agency of a dissolute lady, (Livia,) and effects her ruin. The change of Biancha's character, consequent upon her seduction, is admirably managed. The scene is altogether very dramatic ; and the contrast between the cold, impudent, dissatisfied wife, and the anticipating, confiding, husband, is striking and appalling. We give the scene entire.

« Enter Leantio.
Lean. How near am I now to a happiness
That earth exceeds not! not another like it :
The treasures of the deep are not so precious,
As are the conceal'd comforts of a man
Lock'd in woman's love. I scent the air
Of blessings when I come but near the house :
What a delicious breath marriage sends forth !
The violet-bed's not sweeter. Honest wedlock
Is like a banqueting-house built in a garden,
On which the spring's chaste flowers take delight
To cast their modest odours; when base lust,
With all her powders, paintings, and best pride,
Is but a fair house built by a ditch side.



Now for a welcome
Able to draw men's envies upon man :
A kiss now that will hang upon my lip,
As sweet as morning dew upon a rose,
And full as long; after a five days fast
She'll be so greedy now, and cling about me ;
I take care how I shall be rid of her ;
And here't begins.

Enter Biancha and Mother.

Bian. Oh, sir, you're welcome home.
Moth. Oh, is he come? I am glad on't.
Lean. (aside.) Is that all ?

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