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mond's poltroonery, Philaster's sensibility, are emphasized to the point of impossibility. Essentially they are not much more than types, which appear again and again in tragicomedy and the later Fletcherian romantic tragedy., As always, the chief figures are of high rank, and make no impression of reality. Lamb's well-known apology for the behavior of the people in Restoration comedy on the ground that they live in a world of their own, like fairies, might be applied to Phil. aster, Bellario, Megra, and the rest.
Whatever criticism may be passed upon plotting and characterization, no dissent is possible from the unanimous opinion as to the dramatic propriety and poetic beauty of Beaumont and Fletcher's verse. Smooth, easy-running, adapting itself with perfect facility to the action, as adequate for the expression of frantic passion or heart-broken pathos as for the badinage of courtiers, ever without strain or visible effort, it is the perfection of dramatic blank verse) Nothing quite like it had been heard on the Elizabethan stage before; small wonder that it delighted the auditors and readers of its own day, and that it was regarded by the Restoration as the perfect model of dramatic dialogue. At its best it has a haunting beauty, especially when Arethusa or Bellario is speaking. Bellario’s reply to Philaster's
and Bellario's speech in V. ii:
“ Alas, my lord, my life is not a thing Worthy your noble thoughts; 't is not a life.
'T is but a piece of childhood thrown away the exquisite tenderness of these is beyond praise.
On the basis of stylistic differences attempts have been made to assign various parts of the play to one or the other of the joint authors, and while such identifications are always dangerous, it may be well to summarize the conclusions reached by Thorndike and Gayley, two of the most careful and recent of investigators. To Beaumont are assigned I. i (to entrance of King), ii; II. i, ii (to en. trance of Megra, Gayley), iii, iv (to re-en. trance of Dion); III. i, ii (in part); IV. i, ii, iii, iv; V. i, ii, v. To Fletcher: I. i (from entrance of King); II. ii (only from entrance of Megra, Gayley), iv. (from re-entrance of Dion); III. ii (in part); V. iii, iv. This gives to Beaumont much the greater share in the composition, and most of the finest poetry of the play, like Philaster's description of Bellario in I. ii, and all the wood scenes.
Philaster was popular in its own day, held the stage up to the closing of the theaters, was put on as soon as they reopened (Pepys saw it in 1661 and 1668), and had several revivals in the eighteenth century. Its theatrical effectiveness and the astonishing brilliance of the verse are quite sufficient to account for its longevity, and its importance in the history of the drama is enhanced by the fact that in tragicomedy may be found the roots of the heroic drama of the Restoration.
“Oh, but thou dost not know What 't is to die
“ Yes, I do know, my lord: 'Tis less than to born; a lasting sleep, A quiet resting from all jealousy. A thing we all pursue; I know, besides, It is but giving over of a game That must be lost";
Prince that's come to marry our king- creetly enough and ill-favor'dly dance don's heir and be our sovereign.
her measure; simper when she is courted Thra. Many that will seem to know much by her friend, and slight her husband. say she looks not on him like a maid in Cle. The last ? love.
Dion. Faith, I think she is one whom the Dion. Faith, sir, the multitude, that sel- state keeps for the agents of our con
dom know any thing but their own opin- federate princes; she'll cog? and lie ions, speak that they would have; but with a whole army, before the league the prince, before his own approach, re- shall break. Her name is common ceiv'd so many confident messages from through the kingdom, and the trophies the state, that I think she's resolv'd to be of her dishonor advanced beyond Herrul'd.
cules' Pillars. She loves to try the Cle. Sir, it is thought, with her he shall several constitutions of men's bodies;
enjoy both these kingdoms of Sicily and and, indeed, has destroyed the worth of Calabria.
her own body by making experiment Dion. Sir, it is without controversy so upon it for the good of the common
meant. But 't will be a troublesome la- wealth.
of his mind and lamenting his injuries. Gal. What if they should? Cle. Who? Philaster?
La What if they should ! Dion. Yes; whose father, we all know, Meg. Nay, let her alone.—What if they
was by our late King of Calabria un- should? Why, if they should, I say they righteously deposed from his fruitful
abroad. What foreigner Sicily. Myself drew some blood in those would do so? It writes them directly wars, which I would give my hand to be untrarell’d. washed from.
Gal. Why, what if they be?
. Cle. Sir, my ignorance in state-policy | La. What if they be!
will not let me know why, Philaster being Meg. Good madam, let her go on.-What heir to one of these kingdoms, the King if they be? Why, if they be, I will should suffer him to walk abroad with justify, they cannot maintain discourse such free liberty.
with a judicious lady, nor make a leg, Dion. Sir, it seems your nature is more nor say "Excuse me." constant than to inquire after state- Gal.
Ha, ha, ha! news. But the King, of late, made a Meg. Do you laughi, madam? hazard of both the kingdoms, of Sicily Dion. Your desires upon you, ladies ! and his own, with offering but to im- Meg. Then you must sit beside us. prison Philaster; at which the city was Dion. I shall sit near you then, lady. in arms, not to be charm’d down by any Meg. Near me, perhap but there's a state-order or proclamation, till they lady endures no stranger; and to me you saw Philaster ride through the streets appear a very strange fellow, pleas'd and without a guard: at which La. Methinks he's not so strange; he they threw their hats and their arms would quickly be acquainted. from them; some to make bonfires, some Thra. Peace, the King ! to drink, all for his deliverance: which
Enter King, Pharamond, Arethusa, and wise men say is the cause the King la
Train. bors to bring in the power of a foreign nation to awe his own with.
King. To give a stronger testimony of
love Enter Galatea, a Lady, and Megra.
Than sickly promises (which commonly Thra. See, the ladies! What's the first? In princes find both birth and burial Dion. A wise and modest gentlewoman In one breath) we have drawn you, that attends the princess.
worthy sir, Cle. The second?
To make your fair endearments to our Dion. She is one that may stand still dis
3 bow, called from the legend that they were torn asunder by Hercules.
And worthy services known to our sub- Well, we shall see, we shall see. No
jects, Now lov'd and wondered at; next, our Pha. Kissing your white hand, mistress, intent
I take leave To plant you deeply our immediate heir To thank your royal father, and thus far Both to our blood and kingdoms. For To be my own free trumpet. Underthis lady,
stand, (The best part of your life, as you con- Great King, and these your subjects, ,
mine that must be, And I believe,) though her few years (For so deserving you have spoke me, and sex
sir, Yet teach her nothing but her fears and And so deserving I dare speak myself, blushes,
To what a person, of what eminence, Desires without desire, discourse and Ripe expectation, of what faculties, knowledge
Manners and virtues, you would wed Only of what herself is to herself,
your kingdoms; Make her feel moderate health; and when You in me have your wishes.) Oh, this she sleeps,
country! In making no ill day, knows no ill By more than all the gods, I hold it dreams.
happy; Think not, dear sir, these undivided Happy in their dear memories that have parts,
been That must mould up a virgin, are put Kings great and good; happy in yours
that is; To show her so, as borrowed omaments And from you (as a chronicle to keep To speak her perfect love to you, or Your noble name from eating age) do I add
Opine myself most happy. Gentlemen, An artificial shadow to her nature,- Believe me in a word, a prince's word, No, sir; I boldly dare proclaim her yet There shall be nothing to make up a No woman. But woo her still, and think
kingdom her modesty
Mighty and flourishing, defensed, fear'd, A sweeter mistress than the offer'd lan- Equal to be commanded and obeyed, guage
But through the travails of my life I'll Of any dame, were she a queen, whose
find it, eye
And tie it to this country. By all the Speaks common loves and comforts to
gods, her servants.4
My reign shall be so easy to the subject, Last, noble son (for so I now must call That every man shall be his prince himyou),
self, What I have done thus public, is not And his own law—yet I his prince and only
law. To add a comfort in particular
And dearest lady, to your dearest self To you or me, but all; and to confirm (Dear in the choice of him whose name The nobles and the gentry of these king
and lustre doms
Must make you more and mightier) let By oath to your succession, which shall
me say, be
You are the blessed'st living; for, sweet Within this month at most.
princess, Thra. This will be hardly done.
You shall enjoy a man of men to be Cle. It must be ill done, if it be done.
Your servant, you shall make him yours, Dion. When 't is at best, 't will be but half
for whom done, whilst
Great queens must die. So brave a gentleman is wrong'd and Thra. Miraculous ! flung off.
Cle. This speech calls him Spaniard, beThra. I fear.
ing nothing but a large inventory of his Cle. Who does not?
own commendations. Dion. I fear not for myself, and yet I Dion. I wonder what's his price; for cerfear too.
Before that day of shame shall gape and
swallow Thee and thy nation, like a hungry
grave, Into her hidden bowels. Prince, it shall;
By the just gods, it shall ! Pha.
He's mad; beyond cure, mad. Dion Here is a fellow has some fire in 's
veins: The outlandish prince looks like a tooth
drawer. Phi. Sir Prince of popinjays, I'll make it
well Appear to you I am not mad. King.
You displease us: You are too bold. Phi.
No, sir, I am too tame, Too much a turtle, a thing born without
passion, A faint shadow, that every
drunken cloud Sails over, and makes nothing. King.
I do not fancy this. Call our physicians; sure, he's somewhat
tainted.? Thra. I do not think 't will prove so. Dion. H’as given him a general purge al
ready, For all the right he has; and now he
He'll sell himself, he has so prais'd his shape.
Enter Philaster. But here comes one more worthy those
large speeches Than the large speaker of them. Let me be swallowed quick, if I can find, In all the anatomy of yon man's virtues, One sinew sound enough to promise for
him He shall be constable. By this sun, He'll ne'er make king unless it be of
trifles, In my poor judgment. Phi. (Kneeling.) Right noble sir, as low
as my obedience, And with a heart as loyal as my knee,
I beg your favor. King.
Rise; you have it, sir. Dion. Mark but the King, how pale he
looks! He fears! Oh, this same whoreson 5 conscience, how
it jades us! King. Speak your intents, sir. Phi.
Shall I speak 'em freely? Be still my royal sovereign. King.
As a subject, We give you freedom. Dion.
Now it heats. Phi.
Then thus I turn My language to you, prince, you, for
eign man! Ne'er stare nor put on wonder, for you
must Endure me, and you shall. This earth
you tread upon (A dowry, as you hope, with this fair
princess), By my dead father (oh, I had a father, Whose memory I bow to!) was not left To your inheritance, and I up and liv
ingHaving myself about me and my sword, The souls of all my name and memories, These arms and some few friends beside
the godsTo part so calmly with it, and sit still And say, "I might have been." I tell
thee, Pharamond, When thou art king, look I be dead and
rotten, And my name ashes: for, hear me, Phara
mond, This very ground thou goest on, this fat
earth My father's friends made fertile with
To let him blood. Be constant, gentle
By heaven, I'll run his hazard, Although I run my name out of the
kingdom! Cle. Peace, we are all one soul. Pha. What you have seen in me to stir
offence I cannot find, unless it be this lady, Offer'd into mine arms with the succes
sion; Which I must keep, (though it hath
pleas'd your fury To mutiny within you,) without dis
puting Your genealogies, or taking knowledge Whose branch you are. The King will
leave it me, And I dare make it mine. You have
your answer. Phi. If thou wert sole inheritor to him That made the world his, and couldst
see no sun Shine upon any thing but thine; were
Pharamond As truly valiant as I feel him cold, And ring'd amongst the choicest of his
their faiths, 5 plaguey.
8 Alexander the Great.
(Such as would blush to talk such serious You'll stir us else. Sir, I must have you follies,
know, Or back such bellied commendations), That y' are and shall be, at our pleasure, And from this presence, spite of all these
what bugs, 10
Fashion we will put upon you. Smooth You should hear further from me.
your brow, King. Sir, you wrong the prince; I gave Or by the godsyou not this freedom
Phi. I am dead, sir; y' are my fate. It To brave our best friends. You deserve
was not I our frown.
Said, I was wrongd: I carry all about Go to; be better temper’d. Phi. It must be, sir, when I am nobler My weak stars lead me to, all my weak us'd.
fortunes. Gal. Ladies,
Who dares in all this presence speak, This would have been a pattern of suc
(that is cession, 11
But man of flesh, and may be mortal,) Had he ne'er met this mischief. By my life,
I do not most entirely love this prince, He is the worthiest the true name of man And honor his full virtues! This day within my knowledge.
Sure, he's possess'd. Meg. I cannot tell what you may call Phi. Yes, with my father's spirit. It's your knowledge;
here, O King, But the other is the man set in mine eye. A dangerous spirit! Now he tells me, Oh, 't is a prince of wax! 12
A dog it is. I was a king's heir, bids me be a king, King. Philaster, tell me
And whispers to me, these are all ny The injuries you aim at in your riddles.
subjects. Phi. If you had my eyes, sir, and suffer- 'T is strange he will not let me sleep, but ance,
dives My griefs upon you, and my broken for- Into my fancy, and there gives me tunes,
shapes My wants great, and now nought but That kneel and do me service, cry me hopes and fears,
king. My wrongs would make ill riddles to be But I'll suppress him; he's a factious laught at.
spirit, Dare you be still my king, and right me And will undo me.—(To Phar.) Noble not?
sir, your hand; King. Give me your wrongs in private. I am your servant. Phi.
Take them, King.
Away! I do not like this: ! And ease me of a load would bow strong I'll make you tamer, or I'll dispossess Atlas.
you (They whisper.)
Both of your life and spirit. For this Cle. He dares not stand the shock.
time Dion. I cannot blame him; there's dan- I pardon your wild speech, without so ger in 't. Every man in this age has not
much a soul of crystal, for all men to read their As your imprisonment. actions through: men's hearts and faces Exeunt King, Pharamond, Arethusa, and are so far asunder, that they hold no in
Train. telligence. Do but view yon stranger Dion. I thank you, sir; you dare not for well, and you shall see a fever through
the people. all his bravery,13 and feel him shake like Gal. Ladies, what think you now of this a true tenant. 14 If he give not back his
brave fellow? crown again upon the report of an elder- Meg. A pretty talking fellow, hot at gun, I have no augury.
hand. But eye yon stranger: is he not a King. Go to;
fine complete gentleman? Oh, these Be more yourself, as you respect our strangers, I do affect 15 them strangely! favor;
They do the rarest home-things, and 9 swollen.
11 to succeeding 12 a model prince. 14 Probably corrupt. 15 love. 10 bugbears. kings.