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Pin. And you 'll abuse me?
Mir. I thank ye: I am pleas'd ye have deLil.
Like enough. Pin.
'T is dainty! And willingly I swallow it, and joy in 't; Bel. I will live in a bawdy-house.
And yet, perhaps, I knew ye. Whose Ros. I dare come to ye.
plot was this?
What a world's this! Y. Man. She beckons to ye.
Nothing but craft and cozenage! Mir. Lady, I could wish I knew to recom
Who begun, sir ! pense,
Mir. Well; I do take thee upon mere comEven with the service of my life, those
And I do think I shall love thee. As a And those high favors you have thrown
testimony, upon me:
I'll burn my book, and turn a new leaf Till I be more desert ful in your eye, And till my duty shall make known I But these fine clothes you shall wear still. honor ye,
I obey you, sir, in all. Noblest of women, do me but this favor, Nant. And how, how, daughters? What To accept this back again as a poor testi
say you to these gentlemen ?mony.
What say ye, gentlemen, to the girls! (Offering the casket.)
Pin. By my troth-if she can love me Ori. I must have you too with 'em; else Lil. How long? the will,
Nay, if once ye loveThat says they must rest with ye, is in- Lil.
Then take me, fring'd, sir;
And take your chance. Which, pardon me, I dare not do.
Pin. Most willingly: ye are mine, lady; Jir.
Take me then, And, if I use ye not that ye may love me And take me with the truest love.
Lil. A match, i' faith. Ori.
'Tis certain Pin.
Why, now ye travel with me. My brother lov’d ye dearly, and I ought Ros. How that thing stands! As dearly to preserve that love: but, sir,
It will, if ye urge it: Though I were willing, these are but your Bless your five wits ! ceremonies.
Ros. Nay, prithee, stay; I'll have thee.
I like ye:
Wilt thou use me kindly, But how you can like me, without I have And beat me but once a week? testimony,
If you deserve no more. A stranger to ye
Ros. And wilt thou get me with child? Mir.
I'll marry ye immediately; Bel. Dost thou ask me seriously? A fair state I dare promise ye.
Ros. Yes, indeed, do I. Bel.
Yet she'll cozen thee. Bel. Yes, I will get thee with child. Ori. Would some fair gentleman durst Come, presently, promise for ye!
An't be but in revenge, I 'll do thee that Mir. By all that's good
Well, if thou wilt fear God and me, have Enter La Castre, Nantolet, Lugier, and
Ros. I'll love ye, and I 'll honor ye
I am pleas'd, then. La Cast., Nant., &c. And we'll make up Mir. This Wild-Goose Chase is done; we the rest, lady.
have won o' both sides. Ori. Then Oriana takes ye! Nay, she has Brother, your love: and now to church of caught ye;
all hands; If ye start now, let all the world cry Let's lose no time. shame on ye!
Our travelling lay by. I have out-travell'd ye.
Bel. No more for Italy; for the Low ConnBel. Did not I say she would cheat thee?
Ercunt. 33 contrived.
MIDDLETON AND ROWLEY
Thomas Middleton (1570?–1627), with a quaintance — plays of this kind are MiddleCambridge and Gray's Inn education behind ton's contribution to the comedy of manners. him, was by 1612 writing for Henslowe, and Not a pleasant world, my masters, and deabout 1604 began the series of realistic picted without a touch of romance, without comedies of London life which established his moral ideality, without a breath of the fresh reputation. He also wrote a considerable air that blows through The Shoemakers' Holinumber of masques and Lord Mayor's day. The plotting is deft, the action is brisk, pageants, and held the post of City Chron- the characters are firmly drawn, the dialogue, ologer from 1620 till his death. The most shifting easily from verse to prose and back, striking incident of his career was connected is clear and fluent. Rowley, on the other with his play The Game at Chess, satirizing hand, both in style and structure offers a the proposed marriage of Prince Charles with striking contrast. His plotting is slovenly; a Spanish princess, which roused the anger the conception may be good, for the man had of the Spanish ambassador and led to a war- dramatic instinct, but the execution is frerant for the arrest of the players and author. quently marred by a huddling of incident and
William Rowley (1585?-post 1637), an violent straining for theatrical effect. The actor and playwright of whose life we know verse exhibits the same faults; it is often nothing, did most of his work in collabora- rugged to uncouthiness, shambling in meter, tion, with Fletcher, Dekker, Heywood, and exaggerated in its effort for distinction of others. The year 1614, when the Prince's phrase. Rowley's humor is characteristic: Company, for whom Rowley was writing, and genuine, but tending to buffoonery, rough and the Lady Elizabeth's men, who had been act- ready, and all too commonly depending on ing Middleton's plays, were united, is the date mere horseplay and on violent attempts at assigned for the beginning of the collabora- verbal cleverness, for Rowley was an invetertion which, next to that of Beaumont and ate bad punster. Yet with all his faults Fletcher, was most fruitful of good work. Rowley displays an honesty and human sym
pathy, a capacity for imagination of the Whatever the circumstances that brought higher, idealizing sort, not felt in Middleton's Middleton and Rowley together, the partner- more artistic product. ship was a fortunate one, for it produced two An ill-assorted pair this, we should be plays of the first water, A l'air Quarrel tempted to say, with no promise of the sym(1016) and The Changeling (1623). By pathy of taste and poetic gift which made the 1614 Middleton had written most of the union of Beaumont and Fletcher so happy. comedies which stamp him as the chief realist Yet something in each man seemed to call of his time. A Mad World, My Masters, A forth the best in the other, and in their first Chaste Maid in Cheapside, A Trick to Catch united work there comes an indescribable lift, the old One, Vo Wit, No Help like a a nobility of conception and a power to inWoman's, racy, bustling plays of intrigue, terpret life and express it in terms of poetry, the plot centering in the pursuit of a rich utterly unheralded by the previous work of widow by a young scapegrace, or the fooling
either man. A Fair Quarrel, with its probof a miserly father or greedy usurer, intro- lem of the attitude of a finely grained youth ducing just the sort of figures that would toward a mother whose dishonor herself has come under the observation of a young lawyer admitted (though untruthfully, in order to with a keen eye for the comédie humaine, prevent the boy from fighting a duel), and prodigal sons beset by creditors, country toward her accuser, strikes the reader as surgentlemen swindled by sharpers, widows with prisingly modern in idea, and in execution more money than prudence, old men over- the plot is not unworthy of the theme. But reaching themselves in craft, knaves and it in the romantic tragedy, The Changeling, swaggerers of every sort, constables and police of the same class as Beaumont and Fletcher's magistrates, once an Amazon in doublet and The Jaid's Tragedy and Webster's The hose, courtesans masquerading as fine ladies Duchess of Nalfi, that Middleton and Rowley
all the seething underworld of London set reach their highest achieyement and produce forth with the veracity of first-hand ac- one of the greatest plays Of the period.
The Changeling is an illustration of the ough. Now almost the entire first scene is dual-plot construction common at the time given to portraying the actual physical rein Elizabethan plays, in A Woman Killed pulsion inspired in Beatrice by De Flores. with Kindness, for instance. A superbly con- The mere sight of the man fills her with loathceived main-plot is disfigured by a trashy | ing, expressed in her reception of his message, comic sub-plot, of which the best thing to enforced in the following conversation with be said is that it soon fades from memory. Alsemero, and driven sharply home by the The mad-house scenes are by all critics as- glove incident. This antipathy, so dramatic signed to Rowley. Worthless in themselves, in its conflict of wills, so provocative of curi. revolting to modern taste, exhibiting Row- osity as to what it will lead to, is a stroke ley's coarse and clumsy humor at its worst, of genius on the part of the dramatists. they are united to the main plot in the flim- There is no hint of it in the source, for tliere siest fashion; the only connection between the De Flores is “a gallant young gentleman," to two actions is that Antonio and Franciscus whose advances Beatrice makes no resistance. are for a time suspected of Piracquo's mur- In the handling of De Flores there is a noteder, and that the final scene is almost ruined worthy restrained power. He appears, is reby the intrusion of these buffoons. The story | pulsed, retires, and is kept at the back of the of De Flores and Beatrice-Joanna is taken stage until the end of the scene. Exposition from God's Revenge against Murder (1621) is managed by the very lack of action, the by John Reynolds, a collection of gory mur- situation made clear by Beatrice's scorn and der stories, while the Dia phanta episode is studied neglect. With act II Middleton borrowed from an old French falliau. In its takes up the pen, and is mainly responsible cheap sensationalism and offensive tone this for the conduct of the story till the final latter shows the evil influence of the Fletch
The verse becomes more fluent and erian romantic work in the decadence of the yet more pointed, and an even excellence of drama. There are notable differences be- dialogue is maintained of which Rowley tween Reynolds's narrative and the play, seemed incapable. Between the first scene among them being a very decided change in of the act, wherein the hatred of Beatrice for the relations of De Flores and Beatrice, of De Flores is emphasized, and the second, in which more hereafter, and a skilful compres- which she accepts him as her tool for murder, sion of the ending. In the story, Alsemero the contrast is striking. The second scene in kills his wife and her paramour and slays particular is masterly in its latent power, as Tomaso Piracquo by treachery. On being Beatrice, confident that she is mistress of arrested and tried for the latter crime he re- the situation, thinks she is playing upon De veals the facts of Alonzo Piraequo's death, Flores by her seeming reluctance to divulge whereupon he is beheaded, and the bodies of the service she requires, while he accepts the De Flores and Beatrice exhumed and burned. task open-eyed, in full assurance of its posThe new ending not only ennobles Alsemero, sibilities. Effective too is the laconic brevity but raises the sordid end of the paramours to of his reply to her promise of reward—“ Ave, the dignity of a tragic catastrophe by mak- aye; we'll talk of that hereafter”; Beatrice ing the chief mover in the villainy the in- disregards it, but its full significance apstrument of just retribution.
pears in the finest scene of the play, III. iv. It is the characters that make the play Here is Beatrice, rejoicing that Piracquo is great, and it is Rowley who introduces them. out of her way, and thinking only of ridding The first scene is undoubtedly his. The set- herself at once and forever of De Flores; and ting aside by a lady of a suitor favored by here is De Flores, gloating over the fact that her father is used several times by Rowley ; she is completely in his power. How subtly the bad punning is in his fashion; and he weaves the web of complicity about her, Beatrice's action in throwing her glove at De how slowly she awakens to the fearful conFlores is of a piece with the violent behavior sciousness that he is her master! How of other Rowley heroines. The verse, more- simple the dialogue is, but how it cuts! Not over, betrays metrical differences from Mid- even when she at last understands his demand dleton's: it has fewer feminine endings, more can she comprehend that there is no run-on lines, is less smooth and colloquial in cape: effect. But coming to the more important question of the conception of the charac
Why, 't is impossible thou canst be so wicked,
Or shelter such a cunning cruelty ters as they appear in this scene, it is unwise To make his death the murderer of my honor!" to give to Rowley the entire credit for a masterly exposition. In a fundamental mat- The cold logic whereby he convinces her that ter like characterization there must have been she has become “ the deed's creature," and discussion and agreement between the col- one with him in crime and reward is unanlaborators as to the lines along which the swerable indeed. When Lamb was making people should be developed. De Flores and his excerpts for his Specimens of the English Beatrice are done with extreme care. The Dramatic Poets he, oddly enough, omitted relations between them are so improbable The Changeling, and it was left for Leigh that the exposition must be unusually thor- Hunt to say of De Flores' conduct in this
scene that for “effect at once tragical, probable, and poetical it surpasses anything in the drama of domestic life." It is interesting that a somewhat similar situation appears in our day in Sir A. W. Pinero's Iris.
There is, almost inevitably, a distinct letting down with the Diaphanta episode of the fourth and fifth acts. The chemical test of virtue and the method by which Diaphanta is disposed of, strike us as excessively curious. The whole episode, indeed, is so far below the level of the preceding scenes that it can be justified only on the ground that it exhibits the swift degradation of Beatrice's character under the influence of De Flores. In V. i, we see how absolutely she accepts him as her equal. The introduction of Alonzo's ghost is a cheap device, but it calls forth a superb speech from De Flores:
Ha! what art thou that tak'st away the light Betwixt that star and me? I dread thee not:
'T was but a mist of conscience; all's clear again. In the last scene “rough Rowley's Esau hand,” in Swinburne's fine phrase, is dis
cernible in the more labored movement of the verse, the overcharged language, and the physical violence. We do not object to the deaths of Beatrice and De Flores — only in a scene of terror could such a story end. But it is undeniable that the solution of the action is inferior to the complication.
The play stands comparison with the work of Webster and of Beaumont and Fletcher, with all but the very greatest of its time. Not even Webster, indeed, gave us such a masterly piece of character-drawing as De Flores; Bosola is faltering in comparison. Nor, though the Duchess of Malfi and Vittoria Corombona are magnificent in fortitude of virtue and of crime respectively, is Webster's analysis of his women so profound, his understanding of them so thorough, as Middleton's of Beatrice. Had the last two acts been written with the restraint and poetic beauty of the first three, it would not be with Webster's tragedy that we should be forced to compare The Changeling, but with Lear and Macbeth and Hamlet.
If you could buy a gale amongst the
witches, They could not serve you such a lucky
penny-worth As comes a' God's name. Als.
Even now I observ'd The temple's vane to turn full in my face;
I know it is against me. Jas.
Against you ? Then you
know not where you are. Als.
Not well, indeed. Jas. Are you not well, sir? Als.
Yes, Jasperino, Unless there be some hidden malady
Within me, that I understand not. Jas.
And that I began to doubt, sir. I never knew Your inclinations to travels at a pause With any cause to hinder it, till now. Ashore you were wont to call your serv
Als. Keep all on shore; I do not know the
end, Which needs I must do, of an affair in
hand Ere I can go to sea. 1 Serv.
Well, your pleasure. 2 Serv. Let him e'en take his leisure too; we are safer on land.
Exeunt Serrants. Enter Beatrice, Diaphanta, and Servants.
Alsemero accosts Beatrice and then kisses her.
And help to trap your horses for the
speed; At sea I've seen you weigh the anchor
with 'em, Hoist sails for fear to lose the foremost
breath, Be in continual prayers for fair winds;
And have you chang'd your orisons ? Als.
No, friend; I keep the same church, same devotion. Jas. Lover I'm sure you 're none; the stoic
Jas. (Aside.) How now? The laws of
the Medes are chang’d sure; salute a woman! He kisses too; wonderful! Where learnt he this? and does it perfectly too. In my conscience, he ne'er rehearst it before. Nay, go on; this will be stranger and better news at Valencia than if he had ransom'd half Greece from
the Turk. Beat. You are a scholar, sir? Als.
A weak one, lady. Beat. Which of the sciences is this love
you speak of? Als. From your tongue I take it to be
music. Beat. You ’re skilful in it, can sing at first
sight. Als. And I have show'd you all my skill at
once; I want more words to express me further, And must be forc'd to repetition;
I love you dearly. Beat.
Be better advis'd, sir; Our eyes are sentinels unto our judg.
ments, And should give certain judgment what
they see; But they are rash sometimes, and tell us
wonders Of common things, which when our judg
ments find, They can then check the eyes, and call
them blind. Als. But I am further, lady; yesterday
Was mine eyes' employment, and hither
Found in you long ago; your mother nor Best friends, who have set snares of
beauty, aye, And choice ones too, could never trap you
that way What might be the cause ? Als.
Lord, how violent Thou art! I was but meditating of
Somewhat I heard within the temple. Jas.
Is this Violence? 'T is but idleness compar'd
With your haste yesterday. Als.
I'm all this while A-going, man.
Enter Servants. Jas. Backwards, I think, sir. Look,
Your servants. 1 Ser. The seamen call; shall we board
Als. No, not to-day.
the sign in Aquarius. 2 Serv. We must not to sea to-day; this
smoke will bring forth fire.
They brought my judgment, where are
both agreed. Both houses then consenting, 't is agreed: Only there wants the confirmation By the hand royal; that's your part,
lady. Beat. Oh, there's one above me, sir.
(Aside.) For five days past