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To your bed's scandal I stand up inno
cence, Which even the guilt of one black other
deed Will stand for proof of; your love has
made me A cruel murd'ress. Als.
A bloody one; I have kist poison for it, strokt a ser
pent: That thing of hate, worthy in my esteem Of no better employment, and him most
worthy To be so employ'd, I caus’d to murder That innocent Piracquo, having no Better means than that worst to assure Yourself to me. Ils.
0, the place itself e'er since Has crying been for vengeance! The
temple, Where blood and beauty first unlawfully Fir'd their devotion and quencht the
right one; ’T was in my fears at first, 't will have it
now: 0, thou art all deform'd! Beat.
Forget not, sir, It for your sake was done. Shall greater
dangers Make the less welcome ? Als.
0, thou should'st have gone A thousand leagues about to have avoided This dangerous bridge of blood! Here
we are lost. Beat. Remember, I am true unto your bed. Als. The bed itself 's a charnel, the sheets
shrouds For murdered carcasses. It must ask
pause What I must do in this; meantime you
shall Be my prisoner only: enter my closet;
Commend me to the gallows if she could,
She ever lov’d me so well; I thank her. Als. What's this blood upon your band,
De Flores? De F. Blood! no, sure 't was washt since. Als.
Since when, man? De F. Since 't other day I got a knock In a sword-and-dagger school; I think
't is out. Als. Yes, 't is almost out, but 't is per
What price goes murder?
How, sir? Als.
I ask you, sir; My wife's behindhand with you, she tells
me, For a brave bloody blow you gave for her
sake Upon Piracquo. De F. Upon? 'T was quite through him
sure: Has she confest it? Als. As sure as death to both of you;
And much more than that. De F.
It could not be much more; 'T was but one thing, and that she is a
whore. Als. It could not choose but follow. O
cunning devils ! How should blind men know you from
fair-fac'd saints ? Beat. (Within.) He lies ! the villain does
belie me! De F. Let me go to her, sir. Als.
Nay, you shall to her.Peace, crying crocodile, your sounds are
heard ; Take your prey to you;—get you into her, sir:
Exit De Flores. I'll be your pander now; rehearse again Your scene of lust, that you may be per
fect When you shall come to act it to the
black audience, Where howls and gnashings shall be
music to you. Clip 75 your adulteress freely, 't is the
pilot Will guide you to the mare mortuum, Where you shall sink to fathoms bottom
less. Enter Vermandero, Tomaso, Alibius, Isa
Enter De Flores,
De F. Noble Alsemero!
I can tell you News, sir; my wife has her commended
De F. That's news indeed, my lord; I
bella, Franciscus, and Antonio. Ver. O Alsemero! I've a wonder for
think she would
74 given me my cue.
Als. No, sir, 't is I, I have a wonder for Beneath the stars, upon yon meteor you.
(Pointing to De Flores.) Ver. I have suspicion near as proof itself Ever hung my fate 'mongst things corFor Piracquo's murder.
Sir, I have proof I ne'er could pluck it from him; my Beyond suspicion of Piracquo's murder.
loathing Ver. Beseech you, hear me; these who have Was prophet to the rest, but ne'er bebeen disguis'd
lier'd. E'er since the deed was done.
Mine honor fell with him, and now my Als. I have two other
life.That were more close disguis’d than your Alsemero, I'm a stranger to your bed; two could be
Your bed was cozined on the nuptial E’er since the deed was done.
night,Ver. You'll hear me—these mine own For which your false bride died. servants
Diaphanta? Als. Hear me—those nearer than your De F. Yes, and the while I coupled with servants
your mate That shall acquit them, and prove them At barley-break; now
are left in guiltless.
hell.16 Fran. That may be done with easy truth, Ver. We are all there, it circumscribes us sir.
here. Tom. How is my cause bandied through De F. I lov'd this woman in spite of her your delays !
heart: 'T is urgent in my blood and calls for Her love I earn'd out of Piracquo's murhaste.
der. Give me a brother or alive or dead; Tom. Ha! my brother's murderer? Alive, a wife with him; if dead, for both De F.
Yes, and her honor's prize A recompense for murder and adultery. Was my reward; I thank life for nothing Beat. (Within.) 0, 0, 0!
But that pleasure; it was so sweet to me, Als. Hark! 't is coming to you.
That I have drunk up all, left none beDe F. (Within.) Nay, I'll along for
For any man to pledge me. Beat. (Within.) 0, O!
Horrid villain! Ver. What horrid sounds are these?
Keep life in him for future tortures. Als. Come forth, you twins De F.
No! Of mischief!
I can prevent you; here's my pen-knife
still; Re-enter De Flores, bringing in Beatrice
It is but one thread more (Stabbing himwounded.
self), and now 't is cut.De F. Here we are; if you have any Make haste, Joanna, by that token to
thee, To say to us, speak quickly, I shall not
Canst not forget, so lately put in mind; Give you the hearing else; I am so stout I would not go to leave thee far behind. yet,
(Dies.) And so, I think, that broken rib of man- Beat. Forgive me, Alsemero, all forgive! kind.
'Tis time to die when 't is a shame to live. Ver. A host of enemies entred my citadel
(Dies.) Could not amaze like this: Joanna!
Ver. O, my name's ent’red now in that Beatrice-Joanna!
record Beat. O, come not near me, sir, I shall Where till this fatal hour 't was never defile you!
read. I that was of your blood was taken from Als. Let it be blotted out; let your heart you,
lose it, For your better health; look no more And it can never look you in the face,
Nor tell a tale behind the back of life But cast it to the ground regardlessly, To your dishonor. Justice hath so right Let the common sewer take it from dis- The guilty hit, that innocence is quit tinction.
By proclamation, and may joy again. 78 Cf. n. 87, p. 400.
Sir, you are sensible of what truth hath Fran. I was chang'd from a little wit to done;
be stark mad, 'Tis the best comfort that your grief can
Almost for the same purpose. find.
Your change is still behind, Tom. Sir, I am satisfied; my injuries
But deserve best your transformation: Lie dead before me; I can exact no more, You are a jealous coxcomb, keep schools Unless my soul were loose, and could o'er
of folly, take
And teach your scholars how to break Those black fugitives that are fled from
your own head. hence,
Alib. I see all apparent, wife, and will To take a second vengeance; but there change now are wraths
Into a better husband, and ne'er keep Deeper than mine, 't is to be fear'd, about Scholars that shall be wiser than myself. 'em.
Als. Sir, you have yet a son's duty living, Als. What an opacous body had that Please you, accept it; let that your sor
row, That last chang'd on us! Here is beauty As it goes from your eye, go from your chang'd
heart, To ugly whoredom; here servant-obedi- Man and his sorrow at the grave must ence
part. To a master-sin, imperious murder;
EPILOGUE I, a suppos'd husband, chang'd embraces With wantonness,—but that was paid be- Als. All we can do to comfort one another, fore.
To stay a brother's sorrow for a brother, Your change is come too, from an igno- To dry a child from the kind father's rant wrath
eyes, To knowing friendship.-Are there any Is to no purpose, it rather multiplies: more on 's?
Your only smiles have power to cause Ant. Yes, sir, I was chang'd too from a
re-live little ass as I was to a great fool as I The dead again, or in their rooms to give am; and had like to ha' been chang'd to Brother a new brother, father a child; the gallows, but that you know my inno- If these appear, all griefs are reconcil'd. cence always excuses me.
Exeunt omnes. 77 simple-mindedness.
III. THE RESTORATION
ALMANZOR AND ALMAHIDE, OR THE CON
QUEST OF GRANADA
John Dryden (1631-1700) was the leading literary man of the last quarter of the seventeenth century. He came of a Puritan family, and graduated at Cambridge. After the Restoration he transferred his loyalty from Oliver Cromwell's weak son Richard to Charles II, and at the accession of James II he became Roman Catholic. In such changes there was probably not so much time-serving as a desire to support a strong autocratic governmental system. It is certain that he was interested in politics, and liked to be on the winning side. In his literary work he was remarkable for his versatility; besides nearly thirty tragedies and comedies, he excelled in prose criticism, translation, and satirical, lyric, and narrative poetry. For many years he exer sed a controlling influence on literature, and is generally recognized as the first great leader in the era of classicism.
Since poetry expresses both the ideals and the realities of the age which produces it, we should expect a strong contrast between the drama of the Elizabethan period and that of so different an age as the forty years or so of the Restoration period. The earlier form in large measure survived, since a dramatic form is too complex to be often renewed, but the spirit is greatly altered. In 1642 the Puritan parliament, always opposed to the stage, took advantage of the beginnings of the Civil War to close the theaters, and for eighteen years such performances as were given were rude and clandestine. Many other innocent amusements were proscribed, and the sober and ascetic spirit of Puritanism was at least theoretically supreme in the land. The era of the Puritan Revolution saw England's great experiment in a moral idealism compulsory for all. It produced a far-reaching effect, for to it more than to any other cause are due the differences which every one feels between English (and partly American) life and that of the whole of continental Europe. But on the whole it failed, and the violence of the reaction when Charles Ul's return released the tense spring is nowhere more apparent than in the drama. That of the Res
toration lacked the fine, steady, normal, masculine spirit of the greater Elizabethan dramatists — their universality and depth of insight; it became contracted lengthwise and crosswise, became superficial and narrower. It was aristocratic rather than democratic, met the taste of a smaller part of the community; it exhibited the irresponsible life they led, and when it expressed moral ideality, this was sometimes an insin. cere, weak, and unnatural ideality. With all these limitations as to spirit and matter, technically and as to literary style the drama was never more brilliant. It does not fail in what it sets out to do, and from the point of view of moral and social history is unusually significant. All this is vividly shown in the comedy, but the serious plays, if understood, are quite as characteristic.
Dryden's Conquest of Granada, his greatest popular success (first performed in 1670, printed 1672), is the best example of a type of serious drama differing from tragedy in having a happy ending – the “heroic play.” Though a relation can be seen to some of the Elizabethan dramas, and though he expressed obligation to D'Avenant's Siege of Rhodes, Dryden is regarded as the originator of the type. There is a certain amount of resem. blance to the French classical drama of Corneille and Racine; and as in them the three classical” unities (see page 46 above) were observed. But these plays were largely an attempt to bring into the drama the supposed manner and spirit of Greek and Italian epic, and especially of the prose romances of seventeenth-century France, such as those of la Calprenède, Gomberville, and Mlle. de Scudéry. Three romances by the last-named underlie respectively the three parts of the plot in The Conquest of Granada; which is also founded on a Spanish history of Granada. For this, like other “heroic plays," has a historical background, which was felt to impart a weighty dignity. The locality is always remote, classical, among the Aztecs or Peruvians, or as with this play among the orientals. This too, was felt to give a romantic dignity, and made less noticeable certain departures from nature and
probability. There is little attempt at
Thus (from the first he declares his indiffer* local color "; the Moors invoke the saints, ence to ordinary rules of conduct. With his observe knightly usages, and even sing of
frantic self-assertion and megalomania, * Phyllis,
contidence of himself, almost approaching to pletest example in English of the Superman an arrogance,” Dryden moderately says, Altype, of “the will to power.” Almanzor's manzor and his fellow-heroes are the com
The plot is apt to be loose and episodic, biggest talk does no more than justice to his with no prolonged suspense (opportunities deeds, he faces kings, armies and ghosts for it are rejected), not working up to a (Part II.) with like equanimity. crisis, not intimately growing out of the per. sonalities, but accidental and successive, and
What, in another, vanity would seem, made up of commonplace elements. Dryden
Appears but noble confidence in him. was far from being a born dramatist. In all
But heroic arrogance is not exhibited merely these plays the general formula for plot is
for its own sake. Almanzor's chief virtues the conflict between love and honor. In this
Dryden meant to be “ a frank and open nobleplay the plot is of three parts, well inter
ness of nature, an easiness to forgive his conwoven, dealing with the loves of Almanzor, Almahide, and Boabdelin, with those of Ab
quered enemies, and to protect them in dis
tress; and, above all, an inviolable faith in dalla, Lyndaraxa, and Abdelmelech, and with
his affection.” He towers above the world those of Ozmyn and Benzayda. The Second
of men that his subjection to woman and love Part is equally intricate, ending in the capture of Granada by the Spaniards, the death
may be more flattering and delightful. Love
is the giant's only weakness; what a tribute of Boabdelin, the prospective union of his
to love! Love is at first sight, but as conwidow Almahide with Almanzor, and the
stant as it is sudden. An etiquette controls wholly unprepared for recognition of the latter as the long-lost son of the Duke of Arcos.
it, even if repented of. Almahide, though lov
ing Almanzor, feels as much bound by her beThe commonplaceness of the plot is some
trothal to the weak Boabdelin as by her what concealed by the incessant bustling
marriage-vow, and must be faithful not only action, and the amorous framework by the constant drums and tramplings of conquests,
to his person but to his memory; at the end
of Part II she dedicates a year's widowhood the alarums and excursions of domestic
to les convenances. What a tribute to the malice and foreign levies. As a critic has
virtue of constancy and loyalty, when even well said, the play combines French artificial
the almighty Almanzor is kept waiting! gallantry with the English love of sound and
But if love and honor hopelessly conflict, fury. The noisy motion was doubtless one
usually honor goes to the wall. Boabdelin reason for its popularity on the stage. There
prefers his love to his crown. being no one point of deep interest, the
Hardly less important than the characters, focus of attention is constantly shifted. The
in the mind of Dryden and his auditors, were outline of the play is narrative, epic, rather
the “sentiments," the views and ideals disthan dramatic. This point bears equally on the most char
coursed upon. Some of these plays devote acteristic feature of the heroic play, its
much space to arguments and controversies treatment of personality. Here too its na
among the characters, as here in the second ture and origin is rather epic than dramatic.
act. The ideals are mainly of love and honor;
“ betwixt their love and virtue they are As in the epic, the characters are of the highest rank. Dryden stated that his originals
tost;" honor being partly glory and partly for Almanzor were Homer's Achilles and
a rigid sense of propriety. In each case the
ideal is a thoroughly individualistic one; the Tasso's Rinaldo. Almanzor, however, did not
love is passion, and the honor is largely perfectly please contemporary critics. To us
selfish virtue. Though occasionally a perit seems more odd to censure him as perfect pattern of heroic virtue,” a “con
sonage is so Quixotic as to contemplate kill
ing himself to spare another the guilt of killtemner of kings,” who changes sides, than to
ing him, of patriotism there is scarcely a carp at him for performing impossibilities
hint. - he falls short of, and exceeds, the conven
Honor is what myself and friends I owe, Almanzor
announces. “ L'état c'est tional notion of his kind. Dryden makes the defence that heroic plays are not subject to
moi” is the principle of all of them. With
an empire of eight hundred years nearing its the laws of probability, and that, being a
fall the Moors think only of private revenge, foreigner, Almanzor was bound to neither of
private ambition, and private passion. Here the Moorish factions. The hero's very first
as elsewhere Dryden sacrificed nature and words, as he goes to aid one of them, are
breadth to intensity. Yet insight is not I cannot stay to ask which cause is best:
wholly wanting; a passage in Part II has But this is so to me because opprest;
often been quoted : and later he declares,
A blush remains in a forgiven face:
It wears the silent tokens of disgrace. True, I would wish my friend the juster side; Forgiveness to the injur'd does belong; But, in the unjust, my kindness more is tried. But they ne'er pardon who have done the wrong.