« EelmineJätka »
The tragedy of the Insatiate Countess is not only worthless, but disgusting.
There is, however, one touching passage, which we shall extract. Isabella, the insatiate Countess, after yielding to an inordinate indulgence of her passion, is brought to punishment. Duke Robert appears on the scaffold, in the habit of a friar, to take his leave of her.
“ Bear record, all you blessed saints in heaven,
I come not to torment thee in thy death;
For, of himself, he's terrible enough.
But call to mind a lady like yourself,
And think how ill in such a beauteous soul,
Upon the instant morrow of her nuptials,
Apostacy and wild revolt would shew.
Withal imagine, that she had a lord
Jealous the air should ravish her chaste looks ;
Doting, like the Creator in his models,
Who views them every minute and with care
Mixt in his fear of their obedience to him.
Suppose she sung through famous Italy,
More common than the looser songs of Petrarch,
To every several Zany's instrument:
And he, poor wretch, hoping some better fate
Might call her back from her adulterate purpose,
Lives in obscure and almost unknown life;
Till hearing that she is condemn'd to die,
For he once lov'd her, lends his pined corpse
Motion to bring him to her stage of honour,
Where, drown'd in woe at her so dismal chance,
He clasps her: thus he falls into a trance.”
The comedy of What you Will is after the author's own heart. In it he has poured out the whole bitterness of his satirical spirit. Quadratus and Lampatho rival each other in the asperity of their invective. Every man rails at his neighbour. In short, there is nothing but railing from beginning to end. There are two passages which are more particularly worth extracting, and which we shall accordingly present to our readers' notice. Lampatho, an indigent scholar, describes his laborious life, and the vanity of scholastic learning, in a manner the most forcible, and illustrated by an illusion the most impressive.
“ Lam. In heaven's handy-work there's nought, None more vile, accursed, reprobate to bliss
Than man, 'mong men a scholar most.
Things only fleshly sensitive, an ox or horse,
They live, and eat, and sleep, and drink, and die;
And are not touch'd with recollections
Of things o'erpast, or stagger'd infant doubts
Of things succeeding: but leave the manly beasts,
And give but pence a-piece to have a sight
Of beastly man now-
Sim. (From within.) What so, Lampatho! good truth I will not pay your
you come not.
Lam. Dost hear that voice? I'll make a parrot now
As good a man as he in fourteen nights ;
I never heard him vent a syllable
Of his own creating since I knew the use
Of eyes and ears. Well, he's perfect bless'd,
Because a perfect beast. I'll 'gage my heart
He knows no difference essential
'Twixt my dog and him. The whoreson sot is bless'd,
Is rich in ignorance, makes fair usance on't,
every day augments his barbarism;
So love me Calmness, I do envy him for't.
I was a scholar: seven useful springs
Did I deflour in quotations
Of cross'd opinions 'bout the soul of man;
The more I learnt the more I learnt to doubt,
Knowledge and wit, faith's foes, turn faith about.
Sim. (From within.) Nay, come, good Signior, I stay all the gentlemen here, I wou'd fain give my pretty page a puddingpie.
Lam. Honest Epicure.
Nay mark, list! Delight, Delight, my spaniel, slept, whilst I
Toss'd o'er the dunces, por'd on the old print
Of titled words, and still my spaniel slept.
Whilst I wasted lamp-oil, 'bated my flesh,
Shrunk up my veins, and still my spaniel slept.
And still I held converse with Zabarell,
Aquinas, Scotus, and the musty saw
of antic Donate, still my spaniel slept.
Still on went I, first an sit anima,
Then, an it were mortal; oh, hold, hold,
At that they are at brain buffets; fell by the ears,
Amain, pell-mell together; still my spaniel slept.
Then whether 'twere corporeal, local, fix'd,
Extraduce ; but whether 't had free will
Or no, O philosophers
Stood banding factions, all so strongly propp'd,
I stagger'd, knew not which was firmer part;
But thought, quoted, read, observ'd, and pried,
Stuff’d noting books, and still my spaniel slept.
At length he wak’d, and yawn'd, and by yon sky,
For aught I know, he knew as much as I.
Sim. (From within.) Delicate good Lampatho, come away,
I assure you I'll give but two-pence more.
Lam. How 'twas created, how the soul exists ;
One talks of motes, the soul was made of motes ;
Another fire, t'other light, a third of star-like nature;
Hippo, water; Anaximenes, air;
Aristoxenus, music; Critias, I know not what;
A company of odd Phrenetici
Did eat my youth; and when I crept abroad,
Finding my numbness in this nimble age,
I fell a railing; but now soft and slow,
I know, I know nought, but I nought do know;
What shall I do, what plot, what course pursue ?"
There are some thoughts on conjugal love, expressed in a pure and beautiful strain.
“ If love be holy, if that mystery
Of co-united hearts be sacrament;
If the unbounded goodness have infus'd
A sacred ardour of a mutual love
Into our species ; if those amorous joys,
Those sweets of life, those comforts even in death,
Spring from a cause above our reason's reach;
If that clear flame deduce its heat from heaven,
'Tis, like its cause, eternal; always one,
As is th' instiller of divinest love,
Unchang'd by time, immortal, maugre death.
But, oh, 'tis grown a figment; love a jest;
A comic posey; the soul of man is rotten,
Even to the core, no sound affection.
Our love is hollow, vaulted, stands on props
Of circumstance, profit, or ambitious hopes.”
In addition to these two extracts, we think that the following song will not be unacceptable, as a specimen of our author's lyrical powers.
“ Music, tobacco, sack, and sleep,
The tide of sorrow backward keep.
If thou art sad at other's fate,
Rivo! drink deep, give care the mate.
On us the end of time is come,
Fond fear of that we cannot shun;
Whilst quickest sense doth freshly last,
Clip time about, hug pleasure fast.
The Sisters ravel out our twine,
He that knows little 's most divine.
Error deludes; who'll beat this hence,
Nought's known but by exterior sense.
Let glory blazon others' deed,
My blood than breath craves better meed.
Let twatling Fame cheat others' rest,
I am no dish for Rumour's feast.
Let honour others' hope abuse,
I'll nothing have, so nought will lose;
I'll strive to be nor great nor small,
To live nor die, fate helpeth all.
When I can breathe no longer, then
Heaven take all; there put amen."
His next play, The Dutch Courtezan, does not possess much excellence, or excite much interest. It was, however, revived by Mrs. Behn, under the title of the Match in Newgate. The only part we can extract is as follows, and is in the ardent, earnest style of Marston. “ Still? my vow is up
and like time
Irrevocable. I am sworn all
No beauty shall untwine our arms, no face
In my eyes can or shall seem fair,
And would to God only to me you might
Seem only fair; let others disesteem
Your matchless graces, so might I safer seem;
Envy I coyet not, far, far be all ostent,
Vain boasts of beauties: soft joys and the rest,
He that is wise, pants on a private breast;
So could I live, in desert most unknown;
Yourself to me enough were populous,
eyes shall be my joys, my wine that still
Shall drown my often cares, your only voice
Shall cast a slumber on my list’ning sense,
You, with soft lip, shall only ope mine eyes,
And suck their lids asunder, only you
Shall make me wish to live, and not fear death,
So, on your cheeks I might yield latest breath ;
O he that thus may live, and thus shall die,
May well be envied of a deity."
The Parasitaster, or The Fawne, is an amusing and pleasant comedy. The author declaims in his peculiar vein against the flatteries of the little and the follies of the great.-Hercules, the disguised Duke of Ferrara, makes the following soliloquy on flattery.
Her. I never knew, till now, how old I was;
By him by whom we are, I think a Prince
Whose tender sufferance never felt a gust
Of bolder breathings, but still liv'd gently faun'd
With the soft gales of his own flatterers' lips,
Shall never know his own complexion.
Dear sleep and lust, I thank you; but for you,
Mortal till now, I scarce had known myself.
Thou grateful poison, sleep, mischief, flattery,
Thou dreamful slumber (that doth fall on Kings
As soft and soon as their first holy oil,)
Be thou for ever damn'd; I now repent
Severe indictions to some sharp stiles ;
Freeness, so't grow not to licentiousness,
Is grateful to just states. Most spotless kingdom, ,
And men, O happy, born under good stars,
Where what is honest you may freely think,
Speak what you think, and write what you do speak,
Not bound to servile soothings. But since our rank
Hath ever been afflicted with these fies
(That blow corruption on the sweetest virtues,)
I will revenge us all upon you all;
With the same stratagem we still are caught,
Flattery itself; and sure all know the sharpness
Of reprehensive language is even blunted
To full contempt, since vice is now term'd fashion,
And most are grown to ill even with defence,
I vow to waste this most prodigious heat
That falls into my age, like scorching flames
In depth of numb'd December, in flattering all
In all of their extremest viciousness,