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ed, not indeed as a spondee, nor yet as a trochee ; but as —°;-the first syllable is 11.
We can, indeed, never expect an authentic edition of our elder dramatic poets (for in those times a drama was a poem), until some man undertakes the work, who has studied the philosophy of metre. This has been found the main torch of sound restoration in the Greek dramatists by Bentley, Porson, and their followers ; – how much more, then, in writers in our own language! It is true that quantity, an almost iron law with the Greek, is in English rather a subject for a peculiarly fine car, than iny law or even rule; but, then, instead of it, we have, first, accent; secondly, emphasis; and lastly, retardation, and acceleration of the times of syllables according to the meaning of the words, the passion that accompanies them, and even the character of the person that uses them. With due attention to these, above all, to that, which requires the most attention and the finest taste, the character, Vassinger, for example, might be reduced to a rich and yet regular metre. But then the regulee must be first known;— though I will venture to say, that he who does not find a line (not corrupted) of Vassinger's flow to the time total of a trimeter catalectic iambic verse, has not read it aright. But by virtue of the last principle - the retardation or acceleration of time
we have the proceleusmatic foot Vouw, and the dispondæus
not to mention the choriambus, the
ionics, pæons, and epitrites. Since Dryden, the
? metre of our poets leads to the sense : in our elder. and more genuine bards, the sense, including the. passion, leads to the metre. Read even Donne's satires as he meant them to be read, and as the sense and passion demand, and you will find in the lines a manly harmony.
LIFE OF FLETCHER IN STOCKDALE'S
I.v general their plots are more regular than Shakspeare's.
HIS is true, if true at all, only before a court
of criticism, which judges one scheme by the laws of another and a diverse one. Shakspeare's plots have their own laws or regulee, and according to these they are regular.
CT I. The metrical arrangement is most
Strat. As well as masque can be, ác.
These soft and silken wars are not for me :
What strange self-trumpeters and tongue-bullies all the brave soldiers of Beaumont and Fletcher are ! Yet I am inclined to think it was the fashion of the age from the Soldier's speech in the Counter Scutie ; and deeper than the fashion B. and F. did not fathom. Ib. Speech of Lysippus :
Yes, hut this lady
Bent on the earth, &c. Opulent as Shakspeare was, and of his opulence prodigal, he yet would not have put this exquisite piece of poetry in the nionth of a no-character, or as addressed to a Velantius. I wish that B. and F. had written poems instead of tragedies. Ib.
Mel. I might run fiercely, not more hastily,
L'pon my foe.
I might run móre fiercelý, not more hastily.--
Office! I would I could put it off! I am sure I sweat quite through my otfice !
The syllable off reminds the testy statesman of his robe, and he carries on the image. Ib. Speech of Melantius :
- Would that blood, That sea of blood, that I have lost in fight, &c. All B. and F.'s generals are pugilists, or cudgel
fighters, that boast of their bottom and of the claret
But I will give a greater state and glory,
Of wbat these lovers are. I suspect that 'nobler,' pronounced as 'nobiler' -0, was the poet's word, and that the accent is to be placed on the penultimate of memory. As to the passage
Yet, while our reign lasts, let us stretch our power, &c. removed from the text of Cinthia's speech by these foolishi editors as unworthy of B. and F.—the first eight lines are not worse, and the last couplet incomparably better, than the stanza retained. Act ii. miutor's speech :Oh, thou hast nam'd a word, that wipes away All thoughts revengeful! In that sacred namne, • The king,' there lies a terror. It is worth noticing that of the three greatest tragedians, Massinger was a democrat, Beaumont and Fletcher the niost servile jure divino royalist, and Shakspeare a philosophier ;-if aught personal, an aristocrat.
A KING AND NO KING.
Act IV. Speech of Tigranes :-
It would be amusing to learn from some existing friend of Mr. Seward what he meant, or rather dreamed, in this note. It is certainly a difficult passage, of which there are two solutions ;-one, that the writer was somewhat more injudicious than usual ;—the other, that he was very, very much more profound and Shakspearian than usual. Seward's emendation, at all events, is right and obvious. Were it a passage of Shakspeare, I should not hesitate to interpret it as characteristic of Tigranes' state of mind, disliking the very virtues, and therefore half-consciously representing them as mere products of the violence of the sex in general in all their whims, and yet forced to admire, and to feel and to express gratitude for, the exertion in his own instance. The inconsistency of the passage would be the consistency of the author. But this is above Beaumont and Fletcher.