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ject. The tyrant's speeches are mostly taken from the mouths of indignant denouncers of the tyrant's character, with the substitution of • I' for 'he,' and the omission of the prefatory "he acts as if he thought' so and so. The only feelings they can possibly excite are disgust at the Acciuses, if regarded as sane loyalists, or compassion, if considered as Bedlamites. So much for their tragedies. But even their comedies are, most of them, disturbed by the fantasticalness, or gross caricature, of the persons or incidents. There are few characters that you can really like,-(even though you should have erased from your mind all the tilth which bespatters the most likeable of them, as Piniero in The Island Princess for instance,) — scarcely one whom you can love. How different this from Shakspeare, who makes one have a sort of sneaking affection even for his Barnardines ; Iagos and Richards are awful, and, by the counteracting power of profound intellects, rendered fearful rather than hateful;- and even the exceptions, as Goneril and Regan, are proofs of superlative judgment and the finest moral tact, in being left utter monsters, nulla virtute redempte, and in being kept out of sight as much as possible,—they being, indeed, only means for the excitement and deepening of noblest emotions towards the Lear, Cordelia, &c. and employed with the severest economy! But even Shakspeare's grossness — that which is really so, independently of the increase in
modern times of vicious associations with things in-
HIS is, perhaps, the most energetic of Flet
cher's tragedies. He evidently aimed at a new Richard III. in Rollo ;—but as in all his other imitations of Shakspeare, he was not philosopher enough to bottom his original. Thus, in Rollo, he has produced a mere personification of outrageous wickedness, with no fundamental characteristic impulses to make either the tyrant's words or actions philosophically intelligible. Hence the most pathetic situations border on the horrible, and what he meant for the terrible, is either hateful, rò
μιση: tòr, or ludicrous. The scene of Baldwin's sentence in the third act is probably the grandest working of passion in all B. and F.'s dramas;—but the very
magnificence of filial affection given to Edith, in this noble scene, renders the after scene-(in imitation of one of the least Shakspearian of all Shakspeare's works, if it be his, the scene between Richard and Lady Anne,) – in which Edith is yielding to a few words and tears, not only unnatural, but disgusting. In Shakspeare, Lady Anne is described as a weak, vain, very woman throughout. Act i. sc. 1.
Gis. Ile is indeed the perfect character Of a good man, and so his actions speak him. This character of Aubrey, and the whole spirit of this and several other plays of the same authors, are interesting as traits of the morals which it was fashionable to teach in the reigns of James I. and his successor, who died a martyr to them. Stage, pulpit, law, fashion, — all conspired to enslave the realm. Massinger's plays breathe the opposite spirit; Shakspeare's the spirit of wisdom which is for all ages. By the by, the Spanish dramatists Calderon, in particular,—had some influence in this respect, of romantic loyalty to the greatest monsters, as well as in the busy intrigues of B. and F.'s plays.
THE WILDGOOSE CHASE.
Act II. sc. I. Belleur's speech :
- That wench, methinks,
jects, and says, “the next line seems to enforce' the reading in the text.
Pity, that the editor did not explain wherein the sense,' seemingly enforced by the next line, consists. May the true word be ' a sable,' that is, a black fox, hunted for its precious fur? Oróat-able,' —as we now say,—' she is come-at-able?'
A WIFE FOR A MONTH.
Act IV. sc. ). Alphonso's speech :
Betwist the cold bear and the raging lion
Lies my safe way.
'Twixt the cold bears, far from the raging lion
THIS Mr. Seward is a blockhead of the
provoking species. In his itch for correction, he forgot the words - lies my safe way!' The Bear is the extreme pole, and thither he would travel over the space contained between it and the raging
Act IV. sc. 2.
LINDA'S interview with her father is lively,
derigo is truly excellent. Altogether, indeed, this play holds the first place in B. and F.'s romantic entertainments, Lustspiele, which collectively are their happiest performances, and are only interior to the romance of Shakspeare in the As you Like It, 'Twelfth Night, &c. Ib.
Alin. To-day you shall wed Sorrow,
And Repentance will coine to-morrow. Read · Penitence,' or else
Repentance, she will come to-morrow.
THE QUEEN OF CORINTH.
Act II. sc. 1.
tragi-comedy been laid in Hindostan instead of Corinth, and the gods here addressed been the Veeshnoo and Co. of the Indian Pantheon, this rant would not have been much amiss.
In respect of style and versification, this play and the following of Bonduca may be taken as the best,