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his gentle deity; "a neat, spruce, affecting courtier; one that wears clothes well, and in fashion : practiseth by his glass how to salute, speaks good remnants, (notwithstanding the bass viol and tobacco,) swears tersly and with variety, cares not what lady's favour he belies, or great man's familiarity; a good property to perfume the boot of a coach. He will borrow another man's horse to praise, and backs him as his own; or, for a need, on foot can post himself into credit with his merchant only by the jingle of his shin, and the jirk of his wand.” This is a proper personage to feed the humour of the splenetic Macilente.- "Well, would my father had left me but a good face for my portion yet; though I had shar'd the unfortunate wit
with it, I had not car'd—I might have past for somewhat i'the world then." —And though he is not the first, he certainly becomes the most important object of Macilente's attention: not content with seeing him disgraced by his mistress, he pursues him into a prison, and discovers his amour with Deliro's wife to that enraged creditor. From his consequence in the play, he is worthy of such complicated punishment. Not only does Fallace doat upon him, but her brother Fungoso is his servile copyist. In dress, indeed, he is altogether so fantastical as to be worthily in the vaward of fashion.
In his account of a duel, our sympathy for massacred gold twist and amputated spangles can only be equalled
by our feeling for the minute taste of the illustrious wearer. Blood, which would not follow the thrusts of the combatants, is drawn by the wearer's spur, which likewise overthrows him, rending two pair of silk stockings, and a pair of Spanish leather boots : the vanquisher takes horse, and the wounded Fastidius pursues and embraces him at the court-gate, after having bound up his hurts with parts of his wrought shirt. Fungoso, though he does not aim at the gentlemanly valour here so punctiliously displayed, spends all he can wring from his father's avarice and his sister's doating passion for the courtier, upon the rendering himself the looking glass of Monsieur Brisk. However, he only follows the fashion " afar off like a spie,” “and still lights short a suit,” till at length he swoons for very despair, and being obliged to pay a tavern reckoning, in which he has had no share, he resolves in future to quit this part of his absurdities. The extract following is an example of his character and that of his sister :
“ Fallace. Brother, sweet brother, here's four angels I'll give you towards your suit: for the love of gentry, and as ever you came of Christian creature, make haste to the water-side (you know where Master Fastidius uses to land) and give him warning of my husband's malicious intent; and tell him of that lean rascal's treachery : 0 Heavens, how my flesh rises at him! Nay, sweet brother, make haste : you may say I would have writ to him, but that the necessity of the time would not permit. He cannot chuse but take it extraordinarily from me: and commend me to him, good brother-say, I sent you.
“Fungoso. Let me see; these four angels, and then forty shillings more I can borrow on my gown in Fetter Lane.
Well, I will go presently, 'say on my suit, pay as much money as I have, and swear myself into credit with my taylor for the rest.”
It is not to be wondered at, that the means Fallace uses to quicken Fungoso's diligence effectually retard it. Saviolina is the remaining satellite of Fastidius Brisk. She is “a court lady, whose weightiest praise is a light wit, admired by herself and one more, her servant Brisk.” In order to put her out of her humour, Sogliardo is introduced to her, "an essential clown, yet so enamoured of the name of a gentleman, that he will have it though he buys it. He comes up every term to learn to take tobacco, and see new motions. He is in his kingdom when he can get himself into company, where he may be well laught at.” He is presented to her as counterfeiting that which he is; and her discrimination, in discovering his hidden gentility, is highly amusing. It not only affords a practical lesson upon the prejudice of names, and the desire of being considered wiser than we are, but perhaps as justly shews that extremes often meet, and that a gentleman counterfeiting a clown would not be very unlike a clown counterfeiting a gentleman. We may, indeed, go farther and observe, that the excess of politeness is vulgarity, and that vulgar familiarity is sometimes very near the excess of common-place politeness. Even Sogliardo is, however, amiable as compared with his brother Sordido. Their punishments are proportionate : that of the former is only to discover that the man he had loved, upon his own description of his feats as a highwayman, never committed a robbery—the last hangs himself, but, being saved, repents and reforms. Jonson describes him, “a wretched hob-nail'd chuff, whose recreation is reading of almanacks, and felicity foul weather. One that never pray'd but for a lean dearth, and ever wept in a fat harvest.” Every passion, when its prevalence over the heart occasions it to fill it with unmixed and elemental purity and singleness, becomes in a degree sublime. His chuckling over the almanack, which prognosticates ill to all but himself-his revelling upon the misery which increases his riches, give him somewhat of demoniac awfulness. If there be none now who will own his sentiments, we could wish that none had adopted his principlesi When he is informed by his hind, that he must bring his corn to market, his observations are characteristic of the spirit of selfishness in all ages.
“O but (some say) the poor are like to starve ;
Macilente interferes no farther, in his distaste for his former pursuits, than in the following imprecation, which is a grand specimen of tragic power.
“Ha! ha! ha! is not this good? Is't not pleasing this ?
* Wealth, in this age, will scarcely look on merit.'”
Without considering the minor characters of Shift, a versatile bully; and Clove and Orange, two citizens, who,“ like a pair of wooden foils, are fit only to be practis’d upon;" we shall give Jonson's description of Deliro.
“A good doting citizen, who, it is thought, might be of the common-council for his wealth, a fellow sincerely
besotted on his own wife, and so rapt with a conceit of her perfection, that he simply holds himself unworthy of her; and, in that hood-winkt humour, lives more like a suitor than a husband, standing in as true dread of her displeasure as when he first made love to her. He doth sacrifice two-pence in juniper to her every morning before she rises, and wakes her with villainous out-of-tune music, which she, out of her contempt (though not out of her judgment) is sure to dislike."
Of his wife Fallace, our account has already justified the author's character, “ Deliro's wife and idol-a proud mincing peat, and as perverse as he is officious—she dotes as perfectly upon the courtier, as her husband doth on her, and only wants the face to be dishonest."
Macilente having poisoned Puntarvolo's dog, on which his ventures depended, gained Carlo Buffone a beating, by persuading him to taunt the Knight with his misfortune, disproved the wit of Saviolina, and cured the imitative vanity of Fungoso --crowns the victory of his envy, by exposing Brisk and Fallace to the opening eyes of Deliro, and consigning poor Fastidius to a hopeless prison. He then completes the play, by resigning his own peculiar passion. .
“Why here's a change, now is my soul at peace ;
We think that our extracts and description have sufficiently endeavoured to prove, that this play is replete with character and sentiment. Jonson doubtless thought highly of it. It was his challenge—his examination theme. That the public might lose no jot of his intentions, we have not only the characters of Macilente and Carlo Buffone in the play itself, who are constant lecturers upon the others, but we have a chorus of critics, and a definition of the characters prefixed. This, at least the chorus, must have been a great drawback upon the power of the illusion ; which, successfully preserved, might
have spoken more highly in the author's praise, than his own continued and laboured defence. But it was for Jonson to instruct a whimsical and barbarous public; and if his instructions were a punishment, it fell far short of what their presumption merited. That he has left these proofs of skill to us is, however, highly fortunate, as they enable him to become far more serviceable to us, than he would have been had he been a dramatist only. Indeed, there is something so noble in a great man's demand of the rights of his greatness, that the cause is itself a drama of no mean interest.
These then are the twins of Jonson's first and most laboured stile ; they are literally a pair of plays: they are the works of a master, before popularity has made him indolent, or taught him to look for success to any means but those which deserve it. There is throughout a judgement of design, which renders every part of the complicated plots clear and conspicuous. The very sentiments are proper for comedy: they may be serious, but they are only directed to the follies of mankind, and such vices as-are, from their sordid unpoetic nature, unworthy of tragic representation. To say that this is a field of great utility, most ably cultivated, is affording a praise far too common-place. If the decisive intuition of Shakspeare is denied to these plays; if his bold colouring and sketchy power, that created a figure at a stroke, would be sought for here in vain ; there is no want even of the greatly fanciful or the tremendous in conceptiontrue it is, the effort may have been more painful and less instantaneous, but industry and science have supplied what was wanting to natural strength. The artifices of ingenuity and judgement were at length enabled to rival original capacity. The imitation of acknowledged greatness gave them immediate, certain, and intrinsic worth. The mind, in their perusal, may not be constantly expanded, but it is always corrected. Were the tribes of creeping rhymesters and would-be dramatists of the present day to explore his works—if we should not be delivered from their tediousness, we might from their absurdity. If the great men, which this age has undoubtedly produced, would profit by his example, they might learn that severity of style is the concomitant of severity of manners, and that the rock-based edifice of Jonson is firm from its simplicity, and reverend because unpolluted. They have condescended to build airy castles of unreal fancies, which, though delightful, are not permanent-day-dreams of meretricious beauty, which obscure the sun of truth, but which, when his beams shine forth, vanish into nothingness. All he had, he exerted to the noblest purpose, the reformation of mankind. His wit was human, for its constant endeavour was to wean us from our follies. The cause of justice he alike upheld in morals and poetry, and was equally