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Are far from ends of evil, scarce degrees.
Lep. I'll ne'er believe but Cæsar hath some scent
1 His extremes.
2 Lewd people. 4 One kept for unnatural purposes.
3 In addition to. 5 The dirt.
To dare an open contestation ;-
Scene II. An Apartment in Sejanus' House. Sej. Swell, swell, my joys, and faint not to declare Yourselves as ample as your causes are. I did not live till now; this my first hour; Wherein I see my thoughts reach'd by my power. My roof receives me not; 'tis air I tread, And at each step I feel my advanced head Knock out a star in heaven! rear'd to this height, All my desires seem modest, poor, and slight That did before sound impudent: 'tis place Not blood discerns the noble and the base. Is there not something more than to be Cæsar? Must we rest there? it irks t' have come so far To be so near a stay. Caligula, Would thou stood'st stiff, and many in our way! Winds lose their strength when they do empty fly Unmet of woods or buildings; great fires die That want their matter to withstand them; so It is our grief, and will be our loss, to know Our power shall want opposites ;' unless The gods, by mixing in the cause, would bless Our fortune with their conquest. That were worth Sejanus' strife, durst fates but bring forth.
Enter Terentius, Satrius, and Natta.
Ter. I meet it violent in the people's mouths,
Sej. Some traitor hath put fire in: you, go see,
And let the head be taken off to look
Sat. The head, my lord, already is ta’en off,
Sej. Monstrous! why?
Hat. May it please
Sej. Oh, the fates!
Ter. But how that should
Sej. What, and you too Terentius!
Ter. Can the wise Sejanus
Sej. Oh, superstition! Why, then the falling of our bed, that brake This morning, burden'd with the populous weight Of our expecting clients, to salute us; Or running of the cat betwixt our legs, As we set forth unto the Capitol, Were prodigies.
Ter. I think them ominous, And would they had not happened! as, to-day The fate of some your servants, who, declining? Their way, not able, for the throng, to follow, Slipt down the Gemonies and brake their necks! Besides, in taking your last augury, No prosperous bird appear’d; but croaking ravens
1 Rival and successor to Sejanus.
2 Turning from. i Noisy.
Flagg'd up and down, and from the sacrifice
Sej. What excellent fools
Exeunt all but Sej.
2 Doomed to hold up the heavens.
3 Highest point.
To give me empire, temples, or their throats
HIS MASQUES. — “Rugged as Jonson was, he could turn to light and graceful work, and it is with his name that we connect the Masques. Masques were dramatic representations made for a festive occasion, with a reference to the persons present and the occasion. Their personages were allegorical. They admitted of dialogue, music, singing, and dancing, combined by the use of some ingenious fable into a whole. They were made and performed for the court and the houses of the nobles, and the scenery was as gorgeous and varied as the scenery of the playhouse proper was poor and unchanging. Arriving for the first time at any repute in Henry VIII.'s time, they reached splendor under James and Charles I. Great men took part in them. When Ben Jonson wrote them, Inigo Jones made the scenery, and Lawes the music, and Lord Bacon, Whitelock, and Selden sat in committee for the last great masque presented to Charles. Milton himself made them worthier by writing Comus, and their scenic decoration was soon introduced into the regular theatres.
Beaumont and Fletcher worked together, but out of more than fifty plays, all written in James I.'s reign, not more than fourteen were shared in by Beaumont, who died at the age of thirty in 1616. Fletcher survived him, and died in 1625. Both were of gentle birth. Beaumont, where we can trace his work, is weightier and more dignified than his comrade, but Fletcher was the better poet. Fletcher wrote rapidly, but his imagination worked slowly. Their Philaster and Thierry and Theodoret are fine examples of their tragic power. Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess is full of lovely poetry, and both are masters of grace and pathos and style. They enfeebled the