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Are far from ends of evil, scarce degrees.
He hath his slaughter-house at Capreæ,
Where he doth study murder as an art;
And they are dearest in his grace that can
Devise the deepest tortures. Thither, too,
He hath his boys and beauteous girls ta’en up
Out of our noblest houses, the best form’d,
Best nurtured, and most modest; what's their good
Serves to provoke his bad. Some are allured,
Some threatened; others, by their friends detained
Are ravished hence, like captives, and, in sight
Of their most grievèd parents, dealt away
Unto his spintries, sellaries, and slaves.
To this (what most strikes us and bleeding Rome)
He is, with all his craft, become the ward
To his own vassal, a stale catamitet,
Whom he, upon our low and suffering necks,
Hath raised from excrementó to side the gods,
And have his proper sacrifice in Rome:
Which Jove beholds, and yet will sooner rive
A senseless oak with thunder than his trunk!

Lep. I'll ne'er believe but Cæsar hath some scent
Of bold Sejanus' footing. These cross points
Of varying letters and opposing consuls,
Mingling his honors and his punishments,
Feigning now ill, now well, raising Sejanus
And then depressing him, as now of late
In all reports we have it, cannot be
Empty of practise: 'tis Tiberius' art.
For having found his favorite grown too great,
And with his greatness strong; that all the soldiers
Are, with their leaders, made at his devotion;
That almost all the senate are his creatures,
Or hold on him their main dependencies,
Either for benefit or hope or fear;
And that himself hath lost much of his own,
By parting unto him; and, by th' increase
Of his rank, lusts, and rages, quite disarm'd
Himself of love or other public means

1 His extremes.

2 Lewd people. 4 One kept for unnatural purposes.

3 In addition to. 5 The dirt.

To dare an open contestation ;-
His subtilty hath chose this doubling line
To hold him even in: not so to fear him
As wholly put him out, and yet give check
Unto his farther boldness.

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. Safety to great Sejanus!
Sej. Now, Terentius?
Ter. Hears not my lord the wonder?
Sej. Speak it, no.

Ter. I meet it violent in the people's mouths,
Who run in routs to Pompey's theatre
To view your statue, which, they say, sends forth
A smoke, as from a furnace, black and dreadful.

Sej. Some traitor hath put fire in: you, go see,


2 Opponents.


And let the head be taken off to look
What 'tis. Some slave hath practised an imposture
To stir the people.

Sat. The head, my lord, already is ta'en off,
I saw it; and, at opening, there leapt out
A great and monstrous serpent.

Sej. Monstrous! why?
Had it a beard and horns? no heart? a tongue
Forked as flattery? look'd it of the hue
To such as live in great men's bosoms? was
The spirit of it Macro's?'

Hat. May it please
The most divine Sejanus, in my days
I have not seen a more extended, grown,
Foul, spotted, venemous, ugly-

Sej. Oh, the fates!
What a wild muster's here of attributes
T'express a worm, a snake!

Ter. But how that should
Come there, my lord!

Sej. What, and you too Terentius!
I think you mean to make 't a prodigy
In your reporting.

Ter. Can the wise Sejanus
Think heaven hath meant it less ?

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

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1 Rival and successor to Sejanus.

2 Turning from.

Flagg'd up and down, and from the sacrifice
Flew to the prison, where they sat all night
Beating the air with their obstreperous beaks!
I dare not counsel but I would entreat
That great Sejanus would attempt the gods
Once more with sacrifice.

Sej. What excellent fools
Religion makes of men! Believes Terentius,
If these were dangers, as I shame to think them,
The gods could change the certain course of fate?
Or, if they could, they would, now in a moment,
For a beeve's fat, or less, be bribed to invert
Those long decrees? Then think the gods, like flies,
Are to be taken with the steam of flesh
Or blood, diffused about their altars: think
Their power as cheap as I esteem it small. —
Of all the throng that fill th’ Olympian hall
And, without pity, lade poor Atlas'a back,
I know not that one deity, but Fortune,
To whom I would throw up in begging smoke
One grain of incense; or whose ear I'd buy
With thus much oil. Her I, indeed, adore,
And keep her grateful image in my house,
Sometime belonging to a Roman king.
To her I care not, if, for satisfying
Your 'scrupulous phant’sies, sins, I go offer. Bid
Our priest prepare us honey, milk, and poppy,
His masculine odors, and night-vestments: say
Our rites are instant, which performed, you'll see
How vain and worthy laughter your fears be.

Exeunt all but Sej.
If you will, Destinies, that, after all,
I faint now ere I touch my period, 3
You are but cruel; and I already have done
Things great enough. All Rome hath been my slave;
The senate sate an idle looker on
And witness of my power; when I have blush'd
More to command than it to suffer: all
The fathers have sate ready and prepared

i Noisy.

2 Doomed to hold up the heavens.

3 Highest point.

To give me empire, temples, or their throats
When I would ask 'em; and, what crowns the top,
Rome, senate, people, all the world have seen
Jove but my equal, Cæsar but my second.
'Tis then your malice, Fates, who, but your own,
Invy and fear to have my power long known.

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


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