« PredošláPokračovať »
as tender youth, loose limbs, smooth skins, cal and Physical Opinions," published fair complexions, fantastical garbs, affected also in 1655, “ that in the World's phrases, strained compliments, factious na. Olio there are such gross mistakes in tures, detracting tongues, mischievous actions, and the like, are admired, and commended misplacing of chapters, and so many more, or thought wiser, than those that have literall faults, as her book was much generous souls, heroick spirits, ingenuous wits, disadvantaged thereby;" and then she prudent fore-cast
, experienced years, manly adds, “Likewise a short copie of verses forms, graceful garbs, edifying discourses, at the latter end of the book, is what temperate lives, sober actions, noble natures I intended for this book, as being my and honest hearts; but in former years it beloved of all my works, preferring it was otherwise.”
as my master-piece, although I do be. She had other reasons for being dis- lieve it will not please my readers.” satisfied with her contemporaries. She is very indignant at the suppo
“ I find (says she in one of her epistles) sition, that she “ had taken feathers I live in a carping age ; for some find fault out of the universities to enlarge the with my former writings, because they are wings of her fancy.” To which she not grammar, nor good orthography; and that all the last words are not riine ; and the wooll from his sheeps' backs to
no more than David took that the feet are not in just numbers: As for the orthography, the printer should have cloath his poetical phancies of devorectified that, for I think it is against nature
tion." In disclaiming all obligation for a woman to spell right; for my part, I to the writings or conversation of two confess I cannot; and as for the rimes and great writers of that age, she expresses numbers, although it is like I have erred in herself very awkwardly. many, yet not so much as by the negligence of those that were to oversee it; for, by the it seems as if I had converst with Des Cartes
“ Some say that my book of philosophy, false printing, they have not only done my
or Master Hobbes, or both, or have frebook wrong in that, but in many places the very sense is altered ; as for surfets, sercutts ;
quented their studies, by reading their works. wanting, wanton ; like flaming fire to burn, I cannot say but I have seen them both, but, they have printed a fire gunn, and many upon my conscience, I never spake to Mon. other words they have left out besides ; and
sieur De Cartes in my life, nor ever under. there is above a hundred of those faults, so
stood what he said, for he spake no English, that my book is lamed by an ill midwife and and I understand no other language; and nurse, the printer and overseer ; but as for those times I saw him, which was twice at the grammar part, I confess I am no scholar,” dinner with my Lord at Paris, he did appear &c.
to me a man of the fewest words I ever
heard. And for Master Hobbes, it is true, Those who wish to ascertain the ac
I have had the like good fortune to see him, curacy of her Grace's statement, may and that very often, with my Lord at dinner, look into a copy of the “ Poems and for, I, conversing seldom with any strangers, Fancies,” in the British Museum, en- had no other time to see those two famous riched with MS. notes in the Duchess's philosophers; yet, I never heard Master own handwriting:
Hobbes, to my best remembrance, treat or At the end of the World's Olio, the discourse of philosophy, nor I ever spake following rhymes deserve to be noticed:
to Master Hobbes twenty words in my life.
I cannot say I did not ask him a question, “ Of all my works, this book which I have for when I was in London I met him, and writ,
told him as truly, I was very glad to see him, My best beloved, and greatest favourite, and asked him if he would please to do me I look upon it with a pleasing eye,
that honour to stay at dinner, but he, with I pleasure take in its sweet company, great civility, refused me, as having some I entertain it with a grave respect,
businesse, which I suppose required his ab. And with my pen am ready to protect sence. And for their works, my own fool. The life and safety of it, 'gainst all those ish fancies do so employ my time, as they That will oppose it, or profess its foes : will not give me leave to read their books; But I am sure there's none condemn it can, for, upon my conscience, I never read more Unless some foolish and unlearned man, of Mounsieur Des Cartes than half his book That hath not understanding, judgment, wit, of passion ; and, for Master Hobbes, I never For to perceive the reason that's in it." read more than a little book called De Cive,
Any one who may infer from these and that but once.” exquisite verses, that the Duchess (who It is to be recollected, that by her was then only Marchioness) preferred own account, she knew no language “.the World's Olio” to all' her other but English ; and though one of Des writings, will be greatly mistaken. Cartes works had been before this time She tells us, in an “ Epistle to the done into English by a person of honReader,” prefixed to the " Philosophi- our, we are pretty certain that there was then no translation either of the dently the creations of accident, and, treatise Sur les Passions de l'Ame, or as her conjugal oracle assured her, that of the Elementa de Cive, by the philo- she was infinitely superior to all the sopher of Malmesbury. As her Grace old philosophers, it is not wonderful had filled many of her pages with dis- that she should suppose it possible for sertations on physic, she thought it nee the most perfect productions to origicessary to add, " I never read any book nate from chance. With all her exof diseases or medicines, but Gerard's travagant follies, it must be owned, Herball, which, no question, is a very that she now and then brings forth rare book."
brilliant ideas. Her prose is incompara She is sadly afraid of being account- ably more poetical than her versebut ed an atheist, and it cannot be denied, if all that she ever wrote were irrecovthat her theological creed is exceeding. erably lost, the world would sustain no ly imperfect. Her opinions were evie serious injury from their annihilation.
SICILY AND NAPLES; OR, THE FATAL UNION.
Oxford, printed by W. Turner, 1640. (We shall interrupt our regular series of analytical essays on the old English Drama, by the following analysis of an old play (to be found in the British Museumi), which appears to deserve a better fate than that of total oblivion.] By an address to the reader, prefixed tolerably well account for the rejection and signed P. P. it seems that this which this highly honoured child of play had been offered for representa- Isis experienced from the players. But tion, but refused ; and that the MS. the poetical beauties with which the had for a long time been on the shelf, language abounds, are, at the same from whence it was now removed by time, of an order almost to justify the the editor, against the will, and even blind admiration of the graduates of to the hazard of the loss of friendship Exeter College, and to create some of the author. “ I have so far sinned wonder that the name of the author is against the modesty of my friend,” &c. left to be guessed at from the initials, And, again, “ I have hazarded the loss and from those of his panegyrists, which of his love, only that I may shew my- are not so illustrious as to throw much self thy friend and servant. P. P.” light on the subject.
Commendatory verses are subjoined This play is not noticed in the Bioby the following Oxford wits of the graphia Dramatica. day, who all appear to have been in- The play contains three distinct, timate associates of the author, extol- and almost entirely independent, fables ling him to the skies, and equalizing or actions--the first, and principal, bea him to Shakspeare, Ben Jonson, and ing strictly tragic ; the second, accordRandolph. Their names are, Richard ing to the old phrase, tragi-comic, that Downey, A.B. è. C. Ex.; Robt Stapyl- is, tending to tragedy, but having a ton, A. B. Aul. Alb.; Richard Dode- happy ending; and the third purely ridge of Exeter Coll.; A. Short of comic, or rather farcical. The remains Exeter Coll. ; S. Hall and Edw. Hall ing unities are observed with an atof ditto ; and Jos. Hall of St Alban's tention to be expected from the learnHall.
ed member of a classical university. The character of Virginio Ursini The piece opens with the return of seems to have been the favourite ob- the Neapolitan army, under the comject of praise to these friends of the mand of its victorious king, Ferrando, author, and is compared, of course, from the conquest of Sicily. From so maintaining its great superiority to heroic a beginning, it is proper to adthe Sejanus, the Alchemist, and the vertise the reader that there is no hisVolpone of Jonson. A short analysis torical foundation for any part of the of the plot will be sufficient to prove story, and that the union it celebrates, the nature of its claim to this distinc. is that of Eutopia and Atalantis, rather tion ; at the same time, that it will than of Sicily and Naples. But, to
proceed methodically, the fable must of low buffoonery, and the confusion be traced from its origin to the com- produced by the intermixture of the mencement of the action.
tragi-comic underplot, the story creates Ferrando, king of Naples, has been a considerable degree of interest, and betrothed to Calantha, the only child is even conducted with great skill and of the old king, and heiress of the judgment. The Pageant of Elysium crown of Sicily, when, in consequence might be so managed, as to produce an of some state affairs, which it would extremely striking effect in therepresenbe impertinent in us to pry into, the tation; and the dialogue abounds with father of the princess suddenly turns tender and poetical touches. Thus, in round, and refuses his consent to the the first scene of the second act, where intended union. Ferrando, like a true Calantha appears distracted, she thus suitor of romance, easily yields to the addresses her lover : suggestion which bids him “ win and
“ We shall all sleep quietly wear her ;" but, instead of going at When we are dead. There is no noise of first in person at the head of his peers, chains ; he sends the Count Alberto, his fa- We shall not dream of prisons, rocks, or ships : vourite minister and general, to at- But every night shall see the gods descend tempt the conquest of Sicily. The ill On our soft slumbers, and steal away our success of this officer, furnishes Virgi
miseries. nio Ursini (the Machiavel of the piece) When I am dead ; down in the meads yon,
Ladies, you'll see me shrowded decently with the first step to his own advance
where ment in the overthrow of his rival. Grim Pluto stole his Proserpine, are still Debauchee, as well as politician, this The flowers she scattered ; go, bring them artful villain had previously contrived hither, to overcome the virtue of Felicia, the And strew me o'er with them : she was a daughter of Alberto, under the name virgin chaste, and in the disguise of the king; and And I have heard, that flowers of their gathe fear of the father's vengeance adds
thering a fresh stimulus to his ambition. Al Will never die.” berto, on his return, is accused of Her dream, on the eve of her wedtreachery, and perishes on a scaffold ; ding, is beautifully in unison with her and Ferrando, after promoting Ursini character. to fill the vacant place of minister, re
“ These rites, solves on a second expedition to Sicily If we may credit what our dreams foretell, in person. He proves victorious, slays Will turn to funeral obsequies : for such his intended father-in-law on the field This morning (when your careful art had of battle, and makes prisoner his ama
bound zon bride, Calantha, whom he brings My senses up) Fancy presented them. back to Naples in triumph, as the Methought I saw opima spolia of the war. His unfor
Aurora from the cast come weeping up, tunate captive, in the struggle between Wrapt in night's sables, and the following
day love for her conqueror, shame and Paced slowly on in grief's sad livery. grief for her degraded condition, and The pensive winds sigh'd forth a solemn dirge, horror in the reflection that her fa- And strove to blow our marriage tapers out. ther had died by the hands of her in- When you, Ursini, join’d in the solemnity, tended husband, falls into a deep me
I saw you look like Sicily's pale ghost, lancholy, grows distracted, and * bab- Broke from the hollow caverns of the earth. bles” of the Elysian fields. A physi- Mouldered to ashes : on your lip there sat
This hand, Ferrando, at your gentle touch, cian undertakes to cure her, by indulg- A frost, which, when I tasted, straight coning her fancy; and his purpose is ef- vey'd fected by an illusive pageant of the An ioy chilliness through every joynt ;.
arva beata," which persuades Calan- The stammering Priest, methought, mistook tha that she is herself a purified soul. the rites, After her recovery, she consents, but
And 'stead of those are used at nuptials, with a heavy heart, to the “ fatal Sung a short requiem to our souls, committed union.”
All that was left of 's to the earth, our last
Cold bed. T'he scenes now described, constitute the principal part of the second and
Fer. 'Twas the intemperance of your disthird acts of the play. So far, with
Suggested these chimeras ; the exception of the whole of the comic
And with it they have fled, part, which is in the very worst style Cal. No, po, Ferrandos
I've sinn'd against my father's ghost. Ere yet And dig for diamonds in each eye;
Here doth one in odours wade, For a gay nuptial garment, whose light out
By the royal unction made ; side
While another dares to gnaw, Denotes the looseness of a lighter mind,
On that tongue, the people's law. To which grief should have been perpetual guest."
Pools, ah! fools are we, who so contrive, There is exquisite fancy also in the
And do strive Fioceeding speech of Calantha, when In each gaudy ornament she is at last somewhat reconciled by Who shall his
corpse in the best dish present.” her lover's arguments.
It is somewhat too evident, however, “ Oh take me to thy soul : we'll mingle that the beautiful dirge in the Tempest
sighs And tears, which still shall flow together mind, when he composed this fanciful,
was before the author's eyes, or in his from us, As if the motion were but one ; and those
though certainly inferior, elegy. So frequent, that the stones which clothe his
The character of Calantha is as hape dust
pily introduced to our notice, as it is Stall soften into turfe, from whence shall ably sustained in the scenes which have spring
been just described. The following A bed of flowers, creeping about the grave, forms a part of a dialogue between As if they'd strew themselves upon him, then Valenzo and bis friend Piero, at the Wither, that men might think we wept for them."
commencement of the play; in which
the only circumstance to be regretted So, in the passionate address of Fer
is, that it does not perhaps explain to rando:
the reader so much of preceding oc“ Display this beauteous treasure, lovely currences as is necessary to enable Sweet,
him to enter at once into the nature of And let those flowers which dwell upon thy those which are to ensue. cheek,
“ Val. I've seen her, maugre all those Like those proud Maja weares i' th' smiling
sudden fears ides,
Her tender age and womanhood could urge, Blaze wild and open. See ! they're fresh Stand in the head of troops, that we ev'n and lovely.
fear'd Their odour flies to Heaven in sacrifice,
They had engaged a goddess in their quarrel; Sweet as the purple smoke ascending from The Phenix funeral piles, or southern breath Lay scatter'd in the plains, like the ripe ears
Bear up against the enemy, when her men Perfumed with all Arabia's spiceries."
The wealthy harvest yields unto the grange. The scene opening and discovering Piero. I know not how : but sure she's the tomb of the king of Sicily, and the made the king wild. funeral dirge, instead of Epithalami- He has such diversity, as he had learn'd um, are in the true spirit of melancho
To be mysterious in 's passion : I've seen ly wildness, which the preceding dia- Like a fond mother o'er her tender babe, logue is calculated to engender. The Whom too rude fate hath ravish'd unripe song itself is not altogether devoid of from her, that simple pathos so often to be met Then rave and curse, talk as he wanted reason with in the little lyrical accompani. To guide his speeches organ, or soft sleep ments of our old dramas.
T' recall his straggling senses ;
Until he lights upon her name, and then
He bows at the recital, blesses himself “ Noblest bodies are but gilded clay ; In the often repetition of Calantha. But the precious shining rind,
Alas, poor maid ! why, now she's a true capThe inmost rottenness remains behind.
To passion and to Naples ; had she been still
Queen over her great self, none could have Kings on earth, tho' gods they be,
said Yet in death are vile as we;
She'd been unhappy : now, and not till now, He, a thousand's king before,
She's truly miserable.
Val. 'f'is holiness to pity her.
Piero. Our tears are better spent upon her Vermin now insulting lie,
Than our own sins; she talks so prettily, lain, without any sufficient or apparent Clothes grief in such a sad and pious garb, motive for his villanies. Thus, when So void of any rudeness, that we see Federigo, under the assumed name of Composedness in distraction, reason in mad. Zisco, talks openly to him of his deShe never walks but when she's led along,
signs against the king, he opposes them And that so faintly as she had not spirits
by general common places upon the Enough to actuate her tender limbs. divinity of princes, and in such a manThe want of meat and sleep have made her ner as to leave the spectator himself
as totally in the dark as to his real inA living coarse ; to see her weep, you'd fear clinations as the person with whom he That every drop was her own funeral tear.”. is speaking. This might have been,
The very opening of the play, the prevented, by the common and obvious address of Valenzo to his officers, who artifice of a soliloquy; but, as it is, are discontented at the order which we are ignorant even to the end of the prohibits their entrance into Naples, play, how far it was Ursini's wish or immediately on their return from the design that Zisco's treason should take wars, is in a bold energetic strain, and effect. calenlated to create a favourable im- “ One, upon whom attends a guard of pression at the outset.
And angels; on whose brow divinity " Be more composed, and hear me ! Sits character'd; a majesty that darts Though you hate
Fork'd arrows into th' guilty soul, and Treason as ill as cowardice, yet I must
sticks Tell you, you are the men have brought A palsied fear through every limb and joint The enemy home to Naples I mean the of the murderer.” army
This is a fine specimen of the high Por what else can I term such a vast body, Consisting of such disproportion d members; prerogative strain of Ursini's arguFleshed with the spoils of fertile Sicily,
ment, and reminds one of Shakspeare's Enrich'd with what a happy soil can yield
Richard the Second. Those with To an insulting Conqueror, fed too
which Zisco opposes him are equally With glorious hopes of ease and plenty ? spirited, and the manner in which You know how hard a task you underwent they lead to Ursini's discovering his To govern them abroad, when tamed by real person, natural and dramatic. want,
“ It is Thirst, hunger, heat and cold : judge then The pride of princes to be thought gods here
On Earth, daring to mock Omnipotence, Authority can bear, when by this charge To create them favourites, set them aloft They are grown mad and mutinous. Who In their own sphere, till remote kingdoms shall
gaze Compose their private jars and quarrels, At their prodigious height, then, in an in. When their full cups add fury to their pride ?" stant, When he meets his friend Piero,
Shoot them from thence like falling meteors.
Had he not loved you first, you could not be he thus inquires of him the present The object of his hate ; you were too poor state of affairs at Naples.
And safe, when 'twas, to have him glory in “What face wears the court? How looks it Your ruins. Innocence below enjoys On our new dignities ? Envy, like the Sun, Security and quiet sleeps ; Murder's not Darts her beams hottest on the rising banks." Treachery's a' stranger there ; they enjoy
Federigo, the son of Count Alberto, Their friends and lovers without ravishment; besides the hatred which he owes his They all are equal ; every one's a prince, sovereign, on account of his father's And rules himself; they speak not with death, is abused with a story of his Or brows, but with the tongue ; and that sister Felicia's having been dishonour
too dwells ed, and afterwards murdered by Fer. In the heart-were it but so at court, rando, which exasperates his hatred to Alberto, the famed Marquis, had not fallen phrenzy. In the disguise of a Moor, Urs. ( aside., Alberto ! Ha! &c. he enters into the service of Virginio Zisc. When princes put off their humanity. Ursini, the court favourite, the same Murder's a holy sin. You may be good personage whose character (as we have And fall like him, whose aged head lies low,
Low in the dust. already seen), is held up by the au
Urs. (Again! this confirms it) thor's panegyrists, as the most prodi
Zisc. The groans of whose sunk house are gious effort of genius, but which is heard merely that of a most diabolical vil- To affright strangers ; whilst Naples yet,