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Dut. My Heart is in a mist, some good star smile
Exit. The catastrophe principally turns upon a letter which Columbo writes from his camp to the Duchess, in whicb, in the confidence of the success of his suit, backed by the King and the Cardinal, he desires her to marry whom she pleases; she takes him at his word, and immediately unites herself to Alvarez, but previously in triumph shews the letter to the Cardinal, who thus addresses her:
" What lethargy could thus unspirit bim?
« Dut. My Lord,
" Car. Strange arts and windings in the world, most dark, And subtill progresses; who brought this Letter?
“ Dut. I enquir'd not his name, I thought it not Considerable to take such narrow knowledge.
" Car. Desert, and honour urg'd it here, nor can
“ Dut. This comparison,
“ Car. I fear Madam,
To find a posture to present himself,
• Dut. My Fame Lord Cardinal ?
“ Čar. You are a fine Court Lady.
“ Car. One, that if you have not thrown off modesty. Would counsell you to leave Alvarez.
" Dut. Cause you dare do worse .Than Marriage, must I not be admitted what The Church and Law allowes me?
“ Car, Insolent ? then you dare marry him?
“ Dut. Dare? Let your contracted flame and malice, with Columbo's rage, higher than that, meet us When we approach the holy place, clasp'd hand In hand, wee'l break through all your force and fix Our sacred vows together there.
“ Car. I knew When with as chast a brow you promis'd fair To another ; you are no dissembling Lady.
“ Dut. Would all your actions had no falser lights About 'em.
« Car. Ha ?
“ Dut. Begin at home great man, ther's cause enough,
Tis when you set their tongues, which you wind up,
“ Car. You dare presume
« Dut. Alas you give false aym, my Lord, 'tis your
“ Cur. Will you now take breath ?
“ Dut. In hope, iny Lord, you will behold yourself
Erit. We apprehend that no finer invective address is to be found in any writer, than that which the Duchess pronounces against the Cardinal; and indeed the whole scene is in the best strain of tragic dignity. It must, we think, be admitted, that Shirley is not often so happy in the management of his catastrophes, as many other poets, and particularly Massinger, though the Traitor is, we think, a fine exception to our remark.
As a descriptive poet, Shirley is not often excelled, whe. ther upon lively or grave subjects: the following picture of a deserted and blasted valley, may serve as a specimen of the latter : it is from the Court Secret.
“ This is the place by his commands to meet in :
It has a sad and fatall invitation !
All darkness is less horrid than half light.
Spectators of some tragedy.”— The impression of such a scene upon the mind is admirably expressed by a living poet.
“ It seems as if the spring-time came not here
Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads. In the same play, (The Court Secret,) are two or three delightful love scenes, but deficiency of space compels us merely to refer to them : that which concludes the first act, is peculiarly excellent; the point of the song which ends with the lines,
« Or let me kiss your hand, the book
And I have made my choice.” has been a thousand times imitated.
Although Shirley has produced a greater number of comedies than tragedies, we do not think that he is generally so successful in the former, as in the latter: his comedies are very unequal; and both the plot and the dialogue sometimes flag. Shakspeare seems almost the only writer who was equally eminent in both; Marston approaches nearest to him, and Massinger is scarcely inferior; though, perhaps, his excellence does not consist in the wit or sprightliness of the interlocutions. Shirley, however, is decidedly above Chapman in this line, who, as his Gentleman Usher witnesses, could condescend to the lowest trash, and the merest buffoonery. One great excellence of Shir. ley's comedies to modern readers, will be, that if wit and humour, be now and then absent, he seldom calls in grossness and indecency to supply their place. The Witty Fair One, is unquestionably one of his best, and the Author himself bears testimony to its success in representation. A principal incident in it, occupying the fourth act, reminds us of the story of the monk in Boccacio, who persuaded a living man that he was dead, and in purgatory for the punishment of his sins. Fowler is a gay libertine, who has been paying his court to Penelope, who procures his and her friends to join in a plot, to pretend that Fowler is dead; and to convince him of it, against the evidence of his senses, and by introducing him to a supposed chamber of mourning where they are lamenting over his vices, to make him sensible of them. The expedient does not want novelty, nor ingenuity, and it is well executed; as the following ex. tract will testify. « Enter Fouler.
The Hearse brought in, Tapers. “ Fow. This is the roome I sickned in, and by report, dved in,, umh I have heard of spirits walking with aeriall bodies, and ha beene wondered at by others, but I must only wonder at my selfe, for if they be not mad, l'me come to my owne buriall, certaine these clothes are substantiall, I one my 'Taylor for 'em to this houre, if the Divell bee not my Taylor, and hath furnish'il me with another suit very like it-This is no magicall noyse, essentiall gold and silver? What doe I with it if I be dead ? Here are no reckonings to be payd with it, no Taverne Bils, no midnight Revels, with the costly Tribe of amourous she sinners, now I cannot spend it, would the poore had it, by their prayers I might hope to get out of this new pittifull Purgatory, or at least know which way I came in to't
Here they are in mourning, wbat a Divell doe they meane to doe with me—not too many teares Lady, you will but spoyle your eyes, and draw upon 'em the misery of Spectacles, doe not you know me neyther?
* Pen. Oh Master Fowler. (as not seeing him.) · " Fow. Ha, out wi't, nay and the woman but acknowledge me alive, there's some hope a me.
“ Pen. I loved thee living with a holy flame to purge the errours of thy wanton youth.
“ Fow. I'me dead againe.
• Pen. This made thy soul sue out so hasty a Divorce. And flee to acry dwellings, hath Left vs thy cold pale figure, which wee haue Commission but to chamber vp in Melancholy dust, where thy owne wormes Like the false servants of some great mau shall devoure thee first.
« Fow. I am wormes meate, «. Pen. We must all dye.
“ Fow. Woo'd some of you would do't quickly, that I might ha company,
“ Pen. But wert thou now to liue againe with ys
“ Fow. This is my Funerall sermon.