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Charles the Second and was beleaguered by that of the Parliament, under Cromwell. Among its inhabitants were Alderman Sacheverell and his beautiful daughter, Lucy. The Alderman, once wealthy, had become impoverished, and he was a spy in the service of Cromwell. Sacheverell and his daughter dwelt in an attic lodging, and Colonel Hawley, an elderly officer, of the royal service, occupied an adjacent room. Hawley had fallen in love with Lucy Sachewerell, but had not prospered in his wooing. On the day of the battle of Worcester (Cromwell's “crowning mercy") Richard Lovelace, escaping many perils, made his way into that city, seeking to fight for the King, and also seeking Colonel Hawley, who was his friend, and by chance he came to Sacheverell's lodging, saw Lucy, and instantly loved her,—so that the comrades at once became rivals. Lucy, who had already been fascinated by the poetry of Lovelace, no sooner saw him, in his beauty, than she yielded her fancy to his enchantment. The jealous Hawley, blinded by passion, thereupon basely contrived to send him to a place, in the impending battle, where there was to be a mine explosion, of which he had obtained a warning, in which explosion he trusted that his rival would be killed. The treachery prospered. Lovelace was thought to have perished, and, after a time, Lucy married Colonel Harley. Lovelace, however, severely wounded, nevertheless in some measure recovered, and, with that fidelity to an ideal which is the

poet's dream, he installed himself in Mr. Sacheverell's abandoned lodging, and there, for several years,-keeping all things as Lucy had left them,-he dwelt, in penury, cherishing the image of a lost love. Such a posture of circumstances might seem fantastic, but stranger things than that have happened, in human experience, and with the sovereign passion all things are possible. There came a day, at last, when Lucy and her husband, travelling by way of Worcester, paused, at her solicitation, to revisit their old residence, so that the lovers again met and the rivals were again confronted. In that meeting the catastrophe to Lovelace explained, the infamy of Hawley was exposed, and Lovelace, in a frenzy of despairing wrath and yet of magnanimity, compelled a conflict with his enemy in which he intentionally perished.

There is precipitation in the conduct of the plot of this touching drama, there is a trace of improbability in a few of its incidents, and the language, being of one invariable kind, is not adjusted to the different characters of the several speakers; but the story is dramatically and therefore effectively told, the movement of it is continuous and cumulative, the situations are sharply defined, and the persons are made to express, amply and pointedly, the feelings by which they are animated. The play is avowedly romantic, -a fanciful fiction, not a chronicle of fact,--and judgment of it should bear in mind that romance is the antithesis

of reality. Its defects are precipitancy, sombre color, and occasional monotony.

Information about the poet Lovelace is derived, chiefly, from the antiquarian Anthony Á Wood, and, in some respects, it is dubious and meagre. He was the eldest son of Sir William Lovelace, of Woolwich, county of Kent, born in 1618, and educated at the Charterhouse, London, and at Oxford. He was honorably graduated from that university in 1636, and he then went to the

Court of King Charles the First, under the patronage : of Lord Goring, and presently he joined the royal army

and followed the King's standard into Scotland. He inherited a valuable estate, but, steadfastly adhering to the unfortunate royal cause, he suffered great losses. In 1646 he led a regiment, which he had raised, in the service of King Louis the Fourteenth, and at the battle of Dunkirk he was severely wounded. Two years later he returned to London, and there he passed the rest of his life. He was married: mention is made of his daughter, Margaret Lovelace, who became the wife of Henry Coke, one of the sons of the famous Chief Justice, and who possessed an estate which had belonged to her father, at Kingsdown. Lovelace was more than once imprisoned by the government, and toward the end of his days he became miserably poor.

Wood records that, in his youth, he was distinguished for extraordinary personal beauty and for every virtue, that he wore cloth of gold and silver, and that he was adored by women,

There is some mystery about the close of his career. It seems likely that his property was withheld from him by the strong hand of arbitrary power, and there appears to be good reason for believing that his miseries were augmented by a disappointment in love. He was enamoured of a woman named Lucy Sacheverell, whom, in his poems, he celebrates as “Lucasta,” and with whom, apparently, he had established an intimacy before he went to the siege of Dunkirk. He customarily called her "Lux Casta." He found, on his return from France, after the Battle of Dunkirk, that Lucy Sacheverell had married, believing him to have died, and possibly that disappointment, combined with ill-health and loss of fortune, broke his spirit. He went about in rags, he lived in squalid places, he sometimes subsisted on alms, he ultimately fell into a consumption, and he died in deplorable penury. His death occurred in a mean lodging, somewhere near Shoe Lane, London, in 1658, when he was only forty years old, and he was buried in the west end of St. Bride's Church, in Fleet Street. His poems fill two little volumes, one called “Lucasta,” published in 1649, the other called “Posthume Poems,” published ten years later: both have been reprinted. He also wrote two plays, one called “The Scholar," the other "The Soldier.” His best poem is the ode “To Althea, from Prison.” The art of it is not faultless, as any reader can perceive, on examination of the rhymes, but the spontaneous lyrical passion of it is

irresistible, and the movement is as free as the waft of a sea-bird's wing. It probably was written, as good lyrical poems usually are, without the least effort, and in a few moments,—though there is a whole lifetime of passion and suffering back of it.

Laurence Irving, in writing this play, manifestly took some liberty with the facts of the poet's life, but in a play the essential quality is action that culminates in dramatic effect, and much that inexorable reason would exact must be sacrificed in order to obtain that quality. The dramatist has exhibited the heroic, chivalrous, romantic, passionate yet gentle strain of the character of Lovelace, and his use of fancy in the matter of circumstance cannot be considered either extravagant or injurious. A large license has generally to be allowed to the playwright who weaves his wreaths of fancy around historic persons. It is, of course, essential that calumny should not be transmitted in any form of literature from age to age: but theatrical estimates of illustrious historic persons, such as Julius Cæsar and Napoleon Bonaparte, need not cause serious solicitude. Such persons have, necessarily, become themes of active controversy, and they can bear any amount of wash, whether it be black or white. It does seem desirable, however, that when a dramatist invades the comparatively humble realm of literary biography discreet consideration should be accorded to the ascertained truth. That discretion has not always been exercised. Shake

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