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The handmaid to the wages,

The untroubled but of country toil, drinks streams
With leaping kids and with the bleating lambs,
And so allays her thirst secure; whilst I
Quench my hot sighs with fleetings of my tears.

Ith. The labourer doth eat his coarsest bread,
Earn'd with his sweat, and lies him down to sleep;
Whilst every bit I touch turns in digestion
To gall, as bitter as Panthea's curse.

Put me to any penance for my tyranny,
And I will call thee merciful.


Pray kill me!

Rid me from living with a jealous husband,

Then we will join in friendship, be again

Brother and sister.- Kill me, pray! nay, will ye?
Ith. Thou shalt stand

A deity, my sister, and be worshipp'd

For thy resolved martyrdom: wrong'd maids
And married wives shall to thy hallow'd shrine

Offer their orisons, and sacrifice

Pure turtles, crown'd with myrtle, if thy pity
Unto a yielding brother's pressure, tend

One finger but, to ease it.

Pen. Who is the saint you serve?

Ith. Calantha 't is !-the princess! the king's daughter!

Sole heir of Sparta.

Me, most miserable!

Do I now love thee? For my injuries

Revenge thyself with bravery, and gossip

My treasons to the king's ears! Do! - Calantha

Knows it not yet; nor Prophilus, my nearest.

Pen. We are reconcil'd!

Alas, sir, being children, but two branches
Of one stock, 't is not fit we should divide:
Have comfort; you may find it.


Only in thee, Penthea mine!


Yes, in thee;

If sorrows

Have not too much dull'd my infected brain,

I'll cheer invention for an active strain.

Ith. Mad man! why have I wrong'd a maid so excellent?"
vol. i. p. 273-277.

We cannot resist the temptation of adding a part of the scene in which this sad ambassadress acquits herself of the task she had undertaken. There is a tone of heart-struck sorrow and female gentleness and purity about it that is singularly engaging, and contrasts strangely with the atrocious indecencies with which the

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author has polluted his paper in other parts of the same

play. — The princess says,


Cal. Being alone, Penthea, you now have granted The opportunity you sought; and might

At all times have commanded.

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Which I shall owe your goodness even in death for:
My glass of life, sweet princess, hath few minutes
Remaining to run down; the sands are spent;
For by an inward messenger I feel

The summons of departure short and certain.
Cal. You feed too much your melancholy.


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You have no little cause; yet none so great
As to distrust a remedy.

That remedy
Must be a winding-sheet! a fold of lead,
And some untrod-on corner of the earth.
Not to detain your expectation, princess,
I have an humble suit.

Speak; and enjoy it.
Pen. Vouchsafe, then, to be my executrix,
And take that trouble on you to dispose
Such legacies as I bequeath, impartially;
I have not much to give; the pains are easy,
Heav'n will reward your piety, and thank it
When I am dead; for sure I must not live:
I hope I cannot."

After leaving her fame, her youth, &c. in some very pretty but fantastical verses, she proceeds

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I am a sister, though to me this brother
Hath been, you know, unkind: Oh, most unkind!'

vol. i. 291-293.

There are passages of equal power and beauty in the plays called "Love's Sacrifice," "The Lover's Melancholy," and in "Fancies Chaste and Noble." In "Perkin Warbeck," there is a more uniform and sustained elevation of style. But we pass all those over, to give our readers a word or two from "The Witch of Edmonton," a drama founded upon the recent execution of a miserable old woman for that fashionable offence; and in which the devil, in the shape of a black dog, is a principal performer! The greater part of the play, in which Ford was assisted by Dekkar and Rowley, is of course utterly absurd and contemptible-though not without its value as a memorial of the strange superstition of the age; but it contains some scenes of great interest and beauty, though written in a lower and more familiar tone than most of those we have already exhibited. As a specimen of the range of the author's talents, we shall present our readers with one of these. Frank Thorney had privately married a woman of inferior rank;" and is afterwards strongly urged by his father, and his own inclination, to take a second wife, in the person of a rich yeoman's daughter whose affections were fixed upon him. After taking this unjustifiable step, he is naturally troubled with certain inward compunctions, which manifest

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themselves in his exterior, and excite the apprehensions of his innocent bride. It is her dialogue with him that we are now to extract; and we think the picture that it affords of unassuming innocence and singleness of heart, is drawn with great truth, and even elegance. She begins with asking him why he changes countenance so suddenly. He answers

"Who, I? For nothing.

Sus. Dear, say not so: a spirit of your constancy Cannot endure this change for nothing. I've observ'd Strange variations in you.



In me?

In you, sir.

Awake you seem to dream, and in your sleep

You utter sudden and distracted accents,

Like one at enmity with peace. Dear loving husband,
If I may dare to challenge any interest

In you, give me thee fully! you may trust

My breast as safely as your own.


You half amaze me; pr'ythee-

Indeed you shall not shut me from
The least dislike that grieves you,
Frank. And I all thine.


With what?

Come, you shall not,
I'm all yours.

You are not; if you keep

The least grief from me: but I know the cause;


grows from me.


From you?


From some distaste

In me or my behaviour; you're not kind

In the concealment. 'Las, sir, I am young,
Silly and plain; more strange to those contents
A wife should offer. Say but in what I fail,
I'll study satisfaction.


Come in nothing.

Sus. I know I do; knew I as well in what,
You should not long be sullen. Pr'ythee, love,
If I have been immodest or too bold,

Speak't in a frown; if peevishly too nice,
Shew't in a smile. Thy liking is a glass
By which I'll habit my behaviour.



Dost weep now?


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To make me passionate as an April day.

Now smile, then weep; now pale, then crimson red.

You are the powerful moon of my blood's sea,

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To make it ebb or flow into my face,

As your looks change.

Change thy conceit, I pr'ythee:

Thou'rt all perfection: Diana herself

Swells in thy thoughts and moderates thy beauty.
Within thy clear eye amorous Cupid sits

Feathering love-shafts, whose golden heads he dips
In thy chaste breast.

Sus. Come, come: these golden strings of flattery
Shall not tie up my speech, sir: I must know
The ground of your disturbance.


Then look here;

For here, here is the fen in which this hydra

Of discontent grows rank.


Heaven shield it!


Frank. In mine own bosom! here the cause has root;
The poisoned leeches twist about my heart,

And will, I hope, confound me.


You speak riddles."

vol. ii. p. 437-440.

The unfortunate bigamist afterwards resolves to desert this innocent creature: but, in the act of their parting, is moved by the devil, who rubs against him in the shape of a dog! to murder her. We are tempted to give the greater part of this scene, just to show how much beauty of diction and natural expression of character may be combined with the most revolting and degrading absurdities. The unhappy bridegroom saysWhy would you delay? we have no other business Now, but to part.


Sus. And will not that, sweet-heart, ask a long time?
Methinks it is the hardest piece of work

That e'er I took in hand.


Fie, fie! why look,
I'll make it plain and easy to you. Farewell.
Sus. Ah, las! I'm not half perfect in it yet.
I must have it thus read a hundred times.
Pray you take some pains, I confess my dulness.
Frank. Come! again and again, farewell.

wilt return?

[Kisses her.

[Kisses her.] Yet

All questions of my journey, my stay, employment,
And revisitation, fully I have answered all.

There's nothing now behind but-


Frank. What is't?

But this request —

Sus. That I may bring you thro' one pasture more,
Up to yon knot of trees: amongst those shadows
I'll vanish from you; they shall teach me how.

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