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THOMAS DEKKER.

[Died about 1638.)

At the close of the sixteenth century we find were brooding over their revenge when the Poetthat the theatres, conducted by Henslowe and aster came forth, in which Dekker was recogAlleyn, chiefly depended on Jonson, Heywood, nized as Demetrius. Either that his wrath made Chettle, and this poet, for composing or retouch him more willing, or that he was chosen the ing their pieces. Marston and Dekker had champion of the offended host, for his rapid laboured frequently in conjunction with Jonson, powers and popularity, he furnished the Satirowhen their well-known hostility with him com mastix ; not indeed a despicable reply to Jonson, menced. What grounds of offence Marston and but more full of rage than of ridicule. The little Dekker alleged, cannot now be told ; but Jonson that is known of Dekker's history, independent affirms, that after the appearance of his coinedy, of his quarrel with Jonson, is unfortunate. His “ Every Man in his Humour," they began to pro talents were prolific, and not contemptible ; but voke him on every stage with their “ petulant he was goaded on by want to hasty productions styles," as if they wished to single him out for -acquainted with spunging-houses, and an intheir adversary. When Jonson’s Cynthia's Re mate of the King's Bench prison*. Oldys thinks vels appeared, they appropriated the two charac that he was alive in 1638. ters of Hedon and Anaides to themselves, and

FORTUNE GIVING FORTUNATUS HIS CHOICE OF GOODS.

For. Sıx gifts I spend upon mortality,
Wisdom, strength, health, beauty, long life, and

riches;
Out of my bounty, one of these is thine,
Choose then which likes thee best.

Fort. Oh, most divine !
Give me but leave to borrow wonder's eye,
To look (amazed) at thy bright majesty,
Wisdom, strength, health, beauty, long life, and

riches ?
For. Before thy soul (at this deep lottery)
Draw forth her prize, ordain’d by destiny,
Know that here's no recanting a first choice :
Choose then discreetly, (for the laws of fate
Being graven in steel, must stand inviolate.)
Fort. Daughters of Jove and the unblemish'd

Night,
Most righteous Parcæ, guide my genius right !
Wisdom, strength, health, beauty, long life, and

riches ?
For. Stay,Fortunatus, once more hear me speak,
If thou kiss wisdom's cheek and make her thine,
She'll breathe into thy lips divinity,
And thou (like Phæbus) shalt speak oracle ;
Thy heaven-inspired soul, on wisdom's wings,
Shall Ay up to the parliament of Jove,
And read the statutes of eternity,
And see what's past, and learn what is to come :
If thou lay claim to strength, armies shall quake
To see thee frown; as kings at mine do lie,
So shall thy feet trample on empery :
Make health thine object, thou shalt be strong proof,
'Gainst the deep searching darts of surfeiting ;

Be ever merry, ever revelling:
Wish but for beauty, and within thine eyes
Two naked Cupids amorously shall swim,
And on thy cheeks I'll mix such white and red,
That Jove shall turn away young Ganymede,
And with immortal arms shall circle thee :
Are thy desires long life? thy vital thread
Shall be stretch'd out; thou shalt behold the change
Of monarchies ; and see those children die
Whose great-great-grandsires now in cradles lie:
If through gold's sacred hunger thou dost pine,
Those gilded wantons which in swarms do run,
To warm their slender bodies in the sun,
Shall stand for number of those golden piles,
Which in rich pride shall swell before thy feet;
As those are, so shall these be, infinite.
Awaken then thy soul's best faculties,
And gladly kiss this bounteous hand of fate,
Which strives to bless thy name of Fortunate.

* Ile was there at one time for three years, according to Oldys. No wonder poor Dekker could rise a degree above the level of his ordinary genius in describing the blessings of Fortunatus's inexhaustible purse: he had probably felt but too keenly the force of what he ex. presses in the misanthropy of Ampedo.

I'm not enamour'd of this painted idol,
This strumpet world; for her most beauteous looks
Are poison'd baits, hung upon golden hooks.
When fools do swim in wealth, her Cynthian beams
Will wantonly dance on the silver streams;
But when this squint-eyed age sees virtue poor,
And by a little spark set shivering,
Begging of all, relieved at no man's door,
She smiles on her as the sun shines on fire,
To kill that little heat.

1

Fort. Oh, whither am I rapt beyond myself ? Still when thou thrust’st thy hand into the same, More violent conflicts fight in every thought, Thou shalt draw forth ten pieces of bright gold, Than his whose fatal choiceTroy’s downfall wrought. Current in any realm where then thou breathest : Shall I contract myself to wisdom's love ?

If thou canst dribble out the sea by drops,
Then I lose riches ; and a wise man poor, Then shalt thou want; but that can ne'er be done,
Is like a sacred book that's never read,

Nor this grow empty.
To himself he lives, and to all else seems dead : Fort. Thanks, great deity !

[end. This age thinks better of a gilded fool,

For. The virtue ends when thou and thy sons Than of a thread-bare saint in wisdom's school. This path leads thee to Cyprus, get thee hence: I will be strong : then I refuse long life ;

Farewell, vain covetous fool, thou wilt repent, And though mine arm should conquertwentyworlds, That for the love of dross thou hast despised There's a lean fellow beats all conquerors :

Wisdom's divine embrace ; she would have borne
The greatest strength expires with loss of breath ; On the rich wings of immortality; [thee
The mightiest (in one minute) stoop to death. But now go dwell with cares, and quickly die.
Then take long life, or health : should I do so,
I might grow ugly; and that tedious scroll
Of months and years, much misery may inroll ;

FROM « THE HONEST WHORE."
Therefore I'll beg for beauty ; yet I will not,
The fairest cheek hath oftentimes a soul

Hipolito's thoughts on his mistress's picture, from which

he turns to look on a scull that lies before him on a table, Lep’rous as sin itself, than hell more foul. The wisdom of this world is idiotism ;

My Infelice's face, her brow, her eye, Strength a weak reed ; health sickness' enemy, The dimple on her cheek : and such sweet skill (And it at length will have the victory ;)

Hath from the cunning workman's pencil flown, Beauty is but a painting ; and long life

These lips look fresh and lively as her own ; Is a long journey in December gone,

Seeming to move and speak. 'Las ! now I see Tedious and full of tribulation.

The reason why fond women love to buy
Therefore, dread sacred empress, make me rich ; Adulterate complexion ; here 'tis read ;

[Kneels down. False colours last after the true be dead.
My choice is store of gold ; the rich are wise : Of all the roses grafted on her cheeks,
He that upon his back rich garments wears, Of all the graces dancing in her eyes,
Is wise, though on his head grow Midas' ears : Of all the music set upon her tongue,
Gold is the strength, the sinews of the world; Of all that was past woman's excellence
The health, the soul, the beauty most divine ; In her white bosom ; look, a painted board
A mask of gold hides all deformities;

Circumscribes all! Earth can no bliss afford :
Gold is heaven's physic, life's restorative ; Nothing of her, but this ! This cannot speak;
Oh, therefore, make me rich! not as the wretch It has no lap for me to rest upon ;
That only serves lean banquets to his eye,

No lip worth tasting. Here the worms will feed! Has gold, yet starves ; is famish'd in his store : As in her coffin. Hence then, idle art ! No, let me ever spend, be never poor.

True love's best pictured in a true-love's heart. For. Thy latest words confine thy destiny ; Here art thou drawn, sweet maid, till this be dead! Thou shalt spend ever, and be never poor : So that thou livest twice, twice art buried. For proof receive this purse; with it this virtue ; Thou figure of my friend, lie there.

JOHN WEBSTER.

(Died about 1638.)

LANGBAINE only informs us of this writer, that of Appius and Virginia, the Devil's Law Case, and he was clerk of St. Andrew's parish, Holborno, the Duchess of Malfi. From the advertisement

and esteemed by his contemporaries. He wrote, prefixed to Vittoria Corombona, the piece seems ' in conjunction with Rowley Dekker, and Marston. not to have been successful in the representation.

Among the pieces, entirely his own, are The The author says, “ that it wanted that which is White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, the tragedy the only grace and setting out of a tragedy, a

*[**Gildon, I believe, was the first who asserted that full and understanding auditory.” The auditory, our author was clerk of St. Andrew's. I searched the it may be suspected, were not quite so much registers of that church, but the name of Webster did

struck with the beauty of Webster's horrors, as pot occur in them; and I examined the MSS. belonging to the Parish Clerks' Hall, in Wood Street, with as little

Mr. Lamb seems to have been in writing the success."—DYCE's Webster, vol. i. p. 1.)

notes to his Specimens of our old Dramatic Poetry.

M

In the same preface Webster deprives himself of modestly compares himself to Euripides. In his the only apology that could be offered for his tragedy of the Duchess of Malfi, the duchess is absurdities as a dramatist, by acknowledging married and delivered of several children in the that he wrote slowly; a circumstance in which he course of the five acts.

VITTORIA, THE MISTRESS OF BRACHIANO,

FROM THE DUCHESS OF MALFI.
RELATING HER DREAM TO HIM.

The Duchess of Malfi having privately married Antonio, FROM VITTORIA COROMBONA, TAE VENETIAN COURTEZAN.

her own steward, is inhumanly persecuted by her bro

ther Ferdinand, who confines her in a house of madPersons. - VITTORIA COROMBONA; DUKE OF BRACHIANO ; men, and in concert with his creature Bosola murders

COROM BONA, the mother, and FLAMIN EO, the brother of her and her attendant Cariola.
VITTORIA.

SCENE.-A Mad-house.
Vittoria. To pass away the time, I'll tell your

Persons-DUCHESS OF MALFI; CARIOLA, her faithful atten.' A dream I had last night.

[grace dant; FERDINAND, her cruel brother ; Bosola, his creaBrachiano. Most wishedly.

ture and instrument of cruelty; Madmen, Executioners,

Servant.
Vit. A foolish idle dream :
Methought I walk'd, about the mid of night,

Duch. Wuat hideous noise was that?
Into a churchyard, where a goodly yew tree

Car. 'Tis the wild concert
Spread her large root in ground; under that yew, Of madmen, lady, which your tyrant brother
As I sat sadly leaning on a grave,

Hath placed about your lodging : this tyranny
Chequer'd with cross sticks, there came stealing in I think was never practised till this hour.
Your duchess and my husband ; one of them Duch. Indeed I thank him : nothing but noise
A pick-axe bore, th' other a rusty spade,

and folly And in rough terms they 'gan to challenge me Can keep me in my right wits, whereas reason About this yew.

And silence make me stark mad. Sit down ; Bra. That tree?

Discourse to me some dismal tragedy. Vit. This harmless yew.

Cari. Oh, 'twill increase your melancholy.
They told me my intent was to root up

Duch. Thou art deceived ;
That well-grown yew, and plant i’the stead of it To hear of greater grief, would lessen mine.
A wither'd black-thorn, and for that they vow'd This is a prison ?
To bury me alive : my husband straight

Cari. Yes, but you shall live
With pick-axe 'gan to dig, and your fell duchess,

To shake this durance off, With shovel, like a fury, voided out

Duch. Thou art a fool : The earth, and scatter'd bones : Lord, how me The robin-redbreast and the nightingale thought

Never live long in cages. I trembled, and yet for all this terror

Cari. Pray dry your eyes. I could not pray:

What think you of, madam ?
Fla. No, the devil was in your dream.

Duch. Of nothing :
Vit. When to my rescue there arose methought When I muse thus, I sleep.
A whirlwind, which let fall a massy arm

Cari. Like a madman, with your eyes open. From that strong plant,

Duch. Dost thou think we shall know one another And both were struck dead by that sacred yew,

In th' other world.
In that base shallow grave that was their due. Cari. Yes ; out of question.
Fla. Excellent devil ! she hath taught him, in

Duch. O that it were possible we might a dream,

But hold some two days' conference with the dead! To make away his duchess, and her husband. From them I should learn somewhat, I am sure

Bra. Sweetly shall I interpret this your dream. I never shall know here. I'll tell thee a miracle: You are lodged within his arms who shall protect I am not mad yet, to my cause of sorrow, you

The heaven o'er my head seems made of molten From all the fevers of a jealous husband,

brass, From the poor envy of our phlegmatic duchess; The earth of flaming sulphur ; yet I am not mad. I'll seat you above law and above scandal. I am acquainted with sad misery, Give to your thoughts the invention of delight As the tann'd galley-slave is with his oar : And the fruition, nor shall government

Necessity makes me suffer constantly, Divide me from you longer than a care

And custom makes it easy. Who do I look like now! To keep you great : you shall to me at once

Cari. Like to your picture in the gallery. Be dukedom, health, wife, children, friends, and A deal of life in show, but none in practice ; all.

Or rather like some reverend monument, Cor. Woe to light hearts, they still forerun our

Whose ruins are even pitied.
fall.

Duch. Very proper ;
And fortune seems only to have her eye-sight

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Cari. O my sweet lady !
Duch. Peace, it affrights not me.

Bos. I am the common bellman,
That usually is sent to condemn’d persons
The night before they suffer.

Duch. Even now thou said'st
Thou wast a tomb-maker ?

Bos. 'Twas to bring you
By degrees to mortification. Listen :
“ Hark, now everything is still,
The screech-owl and the whistler shrill,
Call upon our dame aloud,
And bid her quickly don her shroud.
Much you had of land and rent,
Your length in clay's now competent;
A long war disturb'd your mind,
Here your perfect peace is sign'd ;
Of what is't fools make such vain keeping ?
Sin their conception, their birth weeping :
Their life a general mist of error ;
Their death a hideous storm of terror.
Strew your hair with powder sweet,
Don clean linen, bathe your feet ;
And (the foul fiend more to check)
A crucifix let bless your neck :
'Tis now full tide 'tween night and day,
End your groan and come a way.”

Cari. Hence villains, tyrants, murderers! Alas!
What will you do with my lady ? call for help.

Duch. To whom, to our next neighbours ? they
Bos. Remove that noise. [are mad folks.

Duch. Farewell, Cariola ;
In my last will I have not much to give
A many hungry guests have fed upon me-
Thine will be a poor reversion.

Cari. I will die with her.

Duch. I pray thee look thou givest my little boy
Some syrup for his cold, and let the girl
Say her prayers ere she sleep. Now what you please,
What death?

Bos. Strangling: here are your executioners.

Duch. I forgive them :
The apoplexy, catarrh, or cough o’th' lungs,
Would do as much as they do.

Bos. Doth not death fright you ?

Duch. Who would be afraid on't,
Knowing to meet such excellent company
In th' other world ?

Bos. Yet, methinks,
The manner of your death should much afflict you?
This cord should terrify you.

Duch. Not a whit :
What would it pleasure me to have my throat cut
With diamonds ? or to be smother'd
With cassia ? or to be shot to death with pearls ?
I know death hath ten thousand several doors
For men to take their exits; and 'tis found
They go on such strange geometrical hinges,
You may open them both ways : any way (for

heaven's sake),
So I were out of your whispering. Tell my brothers
That I perceive death (now I am well awake),

ur

eir

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Best gift is they can give, or I can take.

And should I die this instant, I had lived I would fain put off my last woman's fault :

Her time to a minute. I'll not be tedious to you.

Bos. It seems she was born first. Exec. We are ready.

You have bloodily approved the ancient truth, Duch. Dispose my breath how please you ; but

That kindred commonly do worse agree
Bestow upon my women, will you ? [my body Than remote strangers.
Erec. Yes.

Ferd. Let me see her face again.
Duch. Pull, and pull strongly; for your able | Why didst not thou pity her? what
Must pull down heaven upon me : (strength

An excellent honest man might'st thou have been, Yet stay, heaven's gates are not so highly arch'd

If thou hadst borne her to some sanctuary, As princes' palaces ; they that enter there

Or, bold in a good cause, opposed thyself, Must go upon their knees. Come, violent death, With thy advanced sword above thy head, Serve for mandragora to make me sleep.

Between her innocence and my revenge ! Go tell my brothers, when I am laid out,

I bade thee, when I was distracted of my wits, They then may feed in quiet. [They strangle her. Go kill my dearest friend, and thou hast done't. Bos. Where's the waiting-woman?

For let me but examine well the cause : Fetch her : some other strangle the children.

What was the meanness of her match to me ? Look you, there sleeps your mistress.

Only I must confess I had a hope, Cari. Oh, you are damn'd

Had she continued widow, to have gain’d Perpetually for this. My turn is next,

An infinite mass of treasure by her death; Is't not so order'd ?

And what was the main cause ? Her marriage ! Bos. Yes ; and I am glad

That drew a stream of gall quite through my heart. You are so well prepared for't.

For thee, (as we observe in tragedies, Cari. You are deceived, sir,

That a good actor many times is cursed I am not prepared fort ; I will not die ;

For playing a villain's part,) I hate thee fort : I will first come to my answer, and know

And, for my sake, say thou hast done much ill well. How I have offended.

Bos. Let me quicken your memory, for I perceive Bos. Come, despatch her!

You are falling into ingratitude ; I challenge You kept her counsel, now you shall keep ours.

The reward due to my service. Cari. I will not die; I must not; I am contracted

Ferd. I'll tell thee To a young gentleman.

What I'll give thee.
Exec. Here's your wedding ring.

Bos. Do.
Cari. Let me but speak with the duke: I'll dis. Ferd. I'll give thee a pardon
Treason to his person.

[cover

For this murder. Bos. Delays? throttle her!

Bos. Ha ! Erec. She bites and scratches.

Ferd. Yes ; and 'tis
Cari. If you kill me now,

The largest bounty I can study to do thee.
I am damn'd; I have not been at confession By what authority didst thou execute
This two years.

This bloody sentence ?
Bos. When ?

Bos. By yours. Cari. I am quick with child.

Ferd. Mine ? was I her judge ? Bos. Why then

Did any ceremonial form of law Your credit's saved ; bear her into th' next room. Doom her to not-being ? did a complete jury Let this lie still.

[They strangle her. Deliver her conviction up i' th' court ? Ferd. Is she dead?

Where shalt thou find this judgment register'd, Bos. She is what

Unless in hell? See : like a bloody fool, You'll have her. But here begin your pity : Thou hast forfeited thy life, and thou shalt die for't.

[Shows the children strangled. Bos. The office of justice is perverted quite, Alas, how have these offended ?

When one thief hangs another : who shall dare Ferd. The death

To reveal this? Of young wolves never to be pitied.

Ferd. Oh, I'll tell thee : Bos. Fix your eye here.

The wolf shall find her grave and scrape it Ferd. Constantly.

Not to devour the corse, but to discover Bos. Do you not weep?

The horrid murder. Other sins only speak, murder shrieks out,

Bos. You, not I, shall quake for't.
The element of water moistens the earth,

Ferd. Leave me !
But blood flies upwards, and bedews the heavens. Bos. I will first receive my pension.
Ferd. Cover her face ; mine eyes dazzle. She Ferd. You are a villain !

Bos. When your ingratitude
Bos. I think not so ; her infelicity

Is judge, I am so. Seem'd to have years too many.

Ferd. O horror! Ferd. She and I were twins ;

That not the fear of Him which binds the devils

up :

died young

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