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'Twas my desire; perhaps 't will fetch a sigh
From him, and I had rather break my
But one word more, and heaven be with you all.-
Since you have led the way, I hope, my lord,
That I am free to marry too ?
Pis. Thou art.
Ami. Let me beseech you then, to be so kind,
After your own solemnities are done,
To grace my wedding ; I shall be married shortly.
Pis. To whom ?
Ami. To one whom
have all heard talk of,
Your fathers knew him well ; one, who will never
Give cause I should suspect him to forsake me ;
A constant lover, one whose lips, though cold,
Distil chaste kisses : though our bridal bed
Be not adorn'd with roses,
'twill be green;
We shall have virgin laurel, cypress, yew,
To make us garlands; though no pine do burn,
Our nuptial shall have torches, and our chamber
Shall be cut out of marble, where we'll sleep,
Free from all care for ever : Death, my lord,
I hope, shall be my husband. Now, farewell;
Although no kiss, accept my parting tear,
And give me leave to wear my willow here.'-vol. ii. p. 163–165. The Cardinal' is another tragedy of great power; dark and impressive ; but too often revolting where it ought to be terrible. The Duchess Rosaura, though obliged to plight her vows to Columbo, the nephew of the all-powerful cardinal, is still in love with Alvarez. While Columbo is absent with the army, she obtains by artifice a letter releasing her from her vows. Alvarez is murdered by Columbo. He, in his turn, is slain in a duel at her instigation, by Hernando, to whom, in her incipient frenzy, she has promised her hand as his reward, and who accosts his victim in these terrific lines : • You must account, sir, if that
Whose point and every edge is made more keen
With young Alvarez' blood. Does not that sin
Benumb thy arteries, and turn the guilty flowings
To trembling jelly in thy veins ?-One little knot
Of phlegm that clogs my stomach, and I've done ;-
You have an uncle, called a Cardinal,
Would he were lurking now about that heart,
That the same wound might reach you both, and send
Your reeling souls together !-Now have at you.' There is great tenderness in some touches of the ensuing madness of the Duchess—a sort of agony of suppressed and conflicting emotion:
• Her. Dear madam, do not weep.
Duch. You're very welcome ;
I have done; I will not shed a tear more
Till I meet Alvarez, then I'll weep for joy.
He was a fine young gentleman, and sung sweetly ;
An you had heard him but the night before
We were married, you would have sworn he had been
A swan, and sung his own sad epitaph.
But we'll talk o' the Cardinal.
Her. Would his death
Might ransom your fair sense! he should not live
To triumph in the loss. Beshrew my manhood,
But I begin to melt.
Duch. I pray, sir, tell me,
For I can understand, although they say
I have lost my wits ; but they are safe enough,
And I shall have them when the Cardinal dies;
Who had a letter from his nephew, too,
Since he was slain.
Her. From whence ?
Duch. I know not where he is. But in some bower Within a garden he is making chaplets, And means to send me one; but I'll not take it ; I have flowers enough, I thank him, while I live.
Her. But do you love your governor? Duch. Yes, but I'll never marry him; I am promis'd Already
Her. To whom, madam?
Duch. Do not you
Blush when you ask me that ? must not you be
My husband? I know why, but that's a secret,
Indeed, if you believe me, I do love
No man alive so well as you: the Cardinal
Shall never know't: he'll kill us both; and yet
He says he loves me dearly, and has promis'd
To make me well again ; but I'm afraid,
One time or other, he will give me poison.
Her. Prevent him, madam, and take nothing from him.
Duch. Why, do you think 'twill hurt me?
Her. It will kill you.
Duch. I shall but die, and meet my dear-lov'd lord,
Whom, when I have kiss'd, I'll come again and work
A bracelet of my hair for you to carry him,
When you are going to heaven; the poesy shall
Be my own name, in little tears, that I
Will weep next winter, which congeal'd i' the frost,
Will shew like seed-pearl. You'll deliver it?
I know he'll love, and wear it for my sake.
Her. She is quite lost.
Duch. Pray, give me, sir, your pardon:
I know I talk not wisely: but if you
The burthen of my sorrow, you would miss
Sometimes your better reason. Now I'm well.'
- vol. v. pp. 341, 342. Shirley is still more successful in a kind of romantic tragi-comedy, crowded in general with incident and adventure, often wild and extravagant, but always full of life and amusement; sometimes, as in the diverting play of the Sisters,' the comic part greatly predominating ; sometimes, as in the · Young Admiral,' the interest being serious and tragic, but the catastrophe without bloodshed. It is not easy to give a fair notion of these pieces, by extracting single speeches or even scenes. It is the general effect of the whole drama, with all its intricacies of plot, however inconsistent, its rapid succession of perilous or diverting situations, however strangely brought about, and its varieties of character-it is the animation, the excitement of the dramatized romance-for such, as in a former article we attempted to explain, are all the plays of this school, which constitutes their chief excellence.
The Brothers' is another drama of the same class, though less raised above the level of common life. In this play, the bustle and intricacy of a Spanish plot is mingled up with scenes of a kind of quiet pathos, in which Shirley, apt to overstrain the more violent passions, is often inimitably happy. There is something exquisitely touching in the following scene.
Nothing is laboured, -nothing forced. The truth,--the simplicity of nature is perfectly preserved, while a hue of poetic fancy is thrown over the whole dialogue. Its very tranquillity is affecting, and a deep emotion is produced by the absence of all effort to produce emotion. Fernando, the elder son of Don Ramirez, is in love with Felisarda, the poor daughter of Theodoro, and the humble companion of Jacinta. Ramirez is supposed to have died in a fit of passion at the disobedience of Fernando, in refusing to pay his court to the rich heiress Jacinta, of whom his brother Francisco is enamoured. With his dying breath he disinherits Fernando, who is reduced to the most abject poverty.
• Fel. Why should I
Give any entertainment to my fears ?
Suspicions are but like the shape of clouds,
And idle forms i' the air, we make to fright us.
I will admit no jealous thought to wound
Fernando's truth, but with that cheerfulness,
My own first clear intents to honour him
Can arm me with, expect to meet his faith
As noble as he promis'd.—Ha ! 'tis he.
My poor heart trembles like a timorous leaf,
Which the wind shakes upon his sickly stalk,
And frights into a palsy.
Fer. Felisarda !
Fel. Shall I want fortitude to bid him welcome ?-
Sir, if you think there is a heart alive
That can be grateful, and with humble thought
And prayers reward your piety, despise not
The offer of it here; you have not cast
Your bounty on a rock; while the seeds thrive
Where you did place your charity, my joy
May seem ill dress'd to come like sorrow thus,
But you may see through every tear, and find
My eyes meant innocence, and your hearty welcome.
Fer. Who did prepare thee, Felisarda, thus
To entertain me weeping ? Sure our souls
Meet and converse, and we not know't; there is
Such beauty in that watery circle,
Am fearful to come near, and breathe a kiss
Upon thy cheek, lest I pollute that crystal ;
And yet I must salute thee, and I dare,
With one warm sigh, meet and dry up this sorrow,
Fel, I shall forget all misery; for when
I look upon the world, and race of men,
I find them proud, and all so unacquainted
With pity to such miserable things
As poverty hath made us, that I must
Conclude you sent from heaven.
Fer. Oh, do not flatter
Thyself, poor Felisarda ; I am mortal;
The life I bear about me is not mine,
But borrow'd to come to thee once again,
And, ere I go, to clear how much I love thee
But first, I have a story to deliver,
A tale will make thee sad, but I must tell it,
There is one dead that lov'd thee not.
Fel. One dead
That lov'd me not? this carries, sir, in nature
No killing sound; I shall be sad to know
I did deserve an enemy, or he want
A charity at death,
Thy cruel enemy,
And my best friend, hath took eternal leave,
And's gone to heaven, I hope ; excuse my tears,
It is a tribute I must pay
Fel. Ha !
Fer. Yes, Felisarda, he is gone, that in
The morning promis'd many years; but death
Hath in few hours made him as stiff, as all
The winds of winter had thrown cold upon
And whisper'd him to marble.
Fel. Now trust me,
My heart weeps for him; but I understand
Not how I was concern'd in his displeasure ;
And in such height as you profess.
Fer. He did
Command me, on his blessing, to forsake thee.
Was't not a cruel precept, to enforce
The soul, and curse his son for honest love?
Fel. This is a wound indeed.
Fer. But not so mortal;
For his last breath was balsam pour'd upon it,
By which he did reverse his malediction;
And I, that groan'd beneath the weight of that
Anathema, sunk almost to despair,
Where night and heavy shades hung round about me,
Found myself rising like the morning star
To view the world.
Fel. Never, I hope, to be
Fer. This was a welcome blessing.
Fel. Heaven had a care of both: my joys are mighty.
Vouchsafe me, sir, your pardon, if I blush,
And say I love, but rather than the peace
That should preserve your bosom suffer for
My sake, 'twere better I were dead.
Fer. No, live,
And live for ever happy, thou deserved'st it.
It is Fernando doth make haste to sleep
In his forgotten dust.
Fel. Those accents did
Not sound so cheerfully.
Fer. Dost love me?
Fel. Sir ?
Fer. Do not, I prithee, do not; I am lost,
Alas! I am no more Fernando, there
Is nothing but the empty name of him
That did betray thee; place a guard about
Thy heart betime, I am not worth this sweetness.
Fel. Did not Fernando speak all this ? alas,
He knew that I was poor before, and needed not
Despise me now for that.
Fer. Desert me, goodness,
When I upbraid thy wants, 'Tis I.am poor,