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everything, runs line into line, embarrasses sentences and metaphors; before one idea
PHILIP MASSINGER.—THOMAS DECKER. has burst its shell, another is hatched and clamorous for disclosure. Another striking The Virgin Martyr.—This play has some difference between Fletcher and Shakspeare beauties of so very high an order, that with is the fondness of the former for unnatural all my respect for Massinger, I do not think and violent situations. He seems to have he had poetical enthusiasm capable of rising thought that nothing great could be pro- up to them. His associate Decker, who duced in an ordinary way. The chief inci- wrote Old Fortunatus, had poetry enough dents in some of his most admired tragedies for anything. The very impurities which show this.* Shakspeare had nothing of this obtrude themselves among the sweet pieties contortion in his mind, none of that craving of this play, like Satan among the Sons of after violent situations, and flights of strained Heaven, have a strength of contrast, a raciand improbable virtue, which I think always ness, and a glow, in them, which are beyond betrays an imperfect moral sensibility. The Massinger. They are to the religion of the wit of Fletcher is excellent,t like his serious rest what Caliban is to Miranda. scenes, but there is something strained and far-fetched in both. He is too mistrustful of
PHILIP MASSINGER.—THOMAS Nature, he always goes a little on one side
WILLIAM ROWLEY. of her.—Shakspeare chose her without a reserve: and had riches, power, understand- Old Law. There is an exquisiteness of ing, and length of days, with her for a dowry. moral sensibility, making one's eyes to gush
Faithful Shepherdess.-If all the parts of out tears of delight, and a poetical strangethis delightful pastoral had been in unison ness in the circumstances of this sweet tragiwith its many innocent scenes and sweet comedy, which are unlike anything in the lyric intermixtures, it had been a poem fit dramas which Massinger wrote alone. The to vie with Comus or the Arcadia, to have pathos is of a subtler edge. Middleton and been put into the hands of boys and virgins, Rowley, who assisted in it, had both of them to have made matter for young dreams, like finer geniuses than their associate. the loves of Hermia and Lysander. But a spot is on the face of this Diana. Nothing
JAMES SHIRLEY. short of infatuation could have driven Fletcher upon mixing with this“ blessedness" Claims a place amongst the worthies of this such an ugly deformity as Chloe, the wanton period, not so much for any transcendent shepherdess! If Chloe was meant to set off talent in himself, as that he was the last Clorin by contrast, Fletcher should have of a great race, all of whom spoke nearly known that such weeds by juxtaposition do the same language, and had a set of not set off, but kill sweet flowers.
moral feelings and notions in common. A
new language, and quite a new turn of * Wife for a Month, Cupid's Revenge, Double tragic and comic interest, came in with the Marriage, &c.
+ Wit without Money, and his comedies generally. Restoration.
SPECIMENS FROM THE WRITINGS OF FULLER,
THE CHURCH HISTORIAN.
The writings of Fuller are usually de- way to have expressed himself out of them. signated by the title of quaint, and with But his wit is not always a lumen siccum, a sufficient reason; for such was his natural dry faculty of surprising ; on the contrary, bias to conceits, that I doubt not upon most his conceits are oftentimes deeply steeped in occasions it would have been going out of his human feeling and passion. Above all, his
way of telling a story, for its eager liveliness, verum et bonum, the Fancy is free from all and the perpetual running commentary of engagements : it digs without spade, sails the narrator happily blended with the nar- without ship, flies without wings, builds ration, is perhaps unequalled.
without charges, fights without bloodshed: As his works are now scarcely perused in a moment striding from the centre to but by antiquaries, I thought it might not the circumference of the world ; by a kind be unacceptable to my readers to present of omnipotency creating and annihilating them with some specimens of his manner, in things in an instant; and things divorced single thoughts and phrases ; and in some in Nature are married in Fancy as in a lawfew passages of greater length, chiefly of a less place.” narrative description. I shall arrange them Infants.—“Some, admiring what motives as I casually find them in my book of to mirth infants meet with in their silent extracts, without being solicitous to specify and solitary smiles, have resolved, how truly the particular work from which they are I know not, that then they converse with taken.
angels; as indeed such cannot among mortals Pyramids. — “The Pyramids themselves, find any fitter companions." doting with age, have forgotten the names of Music.-"Such is the sociableness of music, their founders.”
it conforms itself to all companies both in Virtue in a short person.—“His soul had mirth and mourning ; complying to improve but a short diocese to visit, and therefore that passion with which it finds the auditors might the better attend the effectual in- most affected. In a word, it is an invention forming thereof."
which might have beseemed a son of Seth Intellect in a very tall one.
:—“Ofttimes such to have been the father thereof: though who are built four stories high, are observed better it was that Cain's great-grandchild to have little in their cock-loft."
should have the credit first to find it, than Naturals. " Their heads sometimes so the world the unhappiness longer to have little, that there is no room for wit ; some- wanted it.” times so long, that there is no wit for so St. Monica.—“Drawing near her death, much room."
she sent most pious thoughts as harbingers Negroes. — “The image of God cut in to heaven, and her soul saw a glimpse of ebony."
happiness through the chinks of her sicknessSchool-divinity.—“At the first it will be broken body."* as welcome to thee as a prison, and their Mortality.-"To smell to a turf of fresh very solutions will seem knots unto thee." earth is wholesome for the body, no less are
Mr. Perkins the Divine.—“He had a thoughts of mortality cordial to the soul." capacious head, with angles winding and Virgin.—“No lordling husband shall at roomy enough to lodge all controversial in the same time command her presence and tricacies."
distance; to be always near in constant The same. -“He would pronounce the attendance, and always to stand aloof in word Damn with such an emphasis as left awful observance." a doleful echo in his auditors' ears a good Elder Brother.—“Is one who made haste while after.”
to come into the world to bring his parents Judges in capital cases.—“O let him the first news of male posterity, and is well take heed how he strikes that hath a dead rewarded for his tidings." hand."
Bishop Fletcher.—“His pride was rather Memory. — “Philosophers place it in the on him than in him, as only gait and gesture rear of the head, and it seems the mine of deep, not sinking to his heart, though causememory lies there, because there men lessly condemned for a proud man, as who naturally dig for it, scratching it when they was a good hypocrite, and far more humble are at a loss."
than he appeared." Fancy.—“It is the most boundless and Masters of Colleges. — “A little allay of restless faculty of the soul; for while the
* “ The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decayed, Understanding and the Will are kept, as it
Lets in new lights through chinks which time were, in libera custodia to their objects of has made." WALLER.
dulness in a Master of a College makes him a quarter of a year, have plentiful scope for fitter to manage secular affairs."
revenge." The Good Yeoman.—“Is a gentleman in Bishop Brownrig.-"He carried learning ore, whom the next age may see refined.” enough in numerato about him in his pockets
Good Parent.—“For his love, therein like for any discourse, and had much more at a well-drawn picture, he eyes all his children home in his chests for any serious dispute.” alike."
Modest Want.-" Those that with diligence Deformity in Children.-" This partiality fight against poverty, though neither conquer is tyranny, when parents despise those that till death makes it a drawn battle, expect are deformed; enough to break those whom not but prevent their craving of thee : for God had bowed before.”
God forbid the heavens should never rain, Good Master.—“In correcting his servant till the earth first opens her mouth ; seeing he becomes not a slave to his own passion. some grounds will sooner burn than chap." Not cruelly making new indentures of the Death-bed Temptations.—“The devil is most flesh of his apprentice. He is tender of his busy on the last day of his term; and a servant in sickness and age. If crippled in tenant to be outed cares not what mischief his service, his house is his hospital. Yet he doth.” how many throw away those dry bones, out Conversation." Seeing we are civilised of the which themselves have sucked the Englishmen, let us not be naked savages in marrow !”
our talk." Good Widow.—“If she can speak but little Wounded Soldier.—“ Halting is the stategood of him [her dead husband) she speaks liest march of a soldier; and 'tis a brave but little of him. So handsomely folding up sight to see the flesh of an ancient as torn as her discourse, that his virtues are shown his colours.” outwards, and his vices wrapt up in silence; Wat Tyler.—"A misogrammatist; if a good as counting it barbarism to throw dirt on Greek word may be given to so barbarous a his memory, who hath mould cast on his rebel.” body.”
Heralds. “ Heralds new mould men's Horses.—“These are men's wings, where-names-taking from them, adding to them, with they make such speed. A generous melting out all the liquid letters, torturing creature a horse is, sensible in some sort of mutes to make them speak, and making honour; and made most handsome by that vowels dumb,—to bring it to a fallacious which deforms men most-pride.”
homonomy at the last, that their names may be Martyrdom.—“Heart of oak hath some- the same with those noble houses they pretimes warped a little in the scorching heat tend to." of persecution. Their want of true courage Antiquarian Diligence.—"It is most worthy herein cannot be excused. Yet many cen- observation, with what diligence he [Camden] sure them for surrendering up their forts inquired after ancient places, making hue after a long siege, who would have yielded and cry after many a city which was run up their own at the first summons.
:-Oh! away, and by certain marks and tokens purthere is more required to make one valiant, suing to find it; as by the situation on the than to call Cranmer or Jewel coward ; as if Roman highways, by just distance from other the fire in Smithfield had been no hotter ancient cities, by some affinity of name, by than what is painted in the Book of Martyrs.” tradition of the inhabitants, by Roman coins
Text of St. Paul.—“St. Paul saith, Let digged up, and by some appearance of ruins. not the sun go down on your wrath, to carry A broken urn is a whole evidence ; or an news to the antipodes in another world of thy revengeful nature. Yet let us take the
This whimsical prevention of a consequence which Apostle's meaning rather than his words, no one would have thought of deducing, --setting up an with all possible speed to depose our passion ;
absurdum on purpose to hunt it down --placing guards
as it were at the very outposts of possibility,--gravely not understanding him so literally, that we giving out laws to insanity and prescribing moral fences may take leave to be angry till sunset : then to distempered intellects, could never have entered into
a head less entertainingly constructed than that of Fuller, might our wrath lengthen with the days ; and
or Sir Thomas Browne, the very air of whose style tbe men in Greenland, where the day lasts above conclusion of this passage most aptly imitates.
old gate still surviving, out of which the city the condition of Sir Edward. This accident, is run out. Besides, commonly some new that he had killed one in a private quarrel, spruce town not far off is grown out of the put a period to his carnal mirth, and was a ashes thereof, which yet hath so much natural covering to his eyes all the days of his life. affection as dutifully to own those reverend No possible provocations could afterwards ruins for her mother."
tempt him to a duel ; and no wonder that Henry de Essex.—“ He is too well known one's conscience loathed that whereof he had in our English Chronicles, being Baron of surfeited. He refused all challenges with Raleigh, in Essex, and Hereditary Standard more honour than others accepted them ; it Bearer of England. It happened in the reign being well known, that he would set his foot of this king (Henry II.] there was a fierce as far in the face of his enemy as any man battle fought in Flintshire, at Coleshall, be alive.”—Worthies, article Lincolnshire. tween the English and Welsh, wherein this Decayed Gentry.-" It happened in the Henry de Essex animum et signum simul reign of King James, when Henry Earl of abjecit, betwixt traitor and coward, cast away Huntingdon was Lieutenant of Leicestershire, both his courage and banner together, occa- that a labourer's son in that country was sioning a great overthrow of English. But pressed into the wars; as I take it, to go he that had the baseness to do, had the bold- over with Count Mansfield. The old man at ness to deny the doing, of so foul a fact; Leicester requested his son might be disuntil he was challenged in combat by Robert charged, as being the only staff of his age, de Momford, a knight, eye-witness thereof, who by his industry maintained him and his and by him overcome in a duel. Whereupon mother.
The Earl demanded his name, his large inheritance was confiscated to the which the man for a long time was loath to king, and he himself, partly thrust, partly tell (as suspecting it a fault for so poor a going, into a convent, hid his head in a coul, man to confess the truth), at last he told his under which, betwixt shame and sanctity, he name was Hastings. 'Cousin Hastings,' said blushed out the remainder of his life.”* the Earl,' we cannot all be top branches of Worthies, article Bedfordshire.
the tree, though we all spring from the same Sir Edward Harwood, Knt.—“I have read root; your son, my kinsman, shall not be of a bird, which hath a face like, and yet pressed.' So good was the meeting of will prey upon, a man: who coming to the modesty in a poor, with courtesy in an honwater to drink, and finding there by reflec- ourable person, and gentry I believe in both. tion, that he had killed one like himself, And I have reason to believe, that some who pineth away by degrees, and never after- justly own the surnames and blood of Bohuns, wards enjoyeth itself.+ Such is in some sort Mortimers, and Plantagenets (though igno
rant of their own extractions) are hid in the * The fine imagination of Fuller has done what might heap of common people, where they find that have been pronounced impossible: it has given an interest and a holy character to coward infamy. Nothing under a thatched cottage which some of their can be more beautiful than the concluding account of the ancestors could not enjoy in a leaded castle, last days, and expiatory retirement, of poor Henry.de -contentment, with quiet and security.” story is told is most consummate : the charm of it seems Worthies, article Of Shire-Reeves or Shiriffes. to consist in a perpetual balance of antitheses not too
Tenderness of Conscience in a Tradesman.violently opposed, and the consequent activity of mind in which the reader is kept :
“ Thomas Curson, born in Allhallows, Lomcoward”—“ baseness to do, boldness to deny”-“ partly bard-street, armourer,dwelt without Bishopsthrust, partly going, into a convent "_"betwixt shame and sanctity.” The reader by this artifice is taken into a kind of partnership with the writer,--his judgment is Errors; but the delight which he would have taken in exercised in settling the preponderance,-he feels as if the discussing of its probabilities, would have shown
But the modern his that the truth of the fact, though the avowed object of torian flings at once the dead weight of his own judg- his search was not so much the motive which put him ment into the scale, and settles the matter.
upon the investigation, as those hidden affinities and + I do not know where Fuller read of this bird ; but a poetical analogies,—those essential verities in the appli. more awful and affecting story, and moralising of a story, cation of strange fable, which made him linger with such in Natural History, or rather in that Fabulous Natural reluctant delay among the last fading lights of popular History where poets and mythologists found the Phænix tradition ; and not seldom to conjure up a superstition, and the Unicorn, and “ other strange fowl," is nowhere that had been long extinct, from its dusty grave, to inter
It is a fable which Sir Thomas Browne, if he it himself with greater ceremonies and solemnities of had heard of it, would have exploded among his Vulgar burial.
The address with which the whole of this little
he were consulted as to the issue.
gate. It happened that a stage-player bor- people) be taken out of the ground, and rowed a rusty musket, which had lain long thrown far off from any Christian burial, leger in his shop : now though his part were in obedience hereunto, Richard Fleming, comical, he therewith acted an unexpected Bishop of Lincoln, Diocesan of Lutterworth, tragedy, killing one of the standers by, the sent his officers (vultures with a quick sight, gun casually going off on the stage, which scent, at a dead carcass) to ungrave him. Ache suspected not to be charged. Oh the cordingly to Lutterworth they come, Sumner, difference of divers men in the tenderness of Commissary, Official, Chancellor, Proctors, their consciences ! some are scarce touched Doctors, and their servants, (so that the with a wound, whilst others are wounded remnant of the body would not hold out a bone with a touch therein. This poor armourer amongst so many hands,) take what was left was highly afflicted therewith, though done out of the grave, and burnt them to ashes, against his will, yea, without his know- and cast them into Swift, a neighbouring ledge, in his absence, by another, out of brook, running hard by. Thus this brook has mere chance. Hereupon he resolved to give conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, all his estate to pious uses : no sooner had he Severn into the narrow seas, they into the gotten a round sum, but presently he posted main ocean ; and thus the ashes of Wickliffe with it in his apron to the Court of Alder. are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is men, and was in pain till by their direction dispersed all the world over." - Church he had settled it for the relief of poor in his History. own and other parishes, and disposed of some
* The concluding period of this most lively narrative hundreds of pounds accordingly, as I am I will not call a conceit: it is one of the grandest concredibly informed by the then church wardens ceptions I ever met with. One feels the ashes of Wickof the said parish. Thus as he conceived him-liffe gliding
away out of the reach of the Sumners, Corn
missaries, Officials, Proctors, Doctors, and all the self casually (though at a great distance) to puddering rout of executioners of the impotent rage of have occasioned the death of one, he was
the baffled Council: from Swift into Avon, from Avon
into Severn, from Severn into the narrow seas, from the the immediate and direct cause of giving a
narrow seas into the main ocean, where they become the comfortable living to many."
emblem of his doctrine, " dispersed all the world over." Burning of Wickliffe's Body by Order of the stops a beer barrel is a no less curious pursuit of
Hamlet's tracing the body of Cæsar to the clay that Council of Constance.—" Hitherto (A.D. 1428] ruined mortality;” but it is in an inverse ratio to this : the corpse of John Wickliffe had quietly it degrades and saddens us, for one part of our nature at
but this expands the whole of our nature, and slept in his grave about forty-one years after gives to the body a sort of ubiquity,—a diffusion as far as his death, till his body was reduced to bones, the actions of its partner can have reach or influence.
I have seen this passage smiled at, and set down as a and his bones almost to dust. For though the
quaint conceit of old Fuller. But what is not a conceit earth in the chancel of Lutterworth, in Leices to those who read it in a temper different from that in tershire, where he was interred, hath not so
which the writer composed it ? The most pathetic parts
of poetry to cold tempers seem and are nonsense, quick a digestion with the earth of Aceldama, as divinity was to the Greeks foolishness. to consume flesh in twenty-four hours, yet Richard II., meditating on his own utter annihilation as such the appetite thereof, and all other to royalty, cries out, English graves, to leave small reversions of “O that I were a mockery king of snow,
To melt before the sun of Bolingbroke," a body after so many years. But now such the spleen of the Council of Constance, as if we had been going on pace for pace with the passion
before, this sudden conversion of a strong-felt metaphor they not only cursed his memory as dying an into something to be actually realised in nature, like that obstinate heretic, but ordered that his bones of Jeremiah, “ Oh! that my head were waters, and mine (with this charitable caution,-if it may be eyes a fountain of tears,” is strictly and strikingly
natural ; but come unprepared upon it, and it is a condiscerned from the bodies of other faithful ceit: and so is a “head” turned into “ waters."