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Or Pallas (sure) ingendred in his braine,
This is the crittick that (of all the rest)
Theobald, who altered the Dutchess of Malfy, says of him3 : “ He had a strong and impetuous genius, but withall a most wild and indigested one : he sometimes conceived nobly, but did not always express with clearness; and, if he now and then soars handsomely, he us often rises into the regions of bombast : his conceptions were so eccentric, that we are not to wonder why we cannot truce him. As for rules, he either knew them not, or thought them too servile a restraint. Hence it is, that he skips over years and kingdoms with an equal liberty. (It must be confessed, the unities were very sparingly observed at the time in which he wrote; however, when any poet travels so fast, that the imagination of his spectators cannot keep pace with him, probability is put quite out of breath.) Nor has he been less licentious in another respect : he makes mention of Galilleo and Tasso, neither of whom were born till near half a century after the Dutchess of Malfy was murthered.” Philip Frowde, Esq. in the Prologue to the same play, says:
“ The rude, old bard, if critick laws he knew,
Nor time, nor place, observ'd in his design.” He was the Author of the following plays : (1.) “ The White Devil; or, the Tragedy of Paulo Giordano Ursini Duke of Brachiano ; with the Life and Death of Vittoria Corombona, the famous Venetian Curtizan. Acted by the Queen's Servants at the Phenix, Drury-Lane. 4lo. 1612; 4to. 1631; 410. 1665; 4to. 1672.”
(2.) “ The Tragedy of the Dutchesse of Malfy. As it was presented privatly at the BlackFriers, and publiquely at the Globe, by the King's Majesties Scrvants. The perfect and eract Coppy, with diverse things printed, that the length of the play would not beare in the presentment. 4to. 1623 ; 410. 1640; 4to. 1678; 4to. 1708."
(3.) The Devil's Law-case ; or, When Women goe to Law, the Devil is full of Businesse : A New Trage-comeedy. The true and perfect Copie from the Originall. As it was approved well acted by her Majesties Servants. 4to. 1623."
(4.) « Appius and Virginia. A Tragedy, 4to. 1654; 4to. 1655." It was revived and printed in 1679, by Betterton, in 4to. and acted at the Duke's Theatre, under the title of The Roman Virgin, or Unjust Judge.
(5.) “ The Thracian Wonder. A Comical History, as it hath been several times acted with greut applause. Written by John Webster and William Rowley ; 4to. 1661.
(6.) “ A Cure for a Cuckold : A Pleasant Comedy. As it hath been several times acted with great applause. Written by John Webster and William Rowley; 410. 1661.”
He also wrote The Induction to The Male Content, by Marston, 1604.
“ A Monumental Columne, erected to the living Memory of the ever-glorious Henry, late Prince of Wales ; 4to. 1613."
“ The Monument of Honour, at the confirmation of the right worthy brother John Goare in the high office of his Majesty's lieutenant over his royal chamber, at the charge and erpence of the right worthy and worshipfull fraternity of eminent Merchant-Taylors. Invented and writien by John Webster, Taylor ; 4to. 1624."
3 Preface to The Fatal Secret, 12mo. 1735.
TO THE READER.
Ix publishing this Tragedy, I do but challenge to myself that liberty which other men have taken before me; not that I affect praise by it, for nos hac novimus esse nihil : only, since it was acted in so open and 4 black a theatre, that it wanted (that which is the only grace and setting-out of a tragedy) a full and understanding auditory; and that, since that time, I bave noted most of the people that come to that play-house reseinble those ignorant asses (who, visiting stationers' shops, their use is not to inquire for good books, but new books), I present it to the general view with this confidence :
Nec rhoncos metues malignorum,
Nec scombris tunicas dabis molestas. If it be objected this is no true dramatick poem, I shall easily confess it, non potes in nugas dicere plura meas, ipse ego quam diri; willingly, and not ignorantly, have I faulted. For should a man present, to such an auditory, the most sententious tragedy that ever was written, observing all the critical laws, as height of stile, and gravity of person, inrich it with the sententious chorus, and, as it were, enliven death, in the passionate and weighty Nuntius; yet, after all this divine rapture, O dura messorum Ilia, the breath that comes from the uncapable multitude is able to poison it; and, ere it be acted, let the author resolve to fix to every scene this of Horace :
-Hæc hodie porcis comedenda relinques. To those, who report I was a long time in finishing this tragedy, I confess, I do not write with a goose-quill wing'd with two feathers; and, if they will needs make it my fault, I must answer then with that of Euripides to Alcestides, a tragick writer: Alcestides objecting that Euripid-s hd only, in three days, composed three verses, whereas hiinself hard written three hundred: Thou ceil': truth (quoth he); but here's the difference, thine shall only be read for three days, whereas mine shall continue three ages.
Detraction is the sworn friend to ignorance: for mine own part, I have ever truly cherished my good opinion of other men's worthy labours, especially of that full and heightened stile of mister Chapman, the laboured and understanding works of master Jonson, the no less worthy composti les of the both worthily excellent master Beaumont and master Fletcher; and lastly (without wrong last to be named), the right happy and copious industry of master Shakespeare, master Derder, and master Heywood, wishing what I write may be read by their light; protesting that, in the strength of mine own judgment, I know them so worthy, that though I rest silent in my own work, yet to most of theirs I dare (without flattery) fix that of Martial :
-non norunt hæc monumenta mori.
MONTICELSO, a Cardinal; afterwards Pope | FLAMINEO, his Brother, Secretary to Bra
the fifth Act disguised for a Noor, under the ISABELLA, Sister to FRANCISCO DE MEDICIS, name of MULINASSAR.
and Wife to BraCHIANO. BRACHIANO, otherwise Paulo GIORDANO UR- VITTORIA COROMBONA, a Venetian Lody, .
SINI, Duke of Brachiano, Husband to Isa- married to Camillo, afterwards to Bia
BELLA, and in love with VITTORIA. GIOVANNI, his Son by ISABELLA.
CORNELIA, Mother to VITTORIA, FLAME: Lodovico, an Italian Count, but decay'd.
Ambassadors, Courtiers, Lawyers, Officer HORTENSIO, one of Brachiano's Officers.
Physicians, Conjurer, Arnourer, ottenu Marcello, an åttendant of the Duke of Flo- ants. rence, and Brother to VITTORIA.
In mentem Authoris.
En tibi, si supius, cuin sale, mille sales.
4 Black a theatre.--I think we should read blank, i. e. vacant, unsupplied witu articles necessari toward theatrical representation. S.
A LADY OF VENICE.
Enter Count LODOVICO, ANTONELLI, and Ant. All the damnable degrees
Of drinkings have you stagger'd through., One Lod. Banish'd !
citizen Ant. It griev'd me much to hear the sentence. Is lord of two fair manors, call'd you master,
Lod. Ha, ha, 0 Democritus, thy gods Only for 'caviare. That govern the whole world ! courtly reward Gas. Those noblemen And punishment. Fortune's a right whore ; Which were invited to your prodigal feasts, If she give out, she deals it in small parcels, (Wherein the pbænix scarce could scape your That she may take away all at one swoop;
throats) This 'tis to have great enenies ; God quit them. Laugh at your misery, as fore-deeming you Your wolf no longer seems to be a wolf
An idle meteor, which drawn forth, the earth Than when she's hungry.
Would be soon lost in the air. Gas. You term those enemies,
Ant. Jest upon you, Are nien of princely rank.
And say you were begotten in an earthquake, Lod. Oh, I pray for them,
You have ruin'd such fair lordships. The violent thunder is ador'd by those
Lod. Very good. Are dash'd in pieces by it.
goes with two buckets; I must tend Ant. Come, iny lord,
The pouring out of either. You're justly doom'd; look but a little back Gas. Worse than these. Into your former life: you have in three years You have acted certain murders here in Rome, Ruin'd the noblest earldom.
Bloody and full of horror. Gas. Your followers
Lod. 'Las, they were flea-bitings : Have swallowed you like mummy, and being Why took they not my head then? sick
Gas. O, my lord ! With such unnatural and horrid physick, The law doth sumetimes mediate, thinks it good Vomit you up i'th' kennel.
Not ever to steep violent sins in blood :
S Swoop— The technical term for the descent of a hawk on its prey. So, in Macbeth :
“_ Oh fell kite, all ?
At one swoop." See Note on that passage, Vol. IV. of Shakspeare, p. 585, edit. 1778. S. 6 Mummy. See Note 3 to The Bird in a Cage, Vol. I. p. 226. 7 Cariare.See Note 19 to The Ordinary, postea.
This gentle penance may both end your crimes, The fair Vittoria, my happy sister,
Let the caroch go on, and 'tis his pleasure This banishment: there's Paulo Giordano Ursini, You put out all your torches, and depart. The duke of Brachiano, now lives in Rome, Brach. Are we so happy? And by close panderism seeks to prostitute
Flam. Can it be otherwise ? The honour of Vittoria Corombona :
Observ'd you not to-night, my honour'd lord, Vittoria, she that might have got my pardon Which way soe'er you went, she threw her eyes. For one kiss to the duke.
I have dealt already with her chamber-maid, Ant. Have a full man within you :'
Zauche the Moor; and she is wondrous proud We see that trees bear no such pleasant fruit To be the agent for so high a spirit. There where they grew first, as where they are Brach. We are happy above thought, because new set.
'bove merit. Perfumes, the more they are chaf'd, the more Flam. 'Bove merit! we may now talk freely: they render
'bove merit! what is't you doubt ? her coyness! Their pleasing scents; and so affliction
that's but the superficies of lust most women Expresseth virtue fully, whether true,
have; yet why should ladies blush to hear that Or else adulterate.
nam'd, which they do not fear to handle? ( they Lod. Leave your painted comforts ;
are politick; they know our desire is increased I'll make Italian cut-works in their guts by the difficulty of enjoying ; whereas satiety is If ever I return.
a blunt, weary, and drowsy passion. If the butGas. O sir.
tery-hatch at court stood continually open, there Lod. I am patient.
would be nothing so passionate crowding, nor I have seen soine ready to be executed,
hot suit after the beverage. Give pleasant looks, and money, and grow Bruch. O but her jealous husbandfainiliar
Flam. Hang him; a gilder that hath his brains With the knave hangman; so do I; I thank perish'd with quick-silver is not more cold in the them,
liver. The great barriers moulted not more And would account them nobly merciful, feathers, than he hath shed hairs, by the confesWould they dispatch me quickly.
sion of his doctor. 9 An Irish gamester that Ant. Fare you well;
will play himself naked, and then wage all downWe shall find time, I doubt not, to repeal wards, at hazard, is not more venturous. So Your banishment.
unable to please a woman, that, like a Dutch Lod. I am erer bound to you.
doublet, all his back is shrunk into his breeches. This is the world's alms; pray diake use of it. Shrowd
you within this closet, good my lord; Great men sell sheep, thus to be cut in pieces, Some trick now must be thought on to divide When first they have shorn them bare, and sold My brother-in-law from his fair bed- fellow. their fleeces.
[Ereunt. Brach. O should she fail to come.
Flam. I must not have your lordship, thus unEnter BRACHIANO, CAMILLO, FLAMINEO,
wisely amorous: I myself have loved a lady, VITTORIA COROMBONA.
and pursued her with a great deal of under-age
protestation, whom some three or four gallants Brach. Your best of rest.
that have enjoyed would with all their hearts Vit. Cor. Unto my lord, the duke,
have been glad to liave been rid of: 'tis just like The best of welcome. More lights: attend the a summer bird-cage in a garden, the birds that duke. [Ereunt Camillo and Vit- are without despair to get in, and the birds that
TORIA COROMBONA, are within despair, and are in a consumption, Brach, Flamineo.
for fear they shall never get out. Away, away, Flam. My lord. Brach. Quite lost, Flamineo.
Enter CAMILLO. Flam. Pursue your noble wishes, I am prompt See here he comes. This fellow by his apparel As lightning to your service. O, my lord ! Some men would judge a politician;
$ The great barriers moulted not more feathers,—i. e. more feathers were not dislodged from the hel. mets of the combatants at the great tilting match. S.
9 An Irish gamester will play himself naked.-Barnaby Rich, in his New Description of Ireland, 1610, p. 38, says, “ there is (i. e. in Ireland) a certaine brotherhood, called by the name of Karrowes, and these be common gamsters, that do only exercise playing at cards, and they will play away their mantels, and their shirts from their backs, and when they have nothing left them, they will trusse themselves in straw; this is the life they lead, and from this they will not be reclaimed."
But call his wit in question, you shall find it Flam. Sir, good-bye t'you ;
I do commit you to your pitiful pillow
Cam. Brother. Cam. I assure you, brother, no; my voyage
Flam. 13 God refuse me, lies
Might I advise you now, your only course More northerly, in a far colder clime;
Were to lock up your wife. I do not well remember, I protest,
Cam. 'Twere very good. When I lay last with her.
Flam. Bar her the sight of revels. Flam. Strange you should lose your count. Cam, Excellent.
Cam. We never lay together, but ere morning Flam. Let her not go to church, but 14 like a There grew a "faw between us.
hound Flam. 'Thad been your part
In Leon, at your heels. To have made up that flaw.
Cam. 'Twere for her honour. Cam. True, but she loaths I should be seen in't. Flam. And so you should be certain in one Flam. Why, sir, what's the inatter?
fortnight, Cam. The duke your master visits me, I thank Despight her cliastity or innocence, him ;
To be cuckolded, which yet is in suspence: And I perceive how, like an earnest bowler, This is my counsel, and I ask no fee for't. He very passionately leans that way
Cam. Come, you know not where my nightHe would have his bowl run.
cap wrings me. Flam. I hope you do not think
Flam. Wear it o'th' old fasbion; let your Cam. That nobleman bowl booty? 12 faith, large ears come through, it will be more easy. his cheek
Nay, I will be bitter; bar your wife of her enHath a most excellent bias, it would fain jump tertainment. Women are more willingly and with my mistress.
more gloriously chaste, when they are least reFlam. Will you be an ass,
strained of their liberty. It seems you would Despight your Aristotle? or a cuckold,
be a fine capricious mathematically jealous cosContrary to you Ephemerides,
comb; take the height of your own borns with Which shews you under what a smiling planet a Jacob's staff, afore they are up. These poliYou were first swaddled ?
tick inclosures for paltry mutton, make more Cam. Pew wew, sir; tell not me
rebellion in the flesh, than all the provocative Of planets nor of Ephemerides:
electuaries doctors have uttered since the last A man may be made a cuckold in the day-time, jubilee. When the stars eyes are out.
Cam. This doth not physic me.
10 In's foot cloth—i. e. in his housings, his accoutrements. See Note to King Richard III. A. S. S. 4. S.
"Flaw.–Flaw anciently signified a gust, or blast. It here means a quarrel. So, in Pericles, A. 2:
I do not fear the flaw,
Arden of Feversham :
-Were I uppon the sea
And saw a dreadfull suthern flaw at hand, &c."
“Blow, villain, till thy sphered bias cheek
Out swell the cholic of puff'd Aquilon.” 13 God refuse me.-See Note 1 to The Match at Midnight, Vol. II. p. 459.
like a hound In Leon, at your heels. I know not that the custom of being followed by a dog is peculiar to this city in Spain, but rather believe we should read,
like a hound in leam, i. e. a leash, a string. See Note on King Lear, A. 3. S. 6. Shakspeare, Vol. IX. p. 482. S.