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Mart. The day wears,
Thier. Stand and mark then.
Thier. This hand, Martel:
Mart. Would I were she,
Ordella comes out from the Temple, veiled.
man, That may inherit such an infinite
As you propound, a greatness so near goodness,
Thier. Tell me this then,
Ordel. Many dead, sir, living I think as many.
Thier. Say the kingdom
Ordel. A general curse light on her heart denies it.
Thier. Full of honour; And such examples as the former ages Were but dim shadows of and empty figures. Ordel. You strangely stir me, sir, and were my weak
ness In any
other flesh but modest woman's, You should not ask more questions; may I do it?
Thier. You may, and which is more, you must.
Ordel. I joy in't,
Thier. As ever time discover'd.
Ordel. Let it be what it may then, what it dare, I have a mind will hazard it.
Thier. But hark ye,
may that woman merit, makes this blessing?
Ordel. So is sleep, sir,
Ordel. Ordel. I do
Thier. And endless parting
Ordel. 'Tis of all sleeps the sweetest ;
this place; and mad that stay it,
blow out their lights, or rotten humours Bring
them dispers'd to the earth. Thier. Then you can suffer? Ordel. As willingly as say it.
Thier. Martel, a wonder!
Ordel. I am, sir.
Thier. Dare you venture,
Ordel. With all but heaven,
99 There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdon, in the grave, whither thou goest. Eccles.
And what I must do, lady.
Ordel. You are the king, sir, And what
do I'll suffer; and that blessing That
you desire, the gods shower on the kingdom. Thier. Thus much before I strike then, for I must kill
Ordel. Fear me not.
Thier. Thou shalt be sainted, woman, and thy tomb
(Pulls off her veil: he lets fall his sword.) Thier. Ha! Mar. 0, sir, you must not do it.
Thier. No, I dare not.
Ordel. Strike, sir, strike;
Thier. First let the earth be barren,
100 I have always considered this to be the finest scene in Fletcher, and Ordella the most perfect idea of the female heroic character, next to Calantha in the Broken Heart of Ford, that has been embodied in fiction. She is a piece of sainted nature. Yet noble as
Martel relates to Thierry the manner of Ordella's death.
Mar. The grier'd Ordella, (for all other titles
the whole scene is, it must be confessed that the manner of it, compared with Shakspeare's finest scenes, is slow and languid. Its motion is circular, not progressive. Each line revolves on itself in a sort of separate orbit. They do not join into one another like a running hand. Every step that we go we are stopped to admire some single object, like walking in beautiful scenery with a guide. This slowness I shall elsewhere have occasion to remark as characteristic of Fletcher. Another striking difference perceivable between Fletcher and Shakspeare, is the fondness of the former for unnatural and violent situations, like that in the scene before us. He seems to have thought that nothing great could be produced in an ordinary way. The chief incidents in the Wife for a Month, in Cupid's Revenge, in the Double Marriage, and in many more of his Tragedies, shew this. Shakspeare had nothing of this contortion in his mind, none of that craving after romantic incidents, and flights of strained and improbable virtue, which I think always betrays an imperfect moral sensibility,