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Let all my powers be emptied in my Son;
(He fighting for the land, and bringing home
What we have, we slight; what we want, we think excellent.
When his most heavenly theory of her beauties
So all men else do, what they have, transplant;
And place their wealth in thirst of what they want.
Soliloquy of King Henry deliberating on the Death of a Traitor.
O thou that governst the keen swords of Kings,
Direct my arm in this important stroke;
Or hold it, being advanc'd: the weight of blood,
He should be born grey-headed that will bear
(If it be just and worthy) dwells so dark, That it denies access to sun and moon:
The soul's eye, sharpen'd with that sacred light
But humor and their lusts; for which alone
He would not be a King, but would be wise.
[The Selections which I have made from this poet are sufficient to give an idea of that" full and heightened style" which Webster makes characteristic of Chapman. Of all the English Play-writers, Chapman perhaps approaches nearest to Shakspeare in the descriptive and didactic, in passages which are less purel ydramatic. Dramatic imitation was not his talent. He could not go out of himself, as Shakspeare could shift at pleasure, to inform and animate other existences, but in himself he had an eye to perceive and a soul to embrace all forms. He would have made a great epic poet, if, indeed, he has not abundantly shown himself to be one; for his Homer is not so properly a Translation as the Stories of Achilles and Ulysses re-written. The earnestness and passion which he has put into every part of these poems would be incredible to a reader of mere modern translations. His almost Greek zeal for the honor of his heroes is only paralleled by that fierce spirit of Hebrew bigotry, with which Milton, as if personating one of the Zealots of the old law, clothed himself when he sate down to paint the acts of Sampson against the uncircumcised. The great obstacle to Chapman's Translations being read is their unconquerable quaintness. He pours out in the same breath the most just and natural and the most violent and forced expressions. He seems to grasp whatever words come first to hand during the impetus of inspiration, as if all other must be inadequate to the divine meaning. But passion (the all in all in Poetry) is everywhere present, raising the low, dignifying the mean, and putting sense into the absurd. He makes his readers glow, weep, tremble, take any affection which he pleases, be moved by words, or in spite of them, be disgusted and overcome their disgust. I have often thought that the vulgar misconception of Shakspeare, as of a wild irregular genius" in whom great faults are compensated by great beauties," would be really true applied to Chapman. But there is no scale by which to balance such disproportionate subjects as the faults and beauties of a great genius. To set off the former with any fairness against the latter, the pain which they give us should be in some proportion to the pleasure which we receive from the other. As these transport us to the highest heaven, those should steep us in agonies infernal.]
A CHALLENGE FOR BEAUTY. BY THOMAS HEYWOOD. Petrocella a fair Spanish Lady loves Montferrers an English Sea Captain, who is Captive to Valladaura a noble Spaniard.-Valladaura loves the Lady; and employs Montferrers to be the Messenger of his love to her.
Pet. What art thou in thy country?
Mont. There, a man.
Pet. What here?
Mont. No better than you see: a slave.
Mont. His that hath redeem'd me.
Mont. Yes, I proclaim 't; I that was once mine own,
Am now become his creature.
Pet. I perceive,
Your coming is to make me think you noble.
Would you persuade me deem your friend a God?
This air I breathe is borrowed; ne'er was man
Pet. Tell me that?
Come, come, I know you to be no such man.
Mont. A meer worm, Trod on by every fate.
Pet. Rais'd by your merit
To be a common argument through Spain,
Mont. This your scorn
Makes me appear more abject to myself,
Had power to asperse upon me; and yet, lady,
Pet. Speak 't at once.
Mont. And yet
Pet. Nay, but we'll admit no pause.
Mont. I know not how my phrase may relish
I shall no more distaste you.
Pet. Sir, you do not;
I do proclaim you do not. Stay, I charge you;
Mont. You charge deeply,
And yet now I bethink me
Pet. As you are a soldier,
And Englishman, have hope to be redeem'd
Pet. Your apprehension catch'd,
Mont. Lady, I shall.
Pet. Pronounce it then.
Pet. Ha, ha, ha.
Mont. Still it is my misery
Thus to be mock'd in all things.
Pet. Pretty, faith.
Mont. I look'd thus to be laught at; my estate And fortunes, I confess, deserve no less; That made me so unwilling to denounce Mine own derisions: but alas! I find No nation, sex, complexion, birth, degree, But jest at want, and mock at misery. Pet. Love me?
Mont. I do, I do; and maugre Fate, And spite of all sinister evil, shall. And now I charge you, by that filial zeal You owe your father, by the memory Of your dear mother, by the joys you hope In blessed marriage, by the fortunate issue Stored in your womb, by these and all things else That you can style with goodness; instantly Without evasion, trick, or circumstance, Nay, least premeditation, answer me,
Affect you me, or no?
Pet. How speak you that?
Mont. Without demur or pause.
Pet. Give me but time
To sleep upon 't.
Mont. I pardon you no minute: not so much, As to apparel the least phrase you speak. Speak in the shortest sentence.
Pet. You have vanquish'd me,
At mine own weapon: noble sir, I love you;