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Ec. Deadly accent.

Del. I told you 'twas a pretty one: you may make it
A huntsman, or a falconer, a musician,
Or a thing of sorrow.

Ec. A thing of sorrow.
Ant. Ay, sure; that suits it best.
Ec. That suits it best.
Ant. 'Tis

like
my

wife's voice.
Ec. Ay, wife's voice.

Del. Come, let's walk farther from't :
I would not have you to th' cardinal's to-night:
Do pot.

Ec. Do not.

Del. Wisdom doth not more moderate wasting sorrow
Than time: take time for't; be mindful of thy safety.

Ec. Be mindful of thy safety.

Ant. Necessity compels me;
Make scrutiny throughout the passes
Of your own life; you'll find it impossible
To Aie

your fate.
Ec. O flie your fate.

Del. Hark: the dead stones seem to have pity on you,
And give you good counsel.

Ant. Echo, I will not talk with thee;
For thou art a dead thing.

Ec. Thou art a dead thing.

Ant. My dutchess is asleep now,
And her little ones, I hope, sweetly; oh, Heaven!
Shall I never see her more ?

Ec. Never see her more.

Ant. I mark'd not one repetition of the Echo
But that; and on the sudden, a clear light
Presented me a face folded in sorrow.

Del. Your fancy merely.

Ant. Come; I'll be out of this ague ;
For to live thus, is not indeed to live;
It is a mockery and abuse of life;
I will not henceforth save myself by halves,
Lose all, or nothing."

Antonio is afterwards unintentionally slain by Bosola. Ferdinand becomes mad, and gives mortal wounds to both the Cardinal and Bosola, with which internecion the play concludes.

It is out of the question to talk of the unities, with refe

rence to our English dramatists, but we cannot help remarking, in perusing this play, the rapidity with which the author makes Time ply his wings. We learn, almost in the same breath, of the marriage of the Dutchess, and the birth of three children.* This play was successful.

The last play which Webster wrote was Appius and Virginia, whose history has been so frequently the subject of dramatic composition. It is, as a whole, the most finished and regular of all his plays; and although it does not contain scenes equal to those we have already extracted, it is full of dramatic interest-rife in striking action. There is a studious care in the management of the plot, and the most accurate judgement as to effect in the introduction and developement of the incidents. Our readers are aware of the main action—the nefarious at. tempt of Appius, one of the Decemvirs, to obtain possession of the person of Virginia, for whom he had a dishonest passion, by means of one of his servants claiming her as his bondwoman ; and the death of the noble Roman lady by the hands of her own father, to save her from disgrace. The scene in which Icilius, to whom Virginia had been betrothed, discloses to Appius his knowledge of his base attempts, is very spirited and effective; and the one in which Virginius explains to the Roman soldiers the reasons which induced him to perpetrate the fatal act, is one of subduing pathos. It is remarkably superior to that of the trial and death of Virginia, which, indeed, is comparatively powerless, with the exception of the last beautiful speech of Virginius to his daughter. We shall present to our readers the scene at the

camp.

“ Virginius enters, holding the fatal knife in his hand: he advances into the midst of the Soldiers, and then stops and addresses them.

Virg. Have I in all this populous assembly
Of soldiers, that have prov'd Virginius' valour,
One friend? Let him come thrill his partisan
Against this breast, that through a large wide wound
My mighty soul might rush out of this prison,
To fly more freely to yon crystal palace,
Where honour sits enthronis'd. What! no friend?

* Mr. Campbell, in his Specimens of British Poets, erroneously states the preface to The White Devil to be prefixed to the Dutchess of Malfy, and thence infers, that the latter play was unsuccessful. He also affirms, that Dekker and Marston assisted Webster and Rowley in The Thracian Wonder and A Cure for a Cuckold, in which we cannot discover that they had any concern.

Can this great multitude then yield an enemy
That hates my life? Here let him seize it freely.
What! no man strike? Am I so well beloved ?
Minutius, then to thee. If in this camp
There lives one man so just to punish sin,
So charitable to redeem from torments
A wretched soldier, at his worthy hand
I beg a death.

Min. What means Virginius ?

Virg. Or if the general's heart be so obdure
To an old begging soldier, have I here
No honest legionary of mine own troop,
At whose bold hand and sword, if not entreat,
I may command a death?

1 Sold. Alas! good captain.

Min. Virginius, you have no command at all :
Your companies are elsewhere now bestowed.
Besides, we have a charge to stay you here,
And make you the camp's prisoner.

Virg. General, thanks :
For thou hast done as much with one harsh word
As I begg'd from their weapons : thou hast kill'd me,
But with a living death.

Min. Besides, I charge you
To speak what means this ugly face of blood,
You put on your distractions ? What's the reason
All Rome pursues you, covering those high hills,
As if they dogg'd you for some damned act?
What have you done?

Virg. I have play'd the parricide :
Kill'd mine own child.

Min. Virginia ?

Virg. Yes, even she.
These rude hands ripp'd her, and her innocent blood
Flow'd above my elbows.

Min. Kill'd her willingly?

Virg. Willingly, with advice, premeditation,
And settled purpose; and see, still I wear
Her crimson colours, and these withered arms
Are dy'd in her heart's blood.

Min. Most wretched villain !

Virg. But how? I lov'd her life. Lend me amongst you One speaking organ to discourse her death, It is too harsh an imposition To lay upon a father. Oh, my Virginia !

Min. How agrees this? love her, and murder her?

Virg. Yes: give me but a little leave to drain
A few red tears, (for soldiers should weep blood,)
And I'll agree them well. Attend me all.
Alas! might I have kept her chaste and free,
This life so oft engaged for ungrateful Rome,
Lay in her bosom: but when I saw her pull'd
By Appius' Lictors to be claim'd a slave,
And dragg'd into a public sessions-house,
Divorc'd from her fore spousals with Icilius,
A noble youth, and made a bondwoman ;
Enforc'd by violence from her father's arms
To be a prostitute and paramour
To the rude twinings of a lecherous judge;
Then, then, ob, loving soldiers, (I'll not deny it,
For 'twas mine honour, my paternal pity,
And the sole act, for which I love my life ;)
Then lustful Appius, he that sways the land,
Slew poor Virginia by this father's hand.

1 Sold. Oh, villain Appius !
2 Sold. Oh, noble Virginius !

Virg. To you I appeal, you are my sentencers:
Did Appius right, or poor Virginius wrong?
Sentence my fact with a free general tongue.

1 Sold. Appius is the parricide.
2 Sold. Virginius guiltless of his daughter's death.

Min. If this be true, Virginius, (as the moan
Of all the Roman fry that follows you
Confirms at large), this cause is to be pitied,
And should not die revengeless.

Virg. Noble Minutius,
Thou hast a daughter, thou hast a wife too ;
So most of you have, soldiers; why might not this
Have happen'd you? Which of you all, dear friends,
But now, even now, may have your wives deflower'd,
Your daughters slav'd, and made a lictor's prey?
Think them not safe in Rome, for mine lived there.

Roman. It is a common cause.
1 Sold. Appius shall die for't.
2 Sold. Let's make Virginius general.
Omnes. A general! a general ! let's make Virginius general!

Min. It shall be so. Virginius, take my charge:
The wrongs are thine; so violent and so weighty
That none but he that lost so fair a child,
Knows how to punish. By the gods of Rome,

Virginius shall succeed my full command.

Virg. What's honour unto me? a weak old man,
Weary of life, and covetous of a grave:
I am a dead man now Virginia lives not.
The self-same hand that dar'd to save from shame
A child, dares in the father act the same. [offers to kill himself.

1 Sold. Stay, noble general.

Min. You much forget revenge, Virginius.
Who, if you die, will take your cause in hand,
And proscribe Appius, should you perish thus?

Virg. Thou oughtest, Minutius : soldiers, so ought you:
I'm out of fear; my noble wife's expir'd ;
My daughter (of bless'd memory) the object
Of Appius' lust, lives 'mongst th' Elysian vestals ;
My house yields none fit for his lictors' spoil.
You that have wives lodg'd in yon prison, Rome,
Have lands unrifled, houses yet unseiz'd,
Your freeborn daughters yet unstrumpeted,
Prevent these mischiefs

you

have time.”

yet while

We thus conclude our extracts from the works of this certainly great dramatist, who was minute, without being trifling-elaborate, without becoming dull; and whose power in touching the passions was equalled by few of his contemporaries.

The comedy of The Thracian Wonder, which he is said to have written in conjunction with Rowley, is a vile performance, filled from the beginning to the end with the most wretched stuff. Langbaine says, Rowley had the least part in this, as well as in the other comedy ascribed to them; but we cannot conceive that Webster could have written any thing so bad; and, indeed, Rowley is also vastly superior to it. We should rather suppose, that they had agreed to correct it in some few places for" reasonable considerations,” as the chapmen of that day express it, or perhaps the bookseller borrowed their names; for both The Thracian Wonder and The Cure for a Cuckold were published by Kirkman after the death of the supposed authors, and the last is stated by that publisher to be then printed for the first time. The Cure for a Cuckold is a much better comedy, but it is also below the separate productions of the reputed authors. Webster, indeed, seems to have had little inclination to cultivate an intimacy with the comic muse.

With the excep: tion of Virginia's servant, there is not in all his plays the usual accompaniment of the tragi-comedies of that day-a buffoon. He is rather sarcastic, than humourous--didactic, than witty. He would rather have soliloquized in the charnel-house, or com

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