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to such an auditory, the most sententious tragedy that ever was written, observing all the critical laws, as height of style and gravity of person, enrich it with the sententious chorus, and as it were enliven death, in the passionate and weighty Nuntius ; yet, after all this divine rapture, 0 dura messorum ilia, the breath that comes from the uncapable multitude is able to poison it.” In the integrity and consistency of character, he generally fails, and in poetical imagery he seldom indulges : his excellence is in the poetry of scenic action, in which he manifests the most exquisite art. The White Devil, which was probably the first play he wrote alone, for he had before the date of the earliest edition assisted Dekker in the plays beforementioned, does not indeed seem to have received its just measure of applause, although there are scenes in it well calculated to engage the attention of an "understanding auditory,” to borrow Webster's phrase, when speaking of its failure. It is, however, more rambling, and lest compact and entire in its plot, than The Dutchess of Malfy, and Appius and Virginia ; its characters are more coarse, and its incidents less strange; the author rather winds round the main action than proceeds to it in a strait forward course. But, in the plays just mentioned, be marches right on to the catastrophe; he has no time, if he had inclination, to search for flowers by the way to deck the consummation of the solemn event; he is full of important business, deep and tragical—he looks neither to the right nor to the left-he needs no subsidiary plots to swell his drama to the proper dimensions; the weight of his matter carries him straight to the pith of the action, and there he dwells enamoured of horror.

But, to return to The White Devil, which we shall first noticemit may be as well, for the more perfect understanding of the extracts which will be made, to give a brief narrative of the plot. Brachiano, Duke of Brachiano, while in Rome, is bewitched by the charms of Vittoria, (the white devil,) the wife of Camillo, a lady of no great character, though of good family. Flamineo, the brother of Vittoria, is the honest promoter of the Duke's suit, which meets with very hopeful success. Vittoria ingeniously invents a dream for disposing of the Dutchess, which is aptly interpreted by the Duke, and he, in consequence, resolves to poison Isabella his wife, who, with her brother Francisco de Medicis, Duke of Florence, soon after arrives in Rome. An interview takes place between Brachiano and his wife, with whom he vows never to live again; a vow which, for the sake of preserving peace between her husband and her kinsmen, she generously pretends that she herself has made. By an exquisite refinement of barbarity, she is poisoned by means of Brachiano's picture, which she was in the habit of kissing nightly, before she retired to rest, and the divorce which had been commenced

B

by her husband was completed by the poisoned lips of his picture. Camillo is next disposed of by Flamineo, under pretence of an accident, but in so improbable a manner, that Vittoria is brought to trial, for the double crime of murder and incontinence. Of the latter charge she is convicted, and ordered to be confined in a house of penitents; from which she escapes with Brachiano, and they fly to his dukedom, where he marries her. Hither they are followed by the Duke of Florence, and some companions, in disguise ; who ultimately revenge the death of the Dutchess and Camillo, by the destruction of Brachiano, Vittoria, and Flamineo.

Isabella meets Brachiano, immediately after the Cardinal Monticelso, the cousin of Camillo, and Francisco de Medicis, have been remonstrating with him in irritating terms, against his attachment to Vittoria. The interview above alluded to, then takes place, which exhibits the tenderness and delicacy of Isabella in a most attractive light.

Bra. You are in health, we see.

Isa. And above health,
To see my lord well.

Bra. So, I wonder much
What amorous whirlwind hurried you to Rome?

Isa. Devotion, my lord.

Bra. Devotion !
Is your soul charg'd with any grievous sin?

Isa. "Tis burthen'd with too many; and I think
The oft'ner that we cast our reckonings up,
Our sleeps will be the sounder.

Bra. Take your chamber.

Isa. Nay, my dear lord, I will not have you angry;
Doth not my absence from you, now two months,
Merit one kiss?

Bra. I do not use to kiss :
If that will dispossess your jealousy,
I'll swear it to you.

Isa. O my lov'd lord,
I do not come to chide : my jealousy!
I am to learn what that Italian means.
You are as welcome to these longing arms,
As I to you a virgin.

Bra. O your breath!
Out upon sweet-meats and continu'd physick,
The plague is in them.

Isa. You have oft, for these two lips,
Neglected cassia, or the natural sweets

Of the spring-violet : they are not yet much wither'd.
My lord, I should be merry: these your frowns
Shew in a helmet lovely; but on me,
In such a peaceful interview, methinks
They are too roughly knit.

Bra. O dissemblance !
Do you bandy factions 'gainst me? Have you learnt
The trick of impudent baseness to complain
Unto your kindred?

Isa. Never, my dear lord.
Bra. Must I be hunted out? or was't

your

trick To meet some amorous gallant here in Rome, That must supply our discontinuance?

Isa. I pray, sir, burst my heart, and in my death Turn to your antient pity, tho' not love.

Bra. Because your brother is the corpulent duke, That is, the great duke : 'sdeath, I shall not shortly Racket

away

five hundred crowns at tennis,
But it shall rest upon record! I scorn him
Like a shav'd pollack; all his reverend wit
Lies in his wardrobe: he's a discreet fellow,
When he's made up in his robes of state.
Your brother, the great duke, because h'as gallies,
And now and then ransacks a Turkish fly-boat,
(Now all the hellish furies rack his soul)
First made this match; accursed be the priest
That sang the wedding-mass, and even my issue !

Isa. O, too too far you have curst.

Bra. Your hand I'll kiss;
This is the latest ceremony of my love.
Henceforth I'll never lie with thee: by this,
This wedding-ring, I'll ne'er more lie with thee.
And this divorce shall be as truly kept,
As if the judge had doom'd it. Fare you well;
Our sleeps are sever'd.

Isa. Forbid it, the sweet union
Of all things blessed! why, the saints in heaven
Will knit their brows at that.

Bra. Let not thy love
Make thee an unbeliever; this my vow
Shall never, on my soul, be satisfied
With thy repentance: let thy brother rage
Beyond a horrid tempest, or sea-fight,
My vow is fix'd.

Isa. O my winding-sheet!
Now shall I need thee shortly. Dear, my lord,

Let me hear once more, what I would not hear,
Never ?

Bra. Never.

Isa. O my unkind lord ! may your sins find mercy,
As I upon a woful widow'd bed
Shall

pray for you, if not to turn your eyes
Upon your wretched wife and hopeful son,
Yet that in time you'll fix them upon heaven.

Bra. No more; go, go, complain to the great duke.

Isa. Now, my dear lord, you shall have present witness
How I'll work peace between you. I will make
Myself the author of your cursed vow,
I have some cause to do it, you have

none;
Conceal it, I beseech you, for the weal
Of both your dukedoms, that you wrought the means
Of such a separation : let the fault
Remain with my supposed jealousy,
And think with what a piteous and rent heart
I shall perform this sad ensuing part.”

The arraignment of Vittoria Corombona. Enter Francisco de Medicis, Cardinal Monticelso, Brachiano, Vit

toria Corombona, Ambassadors, &c.

Mon. I shall be plainer with you, and paint out
Your follies in more natural red and white,
Than that upon your cheek.

Vit. O you mistake,
You raise a blood as noble in this cheek
As ever was your mother's.

Mon. I must spáre you, till proof cry' whore to that.
Observe this creature here, my honoured lords,
A woman of a most prodigious spirit.

Vit. My honourable lord,
It doth not suit a reverend cardinal
To play the lawyer thus.

Mon. Oh your trade instructs your language !
You see, my lords, what goodly fruit she seems,
Yet like those apples travellers report
To grow where Sodom and Gomorrah stood,
I will but touch her, and you straight shall see
She'll fall to soot and ashes.

Vit. Your invenom'd apothecary should do't.

Mon. I am resolved
Were there a second paradise to lose,

This devil would betray it.

Vit. O poor charity !
Thou art seldom found in scarlet.

Mon. Who knows not how, when several night by night
Her gates were choakt with coaches, and her rooms
Outbrav'd the stars with several kinds of lights;
When she did counterfeit a prince's court
In musick, banquets, and most riotous surfeits,
This whore forsooth was holy.

Vit. Ha ? whore? what's that?

Mon. Shall I expound whore to you? sure I shall!
I'll give their perfect character. They are first,
Sweetmeats which rot the eater: in man's nostrils
Poison'd perfumes. They are coz’ning alchymy;
Shipwrecks in calmest weather. What are whores?
Cold Russian winters, that appear so barren,
As if thai nature had forgot the spring.
They are the true material fire of hell.
Worse than those tributes i'th' Low-countries paid,
Exactions upon meat, drink, garments, sleep;
Ay even on man's perdition, his sin.
They are those brittle evidences of law,
Which forfeit all a wretched man's estate
For leaving out one syllable. What are whores ?
They are those flattering bells have all one tune,
At weddings and at funerals. Your rich whores
Are only treasuries by extortion fill'd,
And empty'd by cursed riot. They are worse,
Worse than dead bodies, which are begg'd at th' gallows,
And wrought upon by surgeons, to teach man
Wherein he is imperfect. What's a whore ?
She's like the gilt counterfeited coin,
Which, whosoe'er first stamps it, brings in trouble
All that receive it.

Vit. This character 'scapes me.

Mon. You, gentlewoman?
Take from all beasts and from all minerals
Their deadly poison

Vit. Well, what then?

Mon. I'll tell thee;
l'll find in thee an apothecary's shop,
To sample them all.

Fr. Amb. She hath Jived ill.
En. Amb. True, but the cardinal's too bitter.
Mon. You know what whore is. Next the devil adult'ry,

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