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and upon the stone that indicated their last resting place, Sir Aston Cockaine incribed the following quaint epitaph:
In the same grave Fletcher was buried, here
Plays they did write together, were great friends,
Here in their fames they lie, in spite of death.
Massinger wrote a number of dramas conjointly with Fletcher, Middleton, Rowley, Field, Dekker, and others; and such was his popularity that most of his contemporaries esteemed it an honor to be thus connected with him. Of the dramas exclusively his own, The Virgin Martyr, The Bondman, The Fatal Dowry, The City Madam, and A New Way to Pay Old Debts, are his best known productions. Massinger's comedy resembles, in its eccentric strength and wayward exhibitions of human nature, that of Ben Jonson. The greediness of avarice, the tyranny of unjust laws, and the miseries of poverty, are drawn with a powerful hand. The luxuries and vices of a city life, also, afforded scope for his indignant and forcible invective. The tragedies of Massinger have a calm and dignified seriousness, and a lofty pride, that impresses the imagination very powerfully. His genius was more eloquent and descriptive than impassioned and inventive; yet his pictures of suffering virtue, its struggles and its trials, are calculated to touch the heart, as weli as gratify the taste. The versification is so smooth and mellifluous, as to be second only to that of Shakspeare.
Massinger's dramas afford fine scope for extracts, but our space will allow us to introduce only the following:
A MIDNIGHT SCENE.
[Angelo, an Angel, attends Dorothea as a Page.]
Dor. My book and taper.
Ang. Here, most holy mistress.
Dor. Thy voice sends forth such music, that I never
Was ravish'd with a more celestial sound.
Were every servant in the world like thee,
So full of goodness, angels would come down
To dwell with us: thy name is Angelo,
And like that name thou art. Get thee to rest;
Therefore my most lov'd mistress, do not bid
For then you break his heart.
Dor. Be nigh me still, then.
In golden letters down I'll set that day
Ang. Proud am I that my lady's modest eye
Dor. I have offer'd
Handfuls of gold but to behold thy parents.
Ang. I am not: I did never
Know who my mother was; but, by yon palace,
Fill'd with bright heav'nly courtiers, I dare assure you,
Dor. A bless'd day.
COMPASSION FOR MISFORTUNE.
Luke. No word, sir,
I hope shall give offence; nor let it relish
Of flattery, though I proclaim aloud,
I glory in the bravery of your mind,
To which your wealth 's a servant. Not that riches
Deriv'd. from heaven, and by your industry
And that you feel compassion in your bowels
Of others' miseries (I have found it, sir;
Heaven keep me thankful for 'it!), while they are curs'd
Your affability and mildness, clothed
In your unquestion'd wisdom, I beseech you,
Or that the ruin of this once brave merchant,
For being defeated. Suppose this, it will not
When the rebels unto reason, passions, fought it.
Sir John. Shall I be
Talk'd out of my money?
Luke. No sir, but intreated
To do yourself a benefit, and preserve
What you possess entire.
Sir John. How, my good brother?
Luke. By making these your beadsmen. When they eat,
When your ships are at sea, their prayers will swell
The sails with prosperous winds, and guard them from
Before we pass on to the writers who close this important dramatic period, we must very briefly notice their less eminent contemporaries, Taylor, Rowley, Tourneur, Cooke, Nabbes, Field, Day, Glapthorne, Randolph and Brome.
The public demand for theatrical novelties, called forth, at this time, a succession of writers in this popular, and profitable department of literature, who, though not men of the most exalted genius, still left the rich stamp of the age, both in style and thought, upon many of their pages. Of the
personal history of these writers little is known, a few scattered dates usually making up the whole amount of their biography.
Of ROBERT TAYLOR, the author here first mentioned, nothing farther is known than that he wrote an amusing drama under the quaint title, The Hog hath Lost his Pearl, and some other pieces of a similar character.
WILLIAM ROWLEY Was an actor as well as author. Besides other plays written conjointly with Middleton and Dekker, he produced a tragicomedy, The Witch of Edmonton, in the composition of which Ford also is suspected of having taken a part. His drama embodies, in a striking form, the vulgar superstition respecting witchcraft, which so long debased the popular mind in England. We quote the following passage:—
[Mother Sawyer alone.]
Saw. And why on me? why should the envious world
For all the filth and rubbish of men's tongues
That my bad tongue (by their bad usage made so)
Make me to credit it.
[Banks, a Farmer, enters.]
Banks. Out, out upon thee, witch!
Saw. Dost call me witch?
Banks. I do, witch; I do;
And worse I would, knew I a name more hateful.
What makest thou upon my grounds?
Saw. Gather a few rotten sticks to warm me.
Banks. Down with them when I bid thee, quickly;
I'll make thy bones rattle in thy skin else.
Saw. You won't! churl, cut-throat, miser! there they be. Would they stuck 'cross thy throat, thy bowels, thy maw, thy midriff
Banks. Say'st thou me so. Hag, out of my ground.
Saw. Dost strike me, slave, curmudgeon? Now thy bones aches, thy joints
And convulsions stretch and crack thy sinews.
Saw. Strike, do: and wither'd may that hand and arm,
Whose blows have lam'd me, drop from the rotten trunk.
What spells, or charms, or invocations,
May the thing call'd Familiar be purchased?
And hated like a sickness; made a scorn
To all degrees and sexes. I have heard old beldams
Rats, ferrets, weasels, and I wot not what,
That have appear'd; and suck'd, some say, their blood.
Upon this churl. I'd go out of myself,
And give this fury leave to dwell within
Blasphemous speeches, oaths, detested oaths,
Revenge upon this miser, this black cur,
That barks, and bites, and sucks the very blood,
Of me, and of my credit. 'Tis all one
To be a witch as to be counted one.
CYRIL TOURNEUR, besides being concerned in the production of many others, wrote, himself, two very good dramas, The Atheist's Tragedy, and The Revenger's Tragedy. From the former we may select the following characteristic description of a Drowned Soldier :
Walking upon the fatal shore,
Among the slaughter'd bodies of their men,
GEORGE COOKE was the author of a lively comedy under the title of Greene's Tu Quoque. From the character and finish of this play, we