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" There was a painter dwelling in Feversham, who had skill of poisons, as was reported ; she therefore demanded of him whether it were true that he had such skill in feat or not? And he denied not but that he had indeed.

Yea, said she, but I would have such a one made as should have most vehement and speedy operation to despatch the eater thereof. That can I do, quoth he; and forthwith made her such a one. The painter enters, and his reward, it appears, is to be Susan Mosbie. The painter is a dangerous and wicked person, but he speaks of his art and of its inspiration with a high enthusiasm :“ For, as sharp-witted poets, whose sweet verse Make heavenly gods break off their nectar

draughts, And lay their ears down to the lowly earth, Use humble promise to their sacred muse; So we, that are the poets' favourites, Must have a love. Ay, love is the painter's

muse, That makes him frame a speaking counte

nance, A weeping eye that witnesseth heart's grief.” The conference is interrupted by the entrance of Arden, of whom Mosbie readily asks about the abbey-lands. The following scene ensues, and it is an example of the judgment with which the dramatist has adopted the passage from the Chronicle' that Arden“ both permitted and also invited Mosbie very often to lodge in his house,” without at the same time compromising his own honour :

Arden. Mosbie, that question we'll decide

Arden. So, sirrah, you may not wear a

sword, The statute made against artificers forbids it. I warrant that I do*. Now use your bodkin, Your Spanish needle, and your pressing-iron; For this shall go with me : And mark my

words, You, goodman botcher, 't is to you I speak,The next time that I take thee near my house, Instead of legs, I'll make thee crawl on

stumps. Mosbie. Ah, master Arden, you have in

jured me, I do appeal to God and to the world. Franklin. Why, canst thou deny thou wert

a botcher once ?
Mosbie. Measure me what I am, not what

I once was.
Arden. Why, what art thou now but a velvet

drudge, A cheating steward, and base-minded peasant ? Mosbie. Arden, now hast thou belch'd and

vomited The rancorous venom of thy mis-swoln heart, Hear me but speak : As I intend to live With God, and his elected saints in heaven, I never meant more to solicit her, And that she knows; and all the world shall



see :


Alice, make ready my breakfast, I must hence.

[Exit ALICE As for the lands, Mosbie, they are mine By letters-patent of his majesty. But I must have a mandat for my wife ; Tbey say you seek to rob me of her love : Villain, what mak’st thou in her company ? She's no companion for so base a groom. Mosbie. Arden, I thought not on her, I

came to thee;
But rather than I'll put up this wrong

Franklin. What will you do, sir ?
Mosbie. Revenge it on the proudest of you

[Then ARDEN draws forth Mosbie's sword.

I lov'd her once, sweet Arden; pardon me :
I could not choose ; her beauty fir'd my heart;
But time hath quenched these once-raging

coals; And, Arden, though I frequent thine house, *T is for my sister's sake, her waiting-maid, And not for hers. Mayst thou enjoy her long! Hell fire and wrathful vengeance light on me If I dishonour her, or injure thee !

Arden. With these thy protestations The deadly hatred of my heart 's appeas'd, And thou and I 'll be friends if this prove true. As for the base terms that I gave thee late, Forget them, Mosbie ; I had cause to speak, When all the knights and gentlemen of Kent Make common table-talk of her and thee. Mosbie. Who lives that is not touch'd with

slanderous tongues ? Franklin. Then, Mosbie, to eschew the

speech of men, Upon whose general bruit all honour hangs, Forbear his house. Arden. Forbear it ! nay, rather frequent it more :

* I justify that which I do,

cler :


The world shall see that I distrust her not. he reproaches her for her imprudence in
To warn him on the sudden from my house tampering with so many agents.
Were to confirm the rumour that is grown.” The course of the Chronicle' continues

The first direct attempt of Alice upon her to be followed with much exactness. The husband's life is thus told by the chroni

scene changes to the road for London, and the following description is then dramatized.

It is so curious a picture of manners, as in“ Now, Master Arden purposing that day to deed the whole narrative is, that we need ride to Canterbury, his wife brought him his scarcely apologize for its length :breakfast, which was wont to be milk and butter. He, having received a spoonful or two This Greene, having doings for his master of the milk, misliked the taste and colour Sir Anthony Ager, had occasion to go up to thereof, and said to his wife, Mistress Alice, London, where his master then lay, and, having what milk have you given me here? Where- some charge up with him, desired one Bradwithal she tilted it over with her hand, saying, shaw, a goldsmith of Feversham, that was his I ween nothing can please you. Then he took neighbour, to accompany him to Gravesend, horse and rode towards Canterbury, and by the and he would content him for his pains. This way fell into extreme sickness, and so escaped Bradshaw, being a very honest man, was confor that time.”

tent, and rode with him. And when they came

to Rainhamdown they chanced to see three or In the tragedy the incident is exactly fol. four servingmen that were coming from Leeds ; lowed. Upon parting with her husband the and therewith Bradshaw espied, coming up the dissembling of Alice is heart-sickening, but hill from Rochester, one Black Will, a terrible the scene is still managed naturally and cruel ruffian, with a sword and a buckler, and consistently.

another with a great staff on his neck. Then There is no division of this play into acts said Bradshaw to Greene, We are happy that and scenes, but it is probable that the first there cometh some company from Leeds, for act ends with the departure of Arden for here cometh up against us as murdering a knave London. Another agent appears upon the

as any is in England : if it were not for them, scene, whose motives and position are thus

we might chance hardly escape without loss of described in the Chronicle :'

our money and lives. Yea, thought Greene (as

he after confessed), such a one is for my purpose ; “ After this his wife fell in acquaintance with and therefore asked, Which is he? Yonder is one Greene, of Feversham, servant to Sir An- he, quoth Bradshaw, the same that hath the thony Ager, from which Greene Master Arden sword and buckler; his name is Black Will. had wrested a piece of ground on the back side How know you that ? said Greene. Bradshaw of the Abbey of Feversham, and there had great answered, I knew him at Boulogne, where we blows and great threats passed betwixt them both served; he was a soldier and I was Sir about that matter. Therefore she, knowing that Richard Cavendish's man; and there he comGreene hated her husband, began to practise mitted many robberies and heinous murders on with him how to make him away; and con- such as travelled betwixt Boulogne and France. cluded that, if he could get any that would kill By this time the other company of servingmen him, he should have ten pounds for a reward." came to them, and they, going altogether, met The manner in which the guilty wife prac

with Black Will and his fellow. The serving

men knew Black Will, and, saluting him, detises with this revengeful man is skilfully

manded of him whither he went? He answered, wrought out in the tragedy. She sympa- By his blood (for his use was to swear almost thises with his supposed wrongs, she tells a

at every word), I know not, nor care not; but tale of her own injuries, and then she pro

set up my staff, and even as it falleth I go. If ceeds to the open avowal of her purpose. thou, quoth they, will go back again to GravesGreene is to procure agents to murder her end, we will give thee thy supper. By his blood, husband, and his reward, besides money, is said he, I care not; I am content; have with to be the restoration of his lands. She com- you : and so he returned again with them. municates her proceedings to Mosbie, but Then Black Will took acquaintance of Brad


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shaw, saying, Fellow Bradshaw, how dost thou ? A livery cloak, but all the lace was off; Bradshaw, unwilling to renew acquaintance, or 'T was bad, but yet it serv'd to hide the plate." to have aught to do with so shameless a ruffian,

One of the sources of the enchaining insaid, Why, do ye know me? Yea, that I do, terest of this drama is to be found in the quoth he ; did not we serve in Boulogne to repeated escapes of Arden from the machinagether? But ye must pardon me, quoth Brad

tions of his enemies. We have seen the poishaw, for I have forgotten you. Then Greene

son fail, and now the ruffian, whom no ortalked with Black Will, and said, When ye


dinary circumstances deterred from the comsupped, come to mine host's house at such a sign, and I will give you the sack and sugar.

mission of his purpose, is to be defeated by By his blood, said he, I thank you ; I will come

an unforeseen casualty. The Chronicle' and take it, I warrant you. According to his says, promise he came, and there they made good

“At the time appointed Greene showed Black cheer. Then Black Will and Greene went and

Will Master Arden walking in Paul's. Then talked apart from Bradshaw, and there con- said Black Will, What is he that goeth after cluded together, that if he would kill Master him? Marry, said Greene, one of his men. By Arden he should have ten pounds for his labour.

his blood, said Black Will, I will kill them both. Then he answered, By his wounds, that I will if | Nay, said Greene, do not so, for he is of counsel I may know him. Marry, to-morrow in Paul's with us in this matter. By his blood, said he, I will show him thee, said Greene. Then they I care not for that; I will kill them both. Nay, left their talk, and Greene bad him go home to

said Greene, in any wise do not so. Then Black his host's house. Then Greene wrote a letter to Will thought to have killed Master Arden in Mistress Arden, and among other things put in Paul's churchyard, but there were so many genthese words,—We have got a man for our pur- tlemen that accompanied him to dinner, that he pose; we may thank my brother Bradshaw. missed of his purpose.” Now Bradshaw, not knowing anything of this, took the letter of him, and in the morning de The dramatist presents the scene much more parted home again, and delivered the letter to strikingly to the senses, in a manner which Mistress Arden, and Greene and Black Will tells us something of the inconveniences of went up to London at the tide."

old London. The ruffians are standing before

a shop; an apprentice enters saying, The scene in the play seizes upon the prin

“'T is very late, I were best shut up my stall, cipal points of this description, but the variations are those of a master. Bradshaw, for here will be old* filching when the press

comes forth of Paul's." it seems, is a goldsmith, and he is involved in a charge of buying some stolen plate. The stage direction which follows is :-“Then He thus describes the man who sold it him, lets he down his window, and it breaks Black and we can scarcely avoid thinking that Will's head.” The accident disturbs the imhere is the same power, though in an inferior mediate purpose of the ruffians. The chadegree, which produced the description of racter of Black Will is drawn with great the apothecary in ‘Romeo and Juliet :'- force, but there is probably something of a

youthful -judgment in making the murderer " Will. What manner of man was he?

speak in high poetry :Brad. A lean-faced writhen knave, Hawk-nosed and very hollow-eyed;

“I tell thee, Greene, the forlorn traveller, With mighty furrows in stormy brows;

Whose lips are glued with summer-scorching Long hair down to his shoulders curl'd;

heat, His chin was bare, but on his upper lip

Ne'er long'd so much to see a running brook A mutchado, which he wound about his ear. As I to finish Arden's tragedy."

Will. What apparel had he?
Brad. A watchet satin doublet all to-torn:

The other ruffian is Shakebag, and in the The inner side did bear the greater show:

same way he speaks in the language which A pair of thread bare velvet hose seam-rent;

a youthful poet scarcely knows how to avoid A worsted stocking rent above the shoe;

* Old-excessive.


summoning from the depths of his own Greene agreed that Black Will should come in imagination

the night to the parsonage, where he should find "I cannot paint my valour out with words:

the doors left open that he might come in and But give me place and opportunity.

murder Master Arden." Such mercy as the starven lioness,

The scene in which Michael consents to this When she is dry suck'd of her eager young, proposal, with great reluctance, is founded Shows to the prey that next encounters her, upon the above text. We have a scene

On Arden so much pity would I take.” of Arden and Franklin, before they go to The propriety of putting poetical images in bed, in which Arden is torn with apprehenthe mouths of the low agents of crime cannot sion of the dishonour of his wife. There is exactly be judged by looking at such pas- great power here; but there is something of sages apart from that by which they are sur- a higher order in the conflicting terrors of rounded. There is no comedy in · Arden of Michael when he is left alone, expecting the Feversham.' The characters and events are arrival of the pitiless murderer :lifted aut of ordinary life of purpose by the Conflicting thoughts, encamped in my breast, poet. The ambition of a young writer may Awake me with the echo of their strokes; have carried this too far, but the principle And I, a judge to censure either side, upon which he worked was a right one. He Can give to neither wished victory. aimed to produce something higher than a My master's kindness pleads to me for life, literal copy of every-day life, and this con- With just demand, and I must grant it him : stitutes the essential distinction between 'Ar

My mistress she hath forc'd me with an oath, den of Feversham' and the "Yorkshire Tra

For Susan's sake, the which I may not break, gedy,' as between Shakspere and Heywood,

For that is nearer than a master's love : and Shakspero and Lillo. In the maturity

That grim-fac'd fellow, pitiless Black Will,

And Shakebag stern, in bloody stratagem of his genius Shakspere did not vulgarize

(Two rougher ruffians never liv'd in Kent) even his murderers. At the instant before

Have sworn my death if I infringe my vowthe assault upon Banquo, one of the guilty

A dreadful thing to be consider'd of. instruments of Macbeth says, in the very

Methinks I see them with their bolster'd hair, spirit of poetry,

Staring and grinning in thy gentle face, “ The west yet glimmers with some streaks of And, in their ruthless hands their daggers day:

drawn, Now spurs the lated traveller apace,

Insulting o'er thee with a peck of oaths, To gain the timely inn."

Whilst thou, submissive pleading for relief, Early in the drama, as we have seen, Alice Art mangled by their ireful instruments ! proposes to her husband's servant to make Methinks I hear them ask where Michael is, away with his master. The circumstance And pitiless Black Will cries, “Stab the slave; has come to the knowledge of Greene, who,

The peasant will detect the tragedy.' after the defeat of the plan through the

The wrinkles of his foul death-threatening face

Gape open wide like graves to swallow men : apprentice's shutter, has to devise with his ruffians another mode of accomplishing Ar

My death to him is but a merriment;

And he will murder me to make him sport.den's death. The ‘Chronicle' thus tells the

He comes ! he comes! Master Franklin, help; story :

Call up the neighbours, or we are but dead." “Greene showed all this talk to Master Arden's man, whose name was Michael, which ever

This in a young poet would not only be proafter stood in doubt of Black Will, lest he should

mise of future greatness, but it would be the kill him. The cause that this Michael conspired greatness itself. The conception of this scene with the rest against his master was, for that it is wholly original. The guilty coward, driven was determined that he should marry a kins. by the force of his imagination into an agony woman of Mosbie's. After this, Master Arden of terror so as to call for help, and thus delay at a certain parsonage which he held in feat the plot in which he had been an accomLondon, and therefore his man Michael and plice, is a creation of real genius. The



transition of his fears, from the picture of The way I seek to find where pleasure dwells the murder of his master to that of himself, Is hedg'd behind me, that I cannot back, has a profundity in it which we seldom find But needs must on, although to danger's gate. except in the conceptions of one dramatist. Then, Arden, perish thou by that decree; The narrative upon which the scene is For Greene doth heir the land, and weed thee founded offers us a mere glimpse of this most up effective portion of the story :

To make my harvest nothing but pure corn;

And for his pains I'll heave him up awhile, “ This Michael, having his master to bed, left

And after smother him to have his wax; open the doors according to the appointment. Such bees as Greene must never live to sting. His master, then being in bed, asked him if he

Then is there Michael, and the painter too, had shut fast the doors, and he said Yea; but yet

Chief actors to Arden's overthrow, afterwards, fearing lest Black Will would kill

Who, when they see me sit in Arden's seat, him as well as his master, after he was in bed

They will insult upon me for my meod, himself he rose again, and shut the doors, bolt

Or fright me by detecting of his end : ing them fast.”

I'll none of that, for I can cast a bone In the drama the ruffians arrive, and are of To make these curs pluck out each other's course disappointed of their purpose by the

throat, closing of the doors. They swear revenge

And then am I sole ruler of mine own: against Michael, but he subsequently makes

Yet Mistress Arden lives, but she's myself, his peace by informing them that his master

And holy church-rites make us two but one.

But what for that? I may not trust you, is departing from London, and that their

Alice ! purpose may be accomplished on Rainham

You have supplanted Arden for my sake, down.

And will extirpen me to plant another; The scene now changes, with a skilful dra

'Tis fearful sleeping in a serpent's bed ; matic management, to exhibit to us the

And I will cleanly rid my hands of her. guilty pair at Feversham. Mosbie is alone,

But here she comes; and I must flatter her. and he shows us the depth of his depravity

[Here enters ALICE.” in the following soliloquy

The unhappy woman has already begun to “ Mosbie. Disturbed thoughts drive me pay the penalty of her sin: she has moments from company,

of agonizing remorse, not enduring, however, And dry my marrow with their watchfulness; but to be swept away again by that tempest Continual trouble of my moody brain

of passion which first hurried her into guilt. Feebles my body by excess of drink,

The following scene is, we think, unmatched And nips me as the bitter north-east wind Doth check the tender blossoms in the spring published as early as 1592, perhaps written

by any other writer than Shakspere in a play Well fares the man, howe'er his cates do taste, That tables not with foul suspicion;

several years earlier. It might have been And he but pines among his delicates

written by Webster or Ford, but they belong Whose troubled mind is stuff'd with discon

to a considerably later period. It possesses in tent.

a most remarkable degree that quiet strength My golden time was when I had no gold;

which is the best evidence of real power. Though then I wanted, yet I slept secure;

Except in Shakspere, it is a strength for My daily toil begat me night's repose,

which we shall vainly seek in the accredited My night's repose made daylight fresh to me: writings of any dramatic poet who, as far as But since I climb'd the top bough of the tree, we know, had written for the stage some And sought to build my nest among the clouds, ten years before the close of the sixteenth Each gentle stary * gale doth shake my bed, century ;And makes me dread my downfall to the earth.

Mosbie. Ungentle Alice, thy sorrow is my But whither doth contemplation carry me? * Stary-stirring. Our word star is supposed to be de

Thou know'st it well; and 't is thy policy rived from the Anglo-Saxon stir-an, to move.

To forge distressful looks to wound a breast


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