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himsclfe falleth into perdition, but without God's-Grace he cannot rise. God, therefore, seeing his creature given to all vanitie, led with ambition of worldly honor, and not ceasing his sinful life, oftentimes sends adversity, diseases, dishonors, and confusion in the world, to make him humble, and to open the eyes of reason, which Voluptuousness had shut, whereby he may come to the knowledge of his sins, and confess the same to God."
Chap. II. "When I was out of the bog, humbly on my knees I gave thanks to God's-Grace for his goodness, being assured that he to whom God does good is not worthy thereof, if he is not thankful. Then God's-Grace marched his way before me, saying that I should follow her, the which I did, for doubtlesse our free-will guideth not God's-Grace, but God's-Grace guideth our free-will. Then I followed her all to be-dagled, untill wee came where I had seene the pallace of "Worldly Felicitie in greatest glory, turned into a deep dungeon of darkness, boyling with consuming fire, whence came a wilde vapour and stinking smoake of burning brimstone, over the which we must pass by a little plank: whereat I was afraid, so that the hair of my heade stood an ende; then with sorrowful sighs I beseached God'sGrace to tell me the sight which I saw: (quoth she) this is the place of thy voluptuous pallace with all thy allies, amongst whom thou was entertained. Mark well if I had not beene thy helpe and shewed thee mercie, thou hadst been plagued with them. Thinke with thyself, if the place be pleasent or no. Thou seest how the divell handleth those that be here with torments. This is the Grey King Lucifer, whom thou supposedst to have seene accompanied with so many nobles in the pallace of Counterfait Felicitie—these be they that frie in the furnace. Here is the reward of such as serve him. Then we saw a great bed grow red hot, wherein lay a naked woman whom a great dragon imbraced, playing with his tayle between her legs, with two ugly serpents winding about her thighs, and eating her privy members. This miserable woman, lamenting, cryed aloud with terrible noise. This (quoth God's-Grace) is the brave bed wherein thou layest, and this woman the Goddess of Love, which kept thee company; wouldst thou be glad now to serve her? To which I answered, no. Thou seest (quoth she) this is the end of voluptuous livers and wicked worldlings. Ask her, then, now where are her Pleasure and Voluptuousnesse. Alas, lady, (quoth I) for feare I dare not; then with a loud voyce she began particularly asking the question, saying, 0 cursed outcasts of God and wretched worldlings, where are now your fair chambers hanged with silke tapestrie, goodly gardens, game dogs of all sorts, your birdes, your horses, your brave apparel, your delicate wines, your change of meales, your sweet waters and servantes, cookes and butlers, your ladies of love, and such like: O unhappy people, your change is great, &c. &c. Then over the high mountaines and ragged rocks away we walked till we came to a crosse way, where Vertue wished me to follow her, whose sayings when I called to minde, it made me weep bitterly for my sinnes and follies past. But when God's-Grace perceived me to be weary and 'noyed with the smells that I found in that loathsome lake, for pity she took me in her armes, and at the last she shewed me the school of repentance, whither I must goe before I could enter into true felicitie."
Chap. III. When we approached to the school of repentance, which was built upon a high hill, environed with a moate named Humility, God's-Grace called, and outcame Lady Repentance in plaine apparel, having next her naked skin a smock of haire-cloath, and upon the same a gowne of sack-cloth, girded together with a great leather girdle, a kercher of coarse canvise upon her head. With her also came two waiting maids, named Sorrow-for-sinne and Confession-ofsinnes, both apparelled like their lady. The first seemed very sorrowfulle and sadde, and the second was bashfulle and shamefas't, and hung downe her head. Then God's-Grace spake to Repentance, and presenting me unto her, said, here is a knight which I have brought to thy schoole, that he might forget the evill that he hath learned abroad, and to be instructed in the good which he never yet knew.* *****
Chap. VII. "Then, as we were talking, God's-Grace said unto me, Sir Knight, I give thee for thy governour, this good hermit Understanding; believe his counsel and do what he commands you; then I remembered my old governess Folly, whom I left in the bogge amongst serpents and toads. So I was very glad of my governour and gave thanks to God's-Grace, who from the table gave me drugs to eate, and repeated unto me a place written in the eighty-eight Psalm of David, 'open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.'"
Art. VI. Love's Victory: a Tragi-Comedy, by William
London: printed by E. Cotes, and are to be sold by Robert C/avell, at the Stag's-nead, neer St. Gregorie's Church, in St. Paul's Church Yard, 1658, pp. 87.
Of the author of this play we have already given some account, in our analysis of his Heroick Poem of Pharonnida. The play bears a very strong resemblance, both in the tone of feeling and in the sentiments, to his more matured production—there is the same dignity of action and of thought in the higher scenes, mixed, however, with much more that is mean, and some that is utterly contemptible. There is frequently an admirable propriety in his thoughts, but he wanted judgment in the selection and taste in the disposition of them. He is fond of illustrating the grand and the beautiful in nature and in feeling, by allusions to objects of art and of science, more especially in his own profession, which sometimes lead him into conceit and sometimes into meanness.—It was, indeed, the fault of his age.
—But the mind of Chamberlayne was not of that high order which pierces into the "hidden secrets of the heart," and displays it in all its awful and solemn workings;—he does not suspend our breathing with the depth and intensity of passion, or flood our eyes with delicious tears—nor does he delight us with those sudden transitions from the dark to the bright, in the inward motions of the soul, which come over the intellectual eye, like a gleam of sunshine on the dark bosom of the heaving ocean. Yet there is feeling—there is passion—gentle—equable—noble —dignified; but the one is not deep, nor the other intense—he does not "storm the soul." Poets, like painters, are distinguishable by the style and colouring of their works—Chamberlayne is peculiarly so; he is, indeed, a complete mannerist—he rings the changes on his favourite conceptions incessantly—he varies them and dresses them up, but they still bear striking marks of identity. He has hollowed out a channel in which his genius flows; sometimes with a gentle and delightful murmuring, rising against its rocky sides and embossing them with its white spray; and at its flood tide, rolling on a noble and majestic stream in a continuous course, but seldom flowing over its banks, or breaking out into grand irregularities. He appears to have had no idea of rhythm—no perception of the harmony of numbers—" of the sweet food of sweetly-uttered knowledge." His poem is written in blank verse, tagged with a rhyme which the reader finds it impossible to rest upon, and difficult to pass over; and which is moreover in itself awkward and constrained. Such is the general character of William Chamberlayne's poetical powers. But notwithstanding all this, he is no ordinary poet—he had the living elements of poetry within him, though he wanted a better judgment to manage them. The drama which is now before us, and which is the only one he ever wrote, contains some interesting situations and passages of considerable beauty; but the author was a better poet than a dramatist. There is a want of keeping in the play; and, in the comic scenes, a total absence of truth and probability.—Some parts are, indeed, very miserable. It is a notable expedient of Vanlore, a favoured lover, who, to prevent the union of his mistress with a rich rival, forbids the banns in the shape and semblance of the devil, and roars the father, the intended son-in-law, and all together, in terror out of the church. Although our author has contrived to unite four couples in spite of the obstacles so often interposed between amorous wishes and their happy consummation, we shall, in our short sketch of the plot, confine ourselves to the two most prominent in the group. The kingdom of Sicily being divided by rebellion, a battle is fought between Oroandes, the general of the king's army, and Zannazarro, the chief of the rebels. In this engagement, Oroandes is
wounded, and retires to a temple to have his wounds dressed.— Here he finds Eurione, the beautiful sister of Zannazarro, who had sought refuge in the same place on the defeat of her brother. —Protection is promised on the one side, gratitude succeeds on the other.—It was but a short step to a softer passion, and love insensibly glided, with its gentle influence, into the hearts of beings met under such singular circumstances. The king, however, determines to sacrifice Zannazarro, (who is also made captive,) and his sister, to Mars and Minerva. To the priest of the latter is committed the charge of preparing Eurione for this awful solemnity, and deplorably does he belie his sacred calling—he offers to save her, on terms which most swell the veins of honourable woman with indignation. In the midst of his promises and threats, Oroandes springs from behind the altar. The priest, as some atonement for his contemplated dishonesty, points out the means of saving the destined victims. Preparations are made for the sacrificial ceremony, and Oroandes, in the garments of the priest, is ushered in with soft music. The air is suddenly rent with thunder, the images of the gods are reversed, and the vestments of the priests appear spotted with blood. This palpable manifestation of the anger of the gods induces the priests to untie the victims; soft music is again heard, and the images resume their original position. The king is asking pardon of the gods, when Oroandes discovers himself and the imposture of the priest. Zannazarro and his sister are pardoned. The king, who supposes his betrothed bride, Heroina the princess of Cyprus, to have perished at sea, falls in love with Eurione. Aware of the love of Oroandes for this lady, but unable to subdue his passion, he commands Oroandes to meet him behind the hermit's rock—Oroandes obeys, and the king falls by his unwilling hand. The former flies for assistance; but, during his absence, the king is found by a band of robbers and conveyed to a cave, where he is attended by Heroina, who had fallen into the same hands. Heroina, fancying him to bear some resemblance to the king, questions him on his birth, and learning that he is attached to the king's personal service, discloses her rank to him, and subsequently to the captain of the robbers, who accompanies them to court, where they find the council assembled, and Oroandes on the point of destroying his own life.—The king discovers himself, and all terminates very happily.
The storm, in which Heroina's ship is lost, is thus described.
"When first our full-spread sailes were pregnant grown
To our domestick Lares; even then,
A spightful storm, stretch't on the wings of all
The clamorous winds, proclaims a combat, and
Chuses our latitude the fatall lists.
The Sun's fair mirrour curies her even brow,
Whilst white arm'd waves catch at the clouds, and fall
Like liquid mountains on our sinking ships;
Our rent sailes hang on tops of rocks, our cords
Crack like the fibres of a dying heart:
The frighted sailor, more distracted than
The elements into confusion startles;
The master vainly cals for help, till, by
An angry wave washt off, he loses all
His hopes 'i th' sea's unfathom'd womb. Whils't in
These full-mouth'd oathes, Nature's intemperate sons
Swore our destruction, a calm gale's soft breath
Fans off" dispair; we now behold none but
This description contains a strange mixture of good and bad; some of the images are striking, but we cannot conceive a more perverted taste, than to compare the mighty struggle of conflicting elements, threatening destruction, to "full-mouth'd oaths;" but, although the passage does not reach any high degree of excellence, it is, on the whole, worth extracting. The scene in the temple of Minerva, between the Priest and Eurione, is executed with considerable effect.—Oroandes resolves to rescue her.
"Oro. All yet is silent, dark, and secret, as if
The powers of night did favour our intent.
Enter Eurione, led by the Priest of Minerva.
Pri. Hail, noble virgin!—more to be ador'd
Eur. What language do I hear ?—are you her priest,
Pri. I would not have your judgment, lady, look