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For all the wealth of Europe. She stirs! here's life :
Return, fair soul, from darkness, and lead mine
Out of this sensible hell: she's warm; she breathes :
Upon thy pale lips I will melt my heart,

To store them with fresh colour: who's there?
Some cordial drink! Alas! I dare not call:
So pity would destroy pity: her eye opes,
And heaven, in it, seems to ope, (that late was shut,)
To take me up to mercy.

Dutch. Antonio.

Bos. Yes, (madam,) he is living;

The dead bodies you saw were but feign'd statues;
He's reconcil'd to your brothers; the pope hath wrought

The atonement.

Dutch. Mercy.

[she dies.

Bos. Oh, she's gone again: there the cords of life broke: Oh, sacred innocence! that sweetly sleeps

On turtle feathers; whilst a guilty conscience

Is a black register, wherein is writ

All our good deeds, and bad; a perspective
That shows us hell: that we cannot be suffer'd
To do good when we have a mind to it.
This is manly sorrow :

These tears, I am very certain, never grew
In my mother's milk. My estate is sunk
Below the degree of fear: where were

These penitent fountains while she was living?

Oh, they were frozen up: here is a sight

As direful to my soul, as is the sword

Upon a wretch hath slain his father. Come, I'll bear thee hence,

And execute thy will; that is, deliver

Thy body to the reverend dispose

Of some good women; that the cruel tyrant

Shall not deny me: then I'll post to Milan,
Where somewhat I will speedily enact
Worth my dejection."

The preceding passage needs no commentary to point out its fearful and terrible effect. It is one of the most laboured scenes which Webster has written, and in which he has shown the most consummate art. The measure is heaped up to the brim without being over full. The concluding dialogue between Ferdinand and Bosola, is an instance of that peculiar excellence of Webster which we have before mentioned. Nothing can be



more beautifully natural than the first dawn of good feeling in Ferdinand,

"Cover her face: mine eyes dazzle: she died young;"

nor the intense anxiety of Bosola, when the Dutchess for a moment opens her eyes before she expires:

"her eye opes,

And heaven, in it, seems to ope, (that late was shut,)
To take me up to mercy."

The whole of this part of the scene is most strikingly dramatic. The ensuing dialogue between Antonio and Echo, which is introduced by some fine lines, is of a very singular kind, and is as skilfully managed, as it is singular in conception. The anxious and uncertain state of Antonio, as to the fate of the Dutchess, and the strange and awful responses of this airy nothing, notwithstanding the artificial nature of the dialogue, produce sensations thrilling and startling.

Antonio, Delio, Echo.

"Del. Yond's the cardinal's window: this fortification

Grew from the ruins of an ancient abbey:
And to yond side o'th' river lies a wall,
(Piece of a cloister,) which, in my opinion,
Gives the best echo that you ever heard;
So hollow, and so dismal, and withall,
So plain in the distinction of our words,
That many have suppos'd it is a spirit
That answers.


Ant. I do love these ancient ruins;
never tread upon them, but we set
Our foot upon some reverend history;
And, questionless, here in this open court,
(Which now lies naked to the injuries
Of stormy weather,) some lie interr'd,

Lov'd the church so well, and gave so largely to't,
They thought it should have canopied their bones
Till doomsday but all things have their end;
Churches and cities (which have diseases like to men)
Must have like death that we have.

Ec. Like death that we have.

Del. Now the echo hath caught you.

Ant. It groan'd (methought), and gave
A very deadly accent.

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 very like my
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 not.

wife's voice.

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 flie



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 e;

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 attempt 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.

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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!

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