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Than the pope's palace, and more peaceable Than thy soul; though thou art a cardinal; Know this, and let it somewhat raise your spight, Through darkness diamonds spread their richest light." Our author is not, in general, either felicitous or hearty in his legal pleadings; indeed, nothing can be inore wretched than the stuff he puts into the mouths

of his lawyers, both in this play and in The Devil's Law-Case. The preceding passage, however, is as fine a piece of ingenious pleading as the defence of that refined sophist, Eugene Arám. Vittoria is too much for the Cardinal, with all his cunning, and the advantage of his station to boot: yet, her answers are so pertinent, and her appeals so natural, that we never for a moment doubt the probability and consistency of the scene. She is truly “a woman of a most prodigious spirit.” Her confidence and fearlessness, her dextrous retreats, and ready ingenuity at every turn, spread over the whole a very lively and dramatic air.

In the last extract we shall make from this play, there is solemn grief-a wild pathos, which accords well with the subject. Flamineo having slain Marcello, his gallant and honourable brother, Cornelia, their mother, becomes distracted in mind.

“ Francisco de Medicis in disguise, and Flamineo.
Fra. I met even now with the most piteous sight.

Fla. Thou meet'st another here, a pitiful
Degraded courtier.

Fra. Your reverend mother
Is grown a very old woman in two hours.
I found them winding of Marcello's corse ;
And there is such a solemn melody,
'Tween doleful songs, tears, and sad elegies :
Such as old grandames, watching by the dead,
Were wont to outwear the nights with; that believe me,
I had no eyes to guide me forth the room,
They were so over-charg'd with water.

Fla. I will see them.

Fra. "Twere much uncharity in you : for your sight
Will add unto their tears.

Fla. I will see them,
They are behind the traverse. I'll discover

Their superstitious howling.
Cornelia, the Moor, and three other ladies discovered winding Marcello's


A song

Cor. This rosemary is wither’d, pray get fresh ;
I would have these herbs grow up in his grave,

When I am dead and rotten. Reach the bays;
I'll tie a garland here about his head:
'Twill keep my boy from lightning. This sheet
I have kept this twenty years, and every day
Hallow'd it with my prayers ; I did not think
He should have wore it.

Moor. Look you, who are yonder ?
Cor. O reach me the flowers.
Moor. Her ladyship's foolish.

Wom. Alas! her grief
Hath turn'd her child again.

Cor. You're very welcome.
There's rosemary

and rue for you.

[to Flam. Heart's-ease for you. I pray make much of it, I have left none for myself.

Fra. Lady, who's this?
Cor. You are, I take it, the grave-maker.
Fla. So.
Moor. 'Tis Flamineo.

Cor. Will you make me such a fool ? here's a white hand:
Can blood so soon be wash'd out? let me see,
When screech-owls croak upon the chimney tops,
And the strange cricket i’th' oven sings and hops,
When yellow spots do on your hands appear,
Be certain then

shall hear. Out upon't, how 'tis speckld! h’as handld a toad sure. Cowslip water is good for the memory: pray buy me three ounces

Fla. I would I were from hence.

Cor. Do you hear, sir?
I'll give you a saying which my grandmother
Was wont, when she heard the bell, to sing o'er unto her lute.

Fla. Do and you will, do.

Cornelia doth this in several forms of distraction.

Cor. Call for the robin red-breast, and the wren,
Since o'er shady groves they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.
Call unto his funeral dole
The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole,
To raise him hillocks that shall keep him warm,
And (when gay tombs are robb’d) sustain no harm,
But keep the wolf far thence, that's foe to men,
For with his nails he'll dig them up again."

of a corpse

The next of Webster's Plays in chronological order is The Devil's Law-Case, which is, upon the whole, a tolerable play, and would afford us a few extracts; but as they are not of the same rank or importance with those we shall make from his two remaining plays, and as, moreover, any extracts from it would carry us beyond the limit assigned to this article, we must pass on to The Dutchess of Malfy. There is not much of plot in the tragedy; the chief incidents in which are as follows: The widowed Dutchess of Malfy, eminent in beauty and excellent in virtue, secretly marries Antonio her steward, an accomplished and brave gentleman, by whom she has three children. Her brothers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal, who had, from motives of avarice and ambition, used both threats and persuasions to prevent her marrying again, are informed by Bosola, their creature, of the birth of the children ; but he is unable to communicate to them the name of the father. The brothers resolve to punish the Dutchess for the pretended indignity done to their house, with the most ferocious vengeance. The Dutchess, apprehensive of injury from the well-known violence of Ferdinand, under pretence of a pilgrimage, flies to Ancona, where she is seized with two of her children by the followers of her brothers, and is brought back to Malfy; Antonio, at her request, having taken a different route with the remaining child. The first and chief scene in the drama, is the one in which the Dutchess is subjected to the most excruciating mental tortures; which commences thus :

“Ferdinand, Bosola, Dutchess, Cariola, Servants.

Fer. How doth our sister dutchess bear herself
In her imprisonment?

Bos. Nobly : I'll describe her:
She's sad as one us'd to't, and she seems
Rather to welcome the end of misery
Than shun it; a behaviour so noble,
As gives a majesty to adversity :
You may discern the shape of loveliness
More perfect in her tears, than in her smiles;
She will muse for hours together; and her silence
(Methinks) expresseth more than if she spake.
Fer. Her melancholy seems to be fortified with a strange

Bos. "Tis so ; and this restraint
(Like English mastiffs that grow fierce with tying)
Makes her too passionately apprehend those pleasures she's kept

Fer. Curse upon her!

I will no longer study in the book
Of another's heart; inform her what I told you.

The Dutchess, Bosola.
Bos. All comfort to your grace.

Dutch. I will have none:
Pray thee, why dost thou wrap thy poison'd pills
In gold and sugar ?

Bos. Your eldest brother, the Lord Ferdinand,
Is come to visit you; and sends you word,
'Cause once he rashly made a solemn vow
Never to see you more, he comes i'th' night;
And prays you (gently) neither torch nor taper
Shine in your chamber; he will kiss your hand,
And reconcile himself; but, for his vow,
He dares not see you.

Dutch. At his pleasure.
Take hence the lights, he's come.

Fer. Where are you?
Dutch. Here, sir.
Fer. This darkness suits


Dutch. I would ask your pardon.

Fer. You have it;
For I account it the honorabl’st revenge,
Where I may kill, to pardon : where are your cubs ?

Dutch. Whom?
Fer. Call them


For though our national law distinguish bastards
From true legitimate issue, compassionate nature
Makes them all equal.

Dutch. Do you visit me for this?
You violate a sacrament o'th' church
Shall make you howl in hell for't.

Fer. It had been well, Could

you have liv'd thus always; for indeed
You were too much i'th' light; but, no more.
I come to seal my peace

you :

here's a hand

[gives her a dead man's hand. To which


have vow'd much love ; the ring upon't

You gave.

Dutch. I affectionately kiss it.

Fer. Pray do ; and bury the print of it in your heart.
I will leave this ring with you, for a love token;
And the hand, as sure as the ring; and do not doubt

you shall have the heart too : when you need a friend,

Send it to him that own’d it: you shall see
Whether he can aid you.

Dutch. You are very cold,
I fear you are not well after your travel :
Ha! lights; Oh, horrible !
Fer. Let her have lights enough.

[exit. Dutch. What witchcraft doth he practise, that he hath left A dead man's hand here?

[here is discovered the artificial figures of Antonio and his

children, appearing as if they were dead.
Bos. Look you, here's the piece from which it was ta’en ;
He doth present you this sad spectacle,
That now you know directly they are dead.
Hereafter you may (wisely) cease to grieve
For that which cannot be recovered.

Dutch. There is not, between heav'n and earth, one wish
I stay for after this : it wastes me more
Than were't my picture, fashion'd out of wax,
Stuck with a magical needle, and then buried
In some foul dung-hill; and yond's an excellent property
For a tyrant, which I would account mercy.

Bos. What's that?

Dutch. If they would bind me to that liveless trunk, And let me freeze to death.

Bos. Come, you must live.

Dutch. That's the greatest torture souls feel in hell;
In hell that they must live, and cannot die :
Portia, I'll new kindle thy coals again,
And revive the rare, and almost dead example
Of a loving wife.

Bos. O fie, despair! remember
You are a Christian.

Dutch. The church enjoins fasting;
I'll starve myself to death.

Bos. Leave this vain sorrow;
Things being at the worst, begin to mend;
The bee, when he hath shot his sting into your hand,
May then play with your eye-lid.

Dutch. Good comfortable fellow,
Persuade a wretch that's broke upon

the wheel
To have all his bones new set; entreat him live,
To be executed again : who must despatch me ?
I account this world a tedious theatre,
For I do play a part in't 'gainst my will.

Bos. Come, be of comfort, I will save your life.

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