« PrejšnjaNaprej »
RN I my looks unto the skies,
re with his arrows wounds mine eyes;
so I look upon the ground,
re then in every flower is found;
On a hill there grows a flower,
In that bower there is a chair,
It is Phillis fair and bright,
This is she, the wise, the rich,
Who would not this face admire ?
O fair eyes, yet let me see
Thou that art the shepherd's queen,
By thy comfort have been seen
DR. THOMAS LODGE
[Born, 1556. Died, 1625.]
of a family in Lincolnshire, and was edu- | several plays and other poetical works of considerable merit, and translated the works of Josephus into English.
at Oxford. He practised as a physician don, and is supposed to have fallen a marthe memorable plague of 1625. He wrote
FROM LODGE'S ROMANCE, CALLED EUPHUES'S GOLDEN LEGACY.
Search I the shade to flee my pain,
Many verses to the same effect might be quoted, but this tradition, so derogatory to Beaumont's genius, is contradicted by other testimonies of rather an earlier date, and coming from writers who must have known the great dramatists themselves much better than Cartwright. Ben Jonson speaks of Beaumont's originality with the emphasis peculiar to the expression of all his opinions; and Earle, the intimate friend of Beaumont, ascribed to him, while Fletcher was still alive, the exclusive claim to those three distinguished plays, the Maid's Tragedy, Philaster, and King and No King; a statement which Fletcher's friends were I likely to have contradicted, if it had been untrue. If Beaumont had the sole or chief merit of those pieces, he could not have been what Cartwright would have us believe, the mere pruner of Fletcher's luxuriancies, an assessor, who made him write again and more dully. Indeed, with reve
mont would be entitled to some remembrance independent of his niche in the drama.
John Fletcher was the son of Dr. Rich: Fletcher, bishop of London: he was born probably in the metropolis, in 1576, and was admitted a pensioner of Bennet college about the age of fifteen. His time and progress at the university have not been traced, and only a few anecdotes have been gleaned about the manner of his life and death. Before the marriage of Beaumont, we are told by Aubrey, that Fletcher and he lived together in London, near the Bankside, not far from the theatre, had one *** in the same house between them, the same clothes, cloak, &c. Fletcher died in the great plague of 1625. A friend had invited him to the country, and he unfortunately staid in town to get a suit of clothes for the visit, during which time he caught the fatal infection. He was interred in St. Saviour's, Southwark, where his grave, like that of Beaumont's in Westminster, is without an inscription.
Fletcher survived his dramatic associate ten years so that their share in the drama that passes by their joint names was far from equal in quantity, Fletcher having written between thirty and forty after the death of his companion*. Respecting those which appeared in their common lifetime, the general account is, that Fletcher chiefly supplied the fancy and invention of their pieces, and that Beaumont, though he was the younger, dictated the cooler touches of taste and accuracy. This tradition is supported, or rather exaggerated, in the verses of Cartwright to Fletcher, in which he says,
"Beaumont was fain
To bid thee be more dull; that's write again, And bate some of thy fire which from thee came In a clear, bright, full, but too large a flame."
• Fletcher was assisted by Massinger in one instance, probably in several; and it is likely that after Beaumont's death he had other auxiliaries. [Rowley, Middleton, and Shirley, were his other assistants.]
rence to their memories, nothing that they have left us has much the appearance of being twice written and whatever their amiable editor, Mr. Seward, may say about the correctness of their plots, the management of their stories would lead us to suspect, that neither of the duumvirate troubled themselves much about correctness. Their charm is vigour and variety, their defects a coarseness and grotesqueness that betray no circumspection. There is so much more hardihood than discretion in the arrangement of their scenes, that if Beaumont's taste and judgment had the disposal of them, he fully proved himself the junior partner. But it is not probable that their departments were so divided.
Still, however, the scanty lights that enable us to guess at what they respectively wrote, seem
to warrant that distinction in the cast of their
genius which is made in the poet's allusion to
"Fletcher's keen treble, and deep Beaumont's base." Beaumont was the deeper scholar. Fletcher is said to have been more a man of the world. Beaumont's vein was more pathetic and solemn, but he was not without humour; for the mockheroic scenes, that are excellent in some of their plays, are universally ascribed to him. Fletcher's muse, except where she sleeps in pastorals, seems to have been a nymph of boundless unblushing pleasantry. Fletcher's admirers warmly complimented his originality at the expense of Beaumont*, on the strength of his superior gaiety, as if gay thoughts must necessarily be more original than serious ones, or depth of sensibility be allied to shallowness of invention. We are told also that Beaumont's taste leant to the hard and abstract school of Jonson, while his coadjutor followed the wilder graces of Shakspeare. But if Earle can be credited for Beaumont's having written Philaster, we shall discover him in that tragedy to be the very opposite of an abstract painter of character; it has the spirit of individual life. The piece owes much less to art than it loses by negligence. Its forms and passions are those of romance, and its graces, evidently imitated from Shakspeare, want only the fillet and zone of art to consummate their beauty.
On the whole, while it is generally allowed that Fletcher was the gayer, and Beaumont the graver genius of their amusing theatre, it is unnecessary to depreciate either, for they were both original and creative; or to draw invidious comparisons between men who themselves disdained to be rivals.
FROM THE MAID'S TRAGEDY.
Aspatia, forsaken by her lover, finds her maid Antiphila working a picture of Ariadne. The expression of her sorrow to Antiphila and the other attendant thus concludes:
THEN, my good girls, be more than women wise,
That downcast eye of thine, Olympias,
Asp. Yes, that piece.
Fie, you have miss'd it here, Antiphila.
These colours are not dull and pale enough
As this sad lady's was ;-do it by me;
Do it again by me, the lost Aspatia,
Wild as that desert; and let all about me
Let them be dry and leafless; let the rocks
How shall we devise
To hold intelligence, that our true loves,
I have a boy, Sent by the gods, I hope, to this intent, Not yet seen in the court. Hunting the buck, I found him sitting by a fountain side, Of which he borrow'd some to quench his thirst, And paid the nymph again as much in tears: A garland lay him by, made by himself Of many several flowers, bred in the bay, Stuck in that mystic order that the rareness Delighted me. But ever when he turn'd His tender eyes upon 'em, he would weep As if he meant to make them grow again. Seeing such pretty helpless innocence Dwell in his face, I ask'd him all his story. He told me that his parents gentle died, Leaving him to the mercy of the fields, Which gave him roots, and of the crystal springs, Which did not stop their courses, and the sun, Which still, he thank'd him, yielded him his light. Then took he up his garland, and did show What every flower, as country people hold, Did signify, and how all order'd; thus Express'd his grief, and to my thoughts did read The prettiest lecture of his country art That could be wish'd, so that methought I could Have studied it. I gladly entertain'd him Who was as glad to follow, and have got The trustiest, loving'st, and the gentlest boy That ever master kept. Him will I send To wait on you, and bear our hidden love.
Phil. But, boy, it will prefer thee: thou art And bear'st a childish overflowing love [young, To them that clap thy cheeks and speak thee fair yet.
But when thy judgment comes to rule those passions,
Bell. In that small time that I have seen the [world, I remember
I never knew a man hasty to part
Bell. Sir, if I have made
A fault of ignorance, înstruct my youth;
Phil. Thy love doth plead so prettily to stay, That, trust me, I could weep to part with Alas, I do not turn thee off: thou know'st It is my business that doth call me hence : And when thou art with her thou dwell'st with me: Think so, and 'tis so. And when time is full That thou hast well discharged this heavy trust Laid on so weak a one, I will again With joy receive thee: as I live, I will. Nay, weep not, gentle boy-'tis more than time Thou didst attend the princess.
Bell. I am gone.
And since I am to part with you, my lord,
May sick men, if they have your wish, be well; And Heav'n hate those you curse, though I be one!
Philaster's mind being poisoned with jealousy that his
See-see, you gods!
He walks still, and the face you let him wear
Bell. Health to you, my lord: The princess doth commend to you her love, And this, unto you.
Phil. Oh, Bellario,
Now I perceive she loves me; she does show it In loving thee, my boy she's made thee brave.
Bell. My lord, she has attired me past my wish, Past my desert, more fit for her attendantThough far unfit for me who do attend. [women
Phil. Thou art grown courtly, boy. Oh, let all That love black deeds learn to dissemble here: Here by this paper, she does write to me As if her heart were mines of adamant To all the world besides, but unto me A maiden snow that melted with my looks. Tell me, my boy, how doth the princess use thee? For I shall guess her love to me by that.
Bell. Scarce like her servant, but as if I were
As mothers fond do use their only sons;
Phil. Why, this is wond'rous well;
But what kind language does she feed thee with? Bell. Why, she does tell me she will trust my youth
With all her loving secrets, and does call me
Phil. This is much better still.
Bell. Methinks your words