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“ The speech of Petreius in THE CATILINE of this author, I have always thought one of the most magnificent passages in the whole compass of English literature,- listen.”

Petreius. The straits and needs of Catiline being such, As he must fight with one of the two armies That then had near enclosed him, it pleased fate To make us th’ object of his desperate choice, Wherein the danger almost poised the honour : And, as he rose, the day grew black with him, And fate descended nearer to the earth, As if she meant to hide the name of things Under her wings, and make the world her quarry. At this we roused, lest one small minute's stay Had left it to be inquired what Rome was ; And (as we ought) arm'd in the confidence Of our great cause, in form of battle stood, Whilst Catiline came on, not with the face Of any man, but of a public ruin : His countenance was a civil war itseif; And all his host had, standing in their looks, The paleness of the death that was to come ; Yet cried they out like vultures, and urged on, As if they would precipitate our fates. Nor stay'd we longer for 'em, but himself Struck the first stroke, and with it fled a life, Which out, it seem'd a narrow neck of land Had broke between two mighty seas, and either Flow'd into other; for so did the slaughter; And whirl'd about, as when two violent tides Meet and not yield. The furies stood on hills, Circling the place, and trembling to see men Do more than they ; whilst piety left the field, Grieved for that side, that in so bad a cause They knew not what a crime their valour was.

The sun stood still, and was, behind a cloud
The battle made, seen sweating, to drive up
His frighted horse, whom still the noise drove backward:
And now had fierce Enyo, like a flame,
Consumed all it could reach, and then itself,
Had not the fortune of the commonwealth
Come, Pallas-like, to every Roman thought;
Which Catiline seeing, and that now his troops
Cover'd the earth they 'ad fought on with their trunks,
Ambitious of great fame to crown his ill,
Collected all his fury, and ran in
(Arm’d with a glory high as his despair)
Into our battle, like a Libyan lion
Upon his hunters, scornful of our weapons,
Careless of wounds, plucking down lives about him,
Till he had circled-in himself with death :
Then fell he too, ť embrace it where it lay.
And as in that rebellion 'gainst the gods,
Minerva holding forth Medusa's head,
One of the giant brethren felt himself
Grow marble at the killing sight; and now,
Almost made stone, began to inquire what Aint,
What rock, it was that crept through all his limbs ;
And, ere he could think more, was that he fear'd:
So Catiline, at the sight of Rome in us,
Became his tomb; yet did his look retain
Some of his fierceness, and his hands still moved,
As if he labour'd yet to grasp the state
With those rebellious parts.

Cato. A brave bad death!
Had this been honest now, and for his country,
As 'twas against it, who had e'er fall’n greater ?”.

“ It is very fine," said Benedict; “ but, after all, my love, I should not much like to see many of the old dramatists, even with all their merits, restored to

the use of the general reader. You will find, I suspect, that they have deservedly fallen into obscurity on account of their impure language and gross allusions. It may be said of them all as it was said of Marston by one of his contemporaries, He cared not for modest close-couched terms, but dealt in plain naked words, stripped from their shirts.?”

“ And yet,” replied the nymph, “ a judicious selection from their works would be a valuable addition to the library of the boudoir. Many passages of Marston himself are of the very highest order of poetry. Look at his explanation of what it is to be a king."

Why, man, I never was a prince till now.
'Tis not the bared pate, the bended knees,
Gilt tipstaffs, Tyrian purple, chairs of state,
Troops of pied butterflies, that Autter still
In greatness' summer, that confirm a prince:
'Tis not the unsavoury breath of multitudes,
Shouting and clapping with confused din,
That makes a prince. No, Lucio, he's a king,
A true right king, that dares do aught, save wrong ;
Fears nothing mortal, but to be unjust :
Who is not blown up with the flattering puffs
Of spungy sycophants : who stands unmoved,
Despite the justling of opinion :
Who can enjoy himself, maugre the throng
That strive to press his quiet out of him :
Who sits upon Jove's footstool, as I do,
Adoring, not affecting, majesty :
Whose brow is wreathed with the silver crown
Of clear content: this, Lucio, is a king,
And of this empire, every man's possess'd,
That's worth his soul.”

: “ The description of Antonio's visit to the vaults

in which the body of his father lies, affords also a specimen of very splendid poetry.”

“ I purify the air with odorous fume. Graves, vaults, and tombs, groan not to bear my weight. Cold flesh, bleak trunks, wrapt in your half-rot shrouds, I press you softly with a tender foot. Most honour'd sepulchre, vouchsafe a wretch Leave to weep o'er thee. Tomb, I'll not be long Ere I creep in thee, and with bloodless lips Kiss my cold father's cheek. I pr’ythee, grave, Provide soft mould to wrap my carcass in. Thou royal spirit of Andrugio, where'er thou hoverest, (Airy intellect) I heave up tapers to thee (view thy son), On celebration of due obsequies. Once every night I'll dew thy funeral hearse With my religious tears. O blessed father of a cursed son ! Thou diedst most happy, since thou livedst not To see thy son most wretched, and thy wife Pursued by him that seeks my guiltless blood. O, in what orb thy mighty spirit soars, Stoop and beat down this rising fog of shame, That strives to blur thy blood, and girt defame About my innocent and spotless brows."

“ And the death of Mellida is full of tenderness and beauty. The fool alluded to is Antonio in dis

guise.”

“ Being laid upon her bed, she grasp'd my hand,
And kissing it, spake thus :. Thou very poor,
Why dost not weep? The jewel of thy brow,
The rich adornment that enchased thy breast,
Is lost; thy son, my love, is lost, is dead.

And do I live to say Antonio's dead ? .!
And have I lived to see his virtues blurr'd .
With guiltless blots ? O world, thou art too subtle
For honest natures to converse withal :
Therefore I'll leave thee ; farewell, mart of woe,
I fly to clip my love, Antonio.
With that her head sunk down upon her breast;
Her cheek changed earth, her senses slept in rest;
Until my fool, that crept unto the bed,
Screech'd out so loud, that he brought back her soul,
Calld her again, that her bright eyes 'gan ope,
And stared upon him: he, audacious fool,
Dared kiss her hand, wish'd her soft rest, loved bride ;
She fumbled out thanks good, and so she died.”

6 And, my dear Benedict, could even you yourself say any thing finer than the lewd Marston has done of conjugal love ?”

“ If love be holy, if that mystery
Of co-united hearts be sacrament ;
If the unbounded goodness have infused
A sacred ardour of a mutual love
Into our species ; if those amorous joys,
Those sweets of life, those comforts even in death,
Spring from a cause above our reason's reach;
If that clear flame deduce its heat from Heaven,
'Tis, like its cause, eternal ; always one,
As is th” instiller of divinest love,
Unchanged by time, immortal, maugre death.
But, oh, 'tis grown a figment; love a jest ;
A comic posey; the soul of man is rotten
Even to the core, no sound affection.
Our love is hollow, vaulted, stands on props
Of circumstance, profit, or ambitious hopes.”

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