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absolute despot could desire. Beaumont and Fletcher's play of “ The Royal Subject” bears a considerable resemblance to this play, “ The Loyal Subject,” of Heywood. The substance of the story is, that certain noble persons about court, jealous of the virtues, fame, and kingly favour which the marshal,“ the loyal subject," enjoys, endeavour to prejudice the royal mind against him. They succeed so far as to induce the royal, or tyrant king to prove him—to put his virtue, that is his power of bearing and forbearing, to the severest test. which royal ingenuity can devise. The king first strips him of all his offices, one by one, and in the most public and contemptuous manner bestows them upon his unworthy enemies, and then banishes him from court. Understanding that the marshal has two daughters, the king despatches a nobleman with a command for him to send to court her of the two who is the most dear to him. The marshal sends the elder, who, by her beauty and grace, gains the affections of majesty, and is made his queen. The marshal, who foresaw this event, had instructed his daughter, when she found herself pregnant, to speak of the superior beauty of her sister, and the greater affection which the marshal had for her. Hereupon his majesty, in seeming rage, packs off his queen to her father, and requires the other. daughter to be sent to him. The marshal delays complying with this requisition (the only instance of his disobedience,) for three months. At last, he sends the queen crowned, accompanied with a double dowry, and attended by her sister to court, he himself remaining at a convenient distance, and begging permission to present his majesty with a more valuable present than any thing he had yet sent. The king consents—the marshal approaches, and presents a magnificent cradle and a young prince.—A reconciliation takes place, and the marshal receives à king's daughter for his wife,—but his probation does not end here—he undergoes a public trial, and, that having terminated in his triumph, and the discomfiture of his enemies, the scene closes.
As we have rather a long extract to give from another of Heywood's plays, we shall not attempt to illustrate our observations on this play by any quotation from it, but proceed at once to the best known and best of his plays,—" A Woman killed with Kindness." This is the most tearful of tragedies; the most touching in story; the most pathetic in detail ;-it raises, in the reader's breast, "a sea of troubles ;” a sympathy the most engrossing; a grief the most profound. We are overwhelmed with the emotion of the unhappy sufferers, and are carried along in the stream of distress, incapable of resistance, and unconscious of any thing but the scene before us. If the miserable termination of a guilty connection can ever
serve as an example to those who are still innocent, the unparalleled agony, the immedicable wound
" which no cooling herb,
exhibited in this tragedy, must serve as an awful beacon to warn the
pure and inexperienced. The most phlegmatic in feeling, the most obtuse in understanding, cannot remain unaffected; it must emphatically come home to men's business and bo
The subject of this domestic tragedy, the conjugal infidelity of Mrs. Frankford, is pretty much the same as that of “ The English Traveller," but is infinitely more distressing in its details. Mrs. Frankford is represented as a pure and good woman, and yet she surrenders at discretion, or rather at indiscretion, hardly making a shew of resistance. It must be admitted, that the tempter sustains his cause in a very artful manner, with many a glozing wile; but yet the conquest appears unnaturally precipitate. This, however, does not at all diminish the interest, or intensity, of the scenes which follow. The under plot of this play is also of an interesting and affecting kind. The occasional rhyme, with which some, even the most solemn passages, canter off, gives an unpleasant jerk to the course of our feelings; it causes too violent a change in the measure and produces a disagreeable effect.
The passages we are about to quote immediately succeed the discovery of the guilty connection between Mrs. Frankford and Wendoli, the creature of Mr. Frankford's bounty. They need no commentary, and we shall not weaken their effect by another word. They will form an appropriate conclusion to a paper on Heywood's plays.
Mr. Frankford discovers that his Wife has been unfaithful to him.
Mrs. Fra. O by what words, what title, or what name
Fran. Spare thou thy tears, for I will weep for thee.
Than on the sun's clear brow: what would'st thou speak ?
Mrs. Fra. I would I had no tongue, no ears, no eyes, No apprehension, no capacity. When do you spurn me like a dog? when treaå me Under feet? when drag me by the hair? Tho' I deserve a thousand thousand fold More than you can inflict: yet, once my husband, For womanhood, to which I am a shame, Though once an ornament; even for his sake That hath redeem'd our souls, mark not my face, Nor hack me with your sword: but let me go Perfect and undeformed to my tomb. I am not worthy that I should prevail In the least suit; no, not to speak to you, Nor look on you, nor be in your presence : Yet as an abject this one suit I crave, This granted, I am ready for my grave.
Fran. My God, with patience arm me! rise, nay rise, And I'll debate with thee. Was it for want Thou play'dst the strumpet? Wast thou not supply'd With every pleasure, fashion, and new toy; Nay, even beyond my calling?
Mrs. Fra. I was.
Fran. Did not I lodge thee in my
bosom? Wear thee in
heart? Mrs. Fra. You did.
Fran. I did, indeed; witness my tears, I did.
Mrs. Fra. In this one life I die ten thousand deaths.
I will retire a while into my study,
[exit. He returns with Cranwel, his friend. She falls on her knees.
Fran. My words are register'd in heaven already.
Cran. Mr. Frankford !
Fran. Good Mr. Cranwel.—Woman, hear thy judgment; Go make thee ready in thy best attire ; Take with thee all thy gowns, all thy apparel : Leave nothing that did ever call thee mistress, Or by whose sight, being left here in the house, 1 may
remember such a woman was.
get thee to my manor seven miles off;
carry all thy stuff within two hours;
Mrs. Fra. A mild sentence.
Fran. But as thou hop'st for heaven, as thou believ'st
Mrs. Fra. How full my heart is, in mine eyes appears ;
Fran. Come, take your coach, your stuff; all must along : Servants and all make ready, all be gone. It was thy hand cut two hearts out of one.
Cranwel, Frankford, and Nicholas, a Servant. Cran. Why do you search each room about your house, Now that you have despatch'd your wife away?
Fran. O sir, to see that nothing may be left
Nic. Here's her lute flung in a corner.
Fran. Her lute ? Oh God! upon this instrument
Of her and her's I am at once bereft.
Nic. My master commends him unto ye;
Mrs. Fra. I thank him, he is kind, and ever was.
have seen me weep, wish myself dead. Nay you may say too (for my vow is past) Last night you saw me eat and drink
my This to your master you may say and swear: For it is writ in heaven, and decreed here.