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Mosbie. Disturbed thoughts drive me from company,
And dry my marrow with their watchfulness;
I seek to find, where pleasure dwells,
Mosbie. Wby what is love without true constancy ?
Like to a pillar built of many stones,
The other ancient drama connected with the county of Kent, is also founded upon a domestic tragedy, very much reseinbling the former in its character and incidents. It was first printed in quarto, and in the black letter, in 1599, with the following title "The most tragical and lamentable murder of Master George Sanders, of London, Merchant, near Shooter's Hill, consented unto by his own wife, and acted by M. Brown, Mistress Drury, and Trusty Roger, agents therein; with their several ends."
As this old play has not attracted the attention of any modern writer, we may be excused if we preface the extracts we propose to make from it, with the narrative on which it is constructed ; and it will perhaps be more in keeping if this be done in the words of a contemporary historian, who excelled in his day in aarrating such events.
“The 25th of March," says old John Stow under the year 1573, “being Wednesday in Easter week, and the feast of the annunciation of our lady, George Brown cruelly murdered two bonest men near 'unto Shooter's Hill in Kent, the one of them 'was a wealthy merchant of London, named George Sanders, the other John Beane of Woolwich : wbich murder was committed in manner as followeth.
“On Tuesday the said George Brown receiving secret intelligence by letter from Mistress Ann Drewry, that Master Sanders should lodge that same night in the house of one Master Barnes of Woolwich, and from thence go on foot to Saint Mary Cray the next morning, lay in wait for bim by the way, a little from Shooter's Hill, and there slew both him and John Beane
servant to Master Barnes : but John Beane having ten or eleven wounds, and being left for dead, by God's providence revived again, and creeping away upon all four, was found by an old man and his maiden, and conveyed to Woolwich, where he gave evident marks of the murderer.
"Immediately on the deed doing, Brown sent Mistress Drewry word thereof by Roger Clement (among, them called Trusty Roger) he hiinself repairing forth-, with to the court at Greenwich, and anon after him came thither the report of the murder also. Then departed he thence to London, and came to the house of Mistress Drewry, where, though he spake not personally with her, after conference bad with her servant Trusty Roger, she provided him twenty pounds that same day, for the which she laid certain plate of her own and of Mistress Sanders's in gage. On the next morrow, being Thursday, having intelligence that Brown was sought for, they sent him six pounds more by the same Roger, warning him to shift for himself, which thing he foreslowed not to do. Nevertheless the lords of the Queen's Majesty's council, caused speedy and narrow search to be made for him, and upon the eight and twentieth day of the same month, he was apprehended in a man's house of the same name at Rochester, and being brought back again to the court, was examined by the council, to whom he confessed the deed, as you have heard, and that he had oftentimes before intended and sought to do the same, by the instigation of the said Mistress Drury, who had promised to make a marriage between him and Mistress Sanders, whom he seemed to love excessively, never
theless he protested (though untruly) that Mistress Sanders was not privy nor consenting thereto. Upon his confession he was arraigned at the King's Bench in Westminster Hall, on the eighteenth of April, and was condemned as principal of the murder, according to wbich sentence he was executed at Smithfield on Monday the 20th of April, at which time, also untruly, as she herself confessed afterwards, he laboured by all means to clear Mistress Sanders of committing evil with him, and then flung himself beside the ladder. He was after hanged up in chains near unto the place, where he had done the facto
“In the mean time Mistress Drewry and her man being examined, as well by their own confession, as by falling out of the matter, and also by Brown's appeachment thought culpable, were committed to ward. And after Mistress Sanders being delivered of a child, and churched, for at the time of her husband's death she looked presently to lie down, was upon Mistress Drewry's man's confession, and other great likelihood, likewise committed to the Tower, and on Wednesday the 6th of May arraigned, with Mistress Drewry, at the Guildhall, the effect of whose inditement was, that they by a letter written had been procurers of the said murder, and knowing the murder done, had by money
and otherwise relieved the murderer : whereunto they pleaded not guilty, how beit, they were both condemned as accessaries to Master Sanders's death, and executed at Smithfield the thirteenth day of May, at which time both confessed themselves guilty of the fact. Trusty Roger being also condemned as an accessary, was executed with his mistress at the time and place aforesaid.”
In this old play the Muse of Tragedy fills the part of the ancient Chorus, and the subjects of the following scenes are, at intervals, acted in the manner of masks, with allegorical personages intermixed with the real actors. This kind of exhibition does not occur at any regular periods, for the play is not divided into acts, Our modern managers appear to have recurred to practices something similar, and have in their late revivals of the neglected plays of Shakspear, introduced to suit the taste of the present age, all these lumbering appendages of former times : a certain proof, we fear, of the declining taste of the public for the purity of dramatic exhibition. Perhaps the following specimen of the ancient practice may not be unworthy of their potice.
Enter. TRAGEDY with a bowl of blood in her hand.
Tragedy. Till now you have but sitten to behold,
The fatal entrance to our bloody scene,