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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,
Call’d 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.”
“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.”
“ And,” continued the nymph, “ I doubt very much if any' equal number of lines of Lord Byron would furnish finer extracts, in what may be termed his lordship's own peculiar style, than the “ DUKE OF BYRON” of old Chapman. The story consists of two parts, or distinct plays, THE CONSPIRACY and THE TRAGEDY. The first part opens with the arrival of the Duke of Savoy at the court of Henry IV. of France openly, but with the secret design of corrupting and drawing over Byron, the marshal of France; and he thus addresses his own minister :"
“ Sav. I would not, for half Savoy, but have bound France to some favour, by my personal presence More than yourself, my Lord Ambassador, Could have obtain'd; for all ambassadors, You know, have chiefly these instructions : To note the state and chief sway of the court To which they are employ'd ; to penetrate The heart and marrow of the king's designs, And to observe the countenance and spirits Of such as are impatient of the rest, . And wring beneath some private discontent: But past all these, there are a number more Of these state-criticisms, that our personal view May profitably make, which cannot fall Within the powers of our instruction To make you comprehend. I will do more With my mere shadow than you with your persons. All you can say against my coming here, Is that which, I confess, may, for the time, Breed strange affections in my brother Spain; But when I shall have time to make my cannons The long-tongued heralds of my hidden drifts, Our reconcilement will be made with triumphs.”
“ Lafin is also another object for Savoy to gain ; and the task is facilitated by Henry's rejection of Lafin's suit, as described in the following spirited scene.—The king enters with Lafin:"
“ Hen. I will not have my train
Made a retreat for bankrupts, nor my court
A hive for drones : proud beggars and true thieves,
That, with a forced truth they swear to me,
Rob my poor subjects, shall give up their arts,
And henceforth learn to live by their deserts.
Though I am grown, by right of birth and arms,
Into a greater kingdom, I will spread
With no more shade than may admit that kingdom
Her proper, natural, and wonted fruits :
Navarre shall be Navarre, and France still France :
If one may be the better for the other
By mutual right, so neither shall be worse.
Thou art in law, in quarrels, and in debt,
Which thou would'st quit with count'nance. Borrowing
With thee is purchase, and thou seek'st by me,
(In my supportance) now our old wars cease,
To wage worse battles with the arms of peace.
Laf. Peace must not make men cowards, nor keep
Her pursie regiment with men's smother'd breaths.
I must confess my fortunes are declined,
But neither my deservings nor my mind.
I seek but to sustain the right I found
When I was rich, in keeping what is left,
And making good my honour as at best,
Though it be hard: man's right to every thing
Wanes with his wealth ; wealth is his surest king.
Yet justice should be still indifferent.
The overplus of kings, in all their might,
Is but to piece out the defects of right:
And this I sue for ; nor shall frowns and taunts,
(The common scarecrows of all good men's suits,)
Nor misconstruction, that doth colour still
Licentiate justice, punishing good for ill,
Keep my free throat from knocking at the sky,
If thunder chid me from my equity.
Hen. Thy equity is to be ever banish'd
From court, and all society of noblesse,
Amongst whom thou throw'st balls of all dissension.
Thou art at peace with nothing but with war ;
Hast no heart but to hurt, and eat'st thy heart
If it but think of doing any good :
Thou witchest with thy smiles; suck'st blood with
Mock’st all humanity ; society poison’st ;
Cozen'st with virtue : with religion
Betray'st and massacre’st; so vile thyself,
That thou suspect'st perfection in others :
A man must think of all the villanies
He knows in all men to decipher thee,
That art the centre to impiety,
Away, and tempt me not.
Laf. But you tempt me,
To what, thou Sun be judge, and make him see.
" At the time of the Duke of Savoy's arrival, Byron is ambassador at the court of the archduke, where attempts are also made to draw him from his allegiance. The character of Byron is conceived with great strength and animation. He is represented as bold in the field, boastful, filled with a proud conceit of his own merits, and weakly addicted to flattery, which his enemies know how to manage. On his embassy, he is approached with
the must profound but artful respect, and is thus ushered in to the sound of music :"
“Byr. What place is this, what air, what region,
In which a man may hear the harmony
Of all things moving ? Hymen marries here
Their ends and uses, and makes me his temple.
Hath any man been blessed and yet lived ?
The blood turns in my veins; I stand on change,
And shall dissolve in changing ; 'tis so full
Of pleasure, not to be contained in flesh;
To fear a violent good, abuseth goodness;
'Tis immortality to die aspiring,
As if a man were taken quick to heaven:
What will not hold perfection, let it burst :
What force hath any cannon, not being charged,
Or being not discharged ? To have stuff and form,
And to lie idle, fearful, and unused,
Nor form, nor stuff shews. Happy Semele,
That died comprest with glory. Happiness
Denies comparison, of less, or more,
And not at most, is nothing.–Like the shaft,
Shot at the sun by angry Hercules,
And into shivers by the thunder broken,
Will I be if I burst: and in my heart
This shall be written, yet 'twas high and right.
Here too! they follow all my steps with music,
As if my feet were numerous, and trod sounds
Out of the centre, with Apollo's virtue,
That out of every thing his each part touch'd
Struck musical accents. Wheresoe'er I go
They hide the earth from me with coverings rich,
To make me think that I am here in heaven.”
“ The duke, however, does not immediately fall