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- Jonson, Chapman, and Marston Of Jonson's two noble tragediesproduced their joint comedy of East. Sejanus and Catiline, it was not to be ward Hoe.” Jonson had little or no- supposed that such a critic could feel thing to do with it; and Barry mustaught of the true Roman grandeur. know that he told Drummond he But he makes an effort to do his had no hand in the offensive passages, worst-We mean his best. whatever they may have been ; that “ Sejanus is a lofty production, and they were entirely Chapman's and built up of strong materials. It has its Marston's. Barry must likewise have foundation in the Annals of Tacitus, and known that Jonson was not sentenced the historical characters are carved out to imprisonment (indeed, neither were with great care and labour. The author Chapman and Marston-only com- bas, in this play, brought his learning to mitted), but that he voluntarily ac- good account, and has told his story" after companied his friends, because he the high Roman fashion.' The mistress considered himself to be " an acces of the world never, indeed, produced a sory before the act." That noble great tragic writer ; but the present drama trait of a kind and generous spirit might have been the work of one of the Barry omits to mention. This is rhetoricians of old Rome, for any thing not a very liberal interpretation of that we see to the contrary, either in its the motives of our great poet."
sentiments or general construction. It is, Barry sa vs. as if he knew all about beyond comparison, betier than Catiline. it, that the three were imprisoned be.
At the same time it is too laboured : it cause Eastward Hoe contained “ a
wants vitality, activity, ease, and that in
1 definable ait of reality and truth, which few words reflecting on Scotsmen."
gives such charm to the wonderful dramas The only passage now in the play of Shakspeare. In effect, it is too like about Scotsmen is so harmless, that a translation. Each single sentence might we do not believe, " slavish as was perhaps have been uttered by the person the subjection of the stage in those to whom it is ascribed in the play; but not times," that it could have been the one of the characters would have uttered cause of their imprisonment. It is all that is written down for him. The not probable that the most offensive entire dialogue wants fluctuation and relief. words would be printed_for it had The great master-spirit of Imagination, been thought likely to prove a nose. which fuses and moulds every thing to its slitting concern.
purpose, and which produces force and And here we must pause for a mo. character, consistency and harmony, from ment longer, on our progress, to meagre facts and shapeless materials, is say that Barry does not think it not there." worth his while, so far as we can " It has its foundation in the ansee, to tell that not long after Ben's nals of Tacitus." Indeed! All that liberation, he was again imprisoned is here said about “ the great masterwith Chapman for reflecting on some spirit of Imagination” is, we daresay, one in a play-and wrote to the Earl very fine ; but we have seen it scores of Salisbury, “I am here, my most of times within these dozen years in all honoured Lord, unexamined and un- the Journals of Little Britain-and we heard, committed to a vile prison, and turn from it, fine as it is, to some sen. with me a gentleman (whose name tences of Thomas Campbell's philosomay perhaps have come to your Lord. phy_" musical as is Apollo's lute." ship), one Mr George Chapman, a i5 The reception of Sejanus was at learned and honest man." The let. first unfavourable, but it was remoter concludes with this characteris. delled, and again presented with bettic sentence,_" if in your wisdoms ter success, and kept possession of the (the Earl's and the Lord Chamber. theatre for a considerable time. Whatlain's), it shall be thought necessary ever this tragedy may want in the that your Lordship will be the ho agitating power of poetry, it has a moured cause of our liberty, when free strength and dramatic skill that might ing us from one prison you will re- have secured it, at least, from the move us to another ; which is eter- petulant contempt with which it has nally to bind us and our names to the been too often spoken of. Though thankful honouring of you and yours collected from the dead languages, it to posterity, as your own virtues have is not a lifeless mass of antiquity, but by many descents of ancestors en the work of a severe and strong imanobled you to time."
gination, compelling shapes of truth VOL. XLV, NO. CCLXXX,
and consistency to rise in dramatic To make us the desperate object of his order from the fragments of Roman choice, eloquence, and history; and an air Wherein the danger almost poised the not only of life but of grandeur is
honour: given to those curiously adjusted ma- And, as he rose, the day grew black with terials. The arraignment of Caius h im, Silius before Tiberius, is a great and And Fate descended nearer to the earth, poetical cartoon of Roman charac. As if she meant to hide the name of things ters; and if Jonson has translated from Under her wings, and make the world her Tacitus, who would not thank him for
quarry. embodying the pathos of history in ·
. At this we roused, lest one small minute's
stay such lines as these, descriptive of Ger
Had left it to be inquired, what Rome was; manicus ?
And, as we ought, arm'd in the confidence “O that man!
of our great cause, in form of battle If there were deeds of the old virtue left, stood; They lived in him. . .
Whilst Catiline came on, not with the
face What his generals lacked Of any man, but of a public ruin. In images and pomp, they had supplied His countenance was a civil war itself, With honourable sorrow- soldiers' sad. And all his host had standing in their looks ness,
The paleness of the death that was to A kind of silent mourning, such as men
come; Who know no tears, but from their cap. Yet cried they out like yultures, and urged tives, use
on, To show in such great losses." . As if they would precipitate our fates.
Nor stay'd we longer for them : but him« The tragedy of Catiline," says Mr self Campbell, “ appeared in 1611, prefaced Struck the first stroke; and with it Red a by an address to the ordinary reader, as life, remarkable for the strength of its style, Which cut, it seem'd a narrow neck of as for the contempt of popular judg
land ments which it breathes. Such an ap
Had broke between two mighty seas, and peal from ordinary to extraordinary
either readers ought, at least, to have been Flow'd into other; for so did the slaughmade without insolence; as the differ
ter; ence between the few and the many, in
And whirl'd about, as when two violent matters of criticism, lies more in the
tides power of explaining their sources of
Meet, and not yield. The Furies stood pleasure than in enjoying them. Cuti
on hills, line, it is true, from its classical sources,
Circling the place, and trembling to see
men has chiefly to be judged by classical
ery to be judged py classical Do more than they; whilst Piety lest the readers ; but its author should have
field, still remembered that popular feeling Grieved for that side, that in so bad a is the great basis of dramatic fame.
cause The haughty preface, however, dis. They knew not what a crime their valour appeared from later editions of the was. play, while its better apology remain. The sun stood still, and was, behind the ed in the high delineation of Cicero's cloud character, and in passages of Roman The battle made, seen sweating, to drive eloquence which it contains ; above up all, in the concluding speech of Pe. His frighted horse, whom still the noise treius. It is said, on Lord Dorset's drove backward. authority, to have been Jonson's fa. And now had fierce Enyo, like a flame, vourite production."
Consumed all it could reach, and then it. The concluding speech of Petreius
self, is indeed most magnificent.
Had not the fortune of the common
wealth “ Pet. The straits and needs of Catiline Come, Pallas-like, to every Roman being such,
thought : As he must fight with one of the two Which Catiline seeing, and that now his armies,
troops That then had near incloged him ; it Cover'd that earth they had fought on, pleased fate
with their trunks,
Ambitious of great fame to crown his let's, uttered night after night, could ever
have fully relished the delicate and sparkCollected all his fury, and ran in,
ling verses which flowed from Jonson's Arm'd with a glory high as his despair, pen.” Into our battle, like a Libyan lion
This is neither more nor less than Upon his hunters, scornful of our wea
downright nonsense and senseless pons, Careless of wounds, plucking down lives
The“ Masques" are perfectabout him,
ly pure. A small shock, indeed, must Til he had circled in himself with death: suffice to “ stagger” Missy Cornwall. Then fell he too, t'embrace it where it An occasional coarse or indelicate allulay.
sion occurs, not thought to be such, or And as in that rebellion 'gainst the gods, not distasteful in those days, and 'tis Minerva holding forth Medusa's head, easy to overlook them now; they are One of the giant-brethren felt himself exceedingly rare ; and the prevalent Grow marble at the killing sight, and expression, as well as spirit of those now
exquisite productions is that of conAlmost made stone, began to inquire, summate grace, elegance, and beauty. what flint,
With the omission of, perhaps, not What rock it was, that crept through all more than half a dozen audacious or his limbs,
licentious phrases, in which no harm And ere he could think more, was that
was meant, there is not one of them he fear'd;
that might not be represented now, So Catiline, at the sight of Rome in us,
before and by the most delicate. Became his tomb: yet did his look res
minded of women ; and the greater tain Some of his fierceness, and his hands still
number of them are throughout as moved,
chaste in their glowing language, as As if he labour'd yet to grasp the state
the Arcades or Comus of Milton. With those rebellious parts.”
Some pages back we quoted, withWe shall take another opportunity
out comment, a remark of Mr Corn.
wall's, which he thinks is new_“ We to speak of Jonson's “ Masques,"
do not recollect to have seen it rewhich, in this Memoir, are in some
marked that The Alchemist and Vol. respects highly commended, but so
pone are essentially alike in their conpoorly, that it is evident our critic cares not for them; indeed he confesses, “the
stitution ; the whole material and bur
then of each play consisting of a tissue dialogue in the Masques generally
of cheats, effected by two confederate strikes us as being tedious and somewhat too pedantic, even for the classic
sharpers, upon various gulls gaping for
Ic money,” &c. The remark was not subjects represented.” This is harm
worth making, it is so obvious and less want of perception; but what
trivial ; they are “ alike, but oh how follows demands severe reproof.
different!" Between Volpone the « On referring, after an interval of Fox, and Subtle the Alchemist, though many years, to these old masques, we find both sharpers, how wide the distance ! ourselves somewhat staggered at the cha
And what gull, in the other play, may racter of the jests, and the homely (not to
be compared with Sir Epicure Mamsay vulgar) allusions in which they abound.
mon? The forms of the two plays The taste of the times was, indeed, rude
are cast in a somewhat similar mould enough; and we can easily understand,
-but that is all; and we are lost in that jests of this nature were tolerated or
astonishment at the genius that, from even relished by common audiences. But when we hear that the pieces which con
beginning to end of both, in the proud tain them were exhibited repeatedly, with
consciousness of power, keeps ceaseapplause, before the nobles and court
lessly pouring forth its inexhaustible ladies of the time (some of them young riches. unmarried women), we are driven to the
“ SCENE I. -An Outer Room in Loveconclusion, that civilisation must have failed
wit's House. in some respects, and to fear that the refined and graceful compliments which our
Enter Sir EPICURE MAMMON and Surly. author so frequently lavished upon the Mam. Come on, sir. Now you bet your high • damas' of King James's court, was foot on shore a pure waste of his poetical bounty. It is In Novo Orbe ; here's the rich Peru: scarcely possible that the ladies who could And there within, sir, are the golden mines, sit and hear jokes, far coarser than Smol. Great Solomon's Ophir ! he was sailing to't,
Three years, but we have reach'd it in ten Give safety, valour, yea, and victory, months.
To whom he will. In eight-and-twenty This is the day, wherein, to all my friends, days, I will pronounce the happy word, BE RICH; I'll make an old man of fourscore, a child. THIS DAY YOU SHALL BE SPECTATISSIMI. Sur. No doubt; he's that already. You shall no more deal with the hollow dye, Mam. Nay, I mean, Or the frail card. No more be at charge of Restore his years, renew him, like an eagle, keeping
To the fifth age ; make him get sons and The livery. punk for the young heir, that daughters. must
Young giants ; as our philosophers have Seal, at all hours, in his shirt : no more If he deny, have him beaten to't, as he is The ancient patriarchs, afore the flood, That brings him the commodity. No more But taking, once a-week, on a knife's point, Shall thirst of satin, or the covetous huoger The quantity of a grain of mustard of it ; Of velvet entrails for a rude-spun cloke, Become stout Marses, and beget young To be display'd at madam Augusta's, make Cupids. The sons of Sword and Hazard fall before Sur. The decay'd vestals of Pict-hatch The golden calf, and on their knees, whole would thank you. nights,
That keep the fire alive, there. Commit idolatry with wine and trumpets : Mam. 'Tis the secret Or go a feasting after drum and ensiga. Of nature naturiz'd against all infections, No more of this. You shall start up young Cures all diseases coming of all causes ; viceroys,
A month's grief in a day, a year's in twelve ; And have your punks, and punketees, my And, of what age soever, in a month : Surly.
Past all the doses of your drugging doctors. And unto thee I speak it first, Be Rich. I'll undertake, withal, to fright the plague, Where is my Subtle, there? Within, ho! Out of the kingdom in three months. Face. (Within.) Sir, he'll come to you Sur. And I'll by and by.
Be bound, the players shall sing your praises, Mam. That is his fire-drake,
then, His lungs, bis Zephyrus, he that puffs his Without their poets. coals,
Mam. Sir, I'll do't. Mean-time, Till he firk nature up, in her own centre. I'll give away so much unto my man, You are not faithful, sir. This night, I'll Shall serve the whole city, with preservative, change
Weekly ; each house his dose, and at the All that is metal, in my house, to gold : And, early in the morning, will I send
Sur. As he that built the Water work, To all the plumbers and the pewterers,
does with water ? And buy their tin and lead up; and to Loth Mam. You are incredulous. bury
Sur, Faith I have a humour, For all the copper.
I would not willingly be gull’d. Your stone Sur. What, and turn that too?
Cannot transmute me. Mam. Yes, and I'll purchase Devonshire Mum. Pertinax (my] Surly, and Cornwall,
Will you believe antiquity ? records ? And make them perfect Indies ! you admire I'll shew you a book where Moses and his now?
sister, Sur. No, faith.
And Solomon have written of the art; Mam. But when you see th' effects of Ay, and a treatise penn·d by Adamthe Great Medicine,
Sur. How! Of which one part projected on a hundred Mam. Of the philosopher's stone, and in Of Mercury, or Venus, or the moon,
High Dutch. Shall turn it to as many of the sun;
Sur. Did Adam write, Sir, in High Nay, to a thousand, so ad infinitum :
Dutch ? You will believe me.
Mam. He did ; Sur. Yes, when I see't, I will.
Which proves it was the primitive tongue. But if my eyes do cozen me so, and I
Sur. What paper ?
Will last 'gainst worms.
'Gainst cob-webs. I have a piece of Jason's He that has once the flower of the sun,
fleece, too, The perfect ruby, which we call elixir, Which was no other than a book of alchemy, Not only can do that, but, by its virtue, Writ in large sheep-skin, a good fat ram. Can confer honour, love, respect, long life ; vellum.
Such was Pythagoras' thigh, Pandora's tub, thin shrill voice, he cries, “ He who And, all that fable of Medea's charms, really loves the sex,' loves but one The manner of our work ; the bulls, our woman at a time." O Ben ! heard ye furnace,
ever of such a ninny! And this is Still breathing fire; our argent.vive, the the identical philosopher who was dragon :
prating a few pages ago of the great The dragon's teeth, mercury sublimate,
master.spirit of Imagination. Sir Epi. That keeps the whiteness, hardness, and the
cure Mammon contented with “one biting;
woman--at a time”-and two or three And they are gather'd into Jason's helm, The alembic, and then sow'd in Mars his
entremets. Poor dear Charles Lamb!
thou wert spared the hearing of field,
this. “What a towering bravery"And thence sublimed so often, till they're fix'd.
such were thy words, speaking of Sir Both this, the Hesperian garden, Cadmus'
Epicure_“there is in his sensuality! story,
He affects no pleasure under a sultaun!" Jove's shower, the boon of Midas, Argus' Behold, O shade of Elia! your mucheyes,
admired imaginative lord of a harem Boccace his Demogorgon, thousands more, of houris, bound by Barry to one woAll abstract riddles of our stone."
man-at a time--and weep. Well
didst thou once say in thy - Speci. But hear Barry.
mens" “ the judgment is perfectly “ In enforcing a proposition, however, he overwhelmed by the torrent of images, accumulates sentence after sentence, thought words, and book-knowledge with which after thought, till the original idea is lost Mammon confounds and stuns his inor looks impoverished, amidst the wealth credulous hearer. They come pourwith which it is surrounded. This not only ing out like the successive strokes of injures the idea, but mars the truth of his Nilus. They "doubly redouble strokes characters. It is the fault even of Sir upon the foe. Description outstrides Epicure Mammon's splendid visions. There proof. We are made to believe efis nothing savouring of luxury which the fects before we have testimony for Roman writers have put upon record, that their causes : a lively description of he does not treat us with. A true epicure the joys of heaven sometimes passes would have had a more select taste, we think, for an argument to prove the existence and have contented himself with fewer deli
of such a place. If there be no one cacies. At all events, he would not have
image which rises to the height of the placed all things upon a level ; for that sbows that he had a true relish for none.
sublime, yet the confluence and asHe who appreciates wines, likes the best
semblage of them all produces an efwines, which are few. He who really loves
fect equal to the grandest poetry.” “ the sex," loves but one woman—at a
" He affects no pleasure under a time."
sultaun." Barry Cornwall says there
is no true epicurism in such sensuality That is rich. An original idea, -and, certes, there is much virtue in looking impoverished amidst the the word true. He who loves but one wealth with which it is surrounded! woman has much the best of it in taste, or lost-and-only think-injured by morals, reason, and religion. But that being lost! Sir Epicure Mammon is is not the question and here there are not, it seems, a true epicure after all loud cries of “ Question!” “ At a - perhaps neither is he a true Mam. time!" - aha! who could have sus. mon. A true epicure would have pected such lax-such licentious ethics “ had a more select taste"_" con- from so innocent a creature? He tented himself with fewer delicacies” more than insinuates that the true epi- some recherchés entremets. Sir cure may change his mistress as often Epicure Mammon “ placed all things as he pleases and live in perpetual upon a level "—therefore he had a fruition of honeymoons. true relish for none. " O rare But he does not seem to be aware Ben Jonson !" what a dunce wert that SirEpicure Mammonat had first no thou! as ignorant of meats as of mistress at all not even “one woman wines. “He who appreciates wines, -at a time.” It was his imagination likes the best wines, which are few !" he was feeding with those voluptuous So says the sage of the East-Sir dreams; and we know"such tricks hath Epicure Barry Cornwall-nay, shade strong imagination.” Neither had he of Benjamin the Ruler! with a a dinner to sit down to-deserving