« AnteriorContinuar »
wholly derived to them from the countenance and approbation they have received lit court."
See what he say3 of beauty here! and his vile adulation!
See too his Defence of his Essay on Dramatic 1'ocsy, prefixed to this play.
249. "As it'our old world modestly withdrew,
And here in private had brought forth a new!"
262. " And ye small stars, the scattered seeds of light."
264. "Arise, ye subtle spirits that can spy;
When love is entered in a female's eye; You that can read it in the midst of doubt, And in the midst of frowns can find it out; You that can search those many corner'd minds
Where women's crooked fancy turns and winds;
You that can love explore and truth impart,
Where both lie dccpestlMin woman's heart." Cortes says,
269. "If for myself to conquer here I
You might perhaps my actions justly blame:
266. " Ci/dijipe.WUat is this honour which
does love controul? "Cortes. A raging fit of virtue in the
A painful burden which great minds must bear,
Obtain'dwith danger, and possest with fear."
269. Montezuma to his gods: "111 fate for me unjustly you provide; Great souls are sparks of your own heavenly pride,
That lust of power we from your godhead's have,
You're bound to please those appetites you gave."
276. Enter Cortes alone, in a night gown. "All things are hush'd, as Nature's self lay dead,
The mountains seem to nod their drowsy head,
The little birds in dreams their songs repeat,
And sleeping flowers beneath the night dew sweat;
Even Lust and Envy sleep; yetLovedenies Rest to my soul, and slumber to my eyes." All is in keeping here, the costume, the description, and the character!
287. " As callow birds, Whoso mothers killed in seeking of the prey, Cry in their nest, and think her long away, And at each leaf that stirs, each breath of wind,
Gape for the food which they must never find."
"whensoever I die, The Sun, my father, bears my soul on high; He lets me down a beam, and mounted there,
He draws it back, and pulls me through the air."
The absurdity of making the Peruvians and Mexicans at war scarcely seems absurd in this most preposterous plan; so utterly ■has all truth and character, feeling, time, and place been disregarded.
Skcbet Love, or the Maiden Queen.
"Owned in so particular a manner by his Majesty, that he has graced it with the title of his play; and thereby rescued it from the severity (not to say malice) of its enemies."
In this play there are eight female characters and only three male.
P. 19. "I am more and more in love with you! A full nether lip, an out-mouth, that makes mine water at it. The bottom of your cheeks a little blub, and two dimples when you smile."
Dryden had no reverence for his great predecessors; if he had, he would not have taken the name of Florimel for one of the women in this play.
Epilogue by a Person of Quality. "The men of business must in policy Cherish a little harmless poetry, All wit would else grow up to knavery. Wit is a bird of music, or of prey; Mounting, she strikes atall things inherway; But if this birdlime once but touch her wings, On the next bush she sits her down and sings."
Sir Martin Mar-all. 115-6. Phrases of recent introduction, vertuoso, you have reason, in fine.
"Two winds rise; ten more enter and dance. At the end of the dance, three winds sink; the rest drive Alon. Anto. Gonz. oft"."
2.51-3. The weapon salve used.
260. Tritons—sound a calm!
Lloyd in a note in the St. James's Magazine, vol. 2, p. 38, says of Massingcr, (then recently published by T. Davies), that " he is a poet who wants only to be read that he may be admired!" Contrast this with Goldsmith's contemptuous review of the same edition!
"That many of our readers are ignorant who, or what, this Massinger was, is a circumstance which we may safely take for granted; and which, too, supersedes the necessity of our saying much more concerning either the poet or his works. Had he possessed more merit he had been better known. Suffice it therefore, if we only add, that he was contemporary with, or rather somewhat later than Shakespear; that he wrote many plays, long since forgotten; and that this edition of his works is even unworthy the little repute in which Massinger may be still held by some readers." (!!)—Monthly Review, vol. xxi. p. 176.—Coxeter's edition.
"critical Reflections on the Old English Dramatic Writers, intended as a Preface to the Works of Massinger, addressed to Garrick. 6d. Davies."
"We doubt, however, that Massinger, together with many others of the once famed English poets, have already proceeded too far on the road to oblivion ever to be brought back, whatever may be the endeavours of their few remaining friends for that purpose. Spenser, Jonsou, Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger, Randolph, and others who figured in the days of Elizabeth, James, and Charles I. are now almost as little known or read as Chaucer, Lydgate, Gower, and that pithie Poete Maister Thomas Skeltone. Notwithstanding which it must be acknowledged, there are great beauties and excellencies in the ingenious cotemporaries above mentioned; particularly in Spenser, whom we are truly sorry to put into the list. His genius was perhaps equal to any that ever appeared in this or any other country; but that kind of allegory and stanza in which he unhappily wrote, are now totally out of fashion, and probably will never be revived." (!! !) — Ibid. vol. xxiv., p. 200.—See Ibid. vol. lx., p. 480.
"Skii-fi I. Massinger, Thou known, all the Castilians must confess Vego de Carpio thy foil, and bless His language can translate thee, and the fine Italian wits yield to this work of thine."
Sir Aston Cockaine.
"commendatory Verses to the Emperor of the East."—Massinger, 1, elxi.
P. 7. Gifford shews a wnnt of ear here. The word may just as well be pronounced persevere as persSver.
15. Ma9on an imitator often of Massinger. Giftbrd says, " he may be right, but in this instance Mason remembered Tacitus, not Massinger."
66. "This tottered world." Is this the same word as tattered, or may it not mean shaken, crazed?
71. "Peevish." Does it not rather mean weak and fretful than foolish?
Dkdicatio; to the " Unnatural Combat.'"
To his "much-honoured friend, Anthony Sutleges, of Oakham, in Kent, Esq."
"Your noble father, Sir Warham S. (whose remarkable virtues must be ever remembered) being, while he lived, a master, for his pleasure, in poetry, feared not to hold converse with divers whose necessitous fortunes made it their profession, among which, by the clemency of his judgement, I was not in the last place admitted.
"I present you with this old tragedy, without prologue or epilogue; it being composed in a time (and that, too, peradventure, as knowing as this,) when such byornaments were not advanced above the fabric of the whole work."
Massinger often weakens his verse by attenuating words which it is the character of our speech to compress.
160. "— let me glory in
Your action, as if it were my own."
"To thy perfections, but that they are," &c.
"Duke of Milan." Dedication to the Lady Katharine Stanhope.
"— there is no other means left me (my misfortunes having cast me on this course) to publish to the world, (if it hold the least good opinion of me), that I am your Ladyship's creature."
259. " In the management of preparatory hints, Massinger surpasses all his contemporaries. He seems to have minutely arranged all the component parts [of his plots] before a line of the dialogue was written."
266. GifFord well observes, " that those vigorous powers of genius which carry men far beyond the literary state of their age,
do not enable them to outgo that of its manners."
276. "If thou wouldst work
Upon my weak credulity, tell ine rather That the earth moves, the sun and stars stand still."
274. Aviary for aerie, which GifTord charges upon poor M. Mason was, I dare say, a printer's blunder.
P. 7. Indication of ill-will towards Buckingham. 119.
8. A captious note of Gilford, as if he did not know what is meant by distant manners.
6. Specimens of the old editions.
11. "O shame! that we that are a populous nation,
Engaged to liberal nature for all blessings An island can bring forth; we that have limbs
And able bodies; shipping arms and treasure,
The sinews of the war, now we are call'd To stand upon our guard, cannot produce One fit to be our General."
Was Buckingham meant here also?
86, n. Remember is colloquially used in this sense.
123. Dedication. Renegado to Lord Berkeley, the great patron it here appears, of dramatic literature. See the passage.
429. Dedication to the Great Duke of Florence. See.
Dedication to Maid of Honour.
To Sir Fr. Foljambe, and SirTh. Bland, "1 had not to this time subsisted, but that I was supported by your frequent courtesies and favours."
11. Not clear that M. Mason is not right.
130. —" You are a king, and that Concludes you wise; your will, a powerful reason
Which we, that are foolish subjects, must not argue.
And what in a mean man I should call folly, Is in your majesty remarkable wisdom."
Dedication to Emperor of the East. 1631.
"— it being so rare in this age to meet with one noble name, that, in fear to be censured of levity and weakness, dare express itself a friend or patron to contemned poetry."
Prologue—at Court. "She durst not, Sir, at such a solemn feast, Lard his grave matter with one scurrilous jest:
But laboured that no passage might appear But what the Queen without a blush might hear."
City Madam. Dedication. Reputation of Massinger during his life, and when this play was published in 1659.
P. 35. Gifford did not know how heirs could be pronounced as a dissyllable.
86. Most of our old writers abridged the word Master, and pronounced only the initial letter, e.g.
"At M. Luke's suit. The action twenty thousand."
Duchess Op Newcastle.
Dr. Aikin says she was one of the most fertile and voluminous writers—at least of her sex, upon record. Her works at length amounting to thirteen folios, ten of them in print. This enormous mass of her writings is now so completely consigned to oblivion, that probably scarcely any English scholar living has read more of them than a few lines descriptive of melancholy quoted in the "Connoisseur," (No. 69,) and praised beyond their desert.
Dr. Aikin himself has written much more in quantity; and his daughter, Miss Lucy, quite as much,—and nothing so good.
Pot ma and Fancie*. 1653.
"Wipe off my tears with handkerchiefs of praise."
"Spin a garment of memory to lap up my name."
"Vanity is so natural to our sex, as it were unnatural not to be so."
"Poetry which is built upon fancy, women may claim as a work belonging most properly to themselves: for I have observed that their brains work usually in a fantastical motion; as in their several and various dresses; in their many and singular choices of cloths and ribbons, and the like; in their curious shadowing and mixing of colours in their wrought works,—and divers sorts of stitches they employ their needle; and many curious things they make, as flowers, boxes, baskets with beads, shells, silk, straw, or any thing else; besides all manner of meats to eat; and thus their thoughts are employed perpetually with fancies; for fancy goeth not so much by rule and method as by choice."
She understood no language but her own, "not French, although I was in France five years. Neither do I understand my own native language very well, for there are many words I know not what they signify."
"The passions are like musical instruments: when they play concords, the mind dances in measure the saraband of tranquillity." P. 51.
123. "I must intreat my Noble Readers to read this part of my Book very slow, and to observe very strictly every word they read, because in most of these Poems, every word is a Fancy. Wherefore if thoy lose by not marking, or skip by too hasty reading, they will intangle the sense of the whole Copy."
128. Nature's Oven.
"The Brain is like an Oven, hot and dry, Which bakes all sorts of Fancies, low and high,
The Thoughts are wood, which Motion sets on fire,
The Tongue a Peele which draws forth the Desire.
But thinking much, the Brain too hot will grow,
And burns it up; if cold, the Thoughts are Dough.
128." Life scumms the Cream of Beauty with Time's spoon, And draws theClaret wineof Blushes soon."
135. In Nature's Grange,
"Cows of Content, which gave the Milk of Ease,
Curds prest with Love which made a Friendship-Cheese,
Cream of Delight was put in Pleasure's
Where in short time the Butter of Joys
139-40. Nature's City. "The Citizens are worms, which seldom stir, But sit within their shops and sell their ware.
The Moles are Magistrates who undermine Each one's estate, that they their wealth may find."
"The lazy Dormouse Gentry doth keep Much in their houses, eat, and drink, and sice])."
"The Peasant Ants industrious are to get Provisions store, hard labours make them sweat."
"But after all their husbandry and pains, Extortion comes and eats up all their gains, And Merchant Bugs of all sorts, they Traffick on all things, travel every way."
"Making the father rich whose child they keep."
155. Hodmandod shells.
138. She seems to believe in fairies. 148. The centre of the earth their kingdom.
146. "Then on her wings doth Fame those actions bear,
Which fly about, and carry 'em every where.
Sometimes she overloaded is with all, And then some down into Oblivion fall."
190. " When he was mounted, fast away they went In the full gallop of a good intent."
Her atomical poems are comical enough. What is most remarkable is the strange looseness of language, as to any thing like syntax or rhyme.
19. "Motion is the life of all things."
31. The fancy of her atoms explained.
38. Shadow and Echo. Never was fancy more poetically conceived, or unpoetically expressed. It may have suggested Sir Egerton's fine sonnet.
Pepvs says in his Diary, May 30th, "To see the silly play of my Lady Newcastle's, called the 'Humorous Lovers,' the most silly thing that ever came upon a stage. I was sick to see it; but yet would not but have seen it, that I might better understand her."
«Si> T. Brown.
Hannah Moke once read through a shelf of books at Hampton. In her list of them she enumerates Sir Thomas Brown's "very learned miscellanies, (and eke very obscure),"—and this is all her comment!1— Mem. vol. 2, p. 198.
"Our party (at the Bishop's, Fulham,) consists of Dr. Beattie, and Mrs. Kennicott; the former gentle and amiable, but in a low, broken-spirited state. We have formed quite a friendship. He has taken much to me, I believe, chiefly because I cordially sympathize with him on the death of his son, the Edwin of his "Minstrel."—Mem. vol. 2, p. 341.—Hannah More.
1 Sir Thomas Browne, as is well known, was one of Southey's favourite authors. —J. W.W.