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as tender youth, loose limbs, smooth skins, fair complexions, fantastical garbs, affected phrases, strained compliments, factious natures, detracting tongues, mischievous actions, and the like, are admired, and commended more, or thought wiser, than those that have generous souls, heroick spirits, ingenuous wits, prudent fore-cast, experienced years, manly forms, graceful garbs, edifying discourses, temperate lives, sober actions, noble natures and honest hearts; but in former years it was otherwise."

She had other reasons for being dissatisfied with her contemporaries.

cal and Physical Opinions," published also in 1655, "that in the World's Olio there are such gross mistakes in misplacing of chapters, and so many literall faults, as her book was much disadvantaged thereby ;" and then she adds, "Likewise a short copie of verses at the latter end of the book, is what I intended for this book, as being my beloved of all my works, preferring it as my master-piece, although I do believe it will not please my readers."

She is very indignant at the supposition, that she had taken feathers out of the universities to enlarge the wings of her fancy." To which she answers, no more than David took the wooll from his sheeps' backs to cloath his poetical phancies of devo



In disclaiming all obligation to the writings or conversation of two great writers of that age, she expresses herself very awkwardly.

"I find (says she in one of her epistles) I live in a carping age; for some find fault with my former writings, because they are not grammar, nor good orthography; and that all the last words are not rime; and that the feet are not in just numbers: As for the orthography, the printer should have rectified that, for I think it is against nature for a woman to spell right; for my part, I confess I cannot; and as for the rimes and numbers, although it is like I have erred in many, yet not so much as by the negligence of those that were to oversee it; for, by the false printing, they have not only done my book wrong in that, but in many places the very sense is altered; as for surfets, sercutts; quented their studies, by reading their works. wanting, wanton; like flaming fire to burn, I cannot say but I have seen them both, but, they have printed a fire gunn, and many upon my conscience, I never spake to Monother words they have left out besides; and sieur De Cartes in my life, nor ever understood what he said, for he spake no English, there is above a hundred of those faults, so and I understand no other language; and that my book is lamed by an ill midwife and nurse, the printer and overseer; but as for those times I saw him, which was twice at the grammar part, I confess I am no scholar," dinner with my Lord at Paris, he did appear


Those who wish to ascertain the accuracy of her Grace's statement, may look into a copy of the "Poems and Fancies," in the British Museum, enriched with MS. notes in the Duchess's own handwriting.

At the end of the World's Olio, the following rhymes deserve to be noticed: "Of all my works, this book which I have


My best beloved, and greatest favourite,
I look upon it with a pleasing eye,
I pleasure take in its sweet company,
I entertain it with a grave respect,
And with my pen am ready to protect
The life and safety of it, 'gainst all those
That will oppose it, or profess its foes:
But I am sure there's none condemn it can,
Unless some foolish and unlearned man,
That hath not understanding, judgment, wit,
For to perceive the reason that's in it."

Any one who may infer from these
exquisite verses, that the Duchess (who
was then only Marchioness) preferred
"the World's Olio" to all her other
writings, will be greatly mistaken.
She tells us, in an 66
Epistle to the
Reader," prefixed to the "Philosophi-

it seems as if I had converst with Des Cartes "Some say that my book of philosophy,

or Master Hobbes, or both, or have fre

to me a man of the fewest words I ever heard. And for Master Hobbes, it is true, I have had the like good fortune to see him, and that very often, with my Lord at dinner, for, I, conversing seldom with any strangers,

had no other time to see those two famous philosophers; yet, I never heard Master Hobbes, to my best remembrance, treat or discourse of philosophy, nor I ever spake I cannot say I did not ask him a question, to Master Hobbes twenty words in my life.

for when I was in London I met him, and told him as truly, I was very glad to see him, and asked him if he would please to do me that honour to stay at dinner, but he, with great civility, refused me, as having some businesse, which I suppose required his ab sence. And for their works, my own foolish fancies do so employ my time, as they will not give me leave to read their books; for, upon my conscience, I never read more of Mounsieur Des Cartes than half his book of passion; and, for Master Hobbes, I never read more than a little book called De Cive, and that but once."

It is to be recollected, that by her own account, she knew no language but English; and though one of Des Cartes works had been before this time done into English by a person of honour, we are pretty certain that there

was then no translation either of the treatise Sur les Passions de l'Ame, or of the Elementa de Cive, by the philosopher of Malmesbury. As her Grace had filled many of her pages with dissertations on physic, she thought it necessary to add, "I never read any book of diseases or medicines, but Gerard's Herball, which, no question, is a very rare book."

She is sadly afraid of being accounted an atheist, and it cannot be denied, that her theological creed is exceeding ly imperfect. Her opinions were evi

dently the creations of accident, and, as her conjugal oracle assured her, that she was infinitely superior to all the old philosophers, it is not wonderful that she should suppose it possible for the most perfect productions to originate from chance. With all her extravagant follies, it must be owned, that she now and then brings forth brilliant ideas. Her prose is incompar ably more poetical than her verse-but if all that she ever wrote were irrecoverably lost, the world would sustain no serious injury from their annihilation.

A Tragedy; by S. H. A.B. è. C. Ex.

Oxford, printed by W. Turner, 1640.

[We shall interrupt our regular series of analytical essays on the old English Drama, by the following analysis of an old play (to be found in the British Museum), which appears to deserve a better fate than that of total oblivion.]

By an address to the reader, prefixed and signed P. P. it seems that this play had been offered for representation, but refused; and that the MS. had for a long time been on the shelf, from whence it was now removed by the editor, against the will, and even to the hazard of the loss of friendship of the author. "I have so far sinned against the modesty of my friend," &c. And, again, "I have hazarded the loss of his love, only that I may shew myself thy friend and servant. P. P."

Commendatory verses are subjoined by the following Oxford wits of the day, who all appear to have been intimate associates of the author, extolling him to the skies, and equalizing him to Shakspeare, Ben Jonson, and Randolph. Their names are, Richard Downey, A.B. è. C. Ex.; Robt Stapylton, A. B. Aul. Alb.; Richard Doderidge of Exeter Coll.; A. Short of Exeter Coll.; S. Hall and Edw. Hall of ditto; and Jos. Hall of St Alban's Hall.

The character of Virginio Ursini seems to have been the favourite object of praise to these friends of the author, and is compared, of course, maintaining its great superiority to the Sejanus, the Alchemist, and the Volpone of Jonson. A short analysis of the plot will be sufficient to prove the nature of its claim to this distinction; at the same time, that it will VOL. V.

tolerably well account for the rejection which this highly honoured child of Isis experienced from the players. But the poetical beauties with which the language abounds, are, at the same time, of an order almost to justify the blind admiration of the graduates of Exeter College, and to create some wonder that the name of the author is left to be guessed at from the initials, and from those of his panegyrists, which are not so illustrious as to throw much light on the subject.

This play is not noticed in the Biographia Dramatica.

The play contains three distinct, and almost entirely independent, fables or actions-the first, and principal, be ing strictly tragic; the second, according to the old phrase, tragi-comic, that is, tending to tragedy, but having a happy ending; and the third purely comic, or rather farcical. The remain ing unities are observed with an attention to be expected from the learned member of a classical university.

The piece opens with the return of the Neapolitan army, under the command of its victorious king, Ferrando, from the conquest of Sicily. From so heroic a beginning, it is proper to advertise the reader that there is no historical foundation for any part of the story, and that the union it celebrates, is that of Eutopia and Atalantis, rather than of Sicily and Naples. But, to


proceed methodically, the fable must be traced from its origin to the commencement of the action.

Ferrando, king of Naples, has been betrothed to Calantha, the only child of the old king, and heiress of the crown of Sicily, when, in consequence of some state affairs, which it would be impertinent in us to pry into, the father of the princess suddenly turns round, and refuses his consent to the intended union. Ferrando, like a true suitor of romance, easily yields to the suggestion which bids him "win and wear her;" but, instead of going at first in person at the head of his peers, he sends the Count Alberto, his favourite minister and general, to attempt the conquest of Sicily. The ill success of this officer, furnishes Virginio Ursini (the Machiavel of the piece) with the first step to his own advancement in the overthrow of his rival. Debauchee, as well as politician, this artful villain had previously contrived to overcome the virtue of Felicia, the daughter of Alberto, under the name and in the disguise of the king; and the fear of the father's vengeance adds a fresh stimulus to his ambition. Alberto, on his return, is accused of treachery, and perishes on a scaffold; and Ferrando, after promoting Ursini to fill the vacant place of minister, resolves on a second expedition to Sicily in person. He proves victorious, slays his intended father-in-law on the field of battle, and makes prisoner his amazon bride, Calantha, whom he brings back to Naples in triumph, as the opima spolia of the war. His unfortunate captive, in the struggle between love for her conqueror, shame and grief for her degraded condition, and horror in the reflection that her father had died by the hands of her intended husband, falls into a deep melancholy, grows distracted, and "babbles" of the Elysian fields. A physician undertakes to cure her, by indulging her fancy; and his purpose is effected by an illusive pageant of the 66 arva beata," which persuades Calantha that she is herself a purified soul. After her recovery, she consents, but with a heavy heart, to the " fatal union."

The scenes now described, constitute the principal part of the second and third acts of the play. So far, with the exception of the whole of the comic part, which is in the very worst style

of low buffoonery, and the confusion produced by the intermixture of the tragi-comic underplot, the story creates a considerable degree of interest, and is even conducted with great skill and judgment. The Pageant of Elysium might be so managed, as to produce an extremely striking effect in the representation; and the dialogue abounds with tender and poetical touches. Thus, in the first scene of the second act, where Calantha appears distracted, she thus addresses her lover:

"We shall all sleep quietly When we are dead-There is no noise of chains;

We shall not dream of prisons, rocks, or ships: But every night shall see the gods descend On our soft slumbers, and steal away our miseries.

When I am dead; down in the meads yon, Ladies, you'll see me shrowded decently


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My senses up) Fancy presented them.
Methought I saw

Wrapt in night's sables, and the following
Aurora from the east come weeping up,
Paced slowly on in grief's sad livery.
The pensive winds sigh'd forth a solemn dirge,
And strove to blow our marriage tapers out.
When you, Ursini, join'd in the solemnity,
I saw you look like Sicily's pale ghost,
Broke from the hollow caverns of the earth.
Mouldered to ashes: on your lip there sat
This hand, Ferrando, at your gentle touch,
A frost, which, when I tasted, straight con-


An icy chilliness through every joynt ; The stammering Priest, methought, mistook the rites,

And 'stead of those are used at nuptials, Sung a short requiem to our souls, committed All that was left of 's to the earth, our last Cold bed.


Fer. "Twas the intemperance of your disSuggested these chimeras ; And with it they have fled. Cal. No, no, Ferrando,

I've sinn'd against my father's ghost. Ere yet
His royal corse had slept two silent moons
I' th' peaceful earth, or ere I had paid down
Just tribute of my tears, I've changed my

For a gay nuptial garment, whose light outside

Denotes the looseness of a lighter mind, To which grief should have been perpetual guest."

There is exquisite fancy also in the succeeding speech of Calantha, when she is at last somewhat reconciled by her lover's arguments.

** Oh take me to thy soul: we'll mingle sighs

And tears, which still shall flow together

from us,

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and lovely.

Their odour flies to Heaven in sacrifice, Sweet as the purple smoke ascending from The Phoenix funeral piles, or southern breath Perfumed with all Arabia's spiceries."

The scene opening and discovering the tomb of the king of Sicily, and the funeral dirge, instead of Epithalamium, are in the true spirit of melancholy wildness, which the preceding dialogue is calculated to engender. The song itself is not altogether devoid of that simple pathos so often to be met with in the little lyrical accompaniments of our old dramas.


"Noblest bodies are but gilded clay;
Put away
But the precious shining rind,
The inmost rottenness remains behind.


Kings on earth, tho' gods they be,
Yet in death are vile as we;
He, a thousand's king before,
Now is vassal unto more.


Vermin now insulting lie,

And dig for diamonds in each eye; Whilst the sceptre-bearing hand Cannot their inroads withstand.


Here doth one in odours wade,
By the royal unction made;
While another dares to gnaw,
On that tongue, the people's law.

And do strive

Fools, ah! fools are we, who so contrive, In each gaudy ornament Who shall his corpse in the best dish present." It is somewhat too evident, however, that the beautiful dirge in the Tempest mind, when he composed this fanciful, was before the author's eyes, or in his though certainly inferior, elegy.

The character of Calantha is as happily introduced to our notice, as it is ably sustained in the scenes which have been just described. The following forms a part of a dialogue between Valenzo and his friend Piero, at the commencement of the play; in which the only circumstance to be regretted is, that it does not perhaps explain to the reader so much of preceding occurrences as is necessary to enable him to enter at once into the nature of those which are to ensue.

"Val. I've seen her, maugre all those

sudden fears

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lain, without any sufficient or apparent motive for his villanies. Thus, when Federigo, under the assumed name of Zisco, talks openly to him of his designs against the king, he opposes them by general common places upon the divinity of princes, and in such a manner as to leave the spectator himself as totally in the dark as to his real inclinations as the person with whom he is speaking. This might have been prevented, by the common and obvious artifice of a soliloquy; but, as it is, we are ignorant even to the end of the play, how far it was Ursini's wish or design that Zisco's treason should take effect.

"One, upon whom attends a guard of


And angels; on whose brow divinity

"Be more composed, and hear me ! Sits character'd; a majesty that darts Though you hate

Treason as ill as cowardice, yet I must
Tell you, you are the men have brought
The enemy home to Naples-I mean the

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what sway

Authority can bear, when by this charge They are grown mad and mutinous. Who shall

Compose their private jars and quarrels, When their full cups add fury to their pride?"

When he meets his friend Piero, he thus inquires of him the present state of affairs at Naples.

"What face wears the court? How looks it On our new dignities? Envy, like the Sun, Darts her beams hottest on the rising banks."

Federigo, the son of Count Alberto, besides the hatred which he owes his sovereign, on account of his father's death, is abused with a story of his sister Felicia's having been dishonoured, and afterwards murdered by Ferrando, which exasperates his hatred to phrenzy. In the disguise of a Moor, he enters into the service of Virginio Ursini, the court favourite, the same personage whose character (as we have already seen), is held up by the author's panegyrists, as the most prodigious effort of genius, but which is merely that of a most diabolical vil

Fork'd arrows into th' guilty soul, and


A palsied fear through every limb and joint Of the murderer."

This is a fine specimen of the high prerogative strain of Ursini's argument, and reminds one of Shakspeare's Richard the Second. Those with which Zisco opposes him are equally spirited, and the manner in which they lead to Ursini's discovering his real person, natural and dramatic.

"It is

The pride of princes to be thought gods here
On Earth, daring to mock Omnipotence,
To create them favourites, set them aloft
In their own sphere, till remote kingdoms

At their prodigious height, then, in an in


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