Imatges de pàgina

“ Then down with James, and set up Charles,

“ On good Queen Bess's side;
“ That all true Commons, Lords, and Earls,

May wish him a fruitfull bride.”

Now God preserve great Charles our King,

And eke all honest men;
And traitors all to justice bring :

Amen, Amen, Amen.

“ Then having entertained the thronging spectators for some time, with the ingenious fireworks, a vast bonfire being prepared, just over against the inner temple gate, his holiness, after some compliments and reluctancies, was decently toppled from all his grandeur, into the inpartial flames; the crafty devil leaving his infallibilityship in the lurch, and laughing as heartily at his deserved iguominious end, as subtle jesuits do at the bigotted Lay Catholics, whom themselves have drawn in; or, as credulous Coleman's abettors did, when, with pretences of a reprieve at last gasp, they had made him vomit up his soul with a lye, and sealed his dangerous chops with a halter. This justice was attended with a prodigious shout, that might be heard far beyond Somerset-house; and 'twas believed the echo, by continued reverberations, before it ceased, reached Scotland, (the Duke was then there;) France, and even Rome, itself, damping them all with a dreadfull astonishment."

From a very rare broadside, in the collection made by Narcissus Luttrell.




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Rectius Iliacum carmen deducis in actus,
Quam si proferres ignota indictaque primus. HOR.



The story of Troilus and Cressida was one of the more modern fables, engrafted, during the dark ages, on the tale of Troy divine." Chaucer, who made it the subject of a long and somewhat dull poem, professes to have derived his facts from an author of the middle ages, called Lollius, to whom he often refers, and who he states to have written in Latin. Tyrwhitt disputes the existence of this personage, and supposes Chaucer's original to hàve been the Philostrato dell' amorose fatiche de Troilo, a work of Boccacio. But Chaucer was never reluctant in acknowledging obligations to his contemporaries, when such really existed; and Mr Tyrwhitt's opinion seems to be successfully combated by Mr Godwin, in his “Life of Chaucer.” The subject, whencesoever derived, was deemed by Shakespeare worthy of the stage ; and his tragedy, of Troilus and Cressida, contains so many scenes of distinguished excellence, that it could have been wished our author had mentioned it with more veneration. In truth, even the partiality of an editor must admit, that, on this occasion, the modern improvements of Dryden shew to very little advantage beside the venerable structure to which they have been attached. The arrangement of the plot is, indeed, more artificially modelled; but the preceding age, during which the infidelity of Cressida was proverbially current, could

as little have onduréd a catastrophe turning upon the discovery of her innocence, as one which should have exhibited Helen chaste, or Hector a coward. In Dryden's time, the prejudice against this unfortunate female was probably forgotten, as her history had become less popular. There appears, however, something too nice and fastidious in the critical rule, which exacts that the hero and heroine of the drama shall be models of virtuous perfection. In the most interesting of the ancient plays we find this limitation neglected, with great success; and it would have been more natural to have brought about the catastrophe on the plan of Shakespeare and Chaucer, than by the forced mistake in which Dryden's lovers are involved, and the stale expedient of Cressida's killing herself, to evince her innocence. For the superior order, and regard to the unity of place, with which Dryden has new-modelled the scenes and entries, he must be allowed the full praise which he claims in the preface.

In the dialogue, considered as distinct from the plot, Dryden appears 'not to have availed himself fully of the treasures of his predecessor. He has pitilessly retrenched the whole scene, in the 3d act, between Ulysses and Achilles, full of the purest and most admirable moral precept, expressed in the most poetical and dignified language *. Probably this omission arose from Dryden's desire to simplify the plot, by leaving out the intrigues of the Grecian chiefs, and limiting the interest to the amours of Troilus and

• I need only recall to the reader's remembrance the following beautiful passage, inculcating the unabating energy necessary to maintain, in the race of life, the ground which has been already gained.

Ulys. Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
A great-siz'd nion'ster of ingratitudes :
Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devour'd
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As done : Perseverance, dear my lord,
Keeps honour bright: To have done, is to hang
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;
For honour travels in a strait so narrow,
Where one but goes abreast : keep then the path;.
For emulation hath a thousand sons,
That one by one pursue : If you give way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
Like to an enter'd tide, they all rush by,
And leave you hindmost.-
Or, like a gallant horse fallen in first rank,
Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
O’er-run and trampled on : Then what they do in present,
Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours :
For time is like a fashionable host,
That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand;
And with his arms out-stretch'd, as he would fly,
Grasps-in the comer : Welcome ever smiles,
And Farewel goes out sighing. O, let not virtue seek.
Remuneration for the thing it was ;
For beauty, wit,
High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
To envious and calumniating time.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
That all, with one consent, praise new-born gawds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past;
And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
More laud than gilt o'er-dusted.
The present eye praises the present object :
Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax;
Since things in motion sooner catch the eye,
Than what not stirs. The cry went once cá thee,

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