Imatges de pÓgina


And Silvia is myself; banish'd from her,
Is self from felf; a deadly banishment!
What light is light, if Silvia be not seen ?
What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by ?
Unless it be to think that fhe is by,
And feed upon the fhadow of perfection.
Except I be by Silvia in the night,
There is no mufic in the nightingale;.
Unless I look on Silvia in the day,
There is no day for me to look upon.
She is my effence; and I leave to be,
If I be not by her fair influence
Fofter'd, illumin'd, cherish'd, kept alive.

A beautiful Perfon petitioning (in vain).

Ay, ay, (16) and the hath offer'd to the doom,,
(Which unrevers'd stands in effectual force,)
A fea of melting pearl, which fome call tears:
Thofe at her father's churlish feet fhe tender'd,
With them, upon her knees, her humble felf;
Wringing her hands, whofe whiteness so became them,
As if but now they waxed pale for woe.
But neither bended knees, pure hands held up,

Sad fighs, deep groans, nor filver-fhedding tears,
Could penetrate her uncompaffionate fire.


Hope (17) is a lover's ftaff; walk hence with that; And manage it against defpairing thoughts.


I know fhe's his he has a tongue will tame
Tempefts, and make the wild rocks wanton.
Come, what can come,-

The worst is death-I will not leave the kingdom;
I'll fee her, and be near her, or no more.

(16) Ay, ay, &c.] This contradicts that fine paffage in Meafure for Meafure, A&t 1.

(17) Hope, &c.] See page 132, and n.

[ocr errors]

Slowness in Words, Woman's Virtue.

Speed. Item, fhe is flow in words. Laun, O villain! that fet down among her vices! To be flow in words is a woman's only virtue ; [ pray thee out with it; and place it for her chief virtue.

SCENE II. Love compared to a Figure on Ice.

This weak imprefs of love is as a figure
Trenched (18) in ice, which with an hour's heat
Diffolves to water, and doth lose his form.

Three Things hated by Women.

Pro. The best way is to flander Valentine
With falfhood, cowardice, aud poor defcent:
Three things that women highly hold in hate.

Duke. Ay, but he'll think that it is spoke in hate.
Pro. Ay, if his enemy deliver it:
Therefore it muft, with circumftance (19) be spoken
By one whom she esteemeth as his friend.

The Power of Poetry with Women.

Say that upon the altar of her beauty
You facrifice your tears, your fighs, your heart;
Write, 'till your ink be dry; and with your tears
Moift it again; and frame fome feeling line,
That may difcover fuch integrity;

For Orpheus' lute (20) was ftrung with poet's finews,


(18) Trenched.] i. e. cut, or carved, from the French trancher to cut.

(19) With circumftance.] i. e. with the addition of fuch' incidental particulars, as may induce belief. J.

(20) For Orpheus' lute, &c.] This fhows S's knowledge of antiquity. He here affigns Orpheus his true character


Whofe golden touch cou'd' soften steel and ftones;
Make tygers tame, and huge leviathans
Forfake unfounded deeps to dance on fands.




Who is Silvia ? what is fhe,

That all our fwains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wife is she;
The heavens fuch grace
That she admired might be..
Is the kind, as fhe is fair?

did lend her,

For beauty lives wtih kindness ::
Love doth to her eyes repair,

To help him of his blindness,
And, being help'd, inhabits there..
Then to Silvia let us fing,

That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing

Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.

A Lover's Reft..

ful. And fo, good rest..

Pro. As wretches have o'er night,, That wait for execution in the morn.


of legislator. For under that of a poet only, or lover, the quality given to his lute is unintelligible. But, confidered as a law-giver, the thought is noble, and the imagery exquifitely beautiful. For by his lute, is to be understood his Lyftem of laws; and by the poet's finews, the power of numbers, which Orpheus actually employed in thofe laws, to make them received by a fierce and barbarous people.. W. See alfo Love's Labour loft. A&t 4. Sc. 2.

SCENE III. True Love.

Thyfelf hat lov'd; and I have heard thee fay,
No grief did come fo near thy heart,
As when thy lady and thy true love dy'd;
Upon whole grave thou (21) vow'dit pure chastity.

Beauty neglected and loft.

But fince she did neglect her looking-glafs,
And threw her fun-expelling mask away,
The air hath ftarv'd the rofes in her cheeks,
And pinch'd (22) the lily tincture of her face.

The Power of Action. ·

And (23) at that time I made her weep a-good, For I did play a lamentable part;


(21) Upon whose grave thou, &c.] It was common in former ages for widowers and widows to make vows of chastity in honour of their deceafed wives or hufbands. In Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, page 1013, there is the form of a commiffion by the bifhop of the diocese for taking a vow of chastity made by a widow. It seems that, befides obferving the vow, the widow was, for life, to wear a veil and a mourning habit. The fame diftinction we may fuppofe to have been made in refpect of male votarifts; and therefore this circumftance might inform the players how Sir Eglamour should be drefied; and will account for Silvia's having chofen him as a person in whom she could confide, without injury to her own character. St.

(22) Pinch'd.] The colour of a part pinched, is livid, as it is commonly termed black and blue. The weather may therefore be justly faid to pinch, when it produces the fame visible effect. I believe this is the reafon why the cold is faid to pinch. Cleopatra says,

I that am with Phœbus' pinches black. 7. and St.

・(23) And, &c.] The ingenious Seward, one of the editors of Beaumont and Fletcher's works, obferves upon


[ocr errors]

Madam, 'twas Ariadne, paffioning
For Thefeus' perjury and unjult flight:


thefe lines of our author " that there is fomething extremely tender, innocent, and delicate in them; but his authors (Beaumont and Fletcher) are far beyond this praise in their allufion to the fame ftory. In the Maid's Tragedy, Afpatia forfaken by her lover (like Julia, in this play) finds her maid Antiphila working a picture of Ariadne: and after feveral fine reflections upon Thefeus, fays,


But where's the lady?

Ant. There, madam.

Afp. Fie, you have mifs'd it here, Antiphila;
Thefe colours are not dull and pale enough
To fhew a foul fo full of mifery,

As this fad lady's was: do it by me,

Do it again by me, the loft Afpatia,

And you fhall find all true, but the wild island.
Suppofe, I stand upon the fea-beach now,

Mine arms thus, and mine hair blown with the wind,
Wild as that defart, and let all about me,
Tell, that I am forfaken: do my face
(If thou had't ever feeling of a forrow)
Thus, thus, Antiphila: Itrive to make me look
Like forrow's monument: and the trees about me,
Let them be dry and leaflefs: let the rocks
Groan with continual furges, and behind me
Make all a defolation fee, fee, wenches,
A miferable life of this poor picture.

Whoever has feen either the original or print of Guido's Bacchus and Ariadne, will have the beft cominent on these lines. In both are the arms extended, the hair blown by the wind, the barren roughness of the rocks, the broken trunks of leaflefs trees, and in both fhe looks like Sorrow's monument. So that exactly, ut pictura poefis; and hard it is to fay, whether our authors or Guido painted best.”

Though no one, who reads this defcription, but must acknowledge it extremely fine, yet I admire that the gentleman who quoted it as a paffage fuperior to that in the text, did not confider, that they in reality would bear no comparifon: S. only jufts hints at the ftory of Thefeus and Ariadne, and that not as in picture, but as acted; thefe


« AnteriorContinua »