« PreviousContinue »
Fal. These four came all-afront, and mainly thrust lion, and thou, for a true prince. But, lads, I am at me. I made me no more ado, but took all their glad you have the money. Hostess, clap to the doors; seven points in my target, thus.
watch to-night, pray to-morrow. Gallants, lads, boys, P. Henry. Seven why, there were but four even hearts of gold, all the titles of good fellowship come now.
to you! What! shall we be merry shall we have a Pal. In buckram.
play extempore ! Poins. Ay, four in buckram suits.
Þ. Henry. Content ; and the argument shall be Fal. Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else. thy running away.
P. Henry. Pr'ythee, let him alone; we shall have Fal. Ah! no more of that, Hal, an thou lor'st me. more anon.
First Part of Henry IP. Fal. Dost thou hear me, Hal ? P. Henry. Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.
Fal. Do so, for it is worth the list ning to. These [Falstaff arrested by his hostess, Dame Quickly.] nine in buckram, that I told thee of
To Falstaff and Hostess, with BARDOLPH and two Sheriff's P. Henry. So, two more already.
Officers, enter the CHIEF JUSTICE, attended.
Ch. Just. What's the matter? keep the peace here, Fal. Began to give me ground. But I follow'd melho! close, came-in foot and hand ; and with a thought,
| Host. Good, my lord, be good to me! I beseech you, seven of the eleven I paid.
stand to me! P. Henry. O monstrous !-- eleven buckram men
Ch. Just. How now, Sir John ! what, are you brawlgrown out of two !
ing here? Pal. But, as the devil would have it. three mis | Doth this become your place, your time, and business? begotten knaves, in Kendal green, came at my back. I You should have been well on your way to York. and let drive at me; for it was so dark, Hal, that
k a that Stand from him, fellow! Wherefore hang'st thou on thou couldst not see thy hand.
him ! P. Henry. These lies are like the father that begets
Host. O my most worshipful lord, an't please your them : gross as a mountain, open, palpable. Why grace, I am a poor widow of Eastcheap, and he is thou clay-brain'd guts; thou knotty-pated fool; thou
arrested at my suit. whoreson, obscene, greasy tallow-keech
Ch. Just. For what sum ! Fal. What, art thou mad !-art thou mad ?-is not
Host. It is more than for some, my lord; it is for
all, all I have. the truth the truth?
He hath eaten me out of house P. Henry. Why, how couldst thou know these men
and home; he hath put all my substance into that in Kendal green, when it was so dark thou couldst
fat belly of his : but I will have some of it out again, not see thy hand? Come, tell us your reason? What
or I'll ride thee o' nights, like the mare. say'st thou to this?
| Pal. I think I am as like to ride the mare, if I Poins. Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.
have any vantage of ground to get up. Fal. What, upon compulsion? 'No: were I at the Ch. Just. How comes this, Sir John ? Fie! what strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would not man of good temper would endure this tempest of tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on com
exclamation ? Are you not ashamed to enforce a pulsion ! if reasons were as plenty as blackberries, I poor widow to so rough a course to come by her own! | would give no man a reason upon compulsion, 1
Fal. What is the gross sum that I owe thee! P. Henry. I'll be no longer guilty of this sin ; this
Host. Marry, if thou wert an honest man, thyself sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horse back
e back and the money too. Thou didst swear to me upon & breaker, this huge hill of flesh !
Fal. Away, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat's tongue, you stock-fish. O for breath to utter what is like thee !--you tailor's yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck;
P. Henry. Well, breathe a while, and then to it again; and when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this.
Poins. Mark, Jack.
P. Henry. We two saw you four set on four; you bound them, and were masters of their wealth. Mark now, how a plain tale sball put you down. Then did we two set on you four ; and, with a word, outfaced you from your prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you here in the house ; and, Falstaff, you carried your guts away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roared for mercy, and still ran and roared, as ever A Goblet from the Boar's-Head Tavern, supposed to I heard bull-calf. "What a slave art thou, to hack
be that alluded to by Dame Quickly. thy sword as thou hast done, and then say it was in fight! What trick, what device, what starting hole, parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my Dolphin-chamber, at canst thou now find out, to hide thee from this open the round table, by a sea-coal fire, on Wednesday in and apparent shame?
Whitsun-week, when the prince broke thy head for Poins. Come, let's hear, Jack; what trick hast thou likening his father to a singing-man of Windsor ; now?
thou didst swear to me then, as I was washing thy Fal. By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that wound, to marry me, and make me my lady, thy wife. made ye. Why, hear ye, my masters. Was it for Canst thou deny it! Did not goodwife Keech, the me to kill the heir-apparent should I turn upon butcher's wife, come in then, and call me gossip the true prince? Why, thou know'st I am as valiant Quickly ? coming in to borrow a mess of vinegar, as Hercules; but beware instinct ; the lion will not telling us she had a good dish of prawns; whereby touch the true prince. Instinct is a great matter ; I thou didst desire to eat some; whereby I told thee, was a coward on instinct. I shall think the better they were ill for a green wound ! And didst thou not, of myself, and thee, during my life ; 1, for a valiant when she was gone down stairs, desire me to be no
more so familiarity with such poor people ; saying, Clerkenwell, and, as his opponents afterwards rethat ere long they should call me madam ? And didst minded him, failed completely as an actor. At the thou not kiss me, and bid me fetch thee thirty shil- same time, he was engaged in writing for the stage, lings! I put thee now to thy book-oath ; deny it, if either by himself or conjointly with others. He thou canst.
Pal. My lord, this is a poor mad soul; and she says, up and down the town, that her eldest son is like you : she hath been in good case, and, the truth is, poverty hath distracted her.
Ch. Just. You speak as having power to do wrong;
Enter a MESSENGER.
Fol. As I am a gentleman
Pal. As I am a gentleman. Come, no more words of it.
Host. By this heavenly ground I tread on, I must be fain to pawn both my plate and the tapestry of my dining-chambers.
Fal. Glasses, glasses is the only drinking; and for thy walls, a pretty slight drollery, or the story of the prodigal, or the German hunting in water-work, is worth a thousand of these bed-hangings, and these flybitten tapestries. Let it be ten pound, if thou canst. Come, if it were not for thy humours, there is not a better wench in England. Go, wash thy face, and draw thy action. Come, thou must not be in this quarrelled with another performer, and on their humour with me; do'st not know me? Come, come, fighting a duel with swords, Jonson had the misforI know thou wast set on to this.
tune to kill his antagonist, and was severely wounded Hast. Pray thee, Sir John, let it be but twenty himself. He was committed to prison on a charge nobles ; I am loath to pawn my plate, in good ear of murder, but was released without a trial. On renest, la !
gaining his liberty, he commenced writing for the Pal. Let it alone; I'll make other shift : you'll be
stage, and produced, in 1596, his Every Man in his a fool still.
Humour. The scene was laid in Italy, but the chaHost. Well, you shall have it, though I pawn my
racters and manners depicted in the piece were Enggown. I hope you'll come to supper ? *
lish, and Jonson afterwards recast the whole, and Fal. Will I live ?-Go with her, with her ; hook
transferred the scene to England. In its revised on, hook on,
[To the officers. | form, Every Man in his Humour' was brought out Second Part of Henry IV. at the Globe Theatre in 1598, and Shakspeare was
one of the performers in the play. He had himself
produced some of his finest comedies by this time, BEN JONSON.
but Jonson was no imitator of his great rival, who
blended a spirit of poetical romance with his comic The second name in the dramatic literature of this sketches, and made no attempt to delineate the doperiod has been generally assigned to BEN Jonson, mestic manners of his countrymen. Jonson opened though some may be disposed to claim it for the a new walk in the drama: he felt his strength, and more Shakspearian genius of Beaumont and Fletcher. the public cheered him on with its plaudits. Queen Jonson was born ten years after Shakspeare-in Elizabeth patronised the new poet, and ever after1574-and appeared as a writer for the stage in wards he was 'a man of mark and likelihood. In his twentieth year. His early life was full of hard- | 1599, appeared his Every Man out of his Humour, a ship and vicissitude. His father, a clergyman in less able performance than its predecessor. Cynthia's Westminster (a member of a Scottish family from Revels and the Poetaster followed, and the fierce Annandale), died before the poet's birth, and his rivalry and contention which clouded Jonson's aftermother marrying again to a bricklayer, Ben was life seem to have begun about this time. He had brought from Westminster school and put to the attacked Marston and Dekker, two of his brother same employment. Disliking the occupation of his dramatists, in the ‘Poetaster.' Dekker replied with father-in-law, he enlisted as a soldier, and served in spirit in his 'Satiromastix,' and Ben was silent fortwo the Low Countries. He is reported to have killed years, 'living upon one Townsend, and scorning the one of the enemy in single combat, in the view of world,' as is recorded in the diary of a contemporary. both armies, and to have otherwise distinguished In 1603, he tried . if tragedy had a more kind aspect, himself for his youthful bravery. As a poet, Jonson and produced his classic drama of Sejanus. Shortly afterwards reverted with pride to his conduct as a after the accession of King James, a comedy called soldier. On his return to England, he entered St Eastward Hoe, was written conjointly by Jonson, John's college, Cambridge; but his stay there must Chapman, and Marston. Some passages in this piece have been short-probably on account of his reflected on the Scottish nation, and the matter was stratened circumstances—for, about the age of represented to the king by one of his courtiers (Sir twenty, he is found married, and an actor in Lon-James Murray) in so strong a light, that the authors don. Ben made his debut at a low theatre near | were thrown into prison, and threatened with the loss
of their ears and noses. They were not tried; and sayings and deeds often to the worst; oppressed when Ben was sct at liberty, he gave an entertain- with fantasy, which hath ever mastered his reason, ment to his friends (Selden and Camden being of a general disease in many poets.' the number): liis mother was present on this joyous This character, it must be confessed, is far from occasion, and she produced a paper of poison, which being a flattering one; and probably it was, unconshe said she intended to have given her son in his sciously, overcharged, owing to the recluse habits liquor, rather than he should subinit to personal and staid demeanour of Drummond. We believe it, mutilation and disgrace, and another dose which she however, to be substantially correct. Inured to intended afterwards to have taken herself. The old hardships and to a free boisterous life in his early lady must, as Whalley remarks, have been more of days, Jonson seems to have contracted a roughness an antique Roman than a Briton. Jonson's own of manner, and habits of intemperance, which never conduct in this affair was noble and spirited. He wholly left him. Priding himself immoderately had no considerable share in the composition of the on his classical acquirements, he was apt to slight piece, and was, besides, in such favour. that he would and condemn his less learned associates : while the not have been molested ; but this did not satisfy conflict between his limited means and his love of him,' says Gifford ; . and he, therefore, with a high social pleasures, rendered him too often serere and sense of honour, voluntarily accompanied his two saturnine in his temper. Whatever he did was done friends to prison, determined to share their fate.' with labour, and hence was highly prized. His conWe cannot now ascertain what was the mighty temporaries seemed fond of mortifying his pride, and satire that moved the patriotic indignation of James; he was often at war with actors and authors. With it was doubtless softened before publication; but in the celebrated Inigo Jones, who was joined with him some copies of Eastward Hoe' (1605), there is a pas- in the preparation of the Court Masques, Jonson sage in which the Scots are said to be dispersed over waged a long and bitter feud, in which both parties the face of the whole earth ;' and the dramatist sar- were to blame. When his better nature prevailed, castically adds, But as for them, there are no greater and exorcised the demon of envy or spleen, Jonson friends to Englishmen and England, when they are was capable of a generous warmth of friendship, and out on't, in the world, than they are ; and for my part, of just discrimination of genius and character. His I would a hundred thousand of them were there literary reputation, his love of conviviality, and his (in Virginia), for we are all one countrymen now, high colloquial powers, rendered his society much you know, and we should find ten times more com-courted, and he became the centre of a band of wits fort of them there than we do here. The offended and revellers. Sir Walter Raleigh founded a club, nationality of James must have been laid to rest by known to all posterity as the Mermaid Club, at which the subsequent adulation of Jonson in his Court Jonson, Shakspeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Masques, for he eulogised the vain and feeble mo- other poets, exercised themselves with ‘wit-combats' narch as one that would raise the glory of England more bright and genial than their wine.* One of the more than Elizabeth.* Jonson's three great comedics, favourite haunts of these bright-minded men was Volpone, or the For, Epiccne, or the Silent Woman, the Falcon Tavern, near the theatre in Bankside, and the Alchemist, were his next serious labours ; Southwark, of which a sketch has been preserved. his second classical tragedy, Catiline, appeared in The latter days of Jonson were dark and painful. 1611. His fame had now reached its highest eleva- Attacks of palsy confined him to his house, and his tion ; but he produced several other comedies, and a necessities compelled him to write for the stage when vast number of court entertainments, ere his star his pen had lost its vigour, and wanted the charm began sensibly to decline. In 1619, he received the of novelty. In 1630, he produced his comedy, the appointment of poet laurcate, with a pension of a New Inn, which was unsuccessful on the stage. The hundred merks. The same year Jonson made a king sent him a present of £100, and raised his journey on foot to Scotland, where he had many laureate pension to the same sum per annum, adding friends. He was well received by the Scottish gentry, | a yearly tierce of canary wine. Next year, however,
was so pleased with the country, that he medi- , we find Jonson, in an Epistle Mendicant, soliciting tated a poem, or drama, on the beauties of Loch | assistance from the lord-treasurer. He continued lomond. The last of his visits was made to Drum writing to the last. Dryden has styled the latter mond of Hawthornden, with wliom he lived three works of Jonson his dotages; some are certainly weeks, and Drummond kept notes of his conversa- unworthy of him, but the Sad Shepherd, which he tion, which, in a subsequent age, were communicated left unfinished, exhibits the poetical fancy of a youthto the world. In conclusion, Drummond entered on ful composition. He died in 1637, and was buried his journal the following character of Ben himself :- in Westminster Abbey, where a square stone, mark
He is a great lover and praiser of himself; a con- ing the spot where the poet's body was disposed temner and scorner of others ; given rather to lose a vertically, was long afterwards shown, inscribed friend than a jest; jealous of every word and action only with the words, “O RARE BEN JONSON ! of those about him, especially after drink, which is
As a proof of his enthusiastic temperament, it is mentioned, one of the elements in which he liveth ; a dissembler
that Jonson drank out the full cup of wine at the communiou of ill parts which reign in him ; a bragger of some
table, in token of his reconciliation with the church of Enggood that he wanteth; thinketh nothing well but
land. what either he himself or some of his friends and
** Many were the wit-combats betwixt Shakspeare and Ben countrymen hath said or done; he is passionately Jonson, which two I behold like a Spanish great galloon and kind and angry ; careless either to gain or keep; an English man of-war : Master Jonson, like the former, was vindictive, but, if well answered, at himself; for any built far higher in learning ; solid, but slow in his performances religion, as being versed in both ;t interpreteth best Sbakspeare, with the English man-of war, lesser in bulk, but Jonson founded a style of regular English comedy, found, it is not a pleasing reality. When the great massive, well compacted, and fitted to endure, yet artist escapes entirely from his elaborate wit and not very attractive in its materials. His works, alto-personified humours into the region of fancy (as in gether, consist of about fifty dramatic pieces, but by the lyrical passages of Cynthia,'• Epicene,' and the far the greater part are masques and interludes. His whole drama of the · Sad Shepherd'), we are struck principal comedies are, ‘Every Man in his Humour,' with the contrast it exhibits to his ordinary manner.
lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides, tack about and take * An account of these entertainments, as essentially con advantage of all winds, by the quickness of his wit and intennected with English literature, is given at the close of this tion.'--Fuller's Worthies. article.
Besides the Mermaid, Jonson was a great frequenter of a club Drummond here alludes to Jonson having been at one called the Apollo, at the Old Devil Tavern, Temple Bar, for period of his life a Roman Catholic. When in prison, after which he wrote rules-Leoes Conviviales--and penned a welcome killing the actor, a priest converted him to the church of Rome, over the door of the room to all those who approved of the and he continued a member of it for twelve years. At the ex- true Phæbian liquor.' Ben's rules, it must be said, discountepiration of that time, he returned to the Protestant oommunion. ! nanced excess.
He thus presents two natures; one hard, rugged, gross, and sarcastic-- a mountain belly and a rocky face,' as he described his own person—the other airy, fanciful, and graceful, as if its possessor had never combated with the world and its bad passions, but nursed his understanding and his fancy in poetical seclusion and contemplation.
[The Fall of Catiline.]
Which out, it seem'd a narrow neck of land
Had broke between two mighty seas, and either
Flow'd into other; for so did the slaughter; Volpone,' the 'Silent Woman,' and the • Alchemist.'
And whirl'd about, as when two violent tides His Roman tragedies may be considered literal im
Meet and not yield. The furies stood on hills, personations of classic antiquity, robust and richly
Circling the place, and trembling to see men graced,' yet stiff and unnatural in style and con
Do more than they ; whilst pity left the field, struction. They seem to bear about the same re
Griev'd for that side, that in so bad a cause semblance to Shakspeare's classic dramas that sculp- | They knew not what a crime their valour was. ture does to actual life. The strong delineation of The sun stood still, and was, behind the cloud character is the most striking feature in Jonson's The battle made, seen sweating, to drive up comedies. The voluptuous Volpone is drawn with | His frighted horse, whom still the noise drove backward : great breadth and freedom; and generally his por- | And now had fierce Enyo, like a flame, traits of eccentric characters-men in whom some
Consum'd all it could reach, and then itself, peculiarity has grown to an egregious excess-are | Had not the fortune of the commonwealth. ludicrous and impressive. His scenes and characters Come. Pallas-like. to every Roman thought: show the labour of the artist, but still an artist pos- | Which Catiline seeing, and that now his troops sessing rich resources ; an acute and vigorous in- Cover'd the earth they'ad fought on with their trunks, tellect; great knowledge of life, down to its lowest | Ambitious of great fame, to crown his ill, descents; wit, lofty declamation, and a power of Collected all his fury, and ran in dramatising his knowledge and observation, with (Arm’d with a glory high as his despair) singular skill and effect. His pedantry is often mis- | Înto our battle, like a Libyan lion placed and ridiculous : when he wishes to satirise Upon his hunters, scornful of our weapons, his opponents of the drama, he lays the scene in the Careless of wounds, plucking down lives about him, court of Augustus, and makes himself speak as Till he had circled'in himself with death : Horace. In one of his Roman tragedies, he prescribes | Then fell he too, t'embrace it where it lay. for the composition of a mucus, or wash for the And as in that rebellion 'gainst the gods, face! His comic theatre is a gallery of strange, Minerva holding forth Medusa's head, clever, original portraits, powerfully drawn, and One of the giant brethren felt himself skilfully disposed, but many of them repulsive in Grow marble at the killing sight; and now, expression, or so exaggerated, as to look like carica- Almost made stone, began to inquire what flint, tures or libels on humanity. We have little deep What rock, it was that crept through all his limbs ; passion or winning tenderness to link the beings of And, ere he could think more, was that he fear'd : his drama with those we love or admire, or to make So Catiline, at the sight of Rome in us, us sympathise with them as with existing mortals. Became his tomb; yet did his look retain The charm of reality is generally wanting, or when I Some of his fierceness, and his hands still mord,
As if he labour'd yet to grasp the state
The magistrate, to call forth private men; With those rebellious parts.
And to appoint their day: which privilege Cato. A brave bad death!
We may not in the consul see infring'd, Had this been honest now, and for his country, By whose deep watches, and industrious care, As 'twas against it, who had e'er fall'n greater ? It is so labour'd as the commonwealth
Receive no loss, by any oblique course.
Sil. Cæsar, thy fraud is worse than violence. [Accusation and Death of Silius in the Senate House.]
Tib. Silius, mistake us not, we dare not use
| The credit of the consul to thy wrong; [Silius, an honourable Roman, hated by Tiberius Cear, the But only do preserve his place and power, emperor, and Sejanus, is unjustly accused in the senate-house | So far as it concerns the dignity by Varro, the consul. The other persons present are Domitius And honour of the state. A fer, Latiaris, and Cotta, enemies of Silius, and Arruntius and Arr. Believe him, Silius. Sabinus, his friends, with lictores and præcones, inferior offi- Cot. Why, so he may, Arruntius. cers of the senate.]
Arr. I say so.
And he may choose too. A fer. Cite Caius Silius,
T'ib. By the Capitol, Præ. Caius Silius !
And all our gods, but that the dear republic, Sil, Here.
Our sacred laws, and just authority
Afer. 'Please Cæsar to give way unto his trisl; Thou hast enjoy'd so freely, Caius Silius,
He shall have justice.
Sil. Nay, I shall have law;
Afer. Would you have more!
sil. No, my well-spoken man, I would no more ; But now, if after all their loves and graces
Nor less : might I enjoy it natural, (Thy actions and their courses being discover'd), Not taught to speak unto your present ends, It shall appear to Cæsar, and this senate,
Free from thine, his, and all your unkind handling, Thou hast defil'd those glories with thy crimes Furious enforcing, most unjust presuming, sil. Crimes ?
Malicious, and manifold applying, Afer. Patience, Silius.
Foul wresting, and impossible construction. sil. Tell thy moil of patience
Afer. He raves, he raves.
Hadst thou not Cæsar's warrant. I can see
Whose power condemns me. That some informer gapes for ? Is my strength
Var. This betrays his spirit. Too much to be admitted ? or my knowledge ?
This doth enough declare him what he is, These now are crimes.
Sil. What am I ? speak. Afer. Nay, Silius, if the name
Var. An enemy to the state. Of crime so touch thee, with what impotence
Sil. Because I am an enemy to thee, Wilt thou endure the matter to be search'd ?
And such corrupted ministers o' the state, Sil. I tell thee, Afer, with more scorn than fear : That here art made a present instrument Employ your mercenary tongue and art.
| To gratify it with thine own disgrace. Where's my accuser ?
Sej. This to the consul is most insolent! Var. Here.
And impious! Arr. Varro the consul.
Sil. Ay, take part. Reveal yourselves. Is he thrust in ?
Alas! I scent not your confed'racies, Var. 'Tis I accuse thee, Silius.
Your plots, and combinations! I not know Against the majesty of Rome, and Cæsar,
Minion Sejanus hates me ; and that all I do pronounce thee here a guilty cause,
This boast of law, and law is but a form, First of beginning and occasioning,
A net of Vulcan's filing, a mere engine, Next, drawing out the war in Gallia,
To take that life by a pretext of justice, For which thou late triumph’st ; dissembling long Which you pursue in malice! I want brain, That Sacrovir to be an enemy,
Or nostril to persuade me, that your ends Only to make thy entertainment more:
And purposes are made to what they are, Whilst thou and thy wife Sosia poll'd the province : Before my answer! O, you equal gods, Wherein, with sordid base desire of gain,
Whose justice not a world of wolf-turn'd men Thou hast discredited thy actions' worth,
Shall make me to accuse, howe'er prorok'd; And been a traitor to the state.
Have I for this so oft engag'd myself ! Sil. Thou liest.
Stood in the heat and fervour of a fight, Arr. I thank thee, Silius, speak so still and often. When Phæbus sooner hath forsook the day Var. If I not prove it, Cæsar, but unjustly
Than I the field, against the blue-ey'd Gauls Have call’d him into trial ; here I bind
And crisped Germans ? when our Roman eagles Myself to suffer what I claim against him ;
Have fann'd the fire with their labouring wings And yield to have what I have spoke, confirm'd And no blow dealt, that left not death behind it! By judgment of the court, and all good men.
When I have charg'd, alone, into the troops Sil. Cæsar, I crave to have my cause deferr'd, Of curl a Sicambrians, routed them, and came Till this man's consulship be out.
Not off, with backward ensigns of a slave, Tib. We cannot.
But forward marks, wounds on my breast and face, Nor may we grant it.
Were meant to thee, O Cæsar, and thy Rome! Sil. Why? shall he design
And have I this return ! did I for this My day of trial ! is he my accuser ?
Perform so noble and so brave defeat And must he be my judge?
On Sacrovir! (0 Jove, let it become me Tib. It hath been usual,
To boast my deeds, when he, whom they concern, And is a right that custom hath allow'd
Shall thus forget them.)