« PreviousContinue »
visited the house the next day, and congratulated the family on their happy escape from so base and villanous an attack. The bodies of the dead rebels were removed and the house purified from the stains of their recreant rebel blood.
Faithful to his promise, Wentworth hastened to the gaol with the order for Farrell's release. The mother of the boy was seated on the pavement opposite the prison-door, and seeing the Major arrive said to him—
“May the blessed light shine on you for evermore, if 'tis my son you are going to give back to the widdy that's lonesome; but och, lose no time in letting him out. I have a car beyant the town, and we must be many miles from this before night; deep oaths are sworn to have the life of him that told the secret of last night's attack. Hurry, Major, a vourneen,* and the blessings of the fond mother be on you !
A few minutes sufficed to restore Ned Farrell to his doting parent, and Wentworth could not but applaud the intention of the woman to remove her son from the immediate scene of his conscientious breach of faith.
But Farrell was not destined to escape from the inveterate hate of his late associates. In a lonely part of the road the car was beset by four ruffians, who with their heavy bludgeons beat the wretched lad till they felt assured his life was extinct. His poor mother for many an anxious day despaired of his recovery; she had, by means of a trusty friend, informed Wentworth of her son's dangerous state. The Bartons afforded the sufferer medical aid, and supplied his home with comforts during the tardy period of his convalescence. He arose from his sick bed a reformed man.
Protected by the Bartons against any future outrage from the vindictive savages he had defeated, Ned Farrell prospered, and the sight of his honest thankful face, was some atonement to his benefactor for the misery of having gazed on such a spectacle as that of the unprincipled miscreant O’Dwyer.
Benson E. HILL.
THE PERILS OF PASSION ;
A DOMESTIC TRAGEDY, IN HEROIC METRE.
“ Whether or not my lays ye praise,
“ The Nonesuch," an unpublished Puem.
Mr. and Mrs. WHITE were quite “ a sight,"
+ My darling
Thus, ever mated, never sated, they—
“ Oh! is it so ?” said Moore, and drew close to her;
Wretch, for Jack Ketch to stretch too mean !” lie cries,
SHAKSPEARE's histORICAL PLAYS CONSIDERED
BY THE RIGHT HON. T. P. COURTENAY.
I now come to the worst of the historical plays, the three parts of Henry the Sixth. It has been doubted whether Shakspeare wrote any one of these, and it was the decided opinion of Malone and Farmer, from which, however, Steevens and Johnson dissented, that he did not write, or even re-model and adopt, the first part. I will not undertake to decide between these two pairs of critics ; nor indeed have I looked sufficiently into the evidence to justify a strong opinion. I am afraid that a play may contain a great deal that is bad, and still be the work of our poet; but, whether five acts of diversified writing, with scarcely one passage of eminent merit, can be Shakspeare's work, is more doubtful.
attach considerable importance to Malone's remarkt upon the dissimilar versification of this piece from that of the undoubted plays. Of this first play, the rhythm is neither appropriate nor agreeable.
On historical inaccuracies or contradictions no stress is to be laid. I am surprised that Malone, who has detected so many mistakes, should think it improbable that Shakspeare should in such matters be inconsistent with himself, As to the poet's carelessness, I do not think that Dr. Johnson overrates it.
I am afraid that the defects of the play must necessarily affect my commentary; and I really cannot find one good passage to relieve the unavoidable dulness of minute criticism.
Since, however, these plays are included in all editions of Shakspeare's works, and are read with the rest, by the youth of England, and I presume of Germany, it is equally my business to examine them, whether he wrote them or not. And let it not be supposed that I decide the question when I speak of the author as Shakspeare.
The First Part of Henry the Sixth opens with the corpse of Henry the Fifth lying in state in Westminster Abbey, surrounded by the Dukes of Bedford, Gloucester, and Exeter; the Earl of Warwick,f and the Bishop of Winchester, well known as Cardinal Beaufort.
Henry died in France on the 31st of August, 1422; and was buried in Westminster Abbey, with great pomp; and, doubtless, amidst the lamentations of his nobles and people. But Shakspeare would have done much better had he versified the panegyric of Holinshed, instead of giving such lines as these :
"Gloucester. England ne'er had a king until his time. Virtue he had, deserving to command ;
* Continued from No. ccxiv., p. 272. # Bosw., xviii. 4 ; and 560.
The dramatis persona contains only one Earl of Warwick : but this Warwick is the Beauchamp of the former plays, (cxiii. 45); whereas he who takes a more prominent part presently is the successor, Nevil, who became Earl in 1439.
§ It can hardly be necessary to say that Henry Beaufort was one of the sons of John of Gaunt, by Catharine Swinford, legitimated (except as to the crown) by Act of parliament. Thomas, Duke of Exeter, was another; they were great uncles to the king.
His brandish'd sword did blind men with his beams;
Than mid-day sun, fierce bent against their faces."
“ This Henry was a king, of life without spot; a prince whom all men loved, and of none disdained; a captain against whom fortune never frowned, nor mischance once spurned; whose people, him so severe a justicer, both loved and obeyed; and so humane withal, that he left no offence unpunished nor friendship unrewarded ; a terror to rebels, and suppresser of sedition, his virtues notable, his qualities most praiseworthy.
• In strength and nimbleness of body, from his youth, few to him comparable ; for in wrestling, leaping, and running, no man well able to compare. In casting of great iron bars and heavy stones, he excelled commonly all men, never shrinking at cold, nor slothful for heat, and when he most laboured, his head commonly uncovered; no more weary of harness than a light cloak; very valiantly abiding at needs both hunger and thirst; so manful of mind, as never seen to winch at a wound, or to smart at the pain, nor to turn his nose from evil savours, nor to close his eyes from smoke or dust; no man more moderate in eating or drinking, with diet not delicate, but rather more meet for men of war, than for princes, or tender stomachs.
“ Every honest person was permitted to come to him sitting at meal, where either secretly or openly to declare his mind. High and weighty causes as well between men of war and others he would gladly hear, and either determined them himself, or else for end committed them to others. He slept very little, but that very soundly, insomuch that when his soldiers sung at nights, or minstrels played, he then slept fastest. Of courage invincible, of purpose immutable; so wise-hardy always, as fear was banished from him: at every alarum, he first in armour and foremost in ordering. In time of war, such was his providence, bounty, and hap, as he had true intelligence not only what his enemies did but what they said and intended; of his devices and purposes, few before the thing was at the point to be done should be made privy.
“He had such knowledge in ordering and guiding an army, with such a gift to encourage his people, that the Frenchmen had constant opinion he could never be vanquished in battle. Such wit, such prudence, and such policy withal, that he never enterprised anything before he had fully debated and forecast all the main chances that might happen ; which done, with all diligence and courage he set his purpose forward. What policy he had in finding present remedies for sudden mischiefs, and what engines in serving himself and his people in sharp distresses, were it not that by his acts they did plainly appear, hard were it by words to make them credible. Wantonness of lies and thirst of avarice had he quite quenched in him; virtues, indeed, in such an estate of sovereignty, youth, and power, as very rare, so right commendable in the highest degree. So staid of mind and countenance besides that, never jolly or triumphant for victory, nor sad or damped for loss or misfortune. For bountifulness and liberality no man more free, gentle and frank in bestowing rewards to all persons, according to their deserts ; for his saying was, that he never desired money to keep, but to give and spend.
Although this story properly serves not for theme of praise or dispraise, yet what in brevity may well be remembered in truth would not be forgotten by sloth, were it but only to remain as a spectacle for magnanimity to have always in eye, and to have encouragement to nobles in honourable enterprises. Known it be therefore, of person and form was this prince rightly representing his heroical affects; of stature and proportion tall and nianly; rather lean than gross; somewhat long-necked, and black-haired;