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ford over the Blackaven, half a mile or more below the old clapper bridge near East Mil tor. In 1826 Mr. Burt quoted Mr. Shillibeer to the effect that “ High Willows” (High Willis) and “West Mil tor” were then looked upon as bounds. The same authority evidently considered Sandyford, or Langsford, to be a ford over the West Ockment, and thus has helped to perpetrate that error until the present time. He also speaks of Sourton tor, or Stenaker tor-called, he says, in the 1786 perambulation, “Steynskatorr"—as a bound; but the present Sourton tor is two miles outside the Forest.
Between the HOLSTOCK FORD and Cosdon there is no bound mentioned in any record except that of Mr. Shillibeer. If the jurors went direct from the one to the top of the other,
was most probably the case, they would cross the intervening ridge between the two highest rock-piles of Belston tor, which is exactly the line of what is called " Irishman's Wall.” Is it not possible that this ruined stone fence was originally intended to mark the true Forest boundary, notwithstanding the common belief (mythical ?) that it is the remains of a newtake boundary, put up by certain encroaching Irishmen, whose wishes were frustrated by the aggrieved inhabitants of Belstone and the district round.
The drama in England, as in ancient Greece, burst into flower, bloomed, and began to fade, all within fifty years. From the appearance of Marlowe's Tamburlaine in 1587, for fifty years, the whole world's store of adventure was ransacked to supply our English playwrights with a sufficient variety of plots. As Heywood said, in 1627:
In our domestic or more foreign tongue.” Dramatic genius was full to overflowing amongst us during those fifty years. There was even a careless wastefulness of labour, so that many a writer, unequalled since that fruitful time, poured forth excellent works for the passing gratification of the playgoers, without any thought of future fame. Thus, of the 220 pieces wholly or chiefly written by Shakespeare's fellow-actor, the admirable Thomas Heywood, only twenty-five have come down to us. Some of these heavy losses have been recovered in our own time; and, amongst others, the pleasant and vigorous tragi-comedy, Dick of Devonshire, which is founded upon the familiar exploits of our local hero, “Manly Peek,” of Tavistock. I need hardly remind you that Richard Peek, being a gentleman of Tavistock, joined the expedition against Cadiz in 1625 as a volunteer; that when the fleet sailed home again with little credit, Peek stayed behind and won much personal glory by his pluck and skill, especially in beating off three fullyarmed Spaniards with his quarter-staff. On his return in 1626, being as ready with the pen as with the sword or staff, Peek wrote that lively account of his doings which was republished in the Transactions of our Association for the year 1883, under the auspices of Mr. Brooking Rowe. Our English people and their dramatists, painfully conscious of the diminishing of the national glory, caught eagerly at a story so refreshing as that of "Manly Peek”-a pleasant reminder that English heroism was not really dead, though it might be overshadowed by bad government. Consequently, Peek's adventures were turned into this capital drama, and most likely within a year or so of his return. Dick of Devonshire was printed, for the first time in 1883, by Mr. A.
1 All the extracts and most of the notes were made when Mr. A. H. Bullen kindly lent me his copy of the play three years ago.
Bullen, from a collection of written plays bought by the British Museum at Lord Charlemont's sale in 1865. This volume seems to have been bequeathed, with other plays, to Dulwich College by Cartwright the actor, towards the close of the seventeenth century. The plays, being exchanged in the middle of the eighteenth century for controversial divinity, found their way into the hands of Malone, the editor of Shakespeare; and probably Malone lent them to his friend Lord Charlemont, who forgot to return them. So much for the history of the play.
As to its workmanship, I think all competent critics will agree with Mr. Bullen's judgment. “The play of Dick of Devonshire,” he says in his preface, “is distinctly a wellwritten piece, the work of a practised hand. There is nothing amateurish in the workmanship; the reader is not doomed to soar into extravagance at one moment and sink into flatness at another. Ample opportunities were offered for displays of boisterous riot, but the playwright's evenbalanced mind was not to be disturbed. Everywhere there are traces of studious care; and we may be sure that a style at once so equable and strong was not attained without a long apprenticeship. Nor will the reader fail to note the lesson of charitableness and Christian forbearance constantly, yet not obtrusively, inculcated.”
Who wrote the play? On this point Mr. Bullen's opinion carries great weight, and he brings forward an urgent and yet a very reasonable plea in favour of Heywood.
“As to the authorship of the play” he says, "Though I should be loth to speak with positiveness, I feel bound to put forward a claim for Thomas Heywood. Through all Heywood's writings there runs a vein of generous kindliness; everywhere we see a gentle, benign countenance, radiant with love and sympathy. . Now when we open Dick of Devonshire the naturalness and simplicity of the first scene at once suggest Heywood's hand.
In the second scene, the spirited eulogy on Drake, and the fine lines descriptive of the Armada, are just such as we might expect from the author of the closing scenes of ths second part of If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody. Heywood was fond of stirring adventures : he is quite at home on the sea, and delights in nothing more than in describing a sea fight; witness his Fortunes by Land and Sea, and the two parts of The Fair Maid of the West. But the underplot bears even clearer traces of his manner. Manuel is one of those characters he loved to draw-a perfect Christian gentleman, incapable of baseness in word or deed. Few situations could be found more touching than the scene (iii. 3) where Manuel defends with passionate earnestness the honour of his absent brother Henrico, and tries to comfort his brokenhearted father. Heywood dealt in extremes. His characters are, as a rule, either faultless gentlemen or abandoned scoundrels. Hence we need not be surprised that Henrico exceeds other villains in ruffianism as much as his brother, the gentle Manuel, surpasses ordinary heroes in virtue. The character of Henrico's contracted bride Eleanora, and Catalina, the good wife of a vicious husband, are drawn tenderly and skilfully. Heywood's eyes were oftener dim with tears than radiant with laughter. Yet, with all his sympathy for the afflicted and fallen, he never took a distorted view of society, but preserved untainted to the end a perennial spring of cheerfulness."
In this very favourable opinion of Heywood, Mr. Bullen does but confirm the judgment of our most delightful critic, Charles Lamb. On the grounds of sweet courtesy and selfrestraint, which are very conspicuous in the play before us, Lamb allows Heywood almost to carry off the palm from Shakespeare.
“He possessed not,” he says, “the imagination of the latter ; but in all those qualities which gained for Shakespeare the attribute of gentle, he was not inferior to him-generosity, courtesy, temperance in the depths of passion, sweetness, in a word, and gentleness ; Christianism, and true, hearty Anglicism of feelings shaping that Christianism, shine throughout his beautiful writings in a manner more conspicuous than in those of Shakespeare, but only more conspicuous, inasmuch as in Heywood these qualities are primary, in the other subordinate to poetry. I love them both equally, but Shakespeare has most of my wonder. Heywood,” he concludes, “should be known to his countrymen as he deserves. His plots are almost invariably English.” 2
2 English Dramatic Poets, p. 430, Bonn, 1854.
It confirms Mr. Bullen's suggestion as to the authorship of our play, that "Dick of Devonshire” supplies just such an English hero as Heywood loved, and is remarkable for that gentleness in the midst of strength, and for that freedom from insular prejudices, for which Heywood is so deservedly commended.
The title-page has “The Play of Dicke of Devonshire. A Tragic-Comedy. Hector adest secumque Deos in prælia ducit”: i.e., Hector is here and brings to the battle Gods as companions.
The dramatis personæ include the Duke of Medina and other Spanish grandees, "Dicke Pike, the Devonshire soldier," two Irish friars, and, besides an English captain, Mr. Jewell and Mr. Hill, gentlemen of the fleet, and Mr. Woodrow, a fellow-prisoner. These three surnames are still familiar in Tavistock, and probably the author of the play took the trouble to find out and use some local names for the sake of verisimilitude.
The first scene opens at Cadiz, when the rumour of the coming of our fleet has thrown the town into alarm. The Spaniards speak well of English bravery, and commend even more highly English forbearance, which checked our soldiers from doing any violence to the people at the last attack on Cadiz; a compliment which Spanish citizens had little reason to repeat when English soldiers stormed Badajos some two hundred
later. In the second scene, two Devonshire merchants, “ being in Sherries,” having heard the rumour, first wish themselves back in Tavistock drinking small beer, then discourse very shrewdly of the enmity between Spain and England, speaking, contrary to popular opinion, as if our union with Spain under Phillip and Mary had been a great blessing to both countries. 1st Merchant. The hate a Spanyard bears an Englishman
Nor naturall is nor ancient; but as sparkes,
Grew this heart-burning 'twixt these two great nations.
Heare me; any Englishman,