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Mart. The day wears,
Thier. Stand and mark then.
Thier. This hand, Martel :
Mart. Would I were she,
Ordella comes out from the Temple, veiled.
man, That may inherit such an infinite
As you propound, a greatness so near goodness,
Thier. Tell me this then,
Ordel. Many dead, sir, living I think as many.
Thier. Say the kingdom
. A general curse light on her heart denies it.
Ordel. You strangely stir me, sir, and were my weak
other flesh but modest woman's, You should not ask more questions; may I do it?
Thier. You may, and which is more, you must.
Ordel. I joy in't,
Thier. As ever' time discover'd.
Ordel. Let it be what it may then, what it dare,
Thier. But hark ye,
Ordel. Only her duty, sir.
Ordel. So is sleep, sir,
Ordet. Ordel. I do
Thier. And endless parting
Ordel. 'Tis of all sleeps the sweetest;
age blow out their lights, or rotten humours Bring them dispers'd to the earth.
Thier. Then you can 'suffer?
Thier. Martel, a wonder!
Ordel. I am, sir.
Thier. Dare you venture,
Ordel. With all but heaven,
And 99 There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. Eccles.
And what I must do, lady.
Ordel. You are the king, sir,
Ordel. Fear me not.
Thier. Thou shalt be sainted, woman, and thy tomb
(Pulls off her veil: he lets fall his sword.) Thier. Ha! Mar. O, sir, you must not do it.
Thier. No, I dare not.
Ordel. Strike, sir, strike;
Thier. First let the earth be barren,
100 I have always considered this to be the finest scene in Fletcher, and Ordella the most perfect idea of the female heroic character, next to Calantha in the Broken Heart of Ford, that has been embodied in fiction. She is a piece of sainted nature. Yet noble as Love
Martel relates to Thierry the manner of Ordella's death.
Mar. The griev'd Ordella, (for all other titles But take away from that) having from me, Prompted by your last parting groan, enquir'd What drew it from you, and the cause soon learn’d: For she whom barbarism could deny nothing, With such prevailing earnestness desir'd it, 'Twas not in me, though it had been my death, To hide it from her; she, I say, in whom All was, that Athens, Rome, or warlike Sparta, Have register'd for good in their best women, But nothing of their ill; knowing herself Mark'd out, (I know not by what power, but sure A cruel one) to die, to give you children ; Having first with a settled countenance Look'd up to heaven, and then upon herself, (It being the next best object) and then smild, As if her joy in death to do you service, Would break forth, in despite of the much sorrow She shew'd she had to leave you; and then taking Me by the hand, this hand which I must ever
the whole scene is, it must be confessed that the manner of it, compared with Shakspeare's finest scenes, is slow and languid. Its motion is circular, not progressive. Each line revolves on itself in a sort of separate orbit. They do not join into one another like a running hand. Every step that we go we are stopped to admire some single object, like walking in beautiful scenery with a guide. This slowness I shall elsewhere have occasion to remark as characteristic of Fletcher. Another striking difference perceivable between Fletcher and Shakspeare, is the fondness of the former for unnatural and violent situations, like that in the scene before us. He seems to have thought that nothing great could be produced in an ordinary way. The chief incidents in the Wife for a Month, in Cupid's Revenge, in the Double Marriage, and in many more of his Tragedies, shew this. Shakspeare had nothing of this contortion in his mind, none of that craving after romantic incide and flights of strained and improbable virtue, which I think always betrays an imperfect nioral sensibility.