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• Her. Dear madam, do not weep.
Duch. You're very welcome;
I have done; I will not shed a tear more
Till I meet Alvarez, then I'll weep for joy.
He was a fine young gentleman, and sung sweetly ;
An you had heard him but the night before
We were married, you would have sworn he had been
A swan, and sung his own sad epitaph.
But we'll talk o' the Cardinal.
Her. Would his death
Might ransom your fair sense! he should not live
To triumph in the loss. Beshrew my manhood,
But I begin to melt.
Duch. I pray, sir, tell me,
For I can understand, although they say
I have lost my wits ; but they are safe enough,
And I shall have them when the Cardinal dies;
Who had a letter from his nephew, too,
Since he was slain.
Her. From whence ?
Duch. I know not where he is. But in some bower Within a garden he is making chaplets, And means to send me one; but I'll not take it ; I have flowers enough, I thank him, while I live.
Her. But do you love your governor??
Duch. Yes, but I'll never marry him; I am promis'd Already..
Her. To whom, madam?
Duch. Do not you
Blush when you ask me that? must not you be
My husband ? I know why, but that's a secret,
Indeed, if you believe me, I do love
No man alive so well as you : the Cardinal
Shall never know't: he'll kill us both; and yet
He says he loves me dearly, and has promis'd
To make me well again ; but I'm afraid,
One time or other, he will give me poison.
Her. Prevent him, madam, and take nothing from him.
Duch. Why, do you think 'twill hurt me?
Her. It will kill you.
Duch. I shall but die, and meet my dear-lov'd lord,
Whom, when I have kiss'd, I'll come again and work
A bracelet of my hair for you to carry him,
When you are going to heaven; the poesy shall
Be my own name, in little tears, that I i
Will weep next winter, which congeal'd i' the frost,
Will shew like seed-pearl. You'll deliver it?
I know he'll love, and wear it for my sake.
Her. She is quite lost.
Duch. Pray, give me, sir, your pardon:
I know I talk not wisely: but if you had
The burthen of my sorrow, you would miss
Sometimes your better reason. Now I'm well.'
-vol. v. pp. 341, 342. Shirley is still more successful in a kind of romantic tragi-comedy, crowded in general with incident and adventure, often wild and extravagant, but always full of life and amusement; sometimes, as in the diverting play of the ' Sisters,' the comic part greatly predominating ; sometimes, as in the Young Admiral,' the interest being serious and tragic, but the catastrophe without bloodshed. It is not easy to give a fair notion of these pieces, by extracting single speeches or even scenes. It is the general effect of the whole drama, with all its intricacies of plot, however inconsistent, its rapid succession of perilous or diverting situations, however strangely brought about, and its varieties of character it is the animation, the excitement of the dramatized romance for such, as in a former article we attempted to explain, are all the plays of this school, which constitutes their chief excellence.
The • Brothers' is another drama of the same class, though less raised above the level of common life. In this play, the bustle and intricacy of a Spanish plot is mingled up with scenes of a kind of quiet pathos, in which Shirley, apt to overstrain the more violent passions, is often inimitably happy. There is something exquisitely touching in the following scene. Nothing is laboured,—nothing forced. The truth,—the simplicity of nature is perfectly preserved, while a hue of poetic fancy is thrown over the whole dialogue. Its very tranquillity is affecting, and a deep emotion is produced by the absence of all effort to produce emotion. Fernando, the elder son of Don Ramirez, is in love with Felisarda, the poor daughter of Theodoro, and the humble companion of Jacinta. Ramirez is supposed to have died in a fit of passion at the disobedience of Fernando, in refusing to pay his court to the rich heiress Jacinta, of whom his brother Francisco is enamoured. With his dying breath he disinherits Fernando, who is reduced to the most abject poverty.
· Fel. Why should I,
Give any entertainment to my fears ?
Suspicions are but like the shape of clouds,
And idle forms i' the air, we make to fright us.
I will admit no jealous thought to wound
Fernando's truth, but with that cheerfulness, ;
My own first clear intents to honour him
Can arm me with, expect to meet his faith
othing fored, while a tranquility is an effort to
As noble as he promis’d.-Ha! 'tis he.
My poor heart trembles like a timorous leaf,
Which the wind shakes upon his sickly stalk,
And frights into a palsy.
Fel. Shall I want fortitude to bid him welcome!
Sir, if you think there is a heart alive
That can be grateful, and with humble thought
And prayers reward your piety, despise not
The offer of it here; you have not cast
Your bounty on a rock; while the seeds thrive
Where you did place your charity, my joy
May seem ill dress'd to come like sorrow thus,
But you may see through every tear, and find
My eyes meant innocence, and your hearty welcome.
Fer. Who did prepare thee, Felisarda, thus
To entertain me weeping ? Sure our souls
Meet and converse, and we not know't; there is
Such beauty in that watery circle, I
Am fearful to come near, and breathe a kiss
Upon thy cheek, lest I pollute that crystal;
And yet I must salute thee, and I dare,
With one warm sigh, meet and dry up this sorrow,
Fel. I shall forget all misery; for when
I look upon the world, and race of men,
I find them proud, and all so unacquainted
With pity to such miserable things
As poverty hath made us, that I must
Conclude you sent from heaven.
Fer. Oh, do not flatter
Thyself, poor Felisarda ; I am mortal;
The life I bear about me is not mine,
But borrow'd to come to thee once again,
And, ere I go, to clear how much I love thee
But first, I have a story to deliver,
A tale will make thee sad, but I must tell it,
There is one dead that lov'd thee not.
Fel. One dead
That lov'd me not? this carries, sir, in nature
No killing sound; I shall be sad to know
I did deserve an enemy, or he want
A charity at death.
Fer. Thy cruel enemy,
And my best friend, hath took eternal leave,
And's gone—to heaven, I hope ; excuse my tears,
It is a tribute I must pay his memory,
For I did love my father.
Fel. Ha! your father?
Fer. Yes, Felisarda, he is gone, that in
The morning promis'd many years; but death
Hath in few hours made him as stiff, as all
The winds of winter had thrown cold upon him,
And whisper'd him to marble.
Fel. Now trust me,
My heart weeps for him ; but I understand
Not how I was concern'd in his displeasure ;
And in such height as you profess.
Fer. He did
Command me, on his blessing, to forsake thee.
Was't not a cruel precept, to enforce
The soul, and curse his son for honest love?
Fel. This is a wound indeed.
Fer. But not so mortal;
For his last breath was balsam pour'd upon it,
By which he did reverse his malediction ;
And I, that groan'd beneath the weight of that
Anathema, sunk almost to despair,
Where night and heavy shades hung round about me,
Found myself rising like the morning star
To view the world.
Fel. Never, I hope, to be
Fer. This was a welcome blessing.
Fel. Heaven had a care of both: my joys are mighty.
Vouchsafe me, sir, your pardon, if I blush,
And say I love, but rather than the peace
That should preserve your bosom suffer for
My sake, 'twere better I were dead.
Fer. No, live,
And live for ever happy, thou deserved'st it.
It is Fernando doth make haste to sleep
In his forgotten dust.
Fel. Those accents did
Not sound so cheerfully.
Fer. Dost love me?
Fel. Sir ?
Fer. Do not, I prithee, do not; I am lost,
Alas ! I am no more Fernando, there
Is nothing but the empty name of him
That did betray thee; place a guard about
Thy heart betime, I am not worth this sweetness.
Fel. Did not Fernando speak all this? alas,
He knew that I was poor before, and needed not
Despise me now for that.
Fer. Desert me, goodness,
When I upbraid thy wants. 'Tis I am poor,
For I have not a stock in all the world
Of so much dust, as would contrive one narrow
Cabin to shroud a worm; my dying father
Hath given away my birthright to Francisco;
I'm disinherited, thrown out of all,
But the small earth I borrow, thus to walk on ;]
And having nothing left, I come to kiss thee,
And take my everlasting leave of thee too.
Farewell! this will persuade thee to consent
To my eternal absence..
Fel. I must beseech you stay a little, sir,
And clear my faith. Hath your displeased father
Depriy'd you then of all, and made Francisco
The lord of your inheritance, without hope.
To be repair'd in fortune ?
Fer. "Tis sad truth.
Fel. This is a happiness I did not look for.
Fer. A happiness!
Fel. Yes, sir, a happiness.
Fer. Can Felisarda take delight to hear
What hath undone her servant ?
Fel. Heaven avert it.
But 'tis not worth my grief to be assured
That this will bring me nearer now to him
Whom I most honour of the world; and 'tis
My pride, if you exceed me not in fortune,
That I can boast my heart, as high, and rich,
With noble flame, and every way your equal ;
And if you be as poor as I, Fernando,
I can deserve you now, and love you more
Than when your expectation carried all
The pride and blossoms of the spring upon it.
Fer. Those shadows will not feed more than your fancies:
Two poverties will keep but a thin table;
And while we dream of this high nourishment,
We do but starve more gloriously.
Fel. 'Tis ease
And wealth first taught us art to surfeit by:
Nature is wise, not costly, and will spread
A table for us in the wilderness;
And the kind earth keep us alive and healthful,
With what her bosom doth invite us to;
The brooks, not there suspected, as the wine
That sometimes princes quaff, are all transparent,
And with their pretty murmurs call to taste them.
In every tree a chorister to sing
Health to our loves; our lives shall there be free
As the first knowledge was from sin, and all
Our dreams as innocent.