By W. HAWKINS, M. A. Rector of Little Casterton in Rutlandshire, late Poetry Professor in the University of Oxford, and Fellow of Pembroke College.


OXFORD, PRINTED BY W. JACKSON: Sold by R. and J. DODSLEY, in Pall-Mall; J. RIVINGTON and J. FLETCHER in Paternoster-Row; and W. OWEN, in Fleet-Street, London; J. FLETCHER and S. PARKER, in Oxford.


To the Right Honourable GEORGE HENRY EARL of LITCHFIELD.


ADDRESSES of this Nature, which are too often fulsom Offer­ings to Vanity, or servile Applications to Power, when made to Persons of real Worth and Honour, are at the same Time Compliments artfully paid by Authors to themselves..... While the Writer is descanting upon the high Birth, inflexible Probity, patriot Spirit, humane Dispo­sition, and the polite and literary Accom­plishments of his Patron, he insinuates himself into the good Opinion of his Reader, as one favoured with the Ac­quaintance, and honoured by the Coun­tenance and Regard of a Person thus [Page iv] amiable and illustrious..... I shall not pre­tend, my Lord, wholly to disclaim all Views of this Kind in the present Address I have the Honour to make to you; and accordingly should take a particular Plea­sure in enlarging upon the above, and other shining Qualities in your Lordship's Character, did I not recollect that I have no Right to gratify the Public, or myself, at the Expence of your Lordship's private and personal Satisfaction.

Indeed it is my present Interest rather to engage your Lordship's favourable Opinion of the following Performances; and I know nothing more likly to do this than an Assurance that I have aim'd by a suitable Variety to adapt myself to al­most all Sorts of Readers but immoral ones; that in some Pieces I have at­tempted to render the Graces of Numbers and the Embellishments of Poetry sub­servient [Page v] to the Interests of Virtue, and Religion; that in others I have offered such critical Disquisitions as I hope will afford at least a rational Entertainment to Men of Taste in polite Literature; and that in them all I have endeavoured occa­sionally to express myself with Dignity, Elegance, and Ease, which, by the way, are not more the Characteristics of good Writing, than of the Air, Manner, and Conversation of a certain Nobleman I have the Honour to be known to..... I look upon myself as apologizing to the Public when I am speaking to your Lordship, and therefore have said thus much from a perfect Sense of the Consequence it must be to me as an Author to se­cure your Lordship's Approbation of my Writings.

The Dedication of these to your Lord­ship will after all, I fear, be thought a [Page vi] trifling Proof of my Respect, and there­fore I desire it may however be consider'd as a sincere Testimony of my Gratitude for the many Favours you have been pleased to confer on me; the most mate­rial of which have been attended with this Circumstance of Credit and Satis­faction, that they are to be attributed to your Lordship's free and unsolicited Kindness, and Condescension.

The Obligations I am under to your Lordship are not of a Nature to be men­tioned here; but this Opportunity of expressing a due Acknowledgment of them in the most ample and public Manner, is with the greatest Pleasure taken by

Your LORDSHIP's Much oblig'd, Most respectful, and Obedient Servant W. HAWKINS.



Illustrated with NOTES, Critical and Explanatory, By SCRIBLERUS SECUNDUS.

Virginibus puerisque canto. HOR.

The THIRD EDITION, Corrected and Enlarged.



AS the Subject of the following Poem naturally led me to in­scribe it to one of your Sex, I could not but hope, that the Justness of the present Address, from one who has not the Happiness to be personally known to you, would be a sufficient Apology for the Presumption of it. But tho' I may have the Misfortune to incur your Displeasure, by offending your Hu­mility, I shall, even under the Sense of your Disapprobation, have the Satisfaction to reflect, that I have been guilty of a very artful Piece of Impertinence; since, by placing your Name before my Per­formance, I have taken the most effectual Method to recommend it to the Public.

[Page iv] Your Example, Madam, is a Reproach to the present indolent Generation; your Glory is not established upon the perso­nal Advantages you possess in so eminent a Manner; which, great as they are, your good Sense assures you, are, at the best, but the Subjects of present Admiration, and can never be the Basis of a lasting Fame.

Your Handy-work, Madam, which has very justly a Place among the Curi­osities of that famous University, of which I have the Honour and Happiness to be an inconsiderable Member, has rendered your Name immortal; and your nice Management of the Needle, that little, but important Implement of Oeconomy, has entitled you to the Reputation of the compleatest Housewife in Europe; a Cha­racter, to which all Virgins and Wives should aspire.

You have taught us to acknowlege, that the most minute Utensil of Art may, [Page v] by an ingenious Application of it, be made subservient, in the highest Degree, to the Honour of the Artist: A Pin, or a Needle, in your Hands, are Instru­ments as effectual for that Purpose, as the Poet's Pen, or the Hero's Sword.

I am at present, Madam, in a very perplexed Situation of Mind; I have the Pleasure to consider, that I am now upon a Subject that must be agreeable to all my Readers, and at the same time have the Mortification to recollect, that 'tis distasteful to yourself.

Though therefore all I could say in Commendation of your Merit, the World would think too little, yet, as what I have said you will think too much, I find myself under a Necessity of desiring your Pardon for this Liberty I have taken, and for another in the fourth Canto of this Poem, wherein I have pre­sumed to put a short Prediction, relating [Page vi] to your amiable Character, into the Mouth of the Queen of Love. This I need not otherwise have intimated, since every one must at first Sight perceive, that this Prediction is properly applicable to none but yourself.

After what I have said, Madam, may I venture to hope you have some Patience in Reserve for the Poem? 'Twas design'd for your Amusement, and, if that Design be answered, my Ambition is satisfied: And indeed, to say Truth, I have so thorough a Confidence in your good Na­ture, that I am persuaded you will look with a favourable Eye upon the following Performance, though not in Justice, yet in Pity to,

Your unknown humble Servant, The AUTHOR.


I Have always considered a Preface as an Author's Apology for his Perform­ance; in which he has an undoubted Li­berty of saying as much as he pleases in Favour of himself: As I cannot there­fore but be apprehensive of the Success of the following Piece, I must beg Leave to take this comfortable Privilege, as well as my Poetical Brethren. The principal Circumstances I have to urge in my own Behalf, are, that this Poem is the first Production of a young and unexperienced Author (excepting a few trifling Pieces in the Magazines); and that I am so far from bidding Defiance to the Critics, that I address myself to them in the modest and [Page viii] submissive Terms of, By your Leave,


As to the Poem itself, I have endea­voured, in some particular Passages, to imitate the Manner of Mr. Pope's Rape of the Lock, upon a Presumption, that such Imitation would be deemed meritori­ous in so young a Writer as myself. I ought likewise to acknowlege, that I had in View the Episode of the Patten in Mr. Gay's Trivia. How far I have reached the Spirit required in this Kind of Poetry, must be left to the Reader, to whose Can­dour and Judgment I submit the follow­ing Poem.



WHAT Art divine the shining Thimble found,
To shield the Finger militant around,
Now first my Verse reveals: Ye Virgins hear,
Attend ye Matrons, and ye Belles give Ear;
[Page 10] For you the Infant Muse essays to sing,
For you she flutters on her tender Wing;
To you the tributary Strains belong,
"Then take at once the Poet and the Song."
When Woman's chief Concerns were Love and Play,
And trifling was the Bus'ness of the Day;
When few one Hour of precious Time could spare,
To mend an Apron, or to say a Pray'r;
Fannia, the fairest of the female Train,
That shone at Court, or blest the rural Plain,
In the nice Toils of Industry was skill'd,
And knew with Art the Needle Spear to wield;
Whether she work'd the gayly-blooming Flow'r,
Or drew in ductile Silk the verdant Bow'r;
Here glow'd the spangled Firmament on high,
And all the Glories of the azure Sky:
Here wide expanded blaz'd the bright Abodes,
And Jove inthron'd above his Vassal Gods;
[Page 12] For Pallas' self had deign'd t' assist the Fair,
And more than human Workmanship was there▪
Sometimes she copied from the Earth below,
The spotted Lap-Dog, or the flaming Beau;
Or form'd the Bird, or shap'd the slender Tree;
A whole Creation in Epitome!
* Envy itself was dumb, in wonder lost,
And Ladies strove which should applaud her most.
Each Morn she work'd, but work'd with nicest Care,
To save her Finger from the fatal Scar:
For yet no Armour cas'd the Flesh around,
But Plaits of Silk, or sev'n-fold Paper bound.
Unhappy Fannia, that was wont to wield
The pointed Spear, without the bossy Shield!
Thrice happy Fannia, in the Gift bestow'd,
The Thimble Shield, the Labour of a God!
But now her Charms had swell'd the Trump of Fame,
And spread to distant Tea-Tables her Name;
[Page 13] Each cringing Fop around her Smiles implor'd,
Admir'd her Genius, but her Face ador'd:
Each sigh'd, and wept, and vow'd, her Love to gain,
But each had sigh'd, and wept, and vow'd in vain;
For Fannia triumph'd in her Beauty's Arts,
And view'd with Scorn whole Hecatombs of Hearts!
Yet most respected was a well-bred Lord,
And most respected, as he best ador'd:
His soft Address the coldest Dame might move;
Smooth were his Words, for ev'ry Word was Love:
Loaded with Lace, and deck'd in silken State,
He strutted, insignificantly great!
Affected Pomp, and Equipage, and Shew,
And all the Nothings that compound a Beau;
He danc'd, and sung, took Snuff, and crack'd a Fan,
And, at the best, but border'd upon Man.
Flambeaux perfum'd wide blaz'd his gay Approach,
And wanton Cupids breath'd upon his Coach.
[Page 14] * O Vanity! thou gaudy, tinsel Queen!
In Courts, in Cities, and in Country seen!
Eternal Fopp'ries in thy Presence reign,
And grinning Folly leads thy wanton Train;
Eas'd of it's Load, ev'n Dulness grows more light,
And Ignorance looks chearful in thy Sight;
Thou mak'st th' unmeaning Face with Pride to glow,
Giv'st Brightness to the Fool, and Beauty to the Beau!
Gay Cynthio daily kneel'd at Venus' Shrine,
And burnt sweet Incense to the Pow'r benign:
Oft too he crav'd Apollo's rhyming Art,
For tuneful Numbers melt the hardest Heart;
The Godhead half-consented to his Pray'r,
(The rest the Winds disperst thro' Fields of Air)
And gave him Wit enough—to please the Fair.
And now th' enamour'd Bard, half Wit, half Fool,
Wooes in Love-Songs melodiously dull;
His sweet-tun'd Strains the Fair one's Praise rehearse,
And crow'd all Nature's Beauties in his Verse:
[Page 15] Does Fannia smile? the Sun breaks forth to View;
Does Fannia weep? 'tis Morning's pearly Dew:
Whene'er she breathes, the fanning Zephyrs blow,
And for her Breast the Alps sustain their Snow;
Compar'd with her's, the finest Tinctures fail,
The Lilly reddens, and the Rose turns pale!
Thus his warm Suit the Beau with Art addrest,
And proudly triumph'd to be slighted least:
'Twas Rapture but to gain one balmy Kiss,
And fondly flutter round the Brink of Bliss:
Full of herself his Wishes she deny'd;
A Woman's ruling Passion is her Pride;
Enough impartial Favours to bestow
*On her lov'd Lap-Dog, and her fav'rite Beau!
Thus bless'd with ev'ry Joy this Life can boast,
The Ladies' Wonder, and the Coxcomb's Toast,
[Page 16] What could the Fair one's Peace of Mind annoy?
What could such solid Happiness destroy?
But ah! no human Pleasures are sincere:
Is there an Eye that never shed a Tear?
Fate rules o'er all; at whose severe Decree,
O'er the rich Gown flow Deluges of Tea;
Fate hurls the Mighty down to deep Disgrace,
And plows with lasting Scars the smoothest Face;
O'er all Things mortal acts with lawless Will,
And Fannia was, alass! but mortal still.
* When now the Morn had chas'd the Shades away
(O fatal Morn, and inauspicious Day!)
Fannia arose, and hail'd the grateful Light,
Shock'd at the horrid Visions of the Night;
Yet still strange Terrours all her Thoughts molest,
And Apprehension labour'd in her Breast.
Then, Betty, with dejected Look, she cry'd,
(Three Times on Betty call'd, and three Times sigh'd)
Some sad Mischance awaits me, e'er the Sun
Once more his Course from East to West shall run;
[Page 17] * Fantastic Slumbers have disturb'd my Brain,
And rack'd my Senses with a wakeful Pain;
And mystic Dreams (as bearded Matrons shew)
Are good Prognostics, or the Types of Woe.
Sure at this Hour some baleful Planet reigns:
Didst thou not mark, last Night, the Coffee Grains?
Methought the Taper's Flame was ting'd with Blue,
And Coals strange-shapen from the Embers flew.
Late as I wander'd in a lonely Grove,
E'er yet my Thoughts began to teem with Love;
A wither'd Gypsy whisper'd in my Ear,
"Misfortune shall befall thy twentieth Year;"
That fatal Period of my Life is come,
And ev'ry Hour swells big with Fannia's Doom.
Yet, O ye Pow'rs! preserve me from Disgrace,
Let me still keep my Virtue,—and my Face!
O! make my Bosom proof to Love's Alarms,
Protect my Youth, and shelter all my Charms.
* While thus the Maid presag'd Disaster nigh,
Great Jove conven'd the Senate of the Sky;
[Page 18] And, round assembled the celestial Clan,
He strok'd his Mustachoes, and thus began.
Aethereal Pow'rs, behold! in doleful State
Our best-lov'd Fannia moans approaching Fate;
See how she views yon glitt'ring Needle round,
Nor deems her Woe long destin'd in a Wound;
Shall we avert the Fair one's Doom to-Day,
Or shall we give the spleenful Fates their Way? 14
[Page 19] Of all the Damsels on yon earthly Sphere,
Like Fannia none our Deities revere;
Daily the Maid renews her pious Toil,
And Heav'n regales with Steams of fattest Oil;
* While yearly as the solemn Rites succeed,
Two milk-white Kittens on our Altars bleed.
So spoke the Sire of Men and Gods above;
And, smiling, thus rejoin'd the Queen of Love.
Father, 'tis just, this Pity to the Fair;
A helpless Maid is Jove's peculiar Care;
Bright Fannia shines the first of human Race,
In winning Sweetness, and in Bloom of Face,
Since my fam'd Fav'rite Helen's pow'rful Charms
Rouz'd Heav'n and Earth to dreadful Deeds of Arms;
For such a Maid shall Fate Distress ordain,
And spoil such Features with the Rage of Pain?
[Page 20] To whom the Goddess with the silver Bow;
Sister, thy Arts, by endless Proof, we know:
By thee seduc'd, the fairest Nymphs, among
My huntress Train, have left the Virgin Throng.
Fannia, my Vot'ry late, and chief Delight,
Whose Thought by Day was chaste, and Dream by Night,
Soon, I foresee, will fall thy Victim sure;
I mark her Bosom heave with Sighs impure,
When Cynthio twines her Hair, or twirls her Fan;
For there's Contagion in the Touch of Man!
Let not great Jove his own Decrees abate,
But leave th' abandon'd Virgin to her Fate.
Then slow uprose the God's majestic Queen;
Unjust, she cry'd, Diana, is thy Spleen:
Nor, Venus, claim thy softer Arts Applause;
Let Love be subject to connubial Laws;
[Page 21] So Fannia still may shine supremely fair,
Belov'd of Gods, and Heav'n's peculiar Care:
And Jove, the Horrours of her present Fate,
May, or remove, or kindly mitigate.
Next the great Pallas, blue-ey'd Goddess rose,
Not like the Pallas thund'ring midst her Foes,
When all-besmear'd with Dust, and Sweat, and Gore,
She bids the furious Voice of Battle roar:
A mild and graceful Air her Looks assume,
As when presiding o'er the peaceful Loom.
'Twas reason'd well, she cry'd, and, I beseech,
Thanks may be paid to Juno for her Speech.
Fate will have Way; and who shall stem its Tide?
Great Jove oppos'd not when his Hector dy'd!
The Wound, the beauteous Artist must endure,
Tho' cruel Fate inflicts, the Gods may cure.
Venus implor'd shall due Compassion take,
As well for Cynthio's, as for Fannia's Sake;
And Vulcan's Art a Target shall prepare,
Henceforth to shield the Finger of the Fair;
Thus shall the Perils of the Needle cease,
* And Hymen's Bands shall tie the Knot of Peace.
[Page 22] So be't, if so wills Jove.—The Parent God
Shook his ambrosial Locks, and gave the Nod.
Now sip th' Immortals their celestial Tea,
And quaff nectareous Draughts of Ratifia!
Apollo sung a Ballad, and the Nine,
With Tabor and with Pipe, in Concert join.
* Young Ganymede his Office dext'rous plies,
And all applaud the Footboy of the Skies.


NO sweetly-flowing Tale I now rehearse,
But Scratches, Wounds, and Bloodshed, stain the Verse:
Ye vet'ran Band of Milliners, give Ear,
And ev'ry Sempstress drop a pitying Tear!
O! listen to the Melancholy Lay,
While I recount the Horrours of the Day.
*O! for his Numbers, that describ'd the Shield
Of great Pelides issuing to the Field,
Or clad in Arms terrific from afar,
Or rushing dreadful through the Ranks of War!
The Virgin sat deep sunk in pensive Thought;
Betty, my Work, she cry'd; and Betty brought:
[Page 24] Oft have my Morning Labours sooth'd my Grief;
What Wretch e'er found in Idleness Relief?
How blind are Mortals in this hapless State;
We rush to Ruin, and embrace our Fate!
* Six Needles in tremendous Range appear,
Each a dire Emblem of the Warriour's Spear!
A while she view'd them all with careful Eyes,
Then grasp'd a Jav'lin of enormous Size;
Next, as impatient for the Toil she grew,
Her shining Scissars from the Sheath she drew,
Her Grand-Dame's Gift (as antient Memoirs say)
A just Reward for many a well-work'd Day!
With active Haste her nimble Fingers move,
Curl the gay Vine, and form the mimic Grove;
But as her Finger with resistless Force,
Through double Plaits pursu'd its rapid Course,
The treach'rous Needle broke,—the headless Dart
Deep-gor'd her Flesh, and pierc'd her—to the Heart.
The purple Blood distain'd her Arm around,
And half her Soul came rushing through the Wound;
Then, as her Bosom glow'd with sudden Fire,
She spurn'd her Lap-Dog in her peevish Ire;
Across the Room with furious Speed she flew,
And Tables, Chairs, and Cabinets, o'erthrew;
[Page 25] Her hideous Cries the vocal Walls resound,
Poll chatter'd, scream'd the Kitten, shook the Ground.
So when the * Greek, that with Immortals strove,
Wounded in impious Rage the Queen of Love;
To Heav'n's high Roof the Goddess rais'd her Cries,
And the harsh Shriek run thrilling through the Skies.
Here lay the Ruins of an ample Bowl,
The Pride and Comfort of her Grandsire's Soul;
This oft inspir'd the loudly-sounding Jest,
And crown'd with Jollity the Nuptial Feast;
Unhurt by Midnight Broils, uncrack'd by Age,
It fell the Wreck of Fannia's heedless Rage.
At length, fatigu'd with Anger, she survey'd
The fatal Massacre herself had made;
Then, as she sat all pensive and alone,
In secret Grief she made her piteous Moan:
So shuns a wounded Bird the feather'd Race,
And mournful in some solitary Place,
To Woods and Rocks he tunes the plaintive Lay,
And Echoes waft the gentle Sounds away.
And oh! she cried, Is this the dreadful Stroke,
Which Omens threaten'd, and which Visions spoke?
[Page 26] Ah! how have I incens'd the Pow'rs above,
What Crime provokes the Wrath of angry Jove?
Yearly my loaded Altars blaze in vain,
With plenteous Fat of purring Victims slain,
Doom'd as I am to Pangs of endless Pain;
Pale, meagre, ghostlike, how shall I appear,
In bright Assemblies of the Gay and Fair?
Old Maids will triumph with insulting Voice,
* And o'er their flowing Cups the Belles rejoice!
A sad Recluse, no longer must I roam,
But spin a tedious Length of Days at Home!
Ev'n Cynthio, cruel Cynthio, spreads my Shame!
Adieu to Love, to Conquest, and to Fame!
Did I for this my blooming Beauties grace,
And heighten all the Lustre of my Face?
For this before my Glass whole Hours beguile,
And heave my Breast, and force the killing Smile?
Or bid my Cheeks with artful Blushes glow?
Or teach the wanton Tresses where to flow?
Could I not Tasks less dang'rous undertake?
Refine the Jelly, or compose the Cake?
Or mould the pliant Paste with nicest Art,
And with high Ramparts fortify the Tart?
[Page 27] O blast that Day, ye Pow'rs, with Plagues severe,
When first my Fingers pois'd the pointed Spear;
Then may no joyful Sounds invade the Skies,
But ravish'd Maids Complaints, and Widows Cries;
Then be untun'd the Music of the Spheres;
Then may no Fiddle glad the Dancers Ears;
No Ballad then be sung with screaming Note,
Nor soft Airs warbl'd in the Eunuch's Throat;
Then may the Sun withdraw his chearful Light,
Nor pendent Lustres gild the Face of Night!
This said, with Silk her bleeding Flesh she bound,
While ev'ry Thought hung brooding o'er the Wound;
On Poll she cast a sad, desponding Look,
And patted Daphne with a feeble Stroke.
But now bright Lamps began the Midnight Day,
And blazing Flambeaux drove the Stars away;
The Fair expects her Beau with anxious Fears,
When at his wonted Hour the Fop appears.
With conscious Shame her Finger she withdrew,
Nor durst expose the fatal Wound to View:
Long he survey'd (for Love takes all Alarms)
With deep Surprize her disconcerted Charms;
Then, sweet and tuneful as the dying Swan,
In soft, condoling Words he thus began:
What sad Mischance, what unfear'd Danger nigh,
Flushes that Cheek, and dims that sparkling Eye?
[Page 28] Lies some near Friend upon his dying Bed?
Or has the Light'ning struck thy Monkey dead?
Has the fell Mercer just produc'd his Score,
And having trusted long, will trust no more?
Or didst thou mark last Ev'ning at the Play,
A richer Virgin, or a Nymph more gay?
Say, does my Fair for brighter Gems repine?
Each India's choicest Diamonds shall be thine:
For thee the East its Treasures shall unfold,
And Earth unbosom all her Hoards of Gold:
O name thy Wants, and tell me thy Distress,
Care shall remove, or Pity make it less.
This said, (and sure his Lordship said enough)
With Elegance he took a Pinch of Snuff.
Then she: No Language can my Grief remove,
Nor all the Pow'rs of Hartshorn, and of Jove;
Cynthio, thy Truth alone can give me Aid,
And skreen from sad Reproach a wretched Maid!
If in each deep-fetch'd Sigh, each falling Tear,
Each solemn Vow thy Heart has been sincere,
By Secrecy thy fair Affection prove;
For Silence is the noblest Mark of Love.
Ev'n Fannia sues this Favour to obtain,
Fannia that never su'd to Man in vain.
She said, and fix'd her Eyes upon the Ground,
And with a Blush disclos'd the reeking Wound.
Shock'd at the Sight of Blood, replied the Peer,
'Tis done, and this was Cynthio's greatest Fear;
Oft have I seen thy bright Embroid'ry shine,
Oft have I curst the perilous Design:
Thou, born to flourish in the Pride of State,
Idly secure, and indolently great,
Had'st nought to do with dang'rous Feats of Arms;
Such Conflicts suit not with a Lady's Charms:
Domestic Toils the servile female grace,
Enough for thee to glory in a Face!
How rash was she, that grasp'd the Needle first?
Pernicious Weapon, Instrument accurst!
'Twas *this, that once destroy'd a British Maid,
Her Needle's Point to ling'ring Death betray'd;
In those sad Vaults, where Horrour spreads her Wings,
Where rest the Bones of Poets, and of Kings,
The hapless Fair in Marble Record stands,
The Victim of her own industrious Hands!
O call to Mind her Life, and Beauty lost,
Dread all edg'd Tools, but dread the Needle most!
Why down thy Cheek descends the pearly Rill?
Fannia is wounded, but is Fannia still:
The sad Disgrace with patient Heart endure,
Nor Cynthio shall divulge, but wait the Cure:
[Page 30] This Night my Soul shall breathe a fervent Pray'r,
And deprecate the Horrours of the Scar;
Thy wounded Finger Venus shall restore,
But, vent'rous Beauty, trust to Steel no more.
So spoke the Peer, to sooth the drooping Maid,
And his vast Stores of Eloquence display'd:
Lull'd by his melting Words her Terrours cease,
And the soft Sounds restor'd her wonted Peace:
At length, the mighty Theme exhausts his Art,
And empty'd all the Nonsense of his Heart.
But now the Tea remov'd, the Prattle o'er,
And all the Scandal of the Day before,
The Baron took his Leave, and left the Fair,
And his gilt Chariot rattled o'er the Square.
Fannia, at length, in Slumbers clos'd her Eyes,
And Men and Monkies in Delusion rise.


NOW all lay hush'd *in solitary Night,
And distant Stars diffus'd a solemn Light;
The World appear'd a desert, silent Scene,
And all around was dreadfully serene;
Now ghastly stalk'd a melancholy Train,
By Knife, by Halter, and by Poison slain;
Whose woful Mem'ries Grub-street Bards prolong,
In dismal Story, or in doleful Song:
Nor School-boys Shout was heard, nor Carman's Roar,
Ev'n Winds were still, and Women spoke no more:
The Sons of Men dissolv'd in Slumbers lay,
And Slaves, and Kings forgot the Toils of Day.
But wakeful Cares disturb'd the Baron's Brain,
And weary'd Nature call'd for Rest in vain;
Anxious to ease the sadly-wounded Fair,
To Venus he address'd his Midnight Pray'r:
Great Paphian Queen, bright Deity of Love,
Whom all below confess, and all above,
[Page 32] If e'er with Gifts thy Altars I have crown'd,
Or deck'd with flow'ry Wreaths thy Shrine around;
If I have taught my tender Soul to own
No Pow'rs but thee, and thy all-conqu'ring Son;
If by thy Aid I ken Love's secret Fire,
Each budding Wish, and ev'ry fond Desire;
Read in the Virgin's Eyes her inward Smart,
And know each Symptom of a Lovesick Heart;
Renew thy Favours oft bestow'd before,
And hear me now, or never hear me more.
Behold my Fannia, late a Virgin bright,
As Love can fancy, or as Verse can write;
Now see her sad, dejected, and forlorn,
That once was chearful as the rising Morn;
With all-consuming Grief she wastes away,
Ev'n She, the Fair, the Witty, and the Gay;
Pensive she moans her wounded Finger's Smart,
And sinks from all her Loftiness of Heart.
O grant my Boon, and ease the Virgin's Pain,
Ease it, to bless Mankind, and me again;
With sovereign Balm the shameful Scar remove,
And teach! O teach her to relent to Love!
So shall each Beau with Spleen and Envy see
The Mistress of the World subdu'd by me;
The yielding Fair shall ev'ry Charm resign,
And Hymen shall our Hearts in lasting Union join.
Thus far with wakeful Zeal the Baron said,
Slumbers ensu'd, and nods the heavy Head.
Venus with Pity heard the Beau's Request,
And thus the stripling God of Love address'd:
My Son, thy Bow and keenest Shafts prepare;
'Tis thine to humble this imperious Fair:
Enough the Maid has seen with high Disdain
The Coxcomb's Anguish, and the Fopling's Pain;
At length, herself shall own Love's pow'rful Sway
(For all must once the Laws of Love obey)
And slighted Beaux shall bless the Vengeance of this Day.
Cynthio the Bright that yonder sleeping lies,
Whose Fires perpetual on my Altars rise,
In vain, the Force of ev'ry pleasing Art
Has try'd, to soften that obdurate Heart:
To him the Fair her Beauties shall resign,
His be the glorious Prize, the Conquest thine.
But first some sov'reign Med'cine must be found,
To ease the Torments of the fatal Wound;
And see! within this Crystal are contain'd
Drops, which from wholsom Herbs long since were drain'd;
The wholsom Herbs in Jove's fam'd *Island grow,
And flourish fresh on Ida's lofty Brow:
[Page 34] 'Twas this my best-lov'd *Offspring once restor'd,
When all Troy trembl'd for her wounded Lord:
This healing Juice shall cure the Virgin's Pain,
And Fannia's Smiles shall chear the World again.
Hence, let us quick, my Son, to Earth repair,
This Night shall be fulfill'd the Baron's Pray'r.
She said, and o'er her snowy Shoulders threw
A shining Mantle of an azure Hue;
Two silken Knots her flowing Hair divide,
And Cupid arm'd came smiling by her Side:
Wrap'd in a sable Cloud they took their Way,
Like Lightning darting through the Realms of Day;
Swift as they past, Perfumes divine they shed,
And now hung hov'ring o'er the Virgin's Bed:
O'er the wide Room a Taper's steady Light
Cast a pale Lustre, and dispell'd the Night:
The lofty Cieling, glorious to behold,
Was carv'd, and studded o'er with Stars of Gold:
The ample Walls vast Folds of Tap'stry grace;
Here bright Diana seem'd to urge the Chace,
Panting behind her came her Virgin Train,
And the huge Boar ran foaming o'er the Plain;
Here Daphne sought the Shelter of the Wood,
And here with eager Steps the God pursu'd:
[Page 35] * Pleas'd Venus saw; at length herself survey'd,
Fondly lamenting o'er Adonis dead;
At that sad Scene her Tears began to flow,
And her Breast labour'd with the former Woe:
She turn'd aside, new Objects to explore,
Nor durst behold the fatal Image more.
Here a rich Structure's stately Bulk was set,
Whose golden Figures blaz'd on Plains of Jet;
From India's farthest Coast the Fabrick came,
A Lover's Off'ring to the haughty Dame:
Here the rich Vest, and sparkling Diamond lay,
All Beauty's pleasing, terrible Array!
The spacious Top whole Groups of China grace,
Of Men and Beasts, a vast promiscuous Race;
Two rampant Lions at each Corner stood,
The dreadful Guardians of the sacred Wood;
Sullen the brittle Savages look'd down,
And the terrific China seem'd to frown.
Th' Immortals next the well-wrought Bed survey'd,
Where lay, dissolv'd in Sleep, the lovely Maid;
[Page 36] Wrapt in sweet Dreams of Conquest, Love, and Play;
Pleas'd she renew'd the Triumphs of the Day;
Disdainful * ev'n in Slumbers she grew vain,
And practis'd all her Conquests o'er again,
And thrice she vanquish'd all her Beaux, and thrice she slew the Slain.
Her Watch of Gold hung pendent o'er her Head,
And deck'd with glitt'ring Pomp the lofty Bed;
It strikes, as ev'ry rapid Hour glides round;
It strikes, Mortality is in the Sound!
Oh! did the Belles, while yet in Beauty's Prime,
Take warning from these Records of their Time;
Think ev'ry Year may steal away a Grace,
And prey unheeded on the fairest Face;
Conscious of fading Charms they'd lay aside,
Each Art coquetish, and each Air of Pride;
Nor blast their Lovers Hopes by long Delay,
But yield those Beauties, which must soon decay!
Venus, at length, a golden Quill espy'd,
That once adorn'd a gaudy Peacock's Side,
[Page 37] (This pen'd the Fair one's Thoughts with wond'rous Art,
And told the soft Emotions of her Heart;
Describ'd her inmost Soul, without Disguise,
And Truths deny'd to Man's unhallow'd Eyes)
Lo! in the sacred Drops the shining Plume
She dyes, and heav'nly Odours fill the Room;
With this she gently bath'd the swelling Wound,
It heal'd, it clos'd, and all the Part was sound.
Cupid beheld, and, Be that Glory thine,
He cry'd, but now behold a Work of mine:
Coy Maids, and haughty Belles revere me all,
Beauty must yield, and Woman's Pride must fall:
For now an inward Pang the Fair shall feel,
Not all the Pow'rs of Heav'n and Earth can heal.
He said; he bit his Lip, and drew his Bow,
And view'd exulting the defenceless Foe;
Then, with malicious Zeal, he shot the Dart,
That fatal lodg'd deep sunk in Fannia's Heart.
Then thrice was heard the wounded Virgin's Groan;
And thrice the Parrot scream'd his hideous Moan;
Thrice bark'd the Lap-Dog from his downy Bed,
And thrice the Kitten rear'd her drowsy Head!
Alas! how short-liv'd is all human Pow'r!
The Pride of Years is blasted in an Hour:
All the gay Plans of Conquest, all the Schemes
The Maid had form'd, are fled like Morning Dreams;
[Page 38] The Baron shall possess her Beauty's Store,
And Fanny must insult Mankind no more.
Then Venus thus address'd the sleeping Fair:
O Thou, thrice blest in Heav'n's peculiar Care,
Thou, that can'st all the Gifts of Nature boast,
Charge of Immortals, and the Mortals Toast;
Revere the Counsels of the Pow'rs above,
Forego thy Empire, and submit to Love;
Here cease the Triumphs of thy conqu'ring Charms,
Decreed by Fate to Cynthio's faithful Arms:
Nor with Reluctance yield; for thou, bright Maid,
Enough hast rul'd, and Man enough obey'd:
Bless this auspicious Night, nor henceforth fear
To lift with artful Hand the pointed Spear;
Safely the dang'rous Weapon shalt thou wield,
Thy Finger guarded by a sacred Shield:
Vulcan himself the Target shall prepare,
That arms for Fight the gallant God of War:
So shall thy Needle still extend thy Fame,
And Ages yet to come admire thy Name;
The pleasing Tale shall dwell on ev'ry Tongue,
And grace the Numbers of some Poet's Song;
And each bright Virgin, each industrious Fair,
Hereafter fearless of the fatal Scar,
My Name shall high-extol with grateful Praise,
While purrs the Kitten, and the Lap-Dog bays;
[Page 39] While Winds shall breathe, and rapid Rivers flow;
And am'rous Sonnets sooth the Love-sick Beau.
But let us hence, my Son, with Speed away,
E'er yet the Morning ushers in the Day;
Next Aetna's gloomy Caverns we'll explore,
Where Vulcan's everlasting Forges roar.
She said; and straight they glided on unseen,
Swift as the filmy Mists that skim the Green.


WHERE fabled Aetna's *dreadful Sum­mits rise,
Whose fiery Womb with Sulphur taints the Skies,
Deep in the Cave lies Vulcan's dark Abode,
The Dwelling of the great mechanic God:
Scarce can the distant Sun's enliv'ning Ray,
Pierce the thick Gloom, and shed a doubtful Day:
[Page 40] In this dire Vault he toils with panting Breath,
Reddens the Bolt, and shapes the missive Death,
That from the Hand of Jove in Vengeance hurl'd,
Roars through th' Expanse of Heav'n, and shakes the World;
Or brighten's round Minerva's Gorgon Shield,
That blazes to the Sun, and burns along the Field;
The huge-limb'd Cyclops wait his dread Command,
A servile Train, a grim gigantic Band.
His Goods about his Shop in Order lay,
Here the sharp Bodkin, there the crafty Key;
Old rusty Arms around the Walls appear,
The blunted Faulchion, and the pointless Spear;
Here hang the batter'd Shields, which Heroes wore
In Ages past, at Ilion's fatal Shore:
The massy Relicks not ten Beaux could raise,
The gentle Warriours of these latter Days.
To these dark Regions of eternal Night
The mighty Pow'rs of Love direct their Flight;
Ambrosial Zephyrs all around them play,
And gently fan th' unwholsome Fogs away:
Soon as they enter'd, all the swarthy Band
Drop their unfinish'd Labours from their Hand;
The heav'nly Form they view'd with wond'ring Eyes,
And, in a silent Grin, confest Surprize.
[Page 41] At length, elate exclaims the limping God,
What drew my Fair one from her blest Abode?
Why hast thou left the peaceful Realms above?
Why to these dreary Mansions dost thou rove,
Where foul Contagion hovers in the Air,
And sultry Vapours blast the blooming Year?
Name it, whate'er it be, O! name thy Boon,
Nor thou can'st ask, nor I can grant too soon.
Then thus began the beauteous Queen of Love:
O! thou, that form'st the forked Bolts of Jove;
Whose Art can teach the stubborn Brass to yield,
Point in the Spear, or widen in the Shield;
Thou, that didst clad in Steel my *fav'rite Boy,
That bravely led the poor Remains of Troy;
An equal Task demands thy nicest Care,
Nor arm the Hero now, but arm the Fair:
I ask not Weapons, such as wont to grace
The valiant Damsels of the Scythian Race;
A little Target shape with curious Care,
To shield the Finger in the Toils of War;
The Gift to Fannia shall Relief impart,
The first in Beauty, as the first in Art:
Wounded she pines, nor dares again to wield
The Instrument of Blood without a Shield;
[Page 42] This shall secure the Fair from future Pain,
And bless for ever all the female Train.
Then when some Nymph, howe'er that Nymph be nam'd,
For the nice Conduct of the Needle fam'd,
Like Fannia now, the Pride of Womankind,
In Person equal, greater far in Mind,
Admir'd by all, yet never vain of Pow'r,
In shining Silk, shall form the lively Flow'r;
Her solid Shield the Fair one shall survey,
And grateful call to Mind this happy Day.
O! haste then to the glorious Task. She said;
* The Smith, the Husband, and the God obey'd;
The savage Crew with Emulation strove,
Impatient to oblige the Queen of Love:
With sudden Rage the roaring Forges glow,
And Anvils thunder underneath the Blow;
The God quick deals his Arms, the Clangs rebound,
And the wide Vaults rebellow to the Sound;
The pliant Steel in various Forms they twine,
And elegantly shape the Work divine.
Then Vulcan thus: The animated Steel
The deep Impression of your Tools must feel:
[Page 43] Here let myself, and here let Venus stand,
The new-made Armour blazing in her Hand;
Here let the Virgin's Implements of War,
The pond'rous Scissars and the Needle Spear,
And all the bright Artillery appear:
Let Fame above the glorious Work resound,
And Bands of Flow'rs adorn the Border round.
Soon at their Touch th' expressive Figures rise,
And breathe and glitter to the distant Skies.
Behold! he cry'd, the bright Original,
This future Ages shall THE THIMBLE call!
Happy, thrice happy she, the mortal Fair,
Whose Finger first the sacred Shield shall wear.
Then, with a limping Step, and aukward Mien,
He gave the shining Present to his Queen:
Enamour'd he beheld her pleasing Charms,
And gently clasp'd her in his sooty Arms:
Averse, the Goddess turn'd aside her Face,
And with Reluctance met the foul Embrace.
Then, from the dreary Cave they mount to Day,
And to the Baron's House direct their Way.
Lost in a pleasing Dream the Beau was laid,
And thus the bright celestial Vision said:
Cynthio awake, and seize thy Fannia's Charms,
Take her for ever to thy faithful Arms;
[Page 44] Her outward cur'd, she feels an inward Pain,
And Love impetuous glows in ev'ry Vein;
Give her this Target, made by Vulcan's Art,
To guard her Finger from the Needle's Dart;
Secur'd by this, undaunted she may rear,
And fearless shake the long tremendous Spear:
So shall far distant Times admire her Name,
And crown her Labours with eternal Fame.
She said, and left the Shield, the Gift bestow'd,
And with her Son pursu'd the heav'nly Road.
But now the Morn shot forth a feeble Ray,
And ting'd the Mountains with the Blush of Day;
Uprose the joyful Baron, straight he spies
The Thimble Shield, and grasps the shining Prize;
The Work divine with Wonder he survey'd,
And Homage due to Cytherea paid:
With Care he deck'd his Person out that Day,
Artfully fine, deliberately gay;
Adorn'd with Gold that shone with gaudy Shew,
He traverses the Room a finish'd Beau!
Then eager to embrace his much-lov'd Fair,
In stately Pomp he mounts his gilded Car.
Soft on her downy Couch the Nymph was laid,
The Midnight Dream revolving in her Head;
Her blooming Cheeks with conscious Blushes glow,
And her Heart flutter'd for her charming Beau:
[Page 45] When lo! he comes: Love flashes from his Eyes,
Unusual Raptures in her Bosom rise!
Then to the Fair he gave the Gift bestow'd,
The sacred Shield, the Labour of a God:
Joyful she view'd the Workmanship around,
Heal'd of her last, and safe from future Wound:
'Twas in that Hour the Beau his Passion prest,
'Twas in that Hour the Fair his Passion bless'd:
Cynthio, she cry'd, O long in Heart ador'd,
My faithful Lover, and my destin'd Lord,
Fannia the Pow'rs immortal shall repay,
With grateful Honours for this glorious Day:
* Let the glad Tidings spread; proclaim about,
This Afternoon, we hold a solemn Route:
Summon the Belles, the Damsels, and the Dames,
The Beaux and Foplings, to the nuptial Games;
In yon Buffet be plac'd before their Eyes,
Each Combat's due Reward, and glitt'ring Prize.
She said, and Fame her loudest Trumpet blows,
And in gay Clusters croud the Belles and Beaux.
[Page 46] * Thus have I seen in Summer, to the Clang
Of beaten Pot, or shining Warming-Pan,
Sooth'd and delighted by the pow'rful Charm,
With chearful Hum, the Insect Nations swarm.


HIGH on a rich Settee, the future Bride
Sat with the curled Cynthio by her Side;
Aloft, with Lustre grac'd, divinely bright,
The Thimble shines conspicuous to the Sight:
In comely Rank was rang'd each brilliant Guest,
And big Ambition swells in ev'ry Breast;
The burnish'd Kettle on a Tripod stands,
And the plum'd Moor expects the Fair's Commands▪
Here Piles of snow-capt Cakes are seen, and here
Vast Pyramids of well-built Toasts appear.
The Rites of Tea begin; † and first, they pour
To mighty Jove, Libations on the Floor,
[Page 47] Two Basons of Bohea, whose fragrant Steam
Scents the wide Hall; and next, two Pots of Cream.
Then Belles and Beaux the rich Repast partake;
In Ruin sinks the Edifice of Cake!
All, o'er their smoking Cups, reclining sit,
And briskly circles Sugar round—and Wit.
By turns they sip their Drink, by turns they prate,
Now stir a Tea-Dish, now reform the State.
So, in a low'ring Eve, the Ducks and Drakes,
On the green Pool renew their clam'rous Wakes;
Now dip their sportive Beaks the quacking Race,
Now undistinguish'd chatt'ring fills the Place,
—At length, the Rage of Appetite allay'd,
Thus to the Route began the lovely Maid;
* O ye, whose Bosoms beat for Fame, draw near,
Beaux, Belles, Fops, Foplings, Chiefs and Chieflings, hear, 37
[Page 48] Hear what the happiest of her Sex proclaims,
And joyful celebrate the nuptial Games;
* You, first, whose Limbs excel in active Race,
Three Times round yon Canal pursue the Chace;
Who measures with most Speed the destin'd Spot,
Or his, or hers, shall be this Coffee-Pot;
A massy Gift, by Artists richly wrought,
That my great Grandsire's wide-fam'd Bounty bought;
What Time my Father's eager Hopes were sped,
And my chaste Mother climb'd the bridal Bed.
The second Chief, in this Pedestrian War,
Shall bear in Triumph home yon China-Jar;
And to the Third, due Honours we decree,
This Muff of Pheasant's Down, once worn by me.
Scarce had she spoke, when foremost of the Beaux,
The gay Fribillio, smooth-cheeck'd Youth, arose,
[Page 49] Him Cloe follow'd next, swift-footed Maid,
Then spruce Myrtillo, that implor'd the Aid
Of the Nymph-chasing Pan; along they past,
And Dapperwit and Caelia come the last.
* Now warm with Hopes, in Order rang'd, they stand,
And wait, impatient of the wish'd Command;
Then, at the Signal of a loud-crack'd Fan,
All from their Station, in an Instant, ran:
The Flood-Gates thus uplifted, with full Force
Rush out at once the Streams impetuous in their Course:
Before the rest the nimble Cloe flies,
Fribillio follows eager for the Prize;
Next the swift Caelia scuds it o'er the Green,
Myrtillo last, and Dapperwit were seen.
Now twice the Compass of th' allotted Ground,
The Heroes and the Heroines circled round,
When Caelia, Virgin of a subtle Heart,
Thus to herself,—"My Fate depends on Art—"
[Page 50] So spoke, and pressing by Fribillio's Side,
Headlong she plung'd him in the miry Tide.
* Whelm'd and amaz'd, awhile the Hero lay,
Gasping, and sputt'ring, in the watry Way,
Dropping and faint, at length, he crawl'd to Shore,
And the Skies burst with universal Roar.
Caelia exulting, in the second Place,
Bounds o'er the Lawn, and pushes for the Race;
Myrtillo close pursu'd the panting Fair,
And to his God prefer'd the secret Pray'r;
"Give me at least this Damsel to outspeed,
"And a young Greyhound at thy Shrine shall bleed."
[Page 51] The God propitious heard; for, sad to tell,
Prone to the Earth the heedless Caelia fell.
Loud shout the Beaux, the frighted Virgins cry;
Myrtillo first, then Dapperwit goes by.
The Goal now reach'd, the Victors bear away
The well-contested Honours of the Day.
Now to the Hall, for so ordain'd the Fair,
Again the sprightly Company repair:
When thus the Maid—Is there a Belle, whose Might
Dares meet a gallant Beau in single Fight?
Such, sure, there is, or Fannia's Hopes are vain,
Quick let the Warriours take the marble Plain;
And, 'till we wake the Voice of yonder Clock,
Contend at Battledoor, and Shuttlecock.
The glorious Victor in the hardy Fray,
This deep-ear'd Lap-Dog nobly shall repay:
Long has he frisk'd it in my Chamber tame,
Ne'er yet polluted with the Blood of Game.
The vanquish'd too shall thank our gen'rous Care,
Blest with this Iv'ry Case, and Tooth-picker.
* She said; and light up-sprang Cosmelius gay,
Trim as the painted Butterfly of May;
[Page 52] With Head and Heart erect, he stalks the Floor,
And proudly brandishes his Battledoor.
Flyrtilla saw, and, "Grant me, Gods, she cry'd,
To humble to the Ground this Coxcomb's Pride."
Then on the spacious Plain she takes her Stand,
And poises the huge Engine in her Hand▪
The sounded Battledoors for Fight prepare,
At once the Drums and Weapons of the War!
Each now the Arm with dext'rous Vigour plies,
Aloft the feather'd Cork in Eddies flies;
With quick-repeated Strokes the Drums rebound,
And the arch'd Roof returns a hollow Sound.
Now in high Curves they deal the wary Blow,
Now whirls the giddy Shuttlecock below.
Thus, o'er the verdant Surface of the Mead,
The light-wing'd Swallows try their rapid Speed,
Now skim the Ground, now higher Flights prepare,
And, in a thousand Mazes, cut the Air.
Long time the Chiefs, with equal Skill, engage,
And glows the Battle with a dubious Rage;
The Gods, with Wonder, the dread Fight survey'd,
And some the Youth inspire, and some, the Maid.
* At length, nice pois'd Jove holds his golden Scales,
Down sinks the Beau's, the Virgin's Fate prevails:
[Page 53] For lo! unseen, and in the Hero's Way,
The treach'rous Fragment of an Orange lay;
And, as he stretch'd him with exerted Might,
At one swift Stroke, to end the tedious Fight,
Slipt his unstable Foot; flat on the Floor
He fell; the high Arch rings with various Roar,
* And the white Pavement floats with spouting Gore.
Quick to his Aid the flippant Fops repair,
Uplift his Head, and yield him purer Air;
His flutt'ring Soul with gentle Speech compose,
With vivifying Drops regale his Nose,
Then pale and bloody from the Field convey'd,
And softly plac'd him on the silken Bed.
[Page 54] Flyrtilla, Mistress of the glorious Fray,
Bears in her Arms the much-lov'd Prize away.
Then Fannia to the Throng—Once more, attend
My Voice with Heed; not here our Games shall end.
You, that have Strength, and active Sleight enough,
Enter the spacious Lists of Blind-Man's-Buff.
Let thrice six Belles and Beaux, a goodly Shew,
Their sep'rate Lots in this silk Bonnet throw;
And, as their sev'ral Fortunes shall decide,
Of either Sex three Chiefs, in turn, shall hide.
The Chief that soonest shall, with hood-wink'd Eyes,
Seize in the hot Pursuit, and name the Prize,
* Shall wear this Snuff-Box, turn'd with curious Art,
In Form resemblant of the human Heart:
Who shines conspicuous in the second Place,
Joyful shall own this studded Tweezer-Case:
To the third worthy in the hardy Strife,
Last we assign this silver-hafted Knife.
She spoke—the Lots are thrown—the Chances fall
To short-legg'd Damon, Altamont the tall,
To dimpled Daphne, to Vanessa fair,
Beau Sprig, and Cloris with the golden Hair.
[Page 55] In Row twelve Judges of the Combat stand,
Each with a Watch accordant in his Hand.
Damon advances first; his Eyes are bound;
* And, like a Top, they twirl him five Times round.
The rapid Motion turns his ringing Head;
He calls the Foe—the titt'ring Foe is fled.
Long time with hopeless Chace, and Labour vain,
Duck-like he waddled o'er the stony Plain;
At length, with Grief and Shame, constrain'd to yield,
To others he resign'd the toilsome Field.
Next Altamont, Chief bony, lank, and tall,
Proceeds; like Polypheme, he strides the Hall;
Wide grope his sprawling Hands in Search of Prey;
The frighted Hosts on Tiptoes slip away;
So the lean, hungry Pike, in Quest of Food,
Darts his vast Length across the silver Flood;
Ten thousand Panicks seize the finny Race,
And, in thick Shoals, they scud from Place to Place.
But now the Chieftain grasp'd Clarinda's Waste,
Her well-known Shriek the Captive Fair confest:
Clarinda, loud the Beau exulting cried;
Clarinda, loud the vocal Walls reply'd.
[Page 56] The Judges note the Time—next Daphne came,
A Nymph alert, and studious of the Game.
Now here, now there, like Quicksilver, she flies
Elastic round, and ev'ry Corner tries.
But for hard Fate, the Nymph a Prize had gain'd,
For, in a sudden Whirl, her Ancle sprain'd.
And now, with watry Eyes, and limping Pace,
Daphne reluctant quits the noble Chace.
Vanessa next the Fate of Combat proves,
The fair Vanessa, Darling of the Loves;
Swift speeds the Maid, swift scuttle the pursu'd,
Wheel, as she wheels, and all her Arts elude;
Till hapless Flash, a Fopling of high Note,
Tripp'd at Lucinda's trailing Petticoat.
Vanessa caught th' Alarm; the Fop she strains
Hard in her Grasp; a solemn Silence reigns:
Beau Flash, I know him by his rich Perfume,
She cry'd; and Acclamations shake the Room.
Then gentle Sprig fair Fannia thus addrest;
Me Love forbids with Cloris to contest;
So please the Mistress of this glorious Day,
Let the late Victors bear their Gifts away;
For me, to save the Toil of farther Strife,
To Cloris I resign the silver-hafted Knife.
The Fair approv'd—The Prizes, all decree
First to the Beau; Vanessa, next to thee:
[Page 57] And tender Cloris, pleas'd to end the Strife,
Joyful receives the silver-hafted Knife.
The Games now done, the Ev'ning they prolong
With Strains of Musick, and the Voice of Song:
The sprightly Tribes the sumptuous Banquet share,
At length, fatigu'd, to needful Rest repair.
Alike expectant of the coming Day,
Cynthio, and Fannia all-impatient lay.
The Day appears; with mutual Joy they wed,
* And genial Hymen blest the nuptial Bed.



Omne animi vitium tanto conspectius in se
Crimen habet, quanto major qui peccat habetur.




THOUGH I am happy in your Permission to shelter under your Name a Performance which stands in much Need of your Favour and Pro­tection, especially as it comes into the World with some Disadvantage; yet I hope you will do me the Justice to believe me actuated by a nobler Principle than that of a Selfishness common to all Authors, in my Choice of a Patron upon the pre­sent Occasion.

For, Sir, the following Sheets are with a par­ticular Propriety yours, whether you are considered as a Person sincerely attached to the University of Oxford, or affectionately interesting yourself in the Welfare of Pembroke-College; to the Regard and best Wishes of which Society you have a double Claim, both as an Ornament, and a Benefactor.

The common Topics of Panegyric are obvious; and I have here a fair and agreeable Opportunity of taking Notice of those many amiable Qualities, which adorn you in public and private Life, and for which you are so justly beloved and esteemed: But my Inclination is corrected by a seasonable Thought, that most Writers of the present Age [Page] have, in this Respect, a considerable Advantage over me, as it is much more easy to make a Cha­racter, than to describe one.

Besides, it would be needless to enter into a Detail of those Praises, which are already in the Mouth of every Well-wisher to his Country: And therefore I will only indulge the Impulse of Gra­titude, which points to that Part of your Cha­racter, which more immediately affects me; your Good-nature and Condescension, to which I am indebted for the Honour of your Acquaintance and Friendship, and for your favourable Accept­ance of the following Poem.

Give me Leave to assure you, Sir, that I am principally anxious for the Reputation of this Tragedy, from an earnest Desire of transmitting to Posterity a Monument of the Regard and Ve­neration I have for the Person and Character of Sir JOHN PHILIPPS. I am,

Your much obliged, And most humble Servant, WILLIAM HAWKINS.


THE most material Objection to this Tragedy, made by Mr. Garrick, was, that it is rather a Poem, than a Play.—A consolatory Octjection at least! as it is founded only in the Author's acknow­leged Transgression of the mechanical Laws of the Drama. But however reasonable the Objection might be to the Representation of this Tragedy upon the Stage, it was by no Means thought a sufficient one to its original Publication; nor consequently, 'tis pre­sumed, will be esteemed such against its having a Place in the present Collection.—Those who are offended at the Liberties taken in it, may, if they please, call it an Historical Play, and then all Ex­ceptions of this Nature vanish of Course.—After all, the Objection will perhaps have less Weight with the candid and judicious Reader, when he has fa­voured with his Perusal the Essay on the Antient and Modern Drama; though he is not to look upon that Essay as written with a View to the Defence of this particular Play, or to consider this Advertise­ment as any Thing like a Declaration of the Au­thor's Right of Exemption from the common Rules of the Drama, by Virtue of any superiour Qualifications in Himself.


  • King HENRY the Second.
  • Prince HENRY.
  • Duke of CORNWALL.
  • Earl of SALISBURY.
  • Lord CLIFFORD.
  • Earl of LEICESTER.
  • Earl of WINCHESTER.
  • Earl of SURRY.
  • Queen ELINOR.

Guards and Attendants.




Enter the Earl of LEICESTER.
IF there is that some call Eternal Justice—
Let not the coward Thought perplex my Soul:
My Bosom entertains two lordly Guests,
Strong-plum'd Ambition, and Hell-gender'd Lust:
The Voice of Conscience, 'gainst their wild Domain
Is but a Whisper to the Whirlwind's Blast.
Henry Plantagenet has crost my Hopes;
I stand the Outcast of his Peevishness,
And disappointed Rival of his Love!
But I have deeply laid my Plan of Vengeance:
I have been long young Harry's Oracle;
His shallow Friends walk in my Leading-strings:
If Fate give him the Crown, I'll bear the Rule,
And thro' the Gate of Pow'r shall find Access
To Love, and Rosamond. But see Lord Surry.
[Page 66] Enter Earl of Surry.
My Lord of Leicester, hast thou seen the Prince?
No. What of him?
O he is seeking thee:
Thou hast fast wedg'd thyself within his Heart;
He calls thee valiant, faithful, just, and good:
He now demeans himself as we could wish;
Talks of high Fame, and hardy Feats of Arms:
Thou hast inspir'd his Soul. He swears, the Crown,
Whose Glories fade on Henry's wither'd Head,
Would better flourish on his youthful Brow:
In troth he is a mettled Youth, my Lord,
And Nature meant him well.
Ay, or how else
Could we have taught him his own Worth, or ours;
Or hope to raise our Honours from the Dust?
Faint Hearts will call this Treason; but, my Lord,
'Tis injur'd Merit's Cause; and we will work
To turn the Current of our low-ebb'd Fortunes
Into a fuller Channel: But he comes,
And I have joyful Tidings for his Ear.
Enter Prince Henry, and Earl of Winchester.
P. Hen.
Well, our good Friend, and trusty Councellor,
What from our Uncle Scotland?
This, my Liege:
In princely Terms he greets your Royal Highness,
And well approves th' Alliance you have offer'd:
But Words, so please your Grace, in forc'd Extent,
Are but the Texture of fine Rhetoric;
Plain Action is Sincerity's best Proof:
[Page 67] He has encamp'd his Troops on English Ground,
A peerless Force of twenty thousand strong.
The Earl of Chester, with your Father's Powers,
Is in full March to meet him.
P. Hen.
Say, my Lord,
On what Pretence makes he this Armament?
For we must wait the Issue of a Battle,
Before we can avow ourself his Friend.
His Claim's distinct from yours. He does demand
Full Restitution of the frontier Towns,
Your Father wrested from him in the Wars:
And thus he seems no Party in our Cause,
While we, as Time shall serve, may back his Quarrel.
P. Hen.
Why these are noble Tidings, and befit
Our Royal Purpose. This looks well, my Lords:
I will no longer bend me to the Brow
Of this old King, my Father. Leicester, Surry,
Winchester, Friends, Companions of my Fortunes,
Give me your Hands, your Hearts, and, trust me, Lords,
We bravely shall outface these perilous Times,
Assisted by your Loves.
My hasty Will
Is on the Wing, mocking Ability,
And Zeal outstrips Performance.
And so, in Honesty of Heart, says Winchester.
P. Hen.
Thanks to you both: But, my good Lord of Leicester,
Are these same Scots, our new-contracted Friends,
Such as our Honour may lean safe upon?
[Page 68]
Better ne'er mounted Glory's steep Ascent.
Sir, they are bold as the first Sons of Nature,
Ere Pomp and Luxury debauch'd the World:
Bred in a Land of Poverty and Want,
They live by free, uncultivated Virtue:
Ease were unnatural to their Iron Hearts;
For Labour is the Business of their Lives:
And, when they're summon'd forth to serve their Prince,
Dreadful they march, embody'd in the Field,
As the fell Storm, or Death-dispersing Bolt,
That rushes on, and levels all before it.
P. Hen.
'Tis good, and henceforth will we mould our Person
Into the Attitude of Majesty.
It fits your Highness well.
P. Hen.
Thou'st seen me, Leicester, in the Bloom of Youth,
Amidst the Joys of a voluptuous Court,
Where Folly spread her silken Net before me:
There soft'ning Beauty breath'd the am'rous Sigh;
There melting Music tun'd her Syren Voice,
And the high-flowing Bowl foam'd with rich Wines,
Soliciting ev'n Abstinence to taste:
Let me not turn my gallant Thought that Way;
When Virtue's balanc'd on so nice a Poise,
One Breath of Inclination turns the Scale.
Farewel for ever Pleasure's nerveless Tribe,
Welcome the manly Pomp of crimson War,
The Heaven-scaling Noise of charging Foes,
The piercing Groans of Bravery laid in Dust,
And all the Dangers, all the Sweets of Glory.
[Page 69]
Spoke like a Candidate for this World's Empire.
Old Harry's foremost Boast is only this,
That he is Father to a Prince like you.
P. Hen.
Go to; he's weak, he's weak, and peevish,
And yet 'tis current Conversation here,
That he hath well acquitted him in France Leicester,
To martial Chivalry.
True it is, my Liege,
In open Field, he'as twice o'erthrown their Powers,
And now returns—
—Ay, like a Fugitive,
Rather than Conqueror; the doting Hero
Comes whining like an Infant for his Toy:
O he is worse than distaff'd Hercules!
Where is the Honour of your Saxon House,
If Harlots make a Tool of Majesty?
Fame shall record Harry succeeded Rosamond,
Not Harry Harry.
P. Hen.
By the immortal Name
Of my great Ancestors it is too much—
O give that noble Indignation Room!
Have you not Friends, and Justice on your Side?
Did we not all swear Fealty to your Highness,
Conven'd in full Assembly by your Father?
Or was it but a Shew of Majesty,
A solemn Farce of State for Boys to shout at?
P. Hen.
Hold there—For ev'ry Word thy Love has utter'd,
Rebukes my tardy Soul—O 'tis most true,
As spiritless, and dull-temper'd as I seem,
[Page 70] This Head has born fair England's Diadem:
You all remember 'twas at Winchester,
In Presence of the States of the whole Realm,
The Royal Grant was made; when on this Brow
Rested th' Imperial Crown, which should confer
High Dignity, and Share of sov'reign Sway:
It was the free Donation of our Father.
Henry has sure forgotten him of late:
For then your Royal Highness may remember,
He did discharge an Office that became him.
P. Hen.
Ay, thou dost well remind me of it, Leicester;
'Twas at the sumptuous Banquet then prepar'd,
I sat inthron'd, the foremost of the Feast,
Lord of that glorious Day: 'Twas then my Father
Stept forth obsequious, like a Vassal-Prince,
Tending my Kingly Board; and sure, he cry'd,
No Monarch e'er was serv'd so honourably.
I whisper'd in his Ear his Grace of York,
That, born a Prince, I thought me not much honour'd
By this same Ministry of that Duke's Son.
My Father was no better.
Nor is now,
But in our foolish Fears. Was that same Crown
You just now spoke of but a May-day Garland,
Bestow'd as on an Idiot, in mere Pastime?
Unnat'ral Insult! By the Blood that's in you,
If you have Hand, or Heart, or Sword, revenge,
Revenge yourself, your Country, and your Friends;
Your Friends for you dishonour'd, slighted, scorn'd;
[Page 71] Your Country soften'd by effeminate Rule;
Yourself the stalking Shadow of a King.
P. Hen.
Enough, my tow'ring Fancy grasps the Skies:
Hence, give the Word to Fate; gird on my Sword:
Thou faithful Guardian of my wav'ring Youth,
I'll go where thou and Honour point the Way.
Where are these trusty Scots? Quick let us join them;
I will unfold my Banner to the Sun,
And pour my Vengeance on this Parent-Foe.
Well said; but I must cool this burning Vein,
Or this mad Youth will hurry us to Ruin.
I meant not this: I pray your Grace be calm.
P. Hen.
Yes, as the Sea, that quarrels with the Wind!
Who is't can tame the hungry Panther's Rage?
Glory has still an Appetite more keen:
Harry contends not for a vulgar Prize;
It is a Crown: Repeat it to the Heavens,
With the big Mouth of War: It is a Crown:
O you should rush in Fury from my Presence,
And boldly pluck it from the Tyrant's Brow.
Your Highness knows our Hearts and Duty yours:
But Zeal thus premature were worse than Treason:
Our growing Cause is yet too young to weather
This most tempestuous Time: If Fortune bless
Our good Allies with Victory, the Crown
Is yours by Cov'nant, and your Right proclaim'd
By Scotland's King: Till when lie we in secret,
Like the unseen insinuating Flame,
[Page 72] That creeps while it destroys: Without this Caution,
We are not safe an Hour—Your Father comes,
And you're withdrawn from Court—Hah! how sounds that?
P. Hen.
As I love Honour, I do fear him not.
No—But the less Suspicion's baleful Blast
Breathes on our Counsel, it takes Root the deeper.
P. Hen.
What wouldst thou urge me to?
Come, come, my Lord,
You must yourself to Court to meet the King;
And, when he questions you of your Departure,
Be you not too submissive, nor too high:
We can find Reasons plausible enough
Besides this Disaffection—as—d'ye mark—
The Treatment of your Mother—the foul Scandal
Of a licentious Palace—and the like;
All Provocations gross: And, Sir, of this
You shall be more advis'd anon.
P. Hen.
Say'st so?
I thank thy Penetration—I was hot,
But thou art wise and brave. Our Craft shall prosper;
The staunchest Hound of State, that ever trac'd
The wily Doublings of Conspiracy,
In such a Chace as this shall lose his Scent,
And yelp his balk'd Sagacity in Air.
May Fortune say, Amen.
P. Hen.
My Lord of Leicester,
We must dispatch some fresh Instructions strait
For Scotland's King; then for the Court away;
We will pursue this Business, come what may.


Enter the Earl of Salisbury and Lord Clifford.
Yet hold, good Clifford.
'Tis an old Man's Weakness:
Was it not I that train'd him up to War,
That taught his feeble Arm to grasp the Sword,
And pointed out the Paths that lead to Glory?
Was it for this he robb'd me of my Daughter?
Forget it, learn to scorn this Royal Robber,
And be at Peace.
It is impossible.
Had he reduc'd me to the Beggar's Lot,
Or stript me of the Honours of my Race,
I could have smil'd at his Ingratitude:
But to deprive me of my greatest Hopes,
To steal away my choicest, sweetest Flow'r,
To tempt young Innocence with hellish Arts—
'Tis more than Pain—it is—what is it not?
O 'tis too much for an old Man to bear.
But canst assure me he returns so soon?
Each Morn expects to see him crown'd with Laurels,
And rich with Spoils: Fortune still takes his Part:
Where-e'er he marches, pale-fac'd Terrour stalks
With Giant Strides, and leads his Van of Battle.
Let me do Justice to the Man has wrong'd me:
My Lord of Salisbury, from his Dawn of Youth,
I've mark'd the Progress of an active Soul,
[Page 74] Suited for warlike Deeds and brave Atchievements:
But then his turb'lent Passions work so strong,
His Character is ever an Extreme;
A Hero, or a Dotard in Excess;
This Day, with a deep Sense of Honour stung,
A Convert to fair Virtue; and the next,
Born by fierce Appetite, a Slave to Vice.
His gen'rous Temper one Day may prevail;
For Fate still throws Occasion in his Way,
To put his noble Qualities to Proof:
An unexpected Tempest from the North
Hangs low'ring o'er his Head; and the young Prince,
Who breathes a mighty and right Royal Spirit,
Has with some noble Followers left the Court.
He is ensnar'd by guileful Leicester's Art:
The King, thou know'st, hath banish'd him his Presence,
He meditates Revenge in all its Venom;
And since arose the League 'twixt him and Harry.
Report has said this Lord, on Terms of Honour,
Woo'd your fair Daughter's Love.
He did profess so;
But much I fear me with a vile Design;
For Satisfaction in which Point, this Day
I've penn'd a Note, in female Characters,
As from my Daughter, full of Brandishments,
And cordial Invitations from her Love:
If I surprise him at the Place assign'd,
I shall detect his Baseness to his Face.
Perhaps I but transcribe the Sentiments
Of her abandon'd Heart—That as it may.
[Page 75]
Think not too meanly of thy beauteous Daughter;
Henry, 'tis true, engrosses all her Soul,
Yet in her lonely, solitary Hours,
Sad, she regrets her ruin'd Innocence,
And mourns, like the first Fair, her fallen State.
'Tis superficial Grief: A barren Soil,
Where Reformation never can take Root:
O, that an only Child should be a Curse!
But let us hence; the Thought encroaches on me;
In Pity to myself I would divert it.
Cousin, this Way; I have yet more to tell you,
Of what my Soul is purpos'd tow'rd the King.


Enter Rosamond and Harriana.
This Coolness is untimely.
Th' unpleasing Thought will sometimes steal upon me:
Great as they seem, all these are dear-bought Pleasures:
Ev'n Henry's Love has cost me many a Pang.
Peace is the glorious Privilege of Virtue.
The harmless Country Maid, that lives retir'd,
Beneath the Covert of a homely Hut,
And knows no View beyond her daily Bread,
Has more Heart's Ease than I.
Prepost'rous Melancholy!
Is not the World, and its first Master, yours?
Nature, thy Handmaid, still supplies thy Wishes,
[Page 76] Lavish of all her Stock, as who should say,
Thou shalt be happy.
These are mean Suggestions:
Know, I ne'er sold my Virtue, but to Love:
The massy Store of the Wealth-pregnant Earth,
The Pomp, and Eye-attracting Blaze of Courts,
And all the gilded Baits of female Pride,
Were Bribes my Henry's Love disdain'd to offer:
Such as it is, this Beauty won his Heart;
How he won mine—I know not—but he won it—
For him I threw away my Innocence,
And am the Scoff of every scornful Tongue:
For him I've stain'd the noble Name of Clifford,
And pierc'd his aged Soul who gave me Being;
For him, e'en now, my Heart with Transport beats;
His Presence ever calms my troubled Breast,
Stills each dull Thought, and bids all Sorrow vanish.
Once more he comes victorious from the Field:
O meet him with thy Love's sincerest Welcome.
Yes, he returns, and Thought adieu for ever:
Hence, I defy that Tyrant of the Mind:
My Love wants not a Plea: Henry, my Lord,
Is great and gen'rous: He's the Pride of Fame,
And Fortune's Darling: Henry lulls my Soul
In soft unfelt Captivity.
But hark▪
Yon Trumpet's Voice proclaims him near at hand.
O sweetest Music to the ravish'd Ear:
Now ev'ry Thing begins to smile about me;
[Page 77] Bright seems the Season as the new-born Spring,
When ev'ry Flower put forth its freshest Fragrance,
And infant Nature breath'd her Sweets around.
'Tis now thou risest to thy proper Self;
Thy Charms are summon'd all, thy Graces dawn,
And ev'ry sparkling Beauty beams anew.
But lo, the Royal Hero—I retire.
[Exit Harriana.
Enter King Henry.
K. Hen.
Take me once more, my Love, into thy Arms;
Thus let me clasp thee to my faithful Breast,
Thus feed my Eyes upon thy glowing Beauties,
And pour my Soul in Transports out before thee.
What, what is Fame, or Victory, to this?
Adieu the Pomp and Pageantry of War,
And Love resume the Empire of my Soul.
Speak not my Eyes the Language of my Heart?
Or shall I open my rich Hoard of Fondness,
With all the soft Impertinence of Love?
Why has my Lord so long been absent from me?
Methinks I now receive thee in thy Tent,
Dreadfully graceful from the Field of Blood,
The manly Dew still reeking on thy Brow.
O let me sooth my Hero to his Rest,
Then kindly chide his Eagerness of Valour,
And bid him sheath the Sword for Love of me.
K. Hen.
To thee I am devoted from this Hour:
I'll give Mankind my loose superfluous Moments,
But Love shall claim my more substantial Care.
[Page 78] No petty Monarchs shall divide us more:
France and her King have felt the Wrath of Harry.
I flew on Wings of Victory to War,
And like celestial Fire consum'd the Foe;
Then halted in the mid Career of Glory:
Conquest was Waste of Time: Quick I return'd,
And left the Business of the World unfinish'd.
Forgive me, Henry, if I shed a Tear;
A Tear, at once, of Pity and of Love.
Gaze not thus fondly on me whilst I speak:
It is a fatal Fondness, and betrays thee.
Possess'd of me, art thou not lost to Honour?
Where is the native Greatness of thy Soul?
Thy gen'rous Thirst of everlasting Glory?
O hadst thou never fix'd thine Eyes on me,
Fame, on her brazen Tablet, had display'd
Thy Royal Name, and shewn it to the Stars.
But I shall blot thy Memory for ever.
K. Hen.
Thy kind Concern is far too nice, my Love:
O Rosamond! 'tis but the Dream of Pride:
Kings, and their Subjects, all are Nature's Children;
And ermin'd Greatness on the Throne must own it.
What is the Monarch more than other Men?
His Appetites and Passions are the same;
He hates, revenges, hopes, and fears, as they do;
Or does he love, O does he love like me;
'Tis Glory, 'tis Ambition, to pursue
The heav'nly Fair, and win her to his Wishes.
Is it not Pride to hang upon thy Smile?
[Page 79] Is it not Triumph to enfold thee thus?
Art thou not All, and is not this World Nothing?
I could for ever listen to thy Voice:
Whene'er thou speak'st, Reason gives up the Cause,
And Nature whispers, what thou say'st is right.
K. Hen.
Be Love the Theme, and I could talk for ever.
Be Love the Theme, I could for ever hear thee.
K. Hen.
O come, my rural Goddess, to my Arms:
We'll lie upon the Flow'r-enamell'd Turf;
The Garland-Wreath shall be our Diadem;
The Leaf-clad Bow'r our Canopy of State;
Our Music the sweet Matin of the Lark:
Then bless me with the Sunshine of thy Beauty,
Till I forget my Royal Occupation,
The Task of Greatness, and the Toil of Power,
And ev'ry Sense be full of Love and thee.
How does thy Language charm my list'ning Ears?
Yet must I dread this Indolence of Thought,
The Scotchmen, and their King, are up in Arms;
And, if Report say true, th' Invasion boasts
The Count'nance of your Son.
K. Hen.
Fear not, my Love:
My better Genius shall protect me still.
Lend me thy Lip—Danger seems nothing now.
O lead me to some peaceful, close Retreat,
Where all is calm, and gentle as thy Breast,
Let hostile War advance, and Faction rage,
I will not deign to give Mankind a Look,
But safely rest within thy faithful Arms.
[Page 80] So, when the Pilgrim views the Storm arise,
To the kind Shelter of some Grot he flies,
And in that sweet Recess securely lies.
Fearless he hears the dreadful Tempests roar,
And the mad Oceans burst upon the Shore;
The Heaven's in vain their flaming Terrours spread,
And Thunders roll unheeded o'er his Head.


Enter King Henry, Duke of Cornwall, and Attendants.
King Henry.
COMES on our Brother Scotland?
Yes, my Liege;
He means to give my Lord of Chester Battle.
K. Hen.
Be't so: Our Arms shall tame his Insolence▪
Where is our Son? His uncurb'd Spirit of late
Gives Cause of some Suspicion: Yet we hope,
In humble wise, he will confess the Fault
Of his abrupt Departure. His new Friends
(No Friends to me; tho' Foes, I fear them not)
He must abandon; and, mean time, we trust,
A Look of our Displeasure shall controul
His heedless Folly, and enforce his Duty.
My Liege, the Queen.
K. Hen.
I would have shunn'd her; for she awes my Soul:
I know her still a tender faithful Wife,
[Page 81] Wrong'd as she is: 'Tis my eternal Guilt,
That love I cannot, where I must esteem.
She comes—Why starts my Breast?—I must assume
The cruel Port of Shame-proof Villainy.
Enter Queen.
Excuse my Freedom, Madam, if I ask,
What Business has the Queen of England here?
I come by Virtue of a better Title:
Was Elinor no more than Queen of England,
She had not thus disturb'd you with her Presence.
Am I nought else, my Lord?
K. Hen.
Ay, thou'rt my Wife;
A Name that sounds offensive in my Ear.
Why didst thou teach me 'twas a pleasing Name,
Importing Peace, and Harmony, and Joy?
You lov'd me, when you made me what I am;
And yet you lov'd me but to make me wretched.
K. Hen.
Love you have learnt, and so all Women can.
Didst thou e'er learn Obedience to a Husband?
Can Malice say I ever fail'd in that?
K. Hen.
I pr'ythee then be dutiful, and leave me.
This Treatment is unkind. Is that the Voice,
That oft hath chid me for a Moment's Absence?
Does it displease thee to behold me thus?
Blame not the Weakness which yourself have caus'd:
'Tis Grief's allow'd Prerogative to mourn;
For sure it is no Crime to be distress'd.
K. Hen.
Away! Thy Woman's Tears are lost on me.
Why dost thou plead against Necessity?
[Page 82] It was in Spite of me, I lov'd thee once;
And 'twas in Spite of me, that I forsook thee:
The Tie of Marriage is but personal;
For Love alone's the Cement of the Heart.
Yet grant that Contract good, my Falshood voids it.
I am no Husband: Why art thou a Wife?
The Bond is cancell'd. Be free as I am;
And take thy Heart from this ungrateful Object.
Can the swift Current to its Spring recede?
Or elemental Fire to Earth descend?
Then only my fixt Thought can turn from thee.
My Love, tho'ill repaid, shall shine a Pattern
Of Faith unmov'd, without Reproach, for ever:
Henry, tho' cruel, yet is Henry still.
What was it, but my Love, that sent me hither?
I thought I durst not come—but still I came,
Unwelcom'd, slighted Stranger, as I am.
K. Hen.
I see thy Virtue, and respect it, Elinor:
But what is Virtue in the Eye of Love?
Fate wrongly join'd us, and mismatch'd our Hearts.
Thou art fram'd tender, innocent, and good,
For private Comfort, and domestic Joy:
My restless Spirit ranges uncontroul'd,
As Fancy sways, or lawless Passions guide.
And yet thou canst be true, tho' not to me:
That restless Spirit Rosamond can rule,
The Mistress of my Property, thy Heart.
Throw that detested Wanton from thy Breast:
The Pride of Woman's Nature sues for this.
[Page 83] O do not wrong me in the Face of Day,
And I will bear thy Hate with Chearfulness.
K. Hen.
Thou rail'st by Licence of an injur'd Wife;
Else, let me me tell thee, Elinor, 'twere Treason,
What thou hast just now said.
I ask your Pardon:
I had forgot how dearly Henry loves her;
And 'tis my Duty to promote his Joy:
Nor justly can I hate ev'n her, my Rival;
Woman is frail, and Henry more than Man:
Be happy then, blest Pair, while I'm undone:
A jealous Wife no more shall spoil your Loves:
I will not taint your Peace with one Upbraiding,
But lay me down without a Groan, and die.
K. Hen.
This Tenderness reproaches me yet more
Than all the just Invectives thou couldst offer.
O live to scorn the Man has wrong'd thee thus.
Provoke I not thy utmost Enmity?
Thou canst provoke my Sorrows, not my Hate.
K. Hen.
Have I not giv'n thee Cause? Be but my Foe,
I shall enjoy the Sharpness of thy Malice;
But Goodness undeserv'd, unask'd, torments me.
Love, Honour, Pity, tear my lab'ring Soul.
Life had been happy with thee—But 'tis past;
And I submit—Live, and be happy thou.
K. Hen.
By Heav'n, this moves my Stubborness of Temper;
And Rosamond and Elinor, distract me.
Must I then ruin one, whom Laws divine,
And my free Choice decreed mine own for ever,
[Page 84] And cooly mark her close her Eyes in Death?
Or can I leave the gentle Rosamond,
That tender Prime of Youth, that Spring of Beauty,
First won by Promise of eternal Love?
Painful Extreme of Madness, either Way!
For either Way I'm doom'd to be a Villain.
Seek not Excuses for thy broken Vows:
I freely give those sacred Pledges back;
Nor shall I e'er ascribe the Pangs I suffer,
To Henry's Crime, but Heav'n's afflicting Hand.
I know thee great and noble still by Nature.
Thou wilt hereafter reverence my Name,
And praise the Woman, whom thou could'st not love.
K. Hen.
O Heart, Heart, Heart, why art thou not my own?
Hadst thou attack'd me like a Fiend from Hell,
Arm'd with keen Malice, and severest Wrath,
I had not shun'd the Conflict: But as now
Thou shinest Angel-like, and all-forgiving,
Thou dost perforce convict my guilty Soul,
And sink my Thoughts in black Despair for ever.
O Elinor, my Queen!—But soft, some News.
Enter Guard.
My Liege, the young Prince Henry waits without,
And asks Admission to your Majesty.
K. Hen.
He comes in proper Time: Let him advance.
Enter Prince Henry.
Well, thou young Man!—With what a lordly Look
Thou mak'st Approach—Dost thou not know me, Harry?
P. Hen.
[Page 85]
Yes, Sir, you are my Father, and my King;
Names sacred both: But still more sacred those
Of Faith, and Honour; these are what enroll
The Monarch's Name in Glory's noble List,
And stamp substantial Royalty upon him.
Th' imperial Robe, the bright-deck'd Diadem,
The lifted Brow, the world-commanding Nod,
Ay, and the loud-tongu'd Voice of Acclamation,
That bears up frail Mortality to Heav'n;
These all are Majesty's Appendages;
The Dress, but not the Substance; that disgrace
The Undeserver, and but lift him high
To a Pre-eminence of splendid Shame.
K. Hen.
What! art thou come to preach to us, thou Boy?
Are these th' obsequious Terms of filial Duty?
But mark, I henceforth warn thee to Obedience;
And therefore satisfy our Royal Pleasure
Why thou didst leave the Court?
P. Hen.
That's a plain Question,
My Mother could have answer'd.
K. Hen.
Hah, our Queen!
Thou seem'st surpris'd. Is that a Face of Guilt?
Speak, speak; for my shock'd Soul has form'd a Thought
Too black for Utt'rance.
By my Hopes of Heav'n,
I only know that I am innocent.
P. Hen.
I know no more than that, and that's enough.
[Page 86] Shall I beseech awhile your Royal Ear
To give me patient Audience?
K. Hen.
Well, I'll hear thee.
P. Hen.
Did Henry leave the Court? Not so, my Liege;
For Henry left a Brothel, not a Court:
Loose Riot and Intemperance dwelt there,
Soft-seated Indolence, and female Foppery,
And pamper'd Jollity, with full-blown Cheeks,
Keeping high Festival, and Jubilee.
Was it for me to trust my Spring of Youth,
That takes Impression like the yielding Wax,
With such licentious Characters as these?
Was it for me to sink in Luxury,
To see a dimpled Harlot's wanton Reign,
While, banish'd from your House, your Board, your Bed,
The best of Women languish'd Time away,
At once a Widow, and at once a Wife?
I saw her Griefs, I heard her just Complaints,
I left, by her Advice, th' unhallow'd Roof,
Lest I should seem to abet the Injury,
And triumph o'er the Woes of her that bore me.
K. Hen.
Woman has not her Match on this Side Hell:
Fool! to believe a scorn'd, abandon'd Wife,
Less subtle, or malicious, than the Devil:
Is this the praying, dying Elinor!
Curse on thy fawning, Honey-steep'd Deceit!
What! dost Thou practise with my secret Foes
In dev'lish League? Dost Thou foment Rebellion?
Say, Woman, dost thou? Hah!
[Page 87]
What shall I say?
Wilt thou, thou rash, hard-hearted Youth, undo me?
Revoke the impious Slander of thy Tongue,
And save thy Mother's Name from foul Dishonour.
K. Hen.
It is too late—I see confed'rate Mischief;
This stripling Traytor has betray'd thy Counsel:
Thee I had long since hated, now despise.
For you, our sometime Son—but I disdain thee—
High Majesty is fenc'd with Adamant,
Proof against Treason's Force—her fiercest Darts
Recoil and mock the feeble Strength that threw them.
—The Storm but breathes against the deep-bas'd Tow'r,
And vainly beats the Surge the solid Shore.
Will it avail me to appeal to Heav'n?
O may its choicest Stores of Wrath consume me,
If e'er in Word, or Thought, I urg'd this Variance!
He has abus'd thee with a well-feign'd Tale,
Screening some dreadful Purpose.
K. Hen.
Peace, I say.
You've fool'd me once, and would you make me mad?
Hah! who shall tame me then?
O my Son,
The Pain thou gav'st me once, was Ease to this:
Why was thy Birth-day hail'd with general Joy?
Why did I bless the Sun that saw thee first?
Why did I fondly rear thy feeble Age?
Is thy Heart Flint? O yet unweave thy Craft,
Ere the sad Scheme be ratify'd above,
And Fate has sign'd the Warrant.
P. Hen.
[Page 88]
Let not these Fear-indited Words deceive
The King, while, on my Knee, I call to witness
The guardian Pow'rs that shield the Lives of Princes,
That not in pers'nal Pique, or private Grudge,
Or Peevishness of Appetite restrain'd,
Or the wild Policy of high Ambition,
I sought this Breach; but in an honest View
Of Duty to a Mother's just Request,
And Hope to reconcile you to her Love.
K. Hen.
Thou ly'st as well as she—You both meant more.
P. Hen.
Abuse fair-spoken Honour, and e'en Love
Becomes a Malecontent.
K. Hen.
Damn'd Hypocrites!
Ye Home-bred Plagues, ye vile intestine Mischiefs!
O had Rebellion bellow'd in the Field,
And boldly challeng'd forth the Lord's Anointed,
I could have calmly met its hottest Battle:
But to reflect on unsuspected Treason,
Most unsuspected, as unnatural,
Spreading its Poison ev'n within my Walls,
Insulting in the sacred Name of Justice,
Or stabbing with the smiling Look of Love;
This grinds my Thought—Now let Confusion reign,
All Order and Relation be dissolv'd:
And thou, O Nature, turn aside thy Face,
Crimson'd with Blushes—All my firm Resolves
Are brittle now, and Patience turns a Fury.
Who's there? Our Loving Wife, and Loyal Son!
[Page 89]
Thy loving Wife, but most disloyal Son
To me, and thee: Let me appeal, my Lord,
To the fair Judgment of your former Love.
Did I not ever make your Will my Law?
Was I deceitful, treach'rous, artful, then?
'Tis true, my Wrongs are great; but sure no Wrongs
Can alter Nature, or invert the Mind:
My Wrongs call for Revenge; but sure a Queen
Could well revenge a nobler Way than this.
O take my All, my Liberty, my Life;
But leave me, leave me, my good Name untainted.
K. Hen.
Woman, no more. Have I not heard thy Son?
He is no Son of mine.
P. Hen.
What! would the Queen
So poorly yield her well-contested Right?
I know thy Cause, and know my Duty better.
Take heed, ere yet an injur'd Mother's Curse
Fix on thy Bloom of Youth.
P. Hen.
Her Grief distracts her.
Yet let me quit my Honour to the King:
Wherein is my Complaint unwarrantable?
Is it Rebellion, Sir, to sue for Justice,
Which the poor Country Peasant, if he lose
His Scrap of precious Property, demands?
Is this deny'd your Son? Be the King sure
I know my Right, and, knowing, dare maintain it.
K. Hen.
Thou hast no Right to move, to speak, to breathe,
But with our Royal Pleasure: Cease, thou Fool,
[Page 90] To parly with our high Authority:
Thy trait'rous Friends have poison'd thy young Ear:
Harry, I know them well: But mark, I charge thee,
Forsake for ever all that Vermin Tribe;
Or know their rotten Counsels will undo thee.
P. Hen.
Forsake my Friends? Hear me, all-con­scious Heav'n,
While I renounce the base unmanly Thought:
Forbid it, Justice! and forbid it, Honour!
Not one of them but lives in my best Love,
Dear as the vital Stream, that warms my Heart:
Great are their Virtues, and their Persons sacred:
Let the whole World be told, my Life protects them:
And here I swear, not all the Pow'rs combin'd,
Of Earth or Hell, shall drive me from this Purpose.
K. Hen.
Hah! Didst thou ever see thy King in Wrath?
If my large Weight of Vengeance fall upon thee,
'Twill crush thee, like an Insect, into Dust.
What! am I brav'd by thee? Shall Henry walk
Within the narrow Sphere of thy Prescription?
Shall He, whose stretch of ample Sway enfolds
The Nations round, be tutor'd by a Boy?
Be wise in Time, and know, young Counsellor,
Our Wisdom pities thy raw Youth; but learn
More low Demeanour, or thou'lt fire my Blood,
And damn thyself for ever.
P. Hen.
Words are Wind;
Still noisy, but not hurtful: 'Tis that Blood,
That Blood of thine, that sparkles in my Veins,
[Page 91] Forbids Capitulation: Could I brook
Terms of high Challenge, I were not your Offspring.
Shall I be frighted, when an old Man storms?
Or fear a peevish Father in my Foe?
Let Majesty shine forth in all its Pow'r,
I dare, unmov'd, behold its fiercest Blaze;
And like an Eagle face this burning Sun.
So take thy unregarded Threatnings back.
K. Hen.
Still so untam'd, young Man!—What Hoa! our Guard.
[Enter Guard.
P. Hen.
Stand off, ye Ministers of Tyranny.
Who dares with impious Hand to touch our Person,
I spurn to Hell's black Centre.—Ye vile Slaves,
Be motionless at our supreme Command:
See ye not sacred Majesty about us?
Sir, we well know our sov'reign Dignity,
When thus infring'd—The Crown, your Grant be­stow'd,
With our best Force we will till Death defend.
K. Hen.
It is enough—Hence from our Sight for ever.
P. Hen.
A last Farewel to Duty! You're obey'd.
And know, if ever more I greet your Ear,
'Twill be with Thunder, and the Voice of War.
[Exit. Prince.
K. Hen.
Impetuous in his Folly, let him go.
This Notice has diminish'd Majesty.
See you this Night arrest the Earl of Leicester:
[To the Guard.
I know him well the Pillar of the Faction.
Our Queen still here!—in Tears!—She's innocent—
[Page 92] Ay, and the Devil's not black—Away, false Woman
Follow, for Shame, this Hero of thy own,
Or curse thy disappointed Fraud at Home:
O you have vext my Heart—But Rosamond
With Love shall heal it—To her Arms I fly—
What! do I gall thee with that envy'd Name?
Thank Heaven, my utmost Hate is Justice now:
So, Elinor, farewel; rave, and despair,
Then die, and be thy Name forgot for ever.
[Exeunt King, &c.
Manet Queen.
And shall I then expostulate with Heav'n?
Impious, and vain! No rather let me die,
Perish for him, for whom alone I liv'd;
And, self-acquitted, leave the World in Peace.
The watchful Eye of Providence, that sees
Thro' Night's most sable Shade, and well discerns
Each dark Intrigue, each Crevice of the Heart,
Shall one Day vindicate my Innocence,
And crown my injur'd Love with Praise immortal.
Then, when I'm laid in Dust, my cruel Lord
O'er my cold Grave shall shed a pitying Tear,
And own I well deserv'd a happier Fate.


Enter King Henry and Rosamond.
And will you go?
K. Hen.
But for this Night, my Fair.
This Night: How many Hours are in this Night?
[Page 93] How many Minutes in each tedious Hour?
Methinks I dare not trust thee from my Arms.
K. Hen.
Thou know'st, my Love, the solemn Vow I made;
I must do Penance at the sacred Shrine
Of Becket, ere I close mine Eyes in Sleep.
The Holy Father of the Church injoin'd it.
If I refuse, I draw upon mine Head
Curses, Anathemas, and Execrations,
And all th' Artillery of angry Priesthood.
This once perform'd, I am thy own for ever.
O let my Lord excuse my selfish Fears:
For what is Henry's Safety but my own?
K. Hen.
Why, we shall live to triumph over both,
This Trait'ress Queen, and fierce hot-headed Son.
But I forget them, while I view thy Beauty;
Sole Comfort adequate to kingly Care:
The soothing Freshness of the vernal Breeze,
The lulling Notes of dying Harmony,
The rapt'rous Calm of good Mens golden Dreams,
Bring not such balmy Quiet to the Soul,
As thy Sense-stealing Softness.
Can my Love
Stray but a Moment, ev'n in Thought, from thee,
Joy of my Life, and Sov'reign of my Wishes?
Such Sighs as these within your Bosom heav'd,
Such lively Fondness sparkled in your Eyes,
Such tuneful Accents trembled on your Tongue,
When first transported at my Feet you sigh'd,
My Royal Captive, and there swore you lov'd.
K. Hen.
[Page 94]
Thy Charms had caught me but som [...] Days before.
Let me look back on that delightful Hour;
'Twas in an Ev'ning of the blooming May;
The Nymphs and Swains, in rural Garb attir'd,
To the Pipe's woodland Strain, upon the Lawn,
In mirthful Freedom, join'd the sprightly Dance;
You shone superiour 'midst the Virgin Throng,
Fairest among the Fair: Auspicious Fortune
Had led my Steps that Way: I came, I saw,
And, seeing, lov'd.
Love, like a watchful Spy, surpris'd my Heart,
Well-fitted to receive the soft Impression:
Thy graceful Presence drew my wond'ring Eyes:
I sigh'd, but knew not 'twas a Sigh of Love;
I wept, but knew not that I wept for thee;
Till Nature by Degrees inform'd my Heart,
And something told me I was made for you.
K. Hen.
For me, for me alone; those heav'nly Charms
Had been dishonour'd by inferiour Love:
Nature design'd thee for the noblest Conquest,
And, giving thee such Excellence of Beauty,
Wisely contriv'd a Blessing for a Monarch.
And, of all Monarchs, only for my Henry,
Who shines distinguish'd 'midst a Tribe of Kings,
As they among the vulgar Herd.
K. Hen.
Be it my Glory to deserve thy Sweetness.
Be it my Glory to repay thy Truth.
K. Hen.
[Page 95]
How strong the Tie which Love himself has made!
One dear Embrace, and for this Night adieu!
I grudge ev'n Saints a Moment of thy Time:
How shall I sigh, and languish, in thy Absence?
How shall I spring to hail thy safe Return,
With a fond Heart full fraught with Love and Joy?
So the poor Bird sits pensive in her Nest,
While tender Fears disturb her anxious Breast:
At length she kens her Mate with piercing Eye,
On rapid Pinions skim along the Sky:
With welcome Notes she chears the vocal Grove,
And fondly chirps, and bills, with most officious Love.


Enter Lord Clifford in Disguise.
HENRY must pass this Way for Becket's Tomb:
While thus attir'd, like a poor begging Friar,
I shall escape his Knowlege: I must win
His Ears to my Discourse; while I relate
The piteous Story of my Sufferings,
And circumstantially describe my Woes,
In Terms so clear, that the Similitude,
[Page 96] Himself portraiting strongly to himself,
Shall strike upon his Soul. With a dim Eye
Personal Guilt is view'd; an Atom Spot
Sharp-sighted Censure sees in other Men:
What tho' our barren Conf'rence have no Issue?
At least I shall unload my burthen'd Heart,
And probe his wounded Conscience to the Quick.
But hold—He comes.
Enter King Henry.
K. Hen.
'Tis much—What! to submit
To painful Chastisement, and on the Flint
Wear out the slow-pac'd Night!—Be we content;
'Tis to appease our holy Mother Church—
I like this Cloister's awful Solitude:
It seems the Dwelling-place of Meditation.
Hah! who comes tow'rds us with so sad an Aspect?
Sure he's the youngest Son of Misery.
Lo here a Beggar, and a King! Wide Contrast!
Yet pass one Moment, all Distinctions vanish,
And Majesty incorporates with Dust;
Let Pride go weep: It may amuse my Thought,
To hide the King, and commune with this Fellow.
What hoa, Friend; who are you?
Why, who art thou,
That dost not know Lorenzo, the poor Friar?
K. Hen.
I'm come to pay Devotion to Saint Thomas,
And am a Stranger here.
I crave your Pardon.
Thou seem'st of noble Blood.
K. Hen.
[Page 97]
Well hast thou said;
For such I am.
Then, Sir, you know King Henry.
K. Hen.
Exceeding well. I oft attend his Court.
But why's thy Tongue familiar with that Name?
Because I take a Pride to let thee know,
That, wretched as I am, this Arm has serv'd him.
K. Hen.
If well, I trust, that Service was repaid.
As Avarice could wish: Ev'n to this Day
He is the Idol of my Memory;
I serv'd him in his early Prime of Glory.
His Soldiers lov'd him all; for all believ'd him
The best of Kings, his Country's Friend and Father.
O, he was noble, gen'rous, brave, and just;
Pow'rful, but to protect, and not oppress;
Fear'd and renown'd abroad, and lov'd at home.
K. Hen.
Praise undeserv'd is Satire's bitt'rest Gall.
In Faith thou hast describ'd his Highness well:
Methinks there is right Honesty about thee:
Thy talk exceeds the Promise of that Habit.
Sir, I was once no Stranger to good Fortune.—
But wherefore do I hold this Talk? Farewel.
K. Hen.
Yet stay; for thou hast mov'd my Soul▪ to learn
The Story of thy Life—Whence, and what art thou?
Why is thy Look thus sad and discontented?
Does not Religion's Garb sit easy on thee?
Say, wherefore didst thou leave the Royal Camp,
[Page 98] To live immur'd within these holy Walls;
Yet now, unmindful of thy Dedication,
Dost nauseate the Cup of Poverty
Thyself hast sworn to drink?
Thou dost not know
What 'tis to be distress'd—I could display
A Scene so mournful to thy startled Ear,
Thy Wonder should be swallow'd up in Pity.
Canst thou lend Patience to an old Man's Prattle?
K. Hen.
I will.
Know then the holy Brotherhood
Combat with more in this religious Warfare,
Than Down-reposing Luxury e'er dreamt of.
We're Men, but yet no Members of Mankind:
This rev'rend Mansion is to us, our World;
Yon melancholy Cells thou seest, our Home;
There ev'ry Night, in pensive Meditation,
We watch the Lamp's dull Gleam; and when we sleep,
'Tis but what Nature steals from rigid Duty,
Till the shrill Cock, the Usher of the Morn,
Awakes us to the Discipline of Day.
Our homely Meals are low, and regular;
And while we stay the Rage of Appetite,
We starve the dainty Palate: To be brief,
Wealth, Business, Pleasure, Honour we renounce,
And all of us are Wretches by Engagement:
'Tis thus we struggle with Mortality,
Rather than live. What think you of our State?
K. Hen.
'Tis all that Man can do tow'rds earning Heav'n;
[Page 99] It is Extremity of Wretchedness.
But yet—
Ha, ha, ha.
K. Hen.
What can provoke thy Mirth?
Your Ignorance;
For in this Light thou seest me to Advantage:
All this is Happiness, to what I suffer:
Was this the mighty Sum of all my Sorrow,
These Eyes should start in Transport from their Orbs,
And my old Heart-strings crack with rising Joy.
K. Hen.
Thy Fortune has been merciless indeed,
If this sad Place be Sorrow's Sanctuary.
What's this, Sir, to the Poignancy of Woe,
To inward Grief, to vital Agony,
And the keen Pang that gnaws upon the Heart?
Poor tho' he is, the Man whose Mind's at Ease,
Beneath the Straw-built Roof enjoys his Sleep;
At pinching Hunger's Importunity,
Epicure-like, devours his savoury Fragment;
And, joyous, as the brain-sick Reveller,
Quaffs down the unadulterated Stream.
But O! how bitter is the scanty Morsel,
That, feeding Life, but nourishes Despair!
K. Hen.
How loudly does the Voice of Grief demand
The social Tear! O what is mortal Man,
That may be brought thus low? 'Twill glad my Soul
To make this Fellow happy.
Stranger, I thank thy Tears; they shew thee noble:
[Page 100] Pity flows always from the manly Heart.
Have you a Daughter, Sir?
K. Hen.
Say, why that Question?
O, I had one; so fair, so innocent!—
Excuse my Tears.
K. Hen.
Thou seem'st to speak of her
In pleasing Terms—So fair, so innocent!
O she was once the Treasure of my Soul;
Bright as the Morning's fresh-expanded Beam;
And spotless as the white-rob'd Angels are:
When-e'er I taught her Honour's sacred Law,
Her still Attention, and obsequious Look,
Seem'd the Certificates of inborn Virtue:
Sometimes I've trac'd her Mother in her Face,
Pleas'd to recall the Spring-tide of my Days,
And travel o'er Youth's chearful Road again.
For her I left the Business of the Field,
Well-pleas'd I toil'd a rural Life away,
And, joyful, saw my golden Harvests rise:
But Plenty, Peace, and Comfort, are no more;
Her coward Virtue stoop'd to brutal Love.
I could not bear the Shame: I left my House;
The Fugitive of Choice, and not of Fortune:
Sick of this worthless World, at length I sought
This Cloister of religious Poverty;
And here I mean to lay down Life, and Sorrow.
K. Hen.
Thy Loftiness of Soul amazes me.
Who was the Villain that abus'd thy Daughter?
Perdition on his Head!
[Page 101]
That cuts me deep:
My most invet'rate Foe had spar'd my Fame;
But him that ruin'd it, I call'd my Friend:
He was the Man I honour'd from my Soul:
I thought him honest, gentle, just, and true;
But found him cruel, wicked, false, and base.
K. Hen.
What means my Heart? Thou hadst a Daughter, Clifford.
My hospitable Doors had just receiv'd him,
A welcome Guest, a smiling Murderer;
While Confidence in his superiour Worth
Made the curst Work of my Undoing easy.
K. Hen.
The Dagger's Point, the Scorpion's deadly bite,
Wound not like these Soul-penetrating Words:
I'm like this very Villain.
You're disturb'd, Sir.
K. Hen.
No, not at all. Proceed you in your Tale.
To this Ingratitude he added more:
I had been Guardian to his tender Youth;
And (for I found a warlike Spirit in him)
Train'd him to hard Fatigues, and manly Toil;
We serv'd together in the Wars abroad,
And I was still his Pattern in the Battle:
Fame has since then spoke loudly in his Praise:
But, be he e'er so great, I made him so.
K. Hen.
I stand condemn'd—it is—it cannot be—
Sure he's a Messenger from angry Heav'n,
Sent to arraign my Soul.
You are not well, Sir;
K. Hen.
[Page 102]
A sudden Qualm has seiz'd me: But 'twill off;
'Tis a familiar Malady—Accept
These Alms—I must be gone—Again To-morrow—
But one Word more; something remains untold,
He further ow'd a nearer Obligation
To my Heart's Love: For once in Heat of Fight,
When he had broke his Sword, the desp'rate Foe,
With his broad Falchion, aiming at his Head,
Had levell'd him to Earth; when I rush'd in,
And disappointed Fate: This wounded Breast,
Bears yet the honest Record of that Service:
Please you, look here.
K. Hen.
Give me more Air. Away!
He has it deep: I mark'd his startled Conscience;
I drove the keen reproach into his Heart:
He shook like a raw Novice in his Guilt.
May Heav'n indent th' Impression on his Soul!—
This is a busy Ev'ning; at this Hour,
And near this Place, my Letter did appoint
The Earl of Leicester to an Interview.
I am no more a Beggar in Disguise,
But here an open, and avenging Foe.


Enter Queen, and Duke of Cornwall.
Thou hast well flatter'd my desponding Soul,
That had forgot to hope: O Pain of Doubt,
Next to Despair!
[Page 103]
Let not the Queen distrust
These Means of good Success: I've wish'd long since,
T' assist thy Exigence, and, but just now,
Consulted sev'rally the Royal Guard,
That keep the Watch To-night at her Apartment:
I've won them to your Int'rest, on Condition,
No Wrong be offer'd to the Fair-one's Person.
At Midnight's silent Hour, nought will obstruct
The fatal Visitation.
My good Lord,
I thank thy Friendship; by my Hopes of Peace,
The Person of my Rival shall be sacred:
'Twill pain me to dissemble Cruelty;
For I have all the Softness of my Sex,
But no Resentment, jealous Rage, and Malice,
That wont t' inflame the Breast of injur'd Woman.
Hard by yon Hill, where now the Lamp of Day
Sea-ward descends, there stands a fam'd old Convent.
Ne'er had Religion a more awful House.
A Stream slow-gliding winds about its Borders,
Upon whose Banks stand a long Range of Oaks,
That cast a wide Solemnity of Shade:
O'er the high Walls the creeping Ivy climbs,
And in its high-arch'd Vaults no Sounds are heard
But whistling Winds, and deep-ton'd Falls of Water?
Remorse, and Horror, dwell for ever there;
It is the Seat of Penitence and Sorrow.
Thither be Rosamond this Night convey'd;
And, for the rest, trust Heav'n.
[Page 104]
This may secure
My wretched Rival; but the King, my Lord!
How shall I face his Anger? For I know—
Alas! I do not know how much he loves her.
Believe me, ev'ry Circumstance shall end
In ample Illustration of thy Virtue.
My Lord of Chester has o'erthrown the Scots,
So shall you soon stand clear of all Suspicion
Of aiding jointly with your Son the War,
And slander'd Innocence again shall triumph.
Good Omens dwell upon thy pleasing Words,
But let us hence; I must prepare my Heart
For this Night's Enterprize.


Enter Lord Leicester with a Letter.
Fortune, thou dost exceed thy Vot'ry's Hope;
Fate does my Work herself, and spares my Pains:
How had my Brain been toiling for this Hour?
She wills me meet her here—the gentle Dame—
Harry, this once I give thee leave to rest;
Night's Mantle, dy'd in blackest Erebus,
Shroud thy unconscious Thought—Pause, this blest Hour
The nobler Movements of my busy Soul,
And let me stoop to Beauty's pleasing Lure:
Thus the bold Bird of Prey, the princely Vulture,
Forgets a while his bloody Occupation,
To hold an am'rous Parley with his Mate.
Comes she? or—Hah!—by Hell 'tis Clifford's Self.
Unlucky Stars! But, Statesman, to thy Work.
[Page 105] Enter Lord Clifford.
Good Even to my Lord. You seem'd in Thought.
In Faith, my good Lord Clifford, so I was.
I have some certain Smatch of Poesy,
And, walking forth to taste the Ev'ning's Freshness,
My Wit 'gan to be somewhat humoursome:
I fear your Lordship has quite marr'd my Sonnet.
What, does the Paper you just folded up
Contain the Substance?
A short Sketch, my Lord,
My Muse in Miniature; a very Trifle.
Say, Leicester, is't a Time to trifle now?
Peace to thy Heart, I think the Season's sickly.
Why, so do I; and, trust me, noble Clifford,
'Tis but to cheat away my Melancholy,
I sometimes condescend to be a Fool.
O I could be a Fool, a very Wretch,
Could rank me with the common savage Crew,
Turn Hireling, drudging Slave, and carry Burdens,
If I could purchase, with this Sum of Care
My wonted Peace of Mind. Sure I'm so wretched,
Fate fix'd me for its Masterpiece of Malice.
Great are thy Wrongs indeed: Yet we all suffer;
'Tis epidemical, this State Disorder.
And who can cure the Fever, but ourselves?
We'll be our own Physicians, my good Lord,
And let out this hot Blood.
I'm not so desp'rate in my Purposes:
Headstrong Impatience swells beyond its Charter,
[Page 106] And I must tell thee, I've that Sense of Honour,
That I could bear a Thousand gross Affronts,
That stink ev'n to the Sun, before the Guile
Of artful Villainy, that lurks unseen,
And ruins while it smiles.
Ev'n so, good Clifford:
Sure a clandestine Traitor is the vilest:
The Devil's most odious Quality is Cunning:
Let us not think your Lordship has such Foes:
Mean time make use of me, and my Soul's Friendship.
Hah, Leicester, dost thou know what Friend­ship is?
'Tis not the fawning Cringe, the study'd Smile,
The oil-smooth Speech, big Word, or solemn Vow;
It is a sacred Ray of heav'nly Love:
Like that, rejoicing in the Good of others,
It scorns the narrow Bounds of Selfishness,
And knows no Bliss sincere, but social Joy:
Simple and plain, it shines in naked Truth,
And opens all the Sluices of the Heart.
What means all this?
I know no double Meaning.
I thought I had been known, and try'd enough,
Not to be troubled with a pedant Lecture:
Let me, my Lord, tell you another Truth;
Distrust is Friendship's Canker.
Then, I fear me,
Our Friendship waxes tow'rd a Dissolution:
Because sometimes Distrust is kin to Prudence.
[Page 107]
That, as your Lordship thinks. For my own Part,
I know the Man will thank me for my Service;
And so Good-night.
Nay, hold; you go not yet:
For I have that to say will make your Heart sick,
Before we part.
What dost thou mean, old Man,
Thee, and thy vile Suggestion I defy.
Then I demand, in Honour's sacred Name,
As Thou would'st here make good thy Honesty,
That thou unfold the Purport of that Paper,
The Sonnet that thou talk'dst of.
Is my Quality
Sunk on a sudden to so low an Ebb,
That I must answer every Fool's Demand,
Which he may make, because his Humour's testy?
Then my Demand is fruitless, is it not?
Ay, and injurious too: Thy Age protects thee:
Else on this Side I wear an Advocate,
This faithful Sword, to guard its Master's Honour,
And vindicate his Name from foul-mouth'd Slander.
Come, thy Hypocrisy's a thread-bare Cloak:
You've worn it long, my Lord; and now 'tis seen through.
If thy Complexion were as black as Hell,
I'd conjure up a Blush into thy Cheeks.
Know then I sent that Scroll.
Know then, I care not.
[Page 108]
O thou vile Spoiler!
Wherein, or when had I offended thee,
That thou couldst calmly mean me so much Wrong?
Lost as she is to Henry's damn'd Inchantments,
My Daughter's not a gen'ral Prostitute;
Or, say she was the Play-thing of Mankind,
My Friend would spurn at her, but pity me.
Thee, Dotard, and whatever else presumes
To thwart my Will, I scorn alike; 'tis true
You have this once o'er-reach'd me: I confess
Love and fair Rosamond had fir'd my Hopes:
But for thy Tongue—rail on—it hurts not me—
What dost thou here? Dost thou dissemble too?
By my balk'd Joys, thou'rt Partner in the Trade;
Thou sharest in the Spoil, and standest here,
The Pander of thy Daughter's fulsome Lust.
Hold—Let me wait—for Heav'n itself perhaps
Will take my Part, and blast thee on the Spot;
Or does it leave me to revenge myself?
This trusty Sword, that never yet unmask'd,
But in the Field of Honour, shall for once
Be stain'd in single Fight with Traitor's Blood.
Fortune, and Rosamond, but smile this Hour,
And this shall be the Birth-day of my Bliss.
I draw the Sword of keenest Hate: Come on.
[Fight. Clifford falls.
Leicester, the Glory and the Guilt is thine,
That hast oppos'd thy Wrath to rev'rend Age:
But Life was burdensome—and, for this once,
[Page 109] Ev'n Thou art kind—I pity, and forgive thee.
O Heav'n!—Hah! who are these?
Enter Officer and Guards.
My Lord of Leicester,
I arrest thee here, in the King's Name, for Treason
In holding Correspondence with the Scots.
Secure him, Guard—What's here?—Lord Clifford fall'n!
O cursed Deed!—How fares it with your Lordship?
Well art thou come to catch my parting Breath;
(For I perceive Compassion in thy Look).
Bear my last Words to gentle Salisbury:
He shall report them, where the Sound shall startle,
And, like the Voice of Heav'n, command Attention.
Henry was once old Clifford's Royal Friend,
And Rosamond was Clifford's only Daughter—
But Rosamond and Henry more than kill'd me;
For, O! this mortal Wound is Titillation
To Honour's painful Stab—Yet witness Friend,
That in this cool, this reconciling Hour,
I steep all Passion in Forgetfulness—
Warn them some Angel; ere Heav'n's Wrath be ripe,
To separate their fatal Loves for ever,
That we may meet in Harmony above,
Where Folly, Grief, and Pain, shall be no more—Dies.
So prays, as for his Soul, the dying Clifford.
Heav'n hear thy pious Wish, thou good old Man!
—For you, my Lord, but for this last black Deed,
[Page 110] That makes ev'n Pity callous, I could grieve,
To bid you be prepar'd to die To-morrow.
It had been Cowardice to rush on Death,
When Fate had other Mischiefs in Reserve;
Else my own Hands had freed me from the World,
And Henry's idle Spleen: But let him know
I dare defy the utmost of his Power:
Come Death, come Hell, I will be Leicester still.
Far other Words in this Distress would better▪
Away! I was not born to know Distress;
My Soul, high-tow'ring on her full-fledg'd Wing,
And independent on Contingency,
Hears Fortune's air-spent Arrows hiss beneath her:
Defeated, I still boast in my vast Purpose;
I play'd a dang'rous, but a noble Game:
'Twas Fortitude to venture Life for Glory;
And, next to that, 'tis Fortitude to die.—
I have but one Request to make—your Leave
To see the Prince.
I have no Orders to refuse you that.
Yet for one Moment my tough Heart must bend,
And Nature shock'd confess a transient Pang:
The Dream of Bliss now swims before my Eyes.
Fortune had plac'd my Happiness in View;
And, when I rush'd to grasp the solid Joy,
She marr'd my Hopes, and dash'd them to the Ground.
The Merchant thus the wish'd-for Haven sees,
And chears his Soul with Hopes of future Ease:
[Page 111] But, unforeseen, the threat'ning Tempests rise,
And Clouds black-lowring gather in the Skies;
Winds roar, Seas swell, his shatter'd Bark is tost,
And, in a sudden Wreck, his Mass of Wealth is lost.


Enter Queen, Duke of Cornwall, and Guard.
THIS is the Way, that leads to her Apartment:
Fortune now bids thee triumph o'er thy Rival.
Alas! I know not how t' insult Misfortune;
Yet must I act a haughty Rival's Part,
Affect the high Disdain of Majesty,
The Rage of Jealousy, and Storm of Vengeance,
Ill-suited to my Tenderness of Nature:
But soft Compassion, dress'd in Terms of Hate,
Will make more worth the Gift of forfeit Life,
And justify my Name to future Times.
These shall be near to wait th' expected Call.
Rosamond sola.
How dreadful 'tis to commune with one's self!
It is Society that makes Sin pleasing:
Lead-pinion'd Slumber weighs upon the Sense;
But wakeful Conscience knows no Hour of Rest,
[Page 112] And the clos'd Eye-lid cannot shut out Care.
Why tarries Harriana? But she comes.
Hah! I'm betray'd!—The jealous angry Queen,
And with her a grim Crew of Murderers.
Earth, open wide thy Bosom to receive me!
Night shield me with impenetrable Darkness.
Enter Queen.
Stand you without, and wait our Word of Fate▪
Where is this impious and deluded Woman?
Prepare, prepare, to meet my big Resentment,
And satisfy the Vengeance of my Soul.
Thus self-condemn'd, how shall I plead for Pardon?
Or stand before offended Majesty?
Yet Heav'n accepts, in Part of due Atonement,
Confession of the Crime: Here on my Knees—
Call'st thou it Merit, to confess a Crime,
Thou dar'st no more deny, than vindicate?
Strive not in vain to deprecate my Wrath:
Think on the Anguish of an injur'd Wife;
Think on the Torture of a slighted Lover;
Think on the Hatred of a pow'rful Rival;
Think on all these; and think on Death.
O rather,
Think on the Horrour of a Wretch, that stands
Upon the Brink of Death, but dares not die.
My Soul is startled at the dreadful View,
And ev'ry Weakness takes the sad Alarm.
Art thou afraid to die? I'd have thee so:
'Tis Joy to antedate thy Misery:
[Page 113] To suff'ring Virtue Death's a Remedy;
To Guilt, like thine, alone, a Punishment.
Great Queen, relent, and spare my Bloom of Youth.
Compassion on Distress is ever noble;
But, undeserv'd, 'tis godlike: O, remember,
Mercy's the sweetest Attribute of Heav'n;
'Twill sooth thee in thy last sad Hour to think,
Thou didst not plunge me into endless Ruin:
And when thou mountest to thy native Sky,
Admiring Angels shall come crouding round thee,
And own that thou, of all the Race of Men,
Hast copy'd best thy bright Original.
And dost thou think to whine me from my Purpose?
Can a Sigh cool the Sun's meridian Blaze?
Or a Tear quench the Rage of spreading Flames?
Then may this Shew of artifical Grief,
Of forc'd Remorse, appease my angry Soul.
'Tis not in Art to mimic Grief like mine:
Let me conjure thee, as thou art a Woman,
By all the nat'ral Softness of our Sex,
Not in wild Haste to dye thy Hands in Blood.
Much have I sinn'd—but O that Sin was Love,
The yielding Weakness of a tender Maid—
Ah! what could Reason urge against the Force
Of Passion kindling in a female Breast?
If female Passions sway with lordly Rule,
Revenge may glow with Fires as hot as Love.
Shall I forgive thee, and destroy myself?
What, let thee live to triumph o'er my Folly,
[Page 114] Again to riot in my Henry's Arms,
And in each Fit of wanton Dalliance,
To lisp, and prattle o'er, the dismal Tale;
Then kiss, and make him swear, 'Tis pitiful?
By Heav'n, it makes Imagination mad.
Witness the Pow'r supreme, that sees my Shame,
I here renounce for ever Henry's Love;
Tho' Life itself would thus be dearly bought:
But I've a fearful Reck'ning yet to make,
Much from my Soul is due to injur'd Heav'n:
Will these few Pangs discharge the Debt, or will
A Moment's Sorrow pay for Years of Guilt?
That as Heav'n pleases; but my Anger's urgent,
And now demands an instant Sacrifice.
Let me but live: Is that so great a Boon?
I'll wander in the World a Vagabond,
Turn'd loose from Human-kind, forlorn, and wild;
Each scornful Tongue, that hail'd my happier Days,
Shall mock my abject Fall: I'll owe my Life
To common Charity; from Door to Door
I'll beg Subsistence, and be proud to feast
Upon the Refuse of gorg'd Appetite.
And when the Wrath of Heav'n is satisfy'd,
And the full Term of all my Woes expires,
On the cold Flint I'll stretch my weary'd Limbs,
And bless thy Name, and die.
Shame of thy Sex,
Whom can thy Blessings help, or Curses hurt?
Why do I trifle thus? It is resolv'd:
Inexorable Justice claims her Right.
[Page 115]
'Tis Cruelty, not Justice, thirsts for Blood.
Be't which it will, it must be satisfy'd.
What canst thou gain by killing me?
Will England's Queen avow so poor a Motive?
Will England's Queen conform her great De­signs
To vulgar Rules of Action? Thou shalt die.
Then 'tis in vain to struggle with my Fortune:
Yes, I will die, and glory in my Passion:
Shall Henry's Mistress fear a Rival's Rage?
His Love shall chear me in my dying Moments;
It shall deceive thy Cruelty, to mark
With how serene a Brow I meet my Fate;
And thou shalt envy Nature's parting Pang.
So bold? But we shall try this boasted Courage.
Then be my Blood on thy devoted Head!
My Lord, my Henry, shall revenge my Death:
And when the World shall hear our fatal Story,
Thy savage Rage, and unrelenting Hate,
Shall brand thy Name with Infamy for ever:
My hapless Lot shall find a gentler Treatment,
And After-times, indulgent to the Weakness,
That present Censure magnifies with Malice,
Shall rank me high among heroic Lovers,
That liv'd Love's Votaries, and dy'd its Martyrs.
In that poor Comfort go, and lose thy Life.
Advance, ye Instruments of my just Vengeance,
And do the Work of Fate: Bear her to Death.
[Page 116] Enter Guard.
What do I see? It melts my fixt Resolves:
Courage, and Innocence, would shake at this:
What then must Guilt, and feeble Woman, feel?
And must I fall by Ruffians brutal Hands?
O, yet forgive my Rashness; spare my Life;
Spare me at least the Horrour of this Sight;
Discharge these ghastly, and grim-featur'd Wretches,
And take my Life with thy own Royal Hand.
It is beneath me: Hence! Away with her.
Pause yet one last sad Moment, and I go:
Since Death is sure, let me not die like one
That has no Foresight of a long Hereafter:
Tongue cannot tell the Anguish I now feel;
O may it purchase my eternal Peace!
Thee, mighty Queen, I above Measure wrong'd:
Yet this is surely Punishment enough;
If 'tis too much, Heav'n pardon the Excess,
And not impute Severity of Justice:
Be thou yet happy in thy Henry's Love,
And, with my Life, let ev'ry Discord cease:
Yet let him wet my Tomb with one sad Tear,
And pity her his fatal Love has ruin'd:
Then may he quite forget our guilty Joys,
And bless the Nations with his Royal Virtues!
Life, Love, and Henry, all Adieu, for ever.
[Exit Rosamond guarded.
The painful Task is done; and grievous 'twas,
To trace the strong Emotions of her Soul;
[Page 117] This Suff'ring is enough for all her Crimes.
But, lo! the silver Gleam of Morning breaks.
O thou supreme, all-wise, o'er-ruling Pow'r,
That seest the mighty Wrongs of Elinor,
Bless, if it seemeth good, this honest Art,
And touch with deep Remorse my Henry's Heart:
But if 'tis fix'd, by thy unalter'd Will,
That I should still be scorn'd, be wretched still;
If 'tis recorded in the Book of Fate,
That I was born to love, and He to hate;
The next sad Boon my weary'd Soul shall crave,
Is Rest eternal, and a peaceful Grave.


Enter Prince Henry, Earls of Surry and Winchester.
P. Hen.
It cannot be: The Army all dispers'd!
And the Scotch King himself ta'en Prisoner!
This strikes our blasted Purpose to the Root:
Yet do we hold ourself as full of Spirit,
And royal Quality, as when we thought
To seat us in our Father's tott'ring Throne:
But halt we here, and cease the noble Chace;
Let Glory hide awhile his radiant Head,
Till, bursting like the Sun from Ocean's Lap,
Once more he pours the Beams of Day around.
Say, where's the Right-hand of our Enterprize,
The trusty Leicester?
May it please your Grace,
[Page 118] By your Command, I went last Night t' apprise
His Lordship of our sudden Overthrow:
But he was then gone forth, 'twas said, in private.
P. Hen.
Shield him, ye Stars! my ever-faithful Friend,
That nurs'd my Youth, e'en like a tender Plant,
One Day to flourish in fair England's Garden.
Look, where he comes; and, lo! a sullen Guard
Of Officers of State attend upon him;
Death sits in Pomp upon each Countenance.
Enter Leicester guarded.
P. Hen.
Whence is it, Leicester, that I see thee thus?
I've known the Time when I had flown to meet thee,
Swift as the fabled Mercury: Methought
I could have grasp'd thee to my Heart for ever,
And youthful Love's Embrace was cold to mine:
But now forbidding Horrours dwell around thee;
And this first Time I wish thee from my Sight,
Far as quick Magic, or the Stretch of Thought,
Could waft thee hence: Alas! what mean these Bonds?
I am thy Father's Pris'ner; by what Chance,
It matters not: And 'tis with Joy I tell it,
I shall not be so long; for I'm to die.
This World has trifled with my Expectations,
And I shall leave it with Indifference,
Like a disgusted Friend.
P. Hen.
Didst thou say, die?
Where is the Pow'r on Earth shall take thee from me
Against my Will? By Heav'n, my Heat of Soul
[Page 119] Transports me to the thund'ring Field of Battle:
Have I no Friends? Methinks ten thousand Swords
With sympathetic Rage should leave their Scabbards,
And, forcing Conquest from the Hand of Fortune,
Rescue thy Life, and my insulted Honour.
Why dost thou spend thy frantic Breath in vain?
Thus ruin'd as I am, I pity thee.
P. Hen.
How steady is thy Heart! Blest Lot of Virtue!
O hadst thou clos'd thine Eyes in Honour's Bed,
The glorious Fate had claim'd my Gratulation:
But shall my Friend be led to formal Death,
To shameful, publick Execution,
And make a Spectacle for vile Plebeians?
Can I endure all this?—Can I prevent it?
The mournful Image sinks me into Childhood,
And from my Eyes the Stream of Sorrow flows.
Weep not; for Tears are Woman's Ceremony.
My Life has been a Hurricane throughout,
And I will raise a Storm at my Departure;
As the fell Lightning strikes while it does vanish.
P. Hen.
Thy Talk is wild: Is't possible to save thee?
I will unhinge the vast Machinery
Of Sov'reign Greatness, that my Soul had fram'd,
And be that dull, unthinking Thing I was,
Ere yet, inspir'd by thy awak'ning Breath,
The Flame of Glory play'd about my Heart;
For thee I will renounce this Bauble Crown,
Throw myself prostrate at my Father's Feet,
And there solicit for thy valu'd Life.
[Page 120]
Think not of me; solicit for thyself:
Ask Pardon for the Follies of thy Youth,
And promise better Carriage for the future:
A little Whining will set Matters right,
The old Man kindly takes you by the Hand,
Bids you sit still, and all shall be forgotten.
P. Hen.
Still, Leicester, dost thou thwart my good Intent,
As if to be oblig'd were worse than Death?
Then hear me, hear me, and be lost for ever:
Thou poor misguided Tool, thou Pygmy Monarch,
Thou Froth-made Creature of a Courtier's Guile,
Think not I ever bore Respect to thee,
Further than Shew would answer my Design.
Thou, and thy fancy'd Title, were the Engines
Of my Ambition, and high-crested Hopes:
Had Fate done Justice to my noble Daring,
I'd rioted at Will in lawless Pow'r,
And ever-blooming Love—O Rosamond!
My Thought still hangs on thee—But all is past,
And the whole World is now not worth my Notice.
P. Hen.
Tell me, good Surry, does not this Man rave?
Or am I here, or who, or what are you?
O, 'tis too much, too much!
Accursed Villain!
You're much disturb'd, my Lord: You grasp my Hand,
As you'd dissolve it, and Convulsions rend
Your struggling Heart, like the last Gasps of Nature.
Why, surely, 'twill be glorious Fun'ral Pomp,
When Princes are the Mourners.
P. Hen.
[Page 121]
It shall be so—Where is this Son of Darkness?
I will defile my Sword with his Heart's Blood,
And drive his Soul back to the Devil his Master.
Ay, kill me, do; and I shall die in Triumph.
P. Hen.
Hold! Shall I save him from the Hand of Justice,
And honour his foul Treason?—Drag him hence;
Be sure you grind his Carcase into Dust;
Then send each Particle to hottest Hell,
To suffer sep'rate Pain—
I leave my Imprecations to you all;
I have disturb'd Mankind, and die content.
[Exit guarded.
P. Hen.
If there's a Torment yet unfelt below,
Thou wilt disturb the Damn'd—For me what's left
But air-encount'ring Wrath, and sad Despair,
And self-reproaching Shame?—Are you my Friends?
Give me Credentials of your Honesty;
Smile, cringe, and hug, and swear, and then deceive me.
Could I unfold the Bottom of my Heart,
Your Grace would see it all your own.
P. Hen.
I tell thee, Surry, there's no Faith in Nature:
I'd ride a Bulrush in a stormy Sea,
Ere I would trust a Friend: Ingratitude!
Thou damning Sin of Devils, and of Men!
Our Patriarch-Father, happy in himself,
Enjoy'd his solitary Paradise:
But his first Bosom-friend, his Wife, betray'd him.
[Page 122]
My Soul abhors the Falshood of that Traitor:
For me—
P. Hen.
Heav'n only knows how much I lov'd him:
He lay within my Bosom's closest Fold,
And saw the Springs that mov'd my Soul to Action:
Had one poor Morsel been my Life's Subsistence,
And Leicester's craving Appetite unsated,
He should have shar'd his Moiety, exact
Ev'n to an Atom's Weight. Ye heav'nly Pow'rs!
Is this the Man that hath abus'd me thus?
The brute Beast softens to good Offices:
The churlish Cur frisks at his Master's Feet:
Nay, the great Lion fondles with his Keeper,
And bloody Tygers lick the Hand that feeds them:
Man only of all Creatures is ungrateful.
Heav'n too but wastes its Bounty on the Wretch:
Why sheds yon golden Orb his daily Light?
Mark! his meridian Brightness glares unheeded
By thankless Mortals, like a common Meteor.
Forget what's past—Awake your wonted Spirit—
P. Hen.
Never, my Lord.—But Yesterday, methought,
Like a full Tide, I spread myself abroad,
While Plenty smil'd along my fruitful Shores:
But now Heav'n's scorching Wrath has choak'd my Springs,
My sinking Stream forsakes its thirsty Banks,
And all my Urns are dry—O! I'm undone.
[Page 123]
Kind Heav'n send Peace to your disor­der'd Soul!
P. Hen.
Why dost thou talk of Peace? Orig'nal Chaos
Was more at Peace than I: If thou would'st please me,
Drive me into some vast Extremity,
Some Precedent of Horrour yet unheard of.
Would I could conjure up a hellish Spirit,
Should rend asunder this Sea-mantled Isle!
Sure I am fit for nought but some damn'd Deed,
To chronicle my Name a Plague for ever.
Come, come, my Lord! Youth is a sportive Tale,
That Men peruse, and are not critical.
The King will yet forgive, on Terms of Honour,
The Rashness of us all.
P. Hen.
Curse his Forgiveness!
Was I acquitted to ten thousand Worlds,
O! I should damn myself: Has Henry been
The chosen Instrument of Knavery,
Still pliant to a Villain's forming Hand?
Impartial Fame, that registers all Deeds,
Will write this first Page of my History,
In Terms most vile, and insignificant:
Had I the nervous Arm of Hercules,
The ample Sway of Philip's conqu'ring Son,
Proud Caesar's Fortune, or great Arthur's Soul,
Harry, and Fool, would still be join'd together.
O Shame eternal, insupportable!
To err is to be mortal: Where is he,
That falls not in the slipp'ry Path of Life?
[Page 124] But future Conduct cancels Failings past:
All may be yet retriev'd; the cloud-wrapt Morn
Is oft the Prologue to a glorious Day.
P. Hen.
Think'st thou I bear an ordinary Mind!
Who sets out wrong, ought to forego his Journey:
Hence I'll divorce me from the faithless World,
Step from the Prince, and study to forget
My Royal Sphere, 'till I am reconcil'd
To low Obscurity, and abject Life,
And ev'ry Thought be level with my Fate.
These deep Refinements seem akin to Madness.
Your Highness speaks the Language of Despair.
P. Hen.
I speak but what I feel: Methinks, 'tis done:
By Heav'n, I would not stoop to take a Crown;
The Head that wears that shining Burden akes for't▪
Who rules too, rules o'er Men; and I'd not hold
All Earth upon Security precarious,
As is the Weather-changing Faith of Men:
I hold no farther Correspondence with them.
Let the vile Miscreants prey on one another;
While I, on Fortune's mischievous Caprice,
Will diet my Reflection, and refine
To pure Conception my World-weaned Soul.
How happy is the Sage, in his Retreat,
That human Footsteps never yet profan'd!
No jarring Passions vex his gentle Breast;
Peace crowns his Days, his Nights unbroken Rest;
[Page 125] Slave to no Int'rest, aiming at no End,
He neither fears a Foe, nor wants a Friend;
Careless, what Nations rise, what Empires fall,
He hears not wild Ambition's noisy Call:
Wise to shun Pleasure, Fortune to defy;
He only seems to live, that he may die.


Rosamond asleep. Enter the Earl of Salisbury.
SEE where she lies asleep; poor fallen Cherub!
The maiden Freshness of th' ungather'd Rose
But imitates that Sweetness: Fair to look on,
Why art thou all Deformity within?
Oh! how unhappy is the Fate of Beauty?
It tempts the Ruffian Hand of Violence,
And, like the Diamond, sparkling in the Mine,
With its own Lustre lights the greedy Spoiler.
O Rosamond! had but indulgent Heav'n
Blasted the early Spring of thy Perfections,
'Tis like thy Life had been as innocent,
As that same guiltless Slumber—But she wakes.
I'll stand awhile apart.
Have Mercy on me!—
My Fears confound me—This sad Dwelling seems▪
[Page 126] The Anti-chamber to eternal Darkness:
They left me here to dreadful Meditation,
And weary'd Nature since has sunk in Sleep.
Am I to live? Why then that Ceremony,
That dismal Pomp of Death? Or do they mock me,
Staying the Execution of my Fate,
To fright my Apprehension?—Hah! Who's there?
It is my Father's Friend, the good Lord Salisbury.
O Rosamond! I come—But I must weep first—
Weep Blood, my Heart, for ev'ry Tear he sheds:
Dost thou behold me with a tender Eye,
Thou that dost Honour to the House of Clifford,
While I, vile Wretch! was born but to disgrace it?
Believe me, Fair-one, these same falling Tears
Adorn thee more than Beauty's brightest Bloom.
'Twas That betray'd thee to eternal Shame,
And dy'd thy Soul in complicated Guilt;
But Tears shall wash the scarlet Stains away.
Thy charitable Care, and mild Address,
Bespeak my warmest Thanks—Say, my good Lord,
Where is my injur'd Father? May I hope
(For once I knew him of a gentle Nature)
He can have Pity on an only Child,
Wretched, and sad, as Sin and Shame can make her?
For oh!—Despair will sink me, if I die
Beneath the Terrours of his righteous Curse.
Alas! my Friend thy Father is no more;
But Yesterday he dy'd by Leicester's Hand.
In his last Moments he remembred Thee,
[Page 127] (Think it an Earnest of forgiving Heav'n):
He own'd his Daughter in that fatal Crisis,
And bless'd thee with the Fervency of Pray'r.
This was my Deed: I kill'd this best of Fathers;
I drove his hoary Age to Desperation,
And made his Being painful—So is mine—
For I am now a Burden to myself—
Yet he forgave me—Ponder that, my Soul;
'Tis growing Matter for eternal Thought—
My Lord, thou know'st my Doom. Am I to die?
You must prepare to live: Last Night the Queen,
But hypocritical in Cruelty,
Beneath the Mask of Vengeance meant thee Mercy:
That dreadful Guard, that bore thee from the Palace,
As to thy Fate, when they convey'd thee hither,
Fulfill'd their whole Commission: in this Convent
Thou must commence the Votary of Heav'n,
And bid Adieu to all the World for ever.
Confess, my Heart, the Hand of Providence,
Plain, tho' unseen, in all its Acts of Mercy:
Here let me first, in pious Gratitude,
Implore a Blessing on her Royal Head,
Who, tho' my Rival, was not less my Friend:
May Peace, and Joy, and Love, crown all her Hours!
And, when her Length of Life is fully spun,
Let not Death seem a King of Terrours to her;
But, like a smiling Angel, sent to guide
Her fleeting Soul to Realms of endless Bliss!
[Page 128]
Thy grateful Pray'r is just: And now, O think,
Think what a Lesson thou must teach thyself:
Canst thou forget the Luxury of Courts,
The soft'ning Joys of Vanity and Ease,
And Pleasure's sweet Inchantment of the Mind?
Say, canst thou quench the Fire of youthful Love,
And blot the Name of Henry from thy Heart?
Canst thou devote thyself to pious Deeds,
To rigid, painful Holiness of Life;
To Meditation at the Midnight Hour;
To constant Watchings, and long Abstinence?
This is the Physick of a sickly Soul,
The Discipline that Penitence must take.
O Terms of Life severe, yet merciful!
Wilt thou, thou good old Man, solicit for me?
Thy pious Intercession well shall speed
My tardy Vows, and bear them up to Heav'n.
Hence I give up the World without a Sigh;
The World! What's that? I give up Henry too:
The Bubble breaks, the painted Scene is clos'd:
And now the calm, and sadly-pleasing View
Of peaceful Innocence, and purer Joys,
And Virtue, blasted like a beaten Flow'r,
Shocks my Remembrance, and upbraids my Soul.
Sense of past Vice is future Virtue's Basis,
And Self-conviction at the Bar of Conscience
More awes the waken'd Mind, than the Tribunal
Of solemn Justice, and the Pomp of Law:
Methinks, I hear the Host celestial shout,
[Page 129] And praise the noble Purpose thou hast made.
Heav'n is not deaf to Sorrow's piercing Voice:
Relenting it beholds the wounded Breast,
And kindly sheds the healing Balm of Mercy.
Thy Words distil the honey'd Sweet of Peace:
A Beam of Comfort chears my sinking Soul,
And brighter Prospects open to my View:
Folly has sully'd my Renown of Youth,
But strict Severity of Thought and Action
Shall change the black Complexion of my Guilt
To Snow-white Purity. Ages to come
Shall hear my Tale with Pity, not Reproach;
And those who curse the shameful Name of Mistress,
Shall bless the Convert, and admire the Saint.
If the blest Lot of righteous Men above
Admits of Augmentation, it will glad
Thy Father's Spirit, to perceive this Change,
And give a better Relish to his Heav'n.
From my Example let the Fair be warn'd,
To shun the pleasing Snares of lawless Love,
As they would fly the Serpent's bitter Tooth:
Its sweetest Pleasures leave a Sting behind:
To virtuous Minds Religion's Path is smooth;
But she that falls like me, like me must tread
The thorny Road of sad Remorse and Sorrow.
Hail, gloomy Mansions! hail! Here will I dwell,
In lonely Cloisters, and a dreary Cell,
A sad Recluse, I'll waste my Youth away,
Steal from Mankind, and shun the Face of Day.


Enter King Henry, and Attendants.
K. Hen.
At length the holy Task is full perform'd,
And my freed Soul is clear of Becket's Murder.
Now we may view our Royal State at Home:
Our Brother Scotland is our Prisoner:
If we think good, we seize upon his Crown;
Or bid him reign the Monarch of our Nod.
Let him attend the Sentence of our Will.
For our proud Son; we trust this late Defeat,
And Leicester's Death, shall humble his high Spirit;
Of him we shall think further at our Leisure:
For now more tender Thoughts possess my Soul;
To Love's soft Influence all its Motions yield,
And ev'ry Passion owns its sov'reign Master.
Queen of my Heart, my Rosamond, I come.
Enter the Duke of Cornwall.
Hah! Cornwall, why that Terror in thy Look?
Pardon, my Liege, the Messenger of Fate,
That brings afflicting Tidings to your Ear:
But what is done, 'twere Folly to disguise.
Then, to be brief: Last Night the jealous Queen
K. Hen.
Hold, on thy Life! Thou dost affright Conception:
I could with Patience hear the Knell of Death,
But not thy horrid Tale: Yet let me know it—
Proceed, and tell me nought but Truth, thou Wretch!
But dare not tell me, Rosamond is dead.
See where she comes herself. I stand discharg'd
Of my ungrateful Office.
[Page 131] Enter Queen.
K. Hen.
Can it be?
With how compos'd a Brow she hides her Guilt!
Dove-like Appearance, with a Serpent's Heart!
May I not hope a Woman will speak Truth
To do a Mischief? Therefore tell me, Elinor,
Without the forc'd Evasion of a Lye.
Where is my Love, my Life, my Rosamond?
Would all King Henry's Foes were safe as she,
Poor Wretch! she's fast asleep.
K. Hen.
What! dost thou mock me?
Dost thou with Triumph own thy Cruelty?
My vast Revenge shall tear thee—Soft, my Soul—
This Rage becomes me not—Fly hence, thou Tygress,
Lest I forget, in Wrath, myself, and thee,
And stain my Hands ignobly with thy Blood.
Thy Menaces, great Monarch, fright me not.
What I have done, was but the Deed of Justice.
Didst thou believe me then so tame of Soul,
That I could bear my Injuries for ever?
Yet, Henry, in my utmost Pride of Heart,
Let me confess my tender Love for thee:
Cast out that hated Wanton from thy Thoughts,
And I can yet forgive thee all my Wrongs.
K. Hen.
'Tis well! Thank Heav'n, in full Contempt I hear thee.
But, O, Philosophy's no Cure for Love;
This only Way Fate could unman my Soul:
O Rosamond, for ever, ever lost!
[Page 132] My Love was sweeter than the op'ning Flow'r,
That trembles with the Morning silver's Dew:
Fair, as the Down of Swans, or Mountain's Snow;
Then she was faithful as the Turtle's Mate,
And harmless as the Smile of Infancy.
Why was I born a Ruler of the World,
First Potentate on Earth, and Lord of Nations;
Yet could not keep one Jewel worth them all?
O Rosamond, for ever, ever lost!
Triumphant, happy Rival, ev'n in Death!
Does then a Harlot's Fate deserve those Tears?
Had the cold Tomb receiv'd me to my Rest,
No Sigh had heav'd that unrelenting Breast;
Thou wouldst have bless'd the lucky Destiny,
That took away the nauseous Inconvenience.
K. Hen.
Time was I did revere thy boasted Virtue.
Now thou hast done a Deed that startles Nature.
And wouldst thou still profess thy Love for me?
Can Hell produce Hypocrisy like thine?
Would she, that loves me, stab me to the Heart?
Couldst thou have form'd one tender gen'rous Thought,
Thou hadst in Pity spar'd my Soul's first Darling;
Thy Mercy had well prov'd thy Love unfeign'd,
And won my Praise, and Fame's fair Palm for ever.
But now, away!—Thou dost delight in Blood.
Could I have hop'd, my Lord, by gentle Means—
K. Hen.
Silence, false Woman! Thou didst know full well,
The Temper of my Soul, by Nature, noble;
[Page 133] And now, ev'n now, I mean to prove it so:
'Twas thine to gratify a mean Revenge,
Thy King, and Husband, scorns to stoop so low:
Go hence, and let thy Punishment be Life.
What have I done? Alas! my Rosamond,
Didst thou not call upon thy Henry's Name?
Didst thou not wish me to avenge thy Death?
Oh, no; thy tender Nature did forgive
The Stroke of Cruelty, and dy'd in Smiles.
I can no more.
Joy to thy Heart! thy Rosamond yet lives.
K. Hen.
Hah! did I hear? Was it an Angel's Voice?
Speak it, O speak again, ye Heav'ns, in Thunder!
I told my Lord, that Rosamond yet lives.
K. Hen.
Where is she? Let me fly into her Arms,
That I may tell my Heart's full Transport there:
Lost Crowns recover'd, sprightly Health restor'd
To Nature sunk, were Blessings poor to this:
Who sav'd her precious Life? He's my best Friend,
And let him take a Kingdom for his Service.
That Friend was I.
K. Hen.
What can thy Malice mean?
Fortune acts underhand, and fools my Soul:
Whom shall I hear, or what shall I believe?
Can none resolve my Doubts? My Lord of Cornwall,
As thou know'st ought has chanc'd, I charge thee speak.
My Liege, the Queen has utter'd but the Truth.
K. Hen.
O ye immortal Pow'rs! how can this be?
[Page 134]
That I've this Day abus'd your Royal Ear,
Thus humbly on my Knee I ask Forgiveness:
'Tis the first Time I ever yet deceiv'd you.
Let Actions speak for me; hear, and believe
How I have lov'd thee, how I love thee still!
Fortune, last Night, gave me sure means of Vengeance,
But, great as thine, my Soul disdain'd them all.
She lives, my Rival lives, tho' not for thee;
Happy, tho' thou shalt charm her Eyes no more;
A Convent's sacred Walls secure the Fair,
Where Heav'n (I trust) shall with free Grace accept
The pious Tribute of her future Duty.
K. Hen.
If this be true—and sure I feel it is,
I must not, dare not, think how I have wrong'd thee;
Earth does not bear so black a Wretch as me.
What hast thou done? Thou hast been wond'rous good;
Yet cruel to Excess—See her no more?
Shine then no longer, Sun—What! not to part?
Not one kind Word, one Kiss, one last Embrace!
O mournful, sad, eternal Banishment!
Banish'd? From whence? From a wild World of Folly,
To Virtue's calm Abode; banish'd to Heav'n.
And am I griev'd at this, because I lov'd her?
O sudden, painful Test of Sense and Honour!
Strong is the Voice of Reason, and of Virtue;
But Love pleads too, and Nature will be heard.
I did not this with any mean Design:
Virtue seeks no Advantage from her Deeds:
Therefore I say not this deserves your Kindness:
[Page 135] The cool Respect of Gratitude I scorn;
My Love for thee was ever from the Heart,
And equal Love alone can make me happy:
Else, tho' undone, I have discharg'd my Duty.
K. Hen.
I pr'ythee, pr'ythee, leave me, Elinor
Yet stay—By Heav'ns, again she holds me fast,
The lovely Image clings about my Soul!
Hence, dear Illusion, pleasing Phantom, vanish!—
'Tis done—Methinks, yon golden Cloud descends;
And, lo! a heav'nly Form, that calls my Love:
And now they glide across th' ethereal Plain:
Am I then left behind? For what, just Heav'n?
Do I not know for what?
'Tis mad to pause, and madder to resolve:
O that for one kind Minute Thought could stagnate?
Assist his struggling Soul, all-gracious Heav'n!
So please your Majesty, the Prince approaches.
Enter Prince Henry, Winchester, and Surry.
K. Hen.
A Stranger come to Court—Well, my young Hero,
What, are your conqu'ring Forces up in Arms?
Or dost thou kindly offer Terms of Peace?
P. Hen.
Oh, Sir, 'tis past—Here, at your Royal Feet,
Behold this Rebel Son, a Penitent.
My haughty Soul, that erst climb'd Heaven high,
Is but a Reptile now—Ambition shrinks,
Ev'n like an empty Vapour vanishing,
Whose Place is seen no more—I only ask
Pardon, and Peace, for me, and these my Friends.
[Page 136]
Unhop'd for Change!—O let the King grant both▪
Thou art my Son again.
K. Hen.
What may this mean?
Harry, I lov'd thee once.
P. Hen.
And if you lov'd,
May I presume to hope you will forgive too?
Sir, I once flourish'd in your Royal Smile:
Early my Soul began to pant for Glory:
But as the Seeds of Honour grew within me,
An artful Villain tamper'd with the Soil,
And spoil'd a goodly Crop—The rest you know—
Fortune, unequal to my daring Cause,
Has open'd since my Eyes: I wak'd indeed;
But only wak'd to see my Shame and Sorrow.
K. Hen.
Can I have Faith in this? Thou hast deceiv'd me.
P. Hen.
'Twas in the fatal Day of youthful Folly▪
But now the Purpose of Deceit is over;
For I am going hence, to that high Court,
Where Cunning cannot screen, or Darkness hide.
Alas! my Fears! What didst thou say, my Son?
P. Hen.
Let me not waste my most important Moments.
I have this Morning drank a deadly Draught.
I feel all-conqu'ring Death advancing on me;
He lays close Siege: My sinking Spirits fail;
My Nerves are slacken'd all; my Blood runs cold,
And Nature's Out-works yield; tho' still my Heart,
Like a strong Citadel, resists the Storm.
[Page 137]
Is there no Help? O fatal, woful Deed!
P. Hen.
Why weeps my gentle Mother? What I did,
Was in the Frenzy of extreme Despair;
And Madness, if my Hopes have not been flatter'd,
Bars not the Gate of everlasting Mercy.
Reason has since resum'd her proper Seat,
And all is calm within—Yet would I take
A Father's Blessing with me to the Grave.
K. Hen.
May Heav'n forgive thy hapless Youth, as I do!
P. Hen.
Then welcome Death!—And, if in this last Hour,
I have found Grace, O let me recommend
The Queen, my much-wrong'd Mother, to your Love:
She never bore a Thought against your Highness.
Behold! she faints—Support her, righteous Pow'rs!
For she deserves your Care—Now, Farewel both—
Let not the busy World be prattling of me—
But write upon my Stone—"Here lies a Prince,
"That, once misled, could not sustain the Shame."—
'Tis dark—O Mercy!—
K. Hen.
Honour, more than Grief,
Is due to Death like this, which has absolv'd,
By ending mortal Frailty: Mourns the Queen
So bitterly for him, whose hasty Spirit
Aspers'd her spotless Name?
That Name's now clear;
And he that did asperse it, was my Son.
He was my Son indeed—O there's the Sting!
[Page 138] And is it thus that we are reconcil'd?
Is Death alone the Peace-maker between us?
Why then I'll follow thee—Farewel, my Lord;
For, now, this Life has no Temptation left;
Yet, ev'n in Death, my Faith shall be approv'd,
And my last Breath shall be a Pray'r for thee.
It was the Study of my Life to please thee:
That fail'd, and I have now no farther Care.
That I ne'er meant thee Evil, ev'n in Thought,
By Proof too fatal Providence has shewn:
And to die justify'd is still my Glory.
K. Hen.
O, hold, talk not of Death; for I, alone,
Am fit for Ruin—O, my Elinor,
I tremble at the Thought of what I am!
Canst thou forgive me from thy very Heart?
Can Henry, from his Heart, desire For­giveness?
K. Hen.
I can, I must, I do. The Conflict's over:
I am thy wond'rous Virtue's Proselyte.
Receive me in thy Arms, thou Excellence,
Thou Glory of thy Sex—Here will I hide
My guilty Head, till thy kind Smile shall raise me;
For Shame, and Joy, and Love, so work within me,
That I can only speak them thus and thus—
O let my Language too, my Lord, be this.
K. Hen.
Bear hence the Body; for it pains our Sight.
[Exeunt some with the Body.
Curs'd that I was to wrong such Innocence!
'Twill be my Shame for ever—
[Page 139]
It is past:
A Moment's Love has made Amends for all;
And I forget, that ever you was false.
K. Hen.
When I prove so again—'Tis Sin to think on't.
From this auspicious Day my Soul shall labour
To heal thy Sorrows, to redeem lost Time,
And pay thee all my vast Arrears of Love.
Thanks to all-bounteous Heav'n!
K. Hen.
And thy own Virtue!
Enter Salisbury.
Welcome, Lord Salisbury! Where's the good old
It is beneath a King to do Injustice;
But it is more beneath him to defend it.
Will he forgive my Baseness? For, methinks,
All is not right, till he is reconcil'd.
That's spoke indeed like great Plantagenet:
I read Content in ev'ry chearful Face,
And I am griev'd to spoil the gen'ral Joy:
My Liege, poor Clifford lies a breathless Coarse,
By Leicester slain—But, dying, he forgave you—
It ever was his Wish to see this Day.
K. Hen.
By holy Friendship thou hast touch'd my Soul.
It was but Yesterday I saw him well:
His keen Device did gall me to the Heart.
Clifford, accept these Tears; for Tears are all
The Monarch, or the Friend, can give thee now.
We will do Honour to his Memory,
And show'r our Royal Bounty on his House:
[Page 140] O Sal'sbury, let me take thee to my Heart,
Dear as thy Kinsman was.
I thank your Highness.
K. Hen.
From this Day's Fortune, let crown'd Heads be wise:
Kings are not privileg'd to do a Wrong.
The Laws divine bear universal Sway;
Princes are Men, and Men must all obey.
Virtue's the Gem, that decks the Royal State;
And only, to be Good, is to be Great.
[Exeunt omnes▪




THE Reader will probably expect some Account of a Play which makes it's first Appearance in the World in this Manner.—He is to know then, that The Siege of ALEPPO having been refused by the Managers of both Theatres, to one of which, viz. Mr. Garrick, it was strongly recommended by Lady Caroline Burdet (who is thereby intitled to my present grateful Acknowlegements), would not have been offered to the Publick, had it not been honoured with the Approbation of several Persons of the first Note in the Republick of polite Litera­ture, whom I am not at Liberty to mention.—I am obliged to declare this, in order to do common Justice to myself, and to obviate the Prejudices which might be conceived against a Performance that has not had the Credit and Advantage of a Theatrical Representation.—But the Play must now speak for itself; of which I shall say no more than just to premise, that the Fable, and whole Construction of it, excepting the Reality of the Siege, is purely fictitious: That the Incidents were designed to be natural, tho' unexpected, not arising from common-place Exigencies, or forced Expe­dients, (which is too frequently the Case) but from the predominant Principles of the Characters them­selves: And that for this Purpose I have endeavoured to give a new, and something of an original Cast to the principal Characters, particularly to those of Theodore, Sophronius, and Ormelia.


  • MANUEL, Governour of Aleppo.
  • THEODORE, a Christian Chief.
  • OTHMAN, General of the Saracens.
  • SOPHRONIUS, Son to Manuel.
  • LEON, Friend to Sophronius.
  • ROMANUS, Lieutenant to Theodore.
  • IZRAIL, an Officer.
  • MERVAN, Secretary to the Governour.
  • ORMELIA, Daughter to Theodore.
  • EUSEBIA, Daughter to Manuel.

Officers, Soldiers, Attendants, &c.




SCENE a Piazza. After several Shouts of To Arms, To Arms, &c. Enter SOPHRONIUS and LEON meeting.
SOPHRONIUS welcome! are our Messengers return'd from yonder Camp?
Ev'n now, my Friend.
I ask not the Success.
Those Shouts may tell you:
Our Overtures of Peace were all receiv'd
With Scorn, and Pride peculiar to these Spoilers;
They know no Stile but that of Conquerours,
And in the Fullness of their Hearts declare,
The Faithful never take, but give Conditions.
Perhaps not yet—I pr'ythee, good Sophronius,
What Terms do these victorious Vagrants offer?
[Page 146]
First, they invite us to embrace their Faith,
And draw our Swords beneath the Prophets Banner,
No more their Foes, but Brethren of the War.
If wedded to our Errours, we reject
This friendly Proposition, (such they call it)
The next Alternative is briefly this,
That we confess the Prowess of their Arms,
By paying yearly Tribute to the Caliph.
And it was this provok'd that glorious Uproar?
The universal Voice is now for War:
Soon as th' impatient Rabble caught the News,
A Thousand Hearts were kindled in an Instant,
And in the Wildness of new Zeal, to Arms,
To Arms they cry'd, with such a clam'rous Shout
As tore th' Expanse of Heav'n, and sure must strike
Ev'n yon Barbarian Troops with sudden dread,
Though long inur'd to Terrours.
Thou hast warm'd me.
These martial Transports promise well, Sophronius;
Perhaps the wrath divine that long has scourg'd
Our Follies, Vices, and corrupted Faith,
With iron Rod of War, at length relents,
Nor farther will permit this vile Imposture
To make its Way with Death, and Desolation;
And like a Deluge whelm the Eastern World.
Alas, my Friend, we seem unfit for Mercy:
The seeds of Jealousy are sown among us,
And should they spread, and ripen to a Crop,
[Page 147] Yon greedy Mussulmen will reap the Harvest—
Our Passions, Leon, fight for Mahomet
Union alone can save a sinking Land,
And Concord is the strongest Nerve of War.
Some distant Hints of this have reach'd mine Ear;
'Tis said, the baleful Breath of Whisperers
Has undermin'd the Worth of Theodore,
And shook his Credit with your Father Manuel:
Are these Suggestions true?
Too true—My Father,
Whose Piety, and ev'n paternal Care,
Still anxious for the Welfare of his People,
Raises him high in all Affections,
Has yet the Leav'n of Old-Age within him:
(With Rev'rence let me speak in his Dispraise)
Leon, that Sigh declares too well thou seest
His eager Warmth, his Frowardness of Temper
Impatient of Controul, and fixt as Death
In all Resolves—to this, Credulity
Too oft unlocks his Ear, and gives Access
To a well-garnish'd Tale.
Thou know'st,
Some Moons have shed their Beams since Theodore
Lodg'd in our Town his hardy Band of Syrians,
A voluntary Aid:—The Saracens
Were then upon their March; and Manuel gave
The Honours of our chief Command to him.
Train'd from his active Youth a Son of War,
[Page 148] He is no nice Observer of the Forms,
The ceremonious Def'rence, and the Duties
Preeminence expects from all beneath her.
The desp'rate Fight that Yesterday he push'd,
Unauthoris'd by Manuel, some dark Foe
Has swell'd into a dang'rous Crime of State.
It looks not well—the gallant Theodore,
No Doubt, has noble Worth—sure, that Presumption
Was but th' Effect of Valour's Confidence—
Yet, I have lately noted, our Aleppians
Like not the headstrong Fierceness of his Nature,
That wants more Tincture of Humanity:
Necessity, they say, unsheath'd the Sword,
But hot-brain'd Theodore enjoys their Dangers,
And revels savage in a Field of Blood.
True—but a Breach might be pernicious now:—
And yet Sophronius has another Fear—
Leon, how frail at best is mortal Man,
This Compound of Divinity and Passion?
For oh! believe me, midst this gen'ral Horrour,
While War with hideous Strides stalks round our Walls,
Legions of Evils gathering in his Train,
My Weakness robs my Country of my Thoughts,
And half my Breast admits a private Care.
Alas! I know that Care—You woo Ormelia,
The Daughter of the valiant Theodore
His other Joy, and what he loves next War.
Ay, Friend, for should this Cloud of Discontent
[Page 149] Once gather to a Storm, will it not blast
Our growing Spring of Love? Love did I say?
'Tis true my secret Suit seem'd not ungrateful;
But know that glorious Maid adores her Father;
Nor marvel, she's the Daughter of his Soul;
His Spirit, Fierceness, and his Pride of Virtue,
All glow within her Breast, refin'd and cast
Into a softer Mould—Hence spring my Fears.
There is Resemblance in our Lots, Sophronius;
Thou know'st thy gentle Sister, fair Eusebia,
Smiles on my honest Passion—Yet thy Father
Vows he will never sanctify her Choice—
'Tis true, my ruin'd Fortunes—
Pr'ythee Peace;
Thy Birth is noble, and thy Virtue godlike;
These give thee ample Title to Eusebia:
O could I call thee Brother—soothing Wish—
And yet thou'rt more already—Thou'rt my Friend.
Wait we the Will supreme!—but see—my Sister.
Enter Eusebia.
Brother, the Chiefs are summon'd all to Council.
I heard Enquiry made for you, and Leon.
I shall attend them—Leon, you will follow.
[Exit Sophronius.
Let me first pay more pleasing Duty here.
Why sighs my Fair? Our Hearts are sure our own:
Those Manuel cannot part—Oh! why that Tear?
I know it falls for Leon—cruel Fortune!
[Page 150] Why was I born to spoil Eusebia's Peace?
I fear we have indulg'd our Loves too far—
As Children venture in a Calm to Sea,
Regardless of the Cloud slow-sweeping cross
The Vault of Heav'n, and big with future Ruin.
Yet let us not despair—Heav'n oft afflicts
For Trial, not Destruction—Time may come,
When my Heart's Truth, my Service in the War,
And all the virtuous Labours of a Life
Devoted to my Country, and to thee,
Will melt thy Father's Soul; then shall he bless
My Toils, and overpay me with thy Beauties.
Could he but view thee with Eusebia's Eyes—
Yet something whispers me, we'ave done amiss;
Why was our Love first made a Mystery?
Why cover'd from the Day, and from my Father?
Who gave me right to fix my Heart on thee?
'Twas Folly, if not worse—and Manuel's Anger
Perhaps is providential—for till now
His Fondness still prevented my Desires.
That Fondness was but Humour—while he pleas'd
Thy tender Age, he but indulg'd himself;
Thou never hadst a Boon to ask till now—
Hah! Leon, have a Care; I love thy Virtue;—
That rais'd, and that must justify my Passion;
Urge not a Thought to shake my filial Duty—
I always held the Name of Father sacred.
This Rigour, which I know not how to blame,
[Page 151] May crush the Hope that yet supports my Being:
I tremble while I speak—perhaps, thy Father
Means to compel thy Virgin Heart—if so—
Where will thy Duty be, or where thy Love?
Those Fears are vain—I cannot love another;
Virtue itself forbids it, and my Heart
Flutters, and tells me 'tis impossible.
My Vows are thine, (oh! spare a Maiden's Blushes)
My ev'ry Joy, my ev'ry Care is thine—
O! how shall I requite this wond'rous Goodness?
Once more I will essay my Father's Temper—
If he relents—'tis all the Happiness
I wish on Earth—if not—support me Heav'n.
He must, he must—or Pity's fled from Man:
Who could behold unmov'd such weeping Beauty?
Thou fairer than the Morning's cloudless Dawn,
Thou sweeter than the vernal Bloom that decks—
Away—I am a Woman, and a Christian;
Cease then these Strains of ordinary Lovers,
That wound our Reason, while they sooth our Pride.
Nor suits thy Fondness with these Times of Danger;
Courtship and Dalliance are mere Treason now;
Thy Country calls thee—
I obey the Call.
Yet Beauty is the just Reward of Valour.
But should not be its Hindrance—
Matchless Wisdom!
[Page 152] There is no longer Merit in those Eyes!
But soft, who comes this Way? Let me conduct thee.


Enter Romanus.
If I see right, Aleppo thou art mine—
If mine, I yield thee to the Saracens
While Modes of foolish Faith divide the World,
And swarms of hungry Bigots cling to each,
I turn Opinion to Convenience—
For this I've sometime sworn to Mahomet;
And his Religion pays its Vot'ries well.
Mervan I've laden full with pois'nous Matter,
Which, when infus'd into old Manuel's Ear,
Will swell his peevish Humour, till it burst
Its Venom on the fiery Theodore;
My Friend, my Patron, and—my destin'd Tool▪
Rage, Taunts, Reproaches, Discord, Broils ensue;
And Ruin sure is made of such Materials▪
Off then Dependance!—Thou art burthensome;
A Soul like mine disdains to live on Alms.
'Tis well—And shall I pine with fond Desire?
I love Ormelia still—as Nature prompts—
Sophronius loves her too;—she slights my Vows
For the pert Lispings of that down-cheek'd Boy;
Should this—but hold—the Secretary's here.
[Page 153] Enter Mervan.
What deep in Thought, Lieutenant? clear thy Brow;
Perhaps the wish'd-for Hour of Vengeance comes,
To clip the tow'ring Wing of Theodore.
Give me thy Hand, my Mervan, my best Friend,
My Soul's true Counterpart—I knew the Bus'ness
Would thrive beneath thy Wisdom—Pr'ythee tell me,
How did the shallow Manuel take thy Tale?
You'd laugh to see the old Man chafe, Romanus;
Sound but the Name of Theodore, he frets
Like a gall'd Jade; he blames his sightless Folly,
That ne'er discern'd how much th' officious Zeal
Of Yesterday, which cost us so much Blood,
Is puft with Pride, and scorns to own a Master.
Well said—My Soul foresees much good from this.
Soon as I found that Prejudice take Root,
I scatter'd Hints, as was agreed between us,
That Theodore in Letters to our Emp'rour,
Had oft complain'd of Manuel's Government,
And thrown much Blame upon his wayward Age.
I hope you touch'd that Point but tenderly;
It surely was a Task for all thy Skill.
Do I not practise Cunning under thee?
I spoke it not, my Friend, as fit Foundation
To raise a certain Proof upon, but what
Prudent Suspicion guess'd; and therefore wish'd him
Henceforth in Judgment to compare this Notice
With Theodore's Demeanour.
[Page 154]
Thanks, good Mervan:
Why what a ready Instrument is Manuel
For Knavery to work withal?
Why Knavery?
We mean no Ill to him, or to our Country—
But, Sir, my Wrongs cry loudly for Revenge—
I've been abus'd by Theodore—Because
I deal not in his boist'rous Trade of War,
He deems me but a Beast that will be tame,
And patient of his Burthen—Curses on him—
Sure I can feel a Smart as well as he,
And Vengeance has more Shapes than one, Romanus.
Which he shall prove: Shortly I hope to see
This fierce, this blust'ring, this all-conqu'ring Hero,
That has refus'd us both his bauble Daughter,
With vile Contempt, with Insolence refus'd her,
Hurl'd from his airy Pinacle of Pride,
Turn'd from his Post, disgrac'd, mark'd for a Traitor,
And hooted, like a Nusance, through Aleppo.
Let me but see that Day, my Soul's at Ease.
So is not mine—Thou know'st not Half my Purpose,
Then when the pinching Shame shall gripe him close,
And more than Madness festers at his Heart,
If thou should'st humbly ask him for his Daughter,
Let him contract his angry Brow, and tell thee,
He scorns Alliance with a paltry Scribe.
It was his very Answer to my Suit.
I found a like Repulse—at least 'tis fit
[Page 155] You think so
—Yet, believe me, my Resentments
Burn not so strongly for myself, as thee:
Mine is a common Destiny—It seems,
We petty Men of War are Slaves by Office.
But not by Nature.
Thou art right, my Mervan;
And therefore to our Work. Is it not better,
Thus wisely to employ our active Pow'rs,
And set the secret Springs of Mischief going,
Than to bedew our Beards with childish Tears,
And whimper in a Corner for a Toy?
Romanus, I must ever thank thy Goodness,
That saw me drooping with unmanly Sorrow,
Taught me Revenge, and wean'd me from my Follies.
Thy Firmness charms me—Pr'ythee, honest
When does the Council sit?
I guess 'ere now.
Then let us hence—this Morning may afford
Some kind Event, to bless our utmost Wishes.


The back Scene opens and discovers the Council sitting. Manuel, Theodore, Sophronius, Izrail, Leon, and other Officers in Council.
Indeed, the Progress of their Arms is wond'rous;
How has their hungry War devour'd our Land,
[Page 156] And, like the dreadful Rage of Pestilence,
Left a sad Track of Ruin in its Course?
Whole Provinces are bent beneath the Yoke,
And Syria's better Half is Ababeker's.
Yet may we hope, my Chiefs, to save the other;
Our Men are high in Blood, and hot for Action;
Thanks to the Foe for this: Nay all Aleppo
Breathes one heroic Ardour; bending Age
Girds on his palsied Side the weighty Sword,
Brides chace their youthful Husbands from their Arms,
And Mothers trim their darling Sons to Battle.
O! for a Tempest's Blast to drive this Flame,
Till it consume yon Vermin Tribes, like Stubble!
Well hast thou spoke, Sophronius: Wherefore then
Sit we thus idle and inactive here,
While Boys and Women chide our tardy Councils?
Who dreams again of Peace, I hold him Coward:
We'll plead once more our Cause in yonder Field,
And wear our Reasons on our Weapon's Points.
Up then, and let us issue to the Plain.
Why all this Blaze of Words? Are we not met
To lay the Plan of War, and well consult
How we may best annoy the haughty Foe?
Mean while I hold it meet to tell thee, Theodore,
It ill becomes the Man, that Yesterday
Lavish'd away so many Christian Lives
In his o'er-fev'rish Zeal, to dictate now
To Men of cooler Heads, and sounder Judgments.
[Page 157]
Hah! what did Manuel say?—By all—
Nay hold;
For this may go too far.
Izrail, take Heed;
His Spleen may choke him else.
Now in the Name
Of Honour, and of Arms, what means this Treat­ment?
Am I reproach'd because I would have led
Thy dastard Troops the nearest Way to Fame,
And taught them how to snatch a noble Conquest?
Glory's the Soldier's Mistress; to be woo'd,
Where Death has planted all his Terrours round her,
Or never to be won—Had thy Aleppians
Kept firm their Ranks, yon Camp had smoak'd to Heav'n—
But, Sir, they poorly shrunk before the Foe,
And let in Numbers like a Flood upon them—
I hate these puny, half-bred Sons of Mars,
That cooly stalk to fight on even Terms,
But bid them grapple with unequal Fortune,
They stand aloof, and snarl like Curs at Distance.
Mervan, thy Fears were just—I'll try him further.
Say'st thou, our Troops gave Way? I will presume
To think, they might dislike so blind a Leader:
So, Sir, retrench the License of thy Tongue;
Success had never justify'd an Action
That wanted the due Sanction of our Will.
In what, my Leon, will this Discord end?
[Aside to Leon.
[Page 158]
And have I liv'd to this? To bandy Words,
To fight a bloodless Quarrel?—Patience, Heav'n!
Thy Will! Had I a Thought to waste on thee,
While I was busied on a bold Design,
Big as my Soul could grasp?—Was that a Time,
For Forms precise, or Speech quaint-worded thus,
Most worthy Sir, with your good Worship's Leave,
I'll cut yon Villain's Throat? A Soldier's Valour
O'erleaps the narrow Bounds of courtly Rules,
Fit for your supple, ceremonious Slave,
That dares not look askant but by Commission.
I'll not endure this Language—From this Day,
I warn thee, know me for Commander here.
Yet be advis'd, good Theodore.
Stand off—
Shall I be lesson'd by a Dotard thus,
Pride-bloated with the Pageantry of Pow'r?
Be thou Commander here, but not of me;
I have no Master but the good Heracleus.
Is not my Service free? What brought me hither?
Not thy Command, but glorious Thirst of Honour,
And Zeal high-beating in my Country's Cause.
I came thy Friend, not Vassal; and as such
Was first receiv'd by this ungrateful City:
Hast thou forgot, old Manuel, with what Shouts
Of gen'ral Joy, what thund'ring Peals of Transport,
Thy vile Aleppians welcom'd my Arrival,
And hail'd me like the Genius of the Land?
No more—I hold not Conf'rence with a Traitor—
[Page 159] Know henceforth I renounce thy vaunted Friendship,
And from this Moment ceases thy Command.
We want no Stranger, Sir, to fight our Battles:
My Son, the Charge of our Aleppian Troops
We do commit to thee; for thou hast won
The Soldiers Heart: They'll follow thee to conquest,
And full Success shall prove my Choice was just.
Worse than my Fears
O! would my honour'd Father
Weigh but th' Importance of this Mighty Trust
With my green Years, and yet untaught—
Am I not Ruler here, at least of thee?
Let not Sophronius cross his Father's Purpose.
'Tis wond'rous well—O ye immortal Spirits
Of my brave Ancestors, whose laurell'd Deeds
Have swell'd the golden Trumpet of loud Fame,
And rank'd you with the Caesars of the World,
Was it for this I taught my Soul to pant
For high Renown, and burn with all your Fires,
To be supplanted by a silken Stripling,
A Boy, that trembles if his Finger bleeds?
O! Blot accurst upon the Name of Soldier.
Sir, I well know your Merit, and admire it;
I own thee first in Arms, and shall be proud
To emulate thy Valour in the Fight.
Yet let not warlike Theodore esteem
My Virtue of so small, so mean a Size,
But I shall nobly labour to maintain
[Page 160] The Character I sought not for, and sweat,
Boy as I am, to reap my Share of Glory.
Spoke like the Son I love.
It is enough:
Joy to the Gen'ral; to Aleppo Joy:
The giddy Crew will well approve this Change:
Perhaps the Saracens may thank you too:
That as it may; I leave you to your Fortune;
To-morrow's early Dawn shall light me home:
And mark me, Manuel, by my Wrongs, I swear,
Should this proud City (which methinks I see
Ready to take her fatal Turn of Ruin)
Hereafter court my Aid with Tears of Blood,
I'd give her up to her deserv'd Destruction.
And know, the Word of Theodore is Fate.
[Exit Theodore.
In what a Heat departs this noisy Chief?
I hope none present disapprove my Deed.
You could no less—His Pride demanded it.
Think we no more of him—Haste thee, Sophronius,
To the glad Troops; prepare them for Engagement;
For thou shalt sally forth before yon Sun
Has dipp'd his Beams in Ocean—rouse their Souls
To Christian Fortitude; remember them,
Life, Liberty, Religion, call to Arms.
Thou Pow'r supreme, (if yet we may presume
Thy righteous Vengeance has not fix'd our Doom)
[Page 161] Relenting, O! behold this wretched Land,
And guide our Battle with thy mighty Hand;
Thy injur'd Truth to Infidels make known,
And vindicate a Cause so much thy own.


A Gallery in Theodore's House. Enter Romanus.
AT length the Toils are set—and Theodore,
If I can catch so huge a Beast as thee,
It will be Sport indeed—see where he comes,
And in the sullen Mood I wish'd to fix him—
Enter Theodore.
Who's there, Romanus?
Ay, Lord General.
I pr'ythee do not mock me.
By my Soul,
You yet are so to me.
Then thou art honest;
Most Friends, like Insects, live but in the Sun,
And now thou seest the Winter of my Glory.
Come, Sir, can Fools, or Knaves dishonour Virtue?
Her native Splendour knows not Diminution,
Nor Titles are Additions to her Fame.
So take your Grievance as a Soldier should do;
[Page 162] Work up a noble Tumult in your Breast,
And meditate the Fullness of Revenge.
O! had you seen a Sight that crost my Eyes—
What hast thou seen?—methinks I burn to hear thee.
You, Sir, yourself, my Godlike Theodore,
In villainous Effigies hoisted up
On a high Pole, and born along the Streets
By the licentious Rabble; one attir'd
In antick Garb, the lewdest of the Tribe,
With solemn Pace headed this Pageantry;
And ever and anon the saucy Crew,
With Bonnets off in mock Obeisance, cried,
All Hail, Lord Gen'ral, Hail, great Theodore!
While the wise Citizens, still fond of Change,
Blest the Conceit, and grinn'd their Approbation.—
I met the vile Procession, and although
Prudence had lock'd the Organ of my Speech,
Sure they must see a Lion in my Eyes.
Ungrateful, senseless, and inhuman Villains!
What! have I fac'd the Rage of Seasons round,
The Dogstar's Beam, and Winter's frozen Shafts;
Renounc'd the soft Delights of balmy Peace,
And dash'd the honey'd Cup of Pleasure from me;
Have I made Things most terrible to Sense,
Sweet to my Soul, as Sleep to weary Labour;
To be repaid at length with publick Scorn,
To be the Sport of Garbage?—Cursed Day!
Thy Tale has call'd my Spirits up in Arms,
And all within me pants for vast Revenge.
[Page 163]
Why that was bravely said.
Yet my Romanus,
What need I thus indulge superfluous Rage?
Sure I may safely leave my Cause to Heav'n—
The Saracen will soon avenge my Quarrel,
And this fam'd City, laid in burning Ruin,
Or bow'd to Slav'ry, ease my tortur'd Soul.—
Inform yon Army by a Syrian Trumpet,
That Theodore draws off his Pow'r in Peace,
Nor longer will obstruct their rapid War.
To-morrow march we homewards.
How my Lord?
What! quit the Theatre of this great World,
And leave a Part unfinish'd? there remain,
Or I mistake, more Scenes to bustle in:
And therefore my plain Honesty of Love,
Would turn this idle Current of your Thoughts.
What wouldst suggest?
Why, ay, it must be thus—
[Half aside.
And so I see my Patron full reveng'd,
And lifted to a higher Sphere of Glory.
Revenge, and Glory—Musick to my Ears!
What wouldst thou say? something is lab'ring in thee,
And I well know thy Pregnancy of Brain.
But then the Means—Nay, these Necessity
Will warrant ev'n to Casuistry—my Lord—
My Lord! What is't thou mutter'st to thyself,
That startles Expectation?—If thou lov'st me,
Give me thy Soul at large.
[Page 164]
I will; attend.
When lately Captive in yon hostile Camp
One Ev'ning I stood musing by myself,
Othman, the Leader of the Caliph's Armies,
Accosted me with many gentle Terms,
And proffer'd me his Friendship—it amaz'd me.
As well it might—
At length, my Lord, he strove
With all the well-turn'd Rhet'rick he could urge,
To win me to the Law of Mahomet;
But when he found my Faith was Mountain strong,
He next attack'd me in my Honesty;
"If by your Means, he cry'd, we could surprize
"This stubborn City in the Dead of Night,
"Old Manuel shall resign the Chair of State,
"And the whole Government devolve on you."
And so I trust my Politicks it shall.
Why what a Bribe was that?
Which you abhorr'd!
Most surely; for in me a Deed like this
Were Fraud, and Treason;—if atchiev'd by you,
It would be glorious Justice.
Do I hear thee?
Is this the Vengeance Theodore should take?
Is this the Glory thou wouldst blot my Fame with?
Perdition on thee for so foul a Thought.
Nay but 'tis strange—how this your Passion▪ shakes you!
You startle at the Outside of a Bus'ness,
[Page 165] Which I confess not specious, nor discern
The honest Drift of this.
Honest! thou ly'st—
It savours all of Infamy, and Horrour—
Sir, you mistake me much—You well may put
My Meaning into utmost Execution,
And yet hold Mahomet in stern Defiance.
As how? Impossible! still more mysterious.
Say, Sir, I see you govern in Aleppo
Upon the Terms propos'd; first, there ends Manuel:
Next, these bold Slaves are humbled to your Mercy;
And at fit Time, my Lord, you shall throw off
The Yoke of Vassallage, once more assert
The prostrate Christian Cause, and purge your Country
By your Herculean Sword, of a curs'd Foe
That long has torn her Vitals.
Hah! why this
Hath Aspect plausible, and asks a Thought.
And thus the Empire shall be one Day freed,
And only Mahomet, and Manuel cheated.
Does not Fame hang to this?
No, I've resolv'd;
I never travell'd the By-paths of Glory;
What! turn Dissembler, practise in the Dark?
It is beneath me; I ne'er did a Deed
But Daylight was the Voucher; Friend, or Foe,
Let the great Soul of Theodore be open.
I've done—I own with me 'tis Daintiness
To weigh my Deeds by Scruples, when the End
[Page 166] Is noble, and well pays me—this same Trouble
Your Goodness will excuse—I meant it well—
Ay, and I thank thy Love.
As 'tis, methinks,
'Twere better ev'n be reconcil'd to Manuel.
Never, oh! never. I would risque my Fame
Sooner on thy Device.
Nay, my good Lord,
There is yet one Way, only one Way left
To set these Matters right.
Name it, quick name it.
Alliances, some say, best heal Divisions—
The gay Sophronius, our Aleppian Gen'ral,
Looks with a Lover's Eye on fair Ormelia
Pr'ythee no more—unite Antipathies!
Perish my Name before I see it link'd
To Manuel's House—Where is this Daughter mine?
If she can lend an Ear—
My gracious Lord,
Your Daughter comes this Way—He's moveable—
Romanus, thou shalt bend him to thy Purpose—
Thou hast more Wiles to try—
Enter Ormelia.
Alas! my Father,
You seem disturb'd; may I not ask the Cause?
Manuel, Sophronius, and it may be, Thou.
Hah! how have they, or how have I dis­pleas'd thee?
Tell me, I pray, Romanus, what has hap'd?
[Page 167] For there's a Fierceness on my Father's Brow,
My Eyes would not encounter.
Briefly, Madam,
Old Manuel, in his Peevishness of Rage,
Has just dismist your Father from his Post,
And now Sophronius heads th' Aleppian Troops,
That are this Instant marshall'd for the Battle.
Is't so? Yield then fond Love, my Virgin Heart,
And nobler Passions warm me; from this Hour,
Sophronius be an Alien to my Soul.
Sir, that I listen'd to his soft Address,
(For sweetly sure he breath'd his am'rous Tale)
Thus on my Knee let me bespeak Forgiveness;
And be great Theodore assur'd of this,
His Daughter knows to scorn th' aspiring Youth,
That dares usurp her injur'd Father's Honour.
So, there's a dang'rous Rival well dislodg'd;
Sophronius gone may make good Room for me.
Why that's my Child—I did thee Wrong to doubt thee—
Thou hast been ever jealous of my Glory,
And with the Softness of thy Sex hast blended
The most exalted Sentiments, well worthy
The gallant Line of Heroes thy Forefathers.
I would not shame my Race—you taught me better—
Heav'n had some Pity left, and gave me thee,
In Recompence for thy dear Mother's Loss,
[Page 168] (Two Stars are not more like than she and thou)
And the vast Weight of my still growing Care.
—I will retire awhile—O my Ormelia,
I have a thousand Thoughts to combat with,
And each by Turns directs my wav'ring Purpose.
Exit. Theodore.
Now to my Lover's Cue.
Illus­trious Maid,
How would those shining Beauties bless the Man,
Thrice happy Man, that could deserve thy Love?
If thou would'st merit my Esteem, Romanus,
Talk not of Love to me—I have renounc'd
Thy Sex—It shall not henceforth be in Man
To cost my Heart a Sigh.
Say not so, Lady:
O wherefore must a faithful Lover suffer,
For the rash Crime of one presumptuous Wretch?
I know the Man (could you but see his Pangs)
That takes his Being from Ormelia's Eyes;
That loves her with so bright, so pure a Flame,
It is almost the Fervour of Devotion.
Ah why should such a Man despair for ever?
Thou would'st describe thyself—must I again
Warn thee desist from thy ungrateful Suit,
And pester me no more with nauseous Love?
Desist! Impossible—Thy Charms forbid it—
Thou hast a nat'ral Right to be admir'd,
And our Heart's Homage is Ormelia's Due.
Firm Perseverance is the Life of Virtue,
[Page 169] The Mark of Bravery, the Stamp of Heroes;
It bears us through the roughest Storms of Fortune,
And is the Gale that wafts us up to Heav'n.
Is it a Crime then only when we love?
If not a Crime, at least it is a Folly—
Think not, fond Youth, to snare my easy Heart
With the romantic Topicks of stale Courtship,
Such as you practise to yourselves at home.
—Your Doctrine is—All Women may be won;
She that once lov'd still hugs the fond Idea,
And, tender Maid, sighs for a second Wooer.
Hast thou then harbour'd such coarse Thoughts of me?
Away, and learn to know Ormelia better.
In truth, I own I had.
You wrong me, Madam:
If Passion most refin'd, if—
Cease, be silent,
Or Theodore shall know thy Insolence.
Alas! I own the Weakness of my Claim
In the World's gen'ral Verdict—I was born
Your Father's Creature—Yet I stand indebted
Less to his Bounty, than his bright Example—
He taught my youthful Breast to beat for Glory,
And stor'd it well with Virtues all his own—
—Here rest my Hopes—with these I woo Ormelia
Nor need I prove the Greatness of my Soul,
When I aspire to thee—O would my Fair
Look gently on my Pain, her Father's Will
Would soon—
No more; thou hast abus'd his Friendship;
Retire, or be assur'd this Rudeness, Sir—
[Page 170]
Must then my virtuous Love—
Away; be gone.—
Farewel, too cruel Maid—Insolent Devil;
But I may lower this high Strain of yours.
[Aside, and Exit.
This Fool could not have urg'd in a worse Time
His most vexatious Suit—forget Sophronius!
Have I not set my Heart a painful Task?
Ay; but remember who thou art, Ormelia,
And shame thy feeble Sex—Yet, say he loves me,
As (if the Eye be Window to the Soul)
I've seen he does most deeply, may he not
Forego this fatal Honour?—there's my Refuge;
'Tis not too late—he's here—assist me Heav'n
This dreadful Hour—his Conduct must resolve me—
I will not seem acquainted with the Change.
Enter Sophronius.
Welcome Sophronius; did you meet your Rival?
E'en now the bold Romanus parted hence.
That he admires where I do, can I blame him?
Sure, all that know thy Beauties are my Rivals:
But, till I see the Man that loves Ormelia,
With Passion more unfeign'd, more true than mine,
Why should I doubt my Right to her Regard?—
I fear she knows not what has chanc'd to-day:
Perplexing Thought!
Well, I will own, Sophronius,
As far as Woman's Modesty will warrant,
[Page 171] Thy Truth has won an Int'rest in my Heart:
And I can look with cool Indifference
On all Mankind but thee.
Heart-bursting Rapture!
It is too great for Words—thus let me thank thee—
[Embraces her.
And now I can reveal with less Regret,
Th' unpleasing News thou yet art Stranger to.
What News, what means Sophronius?
O my Life,
But that I find me rooted in thy Breast,
This Morning saw a sudden Turn of Things,
That might have marr'd my rising Hopes for ever—
I understand you not.
Yet witness Heav'n,
How much it griev'd me to behold—
Hah! what!
O speak, and ease my frighted Apprehension!
Know then, there is a Breach between our Fathers:
It matters not to tell th' unhappy Ground
Of this Contention; but th' Effect was this,
That Theodore commands no longer here.
Then, Sir, the Life of Battle is expiring.
'Tis well thou'rt not to answer for the Follies
Of thy old doting Sire—Yet let me spare him—
And rather, tell me what great Son of Fame,
What Thunderbolt of War was nam'd to head
The Troops, my Father is not fit to lead?
There lies the Circumstance that gives me Pain—
For that unwelcome Honour fell to me.
[Page 172]
To thee?—'tis well—I joy at least in that—
Dost thou?—thou Excellence! trust me, my Love,
I never wish'd to bear this Load of Glory.
I do believe thee—therefore my Sophronius
Will eagerly resign a painful Post,
Ill-suited to his unexperienc'd Youth.
Confusion! what did my Ormelia say?
What Reason, Justice, Duty, Nature prompts;
Hence to old Manuel—fly—strive to prevent
The Ruin will ensue—urge him restore
My Father to his Honours—bid him do it,
In Pity to Himself, his Friends, his Country—
I might as well preach Silence to the Winds—
Why then, at least do thou renounce this Charge,
And let some mean, ungen'rous, upstart Wretch
Swell in the Plumage of this ill-got Glory.
Impossible, romantic!
How Sophronius?
Thou can'st not say thou lov'st me, and ask this—
Thou can'st not say thou lov'st me, and refuse it—
Refuse! Is there a Boon I must refuse thee
This only one there is—O my Ormelia,
Abate me this, and thy Commands are Favours,
Thy Bidding sacred, and thy dear Requests
My Motives to all Action—O remember,
The nice Demands, the Tenderness of Honour—
[Page 173] It was my Duty to decline this Station;
Once mine, it is my Duty to maintain it.
I cannot quit my Charge—Honour forbids;
'Tis the first Dictate of my Soul—'tis what,
Thank Heav'n, I feel, I love e'en more than thee.
My Lord, I needed not thy great Example;
Know too I hold the Honour of my House
Dearer than thee, and all thy Race. Vain Youth,
I see thy Pride; see, and despise it too—
My Heart mistook thee—I revoke my Love—
Go, trifle with some easy, silly Maid;
Some tender-hearted Nymph, some dove-like Dame;
Make her the Fondling of thy leisure Hours;
But know, Ormelia, spite of all thy Sex,
Will love, or hate, as Reason shall direct.
Thy Censure's too severe; it may be Pride,
But 'tis an honest Pride that moves me now—
I would be true to Honour, and to thee.
No more;—thou dost partake of Manuel's Guilt;
And him, and thee I deem my Father's Foe.
I am thy Father's Successour, not Foe:
Say, Theodore, or Manuel be to blame,
Sophronius still is innocent, and pleads
Th' untainted Merit of sincerest Love.
Love! dost thou talk of Love? Hence to thy Charge—
Hark, how yon Trumpet calls you to the Field;
[Trumpet sounds.
What! are the Soldiers waiting for their Gen'ral,
[Page 174] And shall a peevish Girl detain him here?
Leader, farewel; mount the steep Cliff of Glory;
Reach with an Eagle's Wing her topmost Height;
There, while thou baskest in thy Eminence,
Remember this my sole, my last Command,
And never, never see Ormelia more.
[Exit Ormelia.
She's gone, and with her all a Lover's Hopes-
My conscious Heart foreboded this Event;
I had been happy in a meaner Passion,
But doting upon Excellence am lost.
How nicely virtuous is her high Resentment?
Our Souls are sure akin—Strange Blow of Fortune!
That strong Similitude of Sentiment
Must seperate the Hearts it should unite!
But see my Leon here:
Enter Leon.
Alas! my Friend—
Spare the sad Tale—I saw the fierce Ormelia;
She glided by me like a fiery Meteor.
Her Temper, as her Beauty, sure is matchless.
Come, think no more of her—the Soldiers wait us—
They breathe the Spirit of a brave Revenge,
That will repair the Loss of Yesterday:
Awake thy better Faculties, my Friend;
For nothing now is wanting but Sophronius.
Thou dost advise me well—come on my Leon
I'll strive to shake this Softness from my Breast—
[Page 175] The Din of Arms shall drown the Voice of Love.
Hark, I am call'd again;
[Trumpet sounds]
the glo­rious Summons
Rouses my Soul, and fires it on to Battle.
Thus the bold, gen'rous Steed, that long in vain
Has woo'd some haughty Female of the Plain;
If chance he hears the Trumpet's princely Sound,
Inspir'd with nobler Ardour spurns the Ground;
He snuffs the dusty Tumult from afar,
Collects his mighty Rage, and rushes to the War.


SCENE the Piazza. Enter Manuel and Mervan.
IT is my Heart's first Wish; for if my Son
Return victorious home, beside the Glory
That will accrue to him, and our whole Cause,
'Twill rescue my late Deed from the Reproach
Of hasty Rage, and Frowardness of Will,
And place it to the fair Account of Wisdom!
How can we doubt Success, my Lord?
You mark'd
With what high Joy the Troops went forth to Battle,
As if their fav'rite Leader had inspir'd them:
[Page 176] And sure no Hero ever better grac'd
The noble Front of War, than brave Sophronius;
I saw him mounted on his snow-white Steed,
That mov'd with Pride beneath the Weight he bore;
His Eye beam'd martial Fire; and while the Voice
Of Thousands heap'd their Blessings on his Head,
A crimson Blush (the Badge of modest Merit)
Ting'd o'er his youthful Cheek, as I have seen
A setting Sun bepaint the western Sky.
May he exceed our most exalted Hopes,
And silence the proud Spleen of Theodore,
That has misconstru'd to the Emperour
The Scope of all our Councils.
O 'twas base.
But hark! a Shout, my Lord;—a Shout of Glad­ness!
[Shout within.
There's Triumph in that Sound—and see, here's one
Whose Looks proclaim the happy News he brings.
Enter an Officer.
Peace to Aleppo; and to Manuel Joy,
Great as his Soul e'er felt—My Lord, your Son
Returns triumphant home; he hastens hither
Quick as the thronging Love of Multitudes
Will give him Leave, and best himself shall tell
The Manner, and the Progress of the Fight.
What! have we conquer'd? Am I justified?
Thanks to kind Heav'n; methinks I see this Day
Sacred to future Time; Posterity
Will cite the glorious Actions of my Boy,
[Page 177] And Chiefs, that well have fought their Country's Cause,
Hereafter shall be liken'd to Sophronius.
Enter Eusebia attended by Ladies.
Joy to Eusebia, and her gentle Train;
My Child, thy Brother has full well perform'd
A Son's and Soldier's Part—Prepare fresh Wreaths,
Ye Virgins of Aleppo, for your Champion,
And with immortal Verdure deck his Brow.
My Lord, I heard the Peoples Shouts, and came
With eager Steps to hail my Brother's Glory—
But hark! himself and Friends are now approaching.
[Trumpet, &c. sound.
Enter Sophronius, Leon, Izrail, and other Officers.
Welcome my Son, my Captain, my Deliv'rer,
Mine and my People's Boast: How fares my Boy,
[Meets Sophronius, and embraces him.
And these thy Friends, and mine?—I pr'ythee tell me,
Tell me thyself, Sophronius, for I long
To hear the manly Story of the Battle.
Sir, to do Justice to Aleppian Valour,
And to brave Leon's Worth this glorious Day,
Were Argument for Rhet'ric's silver Tongue;
Yet briefly as I can, I will essay it.
Soon as we left our Walls, we found the Foe,
In the mid Plain, rank'd in full Pomp of Fight;
Sometime we fought beneath a Cope of Arrows,
That shadow'd either Host—but when we met
In horrible Conjunction, then commenc'd
The Terrours of the Field; then grim-fac'd War
[Page 178] Began his dreadful Game of purple Slaughter,
And, like a wounded Lion, rous'd his Rage
To Deeds of Desperation—Two long Hours,
With Resolution marvellous, as though
The Lordship of the World had been at Stake,
The Flame of Battle glow'd; while Victory
Stood like a Mistress doubtful where to fix,
When two warm Rivals court her gracious Smile.
There was a Mistress worth contending for.
At length I chanc'd to cross the Line of Battle
Where furious Derar fought—a Name renown'd
In yonder Camp—And, as I meant to greet him
With the full Vigour of a Soldier's Arm,
My heedless Step betray'd me, and I fell;
Ruin hung o'er me—when my Friend, my Leon,
Flew like a winged Angel to my Aid,
And on his Spear caught the fierce Derar's Sword.
It was a noble Deed—and what Reward
He can with Justice ask he shall command.
Mean while pursue thy Tale.
The Saracen
Retir'd; but e'er he could regain his Tribe,
A Party of Aleppian Horse inclos'd him,
And, in mad Rage, impatient of Restraint,
Quench'd his high Valour in a glorious Death.
Then first the foremost Ranks gave Way, and soon,
As Fear is most infectious, total Rout
Encumber'd all their Bands—The Word was, Havock,
And thirsty Vengeance caught it—e'er they reach'd
The Camp, the Field was loaded with the Slain.
[Page 179]
O well-fought Day—win such another Conquest,
And these Barbarians shall remove their War.
Though thou wast ever dear to me, Sophronius,
Trust me, I love thee now from nobler Motives;
Thy Sister joys the more in thy Deliv'rance,
Because her Country's Safety leans on thine.
The best of us are Instruments, Eusebia,
Mov'd by unseen Direction to fulfil
The Purposes of Heav'n—there yield thy Praise—
My honour'd Father, say this Day's Success
Shall sink the Rate of Theodore's high Worth
In his own Estimation—I could wish
To see him Manuel's Friend.
O he'll not stoop
To due Subjection; yet in Proof, my Son,
That I but hold his Insolence my Foe,
Let his proud Soul descend to such Submission,
As Honour, not the Pride of State demands,
My Hand and Heart again are open to him.
So, we may fall in our own Snare, Ro­manus.
Sir, it was greatly said: Early To-morrow
He shall be told the Tenor of this Grace;
Let him divide the Post of Honour with me,
My future Equal, but my Chief no more;
For could we see that Violence of Spirit
Temper'd by Councils less impetuous, Envy
[Page 180] Might witness to the World, the best of Causes
Needs not a better Leader.
Be it so;
Yet hast thou prov'd this happy Day, Sophronius,
That we can fight, and conquer too without him.
But Son, thy brave Fatigues demand Refreshment:
You and your Friends retire—I'll follow you.
[Exeunt Sophronius, Leon, Izrail, &c. Manent Manuel, Eusebia, and her Attendants.
Come near, Eusebia—I observ'd but now
Thine Eye took sudden Fire at Sight of Leon,
And conscious Blushes kindled on thy Cheek:
Hast thou not smother'd yet thy foolish Flame?
Did I not bid thee shut him from thy Heart?
Speak not thus harshly to me, lest I stand
A sad Exception to the gen'ral Joy:
Woman at best is weak—but when she loves—
Sir, you have seen how poorly I disguis'd
My artless Passion, and O look with Pity
Upon my Nature's Fault, nor think it mine.
So apt, young Mistress? You have learnt, it seems,
The common Plea, the Subterfuge of Folly:
But I well know a Father's Duty, Girl,
Nor will indulge my Child to certain Ruin.
My Lord, I live a Debtor to your Care—
Yet now must humbly think no Danger nigh,
But in the Fancy of my Father's Fear.
The fond Presumption of a doating Maid!
This needy Wooer has beguil'd thy Heart,
[Page 181] And holds thee in the Bands of silken Slav'ry,
Enamour'd not of thee, but of thy Wealth.
Fie on't, it hurts my Thought.
Your Pardon, Sir—
But oh! I cannot judge thus hardly of him.
Can there be Falshood in those Heart-fetch'd Sighs,
Those tender Pangs, and that Excess of Passion,
Which I, and all the Host of Heav'n have seen?
O then Sincerity has lost her Proofs,
And Love the Vouchers of his Purity.
Besides his virtuous Life—
I'll hear no more—
These Striplings cringe, and whine, and sigh by Rule,
And Woman flatter'd knows not Art from Virtue.
Why do I loiter here? Eusebia, yet
Thou art my Daughter—let not thy Perverseness
Soil all the Blessings of this glorious Day—
Thus weeping, trembling, riveted to Earth,
O let me ask my ever-honour'd Father
When he was disobey'd?
When did I ask
To be obey'd till now? What! thou wouldst plead
The slender Service of thy former Years,
Which Ignorance and Youth, not Duty paid.
Dost thou call this Obedience to a Father?
Away, and mark me, I desire Compliance
In Instances of greater Weight, or none.
This Resolution may undo me, Sir,
But shall not shake my Duty—I submit—
[Page 182] And yet I could have hop'd the hapless Youth
That sav'd your Son, and sav'd us all in him,
At length might boast Pretension to your Favour.
How! wilt thou teach me to reward my Soldiers?
But I perceive thy Stubbornness of Folly:
Thy blind Affection cleaves to Leon still:
And therefore hear a Father's fixt Resolve;
Give me a Proof before To-morrow's Noon,
Leon no more is Master of thy Heart,
Or quit my Roof, repair thee to a Convent,
And dedicate thy remnant Days to Heav'n.
So shall it sooth my Soul, when I reflect
Thou art not mine, to know, thou art not his.
Farewel, and think on this.
[Exit Manuel.
Tell me, my Virgins,
In all the Volumes of recorded Love,
Have you e'er read a Destiny like mine?
What's to be done?—Can I conceal my Passion?
Ah! 'twill betray itself a thousand Ways.
But to renounce my Heart's best Joy for ever—
My Soul recoils with Horrour at the Thought—
Support me, Friends, and with your kindest Counsels,
Oh! save a wretched Maid from double Ruin.


Enter Romanus.
Eusebia, and in Tears! What may this mean?
It matters not—they drop Delight to me,
[Page 183] As Tokens of more Woe—Let Mischief flourish—
I was to meet dull Mervan here—I want
To fool him further to my Bent—till when
My Purpose halts, and thou art safe, Aleppo
Enter Mervan.
But lo! he comes—Welcome, my worthy Friend;
I need thy Counsel much this fatal Hour;
My Soul is full—But why that downcast Look?
Things wear a better Face since last we parted.
They ne'er look'd worse, Romanus.
How! my Mervan,
Hast thou not seen the Man thou hatest most
Thrown from his Orb like Lucifer?—'Tis Joy,
Worth the young Bridegroom's Transport, thus to stand
Safe on the Shore, and view this Wreck of Greatness.
Who falls may rise—The Sun that's now descended,
To-morrow will resume his fiery Function.
Why this School Simile?—What mean thy Fears?
I fear not Shadows—Terms of Amity
Will be propos'd to Theodore.
Say'st so?
Now Heav'n or Hell forbid.
Nay hear my Tale.
Sophronius, still self-diffident, although
His Worth mounts daily in the Scale of Glory,
With Modesty I ne'er might blame before,
Propos'd this fatal Ev'ning to his Father,
[Page 184] To share the chief Command with Theodore,
Provided small Acknowledgment were paid,
As is most due, to Manuel's injur'd Honour.
I am content, cries our old Governour,
And strait commissions him to make the Treaty.
Early To-morrow Morn they will confer;
If so, trust me, I doubt our Counsel leaks.
For while thou weavest thy Design, Romanus,
Fine as the Spider's Web, there's but a Breath
'Twixt that and Dissolution.
My good Mervan,
This must not be—I have a Story too
Will shake thy honest Heart—Hah! Theodore
Directs his Steps this Way—I must dissemble;
But you, my Friend, insult his fallen Pride—
'Tis a Debt due to Spleen—You shall hear more
Anon—My Fortune may assist me now.
Enter Theodore.
Romanus, I was seeking thee—What means
Thy loit'ring here?
We have a trifling Bus'ness
That had been soon adjusted—but I'm ready
To hear my Lord's Commands.
Indeed, and should;
The General cannot wait his Soldier's Leisure.
For Shame' sake, Peace.
What does the Abject prate?
Reptile, my Soul ne'er look'd so low as thee.
[Page 185]
Better you had—'tis said your airy Gazers
Stand on a tott'ring Base—a Fall may hurt—
What does my Virtue come within the Taunt
Of musty common-place Morality,
Cull'd from an old Wife's Ev'ning Dialogue?
Peace, good Philosophy, I wage not War
With Saws, and Ends of Reas'ning—pr'ythee Peace—
I have not learnt what Deference is due
To a disbanded Soldier.
Hah! thou Slave,
There's that perhaps may teach thee better Manners.
[Strikes him.
Seize me eternal Pungency of Pain,
But I will be reveng'd, thou brutal Smiter.
Well struck—and well resented—for my Purpose.
Nay but be pacified—
[To Mervan.
How the Cur foams?
Revenge! Why that's the Virtue of great Souls
That struggle with the Pangs of injur'd Honour—
It is a tender Plant, that flourishes
But in a warm well-cultivated Soil,
Not seen to thrive in cold and barren Ground.
Dost thou, thou Lump of earthly Element,
With no more Fire in thy dull Blood than serves
Mere Motion, and not Heat—dost thou presume
To vent Impatience in exalted Terms,
Out of your Sphere of Mutt'ring? Thou revenge!
Go, Fool, to Bed—Romanus, I would see thee
Within an Hour—till then farewel.
[Exit Theodore.
[Page 186]
O Mervan,
My ever honour'd, and much injur'd Friend,
But that the Matter asks maturer Thought,
My Poniard should have reach'd the Villain's Heart.
Confusion, and Despair!
Nay, no Despair;
For that defeats your Wisdom's Resolution:
We'll have Revenge—the Public shall have Justice—
The Public, Friend,—thou know'st not yet how much
Aleppo's Cause, and thine are interwoven—
What would Romanus say?
That which might chill
The Heart of Stoutness—oh! suppose this Night,
It could be said, Aleppo is no more!
Thou hast a horrid Look—I pray explain it—
Observe me then with Heed.
Soon as hot Theodore had left the Council,
I hied me to his House; and as I knew him
Apt of Conception desp'rate, tried to sound
The Fathom of his Thought—I found him, Mervan,
Churning the Froth of Fury—I suggested
(Putting the Semblance of fair Friendship on)
Topicks of Vengeance to him, nor in vain;
He was soon tractable to Works of Darkness—
I urg'd him to betray this hated City,
And shew'd apparent Means of Execution—
He prest me to his Bosom, hug'd my Zeal,
And swore it was Revenge full adequate
[Page 187] To his vile Wrongs—I will to Night, he cried,
Hear more of this—You heard him chide my Stay—
I did—the Villain—Heav'n! was this the Man
Whom good Sophronius would restore to Honour?
How has thy honest Fraud detected him?
But I will hence, and startle Manuel's Ear
With this Report—It must be done to Night—
Hold—ponder well the Issue with the Deed—
You would charge Theodore with Treason?
And I am ready to support the Charge,
But say, with what? what Colour? what Pretence?
My Word will weigh no more than Theodore's,
And haply less when he disowns the Crime
With Protestations back'd by horrid Oath.
My single Voice is Slander, and not Proof—
Nay, spur thy Wit—Aleppo must be sav'd,
And I must have Revenge.
Why, let me see—
It is the surest Way—suppose this Night
My Dagger drinks his Blood—the Dead, thou know'st,
Are no Gainsayers.
Right—proceed—I hear thee
With most charm'd Organs—
To the Governour
The Rashness of the Blow shall be excus'd
By some well-fram'd, and joint Apology.
The Prejudice of Manuel, and the Place
[Page 188] You hold in his Opinion sets all right,
And everlasting Peace succeeds—
Well said, my Oracle!
Yet still one Doubt, good Mervan,
Draws back my Resolution.
Speak it, Friend.
What if the Villain's Groans, or Marks of Blood
Betray me to his Houshold? They may wait not
Calmly to weigh the Motives to this Deed,
But wreak a sudden Vengeance on my Life—
Now could I shew by some plain, pregnant Token,
That I therein proceeded by Commission—
Hah! To effect that Point is mine, Romanus,
Behold Lord Manuel's Signet.
[Shewing it.
Give me that
And I've a Passport sure.
Take it, 'tis thine—
[Gives it him.
And now pursue thy Purpose—let me hear
Before To-morrow's Sun, Aleppo's Foe
And Mervan's Bane is levell'd with the Dust.
You shall—good Night.
[Exit Mervan.
Hah! Hah! The Fool—
How ductile to my Will?—this magick Ring
Will conjure up a Storm to ruin all—
It gains me Credit with my Brain-sick Patron,
And blinded Wrath shall take its furious Course
By my Direction—this dread Night, Sophronius,
[Page 189] I rob thee of thy Glory; and, proud Nymph,—
Will seize sharp Vengeance for thy late Disdain.
The Saracen right well my Aid implor'd,
For Policy wins more than Othman's Sword—
So when old Greece had seen her Thousands slain,
And bravely wag'd a ten Year's War in vain,
She last by wily Stratagem prevail'd,
And Sinon conquer'd where Achilles fail'd.


SCENE The Gallery.
MY Wishes lean to fell Revenge; but oh!
I know not what of Nicety forbids it—
Some Way my swelling Choler must have Vent;
Who ever dam'd the Ocean's Surge, or stopt
The thought-quick Fury of the fiery Bolt?
That Man preach Peace to me—Romanus comes—
He loves me well, and may devise new Means—
Enter Romanus.
How now Lieutenant—why thus lost in Thought—
My Lord, your Pardon—'tis a private Grief
That weighs upon my Heart—
Thy Griefs, Romanus,
I will make mine.
[Page 190]
I owe your Goodness much,
But would not now increase the Debt—one Day
You shall hear all—how wears the Time, my Lord!
Am I within the Limit of your Order?
Precisely—O Romanus since thou first
This fatal Day didst wake my sleeping Vengeance,
Rage, like a Canker, has been gnawing here.
That's right—I trust I have thee on the Hook—
In Truth my Thought has been to Day employ'd
On that same Matter too—I much admire
Your mighty Soul, and own Revenge is Baseness,
Unless he marches hand in hand with Honour.
Away; is there no Vengeance left, Romanus?
Are there no Means but those I dare not use?
Why didst thou rouse me but to mock my Soul?
'Tis as you'd force the Lion from his Prey,
When Famine gripes his Entrails—O Revenge!
Nay but, great Sir, with noble Minds Contempt
Is full Revenge—I am your Proselyte—
But you, I see, like a right skilful Disputant,
Can take the Argument by either End.
No, I not waver in my Sentiment;
But, when once crost by Appetite, O shew me
The cold, phlegmatic Moralist, that turns not
A Rebel to his Tenets.
Fie, Lord Theodore;
I thought you master of a better Spirit;
These angry Transports are old Manuel's Triumphs.
[Page 191]
I am hem'd in with Plagues.
Those Plagues are over,
And Wrath has had his Vent—
Ay, but my Soul
Retains Impression still.
I fear my Lord,
Some added Fuel fires your Breast anew—
Why no, I think not, no.
Ah! Sir, I see
Your tender Part—the Battle won this Day
By Chance, and Derar's Death—does not that gall you?
By Heav'n, these vile Aleppian's fought to Day
In very Spleen to me—A Group of Curses
Light on their squeamish Bravery.
Yet I'd not grudge the Keenest of my Foes
Imperfect, casual Victory like this.
How vain Dependance on the Swords of Wretches,
That leave the Banner of great-hearted Mars,
To trip with feather-footed Mercury?
Let us away—a Soldier cannot breathe
In Air like this.
Mirror of Honesty!
O thou best Guide of my distracted Soul—
Yes—we will go, Romanus—I submit
To what must be—
Why that was well resolv'd:
And since I see your Passion wisely quell'd,
I safely may unfold a Tale, that else
[Page 192] Should have lain hid in Night's most sable Cloud.
Know then, the Matter, you observ'd but now,
To rivet down my Strength of Meditation,
Related most to thee.
To me! how now?
You will be calm—
As Patience.
Hear me then:
My Lord, a Plot is laid against your Life.
Against my Life?—as how?—by whom, my Friend?
By whom? good Heav'n! I thought you knew your Bane
By natural Antipathy—who is't
Has done you wrong? who is't that dismantled
My Patron of his Honours? who disgrac'd
The Prince of Chivalry? O! who but Manuel?
The Devil's not more a Foe to human Race
Than he to Theodore.
Hah! let me hear thee—
The Night is still—The Winds are hush'd in Silence,
And yon fair Planet, rising with her Train,
Shall witness all the Horrours of thy Story.
The Governour, my Lord, with vilest Arts,
Has long laid Siege to my Affections—
To Day some fav'ring Angel mov'd my Thought
To try his Depth of Malice—I assum'd
Sudden Disgust to thee; and in that Conf'rence
With hollow Mervan, which your Presence broke,
[Page 193] Swore myself henceforth to his Master's Service.
The Fool, in whose vile Bosom, you well know,
Manuel locks up his Secrets, nails his Faith
On my dissembled Zeal—You mark me, Sir,—
Ay, ay, proceed.
And you did promise me
You would be calm—
I did—Confusion!—well—
Go on—I'm cool.
Admitted to old Manuel,
I wound me soon into his Confidence—
My Lord, he bears a most invet'rate Hate
To your high Virtue, which he terms your Pride—
Nay more, some Wretch has taught him to suspect,
That in your Letters you have oft foul-stain'd
His Rule of Government to good Heraclius.
Letters! what Letters? By my Hopes of Vengeance,
But that I scorn to condescend so low
As to refute the Calumny; this Night
I'd hurl the Rascal Falshood in his Teeth.
I held it meet to cherish this his Spleen,
So feign'd me privy to your Correspondence,
Nay more, I cited too the black Contents
In venom'd Terms, and loud affirm'd them yours—
Next I enlarg'd upon my proper Wrongs,
And vow'd this Night, his full Consent my Warrant,
At once to free us both, and the whole World,
Of such a Villain—Manuel, well-convinc'd
Without more Proof, or better Cause than this,
[Page 194] Applauded the fell Purpose—ay, and quicken'd
My Appetite for Vengeance by strong Promise
To lift my Fortunes to a splendid Greatness.
I'm sworn this Night to stab you in your Sleep—
Then I am loos'd at once from ev'ry Tie—
What! Murder me? O! for a Sacrifice
Worthy my boiling Rage—when I am angry,
Methinks Mankind should suffer—good Romanus,
Let Othman know the City's his to Night;
The Terms the same as—
How your Wrath transports you?
Thank Heav'n, I'm honest—for your open Heart
Is most accessible to Villainy—
Perhaps I did but mean to try your Temper—
Now by the Tempest rolling in my Bosom,
I'll not be trifled with—Give me to know
The Truth this Instant—see thou lay'st it plain
To my Mind's Eye, and visible as Proofs
From Demonstration, or assure thee Villain,
Mischiefs await thee—speak—
O do not storm:
Speak—I have Nought to speak—indeed 'twas all
A well invented Lie, a cut-throat Tale.
Villain, thou liest—I see thy Heart's Con­fusion—
[Seizing him.
Say all thou know'st, or by—
I've said too much—
Yet now, in Justice to myself must on—
Perish the World e'er I deceive my Friend—
[Page 195] See the Credentials of the cursed Trust;
What was to be my Sanction for the Deed;
Is this Lord Manuel's Signet?
[Shewing the Signet.
'Tis the same,
And darts Conviction on my Sense, as gross
As the Broad-Seal of Hell—then Blood for Blood—
Romanus, see our trusty Syrians arm'd
By Midnight's silent Hour.
Are you resolv'd?
As the Decrees of Heav'n.
Why then no more—
My private Sentiment shall yield to yours—
I will not dare to doubt your Vengeance just:
I sav'd your Life to prove my honest Love,
And will confirm it more by full Attachment
Ev'n to your wildest Counsels—There's my Hand
In earnest of my Heart—
As such I take it—
Honest Romanus, how shall I requite
The Saver of my Life?
Sir, I will own
I had a Prospect of Reward.
Command it.
O! I have sigh'd the painful Breath of Bond­age
With the calm Patience of afflicted Saints,
Whole Years for fair Ormelia's Love.
She's thine—
Not my Lieutenant, but my Son—she's thine.
Behold her here.
[Page 196] Enter Ormelia.
Ormelia, oh! my Child,
Tell me what Blessings wouldst thou wish the Man,
That has preserv'd thy Father from Destruction?
O I would wish him all that Heav'n e'er crown'd
The Piety of his best Vot'ries with;
All that his Heart could ask; all Comforts here,
And Certainty of golden Bliss hereafter.
Then hear me and obey—there's my Deliv'rer—
This fatal Night by Manuel's curst Design
Romanus stands engag'd to shed my Blood;
See here the Token of that hellish Trust—
[Shewing the Signet.
His feign'd dislike of me explor'd this Treach'ry:
Ay, and his Faith of Friendship has been brib'd
With offers worth Ambition—ask no more—
But bless his gen'rous Goodness with thy Love,
And make me happy in a Son like him.
Forgive me, Theodore, if for a while
Distracted by Variety of Passion,
I know not what to answer—
We allow
The Niceness of reluctant Modesty
To maiden Innocence—mean time, Romanus,
Fix we our Thought on this Night's bloody Bus'ness,—
I pray advise me in it—
Sir, to you,
And yours, I owe more Service than the best
Of my poor Zeal can pay—for this same Bus'ness,
[Page 197] Resolv'd, 'tis done—Your House stands on the Walls,
From whence a Soldier may descend unseen,
And bear the welcome News to yonder Camp;
Let them approach the Town with silent March;
Just as the Bell beats one, our Syrian Troop
Shall take Possession of the Armory;
Then slay the Centinels, seize all the Gates,
And let the Torrent of Confed'rates in,
Eager, and rushing on to gen'ral Ruin.
Be't so—Aleppo's doom'd—Justice has lent
Her Sword to black Revenge—Romanus, send me
The Captains of our Troop to take their Orders—
For this one Night, O Mahomet, I'm thine.
[Ex. The.
At that Command, I have been wont to fly,
As swift as Fancy's Wing—yet now would stay,
To catch the Glances of Ormelia's Eyes,
And hear her Sentence on my faithful Passion,
Tho' the World's Doom depended on this Hour.
That Sentence, Sir, is past—You heard my Father—
I cannot, must not, would not disobey him;
Nay and could wish I had a Heart to give
To Worth like thine, for I confess, Romanus
Your Merit far superiour to your Claim.
Grant it but equal—can my lovely Fair
Withold a Heart she owns herself my Due,
And without which I scorn to take her Hand?
No, I renounce the Right thy Father gave me;
I did my Duty—but would have my Blessing
Ormelia's Gift, not his—
[Page 198]
Thou gen'rous Man!
I thought there was no Passage to my Heart,
But sure the grateful Sentiment that warms
My Soul, if 'tis not Love, is something greater.
Cherish that Sentiment my Guardian Pow'rs!
And kindle it to Rapture such as mine.
Yet say, is this a Time for Love, Romanus?
How sacred ev'ry Moment is to Vengeance?
The Deed and Guilt are Manuel's—young Sophronius
Nay do not start—he is no more your Rival—
And yet I would not know him for a Villain:
Was he consenting to this cruel Purpose?
Madam, 'twere base, or to disparage Virtue
With scanty Praise, or wrap it up in Silence.
Sophronius is right noble—but this Ev'ning,
Though Conquest sat upon his shining Plume,
And he stood loaded with a People's Praise;
He own'd the Prowess of your Father's Valour;
He will'd old Manuel offer Terms of Peace,
Which Theodore might well embrace with Honour—
Ev'n Manuel's self dissembled Approbation,
And veil'd the Malice lurking at his Heart.
O wond'rous Proof of thy unequall'd Goodness?
Sophronius only is outdone by thee—
The Man thou praisest is the Man I lov'd;
E'en now (with Blushes I disclose my Weakness)
My Heart almost revolts from Thee and Virtue—
But thy Perfections awe the Thought to Shame—
[Page 199] Gratitude, Honour, Duty make me thine,
And Inclination ought.
I know it will—
Such Excellence can never do amiss—
If fondest Care, if Industry of Love,
Hold—'tis needless this—my future Faith
I pledge to thee for ever.
Blessings on thee!
Oh! let me grasp this Crisis of my Fate,
Now all my better Stars propitious beam,
And farther humbly hope—
What wouldst thou ask?—
You would be mine this happy Night.
To Night!
Have you forgot?
Nay! by yon Heav'n, my Wish
Is pure as is the stainless Thought of Childhood.
Ne'er should my Soul relax to soft Desires,
Till Scenes more calm, and peaceful Sunshines bless us;
But kindly place it in my Pow'r hereafter
To say, this glorious, this distinguish'd Night,
I saw my Bliss complete, my Lord aveng'd,
Aleppo punish'd, and thyself my Bride.
Sir, I am yours in Honour of Engagement.
Engagement!—'tis too faint, too cold a Word,
And damps the rising Ardour of my Soul—
Give my high Hopes the Title of thy Husband,
And I shall rush like Lightning on the Foe;
[Page 200] Or if some unforeseen, some dreadful Chance,
Should whelm me in the Tumult of the Fight,
At least I shall indulge a virtuous Pride,
And smile in Death to call Ormelia mine.
Nay this is Humour most extravagant.
'Tis noble Eagerness of great Ambition,
But oh! 'tis vain—I see thro' the Disguise
Of this Reluctance, and perceive thy Heart
Unwilling to oblige a Wretch like me;—
And can she love who scruples to oblige?
Impossible!—Die ev'ry flatt'ring Hope!
Welcome the Anguish of a fruitless Passion,
It is Ormelia's Doom, and I must bear it.
Weep not, Romanus; for thy Tears reproach me;
They call me stubborn, cruel, and ungrateful;
If I must—
No—by yon bright Orb, you shall not▪
I'd not be happy upon selfish Terms,
Or purchase endless Peace with thy Disquiet:
Haste to thy Love—be blest in thy Sophronius
While I in Sorrow languish Life away,
And fall the willing Victim of thy Beauty.
Forbid it, all ye Pow'rs that guard the Just!
Thy Virtues banish ev'ry female Form,
And I this Moment yield my vanquish'd Hand.
Thus let me thank thee for this dear Com­pliance;
[Kissing her Hand▪
Angels, proclaim my Ecstacy of Bliss,
And tune your Harps to sweet Ormelia's Praise.
[Page 201] I fly, my Love, to seek a holy Priest
Whose ready Ministry may crown my Transports.
Soon let me find you in your own Apartment;
Till when—one balmy Kiss—Heav'n guard thy Goodness—
So—now I have my Fortune in my Hand.
[Aside and exit.
Well—'tis obey'd, this Dictate of my Honour,
And sure, I've nobly sacrific'd to Virtue!
Farewel, Sophronius—'twas a tender Sigh
Which wafted that Farewel—but 'tis the last—
Hah! he is here!—Good Heav'n, of all the World
The Man I would not see—
Enter Sophronius.
Sir, you are bold;
I thought I had forbidden you my Presence.
Though banish'd from thy Sight, my con­stant Thought
Has ne'er stray'd from thee—and I come once more
To know my utmost Fortune: The sad Exile
Revisits thus with Doubts and pleasing Dread
His native Land, not dearer to his Soul,
Than late to me was my Ormelia, when
She welcom'd me with hospitable Love,
And made her Heart my Home—once, no strange Guest,
May I not hope again, on noble Terms,
To gain Admittance—
'Tis too late to talk
Of Terms, and Hope is mere Presumption now—
[Page 202]
Forbid it, Love—Lord Theodore, To-morrow,
If I mistake not, is my Father's Friend.
Let but Ormelia hear me.
I bring him easy Terms of Reconcilement.
I have heard all.
Is then thy Father's Spirit
Still so untractable, he will admit
Friendly Proposals upon no Conditions?
You must not hope to see him Manuel's Friend—
At least that's not my Crime—sure we may love—
And wait for happier Days—If thou know'st all,
Sophronius stands acquitted in thy Sight.
I am no Judge in such a Cause as this,
And must not hear you plead—
Is't possible?
Still cold to all I say—Is this the Maid,
That oft has sat attentive to my Vows,
While the gay Hours were all bespoke by Love,
And Moments were not wasted, but enjoy'd?
And when I pour'd my am'rous Rapture forth,
Would she not sometimes aid me with her Sighs,
Or bless the tender Story with a Tear?
But now she looks relentless on my Sorrows—
Nor feels one friendly Pain of Pity for me!
Alas! I dare not listen to this Talk.
Yet e'er I part for ever from thy Beauties,
Let me be told my Crime—Art thou unjust,
[Page 203] As well as most unkind? If thou art false,
Ev'n for thy Sake, I'll not suppose hereafter
A Woman can be true—I'll think thee still
The brightest of thy Sex—Perhaps, Romanus
Am I supplanted by my Rival's Love?
His Merit must be rais'd by Miracle—
Yet grant him all Perfection, if I know
My Heart, he cannot, cannot love like me.
[Fainting; he catches her.
Heav'n! she faints—What would my wayward Fortune?
Awake, my Life, my Love—See, she revives,
Her Beauties burst like Sun-Beams from a Cloud.
Why hast thou call'd me back to Misery?
My Soul was never Womanish till now—
Who can resist such Tenderness as thine?
Though Heav'n and Earth conspire against our Loves,
I feel my Heart will still acknowlege thee—
Yet we must part—I never can be yours.
What means my Life? Repriev'd and doom'd at once!
Part! Who shall part us if thy Will consents?
Though Theodore or Manuel should oppose,
Our Union, the best Pledge of Reconcilement,
It were enough that 'tis approv'd by Heav'n.
No, my Sophronius, Heav'n decrees against it—
The Voice of Conscience, Reason, Justice, Duty,
Loud thunders in my Ear, It must not be.
To-morrow will explain the Mistery
[Page 204] I cannot now reveal—Farewel for ever—
Poor hapless Youth! I see thy struggling Breast,
And mine too labours with an equal Pang—
Yet stay! For ever, didst thou say, Ormelia?
Ah! whither shall I turn?—Are all Things sacred
Arm'd against Truth and Innocence? Ye Pow'rs,
What strange Event will this To-morrow bring?
Ev'n now those Eyes are bent with Fondness on me—
Thy Heart is panting with the Sighs of Love,
And ev'ry soft Emotion pleads my Cause—
Can I despair with Joys like these in View,
And be distrest with Happiness before me?
Adieu! Sophronius—I must hear no more—
Upbraid me not with Falshood or Unkindness—
But when the dreadful Truth shall glare upon thee,
Lay thy Reproaches where thou seest them due.
The Blessings of eternal Peace be with thee,
And Honour crown thy Days—O when hereafter
You chance to call this Night to your Remembrance,
(As sure you will have Cause) speak of Ormelia
In gentle Terms, (so shall I speak of thee)
And own my Mem'ry worth a tender Thought.
Once more adieu! Sophronius.
[After a Pause.]
Think not, Man,
To trace the secret Maze of Providence,
Or ascertain the Fortune of an Hour.
My Leon here—
[Enter Leon]
Thou Partner of my [Sorrow,
Why hast thou left the Palace?
My Sophronius,
[Page 205] I come for thee: For oh! without thy Presence—
Now my Eusebia has forsook the World,
Banish'd by fatal Love of wretched Leon,
Though Mirth and Triumph raise their jocund Voice,
And the Roof echoes to the Sounds of Joy,
To me thy Father's House is desolate.
I will return with thee; and as we go,
Thou shalt be told my most uncommon Lot—
O could my Soul anticipate To-morrow—
But wear we calm Content upon our Brows,
And join the general Festivity—
In Love though both have been unhappy, Leon,
We have a Refuge in our Friendship still—
Love is at best, my Friend, a virtuous Weakness;
The Appetite of Nature, not its Glory;
And ev'n the purest is alloy'd with Folly.
Friendship is wholly rational; the Ardour
Of gen'rous Minds, the Rapture of the Soul,
Preservative of Love, and its Survivor.
Excellent Youth, my Sorrow's Remedy,
Methinks I catch the glorious Theme from thee.
Dear are the sacred Characters in Life
Of Father, Brother, Sister, Husband, Wife;
But the prime Gift that bounteous Heav'n can send,
Is the sure Blessing of a faithful Friend.


SCENE a magnificent Apartment in the Governour's Palace. Manuel, Sophronius, Izrail, Leon, and others sitting at a Table, with Wine, &c.
ONCE more Prosperity to our Aleppo,
And Thanks to my Sophronius
Izrail, say
Where points the Hour of Night?
In Truth, my Lord,
I doubt we borrow of the Morning now.
Here then break up our Feast—Shew we our Joy,
Like Christian Soldiers, and not Revellers;
A Health to all our Friends, and then good Night.
Health and sweet Slumbers to the Governour.
A great Cry within.
Help, fly, O Mercy, Quarter, spare us, Mercy!
What means that dreadful Cry? I fear some Treach'ry.
Enter an Officer hastily.
O we are lost, betray'd, undone; the Saracens
Are in the Streets, and furious Theodore
[Page 207] Is at their Head, dealing Destruction round—
The Centinels are slain, the Armory
Is seiz'd by the vile Syrians—Hark, I hear
The Thunder of the Tempest drive this Way.
[The Cry is heard again as nearer.
This was thy fatal Mystery, Ormelia.
Enter another Officer.
Fly, my Lord, fly—the Palace Gates are forc'd—
Othman and Theodore come storming on—
I saw him drive his Sword in Mervan's Breast—
Hah! they are here—
I'll not survive this Hour—
Come let us fall like Men—
Enter Theodore, Othman, and others, with Swords drawn—They fight—Theodore wounds Manuel; Leon interposes;—then Sophronius speaks.
Hold, Friends; 'tis Madness—
Ye Saracens forbear—the City's yours—
[They give up their Swords.
We fight not against Providence—but, Othman,
O let not loose the horrid Rage of War
Upon the Citizens; spare their Distress,
And save thy own Renown.
Hah! who art thou
That would'st command here still?
Nay, Theodore,
But hear a noble Foe.—We have already
Mark'd well our Way with Blood—Go, Omar, bid
[Page 208] The Hand of Slaughter and of Pillage cease
Upon Submission—
[Exit an Officer]
Christians, you may note,
How Heav'n confirms the Cause of Mahomet,
And owns us as He did his once-lov'd People,
When Canaan's warlike Nations sunk before them.
See then, and be converted—or hereafter
Pay annual Tribute to my Lord the Caliph
I leave you to resolve your speedy Choice,
And for the rest, Romanus will inform you.
[Exit Othman.
We have not much to learn. Alass! my Father,
You bleed—Help here, my Friends—
[They place him in a Chair.
No Help—I've seen
Aleppo lost, and would not be immortal:
Why should an old Man live? You whose Veins bound
With youthful Blood, live to revenge your Country:
I would escape from Life, and that black Traitor—
Wouldst thou upbraid me, Villain, with a Deed
That thy own Baseness caus'd?
Pr'ythee away,
And let me die in Peace.
Die, and thy Malice
Sink thee to lasting Pain—Where's my Romanus?
[Exit Theodore.
Come near me, Friends; I have few Words to speak;
Sophronius, thou art Heir to all my Fortunes;
[Page 209] But 'tis my Pride to leave thee rich in Virtue—
See thou protect my Friends—would I could say
My other Children—I have wrong'd thee, Leon
Thy honest Zeal did interpose to save me,
Ev'n when I had no Daughter to reward thee—
Canst thou forgive my Frowardness?
I do—
Oh! if—Hah! who comes here? Ye Pow'rs above!
It is Eusebia's Self—
Enter Eusebia attended: She runs to her Father and kneels: Both silent some Time.
My Child—
My Father—
Your Pardon and your Blessing e're you die—
Thou hast a Right to both—alas! my Daughter,
I thought thee shut within the Convent's Walls.
O! Sir, forgive a Fraud which Love inspir'd:
Beneath the Shelter of a friendly Roof
Till now I have conceal'd me, fondly hoping
That such suppos'd Retirement from the World,
While it might testify my Leon's Truth,
Would melt at length a Father's Heart to Pity.
It has, it has—and this unhop'd Return
Darts Gleams of Comfort on my parting Hour—
Take my best Blessing to thee—take thy Leon
Thy dying Father's most acknowleg'd Friend—
Sophronius, see thy Brother and thy Sister—
Both Sharers of my Heart, and my Inheritance.
[Page 210]
Enough—The Shades of Night hang o'er my Brow.
Bury my Frailties with me; O, my Friends,
Yet while you may, defend our holy Faith;
There is much Christian Ground unconquer'd still—
Yield not a Jot to Mahomet—remember,
'Tis glorious to assert the Cause of Truth
In unbelieving Times—Farewel, my Friends,
Farewel, my Children; and oh!—
Worthy Departure of a Patriot Soul:
Sister, the tender Tribute of thine Eye
Is justly paid—for us, my Brother Leon,
(How sweetens that soft Name the Cup of Sorrow?)
Our Rev'rence for dead Manuel's Memory
Prove we another Way; by Deeds, not Tears—
Remove the Body—See it laid, Eusebia,
In decent State, not Pageantry of Pomp—
So shone my Father's Virtues—
Izrail, stay;
[Ex. with the Body, Eus. Leon, &c.
Some unknown Motive may have urg'd this Treason—
I would learn all—See! Theodore returns—
Enter Theodore.
Sir, I well know thy Name renown'd in Arms—
But do not number this among your Triumphs—
It is not Triumph, Boy! 'tis Something more;
'Tis Something that methinks I would not change
For the wide Fame of Caesar—It is Justice!
The Satisfaction of a great Revenge!
The Transport of a mighty Soul, inflam'd
By basest Wrongs, and pleas'd with public Ruin!
[Page 211]
I thought a Soldier never would have talk'd thus;
A Christian ought not.
Tell not not me of Rules;—
Souls of aethereal Temper are not held
In vulgar Circumscription; they start wide
From Duty's Path by innate, fiery Impulse,
Which gracious Heav'n signs Dispensation to—
Yet think not I have done this Deed To-night,
Provok'd by mere Resentment of Ambition,
Though my great Heart but ill digests Dishonour:
There is a Cause behind thou know'st not of,
A Cause might force the saint-like Eye of Meekness
To sparkle with the angry Dragon's Beam.
What may this mean? Do we not all well know
The Weight, and utmost Reach of thy Complaints?
No, Stripling, no—Hark you—I'll tell you News—
Your Father Manuel was a bloody Villain—
Thou liest—I am unarm'd—or by my Hopes—
He meant this Night to murder me in Bed.
It is impossible!—I had his Order
This Day to bring you Terms of Reconcilement—
Curse the Hypocrisy—Here comes the Man,
My Friend, my Son, that was to do the Deed—
Enter Romanus drest as a Bridegroom.
Come to my Arms—
[embracing Romanus.]
Is that a Murd'rers Face?
Fool! to suspect Romanus for a Villain—
[Page 212]
How's this? Your Friend, and Son! If this could be—
And yet it could not be—
See, and be dumb:
See an authentic Proof of barb'rous Trust—
[Shewing the Signet.
If this be Manuel's Signet, so—if not,
Let the Arch-Devil come from Hell, and own it.
Amazement! Izrail, know'st thou aught of this?
No, as my Soul shall prosper—
Come, my Lords,
I'll end this Strife at once—
Do, good Romanus.
First, as the Prologue to my Tale, know all—
I own the sacred Law of Mahomet.
Hah! Slave, what hast thou said? revoke thy Words—
Nay but revoke thy Words, proud Theodore;
I was your Slave, the Spaniel of your Humour;
But my great Soul, superiour to its Bondage,
At length, has shook the vile Dependance off,
And now I'm Lord of thee, and of Aleppo.
Damnation! thou art mad.
Or you shall be—
You will not hear me then?
Ay, I will hear thee—
I'll know this Fate, though ev'ry Word thou utter'st
Bites like the Viper's Fang.
[Page 213]
Attend, and tremble.
What Time I was a Pris'ner in yon Camp,
I left your barren, Christian Law, to thrive
In the rich Harvest of a growing Faith—
And made the League with Othman, which this Night
Has seen fulfill'd—I saw thy fiery Nature
Had shap'd thee a fit Tool for my Design—
The slighted Mervan, whom my frequent Vows
Of equal Hate to thee had made my own,
By my Direction poison'd Manuel's Ear
With groundless, brain-forg'd Tales, that wak'd his Spleen,
And blew the fatal Flame of Strife between you.
This Attempt, failing of wish'd Success,
I practis'd yet again on hollow Mervan,
Who, fool'd by me, believ'd your desp'rate Rage
Meant to betray Aleppo to the Foe;
But as I had not seeming Proof enough
To bring a public Charge of such vile Treason,
I undertook this Night to spill your Blood—
Lord Manuel's Signet (for I feign'd the Deed
Ev'n in the Act lay level to Discov'ry)
Was in such Case to screen the Blow from Question—
So, Sirs, you have a Key to all my Counsel—
Why raves my noble Lord?—I sav'd your Life—
Monster, thou liest—thou well didst know my Life
Was wrapt up in my Fame—That thou hast stab'd;
[Page 214] And Murder, when compar'd with Guilt like thine,
Smiles like a soft-ey'd Cherub—Oh! Sophronius!
[Leans upon Sophronius,
You paid my Service with your haughty Daughter;
Who, well assur'd of my transcendent Merit,
Gave me her Hand this Night—that once obtain'd—
Sighs and Entreaties, raptur'd Vows and Oaths,
And the fond Pleadings of a Husband's Right,
Have gain'd me since the sweet Revenge I wish'd for—
Now tir'd of Love, and all its vain Delights,
Gladly I quit the galling Noose of Wedlock—
Thou, or Sophronius take her—
Matchless Villain!
Hah! 'twas well thought.
Romanus, the Account
'Twixt me and thee is yet unsettled—thus
[Pulls a Dagger from his Breast, and stabs Rom.
With willing Hand I pay thee all thy Due.
Death, Hell, and black Perdition! I am slain.
Fiends seize thy Soul—Come give me Joy, Sophronius;
For I have done one righteous Act To-day—
I thought to stain this Blade with Manuel's Blood—
Now let his Spirit smile upon the Stroke—
Heav'n marks it in the Record of my Works:—
But see where Murder, Treason, Sacrilege,
[Page 215] Are wrote in Leaves of adamant against it—
You stand amaz'd—but wherefore?—Is a Villain
A Sight so rare?—O from this Day, the wicked,
The Outcasts of fair Grace shall bless themselves,
And quote my Deed with the pert Pride of Censure.
If there be Ease in Madness—
Come, reflect—
Reflect! on what? eternal Loss of Honour?
The flaming Mouth of Hell that yawns before me,
Yields me a brighter Prospect—All my Thought
Is steady, fixt, immoveable Despair.
Who never hopes can never be deceiv'd—
But Bus'ness must be done—Your Pardon, Sirs—
This is no Place for Traitors—give me Room there.
[Exit Theodore.
What strong Commotion shakes him?
Woful Day!
Alas! how brittle is the stablest Structure
That human Policy, or Prowess raises!
One Villain's Breath dissolves it—Hah! Ormelia
She bends this Way—Izrail, I pray retire—
[Exit Izrail.
Fortune diversifies the Scene of Horrour.
Enter Ormelia: Seeing the Body of Romanus she starts.
Angels defend me with your golden Wings
From this heart-striking Sight!—My Lord! My Husband!
Will not the lov'd Ormelia's Voice awake thee?—
[Page 216] Nay then thy gallant Soul has burst her Clay,
And I am left to endless Desolation
A wretched, widow'd Bride—What barb'rous Hand
Could thus—but I may spare my Tongue the Question.
Unhappy Fair! thou seest I have no Weapon;
My Hand, my very Soul is now disarm'd—
Didst thou know all—
Know what? Equivocator!
Thou Thorn, for ever rankling in my Peace!
Thou hadst a Weapon when thou didst the Deed;
And let me tell you, Sir, it was a Feat
Worthy Aleppo's Gen'ral.
O Ormelia,
My Heart weeps for thee—Soon, believe me, soon
These high-ton'd Strains shall sink to Notes of Woe,
Or float upon the wildest Sounds of Rage.
Behold a Cause for endless Rage, thou base one—
Didst thou not mark the Pang that wrung my Soul,
When I left thee for him, only for him
That now lies blood-steep'd there?—Thou knew'st me his
By ev'ry sacred Tie—yet him thy Hand
Has poorly slain—not so he treated thee—
The partial Tongue of most enamour'd Fondness,
Could scarce have drest its chosen Idol up
In Terms of fairer Hue, than those To-night
He deck'd your Name withal—
[Page 217]
I slew him not—
Or if I had—alas! thou injur'd Maid—
Dissembler, cease—I know your spe­cious Plea
Of Love for your dear City justly lost;
With this you mean to gloss a horrid Act,
Which gratified the Rancour of thy Soul,
And proves thee true-born Son of murd'rous Manuel.
O vain Reproach! Know, Madam, I would boast
The Virtues, not the Greatness of my Race,
And wish to prove myself the Son of Manuel,
To make his Loss more light.
What! is he fall'n?
Thanks to the righteous Vengeance that destroy'd him.
It was thy Father's Vengeance—but if righteous,
All moral Difference of Good and Ill
Is the Delirium of a sickly Dream—
Oh! you're undone—How wilt thou start to find
Romanus fell by Theodore's own Hand,
The Friend avow'd of Mahomet, the Foe
Of Theodore, of Manuel, thee, and all!
Canst thou not read my Heart?—Dost thou not see
Softest Compassion melt upon my Brow,
And Agony distend my tott'ring Frame?
Oh! poor Ormelia!
Madness and Illusion!
[Page 218] Must I not trust my Sense? Hah! who art thou,
Enter an Officer hastily.
That with such ghastly Aspect wouldst deliver
Some dreadful Tale?
It most concerns you, Lady—
As I past by yon Chamber, I descry'd
Lord Theodore in most distemper'd Motion;
He travers'd wildly o'er the Room, like one
Whose fav'rite Scheme Somewhat unlook'd for marrs;
Now sudden he stopt short, and, sitting down,
Fast rivetted his Eye unto the Floor;
Then started up, and smote upon his Bosom;
Then spread his Arms to Heav'n, and with his Foot
Stampt hard, as tho' he meant to shake the Roof;
At length, with a deep Groan, that would have melted
The Soul of Cruelty to baby Mildness,
Hasty he drew a Dagger from his Bosom,
And plung'd it in his Side.
Death and Destruction!—
Amaz'd I call'd for Help, and forc'd the Door—
The Servants rais'd him up; they bring him hither—
For here he learnt you was—Lo! where they come.
[Theodore brought in in a Chair, with Officers, Servants, &c.
Ye Moralists! O teach me Patience now!
Ormelia!—art thou here? Draw near, my Child;—
[Page 219] Thy Tenderness shall chear my latest Moments,
And light me through the darksome Gate of Death.
Help; bind his Wounds—
Hold off: Did Manuel die
Because he'd not survive his Country's Ruin,
And should the Villain live that has betray'd her?
Live, like a wounded Beast, to drag about
A wretched Being with a broken Heart?
What! live to be a Mark of public Scoff
For Holiday Mechanics?—Welcome, Death!
Thou art at least a Change of Misery,
And I would fly to other Ills for Shelter.
What does my trembling Heart forebode?—Sophronius
Has told me—
Nought but Truth.
There lies my Husband—
Slain by this Hand, a Villain and Impostor.
The blackest Guile that Treachery e're wore
Were snow-white Innocence and Truth to his:
Soon thou'lt know all—We've been abus'd, my Daughter.
Abus'd—how my Brain turns—Who has abus'd us?
Not he—why, he was Honesty—I knew him.
Strengthen her tender Frame, all gracious Heav'n!
And for the Woes thy Justice heaps on me,
O doubly, doubly bless my dearest Child.
[Page 220]
How heartily he prays—Come let's pray all—
O hear me, hear me—do not die, my Father!
[Kneels down by her Father.
Unhappy Girl!—I did not know till now
The Bitterness of Death—I must leave thee—
Ev'n when thou want'st a Friend, and Father most.
Behold the Woman you once lov'd, Sophronius;
O had—it cuts me there—wilt thou forgive me,
And shield my Name from popular Reproach?
Thine Eye sheds friendly Grief—I thank thy Goodness—
Now it grows dark—pray for my flitting Soul—
Take my last Look, Ormelia—Bless her, oh!
Let him alone—he will be up To-morrow—
And drive the Saracens like Chaff before him—
Soft, place him easy—his Brain ach'd last Night—
I'll make a Pillow of the Peach's Down
To rest his Cheek upon—We'll deck him fine—
Come, stick his Couch with shining Pearls, fresh cull'd
From the gay Morning's Dew—So—that's well done—
Now lay him, like a mighty Emperour,
Beneath the painted Rainbow's sumptuous Arch—
He sleeps most soundly—well—good Night, my Jewel.—
And now I'll to my Love—Hah! hah!
Ye Pow'rs,
Heal her disorder'd Mind!
[Page 221]
Hah! who goes there?
Fellow, stand off—It is my Love—I know him;
If I can catch him, I shall cleave for ever;
[She lays hold on Sophronius.
Hot Pincers shall not part us—Heav'n and Earth!
My Husband's come—off, vile Adulterer!
[Pushing Sophronius from her.
Oh! he has two red Firebrands in his Eyes,
And a long Whip of Scorpions in his Hand.
Forgive me, nay I did but snatch one Kiss—
I'll wear my Knees out on the rugged Flint—
Most pitiable Sight.
Oh! he is gone—
Why Weeps my Love?—Hah! there he is again;
Give me my Wings—O hide me, hide me from him.
[Exit raving.
Attend her, Sirs, and bear her gently home—
[Exeunt some, manet the rest.
Alas! my Presence would inflame her more—
To what am I reserv'd? All-righteous Heav'n,
Support me in these Trials of my Virtue,
Check the rebellious Sallies of Impatience,
And give me Courage to submit to thee.
Enter Leon, Eusebia, and Izrail.
Leon, what Havock have we seen To-day?
But look we forward now, Sophronius; Othman
Has sent by me to know our last Resolves.
For me—I will repair to good Heraclius
Hast thou forgot what pious Manuel said?
[Page 220] [...][Page 221] [...]
[Page 222] Who knows but we may yet avenge our Cause,
And one Day call Aleppo ours again?
The glorious Hope amuses my Heart's Sorrow,
And War shall be my Recreation now—
We'll follow thee.
And I.
And I.
And all.
I trust, my Lord, no Soldier stays behind.
Then be it so—my Friends, 'tis still our Glory
We were surpriz'd, not conquer'd. This Day's Woe
Yields us a Moral—Not to loose the Rein
To the fierce Impulse of impetuous Anger.
[Pointing to Theodore.]
The Man, whose Bosom headstrong Passion sway'd,
And the blind Zeal of eager Rage betray'd,
Though brave by Nature, and in Action great,
Work'd his own Ruin, and Aleppo's Fate.
[Ex. om.



As it is perform'd at the THEATRE-ROYAL in Covent-Garden.

By WILLIAM HAWKINS, M. A. Late Fellow of Pembroke College, and Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford.

LONDON: Printed for JAMES RIVINGTON and JAMES FLETCHER, at the Oxford Theatre, in Pater-noster-row. MDCCLIX.

[Price One Shilling and Six-pence.]

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE Countess of Litchfield.


I Have the honour of your LADY­SHIP'S permission to present to you a Tragedy, which, though it met with numerous and unprece­dented difficulties and discourage­ments in the theatre, will, I hope, be thought not altogether unworthy your protection in the world.—In­deed, if the unpopularity of its late situation could in the least affect that degree of merit, which your LADY­SHIP'S candor, or the indulgence of the town, may allow it to have, it would ill become me to recommend [Page iv] it to my readers, under the sanction of so polite and illustrious a name.—But your LADYSHIP has too much good sense, as well as generosity, to judge of this performance by mere appearances, and accidental or un­lucky circumstances; and therefore, tho' it will stand as a kind of memo­rial of the bad fortune, and worse treatment of its author; it may at the same time be a proper testimony of the high respect with which I am,

Your Ladyship's most obliged and most obedient Servant, WILLIAM HAWKINS.


THE Tragedy of Cymbeline is, in the whole oeconomy of it, one of the most ir­regular productions of Shakespeare. Its defects however, or rather its superfluities, are more than equalled by beauties, and excellencies of various kinds. There is at the same time something so pleasingly romantic, and likewise truly British in the subject of it, that, I flatter myself, an attempt to reduce it, as near as possible, to the regular stan­dard of the drama, will be favourably received by all, who are admirers of novelty, when pro­priety is its foundation. I have accordingly en­deavoured to new-construct this Tragedy, almost upon the plan of Aristotle himself, in respect of the unity of Time; with so thorough a venera­tion however for the great Father of the English stage, that, even while I have presumed to regu­late and modernize his design, I have thought it an honour to tread in his steps, and to imitate his Stile, with the humility and reverence of a Son. With this view, I have retained in many places the very language of the original author, and in [Page vi] all others endeavoured to supply it with a diction similar thereunto; so that, as an unknown friend of mine has observed, the present attempt is in­tirely new, whether it be considered as an alter­ation from, or an imitation of Shakespeare.

—The difficulty of such an attempt, as ra­tional as it may be, has a kind of claim, I pre­sume, to the indulgence of the public; espe­cially as it has been attended likewise with dis­advantages.—For I found myself necessitated by my plan to drop some characters, to contract others, and to omit some scenes and incidents of an interesting nature;—or rather to bring the substance and purport of them within the com­pass of a few short narrations.—A loss irrepar­able this, but that conveniencies are likewise to be thrown into the opposite scale; for as, I hope, I have not injured any characters by contracting them, but have left them to all intents, and in point of importance the same; so I have had an opportunity of enlarging and improving some of the original parts, (those particularly of Palador, and Philario, the Pisanio of Shakespeare) and, by varying certain incidents and circumstances, of giving a new cast to the whole drama.—After all, I am very far from meaning to detract from the merit of Shakespeare; or▪ from insinuating that the plays of so exalted a genius require such [Page vii] new-modelling as the present, in order to the rendering them useful or entertaining.—I have ventured publicly to defend this great dramatic Poet in the liberties he has taken; but still Shakespeare himself needs not be ashamed to wear a modern dress, provided it can be made tolerably to fit him.

The only question then will be, whether the present alteration be a judicious one?—And this with all due deference is left to the candour and justice of the public.

It will be proper to acquaint the reader, that, this play, was recommended some time since by a person of the first distinction, to the manager of the other theatre; who declared, that he had the very same altered play in his possession, and that it was designed for representation on his stage. Our Cymbeline therefore was obliged to take up his head quarters at Covent-Garden; where he has contended not only with the usual difficulties, but also with others of an extraor­dinary nature—Mrs. Bellamy's declining the part of Imogen has done the play incredible prejudice; and convinces me of the vanity of striving against the stream of popularity in ge­neral, or the weight of particular disadvantages.—However, I am under obligations to many [Page viii] of the performers, for their best endeavours to do justice to my piece, and for their zeal for its success. To some I am indebted for real service, whose names, as comparisons are invidious, I leave it to the judgment of the reader to supply.

Upon the whole, I am at a loss to ballance the account between myself and my fortune, in this whimsical situation. The kind assistance, and, I hope, not extremely partial approbation of some, adds as much to my credit and satisfac­tion, as the delicacy, or ill-nature, &c. of others, has deducted from my advantages.—To my friends, I return my sincere acknowledg­ments, and best wishes; to my enemies, I shall say nothing, 'till they are candid, and sagacious enough to speak more plainly than they have hi­therto done,—and more to the purpose.


Spoken by Mr. ROSS.

BRITONS, the daring Author of to-night,
Attempts in Shakespear's manly stile to write;
He strives to copy from that mighty mind
The glowing vein—the spirit unconfin'd—
The figur'd diction that disdain'd controul—
And the full vigour of the poet's soul!
—Happy the varied phrase, if none shall call,
This imitation, that original.—
For other points, our new advent'rer tries
The bard's luxuriant plan to modernize;
And, by the rules of antient art, refine
The same eventful, pleasing, bold design.
Our scenes awake not now the am'rous flame,
Nor teach soft swains to woo the tender dame;
Content, for bright example's sake, to shew
A wife distress'd, and innocence in woe.—
For what remains, the poet bids you see,
From an old tale, what Britons ought to be;
And in these restless days of war's alarms,
Not melts the soul to love, but fires the blood to arms.
Your great forefathers scorn'd the foreign chain,
Rome might invade, and Caesars rage in vain—
Those glorious patterns with bold hearts pursue,
To king, to country, and to honour true!—
Oh! then with candour and good will attend,
Applaud the author in the cordial friend:
Remember, when his failings most appear,
It ill becomes the brave to be severe.—
Look ages back, and think you hear to-night
An antient poet, still your chief delight!
Due to a great attempt compassion take,
And spare the modern bard for Shakespear's sake.


Spoken by Mrs. VINCENT.

WELL, Sirs—the bus'ness of the day is o'er,
And I'm a princess, and a wife no more—
This bard of our's, with Shakespear in his head,
May be well-taught, but surely is ill-bred.
Spouse gone, coast clear, wife handsome, and what not,
We might have had a much genteeler plot.
What madness equals true poetic rage?
Fine stuff! a lady in a hermitage!
A pretty mansion for the blooming fair—
No tea, no scandal,—no intriguing there.—
[Page xi] —The gay beau-monde such hideous scenes must damn—
What! nothing modish, but one cordial dram!
—Yet after all, the poet bids me say,
For your own credit's sake approve the play;
You can't for shame condemn old British wit,
(I hope there are no Frenchmen in the pit)
Or slight a timely tale, that well discovers,
The bravest soldiers are the truest lovers.
Such Leonatus was, in our romance,
A gallant courtier, tho' he cou'd not dance;
Say, wou'd you gain, like him, the fair one's charms,
First try your might in hardy deeds of arms;
Your muffs, your coffee, and down-beds fore-go,
Follow the mighty Prussia thro' the snow;
At length bring home the honourable scar,
And love's sweet balm shall heal the wounds of war.
For me, what various thoughts my mind perplex?
Is't better I resume my feeble sex,
Or wear this manly garb? it fits me well—
Gallants instruct me—ladies, can you tell?
The court's divided, and the gentle beaux,
Cry—no disguises—give the girl her cloaths.
The ladies say, to-night's example teaches,
(And I will take their words without more speeches)
That things go best when—women wear the breeches.

Dramatis Personae.


SCENE, partly a Royal Castle, and partly in and near a Forest in WALES.



SCENE A Royal Palace.
Enter two LORDS.
1st LORD.
I Pray you feast mine ears with more of this;
For 'tis so long since first I turn'd my back
Upon our isle, that I am new in Britain.
2d LORD.
I think your wish to breathe in foreign air,
Took you away about the very time
The royal babes were stolen.
1st LORD.
It is true, sir—
Some twenty years ago—'twas a strange theft,
[Page 2] But the concealment stranger; for you tell me,
That to this hour there is no guess in knowlege
Which way they went.
2d LORD.
No, sir—albeit search
Was hot in the enquiry—but much time
Has worn out all that miracle—fresh matter
Supplying wonder since.
1st LORD.
Of which my ignorance
Is not yet perfect learner.
2d LORD.
Well then, heed me.
Our late good queen (you knew her, sir) whose age
Was thought t'advance beyond more hope of children,
Yet brought the joyful Cymbeline a daughter,
And to his kingdoms a most hopeful heir,
In lieu of those he lost: for Imogen
(Such is her name) took all the graces in,
Which the best wisdom of the times put to her,
As we do air, fast as 'tis minister'd.
If beauty, innocence, and gentleness
Are woman's rarest jewels, she is rich
In most full measure of possession.
1st LORD.
You speak her fair.
2d LORD.
But not to flatter, sir,
Tho' I should talk the sun down. You have heard
[Page 3] The bright side of the story, for the other
It has a sable hue—I'll be brief with it—
1st LORD.
Do, but be plain.
2d LORD.
The queen quits mortal being;
And Cymbeline, tho' now in wane of life,
Takes to his lonely bed a second dame,
A widow, bold, ambitious, cunning, cruel,
That rul'd his heart by acting what she was not:
She mov'd the cred'lous king to wed his daughter
With Cloten, her own son, a wretch in whom
All qualities that dub a worthy man
Are low as worst report.—The princess cast
Disdain upon his suit—and in mean time
My plotting stepdame dies.
1st LORD.
A lucky death!
2d LORD.
'Twas thought so.—But the king, in whom this weakness
Is his first point of fault, pursues the aim
Of his now dead belov'd, and wills the maid
To take the crown with this encumbrance Cloten,
Or hold her birth-right void.
1st LORD.
Alas! poor lady.
2d LORD.
Nay there's more woe behind.—Sweet Imogen
Had long been list'ning to the earnest suit
Of Leonatus, a young lord o'th' court,
[Page 4] A valiant, frank, and honest gentleman,
That has no vice, if poverty be none;
And to say all, as much unlike to Cloten
As man can be to man.—Him in pure love,
And to undo all aims, she weds, and makes
The deed soon known her boast: th'enraged king
Sends Leonatus into banishment,
And her within the circle of this castle
Enforceth to abide, till she consent
To break her bond to her new-wedded lord
By strong propos'd divorce.—This is the sum
Of what you wish'd to hear.
1st LORD.
What say the Britons
To these proceedings?
2d LORD.
As their humours vary;
Some blame the king, all pity Imogen,
And much lament the loss of Leonatus,
Now the black Romans swarm upon our coasts,
And virtue's call'd to proof.
1st LORD.
They're landed then!
2d LORD.
Report says loudly so.—But hist!—the king—
We must forbear, we shall hear more of this.
Enter CYMBELINE, CLOTEN, and Lords.
Well, sirs, the news abroad?
1st LORD.
[Page 5]
So please your majesty,
The Roman legions, all from Gallia drawn,
Are landed on your coast, with large supply
Of Roman gentry, by the senate sent.
Where hold they rendezvous?
2d LORD.
My liege, at Milford.
Now by the soul of great Cassibelan,
They're fairly welcome!—Our right valiant Britons
Will greet them soldier-like.—Caesar's ambition,
Which swell'd so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o'th' globe, against all colour here
Did put the yoke upon's—which to shake off
Becomes a warlike people, such as we
Will prove ourselves to be.
My royal father,
The dreaded foe we have to cope withal
(That in his empire's paw would gripe the world)
Oft have we measur'd swords with—ere't be long
We'll make the mighty name of Cymbeline
To sound as roughly in a Roman ear,
As did Cassibelan's.—
3d LORD.
My gracious liege,
Old Caius Lucius, and th'Italian spark
Pisanio, that was tendant at his side
[Page 6] In his late mission from the Roman camp,
Are come, with errand of especial weight
Upon their brow.
Let them approach our presence.
Lucius, we love thy person, tho' thou com'st
On deputation from our angry foe.
Pisanio, welcome too. Now, sirs, the message.
First for myself, I thank you, royal sir,
For courtesies receiv'd—not since forgot—
My present bus'ness is, in Caesar's name,
(Caesa, that hath more kings his servants than
Thyself domestic officers) to know
If in repentant yielding thou wilt pay
The yearly tribute of three thousand crowns,
Granted by fam'd Cassibelan thine uncle,
For him and his succession, to great Julius,
(Which by thee lately is untendered left)
Now fell confusion sets his standard up,
And fearful wars point at you?
Noble Lucius,
Words have no terrors—there be many Caesars
Ere such another Julius—You well know,
Till the injurious Roman did extort
This tribute, we were free.—Our Britain is
A world itself, and we will nothing pay
[Page 7] For wearing our own faces—Sir, our subjects
Will not endure this yoke—and for ourself,
To shew less sov'reignty than they, must needs
Appear unking-like.
Sir, when late to Britain
I came in peaceful embassy to claim
This yet contested tribute, I remember
The boast that fill'd your mouth—you vaunted then
The nat'ral brav'ry of your isle, which stands
As Neptune's park ribbed and paled in
With rocks unscaleable, and roaring waters,
With sands that would not bear your enemies boats,
But suck them up to th' topmast.—We have leaped
This all-forbidding fence,—and, sir, be sure,
Where'er the Roman banner waves in wrath,
Conquest limps not behind.—
[During this speech, Cloten whispers Pisanio.]
Had Julius found
In ev'ry land he mangled with his sword,
No stabler footing than he gain'd him here,
I could have bought his empire for a tithe
Of Britain's leanest soil.—No more of this.
To-morrow we will meet you in the field,
And this fair land is yours, if you can win it;
If not, our crows shall fare the better for you.
[Page 8] Caius, thou'rt welcome: give him tendance, lords,
And feast him as befits his quality;
The due of honour in no point omit.
Once more my hand in friendship; from this time
I wear it as your enemy.
Th' event
Is yet to name the winner. Fare you well.
[Exeunt Lucius, Pisanio, and some Lords.
Our expectation that it should be thus
Hath made us forward. Cloten, our now heir,
(For the base Imogen our sometime daughter
Has lost all right in us) if so it hap
That I must leave my life in battle, thine
Is this imperial crown.—Great Jupiter
Sprinkle his blessings on't as thou obey'st
Our sov'reign charge.—Hear us most heedily.
I do; and will the royal mandate keep
'Mongst my religious bonds.
Let not our daughter
Breathe more the chearful air of liberty;
This castle be her home, house, region, world,
Till she shall sue thee for the love she scorn'd:
And Leonatus, exil'd, worthless beggar,
That vilely did seduce her young affections,
If with his foot he mark our land again,
[Page 9] Pursue to bitt'rest death.—So did we promise
Thy mother, our late queen, whose memory yet
Sits fresh upon my heart. Wilt thou do this?
My liege, most willingly.
Then I've laid out
So much of caution well.—Lords, we must bustle—
It is the common cause that wakes our arms—
We grapple for our own;—the puny wren
Will chafe him in his thief-assailed nest:
We fight for Britain's franchises, the laws
Of old Mulmutius, our great ancestor,
The first of Britain, which did put his brows
Within a golden crown.
Those laws, great sir,
We will not change for Caesar's proud behests
That rules by bidding.
Deal we then our swords
With dextrous resolution; or hereafter
Let them hang up, like utensils discharg'd,
In rusty sloth, and vile disuse for ever.
The gore-besmeared Mars infuse his fury
Into our soldiers breasts; for our own self
We go to battle with a blither heart,
Than ere did jovial bridegroom long repuls'd,
Into his mistress' bed. Sound there aloft
[Page 10] Our instruments of war, that British bloods
May boil to martial music. Forward, pass.
[Flourish. Exeunt all but Cloten.]
Thanks to my mother for this joyless crown—
It fills not half my wish: while Leonatus
Reigns in the bosom of fair Imogen,
'Tis I am banish'd, and a sov'reign he:
Wou'd I cou'd pluck their loves up by the roots!
And I am strong in hope—if young Pisanio
(Whom I made mine by making myself Caesar's
When he was last in Britain) hath been true
To the employ I gave him, long ere now
The jealous exile pines him in belief
His lady's truth is tainted.—Come, Pisanio—
He said, he'd quit the train, and here return
T'unlade his secrets to me.—Oh! sir, welcome!
What shall I ask thee first?—How fares Au­gustus?
Is Leonatus mad? Thou might'st have told
A history ere this.
I pray you patience—
First, sir, my lord commends him to your high­ness;
Next, the diseased Leonatus hath
Italian fits of jealousy too strong
For hellebore to cure.
[Page 11]
That's well—his grief
Is medicine to mine; but when, and how?
Give me particulars at large—my ear
Shall catch thy narrative as greedily,
As doth the sick man the kind drops that fall
Upon his fever's flame.
My lord, as soon
As I had foot in Italy, I challeng'd
Th' abused Leonatus with some friends
To the appointment of a merry meeting;
Where, as the wine danc'd brainward, I began
To praise the freedom of the British ladies,
Their lib'ral hearts, and am'rous 'complishments;
When Leonatus vow'd I did them wrong,
And was too bold in my persuasion.
I fast held me to my sentiment,
And, for his doubt provok'd me, swore myself
Had tasted half the court, and his own princess,
(Whose virtue he had deem'd unparagon'd)
At her own suit in bed.
Most brave, brave Roman!
On this the Briton vaults me from his seat,
And bids my ready sword avow th' affront
Done his pure lady's honour—I with looks
[Page 12] Of calm assurance, and arms folded thus,
Wish'd him attend my proofs. This fair proposal
Had sanction from all sides, and liquor'd noddles
Jostled to hear my tale.
Why so—Proceed.
First, roundly I describ'd her bed-chamber,
The arras, cieling, pictures; (for of these
I took most faithful inventory, when
I lay concealed there); then I produc'd
The bracelet that I ravish'd from her arm,
As sleep, the ape of death, lay dull upon her;
And last I quoted the cinque-spotted mole
That richly stains her breast, like crimson drops
I'th'bottom of a cowslip.
There was voucher
Stronger than ever law made.—Well, sir, what
To this the Briton?
He was quite besides
The government of patience—He roll'd round
His bloodshot eyes, stamp'd with his foot, and writh'd
His form into all postures; strove to speak,
And chatter'd monkey-like;—at length, his choler
Burst into utt'rance rash—'tis well, he cried,
The fiends of hell divide themselves between you—
[Page 13] And so without more ceremony, left
Our board, to cast conjectures, as they might,
Whereto his fury tended.
Thanks, Pisanio;
Saw you him since?
No; but the rumour was,
Ere I left Rome, that he had turn'd his thought
To bloody purpose of revenge.
'Tis good—
Pisanio, I did love this lady—lie
I should not, if I said I love her still—
O she is sweeter than the breath of spring
Wooing the maiden violet—'tis past—
And I have lost her.
She hath wrong'd you.
She hath disdain'd me—spurn'd me—once she vow'd,
The meanest garment that e'er clip'd the body
Of Leonatus, was in her respect
Dearer than all the hairs upon my head,
Were they all made such men.—The south­fog rot
Him, her, and Caesar's foes.
[Page 14]
Thou wishest well.—
This Leonatus is a thorn, my lord,
That pricks your side of greatness. If he 'scape
The snare that traps him now, and haply live
To recognize his country and his queen,
Your crown will totter—for the lady keeps
High seat in ev'ry heart; and for her husband,
(I speak in envy this) thro' Italy
Tongues quarrel in his praise; the current voice is,
So fair an outward, and such inward stuff,
Endows no man but him.
I prythee stop—
Was he not yok'd with Imogen, myself
Could make my tongue a bankrupt in his praise;
But being what he is, I must abhor him:
I have no other hate than what I bear
Him, and his fortunes; for his kinder stars
Have still eclipsed mine: but I will shroud me
Beneath the Roman wing—Britain, thou hast
Loud service of my tongue; my heart is Caesar's,
Of whom I'll hold my crown; these restif Britons
We must have curb upon; lest gall'd subjection
Feeling the heavy lash of government,
Fly off from his obedience.
Caesar bad me
Insure his count'nance, and puissant arm,
Who will attack your right—
[Page 15]
We're bound to him.
Sir, I will post me in th'approaching battle,
Where least our British archers may annoy
The Roman legions.
It is well—but hist—
Who is't comes yonder?
'Tis Philario, friend
And council-man to Leonatus; best
Abruptly part we here, as chance alone
Had brought us thus together.
[Exeunt severally.
The four-brow'd Cloten!—It is wide suspicion
Thou wear'st cold British heart, and this rencounter
With young Pisanio colours it more strong.
But I have other care.—He writes me here,
(Pulling out letters.)
In spleenful terms of most confirm'd belief,
That he hath cognizance of her incontinence;
And wills me, by the love and truth I owe him,
To murther her.—Perhaps some false Italian
Hath the infection of foul slander pour'd
In his too ready ear.—Perhaps she's fall'n.—
She's fair,—that's much;—she's young,—that's more.—I hold
The virtue of the best attemptable.—
I must proceed with wary steps herein.—
[Page 16] Here's that will 'tice her from her prison-house,
Or for true love, or seeming.—I will steal
This way to her apartment.
SCENE opens, and discovers Imogen in her apartment, sitting by a table; a book on the table.
A father cruel, and a suitor base,
A banish'd husband too—O that's the grief
That gives the deepest wound.—Then am I sure
The shes of Italy will not betray
Mine int'rest, and his honour?—Wicked fear!
Where he abides, falshood is out of fashion,
And truth the law to action.—Hark! the clock!
(Clock strikes.)
'Tis the tenth hour of morn—the very time
I bad him think on me, and combat heav'n
With prayers, as I would do.—O bless him Gods,
And sweeten all his cares with drops of comfort.
—Now to my book—Philosophy, best doctor,
Thou wisely dost prescribe to human woe
The lenitive of patience.—
There she sits—
Sweet student! with a look as chaste as Dian's.—
If she's disloyal, falshood never yet
Hung out so fair a sign—yet seems, we know,
Is often read for is—I must disturb her—
[Page 17]
Hah! what now, Philario?
Dear lady, here are letters from your lord—
From whom? from Leonatus?—Let me see—
Oh! learn'd indeed were that astronomer,
That knew the stars as I his characters—
He'd lay the future open—You good Gods,
Let what is here contain'd relish of love;
Of my lord's health; of his content; yet not
That we two are apart—of his content
In all but that—good wax, thy leave—blest bees
That make these locks of counsel—Good news, Gods.
Now let me con her visage as she reads—

(Reading) Justice and your father's wrath, should he take me in his dominions, could not be so cruel to me, but you, oh! the dearest of creatures, would even renew me with your eyes. Take notice that I am at Milford Haven; what your own love will out of this advise you, follow. So he wishes you all hap­piness, that remains loyal to his vow, and yours in­creasing in love, LEONATUS.

Oh! for a horse with wings—hear'st thou, Phi­lario,
He is at Milford Haven—prithee tell me
[Page 18] How far 'tis thither. If one of mean affairs
May plod it in a day, why may not I
Glide thither in an hour? Then, good Philario,
Who long'st like me to see thy friend; who long'st
(O let me bate) but not like me, yet long'st,
But in a fainter kind—Oh! not like me—
For mine's beyond, beyond—tell me how far
To this same blessed Milford; and by the way
Tell me how Wales was made so happy as
T'inherit such a haven. But first of all,
How may we steal from hence? I prithee speak
How far to Milford?
Madam, we may reach it,
With horses swift and sure of foot, before
The sun has ended his day's journey.
But how to get from hence—
I have a thought—
Lady, a thousand eyes keep centinel
To watch your motions here—yet haply these
Unquestion'd we may pass—suppose you did
Assume another mien, and but disguise
That, which t'appear itself must not now be
But by self-danger—cannot you awhile
Forget to be a woman?
I'm almost
A man already.
[Page 19]
Make yourself but like one,
And ev'ry gate shall kindly open to us,
Tho' Argus' self were porter.
In my closet
I have a suit of boy's apparel ready,
That was my page's—under which disguise,
And with what imitation I can borrow
From youth of such a season, I will quit
This castle's loathsome hold.
You are resolv'd then
To tie yourself to Leonatus' fortune,
And leave your father and the court behind you?
No court, no father now—(for what's a father
Whose mind my crafty stepdame poison'd, that
Bore all down with her brain) no, nor no more
Of that harsh, sullen, haughty, princeling Cloten,
That Cloten, whose love-suit has been to me
As fearful as a siege.
Hie to your chamber,
And fit you to your manhood—dull delay
Is sin 'gainst resolution.
I am arm'd
Ev'n for events of peril infinite,
And woman's love is courage.
[Page 20]
I will hence,
And able horse and furniture prepare
For this adventure: I'll be with you, lady,
Before you're well equipp'd.
Do, good Philario:
The gracious Gods direct us!
[Exeunt severally.
End of the First ACT.


SCENE The Castle.
1st LORD.
IN truth, my lord, her throwing fa­vours on
So low a thing as Leonatus is,
Slanders her judgment much; it doth substract
From her else princely qualities—
I think so—
2d LORD.
Is there a spell in Leonatus' name?
What is he in his person, nature, fortune,
That you are not, and more?—Say, is he young?
You reap'd your chin since he did—is he valiant?
By Mars, you fear him not—handsome? you read
Your faithful glass with more content than he—
For birth and fortune the proportion is
As top to th' bottom.
Oh! your pardon, sir,
His lady's smile has tutor'd him a pride
[Page 22] That ranks him with the highest—and though Rome
His body holds, he hath a heart and hope
In Britain still; which nothing can cut off,
But something that may give a mortal wound
Or to his life, or love.
Enter CYMBELINE, and other Lords.
1st LORD.
My lord, the king.
Await you here our daughter, noble Cloten?
Will she not forth?
She will vouchsafe no notice.
The exile of her minion is too new,
She hath not yet forgot him: some more time
May wear the print of his remembrance out,
And then she's yours.
Never, I fear, my lord.
O I have proved her heart impregnable;
I should, my liege, your patience overstretch
To tell in course the labours of my love;
Denials but increas'd my services;
I have put by my nature, crouch'd and fawn'd;
I seem'd as if inspir'd to do the duties
I tender'd to her; if she had forsworn
All commerce with mankind, I'd been content;
[Page 23] But Leonatus' suit had witchcraft in't,
While mine she heard as does the ruthless rock
The drowning seaman's moan.
It must be humour:
The stubborn tendency of woman's will,
Still pliant or resisting 'gainst all rules
Of virtue and discretion—Let her suffer—
I have a child in thee—
A thankful one.
Call her before us, sirs, (exeunt Lords) for we would make
A last demand to her unduteous spirit,
Ere yet we take the field—and here we swear
By the great sov'reign of th' immortal Gods,
If she consent not fully to the act,
Whereby we late have sentenc'd her divorce
From that base slave, whose vileness must not soil
The lustre of our crown, we reconfirm
Our royal grant to thee, adopted son
Of our dear love; and her blot out for ever
From all connection with our blood, and title
To this imperial diadem—How now?
Re-enter Lords.
1st LORD.
So please you, sir, her chambers all are lock'd,
Nor answer will be given to the noise
Our loudest clamours make.
[Page 24]
Hah! fled! escap'd!
How may this be?—Cloten, the guard is yours—
Have you not surety of their faith?
My liege,
They are the pick'd of my affection, and
I stand amaz'd at this.
Where is Philario?
2d LORD.
My liege, some two hours since, I saw him take
The road that windeth round the castle grove,
And by his side a comely youth that seem'd
A page o'th' court.
My life it must be she;
Wing'd with the fervor of her love she's flown
To Leonatus, and Philario is
The pander of her folly. We're abus'd;
All Italy in arms would hurt us less
Than what aggrieves us here—Our dear son Cloten,
Head thou the search for these vile runagates,
With thy best faculties of diligence;
Then follow to the field—We must be gone;
But we will carry our displeasure with us,
And Rome shall feel we're angry.—Come away.
[Page 25] Manet CLOTEN with some Lords.
To horse, sirs—mark me—I am dead to love,
And vengeance speeds me now.
[Exit with Lords.
SCENE A Forest, and a Cave at a distance.
Enter from the Cave BELLARIUS, PALADOR, and CADWAL.
It is a goodly sky—Stoop, boys, this gate
Instructs you how t'adore the heavens, and bows you
To ev'ning's holy office. Gates of monarchs
Are arch'd so high that giants may just thro',
And keep their impious turbands on without
Obeisance to the sun—Hail! thou fair heav'n,
We house i' th' rock, yet use thee not so hardly
As prouder livers do.
Hail heav'n!
Hail heav'n!
Our life, my boys, is such as mortals led
Ere living was an art. The busy knaves
That clatter in yon world, are mad to purchase
Honour with danger; wealth with envy; pleasure
With manifold infirmity; while we,
Poor in possession, in enjoyment rich,
Have no more wants than means; our av'rice is not
[Page 26] Wider than are our stomachs; our ambition,
Who first shall scale the steepy mountain's cliff,
Or strike the destin'd venison; this is life,
And health, the life of life.
My rev'rend father,
Out of your proof you speak—we, poor un­fledged,
Have never wing'd from view o' th' nest, nor know
What air's from home; haply this life is best,
If quiet life is best; sweeter to you
That have a sharper known.
What shall we speak of,
When we are old as you? When we shall hear
The rain and wind beat dark December, how
In this our pinching cave shall we discourse
The freezing hours away? We have seen no­thing—
We're beastly; subtle as the fox for prey;
Like valiant as the wolf for what we eat;
Our courage is to chace what flies; our cage
We make a choir as doth the prison'd bird,
And sing our bondage freely.
How you speak?
Did you but know the cities' usuries,
The art o' th' court, the toil of war that goes
In quest of honest fame, yet dies i'th'search,
And hath as oft a sland'rous epitaph
As record of fair act; did you know this
[Page 27] How would you smile in solitude—Oh! boys,
The sharded beetle is in safer hold
Than is the full-wing'd eagle—I was once
First with the best of note—Cymbeline lov'd me,
And when a soldier was the theme, my name
Was not far off—Then was I as a tree
Whose boughs did bend with fruit; but in one night
A storm, or robb'ry, call it what you will,
Shook down my mellow hangings, nay my leaves,
And left me bare to weather.
Uncertain favour!
My fault was nothing, (as I oft have told you)
But that two villains, sland'ring my fair honour,
Swore me confed'rate with the Romans: so
Follow'd my banishment; and these twenty years—
This rock, and these demesnes have been my world;
Where I have liv'd at honest freedom; paid
More pious debts to heaven than in all
The fore-end of my time—but up to the woods—
This is not hunter's language—He who brings
The largest fardle home is lord o'th'feast.
Come, Palador—
[Exeunt Pal. and Cad.
I'll meet you in the valleys.
Thou divine nature, how thyself thou blazon'st
[Page 28] In these two princely boys! O Cymbeline!
Thy sons, tho' train'd thus meanly up among
These desart rocks, have lofty thoughts that hit
The roofs of palaces—'tis wonderful
That an invisible instinct should frame them
To royalty unlearn'd, honour untaught,
Civility not seen from others, valour
That wildly grows in them, but yields a crop,
As if it had been sow'd.—Well—I must after—
SCENE Another part of the Forest.
Enter PHILARIO, and IMOGEN in boy's clothes.
Thou told'st me when we came from home, the place
Was near at hand. Ne'er long'd his mother so
To see him first, as I do now. Where are we?
Here is no path, no proof of habitation;
And, but we tread on solid earth, methinks
We're out o'th' bounds o'th' world—I pray, Philario,
Where dost thou lead me? It will soon be night,
For see the lamp of Phoebus is nigh quench'd
In Thetis' watry bosom.—
Madam, here
Our journey ends.
Here! where is Leonatus?
[Page 29]
Lady, at Rome—'twere treason to be here.
Alas! what means this coldness of reply?
Hast thou abus'd me with a forged letter?
Where is my lord; Philario?—What's the matter?
Why offer'st thou that paper to me with
A look untender? how! my husband's hand!
Quick slay, or cure me outright.
Please you, read,
And you shall find the duty I am bound to.
IMOGEN reads.

My wife, Philario, hath play'd the strumpet in my bed; the testimonies whereof lie bleeding in me. I speak not out of weak surmises, but from proof, as strong as my grief, and as certain as I expect my revenge. That part, thou, Philario, must act for me; Let thine own hand take away her life; I shall give thee op­portunity in the road to Milford: my letter is for that purpose to her: so, if thou fear to strike, and to cer­tify it is done, thou hast broken thy vows, and art a traitor to friendship.

(Imogen drops the letter, stands silent, and in the utmost consternation.)

Is her amazement innocent or guilty?
Tell me some God,—for sure a mortal wit
May else misconstrue such perplexity.—
Madam, what cheer? are you prepar'd to die?
[Page 30]
I false! I false to's bed? have I been chaste
As snows that sun-beam never kist, for this?
Gods! have I left my father's gilded roof,
The rights of birth, the largesses of fortune,
The pageants of pre-eminence, and all
That womanhood is said to doat on, yea
And womanhood itself?—have I left these,
No jewel taken with me but my honour,
To hear I'm false? oh! oh!
She heeds me not.—
False to his bed? what is it to be false?
To lie in watch there, and to think on him?
To weep 'twixt clock and clock? if sleep charge nature,
To break it with a fearful dream of him,
And cry myself awake?—that false to's bed!
What shall I do? I must be home to th' point.
Lady, I stand not here to try your cause:
I am your executioner:—your judge,
My friend, to whom I've sworn all offices,
Appoints me to this deed;—if thou art guilty,
I hold the sword of justice; if guilt-free,
Thy blood must light on Leonatus' head—
One pray'r and I dispatch.—
That paper, Sir,
[Page 31] Hath done the bus'ness: You may sheath your sword;—
I've heard I am a strumpet, and my heart
Therein false struck, can take no greater wound,
Nor tent to bottom that.
O yet bethink you—
With what a weight descends the guilty soul,
Sunk with a load of unrepented crimes?
For such th' infernal ministers prepare
The darkest cells of Erebus.
Nay, preach not,
But do thy work—and when thou seest my lord,
A little witness my obedience;—look—
Smiling I meet thy angry sword—come, hit
Th' innocent mansion of my love, my heart—
Prythee, dispatch—Is that the stern Philario,
That came on murder's errand?—Strike—for now
The lamb intreats the butcher.
O that look
Would out-face proof.
Hence thou vile instrument,
Thou shalt not damn my hand.—
(Throws down the sword.)
It cannot be
But that my friend's abus'd—some crafty villain
That's sing'lar in his art, hath done you both
This cursed injury.—O thou vip'rous slander,
[Page 32] Thy edge is sharper than the murd'rous sword;
Thy tongue out-venoms all the worms of Nile;
Thy breath, that rides upon the posting winds,
Belies all corners of the world.—I'll speak
As from most firm conviction of her virtue,
To probe her still more deeply—I have yet
More test to put her to.
Alas! Philario,
Some jay of Italy, with painted feathers,
Hath robb'd me of his heart; poor I am stale;
A cast-off robe; a garment out of fashion;
And, for I'm richer than to hang by th' wall,
I must be ript—to pieces with me—oh!
Men's vows are women's traitors.
If it be so,
(As I confess it doth provoke belief)
The face of virtue shall from hence be thought
The mask of villainy; and Leonatus
Hath laid the level to all proper men;
Goodly and gallant shall be false and perjur'd,
From his great fall.
Take up thy sword, Philario,
Behold my breast obedient as the scabbard.—
I liv'd but to one end, to do his pleasure,
And to that end would die.—
O gracious lady,
Since I receiv'd command to do this bus'ness,
[Page 33] I scarce have slept one wink.
Do't, and to bed then.
I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first. No, thou sweetest,
If he hath stain'd his loyalty, his mind
Is now as low to thine, as were his fortunes.—
What! shall his vileness batteries erect
To shake thy fort of innocence?—Live, lady,
To kill him with thine eye—he shall be told
That I have done his bidding, and awhile
You in some residence obscure shall 'bide,
As is thy present habit.—Come, let's hence.
Sure this discourse hath much bewilder'd me,
Or we have march'd too wide.—Fortune be­friend us,
Else we have far to supper.—This way, lady.—
SCENE the Cave.
My meditation hath misguided me,
And I have miss'd the boys. They'll not return,
Tho' all the elements should be at war,
'Till darkness sends 'em home. O Cymbeline,
When thou shalt see thy royal progeny,
(As I do mean with the first 'vantage to
Render thee back these youths) thou shalt confess
[Page 34] Thy loss was gain, and thank calamity.
Hah! who are these?
What chance cou'd wind their steps
Thus far from all society? 'tis strange!
(seeing him)
O look, Philario, look—what rev'rend figure
Is this approaches? In his visage sits
The treasur'd wisdom of an hundred years—
The sages of old time are pictur'd thus;
Accost him, good Philario; for his presence
Awes my unskilful heart.
Grave hermit, hail!
Pardon, old man, our ignorant intrusion,
Upon your venerable solitude.
I, and my nephew here, are bound for Milford,
And chance wide straying from our way to night,
Have light upon your lonely habitation.
Thou hast a gracious favour—for this youngling,
The dimpled God that holds the cup to Jove
Is second to him.—You are welcome, sirs—
If you can shape your fancy to your needs,
The wholesome viands of a homely board,
That bloated luxury ne'er cater'd to,
Shall be most freely yours. Your names, beseech you?
[Page 35]
Philario, sir—this gentle youths' Fidele.—
Why once more welcome—this low roof's your home,
While 'tis worth owning.—I've two sons, whose age
Will yoke in followship with yours, Fidele—
Philario mates with me—tarry awhile,
And purge your lungs of the foul air o'th' city,
Or of the court, for that is sickly too—
O! I have liv'd to make the pop'lous world
A stock for laughter.
Uncle, we have found
Delightful lodging, and a gracious host—
This good old father's greeting sooths my spirit,
Faint with this long day's march.
Look here, Fidele—
I have a cordial of especial proof,
I pray thee drink it off—it is a drug
That three times hath my father's life redeem'd
From the arrest of death. It has more virtue
Than I shall tell you now.
IMOGEN drinks.
Uncle, I thank you.
Here come my boys.—Sirs, stand aside awhile;
How will they take this novelty? they ne'er
Saw mortal but their mother, and myself.
[Page 36] Enter PALADOR and CADWAL.
You, Cadwal, are best woodman, and are nam'd,
The master of the feast—hah! what are these?
Go not near, Cadwal—they are Gods that come
In visitation to our hermitage—
The eldest is God Pan; the other seems
Like swift-leg'd Mercury, or the God of Love,
Drest in his mother's smiles.—Down, Cadwal, down
On knees of adoration, and beseech
Propitious aspect from their deities—
Hear us immortal pow'rs.—
Rise up my boys:
These are but mortals like ourselves, made up
Of the same stuff as we—when we have supp'd,
We will enlarge our conference.
Are they men?
By the puissant Jove they're noble ones—
I long to commune with 'em—for that youth
My heart is high in sudden palpitation—
Methinks I love him neither more nor less,
Cadwal, than I do thee.
Ev'n so says Cadwal.
Uncle, I have a tender feeling too,
That yearns on these fair strangers—I had once
Two brothers, whom the hand of early fate
[Page 37] Snatch'd from the world—If they had liv'd, I think
They had been like this gentle pair.—Sweet youths,
May I not call you brothers?
Ay, most freely.
And, sir, if you are uncle to our brother,
You stand in kin to us—I pray, good father,
Let him be tutor to us: we would learn
The mystery of life; the art of war;
The policy of kings; the rules of states;
Will you instruct us? we are ign'rant yet
What drawing breath is good for.
These young plants
Are of the kindest growth my eyes e're saw—
Why, who would dream this barren desart here
A nursery of demi-gods?
Vice is the child of praise; my boys are such
As nature made them, and she made 'em not
For art to marr; but let us in to supper—
Our appetites shall make what's homely, sav'ry:
We eat for health, and rise before the sun,
Silvers the mountain shrubs.—Come, boys conduct
Your new compeer.—Philario, you are mine.—
The night to th' owl, and morn to th' lark less welcome.
[Exeunt into the cave.
End of the Second ACT.


Enter PHILARIO from the Cave.
HOW restless is this thinking! wel­come day!
Now I shall sift her thoroughly—for what's past
Little hangs on it—were she true and artless,
Thus would she'have; if false and artful, thus—
She shall be told in words as strong and hateful,
As earnestness can make 'em, what she drank
Is deadly to all sense, as for a time
It is, to full effect.—'Tis a rare drug
That locks the spirits up in shew of death,
To be more fresh reviving—Dread of death
Shall force me out the truth; fraud will be honest
Itself thus over-reach'd—but hist, Bellarius.
Our courtiers say all's savage but at court—
How does this hospitable rock, Bellarius,
Give 'em the lie?
Our minds must not be measur'd
By this rude place we live in—You are rouz'd
Before the hunter's hour—Could you not sleep
Upon your bed of moss?
[Page 39]
Ay, sir, as soundly
As cradled infancy.
Your chamber was
The best o'th' house—For us we often make
The star-wrought sky our tester—Weariness
Can snore upon the flint, when resty sloth
Finds the down pillow hard—what think you, sir,
Of this our way of life?
It is unknown,
And therefore envied not—our courtly great ones
May blush at their high breeding; here's the place
Where virtue teaches school—are your sons up?
By Jove multipotent there's not a couple,
Whose praise fame trumpets with her loud'st O yes,
That can out-peer these twain—they seem as gentle
As Zephyrs blowing 'neath the hyacinth,
Not wagging his sweet head, and yet as rough
(Their sprightly blood by a good tale once warm'd)
As the rude wind that by the top doth take
The mountain pine, and make him stoop to th' vale.—
Why, thou hast mark'd them well—Lo! where they come,
And with 'em your Fidele.
[Page 40] Enter PALADOR, CADWAL, and IMOGEN.
So, my boys,
Are you devotions to the morning star
With solemn homage paid?
They are, my father.
What says Fidele? Can he like a court
No bigger than this cave?
Believe me, sir,
The partnership of labour here, is richer
Than golden honours there.
I've said I love thee—
I cannot say how much, but sure as much
As I do love my father—
What? How? How?
If it be sin to say so, sir, I join me
In my good brother's fault—I know not why
I love this youth, and I have heard you say
Love reasons without reason. Fate at door,
And a demand who is't shall die, I'd say
My father, not this youth—
'Tis wonderful:
Does instinct tell them I am not their father?
[Page 41] Well—to the field—tis the fourth hour o'th' morn.
Philario, and Fidele will remain
Here in the cave—We'll come to you after hunt­ing;
Or are you for our sport?
I am not well—
A sudden laziness creeps o'er my senses,
As if fatigue acknowledg'd no repair
By this nights' sleep—
The drug begins to work—
Go you to hunting—I'll abide with him.
No—to your journal course—the breach of custom
Is breach of all—My uncle will stay here—
Farewel—I wish you sport—I shall be well
By your return—
We'll not be long away.—
[Exeunt Bellarius, Palador, and Cadwal.
These are kind creatures, lady.
On my life
I'd change my sex to be companion with 'em,
Since my dear lord is false.
I would confer
Once more upon that theme.
[Page 42]
I'm sick already;
And would you minister fresh pain, Philario?
Come—I'll no more dissemble—you are known
False to your banish'd lord.
What hear I, Gods!
The truth, the killing truth—art not asham'd?
—But shame is masculine—Could I find out
The woman's part in me—for there's no motion
That tends to vice in man, but I affirm
It is the woman's part; be't lying, note it,
The woman's flatt'ring, yours; deceiving, yours;
Lust and rank thoughts, yours, yours; revenges, yours;
Ambition; covetings; change of prides; disdain;
Nice longings; slanders; mutability;
All faults that may be nam'd, nay, that hell knows,
Why yours in part, or all; but rather all—
For ev'n to vice
You are not constant, but are changing still
One vice but of a minute old, for one
Not half so old as that.
Am I awake?
Or have you senses perfect?
[Page 43]
'Tis enough—
I have atchieved more than er'e did Julius,
And will be chronicled 'mongst those wise few
That have out-craftied woman.
You amaze me.
Oh! no more fooling—I have proof that tells
The time, the place, the—fie upon it, lady,
It wounds my modesty to quote the deeds
That cost thee not a blush.
Blasphemer, hold!
Thou art in league with perjur'd Leonatus,
And dost traduce a lady that despises
Malice and thee like.
Go [...]o—you're naught—
Villain, your proof? Why stand you idle thus?
If thou do'st see a speck upon my honour,
Prick at it with the sword, your just remorse
E'en now let drop.
Mistake not, lady mine,
Remorse was counterfeit, my purpose real;
I found you past all grace, and did commence
Cunning in my revenge; your punishment
[Page 44] Were nothing if not such; you have your death,
Yet never felt his sting.
What says Philario!
O now you tremble like a guilty soul
Beneath the furies lash—now you would pour
A deluge of salt grief to wash your crimes—
It is too late, thou hast out-liv'd repentance—
That draught was tinctured with a mortal juice,
And he that drinks an acron on't, is serv'd,
As I would serve a dog.
Sir, my surprize
Relishes not of fear.—This is a cure
Which you do call a chastisement—I feel
The death thou speak'st of curdling in my veins.—
How sweetly do they sleep whom sorrow wakes not!
Farewel—my innocence is sacrifice,
Or to the blindfold rage of jealousy,
Or to estranged love—O Leonatus,
The Gods have pity on thee.
Do I speak?
Is this my hand? are these my eyes?—All this
I will to question put, if thou art true—
O Imogen, but that I thought thee foul,
And thy confession a superfluous warrant,
I would have ta'en my sucking infant's throat,
[Page 45] And broach'd it with my martial scymeter,
E're touch'd thy precious life.
I do forgive thee—
Thy judgment (which how warp'd it matters not)
Condemn'd me to this death—Nay, weep not, sir,
Commend me to my lord—alas! Philario,
I grieve myself to think how much hereafter,
When the belief, or false affection, which
Holds pris'ner now his mind, shall leave him free,
His mem'ry will be pang'd by looking back
On my hard case of woe—my brain is heavy—
The mighty Gods throw stones of sulphur on
All jealous, head-sick fools—He saw it not—
And ev'ry day's experience doth disprove
The strong'st report—O the accursed fate
That damn'd me to this office—
Curb thy rage
Unprofitably loos'd—I'll in, and die—
Follow me not—my soul has that to do
Which is best done in secret—fare thee well—
Present to our good host, and my sweet brothers,
My thanks and choicest blessings.
[Exit. Imogen into the Cave.
It goes well,
Her honour I have fann'd, and found it chaffless—
Friend, thou art fool, or villain—If I prove
Thou would'st betray my love to purposes
[Page 46] Of hell-black colour, tho' our friendship stood
Upon a brazen base, it should dissolve,
And, like the film that dews the morning flower,
Break into unseen air. Hah Palador!—
Enter PALADOR hastily▪
Lend me thy sword, good Uncle—as I crost
The mountain's ridge, a fellow at a distance▪
(Whose drapery by far out-glistens thine)
Bad me with accents stern and masterly
Stop and attend his speech—I hied me hither,
And, if he follow, will responses make
By word, or blow, an he dare question me—
Belike 'tis talk'd at court that such as we
Cave here; haunt here; are outlaws; and in time
May make some stronger head; the which he hearing
Is sworn with choice attendants in his train
To fetch us in—It is a crisis that
My father sometimes drops discourses of.—
Say'st so? I will go climb the rock, and spie
What companies are near.
[Exit. Philario.
Do—for this bravo,
Let me alone with him—this instrument
Fits my hand well—I grasp it fast as tho'
'Twere part of me, and grew unto my arm—
I feel I can do any thing but fear—
I will look out.—By the broad shield of Mars
[Page 47] He comes unto my wish—up sword, and sleep
Till I awake thee, hap'ly soon—
My zeal
Hath far out-gone my train—hark thee—thou fel­low,
Why didst thou fly me? didst not hear me call?
I did, and therefore came not.
Saucy hind—
Thou art some villain mountaineer—What art thou?
A man—thou look'st as if thou cam'st from court,
And yet thou art no more.
Thou know'st me not—
Answer me, wretch, on peril of thy life—
Saw'st thou two trav'lers speeding thro' theforest—
The elder somewhat 'bove my age, the younger
Few years below your own?
Such if I saw,
I saw 'em not for thee—
Ha! dost thou mock me?
Where are the traitors, slave? quick, or—
[Page 48]
A thing
More slavish did I ne'er, than answering
A slave, without a blow.
Thou art a robber;
A law-breaker; a villain; yield thee, thief—
To whom? to thee? what art thou? Have not I
An arm as big as thine? a heart as big?
Thy words I grant are bigger—for I wear not
My dagger in my mouth—say what thou art,
Why I should yield to thee?
Thou villian base!
Know'st me not by my garb?
No, nor thy tailor—
Who is thy grandfather?—he made that garb,
Which, as it seems, makes thee—
Injurious thief!
Hear but my name, and tremble—
What's thy name?
Cloten, thou villain!
Cloten? then double villain be thy name;
I cannot tremble at it; were it Toad,
Adder, or Spider, it would move me sooner—
[Page 49]
Then to thy fear, and mere confusion, know
I'm son to the late queen, and heir to th' crown.
In troth I'm sorry for't; thyself not seeming
So worthy as thy birth.—Me thou hast wrong'd,
Tho' thou wert son of Juno.
Thou vile thing!
Wrong thee!—But die the death—thou wilt be honour'd
To perish by this hand—when I have slain thee,
I'll on the gate of Lud's Town set thy head
To roast i'th' sun.
Are you for scratching? Come—
To-day I'll lose a soldier's maidenhead—
Hah! are you down? I see a prince is made
Of penetrable stuff—
(Cloten falls.)
Dog! thou hast slain me.
Ay, and the world no loser—This is sport
Hotter than hunting—I will kill no more
The tim'rous deer—such killing's cowardice—
My reeking sword sweats honourably now—
Thou poor loud-boasting fool! Hah! how I stalk
In triumph round thee! like the victor lion
Slow pacing 'bout the mangled tyger's corse,
And grimly taking solace in his slaughter—
I heard the clash of swords—O Palador!
What hast thou done?
I'm perfect what—cut thro' one Cloten's heart,
Son to the queen, after his own report—
He came in search of thee and fair Fidele,
Or I did much misconstrue his demand—
(To Philario.
He call'd me villain, mountaneer, and swore
He would displace my head, where now it grows,
And set it on Lud's Town.
'Tis very Cloten,
The king's adopted son.
Why had the king
Misus'd bold Palador, his royalty
Had lain so weltring there—What company
Discover you abroad?
No single soul
Can I set eye on—yet 'tis strange his anger
Should bring him here alone.
I'll not believe
But quick revenge pursues us!
Let it come;
Let it be such as possible strength may meet,
It shall be welcome.
[Page 51]
That's my valiant brother—
Thou hast said well, done well; O Palador!
I love thee brotherly, but envy much
Thou'st rob'd me of this deed. Where's sweet Fidele?
Asleep within the cave.—Hear me, good sirs—
This act, I trust, is dangerless, except
We're traitors to ourselves.—Boys, take the body,
And let it down the creek behind the rock
Into the sea
(Exeunt Pal. and Cad. with the body.)
Bellarius, hark a word—
Thy sons are noble ones, and pity 'tis
Their worth should waste in dull obscurity.
To day fell war unfurls his bloody flag
Between the Roman and the British host,
And confidence is goad to either side.
Upon the border of the forest here,
The Roman lies encamp'd—and two hours march
Will join our countrymen—your valiant boys
May, in such fight as this is like to prove,
Begin and end a fame.
Why now or never
'Tis fit they launch into the world, Philario,
But fitter never.
Do not say so, sir;
Britain doth lack such hearts.
Well, you shall rule me—
[Page 52] Indeed I wish'd for such a day as this,
To make them known to Cymbeline.
They're here.
We've sent him down the stream, and so to sea,
To tell the fishes he's the queen's son Cloten.—
My boys, your uncle here would steal you from me,
To your bruis'd country's wars.
Oh! let us go;
For this hath been our daily fervent prayer—
Uncle, intreat again—why I can fight—
You have to-day a sample—so can Cadwal—
Our opposition we will stake 'gainst two,
The stoutest of old Rome—ay, against odds,
If valour's scarce in Britain.
Odds to chuse.
The king hath wrong'd me—he deserveth not
Your service, and my love.
The king's deservings
I weigh not now—this is a public cause.
I do not know my countrymen, but know
They were not born to be the slaves of Rome,
To wear the badge of foreign tyranny,
And crouch to aliens that dominion hold
By rape, not right—
[Page 53]
O! such a spirit as this
Will drive the pestilent invasion hence,
And post it short-breath'd home.
Why, my good uncle,
Why not pursue it at the heels, and pay
The foe in kind—Let the hot war return
Upon our enemies heads.—O! for the time,
When Britons bold shall throng the streets of Rome,
And breathe strange climes, that conquest makes our own.
Most like a Briton said.—To-day shall put
This courage to more proof.
Sir, I will fight
For liberty, and Britain, till the blood
Be drain'd thro' all my veins; and when my arm
Has lost his office, I will to the last
Give token of resistance.
So will I;
I am asham'd to look upon the sun,
To have the benefit of his blest beams
So long a poor unknown: Sure than be so
Better to cease to be.
Have with you boys▪
No reason I, since of your lives you set
[Page 54] So slight a valuation, shou'd reserve
My crack'd one to more care.—We'll all to the army.
Philario and Fidele shall keep house,
Till our return.
Not so Bellarius; we
Habited like yourself, to 'scape the eye
Of knowledge, will attest to day the feats
Of these brave lads.
Why, let the Gods be witness,
And celebrate this birth-day of our glory—
Liberty and Britain!
Go, see if young Fidele be awake.
[Exeunt Palador and Cadwal.
Doth not this mettle promise well, Philario?
I scarce wou'd change a son with Jupiter!
The service of these lusty boys shall do
The king more good, than this same Cloten's death
Hath done him harm▪—
(Solemn music within.)
Hah! wherefore sounds within
My most ingenious instrument? What cause
Should give it motion now?
[Page 55] Enter PALADOR.
The bird is dead
That we have made so much on. O come in
And see what violent hands stern death has laid
Upon the sweetest lily of the land.—
(They go into the Cave.)
SCENE opens and discovers the inside of the Cave, with Bellarius, Philario, Palador, and Cadwal, round the Body of Imogen, lying upon a Couch of Moss.
Alas! my dearest nephew!
I had rather
Have leap'd from twenty years of age to eighty,
And turn'd my warlike spear into a crutch,
Than have seen this.
O poor Fidele! Jove doth know what man
Thou might'st have made—thou died'st a most rare boy.
Tell us how found you him?
Stark as you see;
And smiling thus, as if the dart of death
Had gently tickl'd slumber;
O sweet brother,
With female fairies will thy tomb be haunted,
And worms shall not come near thee.—
[Page 56]
With fair flow'rs
(While summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele)
I will adorn thy grave—Thou shalt not lack
The flow'r that's like thy face, pale primrose; nor
The azur'd harebell like thy veins; no nor
The leaf of eglantine, which, not to slander't,
Out-sweeten'd not thy breath—The ruddock would
With charitable bill bring thee all this,
Yea and furr'd moss besides, when flow'rs were none,
To winter-gown thy corse.—
Come, boys, have done,
And play no more in wench-like words with that
Which is so serious—Hence, and lay his corps
Near good Euriphile's, your worthy mother's—
Be't so—but, Cadwal, first, albeit thy voice
Has now the mannish crack, sing o'er his body
In note and words like those which thou didst chaunt
O'er good Euriphile—e'er she was lodg'd
Within her leafy grave—Come on—begin—

Set by Mr. ARNE, sung by Mr. LOWE.

Fear no more the heat o'th' sun,
Nor the furious winter's blast;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
And the dream of life is past.
[Page 57] Golden lads and girls all must
Follow thee, and come to dust.
Fear no more-the frown o' th' great,
Death doth mock the tyrant foe;
Happiest is the early fate,
Misery with time doth grow.
Monarchs, sages, peasants must
Follow thee, and come to dust.
No exorciser harm thee!
No spell of witchcraft charm thee!
Grim ghost unlaid forbear thee!
The fairy elves be near thee!
Quiet consummation have,
Unremoved be thy grave.
These are our rural obsequies, Philario—
Most sweet and solemn, sir.
When you've remov'd the body, back repair
Here to the cave, and fit you for the field.
—We'll share our little armory among us—
And, sons, e'er ev'ning we'll forget this grief,
And wipe our tear-stain'd cheeks with bloody hands.
—Come, good Philario—
[Exeunt severally.
End of the Third ACT.


SCENE A Field of Battle.
THINK you the Roman will not quit his ground,
And meet our battle in the open plain?
1st LORD.
So please your grace, it is my faith he will;
We are already beaten in conceit,
And pride does still forego his 'vantages.
Best then halt here, my liege.
Halt! give the word.
Halt! halt! halt! halt!
Our son not yet return'd! Oh! here comes one
That was a limb o'th'party. What now, captain?
Enter an Officer.
My liege, prince Cloten far outstripp'd his train,
And we're to seek the seeker—His spurr'd horse
We found upon the verge of yonder forest,
But him no tidings speak of.
[Page 59]
Take thou his charge,
And so bestir thee in the field, that none
May think his valour missing. Well—how now?
Enter another Officer.
My liege, here are without four volunteers
That seem to promise marvels, tho' their looks
And garb be such as hermits wont to wear
In most retired sequestration;
They have bewitch'd the soldier's hearts, and crave
Instant admittance to your Majesty.
It doth amaze us—let 'em come before us—
[Exit Lord, and returns with Bellarius, Palador, Cadwal, and Philario.
Now by the arm of Jove a comely sight,
Those silver locks are taxers of respect
Tho' kings be lookers on—All welcome, strangers—
Whence and what are you?
Mighty Cymbeline,
Hermits we are, that have a homely dwelling
Where want keeps house—yet are we bold to boast
Our hands and hearts as good as any he's,
That dares look Roman in the face.
[Page 60]
Thy speech
Gives earnest of much worth—Say, who are these
The colleagues of your enterprize?
Dread sir,
These striplings are my sons; this worthy fellow
Is kinsman of my wife's—
First, let's go fight,
And then to telling tales.
So prompt, so young!
Wast thou a soldier born? Is warlike science
By inspiration caught, which still we judg'd
By long experience learn'd?
O royal sir,
My boys are of a gen'rous breed—Great Gods,
When on my three-foot stool I sit, and tell
The val'rous feats I've done, (for I am free
Of this same trade of war) how will this youth,
My first-born Palador, let his spirits fly
Out at my story? "Thus mine enemy fell,
"And thus (say I) I set my foot on's neck—"
Ev'n then the blood flows in his cheeks, he sweats,
Strains his young nerves, and puts himself in posture
That acts my words—His younger brother Cadwal
[Page 61] With ardour emulous, and as like a figure,
Strikes life into my speech; and richly shews
His great conceiving.
In a time that look'd
More perilous than this, such early virtue
Would bode us issue fortunate to Britain—
Enter another Officer in haste.
Soldier thy speed is big with consequence—
Proclaim it with thy tongue—
To arms, my liege,
The Roman legions are come down the hill,
And their loud clarions sound to present battle.
Thanks for thy news—Return the slaves de­fiance;
(sound within.)
Stretch your big hearts, my countrymen, and shout
From the strong lungs of liberty, till air
Waft your incessant clamours to the thrones
Of the admiring Gods.
(a great shout.)
Remem­ber, sirs,
We go to fight for death, or victory.—
O let us only live on terms of conquest!
Who dies, at least dies free-man, blessed dies
To live immortal in his country's songs—
If there's a coward here, let him post back
To his soft bed and caudle—I should weep
Worse than a love-sick girl to find to-day
[Page 62] Our hearts not of a piece—Come on, brave fellows,
For soldiers all are fellows—We'll yet live
(Unless my sins abuse my divination)
To see old Lud's Town bright with joyful fires,
And Britons strut in triumph—Set we on—
Alarum. Enter LEONATUS in disguise.
They go to battle with a jocund spirit—
But ah! how heavy is his heart, who bears
A bosom-war within him? O Philario,
(For I well know thy friendship such, thou'st done
The letter of my will) thou should'st have paus'd—
Anger is indiscreet in his commands—
Too true, the noble Imogen did wrong me;
(And so, I doubt not, did my mother him
I call'd my father, tho' she still was held
The non-pareil of virtue) yet her fault,
The nat'ral failing of her sex, not hers,
Was ill pusu'd with vengeance capital
By me—O Britain, I have kill'd my wife,
Who was thy mistress—therefore thus array'd
Like a poor soldier, neither known, nor guess'd at,
Pitied or hated, to the face of peril
Myself I'll dedicate—Heav'n knows my life
Is ev'ry breath a death.
Alarum. Fight. Enter CYMBELINE and Romans. CYMBELINE is in danger of being slain, or taken. Then enter LEONATUS and rescues him.
[Page 63]
What have we here? The majesty of Britain
O'erpower'd by odds—Room for an honest sword
That loyalty gives edge to—how they fly
When resolution drives 'em.—
(the Romans fly.)
Great, tho' mean—
Noble obscure, we thank thee—what's thy name?
I cannot stay to tell thee—hear'st thou not
How loud Mars bellows yonder?—only this—
The king has friends he knows not—fare you well,
My sword will cool else.—
[Exit Leonatus.
What blunt fellow's this?
We have no time to wonder—How now, captain?
Enter an Officer.
Advance, my liege—Our battle galls 'em sorely—
Yon sage, and his boy-hermits fight like dragons.
The Roman eagle flaps his wing for flight,
And conquest smiles upon us.
[Page 64]
Follow me;
And still the word be, Cymbeline, and Britain
Alarum. Fight. Enter Britons and Romans fight­ing. The Romans give back. Then enter, at opposite doors, PISANIO, and PALADOR.
It is a jovial chace—fight on, young Cadwal,
Thou shalt go halves in glory—I could swear
To go to bed no more—Well met, thou Roman,
I have been killing vermin—thou dost seem
Worthy my sword—Art thou of blood and honour?
Away, and save thy life, thou swagg'ring boy,
By Romulus, my vengeance would not stoop
(Albeit a thousand souls are groaning for't)
To such a lout as thee.
Hah! didst thou learn
Thy valour at a dancing school?—I'll try
Your lightsomness of foot—Fool, I will hunt thee
E'en to thy master's throne.—
Come on, rash hind—
(Fight, Pisanio falls.)
Thou hast o'erpower'd me stripling—the just Gods
[Page 65] Unbrac'd my arm—the heaviness of guilt
Took off my manhood—I've bely'd a lady,
The princess of this country; and the air on't
Revengingly enfeebled me; brave youth,
Witness the penance of my dying hour,
And let the noble Leonatus know
I crav'd in death his pardon—
How is this?
Roman, proceed.
I was confederate with
Cloten (than whom a viler wretch not lives
'Twixt sky and ground)
Nay, by the Gods, he lives not;
I slew him but to-day, and sure e're this
He is the food of sharks.
Thou hast the arm
That heav'n does justice with—I can no more—
Take thou this note of Cloten's
(gives a note)
it doth speak
In terms full relative to the device
Then hatching in his brain; and farther marks
The lowly bendings of his love to Caesar—
This shall confirm thy by-and-by report
Strongly as living evidence—I've done
More good in my last hour, than can be pick'd
From my whole piece of life—there's hope in that,
And in that hope I die—
[Page 66]
Nay, if thou hop'st,
I'll write despair down folly—Jupiter,
What a vile rogue was this? and yet he wore
A worthy seeming—I perceive my garb
Doth shame the guise o'th' world—I will set out
New fashion; less without, and more within.
What have we here?
Hermit, our wars are done;
The Romans turn their backs, and victory
To-day is wedded to great Cymbeline.
O that the joy of all should touch not me!
I am not mortal sure; for death I sought,
Yet found him not where I did hear him groan,
Nor felt him where he struck. This ugly monster,
'Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, smooth beds,
Sweet words, and hath more ministers than we
That draw his knives in war.
Art thou a Briton,
And dost not laugh to-day? Sad looks are treason,
And take the part of Rome; the man that feels
His own distress, hates more his pers'nal grief,
Than he doth love his country.
[Page 67]
O you know not—
Hah! who lies there? Ye Gods, it is Pisanio—
The damn'd Italian fiend that stain'd my honour;
I would have sav'd an hundred lives in fight
To have met his.
If thou art Leonatus,
(As by thy talk thou should'st be) I have matter
For your quick hearing.
I am Leonatus,
I would I were aught else!
That villain there
Did much abuse you, Sir.
He did abuse me
Beyond the pow'r of all his worthless tribe
To make amends—Who robs me of my wealth,
May one day have ability, or will
To yield me, full repayment—but the villain
That doth invade a husband's right in bed,
Is murd'rer of his peace, and makes a breach
In his life's after-quiet, that the grief
Of penitence itself cannot repair.
Thou dost mistake thy woe, good Leonatus,
Which yet (if the great Gods are merciful)
I have a cure for—
How! where! which way! when!
[Page 68]
Sir, your belief in your dear lady's truth
Is falsely wounded, who, be sure (for aught
This arch impostor Roman could disprove)
Has kept her bond of chastity uncrack'd,
And is as cold as Dian.
Ay, and colder;
For Dian is alive—If thou not fool'st me,
Thou curest common sickness with the plague,
And killest with relief—I could not find
The virtue of my wife untainted now,
(That once I priz'd to adoration)
For the best carbuncle of Phoebus' wheel,
Nay, all the worth of's car.
Alas! I'm sorry
Your much wrong'd judgment hath proceeded thus.—
For free and full confession made this wretch
Of most refined stratagem to change
Your biass of affection: Sir, this note,
Which with his dying hand he did bequeath you,
Will more at large illustrate what my tongue
Faulters in utt'rance of.
(gives the note.)
Quick, let me see it,
Impatient misery longs to know the worst,
E'en when the worst is fatal.
The Lord Cloten to the Roman Knight Pisanio.
Cloten! the name is ominous—it bodes
More than the raven's sullen flap that scents
Cadaverous infirmity.—But on—

[Page 69] If thou lov'st me, let me see thee ere night. I have bought the fidelity of the princess's woman with my gold; she will give thee admittance into her chamber, when nothing will be awake but anger and policy; where thou may'st make such note as will be sufficient to the madding of the abhorred Leonatus. Thy service herein will tie me closer to thyself, and to Augustus thy lord. No more till thou dost console with thy pre­sence, thine and Caesar's in affection, CLOTEN.

How fare you, sir? Alack! his grief is dumb.
Are there no Gods? or are they Gods that sleep,
And leave us to ourselves?—Oh! I have done it—
I've reach'd the point of shame, and villainy
Is less than 'twas.—Twice doubly curst be he
That first did graff the failings of his wife
On a fool's head's suspicion.—I've destroy'd
The temple of fair virtue, yea herself—
Spit, and throw stones, cast mire upon me, set
The dogs o'th' street to bait me; ev'ry fool
Be Leonatus call'd. O! Imogen,
My queen, my love my wife, oh! Imogen!
Mark thou unhappy Briton, how my soul
Catches thy grief—my eyes half drown my tongue.
Wife—what is wife? what is it thou dost feel?
The pang that gripes thee seems more keen than mine was,
When my good mother, and Fidele died!
[Page 70] —Yet then I mourn'd heart-deep—O that thy woes
Had remedy within the reach of power,
I would pursue endeavours infinite
'Till rashness should be virtue. Pardon me
This vain, vain boast—Valour himself must weep
When he cannot redress—I'll sit down by thee,
And mourn 'till I beguile thee of thy sorrows—
We'll give our shares in this day's triumph up
To riot and hard hearted jollity.
O Imogen, where art thou?—soft—here comes
Philario, my good uncle.
How! Philario?
O turn a thousand Romans loose upon me,
But shew me not Philario.
Have we a madman here?
Ay, of thy making.
Thou cred'lous fool, egregious murtherer,
Thief, any thing, that's due to villains past,
In being, or to come.—
I know thee not.
Know'st thou not Leonatus?
[Page 71]
Art thou he?
And dost thou greet me thus?
Where is my wife?
My wife, my wife, my Imogen, thou villain!
Base and ungrateful! is it come to this?
Have I then offer'd up my mind's repose,
My better judgment, and my nature's pity,
To thy injunction? Have I stain'd my sword
With blood as rich as ever yet did wash
A British heart, to be bequestion'd now
With, villain, where's my wife, my Imogen?
—But that thy will was absolute herein,
I could have wish'd the damned charge had aim'd
At universal ruin of the sex,
And her alone left out.
I'm wild—forgive me;
I've kill'd my wife, and shall my friend escape
Th' abuses of my fury?—Read, Philario,
Read this black scroll,
(gives him the letter)
read it, and after tell me,
If jealousy be written in the list
Of sins that mercy reaches.
You're undone;
And so am I—come not to me for comfort,
For my own pers'nal grief out-measures all
The patience I was born with.
[Page 72]
Patience! who
Is patient in despair? Can patience wake
The sleep of death? Can it command old time
To render back the hours he snatch'd away,
Or what is done, make undone? Give me cord,
Poison, or knife, some upright justicer,
And then prescribe me patience.
O Bellarius,
Thy lectures all were true, and this world holds
Nothing but woe and villainy—where's Cadwal?
We'll homeward to the rock.—
Hold thee, young man—
The king must thank you for your services—
Anon he will be here; and, Leonatus,
Do not, I pray, with rashness over-ripe
A vi'lence on thyself—best wait we both
The royal sentence on our lives, and die
Without more folly on our heads—to me
The op'ning leave of this.
Well, let me die—
The rest you shall command—I see her now—
Bloody and pale she looks—her snow-white breast
Whose fragrance sent up incense to the Gods,
Is soil'd with clotted gore—her jetty locks,
Where Cupid and a thousand graces play'd,
Are turn'd to fury's snakes—and in her eye,
At whose kind beams glad Hymen light his torch,
[Page 73] Sits fiery vengeance now with direful looks
Chilling my faculties.
If thou art man,
Be like one now—die as a soldier should do,
And do not start at shadows—I've bethought me
How we may fit and full disclosure make
Of all our purposes to Cymbeline;
Yea, and of Cloten's too, (whereof the truth
Shall the king's heart sore smite) that devil Cloten
Of whom this gallant youth has well reveng'd us.
Has he? who, what art thou, thou wond'rous man!
To whom I am indebted for the scourge
Of my two deadly foes.
He is a wonder
Myself can scarce explain;—But hark, the king.—
Let us, my wretched friend, appear a while,
What our now-habits speak us.
Enter CYMBELINE, BELLARIUS, CADWAL, Lords, and Soldiers.
Thanks to all;
Chiefly to you, whom the great Gods have made
Best pillars of my throne. Where are the rest?
O here's your worthy kinsman, your brave son,
And the poor soldier that in rags did shame
[Page 74] Rich coats of war, and with his naked breast
Stept before shields of proof—we owe our life
To his true valour.
I did never see
Such noble fury in so mean a thing;
Such precious deeds in one that promis'd nought
But begg'ry and bad luck.
All bow your knees—
(Bellarius, Philario, Palador, Cadwal and Leonatus kneel.)
Arise, my knights o'th' battle; we create you
Companions to our person, and will give you
Estates becoming your new dignities.
My Lord, the honour I have won to-day
Is sustenance for me—I fought for fame,
And riches give not that—I'll carry home
The strange experience of some seven hours,
And live upon't hereafter.
Most brave brother.
We must not lose you so.
So please your grace,
I would intreat a word.
Say on, and freely.
Then, in the name of all our brotherhood,
[Page 75] I do beseech your majesty to bless
With your high presence our poor hermitage;
Which (I am ready to make good the boast)
Is fit to give a mighty monarch welcome,
If cleanly wholesomeness, and simple plenty,
Be worth your appetite; and, sir, the more
I do solicit this, for that I have
Much matter for your ear, which only there
My spirit groans to utter.—May I hope
This invitation likes your majesty?
Ay, passing well.—My sirs, return you with
A monarch in your train—we long to know
What 'tis you would impart—come thou brave fellow!
(To Leonatus.)
Some of you lords attend us, and the rest
Abide here in the camp.—Is there close guard
Upon the Roman prisoners?
1st LORD.
My gracious liege, there is.
'Tis well—Hermit, lead on.
[Exeunt Cymbelline, Bellarius, Philario, Palador, Cadwal, Leonatus, and Lords at one door, and other Lords at another.
The End of the Fourth ACT.


SCENE The Forest and Cave.
CADWAL, once more all hail our happy home!
I've seen enough of this wide world to day,
To turn my back upon society—
Saving the manly hardiments of war,
There's nought on earth desirable—but come,
Do we our errand, and the cave prepare,
(For therefore were we will'd to speed us first)
For the reception of high majesty.—
They will o'ertake us soon—
(Looking into the cave)
Stay, come not in—
But that I know this figure, I should think
It were a fairy.
What's the matter, brother?
By Jupiter, a spirit!—Gods! one sand
Another doth not more resemble, than
This sorm the rosy lad who died, and was
Ev'n the same dead thing alive—
[Page 77]
Peace, peace, see more—he eyes us not—forbear—
It is Fidele's ghost—
Hist! it comes forward!
Enter IMOGEN from the cave.
Cadwal, stand close—nay shake not—look, it smiles.
What art thou, beauteous vision, that dost take
So sweet a form—thou can'st not mean us harm.
Mischief ne'er travell'd in a shape like that—
Art thou Fidele? speak—why hast thou left
Thy flow'ry grave? why dost thou haunt our rock?
Or art some spirit in his borrow'd likeness,
That for thy merriment dost wear a semblance,
Deluding us poor mortals?—Gentle, speak.—
Give me your hands—I am your living brother,
The true Fidele—
Can it be ye Gods!
This is a day of wonders—
I'll no more
Witness the thing I see—art thou alive?
Dear boy, I feel thou art—
(Embracing Imogen.)
Sirs, I did take
A certain drowsy potion, that fast seiz'd
The present pow'r of life; but in short time
[Page 78] All offices of nature did again
Resume due functions.—Wherefore I took this,
Hereafter ask—and let me now demand,
Where's good Bellarius? where's my uncle? why
Those weapons at your sides? for thus you ne'er
Equip'd for hunting.
No, my dearest brother,
We've been at better sport in the fair field,
Where honour chases danger—what we've done
Fame shall set down in brass, and shew't to Caesar;
And then 'twill task arithmetic to count
All the wet cheeks in Rome.
How! have your rapiers
Been drawn in battle?
To victorious purpose—
The king is coming hither—
Hah! the king!
What and who brings him?
O your worthy uncle,
Unknown, and in disguise; my father too,
And a long lordly train; ere night, the book
Of fate, wide open'd to inspection,
Great secrets shall disclose.—Here comes Philario,
The rest are not far off.—Cadwal, we'll in—
Do you, Fidele, meet him here, and strike
New matter of amazement to his heart.
[Exeunt Palador and Cadwal into the cave.
[Page 79] Enter PHILARIO.
Fairest, and best of women, pardon me
The tortures I have put thy virtue to
In trial, not in malice.—O forgive me;
For till thy lips have pass'd remission on me,
Mine must be lock'd in silence.
Rise, Philario!
Thy stratagem has more complexion in't
Of wisdom, than of guilt—my honour tried,
I'm serv'd, and not offended—That same drug,
Murd'rous awhile to sense, I thank'd thee for
With the first breath I wak'd with—hence of that
Put the remembrance by—My brothers tell me
Of something strange at hand.—
My gracious lady,
Since last we parted, the big hours have teem'd
With great, and sad events—pardon me, Gods,
One fiction more.—
Hast thou heard aught, Philario,
Of Leonatus? What is in thy mind
That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh
From th' inward of thee? Speak—where is my husband?
[Page 80]
Say he were dead—his villainous intent
Should cure thy present sorrow.
Thy supposing
Confirms his death, and my hereafter woe—
Thou tell'st me he was jealous, false, and cruel—
Grant he had faults, yet they were faults that others
Haply infus'd into his honest nature—
Grant he had faults, yet faults his future life
Might have amended all.—But, oh! this death
Chills mortally, and with the scythe of winter
Cuts down my spring of hope—O Leonatus!
Nay, lady, mark me—He did leave the world
Without one drop of pity for your fate.
I saw him down in fight, whereto his rage
Had brought him, 'midst the hottest fumes of war
To make a desp'rate end; and first explaining
This hermit's garb, (which I to-day put on
To cheat the wary eye of Cymbeline)
Vow'd in the doing his will my heart
Rebell'd against my hand. "'Tis well, he cry'd,
"I go to meet the strumpet, and consign her
"To other fires than lust." He said no more,
But to the last breath'd anger.
If 'tis so,—
Some daemon, envious of his peace and mine,
Did witch his sober judgment; nought but magic
[Page 81] In subtle potency of transformation,
Could ruin make of such a noble piece
Of heav'nly workmanship. Gods! what is man
When error outlives honour? Yet, Philario,
I will remember the good thing he was,
Ere fury bent him wrongwards—What he did
Let insolence, that wags his head in scorn
O'er virtue fall'n, proclaim—but never so
Shall his poor wife reproach him—O my lord,
Wise, valiant, gentle, constant, just, and true,
The world did tack to thy all-honour'd name;
Thou wert the mark that Jupiter did point to,
When he prais'd mortal beings.
Noblest princess,
What shall my wonder call thee?—thy great father
Yet knows not half thy worth—hither he's coming;
And I will put into his royal pow'r
The now-disposal of our destinies—
Lo, he is here—Be silent, and attend—
Hail to king Cymbeline.—
We thank you, hermit.—
Good heav'ns! Fidele living!
Hist—a word—
(Phil. whispers Bell.)
[Page 82]
In troth, this rock hath a most pleasant site
To tempt a king from home—O luxury,
How art thou put to shame, if comfort lives
Where lowliness inhabits—our good hosts,
Where are the valiant boys?
Dread sovereign,
They shall come forth.—Ho! Cadwal! Palador!
Enter CADWAL and PALADOR from the Cave.
And now, so please your highness, I will ope,
Before you do betake you to repast,
A volume of high marvels to your ear.
Pray you begin.
First know then, mighty sir,
He, that addresses here your royal presence,
No hermit is, but your true slave Philario.—
Nay, start not, sir, but know all criminals,
And then proceed to justice—here is one
(pointing to Leonatus.)
Has travell'd far to meet your fierce displeasure,
Yet once deserv'd your grace—
Ay, I am he—
No beggar, king, but yet a wretch more curst
Than ever fortune spurn'd at.—Know'st me not?
Send for ingenious torturers; command
The art of cruelty to practise on me,
For I do all abhorred things amend
[Page 83] By being worse than they.—Know'st me not yet?
The villain that did steal thy princely daughter;
(Yet that was theft for Gods!) the damned villain
That, in a fit of jealous lunacy,
Murder'd all precious qualities that man
Loves woman for—that—
(running, and laying hold of her.)
Peace, my lord, hear, hear—
Shall's have a play of this? thou scornful page
Come not athwart my grief—
(strikes her.)
Hold, Leonatus,
Or thou wilt murder do, who art so hurt
In a conceit 'tis done—Why gaze you so?
Didst thou not hear her speak? and know'st thou not
The tune of Imogen?
The rock goes round.
Nay, wonder is the gen'ral word to all!
You that ne'er lov'd, look on that virtuous pair—
Mark! how he anchors upon Imogen!
See! how she hangs on Leonatus' arm!
While both are mute in sweet extremity
Of truest love, and joy!
(after a pause.)
Joy! who names joy?—
It is a word too cold—What heav'n shall be
Hereafter, I feel now—Whom had I lost,
[Page 84] But Imogen?—Whom did I hold corrupt,
But Imogen?—Whom did I drive to death,
But Imogen?—Yet Imogen is found—
Yet Imogen is purer than the star
That leads her virgin train to light the morn—
Yet Imogen still lives, and lives to love me!—
—Divide all matter of discourse among you—
What can I say or think but Imogen!
How do the gracious Gods hide kindness, neath
The sable veil of sad appearances?
O Leonatus! had we never parted,
Had I ne'er stood the mark of thy revenge,
Ne'er had we known what 'tis to meet again,
What 'tis to meet again in life, and love!
Why so, farewel
The boy Fidele! I begin to fear
I shall hold manhood vile, for sure the graces,
Which fair perfection is compounded of,
Are all bound up in woman! princely Imogen,
Altho' thou art the daughter of a king,
I have ambition in me, that could wish
To call thee sister▪—
Wond'rous nature still!
My sword has from their hearts drawn the best blood
Of those you're little bound to—and I'll wear it,
Whilst it is mine, for your protection, lady—
[Page 85]
I do believ't—enough—now Cymbeline▪
Wait we your royal sentence—for myself,
That I have cover'd honesty with guile,
In which I had in aim the gen'ral good,
I rather sue for thanks from all▪ than pardon—
For this my friend,
(points to Leonatus)
Sir, your clearest judgment
Has seal'd his virtue sterling; and albeit
In jealous mood he did conceive an act
That tenderness calls terrible, yet think I,
His jealousy had ground more seeming▪ sure▪
Than common frenzy treads on—
Sir, I know it▪
Well, by-and-by—for this unparagon'd,
She'as cur'd me of some spleen against her sex;
I've prov'd her (as anon at large you'll hear
When we shall make past terrors our disport,)
The sweetest lady, and the truest wife,
That ever swore her faith—your sentence, sir,
Which I forestal a kind one.
Since 'tis thus▪
I will not counteract the mighty Gods
In what they have ordained—My children, take
Full pardon in a blessing—heaven's good gifts
Fall on your heads like dew!
Thus on our knees—
(Leonat. and Imogen kneel.)
[Page 86] Take we with pious thankfulness the bounty.
My Imogen!—
My Leonatus!
How glutton-like thou dost devour thy joy,
And can'st not spare one morsel to a friend!
O yes, to thee—for 'tis to thee I owe
The bliss that I am wild with—O believe me,
Scarce went that angry mandate from my hand,
But my repentance fetch'd it back, e'en tho'
I thought my bride-bed stain'd with violation—
I landed 'midst a herd of vulgar Romans,
In hope to intercept the fell revenge
That freighted thy commission, or myself
To barter life of future wretchedness
For death of present glory—
Well resolv'd—
But still there doth remain behind, Philario,
Long maze to be unravell'd—who are these?
This old man and his boys? How join'd you them?
Or knowst thou aught of Cloten, our dear son?
Upon whose widow'd hopes we're bound in honour
To shed some comfort—him we shall endow with
A moiety of this fair realm—
What him!
Would you make puppets princes? I'm right glad
(Your pardon king) he will not heed your offer—
[Page 87]
Say'st thou bold boy?
If honesty is boldness,
I am a lion—to be brief, my lord—
Wherefore that frown? I was not born to stand
In awe of eye-brows—Your son Cloten ranks
'Mongst those that were your subjects—
How is this?
Stripling beware—who trifles with a king
Plays with his peril—
He is dead—I slew him—
Upon the very spot thou standst, I slew him—
The foulest blood my hand has spilt is his—
Monarch, thou knew'st him not—
Audacious boy!
Thou hast condemn'd thyself—and spight of all
That thou hast done to-day, dost from my lips
Pluck a hard sentence—thou must die—
Hah! hah!
Die, Sir! why then let treason be true service,
And loyalty make capital—I'm sorry
To anger you—but the bare name of Cloten
Untunes my spirits; my enraged soul
Catches like tinder at it; it doth fret me,
And make me quarrelous and testy as
Infirmity untended—Good Philario,
Produce thy scroll—
[Page 88]
Marry, and willingly.
(Gives Cloten's letter.)
So please your grace read this. It doth contain
Matter important to the point.
(Cymbeline reads.)
Good Sirs,
Comes it within the compass of belief,
Such wisdom and such valour e'er could grow
Beneath so poor a roof?—This virtuous hermit
Is fit to train up emperors—These youths—
But peace—the king
This letter, sir, whence came it?
My lord, Pisanio, with his dying hand
Lodg'd it in mine—
It doth appear by this▪
That Cloten villainous connection held
With the new-beaten Caesar—I'm abus'd,
And fool is he that thinks the heart of man
Hangs at his tongue—loudly this caitif roar'd
For Britain, and for me; and when he breath'd
His am'rous plaints, pin'd like a nightingale.—
This mischief-breeding serpent! Palador,
We thank thy valour, tho' thy tongue was rude
In roughness of reply.
If I have valour,
It is my nature, sir, for my harsh language
I learn'd it 'mongst these rocks.
[Page 89]
We would know more
Of who, and what thou art—Bellarius speak,
Make full discov'ry of yourselves, and fortunes,
And end our present wonders.
It is meet
Your will should be obey'd—My sons, I must
For my own part unfold much dang'rous truth,
Tho' haply well for you—
Your danger's ours.
And our good your's.
Most mighty Cymbeline!
Thou hadst a subject that was Edwin call'd.
Edwin! ay, what of him? a banish'd traitor—
Indeed, a banish'd man, but not a traitor;
For I am he—
The whole world shall not save him!
Lords bear him hence—
Nay, not so hot, great king—First pay me for
The breeding of thy sons—
Breeding my sons!
[Page 90]
I am too blunt, and saucy; here's my knee;
E'er I arise, I will prefer my sons,
Then spare not the old father. Mighty sir,
These two young gentlemen, that call me father,
Are the true issue of your royal loins,
And blood of your begetting.
How! my issue!
So sure, as you your sire's. These noble princes
(For such and so they are) these twenty years
Have I train'd up; such arts they have as I
Could put into them—Sir, my breeding was
As your grace knows—Their nurse Euriphile,
Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children
Upon my banishment. The loss of these
The more by you 'twas felt, the more it shap'd
Unto my end of stealing them; the vengeance
Of slander'd loyalty—but, royal sir,
Here are your sons again; and I must lose
Two of the sweet'st companions in the world—
Heaven's grace be with them both, for they are worthy
To in-lay heav'n with stars.
Thou weep'st, and speak'st—
I lost my children, and if these be they
They are a pair of worthies.
Sir, your patience—
[Page 91] This gentleman whom I call Palador,
Most worthy prince, as your's, is true Guiderius;
This gentleman, my Cadwal, is Arviragus,
Your younger princely son; he, sir, was lapt
In a most curious mantle, wrought by the hand
Of his queen mother, which for more probation
I can with ease produce.
Guiderius had
Upon his neck a mole, a sanguine star;
It was a mark of wonder.
This is he,
Who hath upon him still that nat'ral stamp;
It was wise nature's end in the donation
To be his evidence now.
'Tis he! 'tis he!
O sure to-day the Gods do mean to strike me
To death with mortal joy—
(Embracing Palador and Cadwal.)
My sons! my sons!
O Imogen! my child, thou'st found two brothers,
But thou hast lost a kingdom.
No, my lord,
I've got two worlds by this. O my dear brothers,
Do we meet thus? oh! never say hereafter
But I am truest speaker.—You call'd me bro­ther,
When I was but your sister; I, you brothers,
When you were so indeed.
[Page 92]
Why e'en let honour
Come, as the Gods foresay it; I'm a prince,
But still the British Palador; sweet sister,
The moiety my father meant for Cloten
Is thine, and thy brave lord's, if my request,
The first I make, be granted—thee, Bellarius,
We must at leisure thank; and you, Philario,
We shall set down our friend; dear brother Cadwal,
(I can't yet call thee by that other name)
Thou shalt be part'ner of my royalty;
We'll turn our hermitage into a temple,
And yearly smoak it with our sacrifices.
Agreed! O never was a day like this!
Laud we the Gods!—Bellarius, be our brother.
Sirs, we are much indebted to you all,
And we will shew it in our courtesies—
Come, let us in, and to more joyous feast
Than princes e'er regal'd at—In your stories,
Of which th' abridgement fills us with amazement,
Distinction shall be rich—to-morrow, sirs,
We will to Lud's Town march—Caesar shall pay
Large ransom for the lives we have in hold,
And sue to us for terms—ne'er war did cease,
With fairer prospect of a glorious peace.
[Exeunt omnes.



INQUIRE, dispute, reply, and all you can,
Say, what is Genius but the Soul of Man?
Beam of that Light which animates our Frame,
Alike in many, but in none the same.
'Tis with our Minds, as with our Bodies, none
In Essence differ, yet each knows his own.
Marks of specific Character we see,
That stamp on ev'ry Mortal, THIS IS HE.
Nor varies more our present outward Shape,
(This Man half-Angel, and the next half-Ape)
Than do the mental Pow'rs: What Odds we find
Between a—'s, and a Newton's Mind?
Ask you the Cause? First take it for a Rule,
Whate'er the Man, the Soul is not a Fool.
[Page 226] She came in due Perfection from the Skies,
And all Defect in grosser Body lies.
Body and Soul at best but ill agree,
'Tis Spirit wedded to Infirmity:
A disproportion'd Match, from whence proceeds
The Soul's Inaction thro' the Body's Needs.
This Truth once stated, and the Soul, 'tis plain,
Much on the filmy Texture of the Brain,
Much on Formations that escape our Eyes,
On nice Connections, and Coherencies,
And on corporeal Organs must depend,
For her own Function's Exercise, and End.
Hence then the Cause of all Defects is seen,
For one wrong Movement spoils the whole Machine.
'Tis hence the sev'ral Passions take their Rise,
The Seeds of Virtue, and the Roots of Vice;
Hence Notes peculiar or to Young, or Old,
Phlegmatic, sanguine, amorous, or cold!
And hence from Constitution, such or such,
Wit may take Modes, and Genius op'rate much.
The youthful Bard, a sprightly, sanguine Swain,
Like Ovid warbles in a Lovesick strain:
With weaker Passions, but with Sense more strong,
The melancholy Young pursues his Song.
Mixture of Humours motley Genius shews;
'Tis seen methinks in Hervey's dancing Prose.
[Page 227] Why wonder then to mark the Sons of Rhyme,
Gay, serious, turgid, easy, or sublime?
The Soul and Body closely thus allied,
Vile is the Folly, as the Sin of Pride;
And one great Truth the first of Men will fit,
That Nothing more precarious is than Wit.
Behold yon Wretch, that o'er the Parish strays,
A Baby-Man, a Driv'ler all his Days!
With Tongue out-lolling, and round-rolling Eyes
He grins against the Sun, and catches Flies;
But for some secret Flaws we cannot read,
That check her Motions, and her Flights impede,
His Soul perchance enrich'd with happiest Thought,
Had spoke like Tully, or like Virgil wrote.
Alas! All Souls are subject to like Fate,
All sympathizing with the Body's State;
Let the fierce Fever burn thro' ev'ry Vein,
And drive the madding Fury to the Brain,
Nought can the Fervour of his Frenzy cool,
But Aristotle's self's a Parish Fool!
Nay in Proportion lighter Ails controul
The mental Virtue, and infect the Soul.
Ease is best Convoy in our Voyage to Truth;
What Man e're reason'd with a raging Tooth?
A Poet with a Genius, and without,
Are the same Creatures in the Pangs of Gout.
Hence then we guess, nor vain is the Surmise,
Why some are Fools, and none are always wise;
Why Genius differs in Life's ev'ry Stage,
Runs wild with Youth, and creeps with hobling Age.
The Soul uncumber'd with the mortal Clay
Knows no Increase of Strength, nor fears Decay.
A little Art this Secret may unfold,
That what can never die, is never old.
By present Pow'rs Perfection cease to Scan,
For we may daily mourn the Fall of Man!
Ah! how bright Wit possest of ev'ry Gift
Dwindled to Folly, and went mad in Swift.
The mighty Marlb'rough, whose great Soul was prov'd
Upon the Plains of Blenheim, where unmov'd,
"Amidst Confusion, Horrour and Despair
"He view'd around the dreadful Scenes of War,
"In peaceful Thought the Field of Death survey'd,
"To fainting Squadrons sent the timely Aid,
"Inspir'd repuls'd Battalions to engage,
"And taught the doubtful Battle where to rage;"
Ev'n He, the Springs of Nature in Decay,
And all the vital Functions worn away,
Unable now to conquer Realms, or buy,
With ideot Gesture, and unmeaning Eye,
Sits a Spectatour in the foremost Row,
And gapes at Heroes in a Puppet-Shew!
Eschew Presumption ev'ry half-learn'd Elf;
The noblest Writer does not know himself;
Turn over mighty Milton's raptur'd Page,
Observe his Strength, his Majesty, his Rage;
His Numbers like th' Almighty's Thunders roll,
And strike an awful Pleasure to the Soul;
We joy in Ruin, and are almost pain'd
To see the (late lost) Paradise regain'd.
This Work himself judg'd best; tell me who read,
Was not the mighty Milton blind indeed?
Genius again, by Inf'rence apt we see,
The same in Species differs in Degree;
Propensities are strong, and few Men yet
But have a Relish for some kind of Wit;
Homer is Monarch of the Epic Choir,
Yet Virgil snatch'd a Brand of Homer's Fire;
The daring Homer's all-impetuous Strain
Like a hot Courser bore him o'er the Plain.
The Muse of Virgil that affected State
Speeds not so swiftly, but she keeps her Rate;
To those tho' meet to yield the Glory due,
Lucan, and Statius have their Merits too.
Each Writer is distinguish'd in his Way,
Grand Sophocles, or trifling Seneca!
All to their fav'rite Art will lay Pretence,
'Tis Inclination, or 'tis Excellence;
[Page 230] 'Midst Clouds of Dulness Gleams of Wit have shone,
Like the faint Burstings of an April Sun.
Grant you what's past, and it will less perplex
To ask, why Woman is the weaker Sex?
Why the Extremes of female Wits are such,
They mostly say too little, or too much?
Beauty's soft Frame, for other Ends design'd,
Faints under Toil of Body, or of Mind.
Kind Heav'n that gave them Beauty, all things gave;
The soundest Scholar is a Woman's Slave.
Glibly their Tongues the pretty Lispers move,
"And Nonsense will be Eloquence in Love."
Yet have we known superiour Nymphs that can
Assert an equal Pow'r, and rival Man!
Born Nature's Wonders, in all Shapes to please,
To speak with Eloquence, to write with Ease,
To model Laws, and rule a factious Realm:
Witness ELIZA at Old ENGLAND'S Helm!
Nay diff'rent Countries diff'rent Genius make;
Souls Modes peculiar to their Climate take:
Baeotia's foggy Air was mark'd of old,
Athenian Wits were bright, and Theban cold.
Just view near Home the Surface of the Ball;
In Holland, Genius is mechanical:
In France, the Muses breath a livelier Strain;
They skip in Italy, and strut in Spain!
[Page 231] In England Oh! how manifold our Rhyme!
Where Genius is uncertain as the Clime.
We shew (consult the Press, the Stage, the Schools)
All Sorts of Wise Men, and all Sorts of Fools!
We count our Numbers of illustrious Name,
That climb'd by diff'rent Paths the Hill of Fame.
Ye Bards of Britain that have shin'd in Song,
Oh, let the Muse survey your tuneful Throng.
Chaucer, who notes not with a merry Glee,
Thy Genius full of quaint Festivity?
Who reads must see, and seeing must admire
Bright Spencer's Fancy, and bold Milton's Fire.
Genius was studied Wit in artful Ben,
But flow'd spontaneous, Dryden, from thy Pen:
'Twas thine in manly Richness to excel,
With twice thy Labour few write half so well.
Fletcher had copious Energy of Mind;
Cowley's was Wit let loose, and Wycherly's confin'd.
Who but applauds soft Otway's melting Lay,
The negligent Simplicity of Gay,
The genuine Mirth that tickled Butler's Vein,
Waller's terse Sonnet, and Garth's nervous Strain?
Such various Forms does Genius take to please;
In Rowe 'tis Elegance, in Prior Ease;
In Lee 'tis Flame, that lays half Nature waste,
And in the Courtly Addison 'tis Taste.
[Page 232] 'Tis comic Grace in Steele, that shunn'd Offence;
In Pope 'tis Sweetness, Purity, and Sense.
'Tis Humour in the DEAN unequall'd yet,
And Congreve, who could stand thy two-edg'd Wit?
To sev'ral Bards their sev'ral Virtues fall;
But to inimitable SHAKESPEARE, All!
SHAKESPEARE!—O Phoebus, lend thy golden Lyre,
Give me the Beams of thy coelestial Fire!
Avaunt ye Vulgar, Poets listen round,
And all PARNASSUS thunder with the Sound!
While the Muse dwells on SHAKESPEARE'S sacred Name,
And down Time's rapid Tide bears his immortal Fame.
—The Rapture's o'er—I pant in vain to sing,
Droops the weak Muse, and flags her languid Wing;
She sinks beneath the Theme, she quits her Lays,
SHAKESPEARE she nam'd, and Silence is her Praise!
Assert we then the Force of Genius lies
In Verse alone? Are Poets only wise?
We hinted Genius is of various Kind,
And vast the Province of the human Mind▪
Who well performs his fate-allotted Part,
By Strength of Nature, or by Dint of Art,
Whate'er the Subject of his happy Skill,
The Product is the Work of Genius still.
What honied Dew distill'd from Tully's Tongue!
What soft Persuasion on his Accents hung!
[Page 233] So smoothly strong the sweet Oration flows
'Tis plain the Muses sometimes speak in Prose;
Bid him write Verses; who but will agree?
Cib—r can make as good an Ode as He.
'Tis nought but Genius that in all presides,
Commands in Battle, and in Council guides;
Sad Woes ensu'd, where Fools have Squadrons led:
For what is Caesar's Arm, without his Head?
Nor needs the Muse to distant Regions roam;
Genius appears in ev'ry Shape at home;
A glorious List in British Annals shines
Of Statesmen, Chiefs, Philosophers, Divines.
Long Lucubrations o'er the midnight Oil,
Gave to the World a Newton, and a Boyle!
Each Alma Mater boasts her fav'rite Own,
OXFORD her Bradley, CAMBRIDGE Sanderson!
'Tis not a puny Judge can find a Flaw
In Sherlock's Gospel, or in H—'s Law.
What plenteous Streams of easy Sense we see
In fluent Tillotson's Divinity?
Yet fluent Tillotson had nought to say,
Had not the solid Barrow led the Way!
Others may fright you from the Tempter's Gin,
But South will make a Man asham'd of Sin.
Nay some we know (and knowing we must smile)
Blest with a Talent, but without a Stile.
[Page 234] Hammond stands foremost of this awkward Line,
A rumbling Writer, but a deep Divine!
Who ever knew so strange a Vein as His?
Or so much Learning in Parenthesis?
T'would tire the Muse, and Reader to proceed
From reas'ning Chillingworth to florid Seed;
The Works of Christian Labour to explore
Of Hooker, Pearson, Laud, and Numbers more;
That drew their manly Quills for righteous Ends,
The Church's Champions, and Religion's Friends.
I grieve to think what Souls have been destroy'd,
By Wit perverse, and Genius misemploy'd:
For nought awakes so soon the vengeful Rod,
As Wisdom flying in the Face of God.
The Force of Reason is of finite Length;
This Giant that attempts beyond his Strength,
Our boasted Light of Nature, feeble Spark,
Guides for a while, but leaves us in the Dark.
As glimm'ring Vapours with a pallid Ray
Light us to Quagmires, and to Gulphs betray.
How vain is mortal Man above his Sphere!
Poor, knowing Fool, just wise enough to err!
Go, span the Globe, the World's strong Bounds o'releap,
Empty the yawning Caverns of the Deep,
Count all the Fibres of that Reptile's Thigh,
Catch me the trembling Sun-beams as they fly,
[Page 235] Then take thy Understanding's Cable-Line,
Examine God, and measure Truths divine.
Grant me, kind Heav'n, to see, e're I explain,
Correct the false Ambition of my Brain,
And on my Mind this Maxim printed be,
The Christian Virtue is Humility!
Happier the simple Swain, the rustic Fool,
That never took the Polish of a School,
Than, swell'd with Pride, a Master of all Arts
With Shaftsbury's Cunning, and with St. John's Parts!
Much Wit obscene has crept thro' ev'ry Age,
But Lewdness riots on the modern Stage.
O Shame to Arts!—Our Poets may defie
The Bards of old: with Rome and Athens vie;
May boast Invention, Penetration, Wit,
All Qualities for either Drama fit:
May touch the Passions with enchanting Art,
And take minutest Copies of the Heart:
Yet of past Times the Panegyric be,
That Pagan Wits were better Men than we.
Genius depends then on the Body's Frame—
Tell me, will Genius never be the same?
Or will the Diff'rence we to day espy,
Subsist in Souls to all Eternity?
Such Question put, if Reason may be bold
In humble wise Conjecture to unfold,
[Page 236] She seems to dictate, and she fears not blame,
That Things once diff'ring, never are the same:
Here or hereafter, in what Light you will,
A Man, you know, is Soul and Body still;
And still corporeal Organs, and their Use
Must correspondent Faculties produce:
But Body in that happier State, refin'd,
Shall leave it's old Imfirmities behind,
And every Soul be perfect in her Kind.
Consult material Objects, and we see
God's Pow'r declar'd by sweet Variety;
The diff'rent Seasons diff'rent Beauties bring;
'Tis not one Colour paints the jolly Spring.
The Sun, gay Giant, travels in his Might;
Smiles from her Orb the placid Queen of Night.
Each Insect that eludes the nicest Eye,
One of the Myriads floating in the Sky,
His Maker's Praise proclaim as loudly can,
As Ocean's Tyrant King, the Great Leviathan!
Look thro' all Nature, the vast Tracts of Space,
Each Being has it's proper Pow'r and Place.
Th' Angelic Hosts that round the Godhead wait,
And issue forth, the Ministers of Fate,
Have their respective Provinces, and know
What Part to act above, and what below;
Messiah's Sword to Michael's Might is giv'n,
And Gabriel is Embassador of Heav'n!
Hence then from Inf'rence little forc'd, we find
That Souls will differ, and excel in Kind;
But when admitted to the Realms of Joy,
What certain Office, what precise Employ
Shall exercise the sev'ral Pow'rs of each,
Present Conception not presumes to reach.
Enough from gen'ral Principles to shew,
That one great Point of Bliss will be, to know:
To touch Perfection in a fav'rite Art,
And grieve no longer but to know in Part:
To mark where Truth in her Recesses lies,
Pursue her without Toil, and grasp her as she flies!
The Sage Logician then shall clearly see,
How all Ideas differ, or agree,
And from her Coverts drive sly Sophistry;
No need to shift, to wrangle, and confute;
For sure the Blessed reason, not dispute.
See! pensive Metaphysics! Science coy!
In Contemplation only knowing Joy!
Sober Recluse, no noisy Stander by,
She sits, anatomizing Entity!
Purg'd of the grosser Particles of Clay,
And all material Obstacles away,
In the full Vigour of eternal Youth,
Oh! How will She adore abstracted Truth!
Physics still fond new Secrets to descry,
And look thro' Nature with a piercing Eye,
[Page 238] Hereafter latent Causes may explore,
When all the present System is no more,
And prove, when Inmate of the blest Abode,
The World an Atom to the Works of God!
The pale Astronomer that kens from far
The station'd Planet, or the wand'ring Star,
When this frail Earth in Ruin shall be hurl'd,
May count the Lamps that light a nobler World;
And subtle Geometry shall lend her Line,
And take Dimensions of the Plan divine.
What Sounds shall flow from Rhetric's silver Tongue!
How sweet her Eloquence, her Voice how strong!
Her wond'rous Talents graceful She displays,
And thunders forth the Heav'nly Monarch's Praise.
Hark! Hark! the raptur'd Bard has struck his Lyre,
Blazes aloft the true Poetic Fire;
Ten thousand vast Ideas swell his Mind;
Imagination ranges unconfin'd;
Now softly trills, now loudly sounds the Strain,
He sings JEHOVAH'S all-triumphant Reign,
And Music fills th' unmeasurable Plain!
He charms the winged Hosts that hover by,
And Spirits shout Applause that rends the Sky.
Such then the future Pleasures of the Mind,
So solid, manly, rational, refin'd,
Productive ever of the truest Joy,
And sure to satisfy, but not to cloy,
[Page 239] How vain at once appear all worldly Schemes,
The Tricks of Statesmen, and Ambition's Dreams?
Low the Designs the wisest Mortals lay,
And vile the brutal Pleasures of a Day!
Awake, awake, pursue the proper Plan;
Virtue and Knowledge only make a Man!
Despise the World, a better Fortune try,
And calculate for Immortality.
Ideots by nat'ral Organs ill supplied,
Untutor'd Louts, whose parts were never tried,
Hereafter hidden Excellence may shew,
And rank with Souls that scorn'd them here below:
But for the Sot that sees, yet slights his Rule,
The wilful Novice, the industrious Fool,
That lulls with Sloth, or steeps in Vice his Sense,
The Slave of Pleasure, or of Indolence,
How wretched is his Fate? fears he not Pain,
The gnawing Viper, and the galling Chain?
Still wretched is the Blockhead's Fate—for why?
Eternal Ignorance is Misery.
Who goodly Talents have, should Talents use,
But still with upright, and with virtuous Views;
For Application sometimes less pretence
To Merit has, than barren Indolence;
Nothing fatigues the Soul, or tires the Brain,
Like Lust of Empire, or the Thirst of Gain:
[Page 240] And these o'er-ruling in an active Mind
Spoil Nations, and make Havock of Mankind:
Ingenious Tyrants only make us Slaves;
Were all Men Fools, sure no Men would be Knaves.
Ambition take the Scepter, and the Robe,
Spread thy huge Greatness over half the Globe;
Lo, the World bursts, 'Tis Nature's dying Day,
The Sun is dark, the Planets melt away!
Now boast thy Genius, exercise thy Parts,
Recount thy Feats, and recognize thy Arts;
Alas! thou cursest thy too pregnant Brain,
And Knowlege is acute to quicken Pain.
The Nature, the Importance, and the End
Of Genius such, be wise then, and attend;
How we may best our nat'ral Pow'rs improve,
And qualify the Soul for Bliss above.
Genius lies hid, like Metal in the Mine,
Till searching Education bids it shine.
'Tis but a glorious Few of deathless Name
Have found, without a Guide, their Road to Fame;
Nor slight their Province, if we justly rate,
Who till the Mind, and Genius cultivate;
Much Penetration, and no little Toil
Must try the Strength, and Temper of the Soil;
Some Minds rich-natur'd, like a fruitful Field,
To little Culture ample Harvests yield;
[Page 241] Others assiduous Labour must secure;
They owe their goodly Produce to Manure:
True Judgment too should mark where Talent lies;
And, soon as seen, indulge Propensities:
For diff'rent Objects diff'rent Fancies strike,
Genius, we said before, is not alike.
Pope's forward Muse procur'd him early Fame,
"He lisp'd in Numbers, for the Numbers came;"
Another's unharmonious Taste is such,
Sooner than Poetry he'd learn High Dutch!
Yet he peculiar Talents may display,
And prove a very Wonder in his Way.
Why must all Mortals seek one common Praise?
Is there no Garland but a Wreath of Bays?
To steep Parnassus' Summit most sublime,
'Tis not a short-breath'd Pegasus can climb;
Yet tho' the panting Jade would fain stand still,
The blind Orbilius flogs him up the Hill.
Some seem to think that Genius may be sold,
But Wit is not, like Honour, bought with Gold;
To foreign Regions wealthy Idiots roam,
Tho' Fools of all Men sure should stay at Home.
Another's Heir thro' Markham's Forms must pass,
He goes a Blockhead, and returns an Ass!
He gapes, he strains, he sweats, yet gets no higher;
For Nature put him down a Country 'Squire!
[Page 242] Others of lively Parts, but wretched Fate,
Want Nothing but a Fortune to be great:
Sometimes among the vulgar Herd we find
Strong Marks and Features of a heav'nly Mind;
The Village Swain's a Wit, he knows not how,
And I have seen Philosophy at Plough!
How are our Hopes by present Chances crost?
What Oafs make P—s-ns, and what Wits are lost!
When now your Genius, near to Ripeness grown,
Begins to glow with Raptures all it's own;
Ply it with chosen Books of various Kinds,
For Reading is the Food of hungry Minds:
Mod'rate and wholsom will suffice your Need;
'Tis not how much, but how, and what you read;
To rise with Appetite is always best;
Gluttons devour much more than they digest:
'Tis vain for ever over Books to pore,
Reading does much, but Meditation more:
Mere slavish Plodding never yet prevail'd;
See yon lank Student to his Folio nail'd,
He reads at Home, Abroad, at Meals, in Bed,
And has five thousand Volumes in his Head:
Yet little to Perfection has be brought,
For he has read so much he never thought.
The Youth more sprightly, and the glowing Bard,
That had as lief go dig, as study hard,
[Page 243] Applies by Fits, and at his Fancy's Call
Little he reads, but has that little all;
He sees, and he enjoys his Author's Worth,
Gathers his Flow'rs, and culls his Beauties forth;
He dwells with Transport on a favourite Part,
And clasps each striking Passage to his Heart!
Your Models chuse from Authors of first Rate,
He cannot write, who dares not emulate;
To Father Homer's sovereign Poetry
Rome owes her Virgil, and our Milton we:
High as the tow'ring Strains of Pindar soar,
Great Flaccus was, what Pindar was before.
For present Times to emulate is all;
'Tis not in Wit to be original!
Leave Books—and go to Company; and then
Leave Company, and go to Books again;
The studious Mind 'tis useful to unbend
In pleasing Converse with a social Friend:
For cordial Juices of the generous Vine
Refresh the Weary, and the Dull refine;
O'er flowing Bowls rebounds the sparkling Wit,
And sure no Poet was a Milk-sop yet.
Intemp'rate Revelling alone consumes
The vital Pow'rs, and clouds the Brain in Fumes.
Horace, expertest Handler of the Lyre,
In rich Falernum quaff'd poetic Fire;
[Page 244] A jovial Bard! How pleasant are his Strains!
How much Good-humour in his Writings reigns!
He laughs, tho' angry, and will still delight;
His Verse is Satyr, but it is not Spight.
How does his Muse with free Politeness rail,
While Juvenal's is thrashing with a Flail!
Scholars should know, all Fire in Motion lies,
And whet their Parts with manly Exercise:
Dullness sits slumb'ring in an Elbow chair,
But the gay Muses love to take the Air.
The Shades of Night are fled before the Morn;
The Mountains echoe to the chearful Horn:
Men, Dogs, and Horses, Neighings, Shouts, and Cries,
Shake, with tumultuous Jollity the Skies;
The Chace begins; they pant in every Vein,
Now climb the Hill's steep Brow, then scour along the Plain!
Such Sports as these enliven; they impart
Warmth to the Brain, and Gladness to the Heart.
But if due Aid to Genius may be lent,
Much too it suffers by Impediment.
Unhappy is the Bard that deals in Rhyme,
When Wit is obsolete, and Sense a Crime.
When the weak Muse, in a degen'rate Age,
Crawls from the Press, or lamely treads the Stage;
No longer dares to noble Heights advance,
But chimes in Song, or trifles in Romance.
[Page 245] Infected by false Taste great Souls we see,
Who, R—d—n, can Nature paint like thee?
Yet would a Genius toy as thou hast done,
And spin Morality like Grandison?
How shall the genuine Bard escape from Fools,
That judge by narrow, or by partial Rules?
A thousand Witlings maul his mangled Name,
And yelping Critics hunt him out of Fame.
Nay Censure so perversly plays her Tricks,
That she will Measure Wit by Politicks;
And some with hollow Heads, but Faces big,
Will almost swear APOLLO is a WHIG!
Men of true Genius, and of real Use,
Can Oxford, that vile Nazareth, produce?
And yet impartial Sarum did declare,
Once on a Time there was one Scholar there! *
Oxford! my Joy! my Wonder! and my Boast!
My constant Triumph, and my daily Toast!
O let thy Son his willing Duty pay,
And grateful pour the Tributary Lay;
Rescue thy Fame from Slander thrown by Slaves,
And snatch thy Honour from the Gripe of Knaves.
—I spare my Pen, when nought to prove I find;
For who can see the Sun, when all are blind?
[Page 246] Nor Cam repine we at thy equal Praise,
The learned Sisters may divide the Bays.
—But in this wooden Age, these dastard Times,
O'er-run with Follies, and foul-stain'd with Crimes;
When Vice gigantic takes her public Stand,
And bids Corruption deluge all the Land,
Sculks now no more in Holes from Place to Place,
But stares astonish'd Virtue in the Face;
When Chiefs blaspheme the God for whom they fight,
And all Religion is to be polite;
In such a Day as this secure to steer,
With spotless Honour from Contagion clear,
To cherish still the dying patriot Fire,
Unaw'd by Menace, and unbought by Hire,
To own, and to defend the Christian Name,
And fix on Infidels the Mark of Shame,
Is the first Point of Praise; and let the Nine
Sound with their Harps this Praise, fair Oxford, thine.
'Tis not a minor Bard can hope to please,
And struggle thro' Discouragements like these.
For ever sure must damp poetick Rage,
False Taste, loose Manners, and a slavish Age!
If these are Plagues, still more remain behind,
Wits tell you Fortune frowns upon their Kind▪
Alas! What Sources of Obstruction lie
In the great common Woe of Poverty!
[Page 247] Whose Case is hardest, 'tis not quickly said,
Or theirs that work, or theirs that write for Bread:
The starveling Curate the fat Dean supplies,
One makes Divinity, and t'other buys.—
How sinks the needy Wretch beneath himself,
That sells his Parts to ministerial Pelf!
Yet such for State Necessities are fit,
For nothing helps a Villain out like Wit.
Sure of all Writers Poets should not lack,
'Twill spoil your Pegasus to make him hack;
The Muse expands her Wings before you ask;
She loves Employment, but she hates a Task:
To Dryden the proud Manager could say,
On pain of Thirst and Hunger, bring your Play;
The Play appears in Breach of ev'ry Rule,
And Want makes Dryden sometimes half a Fool.
Such from without the Causes that we find
Obstruct the Operations of the Mind;
Within too, Genius has it's Enemies;
And in ourselves too oft our Hindrance lies:
Our Passions, Vices, Follies, Wit misguide,
Intemp'rance, Anger, Hastiness, and Pride.
We said, Debauches will Oblivion bring,
And mix dull Lethe with the Muses' Spring.
The Mind is then most vig'rous when serene;
Crude are the half-form'd Dictates of the Spleen.
[Page 248] What then inspires the sharp, satyric Page?
Oft, fix'd Ill-nature, seldom, sudden Rage.
Some giddy Fancies ev'ry Object hit,
'Tis Folly to be prodigal of Wit!
The Verse is short-liv'd that is premature;
The Muse tho' never slow, should still be sure:
These are thy Honours, Blackmore, this thy Gain,
That Nonsense came in Vollies from thy Brain!
Conceit with empty Vapours puffs the Mind,
And makes an Author to his Errors blind;
'Tis the first Praise to make, the next to mend;
Go, court the Censure of an able Friend:
Procure the Sanction of a learned Few:
Who knows what Mortals may your Works review?
True Modesty for Wit may sometimes pass;
But every Coxcomb is, as such, an Ass:
The best Productions some Defects will stain,
And he affronts Mankind, who dares be vain!
—O! that my Muse Assistance could impart,
As far as Nature may be help'd by Art;
Ingenious Art is Nature's truest Friend,
And what God made, 'tis only she can mend.
For me, howe'er I covet lasting Fame,
And pant with Longings for a Poet's Name;
Yet let my Soul confess a nobler Aim!
Give me, kind Heaven, still higher Point to reach,
Give me to practice, what I strive to teach;
[Page 249] My standing Rules of daily Conduct be,
Faith, Honour, Justice, Candour, Charity;
Careless of false Reproach, or vain Applause,
Be Worth my Eulogy, and Truth my Cause;
O may I wield an independant Pen,
A Friend to Virtue, not a Tool to Men;
In Perseverance placing all my Glory,
While Tories, Whigs, and all Men call me TORY!
Warm in my Breast may patriot Passion glow;
Righteous Resentment of my Country's Woe:
With Voice and Heart for every may I stand
'Gainst Vermin that devour my native Land:
And in one Wish my Wishes center'd be,
That I may live to hail my Country free!
Give me this Fame kind Heav'n, and tho' my Song
Ranks me the meanest of the raptur'd Throng,
I shall enjoy a sweet Content; a Praise
That Shakespear's could not give, or Homer's Bays.




IN the following Poetical Paraphrase I have thought myself obliged to pursue the Track before me, and to deviate no farther from it, than might be clearly warranted by the Sense and plain Import of the Original.—The greatest Liberty I have taken is in the two last Stanzas, wherein I have ventured to mention some striking Circumstances ra­ther from the Authority of the Holy Scriptures, than that of the Hymn itself; a Liberty which I hope will be indulg'd to the Solemnity of the Occasion.


GOD of the Worlds! eternally supreme!
Hail! thou first Cause of All!
Our daily Worship, and our endless Theme,
Hear us, we call;
We lift our raptur'd Souls in lofty Lays,
And breathe sweet Incense of Religious Praise!
Creation bends before thy Sovereign Nod.
Where-e're the Sun his Lustre sheds,
And Ocean's spacious Bosom spreads,
Nations remote adore thy Name;
Thee all the Languages proclaim,
Thee, universal Sire! Thee everlasting God!
Legions of Angels, an unnumber'd Throng,
Puissant Pow'rs, that tread Heav'ns Chrystal Plain,
Immortal Seraphin begin the Song,
And full-wing'd Cherubs join the loudly-sounding Strain.
"Thee Holy! Holy! Holy! (aye they sing
Thee Holy! Holy! Holy! joyful ring
The Regions of unbounded Space)
"Thee God of Sabaoth we adore,
"Enjoy thy Goodness, dread thy Pow'r,
"And prostrate fall before thy Face!
"O celebrate eternal Jubilee;
"The radiant Orbs that round us glow,
"The pendant Earth that whirls below,
"Thy wondrous Might declare, and ample Majesty."
Lo! where the glorious, chosen Band,
The faithful Twelve, thy Missionaries stand!
Lo! where the goodly Prophet's Race,
Inspir'd Presagers of thy balmy Grace!
[Page 255] And there the noble Army that defied
The purple Tyrant's barb'rous Pride;
Bravely they took the blood-stain'd Field,
And Warriours without Spear or Shield,
The Champions of thy Faith in Triumph dy'd:
All, all to Thee glad Hallelujahs raise:
The Church below, the Church above,
Grateful chaunt their Songs of Love,
To Thee, high Argument of universal Praise.
Thee FATHER, Excellence of Majesty,
Thee Fountain of eternal Deity,
With chearful Voice, and dulcet Sounds they sing;
Next thy all-honour'd Son, MESSIAH great,
And next the peaceful, gracious PARACLETE,
Comfort's perpetual Source, Joy's unexhausted Spring.
Awake; awake again the vocal String,
The Great MESSIAH sing,
Creator of the Worlds, and Glory's King;
[Page 256] Hail! thou begotten of the Father, hail!
Essence that ne'er began, and ne'er shall fail!
Yet didst thou leave thy bright Abode
To take a mortal Birth,
To ransom the rebellious Sons of Earth,
A Virgin's Offspring, and a Saviour God!
See! on the Cross in Agony of Pain
The God of Nature dies!
He dies, O Death, to crush thy fell Domain:
See him victorious rise!
See Satan, captive Lion, roars in vain,
And sullen bites his adamantine Chain.
Lift up your heads, ye Faithful, and behold
Where Heav'n unbars her Gates of everlasting Gold.
What Floods of Glory break from yonder Throne?
While the paternal Brightness spread
Belov'd MESSIAH, round thy Head,
Crowns thy stupendous Toil, and Conquest greatly won.
Hereafter shall the Nations meet,
Before thy awful Judgment-Seat:
[Page 257] Propitious lend thy kindly Aid,
Nor let thy Blood be vainly shed.
O may our Souls exalted be
With Hope of blest Eternity!
Our Names among the Saints enroll'd,
In sacred Characters of Gold!
Hear, hear thy People, save thy Race,
Sons of Adoption, Heirs of Grace;
O thou! our Governour, and Guide;
Our true Ambition, humble Pride,
To thee the Tribute due we pay,
With rising, and with setting Day;
And will thy filial Deity adore,
When Nature's Date is out, and Time shall be no more.
O thou, Distres's Anchor, Terror's Cure,
Prepare us for that all-tremendous Hour,
When thou shalt come in Fullness of thy Pow'r:
Let thy bright Beams of Mercy shine,
With Infl'ence on our Souls benign,
[Page 258] And ever keep us from Pollution pure.
What Clangours cleave my started Ear?
What Noises rend th'affrighted Air?
What livid Meteors in the Aether play?
The World's deep-laid Foundations shake,
The Graves are burst, the Dead awake:
It was the Trump of God! It is the Judgment Day!
He comes; the Godhead comes; behold from far
He comes triumphant in his Cloud-wrapt Car:
While twice ten Thousand Angels cope the Sky,
The Harbingers of his dread Majesty!
The Stars are dropp'd, the Sun dissolves away,
It is—Alas! 'tis neither Night nor Day:
The burning Basis of MESSIAH's Throne,
Spontaneous Splendour beams, a Glory of it's own!
Look, look, the fatal Covers part,
The Book is open; melt my Heart:
Whither, ah! whither shall I flee
In this my Soul's Extremity?
Ah! whither but to thee?
My King, my God, my Hope, my Stay,
O save me this all-dreadful Day,
And let Mankind, and Angels see,
That blessed is the Man who puts his Trust in Thee.
We praise thee, O God: We acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the Earth doth worship thee: The Father everlasting.
[Page 254] To thee all Angels cry aloud: The Heavens and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubin, and Seraphin continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Sabaoth.
Heaven, and Earth are full of the Majesty of thy Glory.
The glorious Company of the Apostles, praise thee.
The goodly Fellowship of the Prophets, praise thee.
[Page 255] The noble Army of Martyrs, praise thee!
The holy Church throughout all the World, doth acknow­ledge thee;
The FATHER of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honourable, true, and only Son:
Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
[Page 256] Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver Man; thou didst not abhor the Virgin's Womb.
When thou hadst overcome the Sharpness of Death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all Believers.
Thou sittest at the right Hand of God; in the Glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge.
[Page 257] We therefore pray thee, help thy Servants; whom thou hast re­deemed with thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints, in Glory everlasting.
O Lord, save thy People: and bless thine Heritage.
Govern them: and lift them up for ever.
Day by day, we magnify thee.
And we worship thy Name: ever World without End.
Vouchsafe, O Lord: to keep us this Day without Sin.
O Lord, have Mercy upon us: have Mercy upon us.
[Page 258] O Lord, let thy Mercy lighten upon us: as our Trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted: let me never be confounded.



I Have often read with much Pleasure the in­genious Mr. Mason's Dramatic Poem, entitled Elfrida, together with the preparatory Letters with which that Gentleman introduces it to the Public. This Piece is professedly written on the Model of the antient Greek Tragedy; and though I flatter myself, the Objections I have to the Prin­ciples laid down in those Letters are not removed by this much-labour'd Attempt, yet I will readily own the Design is executed with a skilful hand, and in some respects deserves the Attention of the present Writers of the English Drama. I did not therefore undertake this Argument with any Inclination to differ from a Person of his known [Page 262] Taste, and greatly admired Abilities, but purely in Vindication of the Theory I have had the Ho­nour to deliver in a Course of Lectures to the UNIVERSITY of OXFORD, in which, with a par­ticular View to the Justification of Shakespeare, I have ventured to advance and defend a System in some material Points inconsistent with that un­der present Consideration. Neither am I unaware of the great Disadvantage I have to contend against, when I oppose a celebrated Writer, whose Sentiments are countenanc'd by the Prac­tise of the antient Poets, and whose Pen is drawn under the Banner of Aristotle himself: A Disad­vantage, which the Usage of later Writers, and the almost concurrent Voice of modern Criticism *perhaps will be thought little enough to coun­terbalance. However, as in Matters of Taste we ought only, I apprehend, to appeal to the genuine Dictates of Good-sense, Reason and Nature (which an implicit Veneration for any Name Antient or Modern may possibly prevent our regarding) so, if Prejudices on both Sides were removed, it would probably appear that the Victory is rather to be divided, than determined, and that with­out depreciating the real Merit and Excellency [Page 263] of the antient Poets, we may yet safely defend the Principles on which the Moderns reject their Writings as the absolute and everlasting Standard of Dramatic Composition: I mean principally with regard to the three great Unities of Action, Time, and Place.—What I have to say therefore upon these Subjects I submit without farther Apo­logy to the Judgment of the intelligent and im­partial Reader, advertising him only in this Place, that he is not to expect a Methodical Treatise of elaborate Criticism, but only a Train of occasional Thoughts and Reflections, as they occur'd to me upon the Perusal of the Poem of Elfrida, and the Letters prefix'd to it.

Had I intended, says Mr. Mason in his first Letter, (for I chuse to repeat his own Words to prevent Misapprehension) to give an exact Copy of the antient Drama, your objections to the present Poem would be unanswerable. But my design was much less confin'd. I meant only to pursue the antient Method so far as is probable a Greek Poet, were he alive, would now do, in order to adapt himself to the Genius of our Times, and the Character of our Tragedy. According to this Notion, every Thing was to be allow'd to the present Taste, which Nature and Aristotle could possibly dispense with; and nothing of Intrigue or refinement was to be ad­mitted, at which antient Judgment could rea­sonably [Page 264] take Offence. Good Sense, as well as Antiquity, prescribed an adherence to the three great Unities; these therefore were strictly ob­served.

'Tis evident from this Passage, the ingenious Author would have us consider the Laws of Ari­stotle, and the Practice of Antiquity relating to the great Unities, as manifestly founded in the first Principles of Nature and Good Sense; and ac­cordingly in order to adapt himself to the present Taste no farther than might be justly allowable, we find him deviating from the Rules and Prac­tice of Antiquity but in two Instances; First in the Choice of a Story, in which Love is the pre­dominant Passion, and Secondly, in which Cha­racters are represented as nearly approaching to private ones as Tragic Dignity would permit. Upon our Author's Hypothesis indeed these are perhaps almost the only Deviations that could be allow'd him; and the Point must at once be given up, if the Theory be true which is here in so positive a manner advanc'd. For Satisfaction there­fore in this Matter it may be useful in the first Place to observe, that the Action of the antient Drama, when brought to the Perfection in which Aristotle found it, was so strictly One, and the Fable so absolutely Simple, and almost totally ab­horrent from Incident, at least from what Mr. Mason calls Contrivance, Refinement and Intrigue, [Page 265] that the Constitution of the Drama did not so properly require, as suppose and imply a corre­spondent Unity of Time and Place. Nay, usually we find among the antient Greek Poets the en­tire Action of the Drama was brought within the Compass of the Representation itself. And in­deed if exact Nature and strict Propriety are in­dispensably to be the Objects of the Dramatic Poet's Attention upon all Occasions, this must be allow'd to be the most perfect Model of Tragedy; and consequently Aristotle himself seems to have indulg'd the Tragic Muse too far, when in con­formity with the sometime Practice of the Greek Poets, He has prescrib'd a Day as the due and regular Boundary of all Dramatic Action. For certainly a Day cannot really be compriz'd within the Space of five Hours any more than a Year, or any precise Duration whatsoever. The Truth is, Poetry was the Mother of Criticism, not Cri­ticism of Poetry, and accordingly this great Phi­losopher form'd his simple Notions and Rules upon the best Plan of the Drama then extant; but I cannot think it will by any Means follow that those Rules are in all Points of perpetual and necessary Obligation: For why was it not in it­self as agreeable to Nature and Reason for the Poets to admit Contrivance and Policy, Design and Intrigue into the Constitution of the Fable, as it could possibly be to confine themselves to the [Page 266] Representation of the most simple and uniform Action; especially as they hereby improv'd, and heighten'd that Perplexity, and Distress, which are the great Sources of Delight in Dramatic En­tertainment? I say this Latitude of Design is not in itself unreasonable or unnatural, because 'tis not to be dissembled that the Liberty contended for would indeed be, as it has been, in the Hands of the unskilful and injudicious, an Inlet to Con­fusion and Absurdity. However it will not surely be denied that there is in Fact a very material Difference between Incidents, and the Variety of Designs and Contrivances that occasion them, and mere Bustle and Business; in his contempt of which Word Mr. Mason seems willing to involve the whole System of Dramatic Intrigue. The general Theory I would therefore advance is this, (for I would not be understood to assert it admits of no Exception) that it is not barely the Privi­lege, but often even the Duty of the Dramatic Poet to adapt himself to the Vicissitudes of Public Taste, and to represent human Life, and human Actions as he finds them; and if in Pursuance of this Design, he may think it expedient to make Choice of a Subject of such a complicated Nature as cannot with Ease and Consistency be dispatch'd within the statutable Limits of Time, and Place, I cannot see why we may not indulge him with a proportionable Allowance of each, in order to [Page 267] prevent infinitely greater Absurdities and Incon­sistencies than that Allowance can possibly pro­duce, that is, those confus'd and precipitate Action. And all this while the Extensiveness of the Design, provided it be executed with Judg­ment in other Respects, deserves rather to be look'd upon as an Excellence and an Improve­ment upon the old Model, than to be placed to the Account either of the Ignorance or the Inat­tention of the Writer; of which more hereafter.

There is that Sovereign Quality in Poetry (to use the Words of the ingenious Author of the Notes on the Epistle to Augustus) which the Poet (Horace) in the following passage,
Ille per extensum funem mihi posse videtur
Ire Poeta, meum qui pectus inaniter angit,
Irritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implet,
Ut Magnus; et modo me Thebis, modo ponit Athenis:
considers as a kind of magic virtue, which transports the Spectator into all Places, and makes him, occasionally, assume all Persons. The Resemblance holds also in this, that it's effects are instantaneous and irresistible. Rules, Art, Decorum, all fall before it. It goes di­rectly to the Heart, and gains all purposes at once. Hence it is, that speaking of a real Genius, possessed of this commanding Power, Horace in the Lines above quoted, Ille per extensum, &c. pronounces him emphatically [Page 268] The Poet; it being more especially this Pro­perty, which, of itself, discovers the true Dramatist, and secures the success of his per­formance, not only without the assistance of Art, but in direct Opposition to it's clearest Dictates.

This Passage which I have quoted verbatim (abating a few Expressions in it) exactly coincides with my sentiment upon this Head; and the Ap­plication which the Author makes of it in Favour of Corneille, may, I presume, be made with equal Propriety at least in Behalf of our Shakespeare.—I am sensible all this while that this great Prince and Father of the English Stage is supposed by Mr. Mason to have shewn a total Disregard of all the Rules of the Drama, in Compliance merely with the Taste of the Times. I must own, I could have been glad to have seen fewer Things supposed upon this Subject. I will take the Liberty like­wise to suppose that this great Poet saw no legal or necessary Restraint upon the Force and Impetuo­sity of his Genius with Regard to the Unities of Action, Time and Place; that he considered the Laws relating to them as merely local and tem­porary, well adapted indeed to the simple Genius of antient Tragedy, but in themselves and the Reason of Things dispensable upon the Supposition of a Dramatic Plan of a more extensive and com­plicated Nature. His Opinion might be (like the [Page 269] current one mentioned in Mr. Mason's second Letter) that ‘the strict Adherence to the Unities restrains the Genius of the Poet; by the Simpli­city of it's Conduct diminishes the Pathos of the Fable; and by the Admission of a continued Chorus prevents that agreeable Embarrass, which awakens our Attention, and interests our Passions.’—However, that the Nature of Dra­matic Poetry will not only admit of a more ex­tensive Model than the Tragedies of the Greek Poets furnish us with, but is also improveable by the same, if it cannot be proved, may at least I think be inferr'd even from the Doctrine of Aristotle himself. This great Critic, it is very well known, calls the Fable the Soul of Tragedy; with a manifest Eye to which Expression, Mr. Dryden observes that Aristotle places the Fable first, ‘non quoad Dignitatem, sed quoad Funda­mentum. And indeed we need only refer the Reader to the simple Arguments of Aeschylus, and even of Euripides and Sophocles for the most part too, to convince him that the Fable upon the antient Plan of the Drama cannot properly be said to be the Soul of the Poem in any other Sense, than as it is the Subject of it. Nay, this is in a great Measure the Case even of those antient Tra­gedies which are of the implex Kind, and, as such, esteemed most excellent by our Philosopher. One main Argument used by him for the Priority [Page 270] of the Fable in the constituent Parts of Tragedy is taken from the Consideration of the sud­den Revolutions and Discoveries, (the * [...] as he calls them) which distinguish the Tragedies we are speaking of from those of the simplest Kind. These are the means, says he, by which Tragedy more par­ticularly captivates and engages ( [...]) the Mind and Affections.

Now if this Doctrine be applied to the modern Drama, it seems to me not only an Apology for, but in Effect a Recommendation of the Incidents and Revolutions, which are infinitely more nu­merous upon the British Stage than they were upon that of Athens, and are so offensive to squeamish Judgments; unless it can be proved that these under the Direction of a good Judgment do not contribute to, or rather constitute that Va­riety which Aristotle plainly refers to in the Pas­sage quoted; or that such Variety in modern Plays has not a proportionable Influence on the Passions, upon which, as Mr. Mason rightly has observed, it is the Business of the Tragic Muse "directly to strike."—If therefore the Fable be the Soul of Tragedy, I will venture to assert, there is more Soul in a good modern Tragedy, than in the best antient one; and that Mr. Dryden might very properly, and therefore gravely call secret [Page 271] Intrigues the Beauties of our modern Stage. Indeed that great Man in some occasional Re­marks he made on Mr. Rymer's Reflections on the Tragedies of Fletcher, &c. makes no scruple to give the Preference to our English Poets before the Antients under this very Article of Enquiry: ‘Next shew, says he, in what An­tient Tragedy was deficient; for Example, in the Narrowness of it's Plots, and Fewness of Persons, and try whether that be not a Fault in the Greek Poets; and whether their Excel­lency was so great, when the Variety was vi­sibly so little; or whether what they did was not very easy to be done.’

In Opposition to this the following Words of the ingenious Author of the Notes &c. already referred to, may possibly be urged. ‘An Unity, (says he, speaking of the two Dramas) and even Simplicity in the Conduct of the Fable is a Perfection in each. For the Course of the Affections is diverted and weakened by the In­tervention of what we call a double Plot; and even by a Multiplicity of subordinate Events, though tending to a common End; and, of Persons, though all of them, some Way, con­cerned in promoting it. The like Considera­tion shews the Observance of this Rule to be essential in just Comedy. For when the Atten­tion is split on so many interfering Objects, we are not at leisure to observe, nor do we fully [Page 272] enter into the Truth of Representation in any of them; the Sense of Humour, as of the Pathos, depending very much on the continued and undiverted Operation of it's Object upon us.’ But in answer to this, I will venture to assert in my Turn, that the Intervention of what we call a Double-Plot, a competent Number (not Multipli­city) of subordinate Events tending to a common End, and of Persons all of them some way con­cern'd in promoting it, do not weaken, but ease and relieve the Course of the Affections; and also, that in Comedy, the Attention is really quicken'd even by being split on so many interfering Ob­jects;—that different and opposite Characters set off and illustrate each other;—and that we are enabled by a proper Variety of Personages more precisely to observe and fully to enter into The Truth of Representation in all of them: And con­sequently that a Comedy with a Double-Plot art­fully conducted, and fill'd judiciously, not cramm'd with Incidents and Intrigue, in which the several Persons of the Drama have room to exercise, and display themselves, attains it's End, which is the Rotation of Characters, and their specific Differ­ences, (as this Author well observes) more effec­tually, than the simple, and contracted Comedy of the Antients; but this Matter I have handled more at large *elsewhere, and in the mean time [Page 273] let these respective Opinions be left to the Decision of Fact and Experience.—To return to Mr. Mason.

‘I should be loth indeed to see Incidents, Bustle, and Business supply the Place of Simpli­city, Nature and Pathos.’ which, 'tis not to be denied, is the Case in some modern Performances. But that the former are likewise very consistent with the latter, and that such Consistency and Union is one great Point of Dramatic Composi­tion, as calculated for the rational Entertainment of an Audience, may be exemplified in many il­lustrious Instances; particularly in the Tragedies of Shakespear. It is true this inimitable Poet, is not so greatly remarkable for Depth of Plot and Intricacy of Contrivance, as for the Historical Con­tinuation of his Design, (which, by the way, is in­deed carried to an unreasonable Length in some of his Plays) but however, as such Historical Con­tinuation necessarily implies a great Variety of In­cidents and Revolutions, it is fairly reducible to the same Head of Disquisition. Shakespear indeed, for the most part, form'd his Dramatic Plans from History, or Romance, and therefore has no ex­traordinary Claim to the Glory of Invention, either as to the Subject of his Tragedies, or the Conduct of his Plots. His Excellencies, for the most part, are purely Poetical. But this is far from being the Case of all our Dramatic Writers. The [Page 274] Ground-work of the greatest part of our English Tragedies is indeed Historical; but the Superstruc­ture is their own. The whole Business of Plot, Intrigue, and Contrivance, is generally the Work of the Poets; and a Work, when executed with Art and Judgment, that shews them to be supe­riour at least to their Forefathers of Greece in the ample Field of Invention (the first Point in Poetry): and therefore I should think some of Mr. Mason's Expressions, relating to the kind Assistance of the Violin to the Distress of the Hero or the Poet on the British Stage, may in some measure be retorted upon himself, and those whose Cause he espouses. For though an inter­mediate Space between the Acts may be requisite for the Purposes of the Modern Drama, and even to save Appearances of the Probability of the De­sign, yet I can by no means admit these pruden­tial Pauses to be Proofs in themselves of the Di­stress or Barrenness of the Writer. Methinks to the Relief of these, the antient Chorus seems more peculiarly adapted, when the Drama, by reason of the Scantiness, or if you please Simplicity of it's Matter, and the Narrowness of it's Plots, stood in absolute Need of such seasonable and friendly Interposition: But to the Chorus I am to pay my Compliments again by and by.—

It should be observ'd here, I am supposing all this while that, notwithstanding the Extensiveness [Page 275] of Design in modern Tragedies, a due, and even scrupulous Regard is to be had to Consistency and Uniformity of Plot and Action; That there is to be but one grand central Point as it were, in which the several Underplots, Incidents, Turns, and Vicissitudes of the Drama are finally to ter­minate; and that though the great Business of the Poet under this Article be to perplex and embar­rass his Audience, and to play with their Passions at pleasure, yet he is to take Care that the Un­ravelling of the whole, and the several Parts, be easy and natural, and the Labyrinths of his Plots such as, according to Mr. Addison's Expression upon another Occasion, may be justly deem'd a regular Confusion. If proper Care and Caution be taken as to these particulars, I confess I am apt to look upon the Transgression of the Letter of the old Laws of Tragedy as Offences rather against the Custom and Usage of Antiquity, than the Dictates of Reason and Nature; and, as great a Veneration as I have for the antient Poets, cannot possibly think I am maintaining an Argument to the prejudice of their real Merit, by endeavouring to assert the Liberty of modern Poets, and to rescue the Drama from Aristotle's * Magna Charta of Restraint.

To speak freely, I must own farther, I cannot subscribe to a Theory that condemns at one Dash [Page 276] almost every Compliance with Public Taste, and the Genius of a People, as mere Complaisance and Servility: I believe a Greek Poet now alive would adapt himself to the Taste of the Times in more Instances than Mr. Mason would allow; and that these have been occasionally more or less consulted and indulged by all Poets in all Ages. Not that I am of Mr. Southern's Opinion (See his Preface to the Fatal Marriage) that every reason­able Man will, and ought to govern in the Plea­sures he pays for; for in such Case Hamlet must walk off the Stage to make room for Harlequin.—I would neither servilely indulge Public Taste, nor yet self-sufficiently despise it.—I am willing upon this Occasion once more to shelter myself under the Authority of Dryden.

One reason of that Success (says he in the above-cited Remarks) is in my Opinion this, that Shakespear and Fletcher have written to the Genius of the Age and Nation in which they lived: For though Nature, as he (Mr. Rymer) objects, is the same in all Places, and Reason too the same; yet the Climate, the Age, the Dispositions of the People to whom a Poet writes, may be so different, that what pleas'd the Greeks, would not satisfy an English Au­dience.

And if they proceeded upon a Foundation of truer Reason to please the Athenians, than [Page 277] Shakespear and Fletcher to please the English, it only shows that the Athenians were a more judicious People: But the Poet's Business is certainly to please the Audience.

Whether our English Audience have been pleased hitherto with Acorns, as he calls it, or with Bread, is the next Question; that is, whether the Means which Shakespear and Fletcher have used in their Plays to raise those Passions before-named, be better applied to the Ends by the Greek Poets, than by them; and perhaps we shall not grant him this wholly. Let it be yielded, that a Writer is not to run down with the Stream, or to please the People by their own usual Methods, but rather to [...] form form their Judgments; it still remains to be proved, that our Theatre needs this total Re­formation.—The Faults which he h [...]s found in their Designs, are rather wittily aggravated in many Places, than reasonably urg'd; and as much may be returned on the Greeks, by one who were as witty as himelf:

Mr. Dryden is here compa [...]ng the Ancients with the Moderns, in regard to the Conduct and Command of the two great Tragical Passions, Pity and Terrour, and the Comparison concludes to the Advantage of the latter.

A little farther he proceeds thus, ‘To con­clude thereore: if the Plays of the Ancients are [Page 278] more correctly plotted, ours are more beauti­fully written; and if we can raise Passions as high on worse Foundations, it shews our Ge­nius in Tragedy is greater, for in all other Parts of it, the English have manifestly excelled them.’

For the Fable itself, 'tis in the English more adorned with Episodes, and larger than in the Greek Poets, consequently more diverting; for if the Action be but one, and that plain, with­out any Counterturn of Design or Episode, (i. e.) Under-plot, how can it be so pleasing as that of the English, which have both Under­plot, and a turn'd Design, which keeps the Audience in Expectation of the Catastrophe? w [...]ereas in the Greek Poets, we see through the who [...] Design at first.

I do lot use this as an accurate Piece of Cri­ticism, nor would be understood to oppose the Authority of Mr. Dryden, to the Ipse dixit of Aristotle in general, who has certainly a right to be heard first, in critical as well as philosophical Matters, with a proportionable Consideration of the Age he lived in: The only Point in Debate is, whether he can be supposed in the Nature of Things, from the clear Idea he had form'd of the Greek Drama, to be qualified to give Poetical Laws to all Posterity.—Public Taste, it is pro­bable, (as Mr. Dryden intimates) [...]ries in dif­ferent [Page 279] Countries, according to the Nature of the Climate, and the Constitution of the People: However, there are some certain, fix'd, and ac­knowledged Principles of Good Sense, Nature and Reason, that are, as Mr. Rymer observes, equally and universally, in all Ages and Nations, at least all civilized ones, the same: I believe there has been hardly any Age so illiterate, whimsical, or corrupted in this Sense, as to explode these stand­ing Principles; such for Instance, among many others, are the following: That the Drama is to be the true Image and Representation of Nature: That this Representation can only be exhibited under an infinite Variety of Actions, Designs, Characters, Manners, Sentiments and Expressions: That with regard to all, and each of these, Pro­priety, Consistency, and Probability are most ex­actly to be observed: That the Motives to all Actions, the Springs of all Passions, the Grounds of all Prejudices, the Peculiarities of all Tempers, have one common Foundation, and are produc­tive of their correspondent Effects, in all Times and Places.—The Knowlege of these Things is the Knowlege of Nature, in which the great Arcana of all Poetry, and particularly Dramatic, are reposited. To these, therefore, it is the Dra­matic Poets Care most heedfully to attend; and to these he may attend, in Fact, very consistently, with a Disregard of the Laws of the old Drama, [Page 280] as might be instanced in many of our best Mo­dern Plays, and in almost all of Shakespear's.—It is, indeed, nothing but this Attention that has so eminently raised and preserved the Reputation of these latter, notwithstanding the Poet's absolute Neglect, or rather Defiance of the great Unities contended for as essential to the Drama. And 'tis as certain, that where this Attention is wanting, either through Ignorance or Carelessness, the most regular Observance of these Unities will be found utterly insufficient for the true Purposes of Stage-Poetry.

For these, and the like Reasons, I think one may venture to conclude, that the Practice of the Antients is by no means a necessary Standard of Dramatic writing, and that the Laws relating to the several Unities of Action, Time, and Place, though they do indeed constitute a particular Form, or Species of the Drama, (and we will grant the most exact too) yet are by no means essential to the Nature of it. Whatever is so, cannot be violated or infringed without Contra­diction to the common Judgment of Mankind, and disgusting at least, the more rational Part of an Audience. And accordingly every Defect in the Particulars above-mentioned, is always re­ceived with proportionable Marks of Disappro­bation. But the Case is quite different, in respect of the Liberties Shakespear has taken, which [Page 281] therefore, I can never think absurd or unnatural in themselves. And I am the more confirmed in this Opinion, because Johnson, Fletcher, and many others, who were confessedly acquainted with the Genius of ancient Tragedy, and, generally speaking, not only affected Art and Regularity in their Writings, but even depended principally upon these for the Success of them, did never­theless, on many Occasions, hold themselves free from the Obligation of the Laws at present in Question.

But herein, our modern Refiners will say they judged wrong; and as to Shakespear, if he has escaped the Severity of Censure upon this Head, it must be ascribed wholly to that Complaisance, which every Generation has thought due to his Excellencies in the higher Beauties of Poetry.—Now this Answer, (and something to this Effect must be the Answer) does itself suppose, that the most punctual Observance of the old Laws, has no Connection with the great Beauties of Poetry, but is only at best the mechanical Part of the Drama: However, 'tis presum'd that the great Name of Shakespear, scorns to be protected by the Complaisance of his Countrymen; and that the Liberties he has taken, are very far from being indefensible.—For is it more improper and irrational, or does it require less Force of of Genius, and Knowlege of Nature, to trace as [Page 282] it were a Passion from it's first Rise, through it's Progress, and to it's final Issue, as that of Jea­lousy in Othello, or of Ambition in Macbeth, than to represent it only at a stated Period, and at a particular Crisis? Or, if the Poet thinks proper to shift the Scene from a Palace to a Heath, or from Venice to Cyprus, is it at all more inconvenient or impossible for his Audience to attend him, than it was to give him the Meeting, and suppose them­selves in the Place where he laid his first Scene? It does not at all appear to me, that a greater Degree of implicit Faith is required in one In­stance than in the other: For he may with equal Probability do both, UT MAGUS, as has been hinted above, and he can do neither but in Qua­lity of the same. Times and Places are in a great Measure at the Command of a Genius; and the Argument drawn from the absolute Unna­turalness of every Breach of exact and precise Unity with regard to them, if it proves any Thing, proves too much; it will prove the Unna­turalness of the whole Dramatic Apparatus; it will demonstrate the Impossibility of exhibiting Woods, Fields, Castles, and Towns, in a single Room, and the Absurdity of giving an Ear to a Company of Fidlers, before or after the Solemnity of a Council, or the Tumult of a Battle. In short, it seems to me a most ridiculous Hypercriticism, to object to Improprieties which are more or less [Page 283] inseparable from the Constitution of the Drama, and to talk of Inconsistencies and Impossibilities, where all is confessedly a Delusion. If the Que­stion indeed were, whether of the two be the more artificial Model of Tragedy, that of the Ancients, or the Moderns, I would make no Scruple to give up the Argument: But a regular and exact Model is one Thing, and an excellent Play is another; it is one Thing to allow a rea­sonable Latitude to a great Genius, and another to prescribe a Plan to a common Poet.

Were the antient Greek Tragedians defective then in Point of Genius, it will be ask'd? Very far from it.—However, I will venture to assert, that the Simplicity, (I had almost said Poverty) of their Fables, is by no means their striking Beauty; that these would have appeared to greater Advantage, had they taken greater Liberties; that neither Nature nor Reason restrained them to the precise Observation of the three Unities, and that the Custom of Antiquity in this Case, under the Abilities of a great Master, would (to use the Words of Shakespear) be more frequently ho­noured in the Breach, than the Observance.

But what if, after all, some Precedents even from Antiquity itself, will in a certain Measure warrant the Non-observance of the great Rules in Dispute? Euripides and Sophocles, who confessedly improved the more simple Plan of their Prede­cessor [Page 284] Aeschylus, and are supposed to have brought the Drama to it's State of Perfection, do not superstitiously, and without Exception, adhere to their own general System: Witness first, the Hecuba of Euripides; in which there are appa­rently two distinct, and almost unconnected Ac­tions; at least, out of the two great Incidents of that Tragedy, two distinct Actions might have been plan'd; for either the Death of Polixena, or the Destruction of Polymnestor, might, and strictly speaking ought, to have been the simple Subject of that Drama. If it be said that both these Ac­tions (or Incidents) were no more than were suf­ficient or necessary to exemplify the Distresses of Hecuba, and to illustrate the Character of that unhappy Princess, this is saying, in effect, what we have already said, in Defence of the compli­cated Plan of modern Dramatists; and so,

Hanc veniam petimusque damusque vicissim.

Again, the Ajax of Sophocles ought to have ended with it's natural Catastrophe, the Death of this Hero; instead of which another Action, pro­perly speaking, commences, arising from the vio­lent Contest between Teucer and Agamemnon con­cerning the forementioned Hero's Right of Burial; a Contest, which, if the Poet in the present Case had studied, or even regarded absolute Simplicity and Uniformity, he should have reserved for the Groundwork of another Tragedy.—And further [Page 285] the Trachiniae of the same excellent Author is manifestly defective in Point of Unity of Time; of which much more must naturally be sup­posed to have lapsed between the Departure of Hyllus to inquire after his Father, and his Return to Trachin than the Letter of the Dramatic Law allowed him.—These Defects and Irregularities I have never seen taken Notice of, and much less ob­jected to these justly admired Writers. And though we could bring no other Examples to the same Purpose than the above cited, or however none so obvious as these, yet 'tis apprehended a single Instance of this Nature is of very considerable Weight and Consequence in the present Contro­versy; and will warrant us in determining that the strict Laws of the Drama were not of indis­pensable Obligation, even in the Judgment of the Antients themselves.—Indeed if they are, the Merit of a Poet should be tried chiefly at least by them; and therefore when Mr. Mason tells us that Shakespear ought, for his other Virtues, to be exempted from common Rules, he is unjustifi­ably candid and indulgent to him; for sure he ought by no Means to be exempted, if such Rules are founded in the indispensable Laws and first Principles of Nature and good Sense. If he is fun­damentally and essentially ridiculous, a thousand in­feriour Beauties will not excuse him. Common Rules are therefore upon certain important Consi­derations dispensable; and if so, Shakespear's Beau­ties do not so properly excuse, as acquit him.

[Page 286] If the judicious Reader will apply here, by the Way, some of the foregoing Remarks to the Case of Tragi-Comedy, he will be able perhaps to ac­count not only for the Toleration, but also gra­cious Reception of so motley a Production upon the English Stage. For though Shakespear, with his Contemporaries and many Successors, did in such Pieces undeniably humour the public Taste to their own Discredit, yet 'tis to be observed, that the grand Arcana of Nature above intimated might be scrupulously attended to even in this heterogeneous Composition; and accordingly when the Tragic and Comic Representation was each excellent in it's Kind, it is no Wonder that the Bulk of an Audience should overlook the manifest Impropriety of the Coalition, or that the more judicious Part should forgive it for the Sake of the fundamental and essential Excellencies of the re­spective Actions and Representations. It is plainly for this Reason that the best Tragi-Comedies of Shakespear and others are received with general Applause at this very Day; the Ground of Com­plaint against such Tragic and Comic Union be­ing really not so much that it offends the Judg­ment, as that it improperly divides the Attention. Two separate Plots, and distinct Actions do this to a ridiculous Degree; but in one and the same Action absolute Uniformity is not essential either to the Tragic or Comic Drama. For tho' the [Page 287] Pathos be the Characteristic of Tragedy, and Hu­mour of Comedy, as well ancient as modern, yet the former will admit of Characters of Pleasantry under certain Regulations, and the latter is fre­quently known to abound with Circumstances of very affecting, tho' domestic Distress; of which many Instances might, if need were, be on both sides produced, in the several Dramas both of Antients and Moderns. Nor does such occasional and moderate Reciprocation confound or destroy the different Genius, Nature, and End, of the two Species. And it was probably owing to some injudicious Writer's Misapplication of this Truth, and his drawing undue and false Consequences from it, and even in his own Imagination im­proving it, that either the Name, or the Consti­tution of Tragi-Comedy did ever subsist. For the Reasons why Plautus calls his Amphitrion a Tragi-Comedy, are of a Nature entirely different from this. However, the great Objection to this Form of Dramatic Composition is certainly, as has been said, that it unsuitably divides the Attention, not that it lessens it, or by exciting many different Pas­sions in the same Space of Time checks the Force of any single one. That the Attention in a very uniform and regular Play, may be divided without being lessened, we have already observed; and indeed, if this were not the Case, absolute Uni­formity and Simplicity must be really essential to [Page 288] the two Species of the Drama, and every reci­procal Participation will be proportionably, to the Degree of it, absurd. But to assert this, would be talking against Reason, Experience, and the not uncommon Practice of the best Poets. Is any Man less mov'd by the Delicacy and Tenderness of Lord Townley, upon his Separation from his Wife, on Account of the Mirth that was before excited in him, by the ridiculous Ignorance, and Rusticity of Sir Francis Wronghead? Do we less interest ourselves in the Fate of the unhappy In­diana, because we were diverted by the cox­combical Pertness of Mr. Thomas? Should we be more affected by the pathetical Complaints of Romeo, if they were not contrasted in the Buf­foonery of Mercutio? Or, to refer the Reader to a Play or two written directly upon the Tragi­comic Plan, does the iniquitous Drollery of the Spanish Friar abate our Concern for the Distresses of Torrismond and Leonora? Or, do the comical Rhodomontades, and Humours of Falstaff and his Associates, take off our Attention from the Bravery of Prince Henry or Hotspur, &c. &c. at the Battle of Shrewsbury.—I am very far from contending for this Mixture, not of opposite, but indeed con­tradictory Characters, in the same Drama, and much less for the Form of Tragi-Comedy itself: Proper and due Uniformity admits of sufficient Variety, and though it be not essential to the [Page 289] Drama, is no doubt a great Beauty in it: The most popular of the Plays I have mentioned, are not the better for their Medley of Characters; but all this while, let the Fault or Impropriety be placed in a fair Light, and ascrib'd to it's true Cause, which is the real, though nice Connection, between the Genius of Tragedy, and that of Co­medy, and the extreme Difficulty of precisely de­termining how far, or in what Degrees and Pro­portions the one may assume the Qualities and Properties of the other.

But to return to my Subject:—The simple Constitution of the ancient Drama, has indeed some Advantages over the more complicated one of succeeding Ages, but still such as are abun­dantly more than ballanc'd by those of the latter. The frequent shifting of Scenes, for Instance, though it does not offend the Judgment, is yet disgusting to the Eye of the Spectator, and so far the Continuation of one and the same Scene, is a peculiar Beauty, and Propriety. But all this while, to this Beauty and local Propriety, many other more important Points of Probability are too often sacrific'd. This is, more or less, I be­lieve, the Case of all strictly uniform Tragedies and Comedies, but evidently, at least of some of our best English Comedies that have been written on the old Dramatic Plan; in which, notwithstand­ing the Unity of Action, so much Business is [Page 290] transacted, so much Intrigue carried on, by so many different Personages, in one single Spot of Ground, as is utterly incredible; in which Case the Poet really offends against Reason, Nature, and good Sense, purely to save the Appearance of doing so: Indeed if the Unities are essential to the Drama, the utmost Simplicity will of Course be a Perfection in it; and consequently many of the most regular Compositions of our Comic Poets (as the Way of the World, and the Double Dealer of Congreve) will be found to be infinitely their worst Productions: So ambitious have some been of improving the Model of the antient Drama, and yet so cautious at the same Time of taking such Liberties as were absolutely necessary for those Improvements.

After all, Discretion is to be a general Rule even in the Use of Liberty. I would neither fetter the Dramatic Muse, nor yet let her run wild; Deviations from the strict Laws of Anti­quity should be made not affectedly and at ran­dom, but with a View to Beauties of a higher Nature; not for the Ease of the Poet, but to the Advantage of the Poem. I would not vindicate Shakespear himself in every Instance of his Trans­gression. To sum up all that need be said upon this Point in a few Words; the old Laws of Aristotle are in my Opinion very proper Regula­tions and Restraints for an indifferent Poet, but ought not to be the Shackles of a good one.

[Page 291] The other great Point of Difference between the antient and modern Drama, is the Disuse of the Chorus in the latter; which yet Mr. Mason is "willing to think essential to the Tragic Drama." Now admitting the Theory of Aristotle and Mr. Mason to be not only a regular, but also necessary Standard of Dramatic Writings, with Respect to the Unities of Action, Time and Place, the Chorus, though not essential to the Drama, will indeed as Mr. Mason observes ‘lay a proper and necessary Restraint upon the Poet.’ But if these Unities themselves are far from being essen­tial to the Drama, as we have endeavoured to make it appear, the Use of the Chorus is so far at least superseded.—The Chorus was indeed, as I have before observed, not only a constituent Part of, but even a Convenience to the antient Tragedy. If I might be excused the Indelicacy of the Expression for the Significancy of the Senti­ment, I would say, let a Tragedy of Aeschylus be gutted of it's Chorus, and you leave it little better than a Skeleton.

To proceed; upon the simple Plan of Anti­quity the Chorus introduced, 'tis true, an agreeable Variety into the Drama, and was no doubt both useful and ornamental to it, as it's peculiar Pro­vince had more immediate Reference to the great Ends of all Poetry, prodesse & delectare. But after all, if these great Ends are better, or even as well [Page 292] answered without the Chorus; and if these Ends are not obstructed by the Admission of Design, Contrivance and Intrigue into the Fable, but even promoted by it under the Conduct of a masterly Hand, in this Case, I say, it is not to be denied but the Chorus of the Antients has given Place to it's Betters.—It is true Mr. Mason has very positively asserted (for I think he has by no Means suffici­ently proved) in Behalf of the old Chorus, that (to lay no Stress upon subordinate Advantages) it aug­mented the Pathetic, that it afforded ‘a graceful, and natural Resource to the Embellishments of picturesque Description, sublime Allegory, and whatever else comes under the Denomination of pure Poetry;’ and lastly, which is most material, that it was the properest Vehicle ‘to convey mo­ral Reflections with Grace and Propriety.’ For these Reasons, which respect both the Poet and the Audience, he judges the Disuse of the Chorus to be an irreparable Loss to the modern Stage. Let us briefly then review what this Gentleman has said upon each of these Articles.

Now with Regard to the first he offers us the Authority of a Frenchman. ‘If you ask me (says he) how it augmented the Pathetic, I cannot give you a better Answer than the Abbè Vatry has done in his Dissertation on the Subject pub­lished in the Memoirs de l' Acad. des Inser. &c. It affected this (says he) both in it's Odes and [Page 293] Dialogue. The wonderful Power of Music and the Dance is universally allowed. And, as these were always Accompaniments to the Odes, there is no Doubt but they contributed greatly to move the Passions. It was necessary that there should be Odes or Interludes; but it was also necessary, that these Interludes should not suffer the Minds of the Audience to cool, but, on the contrary, should support and fortify those Passions, which the previous Scenes had already excited. Nothing imaginable could produce this Effect better, than the choral Songs and Dances, which filled the Mind with Ideas corresponding to the Subject, and never failed to add new Force to the Sentiments of the principal Personages. In the Dialogue also, the Chorus served to move the Passions by shew­ing to the Spectators other Spectators strongly affected by the Action. A Spectacle of such a Kind as is fitted to excite in us the Passions of Terrour and Pity, will not of itself so strongly affect us, as when we see others also affected by it. The Painters have generally understood this Secret, and have had Recourse to an Ex­pedient similar to that of the Chorus of the Poets. Not content with the simple Represen­tation of an historical Event, they have also added Groupes of assistant Figures, and exprest in their Faces the different Passions, they would [Page 294] have their Picture excite. Nay they some­times inlist into their Service even irrational Animals. In the Slaughter of the Innocents, LE BRUN was not satisfied with expressing all the Horrour, of which the Subject is naturally capable; he has also painted two Horses with their Hair standing on End, and starting back, as afraid to trample upon the bleeding Infants. This is an Artifice which has often been em­ployed, and which has always succeeded. A good Poet should do the same; and Iphigenia should not be suffered to appear on the Theatre, without being accompanied with Persons ca­pable of feeling her Misfortunes.’

I have transcribed the whole Passage, and can't help nothing in the first Place, a very extraordinary Inaccuracy in this refin'd Portion of Criticism. For sure the above-mentioned Horses, with their "Hair standing on End," and "starting back," &c. did greatly add to the Horrour of this famous Piece, which yet before had, it seems, all the Horrour expressed in it, of which the Subject was naturally capable; or, if they did not aug­ment this Horrour, it will be difficult methinks to to tell what Business they had there. But to be serious:

The wonderful Power of Music is universally allow'd; and Music is by no Means excluded from the modern Stage. Nay, I venture to say, the [Page 295] modern Drama has Recourse to it more effectually, though less frequently, than the old Drama had; as we are more affected by it's occasional and un­expected Graces and Assistances, than we should be by it's stated and periodical Interposition.—For the Dance, I own I am at a Loss to compre­hend how it could contribute greatly to move the Passions; I mean the Passions proper for Tragedy: I do not pretend to ascertain the Nature and Me­thod of the antient Stage-Dancing; but such has been the Power of the Dance in later Times, that the Tragic Muse, who is a very grave Matron, has, I believe, no Reason to lament her dancing Days are over. Admitting therefore at present the Pro­priety and Efficacy of the Choral Songs, I cannot conceive how any Kind of Dance ‘should sup­port and fortify those Passions, which the pre­vious Scenes had excited,’ or ‘fill the Mind with Ideas corresponding to the Subject, and never fail to add new Force to the Sentiments of the principal Personages.’ Nor farther can I see any Thing even in the Songs, or Odes, which had so peculiar a Tendency to produce these Ef­fects, that nothing imaginable could do it as well; for tho' these might answer this Purpose very suf­ficiently, yet if they were not necessary for it, they cannot be contended for as essential to the Drama, and must consequently be considered only, as we have before observed, in the Light of [Page 296] an ancient Conveniency.—Now I apprehend the Minds of the Audience are in no Danger of cool­ing under the present System of the Drama, and that the Music between the Acts may be adapted to the Purposes fore-named, of supporting and fortifying the Passions as much as the old Chorus could be. Without depreciating therefore the real Use and Design of the Chorus, we only say we can do in many Respects better, and even in this as well without it.

But farther it seems, ‘In the Dialogue also, the Chorus served to move the Passions, by shew­ing to the Spectators, other Spectators strongly affected by the Action.’ For, ‘a Spectacle of such a Kind as is fitted to excite in us the Passions of Terrour, and Pity, will not of itself so strongly affect us, as when we see others also affected by it.’ Admitting the Truth of which Assertion, I do not see what is to be inferr'd from it to the Advantage of the antient Chorus. For does not the modern Drama move the Pas­sions (as indeed does the antient exclusive of it's Chorus) by shewing to the Spectators other Per­sons (not mere Spectators, but Persons more in­terested in the Action) strongly affected by the Events of the Tragedy? The Intervention there­fore of Spectators, as such, upon the Stage is with Respect to this Purpose superfluous and in­significant, except it can be demonstrated that [Page 297] the Passions of Terrour and Pity, or any other are (if I may be allowed the Expression) more power­fully excited at the second Rebound.—Let common Experience at once illustrate and determine this Matter.—Supposing half a dozen indifferent Per­sons admitted to a Spectacle of Terrour or Distress in real Life, for Instance that of a dying Man taking Leave of his Wife, his Mistress, or his Friend; would not such a Spectacle immediately raise suitable Emotions in all of them, or would each first consult the Passions of his next Neighbour in order to learn what Effect this Spectacle ought to have upon himself? These Questions require no Answer; and therefore as the Drama is so lively a Representation of real Life, they may plainly be applied to any Case of Misery or Horrour exhibited upon the Stage.—For this Reason also it is, that the Illustration of the Matter before us by the Expedients of the Painters is, I apprehend, (with Deference to the ingenious Abbè as Mr. Mason calls him) entirely foreign to the present Purpose. The Painters have very wisely had Recourse to such Expedients as are mentioned in the above-quoted Criticism, because, after all, their Art is but Painting still, and pro­perly speaking describes the Passions, more than it excites them; but the Drama, or rather the Actor in the Drama, realizes what he represents. He must be a very insensible Spectator, who thinks at [Page 298] all of the Poet or the Player, when Mr. Garrick is personating a Richard, a Macbeth, or a Lear. The Poet in short has not the same Occasion for such Artifices and Expedients as the Painter has. Let Iphigenia appear on the Theatre, and behave as she ought to do, and I will be answerable for it, the Audience will be Persons capable of feeling her Misfortunes.

But again, by rejecting the Chorus Mr. Mason tells us the true Poet has lost a ‘graceful and na­tural Resource to the Embellishments of Pictu­resque Description, sublime Allegory, and whatever else comes under the Denomination of pure Poetry. To which I take Leave to reply, That what the Poet has lost hereby, Tragedy has gained; for if Mr. Mason's own Theory be just, the Tragic Muse (as we have before ob­served from him) strikes directly upon the Passions of the Audience; which I should be glad to know how Picturesque Description (I mean such as this Gentleman has favoured us with) sub­lime Allegory, and Poetry in the Abstract, or, if you please, pure Poetry can do. Mr. Mason says, the Lyric Muse addresses herself to the Imagination of a Reader or Hearer; and accordingly ‘few Men have a Strength of Imagination capable of pursuing the Flights of Pindar; and still fewer, I will venture to add, those of Mr. Mason in this Dramatic Poem. I am very far from meaning to [Page 299] decry this ingenious Author's peculiar Talent in loco; but I fear in the present Case, while he affects to defend the Cause of the old Chorus, his real Design was to introduce a new one. For, the Name excepted, I can discern little or nothing in the Odes of Mr. Mason similar to those of the an­tient Chorus; that ‘poetical Flow of tender Commiseration, of religious Supplication, or of virtuous Triumph,’ of which it principally consisted, had none of the long-spun Allegory, and aerial Imagery with which these Dramatic Sonnets of Mr. Mason abound. In Truth it is to be wish'd that this profest Admirer, and Imitator of genu­ine Nature, and antient Simplicity in the Struc­ture of his Fable, had paid a little more Regard to them in his Diction throughout this whole Poem, and particularly in the Stile of the Choral Compositions under present Consideration. 'Tis Pity indeed an Author so sober and chaste in his whole Oeconomy, should be so remarkably extra­vagant and loose in his Language.

In the Hymn to the Morning a great deal seems to be unfolded, but little discovered.

Away, ye Elves, away:
Shrink at ambrosial Morning's living Ray;
That living Ray, whose Pow'r benign
Unfolds the Scene of Glory to our Eye,
Where, thron'd in artless Majesty,
The Cherub Beauty sits on Nature's rustic Shrine.
p. 4.

[Page 300] Now I apprehend it would pose the most able Linguist to translate these Lines, or the most dex­trous Painter to give us a Portrait of this ange­lical Personage.

Charity has ever been rank'd with the first of moral Virtues; but Mr. Mason not only personi­fies and deifies it, but likewise makes it a Geome­trician, and a Musician into the Bargain.

Ah! follow still the soft-ey'd Deity;
For know, each Path she draws,
Along the Plain of Life,
Meets at the central Dome of social Joy.


Humanity! thy awful Strain
Shall ever meet our Ear
Sonorous, sweet, and clear.
And as amid the sprightly-swelling Train
Of dulcet Notes, that breath
From Flute or Lyre,
The deep Base rolls it's manly Melody,
Guiding the tuneful Choir;
So thou, Humanity, shalt lead along
Th' accordant Passions in their moral Song,
And give our mental Concert truest Harmony.
Page 12.

—This Passage is I confess very melodious in Point of Numbers; it is indeed like Music itself; for methinks it sounds well, and says nothing.

[Page 301] In another Ode we have several picturesque Images of the Goddess CONTENT, presented to us; now she sits upon a Bank, and listens to a Linnet.

Sweet Bird! like thine our Lay shall flow,
Nor gayly loud, nor sadly slow;
For to thy Note sedate, and clear,
CONTENT still lends a list'ning Ear,

—Then she is gone to sup with a Hermit, and is amazingly calm and compos'd, tho' she seems every Minute in danger of being drown'd, or knock'd on the Head.

Perhaps to some lone Cave the Rover flies,
Where lull'd in pious Peace the Hermit lies.
For, scorning oft the gorgeous Hall,
Where Banners wave with blazon'd Gold,
There will the meek-ey'd Nymph delight to call,
And with the solemn Seer high converse hold.
There, Goddess, on the shaggy Mound,
Where tumbling Torrents roar around,
Where pendent Mountains o'er your Head
Stretch their formidable Shade,
You listen; while the holy Seer
Slowly chaunts his Vespers clear:
Or of his sparing Mess partake,
The sav'ry Pulse, the wheaten Cake,
The Bev'rage cool of limpid Rill. p. 18. 19.

—In my humble Opinion these, and the two following Odes to Constancy and Truth are much [Page 302] more calculated to exercise a Metaphysical Head, than make any Impressions upon a sensible Heart: And after all, the Beauties of such Ideal Poetry as this, tho' they may amuse in the Closet, must surely be lost upon the Stage. To pass by the Ode to CONSTANCY, let us take a short View of TRUTH in all her Glory.

—"No Son of Light
Darts swiftly from his heav'nly Height,
No Train of radiant Saints descend.
Mortals, in vain ye hope to find,
If Guilt, if Fraud has stain'd your Mind,
Or Saint to hear, or Angel to defend.
So Truth proclaims. I hear the sacred Sound
Burst from the Centre of her burning Throne;
Where aye she sits with star-wreath'd Lustre crown'd,
A bright Sun clasps her adamantine Zone." p. 51.

—It is wonderful to observe how far a true Poetic Fancy lifts a Genius above all Prosaic Con­ception. Most of us profess ourselves Admirers of the Naked Truth; but Mr. Mason has cloth'd her more splendidly than ever Solomon was; tho' I think he has given her rather too fine a Buckle for so clumsy a Girdle.

It is indeed well observ'd by Mr. Pope, that He who would take Boldness from Poetry, must leave Dulness in the room of it; and I am very sensible that no Species of Poetry is allow'd greater Liberties than the Ode;

[Page 303] SED NON UT PLACIDIS COEUNT IMMITIA, &C. Boldness is the Medium between Dulness and Temerity; the Muse has no more Business above the Clouds, than she has under the Ground; and Mr. Mason, tho' he never creeps, is certainly a High-Flyer. The extravagant Thoughts, the far-fetch'd Allusions, and the unconnected Ideas in most of these Odes are a Proof of it.—In truth the Heat of Imagination is apt to transport an Author into false Conclusions, and make him believe He writes Poetry, because He does not write Prose.

But farther, I can by no Means agree with Mr. Mason that ‘if we had a Tragedy of Shake­spear's form'd on the Greek Model, we should find in it more frequent, if not nobler In­stances of the high Poetical Capacity, than in any single Composition he has left us.’ This Author thinks, ‘we have a Proof of this in those parts of his Historical Plays, which are call'd Chorus's, and written in the common Dialogue Metre.’ Our ‘Imagination (continues he) will easily conceive, how fine an Ode the Description of the Night, preceding the Battle of Agincourt, would have made in his Hands; and what additional Grace it would receive from that Form of Composition.’ Let us turn to the Description as it now stands in Shakespear.

From Camp to Camp, through the foul Womb of Night,
The Hum of either Army stilly sounds;
That the fixt Centinels almost receive
The secret Whispers of each others Watch.
Fire answers Fire; and through their paly Flames
Each Battle sees the other's umber'd Face.
Steed threatens Steed in high and boastful Neighs,
Piercing the Night's dull Ear; and from the Tents,
The Armourers accomplishing the Knights,
With busy Hammers closing Rivets up,
Give dreadful Note of Preparation.
The Country Cocks do crow, the Clocks do toll.

—This noble Description is full of Imagery drawn from sensible Objects, as indeed are most of those we meet with in this incomparable Author; (witness for Instance the Description of Dover Cliff, of Hamlet's Madness, of Brutus's Disorder, &c. &c.) It is consequently of the most affecting Nature, and in a manner possesses the Hearer or the Reader with the same kind of Terrour which the Bravest probably feel upon the Crisis of a decisive Battle. And, by the by, of the same passionate and affecting (i. e. Dramatic Nature) are the Poetical Parts of our best Tragedies in general. Now I cannot conceive that the seve­ral Circumstances of this Description could receive additional Force from the Form of an Ode, not­withstanding the acknowledg'd Power of Music; and much less that such a Description would ap­pear [Page 305] to advantage in an Ode of Mr. Mason's. In­stead of what we see, hear and feel in the strik­ing Particulars of the before-mention'd Descrip­tion, Mr. Mason would entertain and amaze us with an allegorical Machine of

Horror riding on the Brow of Night,


From her black Pinions shedding deadly Dews.

—It is certain whatever might be the Mystic Beauties of such an Ode as this, it would at best be a dispassionate One, and so far infinitely less Theatrical, than the foregoing Description of Shakespear. In truth the pure Poetry which Mr. Mason tells us that great Poet had the Power of introducing naturally, and what is most strange, of joining with pure Passion, has an Air utterly different from, or rather contrary to the Flights of Mr. Mason throughout this Performance. Shakespear indeed very rarely gets out of the Reach of our Apprehensions, even when his Sub­ject leads him directly into the Province of Ima­gination.—I refer the Reader to his Midsummer Night's Dream, his Macbeth, and his Tempest. Upon the whole of this Article, it may I think, be safely affirm'd that the modern Drama is by no means destitute of Opportunities of having recourse to Poetical Embellishments and Pictu­resque Descriptions of all Kinds; and it has re­course to them, if not so frequently and obviously [Page 306] as the antient Drama by means of the Chorus had, at least more consistently with the Essential Character of Tragedy, whose direct Business it is to excite the Passions, even according to Ari­stotle's own Definition of it. For whether Images, Descriptions, &c. occasionally and naturally in­terspers'd with the Matter of the Dialogue it­self be not more compatible with that Character, than separate and detach'd Peices of Poetry, is a Question that needs not, I conceive, be dis­cuss'd.—Now if these Considerations will lead us to Conclusions in favour of the Poetical Parts of modern Tragedy against those of the old Chorus, they will, I am sure, do this a fortiori against the pure Poetry of Mr. Mason.

I cannot help observing in this Place, that our Author's Affectation of a Poetical Diction, which contributes so much to the rendering the Odes of his Chorus undramatical, discovers itself likewise in many Parts of the Dialogue itself; and often to such a Degree, that Pomp, Figure, and Allegory ‘supply the Place of Simplicity, Nature, and Pathos. How allegorically does Athelwold express the Passion of Joy, mixt with an Apprehension of imminent Danger?

—Heav'ns! It cannot last,
The giddy height of Joy, to which I'm lifted,
Is as a hanging Rock, at whose low foot
The black and beating Surge of Infamy
Rolls ready to receive, and sink my Soul. p. 21.

[Page 307] —As this Danger approaches still nearer, the Leader of the Chorus tells the unhappy Pair (Athelwold and Elfrida) that

Safety now sits wav'ring on their Love,
Like the light down upon the Thistles beard
Which every Breeze may part. p. 30.

Upon the Earl's declaring his Resolution to mur­der himself, he is caution'd against such a despe­rate Proceeding, by very important (but I think scarce intelligible) Considerations.—

Forbear, forbear;
Think what a sea of deep Perdition whelms
The wretch's trembling Soul, who launches forth
Unlicens'd to Eternity. Think, think,
And let the Thought restrain thy impious Hand.
The Race of Man is one vast, marshall'd Army,
Whose num'rous Squadrons fill the Plains of Time,
Their Leader the Almighty. High in Air
The chos'n Archangel rides, whose right Hand wields
The imperial Standard of his Providence,
Which dreadly sweeping thro' the vaulted Sky,
O'ershadows all Creation.
p. 54.

—With what Delicacy, and Pathetic Force is the Remorse of this Hero express'd in the fol­lowing Passage?

I do deserve to breathe,
Deserve to bear this load of Life about me
For many Years; to lengthen out my Age.
[Page 308] List'ning the hourly Knell of curst Remembrance,
Whose leaden Stroke shall tell to my sad Soul
That I was faithful once.—

We may observe farther that the same Enthu­siastic kind of Spirit betrays our Author in many other Places of this Work (where the Thought is extremely beautiful) into a Stiffness and Formality of Language.—We will give the Reader a few Instances of this.—

The Eye that will not weep another's Sorrow,
Should boast no gentler brightness than the glare,
That reddens in the eye-ball of the Wolf.
p. 6.
—Tenderness and Pity
Have made his breast their Home. He is a Man
More apt thro' inborn gentleness to err,
In giving mercy's Tide too free a Course,
Than with a thristy and illiberal Hand
To circumscribe it's Channel.
p. 8.
—Let no unhallow'd Tongue
Dare to profane her Virtue by it's Praise;
'Tis a bright Prodigy, which Admiration
Must stand in silent Gaze at, and behold
Full-plum'd Perfection take it's Eagle Flight
Above Ambition, Sovereignty, and Pride.
p. 35.
Horror! Horror!
The Pen of Fate dipt in it's deepest Gall,
Perhaps on that ill-omen'd Wall,
Now writes th' Event of this tremendous Day.
O! that our weaker Sight
Could read the mystic Characters, and spy
What to the unpurg'd, mortal Eye,
Is hid in endless Night.—
p. 42.
—See, ye Virgins,
See how Despair beneath his gastly Brow
Stretches her blackest Cloud, thro' whose thick Night
His Eyes fast rooted in their angry Rings
Dart a dire Glear.—
p. 56.
—For Solitude,
Which sooths the trnnquil Mind, has dread Effects
On wrathful Breasts. The same sequester'd Pine,
Which veils the gurgling Ring-dove with it's Boughs,
Whets with his knotty Trunk the Boar's vext Tooth,
And points each Fang with Death.

In short, to this Spirit we may perhaps ascribe the Impropriety and Unseasonableness of some of Mr. Mason's most elegant and affecting Images and Descriptions.—But I forbear to multiply Quo­tations.—Enough, I presume, has been said to shew that Mr. Mason throughout this whole Work discovers much more of the Poet, than the Trage­dian: He discovers so much indeed of the former, that abating these, and a few other Blemishes and Defects, which I thought it but Justice to my Subject to endeavour to set in a true Light, Elfrida, as a Dramatic Poem, has many exquisite Beauties; which however (as they must be obvious to judi­cious [Page 310] Eyes) I forbear not for Want of Inclination but of Time to recite. Indeed as this Perform­ance is entitled a Dramatic Poem, and not a Tragedy, by the Author himself, I should have made no Exceptions to it, if the Stile of the Let­ters prefixed to the Drama had been as modest as the Title Page.—But to return once more to the Chorus. Mr. Mason ‘laments that with the Means of introducing Poetry naturally, is lost also the Opportunity of conveying moral Re­flections with Grace and Propriety.’—He tells us afterwards, ‘that in those Parts of the Drama where the Judgment of a mixt Audience is most liable to be misled by what passes before it's View, the chief Actors are generally too much agitated by the furious Passions, or too much attached by the tender ones, to think cooly, and impress on the Spectators a moral Senti­ment properly.’—This is indeed asserting roundly, but however, I apprehend, without suf­ficient Foundation in Reason, or Experience.—I will make bold to assert too, that it is the Busi­ness of the Dramatic Poet (and indeed of every other) in a moral View to steal imperceptibly into the Heart of his Audience, or Reader; that Sen­timents occasionally and naturally suggested by the Circumstances of the Parties personally concerned, will have a more forcible Effect than a thousand set Lessons of Music and Morality from the Mouth of a third Person; and that the chief Actors are [Page 311] not generally "too much agitated by the furious Passions, or attached by the tender ones, to think cooly (enough for the Purpose) and impress on the Spectators a moral Sentiment properly."

In the next Sentence we are told that ‘A Confidant or Servant has seldom Sense enough to do it, never Dignity enough to be regarded.’—Now, by the way, a Servant or a Confidant may always (if the Poet please) be as sensible a Person as any in the Drama; and sure the Dignity of either, at least of the latter is equal to that of the Personages of the antient Chorus, which for the most Part consisted of a Company of Virgins, the Attendants and Countrywomen of the Hero of the Poem.—Mr. Mason's own Chorus, with all it's Pomp and Solemnity, is composed of Lord Athel­wold's Maids.—But after all, do the modern Tragedians usually convey moral Sentiments thro' the Mouths of Servants and Confidants, as these Expressions would lead us to imagine; or granting they do, and err in so doing, is the particular Er­ror of a few to be objected to the general System? Instead therefore of these (and of the Chorus too) the Moderns are ‘sufficiently provided with Per­sons not merely capable of seeing and hearing, but of arguing, advising, and reflecting; from whom a moral Sentiment never comes un­naturally, but suitably and gracefully.’ For such are (or may be) all the Persons in the Drama. "The Character of Pierre in Venice Preserv'd [Page 312] (Mr. Mason justly observes in another Place) ‘when left entirely to the Judgment of the Au­dience, is perhaps one of the most improper for public View, that ever was produced on any Stage. It is almost impossible, but some Part of the Spectators should go from the Represen­tation with very false and immoral Impressions. But had that Tragedy been written on the antient Plan; had Pierre's Character been drawn just as it is, and some few Alterations made in Jaffeir's, I know no two Characters more capa­ble of doing Service in a moral View, when justly animadverted upon by the Chorus. For bad Characters become on this Plan as harmless in the Hands of the Poet, as the Historian.’ This would indeed be, as I have elsewhere ob­served, very just Reasoning against any Man that should undertake to vindicate Mr. Otway's Conduct in the Tragedy referred to; and to oppose the same to the antient Plan; but as this never was, or will be done by any Man in his Senses, it is surely in­conclusive to argue against the Inconveniencies of the whole modern Dramatic System from the particular Error of a particular Poet.—The Truth is, per­haps this Gentleman has conceived strong Prepos­sessions in Favour of that Species of Poetry, which his Talent evidently leads him to; for if he had not himself a particular Taste for an Ode, 'tis likely he would scarce contend for it as absolutely essen­tial [Page 313] to the Drama.—But whatever may have been his real Sentiments upon the Occasion, I hope, I have given sufficient Reasons for differing from him.

Before I conclue I can't help taking Notice, that Mr. Mason has drawn Mr. Dryden himself into his Interests in a very extraordinary Manner; and this I do the rather, as I have more than once re­ferred to that excellent Person's Authority. Mr. Mason, among the insuperable Difficulties in the Way to the desired Reformation of the English Stage, intimates the present improper Form of the Theatres; and the additional Expence requisite for the Purposes of the antient System renders the Matter, he thinks, impracticable. ‘This, he says, Mr. Dryden foresaw long ago;’ and then quotes the following curious Passage from him. ‘A new Theatre, much more ample and much deeper, must be made for that Purpose; be­sides the Cost of sometimes forty or fifty Habits: which is an Expence too large to be supplied by a Company of Actors. 'Tis true I should not be sorry to see a Chorus on a Theatre, more than as large and as deep again as our's, built and adorned at a King's Charges; and on that Condition, and another, which is, that my Hands were not bound behind me, as now they are, I should not despair of making such a Tragedy, as might be both instructive and delightful, according to the Manner of the Grecians.

[Page 314] Now does any common Reader apprehend from this Passage, that because Mr. Dryden tells us, he should not be sorry to see a Chorus on a com­modious Theatre, &c. therefore he ardently wish'd to see one, and judg'd it absolutely essential to the Drama; or because he declares that in such Case he should not despair of making such a Tragedy as might be instructive and delightful according to the Manner of the Grecians, therefore he long'd to try his Strength in this Field, and acknow­ledged the grand Secret prodesse & delectare was the Characteristic of the Greek Drama only? And yet such methinks is Mr. Mason's Construc­tion of this Passage."—‘This Suffrage of Mr. Dryden, says he, is, however, very apposite to to the present Point. But it serves also to vin­dicate my Design of imitating the Greek Drama. For if he, who was so prejudiced to the modern Stage, as to think Intrigue a capi­tal Beauty in it; if he, I say, owns that the grand Secret prodesse & delectare was the Cha­racteristic of the Greek Drama only, nothing I think can better justify my present Attempt than the Approbation he gives to it in this Passage.’—That is (to reduce this Suffrage to a smaller Compass) Mr. Dryden informs us, that if Things were properly circumstanced he would at all Events have attempted a Tragedy upon the Greek Model, and with some Hopes of Success; [Page 315] therefore he plainly preferred the antient to the modern System.—Let the Merits of the Cause be tried by the Evidence of Mr. Dryden, and

Fabio vel Judice vincam.

I have nothing farther to add than that, if the Reader should chance to wonder at the Freedom I have sometimes taken with this truly ingenious Writer, I desire it may be imputed to my natural Resentment of that Air of Sufficiency and Superi­ority with which he introduces, I do not say his Performance, but his System.—‘Good Sense (i. e. common Sense) as well as Antiquity re­quired an Adherence to the Unities.’ This peremptory Declaration involves in a very scurvy Term almost every Dramatic Writer but our Au­thor, and a Frenchman or two, since the Days of Aristotle. But delicate Judgment it seems and a true Taste for genuine Nature and antient Simplicity are the Allotments, and Privileges only of a happy Few.—In what Contempt does this Gentleman hold the universal Practice of the modern Stage, when he acquaints us, "he believes he could quickly make the whole tolerably fit for an English Audience by putting the Dialogue of the Cho­rus into the Mouth of an Emma or Matilda, who with some little Shew of sisterly Concernment, might be easily made to claim Kindred with Earl Athelwold; and by the Addition of an [Page 316] unnecessary Incident or two, which would cost him no more than they are worth in contriving, and an unmeaning Personage or two, who would be as little Expence in creating." I confess I see no Sort of Foundation for this Insult and Superio­rity in the Arguments, or rather Assertions of Mr. Mason, for which Reason I have written my Thoughts upon this Occasion; otherwise I have no more Pretension to write against him as an Adversary, than Desire to enter the Lists with him as a Poet.





I Sit down, in compliance with your Request, to give you my Sentiments upon the Subject started at our last Interview.—In consequence of my Researches upon this Occasion I have been almost led into a very whimsical Conclusion,—that the greatest Genius is the Author a Man happens to have in his Hand. It seems but rea­sonable to pin our Opinion of an Author upon that of his Editor, or Translator; and yet we may do this, till we are in a manner at a loss for a Criterion to judge good Writing by. Genius assumes as many Shapes as ever Proteus did; and all literary Merit consists principally in Invention, in Judgment, in Fire, in Propriety, in Simplicity, in Elegance, in Accuracy, in Ease, in Wit, in Humour, in Fullness, in Brevity, &c. &c. ac­cording to the Spirit, and Complexion of the Writer before me. Mr. Pope declares, Homer was the greatest Epic Poet in the World, and I [Page 320] am quite of his Mind, till I take up Mr. Mey­rick's Tryphiodorus.—When I look into my Sta­tius, I begin to think Virgil was a very cold, and insipid Writer; and Virgil's Acquaintance assure me that Statius was little better than a Mad­man.—In short by Virtue of the Preface, prefix'd to him, Sophocles or Ovid, Terence or Martial, Milton or Butler, &c. &c. is the best Poet; Hero­dotus or Eutropius, Livy or Sallust, Rapin or Cla­rendon is the best Historian; Aristotle or Newton, Descartes or Burnet, &c. &c. is the best Philo­sopher; and Hammond or Hobbes, South, or To­land, Sherlock or Middleton is the best Divine.—

But to be serious.—You will wonder perhaps to be told, that what gave Rise to these ludicrous Remarks of mine was nothing less than Mr. Pope's Commentary upon his universally, and justly admir'd Original, Homer; an Author, whom you will scarce think capable of being compli­mented, or aggrandiz'd to an undue, and ex­travagant Degree, especially by so judicious an Editor.—Indeed these great Names are so truly venerable, that I must obviate the Alarm you may take, by assuring you that what I am going to say neither can, nor means to detract from the infinite Merit of the Grecian, or the British Homer; for the former, * ‘I believe upon the [Page 321] whole that scarce any Mortal ever came near him for Wisdom, Learning, and all good Qua­lities,’ for the latter, He has certainly done more Justice to his Author as an Expositor only, than all the Commentators, antient and modern, put together. After this Declaration you will give me leave to tell you, that Mr. Pope himself appears to me, notwithstanding his very great Abilities, to have sometimes misapprehended the real Design of his Original, to have not unfre­quently (to use his own Words again) ‘attribu­ted to him what does not belong to him,’ and now and then to have imagin'd Proprieties, or cover'd Defects with a seeming View rather to the Honour of his Author at all Events, than to the precise Ascertainment of Truth. All this, indeed, might be owing not to a blind Admira­tion, or to a Want of Discernment, but to a De­gree of laudable Partiality, or a too implicit Ad­herence to the Notions, and Interpretations of the Commentators his Predecessors.

But whatever may be allow'd to an Editor, or Translator, a Stander-by will be more im­partial, and is, as such, more likely to think justly of an Author. You who turn to your Homer merely with an Intent to be delighted with him, and consider Mr. Pope as a Person very able and willing to illustrate his great Beau­ties, and Excellencies, will be apt to sce no [Page 322] Grounds for the above Allegations, but in an Affectation of Singularity, or in Caprice; espe­cially as Mr. Pope makes no Scruple occasionally to point out the Blemishes of his Author, and seems by many Remarks to shew himself thoroughly divested of all unreasonable Prepos­sessions. * It is customary (says he) with those who translate or comment on an Author, to use him as they do their Mistress; they can see no Faults, or convert his very Faults into Beauties; but I cannot be so partial to Homer, &c. &c.’ In another Place after having enume­rated what seem'd to him to be ‘Faults of any consideration,’ he tells us, ‘he hopes after so free a Confession no reasonable Modern will think him touch'd with the [...] of Madam Dacier and others. I am sensible, continues he, of the Extremes which Mankind run into, in extolling and depreciating Authors: We are not more violent and unreasonable in attacking those who are not yet establish'd into Fame, than in defending those who are, even in every minute Trifle.’—There is as much Modesty as there is Truth in this ingenuous Declaration; and there is great Reason to suppose Mr. Pope in general never speaks of Homer in higher Terms than he really believ'd he deserves. [Page 323] However, whether I have been actuated by a Spirit of Vanity, or of Humour, rather than just Criticism, you will be able to judge when you have read the following Sheets, in which I pro­pose to try Homer by himself, (as every Writer should by his own Key) and by the Suffrages and Evidence of his own Advocates, and Witnesses. For which Purpose, and for something of Method's sake, the first Subject of our Inquiry shall be the Machinery of the Iliad, and the next, the general Oeconomy of this great Poet, and his particular Conduct in Respect of Characters, Incidents, and other Circumstances. And, I persuade myself, the Result of this Inquiry will be your agreeing with me that Homer, with the most fruitful In­vention, extensive Knowledge, and no small Judg­ment, has really much less Art, and Design in this Work, than he is supposed to have had; at least for what appears to the contrary from the Observations of his Commentators.


THE Machinery, you know, is that Part which the Gods bear in an Epic Poem. That of Homer is conducted with extraordinary Circumstances of Solemnity, and Magnificence. But the great Question is, whether we are in ge­neral to take the Simple and literal Sense of [Page 324] the Author with regard to the Appearance, and Actions of these superiour Beings; or whether we are to suppose a secret, and allegorical Mean­ing to be veil'd under all this Apparatus; or, in other Words, whether we can with any Degree of Certainty extract a System of Morality, or Theology from it. This has been attempted to be done by Mr. Pope, and all others who have undertaken to explain, illustrate, or defend the Writings of this inimitable Poet; and it must be own'd too that this has been done in many Places in a very plausible Manner. However I must be of Opinion, upon reviewing the Iliad, and com­paring it with itself, that these Gentlemen have push'd this Matter too far, and by strain'd Expli­cations, and Refinements, found out Mysteries which were never intended; that, generally speak­ing, we shall do more Justice, and even Ho­nour to Homer by supposing * ‘he follow'd Fame, and common Opinion in his Account of the Gods, though no way agreeable to Truth.’ Upon this Supposition at least, He will, I think appear much more uniform, and reconcileable with himself. I do not deny indeed that the Iliad abounds with noble, and rational Sentiments, and such as are conformable to true Theology; particularly that the Necessity of Divine Assistance [Page 325] and Interposition for all Human Successes is a Moral strongly inculcated throughout the Poem. But whatever Homer's religious Notions, as a Man, might be, or, as Mr. Pope expresses it, ‘whatever he might think of his Gods, he took them as he found them; he brought them into Action according to the Notions which were then entertain'd, and in some Stories as they were then believ'd.’ If you consider his Jupi­ter as a Fabulous or Poetical Character, there is less in it to shock you; but if you believe, He meant to exhibit to his Reader under this Character, "the One, supreme, omnipotent God" You must soon have a very mean Opinion not only of his Philosophy, but even of his Sense. 'Tis true, ‘He sometimes introduces Jupiter with a Majesty, and Superiority worthy the great Ruler of the Universe,’ particularly in the Beginning of the 8th Book; but he is in general represented as much subject to Weakness, In­firmity, and Passion as the inferiour Deities. In­deed, if any Divine Attribute be plainly, and consistently applied to Jupiter, it is Power; yet even this seems to be applied rather from the Au­thority of Fabulous Tradition, than by the religious Theory of the Poet himself. For the Story of the Rebellion of the Gods, and their Defeat by Jupi­ter, which Homer refers to, cannot be understood to be his own Invention. Mr. Pope acknowleges [Page 326] the "* Notions and Descriptions of his Author" in Respect of the Deity, ‘to be in many Passages unworthy of the Divinity:’ ‘He is not even exempted from our common Appetites, and Frailties; He is made to eat, drink, and sleep.’ It is pleasant enough to observe how careful the Commentators have been, notwith­standing such Acknowledgements, to maintain the suppos'd Superiority of Jupiter, and what shifts they have recourse to to save his Honour upon all Occasions. Eustathius (Mr. Pope tell sus) makes a distinction between [...] and [...], the Words which are us'd at the End of the first Book, and the Beginning of the second with regard to Jupiter's sleeping. He says [...] only means lying down in a Disposition to sleep.’ Now granting this Interpretation ‘to salve the Contradiction that else would follow in the next Book, where it is said Jupiter did not sleep, and to prove by-the-by that Homer himself did not nod in this Passage; yet surely it will afford but a slender Argument for the extraordinary Vigilancy of Jupiter in general beyond that of the other Gods; especially as Homer acquaints us in the preceding Lines, that he went to the Bed where [Page 327] he had us'd to take his Repose. *It is worth ob­serving to you that some Criticks in Aristotle's Time objected to the Passage in the second Book, and pretended it was ridiculous to describe all the Gods sleeping besides Jupiter: To which, it seems, Aristotle answers, ‘that no­thing is more usual or allowable than that Fi­gure which puts all for the greater part.’ A plain Proof, that neither Aristotle, nor the above­mention'd Critics of those Times, suppos'd any extraordinary Degree of Vigilancy could have been with any Propriety ascrib'd by the Poet to Jupiter.—Perhaps you will be of Opinion too, that there is a little too much Refinement in ano­ther Place in the fifth Book, where Mr. Pope says, ‘we may observe the Decorum and Decency his Author constantly preserves’ in making Jupiter only Smile upon certain Occasions, while the other Gods laugh out.

I leave it to you to judge what Sort of a Salvo this must be, allowing any Foundation for the Distinction itself; as indeed I do not recollect there is. There seems at least to be universal Jollity in Heaven in one very remarkable Passage, without any reserve for the Gravity of this Deity; I mean in the first Book, where Vulcan designs [Page 328] to move laughter by taking upon him the Office of Hebe and Ganymede, with his aukward limp­ing Carriage.’

Vulcan with aukward grace his Office plies,
And unextinguish'd Laughter shakes the Skies.

Thus you see the Jupiter of Homer, with all his Pomp and Preeminence, is hardly above a Level with the subordinate Deities in point of corporal Weakness and Infirmity; nor will you find him to rank much higher if you take a View of his Conduct, and Actions in general throughout the Poem. You will observe him upon numberless Occasions under the Influence of Passions utterly unsuitable to the Purity, as well as Dignity of the Supreme Being. The Fiction of his ‘being deceiv'd and laid asleep,’ and of his amorous correspondence with Juno, has, as Mr. Pope con­fesses, as great ‘an Air of Impiety, and Ab­surdity’ as any Fable in all Antiquity. ‘I *must needs, upon the whole, (says that in­genious Remarker) as far as I can judge, give up the Morality of this Fable; but what Colour of Excuse for it Homer might have from antient Tradition, or what mystical, or allegorical Sense might atone for the appearing Impiety, is hard to be ascertain'd at this distant Period of Time.’ Here is a Condemnation, and a [Page 329] Palliation of a Fault in one Breath. Indeed Mr. Pope, thro' his unabated Zeal for the Honour of his Original, is *willing afterwards to suppose the "present Passage to be grounded on Religion," and to be nothing more than the ‘Representation of a religious Solemnity; or else to be purely allegorical, and as such implying only’ the Congress of Jupiter, and Juno, the Mingling of the Aether and the Air (which are generally said to be signified by these two Deities.) But I be­lieve, if you consult the Place, you will think the first Expedient a forc'd one, and the second (allowing the Physical Signification of these two Deities) insufficient for the intended Vindication. For what Connection is there in the Mingling of the Aether and the Air with the Matter in Hand? or how does it in the least effect the Circumstances of the Battle between the Greeks and the Trojans. To say nothing of Venus, who certainly is no Physical Deity, and yet bears a part in this Trans­action.—The literal, and obvious Sense of Homer with all its Grossness seems to be the only con­sistent one which this Passage can fairly be made to carry.

It is worth while to take Notice of the Shifts the Commentators have recourse to, when they are prest with Difficulties of this Nature. Agree­ably to the Circumstances of the Extremity, the [Page 330] Allegories of Homer are Moral, and Physical; ‘His *Heaven is no more than an ideal World of abstracted Beings, and so every Motion which rises in the Mind of Man is attributed to the Quality to which it belongs, with the Name of the Deity who is supposed to pre­side over that Quality superadded to it;’ ‘the Deities sometimes mean no more than Beings that presided over the Passions and Faculties of the Mind, and in consequence of all this Jupiter is either the Aether, or the Father of Gods and Men, Juno is the Goddess of Honour or the Air, and Minerva the Goddess not only of Wisdom, but of Craft; that is, both of true and false Wisdom,’ &c. &c. as Occasions and Exigencies require.—Now 'tis certain by these Means any Difficulty may be solved, and any Passage in this Author pretty easily cleared; but all this while the Question is, whether any System can be ascertained. Nay in Places where the Meaning of the Author is irreconcileable with allegorical Construction, it is supposed to be "darkened by the Remoteness of our Time." A hidden and mysterious Sense there plainly is, or certainly must be; and we must at all Events, and tho' apparent Absurdities will be saved by it, reject a literal Interpertation of Homer where [Page 331] the Gods are concerned. Mr. Pope himself owns that sometimes Homer's *Machine's play a little too Grossly, and that the Fable vio­lently oppresses the Moral, which it may be lost Labour to search for in every minute Cir­cumstance, if indeed it was intended to be there.’ In Truth, I am apt to think we should read this Poet with more Pleasure, and equal Profit, if we perplexed ourselves less to find out Mysteries in him; and by the way, it is scarce worth our Pains to investigate hidden Meanings, when the plain and literal Moral of the Poem is as obvious upon a thousand Occasions as it is ad­mirable and excellent. If you consider the Ma­chinery of Homer in a Poetical, rather than a Theo­logical, or Philosophical Light, and suppose his Gods to be real Characters acting under the In­fluence of Human Passions, as antient Fables re­presented them, and taking their Measures from Motives of personal Affection, Resentment, &c. &c. I believe you will have a surer Inlet into the Meaning of this famous Author, and be able to examine him by Rules not liable to Difficulties, which are only to be removed by forced, and un­natural Solutions.—But as there is a Novelty in this Opinion, You will expect I should strengthen and confirm it by more Reasons, and Observations.


‘THE *famous Censure of Tully, and Lon­ginus (mentioned by Mr. Pope) that Homer makes God's of his Heroes, and Mortals of his Gods, will appear to be groundless, if you regulate your Ideas of this Author by the Notions I have conceived of him. For pure Poetical Fictions, whether invented or adopted by Homer, come not properly under the Cog­nisance of a Philosophical Inquiry. Accordingly we shall not only have a ready Excuse for this great Poet when he introduces his Deities ‘feast­ing, fighting, wounded by Men, and shedding a Sort of Blood;’ but also when they are represen­ted as committing Actions unworthy of themselves, and of the respective Characters they are supposed by the common Opinion of Commentators to sus­tain. Mr. Pope allows that ‘if the Trojans had no Right to break the Treaty,’ made be­tween them and the Grecians upon the Duel of Paris and Menelaus, ‘the Machine where Juno is made to propose Perjury, Jupiter to allow it, and Minerva to be commissioned to hasten the Execution of it, would be one of the hardest to be reconciled to Reason in the whole Poem.’ Whether therefore the Trojans had a Right to [Page 333] break the Treaty is a Question, it will be very Material, and, I think, easy to determine. Now that "the *Conditions of the Treaty were valid" notwithstanding the snatching away of Paris by Venus in a Cloud, "that is to say, that" the Con­troversy was to be decided (either) by the Victory, or by the Death of one of the Combatants, is, I apprehend, apparent from many Considerations. It is certain, ‘in the first proposal of the Challenge Paris mentions only the Victory, And who his Rival shall in Arms Subdue; nor does Hector, who carries it, say any more.

However (continues the Note) Menelaus un­derstands it of the Death by what he replies:

Fall he that must beneath his Rivals Arms,
And live the rest—

And in the solemn Oath too Agamemnon specifies the latter, "If by Paris slain"—and If by my Brother's Arms the TROJAN bleed. Priam also understands it of both, saying, at his leaving the Field,

Whose Arms shall conquer, and whose Prince shall fall,
Heav'n only knows—

Paris himself confesses he has lost the Victory in his Speech to Helen, which he would hardly have done had the whole depended upon that alone; and lastly Menelaus (after the Conquest is clearly [Page 334] his by the Flight of Paris) is still searching round the Field to kill him, as if all were of no Effect without the Death of his Adversary.—It appears from hence (says Mr. Pope) ‘that the Trojans had no ill pretence to break the Treaty, so that Homer ought not to have been directly accused of making Jupiter the Author of Perjury in what follows, which is one of the chief of Plato's Ob­jections against him.’

But was it not extremely natural for Menelaus, Agamemnon, and Priam to mention the Death of one of the Combatants as the Decision of the Controversy, tho' the Terms at the Challenge specified Victory only, in as much as the Death of one seem'd to be the unavoidable Consequence of the Duel, and the Deliverance of Paris by Venus was a Circumstance that could not possibly be foreseen? For Paris, he could not be so ab­surd as to deny the Loss of the Victory, whatever Shifts he might be drove to evade the Articles of the Combat—indeed he seems to hint at the Expedient of a second Engagement.—

This Day the Foe prevail'd by Pallas' pow'r;
We yet may vanquish in a happier Hour.—

And lastly, for Menelaus, he might very naturally "search round the Field to kill his Adversary" not for the effectual Determination of the Con­troversy, but for the Gratification of his personal Resentment.

[Page 335] Be this as it will; whatever private Persons might think of this Affair, it is plain the Greeks looked upon the War as ended by this great Event, and accordingly Agamemnon calls upon the Trojans to fulfill the Conditions of the Treaty.

Ye Trojans, Dardans, all our gen'rous Foes!
Hear and attest! from Heav'n with Conquest crown'd,
Our Brother's Arms the just Success have found:
Be therefore now the Spartan Wealth restor'd,
Let Argive Helen own her lawful Lord—&c. &c.

But, in a Word, to put the Matter out of all Doubt, the very Terms at the Commission given to Minerva, suppose the Conditions of the Treaty to be binding upon the Trojans.

The Sire of Men, and Monarch of the Sky,
Th' Advice approv'd, and bade Minerva fly,
Dissolve the League, and all her Arts employ
To make the Breach the faithless Act of Troy.

These two last Circumstances Mr. Pope, for Reasons obvious enough, takes not the least Notice of: Indeed he found himself so prest by the Dif­ficulties with which this whole Transaction is sur­rounded, that he is forced to have Recourse to one of the Expedients above-mentioned, viz. that of supposing, Homer's Heaven to be sometimes no more than an ideal World of abstracted Be­ings, &c. &c. agreeably to this Notion he re­solves the Business into this easy Allegory, as [Page 336] he is pleased to call it.’ * Pandarus (who broke the Truce by shooting an Arrow at Mene­laus) thinks it Prudence to gain Honour and Wealth at the Hands of the Trojans by destroy­ing Menelaus. This Sentiment is also incited by a Notion of Glory, of which Juno is represented as Goddess. Jupiter, who is supposed to know the Thoughts of Men, permits the Action which he is not Author of, &c. &c."

But how is all this to be reconciled with the general Rules of Interpretation, or with what Mr. Pope tells us in the very next Note, ‘The Goddess went not to the Trojans, because they hated Paris, and would rather have given him up, than have done an ill Action for him: She therefore looks among the Allies, and finds Pandarus, who was of a Nation noted for Perfidiousness, and had a Soul avaricious enough to be capable of engaging in this Treachery for the Hopes of a Reward from Paris. From what Principles of Prudence then or of Honour did Pandarus act? or, lastly, how can Jupiter be said barely to permit, what he ex­pressly commands? It is out of the Power of Al­legory and Refinement to salve the Characters of these Deities upon the present Occasion.—But according to the Notion I have formed of Homer's [Page 337] Deities, there will be nothing puzzling in all this Affair.—I can suppose Juno and Minerva to be actuated by a Desire of personal Vengeance on the quondam Judgment of Paris; and indeed I am warranted in this Supposition almost by the pre­sent Behaviour of these Goddesses, but clearly I presume, by a Passage in the 24th Book of the Iliad, where the Poet informs us that these very Deities (with Neptune) opposed the Proposal of all the rest, to dispatch Mercury to steal away the Body of Hector, purely from the implacable Hatred they bore to Troy ever since that fatal Determination.

Pallas this denies,
And th' unrelenting Empress of the Skies;
E'er since that Day implacable to Troy,
What Time young Paris, simple Shepherd Boy,
Won by destructive Lust, (Reward obscene)
Their Charms rejected for the Cyprian Queen.

Mr. Pope maintains the Authenticity of this Passage, which it seems some of the *Antients had disputed, who ‘judged it as an Indecency that the Goddess of Wisdom and Achilles should be equally inexorable.’ They thought farther that, ‘had Homer been acquainted with the Judgment of Paris, he would undoubtedly have mentioned it before this time in his Poem, &c." It may be answered, (replies Mr. Pope) that the [Page 338] Silence of Homer in the foregoing Part of the Poem, as to the Judgment of Paris, is no Argument that he was ignorant of that Story: Perhaps he might think it most proper to un­fold the Cause of the Destruction of Troy in the Conclusion of the Ilias; that the Reader see­ing the Wrong done, and the Punishment of that Wrong immediately following, might ac­knowledge the Justice of it.’ According to this Observation, which confirms what I have been saying, we must look beyond the Rape of Helen, for the original Cause of the Destruction of Troy, and for the Wrong done which so much exasperated these Goddesses. ‘The same Rea­son (proceeds the Note) will be an Answer to the Objection relating to the Anger of Pallas: Wisdom cannot be satisfied without Justice, and consequently Pallas, ought not to cease from Resentment, till Troy, has suffered the Deserts of her Crimes.’—Now whether that Crime of Paris could fairly be considered as the Crime of Troy, and whether therefore Wisdom could with Justice pursue it to the Destruction of a whole People, a Novice in Casuistry may determine.—If we suppose, by the by, that the Juno of Virgil was copied from this Original, as there is, I think, no Doubt but she was, we find that Poet in plain Terms ascribing the Ill­will of this Goddess towards the Trojans to be the Affront put upon her by Paris.

[Page 339]
—Manet altâ mente repôstum
Judicium Paridis, spretaeque injura formae.
Aen. L 1.

—You will begin probably to think, the Com­mentators have affected too much to discover Poetical Secrets in an Author whose Design I take to have been much more simple than it is generally imagined to be.—For your farther Sa­tisfaction, you shall hear from me again upon this Subject.


THE Commentators tell us it is with great Art and Judgment that Homer has en­gaged his several Deities either on the Side of Greece, or on that of Troy. I cannot give you a beter Account of their Sentiments upon this Head, than what you have in Mr. Pope's Note, tran­scribed from Eustathius, * This Division of the Gods, is not made at Random, but founded on very solid Reasons, drawn from the Na­ture of these two Nations. He places on the Side of the Greeks all the Gods who preside over Arts, and Sciences, to signify how much in that respect the Greeks excelled all other Na­tions. Juno, Pallas, Neptune, Mercury, and Vulcan are for the Greeks; Juno, not only as the Goddess who presides over Marriage, and [Page 340] who is concerned to revenge an Jnjury done to the Nuptial Bed, but likewise as the Goddess who represents Monarchical Government, which was better established in Greece than any where else; Pallas, because being the Goddess of War and Wisdom, she ought to assist those who are wronged; besides the Greeks understood the Art of War better than the Barbarians; Nep­tune, because he was an Enemy to the Trojans upon Account of Laomedon's perfidiousness, and because most of the Greeks being come from Islands, or Peninsulas, they were in some Sort his Subjects; Mercury, because he is a God who presides over Stratagems of War, and be­cause Troy was taken by that of the Wooden Horse; and lastly, Vulcan, as the declared Ene­my of Mars and of all Adulterers, and as the Father of Arts.—The Reasons why Mars, and Venus engage for the Trojans are very obvious; the Point in Hand was to favour Ravishers, and Debauchees. But the same Reason, you will say, does not serve for Apollo, Diana, and La­tona. It is urg'd that Apollo is for the Trojans, because of the Darts, and Arrows which were the principal Strength of the Barbarians; and Diana because she presided over Dancing, and those Barbarians were great Dancers; and La­tona, as influenc'd by her Children. Xanthus be­ing a Trojan River is interested for his Country.’

[Page 341] Now whether these are not rather ingenious than solid Reasons is, in my Mind, scarce a Question.—For all that is here asserted is far from being true. All the Gods who preside over Arts and Sciences are not on the Side of the Greeks: Apollo, who is surely one of the most considerable of them being the perpetual Patron of Troy; so that Ho­mer never meant by this Adjustment to ‘signify how much in this respect the Greeks excelled all other Nations. Juno, and Pallas, as plau­sible as the Reasons here alledged for their siding with the Grecians may seem to be, act in this Affair, by their own *Confessions, as we have seen, from very different Motives; nor will it follow, by the Way, that because the latter of these Goddesses assisted the Greeks, therefore Homer would intimate that the Greeks understood the Art of War better than the Bar­barians: for as Mr. Pope observes upon Homer's introducing Apollo on the Side of the Trojans in the fourth Book, Mars (the Friend of Troy) which signifies Courage without Conduct, pro­ving too weak to resist Minerva, or Courage with Conduct, the Poet brings in Wisdom to assist Mars, under the appearance of Apollo: and consequently as much may be inferred to the Advantage of the Trojans from the constant Inter­position [Page 342] of this God in their Behalf, as is in the Passage before us to that of the Greeks, from the Consideration of the Aid of Minerva.—But far­ther, Neptune it seems, is for the Greeks, ‘be­cause he was an Enemy to the Trojans, upon Account of Laomedon's Perfidiousness, and be­cause most of the Greeks being come from Islands or Peninsulas, they were in some Sort his Subjects.’ Now Laomedons's *Perfidious­ness consisted in the Refusal of the Wages due to this God on Account of the Building of the Walls of Troy, and in other ill-usage, and so we are to look upon Neptune's espousing the Grecian Cause, as the Effect of his Resentment of those personal Indignities; and in this Light he is only acting in conformity to the Idea I have framed of Ho­mer's Gods in general: But why the Greeks can with more Propriety be called Neptune's Subjects because they came from Islands or Peninsulas, than the Trojans themselves, who inhabited a Sea-port Town, (for which very reason Mr. Pope conjec­tures, Homer ascribes the Building of the Wall to Neptune only) I confess I am at a loss to discover.—Again, Mercury, we are informed is a Partisan of the Grecians ‘because he is a God who pre­sides over Stratagems of War, and because Troy was taken by that of the Wooden Horse;’[Page 343] Now the ingenuity of the Stratagem of the wooden Horse, if we believe Virgil, we must ascribe not to Mercury, but to Pallas.

Instar Montis equum divinâ Palladis arte Aedificant:

However, to let this Deity have the Credit of it; I would only ask whether, supposing he had been introduced by Homer on the Part of Troy, the Sagacity of Eustathius would not have assigned as specious a Reason for it as the present. I can conceive it to be this. Mercury is for the Tro­jans because he presides over Thieves and Robbers, and is the Favourer of all clandestine Enter­prizes, such as was the Rape of Helen by Paris.—But lastly, Vulcan assists the Greeks ‘as the declared Enemy of Mars and of all Adulterers, and as the Father of Arts.’ True—his per­sonal Enmity to Mars, and consequentially to all Adulterers, it is granted naturally engaged him on the Grecian Side;—but as the Father of the Mechanical Arts methinks, he should have fought under Apollo the Father of the liberal ones.

On the other Hand, ‘the Reasons, says Eu­stathius, why Mars and Venus engage for the Trojans are very obvious; the Point in Hand was to favour Ravishers and Debauchees, ra­ther a Ravisher, &c.’ If all the above-assigned Reasons had been as obvious as these, it had in­deed [Page 344] been scarce worth while to have entered into a Discussion of this Matter; but it would be ex­traordinary if there were no Circumstances to colour the Hypothesis of the Commentators.—Opi­nions, all this while, are not to be grounded on a few Circumstances that are contrasted by many others.—The Reasons given for the Assistance of the other Deities to Troy, which indeed are de­livered with an Air of Diffidence, are most of them far-fetched. ‘It is urged that Apollo is for the Trojans, because of the Darts and Arrows which were the principal Strength of the Bar­barians; supposing, but by the way not ad­mitting, the Truth of which Assertion itself, might not Apollo, who is Destiny according to the com­mon Notion, have been represented with much more Significancy as opposing Troy, whose De­struction was determined by Fate? One Reason *given by Dacier in the next Book, why Apollo declines fighting with Neptune is, because Apollo ‘being the same with Destiny, and the Ruin of the Trojans being concluded upon and decided, that God can no longer defer it.’ According to this, Apollo by taking the Part of Troy seems to have been Fighting against himself.—But Diana attach'd herself to the Trojan Interests, we are let to know, ‘because she presided over [Page 345] Dancing, and those Barbarians were great Dancers; it may be so; and yet I am apt to think the Goddess of Chastity acts a little out of Character here, and by aiding and abetting these Dancers, Ravishers, and Debauchees, is in danger to be taken tripping.

As for Latona, if she was ‘influenced by her Children she was a very Dutiful Mother; and Xanthus being a Trojan River" is very Natu­rally, and without any Design or Artifice of the Poet, "interested for his Country."

Do you not begin to believe upon this Review of the Matter, which I hope you will think a fair and impartial one, that ‘this Division of the Gods in Homer, was made much more at ran­dom than Eustathius would have persuaded you it was; and that the Gods upon Jupiter's Permission to them to assist either Party in the Beginning of this Book, gratified their personal Inclinations, and Affections;—Nay Jupiter him­self supposes they had done, and would do this.

Celestial Pow'rs descend
And as your Minds direct, your Succour lend
To either Host. L. 35. &c. B. xx.

And farther the Speeches which the Poet puts in the Mouths of his Gods when they come to en­gage, are full of personal Invectives, and Re­proaches, and contain little or nothing that coun­tenances [Page 346] an Allegorical Construction. Mars puts Minerva in Mind of the Wound Diomed had given him thro' her Instigation.

—In thy frantick Mood
Thou drov'st a Mortal to insult a God;
Thy impious Hand Tydides' Jav'lin bore,
And madly bath'd it in celestial Gore.
L. 460. &c. B. xxi.

Minerva, whom we may observe, Homer repre­sents in this Engagement as superiour to Mars in point of bodily Strength, not by Virtue of any Art or Stratagem, insults her vanquished Anta­gonist in the Language of a Conquerour, instead of reproving his Rashness in a Style that would have better become the Goddess of Wisdom:

Hast thou not yet, insatiate Fury! known
How far Minerva's Force transcends thy own?
L. 478.

The same Goddess next attacks Venus, and easily overcomes her, which Circumstance may, I ap­prehend, be best literally understood; for in an Allegorical Sense, Venus might have been at least a Match for Minerva, as Love often takes Posses­sion of the bravest Heart, and is irresistible by the wisest Counsels.—And if Venus had been vic­torious here, I make no Doubt but that Sense would have been put upon this Passage.

[Page 347] Neptune addresses himself to Apollo in a long Speech, in which he recapitulates the injurious Treatment they had both met with from Laome­don, and wonders at that God's Forgetfulness, and Forgiveness of the same: But he drops not a single Syllable that intimates himself to be the Represen­tative of Humidity, or Apollo of Dryness upon this Occasion.

Juno gives Diana most abusive Language, and "Boxes her soundly" into the Bargain, as Mr. Pope expresses it;—but I see no Clue to a Mystery in all this Business, nor any Thing suitable to the Emblematical Characters of either Goddess.

Lastly, upon Mercury's declining to fight with Latona, Mr. Pope borrows this Remark from Eu­stathius; that, * It is impossible that Mercury should encounter Latona; such a Fiction would be unnatural, he being a Planet and she re­presenting the Night; for the Planets owe all their Lustre to the Shades of the Night, and then only become visible to the World.’—This Commentator in another Place exclaims with Admiration; ‘With what Art does the Poet engage the Gods in this Conflict!’ But sure if there be Truth in the last cited Obser­vation, there was little Art in making Latona, and Mercury take different Sides.—In short as ex­actly [Page 348] * as some Circumstances may tally in the the Disposition of this Engagement, I am apt to think, upon the whole, it is rather to be attribu­ted to Chance, than Design, and that the Ex­positors in general, either thro' Zeal for the Ho­nour of Homer, or in Ostentation of their own Sagacity, have gone greater Lengths in their Al­legorical Hypothesis, than they could justify from the plain Scheme of their Author. But I will take Occasion once more to resume this Argument.


IT bears hard, I presume, upon the Notion of an allegorical Meaning's being couched under the Appearances and Actions of Homer's Deities, that we are so often at a Loss for any Reason to be al­ledg'd for them, or cannot give one with Con­sistency, and Propriety. If this did not abun­dantly appear to be the Case from what has been laid before you, we might proceed to ask, how it comes to pass that the Interposition of Juno in the 16th Book prevents Jupiter's seeming Design to save Sarpedon? Why does she interpose at all, or why is this the Effect of it? How comes this Goddess to interfere in the present Passage, and Minerva in the 22d Book, when Jupiter dis­covers the same Inclination to deliver Hector?[Page 349] If Eustathius rightly observes that ‘the Conduct of Homer is remarkably just and rational,’ in the fifth Book of the Iliad, where he tells us Diomed notwithstanding his intrepid Character retired from Apollo, because ‘it was impossible for him to vanquish Apollo, in whatsoever Ca­pacity he is considered, either as the Sun, or as Destiny; how is it that the same Com­mentator commends in another Place a Con­duct, which is the very Reverse of this? How *observable, says he, or rather Mr. Pope in his Name, is Homer's Art of illustrating the Valour, and Glory of his Heroes? Menelaus, who sees Hector and all the Trojans rushing upon him, would not retire if Apollo did not support them; and though Apollo does support them, he would oppose even Apollo, were Ajax but near him.’ According to this Remark (if it is reconcileable with the former) Menelaus behaves with more Intrepidity or rather Rashness than Diomed himself; and yet neither are the Characteristics of that Hero, of whom we shall have something more to say by and by. In the seventh Book, Apollo, we are informed, comes very opportunely to save his favourite Hector who is overpowered by Ajax. Eustathius says, that Apollo is the very same with Destiny; so that when Homer says [Page 350] Apollo saved him, he means no more than that it was not his Fate yet to die.’ Now methinks, if this Observation is justly made, this Deity should appear to the Relief of every Hero in the like Extremity: And yet it is Venus who saves Paris in the third Book, and Aeneas in the fifth; as Neptune does the latter this same good Office in the twentieth.

It belongs to the Advocates of the common No­tion to solve all these Difficulties, and many more that might be added to them.—In the mean Time I would have you turn your Eyes to a Pas­sage or two, where the Allegory is supposed to be self-evident, and tell me whether the Matter be so undeniably clear as the Illustrations of the Commentators pretend to make it. The Descent of Minerva in the first Book to prevent Achilles' attempting the Life of Agamemnon is descanted upon at large as a Passage of this Nature. ‘The * Allegory here (says Mr. Pope) may be al­lowed by every Reader to be unforced: The Prudence of Achilles checks him in the rashest Moment of his Anger, it works upon him un­seen to others, but does not entirely prevail upon him to desist till he remembers his own Importance, and depends upon it, that there will be a Necessity of their courting him at any Expence into their Alliance again. Having [Page 351] persuaded himself by such Reflections, he for­bears to attack his General, but thinking that he sacrifices enough to Prudence by this For­bearance, lets the Thought of it vanish from him; and no sooner is Wisdom gone, but he falls into more violent Reproaches for the Gra­tification of his Passion. All this is a most beautiful Passage, whose Moral is evident, and generally agreed on by the Commentators.’

Now had Minerva only been the Actress in this Affair, all this had been a very natural Explica­tion; but Homer gives us to understand that Mi­nerva was *dispatched by Juno (the Goddess of Honour) on this Errand. If therefore Juno be not an utterly insignificant Personage in this Trans­action, the Honour as well as the Prudence of Achilles must be supposed to suggest his present Conduct to him. But as a Soldier, and a passionate one too, no doubt he must think himself obliged in Point of Honour to take immediate Satisfaction for the Affront which had been put upon him; and so his Honour suggests, what his Prudence forbids. As allegorical Persons therefore I can't think but Juno and Minerva appear together with some Force in this Machine. Nor, by the way, does it seem agreeable to the Cha­racter of the Goddess of Wisdom to suffer Achilles to break out into such scurrilous and virulent Ex­pressions [Page 352] as he makes Use of in his next Speech to Agamemnon; he does this when Wisdom is gone, Mr. Pope says, but still it was by her Permission, one might say Direction indeed.

The Force of keen Reproaches let him feel. l. 279.

The Original is stronger, and contains a more unlimited Commission; and in consequence of it Achilles rates his General with a Vengeance;

O Monster! mix'd of Insolence, and Fear;
Thou Dog in Forehead, but in Heart a Deer!
l. 297, &c.

Even this Passage then you see is not clear of Difficulties, and as much as may be said in De­fence of the allegorical Interpretation, the literal Sense is at least easy, and liable to no Exception.

I will only desire you to turn once more to the fifth Book, of which Mr. Pope observes, * ‘the Allegory lies so open, is carried on with such Closeness, and wound up with so much Full­ness and Strength, that it is a Wonder how it could enter into the Imagination of any Critic, that these Actions of Diomed were only a daring and extravagant Fiction in Homer, as if he af­fected the marvellous at any Rate. The great Moral of it is, that a brave Man should not contend against Heaven, but resist only Venus and Mars, Incontinence and ungoverned Fury.’ [Page 353]‘Nothing is more observable than the parti­cular Care Homer has taken to shew he designed this Moral.’Minerva, at the Beginning of the Battle, is made to give this Precept to Diomed: Fight not against the Gods, but give Way to them, and resist only VENUS. The Hero himself, as soon as he has performed her Dictates in driving away Venus, cries out not as to the Goddess, but as to the Passion, Thou hast no Business with Warriors, is it not enough that thou deceivest weak Women? Even the Mother of Venus, while she comforts her Daughter, bears Testimony to the Moral: That Man (says she) is not long liv'd who contends with the Gods. And when Diomed, transported by his Nature, proceeds but a Step too far, Apollo discovers himself in the most solemn Manner, and de­clares this Truth in his own Voice, as it were by direct Revelation: Mortal, forbear, consider and know the vast Difference there is between the Gods and thee, &c.’

Now in the first Place I am afraid Homer will not appear to have been so particularly careful to shew he designed this Moral, as Mr. Pope would make us believe. For though Diomed was com­manded ‘in the Beginning of the Battle to give Way to the Gods, and resist only Venus, he is afterwards empowered to attack Mars, and any Deity that should come in his Way;’ [Page 354] Not Mars himself, nor Ought immortal fear. l. 1020. Accordingly he is directed in the Original to fall upon Mars * first; and therefore though he actu­ally attacks no other God, he seems to have been sufficiently authorised to do it, which is a Circum­stance that clashes with the Allegory.—But what bears still harder upon it in my Opinion is this, that though the Poet speaks in high Terms of the Bravery and Intrepidity of this Hero, and of the Honour he had to be under the immediate Pro­tection of Minerva, yet he represents his wound­ing of Venus, and contending with the heavenly Powers, as Acts of the highest Rashness and Impiety. Observe Dione's Words to her Daughter, which Mr. Pope refers to as a Proof of Homer's Intention to inculcate his Moral, &c.

Rash, impious Man! to stain the blest Abodes,
And drench his Arrows in the Blood of Gods!
But thou (tho' Pallas urg'd thy frantic Deed)
Whose Spear ill-fated makes a Goddess bleed,
Know thou, whoe'er with heav'nly pow'r contends,
Short is his Date, and soon his Glory ends. &c. &c.
l. 491, &c.

And if you will regulate your Opinion by Virgil's Judgment of this Matter, you will find Diomed [Page 355] according to that Author, as Mr. Pope remarks, ‘in his Answer to the Embassador of King Lati­nus, enumerating his Misfortunes, and imputing the Cause of them to this impious Attempt upon Venus.

Haec adeò ex illo mihi jam speranda fuerunt
Tempore, cum ferro coelestia corpora demens
Appetii, & Veneris violavi vulnere dextram.
Aeneid. l. 11.

Nay Diomed condemns himself for this very Ac­tion in his Speech to Glaucus in the next Book, and intimates the great Danger he had exposed himself to by it.

But if from Heav'n, celestial thou descend;
Know, with Immortals we no more contend.
Not long Lycurgus view'd the golden Light,
That daring Man who mix'd with Gods in Fight, &c.
B. 6. l. 160. &c.

I can't help transcribing to you Mr. Pope's Note upon this Place, who begins now to be of the same Sentiment. ‘A quick Change of Mind from the greatest Impiety to as great Superstition is frequently observable in Men, who having been guilty of the greatest Crimes without any Remorse, on the sudden are filled with Doubts and Scruples about the most lawful or indiffer­ent Actions. This seems the present Case of [Page 356] Diomed, who having knowingly wounded and insulted the Deities, is now afraid to engage the first Man he meets, lest perhaps a God might be concealed in that Shape.’ I confess this Fear of Diomed, which violently shakes the Allegory in Question, appears to me inconsistent likewise with the Tenor of this Hero's Character; nor can I think Mr. Pope brings him off when he acquaints us in the following Note, that ‘what Diomed here says is the Effect of Remorse, as if he had exceeded the Commission of Pallas in encountring with the Gods, and dreaded the Consequences of proceeding too far. At least he had no such Commission now, and besides, was no longer capable of distinguishing them from Men (a Faculty she had given him in the foregoing Book). He there mentions this Story of Lycurgus as an Example that sufficed to ter­rify him from so rash an Undertaking.’

Now in the first Place it by no Means appears that this Commission was expired, or that Fa­culty ceas'd; at least the contrary may be in­ferred from Mr. Pope's Translation of this Speech. Diomed says but two Lines above

Unhappy they, and born of luckless Sires,
Who tempt our Fury when Minerva fires! l. 157.

After all, why should he torment himself with Reflections on what he had done only by Virtue of that Commission before, which he was far from [Page 357] exceeding except in his Attempt upon Apollo, from whom however upon the first Reproof he retired? Or, why should the Example of Lycur­gus, who acted not by divine Impulse, terrify one who confessedly did? In this Light what will become of the allegorical Characters of Minerva, Mars, and Venus; or how comes a Hero to be troubled in Conscience because he had been re­sisting Incontinence, and ungoverned Fury? Thus you find this Allegory, which we were told lies so open, is clogged likewise with its Difficulties; from which indeed neither is the literal Construc­tion of the Passage clear; for it seems unreason­able that a Man should suffer from the Resent­ment of one God for what he committed by the Direction, and Command of another; though this is no unusual Thing in Pagan Story.

Upon the whole, to have done with the Ma­chinery of this great Poet, I leave it to you to judge, whether there is not abundant Ground to conclude, that the Interpreters have frequently taken Pains to ascertain a Meaning in him which never came into his Head; that if he had a latent and symbolical Meaning, at least they have not hit upon it, and that there is more Ingenuity than Solidity, as we have hinted, in many of their Interpretations. In a Word, I cannot see how any thing like a regular and consistent System either of Theology, or of Morality, can be ex­tracted [Page 358] from Homer's Machinery—if he drops a Sentiment or an Expression occasionally, as he often does, with a View one would think to con­vince his Reader of the Rectitude of his private Notions with Regard to the Deity, his Jupiter appears to have been a fabulous and traditional Character, and is drawn with Imperfections, and Infirmities incompatible with the natural Ideas of a supreme Being. As to the inferior Deities it seems impossible to form a precise Idea of their hidden Significancy, or allegorical Importance, from the Actions which we have seen ascribed to them: So that Homer had really much less Design in the Plan of his Poem than is supposed (on which Supposition he may however be plainly made more uniform, and of a Piece) or he had much more than has ever yet been, or we may suppose now ever will be, comprehended. In my next I will consider in another Point of View the noble Production of this excellent Poet.


IT may be proper to remind you in this Place that I neither have said, nor shall say any thing of Homer with an Intent to lessen your Opi­nion of him, but to set it right; for it is one Thing to undervalue a Poet, and another to un­deceive the Reader. If Homer be justly esteemed one of the greatest Geniuses the World has pro­duced, [Page 359] (perhaps the greatest) it is to be remem­bered that he is one of the first too; and it is absurd to look for that Perfection in the Original, which we have a Right to expect in the Copy. It is the Characteristic of Invention to be great, of Imitation, to be exact; and if Virgil could not have improved the Model of the Epopee left him by Homer, he should not have taken a Pen in his Hand. The Intervention of Homer with all his De­fects will always be the Object of our Admiration; the Judgment of Virgil with all his Proprieties will only deserve our Praise.—I own it has often amazed me to find the Commentators so confident to deny, or solicitous to extenuate Homer's De­fects, which really do no Discredit to him, and which ought to be imputed to that Simplicity with which every original Production of the human Mind is naturally imagined. It is, I apprehend, for want of considering this great Author in this Light, that the Expositors often run into the op­posite Extreme, and are industrious to discover Beauties and Excellencies which were merely acci­dental, and ought rather to be put to the Account of the Editor's Affection or Sagacity, than to that of the Art, or Design of the Author.—Un­der this Notion I have already submitted to your Consideration my Sentiments on Homer's Machines; and agreeably to my Proposal I shall next give you my Thoughts upon the Plan or Oeconomy of [Page 360] the Iliad in general, and then proceed to a Re­view of the Poet's Conduct in some particular In­stances. Now, I think, it may be noted as a Defect in the general Oeconomy of the Iliad, which is to be ascribed to the Cause just men­tioned, that the Poet has not taken sufficient Care to interest his Readers on the Side of his Countrymen, notwithstanding the apparent Justice of their Cause. This is clear to me from several Considerations, as first from the Countenance and Protection given to the Trojans in general by Ju­piter, in Preference to the Greeks.—I am very sensible the Commentators represent this Protec­tion as the Consequence only of that God's Promise to Thetis, to humble the Grecians, and do Honour to Achilles.—But is it not as plain too, that Jupiter throughout the Poem is personally well­affected to Troy in general, and that for very good Reasons? It appears from Jupiter's Answer to Thetis, that he had declared himself in the In­terest of the Trojans long before she made this Application to him,

What hast thou ask'd? Ah! why should Jove engage
In foreign Contests, and domestic Rage,
The Gods Complaints, and Juno's fierce Alarms,
While I, too partial, aid the Trojan Arms?
B. 1. l. 672.

And he afterwards, in the Council wherein he in­timates himself disposed to end the War, with the [Page 361] Approbation of the other Deities, by suffering the Treaty made upon the Duel of Menelaus, and Paris to take Effect, expresses a more than ordi­nary Concern for Troy, as a Place that deserved well at his Hands.

For know of all the num'rous Towns that rise
Beneath the rolling Sun, and starry Skies,
Which Gods have rais'd, or earth-born Men enjoy,
None stands so dear to Jove, as sacred Troy.
No Mortals merit more distinguish'd Grace,
Than God-like Priam, or than Priam's Race.
Still to our Name their Hecatomb's expire,
And Altars blaze with unextinguish'd Fire.
B. 4. L. 65. &c.

Mr. Pope has a Note from Dacier, which corro­borates what I have remarked upon this Head. * Jupiter's Reproaching these two Goddesses (Juno and Pallas) with neglecting to assist Menelaus (in the Duel) proceeds from the Af­fection he bore to Troy; since if Menelaus had gained by their Help a complete Victory, (which it has been observed, was a sufficient one) the Siege had been raised, and the City delivered. On the contrary, Juno and Minerva might suffer Paris to escape, as the Method to con­tinue the War, to the total Destruction of Troy; and accordingly a few Lines after we find them [Page 362] complotting together, and contriving a new Scene of Miseries to the Trojans. The latter Part of this Note confirms what has been before observed, that these Goddesses seem to have been actuated by a Spirit of the most inveterate Malice, and Animosity against a whole Race Unius ob­noxam. The Restitution of Helen, &c. was not the grand Object of their Counsels.

Indeed, if you take them in the Gross, I be­lieve you will find the Deities on the Side of Troy (tho' Mars is in the Number) to be more gentle, and mercifully inclined, than those that are the Assistants of the Greeks.

Again, I can't help being of Opinion that upon the whole, the Poet gives us a much more favour­able Idea of the Trojans, than he does of the Greeks, if we regard the Manners, and Characters of the Heroes concerned on both Sides. Let us take a short Vew of the principal Personages that fight in the Cause of Troy. Hector, as Mr. Pope says, * if he is not the chief Hero in the Iliad, is at least the most amiable, and is for several Reasons a favourite Character with every Rea­der.’‘He stands in contrast to Achilles, an accomplished Character of Valour, unruffled by Rage, and Anger, and uniting his People by his Prudence, and Example.’ ‘It is the [Page 363] Love of his Country, which appears his principal Passion, and the Motive of all his Actions. He has no other Blemish than that he fights in an unjust Cause, which Homer has yet been careful to tell us he would not do, if his Opinion were followed.’ ‘We may add, that Homer, having so many Greeks to celebrate, makes them shine it their Turns, &c. whereas Hector appears in every Battle the Life and Soul of his Party, and the constant Bul­wark against every Enemy; he stands against Agamemnon's Magnanimity, Diomed's Bravery, Ajax's Strength, and Achilles's Fury.’

* The Piety, and Valour of Aeneas, tho' not drawn at so full a Length, are marked no less in (Homer) the Original, than in (Virgil) the Copy. It is the Manner of Homer to express very strongly the Character of each of his Per­sons in the first Speech he is made to utter in the Poem. In this of Aeneas there is a great Air of Piety in those Strokes, Is he some God who punishes TROY for having neglected his Sacrifices? and then in that Sentence, the Anger of Heaven is Terrible.

In a Word, as Mr. Pope tells us in another Place. Tho' Aeneas is represented a Man of great Courage, yet his Piety is his most shining [Page 364] Character: This is the Reason why he is al­ways the Care of the Gods, &c.’

The Character of Sarpedon, says the same Com­mentator, is the * most faultless, and amiable in the whole Iliad. This Hero is by Birth su­periour to all the Chiefs of either Side, being the only Son of Jupiter engaged in this War. His Qualities are no way unworthy his Descent, since he every where appears equal in Valour, Prudence, and Eloquence to the most admired Heroes: Nor are these Excellencies blemished with any of those Defects with which the most distinguished Characters of the Poem are stain­ed; so that the nicest Criticks cannot find any Thing to offend their Delicacy, but must be obliged to own the Manners of this Hero per­fect. His Valour is neither rash, nor boisterous, his Prudence neither timorous, nor tricking; and his Eloquence, neither talkative, nor boast­ing. He never reproaches the Living, nor insults the Dead; but appears uniform thro' his Con­duct in the War, acting with the same generous Sentiments that engaged him in it; having no interest in the Quarrel, but to succour his Allies in distress. This noble Life is ended with a Death as glorious; for in his last Moments he has no other Concern, but for the Honour of his [Page 365] Friends, and the Event of the Day.’‘His is the only Death in the Iliad attended with Prodigies; even his Funeral is performed by divine Assistance, he being the only Hero whose Body is carried back to be interred in his native Country, &c.’‘These peculiar and distinguishing Honours seem appropriated by our Author to him alone, as the Reward of a Merit superiour to all his other less perfect Heroes.’ These are the most illustrious Cha­racters on the Side of Troy; tho' the inferiour ones, if not so striking, are at least generally ami­able and inoffensive; as those of Deiphobus, He­lenus, Polydamas, and Glaucus. Even that of Paris is upon the whole far from being odious, or disgusting. I believe, among other Things the Value every Reader has for these Characters, par­ticularly his Love and Esteem of Hector, inclines his Wishes to the Side of Troy. Indeed Mr. Pope has (perhaps undesignedly) given us in the above Accounts of Sarpedon, a kind of Contrast to the Manners, and Characters of many of the Leaders in the Grecian Army. For the Valour of Achilles, and of Diomed is undoubtedly rash, and boisterous; the Prudence of Ulysses is sometimes * timorous; and the Eloquence of Idomeneus, and Nector is talkative and boasting. But what Pre­judices [Page 366] us more than any Thing else against the Greeks, is that Cruelty, and Inhumanity which is so remarkable in their Chiefs of the first Note, and Figure. Granting Achilles in all he does to act in Character, and suitably to his ‘ferocious and vindictive Spirit’ the very Nature of the Character itself is offensive, and the Propriety and Coherence with which it is preserved, distasteful. ‘His Inhumanity in dragging the dead Body of Hector has been severely (and I think indeed not without some Justice, says Mr. Pope) cen­sured by several, both Antients, and Moderns.’ Indeed the Question is whether the whole Picture of Achilles as drawn by Homer, has not stronger, and more violent Features in it than Necessity re­quired? The Subject of the Poem is the Anger of this Hero, and the ill Consequences of it to the Greeks; but this brutal Treatment of the Body of a generous Enemy, is neither the natural Effect of that Anger, nor a Soldier-like Revenge for the Death of his Friend Patroclus.—'Tis true, the Commentators have observed that, * Homer takes Care before Hand, to lessen in his Rea­der's Mind the Horrour he may conceive from the Cruelty which Achilles will exercise upon the Body of Hector, by shewing this Cruelty as the Punishment only of that which Hector [Page 367] exercises upon the Body of Patroclus; he drags him; he designs to cut off his Head, and to leave his Body upon the Ramparts, exposed to Dogs, and Birds of Prey.’ The Observation is founded on Fact; but however as this Piece of intended Cruelty is inconsistent with Hector's gene­ral Character, he should not have been represen­ted as capable of it, and as it was only intended, it makes not so horrible an Impression upon us as the actual Inhumanity of the Poet's favour­rite Hero. I have often thought by the way, that the Barbarity of Achilles towards the Re­mains of the unfortunate, and universally beloved Hector, occasioned the Misrepresentation of the very Fact of his Death by the well-known Story, (which Shakespeare adheres to in his Troilus and Cressida) of Achilles's ungenerously attacking him unarmed, and cutting him to Pieces.—So de­sirous was the exasperated Author to depreciate the Character of this Hero, and exalt that of his Adversary. But to return; be the Charac­ter of Achilles as "poetically perfect" as possible, and the Morality to be drawn from it as obvious as you please, he seems to have the least Merit of any of the principal Personages in the Poem, and we can scarce help being sorry to see so many detestable Qualities on the right Side of the Ques­tion: In a Word "the Virtues of Humanity" which he *discovers in the 24th Book, when [Page 368] he restores the Body of Hector to Priam, and "the amiable Qualities" which Mr. Pope tells us ‘soften the terrible Ideas we have conceived of him’ are exercised too late to wipe off the Stain of his past unheroical, and unmanly Beha­viour; especially when we consider that this Act of Humanity was the Effect of Jupiter's express Command, delivered by his Mother Thetis.

In short, though we cannot but take Notice of a great deal of Insolence and Cruelty on both Sides, and are shocked, as Mr. Pope confesses he is, at the many Instances of Inhumanity that oc­cur throughout the Poem, ‘which however are not to be *imputed to the Poet, who followed Nature as it was in his Days, but to be ascribed to the uncivilized Manners of those Times, when Mankind was not united by the Bonds of a rational Society,’ yet I believe we shall find much more Blame due to the Greeks, than to the Trojans upon this Score. Not to insist upon those other glaring Proofs of a bloody, and unmerciful Disposition, which Achilles gives in the killing Lycaon , taking twelve Captives whom he sa­crifices afterwards to the Manes of Patroclus, we see Agamemnon too upon certain Occasions betray­ing a fierce, and cruel Temper; as particularly when he prevails upon his Brother to take away a Trojan's Life which he was inclined in Compassion [Page 369] to *spare. I do not know where you will meet with more savage Sentiments than those of this General in the following Speech to Menelaus.

—Oh impotent of Mind!
Shall these, shall these Atrides' Mercy find?
Well hast thou known proud Troy's perfidious Land,
And well her Natives merit at thy Hand!
Not one of all the Race, nor Sex, nor Age,
Shall save a Trojan from our boundless Rage:
Ilion shall perish whole, and bury all;
Her Babes, her Infants at the Breast shall fall.
L. 67. &c. B. vi.

And if you will turn to the Original you will per­haps think it much softened in this Translation; notwithstanding Mr. Pope's Observation from Madam Dacier. It should be remembered too, that the venerable Nestor himself is a Spectator and Applauder of this Act of Cruelty.

But there is one Consideration behind that in­terests the Reader in the Behalf of Troy, much more than all the rest; I mean that of the private Characters of Priam and his Royal Family. Mr. Pope is of Opinion that ‘the Poet's chief Inten­tion in making Hector retire from the Battle to carry a Message to Troy &c. was to introduce the fine Episode of his parting with Andromache [Page 370] in which the amiable Picture of conjugal Love Homer has drawn gives us Cause to think his Genius was no less capable of touching the Heart with Tenderness, than of firing it with Glory.’ ‘This Episode, (says that excellent Person,) tends very much to raise the Character of Hector, and endear him to every Reader,’ and indeed we cannot admire this Hero more in the Field, than we love him at Home. His Con­duct, his Courage, and his Valour are common to him with many others, but his affectionate Tenderness to his Parents, his Wife, his Child, and his Friends is characteristical, and peculiar to himself.

In a Word, you cannot, I believe, but be a Well-wisher to the House of Priam, when you consider the general Character of this good old Man himself, whose only Fault was his Indulgence to his Children, and especially his Piety which "renders him a Favourite of Jupiter," and pro­cures him the Restitution of his Son's Body; or when you look into the Manners of his whole Fa­mily, not even Helen excepted, but as she is the Mistress of Paris, or Paris himself, but as he is the Admirer of that fatal Beauty. Upon the whole, I leave you to judge whether the Grecians do not deserve the Appellation of barbarous, ac­cording to the worst Acceptation of the Term, much more than the People, or the Allies of Troy.

[Page 371] I cannot think then with Mr. Pope that Ho­mer *always appears very zealous for the Ho­nour of Greece, or even that he seems to be so in the Instance produced to support the Asser­tion; I mean, that of the Trojans in the Begin­ning of the third Book rushing on to the Battle in a barbarous and confused Manner with loud Shouts and Cries, while the Greeks advance in the most profound Silence and exact Order.’ This Circumstance, it seems, is a Proof of the Poet's ‘Endeavour every where to represent the Greeks as superiour to the Trojans in Valour, and the Art of War,’ to which if you add the Cir­cumstance of ‘the Grecians being animated by Pallas and the Trojans instigated by Mars i. e. the former, "by a well-conducted Valour," and the latter by "rash Strength and brutal Force," the Matter will bear no Dispute. What Weight there is in this latter Circumstance you will easily see upon recollecting what has been already re­marked upon the Machines of Homer, and for the former, I think you will agree with me, that little is to be fairly inferred from it to the Advantage of the Greeks. The Trojan ‘Manner of encountering with Shouts and Outcries’ is no Argument against their military Discipline, or Proof that they were not drawn up in as "exact Order" as the [Page 372] Grecians themselves. * Perhaps these Clamours were only to encourage their Men, instead of martial Instruments,’ as Mr. Pope has not scru­pled to intimate; at least it is a Peculiarity (as what Nation is without one?) that does no Discredit to their Discipline, or Skill in the "Art of War." Indeed the supposed constant Superiority of the Grecians &c. is by no means so apparent to me as it has been to the Commentators in general; and probably you may be of the same Mind if you will refer to Book iv. L. 508, &c. to Book viii. L. 73, &c. to Book xi. L. 93, &c. to Book vii. L. 11, &c. 23, &c. &c. and to other Places, wherein there seems to be no Sort of Inferiority on the Part of Troy in respect of Conduct, Bravery, or Resolution. More might be said upon this Article, but I have exceeded the ordinary Bounds of my Letters, and indeed should not have said so much, but that I thought it necessary to enter into such Particularities as these in order to give you the clearer Idea of an Author whose Work, I presume, you will think it a rational Amusement thoroughly to examine and discuss.


I Have two more Objections to the general Oeconomy of the Iliad which I am apt to be­lieve, a little Attention will convince you are rea­sonable [Page 373] ones; the first is, that Achilles, the Hero of the Poem, is not the first Personage in it in Point of Dignity. Hector is his Superiour in every amiable Quality, and Agamemnon no less so in Power, and Command: And as the former Con­sideration prepossesses the Reader in Favour of the Trojan General, so the latter has at least a Ten­dency to interest us on the Side of Authority in the Quarrel at the Beginning of the Poem: And the more so, as Homer, if he was not a Friend to ab­solute Monarchy, does yet speak in very high Terms of the sacred Rights, and inviolable Su­premacy of Kings:

There want not Chiefs in such a Cause to fight,
says Agamemnon himself,
And Jove himself shall guard a Monarch's Right.
B. 1. l. 227, &c.

and afterwards,

Hence shalt thou prove my Might, and curse the Hour,
Thou stood'st a Rival of imperial Pow'r;
And hence to all our Host it shall be known,
That Kings are subject to the Gods alone. l. 250, &c.

Old Nestor talks in the same Strain when he at­tempts to pacify these Chiefs; (see Line 367, &c.) as does Ulysses in the next Book. (see L. 243, &c.

But besides the visible Propriety there had been in making Achilles Commander in Chief, with which Appointment the great Design of the Poem, [Page 374] and the due Execution of it were without Doubt consistent, it is plain that for Want of it you will meet with much Incongruity, not to say Absur­dity, in many Places. One obvious Example shall suffice to maintain the Allegation; which is that of Achilles's convening the Council in the first Book; an Act of Royalty that became him no more than it would Diomed, Ulysses, or any secondary Commander in the Army. Indeed this very Circumstance you find mentioned by Mr. Pope in his Note from Plutarch and Eustathius, as doing great Honour to the Judgment of Homer; for which Reason it will be proper to transcribe it.—Plutarch observes, how justly Homer applies the Characters of his Persons to the Incidents; not making Agamemnon, but Achilles call this Council, who of all the Kings was most capable of making Observations upon the Plague, and of foreseeing its Duration, as having been bred by Chiron to the Study of Physick. One may mention also a Remark of Eustathius in Pur­suance to this, that Juno's advising him in this Case might allude to his Knowledge of an evil Temperament in the Air, of which she was Goddess.’ Now admitting the suppos'd Skill of this Hero, &c. to have been a good Reason for his private Advice in regard to the Convention of this Council, and for his delivering his Opinion in it with more than ordinary Freedom and Con­fidence, [Page 375] yet how it could give him a Right to call it, or to open it in Consequence of so doing with a formal Speech, I confess, I can't at all comprehend.—You will give me Leave just to illustrate what I have been observing upon this Head, by directing you to a Passage in the 24th Book, in which Achilles at the Height of his Glory, and Popularity among the Greeks, and at the very Instant that ‘he promises * Priam a Cessation of Arms purely by his own Authority’ does nevertheless in Effect acknowledge his Sub­ordination to the Imperial Character, and by his Apprehensions of the Consequences of the present Proceeding: as if the Poet, even while he is ag­grandizing his Hero, was conscious of ascribing an Importance to him unsuitable to the Inferiority of his Station.

Then he: Now, Father, sleep, but sleep not here,
Consult thy Safety, and forgive my Fear,
Lest any Argive (at this Hour awake,
To ask our Counsel, or our Orders take)
Approaching sudden to our open'd Tent,
Perchance behold thee, and our Grace prevent.
Should such Report thy honour'd Person hear,
The King of Men the Ransom might defer.
But say with Speed, if ought of thy Desire
Remains unask'd; what Time the Rites require
[Page 376] T' interr thy Hector? For so long we stay
Our slaught'ring Arm, and bid the Hosts obey.
L. 816, &c.

You observe there is an Inconsistency here which would have been saved had Achilles been the principal Person in respect of Precedence, as well as Valour, &c. &c.

But it is Time to come to the other Objection, which, as I am not singular in it, I will give you in the Words of Mr. Pope's Note prefixed to the 23d Book of the Iliad, and endeavour to confirm it by a Remark or two upon what that Expositor has offered by way of Vindication of his Author. ‘This, and the following Book, which contain the Description of the Funeral of Patroclus, and other Matters relating to Hector, are undoubt­edly super-added to the grand Catastrophe of the Poem; for the Story is compleatly finished with the Death of that Hero in the 22d Book. Many judicious Criticks have been of Opinion, that Homer is blameable for protracting it. Virgil closes the whole Scene of Action with the Death of Turnus, and leaves the rest to be ima­gined by the Mind of the Reader: He does not draw the Picture at full Length, but delineates it so far, that we cannot fail of imagining the whole Draught. There is however one Thing to be said in Favour of Homer, which may perhaps justify him in his Method that what he [Page 377] undertook to paint was the Anger of Achilles; and as that Anger does not die with Hector, but persecutes his very Remains, so the Poet still keeps up to his Subject; nay, it seems to require that he should carry down the Relation of that Resentment, which is the Foundation of his Poem, till it is fully satisfied: And as this survives Hector, and gives the Poet an Oppor­tunity of still shewing many sad Effects of Achilles's Anger, the two following Books may be thought not to be Excrescencies, but essen­tial to the Poem.’

Virgil had been inexcusable had he trod in Homer's Footsteps; for it is evident that the Fall of Turnus, by giving Aeneas a full Power over Italy, answers the whole Design and Intention of the Poem; had he gone farther he had over­shot his Mark; and though Homer proceeds after Hector's Death, yet the Subject is still the Anger of Achilles. Now, I apprehend, the Anger of Achilles, which is the ‘Foundation of the Poem,’ is entirely distinct from that Anger, or rather Revenge with which he ‘persecutes the very Remains of Hector, and that the whole declared "Design and Intention" of the Poet was "to paint the Anger of Achilles" as the Source of all the Misfortunes the Grecians underwent; which were ended by the Reconciliation of that Chief and Agamemnon. We then see as plainly the [Page 378] good Effects of Union to the Greeks, as we did the fatal Consequences of Discord through the most considerable Part of the Poem; and there­fore the Death of Hector, and the Triumph of the Grecians thereupon was the proper, and natural Catastrophe of the Iliad. The Anger of Achilles, considered as the Passion he was addicted to, might have been protracted through many Books more.—In short, the Super-addition of these Books, espe­cially the latter, instead of being justifiable by the Reasons above alledged, does even come within the Reach of a former Objection: For the Care taken of Hector's Body by two *Deities, the De­bate in Heaven concerning the Redemption of the same by Priam, the Interposition of Jupiter in Behalf of his deceased Votary, Mercury's con­ducting Priam to the Tent of Achilles, the Inter­view of the two Monarchs, and lastly, the several pathetic Lamentations made over the Corps of the unfortunate Hero by his Friends, and Relations at Troy, with which the Poem concludes; I say, these Incidents confirm our former Prepossessions in Favour of Hector, leave the most tender Im­pressions on our Minds, and at the same Time inspire us with fresh Indignation at the Insolence, and Barbarity of his implacable Enemy.—Such are the Defects, as I conceive, in the general Oeco­nomy [Page 379] of the Ilias.—In my next I will communi­cate to you some Observations I have made upon the particular Conduct of the great Author in Relation to Characters, Incidents, and other Cir­cumstances, &c. &c.


HOMER is with much Justice to be admired in the main for the agreeable Variety of his Characters, and for the remarkable Spirit, and Uniformity with which each of them is sustained. If he is sometimes faulty upon this Article it is to be ascribed to mere human Infirmity perhaps, or in some Cases to that Simplicity which, as has been said, distinguishes the Inventors of Arts and Sci­ences from the Improvers of them. To one of these it is probably owing that we see such a scan­dalous Character as that of Thersites in the Iliad, or so contemptible a one as that of Nireus: The latter, the most beautiful, the former, the most deformed Person of the Poem. 'Tis observable, Mr. Pope informs us, ‘that * Thersites is never heard of after his first Appearance: Such a scan­dalous Character is to be taken no more Notice of, than just to shew that 'tis despised.’ But whether ludicrous or scandalous Characters ‘ought to have Place in the Epic Poem may be justly [Page 380] questioned,’ or whether it be a Beauty or Pro­priety to introduce a Person but once, who seems to be utterly unworthy to appear at all. As for * Nireus, the Insignificancy of his Cha­racter, should, I think, have excluded him from the Iliad, who likewise makes his Appearance once too often. The Truth is, neither of these Per­sonages are of any Service towards the Illustration of a principal Character. The Caution with which the Courage of Ulysses is tempered, sets off the Intrepidity of Diomed, and the Activity of Hector is finely opposed to the Immobility of Ajax; but the above-mentioned Gentlemen are at best unnecessary Contrasts to each other, and Foils to every Body else.—But that you may not imagine, I am industriously looking after Objections, and picking out Characters for the sake of finding Fault, (an Office I abhor) I must desire you to look a little farther into a Character or two of much higher Rank, which you will, I believe, find to be liable to the Objection of not being preserved with that Nicety of Consistence, and Uniformity, which is in general so Observable in this noble Writer. If you will judge of the Cha­racter of Menelaus, by the Idea which Mr. Pope justly gives us of him, who has taken some Pains to place it in a true Point of View, you will be, [Page 381] I make no doubt, of Opinion, that ‘upon the whole, his Character is by no Means con­temptible, tho' not of the most shining Na­ture: He is called indeed in the 17th Iliad. [...], a soft Warriour, or one whose Strength is of the second Rate; and so his Brother thought him when he preferred Nine before him to Fight with Hector, in the 7th Book.’ Thus far you may safely Subscribe to Mr. Pope's Notion of this Commander; but I am afraid what follows for the Display of the bright Side of this Character, will clash rather too much with these Concessions made to his Dis­advantage. For how comes this soft Warriour (whom, you know, I have mentioned before in another Light,) to discover a ‘Spirit of Revenge which distinguishes him from all the other Greeks in the second Book,’ ‘No *Leader in all the List is represented so eager and passio­nate; he is louder than them all in his Exhor­tations; more active in running among the Troops, &c. &c.’

If Homer meant to shew us hereby that his Concern in the War was personal, while the others acted only for Interest or Glory in gene­ral,’ it is odd sure that he does not maintain this Priority of Zeal and Ardour, as a consequence [Page 382] of that Concern throughout the Poem. Again is it not hard to Account for his * Forwardness, to accept Hector's Challenge, who immediately afterwards was not thought worthy even to take his Chance of fighting with him? It may be said, that Agamemnon dissuades his brother from the Combat, from a Principle of Brotherly Love, not from any Distrust of his Courage, of which he appears to have so extraordinary an Opinion in the 4th Book, when Menelaus is wounded by Pandarus, that he expresses his Apprehensions, ‘that the Death of that Hero, will force the Greeks to return with shame to their Country.’

Depriv'd of thee, the heartless Greeks no more
Shall dream of Conquests on the hostile Shore, &c.
B 4. L. 208. &c.

But if his Life was of such Consequence to Greece, he should never have been stiled a soft Warriour, or a Chief of the second Rate.

I will only point out to what I think rather an Oversight than not in Homer, with regard to ano­ther Character, and then quit the present Article of Inquiry; I mean the Character of Ajax, whom, not absolutely, but comparatively speaking, I can't look upon as a proper Person to be dispatched upon the Embassy to Achilles in the 9th Book. Mr. Pope however informs us ‘that the Choice of [Page 383] three Persons (Phoenix, Ajax, and Ulysses) is made with a great deal of Judgment. Achilles could not but reverence the venerable Phoenix, &c. Ajax, and Ulysses, had been disgraced in the first Book (L. 187) as well as he, and were therefore proper Persons to persuade him to forgive, as they had forgiven; besides it was the greatest Honour that could be done to Achilles, to send the most worthy Personages in the Army to him. Ulysses was inferiour to none in Eloquence, but to Nestor. Ajax was second to none in Valour but to Achilles. Ajax might have an influence over him as a Relation, &c.’

Yet as ingenious as all this may be, 'tis certain, that of all the Heroes, Ajax was the worst Ora­tor, and so far at least he was was unqualified for the Charge in Question.—He is by no means a favourite Character with the Poet himself; if he had he would have ‘given him a Prize pro­bably in some of the Games in the 23d Book;’ one Reason why he did not, Mr. Pope supposes might be, because he had a Mind to shew that ‘Strength without Conduct, is usually unsuc­cessful,’ which gives us no favourable Idea of this Hero, and much less authorizes us to pro­nounce him one of the ‘most worthy Person­ages in the Army;’ that he was second to none [Page 384] in Strength but to Achilles, may be granted; but in Valour he has no doubt many Competitors.—In Truth I can't help looking upon this as a ran­dom Delegation, notwithstanding a few plausible Circumstances, which surely never entered the Author's Head, viz. the Disgrace of Ajax and Ulysses in the first Book, &c. (a Disgrace which, by the way, they neither of them resent, or allude to, in their Speeches to Achilles) or the Relation­ship of Ajax to that Hero, which he takes not the least Advantage of in his Address to him.—Mr. Pope in the Note last quoted, appears there­fore rather to have acted the Part of a ready Friend, than an impartial Commentator.—I will only suppose, and have done, that Diomed had been employed in this Deputation instead of Ajax;—in that Case can't you conceive Mr. Pope would have expressed himself to the following Pur­pose? ‘It is with wonderful Art and Propriety, that Homer appoints Diomed one of the Embas­sadors upon this Occasion. It did Honour to Achilles to send upon this Business the most valiant, with the wisest of all the Grecian Commanders. Besides, Diomed *has more of the Character of Achilles himself, than any be­sides. He has naturally an Excess of Boldness, and too much Fury in his Temper, forward [Page 385] and intrepid like the other, and running after Gods or Men promiscuously as they offer themselves. Add to this, that as he is forward to act in the Field, so is he ready to speak in the Council; where his Advice always inclines to War; and is byassed rather on the Side of Bravery, than Caution. A Man of this Disposition was most likely to influence the Congenial Spirit of Achilles.—An Ingenious Commentator may take a thousand Occasions of making the most of his Author, and convert Improprieties themselves into Beauties; of which I believe I shall be able to give you a few more Proofs in my remaining Criticisms upon the Iliad of Homer.


THE most material Remarks I have farther to make upon the particular Conduct of Homer, &c. I shall communicate to you in Order, as the Passages which seem exceptionable will occur in the Course of the Poem. The first that offers itself is the Interposition of Nestor in the first Book in the Speech wherein he endea­vours to make up the Breach between the con­tending Princes, Achilles and Agamemnon; which, as the Design of the Iliad required it should be ineffectual, I could wish he had spared. Mr. Pope observes, * that the Character of Autho­rity [Page 386] and Wisdom in Nestor, is every where ad­mirably used by Homer, and made to exert it­self through all the great Emergencies of the Poem. As he quiets the Princes here (which how he does we shall see presently) he pro­poses that Expedient which reduces the Army into order, after the Sedition in the second Book. When the Greeks are in the utmost Distresses, 'tis he who advises the Building the Fortification before the Fleet, &c. And 'tis by his Persuasion that Patroclus puts on the Armour of Achilles, which occasions the return of that Hero, &c. &c.’ In these last mentioned Emergencies, indeed the Authority of this vene­rable Hero has all the Weight you can desire; but sure in the present Instance, in which if it had prevailed, all future Emergencies had been precluded, it was exerted to no, or at best, very little Purpose. The old Man is represented as Master of the Art of Persuasion, and rises to speak with all the Advantages of the sweetest Eloquence, and the Experience of two Generations; and he seems accordingly to promise himself Success in the Proposal of an Accommodation.

—Young as you are, this youthful Heat restrain
Nor think your Nestor's Years and Wisdom vain—
—Do you, young Warriours, hear my Age advise;
Atrides, seize not on the beauteous Slave,
That prize the Greeks by common Suffrage gave:
[Page 387] Nor thou, Achilles, treat our Prince with Pride,
Let Kings be just, and sov'reign Pow'r preside.
—Let both unite with well-consenting Mind,
So shall Authority with Strength be join'd.
Leave me, O King! to calm Achilles' Rage,
Rule thou thyself, as more advanc'd in Age:
Forbid it Gods! Achilles should be lost,
The Pride of Greece, and Bulwark of our Host.
B. i. L. 343. &c. 360. &c. 369. &c.

But what Effect, after all, has this Oratory? Agamemnon confesses that all he spoke was right,’ but he will not relinquish his Preten­sions to Briseïs. Achilles promises not to fight for Briseïs, but neither will he for his Country; opprobious Language is given on both Sides; ‘the Council dissolves’ and the Calamities of Greece ensue. For which Reasons I think ‘the Elo­quence of Homer's Nestor is thrown out of Character by its proving unavailable’ for the great End he designed it.—If he had not spoken at all, or upon offering to do it, had been inter­rupted, and prevented by the Fury of Achilles, who seems to have less Veneration for him, than Agamemnon, that Hero had acted in Character, and the Eloquence of the reverened Orator had never been exercised in vain.

The next Objection I have to make, is against the imprudent, and unnecessary Measure taken by Agamemnon, to sound the Disposition of the Gre­cians [Page 388] in the second Book, by proposing the Re­turn of the Forces to Greece; a Proposal which had taken Effect, but for the Management of Ulysses, and Nestor. It is likely indeed, (to give you the Words of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, *who, in Mr. Pope's Opinion, has given us an admirable Explication of this whole Conduct) Agamemnon (after his Quarrel with Achilles) had nothing so much at Heart as to draw the Greeks to a Battle, yet knew not how to proceed without Achilles, who had just retired from the Army: He was apprehensive that the Greeks who were displeased at the Departure of Achilles, might refuse Obedience to his Orders, should he ab­solutely command it. In this Circumstance he proposes an Expedient to the Princes in Coun­cil, which was that he should sound the Dis­positions of the People, by exhorting them to set sail for Greece, but, that then, the other Princes should be ready to dissuade, and detain them.—He had some Cause to fear the Greeks had a Pique against him, which they had concealed, and whatever it was, he judged it absolutely necessary to know it, before he pro­ceeded to a Battle. He therefore furnishes them with an Occasion to manifest it, and at the same Time provides against any ill Effects it [Page 389] might have by his secret Orders to the Princes. It succeeds accordingly, and when the Troops are running to embark, they are stopped by Ulysses and Nestor.—Now not to insist upon an inaccuracy in this Note; i. e. that Agamemnon ‘judged it Necessary to know what the Pique the Grecians had against him was,’ which if they had any, could be no other than what arose from "their Displeasure at the departure of Achilles," as is expressed in the former Part of the Note; I say, not to dwell upon this, the Question is, whe­ther this Stratagem was not absolutely superseded by the Vision sent by Jupiter to Agamemnon? The Design of this Vision was to deceive him into the Hope, or rather Assurance of taking Troy without the Assistance of Achilles. And it had its Effect. The General, persuaded, as it were by immedi­ate Revelation, of Jupiter's Favour towards him, and Concern for his Glory, and exalted with the Thought of the promised Success to his Arms, communicates his Dream to the Princes in Coun­cil, who appear to a Man to be satisfied of the Reality of it, and of the Good-will of Jupiter to the Grecian Cause. Old Nestor gives his Advice in consequence of this Conviction.

Princes of Greece, your faithful Ears incline
Nor doubt the Vision of the Pow'rs divine,
[Page 390] Sent by great Jove, to him who rules the Host;
Forbid it Heav'n! this Warning should be lost!
Then let us haste, obey the God's Alarms,
And join to rouze the Sons of Greece to Arms.
B. ii. L. 101. &c.

Let me ask you now, whether, if this Dream had been communicated to the Troops, as well as the Council, they would not as readily have given Credit to it, and have been impatient to fol­low to battle a Leader who was the declared Favourite of Heaven? Would not the Belief of taking Troy in the next Attack, under his Com­mand, have entirely removed the Pique they had conceived against him on Account of the De­parture of Achilles? if so, as ingenious as the Stratagem in Question may be in itself, and as artful as the Speech of Agamemnon is, which he makes in pursuance of it, it seems to be an Expedient, to which, as Things were then cir­cumstanced, he was not under the least Neces­sity, nor in Prudence concerned, to have Re­course.

If you will next turn to the 6th Book, I pre­sume you will find an Inconsistency between Hec­tor's very particular Prophecy of the Destruction of Troy, and his Prayer for his Son immediately after; as also, the "strong Hopes *and firm Assu­rance" [Page 391] he often entertains ‘of raising the Siege by the Flight or Destruction of the Greeks.

Yet come it will, the Day decreed by Fates,
The Day when thou, imperial Troy, must bend,
And see thy Warriours fall, thy Glories end.
And yet no dire Presage so wounds my Mind,
My Mother's Death, the Ruin of my Kind,
Not Priam's hoary Hairs defil'd with Gore,
Not all my Brother's gasping on the Shore;
As thine, Andromache, thy Griefs I dread;
I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led! &c.
B. vi. L. 570. &c.
O thou! whose Glory fills the Aetherial Throne.
And all ye deathless Pow'rs, protect my Son!
Grant him, like me, to purchase just Renown,
To guard the Trojans, to defend the Crown,
Against his Country's Foes the War to wage,
And rise the Hector of the future Age!
L. 604. &c.
Heard ye the Voice of Jove? Success and Fame
Await on Troy, on Greece, eternal Shame.
In vain they skulk behind their boasted Wall,
Weak Bulwarks! destin'd by this Arm to fall.
—Soon as before yon hollow Ships we stand,
Fight each with Flames, and toss the blazing Brand;
Till their proud Navy wrapt in Smoke and Fires,
All Greece, encompass'd, in one Blaze expires.
B. viii. L. 214. &c. L. 621. &c.

[Page 392] I don't apprehend that what Mr. Pope has urged from Dacier, or advanced himself, in order to salve this Inconsistency, will afford us sufficient Satisfaction. ‘We ought to reflect, says he, that this is only a Prayer: Hector in the Excess of a tender Emotion for his Son, intreats the Gods to preserve Troy, and permit Astyanax to rule there. It is at all Times allowable to beseech Heaven to appease its Anger, and change its Decrees; and we are taught that Prayers can alter Des­tiny.’—We are taught, I conceive the very Reverse of this by the general Tenour of the Poem: This Assertion however, supposes Hector to have foreseen the Destruction of Troy, and the Ruin of his Family; and yet we are told in the next Sentence, ‘that it cannot be inferred from hence, that Hector had any divine Foreknow­ledge of his Fate, &c. since in many following Passages we find him possessed with strong Hopes, &c. to raise the Siege, &c.’ Is not this a sort of Confusion of Apologies, and a Defence of one Inconsistency by another? In short, the di­rect, and express Prophecy above quoted, cannot without much Force, be resolved into the mere ‘Apprehensions and Misgivings of a Soul dejec­ted with Sorrow, &c. by considering the great Dangers to which he saw all that was dear to him exposed.’

[Page 393] But to proceed—The Circumstance of Jupiter's weighing in his Scales the Fates of Greece and Troy in the 8th Book, and those of Hector and Achilles in the 22d, has something very striking, and poetical in it, but at the same Time, is it­self liable to the Objection made by Macrobius to Virgil's Imitation of it. Macrobius, says *Mr. Pope, observes with some Colour, that the Ap­plication of this Circumstance is not so just in Virgil, as in our Author; for Virgil had made Juno say before, that Turnus would cer­tainly perish.’

Nunc juvenem imparibus video concurrere fatis,
Parcarumque dies & vis inimica propinquat.

So that there was less Reason for weighing his
Fate with that of Aeneas, after that Declaration.

But is it not as clear that the Fates of Greece and Troy, and of Hector and Achilles in Homer, were respectively, to all Intents and Purposes, de­clared before this Suspension of the Scales?—Ju­piter, in the Beginning of the 8th Book ‘threatens the Deities with the Pains of Tartarus, if they assist either Side,’ he had in the End of the the preceeding Book given Tokens of his Wrath against the Grecians; and if we could doubt whe­ther the Threatning just mentioned; was denoun­ced in favour of the Trojans, Minerva's Request [Page 394] "that she may direct the Greeks by her Counsels" must abundantly convince us that it was.

From Fields forbidden we submiss refrain,
With Arms unaiding mourn our Argives slain;
Yet grant my Counsels still their Breasts may move,
Or all must perish in the Wrath of Jove.
B. viii. L. 43. &c.

In the Case of Hector, Jupiter is undeniably explicit; he declares the Fate of that Hero ap­proaching, tho' he is inclined, with the Consent of the inferiour Deities, to rescue him from it.

Consult, ye Pow'rs! ('tis worthy your Debate)
Whether to snatch him from impending Fate,
Or let him bear, by stern Pelides slain,
(Good as he is) the Lot impos'd on Man?

So that Virgil appears at least not only to have copied this Circumstance from Homer, but to have applied it with more Justice; for what Juno said previously to the Suspension of the Scales, is not at least so glaring an Impropriety as what Ju­piter says here himself. The best excuse perhaps for both these great Poets, we may borrow from a Note of Mr. Pope's, in the 20th Book, * that it was not easy in the Pagan Religion, to form the justest Ideas upon a Doctrine (viz. that of Destiny, the Divine Power, &c.) so difficult to [Page 395] be cleared; and upon which it is no great Wonder if a Poet should not always be per­fectly consistent with himself, when it has puzzled such a Number of Divines, and Phi­losophers.’

Before I quit this Remark, I must just take Notice of an Oversight in Mr. Pope, who tells us in his Note *upon the Circumstance of Jupiter's weighing the Fates, &c. that ‘This Figure re­presenting God as weighing the destinies of Men in his Balances, was first made use of in Holy Writ.’ Are these only figurative Scales in Homer then? Sure Aeschylus did not look upon them to be such, when (as Mr. Pope informs us from Plutarch) ‘he wrote a whole Tragedy upon this Foundation, which he called Psycho­statia, or the weighing of Souls. In this he in­troduced Thetis and Aurora standing on either Side of Jupiter's Scales, and praying each for her Son, while the Heroes fought.’ I don't see therefore how any Parallel can reasonably be drawn between this Passage, which must be lite­rally understood in Homer, and those figurative Expressions in Scripture, ‘of being weighed in the Balance, and found light, &c. by which the Impartiality of divine Justice is significantly illustrated to the human Understanding. How [Page 396] far Milton may be warranted in borrowing’ this fine Fiction from Homer, which it is acknow­ledged "he has admirably improved" or in repre­senting the Deity with a Pair of golden Compasses in his Hand upon another Occasion, it is not my present Business to inquire.—Thus much at least may be said in his Behalf, that Boldnesses give no Offence when there is no Allay of Impiety in them. These Remarks shall be continued in my next.


IN the *12th Book of the Iliad we have an Account of a signal Prodigy which much awakens the Reader's Attention, but I think never satisfies it. I mean that of the Eagle with the Serpent in his Talons, &c. which appears over the Trojan Army. Polydamas , upon duly considering it, pronounces it to be a Warning to them from Jupiter not to attempt the Grecian Entrenchments that Day, but to re­treat, &c. ‘He tells Hector too that what he delivers is not Conjecture, but Science, and appeals for the Truth of it to the Augurs of the Army.’ But notwithstanding all this, Hector holds the Interpretation of the Omen in the ut­most Contempt, and insinuates that ‘the Advice proceeded not from the Skill, but Cowardice’ [Page 397] of the Interpreter. He appears indeed to have been in the right not only from the Success of the Trojan Arms at the End of the Book, when Sar­pedon ‘makes the first Breach in the Grecian Wall’ and himself forces open one of the "Gates," but even from the Countenance, and Assistance of Jupiter to the Trojans immediately after the Prodigy itself. For the Poet tells us at the Conclusion of Hector's Speech to Polydamas, and upon his "rushing to the Wall" (L. 295) that

Jove breathes a Whirlwind from the Hills of Ide,
And Drifts of Dust the clouded Navy hide:
He fills the Greeks with Terror and Dismay,
And gives great Hector the predestin'd Day.
L. 299, &c.

Either therefore this Appearance had no Signifi­cancy in it, and then it will be difficult to account for the Solemnity with which Homer introduces it, or for his introducing it at all, or else it boded Misfortune to the Grecians; in which Case Poly­damas, who is every where shewn in a favourable Light enough, makes if not a cowardly yet an ig­norant Application of it.

Macrobius it seems *compares Virgil's Imita­tion of this Passage in the 11th Aeneid, V. 751, &c. with the Original, and ‘gives the Preference to [Page 398] the latter on Account of Virgil's having neg­lected to specify the Omen. Mr. Pope takes No­tice in another Place of this Author's Partiality to Homer; and his Observation on this Circum­stance is a strong Instance of it. ‘He should have considered (as Mr. Pope remarks) that Virgil had no Design, or Occasion to make an Omen of it; but took it only as a natural Image, to paint the Posture of two Warriours struggling with each other.’ What Design or Occasion Homer himself had for an Omen in this Place, you see 'tis not so easy to say; you have however a Proof of the Latin Poet's Judgment, and may ob­serve that a needless, or unintelligible Prodigy in Homer will make an excellent Simile in Virgil.

The Recess *of the Gods in the 20th Book is an Incident, which Mr. Pope ‘wonders all the Commentators should be silent upon; it seems strange at the first View, says he, that so many Deities, after having entered the Scene of Ac­tion, should perform so short a Part and im­mediately become themselves Spectators.’ I must indeed look upon this as an Objection to the Conduct of the Poet. Let us hear however what Mr. Pope has urged in his Vindication. He ‘con­ceives then the Reason of this Conduct in the Poet to be, that Achilles has been inactive dur­ing the greatest Part of the Poem; and as he [Page 399] is the Hero of it, ought to be the chief Cha­racter in it: The Poet therefore withdraws the Gods from the Field, that Achilles may have the whole Honour of the Day, and not act in Subordination to the Deities; besides the Poem now draws to a Conclusion, and it is necessary for Homer to enlarge upon the Exploits of Achilles, that he may leave a noble Idea of his Valour upon the Mind of the Reader.’

Now I would take the Liberty to ask, whether it be derogatory to the important Character of Achilles to act in Subordination to the Deities? Whether their Superintendency and Assistance has not been an Honour to every Hero in the Course of the Iliad, particularly to Diomed in the fifth Book? Whether Achilles himself makes so great a Figure in this Book as he does in the next when Scamander attacks him with all his Waves; when Neptune and Pallas *appear to assist him: Simois joins Scamander, and at length Vulcan, by the Instigation of Juno, almost dries up the River.’ Does the Interposition of these Deities do a Discredit to the Valour of Achilles, or ‘leave a less noble Idea of it upon the Mind of the Reader’ than he would have had without it?—I dare say you will agree with me that what Mr. Pope observes in the next Note is a kind of An­swer to what he has advanced in this, and be [Page 400] convinced that the ‘magnificent Introduction of Achilles into the Field in the Beginning of this Book, when the Gods descend to Battle, and all Nature is in an Uproar, is not answered by any suitable Exploits of that Hero, or by any Atchievement worthy so pompous, and terrible an Apparatus! After the Gods are withdrawn, Achilles and Aeneas meet; but in the very Mo­ment, you expect to see a bloody Combat, you are entertained with a tedious Conversation.’ Take Mr. Pope's own Words.—* ‘Our Expec­tation is raised to see Gods and Heroes engaged, when suddenly it all sinks into such a Combat in which neither Party receives a Wound; and (what is more extraordinary) the Gods are made the Spectators of so small an Action. What Occasion was there for Thunder, Earthquakes, and descending Deities to introduce a Matter of so little Importance. Neither is it any Excuse to say the Poet has given us a Piece of ancient History, we expected to read a Poet not an Historian. In short after the greatest Preparation for Action imaginable, he suspends the whole Narration, and from the Heat of a Poet, cools at once into the Simplicity of an Historian.’

I can't help asking here, whether this be the first Time Homer is faulty in this Respect? To ac­quiesce in Mr. Pope's ingenious Justification of the [Page 401] Interview between Glaucus and Diomed *in the 6th Book, which has occasioned so much Cen­sure, I fear the Speech of Nestor to Patroclus in the 11th Book is equally blameable with the Conversation in Question. Machaon is wounded: Achilles (who overlooked the Action from his Ship) sends Patroclus to inquire whether it was he, &c. That Hero has no sooner entered Nestor's Tent, but he sees Machaon bleeding, and is impatient to return to his Friend with the News; upon this Nestor ‘detains him in his Tent standing with a Speech greatly blame­able for being too long: he crouds Incident upon Incident, and when he speaks of himself he expatiates upon his own great Actions, very na­turally indeed to old Age, but unseasonably in the present Juncture, &c. &c. &c. The Circumstances he mentions as they have no visible Allusion to the Design of the Speech, seem to be unfortunately introduced. In short, I think they are not so va­luable upon any other Account, as because they preserve a Piece of ancient History, &c.’ Perhaps the Piece of ancient History preserv'd here is no more valuable than that which Aeneas leaves us in the above Conversation:—but be that as it will, it is methinks surprizing to find Mr. Pope, after hav­ing so impartially given up the Passage, looking after Excuses and Pretences to palliate this Con­duct [Page 402] of his Author. I will only mention one on which most Stress seems to be laid. ‘It may not be from the Purpose to observe (says our Eng­lish Homer) that Nestor might designedly pro­tract the Speech that Partoclus might himself behold the Distress of the Army, &c. whether this was the Intention or not, it must be al­lowed that the Stay of Patroclus was very happy for the Greeks; for by this Means he met Eury­pylus wounded, who confirmed him into a Cer­tainty, that their Affairs were desperate with­out Achilles's Aid.’ Did Patroclus want to be told this then after the Embassy to Achilles in the 9th Book? or, after Achilles had told him, (what he could not indeed be ignorant of) when he dis­patched him upon this very Message, that

The Time is come, when yon' despairing Host
Shall learn the Value of the Man they lost;
Now at my Knees the Greeks shall pour their Moan,
And proud Atrides tremble on his Throne.
B. xi. L. 745. &c.

In short, any Absurdity may be refined away, if the present can, and if it may be made to appear that the Length of Nestor's Speech, the Interview of Patroclus and Eurypylus, and the farther Delay occasioned by the former's Stay, to cure the Wounds of the latter, which might have been effected by another Hand, were proper, and well timed in this Place.

Tis now no Season for these kind Delays,
The great Achilles with Impatience stays.—
—Thou know'st the fiery Temper of my Friend.
L. 793. &c.

But to return to the Deities. The magnificent Introduction of the Gods above referred to, so much extolled by Longinus, *seems to be the utmost Effort of Homer's prodigious Genius; and after all, perhaps we must ascribe their Recess so soon to the Poet's consciousness of the Inequality of human Nature, to so exalted a Subject. 'Tis certain the Sublimity of the Passage before us con­sists not so much in the Horrours of an actual Combat, as in the dreadful Pomp of Preparation. But you will desire to know what became of this supposed Consciousness in the next Book, when the Deities are really described ‘engaging each other.’ To which I can only say, that, what­ever induced Homer to attempt here, what he seems to have declined before; I am apt to think the Battle of the Gods the worst, upon the whole, that occurs in the Poem. Mr. Pope himself is much of the same Opinion, you will naturally imagine, in the following Remark upon it. I must confess I am at a loss how to justify Ho­mer in every point of these Combats with the [Page 404] Gods: When Diana and Juno are to fight, Juno calls her an impudent Bitch, [...]; when they fight, she boxes her soundly, and sends her crying and trembling to Heav'n: As soon as she comes thither, Jupiter falls a laughing at her: Indeed the rest of the Deities seem to be in a merry Vein during all the Action; (tho' Mr. Pope should have excepted Neptune, and Apollo, from the first of which Gods we have another Piece of antient History;) Pallas beats Mars, and laughs at him; Jupiter sees them in the same merry Mood; Juno when she had cuffed Diana, is not more serious: In short un­less there be Depths that I am not able to Fathom, Homer never better deserved, than in this Place, the Censure past upon him by the Antients, that as he raised the Characters of his Men up to Gods, so he sunk those of Gods down to Men,’ or even below them.

Mr. Pope is willing to believe, however, that an Allegory may be couched under all this, and I wish any Body could discover it: In the mean Time I can't but observe, that 'tis great Pity the Gods and Goddesses that often appear so nobly in separate Machines throughout the Iliad, should make so mean a Figure in the present Battle.

I must request your Attention to one Incident more, which Mr. Pope would fain reconcile us to, viz. the Flight of Hector in the 22d Book. I ap­prehend [Page 405] that what that Commentator alledges from the *Conduct of Virgil, ‘who transferred this Passage to the Death of Turnus, and likewise from the Doctrine of Aristotle, is extremely insuffi­cient for his Purpose. Turnus is a Character much inferiour to Aeneas, and therefore we are little shocked at his running away from him. But this is confessedly not the Case, the Point of mere Strength excepted, with Hector when compared to Achilles. It was, you'll say, that very Strength which he feared—was it not, that very Strength too, which he had frequently encountered? And if it was not necessary he should fly; I will venture to say it is a Circumstance infinitely disagreeable to the Reader, that he does.

Nor farther is "the Suffrage of Aristotle" himself, if I understand it at all, satisfactory upon this Point. ‘The wonderful, says he, ought to have Place in Tragedy, but still more in Epic Poetry, which proceeds in this Point even to the unreasonable: For as in Epic Poems one sees not the Persons acting, so whatever passes the Bounds of Reason, is proper to Produce the ad­mirable and the marvellous. For Example, what Homer says of Hector pursued by Achilles, would appear ridiculous on the Stage; for the Spectators could not forbear laughing to see on [Page 406] one Side the Greeks standing without any Mo­tion, and on the other, Achilles pursuing Hector &c. &c. But all this does not appear when we read the Poem; for what is wonderful, is always agreeable, and as a Proof of it, we find that they who relate any Thing, usually add something to the Truth, that it may the better please those who hear it.’

What can we infer from all this, but that the Flight of Hector round the Walls of Troy, is an Action, which, as such, will much better bear being told, than represented? No doubt of it—but is an Action, all this while, which is unrea­sonable in itself, therefore agreeable, because it may be told with Propriety? Do we never wonder with­out admiring, or marvel with Disgust, as well as Delight? I will grant this Incident renders this Part of the Poem more astonishing, as Aristotle says in a subsequent Paragraph of Mr. Pope's Note; but why it is more admirable, I am quite at a loss to conceive.

What Mr. Pope urges himself in Vindication of this Circumstance, has much more Weight in it; as ‘that Hector never thought himself a Match for Achilles; that this Incident is pre­pared by Degrees, as Dacier has observed too; that, the mere Sight and Voice of Achilles un­armed, has terrified and put the whole Trojan Army into Disorder: That Hector stays, not that [Page 407] he Hopes to overcome Achilles, but because, Shame, &c. forbid him to re-enter the City; that he stayed by the immediate Will of Hea­ven, irresistibly bound down by Fate: That he had been reflecting on the Injustice of the War he maintained; that his Spirits are depressed by Heaven: That he flies not from Achilles as a mortal Hero, but from one whom he sees clad in impenetrable Armour, seconded by Mi­nerva, &c. &c.’ which Considerations do in­deed amount to a Proof of the Probability of Hector's Flight, but, I think, are no Argument for the Necessity of it. In short, as Mr. Pope himself says, ‘he don't absolutely pretend to justify this Passage in every Point,’ I presume I may ven­ture to say, if Hector had stood his Ground, we should have liked the Poem better for it.

I can't think, by the way, that it is ‘a high Exaltation of Achilles, that so brave a Man as Hector durst not stand him. It would methinks have redounded more to Achilles's Glory, had Hec­tor been represented as a Match for him. Indeed ‘this great Event, wherein the whole Fate of Greece and Troy was decided by the Sword of Achilles, and Hector, does less Honour to that Hero than any one Action he had been engaged in, for the last of the above Reasons alledged for Hector's Flight, and besause ‘he knew that Hector was to fall by his Hand.’ He was assured of this by Neptune, and Pallas in the 21st. Book.

Hector alone shall stand his fatal Chance,
And Hector's Blood shall smoke upon thy Lance,
Thine is the Glory doom'd.—L. 342. &c.

And again by Minerva, just before his Engage­ment with Hector. *Nay he tells Hector himself,

'Tis Pallas, Pallas gives thee to my Lance.
L. 346.

And yet Mr. Pope inserts an Observation in † the 24th. Book, which he informs us ought to have been made before; which is, ‘that Achilles did not know that Hector was to fall by his Hand; if he had known it, where would have been the mighty Courage, in engaging him in a single Combat, in which he was sure to conquer? The contrary of this is evident (con­tinues he) from the Words of Achilles to Hector just before the Combat.’I will make no Com­pacts with thee, but one of us shall fall.—But sure this Declaration is very consistent with the Knowledge of his future Success, even tho' it had been less clearly ascertained to him.

I hope these Remarks are sufficient to support my former Assertions in regard to Homer: I shall just mention a few Particulars more in my next, in order to make my Criticism as complete as I can, under the present Form, and to corroborate what has been repeatedly advanced, and then take my leave, for a Time, of this noble Author.


IF you consider the Iliad of Homer with any thing of exactness of Attention, you will per­ceive numberless Marks of a Genius, thoughtless of, or, it may be, superiour to the Niceties, and Proprieties in which the Excellencies of second-rate Authors wholly consist. To what has been offered already for the Illustration of this Truth you may add, if you please, the Repetitions with which Homer so much abounds. I am far from asserting that these are never proper, tho' they are often, as Mr. Pope confesses, *visibly absurd. I will only point out one Place, where it is owing to a Repetition, that the very Design of the Author cannot easily be understood: I mean the Speech of Agamemnon in the 9th Book, wherein he proposes to the Generals to quit the Siege, &c. ‘The Cri­ticks are divided in their Opinion, Mr. Pope acquaints us, whether this Speech, which is Word for Word the same with that Agamemnon makes in the 2d Book, be only a Feint to try the Army, as it is there, or the real Sentiments of the General.’ Mr. Pope says, ‘He does not pretend to decide upon this Point’ nor is it in­deed of any great Consequence, any farther than as it makes good what has been remarked; however that Agamemnon upon this Occasion spoke his real Sentiments is, I think most probable, because upon a Parallel one in the 14th Book, he proposes the very [Page 410] same Thing to the Grecian Princes, tho' in dif­ferent Words.

Again, it is in my Opinion more reasonable to put the frequent Incongruities we meet with in Homer to the Account of Inadvertency, &c. than to reconcile them by forced and unnatural Con­structions. Thus Minerva, who is always repre­sented as prudently suppressing her Anger upon Jupiter's declaring himself for Troy, does yet in one Place *break out into as much Virulency of Language as Juno herself.—Thus Neptune in the same Book, when Juno sollicits him to assist the Greeks, rejects so desperate a Proposal with In­dignation;

What Rage, what Madness, furious Queen is thine?
I war not with the Highest. All above
Submit and tremble at the Hand of Jove.
B. viii. L. 255, &c.

But in the 15th Book he talks in a quite differ­ent Strain, and seems determined to dispute the Superiority with Jupiter himself.

What means the haughty Sov'reign of the Skies?
Rule as he will his portion'd Realms on high,
No Vassal God, nor of his Train am I.—
Olympus, and this Earth, in common lie;
What Claim has here the Tyrant of the Sky? &c.
B. xv. L. 206. &c.

—Thus Diomed, to give you one Instance more, ‘is seized with Fear at the very Sight of Hector [Page 411] in the 11th Book for which Mr. Pope gives us no other Reason than that’ Diomed had just told ‘us, that Jupiter fought against the Grecians, and yet in the 8th Book, when that Deity personally interposes, and throws a burning Thunderbolt at the Feet of this Hero's Horses,’ he can scarce prevail with himself to retreat.

Thrice turn'd the Chief, and thrice imperial Jove
On Ida's Summits thunder'd from above.
B. viii. L. 206.

It should be remembered too, that at the very Time when Diomed is struck with this Panick the Poet tells us (notwithstanding the Favour of Ju­piter to Troy) the Battle was doubtful.

—And level hangs the doubtful Scale of Fight.
L. 437.

Nay at that Instant the Greeks were Victors. Ulysses kills Hypirochus and Hippodamus: Diomed slays Agastrophus, and even gives Hector a Blow that stuns him, and insults him afterwards, &c. (see from Line 416 to 474.) It is needless to mul­tiply such Examples.

I should lastly be inclined to ascribe to the same Cause the frequent Unsuitableness of Homer's Epi­thets, &c. which as they are sometimes distinctive and specific, if I may so say, so are they often ge­neral and applied at random. Priam (as Mr. Pope [Page 412] himself has *observ'd) is stiled [...] when ‘he rejects the wholsome Advice of Antenor, and complies with his Son.’—It is the [...] the godlike Polydore, whom Achilles kills in the 20th Book; and yet this Hero is only the youngest Son of Priam, was for­bidden to fight, and famous only for the Swiftness of his Speed, &c.

To the forbidden Field he takes his Flight,
In the first Folly of a youthful Knight. L. 475.

The Mention of these glaring Improprieties, is abundantly sufficient for the Purpose; else you might be directed to many more of the like Sort in almost any Book of the Poem: Though they may not be improper in an equal Degree.

I have now finished my Remarks upon the Iliad of Homer with as much Accuracy, I hope, as was requisite; and must leave it to your Consideration, whether the common Opinion in respect of this Poet, founded on the Interpretations, and the Prejudices, &c. of the Commentators, be not on many Accounts an erroneous one. If you will suppose this Author to have been not only the most sublime, but the most simple too of all Writers, you will, I believe, have a much more natural and ready Excuse for many of his Ble­mishes than the Shifts and Glosses of Interpreters [Page 413] can supply you with. Indeed these Defects in an original Author, who was inspired with the Spirit of Poetry even to a Degree of Enthusiasm (to which Inadvertency and Extravagance are essential) will in a great Measure carry their Apology with them.—I have given you my Sentiments impar­tially, and should take a much greater Pleasure in reviewing the Beauties of this admirable Poet than I have done in arraigning his Faults; but Mr. Pope, to whom I refer you, has illustrated these to more Advantage than I could.—The Practice of suc­ceeding Writers of many Denominations is a De­monstration that we may find a great deal more in Homer to imitate than to avoid. To convince you of my high Esteem of him, and that I mean to part in Friendship with him, I will finish with Part of that Translation from Longinus, varying only, and abating an Expression or two, which concludes Mr. Pope's Notes on the sixth Book. ‘In our Decisions on the Characters of great Men, &c. we must impartially confess, that, with all their Errors, they have more Perfections than the Nature of Man can almost be conceived capable of attaining.—He who commits no Faults is barely read without Censure; but a Genius truly great excites Admiration. In short the Magnificence of a single Period in one of these admirable Authors is, almost, sufficient to atone for all their Defects: Nay farther, if any [Page 414] one should collect from Homer all the Errors that have escaped him, they would bear but little Proportion to the many Beauties to be met with in, almost, every Page of his Writings. 'Tis on this Account that Envy, through so many Ages hath never been able to wrest from him the Prize of Eloquence, &c. &c. which his Merits have so justly acquired: An Acqui­sition which he still is, and will in all Probabi­lity continue possessed of,’

As long as Streams in silver Mazes rove,
Or Spring with annual Green renews the Grove.
Mr. Fenton.


IN my former Letters I endeavoured to enter­tain you with some free, but, I hope, just Remarks upon Mr. Pope's Commentaries upon Homer. If you please we will now take a short Review of that excellent Person's Translation of the same incomparable Author. I must once more prevent your Surprize, and perhaps your In­dignation, by declaring that I agree with all the World in allowing this to be, in the main, the best Translation, that our, or it may be, any Language has produced. If I think we might have had a better Translation in some few Respects, I only mean that we might have had it from Mr. Pope [Page 415] himself. Nay, I will go a Step further, and grant you with much Satisfaction that this celebrated Translator always errs on the right Side, and even when he does not do his Reader Justice, never fails to do Honour to his Original: I should rather say, to himself; for if Boldness of Figure, Force of Expression, Smoothness and Ease of Numbers, and the Correspondence of Sound with Sense, be the great Beauties of poetical Diction, I should make no Scruple, upon the whole, to prefer the English Iliad, to the Greek. But these very Excel­lencies are in some Sort his Errors, and what I admire in this Poem, I can't help often consider­ing as blameable in the Translation. In short, it is the Over-poeticalness of this Translation, if I may so call it, which I take to be exceptionable in many Place. And yet, as there was no Dan­ger of so naturally a warm Translator's sinking into Flatness, and Insipidity, so one would have thought he had laid himself under Restraints suffi­cient to have prevented his ever soaring into the other Extreme of Rapture, and Extravagance.—There is not more Fire in any one Part of the Translation, than there is good Sense and cool Reasoning in the following Extract from the Preface. ‘It should be considered what Me­thods may afford some Equivalent in our Lan­guage for the Graces of these (viz. the Diction and Versification) in the Greek. It is certain [Page 416] no literal Translation can be just to an excel­lent Original in a superior Language; but it is a great Mistake to imagine that a rash Para­phrase can make Amends for this general De­fect; which is no less in Danger to lose the Spirit of an Ancient, by deviating into the modern Manners of Expression. If there be sometimes a Darkness, there is often a Light in Antiquity, which nothing better preserves than a Version almost literal. I know no Li­berties one ought to take, but those which are necessary for translating the Spirit of the Ori­ginal, and supporting the poetical Style of the Translation: And I will venture to say, there have not been more Men misled in former Times by a servile dull Adherence to the Letter, than have been deluded in ours, by a chime­rical insolent Hope of raising and improving their Author. It is not to be doubted that the Fire of the Poem is what a Translator should principally regard, as it is most likely to expire in his managing: However it is his safest Way to be content with preserving this to his utmost in the whole, without endeavouring to be more than he finds his Author is, in any particular Place. 'Tis a great Secret in writing to know when to be plain, and when poetical and figu­rative; and it is what Homer will teach us, if we will but follow modestly in his Footsteps. [Page 417] Where his Diction is bold and lofty, let us raise ours as high as we can; but where his is plain and humble, we ought not to be de­terred from imitating him by the fear of incur­ring the Censure of a mere English Critick. Nothing that belongs to Homer seems to have been more commonly mistaken than the just Pitch of his Style; some of his Translators ha­ving swelled into Fustian in a proud Confidence of the Sublime: Others sunk into Flatness in a cold and timorous Notion of Simplicity.—There is a graceful, and dignified Simplicity, as well as a bald and sordid one, &c.—'Tis one Thing to be nicked up, and another not to be dressed at all. Simplicity is the mien between Ostentation and Rusticity.’

If Mr. Pope had always conducted his Transla­tion conformably to these just Sentiments, it would have been the most exact, as it is now the most Spirited one extant: But, I believe, you will by and by be convinced that he has often modernized his Original too much, and sacrificed the true Simplicity of the Antients in general, and the par­ticular Air, and Cast of his Author, either to an Excess of Affection for him, and Desire to set his Work in the most advantageous Light to the Eng­lish Reader, or to an undue Fear of lessening and injuring him thro' the Inferiority of our Lan­guage to the Grecian in many Respects. To one or [Page 418] both of those we are indebted, I presume, for many bold Strokes of Poetry, and fine Pieces of Paint­ing, and Imagery, which are not so much Copies of, as Refinements on, the Original.

And, by the Way, it may be remarked that Mr. Pope should have been more than ordinarily cautious upon this Article, as he was under an absolute Necessity of sinking some Peculiarities in Homer's Diction, which would not bear Trans­planting into our Tongue. Such are his compound Epithets, and Repetitions. How our Translator has acquitted himself with regard to these, you will be best informed by consulting himself. *

It is however to be observed in general, that every Thing characteristical in an Author, is, as far as may be, to be most religiously retained; and that, notwithstanding the allowed occasional Use of the Periphrasis, or Circumlocution, the Trans­position of Words, and the Substitution of one Ex­pression in the Room of another, &c. &c. by Means of which the Spirit of an Original is pre­served without Prejudice to the literal Sense, all imaginable Care is to be taken that these Liber­ties under the Pretence of maintaining and sup­porting this Spirit, do not really over-power, and extinguish it. Redundancies are as unoriginal as Insipidities, and the Spirit of an Author may be [Page 419] as much overwhelmed in Exuberance on the one Hand, as it evaporates in Frigidity on the other.—Fire and Water are scarce more opposite than Mr. Pope's Translation of the Iliad, and that of the Aeneid by Dr. Trapp; I am apt to think we shall often form very wrong Ideas of these Poems if we regulate them by these respective Transla­tions; for Mr. Pope seems to have exalted the true Simplicity of Homer, as "graceful and dignified" as it is, in the same Degree that the Doctor has debased the Majesty of Virgil.

You will begin to think it high Time I should make good this Charge, which I shall accordingly endeavour to do by pointing to a few select Pas­sages out of Numbers that might be produced, in which you will plainly discover certain Bold­nesses, and Prettynesses, (for you must gratify me in the Use of that Term for them) and very fre­quently a Mixture of both, that were taken from the Store-house of Mr. Pope's own Imagination, and are utterly foreign to, and destructive of, the plain Scope, and unaffected Spirit of his Author.

There is not perhaps in all the Iliad a more pompous Description than that of Achilles arming himself in the 19th Book. The Comparisons, and Images, (as Mr. Pope well observes) ‘rise in a noble Scale one above another; the Hero is set in a still stronger Point of Light than before, till he is at last in a Manner covered over with [Page 420] Glories; he is at first likened to the Moonlight, then to the Flames of a Beacon, then to a Comet, and lastly to the Sun itself.’ But with all this Sublimity, and almost Enthusiasm, there is a Simplicity which is, I conceive, lost in that Exaggeration of Imagery with which the Trans­lator has embelished the Passage. The whole Description, which is too long to be transcribed, is rather loosely paraphrased perhaps than other­wise, but the Parts I have marked are so many beautiful Excrescencies, which have no Sort of Warrant from the Letter, or most of them even from the Import of the Text.

—His Limbs in Arms divine Achilles drest—
He grinds his Teeth, and furious with Delay,
O'erlooks th' embattled Host, and hopes the bloody Day.
—Next, his high Head the Helmet grac'd; behind
The sweepy Crest hung floating in the Wind;
Like the red Star, that from his flaming Hair
Shakes down Diseases, Pestilence, and War;
So stream'd the Golden Honours from his Head,
Trembled the sparkling Plumes, and the loose Glories shed.
—All bright in Heav'nly Arms, above his Squire,
Achilles mounts, and sets the Field on Fire;
Not brighter, Phoebus in th' Aethereal Way,
Flames from his Chariot, and restores the Day.

[Page 421] The following Passages seem liable to the same Objections with the preceding.

—Host against Host with shadowy Squadrons drew,
The sounding Darts in iron Tempests flew—
With streaming Blood the slipp'ry Fields are dy'd,
And slaughter'd Heroes swell the dreadful Tide.
B. xix. Ver. 391, &c. &c.
—he turns their Steps from Flight,
And wakes anew the dying Flames of Fight.
B. v. Ver. 608.
—When Juno's Self, and Pallas shall appear
All dreadful in the crimson Walks of War—
B. viii. Ver. 460.
Discord with Joy the Scene of Death descries,
And drinks large Slaughter at her sanguine Eyes.
Discord alone, of all th' immortal Train,
Swells the red Horrours of this direful Plain.
B. xi. Ver. 99, &c.
He, like a Whirlwind, toss'd the scatt'ring Throng,
Mingled the Troops, and drove the Field along.
B. xii. Ver. 45.
Their Force embody'd, in a Tide they pour,
Till rising Combat sounds along the Shore,
As warring Winds in Sirius' sultry Reign,
From diff'rent Quarters sweep the sandy Plain,
On ev'ry Side the dusty Whirlwinds rise,
And the dry Fields are lifted to the Skies:
[Page 422] Thus by Despair, Hope, Rage, together driv'n
Met the black Hosts, and meeting darken'd Heav'n▪
All dreadful glar'd the iron Face of War,
Bristled with upright Spears, that flash'd afar,
Dire was the Gleam of Breastplates, Helms, and Shields,
And polish'd Arms emblaz'd the flaming Fields.—
B. xiii. Ver. 422.
Full in the blazing Van great Hector shin'd,
Like Mars, commission'd to confound Mankind;
Before him flaming, his enormous Shield,
Like the broad Sun, illumin'd all the Field:
His nodding Helm emits a streamy Ray,
His piercing Eyes thro' all the Battle stray;
And while beneath his Targe he flash'd along,
Shot Terrours round, that wither'd ev'n the strong.
B. xiii. Ver. 1010. &c.
—the pamper'd Steed, with Reins unbound,
Breaks from his Stall, and pours along the Ground
B. xv. Ver. 298.
Adorn'd in all his terrible Array,
He flash'd around intolerable Day.
B. xvi. Ver. 170. &c.
—Jove's own Glories blaze around his Head.
B. xvii. Ver. 637.
—fierce Atrides flew,
And sent his Soul with ev'ry Lance he threw.
B. xvii. Ver. 647.
Mean-while the rushing Armies hide the Ground;
The trampled Center yields a hollow Sound.
[Page 423] Steeds cas'd in Mail, and Chiefs in Armour bright,
The gleamy Champain glows with brazen Light
B. xx. Ver. 187.
Earth is delug'd with the sanguine Show'rs.
B. xx. Ver. 576.
—The fierce Coursers, as the Chariot rolls,
Tread down whole Ranks, and crush out Heroes Souls. B. xx. Ver. 582.
Conquest blazes with full Beams on Greece.
B. xxii. Ver. 280.

Mr. Pope tells us, Homer has * Figures of that Boldness which it is impossible to preserve in another Language.’ It may be sometimes very true; but if you will be at the Pains of com­paring these Transcripts with the Original, I be­lieve you will think that the very Figure in the Greek which occasioned that Observation ( [...], my Spear is Mad) hardly ranks higher than the Major Part of those which I have quoted.—I will conclude this Letter with repeating one general Remark, that Mr. Pope, by improving, and em­bellishing a simple Hint in his Author, and raising pompous Superstructures upon plain Foundations, and by too frequently giving a loose to his own Fancy, has in many Places rather poetically para­phrased Homer, than translated him.


AS there are certain heterogeneous, and unho­merical Boldnesses in Mr. Pope's Translation, if you will permit me to call them so, so there are several Prettynesses, as has been hinted, which, I presume, will fall under the same Denominations. The following are a few of the most remarkable.

—O'er the Vale descends the living Cloud.
B. ii. Ver. 116.
—Fainter Murmurs dy'd upon the ear.—
B. ii. Ver. 126.
—Groves of Lances glitter in the Air.
B. ii. Ver. 991.
—All the War descends upon the Wing.
B. iii. Ver. 10.
As when the Moon, refulgent Lamp of Night!
O'er Heavn's clear Azure spreads her sacred Light,
When not a Breath disturbs the deep Serene,
And not a Cloud o'ercasts the solemn Scene,
Around her Throne the vivid Planets roll,
And Stars unnumber'd gild the glowing Pole,
O'er the dark Trees a yellower Verdure shed,
And tip with Silver ev'ry Mountain's Head;
Then shine the Vales, the Rocks in Prospect rise,
A Flood of Glory bursts from all the Skies, &c.
B. viii. Ver. 687.
Not those fair Steeds so radiant, and so gay,
That draw the burning Chariot of the Day.
B. x. Ver. 644.
[Page 425]
The deaf Echo rattles round the Field.
B. xii. Ver. 182.
—Silence that spoke, and Eloquence of Eyes.
B. xiv. Ver. 252.
Discourse, the Med'cine of the Mind.
B. xv. Ver. 455.
Thick undistinguish'd Plumes, together join'd,
Float in one Sea, and wave before the Wind.
B. xvi. Ver. 263.
—the whirling Car
Smoaks thro' the Ranks, o'ertakes the flying War—
B. xvi. Ver. 460.
As the young Olive, in some sylvan Scene
Crown'd by fresh Fountains with eternal Green
Lifts the gay Head, in snowy Flow'rets fair,
And plays and dances to the gentle Air, &c. &c.
B. xvii. Ver. 57.
And shot the shining Mischief to the Heart.
B. xix. Ver. 62.
Now Twilight veil'd the glaring Fall of Day,
And clad the dusky Fields in sober Gray.
B. xxiv. Ver. 427.

These last cited Verses put me in Mind of Mr. Pope's Descriptions of the Morning throughout this Translation, which (one only excepted, see Ver. 131. B. 23.) are much more elegant and picturesque than their Counterparts in the Original.

—Now from forth the Chambers of the Main.
To shed his sacred Light on Earth again,
[Page 426] Arose the golden Chariot of the Day,
And tipt the Mountains with a purple Ray.
B. vii. Ver. 501.
Aurora now, fair Daughter of the Dawn,
Sprinkled with rosie Light the dewy Lawn.
B. viii. Ver. 1.
Soon as Morning paints the Fields of Air.
B. viii. Ver. 658.
The saffron Morn, with early Blushes spread,
Now rose refulgent from Tithonus' Bed,
With new-born Day to gladden mortal Sight,
And gild the Courts of Heav'n with sacred Light.
B. xi. Ver. 1. &c.
Soon as Aurora heav'd her orient Head
Above the Waves that blush'd with early Red,
With new-born Day to gladden &c.

The Affectation of Poetry in all these Places has diffused an Air over Mr. Pope's Translation quite different from the neat, but generally un­ornamented Style of his Author, to which the in­expressible simplex munditiis of Horace may perti­nently enough be applied. It is owing to this that we meet with such figurative Expressions as these,

Around his Head an iron Tempest rain'd,
A Wood of Spears his ample Shield sustain'd.
B. v. Ver. 766.

To which we may subjoin a Multitude of others similar to them throughout the English Iliad[Page 427] as—bristling Lances—the steely Circle—dark Show'rs of Jav'lins—the Tide of Combat—the Stream of Fight—the Tide of War—the wooden Tempest—the rocky Show'r—the living Flame, or Fire—the Tide of Trojans—Life's purple Tide—&c. &c. &c. in the free, and unlimited Use of which the Translation is, I apprehend, little justi­fied by the Original.

I have often thought it was with the same View to Ornament, &c. &c. that Mr. Pope wrote his Translation in Rhime. However what Advantages were hereby gained we shall see presently; but it is certain in the mean time that by the Use of it, the Translation becomes absolutely modern, and in its very Form unlike the Original. Mr. Dryden says in his Dedication prefixed to his Translation of the Aeneid, ‘that he who can write well in Rhime, may write better in blank Verse;’ and that ‘Rhime is a Constraint even to the best Po­ets, and those who make it with most Ease; that what it adds to Sweetness, it takes away from Sense; and that it often makes us swerve from an Author's Meaning.’—I wish, by the by, Mr. Dryden had not asserted one Way and translated another.—It is plain the Superfluities complained of in Mr. Pope are in a great Measure to be im­puted to this Method of Translation.

I believe you have had some Instances of this already, but the following are notorious ones.

He ceas'd; his Army's loud Applauses rise,
And the long Shout runs echoing thro' the Skies.
B. iii. Ver. 576.
Fierce Discord storms, Apollo loud exclaims,
Fame calls, Mars thunders, and the Field's in Flames.
B. v. Ver. 633.
Great Agamemnon bids the Greeks forbear;
They breathe, and hush the Tumult of the War.
B. vii. Ver. 64.
And in his Hands two steely Jav'lins wields
That blaze to Heav'n, and lighten all the Fields.
B. xi. Ver. 56.
In vain he calls; the Din of Helms and Shields
Rings to the Skies, and echoes thro' the Fields.
The brazen Hinges fly, the Walls rosound,
Heav'n trembles, roar the Mountains, thunders all the Ground. B. xii. Ver. 407.

I have purposely selected these Verses because, excepting the mark'd Redundancies which the Rhime required, they are as close a Translation, as any in the whole Performance. Mr. Pope no doubt was sensible of this Inconvenience naturally inseparable from Rhime; but he supposed probably, the Ad­vantage gained thereby in point of Smoothness, and Harmony would make sufficient Amends for it. Of all Things he would not have his Author thought unpoetical, though there are certainly many Passages in him, which, as Mr. Pope himself occasionally acknowledges, are ‘not made to [Page 429] shine in Poetry.’ It would be tedious to pick out all these, and therefore I will only, for Illustra­tion's Sake, transcribe a very remarkable one, in which a most simple, unadorned Narration of Homer consisting of a List of proper Names, and those even without Epithets for the far greater Part, is, by Virtue of Mr. Pope's Adjuncts, Circumlocu­tions, and Rhimes, transformed into as poetical and entertaining a Description as most in the Iliad.

The circling Nereids with their Mistress weep,
And all the Sea-green Sisters of the Deep.
Thalia, Glauce, (ev'ry watry Name)
Nesaea mild, and Silver Spio came:
Cymothöe and Cymodoce were nigh,
And the blue Languish of soft Alia's Eye.
Their Locks Actaea, and Limnora rear,
Then Proto, Doris, Panope appear,
Thoa, Therusa, Doto, Melita;
Agave gentle, and Ampithoë gay:
Next Callianira, Callianassa shew
Their Sister looks: Dexamene the slow
And swift Dynamene, now cut the Tides;
Icera now the verdant Wave divides:
Nemertes with Apseudes lifts the Head,
Bright Galatea quits her pearly Bed;
These Orythia, Clymene attend,
Moera, Amphirome, the Train extend,
And black Junira, and Junassa fair,
And Amatheia with her amber Hair.
B. xviii. Ver. 45, &c.

[Page 430] This whole Passage, which makes so pretty a Figure in Mr. Pope's Hands, if literally (I mean fairly) translated, and that too in blank Verse, would undoubtedly be very flat and spiritless.

Then Proto, Doris, Panope appear,
Thoa, Pherusa, Doro, Melita;—

are more just Translations than any two Lines of the whole Number though they have neither Fire, nor Fancy in them. In such Places as these Rhime may among other Expedients help to save the poetical Character of an Author by giving a seeming Equivalent for Spirit in Sound.—But why must a Translation be beautiful and poetical when the Original is not so?—It is the Business of a Tran­slator to give us the whole of an Author, not at all Events to make the best of him.—I will venture to say that had Mr. Pope<