Abbildungen der Seite

greene meadow, through the middest whereof ran a river of fine fresh water, upon the brimmes whereof, on both sides along, grew apple trees, peare trees, plum trees, olive trees, elder trees, oke trees, elm trees, and such like; fast by the goodly bank, also, grew many young hasil trees full of nuts, at the time of the yeere; and by that againe such store of walnut trees, besides many ponds of fish, and excellent orchards of all kinds of fruit, and goodly-gardens also of sweet flowers. The river was not without great store of water fouls; and as for the wood, there bred in it hawkes, hernes, pelicans, phesants, cranes, woodcocks, bitterns, kites, crows, cormorants, turtles, woodquists, eagles; to be short, all kind of birds possible, as might be perceived by the feathers, which fell from them to the ground pruning themselves : what should I speak of pigin houses and of such banketting places fine and delicate, why it were but folly. Besides all this, you must think what there were tennis courts and other places of pastimes, the walls thereof were very high, insomuch that it would have made one amazed and dizzie to look down from the top. There was also a marvailouse moate, and, fearful to behold, the bridge whereof was not broad, and called Desperation, the passage over being a long narrow plank, so that if one went awrie, he fell in with hazard never to be recovered. The stables were full of goodly horses, as hobbies, jennets, barbed horses, geldings, hackneys, mules, camels, and colts; the kennels full of dogs, as grey hounds, otter hounds, hare hounds, spaniels for land or water, mastives for bull, beare, and boare. We supt in a banketting house, and our supper excelled all the fare that ever I saw; Lady Venus kept me company, and I was dulled with the sumptuous service that I had : all my delight was to behold Lady Venus who sat over against me, insomuch, that at last Voluptuousness overcame; supper being ended, in came stage players, dancers, maskers, mummers, and many sports which we use daily in feasting: Now when I was weary, I took my leave of the company with good night, and then was I brought to the bravest chamber in all the pallace, Lady Venus and her waiting maids tending upon me, but every one departed when I was in bed, saving only Venus, the goddess of love, with whom I lay all night.”

Chap. XI. “So long as the Knight continued in this pestilent pallace of Worldly Desire, following his own fantasie by vaine Voluptuousness enticed; he did no other thing but play the foole, daunce, leape, sing, eate, drinke, hawke, hunte, fish, whore, and such like, (as did the Prodigal Son) and lead a dissolute life for the space of eleven days, which signifies a marvelouse mystery and unfortunate; for the number eleven, by the opinion of Christian doctors and philosophers, is a wicked and unlucky number, for that the number of ten signifies the Ten Commandmentes of God, the number chosen, which is one more, prophesieth and fore-telleth the transgression of them. Wherefore the Knight having remained eleven days in the palace, grievously transgressing the will of God, letting loose the bridle of his owne affections, without restraining any of them; if thou note well the premises, and see into the sequel, you shall find that such as live after the order of the palace of Worldly Felicitie, being given to follow the pompe and pride of the world, with the pleasures and voluptuousness of the same, and seeme willing to leade that life without purpose of changing, nay rather triumphing and rejoicing therein ; I say truly, that such are transgressors of God's. laws; contrarwise, such as account themselves heere to be but pilgrims, and fixe their affection on the other world, where Jesus Christ reigneth in glory, reputing this life an exile, and desiring to be delivered out of it to the end, they may enter at the palace of the heavenly King, and shall enjoy the fulnesse and happinesse thereof."

Chap. XII. “ After I had sojourned eleven daies in the palace, transgressing God's Commandments and leading a beastly life ; I desired to ride into the forrests thereabouts, not intending to give over voluptuous life, but for my pleasure, because I was weary of making good cheere; for although worldlings delight to eate, drink, daunce, leape, sing, ride, run, and such like, yet notwithstanding, they cannot continue in this trade of life, without intermingling it with some recreation, wherefore they often leave by that constraint their pastimes, though they intend to returne. thereto again, they do not utterly abandon them, but break off a season to procure better appetite; I then being weary, was willing to see the warrens and other pleasure, which, when my governess Folly understood, she told the tale to lady Voluptuousnesse, and she consented to hunt or hawke with me, whereof I was right glad: then I apparelled myself in hunter's guise; instead of my helmet, a hat full of feathers, for mine armor an horne, and I leapt upon Temeritie my horse, Voluptuousness had a hobby, Folly a jennet, and the other ladies every one of them a palfrey. There came the huntsmen with greyhounds and mastives, hooping, hallowing, and galloping together, some one way, some another. The dogs were at a buke, up starts the hare, the cry was pleasant to heare; but in the midst of all our pastimes, I chanced to breathe my horse, and turning towards the palace of Worldly Felicitie, sodainly I saw it sinke into the earth and every body therein. But what lamentable outcryes they made, you that have reason are to judge; then did there arise amongst us a whirlwinde with an earthquake, which set us all asunder, insomuch, that I and my horse sunke in mire up to the saddle, and all the while my mistress Folly only remained with me, this earthquake yielded such an air of brimstone, that the like hath not beene felt : then I perceived that I was far from the palace, gardens, orchards, and vineyards of Voluptuousness, and rather in a beastly bog sticking fast, and nothing neere mee but serpents, snakes, adders, toads, and venomous wormes. Such was my perplexity in this case that I fell into despaire, being not able to speak one word, I was so sore annoyed."*

Second Part, Chap. I. . “ It was a weary matter for a man of himself to fall into hell, but it is impossible for him to get out againe, unless by the help of God'sGrace; I terme him into hell, who lives in continual wickednesse, committing sin with delight, for if he die in that state, hell is his reward; but in this life, if he repent there is hope and salvation, for by God's-Grace he may be comforted and delivered. Therefore, man of himselfe falleth into perdition, but without God's-Grace he cannot rise. God, therefore, seeing his creature given to all vanitie, led with ambition of worldly honor, and not ceasing his sinful life, oftentimes sends adversity, diseases, dishonors, and confusion in the world, to make him humble, and to open the eyes of reason, which Voluptuousness had shut, whereby he may come to the knowledge of his sins, and confess the same to God.”

Chap. II. “When I was out of the bog, humbly on my knees I gave thanks to God's-Grace for his goodness, being assured that he to whom God does good is not worthy thereof, if he is not thankful. Then God's-Grace marched his way before me, saying that I should follow her, the which I did, for doubtlesse our free-will guideth not God's-Grace, but God's-Grace guideth our free-will. Then I followed her all to be-dagled, untill wee came where I had seene the palace of Worldly Felicitie in greatest glory, turned into a deep dungeon of darkness, boyling with consuming fire, whence came a wilde vapour and stinking smoake of burning brimstone, over the which we must pass by a little plank : whereat I was afraid, so that the hair of my heade stood an ende; then with sorrowful sighs I beseached God'sGrace to tell me the sight which I saw: (quoth she) this is the place of thy voluptuous palace with all thy allies, amongst whom thou was entertained. Mark well if I had not beene thy helpe and shewed thee mercie, thou hadst been plagued with them. Thinke with thyself, if the place be pleasent or no. Thou seest how the divell handleth these that be here with torments. This is the Grey King Lucifer, whom thou supposedst to have seene accompanied with so many nobles in the palace of Counterfait Felicitie—these be they that frie in the furnace. Here is the reward of such as serve him. Then we saw a great bed grow red hot, wherein lay a naked woman whom a great dragon imbraced, playing with his tayle between her legs, with two ugly serpents winding about her thighs, and eating her privy members. This miserable woman, lamenting, cryed aloud with terrible noise. This (quoth God's-Grace) is the brave bed wherein thou layest, and this woman the Goddess of Love, which kept thee company; wouldst thou be glad now to serve her? To which I answered, no. Thou seest (quoth she) this is the end of voluptuous livers and wicked worldlings. Ask her, then, now where are her Pleasure and Voluptuousnesse. Alas, lady, (quoth I) for feare I dare not; then with a loud voyce she began particularly asking the question, saying, O cursed outcasts of God and wretched worldlings, where are now your fair chambers hanged with silke tapestrie, goodly gardens, game dogs of all sorts, your birdes, your horses, your brave apparel, your delicate wines, your change of meales, your sweet waters and servantes, cookes and butlers, your ladies of love, and such like: 0 unhappy people, your change is great, &c. &c. Then over the high mountaines and ragged rocks away we walked till we came to a crosse way, where Vertue wished me to follow her, whose sayings when I called to minde, it made me weep bitterly for my sinnes and follies past. But when God's-Grace perceived me to be weary and 'noyed with the smells that I found in that loathsome lake, for pity she tooke me in her armes, and at the last she shewed me the school of repentance, whither I must goe before I could enter into true felicitie." : Chap. III. When we approached to the school of repentance, which was built upon a high hill, environed with a moate named Humility, God's-Grace called, and outcame Lady Repentance in plaine apparel, having next her naked skin a smock of haire-cloath, and upon the same a gowne of sack-cloth, girded together with a great leather girdle, a kercher of coarse canvise upon her head. With her also came two waiting maids, named Sorrow-for-sinne and Confession-ofsinnes, both apparelled like their lady. The first seemed very sorrowfulle and sadde, and the second was bashfulle and shamefas't, and hung downe her head. Then God's-Grace spake to Repentance, and presenting me unto her, said, here is a knight which I have brought to thy schoole, that he might forget the evill that he hath learned abroad, and to be instructed in the good which he never yet knew.” * * *

Chap. VII.“ Then, as we were talking, God's-Grace said unto me, Sir Knight, I give thee for thy governour, this good hermit Understanding; believe his counsel and do what he commands you ; then I remembered my old governess Folly, whom I left in the bogge amongst serpents and toads. So I was very glad of my governour, and gave thanks to God's-Grace, who from the table gave me drugs to eate, and repeated unto me a place written in the eighty-eight Psalm of David, open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.'”

ART. VI. Love's Victory: a Tragi-Comedy, by William
Chamberlayne, of Shaftesbury, in the County of Dorset.

Odiumque perit
Cum jussit amor, veteres cedunt

Ignibus iræ.
London : printed by E. Cotes, and are to be sold by Robert
Clavell, at the Stags-head, neer St. Gregorie's Church, in St.
Paul's Church Yard, 1658, pp. 87.

:: Of the author of this play we have already given some account, in our analysis of his heroick poem of Pharonnida. The play bears a very strong resemblance, both in the tone of feeling and in the sentiments, to his more matured production there is the same dignity of action and of thought in the higher scenes, mixed, however, with much more that is mean, and some that is utterly contemptible. There is frequently an admirable propriety in his thoughts, but he wanted judgement in the selection, and taste in the disposition of them. He is fond of illustrating the grand and the beautiful in nature and in feeling, by allusions to objects of art and of science, more especially in his own profession, which sometimes lead him into conceit and sometimes into meanness. It was, indeed, the fault of his age. -But the mind of Chamberlayne was not of that high order which pierces into the “hidden secrets of the heart,” and displays it in all its awful and solemn workings ;-he does not suspend our breathing with the depth and intensity of passion, or flood our eyes with delicious tears—nor does he delight us with those sudden transitions from the dark to the bright, in the inward motions of the soul, which come over the intellectual eye, like a gleam of sunshine on the dark bosom of the heaving ocean. Yet there is feeling-there is passion-gentlemequable—noble -dignified; but the one is not deep, nor the other intense—he does not “storm the soul.” Poets, like painters, are distinguishable by the style and colouring of their works-Chamberlayne is peculiarly so ; he is, indeed, a complete mannerist-he rings the changes on his favourite conceptions incessantly—he varies them and dresses them up, but they still bear striking marks of identity. He has hollowed out a channel in which his genius flows : sometimes with a gentle and delightful murmuring, rising against its rocky sides and embossing them with its white spray; and at its flood tide, rolling on a noble and majestic stream in a continuous course, but seldom flowing over its banks, or breaking out into grand irregularities. He appears to have had no idea of rhythm-no perception of the harmony of numbers—“ of the sweet food of sweetly-uttered knowledge.” His poem is written in blank verse, tagged with a rhyme which the reader finds it impossible to rest upon, and difficult to pass over; and which is moreover in itself awkward and constrained. Such is the general character of William Chamberlayne's poetical powers. And notwithstanding all this, he is no ordinary poet-he had the living elements of poetry within him, though he wanted a better judgement to manage them. The drama which is now before us, and which is the only one he ever wrote, contains some interesting situations and passages of considerable beauty; but the author was a better poet than a dramatist. There is a want of keeping in the play ; and, in the comic scenes, a total absence of truth and probability.Some parts are, indeed, very miserable. It is a notable expedient of Vanlore, a favoured lover, who, to prevent the union of his mistress with a rich rival, forbids the banns in the shape and semblance of the devil, and roars the father, the intended son-in-law, and all together in terror out of the church. Although our author has contrived to unite four couples in spite of the obstacles so often interposed between amorous wishes and their happy consummation, we shall, in our short sketch of the plot, confine ourselves to the two most prominent in the group. The kingdom of Sicily being divided by rebellion, a battle is fought between Oroandes, the general of the king's army, and Zannazarro, the chief of the rebels. In this engagement, Oroandes is

« ZurückWeiter »