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Hip. Work yet his life, since in it lives her fame.
Orl. No, let him hang, and half her infamy departs out of the world; I hate him for her: he taught her first to taste poison; I hate her for herself, because she refused my physic.
Hip. Nay, but Friscobaldo.
Orl. I love no mermaids, I'll not be caught with a quailpipe.
Hip. You're now beyond all reason. Is't dotage to relieve your child, being poor?
Orl. 'Tis foolery; relieve her? Were her cold Jimbs stretcht out upon a bier, I would not sell this dirt under my nails, to buy her an hour's breath, nor give this hair, unless it were to choak her.
Hip. Fare you well, for I'll trouble you no more. [Exit.
Orl. And fare you well, Sir, go thy ways; we have few lords of thy making, that love wenches for their honesty.’Las, my girl, art thou poor? Poverty dwells next door to despair, there's but a wall between them : despair is one of hell's catchpoles, and leşt that devil arrest her, I'll to her ; yet she shall not know me: she shall drink of my
wealth as beggars do of running water, freely; yet never know from what fountain's head it flows. Shall a silly bird pick her own breast to nourish her young ones : and can a father see his child starve? That were hard : the pelican does it, and shall not I ?"
The rest of the character is answerable to the beginning. The execution is, throughout, as exact as the conception is new and masterly. There is the least colour possible used; the pencil drags ; the canvas is almost seen through: but then, what precision of outline, what truth and purity of tone, what firmness of hand, what marking of character! The words and answers all along are so true and pertinent, that we seem to see the gestures, and to hear the tone with which they are accompanied. So when Orlando, disguised, says to his daughter, “ You'll forgive me," and she replies, “ I am not marble, I forgive you ;” or again, when she introduces him to her husband, saying simply, “ It is my father,” there needs no stage-direction to supply the relenting tones of voice or cordial frankness of manner with which these words are spoken. It is as if there were some fine art to chisel, thought, and to embody the inmost movements of the mind in every-day actions and familiar speech. It has been asked,
“ Oh! who can paint a sun-beam to the blind,
Or make him feel a shadow with his mind ?"
But this difficulty is here in a manner overcome. Simplicity and extravagance of style, homeliness and quaintness, tragedy and comedy, interchangeably set their hands and seals to this admirable production. We find the simplicity of prose with the graces of poetry. The stalk
out of the ground; but the flowers spread their flaunting leaves in the air. The mixture of levity in the chief character bespeaks the bitterness from which it seeks relief; it is the idle echo of fixed despair, jealous of observation or pity. The sarcasm quivers on the lip, while the tear stands congealed on the eye-lid. This
tough senior,” this impracticable old gentleman softens into a little child; this choke-pear melts in the mouth like marmalade. In spite of his resolute professions of misanthropy, he watches over his daughter with kindly solicitude; plays the careful housewife; broods over her lifeless hopes ; nurses the decay of her husband's fortune, as he had supported her tottering infancy; saves the high-flying Matheo from the gallows more than once, and is twice a father to them. The story has all the romance of private life, all the pathos of bearing up against silent grief, all the tenderness of concealed affection:there is much sorrow patiently borne, and then comes peace. Bellafront, in the two parts of this play taken together, is a most interesting character. It is an extreme, and I am afraid almost an ideal case. She gives the play its title, turns out a true penitent, that is, a practical one, and is the model of an exemplary wife. She seems intended to establish the converse of the position, that a reformed rake makes the best husband, the only difficulty in proving which, is, I suppose,
to meet with the character. The change of her relative position, with regard to Hippolito, who, in the first part, in the sanguine enthusiasm of youthful generosity, has reclaimed her from vice, and in the second part, his own faith and love of virtue having been impaired with the progress of years, tries in vain to lure her back again to her former follies, has an effect the most striking and beautiful. The pleadings on both sides, for and against female faith and constancy, are managed with great polemical skill, assisted by the grace and vividness of poetical illustration. As an instance of the manner in which Bellafront speaks of the miseries of her former situation, " and she has felt them knowingly," I might give the lines in which she contrasts the different regard shewn to the modest or the abandoned of her sex.
" I cannot, seeing she's woven of such bad stuff,
Set colours on a harlot bad enough.
She crown'd with reverend praises, pass'd by them;
Perhaps this sort of appeal to matter of fact and popular opinion, is more convincing than the scholastic subtleties of the Lady in Comus. The manner too, in which Infelice, the wife of Hippolito, is made acquainted with her husband's infidelity, is finely dramatic; and in the scene where she convicts him of his injustice by taxing herself with incontinence first, and then turning his most galling reproaches to her into upbraidings against his own conduct, she acquits herself with infinite spirit and address. The contrivance, by which, in the first part, after being supposed dead, she is restored to life, and married to Hippolito, though perhaps a little far-fetched, is affecting and romantic. There is uncommon beauty in the Duke her father's description of her sudden illness. In reply to Infelice's declaration on reviving, “ I'm well,”
“ Thou wert not so e'en now. Sickness' pale hand
Laid hold on thee, evin in the deadst of feasting :