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Ferd. Strangling's a very death.
Bos. (Aside.) Nay, then, I see I must

stand upon my guard. Ferd. What say to that? Whisper softly: do you agree to 't? So; it must be done i' th dark; the cardinal would not for a thousand pounds the doctor should see it.

Erit. Bos. My death is plotted; here's the con

sequence of murder. We value not desert nor Christian breath, When we know black deeds must be cur'd

with death.

Enter Antonio and Servant. Serv. Here stay, sir, and be confident, I

pray; I'll fetch you a dark lantern.

Erit. Ant. Could I take him at his prayers,

There were hope of pardon. Bos. Fall right, my sword !

(Stabs him.) I'll not give thee so much leisure as to

pray. Ant. (, I am gone! Thou hast ended a

long suit In a minute. Bos.

What art thou? Ant.

A most wretched thing, That only have thy benefit in death, To appear myself.

Re-enter Servant with a lantern. Serv. Where are you, sir? Ant. Very near my home.—Bosola ! Serv. O, misfortune! Bos. Smother thy pity, thou art dead else.

The man I would have sav'd 'bove mine

own life!
are merely the stars' tennis-balls,

struck and bandied Which way please them.-0 good An

tonio, I'll whisper one thing in thy dying ear Shall make thy heart break quickly!

Thy fair duchess And two sweet childrenAnt.

Their very names Kindle a little life in me. Bos.

Are murder'd. Ant. Some men have wish'd to die

At the hearing of sad tidings; I am glad That I shall do 't in sadness.61 I would

not now Wish my wounds balm'd nor heald, for I have no use

To put my life to. In all our quest of

greatness, Like wanton boys whose pastime is their

care, We follow after bubbles blown in th' air. Pleasure of life, what is 't? Only the

good hours
Of an ague; merely a preparative to rest,
To endure vexation. I do not ask
The process of my death; only commend

me To Delio. Bos.

Break, heart! Ant. And let my son fly the courts of princes.

(Dies.) Bos. Thou seem'st to have lov'd Antonio. Serv. I brought him hither,

To have reconcil'd him to the cardinal. Bos. I do not ask thee that. Take him up, if thou tender thine own

life, And bear him where the lady Julia Was wont to lodge.-0, my fate moves

swift! I have this cardinal in the forge already; Now I'll bring him to th’ hammer. O

direful misprision ! 62 I will not imitate things glorious, No more than base; I'll be mine own

example.On, on, and look thou represent, for si

lence, The thing thou bear'st.63


| We

SCENE 5. Another room in the palace,

with a gallery. Enter Cardinal, with a book. Card. I am puzzl'd in a question about

hell; He says, in hell there's one material fire, And yet it shall not burn all men alike. Lay him by. How tedious is a guilty

conscience! When I look into the fish-ponds in my

garden, Methinks I see a thing arm’d with a rake, That seems to strike at me. Enter Bosola, and Servant bearing

Antonio's body.

Now, art thou come? Thou look'st ghastly; There sits in thy face some great determi


61 reality.

Mix'd with some fear.

62 mistake.

63 i.e. the dead body.



Thus it lightens into action: Thou took'st from Justice her most equal I am come to kill thee.

balance, Card.

Ha !-Help! our guard ! And left her naught but her sword. Bos. Thou art deceiv'd; they are out of Card.

0, merey! thy howling.

Bos. Now it seems thy greatness was only Card. Hold; and I will faithfully divide

outward; Revenues with thee.

For thou fall'st faster of thyself than Bos.

Thy prayers and proffers calamity Are both unseasonable.

Can drive thee. I'll not waste longer Card. Raise the watch!

time; there! We are betray'd!

(Stabs him.) Bos.

I have confin'd your flight: Card. Thou hast hurt me. I'll suffer your retreat to Julia's cham- Bos.

Again! ber,


Shall I die like a leveret,

a But no further.

Without any resistance ?—Help, help, Card. Help! we are betray'd!


I am slain ! Enter, above, Pescara, Malateste, Roderigo, and Grisolan.

Enter Ferdinand. Mal. Listen.

Ferd. Th’ alarum ! Give me a fresh Card. My dukedom for rescue!

horse; Rod. Fie upon his counterfeiting!

Rally the vaunt-guard, or the day is lost, Mal. Why, 't is not the cardinal.

Yield, yield! I give you the honor of Rod. Yes, yes, 't is he: But I'll see him hang'd ere I'll go down Shake my sword over you; will you to him.

yield ? Card. Here's a plot upon me; I am as- Card. Help me; I am your brother! saulted! I am lost,


The devil! Unless some rescue!

My brother fight upon the adverse party! Gris.

He doth this pretty well; (He wounds the Cardinal, and, in the scufBut it will not serve to laugh me out of fle, gives Bosola his death-wound.) mine honor.

There flies your ransom. Card. The sword 's at my throat !

Card, O justice! Rod. You would not bawl so loud then. I suffer now for what hath former been: Mal. Come, come, let 's go to bed: he told Sorrow is held the eldest child of sin. us this much aforehand.

Ferd. Now you 're brave fellows. Cæsar's Pes. He wish'd you should not come at fortune was harder than Pompey's; him; but, believe 't,

Cæsar died in the arms of prosperity, The accent of the voice sounds not in Pompey at the feet of disgrace. You jest.

both died in the field. The pain 's nothI'll down to him, howsoever, and with ing; pain many times is taken away with engines

the apprehension of greater, as the toothForce ope the doors.

ache with the sight of a barber that

Erit above. comes to pull it out. There's philosophy Rod.

Let's follow him aloof, And note how the cardinal will laugh at Bos. Now my revenge is perfect.—Sink, him. Exeunt above.

thou main cause Bos. There's for you first,

(Kills Ferdinand.) 'Cause you shall not unbarricade the door Of my undoing !—The last part of my To let in rescue.

life (Kills the Servant.)

Hath done me best service. Card.

What cause hast thou to pur- Ferd. Give me wet hay; I am sue my life?

broken-winded. Bos. Look there.

I do account this world but a dog-kenCard. Antonio!

nel: Bos. Slain by my hand unwittingly. I will vault credit 64 and affect high Pray, and be sudden. When thou

pleasures kill’d'st thy sister,

Beyond death. 64 overleap belief.

for you.



He seems to come to himself, Now he's so near the bottom. Ferd. My sister, O my sister! there's the

cause on't. Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or

lust, Like diamonds, we are cut with our own dust.

(Dies.) Card. Thou hast thy payment too. Bos. Yes, I hold my weary soul in my

teeth; 'T is ready to part from me.

I do glory That thou, which stood'st like a huge

pyramid Begun upon a large and ample base, Shalt end in a little point, a kind of


In a play. O, I am gone!
We are only like dead walls or vaulted

graves, That, ruin'd, yields no echo. Fare you

well! It may be pain, but no harm, to me to

die In so good a quarrel. O, this gloomy

world! In what a shadow, or deep pit of dark

ness, Doth womanish and fearful mankind

live! Let worthy minds ne'er stagger in dis

trust To suffer death or shame for what is

just : Mine is another voyage.

(Dies.) Pes. The noble Delio, as I came to th'

palace, Told me of Antonio's being here, and

show'd me
A pretty gentleman, his son and heir.

Enter Delio, and Antonio's Son.
Mal. O, sir, you come too late!

I heard so, and Was arm'd for 't, ere I came.

Let us make noble use Of this great ruin; and join all our force To establish this young hopeful gentle

Enter, below, Pescara, Malateste, Roderigo,

and Grisolan.

Pes. How now, my lord !

0 sad disaster! Rod.

How comes this? Bos. Revenge for the Duchess of Malfi

murdered By th’ Arragonian brethren; for Antonio Slain by this hand; for lustful Julia Poison'd by this man; and lastly for my

self, That was an actor in the main of all Much 'gainst mine own good nature, yet

i'th' end
Pes. How now, my lord !

Look to my brother: He gave us these large wounds, as we

were struggling Here i'th' rushes.65




In's mother's right. These wretched

eminent things Leave no more fame behind 'em, than

should one Fall in a frost, and leave his print in

snow; As soon as the sun shines, it ever melts, Both form and matter. I have ever

thought Nature doth nothing so great for great

And now,

let me


Be laid by and never thought of.

(Dies.) Pes. How fatally, it seems, he did with

stand His own rescue! Mal. Thou wretched thing of blood,

How came Antonio by his death? Bos. In a mist; I know not how;

Such a mistake as I have often seen

As when she's pleas'd to make them

lords of truth: Integrity of life is fame's best friend, Which nobly, beyond death, shall crown the end.


65 used as floor.coverings.



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The pursuit of the reluctant male by the not. Comedy of intrigue it might be called, predatory female suggested itself as a tit though the name is too inclusive to be of theme for comedy long before it was dignified much help in attempting a definition. The in Man and Superman as an exhibition of the sole purpose of this play is to entertain, and Life Force. As Shaw reminds us in his pref- light comedy is perhaps as good a name as ace, several of Shakespeare's heroines take can be found to describe it. the ofensive in vigorous campaigns to ob- As in Philaster, the main interest of the tain the men of their choice. The wonder play is in plot rather than in the characters. that we feel in such instances is not at the The plot is much slighter, but there is the spectacle of the heroine flying in the face of same ingenuity of complication, the same use tradition, for this she does with disarming of surprise and suspense, the same developgrace, but that she should be at such pains ment of episode at the expense of character, to secure a husband so obviously her inferior as for instance when Oriana reveals herself in brains, as is Bassanio to Portia, in ca- at the end of act IV. That part of the action, pacity for love, as Proteus to Julia, in every- indeed, in which Oriana feigns madness in thing but birth, as Bertram to Helena. A order to move Mirabel's heart to pity, the somewhat similar attitude is conceivable to- soft prelude to love, is strongly reminiscent ward Oriana, the heroine of Fletcher's Wild- of the method of tragicomedy. Neither the Goose Chase. We might cavil, “ The Wild- other characters nor the audience are let into Goose was n't worth chasing"; Fletcher's re- Oriana's secret: she confesses that none set ply would be, That's not the question

her on,

nor any knew or even dreamed was n't the chase amusing?” Without con- what she meant. Her adherents and sympadoning a freedom of speech and insinuation thizers are as thoroughly deceived as Miraimpossible to modern taste, we may avoid the bel, and Fletcher plays on their emotions, error of judging too severely Fletcher's light- and ours, to beguile us into a false sympathy hearted representation of the triple man- which he exploits to its utmost before laughhunt. To apply the test of morality to this ing it away. In this respect, the situation play is to break a butterfly on a wheel. It is differs from the rest of the series of tricks à perfect specimen of light comedy as prac- composing the plot, for in all the others we tised by the wittiest and cleverest writer of are forewarned and are thus in a position to it in the Elizabethan period. Comedy of get the full comic flavor of the play of crossmanners in any strict sense The Wild-Goose purposes. The general criticism might be Chase is not. Fletcher makes no effort to made of the plot that the scheming is rather hold the mirror up to nature and show too obvious. It is credible that Mirabel “the very age and body of the time his form should have been deceived once, even twice, and pressure.” There is here little observa- but that he should for a third time be hoodtion of English life, and no particular at- winked passes belief. The devices employed tempt to portray manners exactly. In others by each side, moreover, are so much of one of his comedies, in Monsieur Thomas and Wit kind that the artificiality of structure is as without Money, for example, Fletcher ap- apparent as in the case of llother Bombie. proaches reality more closely. Nor is the The Wild-Goose is finally caught by the same play high comedy, as the term is sometimes sort of disguise that he had once before un. applied

to the Shakespearean romantic masked, and that he had himself unsuccesscomedy like Much Ado, for that involves an fully tried when he tricked out his English idealization and a depth of characterization courtesan as a fine lady to advance Pinac in wanting here. It is only necessary to re- Lillia Bianca's esteem. It is, however, unflect upon the different impressions which reasonable to demand that work so obviously Oriana and Viola or Rosalind make on us to intended merely for diversion should stand perceive the difference; the situations are close inspection, and the action moves fornot dissimilar, but the glamour, the bloom ward so clearly through its plots and counterof romance, the ideal reality, so to speak, of plots, the pace is so brisk and the interest so the Shakespearean work are altogether lack- unflagging, that we are willing for the "two ing. Although the influence of the Jon- hours' trassic of the stage” to accept the sonian humor comedy is evident in a figure story at its face value.

like Belleur, comedy of humors presupposes Dryden in a well-known passage in the Esa satirist's point of view, which Fletcher has say of Dramatic Poesy says of Beaumont and


Fletcher: “They understood and imitated the conversation of gentlemen much better (than Shakespeare); whose wild debaucheries and quickness of wit in repartees, no poet before them could paint as they have done.

I am apt to believe the English language in them arrived to its highest perfection.” The Wild-Goose Chase might well serve as a text for Dryden's comment. It was perfectly adapted to the audience before which it was produced in 1621, the gay, witty, cynical group of the Jacobean court. In its accurate reflection of the tone of the court it resembles the comedy of manners more closely than in its presentation of the manners themselves. It is not a play which a Puritan could see without abhorrence, nor which a modern Puritan can read with pleasure. Truly, these fine ladies and gentlemen of Fletcher's have little of the reticence in speech which we associate with breeding. The men are rakes by habit, and the women rakes at heart; Rosalura and Lillia Bianca are “honest” in the Elizabethan sense, and all too honest, we should say to-day, in the freedom with which they express their desires. “Why should we be ashamed to speak what we think?” queries Lillia. But the sprightly gaiety of dialogue and the smooth rapidity of the verse can delight us as they delighted Fletcher's auditors and as they delighted Dryden. The action moves fast from one amusing situation to the next, and the verse keeps pace with it. There are few speeches of any considerable length (only seven of more than fifteen lines); the dialogue consists mainly of thrust and parry, two or three lines to a speech. No pause, no time for reflection, simply a mitrailleuse gunfire of wit, with no quarter asked or given. For work of this sort Fletcher's light, easy. running verse is admirably suited. What in other writers is a device occasionally introduced for variety, the use of lines of eleven (or more) syllables, is with him a habit, a conscious artifice intended to banish rhetori: cal formality and to replace it with a flexi

bility giving the effect of colloquial prose. The proportion of lines running over the ten-syllable norm is so extraordinarily large that it is no exaggeration to call the verse hendecasyllabic. The familiar ease of such a style is enhanced by a limpid clearness of expression, a simplicity of vocabulary and absence of poetic adornment, meriting Dryden's praise of the language. No blank-verse dialogue but Fletcher's resembles more the matchless prose of Congreve and Sheridan.

The mention of Congreve recalls the importance of Fletcher's work as pointing the way for Restoration comedy. The WildGoose Chase was one of the first plays revived on the reopening of the theaters in 1660 and its gay abandon pleased the audience of those days immensely. (Pepys, who saw it January 11, 1667, calls it a very famous play, but was disappointed in it.) We need not underrate the influence of Molière on Restoration comedy in order to appreciate what it owes to Fletcher. The atmosphere — frivolous, cynical, sophisticated, frankly immoral closer to that of Fletcher than it is to Molière's. The characters of this play are precisely those of the later period — fine ladies and gentlemen, sure of themselves, witty, and free of speech. The action, where the whole business of life is centered in amorous intrigue, foreshadows that of half a hundred Restoration plays. Mirabel in name and nonchalance prefigures his more famous namesake of The Way of the World, and his capitulation is as wittily contrived and his promised reformation as little convincing as those of the typical Restoration hero. The slightness of plot, the emphasis on dialogue, the repartee, the brilliance of style, received from the Restoration dramatists the sincerest flattery of imitation. Farquhar, indeed, remade this play as The Inconstant, not improving upon the original in the process. Through the Restoration writers and Sheridan, Fletcher's influence is yet alive in society comedy.

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