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grostesque. Fletcher's is more visionary and fantastical. I hardly know which to prefer. If Fletcher has the advantage in general power and sentiment, Jonson is superior in naiveté and truth of local colouring

The Two NOBLE KINSMEN is another monument of Fletcher's genius; and it is said also of Shakespear’s. The style of the first act has certainly more weight, more abruptness, and more involution, than the general style of Fletcher, with fewer softenings and fillings-up to sheathe the rough projecting points and piece the disjointed fragments together. For example, the compliment of Theseus to one of the Queens, that Hercules

“ Tumbled him down upon his Nemean hide,

And swore his sinews thaw'd”

at sight of her beauty, is in a bolder and more masculine vein than Fletcher usually aimed at. Again, the supplicating address of the distressed Queen to Hippolita,

.“ Lend us a knee : But touch the ground for us no longer time Than a dove's motion, when the head's pluck'd off"

is certainly in the manner of Shakespear, with his subtlety and strength of illustration. But,

on the other hand, in what immediately follows, relating to their husbands left dead in the field of battle,

Tell him if he i’ th' blood-siz'd field lay swoln,

Shewing the sun his teeth, grinning at the moon,


would do"

I think we perceive the extravagance of Beaumont and Fletcher, not contented with truth or strength of description, but hurried away by the love of violent excitement into an image of disgust and horror, not called for, and not at all proper in the mouth into which it is put. There is a studied exaggeration of the sentiment, and an evident imitation of the parenthetical interruptions and breaks in the line, corresponding to what we sometimes meet in Shakespear, as in the speeches of Leontes in the Winter's Tale; but the sentiment is over-done, and the style merely mechanical. Thus Hippolita declares, on her lord's going to the wars,

“ We have been soldiers, and we cannot weep,

When our friends don their belms, or put to sea,
Or tell of babes broach'd on the lance, or women
That have seethed their infants in (and after eat them)
The brine they wept at killing 'em ; then if
You stay to see of us such spinsters, we
Should hold you here forever.”

One might apply to this sort of poetry what Marvel

says of some sort of passions, that it is Tearing our pleasures with rough strife Thorough the iron gates of life.”


It is not in the true spirit of Shakespear, who

born only heir to all humanity," whose horrors were not gratuitous, and who did not harrow up the feelings for the sake of making mere bravura speeches. There are also in this first act, several repetitions of Shakespear's phraseology; a thing that seldom or never occurs in his own works. For instance,

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“ Past slightly His careless execution".

very lees of such, millions of rates
Exceed the wine of others"-

- Let the event,
" That never-erring arbitrator, tell us” —
" Like old importment's bastard”-

There are also words that are never used by Shakespear in a similar sense:

“ All our surgeons
Convent in their behoof"-
“ We convent nought else but woes”-

In short, it appears to me that the first part of this play was written in imitation of Shakespear's manner; but I see no reason to suppose that it was his, but the common tradition, which is however by no means well established. The subsequent acts are confessedly Fletcher's, and the imitations of Shakespear which occur there (not of Shakespear's manner as differing from his, but as it was congenial to his own spirit and feeling of nature) are glorious in themselves, and exalt our idea of the great original which could give birth to such magnificent conceptions in another. The conversation of Palamon and Arcite in prison is of this description—the outline is evidently taken from that of Guiderius, Arviragus, and Bellarius in Cymbeline, but filled up with a rich profusion of graces that make it his own again.

Pal. How do you, noble cousin ? Arc. How do


Pal. Why, strong enough to laugh at misery,
And bear the chance of war yet. We are prisoners,
I fear for ever, cousin.

Arc. I believe it;
And to that destiny have patiently
Laid up my hour to come.

Pal. Ob, cousin Arcite,
Where is Thebes now? where is our noble country?
Where are our friends and kindreds? Never more
Must we behold those comforts; never see
The hardy youths strive for the games of honour,
Hung with the painted favours of their ladies,
Like tall ships under sail: then start amongst 'em,

And as an east wind, leave 'em all behind us
Like lazy clouds, whilst Palamon and Arcite,
Even in the wagging of a wanton leg,
Outstript the people's praises, won the garlands,
Ere they have time to wish 'em ours. Oh, never
Shall we two exercise, like twins of honour,
Our arms again, and feel our fiery horses,
Like proud seas under us! Our good swords now
(Better the red-eyed God of war ne'er wore)
Ravish'd our sides, like age, must run to rust,
And deck the temples of those Gods that hate us :
These hands shall never draw 'em out like lightning,
To blast whole armies more,

Arc. No, Palamon,
Those hopes are prisoners with us: here we are,
And here the graces of our youth must wither,
Like a too-timely spring: here age must find us,
And which is heaviest, Palamon, unmarried ;
The sweet embraces of a loving wife
Loaden with kisses, arı'd with thousand Cupids,
Shall never clasp our necks! No issue know us,
No figures of ourselves shall we e'er see,
To glad our age, and like young eaglets teach 'em
Boldly to gaze against bright arms, and say,
Remember what your fathers were, and conquer !
The fair-eyed maids shall weep our banishments,
And in their songs curse ever-blinded fortune,
Till she for shame see what a wrong she has done
To youth and nature. This is all our world :
We shall know nothing here, but one another;
Hear nothing but the clock that tells our woes;
The vine shall grow, but we shall never see it;
Surpmer shall come, and with her all delights,
But dead-cold winter must inhabit here still.

Pal. 'Tis too true, Arcite! To our Theban hounds,

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