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does not draw along with the reader: he does not work upon our sympathy, but on our antipathy or our indifference; and there is as little of the social or gregarious principle in his productions as there appears to have been in his personal habits, if we are to believe Sir John Suckling, who says of him in the Sessions of the Poets
“ In the dumps John Ford alone by himself sat
With folded arms and melancholy hat."
I do not remember without considerable effort the plot or persons of most of his plays-Perkin Warbeck, The Lover's Melancholy, Love's Sacrifice, and the rest. There is little character, except of the most evanescent or extravagant kind (to which last class we may refer that of the sister of Calantha in the Broken Heart) little imagery or fancy, and no action. It is but fair however to give a scene or two, in illustration of these remarks (or in confutation of them, if they are wrong) and I shall take the concluding one of the Broken Heart, which is held up as the author's master-piece.
“ Scene—A Room in the Palace. Loud Music.- Enter Euphranea, led by Groneas and He
mophil: Prophilus, led by Christalla and Philema : Nearchus supporting Calantha, Crotolon, and Amelus.(Music ceases ).
Cal. We miss our servants, Ithocles and Orgilus ; on
whom attend they?
Cal. A fair excuse for absence. As for Bassanes,
On to the dance !
(They dance the first change, during which enter
Ariostes). Arm. (In a whisper to Calantha). The king your father's
dead. Cal. To the other change. Arm.
Is't possible ?
Another Dance.- Enter Bassanes,
Bass. (In a whisper to Calantha). Oh! Madam, Penthea, poor Penthea's starv'd.
Cal. Beshrew thee! Lead to the next!
Bass. Amazement dulls my senses.
Another Dance.- Enter Orgilus.
Org. Brave Ithocles is murder'd, murder'd cruelly.
(Aside to Calantha). Cal. How dull this music sounds! Strike up more sprightly:
Our footings are not active like our heart",
The last Change.-Music ceases.
Near. Sweet princess,
Cal. We all look cheerfully:
Near. None dares, lady.
Cal. Yes, yes; some hollow voice deliver'd to me How that the king was dead.
Arm. The king is dead,” &c. &c.
This, I confess, appears to me to be tragedy in masquerade. Nor is it, I think, accounted for, though it may be in part redeemed by her solemn address at the altar to the dead body of her husband.
“ Cal. Forgive me.
Now I turn to thee, thou shadow
(Places a ring on the finger of Ithocles). Thus I, new marry him, whose wife I am: Death shall not separate us. Oh, my lords,
* “ High as our heart.” — See passage from the Malcontent.
I but deceiv'd your eyes with autic gesture,
Near. 'Tis a truth too ominous.
Cal. One kiss on these cold lips-my last : crack, crack; Argos, now Sparta's king, command the voices Which wait at th' altar, now to sing the song I fitted for
And then, after the song, she dies.
This is the true false gallop of sentiment : any thing more artificial and mechanical I cannot conceive. The boldness of the attempt, however, the very extravagance, might argue the reliance of the author on the truth of feeling prompting him to hazard it; but the whole scene is a forced transposition of that already alluded to in Marston's Malcontent. Even the form of the stage directions is the same.
“ Enter Mendozo supporting the Duchess; Guerrino; the
Ladies that are on the stage rise. Ferrardo ushers in the
The Duke is quite invisible, or else is not.
upon our private retirement; we are not pleased : you have forgot yourselves.
Enter a Page.
Page. Alas, I left him burying the earth with his spread joyless limbs; he told me he was heavy, would sleep: bid me walk off, for the strength of fantasy oft made him talk in his dreams: I strait obeyed, not ever saw him since; but wheresoe'er he is, he's sad.
Aurelia. Music, sound high, as is our heart; sound high. Enter Malevole and her Husband, disguised like a Hermit. Malevole. The Duke? Peace, the Duke is dead. Aurelia, Music !"
Act IV. Scene 3.
The passage in Ford appears to me an illjudged copy from this. That a woman should call for music, and dance on in spite of the death of her husband whom she hates, without regard to common decency, is but too possible: that she should dance on with the same heroic
perseverance in spite of the death of her husband, of her father, and of every one else whom she loves, from regard to common courtesy or appearance, is not surely natural. The passions may silence the voice of humanity, but it is, I think, equally