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Ziphares assures him there is no danger, and intreats to be left to himself, The faithful old soldier then deals more plainly with him:
"Arch. Ah, prince, you cannot hide
Arch. I care not; spite of all that you can do,
In justice to Monima, the tender and gentle Monima, we cannot quit this play without giving her reply to Mithridates, who still affected to regard their nuptials as only suspended, when, to pursue his designs on Semandra, he requests her absence under pretence of public business.
"Affairs of state
Mon. Say, the affairs of love.
Little can be said for Ctzsar Borgia. Villanies and murders are most wantonly and revoltingly accumulated in it. There is no relief. We seem to be invited to a Pandemonian revel, where the dagger is your only carving knife, and goblets of poison are the only drink that circulates. A withering curse is a common salutation. Machiavel is the master plotter, and he is represented as particularly addicted to such figures of speech.
"Now by your wrongs, that turn my heart to steel,
In a calmer mood, he philosophizes thus:
"The dead are only happy, and the dying:
The speech which follows this, even though it has the disadvantage of reminding us of Hermia and Helena, is, notwithstanding, beautiful:
"In their non-age
Borgia, when about to fight his junior brother, Palante, thus laments their disparity:
"O that I had
Their combat was for Bellamira; who, though devotedly attached to the younger, is compelled to marry the elder brother. Her effort to allay his jealousy, and his delight at the
VOL. III. PART II. T t
t prospect of possessing her heart as well as her person, shall finish our quotations from this play.
"Bella. Noble Borgia, hear me!
0 such sw«et words ne'er fell from that fair mouth
Bella. If you call back
1 swear, thus sinking on your feet, I swear
Borg. Go on, go on; I swear the wind is turn'd,
Bella. I will hereafter
Borg. O my heart's joy! Rise, Bellamira, rise.
O happy night!
Be constant, Bellamira,to thy vows;
Lucius Junius Brutus was a favourite of the author's, and what does not always happen, it deserved to be so. He was better mounted than usual, and Pegasus did not run away with him. The play was not successful, and he consoled himself with the reflection that Jonson's Catiline met no better fate; "nay, Shakespear's Brutus with much ado beat himself into the heads of a blockish age:" so, though he " was troubled for his dumb play like a father for his dead child," he also felt the paternal pride of the mourner, who would not have exchanged his dead son for any living son in Christendom. Though triumphal honours were denied him, he was conscious of having achieved a conquest, and one of no ordinary difficulty. "There are some subjects (he says, in the dedication,) that require but half the strength of a great poet; but when Greece or Old Rome come in play, the nature, wit, and vigour of foremost Shakespear, the judgement and force of Jonson, with all his borrowed mastery from the ancients, will scarce suffice for so terrible a grapple. The poet must elevate his fancy with the mightiest imagination, he must run back so many hundred years, take a just prospect of the spirit of those times without the least thought of ours; for, if his eye should swerve so low, his muse will grow giddy with the vastness of the distance, fall at once, and for ever lose the majesty of the first design.—There must be no dross through the whole mass, the furnace must be justly heated, and the bullion stamped with an unerring hand. In such a writing there must be greatness of thought without bombast, remoteness without monstrousness, virtue armed with severity, not in iron bodies—solid wit without modern affectation, speaking out without straining the voice or cracking the
t lungs." Such was the bow of Ulysses, with which he aspired to shoot; and it must be allowed to have bent in his hands. He has produced no play in which there is less to offend, or more to praise. The awful conflicts in the soul of the paternal judge; the earthquakes of his heart, but which affect his patriotic determination no more than the convulsions of the world do the steady motion of the celestial bodies, or the decrees of fate, are painted with a noble and generally a successful daring. The contrasted characters of his sons are in fine relief to each other; and the fond, foreboding, generous, and devoted Teraminta, the illegitimate daughter of Tarquin, and the bride of Titus, beams upon the scene "like the midnight moon upon a murder." The play opens on her bridal morning, the morning after the fatal night at Collatia. Titus remonstrates with her:
"O Teraminta, why this face of tears?
Returning from the marriage, Titus encounters Brutus, whose assumed idiocy has been exhibited in a scene or two, but who is resolved to throw it off", and take advantage of the last atrocity of Sextus Tarquin to effect the liberation of Rome.
"As from night's womb the glorious day breaks forth
The tale of Lucrece, the vow on her bloody poniard to expel the family of Tarquin which Brutus imposes himself, and his ap