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(Still to my loss) at Candy; there's my hope.
Oh, do I live to hope that he died there?
It must be so; he's dead, and this ring left,
By his last breath, to some known faithful friend,
To bring me back again;

That's all I have to trust to.

Enter BIRON. (Isabella looking at him.)
My fears were woman's-I have viewed him all;
And let me, let me say it to myself,

I live again, and rise but from his tomb.
Bir. Have you forgot me quite?

Isa. Forgot you!

Bir. Then farewell my disguise, and my misfortunes! My Isabella!

[He goes to her; she shrieks, and faints.

Isa. Ha!
Bir. Oh! come again;

Thy Biron summons thee to life and love;
Thy once-loved, ever-loving husband calls-
Thy Biron speaks to thee.

Excess of love and joy, for my return,
Has overpowered her. I was to blame
To take thy sex's softness unprepared ;
But sinking thus, thus dying in my arms,
This ecstacy has made my welcome more
Than words could say. Words may be counterfeit,
False coined, and current only from the tongue,
Without the mind; but passion's in the soul,
And always speaks the heart.

Isa. Where have I been? Why do you keep him from me?

I know his voice; my life, upon the wing, Hears the soft lure that brings me back again; "Tis he himself, my Biron.

Do I hold you fast,

Never to part again?

If I must fall, death's welcome in these arms. Bir. Live ever in these arms.

Isa. But pardon me;

Excuse the wild disorder of my soul;

The joy, the strange surprising joy of sceing you, Of seeing you again, distracted me.

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Isa. What a world of wo

Had been prevented but in hearing from you! Bir. Alas! thou could'st not help me.


At least, I'm sure I could have suffered all;

I would have sold myself to slavery, Without redemption; given up my child, The dearest part of me, to basest wants.

Bir. My little boy!

Isa. My life, but to have heard

You were alive.

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I promised him to follow-him!

Isa. You do not know how much I could have Is he without a name? Biron, my husband

Bir. By no means;

I've been so long a slave to others' pride,
To learn, at least, to wait upon myself;
You'll make haste after?

Isa. I'll but say my prayers, and follow you.
[Exit Biron.

My prayers! no, I must never pray again. Prayers have their blessings, to reward our hopes, But I have nothing left to hope for more.

What Heaven could give I have enjoyed; but now
The baneful planet rises on my fate,

And what's to come is a long life of wo;
Yet I may shorten it.

My husband! Ha! What then is Villeroy?
Oh, Biron, hadst thou come but one day sooner!

[Weeping. What's to be done? for something must be done. Two husbands! married to both,

And yet a wife to neither. Hold, my brainHa! a lucky thought

Works the right way to rid me of them all;
All the reproaches, infamies, and scorns,
That every tongue and finger will find for me.
Let the just horror of my apprehensions
But keep me warm; no matter what can come.
'Tis but a blow; yet I will see him first,
Have a last look, to heighten my despair,
And then to rest for ever.


NICHOLAS ROWE was also bred to the law, and forsook it for the tragic drama. He was born in 1673 of a good family in Devonshire, and during the earlier years of manhood, lived on a patrimony

Nicholas Rowe.

of L.300 a-year in chambers in the Temple. His first tragedy, The Ambitious Stepmother, was performed with great success, and it was followed by Tamerlane, The Fair Penitent, Ulysses, The Royal Convert, Jane Shore, and Lady Jane Gray. Rowe, on rising into fame as an author, was munificently patronised. The Duke of Queensberry made him his secretary for public affairs. On the accession of George I., he was made poet-laureate and a surveyor of customs; the Prince of Wales appointed him clerk of his council; and the Lord Chancellor gave him the office of secretary for the presentations. Rowe was a favourite in society. It is stated that his voice was uncommonly sweet, and his observations so lively, and his manners so engaging, that his friends, amongst whom were Pope, Swift, and Addison, delighted in his conversation. Yet it is also reported by Spence, that there was a certain superficiality of feeling about him, which made Pope, on one occasion, declare him to have no heart. Rowe was the first editor of Shakspeare entitled to the name, and the first to attempt the collection of a few biographical particulars of the immortal dramatist. He was twice married, and died in 1718, at the age of forty-five.

In addition to the dramatic works we have enumerated, Rowe was the author of two volumes of miscellaneous poetry, which scarcely ever rises above dull and respectable mediocrity. His tragedies are passionate and tender, with an equable and smooth style of versification, not unlike that of Ford. His 'Jane Shore' is still occasionally performed, and is effective in the pathetic scenes descriptive of the sufferings of the heroine. The Fair Penitent' was long a popular play, and the 'gallant gay Lothario' was the prototype of many stage seducers and romance heroes. Richardson elevated the character in his Lovelace, giving at the same time a purity and sanctity to the sorrows of his Clarissa, which leave

Rowe's Calista immeasurably behind. The incidents of Rowe's dramas are well arranged for stage effect; they are studied and prepared in the manner of the French school, and were adapted to the taste of the age. As the study of Shakspeare and the romantic drama has advanced in this country, Rowe has proportionally declined, and is now but seldom read or acted. His popularity in his own day is best seen in the epitaph by Pope-a beautiful and tender effusion of friendship, which, however, is perhaps not irreconcilable with the anecdote preserved by Mr Spence:


Thy relics, Rowe, to this sad shrine we trust,
And near thy Shakspeare place thy honoured bust;
Oh! next him, skilled to draw the tender tear,
For never heart felt passion more sincere;
To nobler sentiment to fire the brave,
For never Briton more disdained a slave.
Peace to thy gentle shade, and endless rest!
Blest in thy genius, in thy love, too, blest!
And blest, that timely from our scene removed,
Thy soul enjoys the liberty it loved.

[Penitence and Death of Jane Shore.]


Bel. How fare you, lady?

Jane S. My heart is thrilled with horror. Bel. Be of courage;

Your husband lives! 'tis he, my worthiest friend.

Jane S. Still art thou there? still dost thou hover round me?

Oh, save me, Belmour, from his angry shade!
Bel. 'Tis he himself! he lives! look up.
Jane S. I dare not.

Oh, that my eyes could shut him out for ever!

Shore. Am I so hateful, then, so deadly to thee,
To blast thy eyes with horror? Since I'm grown
A burden to the world, myself, and thee,
Would I had ne'er survived to see thee more.

Jane S. Oh! thou most injured-dost thou live, indeed?

Fall then, ye mountains, on my guilty head!
Hide me, ye rocks, within your secret caverns;
Cast thy black veil upon my shame, oh night!
And shield me with thy sable wing for ever.

Shore. Why dost thou turn away! Why tremble thus?

Why thus indulge thy fears, and in despair
Abandon thy distracted soul to horror?
Cast every black and guilty thought behind thee,
And let 'em never vex thy quiet more.
My arms, my heart, are open to receive thee,
To bring thee back to thy forsaken home,
With tender joy, with fond forgiving love.
Let us haste.

Now, while occasion seems to smile upon us, Forsake this place of shame, and find a shelter. Jane S. What shall I say to you? But I obey. Shore. Lean on my arm.

Jane S. Alas! I'm wondrous faint:

But that's not strange, I have not ate these three days. Shore. Oh, merciless!

Jane S. Oh! I am sick at heart!
Shore. Thou murderous sorrow!
Wo't thou still drink her blood, pursue her still!
Must she then die? Oh, my poor penitent!
Speak peace to thy sad heart: she hears me not:
Grief masters every sense.

Enter CATESBY with a Guard.

Cates. Seize on 'em both, as traitors to the state! Bel. What means this violence?

[Guards lay hold on Shore and Belmour.

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[Breaks from the Guards. Stand off! the agonies of death are on her! She pulls, she gripes me hard with her cold hand. Jane S. Was this blow wanting to complete my ruin? Oh! let me go, ye ministers of terror. He shall offend no more, for I will die, And yield obedience to your cruel master. Tarry a little, but a little longer,

And take my last breath with you.

Shore. Oh, my love!

Why dost thou fix thy dying eyes upon me
With such an earnest, such a piteous look,
As if thy heart were full of some sad meaning
Thou couldst not speak?

Jane S. Forgive me! but forgive me!

Shore. Be witness for me, ye celestial host,
Such mercy and such pardon as my soul
Accords to thee, and begs of heaven to show thee;
May such befall me at my latest hour,
And make my portion blest or curst for ever!

Jane S. Then all is well, and I shall sleep in peace; 'Tis very dark, and I have lost you now: Was there not something I would have bequeathed you?

But I have nothing left me to bestow,
Nothing but one sad sigh. Oh! mercy, heaven!


[Calista's Passion for Lothario.]

Cal. Be dumb for ever, silent as the grave,
Nor let thy fond, officious love disturb
My solemn sadness with the sound of joy.
If thou wilt soothe me, tell some dismal tale
Of pining discontent and black despair;
For, oh! I've gone around through all my thoughts,
But all are indignation, love, or shame,
And my dear peace of mind is lost for ever.

Luc. Why do you follow still that wandering fire, That has misled your weary steps, and leaves you Benighted in a wilderness of wo,

That false Lothario? Turn from the deceiver;
Turn, and behold where gentle Altamont
Sighs at your feet, and woos you to be happy.
Cal. Away! I think not of him. My sad soul
Has formed a dismal, melancholy scene,
Such a retreat as I would wish to find;
An unfrequented vale, o'ergrown with trees
Mossy and old, within whose lonesome shade
Ravens and birds ill-omened only dwell:
No sound to break the silence, but a brook
That bubbling winds among the weeds: no mark
Of any human shape that had been there,
Unless a skeleton of some poor wretch
Who had long since, like me, by love undone,
Sought that sad place out to despair and die in.
Luc. Alas! for pity.

Cal. There I fain would hide me

From the base world, from malice, and from shame;
For 'tis the solemn counsel of my soul
Never to live with public loss of honour:
'Tis fixed to die, rather than bear the insolence
Of each affected she that tells my story,

And blesses her good stars that she is virtuous.
To be a tale for fools! Scorned by the women,
And pitied by the men. Oh! insupportable!

Luc. Oh! hear me, hear your ever faithful creature;
By all the good I wish you, by all the ill
My trembling heart forebodes, let me intreat you
Never to see this faithless man again-
Let me forbid his coming.
Cal. On thy life,

I charge thee, no; my genius drives me on;
I must, I will behold him once again;
Perhaps it is the crisis of my fate,
And this one interview shall end my cares.
My labouring heart, that swells with indignation,
Heaves to discharge the burden; that once done,
The busy thing shall rest within its cell,
And never beat again.

Luc. Trust not to that:

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The experiment of domestic tragedy, founded on sorrows incident to real life in the lower and middling ranks, was tried with considerable success by WILLIAM LILLO, a jeweller in London. Lillo was born in 1693, and carried on business successfully for several years, dying in 1739, with property to a considerable amount, and an estate worth £60 per annum. Being of a literary turn, this respectable citizen devoted his leisure hours to the composition of three dramas, George Barnwell, Fatal Curiosity, and Arden of Feversham. A tragedy on the latter subject had, it will be recollected, appeared about the time of Shakspeare. At this early period of the drama, the style of Lillo may be said to have been also shadowed forth in the Yorkshire tragedy, and one or two other plays founded on domestic occurrences. These, however, were rude and irregular, and were driven off the stage by the romantic drama of Shakspeare and his successors. Lillo had a competent knowledge of dramatic art, and his style was generally smooth and easy. To the masters of the drama he stands in a position similar to that of Defoe, compared with Cervantes or Sir Walter Scott. His George Barnwell' describes the career of a London apprentice hurried on to ruin and murder by an infamous woman, who at last delivers him up to justice and to an ignominious death. The characters are naturally delineated; and we have no doubt it was correctly said that 'George Barnwell' drew more

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tears than the rants of Alexander the Great. His
'Fatal Curiosity' is a far higher work. Driven by
destitution, an old man and his wife murder a rich
stranger who takes shelter in their house, and they
discover, but too late, that they have murdered their
son, returned after a long absence. The harrowing
details of this tragedy are powerfully depicted; and
the agonies of Old Wilmot, the father, constitute one
of the most appalling and affecting incidents in the
drama. The execution of Lillo's plays is unequal,
and some of his characters are dull and common-
place; but he was a forcible painter of the dark shades
of humble life. His plays have not kept possession of
the stage. The taste for murders and public execu-Though but a moment, such a treasure mine.
tions has declined; and Lillo was deficient in poetical Nay, it was more than thought. I saw and touched
and romantic feeling. The question, whether the The bright temptation, and I see it yet.
familiar cast of his subjects was fitted to constitute Tis here-'tis mine-I have it in possession.
a more genuine or only a subordinate walk in Must I resign it? Must I give it back?
tragedy, is discussed by Mr Campbell in the follow- Am I in love with misery and want,
To rob myself, and court so vast a loss?
ing eloquent paragraph :-
Retain it then. But how? There is a way.
Why sinks my heart? Why does my blood run cold!
Why am I thrilled with horror? "Tis not choice,
But dire necessity, suggests the thought.

Ay, such a treasure would expel for ever
Base poverty and all its abject train;
The mean devices we're reduced to use
To keep out famine, and preserve our lives
From day to day; the cold neglect of friends;
The galling scorn, or more provoking pity
Of an insulting world. Possessed of these,
Plenty, content, and power, might take their turn,
And lofty pride bare its aspiring head
At our approach, and once more bend before us.
A pleasing dream! 'Tis past; and now I wake
More wretched by the happiness I've lost;
For sure it was a happiness to think,

Undoubtedly the genuine delineation of the human heart will please us, from whatever station or circumstances of life it is derived. In the simple pathos of tragedy, probably very little difference will be felt from the choice of characters being pitched above or below the line of mediocrity in station. But something more than pathos is required in tragedy; and the very pain that attends our sympathy requires agreeable and romantic associations of the fancy to be blended with its poignancy. Whatever attaches ideas of importance, publicity, and elevation to the object of pity, forms a brightening and alluring medium to the imagination. Athens herself, with all her simplicity and democracy, delighted on the stage to

"let gorgeous Tragedy

In sceptred pall come sweeping by."

Even situations far depressed beneath the familiar mediocrity of life, are more picturesque and poetical than its ordinary level. It is, certainly, on the virtues of the middling rank of life that the strength and comforts of society chiefly depend, in the same manner as we look for the harvest not on cliffs and precipices, but on the easy slope and the uniform plain. But the painter does not, in general, fix on level countries for the subjects of his noblest landscapes. There is an analogy, I conceive, to this in the moral painting of tragedy. Disparities of station give it boldness of outline. The commanding situations of life are its mountain scenery the region where its storm and sunshine may be portrayed in their strongest contrast and colouring.'

[Fatal Curiosity.]

Young WILMOT, unknown, enters the house of his parents, and delivers them a casket, requesting to retire an hour for


AGNES, the mother, alone, with the casket in her hand. Agnes. Who should this stranger be? And then this casket

He says it is of value, and yet trusts it,

As if a trifle, to a stranger's hand.
His confidence amazes me. Perhaps
It is not what he says. I'm strongly tempted
To open it, and see. No; let it rest.
Why should my curiosity excite me

To search and pry into the affairs of others,
Who have to employ my thoughts so many cares
And sorrows of my own? With how much ease
The spring gives way! Surprising! most prodigious!
My eyes are dazzled, and my ravished heart
Leaps at the glorious sight. How bright's the lustre,
How immense the worth of those fair jewels!


Old Wilmot. The mind contented, with how little
The wandering senses yield to soft repose,
And die to gain new life? He's fallen asleep
Already-happy man! What dost thou think,
My Agnes, of our unexpected guest?
He seems to me a youth of great humanity:
Just ere he closed his eyes, that swam in tears,
He wrung my hand, and pressed it to his lips;
And with a look that pierced me to the soul,
Begged me to comfort thee: and-Dost thou hear me?
This casket was delivered to you closed:
What art thou gazing on? Fie, 'tis not well.
Why have you opened it? Should this be known,
How mean must we appear?

Agnes. And who shall know it?

0. Wil. There is a kind of pride, a decent dignity
Due to ourselves, which, spite of our misfortunes,
May be maintained and cherished to the last.
To live without reproach, and without leave
To quit the world, shows sovereign contempt
And noble scorn of its relentless malice.

Agnes. Shows sovereign madness, and a scorn of

Pursue no further this detested theme:
I will not die. I will not leave the world
For all that you can urge, until compelled.

O. Wil. To chase a shadow, when the setting sun
Is darting his last rays, were just as wise
As your anxiety for fleeting life,
Now the last means for its support are failing:
Were famine not as mortal as the sword,
This warmth might be excused. But take thy choice:
Die how you will, you shall not die alone.
Agnes. Nor live, I hope.

O. Wil. There is no fear of that.
Agnes. Then we'll live both.

0. Wil. Strange folly! Where's the means?
Agnes. The means are there; those jewels.
0. Wil. Ha! take heed:

Perhaps thou dost but try me; yet take heed.
There's nought so monstrous but the mind of man
In some conditions may be brought to approve;
Theft, sacrilege, treason, and parricide,
When flattering opportunity enticed,
And desperation drove, have been committed
By those who once would start to hear them named.
Agnes. And add to these detested suicide,
Which, by a crime much less, we may avoid.

0. Wil. The inhospitable murder of our guest? How couldst thou form a thought so very tempting, So advantageous, so secure, and easy; And yet so cruel, and so full of horror?

Agnes. 'Tis less impiety, less against nature, To take another's life than end our own.

0. Wil. It is no matter, whether this or that
Be, in itself, the less or greater crime:
Howe'er we may deceive ourselves or others,
We act from inclination, not by rule,

Or none could act amiss. And that all err,
None but the conscious hypocrite denies.
O, what is man, his excellence and strength,
When in an hour of trial and desertion,
Reason, his noblest power, may be suborned
To plead the cause of vile assassination!

Agnes. You're too severe: reason may justly plead For her own preservation.

0. Wil. Rest contented:

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O. Wil. Why, what a fiend!

How cruel, how remorseless, how impatient, Have pride and poverty made thee!

Agnes. Barbarous man!

Whose wasteful riots ruined our estate,

And drove our son, ere the first down had spread
His rosy cheeks, spite of my sad presages,
Earnest intreaties, agonies, and tears,

To seek his bread 'mongst strangers, and to perish
In some remote inhospitable land.
The loveliest youth in person and in mind
That ever crowned a groaning mother's pains!
Where was thy pity, where thy patience then?
Thou cruel husband! thou unnatural father!
Thou most remorseless, most ungrateful man!
To waste my fortune, rob me of my son;
To drive me to despair, and then reproach me.
0. Wil. Dry thy tears:

I ought not to reproach thee. I confess

That thou hast suffered much: so have we both.
But chide no more: I'm wrought up to thy purpose.
The poor ill-fated unsuspecting victim,
Ere he reclined him on the fatal couch,

From which he's ne'er to rise, took off the sash
And costly dagger that thou saw'st him wear;
And thus, unthinking, furnished us with arms
Against himself. Which shall I use?
Agnes. The sash.

If you make use of that, I can assist.
O. Wil. No.

"Tis a dreadful office, and I'll spare
Thy trembling hands the guilt. Steal to the door,
And bring ine word if he be still asleep. [Exit Agnes.
Or I'm deceived, or he pronounced himself
The happiest of mankind. Deluded wretch!


Thy thoughts are perishing; thy youthful joys,
Touched by the icy hand of grisly death,

Are withering in their bloom. But though extinguished,

He'll never know the loss, nor feel the bitter
Pangs of disappointment. Then I was wrong
In counting him a wretch: to die well pleased
Is all the happiest of mankind can hope for.
To be a wretch is to survive the loss

Of every joy, and even hope itself,

As I have done. Why do I mourn him then?
For, by the anguish of my tortured soul,
He's to be envied, if compared with me.


The comedies of CONGREVE abound more than any others, perhaps, in the English language, in witty dialogue and lively incident, but their licentiousness has banished them from the stage. The life of this eminent dramatic writer was a happy and prosperous one. He was born in 1672, in Ireland, according to one account, or at Bardsey, near Leeds, as others have represented. He was of a good family, and his father held a military employment in Ireland, where the poet was educated. He studied the law in the middle temple, but began early to write for the stage. His Old Bachelor was produced in his twenty-first year, and acted with great applause. Lord Halifax conferred appointments on him in the customs and other departments of public service, worth £600 per annum. Other plays soon appeared; the Double Dealer in 1694, Love for Love in 1695, the Mourning Bride, a tragedy, in 1697, and the Way of the World in 1700. In 1710 he published a collection of miscellaneous poems; and his good fortune still following him, he obtained, on the accession of George I., the office of secretary for the island of Jamaica, which raised his emoluments to about £1200 per annum. Basking in the sunshine of opulence and courtly society, Congreve wished to forget that he was an author, and when Voltaire waited upon him, he said he would rather be considered a gentleman than a poet. If you had been merely a gentleman,' said the witty Frenchman, I should not have come to visit you.' A complaint in the eyes, which terminated in total blindness, afflicted Congreve in his latter days: he died at his house in London on the 29th of January 1729. Dryden complimented Congreve as one whom every muse and grace adorned; and Pope dedicated to him his translation of the Iliad. What higher literary honours could have been paid a poet whose laurels were all gained, or at least planted, by the age of twenty-seven? One incident in the history of Congreve is too remarkable to be omitted. He contracted a close intimacy with the Duchess of Marlborough (daughter of the great duke), sat at her table daily, and assisted in her household management. On his death, he left the bulk of his fortune, amounting to about £10,000, to this eccentric lady, who honoured him with a splendid funeral. "The corpse lay in state under the ancient roof of the Jerusalem chamber, and was interred in Westminster Abbey. The pall was borne by the Duke of Bridgewater, Lord Cobham, the Earl of Wilmington, who had been speaker, and was afterwards first lord of the treasury, and other men of high consideration. Her grace laid out her friend's bequest in a superb diamond necklace, which she wore in honour of him; and if report is to be believed, showed her regard in ways much more extraordinary. It is said that she had a statue of him in ivory, which moved by clockwork, and was placed daily at her table; that she had a wax doll made in imitation of him, and that the feet of this doll were regularly blistered and

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