Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

them apace

Shall e'er approve, nor yet keep silent: Tib. Knows yet Sejanus whom we point at? things

Sej. 1,

[err: That for their cunning, close, and cruel Or else my thought, my sense, or both do Thy father would wish his : and shall, per

'Tis Agrippina. haps,

Tib. She, and her proud race. Carry the empty name, but we the prize. Sej. Proud! dangerous, Cæsar. For in On then, my soul, and start not in thy course ;

[out fire, The father's spirit shoots up. Germanicus Though heav'n drop sulphur, and hell belch Lives in their looks, their gait, their form, Laugh at the idle terrors: tell proud Jove,

tupbraid us Between his pow'r and thine there is no With his close death, if not revenge the same. odds :

[gods *. Tib. The act's not known. 'Twas only fear first in the world made Sej. Not prov'd: but whispering fame Tiberius, Sejanus.

Knowledge and proof doth to the jealous Tib. Is yet Sejanus coine?


believe. Sej. He's here, dread Cæsar.

• Who, than to fail, would their own thought Tib. Let all depart that chamber, and the It is not safe, the children draw long breath, next:

[prince That are provoked by a parent's death. Sit down, my comfort. When the master Tib. It is as dangerous to make them Of all the world, Sejanus, saith he fears ;

hence, Is it not fatal?

If nothing but their birth be their offence. Sej. Yes, to those are fear'd.

Sej. Stay, till they strike at Cæsar; then Tib. And not to him?

their crime Sej. Not, if he wisely turn

Will be enough, but late and out of time That part of fate he holdeth, first on them. For him to punish. Tib. That nature, blood, and laws of kind' Tib. Do they purpose it? [till it hit. forbid.

Sej. You know, sir, thunder speaks not Sej. Do policy and state forbid it? Be not secure ; none swiftlier are opprest, Tib. No.

Than they whom confidence betrays to rest. Sej. The rest of poor respects, then, let Let not your daring make your danger such: go by;

[guilty. All power's to be fear'd, where 'tis too much. State is enough to make th’act just, thein The youths are of themselves hot, violent,

Tib. Long hate pursues such acts. Full of great thought; and that male-spiSej. Whom hatred frights,

rited dame,

[on: Let him not dream of sov'reignty.

Their mother, slacks no means to put them Tib. Are rites

By large allowance, popular presentings, Of faith, love, piety, to be trod down, Increase of train, and state, suing for titles; Forgotten, and made vain ?

Hath them coinmended with like prayers, Sej. All for a crown.

like vows,

(nights The prince who shames a tyrant's name to To the same gods, with Cæsar : days and Shall never dare do any thing, but fear; She spends in banquets and ainbitious feasts All the command of sceptres quite doth pe- For the nobility; where Caius Silius, rish,

Titius Sabinus, old Arruntius,
If it begin religious thoughts to cherish: Asinius Gallus, Furnius, Regulus,
Whole empires fall, sway'd by those nice re- And others of that discontented list,

Are the prime guests. There, and to these, It is the licence of dark deeds protects

she tells

[whose wife. Ev'n states niost hated, when no laws resist ? Whose niece she was, whose daughter, and The sword, but that it acteth what it list. And then must they compare ber with AuTib. Yet so, we may do all things cruelly,

gusta; Not safely.

I, and prefer her too; cominend her form, Sej. Yes, and do them thoroughly. Extol her fruitfulness ; at which a shower

Age, anime, fac quod nulla posteritas probet,
Sed nulla tuceat : aliquod audendum est nefus
Atror, cruentum; tale quod frater meus
Suum esse malit.

Act II. v. 192. 'Twas only fear first in the world made gods.) A translation from Petronius Arbiter :

Primus in orbe deos fecit timor. Dr. Grey, Laws of KIND forbid.] Laws of nature. Who, than to fail, would their own thought believe.] i. e. Who, rather than want, or fail of proof, would believe the mere evidence of their own thoughts. Jonson affects great. brerity in his expression, and, in consequence of that, is not always so clear as he might be.

She tells, Whose niece she was, whose daughter, and those wife.) Agrippina was the niece of Augustus, the daugliter of Agrippa and Julia, and the wife of Germanicus .


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Sej. Or

Falls for the memory of Germanicus, Of their ambition) not perceive the train, Which they blow over straight with windy Till in the engine they are caught and slain. praise,

Tib. We would not kill, if we knew how And pufting hopes of her aspiring sons,

to save; Who, with these hourly ticklings, grow so

Yet, than a throne,'tis cheaper give a grave. pleas'd,

Is there no way to bind them by deserts ? And wantonly conceited of themselves, Sej. Sir, wolves do change their hair, but As now, they stick not to believe they're

not their hearts. such

While thus your thought unto a mean is As these do give them out; and would be

ty'd, thought

You neither dare enough, nor do provide. (More than competitors) immediate heirs. All modesty is fond; and chiefly where Whilst to their thirst of rule, they win the The subject is no less compellid to bear, rout

Than praise his sov'reign's acts.
(That's still the friend of novelty) with hope Tib. We can no longer
Of future freedom, which on every change Keep on our mask to thee, our dear Sejanus;
That greedily, though emptily expects. Thy thoughts are ours, in all, and we but
Cæsar, 'tis age in all things breeds neglects,


And princes that will keep old dignity Their voice, in our designs, which by assent-
Must not admit too youthful heirs stand by; Hath more confirin'd us, than if heart'ning
Not their own issue ; but so darkly set

As shadows are in picture, to give height Had, from his hundred statues, bid us strike,
And lustre to themselves.

* And at the stroke clickt all his marble Tib. We will command

But who shall first be struck? [thumbs : Their rank thoughts down, and with a stricter Sej. First, Caius Silius; hand

[must bate, He is the most of mark, and most of danger:
Than we have yet put forth; their trains In power and reputation equal strong,
Their titles, feasts and factions.

Having commanded an imperial army

Seven years together, vanquish'd Sacrovir
But how, sir, will you work ?

In Germany, and thence obtain'd to wear Tib. Confine 'em.

The ornaments triumphal. His steep fall, Sej. No.

By how much it doth give the weightier They are too great, and that too faint a blow

crack, To give them now; it would have serv'd at Will send more wounding terror to the rest, first,

burst. Command them stand aloof, and give more When with the weakest touch their knot had To our surprizing of the principal. [way But, now, your care must be, not to detect Tib. But what, Sabinus? The smallest cord, or'line of your suspect; Sej. Let him grow a while, For such, who know the weight of princes' His fate is not yet ripe: we must not pluck fear,

(rear At all together, lest we catch ourselves. Will, when they find themselves discover'd, And there's Arruntius too, be only talks. Their forces, like seen snakes, that else But Sosia, Silius' wife, would be wound in would lie

[high, Now, for she hath a fury in hier breast, Rould in their circles, close: nought is inore More than hell ever knew; and would be Daring, or desperate, than offenders found;


[tius Where guilt is,

rage and courage both Thither in time. Then is there one Cremuabound.

[up, Cordus, a writing fellow, they have got The course must be, to let them still swell To gather notes of the precedent times, Riot, and surfeit on blind fortune's cup; And make them into annals; a most tart Give 'em more place, more dignities, more And bitter spirit (I hear;) who under colour stile,

Of praising those, doth tax the present state, Call 'em to court, to senate; in the while, Censures the men, the actions, leaves no Take from their strength some one or twain,

or more,

No practice unexamin'd, parallels
Of the main fautors; (it will fright the store) The times, the governments; a profest
And, by some by-occasion. Thus, with


(night For the old liberty You shall disarm them first; and they (in Tib. A perishing wretch.

And at the stroke clickt all his marble thumbs.] The sense is obscure; but the poet hath let us into his meaning, by his own note upon the place. Il alludes to the Roman custom of shưwing favour, or pronouncing death, to the vanquished gladiators, by bending the thumb. Jonson's words are these : Premere pollicem, upud Romanos, maximi jatoris crat signum. llerat. ep. ad Lollium. Fantor utroque tuum laudabit pollice ludum. Et Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. 28. cap. 2. Pollices, cum faveamus, premere etiam proverbio jubemur. :

is 09' gl«5 ».1'

[ocr errors]

و: ووو

As if there were that chaos bred in things, And (by your kindest friend) get swift ac'That laws and kiberty would not rather


[Mutilia Prisca. choose

Acquaint her with these meetings: tell the To be quite broken, and ta’en hence by us,

words Than have the strain to be preserv'd by such. 10 You brought me (th' other day) of Silius, Have we the means to make these guilty Add somewhat to 'em. Make her underfirst?


stand Sej. Trust that to me; let Casar, by his The danger of Sabinus, and the times, But cause a formal meeting of the senate, Out of his closeness. Give Arruntius words I will have matter, and accusers ready. . Of malice against Cæsar; so, to Gallus : Tib. But how? let us consult.

But, (above all) to Agrippina. Say, Sej. We shall mispend

(As you may truly) that her infinite pride, The time of action. Counsels are unfit Propt with the hopes of her too fruitful In business, where all rest is more pernicious

womb, Than rashness can be. Acts of this close With popular studies gapes for sovereignty, kind

and threatens Cæsar. Pray Augusta then, Thrive more by execution than advice. That for her own, great Cæsar's, and the There is no lingering in that work begun,


[gers. Which cannot praised be, until through Safety, she be pleas’d to urge these dandone.

[a court. Cæsar is too secure (he must be told, Tib. Our edict shall forthwith command And best he'll take it from a mother's While I can live, I will prevent earth's fury:

tongue:) Έμε θάνοντς γαία μιχθήτω συρί.

Alas! what is'i for us to sound, t'explore, Posthumus, Sejanus.

To watch, oppose, plot, practise, or prevont,

If hè, for whom it is so strongly labour'd, Pos. My lord Sejanus

Shall, out of greatness and free spirit, be Sej. Julius Posthumus

Supinely negligent? our city's now Come with my wish! what news from A- Divided as in time o' th' civil war,

grippina's ? (selves a-late; And nien forbear not to declare themselves Pos. Faith none. They all lock up them- Of Agrippina's party. Every day Or talk in character; I have not seen The taction inultiplies; and will do more, A company so chang'd. Except they had If not resisted: you can best enlarge it, Intelligence by augury of our practice. As you find audience. Noble Posthumus, Sej. When were you there?

Commend me to your Prisca: and pray her, Pos. Last night.

She will solicit this great business, Sej. And what guests found you?

To earnest and most present execution, Pos. Sabinius, Silius, (the old list) Arrun- With all her utmost credit with Augusta. Furnius, and Gallus.

[tius, Pos. I shall not fail in my instructions. Stj. Would not these talk?

Sej. This second (from his mother) will Pos. Little. And yet we offer'd choice of argument. Our late design, and spur on Cæsar's rage : Satrius was with me.'

Which else might grow remiss. The way Sej. Well: 'tis guilt enough Their often meeting.

You forgot textol A prioce in blood, is to present the shapes The hospitable lady?

Of dangers, greater than they are like late, Pos. No, that trick

Or early shadows) and, sometimes, to feign Was well put home, and had succeeded too, Where there are none, only to make him But that Sabinus caught a caution out!


(entred, For she began to swell :~-

His fear will make him cruel: and once Sej. And may she burst !

He doth not easily learn to stop, or spare Julius I would have you go instantly

Where he may doubt. This have I made Unto the palace of the great Augusta,

'Encz Jávortos yorima urx917w avpi.] This Greek verse, as the historians say, Tiberius had often in his mouth, and the poet thought it too memorable to omit it.

Tell the words You brought me (th other day) of Silius.] The words of Silius, to which the poet refers, are related by Tacitus in this manner: Immodicè juclantis (sc. Silii) suum militem in obsequio duratisse, cùm alii ad seditiones prolaberentur : neque mansurum Tiberio imperium, si iis quoque legionibus cupido notandi fuisset. Annal. I. 4. c. 18.

" The public safety, &c.] To complete the measure of the verse, Jonson, by a licence common in the ancient poets, divides the word public into both these verses; ending one of them with the first syilable of it, and beginning the other with the last;

That for her own, great Cæsar's, and the pube

lic safety, she be pleas'd to urge these dangers. And they are so printed in the folio of 1616.

well urge

to put

my rule,



[ocr errors]



To thrust Tiberius into tyranny, [blocks, I dare not, with my manners, to attempt
And make him toil, to turn aside those Your trouble farther.
Which I alone could not remove with safety. Agr. Farewell, noble Silius.
Drusus once gone, Germanicus' three sons Sil. Most royal princess.
Would clog my way; whose guards have Agr. Sosia stays with us?
too much faith

sil. She is your servant, and doth owe To be corrupted: and their mother known

your grace Of too too unreproy'd a chastity,

An honest, but unprofitable love. To be attempted, as light Livia was.

Agr. How can that be, when there's no Work then, ny art, on Cæsar's fears, as

gain, but virtuous 3 ?

[clear'da : Sil. You take the moral, not the politic
On those they fear, till all my lets be
And he in ruins of his house, and haté I meant, as she is bold, and free of speech,
Of all his subjects, bury his own state.

Earnest to utter what her zealous thought
When with my peace, and safety, I will rise, Travails withal, in honour of your bouse ;
By making him the public sacrifice.

Which act, as it is simply born in her,

Partakes of love and honesty ; but may,
Satrius, Natta.

By th' over-often, and unseason'd use,
Sat. They're grown exceeding circum- Turn to your loss and danger: for your
spect, and wary. [Arruntius

state Nat. They have us in the wind: and yet Is waited on by envies, as by eyes; Cannot contain himself.

And every second guest your tables take
Sat. Tut, he's not yet

Is a fee'd spy, t'observe who goes, who
Look'd after, there are others more desir'd,
That are more silent.

What conference you have, with whom,
Nat. Here he comes. Away.

where, when,

What the discourse is, what the locks, the
Sabinus, Arruntius, Cordus.

Sab. How is it, that these beagles haunt Of ev'ry person there, they do extract,
Of Agrippina ?

(the house And make into a substance. Arr. , they hunt, they hunt.

Agr. Hear nie, Silius. There is some game here lodg'd, which they Were all Tiberius' body stuck with eyes, must rouse,

And ev'ry wall and hanging in my house To make the great oncs sport.

Transparent, as this lawn I wear, or air; Cor. Did you observe

Yea, had Sejanus both his ears as long How they inveigh'd 'gainst Cæsar?

As to my ininost closet, I would hate Arr. 1, baits, baits,

To whisper any thought, or change an act, For us to bite at: would I have my flesh To be inade Juno's rival. Virtue's forces Torn by the public hook, these qualified Shew ever noblest in conspicuous courses. Should be my company:

[hangmen Sil. 'Tis great, and bravely spoken, like Cor. Here comes another.

Arr. I, there's a man, Afer the orator ! Of Agrippina : yet, your highness knows, One that hath phrases, figures, and fine There is nor loss, nor shaine in providence : flowers,


Few can, what all should do, beware enough. To strew, his rhetorick with, and doth make You may perceive with what officious face, To get him note, or name, by any offer Satrius, and Natta, Afer, and the rest Where blood, or gain be objects; steeps his Visit your house, of late, t enquire the words,

secrets ;

[they rail
When he would kill, in artificial tears: And with what' bold and privileg'd art,
The crocodile of Tyber! him I love, Against Augusta: yea, and ai Tiberius;
That inan is mine; he hath my heart and Tell tricks of L via, and Sejanus; all
When I would curse! he, he. (voice, Texcite, and call your indignation on,

Sab. Contemn the slaves, [graves. That they might hear it at more liberty.
Their present lives will be their future Agr. You're too suspicious, Silius.

Sil. Pray the gods,
Silius, Agrippina, Nero, Sosia.

I be so, Agrippina : but I fear

[strike Sil. May't please your highness not forget Some subtle practice. They that durst to

yourself, 12 Till all my Bets be clear'd.] This reading is corrupt, and the expression unintelligible: the quarto gives us the true word lets; obstructions, impediments. It occurs likewise in the argument, Finding the lets he must encounter to be many and hard.” Mr. Seward and Mr. Sympson both corrected it in this manner by conjecture.

13 How can that be, then there's no gain, but VIRTUOus?] i. e. no real gain, but virtuous gain; what is acquired and proceeds from virtue. The quarto, with less embarrassment of the sense, reads virtue's.

the spirit


* At so examp-less, and unblam'd a life, Ner. I, to Sejanus ? As that of the renown'a Germanicus,

Sil. True. Will not sit down with that exploit alone : Dru. And what of that? « 15 He threatens many, that hath injur'd Sil. I'm glad I gave it not.

Ner. But there is somewhat else? Ner. 'Twere best rip forth their tongues, Sil. Yes, private meetings, sear out their eyes,

With a great lady at a physician's, When next they come.

And a wife turn'd awaySos. A fit reward for spies.

Ner. Ha!

Sil. Toys, mere toys; Drusus jun. Agrippina, Nero, Silius.

What wisdom's now i'th' streets, i'th' Dru. Hear you the rumour ?

cominon mouth? Agr. What?

Dru. Fears, whisp'rings, tumults, noise, Dru. Drusus is dying.

I know not what : Agr. Dying !

They say the senate sit. Ner. That's strange!

Sil. I'll thither straight; Agr. Yo' were with him yesternight. And see what's in the forge.

Dru. One inet Eudemus, the physician, Agr. Good Silius, do ; Sent for, but now: who thinks he cannot live. Sosia and I will in.

Sil. Thinks! if it be arriy'd at that, he Sil. Haste you, my lords, Or none.

[knows, To visit the sick prince ; tender your loves, Agr. This's quick! what should be his And sorrows to the people. This Sejanus Sit. Poison, poison

[clisease? (Trust my divining soul) hath plots on all ! Agr. How, Silius !

Notree, that stops his prospect, but must fall. Ner. What's that? [certain blow Sil. Nay, nothing. There was (late) a

Chorus-of Musicians. Giv'n o' the face.

[ocr errors]

14 At SO EXAMP-LESS and unblam'd a life.] At a life that had no parallel ; was beyond all example, or imitation. Exump-less is a term of the author's coining; and by the same poetical prerogative, Chapman, in his verses on this tragedy, uses the word exampling:

Our Phæbus may with his exampling beams.” 15 He threatens many, that hath injur'd one.)

Multis minatur, qui uni facit injuriam.--PUB. SYRUS. In this fulness and frequency of sentence, as he calls it in his preface, Jonson placeth one part of the office of a tragic poet: and the learned reader will perceive, from the brevity and number of these maxims, that instead of copying after the models of antient Greece, he hath conformed to the practice of Seneca the tragedian.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Sej. "T'S

Sejanus, Varro, Latiaris, Cotta, Afer. Gal-
lus, Lepidus, Arruntius. Præcones, Lice
VIS only, you must urge against

him, Varro;
Nor I, nor Cæsar may appear therein,
Except in your defence, who are the consul:
And, under colour of late enmity
Between your father, and his, may better
As free from all suspicion of a practice.
Here be your notes, what points to touch

at; read :
Be cunning in them. Afer has them too.

Var. But is he summon'd?

Sej. No. It was debated
By Cæsar, and concluded as most fit
To take him unprepar'd.

Afer. And prosecute
All under name of treason.

do it,

Var. I conceive.

[be here. Sab. Drusus being dead, Cæsar will not Gal. What should the business of this senate be ?

[you: we
Arr. That can my subtil whisperers tell
That are the good-dull-noble lookers-on,
Are only call'd to keep the marble warm.
What should we do with those deep mys-

Proper to these fire heads ? let them alone.
Our ignorance mnay, perchance, help us be
From whips and furies.

Gal. See, see, see their action !
Arr. I, now their heads do travail, now

they work;
Their faces run like shittles, they are weaving
Some curious cobweb to catch fies:

Sab. Observe
They take their places.

Arr. What, so low?
They must be scen to flatter Cæsar's grief,

Gal. O yes,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »