صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

tricities, is infectious. He laughs at them heartily, and carries us with him in his humour, but he knows how to change the key and soften laughter into tenderness.

Dekker's verse is naturally graceful and copious, keeping unforced pace with the abundance of matter supplied by his fertile invention. He was not a careful writer. He probably 'never blotted a line,' and one cannot read his plays without wishing that he had 'blotted a thousand.' His intellect had not the intense chemical energy of Shakespeare's, through which no thought could pass unchanged ; and he did not strain after originality as some of his great compeers did, Webster, Jonson, Ford, and Chapman. He poured out in an easy stream whatever came readiest, and his best passages do not run far without being marred by some poor commonplace, tumbled out as it entered the mint, without any new stamp impressed upon it. It is in his songs, interspersed at too rare intervals through his plays, that Dekker appears at his best. He had the most exquisite gift of song. Few of his contemporaries had a harder life, but all the miscellaneous drudgery through which he had to toil for a precarious livelihood failed to destroy his elasticity and spirits, and his songs rise from the earth like bird-songs, clear, fresh, spontaneous. There is genuine lyrical rapture in the notes. Like most town-bred poets, he had a passion for the country, and his fancy is never more happy than when dwelling on rustic delights.

W. MINTO.

CONTENT.

[From Patient Grissil.]
Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers ?

O sweet Content !
Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed ?

O Punishment !
Dost laugh to see how fools are vexed
To add to golden numbers golden numbers ?

O sweet Content, О sweet, O sweet Content !
Work apace, apace, apace, apace,
Honest labour bears a lovely face.
Then hey noney, noney ; hey noney, noney.

Canst drink the waters of the crisped spring ?

O sweet Content !
Swim'st thou in wealth, yet sink'st in thine own tears ?

O Punishment !
Then he that patiently Want's burden bears
No burden bears, but is a king, a king.

O sweet Content, О sweet, O sweet Content ! Work apace, apace, etc.

LULLABY.

[From Patient Grissil.]
Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise.
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby.
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

Care is heavy, therefore sleep you.
You are care, and care must keep you.
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

THE PRAISE OF FORTUNE.

[From Old Fortunatus.]
Fortune smiles, cry holiday !
Dimples on her cheek do dwell.
Fortune frowns, cry well-a-day!'
Her love is Heaven, her hate is Hell.
Since Heaven and Hell obey her power,
Tremble when her eyes do lower.
Since Heaven and Hell her power obey,
When she smiles cry holiday !

Holiday with joy we cry,
And bend and bend, and merrily
Sing Hymns to Fortune's deity,
Sing Hymns to Fortune's deity.

Chorus.
Let us sing merrily, merrily, merrily,
With our songs let Heaven resound.
Fortune's hands our heads have crowned
Let us sing merrily, merrily, merrily.

RUSTIC SONG.

[From the Sun's Darling.] Haymakers, rakers, reapers, and mowers,

Wait on your Summer-Queen ! Dress up with musk-rose her eglantine bowers, Daffodils strew the green !

Sing, dance, and play,

'Tis holiday ! The Sun does bravely shine On our ears of corn.

Rich as a pearl

Comes every girl.
This is mine, this is mine, this is mine.
Let us die ere away they be borne.

Bow to our Sun, to our Queen, and that fair one

Come to behold our sports :
Each bonny lass here is counted a rare one,
As those in princes' courts.

These and we

With country glee,
Will teach the woods to resound,
And the hills with echoes hollow.

Skipping lambs

Their bleating dams 'Mongst kids shall trip it round; For joy thus our wenches we follow.

Wind jolly huntsmen, your neat bugles shrilly,

Hounds make a lusty cry;
Spring up, you falconers, partridges freely
Then let your brave hawks fly!

Horses amain,

Over ridge, over plain, The dogs have the stag in chase : 'Tis a sport to content a king.

So ho! ho! through the skies

How the proud bird flies,
And sousing, kills with a grace !
Now the deer falls ; hark! how they ring.

JOHN FORD.

(John Ford belonged to a Devonshire family. He was born in 1586, and his last work was published in 1639. In his younger days, while practising as a barrister, he took part with professional playmakers, Webster, Dekker, Rowley, in the composition of various occasional stage productions. He first appeared in print as dramatic author with The Lover's Melancholy, in 1628. His subsequent plays were published at intervals up to 1639.)

Ford was not one of the herd of playwrights, and he lost no opportunity of letting the world know that he cared not to please many.' His poetry was the “fruit of leisure moments”;

he wrote for his own satisfaction, and the enjoyment of his equals in condition. Genial expansive sentiment, joyful presentation of the ordinary virtues, the exaltation of common ideals, was not to be expected in plays that bore upon their title-pages such an avowal of proud reserve. Ford would not walk in beaten dramatic paths ; his pride lay in searching out strange freaks of tragic passion. The heart is not purified and ennobled by his tragedies; it is surprised, stunned, perplexed. Passion speaks in his verse with overpowering force ; but though he shows profound art in tracing the most monstrous aberrations of love, jealousy, and revenge to a natural origin in strangeness of temper, the sense of strangeness is left predominant. In the preface to The Broken Heart the names of the dramatis personae are explained as being 'fitted to their qualities, and from this one might carelessly rush to the conclusion that the strangeness of Ford's characters is due to their being extravagant personifications of single attributes, and not types of real men and women. But his art was much too profound, his mastery of thought and emotion much too living for any such mechanical superficiality. His creations are not inanimate figures; the pulse of life beats in them. The secret of their strangeness seems to lie in a certain intensity and concentration of nature, a

« السابقةمتابعة »