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" Paradise is under the shadow of swords."
Ruby wine is drunk by knaves,
In the elder English dramatists, and mainly in the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, there is a constant recognition of gentility, as if a noble behaviour were as easily marked in the society of their age, as color is in our American population. When any Rodrigo, Pedro, or Valerio enters, though he be a stranger, the duke or governor exclaims, This is a gentleman,
- and proffers civilities without end; but all the rest are slag and refuse. In harmony with this delight in personal advantages, there is in their plays a certain heroic cast of character and dialogue, in Bonduca, Sophocles, the Mad Lover, the Double Marriage, — wherein the speaker is so earnest and cordial, and on such deep grounds of character, that the dialogue, on the slightest additional incident in the plot, rises naturally into poetry. Among many texts, take the following. The Roman Martius has conquered Athens, -all but the invincible spirits of
Sophocles, the duke of Athens, and Dorigen, his
Soph. No, I will take no leave. My Dorigen,
Dor. Stay, Sophocles, — with this tie up my sight;
Mar. Dost know what 't is to die?
Soph. Thou dost not, Martius,
Val. But art not grieved nor vexed to leave thy life thus ?
Soph. Why should I grieve or vex for being sent
Mar. Strike, strike, Valerius,