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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 behavior 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, as 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 Ath
latter inflames Martius, and he seeks to save her husband; but Sophocles will not ask his life, although assured that a word will save him, and the execution of both proceeds:
Valerius. Bid thy wife farewell.
Soph. No, I will take no leave. My Dorigen, Yonder, above, 'bout Ariadne's crown,
My spirit shall hover for thee. Prithee, haste.
So, 't is well;
Dor. Stay, Sophocles, - with this tie up my sight;
Soph. Thou dost not, Martius,
And, therefore, not what 't is to live; to die
An old, stale, weary work and to commence
Deceitful knaves for the society
Of gods and goodness. Thou thyself must part
Val. But art not grieved nor vexed to leave thy life thus?
Soph. Why should I grieve or vex for being sent
To them I ever loved best? Now I'll kneel,
Mar. Strike, strike, Valerius,
This is a man, a woman.
Kiss thy lord,
And live with all the freedom you were wont.
O love! thou doubly hast afflicted me
My hand shall cast thee quick into my urn,
Ere thou transgress this knot of piety.
Val. What ails my brother?
Soph. Martius, O Martius,
Thou now hast found a way to conquer me.
Dor. O star of Rome! what gratitude can speak
Fit words to follow such a deed as this?
Mar. This admirable duke, Valerius,
By Romulus, he is all soul, I think;
He hath no flesh, and spirit cannot be gyved,
I do not readily remember any poem, play, sernovel or oration that our press vents in the last years, which goes to the same tune. We have a great many flutes and flageolets, but not often the sound of any fife. Yet Wordsworth's "Laodamia," and the ode of "Dion," and some sonnets, have a certain noble music; and Scott will sometimes draw a stroke like the portrait of Lord Evandale given by Balfour of Burley. Thomas Carlyle, with his