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end, and gives a shock to the gentle and pleasing sentiments inspired throughout.

The resemblance of Comus to this poem is not so great as has been sometimes contended, nor are the particular allusions important or frequent. Whatever Milton copied, he made his own. In reading the Faithful Shepherdess, we find ourselves breathing the moonlight air under the cope of heaven, and wander by forest side or fountain, among fresh dews and flowers, following our vagrant fancies, or smit with the love of nature's works. In reading Milton's Comus, and most of his other works, we seem to be entering a lofty dome raised over our heads and ascending to the skies, and as if Nature and everything in it were but a temple and an image consecrated by the poet's art to the worship of virtue and true religion. The speech of Clorin, after she has been alarmed by the Satyr, is the only one of which Milton has made a free use:

"And all my fears go with thee.

What greatness or what private hidden power

Is there in me to draw submission

From this rude man and beast? Sure I am mortal:

The daughter of a shepherd; he was mortal

And she that bore me mortal; prick my hand,

And it will bleed, a fever shakes me, and

The self-same wind that makes the young lamb shrink,

Makes me a-cold: my fear says, I am mortal.
Yet I have heard (my mother told it me,

And now I do believe it,) if I keep

My virgin flow'r uncropt, pure, chaste, and fair.

No goblin, wood-god, fairy, elf, or fiend,

Satyr, or other power that haunts the groves,

Shall hurt my body, or by vain illusion

Draw me to wander after idle fires;

Or voices calling me in dead of night

To make me follow, and so tole me on

Thro' mire and standing pools to find my ruin;

Else, why should this rough thing, who never knew
Manners, nor smooth humanity, whose heats
Are rougher than himself, and more misshapen,
Thus mildly kneel to me? Sure there's a pow'r

In that great name of Virgin, that binds fast

All rude uncivil bloods, all appetites

That break their confines: then, strong Chastity!

Be thou my strongest guard, for here I'll dwell

In opposition against fate and hell!"

Ben Jonson's 'Sad Shepherd' comes nearer it in style and spirit, but still with essential differences, like the two men, and without any appearance of obligation. Ben's is more homely and grotesque. Fletcher's is more visionary and fantastical. I hardly know which to prefer. If Fletcher has the advantage in general power and sentiment, Jonson is superior in naïveté and truth of local colouring.

The Two Noble Kinsmen' is another monument of Fletcher's genius; and it is said also of Shakspeare's. The style of the first act has certainly more weight, more abruptness, and more involution, than the general style of Fletcher, with fewer softenings and fillings-up to sheathe the rough projecting points and piece the disjointed fragments together. For example, the compliment of Theseus to one of the Queens, that Hercules

"Tumbled him down upon his Nemean hide
And swore his sinews thaw'd"

at sight of her beauty, is in a bolder and more masculine vein than Fletcher usually aimed at. Again, the supplicating address of the distressed Queen to Hippolita,

"Lend us a knee:

But touch the ground for us no longer time

Than a dove's motion, when the head's pluck'd off”—

is certainly in the manner of Shakspeare, with his subtlety and strength of illustration. But, on the other hand, in what immediately follows, relating to their husbands left dead in the field of battle,

"Tell him if he i' th' blood-siz'd field lay swoln,
Showing the sun his teeth, grinning at the moon,
What you would do,”—

I think we perceive the extravagance of Beaumont and Fletcher, not contented with truth or strength of description, but hurried away by the love of violent excitement into an image of disgust

and horror, not called for, and not at all proper in the mouth into which it is put. There is a studied exaggeration of the sentiment, and an evident imitation of the parenthetical interruptions and breaks in the line, corresponding to what we sometimes meet in Shakspeare, as in the speeches of Leontes in The Winter's Tale;' but the sentiment is overdone, and the style merely mechanical. Thus Hippolita declares, on her lord's going to the wars,

"We have been soldiers, and we cannot weep,
When our friends don their helms, or put to sea,
Or tell of babes broach'd on the lance, or women

That have seethed their infants in (and after eat them)
The brine they wept at killing 'em; then if

You stay to see of us such spinsters, we

Should hold you here for ever."

One might apply to this sort of poetry what Marvel says of some sort of passions, that it is

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Tearing our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life."

It is not in the true spirit of Shakspeare, who was "born only heir to all humanity," whose horrors were not gratuitous, and who did not harrow up the feelings for the sake of making mere bravura speeches. There are also in this first act several repetitions of Shakspeare's phraseology; a thing that seldom or never occurs in his own works. For instance:

"Past slightly

His careless execution"—

"The very lees of such, millions of rates
Exceed the wine of others"-

"Let the event,

That never-erring arbitrator, tell us”—

"Like old importment's bastard."

There are also words that are never used by Shakspeare in a similar sense :

"All our surgeons

Convent in their behoof"

"We convent nought else but woes."

In short, it appears to me that the first part of this play was written in imitation of Shakspeare's manner, but I see no reason to suppose that it was his, but the common tradition, which is by no means well established. The subsequent acts are confessedly Fletcher's, and the imitations of Shakspeare which occur there (not of Shakspeare's manner as differing from his, but as it was congenial to his own spirit and feeling of nature) are glorious in themselves, and exalt our idea of the great original which could give birth to such magnificent conceptions in another. The conversation of Palamon and Arcite in prison is of this description -the outline is evidently taken from that of Guiderius, Arviragus, and Bellarius, in Cymbelline,' but filled up with a rich profusion of graces that make it his own again.

"Pal. How do you, noble cousin?

Arc. How do you, Sir?

Pal. Why, strong enough to laugh at misery,
And bear the chance of war yet. We are prisoners,
I fear for ever, cousin.

Arc. I believe it;

And to that destiny have patiently

Laid up my hour to come.

Pal. Oh, cousin Arcite,

Where is Thebes now? Where is our noble country?
Where are our friends and kindreds? Never more

Must we behold those comforts; never see

The hardy youths strive for the games of honour,
Hung with the painted favours of their ladies,
Like tall ships under sail: then start amongst 'em,
And; as an east wind, leave 'em all behind us
Like lazy clouds, whilst Palamon and Arcite
Even in the wagging of a wanton leg,

Outstript the people's praises, won the garland,
Ere they have time to wish 'em ours. Oh, never
Shall we two exercise, like twins of honour,

Our arms again, and feel our fiery horses,

Like proud seas, under us! Our good swords now
(Better the red-eyed god of war ne'er wore)
Ravish'd our sides, like age, must run to rust,

And deck the temples of those gods that hate us:

These hands shall never draw 'em out like lightning,

To blast whole armies more.

Arc. No, Palamon,

Those hopes are prisoners with us: here we are,

And here the graces of our youth must wither,

Like a too timely spring: here age must find us,
And, which is heaviest, Palamon, unmarried;
The sweet embraces of a loving wife,

Loaden with kisses, arm'd with thousand Cupids,
Shall never clasp our necks! No issue know us,
No figures of ourselves shall we e'er see,

To glad our age, and like young eaglets teach 'em
Boldly to gaze against bright arms, and say,
Remember what your fathers were, and conquer!
The fair-eyed maids shall weep our banishments,
And in their songs curse ever-blinded fortune,
Till she for shame see what a wrong she has done
To youth and nature. This is all our world:
We shall know nothing here, but one another;
Hear nothing but the clock that tells our woes;
The vine shall grow, but we shall never see it:
Summer shall come, and with her all delights,
But dead-cold winter must inhabit here still.

Pal. 'Tis too true, Arcite! To our Theban hounds,
That shook the aged forest with their echoes,
No more now must we hallow; no more shake
Our pointed javelins, while the angry swine
Flies, like a Parthian quiver, from our rages,
Struck with our well-steel'd darts! All valiant uses
(The food and nourishment of noble minds)
In us two here shall perish; we shall die
(Which is the curse of honour) lazily,
Children of grief and ignorance.
Arc. Yet, cousin,

Even from the bottom of these miseries,
From all that fortune can inflict upon us,

I see two comforts rising, two mere blessings,
If the gods please to hold here; a brave patience,
And the enjoying of our griefs together.
Whilst Palamon is with me, let me perish

If I think this our prison!

Pal. Certainly,

'Tis a main goodness, cousin, that our fortunes
Were twinn'd together; 'tis most true, two souls
Put in two noble bodies, let 'em suffer
The gall of hazard, so they grow together,
Will never sink; they must not, say they could;
A willing man dies sleeping, and all's done.

Arc. Shall we make worthy uses of this place,
That all men hate so much?

Pal. How, gentle cousin?

Arc. Let's think this prison a holy sanctuary

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