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abundant examples of the characteristics of a school of art which may be considered as the antithesis of the school of Shakspere.
The first scene introduces us to “ Brutus carried in a chair." With him are his three sons, Locrine, Camber, and Albanact; Corineus and Asaracus, his brothers; Guendolen, the daughter of Corineus; with other personages. Brutus informs the assembly of his approaching death; and his brothers tell him of his great renown; which speeches encourage Brutus to take a very self-satisfying view of the whole course of his life, from the period of his flight from Italy to his quelling of the giants of Albion. However, the dying man at last proceeds to business; divides the kingdom amongst his sons, and directs that Locrine shall marry Guendolen. Having effected all this at an expense of words which would be somewhat weakening to a person in health, he very opportunely dies, and his son and brother break out into the following rhapsodies :
“ Loc. Accursed stars, damn'd and accursed stars,
Cor. No dreadful threats can fear judge Rhadamanth.
It resteth now that we inter his bones,
At the end of the first act Locrine and Guendolen are married; but a comic scene is interposed, in which Strumbo, a cobbler, talks of Cuprit and Dina, and in the same breath of the fourth book of Lactantius. It is evident that the author of this play could not produce the lowest buffoonery without making a parade of his book-knowledge.
The second act opens with the arrival of Humber, the king of the Scythians, with Estrild his wife, and Hubba his son. The lady is rapturous in her admiration of Albion :
“ The plains, my lord, garnish d with Flora's wealth,
After strutting about, and talking of Fortune, and Boreas, and Semiramis, and Lucifer, and Penthesilea, these Scythian scholars move forward, and the cobbler appears again upon the scene, and refuses the “press-money” which a captain offers him. Subsequently the Scythians burn the cobbler's house with his wife in it; but he goes to the wars with Albanact, and has the honour of fighting with the king of the Scythians. Humber is routed; and talks, as is very natural with people when they are in very great distress, about Briareus, Olympus, and Minerva. However, the tide of battle turns again, and Albanact is routed; and kills himself, after a denunciation of Fortune, which furnishes the most satisfactory evidence of the greatness of his ambition who was resolved to do so many wonderful things after he had cut his own throat :
“ Curs'd be her charms, damn'd be her cursed charms,
That do delude the wayward hearts of men,
And tie herself in everlasting bands.” He very appropriately concludes with six Latin hexameters before he kills himself. It is difficult to say which is the most ludicrous, the solemn ravings of the hero, or the burlesque of the cobbler and his man.
In the third act Locrine comes against Humber, and finally defeats him, after a great many words uttered in the same Ercles' vein.” We hopelessly look for any close parallel of the fustian of this play in the accredited works of Greene, or Marlowe, or Kyd, who redeemed their pedantry and their extravagance by occasional grandeur and sweetness. The dialogue of · Locrine' from first to last is inflated beyond all comparison with any contemporary performance with which we are acquainted. Our readers are familiar with a gentleman who, when he is entreated to go down, says, “I'll see her damned first;—to Pluto's damned lake, to the infernal deep, with Erebus and tortures vile also.” The valiant Pistol had, no doubt, diligently studied • Locrine ;' but he was a faint copyist of such sublime as the following:
“ You ugly spirits that in Cocytus mourn,
And gnash your teeth with dolorous laments;
Do plunge yourselves in Puryflegethon;
With new.found torments rack proud Locrine's bones !" We do not get rid of Humber, who of all the characters excels in this line, until the end of the fourth act; previous to which happy 'event of his death Locrine has fallen in love with Estrild, his prisoner; and the lady, after a very brief wooing, requites his love under the assurance that Queen Guendolen shall do her no harm. The following lines, in which Locrine describes the arrangements that he has made for the indulgence of his passion, furnish almost the only example of a passage in the play approaching to something like natural and appropriate language
“ Nigh Durolitum, by the pleasant Ley,
Where brackish Thamis slides with silver streams,
Till Atropos cut off mine uncle's life.” In the fifth act we hear of the death of Corineus; upon which Locrine commands that Estrild shall be queen in the room of Guendolen. The rightful wife, upon hearing of her misfortune, calls upon the winds and the clouds and the sun, and other such allies of tragic personages, to assist her in her distress, and she does not call in vain :
“ Behold the heavens do wail for Guendolen;
The shining sun doth blush for Guendolen ;
Her son arrives, and changes her temper in a moment from sorrow to revenge:
“ Then henceforth farewell womanish complaints !
A battle ensues in which Locrine is defeated; but previously the ghost of Corineus appears, and his speech is no unfavourable specimen of the power of the writer:
“ Behold, the circuit of the azure sky
Now, Corineus, stay and see revenge." The last four lines furnish another example of that species of repetition which we have previously noticed. We have four lines very similar in Lodge's 'Wounds of Civil War:'-
“ Thy colour'd wings, steeped in purple blood,
Thy blinding wreath, distain'd in purple blood,
Locrine and Estrild each kill themselves; and Sabren, previous to her completion of the tragedy, speaks some lines which, with a few