Clare. I do not hold thy offer competent;
Nor do I like the assurance of thy land,
The title is so brangled with thy debts.

Old Moun. Too good for thee : and, knight, thou know'st it well,
I fawn'd not on thee for thy goods, not I,
'T was thine own motion; that thy wife doth know.

Lady Clare. Husband, it was 80; he lies not in that.
Clare. Hold thy chat, quean.

Old Moun. To which I hearken d willingly, and the rather,
Because I was persuaded it proceeded
From love thou bor'st to me and to my boy;
And gav'st him free access unto thy house,
Where he hath not behav'd him to thy child
But as befits a gentleman to do:
Nor is my poor distressed state so low
That I 'll shut up my doors, I warrant thee.

Clare. Let it suffice, Mounchensey, I mislike it;
Nor think thy son a match fit for my child.

Old Moun. I tell thee, Clare, his blood is good and clear
As the best drop that panteth in thy veins :
But for this maid, thy fair and virtuous child,
She is no more disparag'd by thy baseness,
Than the most orient and the precious jewel,
Which still retains his lustre and his beauty,
Although a slave were owner of the same."

For his “frantic and untamed passion ” Fabel reproves him. The comic scenes which now occur are exceedingly lively. If the wit is not of the highest order, there is real fun and very little coarseness. We are thrown into the midst of a jolly set, stealers of venison in Enfield Chase, of whom the leader is Sir John, the priest of Enfield. His humour consists of applying a somewhat pious sentence upon every occasion—" Hem, grass and hay—we are all mortal—let ’s live till we die, and be merry, and there 's an end.” Mine host of the George is an associate of this goodly fraternity. The comedy is not overloaded, and is very judiciously brought in to the relief of the main action. We have next the introduction of Millisent to the Prioress of Cheston (Cheshunt) :

Lady Clare. Madam,
The love unto this holy sisterhood,
And our confirm'd opinion of your zeal,
Hath truly won us to bestow our child
Rather on this than any neighbouring cell.

Prioress. Jesus' daughter! Mary's child !
Holy matron! woman mild !
For thee a mass shall still be said,
Every sister drop a bead;
And those again succeeding them
For you shall sing a requiem.

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Sir Arthur. Madam, for a twelvemonth's approbation,
We mean to make this trial of our child.
Your care, and our dear blessing, in mean time,
We pray may prosper this intended work.

Prioress. May your happy soul be blithe,
That so truly pay your tithe :
He that many children gave,
'T is fit that he one child should have.
Then, fair virgin, hear my spell,
For I must your duty tell.

Millisent. Good men and true, stand together,
And bear your charge.

Prioress. First, a mornings take your book,
The glass wherein yourself must look ;
Your young thoughts, so proud and jolly,
Must be turn`d to motions holy;
For your busk attires, and toys,
Have your thoughts on heavenly joys:
And for all your follies past,
You must do penance, pray, and fast.
You must read the morning mass,
You must creep unto the cross,
Put cold ashes on your head,
Have a hair-cloth for your bed.
Bind your beads, and tell your needs,
Your holy aves, and your creeds :
Holy maid, this must be done,

If you mean to live a nun." The sweetness of some of these lines argues the practised poet. Indeed the whole play is remarkable for its elegance rather than its force; and it appears to us exactly such a performance as was within the range of Drayton's powers. The device of Fabel proceeds, in the appearance of Raymond Mounchensey disguised as a friar. Sir Arthur Clare has disclosed to him all his projects. The "holy young novice” proceeds to the priory as a visitor sent from Waltham House to ascertain whether Millisent is about to take the veil “ from conscience and devotion.” The device succeeds, and the lovers are left together :

Moun. Life of my soul! bright angel !

Millisent. Wbat means the friar?
Moun. O Millisent! 't is I.

Millisent. My heart misgives me; I should know that voice.
You? who are you? the holy Virgin bless me!
Tell me your name; you shall ere you confess me.

Moun. Mounchensey, thy true friend,

Millisent. My Raymond! my dear heart!
Sweet life, give leave to my distracted soul
To wake a little from this swoou of joy.
By what means cam'st thou to assume this shape!


Moun. By means of Peter Fabel, my kind tutor,
Who, in the habit of friar Hildersham,
Frank Jerningham's old friend and coufessor,
Plotted by Frank, by Fabel, and myself,
And so deliver’d to Sir Arthur Clare,
Who brought me here unto the abbey-gate,
To be his nun-made daughter's visitor.

Millisent. You are all sweet traitors to my poor old father.
O my dear life, I was a dream'd to-night,
That, as I was praying in my psalter,
There came a spirit unto me, as I kneeld,
And by his strong persuasions tempted me
To leave this nunnery : and methought
He came in the most glorious angel shape
That mortal eye did ever look upon.
Ha! thou art sure that spirit, for there's no form
Is in mine eye so glorious as thine own.

Moun. O thou idolatress, that dost this worship
To him whose likeness is but praise of thee!
Thou bright unsetting star, which, through this veil,
For very envy mak’st the sun look pale.

Millisent. Well, visitor, lest that perhaps my mother
Should think the friar too strict in his decrees,
I this confess to my sweet ghostly father ;
If chaste pure love be sin, I must confess,
I have offended three years now with thee.

Moun. But do you get repent you of the same ?
Millisent. I' faith I cannot.

Nor will I absolve thee
Of that sweet sin, tbough it be venial :
Yet have the penance of a thousand kisses ;
And I enjoin you to this pilgrimage:-
That in the evening you bestow yourself
Here in the walk near to the willow-ground,
Where I 'll be ready both with men and horse
To wait your coming, and convey you bence
Unto a lodge I have in Enfield Chase :
No more reply if that you yield consent:
I see more eyes upon our stay are bent.

Millisent. Sweet life, farewell! 't is done, let that suffice;

What my tongue fails, I send thee by mine eyes." The votaress is carried off by her brother and Jerningham; but in the darkness of the night they lose their way, and encounter the deer-stealers and the keepers. A friendly forester, however, assists them, and they reach Enfield in safety. Not so fortunate are Sir Arthur and Sir Ralph, who are in pursuit of the unwilling nun. They are roughly treated by the keepers, and, after a night of toil, find a resting-place at Waltham. The priest and his companions are terrified by their encounters in the Chase: the lady in white, who has been hiding from them, is taken for a spirit; and the sexVol. XII.

2 G

ton has seen a vision in the church-porch. The morning however
arrives, and we see “Sir Arthur Clare and Sir Ralph Jerningham
trussing their points, as newly up." They had made good their
retreat, as they fancied, to the inn of mine host of the George, but
the merry devil of Edmonton had set the host and the smith to
change the sign of the house with that of another inn; and at the
real George the lovers were being happily married by the venison-
stealing priest, in the company of their faithful friends. Sir Arthur
and Sir Ralph are of course very angry when the truth is made
known; but reconcilement and peace are soon accomplished :-

Fabel. To end this difference, kuow, at first I knew
What you intended, ere your love took flight
From old Mounchensey: you, Sir Arthur Clare,
Were minded to bave married this sweet beauty
To young Frank Jerningham. To cross this match
I usd some pretty sleights, but, I protest,
Such as but sat upon the skirts of art;
No conjurations, nor such weighty spells
As tie the soul to their performancy;
These, for bis love who once was my dear pupil,
Have I effected. Now, methinks, 't is strange
That you, being old in wisdom, should thus knit
Your forehead on this match; since reason fails,
No law can curb the lover's rash attempt;
Years, in resisting this, are sadly spent :
Smile then upon your daughter and kind son,
And let our toil to future ages prove,
The Devil of Edmonton did good in love.

Sir Arthur. Well, 't is in vain to cross the providence:
Dear I take thee up into my heart ;
Rise, daughter, this is a kind father's part.

Host. Why, Sir George, send for Spindle's noise presently :
Ha! ere 't be night I 'll serve the good Duke of Norfolk.

Sir John. Grass and hay, mine host; let ‘s live till we die,

and be merry, and there's an end." We lament with Tieck that the continuation of the career of • The Merry Devil' is possibly lost. We imagine that we should have seen him expiating his fault by doing as much good to his fellow-mortals as he could accomplish without the aid of necromancy. Old Weever, in his · Funeral Monuments,' has no great faith in his art magic: “Here (at Edmonton) lieth interred under a seemelie Tome, without Inscription, the Body of Peter Fabell (as the report goes) upon whom this Fable was fathered, that he by his wittie devises beguiled the devill: belike he was some ingenious conceited gentleman, who did use some sleighty trickes for his owne disports. He lived and died in the raigne of Henry the Seventh, saith the booke of his merry pranks.”

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Tus play was first printed in 1634, with the following title :• The Two Noble Kinsmen : presented at the Blackfriers by the King's Majesties servants, with great applause: written by the memorable Worthies of their Time, Mr. John Fletcher, and Mr. William Shakspeare, Gent. Printed at London, by Tho. Cotes, for John Watersone, and are to be sold at the signe of the Crowne, in Paul's Church-Yard, 1634.' In the first folio edition of the works of Beaumont and Fletcher, in 1647, this play did not appear. In the second folio it is reprinted, with very slight alterations from the quarto. That second folio contains the following notice:-" In this edition you have the addition of no fewer than seventeen plays more than were in the former, which we have taken the pains and care to collect, and print out of 4to. in this volume, which for dis.. tinction sake are marked with a star in the catalogue of them facing the first page of the book.”—(Preface.) · The Two Noble Kinsmen' is so marked.

In our Pictorial Edition we thought it the most satisfactory course to print this play entire. Since that publication, however, a new edition of the works of Beaumont and Fletcher is publishing, under the editorship of a competent antiquarian, who will give the lovers of the old drama a text to which we may safely refer our readers.

The title-page of the original edition of 'The Two Noble Kinsmen’sets forth that it was “ written by the memorable worthies of their time, Mr. John Fletcher and Mr. William Shakspeare.” This was printed in 1634, nine years after the death of Fletcher, and eighteen years after the death of Shakspere. The play was not printed in the first collected edition of Beaumont and Fletcher's works, in 1647, for the reason assigned in the Stationers' Address. “Some plays, you know, written by these authors were heretofore printed : I thought not convenient to mix them with this volume, which of itself is entirely new.” The title-page of the quarto of 1634 is, therefore, the only direct external evidence we possess as to Shak

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