tracts, named “The Merie Conceited Jests of George Peele," being synonymous with the word courtezan. These allusions, however, mark the popularity of the piece, and his contemporary Robert Greene classes him with Marlowe and Lodge,

no less deserving,” he remarks, “in some things rarer, in nothing inferior.” From the specimens, however, which we possess of his dramatic genius, the opinion of Greene will not readily meet with a modern assent; the pastoral and descriptive parts of his plays are the best, which are often clothed in sweet and flowing verse; but, as dramas, they are nerveless, passionless, and therefore ineffective in point of character.

14. Lilly, John. This once courtly author, whom we have had occasion to censure for his aflected innovation, and stilted elegance in prose composition, was, says Phillips, “a writer of several old-fashioned Comedies and Tragedies, which have been printed together in a volume, and might perhaps, when time was, be in very good request.”

The dramas here alluded to, but of which Phillips has given a defective and incorrect enumeration, are1. Alexander and Campaspe, 1584, 410. Tragi-comedy.-2. Sappho and Phaon, 1584,

Comedy.-3. Endimion, 1591. 4to. Comedy. -—4. Galalea, 1592, 410. Comedy. 5. Mydas, 1592, 410. Comedy.-6. Mother Bombie, 1594, 410. Comedy.—7. The Woman in the Moon. 1597, 410. Comedy. —8. The Maid her Metamorphosis, 1600.-9. Love bis Metamorphosis, 1601, 4lo. Pastoral.

The volume mentioned by Phillips was published by Edward Blount in 1632, containing six of these pieces, to which he has affixed the title of “Sixe Court Comedies.”

Notwithstanding the encomia of Mr. Blount, the genius of this “insufferable Elizabethan coxcomb,” as he has been not unaptly called, was by no means calculated for dramatic effect. Epigrammatic wit, forced conceits, and pedantic allusion, are such bad substitutes for character and humour, that we cannot wonder if fatigue or insipidity should be the result of their employment. Campaspe has little interest, and no unity in its fable, and though termed a tragi-comedy, is written in prose ; Sappho and Phaon has some beautiful passages, but is generally quaint and unnatural; Endimion has scarcely any thing to recommend it; and disgusts by its gross and fulsome flattery of Elizabeth ; Galatea displays some luxuriant imagery, and Phillida and Galatea are not bad copies from the Iphis and Ianthe of Ovid ; Mydas is partly a political production, and though void of interest, has more simplicity and purity both of thought and diction than is usual with this writer; Mother Bombie is altogether worthless in a dramatic light; The Woman in the Moon is little better; The Maid her Metamorphosis, the greater part of which is in verse, is one of the author's experiments for the refinement of our language,-an attempt which, if any where more peculiarly absurd, must be pronounced to be so on the stage; Love his Metamormophosis, of which the very title-page pronounces its condemnation, being designated as “A Wittie and Courtly Pastoral.”

Though only two or three of Lilly's earlier dramas fall within the period ailotted to this chapter, yet, in order to prevent a tiresome repetition of the subject, we have here enumerated the whole of his comedies; a plan that we shall pursue with regard to the remaining poets of this era.

It may be necessary to remark, that we must not estimate the poetical talents of Lilly from his failure as a dramatist; for in the Lyric department he has shown very superior abilities, whether we consider the freedom and melody of his versification, or the fancy and sentiment which he displays. His plays abound with songs alike admirable for their beauty, sweetness, and polish.+

* For these plays, the reader may consult Dodsley's Old Plays, 1780 ; Hawkins's Origin of the English Drama; Ancient British Drama apud Sir Walter Scott; and old Plays, vols, 1 and 2. 8vo. 1814. † Numerous specimens of these Songs, in case the dramas are not at hand, will be found in Ellis's * See a further account of this play, and a sperimen of the chorus, in Beloe's Anecdotes, vol. i. p. 386. * Henry the Fourth, Part II. act ii. sc. 4.

Lilly, who had received an excellent classical education, and was a member of both the Universities, died about the year 1600.

15. Hughes, THOMAS, the author of a singular old play, entitled “ The Misfortunes of Arthur (Uther Pendragon's sonne) reduced into tragical notes by Thomas Hughes, one of the Societie of Graye's Inne." 12mo, 1587.

In conformity with some prior examples, this production has an argument, a dumb show, and a chorus to each act; “it is beautifully printed in the black letter,” observes the editor of the Biographia Dramatica, “and has many cancels consisting of single words, half lines, and entire speeches; these were reprinted and pasted over the cancelled passages ; a practice, I believe, very rarely seen.' Arthur was performed before the Queen at Greenwich, on the 28th of February, and in the thirtieth year of her reign, and exhibits in its title-page a remarkable proof of the license which actors at that time took in curtailing or enlarging the composition of the original author, informing us that the play “was set downe as it passed from under his (the poet's) hands, and as it was presented, excepting certain words and lines, where some of the actors either helped their memories by brief omission, or fitted their acting by alteration.” The writer appears to have been familiar with the Roman classics, but the rarity of his piece is much greater than its merit.*

16. KYD, THOMAS, to whom has been ascribed four plays, viz. “Jeronimo;" “ The Spanish Tragedy ;" Solyman and Perseda," and " Cornelia.” Of these the first, which appeared on the stage about the year 1588, seems to have been given to Kyd, in consequence of his resuming the name and story in his Spanish tragedy; it is a short piece not divided into acts and scenes, of little value, and was printed in 1605, under the title of “ The First Part of Jeronimo. With the Warres of Portugal, and the Life and Death of Don Andrea.” 4to.

“The Spanish Tragedy, or, Hieronimo is mad again, Containing the lamentable end of Don Horatio and Belimperia. With the pitifull Death of Hieronimo,” is supposed to have been first acted in 1588, or 1589, immediately following up the elder Jeronimo which had been well received.

Though this drama was an incessant object of ridicule to the contemporaries and immediate successors of its author, it nevertheless acquired great popularity, and long maintained possession of the stage. The consequence of this partiality was shown in a perversion of the public taste, for nothing can exceed the bombast and pueritities of this play and of those to which it gave almost instant birth. Kyd, in fact, whilst aspiring to the delineation of the most tremendous incidents, and the most uncontrolled passions, seems totally unconscious of his own imbecility; and the result, therefore, has usually been, either unqualified horror, unmitigated disgust, or the most ludicrous emotion. There is neither symmetry, consistency, nor humanity in the characters; they are beings not of this world, and the finest parts of the play, which occur in the fourth act, possess a tone of sorrow altogether wild and preternatural. The catastrophe is absurdly horrible.

Such were the attractions, however, of this sanguinary tragedy, that Ben Jonson, who, according to Decker, originally performed the character of Jeronimo, was employed by Mr. Henslow, in 1602, to give it a fresh claim on curiosity by his additions.

“ The_Tragedie of Solyman and Perseda, wherein is laide open Love's Constancy, Fortune's Inconstancy, and Death's Triumphs,” is conjectured by Mr. Hawkins to have been the production of Kyd. Like Jeronimo, it is not divided into acts, and was entered on the Stationers' books in the same year with the Spanish Tragedy, a circumstance which leads us to suppose, that its date of performance was nearly contemporary with that production. Its style and manner,

Specimens of the Early English Poets, vol. ii ; and in Beloe's Anecdotes of Literature and Scarce Books, vol. ii.


too, are such as assimilate it to the peculiar genius which breathes throngh the undisputed writings of the tragedian to whom it has been ascribed.

“ Cornelia,” thus named when first published in 4to, 1594, but reprinted in 1595, under the enlarged title of “ Pompey the Great his Fair Cornelia's 'Tragedy, effected by her father and Husband's Downcast, Death, and Fortune,” 4to.

This play being merely a translation from the French of Garnier, and consequently an imitation of the ancients through a third or fourth medium, requires little notice. The dialogue is in blank verse, and the choruses in various lyric metres. *

Kyd died, oppressed by poverty, about the year 1595.

17. MARLOWE, CHRISTOPHER, as an author, an object of great admiration and encomium in his own times, and, of all the dramatic poets who preceded Shakspeare, certainly the one who possessed the most genius. He was egregiously misled, however, by bad models, and his want of taste has condemned him, as a writer for the stage, to an obscurity from which he is not likely to emerge.

This “famous gracer of tragedians," as he is termed by Greene, in his Groatsworth of Wit, produced eight plays :

1. “ Tamburlaine the Great, or the Scythian Shepherd. Part the First,” 4to. 2. “ Tamburlaine the Great. Part the Second.” . 4to.

or this tragedy, in two parts, which was brought on the stage about the year 1588, though not printed until 1590, it is impossible to speak without a mixture of wonder and contempt; for, whilst a few passages indicate talents of no common order, the residue is a tissue of unmingled rant, absurdity, and fustian : yet strange as it may appear, the most extravagant flights of this eccentric composition were the most popular, and numerous allusions to its moon-struck reveries are to be found in the productions of its times. That it should be an object of ridicule to Shakspeare, and of quotation to Pistol, are alike in character.

3. “Lust's Dominion, or the Lascivious Queen, a Tragedy." 12mo.

This, like the two former plays, is tragedy run mad, and its spirit may be justly described in the words of one of its characters; Eleazor the Moor, who exclaims,

Tragedy, thou minion of the night,

to thee I'll sing
Upon an harp made of dead Spanish bones,
The proudest instrument the world affords ;
“Whilst” tbou in crimson jollity shall bathe
Thy limbs, as black as mine, in springs of blood

Still gushing. Íts horrors, however, for this is the only epithet its incidents can claim, are often clothed in poetical imagery, and even luscious versification ; it has also more fine passages to boast of than Tamburlaine, and it has, likewise, more development of character; but all these are powerless in mitigating the disgust which its fable and conduct inspire.

4. “ The Troublesome Raigne and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England." 4to.

Edward the Second is a proof, that, when Marlowe chose to drop the barbarities of his age, and the bombast of “King Cambyses' Vein," he could exert an influence over the heart which has not often been excelled. There is a truth, simplicity, and moral feeling in this play which irresistibly attracts, and would fain induce us to hope, that its author could not have exhibited the impious and abandoned traits of character which have usually been attributed to him. The deathscene of Edward is a master-piece of pity and terror.

5. “ The Massacre of Paris, with the Death of the Duke of Guise. 8vo." A subject congenial with the general cast of Marlowe's gloomy and ferocious style

• “ There is particularly remembered,” remarks Philips, “his tragedy Cornelia.” Theatrum Poetarum, apud Brydges, 206.

of colouring, nor is it deficient in his wonted accumulation of horrors. It possesses, however, a few good scenes, and may be classed midway between the author's worst and best productions.

6. “ The Rich Jew of Malta,” 4to. The prejudice against the Jews, during the reign of Elizabeth, was excessive ; none were suffered to reside in the kingdom, and every art encouraged that could stimulate the hatred of the people against this persecuted race. No engine was better calculated for this purpose than the stage, and no characters were ever more relished, or more malignantly enjoyed, than the Barabas of Marlowe, and the Shylock of Shakspeare. The distance, however, between them, as well with regard to truth of delineation as to poetical vigour of conception, is infinite; for whilst the Jew of Marlowe can be considered in no other light than as the mere incarnation of a fiend, that of Shakspeare possesses, with all his ferocity and cruelty, such a touch of humanity as classes him distinctly with his species, and renders him, if not a very probable, yet a very possible being.

7. “ The Tragical Historie of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus.” 4to. This, in point of preternatural wildness, and metaphysical horror, is the chefd'auvre of Marlowe. It unfolds not only genius of a sublimated and exotic cast, but seems to have been the product of a mind inflamed by unhallowed curiosity, and an eager irreligious desire of invading the secrets of another world, and so far gives credence to the imputations which have stained the memory of its author ; for this play breathes not a poetic preternaturalism, if we may use the expression, but looks like the creature of an atmosphere emerging from the gulph of lawless spirits, and vainly employed in pursuing the corruscations which traverse its illimitable gloom.

The catastrophe of this play makes the heart shudder, and the hair involuntarily start erect; and the agonies of Faustus on the fast-approaching expiration of his compact with the Devil, are depicted with a strength truly appalling.

Yet amidst all this diabolism, there occasionally occur passages of great moral sublimity, passages on which Milton seems to have fixed his eye. Thus, the reply of the Demon Mephostophilis to the enquiry of Faustus, concerning the locality of Hell, bears a striking analogy to the descriptions of Satan's internal and ever-present torments at the commencement of the fourth book of Paradise Lost. “ Tell me,” exclaims the daring necromancer, “where is the place that men call Hell ?'' Mephostophilis. Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed

In one self place; but where we are is hell,
And where hell is, there we must ever be,
And to be short, when all the world dissolves,
And every creature shall be purified,

All places shall be hell that are not heaven." 8. “ The Tragedie of Dido, Queene of Carthage.”—This drama was written in conjunction with Thomas Nash, and printed in 1594.*

Marlowe has been lavishly panegyrised by Jonson, Heywood, Drayton, Peele, Meres, Nash, etc.; but by none so emphatically as by Phillips, who, at the very opening of his article on this poet, calls him “ a kind of a second Shakspeare. This seems, however, to have been done rather with a reference to the similarities arising from his having, like Shakspeare, been actor, player, and author of a poem on a congenial subject with Venus and Adonis, namely, his Hero and Leander, than from any approximation in the value of their dramatic works.

The death of Marlowe, which took place before the year 1593, was violent and premature, the melancholy termination of a life rendered still more melancholy by vice and infidelity. +

* This rare play was purchased, at the Roxburghe sale, for seventeen vuineas ! + Two accounts, varying, have been given by Wood and Vaughan, of this poet's untimely fate. That by Vaughan, as being little known, and apparently founded on the writer's own knowledge of the fact, I shall venture to transcribe. The Golden Grove, from which it is extracted, was first published in 1600. Rclating God's judgments on Atheists, he adds :-" Not inferiour to these was one Christopher Marlowe. by profession a play-maker, who, as it is reported, about fourteen yeres a-goe, wrote a booke against the Trinitie : but see the effects of God's justice; it so hapned, that at Delford, a litle village, about three miles distant from London, as he meant to stab with his poynard one named Ingram, that had invited him thither to a feaste, and was then playing at tables ; hee perceyving it, so avoyded the thrust, that withall drawing out his dagger for his defence, he stab'd this Marlowe into the eye, in such sort, that his braynes comming out at the dagger's point, hee shortly after dyed."

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18. LODGE, THOMAS. Two dramatic pieces have issued from the pen of this elegant miscellaneous poet. Of these the first was written in conjunction with Robert Greene, and entitled “ A Looking-Glass for London and England,” a tragicomedy, acted in 1591, though not published until 1598. The second is called “ The Wounds of Civil War. Lively set forth in the true tragedies of Marius and Scilla,” and probably performed in the year following the representation of the former play. It was printed in 1594. These dramas, though not the best of Dr. Lodge's productions, were not unpopular, nor deemed unworthy of his talents ; the Looking-Glass appears to have been acted four times at the Rose theatre, in about the space of fifteen months.

19. GREENE, ROBERT. This pleasing, but unfortunate poet, was the author of six plays, independent of that which he wrote as the coadjutor of Lodge. 1. Honorable Historie of Frier Bacon and Frier Bongay.” 4to. As Greene died in September, 1592, there can be no doubt that all his dramas were written, is not all performed, before Shakspeare's commencement as a writer for the stage; we find, from Henslowe's List, that Frier Bacon was performed at the Rose theatre, in February, 1591, and repeated thrice in the course of the season ; it was printed in 1594, and being founded on a popular story, had considerable success. 2. “The Historie of Orlando Furioso, one of the twelve Peers of France." This piece was likewise performed at the same theatre, in February, 1591, and also printed in 1594 ; the fable is taken, with little or no alteration, from the Orlando of Ariosto. 3. “The Scottish Historie of James the Fourth, slaine at Flodden. Entermised with a pleasant Comedie presented by Oboram King of the Fayeries." Greene, says Oldys, in plotting plays, was his crast's master, and it would be curious and interesting to ascertain how he has conducted a subject which has obtained so much celebrity in our own days, and more especially in what manner he has combined it with the romantic superstition attendant on Oberon and his fairies. 4. “The Comicall Historie of Alphonsus, King of Arragon.” 5. “ The History of Jobe.” This play, which was never printed, and it is supposed never performed, although it was entered on the Stationers' books, in 1594, was unfortunately, with many others, destroyed by the carelessness of Dr. Warburton's servant. 6. “Fair Emm, the Miller's Daughter of Manchester, with the Love of William the Conqueror,” a comedy which has been ascribed to Greene, by Phillips and Winstanley; the former, after enumerating some pieces which upon no good grounds had been attributed to the joint pens of our author and Dr. Lodge, adds, “ besides which, he wrote alone the comedies of Friar Bacon and Fair Emme." It is the more probable that this drama was the composition of Greene, as it was represented at the same theatre and by the same company which brought forward his avowed productions.

We must, with Ritson, express our regret, that the dramatic works of Greene have not hitherto been collected and published together.

20. LEGGE, THOMAS, twice vice-chancellor of Cambridge, and the author of two plays which, though never printed, were acted with great applause, not only in the University which gave them birth, but on the public theatres. The first of these is named “The Destruction of Jerusalem,” and appears from Henslowe's List to have been performed at the Rose theatre, on the 22d of March, 1591; the second is entitled, “The Life of King Richard the Third," a subject which

• Theatrum Poetarum apud Brydges, p. 193.

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