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enabled to recover their value from the underwriters, which could not have been claimed, had the victims died a natural death. An occurrence of a similar nature is still fresh in our recollection, which, though not so extensive a murder, was equally as barbarous. Only those who have witnessed such scenes can form even the smallest idea of their horrid brutality; and it is a remarkable fact, that seamen, who had been any time in the trade, became gradually hardened to all the softer feelings of humanity; not only to the negroes themselves, but also to their more intimate relatives and connexions, at home. Yet, how could it be otherwise? The men who are constantly in the habit of seeing their fellow-creatures shackled, and, in trivial cases, the torture applied, either to make them jump for exercise, or to wrench open their mouths, when they refused sustenance, must, by degrees, have fallen into a state of mental degradation themselves : but we dismiss this subject, earnestly hoping, that the condition of the slaves may be ameliorated, and the cruel practices, which it was once our lot to witness, may be entirely done away.
ART. VII.- Edward the Fourth, Historical Play, in Two Parts,
blk. Letter, 4to. no date. If you know not me you know Nobody, or the Troubles of Queen
Elizabeth, Two Parts, 4to. 1635. Fair Maid of the Exchange, 4to. 1607. The Rape of Lucrece, a true Roman Story, with the Songs in
their apt Places, by Valerius, the Merry Lord among the Roman Peers. The Copy revised, and sundry Songs before omitted, now inserted in their proper Places. Acted by her Majesty's Servants, at the Red Bull
. The Fifth Impression. Writien by Thomas Heywood. London, 1638. A Woman Killed with Kindness, as it hath been oftentimes acted
by the Queen's Majesty's Servants. Written by Thomas Hey
wood. Third edition. London, 1617. The Four Prentices of London. With the Conquest of Jerusalem,
as it hath been divers times acted, at the Red Bull, by the Queen's Majesty's Servants. Written by Thomas Heywood. 4to. London, 1615. The Fair Maid of the West, or A Girl worth Gold. Written by
Thomas Heywood. 4to. Two Parts. London, 1631. The English Traveller, a Tragi-Comedy, by Thomas Heywood.
4to. London, 1635. A Challenge for Beauty. 4to. London, 1638.
A Pleasant Comedy of a Maidenhead well Lost. Written by
Thomas Heywood. 4to. London, 1634. The Royal King and Loyal Subject. 4to. London, 1637. Wise Woman of Hogsden. Com. 4to. 1638. Love's Mistress, or the Queen's Masque. As it was three times
presented before both their Majesties, within the space of eight days. The Second Impression, corrected by the Author, Thomas Heywood. 4to. London, 1640.
Thomas Heywood, whose Plays will form the subject of the present paper, was a native of Lincolnshire; and, as appears from Cartwright's edition of his Apology for Actors, was a fellow of Peter House, Cambridge. We find, from the following entry in Henslowe's MS, book, that he had written for the stage, so early as 1596: viz. “ October 14, 1596.-Lent unto them, (the Lord Admiral's servants,) for Heywood's book, xxx. s;"—and that, two years afterwards, he became a hireling, as the players, who were not sharers, were then called. The contract of hiring is curious, and is in these terms : randum, that this 25th of March, 1596, Thomas Heywood came and hired himself with me, as a covenanted servant, for two years, by the receiving of two single pence, according to the statute of Winchester, and to begin at the day above written, and not to play any where public about London, not while these two years be expired, but in my house. If he do, then he doth forfeit unto me, by the receiving of the two pence, forty pounds. And witness, Anthony Munday, &c."
Heywood wrote a greater number of pieces for the stage than any of his contemporaries ; indeed, his power of production seems to have been unlimited, for, besides various other works, and attending to his business of an actor, he had, as he informs us, in the preface to The English Traveller, “ an entire hand, or at least a main finger,” in two hundred and twenty plays. Of this numerous offspring, however, only twenty-three remain; a circumstance for which the author accounts in different parts of his works. “ My pen,” says he, in the Apology for Actors, published in 1612, " hath seldom appeared in press
I have been ever too jealous of my own weakness, willingly to thrust into the press.
“ It hath been no custom in me," he remarks,“ of all other men, to commit my plays to the press; the reason, though some may attribute to my own insufficiency, I had rather subscribe in that to their severe censure, than, by seeking to avoid the imputation of weakness, to incur greater suspicion of honesty; for though some have used a double sale of their labours, first to the stage, and after to the press, for my own part, I here proclaim myself ever faithful in
the first, and never guilty of the last.” Further reasons for so small a number of his plays having been printed, are assigned in the preface to The English Traveller.
- True it is,” he says, " that my plays are not exposed unto the world in volumes, to bear the title of works, as others; one reason is, that many
of them, by shifting and change of companies, have been negligently lost; others of them are still retained in the hands of some actors, who think it against their peculiar profit to have them come in print; and a third, that it never was any great ambition in me, to be in this kind voluminously read."
To the above slender facts, relative to the biography of our author, we have nothing to add, but our regret, that we are unable to communicate more of the history of so modest, so honest, and so ingenious an individual. One cannot recollect without something like indignation, that such men as Heywood, and Rowley,
and Massinger, the skilful fabricators of divine inventions, the authors of beautiful thoughts and touching colloquies; men, who, from their knowledge of the human heart, might have “conversed with the angels,” and caught their power of unveiling, without ceasing to feel, the kind and the noble in their species,—that such men should be the hirelings of the stage, receive a paltry remuneration for their labours, hardly sufficient to keep body and soul together, and be frequently dependant on the precarious bounty of managers, even for a small advance, by way of mortgage, on the productiveness of their brains. The unknown contributor of half a sheet to a popular magazine, a mere nullius filius, is paid as much for a paper, on a topic of only temporary interest, as one of the genuine sons of the Muses for an immortal drama : and the author of a modern play, if he can contrive, by favour or affection, to get it acted, receives for it nearly as much as these men made during a long and laborious life.
At that period the admirers of the drama were but few, compared with the multitude who now take an interest either in the representation or perusal of dramatic productions. The cultivated few were, probably, not numerous enough to support all the “ children of the sun,” whilst the groundlings were as well pleased with King Cambises' vein, or the rude mockery and undigested'humour of the clown, as with the most refined and delicate touches of dramatic genius; and, indeed, would after all, probably, prefer the exhibition of Bruin on the Bankside, or the bipedal contests of the Cockpit, to the best piece that ever drew an audience to the Globe, the Fortune, or the Red Bull. But if the encouragement and remuneration had been greater, it is certain, that some of our old dramatists would not have been the richer; nay, if Melpomene herself had wooed them in showers of gold, they would still have been beggars: they had the faculty of throwing about their wit and their money with the same facility; in reward for, and for the rich outpourings of genius, they would still have had nothing but poverty for their companion. They were a careless race, and whilst their vigour lasted, kept themselves in good heart, mightily aided, doubtless, with the nectar of the day, “ good sack wine," and this they seldom lacked whilst there was money in the purse, or encouragement in the patron. But when the lamp of genius burnt dim, and the corruscations of wit ceased to sparkle, when the audience tired of the old plays, and managers no longer called for new ones, then the wit was forgotten at the patron's table, and the empty pockets, like the muffled drum, sounded the death of dramatic reputation. Such was the case with Green and Lilly, and Nash and Marlowe, and various others. Heywood, however, belonged, as far as we can ascertain or judge, to a steadier and more sedate order of writers.Indeed, he appears to have had no time for dissipation, for, if we are to believe Kirkman,“ he not only, acted almost daily, but also obliged himself to write a sheet every day, for several years together;" it is true, however, that the same .person adds, that—“ many of his plays were composed loosely in taverns," which, if it is true, it seems, he frequented for a very untavern-like purpose.
The character of his dramas is very various-he is so dissimilar from himself, that we are tempted to doubt his identity. One can only reconcile the fact of his having written some of the plays ascribed to him, by supposing, with Kirkman, that he wrote them loosely in taverns, or that he was spurred on to their hasty production by necessity; or, lastly, that he did not originate, but only added to and altered many of them. How else can we account for the author of “ A Woman killed with Kindness,” and “The English Traveller," writing such plays as .“ Edward IV.” “Fair Maid of the Exchange,” &c.? We will slightly notice these inferior productions before we speak of those of a more elevated kind.
The play of “ Edward the 4th” is a long and tedious busi
There are one or two touching parts in those scenes in which Jane Shore is introduced, but Heywood has not made any thing like what he might have done with such materials, nor, indeed, any thing at all approaching to what he has himself done in other pieces. With the exception of those parts, the play is mere chronicle without poetry or dramatic situation. The character of Matthew Shore, however, is not bad, and there is, in the midst of the misery and disaster, with which the play abounds, a spirit of kindness and humanity which obtains our good will, notwithstanding we find so little
to excite our feelings. The author has made Richard III. very vulgar villain. The first part of the play of “ If you know not me, you know Nobody, or the Troubles of Queen Elizabeth," of the inaccurate printing of which the author very much com plaius, possesses neither character, passion, nor poetry. The second part has a more poetical air about it, and possesses more of character than the first. Old Hobson, a blunt, honest and charitable citizen-John Gresham, a wild indomitable youth, -and Timothy, a puritanical hypocrite and knave, are well discriminated.—The only foundation for the strange title of this piece is the answer of old Hobson to an inquiry made by the queen,
• Knowest thou not me ? then thou knowest nobody.
“ The Wise Woman of Hogsden” is characterised by some humorous situations, but possesses little interest and less poetry. Sir Boniface, one of the characters, is a humorous caricature of a pedant-he speaks almost as good doggrel Latin as Sir Aminadab, in that most humorous comedy of “ How to chuse a Good Wife from a Bad."*
“ The Fair Maid of the Exchange,” (Heywood's title to which is exceedingly doubtful,) and “The Fair Maid of the West,” are hardly worthy of notice. “ The Four Prentices of London” is a rhyming, braggart production, which is ridiculed in Beaumont and Fletcher's “ Knight of the Burning Pestle.” “A Maidenhead well Lost,” is not worth finding, and the
Four Ages” are as poor as the author is said to have been by a writer of the day, who observes that
“ Well of the golden age he could entreat,
How different in style, in pathos, in the very tone of ordinary feeling, are these from the plays we are about to mention. Heywood's best comedies are distinguished by a peculiar air, a superior manner; his gentlemen are the most refined and finished of gentlemen, refined in their nice sense of the true and beautiful, their fine moral perception, and finished in the most scrupulous attention to polite manners, most exact in the observances of decorum, without appearing rigorously preciseductile as fused gold to that which is good, and unmalleable to that which is evil; men, in short, “ of most erected spirits." There is an inexpressible charm about those characters, a politeness founded on benevolence and the charities of life, a spirit of the good and kind which twines around our affections,
* Lately reprinted in The Old English Drama.