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court, which were all his time strong and in every man's note; the Howards and the Cecils of the one part, and my Lord Essex, &c, on the other, for he held the staff of the treasury fast in his hand, which made them once in a year to be beholden to him; and the truth is, as he was a wise man and a stout, he had no reason to be a partaker, for he stood sure in blood and in grace, and was wholly intentive to the Queen's service: and such were his abilities, that she received assiduous proofs of his sufficiency; and it hath been thought she might have more cunning instruments, but none of a more strong judgment and confidence in his ways, which are symptoms of magnanimity, whereunto, methinks, his motto hath some kind of reference, Aut nunquam tentes, aut perfice; as though he would have charactered in a word the genius of his house, or express somewhat of a higher inclination than lay within his compass; that he was a courtier is apparent, for he stood always in her eye and in her favour.”
We present our readers with the following particulars of Sir Robert Cecil:
“ Sir Robert Cecill, since Earl of Salisbury, was the son of the Lord Burleigh, and by degrees successor of his places and favours, though not of his lands, for he had Sir Thomas Cecill, his elder brother, since created Earl of Exeter. He was first, Secretary of State; then Master of the Court of Wards; and, in the last of her reign, came to be Lord Treasurer, all which were the steps of his father's greatness, and of the honour he left to his house. For his person, he was not much beholden to nature, though somewhat for his face, which was the best part of his outside: for his inside, it may be said, and without offence, that he was his father's own son, and a pregnant proficient in all his discipline of state. He was a courtier from his cradle, which might have made him betimes; but he was at the age of twenty and upwards, and was far short of his after proof, but exposed, and by change of climate he soon made shew what he was and would be." **
“I come again to this great Minister of state, and the staff of the queen's declining age; who, though his little person could not promise any great supportation, yet it carried thereon a head, and a headpiece of a vast content; and therein it seems nature was so diligent to compleat one, and the best part about him, as that, to the perfection of his memory and intellects, she took care also of his senses, and to put into him linceos oculos, or, to pleasure him the more, borrowed of Argus, so to give unto him a prospective sight; and for the rest of his sensitive virtues, his predecessor Walsingham had left him a receipt to smell out what was done in the conclave.”.
We shall conclude our extracts with the account which our author gives of Lord Mountjoy:
“My Lord Mountjoy was of the ancient nobility, but utterly decayed in the support thereof, his patrimony through his grandfather's excess, his father's vanity in search of the philosopher's stone, and
his brother's untimely prodigality, all which seemed, by a joint conspiracy, to ruinate the house, and altogether to annihilate it. As he came from Oxford, he took the Inner Temple in the way to court, whither he no sooner came but he had a pretty kind of admission, which I have heard from a discreet man of his own, and much more of the secrets of those times. He was then much about twenty years of age, brown haired, of a sweet face, of a most neat composure, and tall in his person; the queen was then at Whitehall, and at dinner, whither he came to see the fashion of the court; and the queen soon found him out, and with a kind of an affected favour, asked her carver what he was ? He answered, he knew him not ; insomuch an inquiry was made one from another who he might be, till at length it was told the queen he was brother to the Lord William Mountjoy. This inquiry, with the eye of her Majesty fixed upon him, as she was wont to do, and to daunt men she knew not, stirred the blood of the young gentleman, insomuch, as his colour went and came, which the queen observa ing, called unto him, and gave him her hand to kiss, encouraging him with gracious words, and new looks ; and so, diverting her speech to the lords and ladies, she said, that she no sooner observed him but she knew there was in him some noble blood, with some other expressions of pity towards his house; and then, again demanding his name, she said. Fail you not to come to the court and I will bethink myself how to do you good. And this was his inlet, and the beginning of his grace : where it falls into consideration that, though he wanted not wit and courage, for he had very fine attractives, as being a good piece of a scholar; yet were those accompanied with the retractives of bashfulness, and natural modesty, which, as the wave of his house and of his fortune then stood, might have hindered his progression, had they not been reinforced by the infusion of sovereign favour, and the queen's gracious invitation. And that it may appear how low he was, and how much that heretic necessity will work in the directions of good spirits, I can deliver it with assurance, that his exhibition was very scant untill his brother died, which was shortly after his admission to the court, and then was it no more than a thousand marks per annum, wherewith he lived plentifully, and in a fine garb, and without any great sustentation of the queen during all her times.
“ And as there was in his nature a kind of backwardness which did not befriend him, nor suite with the motion of the court, so there was in him an inclination to arms, with an humour of travelling and gadding abroad, which, had not some wise man about him laboured to remove, and the queen laid in her command, he would, out of his own native propension, have marred his own market : for, as he was grown by reading, whereunto he was much addicted, to the theory of a soldier, so was he strongly invited by his genius to the acquaintance of the practice of the war, which were the causes of his excursions: for he had a company in the Low-Countries, from whom he came over with a noble acceptance of the queen ; but somewhat restless in honourable thoughts, he exposed himself again and again, and would press the queen with the pretences of visiting of his company so often till at length he had a flat denial ; yet he stole over with Sir John Norris into the action of Brittaine, (which was then a hot and active war,) whom he would always call his father, honouring him above all men, and ever bewailing his end; so contrary he was in his esteem and valuation of this great commander, to that of his friend, my Lord of Essex: till at last the queen began to take his digressions for contempt and confined his residence to the court, and her own presence : and upon my Lord of Essex's fall, so confident she was in her own princely judgment, and the opinion she had conceived of his worth and conduct, that she would have this noble gentleman, and none other, to bring the Irish wars to a propitious end; for it was a prophetical speech of her own that it would be his fortune, and his honour, to cut the thread of that fatal rebellion, and to bring her in peace to the grave, wherein she was not deceived, for he achieved it, but with much pains, and carefulness, and not without the fears, and many jealousies of the court and times, wherewith the queen's age, and the malignity of her setting times were replete ; and so I come to his dear friend in court, Secretary Cecill, whom, in his long absence, he adored as his saint, and counted him his only Mecenas, both before and after his departure from court, and during all the time of his command in Ireland, well knowing that it lay in his power, and by a word of his mouth, to make or marr him."
The characters which we have not mentioned are William Cecil Lord Burleigh, Sir Philip Sidney, Walsingham, Lord Willoughby, Henry Lord Norris, Sir Francis Knowles, the Earl of Nottingham, Robert Earl of Essex, Sir Francis Vere, and the Marquis of Worcester.
This tract, which was not published until several years after the death of the author, abounds with the grossest typographical errors, which much diminish the pleasure of reading it. A reprint of it appeared, it is true, a few years ago, but unfortunately all the errors in the first edition are preserved with the most scrupulous accuracy, and to improve the matter, some new ones are added. The editor does not seem to have made any attempt to amend the text except in one instance, which is a specimen of rather ingenious emendation. In the character of Sir Philip Sidney, the following words occur, Ca, ubicensis, which in the reprint are converted into Cavibicensus, a good sonorous Roman word, instead of Cato Uticensis, the sole error being in the substitution of the letter b for t. We do think, however, that a new edition of this ingenious and amusing book, would, if the text were carefully revised and corrected, and a few judicious biographical and historical notes added, be a very acceptable present to the public, and we trust it will not be long before we see our suggestion adopted.
Art.X.- The Blind Beggar of Alexandria, a Comedy, by George
Chapman. 4to, 1598.
We return to the consideration of the plays of George Chapman.' It will be recollected that the tragedies of this author have already been the subject of one of our papers; and that, from the large quantity of quotation which it was necessary to make, the comedies were deferred to a future number. Generally speaking, a tragedy is more likely to stand the test of time, and please an age remote from that for which it was written, as it appeals to the passions, which are invariably implanted in mankind. While comedy, whose office it is to catch the fleeting and changeable humours, and manners, and follies of the time, must grow obsolete with the objects it represents; so that it is rather remarkable that the comedies of our author should be more likely to please a modern taste than his tragedies, or even the extracts which we selected from them. It is nevertheless true; and the reason, perhaps, may be, that comedy, as well as tragedy, can take foibles and interests for its material, which are as unchangeable as those of tragedy ; while, on the other hand, in the time of Chapman, the drama was so young and untaught that, though the appeal was indeed made to the eternal passions of the human heart, yet it was couched in a manner so clumsy and inartificial as no longer to touch the refined feelings of modern times. Certain it is, we can promise our readers more entertainment from this series of extracts than from the former.
The comedy of All Fools is taken in a great measure from the Heautontimorumenos of Terence. The appropriateness of its title consists in the deception which each character of the piece practises on the rest, until every one, in his turn, has been gulled. As in the play of Terence, we have two fathers, old men of opposite dispositions ; their two sons in love ; and the part of Syrus, the slave, replaced by Rynaldo, a brother of one of the young men. The interest in this play, as in the Roman one, turns upon deceiving the severe and avaricious father into the belief that his son's wife is the wife of his friend, and that
they have taken shelter in his house only to avoid the displeasure of the other old gentleman. Besides a series of tricks and counter-tricks of this kind, which form the main action; a weak, creature, wretchedly jealous of his wife, is introduced, who mingles in the piece to make sport for the rest, to be deceived in his turn, and in the end to trick his deceivers, by which means the real nature of the connexions which have been clustering about the old men are discovered, and the dénouement is brought about to the contentment of all parties. This comedy may, on the whole, be pronounced an excellent play. The characters in general are well sustained ; the dialogue is spirited ; and the incidents interesting and agreeable : added to which, the versification is rich and musical, and many passages of considerable poetical merit are scattered over it. The talents of Chapman no where appear to so great advantage.
The play opens with the following excellent dialogue; which concludes with one of the most beautiful descriptions of the joys only known to lovers, to be found in poetry :
“ Rynaldo. Can one self cause, in subjects so alike
Rynaldo. I dare swear,