Philip Massinger

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Inscribed To
Frederic G. Kenyon
In Memory Of A Friendship
Of Forty-Four Years

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Frontispiece: Philip Massinger
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In confessing that the war made me write a book I do not stand alone. Sensible as I am of its defects, I trust it will help to spread the knowledge of Massinger's works, and will invite others to deal on similar lines with the other dramatists of the great age. The design widened as it went on, and was then contracted. In the end I thought it wiser to confine myself to digesting the knowledge which I had of Massinger's text.

The Clarendon Press undertook to publish this book, but as, owing to war-work, they could fix no date, I asked them to release me. There would be no occasion to mention this fact were it not that it was owing to the original arrangement that I received much valuable help and advice from Mr. Percy Simpson. Many other scholars and friends have kindly aided me in various matters, among whom I should like to mention: Mr. J. C. Bailey, Mr. P. James Bayfield (photographer to Dulwich College), Dr. A. C. Bradley, Mr. Robert Bridges, Mr. A. H. Bullen, Mr. A. K. Cook, Professor W. Macneile Dixon, Mr. H. H. E. Gaster, the Dean of Gloucester, Mr. E. Gosse, Sir W. H. Hadow, Archdeacon Hobhouse, Sir Sidney Lee, Mr. C. Leudesdorf, Dr. Falconer Madan, Mr. A. W. Pollard, Dr. P. G. Smyly, the Master of University College, Durham, Sir A. Ward, and Sir George F. Warner. Last, but not least, I thank my wife for her skilful and ready help with the proofs.

A. H. Cruickshank.

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Philip Massinger

It is interesting to revise the literary judgments of youth; it is pleasant to find them confirmed by a more mature judgment. This train of thought has led me to read Massinger once more; and as I read, the desire arose to treat his works, to the best of my ability, with the attention to detail which modern scholarship requires. A great amount of valuable work has been done in the last fifty years on the writers of the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages; but no one, perhaps with the exception of Boyle, has applied to Massinger the care which Shakspere, Marlowe, and Ben Jonson, to name no others, have secured. There is no reason why any of our great dramatists should be treated with less respect than those of Greece and Rome, of France and Germany.

The first thing to be done was to facilitate references by numbering the lines of Massinger's plays;1 the next was to investigate once more the facts of his life, and to correlate them with the period in which he lived; the third was to read typical plays of the period, so as to arrive at a just estimate of our author.

His life will not detain us long. We know far less of him than we do of Shakspere. None of his sayings have been preserved to us; hardly any incidents of his career. His father was house-steward to two of the Earls of [pg 002] Pembroke, first to Henry Herbert, then to William Herbert,2 Shakspere's friend. The elder Massinger was a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and for several years a Member of Parliament. Philip Massinger, the dramatist, was born at Salisbury in 1584. In 1602 he went up to St. Alban's Hall, Oxford, where his father had been an undergraduate. We are told by A. à Wood that he went at Lord Pembroke's expense, but that he did not work hard at the University, and took no degree.3 In or after the year 1606 he seems to have gone to London, and to have speedily engaged in the work of writing plays.4 The wide reading which his plays presuppose probably began at Oxford.

It was the custom in those days, as in the time of Plautus at Rome,5 for playwrights to revise old plays; and still more was it usual for them to collaborate.6 We find Massinger at work in this way with Field,7 Daborne,8 [pg 003] Dekker, Tourneur, and above all, with Fletcher. With the latter he worked from 1613 to 1623. In that year, for some unknown reason, he seceded from the service of the leading company of actors of the day, who went by the name of the King's men, and wrote unaided three plays for the Queen's men, The Parliament of Love, The Bondman, and The Renegado. After Fletcher's death, in 1625, Massinger rejoined the King's men, and wrote for them until his death in 1640.

It has been surmised from the vivid colouring of The Virgin Martyr9 and the plot of The Renegado,10 where a Jesuit plays a leading part and is portrayed in a pleasing light, that Massinger turned Roman Catholic. The evidence for this theory is quite inadequate. Indeed, we might as well argue from Gazet's language that the author followed the Anglican via media.11 Plots derived from French, Spanish, and Italian sources would naturally contain Roman Catholic machinery. We might as well infer that Shakspere was a Roman Catholic because Silvia goes to Friar Patrick's cell,12 or because Friar Laurence is prominent in Romeo and Juliet.13

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We know that Massinger lived a life of comparative poverty; on one occasion we find him, with two other dramatic authors, asking for a loan of £5.14

The person who thus obliged the three writers was Philip Henslowe, a dyer, theatrical lessee, and speculator, who acted as a kind of broker between actors and authors, buying from the one and selling to the other; we still possess his diary, containing information as to the prices which he gave for plays.15 The prologue of The Guardian shows us that for two years before 1633 Massinger had been under a cloud, and had abstained from writing. Two of his plays had failed in 1631—The Emperor of the East16 and Believe as You List17—so he appears to have put forth his full strength in The Guardian.

Henslow document at Dulwich.
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The dedications of Massinger's plays which have been preserved show that he was often dependent for support on the leaders of what he once or twice calls “the nobility.”18

The connexion of the poet with the family of which his father was the loyal and trusted servant has been exaggerated by some;19 in the dedication of The Bondman, written in 1623, to Philip, Earl of Montgomery,20 the poet distinctly states that though the Earl had helped the play at its first performance by his “liberal suffrages” yet he was personally unknown to him.21 Amongst others to whom we find dedications is George Harding, Baron Berkeley, to whom Webster inscribed The Duchess of Malfi. It is pleasant to read in the dedication of The Picture “to my honoured and selected friends of the Noble Society of the Inner Temple” that Massinger received “frequent bounties” from them.

The plays give us no clear evidence that Massinger ever travelled abroad,22 though such a passage as The Great [pg 006] Duke of Florence, II., 2, 5-21, rather suggests a visit to Italy. Nor have we any ground for supposing that he was, like Shakspere, an actor, unless indeed an obscure reference in the Dublin poem to the Earl of Pembroke be so interpreted.23 In London he lived on the Bankside, Southwark. The story of his death is told us by our gossiping old friend Anthony à Wood, in his Athenae Oxonienses.24 Massinger went to bed one night well, and [pg 007] was found dead the next morning. He was buried at St. Saviour's on March 18th, 1639/40.25 The funeral was “accompanied by comedians,” a phrase which seems to show that his professional friends did him honour at the last; he is described in the monthly accounts of St. Saviour's as “a stranger”—that is to say, a non-parishioner. His intimate friend Sir Aston Cokaine tells us that he shared the grave of his friend John Fletcher;26 and in 1896 a window in the south aisle of the nave of Southwark Cathedral was unveiled in his honour by Sir Walter Besant.27

What was the atmosphere in which Massinger lived? The days of James I. and Charles I. were less heroic than those of Elizabeth. In foreign politics England intervened once or twice in an ineffective way, and a good deal of sympathy was shown, much of it in a practical fashion, for the cause of the Protestant King of Bohemia. Gardiner28 has pointed out that Charles I. gave permission to the Marquis of Hamilton to carry over volunteers in aid of Gustavus Adolphus just as James I. had allowed [pg 008] Vere to carry over volunteers to the Palatinate. Hamilton sailed in July, 1631, and The Maid of Honour was printed in 1632. The whole plot of this play recalls the relations of England to the Protestant cause on the Continent. Thus, William. Lord Craven, to whom Ford's Broken Heart is dedicated, and who was knighted at the age of seventeen, after his “valiant adventures” in the Netherlands under Henry, Prince of Orange, went to the assistance of Gustavus Adolphus in 1631, when only twenty-two years old.

Wars in the Low Countries are vaguely referred to in various passages, as, e.g., in The Fatal Dowry:29

Novall Jun. Oh, fie upon him, how he wears his clothes!
As if he had come this Xmas. from S. Omer's
To see his friends, and return'd after Twelfth-tide.

The date of the play is uncertain, but it must have been written some considerable time before being printed in 1632.30 In The New Way to pay Old Debts Lord Lovell “has purchas'd a fair name in the wars.”31 In The Fatal Dowry, The Picture, and The Unnatural Combat, we have the familiar type of the brave soldier who is disregarded in time of peace, and has come down to poverty and old clothes.

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In the wider world of Europe the Turk and the Algerine pirate are still grim realities enough to form an effective scenic background.32 Indeed, it was not so very long since the Battle of Lepanto. We find constant references to galley-slaves,33 to the slave market,34 and to apostates to Islam.35 In the opening scene of The Picture the soldier husband parts from his wife on the frontier of Bohemia “not distant from the Turkish camp above five leagues.” One of the objections urged against the new custom of fighting duels is that thereby lives are lost which might have done service against the Turk.36 The age of chivalry has its faint reflection in schemes to “redeem Christian slaves chain'd in the Turkish servitude” by force of arms, and in the prowess of the Knights of Malta.37 The wealth and power of Turkey are taken for [pg 010] granted. When Malefort senior vows vengeance on Montreville, he cries out:

The Turkish Empire offer'd for his ransom
Should not redeem his life.38

At home we find the vices of a prolonged peace lending opportunity for some easy satire. On the whole, we may say that we do not learn very much about our country from the poet which we could not find in the other playwrights of the day. Let us rapidly put together some of his references. There were two Englands at this time, drifting inevitably apart, only to clash in fratricidal war under Charles I. The drama was becoming less and less national, more and more an affair of aristocratic patronage. Massinger does not often refer to the Puritans;39 there is nothing so amusing in his plays as the passage in Fletcher's Fair Maid of the Inn, where the Pedant solicits the advice of Forobosco the quack about “erecting four new sects of religion at Amsterdam.”40 The fashionable love of astrology is satirized in The City Madam. The England of Massinger's plays is an England which loves expense,41 amusements, Greek [pg 011] wines,42 masques,43 new clothes,44 and foreign fashions.45 London is a great port, with trade to the Indies and aspirations after the “North passage.” The jealousy of the City and the Court, the ostentations of the one and the refinement of the other, point the moral of The City Madam.46 The high-spirited 'prentices of the City of [pg 012] London take the law into their own hands in days when there are no police,47 and their vices are satirized after the manner of Ben Jonson in the same play. Horse-play, such as tossing in a blanket, is considered a great joke.48 The balladmonger so often referred to in Shakspere is much in evidence,49 though indeed it was an age in which everyone wrote poetry.50 In rural England we find the possibility of an unscrupulous local tyrant, such as is depicted to us in Massinger's masterpiece, Sir Giles Overreach, aided by his jackal, Mr. Justice Greedy.51 That our poet had a keen eye for social evils, for the man who sells food at famine prices, the encloser of commons, the usurer, the worker of iron, the cheating tradesman, is [pg 013] clear from a passage in The Guardian.52 The beautiful description in the same play of the amusements of country life, the hunting and the hawking, with which Durazzo seeks to console his love-sick ward Caldoro,53 probably takes one back to Massinger's own boyhood in Wiltshire. As we should expect, there is a good deal of riding in the country scenes.54 The characters of Sir John Frugal, the successful merchant, and Mr. Plenty, the country gentleman,55 show us that the “John Bull” type of Englishman existed in those days.

The temptation to give a back-hand blow to one's own country in the course of a plot laid abroad is obvious and irresistible; where Shakspere had set the example others were sure to follow,56 and Massinger does not spare the female sex of England. To judge by the passage in The Renegado,57 the women of his day loved expense and luxury, and were very independent in their attitude to their husbands.58 The humiliation of Lady Frugal and her two daughters after their extravagant ambitions is the point of The City Madam. The contrast between a uxorious husband and an imperious wife is one of Massinger's favourite effects.59 Donusa's speech in her own [pg 014] defence in The Renegado might have been written by a suffragette of our own day.60

We do not get much direct evidence as to the characteristics of the playwright's audiences; Dr. Bradley has some good remarks on this subject.61 “Nor is it credible that an appreciation of the best things was denied to the mob, which doubtless loved what we should despise; but appears also to have admired what we admire, and to have tolerated more poetry than most of us can stomach;” “the mass of the audience must have liked excitement, the open exhibition of violent and bloody deeds, and the intermixture of seriousness and mirth.” Dr. Bradley points out elsewhere62 that the Elizabethan actor probably spoke more rapidly than our modern actors. This would make soliloquies less tedious.

To turn to the politics of the age; the rift between the dynasty and the nation grew wider as the century advanced. Though Massinger died before the days of the Long Parliament, we can imagine that he would have been one of those who eventually fought under protest for the King. We find evidence in his plays for supposing that he belonged to the Conservative Opposition, like his patron Philip, the fourth Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery. [pg 015] He was a lover of liberty, and there are one or two indications that his plays offended the strict ideas of Charles I.'s censorship.

Sir Henry Herbert, the Master of the Revels, refused on January 11th, 1630/31, to license one of his plays63 because “it did contain dangerous matter, as the deposing of Sebastian King of Portugal by Philip II., and there being a peace sworn 'twixt the Kings of England and Spain.”64 The same worthy records that King Charles I. himself read another of his plays,65 while staying at Newmarket, and wrote against one passage, “This is too insolent, and to be changed.” The passage, which is put into the mouth of a King of Spain, runs as follows:

Monies! we'll raise supplies what way we please
And force you to subscribe to blanks, in which
We'll mulct you, as we think fit. The Caesars
In Rome were wise, acknowledging no laws
But what their swords did ratify; the wives
And daughters of the senators bowing to
Their will as deities.66

These lines clearly reflect on the autocratic methods which prevailed in England from 1629 to 1640.

There is much in Timoleon's speeches in the senate67 which seems to contain covert references to the England [pg 016] of the day, and notably in lines 203-213, where the unprepared state of the army and navy is referred to.

It has been thought with much probability that the Duke of Buckingham is satirized in the slight sketch of Gisco in The Bondman,68 and in the more fully drawn character of Fulgentio in The Maid of Honour:69

Adorni. Pray you, sir, what is he?
Astutio. A gentleman, yet no lord. He hath some drops
Of the king's blood running in his reins, derived
Some ten degrees off. His revenue lies
In a narrow compass, the king's ear; and yields him
Every hour a fruitful harvest. Men may talk
Of three crops in a year in the Fortunate Islands,
Or profit made by wool; but, while there are suitors,
His sheepshearing, nay, shaving to the quick
Is in every quarter of the moon, and constant.
In the time of trussing a point, he can undo
Or make a man; his play or recreation
Is to raise this up, or pull down that, and though
He never yet took orders, makes more bishops
In Sicily than the Pope himself.

The grumbling of the professional soldier against the royal favourite inspires a passage in The Duke of Milan.70 A similar freedom of speech is found in The Maid of Honour; for instance, in the following passages:

Gasparo. When you know what 'tis,
You will think otherwise; no less will do it
Than fifty thousand crowns.
Camiola. A pretty sum,
The price weighed with the purchase; fifty thousand!
To the king 'tis nothing. He that can spare more
To his minion for a masque, cannot but ransom
Such a brother at a million.71
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Camiola. With your leave, I must not kneel, sir,
While I reply to this, but thus rise up
In my defence, and tell you, as a man
(Since, when you are unjust, the deity,
Which you may challenge as a king, parts from you,)
'Twas never read in holy writ, or moral,
That subjects on their loyalty, were obliged
To love their sovereign's vices; your grace, sir,
To such an undeserver is no virtue.72

There are also passages in The Emperor of the East which seem to attack the Government of the day and its agents.73 I will quote the chief of these as a specimen of honest indignation:

Pulcheria. How I abuse
This precious time! Projector, I treat first
Of you and your disciples; you roar out,
All is the king's, his will above his laws;
And that fit tributes are too gentle yokes
For his poor subjects; whispering in his ear,
If he would have their fear, no man should dare
To bring a salad from his country garden,
Without the paying gabel; kill a hen,
Without excise; and that if he desire
To have his children or his servants wear
Their heads upon their shoulders, you affirm
In policy 'tis fit the owner should
Pay for them by the poll74; or, if the prince wants
A present sum he may command a city
Impossibilities, and for non-performance
Compel it to submit to any fine
His officers shall impose. Is this the way
To make our emperor happy? Can the groans
Of his subjects yield him music? Must his thoughts
Be wash'd with widows' and wrong'd orphans' tears,
Or his power grow contemptible?75
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The Englishman's love of liberty inspires a vigorous speech delivered by the British slave in The Virgin Martyr.76

Further, the impatience which Englishmen felt from time to time at the poor part played by their country in the Thirty Years' War is reflected in The Maid of Honour. Bertoldo there gets leave from the King of Sicily to go to help the beleaguered Duke of Urbin. He is, however, disavowed by the crafty, peace-loving king. In the debate Bertoldo describes Sicily in language which might easily be applied to England, and then proceeds in an eloquent passage to refer to England's glorious naval tradition in the past:

Bertoldo. If examples
May move you more than arguments, look on England,
The empress of the European isles,
And unto whom alone ours yields precedence:
When did she flourish so, as when she was
The mistress of the ocean, her navies
Putting a girdle round about the world?
When the Iberian quaked, her worthies named;
And the fair flower-de-luce grew pale, set by
The red rose and the white! Let not our armour
Hung up, or our unrigg'd Armada make us
Ridiculous to the late poor snakes, our neighbours,
Warm'd in our bosoms, and to whom again
We may be terrible.77

Here, at any rate, Massinger differs from Shakspere, who makes no reference to the exploits of our sailors; indeed, it would seem that, like Trafalgar, the defeat of the Armada had no significance for its own generation.78 But we must not forget that Massinger was the bosom [pg 019] friend of Fletcher, in whose plays sailors occur again and again.79

The fact that Massinger was a Cavalier “Radical,” a free lance and grumbler of the Opposition, may in part explain his struggles and his poverty. His natural patrons may have looked askance at his independent attitude, so alien to the passive obedience preached by Fletcher. But, whatever were his politics, it is clear that he was no Puritan. Brought up in close contact with a noble house, educated at Oxford, and well versed in the classics,80 as many allusions in his works testify, he shows alike in his merits and his faults the Cavalier mind. To this extent he may be judged felix opportunitate mortis,” for of all sections of the nation those whose hearts were with the King, and their reason with the Opposition, had the hardest part to play after 1640.

In the department of literature the talent of the country had concentrated itself more and more on play-writing. Among Massinger's contemporaries we note Jonson, Chapman, Fletcher, Beaumont, Webster, Middleton, Dekker, Heywood, Rowley, Tourneur, Shirley—all keen and able dramatists. Massinger, in his grasp of stagecraft, his flexible metre, his desire in the sphere of ethics to exploit both vice and virtue, is typical of an age which had much culture, but which, without being exactly corrupt, lacked moral fibre.

His plays may be divided into three classes: first, those which have come down to us under his name; secondly, [pg 020] those which he wrote with Fletcher or other authors; and, thirdly, those which have disappeared. It is not easy to draw the border-line between the first and second classes. In the last forty years the students of English literature have devoted much attention to verse and other tests, and there are those who profess themselves competent to decide which parts of a composite play were written by the various collaborators. It is clear that the use of these tests requires caution. An author may sometimes experiment in the style of somebody else; it has been held that Shakspere wrote Henry VIII in the manner of Fletcher, his younger rival; and Delius was of opinion that The Two Noble Kinsmen is due to two imitators, one of Shakspere and one of Fletcher. Boyle speaks confidently as follows:81 “Mr. Fleay used almost exclusively versification to distinguish author from author. Nor is this by any means so bold an undertaking as it seems. I have used other tests apart from the versification, and have almost uniformly found the impressions derived from the latter correct.” Our confidence in Boyle is shaken when he attributes82 the first two acts of A New Way to pay Old Debts to Fletcher on the evidence of the double endings. He points out that the allusion to the taking of Breda on July 1st, 1625,83 is just possible, as Fletcher was buried on August 29th, 1625. This is clearly a case where we must take other than metrical considerations into account. Has the comedy the sparkle, the bustle, and the improbability of Fletcher?

Again, it is not too much to say that it is a waste of time to apply verse tests to Tourneur; a great part of the Atheist's Tragedy is not poetry at all, but prose measured off in lengths.

The Virgin Martyr states on its title-page that Dekker was part author. Similarly, The Fatal Dowry was partly [pg 021] due to Field. Part of A Very Woman84 is held by many critics to be written by Fletcher; certainly the style of the play is in places more tender and more racy than we should expect from Massinger. The Old Law is said to have been written by Massinger, Middleton, and Rowley. It was a popular play, and often revived; its first appearance was in 1599,85 when our poet was but fifteen years old. His share in it must therefore consist of additions or modifications at a later date. Certainly there is little in the play which reminds one of him; original as is its plot, and tender its pathos, both its tragedy and comedy are in a simpler manner than his.86

On the other hand, Boyle arrives at some startling results when he investigates the works of Fletcher.87 He attributes to Massinger parts of Thierry and Theodoret, The Queen of Corinth, The Knight of Malta, The Custom of the Country, The Little French Lawyer, The Fair Maid of the Inn, and of several other plays.88

It may appear strange that in order to estimate Massinger we should have to read Fletcher as well; but to this the scientific study of English brings us.89 Boyle [pg 022] declares that “we ought in future to have no more editions of Beaumont and Fletcher, but the plays of Beaumont, Fletcher, and Massinger arranged in nine groups.”90 The verdict of experts cannot be disregarded in this matter; there is a real danger that Massinger's merits will be underrated if we do not attempt to estimate the share which he took in writing the plays attributed to Fletcher. His friend Sir Aston Cokaine might have done us a great service here, but, unfortunately, he missed his opportunity. In a poem91 relating to Shirley's edition of Beaumont and Fletcher's works published in 1647,92 he points out that the title is inaccurate for two reasons: first, because many of the plays were written after Beaumont's death; secondly, because Massinger wrote parts of some of them; it is a great pity that he did not tell us which these plays were.

But worse still remains behind; if we are to believe Boyle, it is practically certain that Massinger and Fletcher wrote Henry VIII93 and The Two Noble [pg 023] Kinsmen.94 It must be pointed out that there are still good critics who attribute a large part of Henry VIII to Shakspere, and a small part of The Two Noble Kinsmen. It would take us too far from our subject to enter in detail on these two difficult problems.

Then, in the third place, there are the plays that are lost. In the eighteenth century there was a certain John Warburton, F.R.S. and F.S.A., Somerset herald, who collected no fewer than fifty-five genuine unpublished dramas of the golden period, which he handed over to the care of his cook until he could find someone to publish them. The cook appropriated these plays leaf by leaf for coverings for her pastry, and a certain number of Massinger's—possibly as many as ten—perished among them. Here are the names of some of them: The Forced [pg 024] Lady, a tragedy; The Noble Choice, a comedy; The Wandering Lovers, a comedy; Philenzo and Hippolita, a tragi-comedy.95

It may be a consolation when we grieve over this disaster96 to reflect that many of the fifty-five plays may not have been worth reading; eight of them were early works of Massinger's, and may have been immature or even unsuccessful. There is a presumption in favour of this supposition, for his more famous plays appeared separately in quarto, and most of them can still be procured from dealers in that form; we must suppose that Mr. Warburton had only what are called actors'—i.e., manuscript—copies. If a play never attained the distinction of being printed there may have been some defect which militated against its success.

Colonel Cunningham in his edition gives us the names of thirty-seven plays in all from Massinger's pen; if the many be added to this total in which he joined with other writers, we have a considerable literary output for a life of fifty-five years.

Massinger, like Shakspere, fell into disfavour after the Restoration, when Beaumont and Fletcher carried everything before them. We learn from Malone's Preface97 that The Bondman was acted in 1661 and The Virgin Martyr on January 10th, 1662; The Renegado on June 6th in the same year. Pepys saw The Virgin Martyr, and liked it,98 more, however, for the music than the words. Dryden and Jeremy Collier never mention Massinger. Selections from The Guardian appeared in prose form, with insertions from A Very Woman, in [pg 025] 1680, under the title Love Lost in the Dark, or the Drunken Couple. Adorio and the other names are the same, but the Guardian's part disappears, and his remarks are put in Adorio's mouth. A servant, Calandrino, is brought in, whose name is borrowed from The Great Duke of Florence, and Muggulla, a nurse, is added to be Calandrino's bride. The contents are worthy of the title. Monck Mason deplores the fact that Johnson's dictionary does not once quote Massinger or Beaumont and Fletcher. “They are more correct,” he says, “and grammatical than Shakspere, and appear to have had a more competent knowledge of other languages, which gave them a more accurate idea of their own.” There was a great reaction in the eighteenth century in favour of Massinger. Brander Matthews points out that The New Way is the only Elizabethan or Jacobean play, except Shakspere's, which held the stage until the first quarter of the nineteenth century,99 and gives a good history of its illustrious career on the English and American stages.

The critics have differed much about Massinger. Gifford100 and Hallam were enthusiastic in their support; Charles Lamb and Hazlitt101 were against him, perhaps because they disliked his able Tory editor. The eighteenth-century writers regarded him as the champion of female virtue; and in our own time Sir A. Ward has defended his manly and sane morality in unhesitating language.102 On the other hand, Boyle deems his heroines to be corrupt and his heroes “the victims of one devouring [pg 026] passion, often in a state of incipient madness, alternately raging and melancholy.”103

Like Euripides, Ovid, and Juvenal, Massinger is a writer whose faults are patent; all the more important, therefore, is it to make his merits quite clear. We cannot convince the world if we adopt the famous line of Goethe's heroine:

I cannot reason, I can only feel.104

I do not indeed claim to discover much that is new about Massinger, nor to reverse the judgment of time. He is, and he remains, in the second rank of English writers. But it would be a misfortune if undue obscurity were to befall an author who was at once so manly and so skilful. I take up the cudgels for him, partly because the balance of critical judgment has of late gone too far against him; and yet in a sense he has only come into his own in the last thirty years, by reason of the unanimity with which so much good strong work in Fletcher's plays is now deemed to be due to him. He has received much praise and much blame; I should like by careful analysis of the problem to arrive at a juster judgment. But in the main, I must confess, I plead for Massinger because I love him.

What, then, are the chief merits of our author? They are three: his stagecraft, his style, and his metre. And, first, his command of stagecraft has been universally conceded.105 This is an important point; it is as much as to say that the plays are readable and would act well;106 [pg 027] when you begin one of them you wish to know what is going to happen. The first act has usually a great breadth and swing; it is admirably proportioned and dignified. The chief characters are introduced, and the train is well laid, without stiffness or delay. Good examples of this fact are to be found in The Bondman and The Emperor of the East. In The Renegado the first scene at once reveals the object of the plot, the rescue of Paulina. In The Bondman Marullo enters at line 38, and our attention is called to him by Leosthenes. As the play progresses you feel that it is what the French call bien charpenté—well constructed. If, as is often the case, there is a mystery or a secret, it is sufficiently well kept to excite the curiosity. The author does not depend very much on soliloquies or disguises; he does not, as a rule, complicate matters by underplots and cross-interests. The stage is not overcrowded; you do not feel the need of constantly referring to the list of dramatis personae. A curious instance of this economy is The Maid of Honour, where there is no Queen of Sicily. Minor characters when they reappear are recognized and provided for, as, for example, Calypso in The Guardian (IV., 3). The conscientious author forgets no detail in order to round off his plot; thus in the same play the blow struck at the beginning is apologized for in V., 3, 250. Nor is there a reckless change of scene. Moreover, a lifelike effect is given by the fact that speeches generally end in the middle of a line. As so often in Euripides, the people say the sort of things that under the circumstances you would expect them to say in real life.107 A comparison of Massinger [pg 028] with Ben Jonson will make this ease of construction clear at once. Köppel has noted the skill with which the narratives of Suetonius and Dion Cassius are combined in The Roman Actor. It may sound obvious to add that the titles of the plays correspond to the chief subject-matter, were it not that in so many of the Elizabethan plays this is not the case. Take as examples Middleton's Changeling and Mayor of Queenborough.

Yet it would be too much to say that all Massinger's plays are equally successful in this respect. The plot of The Guardian, for example, is unusually intricate. Like Shakspere, he occasionally crowds too much into the fifth act—for instance, in The Unnatural Combat. The device of the apple which produces so much jealousy and trouble in The Emperor of the East is rather trivial for a tragi-comedy.108 The promise of Cleora to wear a scarf over her eyes until her jealous lover returns from the war is exasperating.109 Again, Camiola in The Maid of Honour (III., 3, 200) forgets that Bertoldo is “bound to a single life,” as she had herself pointed out to him (I., 2, 148). Nor does Bertoldo (IV., 3, 100) in his acceptance of her offer say anything about the necessary dispensation. On the other hand, Massinger avoids those scenes on board ship of which Fletcher is so fond, and which on the Jacobean stage must have been ineffective to the spectators, and indeed, are so on any stage.110

Similarly, it is clear that torture on the stage can hardly be made effective.111

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One of Massinger's favourite devices is to combine subordinates. He has learnt from Hamlet the lesson of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He has studied the method of such scenes as Henry V., I., 2, 97-135; II., 2; III., 5; III., 7. If something has to be done, two or three people express their eagerness to do it. If someone has to be persuaded, two or three of the characters press home the various arguments. This all works for lucidity and ease, and presents a lifelike combination on the stage.112 Instances of the device abound; let us take one from The Picture.113 The great soldier Ferdinand, on his return from [pg 030] the wars, is received courteously by the old Counsellor Eubulus, but the fashionable young men, Ubaldo and Ricardo, think they can do the thing better; the passage runs thus:

Ricardo. This was pretty;
But second me now; I cannot stoop too low
To do your excellence that due observance
Your fortune claims.
Eubulus. He ne'er thinks on his virtues!
Ricardo. For, being as you are, the soul of soldiers,
And bulwark of Bellona——
Ubaldo. The protection
Both of the court and king——
Ricardo. And the sole minion
Of mighty Mars——
Ubaldo. One that with justice may
Increase the number of the worthies——
Eubulus. Heyday!
Ricardo. It being impossible in my arms to circle
Such giant worth——
Ubaldo. At distance we presume
To kiss your honour'd gauntlet.
Eubulus. What reply now
Can he make to this foppery?
Ferdinand. You have said,
Gallants, so much and hitherto done so little,
That till I learn to speak and you to do,
I must take time to thank you.
Eubulus. As I live,
Answer'd as I could wish, how the fops gape now!
Ricardo. This was harsh and scurvy.
Ubaldo. We will be revenged,
When he comes to court the ladies, and laugh at him.

Another of Massinger's effective devices is to sustain the interest of the spectators by concealing characters [pg 031] and facts; thus, in The Duke of Milan we do not fathom for some time the villainy of Francisco; in The City Madam we ponder from the beginning over the obscure character of Luke. The best instances of this expedient are to be found in The Unnatural Combat and The Bondman. The air of gloom which overhangs the former tragedy is as great in its way as anything which our author has attained; and though the play is what we may call Elizabethan rather than for all time, yet it is in some sense the best specimen of his serious work. The desire of Malefort is that of the father in Shelley's Cenci; and perhaps the only way to prevent the theme from being intolerable was to veil it as long as possible, and to raise the spectators' sympathy at first for a man who had fought well for the State, and who to all appearance was badly treated by his pirate son.114 In The Bondman, Marullo and Timandra, the brother and sister, are concealed till the very end, when they reveal themselves to be Pisander and Statilia—thereby bringing to an unexpected conclusion a plot which seemed to offer no solution.115

In The City Madam the method is varied a little: here we have one of Massinger's greatest creations, the fawning hypocrite, Luke. Indications of his future development are skilfully given from time to time, so that when this alarming person at length shows himself in his true colours we shiver without being surprised. The same idea shows itself in The Renegado,116 in the skill with which Donusa leads up to her proposal that Vitelli should turn Mahometan; and in The Virgin Martyr,117 where Artemia prepares the way for the offer of her hand to Antoninus.

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Massinger is never so happy as when he has an opportunity in his well-proportioned scenes for displays of rhetoric, such as we find in Euripides, where character argues against character.118 These scenes are often thrown into the form of a trial at law or a debate in the Senate.119

The plays end well and effectively; our author excels in the tragi-comedy, a type much affected by Fletcher. Like all his contemporaries, he felt that the intermixture of a lighter element in a play which ended happily was justifiable.120 The haste which Shakspere sometimes shows in his fifth act is, as a rule, not apparent in Massinger. For example, in The Virgin Martyr, the death of the heroine occurs at the end of the fourth act. To all appearance there is bound to be an anticlimax in the fifth act. But there is not; on the contrary, the appearance of the heavenly messenger, bearing the fruits of Paradise to the cruel persecutor Theophilus, elevates the mind into a state of surprise and admiration. It has often been pointed out that the appearance of a deity to [pg 033] cut the knot at the end of a play of Euripides, which sometimes irritates the thinker in his study, and provokes him to write essays on the bad art and theology of the poet, is dazzlingly beautiful on the stage, and raises associations of sublimity and awe; it may in the same way be imagined how effective must have been the procession at the end of The Virgin Martyr. The stage directions run as follows: “Enter Dorothea in a white robe, crownes upon her head, led in by Angels, Antoninus, Caliste, and Christeta following, all in white, but lesse glorious, the Angell with a Crowne for him” (i.e., Theophilus). At the sight of the glorious vision the persecutor dies, converted to the Christian faith, and the evil spirit, which has prompted his cruel acts, sinks to his own place with thunder and lightning, while Diocletian and his court look on in amazement. Similarly, in The Roman Actor there is no anticlimax; though Paris dies in the fourth act,121 we feel that the tragedy is incomplete until it is rounded off by the punishment of the Emperor Domitian, which we breathlessly await.

Secondly, Massinger has a beautiful style. This point again is conceded by all the critics. The elegance of his dedications shows that had he wished he could have written excellent prose.122 One who depreciates him allows that his style is “pure and free from violent metaphors and harsh constructions.”123 It has the grace and balance which one would expect from a well-bred and educated man, owing little to ornament or epithets or images. It serves its purpose, which is to tell a story [pg 034] rapidly, and to unfold character rather than to display the author's command of language or subtlety of thought and expression. Seldom trivial, it is never prosaic, and yet it is constantly on the border-line of prose. Massinger thought in blank verse because he was a dramatist rather than because he was a poet. Hence his enemies might say that his lines are prose in lengths; yet that would be an unjust accusation. The poetical “colour” is here, the ideal dignity, the atmosphere, although they obtrude themselves less on the reader than in most poets. Like Ovid, Massinger is one whose amazing facility carries us along like a flood—a writer who should be read in large quantities at a time,

Whose easy Pegasus will amble o'er
Some three-score miles of fancy in an hour.124

It needs little argument to show that a poet of this order can easily secure the effect of verisimilitude to life, and will owe much of his success to that fact. Style naturally appeals differently to different people; there are those who are captivated by the glamour of Shelley and Swinburne, or the pomp of Jeremy Taylor; there are also those who enjoy the severity of Paradise Regained, and the simplicity of Newman's Sermons. In an age like the present, when many of our poets, like our musicians, whatever else they are, either will not or cannot be simple, it is refreshing to turn to an author who is always lucid, and who is content to tell a story to the best of his ability.

There are times when the style of Massinger rises into solemn eloquence, especially when he indulges in the moralizing vein. Unlike some of his literary contemporaries, Massinger wishes to show Virtue triumphant and Vice beaten. Vice is never glorified in his pages, or condoned. Honest indignation is perhaps the emotion [pg 035] which he handles best. The uncontrollable anger which meanness and unworthiness provoke expresses itself in lofty language. Forcible and plain-spoken rebukes are found, which show that Massinger could be curt when he pleased. The plays are full of high-spirited passages, affording admirable opportunities for a master of elocution.

Let me give a specimen of just anger in the speech of Marullo. Marullo is the leader of the revolt of the slaves at Syracuse, and he is addressing their former lords and masters:

Briefly thus then,
Since I must speak for all,—your tyranny
Drew us from our obedience. Happy those times
When lords were styled fathers of families,
And not imperious masters! when they number'd
Their servants almost equal with their sons,
Or one degree beneath them! when their labours
Were cherish'd and rewarded, and a period
Set to their sufferings; when they did not press
Their duties or their wills, beyond the power
And strength of their performance! all things order'd
With such decorum, as wise lawmakers
From each well-govern'd private house deriv'd
The perfect model of a Commonwealth.
Humanity then lodged in the hearts of men,
And thankful masters carefully provided
For creatures wanting reason. The noble horse
That, in his fiery youth, from his wide nostrils
Neigh'd courage to his rider, and brake through
Groves of opposed pikes, bearing his lord
Safe to triumphant victory, old or wounded,
Was set at liberty and freed from service.
The Athenian mules that from the quarry drew
Marble, hew'd for the temples of the gods,
The great work ended, were dismiss'd and fed
At the public cost; nay, faithful dogs have found
Their sepulchres; but man to man more cruel,
Appoints no end to the sufferings of his slave;
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Since pride stepp'd in and riot, and o'erturned
This goodly frame of concord, teaching masters
To glory in the abuse of such as are
Brought under their command; who grown unuseful,
Are less esteem'd than beasts. This you have practis'd,
Practis'd on us with rigour; this hath forced us
To shake our heavy yokes off; and, if redress
Of these just grievances be not granted us,
We'll right ourselves, and by strong hand defend
What we are now possess'd of.125

In a lower key of manly dignity is the speech of Charalois before the Judges in The Fatal Dowry. It begins thus:

Thus low my duty
Answers your lordships' counsel. I will use,
In the few words with which I am to trouble
Your lordships' ears the temper that you wish me;
Not that I fear to speak my thoughts as loud,
And with a liberty beyond Romont;
But that I know, for me that am made up
Of all that's wretched, so to haste my end,
Would seem to most rather a willingness
To quit the burden of a hopeless life
Than scorn of death or duty to the dead.126

As an example of a high-spirited passage, a speech may be given from The Bondman. Cleora, the heroine, comes forward in a meeting of the Senate to urge patriotic effort on her fellow-countrymen. Timoleon, the general, is in the chair, and she addresses him first:

Cleora. If a virgin,
Whose speech was ever yet ushered with fear;
One knowing modesty and humble silence
To be the choicest ornaments of our sex
In the presence of so many reverend men,
Struck dumb with terror and astonishment,
Presume to clothe her thought in vocal sounds,
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Let her find pardon. First to you, great sir,
A bashful maid's thanks, and her zealous prayers,
Wing'd with pure innocence, bearing them to heaven,
For all prosperity that the gods can give
To one whose piety must exact their care,
Thus low I offer.
Timoleon. 'Tis a happy omen.
Rise, blest one, and speak boldly. On my virtue
I am thy warrant, from so clear a spring
Sweet rivers ever flow.
Cleora. Then thus to you,
My noble father, and these lords, to whom
I next owe duty; no respect forgotten
To you my brother, and these bold young men
(Such I would have them) that are, or should be,
The city's sword and target of defence,
To all of you I speak; and if a blush
Steal on my cheeks, it is shown to reprove
Your paleness, willingly I would not say,
Your cowardice or fear; think you all treasure
Hid in the bowels of the earth, or shipwreck'd
In Neptune's wat'ry kingdom, can hold weight,
When liberty and honour fill one scale,
Triumphant Justice sitting on the beam?
Or dare you but imagine that your gold is
Too dear a salary for such as hazard
Their blood and lives in your defence? For me,
An ignorant girl, bear witness! heaven, so far
I prize a soldier, that to give him pay,
With such devotion as our flamens offer
Their sacrifices at the holy altar,
I do lay down these jewels, will make sale
Of my superfluous wardrobe, to supply
The meanest of their wants.127

This passage is printed in a broadside (headed “Countrymen”) relating to the expected invasion of England by Bonaparte, to be found at the British Museum. A short [pg 038] statement of the plot of The Bondman is followed by a quotation of Act I., 3, 213-368, with one or two slight omissions. Possibly Gifford inspired its publication.

Perhaps the most eloquent passage in Massinger is the speech of Paris, the Roman actor, before the Senate, in defence of his profession:

Aretinus. Are you on the stage,
You talk so boldly?
Paris. The whole world being one,
This place is not exempted; and I am
So confident in the justice of our cause,
That I would wish Cæsar, in whose great name
All kings are comprehended, sate as judge
To hear our plea, and then determine of us.
If to express a man sold to his lusts,
Wasting the treasure of his time and fortunes
In wanton dalliance, and to what sad end
A wretch that's so given over does arrive at;
Deterring careless youth by his example,
From such licentious courses; laying open
The snares of bawds, and the consuming arts
Of prodigal strumpets, can deserve reproof;
Why are not all your golden principles
Writ down by grave philosophers to instruct us,
To choose fair virtue for our guide, not pleasure,
Condemn'd unto the fire?
Sura. There's spirit in this.
Paris. Or if desire of honour was the base
On which the building of the Roman empire
Was raised up to this height; if, to inflame
The noble youth with an ambitious heat
T'endure the frosts of danger, nay, of death,
To be thought worthy the triumphal wreath,
By glorious undertakings, may deserve
Reward, or favour from the commonwealth;
Actors may put in for as large a share
As all the sects of the philosophers;
They with cold precepts (perhaps seldom read)
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Deliver, what an honourable thing
The active virtue is; but does that fire
The blood, or swell the veins with emulation,
To be both good and great, equal to that
Which is presented in our theatres?
Let a good actor, in a lofty scene,
Show great Alcides honour'd in the sweat
Of his twelve labours; or a bold Camillus
Forbidding Rome to be redeem'd with gold
From the insulting Gauls; or Scipio,
After his victories, imposing tribute
On conquer'd Carthage; if done to the life,
As if they saw their dangers, and their glories,
And did partake with them in their rewards,
All that have any spark of Roman in them,
The slothful arts laid by, contend to be
Like those they see presented.
Rusticus. He has put
The consuls to their whisper.
Paris. But, 'tis urged
That we corrupt youth and traduce superiors.
When do we bring a vice upon the stage,
That does go off unpunish'd? Do we teach,
By the success of wicked undertakings,
Others to tread in their forbidden steps?
We shew no arts of Lydian panderism,
Corinthian poisons, Persian flatteries,
But mulcted so in the conclusion, that
Even those spectators that were so inclined,
Go home changed men. And for traducing such
That are above us, publishing to the world
Their secret crimes, we are as innocent
As such as are born dumb. When we present
An heir, that does conspire against the life
Of his dear parent, numbering every hour
He lives, as tedious to him; if there be,
Among the auditors, one whose conscience tells him
He is of the same mould, we cannot help it.
Or, bringing on the stage a loose adulteress,
That does maintain the riotous expense
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Of him that feeds her greedy lust, yet suffers
The lawful pledges of a former bed
To starve the while for hunger; if a matron
However great in fortune, birth, or titles,
Guilty of such a foul, unnatural sin,
Cry out 'tis writ for me, we cannot help it.
Or when a covetous man's express'd, whose wealth
Arithmetic cannot number, and whose lordships
A falcon in one day cannot fly over;
Yet he so sordid in his mind, so griping,
As not to afford himself the necessaries
To maintain life; if a patrician
(Though honour'd with a consulship) find himself
Touch'd to the quick in this, we cannot help it.
Or, when we shew a judge that is corrupt,
And will give up his sentence, as he favours
The person, not the cause; saving the guilty,
If of his faction, and as oft condemning
The innocent, out of particular spleen;
If any in this reverend assembly,
Nay, even yourself, my lord, that are the image
Of absent Cæsar, feel something in your bosom
That puts you in remembrance of things past,
Or things intended, 'tis not in us to help it.
I have said, my lord; and now as you find cause,
Or censure us, or free us with applause.128

I will quote three more passages: one to show how lifelike in description Massinger can be; the second, to show how he can ennoble the expression of love; the third, to show how tender he is at his best.

The first is from The Maid of Honour. A soldier comes in with news for the besieged general, who is standing on the walls of Siena, looking for aid from his friends:

Enter a Soldier.

Ferdinand. What news with thee?
Soldier. From the turret of the fort,
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By the rising clouds of dust, through which, like lightning
The splendour of bright arms sometimes brake through,
I did descry some forces making towards us;
And from the camp, as emulous of their glory,
The general, for I know him by his horse,
And bravely seconded, encounter'd them.
Their greetings were too rough for friends; their swords,
And not their tongues, exchanging courtesies.
By this the main battalias are join'd;
And if you please to be spectators of
The horrid issue, I will bring you where,
As in a theatre, you may see their fates
In purple gore presented.129

The second is from The Duke of Milan, where Marcelia expresses her love for her lord, Sforza, the Duke of Milan.

Marcelia. My worthiest lord!
The only object I behold with pleasure,
My pride, my glory, in a word, my all!
Bear witness, heaven, that I esteem myself
In nothing worthy of the meanest praise
You can bestow, unless it be in this,
That in my heart, I love and honour you.
And, but that it would smell of arrogance
To speak my strong desire and zeal to serve you,
I then could say, these eyes yet never saw
The rising sun, but that my vows and prayers
Were sent to heaven for the prosperity
And safety of my lord, nor have I ever
Had other study, but how to appear
Worthy your favour; and that my embraces
Might yield a fruitful harvest of content
For all your noble travail, in the purchase
Of her that's still your servant; by these lips,
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Which pardon me that I presume to kiss——
Sforza. O swear, for ever swear!
Marcelia. I ne'er will seek
Delight but in your pleasure; and desire,
When you are sated130 with all earthly glories,
And age and honours make you fit for heaven,
That one grave may receive us.

The third is from A Very Woman; the disguised John Antonio is telling his story at Almira's request:

Not far from where my father lives, a lady,
A neighbour by, blest with as great a beauty
As nature durst bestow without undoing,
Dwelt, and most happily, as I thought then,
And bless'd the house a thousand times she dwelt in.
This beauty, in the blossom of my youth,
When my first fire felt no adulterate incense,
Nor I no way to flatter, but my fondness;
In all the bravery my friends could show me,
In all the faith my innocence could give me,
In the best language my true tongue could tell me,
And all the broken sighs my sick heart lend me,
I sued and serv'd; long did I love this lady,
Long was my travail, long my trade to win her;
With all the duty of my soul I serv'd her.131

At times the poet rises to what is not far removed from inspiration; and such lines as the following from The Parliament of Love make good the claim of English to be the imperial language of the world. King Charles seeks to justify the honours which he, the “most Christian king,” gives to the statue of Cupid; he then continues thus:

Charles. 'Tis rather to instruct deceived mankind,
How much pure love that has his birth in heaven,
And scorns to be received a guest, but in
A noble heart prepared to entertain him,
[pg 043]
Is by the gross misprision of weak men,
Abused and injured. That celestial fire,
Which hieroglyphically is described
In this his bow, his quiver, and his torch,
First warm'd their bloods, and after gave a name
To the old heroic spirits; such as Orpheus,
That drew men, differing little then from beasts,
To civil government; or famed Alcides
The tyrant-queller, that refused the plain
And easy path leading to vicious pleasures,
And ending in a precipice deep as hell,
To scale the rugged cliffs on whose firm top
Virtue and Honour, crown'd with wreaths of stars,
Did sit triumphant.132

But there is another characteristic of Massinger's style and that perhaps more obvious still; it is full of courtliness and grace. A perusal of The City Madam, where the subject is the absurdity of the ladies of the Mansion House who ape the manners of the West End, suggests the question whether Massinger was ever attached to the Court. We do not know. He must, at any rate, have moved amongst refined and educated people. Napoléon said that Corneille's plays ought to be performed to an audience of ambassadors and ministers of state;133 in the same way, in reading Massinger, we feel that we are moving freely in the palaces of the great. There is comparatively little here of dialect134 or low life; we are at once taken up [pg 044] into high life with all its virtues and its faults. The kings and courtiers behave and express themselves as we should expect them to do; the politeness and the compliments which we hear on every side have the merit of being entirely natural. And if there is little to remind us of Dickens, there is still less to recall Thackeray. There is no air of snobbishness; such is the dexterity of our author that we do not feel like Jeames Yellowplush, that we are awkward menials watching the doings of the titled and the great. Not only do the characters move with an inborn grace which is free from self-analysis and self-contempt, but they take the audience up into their company; and as the gallants of that era used sometimes to sit upon the stage, close among the actors,135 so in reading Massinger we feel that we are unconsciously present at the scenes he portrays.

This is as much as to say that the stage of those days responded to a real and living need in the minds of the audience; there was nothing exotic or artificial about it, as there seems to have been about our plays ever since the Puritans turned things upside down. It will be said [pg 045] that this enchanted atmosphere belongs to all the greater playwrights of the age alike. And this is true; it is one of the secrets of their abiding charm. Brander Matthews, in dealing with the unreality of Massinger's atmosphere, says that “some of Shakspere's most delightful plays, The Merchant of Venice for one, and Much Ado for another, are charming to us now only because we are quite willing to make believe with the poet” (op. cit., p. 311). And so, when Leslie Stephen asks if we are “invigorated” by the perusal of Massinger's plays,136 I reply to that apostle of common sense that I am not only charmed and delighted, but invigorated. And why? Because I am admitted to a world of heroism and romance.

But may we not put the matter more broadly still? When we read the Cavalier lyrics of Suckling, Herrick, and Lovelace, when we think of Falkland, when we stand before the portraits of Vandyck, do we not feel that modern England was in danger until lately of losing something? There is an aroma there of chivalry which had almost faded from our ken. And yet there is an element in our shy and dumb English nature to which this atmosphere is congenial, however overgrown with money-making our minds had seemed to be. Nor, as the student of history knows well, had the Puritans in the Civil War the monopoly of religion and duty. Indeed, the Civil War was a true tragedy, because both sides had right, both fought and bled for what they believed to be [pg 046] the truth. To-day, in spite of our many domestic discords, no party spirit discounts the gallant deeds of which we have read daily, and of which of necessity only a fraction has been publicly rewarded. Perhaps the flame of romance will breathe once more in our midst, now the War is over, purified by suffering, and quickened by the memory of those serene yet manly spirits whom we have lost on the battlefield, whose departure in the dayspring of life seems, as it were, to have extinguished so many stars in the vault of heaven. They put aside the calls of culture and pleasure, and the natural ambition to do something in the world before they were abolished by death. They have willingly given for their country all that they had; they have given themselves. If we remember their devotion with gratitude it may purify us from the commonplace, the vulgar, and the selfish. They, at any rate, can address the power of evil, which for the moment seemed to triumph, in the words of Dorothea:

What is this life to me? Not worth, a thought:
Or, if it be esteem'd, 'tis that I lose it
To win a better; even thy malice serves
To me but as a ladder to mount up
To such a height of happiness, where I shall
Look down with scorn on thee and on the world;
Where, circled with true pleasures, placed above
The reach of death or time, 'twill be my glory
To think at what an easy price I bought it.
There's a perpetual spring, perpetual youth;
No joint-benumbing cold, or scorching heat,
Famine, nor age, have any being there.
Forget for shame your Tempe; bury in
Oblivion your feign'd Hesperian orchards;
The golden fruit, kept by the watchful dragon,
Which did require a Hercules to get it,
Compared with what grows in all plenty there,
Deserves not to be named. The Power I serve
Laughs at your happy Araby, or the
[pg 047]
Elysian shades; for He hath made His bowers
Better in deed than you can fancy yours.137

As an instance of Massinger's courtliness I will quote a short passage from The Great Duke of Florence: Contarino has come from the court of the Duke to fetch his nephew Giovanni, who has been brought up by a tutor, Charomonte by name, in the country. As the prince comes in, Charomonte addresses Contarino:

Charomonte. Make your approaches boldly; you will find
A courteous entertainment. (Contarino kneels.)
Giovanni. Pray you, forbear
My hand, good signior; 'tis a ceremony
Not due to me. 'Tis fit we should embrace
With mutual arms.
Contarino. It is a favour, sir,
I grieve to be denied.
Giovanni. You shall o'ercome;
But 'tis your pleasure, not my pride, that grants it.
Nay, pray you, guardian and good sir, put on;
How ill it shews to have that reverend head
Uncover'd to a boy!
Charomonte. Your excellence
Must give me liberty, to observe the distance
And duty that I owe you.138

Take another instance, from The Duke of Milan:

Sforza. Excuse me, good Pescara.
Ere long I will wait on you.
Pescara. You speak, sir,
The language I should use.139
[pg 048]

And this, from The Bashful Lover:

Farnese. Madam, I am bold
To trench so far upon your privacy
As to desire my friend (let not that wrong him,
For he's a worthy one) may have the honour
To kiss your hand.
Matilda. His own worth challenges
A greater favour.
Farn. Your acknowledgment
Confirms it, madam.140

I have used the word “lucid” of Massinger's style; perhaps a more appropriate word would be dexterous; not that he is obscure like Chapman, or like Shakspere in his later manner, far less turgid, but he is not afraid of somewhat long sentences. What he is really afraid of, unlike Fletcher, is a full-stop at the end of the verse. There are two devices which the reader will notice, often in combination; in the first place, Massinger is very fond of the “absolute” construction, and loves to multiply parentheses. The following passages from A New Way will serve as illustrations:

Furnace. She keeps her chamber, dines with a panada,
Or water gruel, my sweat never thought on.141
Woman. And the first command she gave, after she rose,
Was, her devotions done, to give her notice
When you approach'd here.142

Or again, from The Emperor of the East:

Astraea once more lives upon the earth,
Pulcheria's breast her temple.143

Or from The Bondman:

[pg 049]
And, to those that stay,
A competence of land freely allotted
To each man's proper use, no lord acknowledged.144

We find the “absolute” construction occasionally in Shakspere, as in The Merchant of Venice:

So are those crisped snaky golden locks
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness, often known
To be the dowry of a second head,
The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.145

Or in Hamlet:

Folded the writ up in form of the other,
Subscribed it, gav't th' impression, placed it safely,
The changeling never known.146

A passage from The Fatal Dowry will show an elaborate use of parenthesis:

What though my father
Writ man before he was so, and confirm'd it,
By numbering that day no part of his life
In which he did not service to his country;
Was he to be free therefore from the laws
And ceremonious form in your decrees?
Or else because he did as much as man,
In those three memorable overthrows,
At Granson, Morat, Nancy, where his master,
The warlike Charalois, with whose misfortunes
I bear his name, lost treasure, men, and life,
To be excused from payment of those sums
Which (his own patrimony spent) his zeal
To serve his country forced him to take up!147

Compare also these lines from The Guardian:

And if you shew not
An appetite, and a strong one, I'll not say
To eat it, but devour it, without grace too,
[pg 050]
For it will not stay a preface, I am shamed,
And all my past provocatives will be jeer'd at.148

From The Picture:

Honoria. That you please, sir,
With such assurances of love and favour,
To grace your handmaid, but in being yours, sir,
A matchless queen, and one that knows herself so,
Binds me in retribution to deserve
The grace conferr'd upon me.149

From A Very Woman:

Paulo. This friend was plighted to a beauteous woman,
(Nature proud of her workmanship) mutual love
Possessed them both, her heart in his heart lodged
And his in hers.150

From The Bashful Lover:

Alonzo. By me, his nephew,
He does salute you fairly, and entreats
(A word not suitable to his power and greatness)
You would consent to tender that, which he
Unwillingly must force, if contradicted.151

From The Parliament of Love:

What coy she, then,
Though great in birth, not to be parallel'd
For nature's liberal bounties, (both set off
With fortune's trappings, wealth); but, with delight,
Gladly acknowledged such a man her servant?152

It has been pointed out by Zielinski that “the perfection of language in regard to the formation of periods depends upon the presence and prevalence of abbreviated [pg 051] by-sentences,”153 by which expression he describes “absolute” constructions.

Secondly, he delights in an expedient which the poems of Robert Browning have made familiar to this generation, the frequent omission of the relative pronoun.154 And so his sentences meander with a seemingly negligent grace to an unexpected conclusion. It is clear that such a style both requires and repays a careful study of the rhetorical art.

I give as an instance of this combination the words of Paulinus in The Emperor of the East. He is talking of the Emperor's sister and Prime Minister Pulcheria:

She indeed is
A perfect phœnix, and disdains a rival.
Her infant years, as you know, promised much,
But grown to ripeness she transcends, and makes
Credulity her debtor. I will tell you
In my blunt way, to entertain the time
Until you have the happiness to see her,
How in your absence she hath borne herself,
And with all possible brevity; though the subject
Is such a spacious field, as would require
An abstract of the purest eloquence
(Deriv'd from the most famous orators
The nurse of learning, Athens, shew'd the world)
In that man that should undertake to be
Her true historian.155

The style of Massinger is not only lucid and dexterous; it is strong, partly because of its ease, and more mature and modern than that of many of his contemporaries. Milton's prose would have gained much in directness if he [pg 052] had studied Massinger. This strength does not show itself so much in isolated fine lines, for, as we have already seen, epigram was foreign to his nature, though from time to time we get such lines, as, for example, in The Duke of Milan:

One smile of hers would make a savage tame;
One accent of that tongue would calm the seas,
Though all the winds at once strove there for empire.156

Or, again, in the same play:

How coldly you receive it! I expected
The mere relation of so great a blessing,
Borne proudly on the wings of sweet revenge,
Would have call'd on a sacrifice of thanks.157

Or, again, in A New Way:

Overreach. The garments of her widowhood laid by,
She now appears as glorious as the spring.158

Or in The Roman Actor:

Could I imp feathers to the wings of time,
Or with as little ease command the sun
To scourge his coursers up heaven's eastern hill.159

We may remark in passing that Massinger's best single lines are usually decasyllabic.

It has been remarked by Mr. Swinburne, whose discerning judgment of the Jacobean dramatists has lavished just praise on Massinger's art and style, that in the second act of Sir John Van Olden Barnavelt, “the student will say, ‘This tune goes manly,’ ” and it is remarkable that our poet had formed in 1619 the style which marked him to the end of his life.160

An instance of this simple strength may be given from [pg 053] The City Madam, where Luke debates whether he shall agree to the proposition of the pretended Indians:

Luke. Give me leave—(walks aside)
I would not lose this purchase. A grave matron!
And two pure virgins! Umph, I think my sister,
Though proud, was ever honest, and my nieces
Untainted yet. Why should not they be shipp'd
For this employment? They are burthensome to me,
And eat too much.161

When rudeness is necessary it is uttered with some vigour, as in The Fatal Dowry, where this is what Romont gets for his well-meant pains:

Rochfort. Sir, if you please
To bear yourself as fits a gentleman,
The house is at your service; but if not,
Though you seek company elsewhere, your absence
Will not be much lamented.162

The rejected lover in such a scene as the following has no illusions left him:

Mustapha. All happiness—
Donusa. Be sudden.
'Twas saucy rudeness in you, sir, to press
On my retirements; but ridiculous folly
To waste the time that might be better spent,
In complimental wishes.
Corisca. There's a cooling
For his hot encounter! (aside)
Donusa. Come you here to stare?
If you have lost your tongue and use of speech,
Resign your government; there's a mute's place void
In my uncle's court, I hear; and you may want me
To write for your preferment.163

Two minor features of Massinger's style may be mentioned here:

[pg 054]

1. The catalogue line, so familiar to the student of Lucretius—e.g.:

Believe as You List, I., 2, 85. The sapphire, ruby, jacinth,
amber, coral.
Believe as You List II, 2, 312. All circumstances,
Answers, despatches, doubts, and difficulties.
Picture, V., I, 59. The comfortable names of breakfasts,
Collations, supper, beverage.
Emperor of East, 2 Prol., 8. With his best of fancy, judgment,
language, art.
I., 2, 194. To his merchant, mercer, draper,
His linen-man, and tailor.
V., 2, 88. As sacred, glorious, high, invincible.
City Madam, II., 1, 72. Tissue, gold, silver, velvets, satins,
IV., 3, 69. Entreaties, curses, prayers, or imprecations.
Unnatural Combat, II., 1, 128. All respect,
Love, fear, and reverence cast
Great Duke of Florence, II., 1, 7. We of necessity must be
chaste, wise, fair.

2. A more marked feature is the repetition of words or short phrases in various parts of the line.164 The following instances may be given from (a) The Great Duke of Florence:

I., 1, 154. It is the duke!
The duke.
I., 2, 41. Our duchess; such a duchess.
I., 2, 95. See, signiors, see our care.
I., 2, 131. Take up, take up.
II., 1, 71. Fie! fie! the princess.
III., 1, 102. Tells
His son, this is the prince, the hopeful prince.
[pg 055]

(b) The City Madam:

II., 1, 58. I blush for you,
Blush at your poverty of spirit.
III., 1, 11. I am starv'd,
Starv'd in my pleasures.
V., 1, 12. Far, far above your hopes.
V., 1, 81. The height
Of honour, principal honour.
V., 2, 67. A manor pawn'd,
Pawn'd, my good lord.

And, thirdly, the versification of Massinger is musical and melodious. Boyle says that Milton's blank verse owes much to the study of it. “In the indefinable touches which make up the music of a verse, in the artistic distribution of pauses, and in the unerring choice and grouping of just those words which strike the ear as the perfection of harmony, there are, if we leave Cyril Tourneur's Atheist's Tragedy out of the question, only two masters in the drama, Shakspere in his latest period and Massinger.”165 Coleridge says that it is “an excellent metre, a better model for dramatists in general to imitate than Shakspere's. Read Massinger aright, and measure by time, not syllables, and no lines can be more legitimate, none in which the substitution of equipollent feet, and the modifications by emphasis, are managed with such exquisite judgment.”166 Be it noted that this praise comes from a master of his art, for no one who has once appreciated Coleridge's command of vowel-syzygy and the velvet-like texture of his blank verse can refuse him that title.

Massinger's blank verse is equal to all the emotions which the author can express and kindle. It never fails him, nor, on the other hand, does it obtrude itself unduly on the sense conveyed. Only after reading a considerable passage of our poet do we understand how much the [pg 056] versification contributes to his lifelike and dignified atmosphere.

Moreover, the metre of Massinger is admirably suited to his style. There seems a hidden but real harmony between them. Some might call his metre at times slipshod and undignified, from the fact that, except in elevated passages, the characters speak in rhythmical sentences which approximate to prose. Boyle, who declares that “Marlowe and Massinger are the two extremes of the metrical movement in the dramatists,”167 has pointed out that “Massinger's blank verse shows a larger proportion of run-on lines and double endings in harmonious union than any of his contemporaries.168 Cartwright [pg 057] and Tourneur have more run-on lines, but not so many double endings. Fletcher has more double endings, but very few run-on lines. Shakspere and Beaumont alone exhibit a somewhat similar metrical style.”169 This is interesting, because we shall see later on that Massinger was a devoted admirer and imitator of Shakspere in thought, device, and expression. It is not strange, therefore, that he should also copy his metre, or rather, develop his own on the same lines. To show how flexible and dexterous the metre of Massinger is, I will give two instances from The Bashful Lover. In the first Uberti encourages Gonzaga to persevere with the contest:

Uberti. Sir, these tears
Do well become a father, and my eyes
Would keep you company as a forlorn lover,
But that the burning fire of my revenge
Dries up those drops of sorrow. We, once more,
Our broken forces rallied up, and with
Full numbers strengthen'd, stand prepared t' endure
A second trial; nor let it dismay us
That we are once again t' affront the fury
Of a victorious army; their abuse
Of conquest hath disarm'd them, and call'd down
[pg 058]
The Powers above to aid us. I have read
Some piece of story, yet ne'er found but that
The general, that gave way to cruelty,
The profanation of things sacred, rapes
Of virgins, butchery of infants, and
The massacre in cold blood of reverend age,
Against the discipline and law of arms,
Did feel the hand of heaven lie heavy on him
When most secure.170

In the second Gonzaga refuses the hand of his daughter Matilda to Lorenzo:

Gonzaga. Two main reasons
(Seconding those you have already heard)
Give us encouragement; the duty that
I owe my mother country, and the love
Descending to my daughter. For the first,
Should I betray her liberty, I deserv'd
To have my name with infamy razed from
The catalogue of good princes; and I should
Unnaturally forget I am a father,
If, like a Tartar, or for fear or profit,
I should consign her, as a bondwoman,
To be disposed of at another's pleasure;
Her own consent or favour never sued for,
And mine by force exacted. No, Alonzo,
She is my only child, my heir; and if
A father's eyes deceive me not, the hand
Of prodigal nature hath given so much to her,
As, in the former ages, kings would rise up
In her defence and make her cause their quarrel;
Nor can she, if that any spark remain
To kindle a desire to be possess'd
Of such a beauty, in our time, want swords
To guard it safe from violence.171

Anyone who compares the metre of Massinger with that of Fletcher will find that our author observes far stricter [pg 059] laws than his friend. The plays of Massinger abound in lines divided between two speakers, or even three, which, nevertheless, observe the strict rule of the metre.172

The way in which Massinger's style and metre suit one another can best be illustrated by a passage or two from The Parliament of Love; the first is where Bellisant speaks about the decay of chivalry.

Bellisant. Ere they durst
Presume to offer service to a lady,
In person they perform'd some gallant acts
The fame of which prepar'd them gracious hearing,
Ere they made their approaches; what coy she, then,173
Though great in birth, not to be parallel'd
For nature's liberal beauties (both set off
With fortune's trappings, wealth); but with delight,
Gladly acknowledg'd such a man her servant,
To whose heroic courage and deep wisdom,
The flourishing commonwealth, and thankful king,
Confess'd themselves for debtors? Whereas, now,
If you have travelled Italy, and brought home
Some remnants of the language, and can set
Your faces in some strange and ne'er-seen posture,
Dance a la volta, and be rude and saucy,
[pg 060]
Protest and swear and damn (for these are acts
That most think grace them), and then view yourselves
In the deceiving mirror of self-love,
You do conclude there hardly is a woman
That can be worthy of you.174

The second is a speech of Leonora exposing Cleremond's baseness:

I, burning then with a most virtuous anger,
Razed from my heart the memory of his name,
Railed and spit at him; and knew 'twas justice
That I should take those deities he scorn'd,
Hymen and Cupid, into my protection,
And be the instrument of their revenge;
And so I cast him off, scorn'd his submission,
His poor and childish winnings, will'd my servants
To shut my gates against him; but, when neither
Disdain, hate, or contempt could free me from
His loathsome importunities, and fired too
To wreak mine injur'd honour, I took gladly
Advantage of his execrable oaths,
To undergo what penance I enjoin'd him;
Then, to the terror of all future ribalds,
That make no difference between love and lust,
Imposed this task upon him. I have said, too;
Now, when you please, a censure.175

The critics may differ in their estimate of Massinger's style and metre; but it is simple truth to say that they are unique in our literature, in their correctness, dignity, ease, and classical frugality.

Let us now turn to the poet's faults. It is said that his range of thought is limited, and this may be at once conceded. It might also be said that Greek tragedy is limited, and the statement is true of all our Elizabethan playwrights; yet we return to them again and again, for they have something to give us which we cannot do without. It is idle to depreciate one period of our literature [pg 061] at the expense of another. Are not the old madrigal writers limited, and Farrant and Byrd, Orlando Gibbons and Blow? and yet we enjoy them; nay, to take even Purcell himself, when we confess that the pleasure he gives us is due to the fact that he is more daring, less shackled than his generation, “so modern” as we say, are we not in the end forced to confess that he too is unmistakably limited, “bewrayed” by his quaint and stately rhythms to be one of the seventeenth century?

Our age has a wider and subtler range of psychology; to revert from “The Georgian Poets” of 1911 to Massinger is like going back from the films of a cinema palace to a tondo of Luca Signorelli. Both films and tondo have their uses. We may take a single illustration of this point from The Brothers Karamazov. The great Russian novelist, among other problems, deals in that book with the case of the young man who is in love with two women at once. That is the sort of complicated interest which we do not expect our Elizabethan writers to cope with, in as great detail as a modern writer uses. The problem occurs in The Bondman, where the heroine, Cleora, is distracted between her plighted love to Leosthenes and her warm sense of obligation to Marullo;176 it is interesting and instructive to see how simply the whole thing is touched upon, and how soon the doubt is solved by the discovery of Leosthenes' former intrigue with Statilia. May we not say, with Aristophanes, in comparing Massinger and Dostoevsky:

Τὸν μὲν γὰρ ἡγοῦμαι σοφόν, τῷ δ ἥδομαι.177

Then it is said that Massinger's work is not free from coarseness. The answer to this accusation may be made in more ways than one. I might with confidence reply to such critics: If you wish for real vulgarity of diction, [pg 062] read Marston; if you wish for real vulgarity of mind, read Middleton; if you wish for poisoned morals, read Ford and Tourneur; and then revise your judgment of Massinger. It is notorious that all the stage writers of the Elizabethan age are tarred with the same brush; there is much in Shakspere himself that we wish he had not written; still more is this true of Ben Jonson. In The Virgin Martyr, where we have the odious servants, Hircius and Spungius, it is generally believed that the parts of the play in which they appear are due to Dekker, not to Massinger, whose other works present nothing so disgusting. There are, at any rate, no lapses of taste in Massinger like those which we find in Fletcher; nothing like the fate of Rutilio in The Custom of the Country, or of Merione in The Queen of Corinth, or of the Father in The Captain. It must be confessed that Massinger's conception of love is apt to be earthly, physical, sensuous; there is but little in his plays about the marriage of true minds,178 too much about “Hymen's taper” and “virgin forts.” Captivated by the charms of female beauty, his intellect is too concrete in its ideals to rise above mere morality to the mysteries of the diviner love. So far it must be allowed that his art interests and stimulates the passions of his audience without elevating them. But if at times we feel a monotonous limitation in his outlook in these matters, if we miss the healthy breezes of bracing commonsense and cheerful self-restraint, we are never pained by the triumph of what is low, corrupt, or morbid.

When it is said that his women are impure it is necessary to enter a clear protest.179 There are offensive and [pg 063] heartless women in Massinger, such as Domitia in The Roman Actor, and Beaumelle in The Fatal Dowry;180 there are odious old women, like Borachia and Corisca. There are pert and vulgar ladies' maids; but you have only to read The Bondman, The Bashful Lover, A Very Woman, The Maid of Honour, The Great Duke of Florence, The Emperor of the East, The Picture, to see that his world includes some charming female characters—not, indeed, so lovely as those of Shakspere, but still, types which show that he had not lost his faith in human nature, as, when we read Fielding, we feel regretfully almost obliged to allow, in spite of Sophia Western and Amelia, is the case with our great novelist.

It is true that there are ladies in Massinger's plays who offer their hands in marriage to the men they love, and very charmingly the thing is done, though there is nothing equal to the scene between the Duchess and Antonio in Webster's masterpiece; as, for example, Artemia in The Virgin Martyr, the Duchess of Urbin in The Great Duke, Calista in The Guardian.181 This feature is not confined to Massinger among the writers of his age; to mention no other instances, what about Arethusa in Philaster, Bianca in The Fair Maid of the Inn, Beliza and the Queen in The Queen of Corinth,182 Frank in The Captain, Clara in Love's Cure (IV., 2), Martia in The Double Marriage (II., 3), Lamira in The Honest Man's Fortune (V., 3), Erota in The Laws of Candy? Or, what about Desdemona in Othello,183 or Olivia in Twelfth Night?184 What about the [pg 064] plot of All's Well that Ends Well? To the vulgar mind all things are vulgar. Honi soit qui mal y pense.185 It may certainly be conceded that in some of Massinger's plays, as, for instance, The Unnatural Combat and Believe as You List, the feminine interest is comparatively slight. Brander Matthews tells us that Massinger's women “are all painted from the outside only”;186 “they are not convincing; they lack essential womanliness.” This may be due to the fault which the same critic points out in our author, that “he is heavy-handed and coarse-fibred ethically as well as æsthetically.” One may reply that if the theatre be the mirror of life Massinger had an undoubted right to bring bad women on the stage; there are good and noble women also among his characters, and if they are not “convincing,” perhaps we may quote Coleridge's remark about Shakspere, that “he saw it was the perfection of women to be characterless.” However far our author may fall short of his great model in grace, charm, and delicacy, he at any rate deserves credit for having imagined female characters who are full of passions and made of “flesh and blood.”187

Massinger resembles other dramatists of his age; at times we feel that they talk like the little boys on the links in Stevenson's Lantern-Bearers. But Massinger is a robuster mind than Fletcher, for example; if he brings vice upon the stage, and if he speaks too freely about things which we prefer not to have mentioned, if “like Hogarth, he enjoys his own portrayal of degrading vice and its appalling consequences,”188 we must, to do him [pg 065] justice, take his work as a whole. Indeed, most of the critics have singled out as one of his special claims to praise his sturdy morality,189 and the general effect on any fair mind of a perusal of his plays is a conviction that he loved virtue. Vitelli190 may make the best of both worlds, but he converts Donusa, and faces death and torture with fortitude. Goodness emerges from Massinger's plays, sometimes compromised for the moment, but always triumphant in the end. There is considerable outspokenness, but not much lubricity, and no perverted morality. Passages which offend can nearly always, as in Shakspere, be omitted without damaging the course of the plot. Moreover, as has often been pointed out, the works of Massinger are almost wholly free from blasphemy and profanity, and attacks on the clergy, such as moved the wrath of Jeremy Collier in later times.

It may be a fanciful suggestion, but it is possible that the drama of that day suffered from the fact that boys took the female parts.191 No one would deny the artistic [pg 066] loss thereby involved, but there was a moral loss as well. It made it possible for things to be said that would not have been said by men to women, still less by women to men. It unconsciously invested the love-scenes with an air of unreality and grossness. It prevented the relation of the sexes from being depicted with that union of passion and purity which, though difficult, is possible.

It has been said that Massinger is hard and metallic, and devoid of pathos. This charge, again, is largely true. You will not find in him scenes which clutch the heart like those of Dr. Faustus, or The Duchess of Malfi, or The Broken Heart, or The Maid's Tragedy, or The Wife for a Month; you will not find the sublimity of Ordella's self-sacrifice in Thierry and Theodoret, or the chivalry of A Fair Quarrel; still less will you find anything so appalling as the end of King Lear, or Othello, or Romeo and Juliet. There is plenty of passion in Massinger; like the legendary lion, he lashes with his tail, and you can almost see him in the act; but his rhetoric does not entirely carry you away. Let me recall the fine passage which was quoted just now from The Roman Actor.192 I hope everyone will allow its eloquence; but the repetition of the commonplace phrase, “we cannot help it,”193 natural and forcible as it is, falls short of the ideal grandeur at which the passage aims. We feel that Fletcher could have made a finer thing of the prison-scene in The Emperor of the East.

[pg 067]

It is significant that the most tender passage in Massinger,194 where Leonora bids Almira take consolation, has been assigned by some to Fletcher. In other words, Massinger is not in the front rank of genius, but no one would claim for him such a place.

Again, one might urge that his plays are not stores of worldly wisdom, like Shakspere's; his aphorisms are not deep; they do not bite.195 Consequently he does not lend [pg 068] himself to quotation. Yet this does not of necessity detract from his greatness. No one would question the excellence of the Waverley Novels, but Leslie Stephen has pointed out that we only make one quotation from Scott's novels.196 Aristotle has told us that “excessive brilliance of diction obscures characters and sentiments.”197 There [pg 069] are few passages of high poetical emotion in Massinger; there is little magic in the rhythm of individual lines. Like most of his contemporaries he shows at times a strange insensibility to smooth rhythm in the heroic couplet. He has an anapæstic lilt in various parts of the line, inherited from Shakspere, and found in Milton's early poems, which is not ineffective in its way, and which seems to have aimed at varying the monotony of the ten-syllable line.198 He has not much power of rhyme,199 nor are his plays studded with such lyrics as Shakspere and Fletcher could write upon occasion.200

Again, the comic element in Massinger is at times dull, forced, and ordinary; it does not take us very far to label a foolish Florentine gentleman with the name of “Sylli”;201 the hungry soldier is rather a time-worn type,202 nor [pg 070] can Greedy compare with Lazarillo. Though the situations are humorous, we do not split with laughter over Massinger, as we do in reading Aristophanes, or Shakspere, or Molière.203 We do not find in him the mercurial lightness of A Trick to Catch the Old One, or the invincible absurdity of “The Roarers” in The Fair Quarrel. But it is necessary to remember that the comic business is of the kind which gains by acting, or indeed requires it, and to allow that towards the end of his life Massinger came forward as a grave and powerful satirist of contemporary men, reminding us of Ben Jonson, but, to my mind, excelling him; for he shows less asperity with greater lucidity and ease.204 He is not unduly morose or bitter, yet he wins conviction with an admirable sanity and sobriety. The plays will repay good acting, and, after all, plays are meant to be acted; it is significant that the last of Massinger's plays to hold the stage was his comedy, The New Way to pay Old Debts, and it is very much to be wished that it should be revived in England.205

Some critics have accused Massinger of redundancy in style, a characteristic which clearly will strike different people in different ways. Thus, Hallam regards this feature as on the whole meritorious, giving “fulness, or what the painters would call impasto, to his style, and if it might not always conduce to effect on the stage, suitable on the whole to the character of his composition.” Mr. Bullen,206 after an eloquent tribute to “Massinger's admirable ease and dignity,” and to “his rare command of an excellent work-a-day dramatic style, clear, vigorous, and [pg 071] free from conceit and affectation,” proceeds to allow that “he is apt to grow didactic and tax the reader's patience; and there is often a want of coherence in his sentences, which amble down the page in a series of loosely linked clauses.” I do not myself feel that this charge comes to very much.

The real fault of Massinger lies in an imperfect presentation of character. This point has been felt by many writers, and put in various ways. Coleridge bluntly says: “Massinger's characters have no character.”207 Brander Matthews puts it in another way when he observes that “the plots are not the result of the characters, but the work of the playwright,”208 a criticism we may remark in passing eminently applicable to Fletcher. It has been said that the characters are conventional, like those in the Italian or Spanish sources from which they are derived; the violent tyrant and the arrogant queen are the most familiar of these types. I do not think this statement arrives at the root of the matter. Characters may be conventional and yet interesting and lifelike. A great many of the personages in Massinger's plays, important and unimportant alike, act reasonably; he takes great pains to discriminate them, and the effect is successful and consistent. Let us recall the great characters in Massinger; they are Paris, Luke, Sir Giles Overreach, Durazzo, Marullo, Malefort, Charalois, Antiochus, Camiola, Dorothea, Donusa, Almira. In the second rank we may put Timoleon, Romont, Bertoldo, John Antonio, Mathias, Wellborn, Athenais, Marcelia, Sophia, Cleora. Of these persons, the two that I think most men would like to have known best are Paris and Camiola. Notice, by the way, that there is seldom more than one great character in a play. Now, in Henry VIII there are three, the King, Catherine, and Wolsey. The question arises whether Massinger, even with Fletcher's help, could have worked on this scale. If [pg 072] Massinger wrote Henry VIII it is certainly, with all its faults, his most remarkable achievement.

The point which I wish to emphasize is that there are many characters in Massinger drawn with care and ability. Think, for example, of the skilful contrast between Pulcheria and Athenais in The Emperor of the East, showing how easy it is for two good women to quarrel. Further, it is clear that the attempt to produce composite and developing characters is praiseworthy, even if it be not always successful, because it is more true to life than Ben Jonson's brilliant but illusory delineation of “humours.” Human beings are too complex to be labelled in this slapdash way, however amusing it may be on the stage.

And yet we must allow that a certain number of the more important characters act outrageously; the explanation being that the faults which Massinger loves to portray and censure are such as show themselves in outrageous ways—such as anger, pride, impotence in the Latin sense, uxoriousness, and above all jealousy.209 Take the case of Theophilus in The Virgin Martyr, who kills his daughters because they have been reconverted to Christianity; or of Domitian in The Roman Actor, who goes through life killing people as he would kill flies. It is not enough to say that there are such people in the world; the point is, that in Massinger they shock us without appalling us. Sforza behaves to Marcelia much as Othello behaves to Desdemona; we feel at once a difference of power in the two plays.210 Massinger has many villains, but Shakspere manages better with Richard III and Iago. Think again of the uxoriousness of Ladislas, Theodosius, Domitian, which some have held to be a covert satire on Charles I. We despise these weak and servile husbands.

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Now, is there anything we can urge in Massinger's justification? I think there is. We read his plays nowadays, we do not see them acted. We are therefore apt to forget how impressive and vigorous good acting is. The display of passion on the stage with gesture, attitude, frown, and scorn, would render more tolerable some of these scenes which offend us in the study by their crudeness. Such a part, for instance, as Leosthenes in The Bondman, the jealous and yet guilty lover, has great opportunities for the actor. It might even be urged that Massinger wrote thus because he knew the capabilities of the actors who were going to perform his plays.

The same consideration applies to a feature in Massinger which will strike every reader. He sets himself at times to represent growth, or, at any rate, change, of character. Even Shakspere seldom tries to do this,211 and it was too hard a task for his pupil. His most ambitious venture in this direction is in The Picture. In that play Mathias has a magic portrait, which shows him whether his wife is faithful to him or not in his absence; and the alternations of the mind in husband and wife alike are drawn with considerable power. Luke in The City Madam is perhaps the most skilfully drawn example of a development of character. The hypocrite is quite carried away by the riches to which he unexpectedly succeeds.212 Another successful conversion is that of Theophilus at the end of The Virgin Martyr. It is due partly to his eating the heavenly fruit, for which he had asked Dorothea at her death, partly to the effect which the [pg 074] grace and beauty of Angelo produce on his mind. The gradual growth of his new belief, in spite of all that Harpax can do, is managed with much skill, and it is in itself true to nature that the man who had been violent in one direction should ultimately be violent in another. Moreover, we are bound to remember that when people are soon persuaded, the play gets on. Indeed, I think we have in this consideration the clue to the whole matter; “the Stage Poet” had a practical mind.

Change of mood and vacillation of purpose, under the stress of temptation, or due to the conflict of contrary impulses, are features of some of Massinger's best scenes. The wavering of the love-sick Caldoro while Durazzo is abusing him is very true to life.213 The skill with which the “melancholy” Vitelli's changes of mood are depicted in The Renegado214 suggests the theory that Massinger is drawing his own portrait. The alternation of pride and humility in Honoria in The Picture215 is forcibly shown. The just anger of Sophia at the end of the same play yields skilfully to a combined intercession.

As a rule, however, the changes are too rapid. Thus, in The Maid of Honour, Aurelia, when she hears that Camiola has ransomed Bertoldo and bound him with a promise to marry her, suddenly changes her mind; she has been on the point of marrying the faithless soldier, but, as she says:

On the sudden
I feel all fires of love quench'd in the water
Of my compassion.216

Though the change is natural, it is inartistically effected; it comes too suddenly. Think, however, what an opportunity this would be for a great actress. If we were in the audience, we should see the gradual development reflected in her expression and bearing long before she utters the words which embody her thought.

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Other instances of the same thing are to be found in Donusa's conversion to Christianity in The Renegado,217 in the change of faith effected in Calista and Christeta by Dorothea's story of the King of Egypt and Osiris' image,218 and in the indecision of Lorenzo about matrimony in The Bashful Lover.219

Change of mind is an ungrateful and inartistic experience. It has landed many honest politicians in bitter and undeserved reproaches. From Aristotle's time onwards Euripides has been blamed for his Iphigenia at Aulis, who first feared to die, and then offered herself for her country.220 We certainly feel that in Massinger there are occasionally instances of cheap repentance which do not seem real. Take the case of Corisca in The Bondman; a bad woman repents, but though convinced we are not pleased at the spectacle.221 If Massinger had ever read the Poetics of Aristotle, he forgot or ignored the precept that a character should be ὁμαλόν, or “consistent.”222 If this is not the case there is a danger that [pg 076] the effect will be μιαρόν, or “odious,” to use a word of which Aristotle is fond. I think, then, that this charge is proven. Massinger saw how effective on the stage a sudden change of character might be, but lacked the necessary art to make it convincing. Hence some of his characters are not even ὁμαλῶς ἀνώμαλοι.223 Perhaps the explanation is this, that, being a master of language, he overvalued the persuasiveness of rhetoric.224 It is not enough to portray the varying emotions which sway the mind at a particular moment; to produce a satisfactory whole they have to be fused together. The reader should not feel that the characters are at the mercy of the situations in which they are placed, or they will appear to be lay-figures or puppets, rather than live flesh and blood.

Yet even here a defence of some sort can be set up for our poet. I will endeavour to make my meaning clear by an analogy from music. It may have occurred to someone to ask what the music of Mozart would have been like if he had lived after Beethoven. Would it have been more serious and sublime than it is? The question is worth asking, even if the only answer to it be this, that without Mozart Beethoven would never have existed. I think it is fair to argue that Massinger, in his constant effort after the representation of change of character, was before his time; he was seeking after a complex but possible effect, which the novelist can undertake but which the limitations of the stage render almost impossible.225

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Is it fanciful to say that if he had lived in the eighteenth century, if he had had before his eyes the work of Fielding, Richardson, and Smollett, he would have been a good novelist, less cynical than Fielding, more concise than Richardson, more ideal than Smollett? There are authors like Euripides and Virgil whose very failures by a strange paradox seem part of their greatness; and we may perhaps say that Massinger, by pointing the way somewhat tentatively and blindly to subtle psychological studies, has helped to build up the noble fabric of the English novel.

Let us now turn to some miscellaneous points of interest in Massinger; and first, let us note his imitation of Shakspere. It is tempting to suppose that as he was at one time a dependent of a family which was intimate with Shakspere he may have come across the man himself;226 it is, at any rate, simpler to remember that as he was thirty-two years of age when Shakspere died, he can hardly have failed to meet him in his professional relations. But we have no evidence of the fact. All we can say is that his plays, like those of Fletcher, Webster, Tourneur, and others,227 show a constant study of Shakspere.228

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First let me give a few examples of the imitation of incidents. In The Roman Actor,229 Paris refers to a tragedy “in which a murder was acted to the life,” which forced a guilty hearer to make discovery of his secret; this recalls the play scene in Hamlet.230 In A Very Woman231 Almira makes Antonio tell her his history. The hint of this is taken from Othello.232 In The Fatal Dowry233 Beaumelle and her maid arrange to be overheard, like Hero and Ursula in Much Ado about Nothing.234 The device by which Beaupré recovers her husband in The Parliament of Love is imitated from All's Well that Ends Well and Measure for Measure. The banditti in The Guardian235 respect the poor like the outlaws in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.236 The forest scenes in the same play recall As You Like It and Midsummer-Night's Dream.237 In The Bashful Lover238 the pretty tale of a sister which Ascanio tells is a reminiscence of Twelfth Night.239 The incident in the same play of Hortensio with Ascanio in his arms240 is modelled on As You Like It.241 Malefort's behaviour to the tailor242 is imitated from Petruchio's in The Taming of the Shrew.243 The gibberish of the pretended Indians in The City Madam244 reminds us of Parolles' adventure in All's Well.245 The scene in The Emperor of the East246 where Eudocia professes to have eaten the apple is modelled on Othello247, where Desdemona asserts that the handkerchief is not lost. In The Bondman248 Zanthia overhears Corisca's confession of love in her sleep, as Iago [pg 079] does Cassio's.249 In A New Way to pay Old Debts250 Sir Giles Overreach, is carried off for treatment to a dark room like Malvolio in Twelfth Night.251 Almira in A Very Woman252 reminds us of the sleep-walking scene in Macbeth. The ghosts in The Unnatural Combat253 and The Roman Actor254 are used like those in the finale of Richard III.

Parallels in thought and diction are also numerous. Take The Roman Actor255:

Aretinus. Are you on the stage,
You talk so boldly?
Paris. The whole world being one,
This place is not exempted.

This goes back to Jaques in As You Like It.256 In The Maid of Honour257 Jacomo talks of “trailing the puissant pike;” the phrase of Pistol in Henry V.258 In The Emperor of the East259 Athenais makes use of the phrase “prophetic [pg 080] soul,” which we remember in Hamlet.260 Leosthenes uses the same phrase in The Bondman261 when the mutinous slave Cimbrio boasts of the excesses of his friends. The pun which Hircius makes on the cobbler's awl262 occurs in the first scene of Julius Cæsar. The madness of the English slave in A Very Woman263 comes from the grave-diggers' scene in Hamlet.264 The “many-headed monster, multitude” of Theodosius in The Emperor of the East265 takes us back to Coriolanus' “beast with many heads”;266 while the reference in the same play267 to the “stomach” reminds us of the fable of Menenius.268 In The Bashful Lover269 Uberti discourses thus:

I look on your dimensions, and find not
Mine own of lesser size; the blood that fills
My veins, as hot as yours, my sword as sharp,
My nerves of equal strength, my heart as good.

This reminds us of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice270 and the King in Henry V.271 Clarindore's language in The Parliament of Love272 is modelled on Malvolio in Twelfth Night.273 The same is true of Sir Giles Overreach in A New Way.274 Shakspere's dislike of spaniels reappears in the same play.275

No doubt we must make deductions for the common [pg 081] idioms of the day,276 but the cumulative evidence of these parallels with the elder dramatist is overwhelming.277

Massinger is very fond of introducing doctors in his plays; so no doubt are the other dramatists of this period. It is interesting to compare Paulo in A Very Woman with Corax in The Lover's Melancholy of Ford, who deals successfully with two cases of mental derangement. Ford is more subtle, Massinger more dignified. Thus we find in The Virgin Martyr278 a consultation about Antoninus' health. Sapritius, the afflicted father, hails the doctors thus:

O you that are half gods, lengthen that life
Their deities lend us; turn o'er all the volumes
Of your mysterious Æsculapian science
T' increase the number of this young man's days.279

Compare with this another passage in The Duke of Milan:

Sforza. O you earthly gods,
You second natures, that from your great master,
Who join'd the limbs of torn Hippolytus,
And drew upon himself the Thunderer's envy,
Are taught those hidden secrets that restore
To life death-wounded men!280

In A Very Woman281 Paulo, on entering with two surgeons, is thus addressed:

Duke. My hand! You rather
Deserve my knee, and it shall bend as to
A second father, if your saving aids
Restore my son.
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Viceroy. Rise, thou bright star of knowledge,
Thou honour of thy art, thou help of nature.
Thou glory of our academies!

The old saying, “Ubi tres medici ibi duo athei,” referred to by Sir T. Browne in Religio Medici is recalled to us by these lines:

Viceroy. Observe his piety; I have heard, how true
I know not, most physicians, as they grow
Greater in skill, grow less in their religion;
Attributing so much to natural causes,
That they have little faith in that they cannot
Deliver reason for; this doctor steers
Another course.282

We find them again in The Emperor of the East,283 where a surgeon is contrasted with an empiric who vends his wares and talks much Latin, like the quack in Ben Jonson's Alchemist, while Paulinus complains of the many medical impostors who prey upon the rich. The crisis of The Duke of Milan284 owes much to the action of doctors. The plot of A Very Woman hinges largely on the skill of the doctor Paulo, to whom we have referred above. In this play we have two victims of melancholy, Almira and Cardenes; the former is cured by falling in love with the disguised John Antonio; the latter is Paulo's patient. The recovery of the avaricious father in The Roman Actor285 is due to Paris acting in the part of a doctor. The physician Dinant in The Parliament of Love gives the gallants a good lesson (IV., 5). And in The Picture286 we find an elaborate simile, in which soldiers are said to be the surgeons of the State. In the same play Hilario,287 when on starvation [pg 083] fare, is accosted by a surgeon, who invites him to sell himself for “a living anatomy to be set up in the surgeons' hall.” Such passages,288 and the zest with which Massinger refers to potatoes, eringos, and the like,289 together with the rather wearisome allusions which he makes to “caudles” and “cullises,”290 lead us to wonder whether at one time of his life he may have seriously studied medicine. There is a significant passage in The Parliament of Love,291 where Chamont says to the doctor Dinant,

Good master doctor, when your leisure serves,
Visit my house; when we least need their art,
Physicians look most lovely.

And close intercourse with doctors may have suggested the lines immediately below:

Novall. The knave is jealous.
Perigot. 'Tis a disease few doctors cure themselves of.

At the same time, let us not forget the passages where he shows a knowledge of the law;292 nor the fact that books have been written to prove that Shakspere must have had a training in this or that profession.293 The really interesting point about the doctors in Massinger is that they are so often praised as the healers of the mind; the dramatist who delights in drawing gloomy, passionate characters seems to have a high opinion for the profession which [pg 084] undertook to cure “melancholy.”294 In A Very Woman he takes care to praise and reward the doctor more highly than the surgeons. On the other hand, like most of his contemporaries, he naturally makes the physician a part of the machinery rather than an individual character. Even the doctor in A Fair Quarrel, who takes an unusually large part in the plot, can hardly be said to be more than a carefully drawn lay figure. The same remark applies to the friars of Shakspere.

The chief question about Massinger which interests the student of English is the authorship of Henry VIII. Did he take part in writing that play with Fletcher? There is a great mass of literature on this subject. As one who has read the undoubted plays of Massinger many times, I am bound to say that while there is much in the play which reminds one of Shakspere and Fletcher, I find little trace of Massinger's style. I do not deny that there are one or two slight reminiscences; thus the word “file”295 is a favourite one with Massinger. We find blushing in the play once or twice,296 but then we find it elsewhere in Shakspere. Anne's remark to the old lady, “Come, you are pleasant,”297 is in Massinger's manner, but he may have taken the turn from Shakspere. The strict metre of such a line as this is like Massinger;298 the same remark applies again:

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Surrey. Has the King this?
Suffolk. Believe it.
Surrey. Will this work?

The fourth scene of the second act is a great law-court Scene, and Massinger has several such, in which he may be copying Shakspere. The combination of courtiers in dialogue which we get in various parts of Henry VIII is like Massinger;299 but, to my mind, the scenes are more clumsy than their parallels in Massinger. Sudden changes of mind are found in Henry VIII;300 and this is probably the strongest bit of evidence in favour of Massinger's authorship. The characters are not harmoniously rounded off: Buckingham's prayers for the King301 do not please us; the King's scruples of conscience are not convincing;302 Wolsey's meekness303 and piety304 do not ring true, though they anticipate the picture of his last year which we get in Cavendish's Life—but all these blemishes may be due to hasty work or dual authorship. Failure in representing vacillation and complexity of character is, as we have seen above, a note of Massinger, but the failures of this kind in Henry VIII are marked by a sentimentality which reminds us of Fletcher.

Let us see now what there is in the play unlike Massinger. To begin with, there are many passages in Shakspere's difficult later style,305 and there is a complete absence of Massinger's sinuous sentences and frequent parentheses, as also of his peculiar vocabulary; there are many flights of high and tender poetry which are beyond his compass; there are brilliant γνῶμαι, such as—

Griffith. Noble madam,
Men's evil manners live in brass, their virtues
We write in water,306
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Chancellor. But we are all men,
In our own natures frail, and capable
Of our flesh; few are angels,307

which are quite out of his range of power.

Again, there is a curious series of links in the play, by which characters who are to come on later are introduced; it seems to be an attempt to give unity to a disconnected work. Thus, the King's belief in Cranmer is early indicated;308 Cromwell's future success is foreshadowed by Wolsey;309 Gardiner's dislike of Cranmer is brought before us.310 This is a method of which I can recall no instance in Massinger's undoubted plays.

In spite of his roughness and ferocity, Henry is more of a man than any of Massinger's tyrants; there is no parallel in Massinger to Anne Boleyn, slight as her portrait is; while Katherine and Wolsey are alike far superior to anything of his. Lastly, the pageantry and processions of the play do not appear in Massinger's simple designs.

The authors of Henry VIII were essaying an impossible task. They were trying to construct an historical play out of materials which were too various to make artistic unity feasible, and they had to make an unattractive character the centre of the piece. Consequently, they decided to end the play at the christening of Elizabeth, and to cover their retreat with gorgeous rhetoric about the Virgin Queen311 and her Stuart successor. It would have been quite impossible to introduce the death of Anne Boleyn, or any further incident of the reign, without harrowing the feelings of the spectator and losing all sense of proportion. But they do make a desperate effort to centre our attention on the King as a commanding figure; he comes before us as “the first gentleman in [pg 087] Europe,” and as the anxious lover of his people; he is represented as torn by conflicting emotions about the divorce, and as badly treated by Rome; all we can say is, these facts are true, however unskilfully the play brings them before us. Whatever the King does, we are meant to like him. His victims all conspire to invoke the blessings of Heaven on his head; Buckingham,312 Wolsey,313 Katherine,314 all agree in this, reminding us of John Stubbs the Puritan, who, when his right hand was cut off for writing a book against Elizabeth's proposed marriage, put off his hat with his left, and said with a loud voice, “God save the Queen.” The christening scene in Act V. is skilfully constructed so as to concentrate our interest on Henry; we feel that he is a royal and heroic figure, whose faults may in the last resort be palliated by the consideration that he is the father of Elizabeth.

I agree with the critics who regard the play as a failure from the artistic point of view; it lacks unity, and it moves awkwardly. It might even be called a spectacular experiment. But I rate it higher than they seem to do; its faults are largely due to the subject; it has much of Shakspere in it, as for example, the conscientious way in which the historical details are introduced.315 It is full of superb and moving passages, and it uses the eleven-syllable line with skill and tenderness. If some of its defects remind us faintly of Massinger, its excellences are altogether beyond his abilities. Doubtless, it is natural to wish that each play of Shakspere should excel its predecessor, and to be unwilling to confess that he ended his career with something that was not supremely excellent. In the same way we may be sorry that one [pg 088] of Mozart's last works, Titus, was a failure. But it is better to take things as we find them than to seek to twist them into something else on inadequate grounds.

Boyle's attribution of Henry VIII to Fletcher and Massinger316 was coldly received by the New Shakspere Society.317 Let us look at his arguments. I trust that condensation will do them no injustice.

1. There is a change in the conception of the character of Buckingham. Such changes constantly occur in the plays which Fletcher and Massinger wrote together, notably in the character of Sir John Van Olden Barnavelt. Therefore Massinger wrote part of Henry VIII. This line of argument, even if valid, would only prove collaboration by Fletcher with someone else.

2. The Shakspere play All is True may have perished in the “Globe” fire of 1613. Henry VIII was written to take its place, but not produced before 1616. The evidence quoted for the date 1616-17 is very weak, and does nothing to prove Massinger's co-operation.

3. If it be urged that the reputed authors of the play were alive in 1623, when it was published as Shakspere's work in the Folio, Boyle replies,318 “that, with the exception perhaps of Ben Jonson, it would never have occurred to a dramatist of that age to claim as his property what was published under another's name.” This is a bold statement. Can an instance of such indifference be quoted? Or are we merely bidden to remember that Massinger was poor?

4. Boyle then works through the scenes which he ascribes to Massinger.

I., 1.—The opening is like The Emperor of the East, III., 1. “An untimely ague” corresponds to “a sudden fever.” The resemblance of the scenes is undoubted, and the parallel phrases are remarkable. Note, however, [pg 089] that the writer says the same thing twice (lines 4 and 13), while lines 9-12 are not like Massinger.

I., 4.—Lines 1-18, and 60 to the end. I find no trace of Massinger's style in these passages. He never wrote lines 75-6:

The fairest hand I ever touch'd! O beauty,
Till now I never knew thee!

or such a phrase as “let the music knock it” ad finem.

II., 1.—Lines 1-54, and 136 to the end. I find no trace of Massinger's style in these passages. Boyle has to allow that Fletcher altered several lines in 1-54; this is precarious and subjective reasoning.

II., 3.—Lines 1-11 are in the parenthetic manner, but quite unlike Massinger's. “Soft cheveril conscience” in line 31, and “you'd venture an emballing” in line 47, are instances of the strong vocabulary which marks the play.319 Picturesque phrases of this kind are not characteristic of Massinger's style.

Nor did Massinger ever sink so low as line 64:

A thousand pound a year, annual support.320

II., 4.—No doubt Massinger loves a forensic scene, but this one leads to nothing and leaves the mind in confusion. Now, Massinger was too good an artist to do that. The things the people say in this scene must have passed through their minds in real life, but they are combined in such a way as to be true to history rather than to dramatic propriety. The author aims at telling what happened, and what happened does not always make a good play. It might even be urged from what we know of Massinger that he was too good a “stage-poet” to undertake an English historical play with its necessary limitations.

III., 2, 1-203.—The scene, like so much else in the play, lacks the refinement and courtliness which Massinger [pg 090] always has at his command. It may be noted that the bluff, coarse atmosphere of the “Shaksperian” scenes is very suitable to the central figure of the play.321 Henry VIII infects his surroundings with himself, and this might be quoted as an indication of Shaksperian skill.

IV., 1.—The prosaic details of this scene are unlike anything in Massinger.322

V., 1.—The point of this scene is to concentrate our attention on Elizabeth's birth. The scene “sprawls” sadly, to use Boyle's description of Fletcher's method. First we have Gardiner and Lovell, then Henry and Suffolk, then Henry and Cranmer, then Henry and the old lady. Massinger constructed better than this.

V., 3, 1-113.—Such a speech as Cranmer makes (lines 58-69) is too short for Massinger's ample method, and its terse, broken style is singularly unlike his.

5. The few parallels of diction which Boyle brings forward are either from plays which are not certainly by Massinger, or may be explained as due to reminiscence or common phraseology.

6. Boyle has much of value to say in his criticisms of the characters. But again and again he seems to forget that the author is hampered by the story. He could not treat Henry VIII as Schiller treated Mary Stuart; to idealize the events would have been an act of lèse-majesté.

It is true that Anne Boleyn is not a creation of the same order as Shakspere's later heroines—Imogen, Miranda, Marina, Perdita. Though beautiful and charming, she is shallow and commonplace. Is not this, however, the Anne Boleyn of real life?

“Katherine is inferior to Hermione in The Winter's Tale.” But why should not her portrait be drawn on different lines? Is she not a proud Spanish princess? She is certainly one of the great figures of English Tragedy.

Wolsey is meant to be great but is really vulgar, while [pg 091] “his utter collapse after disgrace is unnatural.” The reply is that Wolsey is a mixed character, and none the worse dramatically for that; very able, very unscrupulous in his use of the courtier's tricks, very fond of power; but not wholly bad. His repentance is true at once to human nature and to history.

“The king is unintelligible.” The fact is, it was impossible to make a hero of Henry VIII; it does not, therefore, follow that Massinger helped to write the play! Boyle is correct when he says that it is with Henry as it is with Wolsey: “we receive our impressions of the characters from the opinions formed of them by others.” In other words, the characterization of the play is faulty. Some critics have supposed that this fact is due to loss of mental power by Shakspere; it is simpler to hold the collaboration with Fletcher as responsible for the jolts and jars which the play gives the reader. If anyone still holds that Shakspere wrote the whole play, he might plausibly take the line that Shakspere was experimenting in the new style and metre of his popular young rival Fletcher. If, however, Shakspere in his retreat at Stratford, in days when posts were infrequent and locomotion slow, forwarded scenes and suggestions for Fletcher to work up at his own sweet will, something like what we have would be the result. Fletcher was evidently on his mettle on this occasion. I cannot prove that Fletcher did not invite Massinger to help him in such an enterprise, and I know how fond Massinger was of studying Shakspere. The latter argument, however, cuts both ways. Again, Massinger may have had an earlier Shaksperian style, very unlike his mature style; but this is pure hypothesis. The evidence which we have does not justify us in saying more than this, that he knew the play of Henry VIII well.323

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It would take me too far from my purpose to discuss the authorship of The Two Noble Kinsmen in detail, interesting as the problem is, but as many critics have assigned the “un-Fletcherian” parts of the play to Massinger, I have, as in duty bound, read the play carefully several times. There is very little trace of his style, or method, or metre. The only passage which reads to me like Massinger is assigned by Boyle to Fletcher.324 Mr. Dugdale Sykes, in an acute article,325 has produced some parallels between Massinger and The Two Noble Kinsmen; but though one or two of them are striking, they do not prove his case when they are looked at in connexion with the context.

Take, for example:

3rd Queen. He that will all the treasure know o' th' earth
Must know the centre too.326

Mr. Sykes compares these lines in The Parliament of Love:

Cleremond. And I should gild my misery with false comforts,
If I compared it with an Indian slave's,
That with incessant labour to search out
Some unknown mine, dives almost to the centre.327

On this passage I make two remarks: first, such similarity of thought as is found here may be due to imitation or unconscious reminiscence of The Two Noble Kinsmen. A man who constantly repeats himself is surely the sort of person who would delight to borrow thoughts and phrases from other writers, and to imitate whole scenes and incidents. [pg 093] Are we to suppose that Massinger confined his studies to Shakspere?

Secondly, let us judge the passage as a whole; it runs thus:

He that will all the treasure know o' th' earth
Must know the centre too; he that will fish
For my least minnow, let him lead his line
To catch one at my heart.

Anything more unlike Massinger than this fishing for minnows cannot be imagined.

Take again the parallel,328 “which alone should be conclusive of Massinger's authorship”:

Pirithous. Though I know
His ocean needs not my poor drops, yet they
Must yield their tribute there. My precious maid,
Those best affections, that the heavens infuse
In their best temper'd pieces, keep enthroned
In your dear heart.329

In Believe as You List we have:

Though I know
The ocean of your apprehensions needs not
The rivulet of my poor cautions, yet,
Bold from my long experience, I presume, etc.330

Though the similarity of thought and expression in the first three lines is manifest, the archaic simplicity of the first passage differs greatly from the mature flow of the second.

What is Mr. Sykes' theory? “If we admit Massinger's collaboration in this play, at the very outset of his literary career, before his style was definitely formed, and when the influence of the foremost dramatist of the age was strongest upon him, the apparently ‘Shaksperian’ quality of its verse can readily be explained.” On this proposition I make two remarks; [pg 094] first, that as we have none of Massinger's early works, I cannot prove that he never wrote in the style of The Two Noble Kinsmen; I can only assert with absolute certainty that none of his extant works has the least resemblance to it. Secondly, as to the supposed “Shaksperian” colour of the play, this is a point on which one's judgment varies each time one reads it. There is a great deal in the “un-Fletcherian” parts which reminds one of Shakspere; some of it is so like his later style that it is not surprising to find that many great critics have assigned it to him; many other passages, however, seem just not to ring true; they are obscure because they have little meaning. For let not the fact be disguised, in spite of one great lyric, several splendid scenes, and some fine speeches, there is much poor stuff in The Two Noble Kinsmen.

The simplest explanation of the double ascription in the quarto of 1634 is to suppose that Shakspere helped Fletcher in some way. He may even have written the un-Fletcherian parts,331 though, personally, I find traces of Fletcher in them also; he may have left material which Fletcher worked up; he may have merely suggested the construction of the plot, a department in which Fletcher is weak.

If, however, the “Shaksperian” parts be deemed unworthy of Shakspere, why assign them to Massinger, whose work they do not resemble? Could no one else have imitated Shakspere except Massinger? Why should not Fletcher himself for once have caught the Shaksperian manner? Why should he not have confided the execution of a part to someone else who was soaked in Shakspere's style? Why should not Beaumont have helped him here as elsewhere,332 or possibly Heywood?

The archaic flavour of the play is to me the outstanding fact about it; we know that plays on this subject were acted [pg 095] in 1566 and 1594. The archaic flavour may be due to the influence of Chaucer on the writers; it is more likely to be due to an earlier play having been taken and altered. It might also be due to the collaboration of someone like Heywood, who, though late in time, is surprisingly simple and early in style. The rustic scenes are an instance of this very early manner.333 If Shakspere and Fletcher took an old play, and the former contributed a few turns to the revised edition, then everything would be accounted for.334 It will be said that there are scenes which remind us of Lady Macbeth and Ophelia; why should not an already existing play have suggested to Shakspere something which he worked up in those two characters into a far finer result? We know for a fact that much of his best work is based on older plays. This random hypothesis is quite as probable as the supposition that Massinger had anything to do with The Two Noble Kinsmen.

Let us next consider Mr. Tucker Brooke's position.335 After a searching and masterly analysis of the merits and defects of the play, he ends with a guarded tendency towards assigning the “un-Fletcherian” parts to Massinger on the following grounds: “The metrical tests give him an even better title than his master [i.e., Shakspere] to the doubtful parts of our play.” To this I reply that style is a more important test than metre. There are, secondly, “the structural and psychological imperfections of the work”; thirdly, “the tendency to unnecessary coarseness of language”; fourthly, “the feeble imitation of Shakspere”; fifthly, “the frequent similarity to Massinger's acknowledged writings.” The only serious argument against the assumption is that there is nothing in Massinger to compare with “the magnificent poetry of the un-Fletcherian part.”

Let us briefly look at these arguments. The work [pg 096] is “structurally and psychologically imperfect.” True, and this point might be quoted to support the theory that the play is based on an old and immature tragedy. As far as concerns structure, Massinger's plays are always strong; so that part of the argument falls to the ground. No doubt his psychology is his weak point, but its weakness is of a different kind from that which we find in The Two Noble Kinsmen. There are no violent emotions of the sort in which he rejoices in it. There are no characters in Massinger resembling Palamon and Arcite. Mr. Brooke refers to their “spinelessness,” and it is true that they are not much differentiated. I suppose, however, that he would allow that they start by being a romantic pair of friends, that their quarrel when they first see Emilia is lifelike, and that their subsequent behaviour is chivalrous. When he refers to “the really revolting wishy-washiness and ingrained sensuality of Emilia” he uses exaggerated language. The fact is, that Emilia is in a very difficult position, and if her character is ambiguous it is the fault of the story rather than of the author.

“The tendency to unnecessary coarseness of language.” This is based in the main on Hippolyta's language,336 with which Mr. Sykes compares a passage in The Unnatural Combat.337 I have discussed the supposed coarseness of Massinger's heroines elsewhere. In spite of everything that Boyle can say, with his catalogue of twenty-two passages, I wonder who is right about Massinger's women, Boyle or Courthope, who says that “his portraits of women show more delicacy of feeling and imagination than those of any English dramatist with the exception of Shakspere.”338 I, at any rate, feel that Courthope is nearer the truth than Boyle and his followers.

“Feeble imitation of Shakspere.” That there is imitation of Shakspere in Massinger we all know; but I deny that it is feeble, and we know that others of the same age, [pg 097] like Fletcher, Webster, and Tourneur, have delighted to imitate him.

“The frequent similarity to Massinger's writings.” In the first place, I do not feel that the similarity is frequent; and secondly, as has already been pointed out, what similarity there is may be due to imitation of The Two Noble Kinsmen by Massinger. Are we to suppose that the only author he imitated or borrowed from was Shakspere?

The final reservation raises mixed feelings. I am tired of those writers who grudgingly attribute to Massinger the leavings of other playwrights, making him the whipping boy of his age, and who proceed to qualify their theories by doubts as to his ability to attain to the excellences which they perforce discover in them. I will be so far generous to Mr. Brooke as to allow that “the magnificent poetry of the un-Fletcherian parts” is unlike Massinger, because there is no reason for supposing that he wrote any of these parts. Massinger's fame can stand on its own merits without these churlishly conceded ascriptions of doubtful work.

And now let us pass to Boyle's notable article on this subject.339 Much as I admire his learning and zeal, I am amazed at the perversity of his judgment and the thinness of his arguments. Let us take them in order. “There is a want of development in the dramatic character”340 of The Two Noble Kinsmen. This Boyle ascribes to the fact that, as elsewhere, Massinger's conceptions were blurred by Fletcher's co-operation in other parts of the play. As this argument begs the question it has no weight. “Allusions to Shakspere are characteristic both of Massinger and The Two Noble Kinsmen.”341 Are we to suppose that no one imitated Shakspere except Massinger? “The metrical structure of the play corresponds closely with Massinger's general style.”342 Here, however, Boyle [pg 098] has to allow that the percentages for double endings are not what you would expect. And I look with suspicion on a writer who professes to be so certain of these tests that he can assign I., 1-40, and V., 1-19, to Fletcher. “Massinger is fond of classical allusions, as is the author of The Two Noble Kinsmen.”343 This argument deserves no consideration when we remember that the fact is true of other Elizabethan writers. For example, we find “the helmeted Bellona,”344 and Massinger is fond of the sonorous word.345 Yes, but Bellona is not unknown in Shakspere. M. Arnold has pointed out that she occurs in a weak passage of Macbeth.346 “Medical and surgical similes occur in both.”347 When we come to investigate these we find that the remarks in question are of a commonplace kind. “The characters of The Two Noble Kinsmen resemble those of Massinger.”348 Theseus, for example, resembles Lorenzo in The Bashful Lover. I see no resemblance. “Palamon and Arcite may be met with in many of Massinger's plays.”349 I fail to find them anywhere. “The three ladies are grossly sensual in their remarks.”350 I have dealt with this point before, and it really amounts to a mischievous obsession in Boyle's mind. Let us take the passages seriatim; Emilia is talking privately to Hippolyta351 about a dead girl friend to whom she was devoted when young. In the course of this beautiful passage she says:

The flower that I would pluck
And put between my breasts, then but beginning
To swell about the blossom, oh! she would long
Till she had such another, and commit it
To the like innocent cradle, where phœnix-like
They died in perfume.
[pg 099]

I am ashamed to waste words in vindicating this passage, which Boyle sets by the language of Iachimo in Cymbeline in describing the mole on Imogen's breast352 to a company of gentlemen.

The next one is “decisive of the question of the authorship of our play.”

1st Queen. When her arms,
Able to lock Jove from a synod, shall
By warranting moonlight corslet thee, O when
Her twinning cherries shall their sweetness fall353
Upon thy tasteful lips, what wilt thou think
Of rotten kings and blubbered queens? What care
For what thou feel'st not, what thou feel'st being able
To make Mars spurn his drum? O, if thou covet
But one night with her, every hour in't will
Take hostage of thee for a hundred, and
Thou shalt remember nothing more than what
That banquet bids thee to.354

Though there are passages in Massinger of which the thought is similar to that presented here, I do not judge it or them as severely as Boyle. The point, however, which I wish to make is this: these lines are typical of what I have called the archaic flavour of the play. Where in Massinger's works will you find “warranting moonlight,” “tasteful lips,” “twinning cherries,” “rotten kings and blubbered queens,” or “Mars' drum”? The idea that Massinger wrote this passage is quite preposterous; the only thing in it which reminds one of him is the “and” at the end of line 204.

Lastly, we have Hippolyta's words in the same scene:

Yet I think
Did I not by the abstaining of my joy,
Which breeds a deeper longing, cure their surfeit
[pg 100]
That craves a present medicine, I should pluck
All ladies' scandal on me.355

Hippolyta agrees in these lines to postpone her wedding in order that the Queens should be avenged on Creon. No doubt the lines are crude, but Boyle goes too far with his “cloven hoof,” his “effluvia of social corruption,” his “thick miasma.”

“There is a close parallel between The Two Noble Kinsmen and A Very Woman in the treatment of madness.”356 I do not see much similarity between the prose of the one play and the poetry of the other, but so far as any exists it is due to the common ideas of the age as to the way in which to treat the mad. “The reflections in the dialogue of Palamon and Arcite,357 on the corruptions of Thebes, the neglect of soldiers, the extravagance of fashion, are allusions such as Massinger makes to contemporary English life.”358 The allusions are such as any moralist might make, and if the rough and immature style in which they are expressed is not like Massinger's the argument falls to the ground.

“There are a good many expressions in common between The Two Noble Kinsmen and Massinger.”359 This is the really serious argument; but let me repeat that similarity of thought and expression in isolated phrases does not prove unity of authorship. Let us, however, look at some of these parallels.

Reference is twice made in The Two Noble Kinsmen to “the wheaten garland” of brides.360 Massinger refers to “the garland” of a bridegroom in three passages.361 I fail to see the connexion. Notice also that Massinger does not use the epithet “wheaten” in these passages.

[pg 101]

Theseus says, “Troubled I am,” and turns away.362 It was quite natural that he should think twice before postponing his wedding. Boyle compares a passage where Ladislas is in uncertainty363:

I am much troubled,
And do begin to stagger.

People in Massinger's plays are often perplexed, and so they are in real life. Note that Theseus ends his remark with these words at the beginning of a line. When Massinger's characters are in perplexity their way of expressing themselves is quite different; it is more full and rounded off.

Theseus says: “Forward to the temple,”364 being anxious to be married. “Similar words in similar situations occur in Massinger.”365 In neither case, however, is it a bridegroom who speaks.

The Two Noble Kinsmen, I., 165, 166:

1st Queen. And that work presents itself to th' doing;
Now 'twill take form, the heats are gone to-morrow.

Boyle says this is obscure, but can be explained by Empress of the East:

That resolution which grows cold to-day
Will freeze to-morrow.366

The thought is a familiar one; and can anyone suppose that Massinger wrote line 165?

The expression “our undertaker”367 recalls a word used by Shakspere.368 Massinger also has it twice;369 the parallel is interesting, but the word was a cant political term of Jacobean times.

[pg 102]

The fact that apes imitate is referred to in these lines:370

'Tis in our own power—
Unless we fear that apes can tutor's—to
Be masters of our manners.

In The Emperor of the East we find:

You are master of the manners and the habit,
Rather the scorn of such as would live men,
And not, like apes, with servile imitation
Study prodigious fashions.371

Surely there is no need to assume common authorship here. The imitative ape has been common property for a long time.

A peculiarity of a sick man is referred to, thus:

I must no more believe thee in this point
Than I will trust a sickly appetite,
That loathes even as it longs.372

Massinger in A Very Woman has:

No more of Love, good father,
It was my surfeit, and I loathe it now,
As men in fevers meat they fall sick on.373

The simile is a part of ordinary experience and literary convention. You might as well argue that Massinger wrote Euphues.

The jailer's daughter leaves the scene with this remark:

It is a holiday to look on them; Lord, the difference of men.374

Lidia, in The Great Duke of Florence, when Sanazarro seems to be treating her rudely, exclaims:

Oh, the difference of natures!375

But she does not leave the stage.

[pg 103]

We might say: Oh, the difference of styles! In the one case we have a rustic maiden of low birth; in the other, a lady justly offended.

I do not deny that some of the parallels are remarkable, but they may be due to imitation or reminiscence. Take the words:

Thou, O jewel,
O' th' wood, o' th' world, hast likewise blest a place
With thy sole presence.376

In The Great Duke of Florence we find:

And what place
Does he now bless with his presence?377

The phrase is one which Massinger's courtly mind would treasure and delight to use.

Theseus, addressing Artesius, says:

Forth and levy
Our worthiest instruments, whilst we despatch
This grand act of our life, this daring deed
Of fate in wedlock.378

Phrases like this are found in Massinger; thus in The Maid of Honour, Roberto says of the wedding of Bertoldo and Aurelia:

And rest assur'd that, this great work despatch'd,
You shall have audience.379

They may be due to reminiscence, though it is simpler to regard them as the current English of the day.

The strongest evidence for Boyle's theory is contained in Palamon's invocation to Venus:380

[pg 104]
I never practised
Upon man's wife, nor would the libels read
Of liberal wits; I never at great feasts
Sought to betray a beauty.

These words certainly remind us of Leosthenes in The Bondman, both in thought and style:

Nor endeavour'd
To make your blood run high at solemn feasts,
With viands that provoke; the speeding philtres;
I worked no bawds to tempt you; never practised
The cunning and corrupting arts they study
That wander in the wild maze of desire.381

I think, however, that reminiscence will suffice to account for the parallel. The man who could write the last line of this passage has no need to buttress up his fame with The Two Noble Kinsmen, though it is of course conceivable that he edited it for publication in 1634.

Lastly, the method of Massinger calls for a few words. It has been noticed by all the critics that he often repeats himself. As is the case with Plautus the same metaphors, thoughts, and words recur from time to time in similar situations. It is clear that this characteristic might help us to trace those parts of Fletcher's plays in which Massinger collaborated.

One or two simple instances of this fact may be quoted: the characters in Massinger are very fond of blushing;382 [pg 105] references to the talkativeness of women are frequent;383 metaphors from the sea and sailing are very common;384 people are fond of saying that they mean to do something but they do not know what;385 the exact courtier kneels and kisses the robe of a lady or her foot, and is sometimes rebuked for doing so.386

[pg 106]

As a good moralist, Massinger dislikes suicide387 and duelling.388 The latter practice is referred to in his plays as a new-fangled importation from abroad.

Let us now quote some of his favourite words: references need not be given for “honour”; wherever we find “atheist” for a bad man,389 or “magnificent” for munificent,390 [pg 107] or the Latin phrase “nil ultra,”391 or the Greek words “apostata”392 and “embryon”;393 wherever we find “frontless”394 impudence and “sail-stretched” wings395 and “libidinous”396 Caesars; wherever the moisture of the lips is compared to nectar,397 wherever we read of “the centre”398 or of “horror,”399 or of washing an [pg 108] Ethiop,400 there we are on familiar ground. Again, it is a characteristic of Massinger, which offends some of his readers more than others, that he is always ready with the obvious remark. Thus, when Marrall, after a career of tergiversation is finally kicked off the stage, he says:

This is the haven
False servants still arrive at.401

In The Emperor of the East, when the complications about Paulinus' apple are getting rather serious, the Princess Flaccilla makes the remark, which is certainly in the mind of the reader:

All this pother for an apple!402

When Leosthenes allows himself to be intolerably coarse in his language to Cleora, we read these words:

Cleora. You are foul-mouth'd.
Archedamus. Ill-manner'd, too.403

When Hilario seeks to amuse his mistress with an absurd message from the front, and she observes, “This is ridiculous,”404 we feel inclined to say, “Not only ridiculous, but not worth writing.” When Cardenes, after lying as dead [pg 109] for some time, gives signs of life, the Viceroy very justly observes:

This care of his recovery, timely practis'd,
Would have expressed more of a father in you,
Than your impetuous clamours for revenge.405

It will be remembered that Shakspere had used this device in his day. Compare Richard II: “Can sick men play so nicely with their names?”406 Midsummer-Night's Dream: “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”407 1 Henry VI: “Here is a silly stately style indeed!”408

What impression do we get of Massinger from his writings? He was the intimate friend and associate of Fletcher; how far was he a man of the same stamp? Both as a poet and a stylist Fletcher is his superior; he is more tender and more varied; in isolated scenes he attains a high degree of pathos. From time to time the bursts of lovely poetry which illustrate his plays make us bow the head as though in the presence of an enchanter. The fifty plays which are currently associated with his name, with all their faults, are a veritable fairyland. Again, there is a terse piquancy about him, which expresses itself in clear-cut, vigorous lines, such as we find rarely in our poet. And he has a real vein of humour, which makes one laugh heartily.409 Nor is his direct and lucid prose style to be despised. On the other hand, he was not a great artist; his plots, though usually bustling, are often improbable; his character-drawing is constantly fickle and inconsequent. Thus, according to Boyle,410 in The Honest Man's Fortune, Tourneur and Massinger make Montague a gentleman; in Act V. Fletcher destroys all that was good in Massinger, but makes good sport for [pg 110] the groundlings. He maintains that the same thing happens to Buckingham in Henry VIII and to Barnavelt. Though there are many life-like characters in his works, to whom we feel attracted, such as Leon in Rule a Wife and have a Wife and Valerio in The Wife for a Month, they are too often made to do improbable things. Again, as a moralist Fletcher falls far behind Massinger. He shows from time to time a high-flown and tainted sentimentality which is far removed from real life. Indeed, the bad use to which he puts his great talent is often enough to make angels weep. He more than anyone is responsible for the Puritan reaction; he more than anyone is responsible for most of what was bad in the Restoration drama, and he has had his reward. Except by the student, his work is forgotten. It can hardly be doubted that the death of Fletcher was a gain to Massinger in emancipating him from the co-operation of a fascinating but unsafe guide.411 In standing alone he learnt to perfect all that was best in his own gifts.

It is difficult to form a clear judgment of Beaumont. The more I read what scholars attribute to him, the more I feel disposed to agree with Sir A. Ward that Beaumont and Fletcher were men of the same mind and tastes. It is plain that the author of Philaster, The Maid's Tragedy, and A King and No King had a range of passion and pathos beyond Massinger. Philaster is incomparable, and as we [pg 111] read the other two plays we hurry on from scene to scene; when we put the book down we are perturbed. They have carried us away in spite of their grave faults. The glorious nonsense of The Knight of the Burning Pestle is equally beyond Massinger. On the other hand, such disagreeable plays as The Coxcomb and Cupid's Revenge do not invite a second perusal. I do not feel that Beaumont was cleaner in mind than Fletcher, or more balanced in judgment. When we come to the department of metre we seem to be on surer ground; the metre of Beaumont has high qualities, and his decasyllabic verse reminds me of the cold purity of a waterfall. In style his lines constantly have a marked simplicity and directness which anticipate Wordsworth. He can write a line in which the words run in the order which they would have in prose, and hence his great strength. On the other hand, he is often careless about the length of his lines, possibly from a love of variety. He is fond of rhyme, and introduces prose freely into his scenes. His models appear to have been Marlowe for metre and Ben Jonson for treatment. He has a liking for burlesque, as witness The Knight of the Burning Pestle, The Woman-Hater, and Arbaces in A King and No King.412 All this is very unlike Massinger.

It may be asked, how does Massinger compare with Webster? This question naturally rises in the mind at a moment when a gifted writer, snatched from us before his time, has left us an interesting and scholarly study of Webster. Mr. Rupert Brooke makes no secret of his contempt for Fletcher, and “the second-rate magic” of Massinger; he regards Webster as the last of the strong school of Elizabethan dramatists.

Are we to compare Westward Ho!, Northward Ho!, and The Cure for a Cuckold with A New Way to pay Old Debts and The City Madam? They are less refined, less [pg 112] skilfully constructed. The stage is more crowded, and the characters are worse drawn. The same considerations apply to the Malcontent413 and The Devil's Law-case. Mr. Brooke practically allows that he means by Webster, The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, and these plays alone. Let it be said at once that it is an ungrateful task to magnify one poet at the expense of another. We allow that in these two plays Webster comes nearer to Shakspere than any of his compeers. He has a great, a subtle, a well-stored mind; he produces isolated tragic effects of the most poignant kind; he is a master of atmosphere; he plays with the feelings of his auditors; he can dazzle them by “his miraculous touches of poetic beauty.”

On the other hand, he is not a clear thinker, nor are his plays skilfully planned. I should imagine that they read better than they act. For instance, the scene in The Duchess of Malfi, where Ferdinand gives the heroine the dead hand, fills us with horror. I doubt if it would be effective on the stage. Webster's rhymes are poor, and his prose worse than Massinger's. Sir Sidney Lee414 says his blank verse is “vigorous and musical”; to me it seems too often ragged and halting. But the chief objection to Webster is that he lives in “a world of repulsive themes and fantastic crimes.” He revels in the sinister suggestions aroused by skulls, dead hands, ghosts, echoes, and madmen. His mind was morbid, and his successes are like lightning flashes of splendid power piercing a gloomy and sullen background.

The fact that he was not a productive writer may weigh less with some critics than with others; more important is it to remember that Massinger's plays held the stage much longer than Webster's. This fact may fairly be taken to prove the appeal which the former has successfully [pg 113] made to the human heart. Webster, in short, compared with Shakspere, reminds us somewhat of the contrast between Mantegna and Raphael.

In one or two respects Webster has affinities with Massinger. Both frequently imitate Shakspere; and both repeat themselves continually, though in different ways. Whereas Massinger used the same vocabulary and terms of thought again and again, Webster quotes whole sentences from one of his plays in another, as if he felt, like some of the Greek writers of antiquity, that when he had said a thing as it should be said, he had the right to use it again.415

It is difficult to compare Massinger with Ben Jonson: both wrote Roman plays and domestic comedies; but Ben Jonson has at once a greater mind and a wider range of experiment. He was a learned man, a great figure in society, the dictator of a circle of wits, the centre of many friendships and enmities. He would probably regard Massinger as a pale-featured, gentle hack. We know more about his full-blooded personality than about any other writer of the period, and while there is much in him to offend, there is more to inspire our respect.

Our immediate object is to compare the two writers as dramatists. It is at once clear that they work on different lines. Massinger is a follower of Shakspere and Fletcher, though we can trace in some of his tragedies the influence of Webster and Tourneur. In his comedies, we see some approximation to Ben Jonson; it is instructive to compare Eastward Ho! with The City Madam. A fundamental difference of method is at once seen; Massinger deliberately eschews the use of prose. It must at once be conceded that he has left nothing on so colossal a scale as Every Man in his Humour, Volpone, Epicoene, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair. Here we find skilful plot, masterly characterization, and ludicrous combinations. [pg 114] How heartily we laugh over the Plautine scene before Cob's house in Every Man in his Humour,416 or at the intrusion of unbidden guests at Morose's wedding, or at the deception practised on the two knights in the gallery.417 How dazzled we are with the kaleidoscopic “vapours” of the great Fair. On the other hand, in what Dryden calls the “dotages,” we find a great falling off. Ben Jonson can be very dull. Still even in The Devil is an Ass and The Staple of News there is a vein of original fancy, which reminds us that we are dealing with no imitator, but with an original and poetical mind. Nor must we forget the splendid series of Masques, into which Ben Jonson put some of his best work; to this Massinger has but little to oppose. And then, as we all know, Ben Jonson bursts out from time to time with a great lyric, whereas Massinger's songs are commonplace. Lastly, in The Case is Altered, we have a plot in the manner of Fletcher which is so successful as to make us regret that Jonson did not try this type of play again. Though it has not the atmosphere of Massinger, it has something of the mellow graciousness at which he, like Fletcher, aimed.

It would be silly to deny Jonson's superiority of intellect, and of attainment when at his best. His faults are, however, very serious. Though he can draw a man of good breeding, his women are very ordinary. He is too fond of incorporating long passages from the classical authors whom he knew so well; he would have been more attractive if he had used Aristophanes and Plautus, Ovid and Libanius, as inspirations rather than as materials. The notes on Sejanus are a liberal education, but after all, “the play's the thing.” The use of “humour” and “vapours,” though at first brilliant and captivating, even becomes artificial and tedious; no one is the embodiment of one passion or weakness. Let us be thankful that human nature is not so simple or consistent, for in that case it would cease to interest. More serious still, Jonson [pg 115] has no sense of proportion; we read Knowell's soliloquy in Every Man in his Humour,418 and we say, “Fine! but too long”; and we say this again and again as we read his works. The great length of the fifth act of Sejanus is a good instance of this fault. Indeed, it is impossible that the play was acted in the form which we now have—it would have emptied the house, like Burke's speeches. When Jonson gets on to some subject of which he knows the technical terms, such as “fucuses”419 or “alchemy,” he is almost as tedious as Kipling's Macandrew. His plots are at times too skilful; thus, even Brainworm in time gets on our nerves. His coarseness is that of a common soldier, and his puns are bad.

Are there any points of contact between the two authors? I do not wish to suggest that Massinger owed nothing to the older writer, though parallels of diction may mean little but the simultaneous use of the idioms of the day. Thus in The Staple of News we find, “I do write man,”420 “blacks,”421 “kiss close,”422 “nectar,”423 “magnificent”424; tossing in a blanket is referred to,425 and the saints426 at Amsterdam, while the cook's fortifications427 remind us of a passage in A New Way to pay Old Debts. In Sejanus we find “passive fortitude” commended.428 “He puts them to their whisper,”429 reminds us [pg 116] of The Roman Actor. Sejanus' change of temper to his satellites430 when he fancies danger is past resembles that of Domitian in the same play. The City Madam has touches of plot and style which recall Volpone.

There is, however, little contact between Ben Jonson and Massinger. Their births were separated by only ten years, but a much longer period than that seems to divide them. Friend of the great as he was, Ben Jonson was yet an Aristophanic, nay, a Rabelaisian democrat; Massinger is a gentleman and a courtier. The one has the vigour and immaturity of the Elizabethan age, and in him we feel in contact with the obsolete Mystery and Morality plays;431 the other has the refinement and romance of the Caroline era. The one is a powerful satirist and a pugnacious fighter; the other lives in an ideal world. On the one side is vis consili expers; on the other, a more limited intellect with a surer artistic sense. If I may venture to say so, they differ from one another as an apple from a pear. I do not deny that Ben Jonson was the greater man, but I find him more archaic and more difficult to read than Massinger. Much of the interest of his plays is dead for us, his local colour and topical allusions, which require so many notes, are more tedious; his personal likes and dislikes, his egotism, his vanity, are wearisome; and though his blank verse is strong and manly, it is not so melodious as Massinger's. The older man stands foursquare and solitary; the younger man reaches forward to posterity, and we feel him to be linked by his art and grace to ourselves. Though Dryden never mentions Massinger, there is a dignified capacity which is common to the two authors.

Massinger's chief rival in the latter part of his life was Shirley. Shirley's plays are full of interest; his graceful [pg 117] style rises occasionally into poetry, at which the author himself seems to smile; his plots are full of ingenious turns; his female characters are more confidently developed than Massinger's, nor is he unable to draw a lifelike man, as we see from Lorenzo in The Traitor and Columbo in The Cardinal. He excels in the battledore and shuttlecock of love-making; he tells us far more of the manner of well-bred contemporary society than Massinger. Indeed, it is probable that he had a greater success in his day than his rival, and was more in touch with Court circles, though even the loyal Shirley discreetly satirizes from time to time the government of Charles I. He is not devoid of humour and epigram; his dialogue is light and sprightly. He reaches back to Fletcher and forward to Dryden; we seem, as we read his plays, to be a long way removed from the labour of Jonson, the pomp of Chapman, the vernal simplicity of Heywood. On the other hand, we miss in him the breadth and strength, the dignity, the nobility, and the fire of Massinger. He is more of a photographer than a painter. Though his style has eloquence, the thought is often far from clear, and the long sentences are clumsy. There is something slight and unsubstantial about the whole thing, while the metre is continually careless and lame.

In assigning Massinger's place in the drama of his age, we have to remember that the period falls into two well-defined parts. He has very little in common with Marlowe, Greene, and Peele, and still less with the charming Dresden china of Lyly. Marlowe's generation breathes the freshness and vehemence of the spring, while Massinger reflects the silver lights of September. So rapid was the development of fifty years, that to pass from the one to the other is like going from the lancet windows of Salisbury Cathedral to the tracery of William of Wykeham. While we miss the purity and simplicity of Early English, it would be foolish to ignore the strength of design and proportion that maturity and experience brought. The [pg 118] towers and battlements, the lierne vaulting, the large windows, and generous clerestories of Perpendicular do much to atone for the spiritless detail and mechanical wall-panelling. A similar consideration applies to the Jacobean dramatists when compared with their Elizabethan predecessors.

Shall I be thought presumptuous in setting Massinger against Shakspere? The attempt may, at any rate, help to elicit a true estimate; the suggestion has often been made before. Shakspere seems to have been from his writings a man of great receptivity, unerring knowledge of human nature, profound wisdom, and infinite sweetness, the master of all the arts which we associate with a good poet. Massinger reminds us of Ben Jonson, though he is less consciously clever, less cumbered with learning, less combative.432 He is modest,433 manly, lucid, sane, and [pg 119] sensible, capable of just indignation, one who respects himself, a faithful friend,434 and a wide reader; he knows a gentleman when he sees him; he can pay compliments with good breeding; he has had his ups and downs in life;435 he is one who understood men better than women, and who, like Sir Thomas Browne, “loved a soldier”;436 a vigorous and business-like artist, he is never worsted by his theme, but makes it lifelike and interesting, with an unerring instinct for what is effective on the stage, his very faults being largely due to this useful knowledge. That there was a strain of noble melancholy in his mind can hardly be denied.437 The character which seems to me to embody Massinger himself is Charalois in The Fatal [pg 120] Dowry. Whether he was musical I should doubt after the perfunctory reference to the art in The Fatal Dowry.438 We find nothing in his plays like the famous idyllic description in Ford's Lover's Melancholy.439 On the other hand, he knew that vocal and instrumental music were effective in a play; we need go no farther than the end of Act IV. in The Virgin Martyr for proof of this.440 And Cario uses the terms of music with great precision in The Guardian.441 On the whole we get the impression that he was an example of a rare combination, modesty with independence of mind, a fact which, considering what the circumstances of the literary life then were, is quite enough to explain the hard struggle he seems to have undergone.

It may be said that I am comparing a mighty genius with a second-rate intellect. Are there any points in which Massinger can hold his own against Shakspere? Granted that he falls short in passion, imagination,442 wit, diction, rhythm, lyric rapture, where does he shine?

[pg 121]

It may at first hearing sound snobbish to point out that he was a University man, but a good deal of truth lies hidden in that simple phrase. Shakspere's plays are marked by many faults of construction, taste, and detail; he who never blotted a line should certainly, as Ben Jonson remarked, have blotted a good many. It always seems to me that this is a line of thought which is too much ignored by those who believe that Shakspere wrote his own plays, and that Bacon had nothing to do with them. The Baco-Shaksperians point, and very justly, to the surprising knowledge and culture shown in the plays; they refuse to believe that all this can have come from the brain of a Warwickshire rustic, forgetting the faults which are so glaring, faults which are precisely those which a learned and accurate scholar like Bacon would have avoided.

Now Massinger is a correct and artistic writer. The little tricks of style which were so dear to his mighty predecessor, the pun, the alliteration,443 the conceit, the verbal quibble,444 are far less obtrusive; he is free from [pg 122] that affectation and precious obscurity which are so marked in Shakspere's later style. And one small point may be noticed in passing here, as an indication of good breeding: the characters in Massinger very seldom address one another by name. It is significant that Greedy and Overreach both offend in this way.445

Though it is true that these faults were common to the age, they are so marked in Shakspere that it is impossible to ignore them in any estimate of the man. In the details of style, then, Massinger can claim credit for being more correct. In a word, what he lacks in genius and poetry he supplies to a certain extent by good taste and education. He shares this advantage with his age, which was learning to correct the errors of the past; the English language was advancing rapidly to more maturity and balance than it had in the previous generation.

I have already pointed out the careful study of Shakspere which we find in Massinger, and the copious use of his imperial vocabulary. When we take into account all the elements of the problem, when we make allowance for quantity of work done, as well as for quality, would it be too much to say that Massinger is as the pupil to the master, and that, though separated by “a long interval,” he comes second?446 This may seem a hard saying, [pg 123] unless it is explained. I allow that Ben Jonson had a greater intellect; that Beaumont and Fletcher had more genius, more pathos, more humour; that Marlowe, Webster, and Ford, each in his own way, were greater poets. I put Massinger next to Shakspere as a dramatist pure and simple, because his best work is well-constructed and interesting, his style and metre entrancing, his atmosphere charming and easy, yet ideal, his morality mature and sane. And in praising his morality, I do not lay stress on the benefits to be derived from the use of his plays as a school-book, though that consideration is not to be despised but rather maintain that in avoiding abnormal, tainted, and morbid themes he is in advance of his age; consequently he is easier for us to read and understand than other writers whose gifts were greater than his; he makes a successful and enduring appeal to the communis sensus of mankind.

I now proceed to a short critical estimate of Massinger's plays. The most famous are The Virgin Martyr in tragedy, and A New Way to pay Old Debts in comedy. Opinions have differed strangely about The Virgin Martyr. It went through four editions in quarto in the seventeenth century, a fact which testifies to its immediate popularity. Davies447 considered it far inferior to any of his other productions, and Mason was equally severe. Even Hallam confessed that parts of it were far from pleasing. There can be no doubt that these parts of the play, which the critics now unanimously ascribe to Dekker, are responsible for giving Massinger a bad name for coarseness. It is hard to carry supernatural machinery through, as Fletcher's Prophetess shows, and we have here an Angel, and a Devil, but they are on the whole managed successfully. The first act is admirably proportioned; the fourth and fifth also are masterly. There are a thrill and a glamour in the style of this play unlike anything else in Massinger, due perhaps to the religious problem dealt [pg 124] with.448 The only fault of Dorothea is that, like other good people, she is a bad judge of character. It gives us a shock to find Spungius and Hircius members of her household, and at least we feel she should not have put her charities in their hands, but should have attended to the poor herself.449 The Princess Artemia is a type common in Massinger.450

In A New Way to pay Old Debts we have an ingenious plot which never flags, adequate comedy, and characters which are appropriately, if not very carefully, drawn. The style is strong and natural; it is not far from this play to Goldsmith, and indeed the eighteenth century must have owed much to it. In its atmosphere of ease and propriety there are no harsh lights or discordant tints.

The central idea of the plot was probably borrowed from a play of admirable vivacity and dexterity, Middleton's Trick to catch the Old One, which appeared in 1607. What has Massinger added to Middleton? He has made the plot more probable, refining the characters, and raising the whole thing from prose to poetry. We laugh less, but we admire more, for we feel that we are seeing something transacted which might have happened.

Sir Giles Overreach is Massinger's masterpiece, a superman of colossal wickedness, with no belief in the honour or virtue of men or women.451 Though fond of [pg 125] money, he is not a miser, but loves to lavish his gains; power is rather his foible; repeated success has made him reckless; his aim is to increase his estates by bullying his poorer neighbours, and by employing the sharp practices of the law. But he has yet one other ambition, to see his only daughter married to a lord and to hear her styled “Right Honourable.” His unscrupulousness is expressed in often-quoted passages of great power; his frantic anger in the fifth act is depicted with a skill which leaves no sympathy in our minds for a father whose only daughter has treated him badly. Here Massinger is more successful than his great model in the case of Shylock and Jessica. I cannot agree that it is inconsistent with the character of Sir Giles that he should be anxious for his daughter to marry a lord—there are several passages in the earlier part of the play which show that he is not only a bully but a base-born snob.452

Where so much is admirable it is difficult to make selection, but we may point out that Wellborn's character is a fine piece of work; we pity his disgrace, we rejoice in his success, we believe in his desire to do better in the future. The grief of Lady Allworth for her husband and the jealous fears of young Allworth when Lord Lovell is to meet Margaret are excellently drawn. There are, moreover, touches of poetry in the play of a high order, as, for instance:

Allworth. If ever
The queen of flowers, the glory of the spring,
The sweetest comfort to our smell, the rose,
Sprang from an envious briar, I may infer,
There's such disparity in their conditions,
Between the goodness of my soul, the daughter,
And the base churl, her father.453
[pg 126]

Or in Allworth's speech about his love:

Add this too; when you feel her touch, and breath
Like a soft western wind, when it glides o'er
Arabia, creating gums and spices;
And in the van, the nectar of her lips,
Which you must taste, bring the battalia on,
Well-arm'd, and strongly lined with her discourse,
And knowing manners, to give entertainment;
Hippolytus himself would leave Diana,
To follow such a Venus.454

The play which Massinger himself at one time esteemed the most highly was The Roman Actor,455 but we have to remember that much of his best work was done after 1626, the date of the play. The Roman Actor, though most admirable, is strong and hard rather than inspired. More than any other of his works it shows us an element of greatness in the author's mind, which reveals itself in many ways; in the attractive and noble character of Paris, in the mastery shown in dealing with a Roman theme, the local colour of which is put on with a light and yet sure hand, in the skill with which the story is invested with the atmosphere of tyranny, in the breathless interest with which we follow the last moments of Domitian in Act V., in the dexterity with which three smaller plays are introduced into the action without in the least confusing the construction. In making an actor the hero of the play, and in giving him so many opportunities of showing his art, Massinger no doubt felt every confidence in the genius of J. Taylor, but perhaps the chief charm of the play is due to the reflection which it inspires in the mind of the reader, that it expresses with fire and conviction the struggling author's high ideal for the theatre as a social institution, and his esteem for actors. On the other hand, there is little comic relief, and little female [pg 127] interest beyond the infatuation of the Empress. Indeed, the women who take part in the play are one and all unattractive, and though it might be fairly urged that they are probably adequate portraits of the originals, we cannot help feeling that the author ought to have seen that they were timid sketches. In other words, we are face to face here with an acknowledged limitation of Massinger's art. Nor should it be forgotten that while the play is full of noble and even impassioned rhetoric,456 there are one or two prosy passages457 and several small improbabilities.458 In the third of the inserted plays Domitian, taking the part of an actor, avenges himself on Paris. This device by which characters in a play avenge themselves by taking parts in a subordinate play, occurs in the famous Spanish Tragedy of Kyd, and in Middleton's Women, beware Women. Most successful of all is the splendid climax of Act IV., where we have the clash of interest required by the highest form of tragedy; we sympathize with Paris, and yet we feel that the Emperor, who has been wronged, must avenge himself signally and at once.

It is the tragi-comedies which give me the most pleasure, the romantic plays with a happy ending, such as The Great Duke of Florence, The Emperor of the East, The Bashful Lover (the last of Massinger's plays which we possess), A Very Woman; closely allied with these is The Maid of Honour. The Great Duke of Florence is full of [pg 128] courtesy and grace; there are some charming passages of poetry, and the metre is liquid and easy. The whole play is bathed in the sunshine of youth, and while there is some good comedy in it, there is little for the expurgator to do. The characters are all drawn with skill and propriety, especially the Duke, the Duchess of Urbin, and Lidia. Petronella in disguise is Massinger's best comic creation.

In The Emperor of the East, with a trivial plot and some improbability in details, there is much admirable work, especially at the beginning. The two courtiers get to the point at once, mentioning Pulcheria in I., 1, 10. It was a play at which the author worked hard, and of which he thought highly.459 The two good women, the sister and the wife, are well drawn, and we understand how natural it is that they should be antipathetic; we welcome the allowance they make for one another,460 we sympathize with the humiliation of each in her turn, and we rejoice in their reconciliation. Especially pleasing are the gentle dignity of Eudocia in III., 4, and her slowness to take up Chrysapius' suggestion in IV., 1. The Emperor is not an attractive character, as he is at once weak and violent; but we have to remember that he is very young, and also that he has been kept in leading-strings all the earlier part of his life. I should like to believe, with many critics, that the prose scene, in which the Empiric figures, is not due to Massinger. It is a study in the manner of Ben Jonson. Another touch of the older master is “The Projector,”461 who is, however, on very much fainter lines than Meercroft in The Devil is an Ass. Imitation of Shakspere is prominent in The Emperor of the East. Scenes I., 1, and III., 1, remind us of Henry VIII's courtiers. The pictures in Act II. [pg 129] seem to be suggested by a similar scene in The Merchant of Venice. Act IV., 5 recalls Othello, III., 4; Act V., 2, 105-8 is modelled on Othello III., 3, 330-3.462

A Very Woman or The Prince of Tarent is based, as the Prologue tells us, on an old play; the author's modesty cannot forbear saying that, good as it was before, it is “much better'd now.” By this he probably means that substantial additions have been made, that the plot has been put into better shape,463 and that perhaps the comic element is cut down. Boyle assigns about two-fifths of the play to Massinger, including the quarrel between Cardenes and Antonio, and the great love scene between Antonio and Almira, but excluding the careful treatment of Cardenes' melancholy by Paulo the doctor.464 I should myself unhesitatingly assign the latter scene to Massinger. The only scenes which can be safely attributed to Fletcher are those of the slave-market,465 and that where Leonora seeks to console Almira.466 The sprightly vivacity of the former and the tenderness of the latter are good evidence for this assignation. A perusal of this admirable masterpiece leads us to the conclusion that if Massinger, instead of collaborating with Fletcher, had rewritten the plays of the latter, our literature would have been greatly enriched.

I would not deny that a man may have several styles, and may write in the manner of another; especially is this possible when the other has been his bosom friend. Still there are a grace and delicacy about A Very Woman which seem to suggest the hand of Fletcher. The characters are drawn with great refinement and vividness. There is a pair of devoted friends, Antonio and Pedro, and over against them two charming ladies, Leonora and Almira, [pg 130] the former at once sensible and kind, the latter almost worthy of a place beside Shakspere's heroines. The great love scene, though suggested by Desdemona and Othello, is not unworthy of Shakspere himself.467 Cuculo is an amusing study of the old courtier, such as we get elsewhere in Massinger. Borachia, the lady who loves wine, is drawn with a lighter hand than Massinger's; yet I feel that Fletcher, unassisted or unpruned, would have made the scenes in which she appears grosser than they are. Antonio, the Prince of Tarent, reminds us of a clean-limbed, honest English public-school boy; he is slow to take offence, but brave when provoked, sorry for the mischance of which he is the innocent cause, courteous, and ready on all occasions.

The plot has been shaped with great attention to detail. Thus, when Antonio, disguised as a slave, first meets his friend Pedro, his master Cuculo does not allow him to speak,468 so that Pedro has no chance of identifying him by his voice. Later on, however, Pedro has an intuition that the slave is other than he seems to be:

I do see something in this fellow's face still
That ties my heart fast to him.469

He treats him as a friend, as though his intuition pierced through the external disguise,470 and when the recognition takes place he naturally remarks:

Have I not just cause,
When I consider how I could be so stupid,
As not to see a friend through all disguises.471

Again, we have an indication at the end of the slave-market scene that the slave who followed Paulo will be an important link in the plot:

Paulo. Follow me, then;
The knave may teach me something.
[pg 131]
Slave. Something that
You dearly may repent; howe'er you scorn me,
The slave may prove your master.472

It is this slave who leads the pirates in their attempt to carry off Leonora and Almira.

When Antonio appears in his former dress473 we ask, how did he get it? The answer is, from the Captain, his fellow-slave, whose life he had saved in the past by interceding with the Viceroy.474 Lastly, the Duke's reference (V., 2, 130) to the advice which the Viceroy had given him in II., 2, is one of those careful touches making for unity of design in which Massinger delights.475

No doubt the plot is not free from improbabilities; in real life Antonio would have revealed himself to Pedro, and Pedro and Almira would both have recognized him. We have already seen that Massinger is so fond of a story that he sometimes forgets to let his characters guide it. To round off the play harmoniously, Antonio should have had a soliloquy, to explain to the audience who he was, to lament over the change of his fortunes, to express a hope that all would come right in the end, to reassert his devotion to Pedro, and to protest his loyalty in spite of everything to Almira. Perhaps something of the sort was cut out.

The Bashful Lover is the last play of “the strange old fellow”476 that we possess; it reminds us in several respects of Fletcher; in the romantic atmosphere,477 the overwrought devotion of the hero, the bustling action and the complexity of the plot, and in a metrical detail.478 On the [pg 132] other hand, the smooth and careful construction, the subordination of the comedy, the constant use of parentheses, and, above all, the vacillations of the violent Lorenzo, are characteristics of Massinger. There are many noble personages in the play, and considerable tenderness. Matilda's character is drawn well at the start; in the latter part she rather tends to become a lay figure. A princess with three aspirants to her hand, of whom two are princes, while the one she loves is to all appearance of lowly birth, is awkwardly placed. The same fault, as Boyle points out,479 might be found with the hero, Hortensio; the fact is that the story rather carries the characters along in its sweep than is developed by them; moreover, Massinger seems in the last two acts to be more interested in the psychological study of Lorenzo's emotions than in his hero's fortunes. With all its beauties, the play betrays the advancing years of the author by a certain heaviness of touch, although the episode of Ascanio, the disguised page, is carried through with great delicacy and skill, and the varied incidents of Act II. make the battle one of the most lifelike in literature.

The Maid of Honour is well planned, and the characters well contrasted. Indeed, anyone who doubts Massinger's skill in this respect will be convinced by this play. Though the end is sombre, it is, as Leslie Stephen has pointed out, dignified and inevitable. As Bertoldo was sworn to celibacy, Camiola could not have married him, even if her self-respect had allowed it.480 Here again we get an imperious lady, the Duchess Aurelia, who changes her mind too rapidly, but cannot be charged with viciousness. The comic touches, a foolish lover and a pair of effeminate courtiers, are quite good. The various moods of Adorni—his deepening devotion to Camiola, his humility at her rebuke, his fidelity in doing her commands, his temptation [pg 133] to commit suicide—are admirably portrayed. The King, too, is well drawn; he is a complex character, who is not wholly bad. The rough old soldier Gonzaga is a lifelike study, but the figure who dominates the play is the high-spirited and beautiful heroine. The careful skill of the author is shown in many details, among others, in the way in which Camiola, before taking the veil, persuades the King to forgive Fulgentio. For this to be possible the way is paved by the King's change of mind as to Camiola's character in IV., 5. The end of the play shows in what way Massinger is a greater artist than Fletcher. The latter would certainly have married off the Duchess Aurelia to the King or the Duke of Urbin, and provided Gonzaga with a wife.

No student of our comic drama can ignore the brilliant vigour of The City Madam.481 The characters one and all contribute to an harmonious unity, the most lifelike perhaps being Sir John Frugal, the bluff, successful British merchant, tender-hearted, yet ashamed of being unbusinesslike, and a good judge of men. The plot moves easily, not overloaded with satire. The women remind us of Ben Jonson's women, but with less strength there is a greater art shown here than Ben Jonson had at his command. The great triumph of the play is the hypocrite Luke, to whom some splendid rhetoric is assigned. He arrests our attention from the first; though not on the grand scale like Sir Giles Overreach, he is an innate villain, who only lacks opportunity to be capable of anything, a sordid soul, who does not know what goodness is. The [pg 134] two 'prentices are of the same kidney as Quicksilver in Eastward Ho.

For sheer vitality and strength three of the plays stand out conspicuously: The Bondman, The Renegado, and The Guardian. Though they are disfigured by one or two coarse scenes, one is carried along in reading them as if one were in a sailing-boat, dancing along a fresh sea. Of The Bondman Monck Mason says: “I don't recollect any play whatsoever that begins or ends in a manner so pleasing, uncommon, and striking.” It contains four well-drawn characters—Timoleon, Marullo, Leosthenes, and Cleora. The plot is lively, though some critics, I think unjustly, have accused the author of cutting the knot in the fifth act. The disguised brother and sister who meet in Act III., I should perhaps indicate their relationship. Timandra does not explicitly mention her brother till V., 1, 64. A reference earlier in the play to the wrong which Leosthenes had done her would certainly make for clearness. There is much fine eloquence in the play. The one or two offensive comic scenes are not essential to the plot.

The Renegado has an Oriental setting, which alone would make it attractive on the stage. The character of Donusa is on the grand scale, one of Massinger's successes; the Merchant, the Jesuit, and Grimaldi are all well drawn. There is some fine oratory and a good plot, which works up to an exciting end. There is not much in the comic line of value here.

The plot of The Guardian is more complicated than is usual with Massinger. It contains some charming banditti scenes, while Alphonso's fictitious narrative in the last act is one of the strongest pieces of writing in our author. The guardian, Durazzo, the kind-hearted but cynical and quick-tempered old man of the world, is one of Massinger's most successful creations. On the other hand, it will be allowed that there is too much concession in The Guardian to a corrupt taste, due perhaps to poverty [pg 135] and the depression of failure. The character of Iolante is unattractive; her intrigue with a man who turns out to be her brother is odious; her repentance is cheap and unconvincing. The earlier part of the play in its movement and morals alike reminds us of Fletcher.

The Picture is full of power, and enriched with some good strokes of satire; the alternations of mood in the chief characters are represented with skill, while the magic portrait on which the plot hinges seems to take a natural place in the story. There is, however, a crudeness and hardness of texture about the play, though Mathias and Sophia are well drawn, especially the latter. Everything comes right at the last, and true love is vindicated after the display of some proper pride; but one feels that the three venture their honour too far. “He comes too near who comes to be denied.” The King's faults are overdrawn; the Queen very nearly spoils the play; the young courtiers, though realistic, are unpleasant; the comic element is poor and farcical.482 In dealing with a psychological theme, Massinger was trying to adjust to the hard-and-fast concrete outlines of the drama a story which would have been easier to manage and more attractive to read if it had been cast in the form of a novel. There would then have been possible gradations of light and shade, which would have made the treatment less bald. It would have supplied Richardson with a problem worthy of his heart-breaking and long-drawn analysis.

The Duke of Milan is a gloomy play, with a somewhat intricate plot, presenting to us that strange “Italianate”483 world of treachery and poison with which Webster, Ford, and Tourneur make us familiar. We must remember, on the other hand, that Italy gives an atmosphere which [pg 136] domestic plays like The Yorkshire Tragedy and Arden of Feversham lack. As in The Bondman and The Unnatural Combat, the plot is developed late, though hints are given before. Thus, the ill-treated sister is early referred to,484 while the last words of the same act prepare us for Francisco's villainy. The finest scene in the play is Act III., 1, which is bathed in the romantic atmosphere so congenial to our author. Sforza submits to his enemy, the Emperor Charles, without forfeiting our esteem, while the Emperor shows a noble magnanimity. There is a subdued comic element in the person of Graccho, the musician.

The Duke of Milan is carefully written485 and skilfully constructed; the author has taken great pains to draw the characters of Sforza and Marcelia, though Francisco is perhaps more successful than either.486 The Duke's last words are the clue to his character:

I come: Death, I obey thee!
Yet I will not die raging; for alas!
My whole life was a frenzy: good Eugenia,
In death forgive me.487

The chief “frenzy” of his life was his devotion to his wife Marcelia. This peerless beauty combines pride488 with a kindly simplicity which is no match for Francisco; while she dearly loves her husband and forgives him in her last words, she is not altogether attractive. On the other hand, her anger with Sforza for leaving orders that she should be killed if he did not return safe from his [pg 137] hazardous enterprise is natural, and the scene in which she receives him coldly and provokes his violent anger would be effective when acted.489 We are inevitably reminded of Othello, and the comparison is most instructive as revealing the great gap which separates the pupil from the master. Marcelia is not so gracious as Desdemona, nor Sforza so strong as Othello, nor Francisco so devilish as Iago. As is usually the case with Massinger, the fifth act carries along our interest to the end. We do not weep, but we are certainly moved by the horror of the Duke's death. The princesses of the Ducal House are responsible for an improbable scene490 when they flout Marcelia in the absence of her lord. Their behaviour reminds us of the ladies in The Roman Actor. In style The Duke of Milan is marked by several passages of fine poetry and a comparative absence of the parenthetic construction.

The Fatal Dowry is a famous and much-admired play, adapted by Nicholas Rowe in the eighteenth century to form the basis of his Fair Penitent.491 There are some fine scenes here, notably the funeral, which is as effective as anything our poet has written. On the other hand, the scene in which Rochfort is robed and blindfolded, and [pg 138] assents to his daughter's death, recalls Fletcher in its improbability; nor is it likely that Beaumelle would marry Charalois at such short notice. All we can say about this is that hurried weddings are one of the presuppositions of the Jacobean drama.492 There are an heroic atmosphere, a fine friendship, and much rhetoric of a high order in The Fatal Dowry. Moreover, as the moral lines at the end point out, there is the clash of law and natural vengeance in this play, which is a legitimate source of dramatic power. Charalois, Romont, Malotin, and Pontalier are all well drawn: the “sweet and gentle nature” of Charalois is particularly attractive, though he is not incapable of passionate anger,493 which makes the punishment he inflicts on his guilty wife in IV., 4 more credible. On the other hand, a story is at a disadvantage in which the father, though generous and dignified, is impulsive and quixotic, the heroine is worthless, and her lover contemptible.494 The style in places is less lucid than usual, which may be due to the co-operation of Field; moreover, the metre is more halting than Massinger's is wont to be, and I think it probable that the play has been carelessly printed. There is much spirited sarcasm in Act III., and some fun in Act IV.495

The Unnatural Combat is full of splendid rhetoric; indeed, there are perhaps too many soliloquies. This early work is grim as an iron-bound coast; yet the affairs of the honest, brave, and poverty-stricken captain, Belgarde, provide a lighter element, and the moralizing of the pert page in III., 2 is both sensible and light-handed in execution. The reason for the son's antipathy to his father is hinted at from time to time in the first act; its disclosure is postponed too late. We should [pg 139] also have been prepared for the wrongs and treachery of Montreville, which burst upon us too suddenly in the last act. The evil passion of Malefort is powerfully depicted; here, again, we have a careful study of conflicting emotions. Though he struggles against his evil desires, we feel that a bad man must come to a bad end.496 The play would have been better rounded off if in the initial part some indication had been given that he seemed to everyone a man whose mind, for some mysterious reason, was unbalanced and unhinged.497 Once allow that such a theme can be tolerable as that which we have here, and the hints which Montreville drops from time to time are adequate to stir the suspicion of the spectator.

The style is more like rhythmical prose than that of any other of Massinger's plays. Here alone in our author do children occur, and that in an unpleasing context.498 The ghosts of Malefort's victims, which appear in the last scene, seem to me a legitimate and powerful episode. It was natural to compare this violent play with Chapman's tragedies; Malefort reminding us of Bussy d'Ambois and Byron; but there is little in common between the two authors. In the first place, Massinger knows how to construct a play; in the second place, there is hardly a line in The Unnatural Combat which is obscure, whereas in the last act of Bussy d'Ambois, Chapman's masterpiece, there is hardly a line which is intelligible.

The Parliament of Love contains much fine poetry499 and one great forensic scene, such as our author loves.500 It is, however, in too fragmentary a state for us to judge [pg 140] it fairly.501 The atmosphere is unreal, the interest flags, the boisterous comedy is unattractive. There are more women than is usual in Massinger, and duelling and friendship inspire two noble scenes (III., 2; IV., 2). Though vice is humbled, we ask here, as in The Picture, does virtue gain by the way in which its opposite is portrayed? And are not the characters, male and female alike, undiscriminated? The interest, in other words, is concentrated in the triple story, and doubtless we feel some satisfaction in the punishment of Clarindore, the betrayer of secrets.502 There are a good many half-lines in the manner of Fletcher.

Though Believe as You List503 is full of dignity and poetry, it has a plot without much nexus, of the sort which Aristotle would blame as ἐπεισοδιώδης.504 We are wafted from Carthage to Bithynia, from Bithynia to Lusitania, from Lusitania to Sicily. Though Antiochus is truly a king even in his misfortunes, and excites our respect and compassion, the play can hardly have been a success. The melancholy tinge is too uniform; the improbabilities of the recognitions are too glaring. The Courtesan and Berecinthius cannot be said to have added to the gaiety of nations; of the other characters Flaminius alone has individuality. The peculiar circumstances under which the play was written may help to explain the fiasco.

[pg 141]

The Old Law does not owe much to Massinger. As it was a favourite play, it may have owed its association with his name to revision on his part.505 There is a charming tenderness in places and a rollicking improbability about the whole scheme, both alien to the staid Massinger. The humour is not his, but better; his phraseology is markedly absent;506 the prose scenes show another conception [pg 142] of art; the careless metre suggests Rowley. It is clear that whoever wrote the comic parts of The Old Law was responsible for Chough, Trimtram, and the Roarers in A Fair Quarrel. The scene is laid in “Epire,” a region which seems to have been regarded by our ancestors as a place for strange things to happen, and a vague background like the city of Callipolis;507 it seems to have the same character in the present day. A King of “Epire” figures among Diocletian's court in The Virgin Martyr, and in The Dumb Knight508 we find a Duke of Epire. The classical allusions and Latin phrases suggest that the author of The Old Law was a man of some culture.

My task is now ended. I shall consider myself happy if I persuade some of my readers to make the acquaintance of Massinger's plays.509 We have lately been celebrating the tercentenary of Shakspere's death. The best way of honouring a great author is to read his writings; but to appreciate aright the greatness of Shakspere we should be wise to combine with our study a just estimate of his contemporaries and satellites; and, of the many dramatists of that century, none seem to me more worthy of affectionate consideration than Philip Massinger. It is especially instructive to return to his writings from the perusal of the masterpieces of his contemporaries; though from time to time they display rich gifts of pathos, poetry, and humour, they are too often marred by waywardness, unnaturalness, want of proportion, and grossness; it is a relief to resume the study of an author whose work is sober, well balanced, dignified, and lucid. While he shares with them the modern atmosphere of romance and adventure, he is the most Greek of his generation; and this is the real secret of his abiding charm. The [pg 143] passionate, the abnormal, the lurid, the farcical elements, in which his contemporaries revel, are not, indeed, entirely absent, but they are less conspicuous; the luxuriance of the thicket does not hinder the wayfarer from following the path; we pluck the roses without tearing our flesh on the thorns; and as we contemplate the marble splendour of his verse we almost forget that sculpture has its limitations.

[pg 145]

Appendix I. The Small Actor In Massinger's Plays

There are several passages in our author in which reference is made to the low stature of the actor of a female part.

Duke of Milan, II., 1, 108: Graccho, speaking of Mariana:

Of a little thing,
It is so full of gall!

II., 1, 156:

Marcelia. For you, puppet—
Mariana. What of me, pine-tree?


Mariana. O that I could reach you,
The little one you scorn so.


Graccho. Forty ducats
Upon the little hen.


Marcelia. Where are you,
You modicum, you dwarf?
Mariana. Here, giantess, here.


Mariana. Or right me on this monster (she's three foot
Too high for a woman).

Bondman, I., 2, 3: Cleon, speaking to Corisca:

Beauty invites temptations, and short heels
Are soon tripp'd up.

(This passage may have another interpretation.)

Renegado, I., 2, 9: Manto, speaking of Paulina:

And though low of stature,
Her well-proportion'd limbs invite affection.
[pg 146]

II., 5, 159: Asambeg, of Paulina:

Such a spirit,
In such a small proportion, I ne'er read of.

V., 2, 62: Carazie, of Paulina:

I would he had sent me
To the gallies or the gallows, when he gave me
To this proud little devil.

V., 3, 174: Mustapha, of Paulina:

A terrible little tyranness!

Parliament of Love, V., 1, 86: Perigot, of Leonora:

A confident little pleader.

Roman Actor, IV., 1, 15: Domitilla, referring to Domitia:

Who no sooner absent.
But she calls Dwarf! (so in her scorn she styles me)
Put on my pantofles, fetch pen and paper.

V., 2, 5: Domitilla speaks:

Could I make my approaches, though my stature
Does promise little, I have a spirit as daring
As hers that can reach higher.

Picture, I., 1, 96: Corisca speaks:

Your hand, or if you please
To have me fight so high, I'll not be coy,
But stand a-tiptoe for't.

III., 2, 27: Ricardo to Corisca:

Pretty one, I descend
To take the height of your lip.

II., 2, 197: And Pallas, bound up in a little volume.

Emperor of the East, II., 1, 388: Theodosius to Athenais:

By thyself,
The magazine of felicity, in thy lowness
Our eastern queens, at their full height, bow to thee.

Maid of Honour, I., 2, 46: Sylli to Camiola:

Nor I, your little ladyship, till you have
Perform'd the covenants.

II., 2, 117: Fulgentio to Camiola:

Of a little thing
You are a pretty peat, indifferent fair too.
[pg 147]

Maid of Honour, IV., 3, 83:

Bertoldo. Since she alone, in the abstract of herself,
That small but ravishing substance, comprehends
Whatever is, or can be wish'd, in the
Idea of a woman!

The Bashful Lover, I., 1, 116:

Hortensio. My little friend, good morrow.

(Cf. III., 1, 28, where Ascanio has to be carried.)

The part of Domitilla was taken by I. Hunniman; that of Paulina by Theo. Bourne; that of Corisca (in The Picture) by W. Trigge. It would appear, therefore, that these references are not all due to the stature of any one individual actor, but that Massinger took care to have actors of different height brought into juxtaposition in his plays. He may here be copying the well-known passages in Midsummer Night's Dream (III., 2, 288-298, 324, 329). Cf. also Antony and Cleopatra, II., 5, 118; III., 3, 13; Much Ado, I., 1, 172 and 216; As You Like It, I., 2, 284; Twelfth Night, I., 5, 219; II., 5, 16; King Lear, I., 1, 201. Cf. Bradley's Shakspearean Tragedy, p. 317, n. 1.

In Dekker's Honest Whore, Pt. 2. III., 1, the heroine, Bellafront, is “a little tiny woman.” So are Pretiosa in Middleton's Spanish Gipsy (I., 5), and Isabella in Women, beware Women (III., 2). Cf. also The Case is Altered (III., 3), “'Fore God, the taller is a gallant lady.” We find the same idea in The Fair Maid of the West, II., 3; III., 1, 2. Celestina, in Shirley's Lady of Pleasure (III., 2), is “a puppet.” Spaconia in A King and no King (III., 1) is “that little one”; Viola in The Coxcomb (V., 3) is “not high.” Cf. also The Prophetess (I., 3, 59), a play which bears many marks of Massinger's work:

Dioclesian. Thou know'st she is a prophetess.
Maximinian. A small one,
And as small profit to be hoped for by her.

The Spanish Curate (V., 1, 37), Jamie to Violante:

In stature you're a giantess: and your tailor
Takes measures of you with a Jacob's staff
Or he can never reach you: this by the way
For your large size.
[pg 148]

Love's Cure (V., 3), Bobadillo to Lucio, speaking about Clara:

I put the longest weapon in your sister's hand, my lord, because she was the shortest lady.

The Sea Voyage (IV., 3): Morillat: “This little gentlewoman that was taken with us,” referring to Aminta. As Cleopatra in The False One (II., 3) arrives in a parcel, she must have been small. Margarita in Rule a Wife (III., 4) is “of a low stature.” Ismenia in The Maid of the Mill “was of the lowest stature” (I., 2); cf. also V., 2, 7. Evanthe in A Wife for a Month, IV., 3 is “this little fort.” Cf. also The Noble Gentleman, IV., 3.

Appendix II

Did Massinger know Greek? It is perhaps worth while collecting the scanty evidence on the subject. We find a pun on the name Philanax in The Emperor of the East,510 and Mathias plays on the name of his wife Sophia.511 The phrase κατ᾽ ἐξοήν is used in The Guardian.512 We find a Greek construction in The Emperor of the East:513

And that before he gives he would consider
The what, to whom, and wherefore.

On the other hand, we notice Theseus scanned as a trisyllable.514

There are one or two passages where the unexpected turn [pg 149] of the thought rather suggests a Greek original. Thus, in The Renegado515 we are reminded of The Acharnians:516

Gazet. What places of credit are there?
Carazie. Chief gardener.
Gazet. Out upon't! 'Twill put me in mind my mother was an herb woman.

Another passage of The Renegado517 reminds us of a famous fragment of Euripides,518 often mistranslated:

Asambeg. At Aleppo
I durst not press you so far: give me leave
To use my own will and command in Tunis.

In The Virgin Martyr519 we find a parallel to The Hecuba:520

Theophilus. As a curious painter,
When he has made some honourable piece,
Stands off, and with a searching eye examines
Each colour, how 'tis sweeten'd; and then hugs
Himself for his rare workmanship.

In The Emperor of the East521 occurs a parallel quoted by Dr. Walter Headlam in his notes to Agamemnon:522

Theodosius. What an earthquake I feel in me!
And on the sudden my whole fabric totters!
My blood within me turns, and through my veins,
Parting with natural redness, I discern it
Chang'd to a fatal yellow.

It is the general opinion of scholars that our Elizabethan dramatists owed very little to the Greek drama directly, but we cannot forget that Massinger had had a good education at Oxford, and was a widely read man.523 His forensic skill [pg 150] often reminds us of Euripides; and if he did not know the works of his illustrious predecessor, he would have found in them a congenial spirit.524

The speech of Sanazarro to Giovanni in The Great Duke of Florence525 reminds us of Creon's arguments in Sophocles' Œdipus Tyrannus, line 596 κ.τ.λ.

The scene in The Bondman,526 when the senators frighten the mutinous slaves by shaking their whips, reminds us of the Scythians in Herodotus,527 but it is also found in Justin,528 and Gifford points out that it may really have been borrowed from a contemporary book of travels, Purchas's Pilgrims.529

Massinger had a good working knowledge of mythology; thus, references in his plays to Hercules and Alcides abound, as they do in Shakspere. We find several false quantities in proper names: Caesarĕa, in The Virgin Martyr; Archidămus, in The Bondman; Eubŭlus, in The Picture; Nomothētae, in The Old Law530; Cybēle, in Believe as You List.531 We may compare Shakspere's Andronĭcus; Anthrŏpos in Four Plays in One, The Triumph of Time; and Euphānes in The Queen of Corinth.532

[pg 151]

It seems scarcely worth while to collect the passages which show Massinger's knowledge of Latin; the authors he seems to have known best are Ovid, Juvenal, and Horace. Swinburne and others have commented on his indulgence in “the commonplace tropes and flourishes of the schoolroom or the schools.”533

Appendix III. The Collaborated Plays

The plays in which Massinger is supposed to have collaborated with other authors are here set down, with the analyses made by Boyle (D. N. B., xxxvii., pp. 10-16) and the views of Mr. A. H. Bullen in his article on Fletcher (D. N. B., xix., pp. 303-311).534

1. The Honest Man's Fortune. (Field, Daborne, Massinger, Fletcher.)

M.: Act III. or part of it.

A. H. B. agrees.

A. H. C.: I doubt whether Massinger had any share in this play. There are passages of ten-syllable lines in Act III., 1 which are quite unlike him, while 2 and 3 are interspersed with prose passages, a feature which Massinger as a rule avoids.

2. Thierry and Theodoret. (Massinger, Field, Fletcher, and possibly a fourth writer.)

M: Act I., 2; Act II., 1, 3; Act IV., 2.

A. H. B. attributes largely to Massinger, assigning Act III. to an unknown author.

A. H. C. assigns to Massinger Act II., 1 and 3, and with some hesitation Act I., 2; Act IV., 2.

[pg 152]

3. The Bloody Brother. (Massinger, Field, Fletcher, and possibly a fourth writer.)

M.: Act I., Act V., 1.

A. H. B. thinks that Fletcher and Jonson wrote the play, and that Massinger revised it for a performance at Hampton Court in January, 1636-37.

A. H. C.: There are clearly three hands at work here, one of whom writes obscurely and uses a good deal of rhyme. Act I., 1 reminds us of Massinger in several touches, especially lines 269-70. The broken lines in this scene are complete, as is Massinger's unfailing practice, but the ten-syllable line is more common than is usually the case with him. While Act V., 1 has some sentences cast in the parenthetic form, the expressions used are less lucid than we expect from Massinger.

4. The Knight of Malta. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

M.: Act III., 2, 3; Act IV., 1; possibly part of Act V., 2.

A. H. B. agrees, assigning Act II. and Act III., 1 to Fletcher.

“Some third person wrote Act I. and part of Act V.”

A. H. C.: I trace Massinger only in Act III., 2.

5. The Queen of Corinth. (Massinger, Fletcher (?), Field.)

M.: Act I., Act V.

A. H. B. assigns Act II. to Fletcher, the rest to Middleton and Rowley.

A. H. C.: Massinger wrote Act I., 1, 2, 3 from “Enter Agenor,” V., 2. Fletcher wrote Act I., 3; Act II., 1, 2, 3, 4; Act III., 1, 2; Act V., 3. As usual, he is responsible for the comic parts. Act V., 4 is a vigorous trial scene, not due, I think, to Massinger. The impression that I get from Act III. is that Massinger drafted it, and Fletcher worked over it.

6. Sir John Van Olden Barnavelt. (Massinger, Fletcher.)

M.: Act I., 1, 2; Act II., 1; Act III., 2, 3, 5; Act IV., 4, 5; Act V., 1 to “Enter Provost.”

A. H. B. agrees on the whole.

A. H. C.: Act III., 5, and Act IV., 5 seem to me unworthy of Massinger. Perhaps a third hand wrote Act I., 3; Act II., 2-7; Act III., 1, as far as “will ripen the [pg 153] imposture”; Act III., 3; Act V., 1, as far as “Exeunt wife and daughter.”

7. Henry the Eighth. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

A. H. B. agrees, attributing a few passages to Shakspere, notably the trial scene of Catherine.

Sir A. Ward thinks that Massinger and Fletcher wrote most of the play, Shakspere only a little (H. E. D., ii., 246).

Macaulay ascribes it to Shakspere and Fletcher, “perhaps revised by Massinger.”

For a fuller discussion of this problem, cf. pp. 84-91.

8. The Two Noble Kinsmen. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

M.: Act I.; Act II., 1; Act III., 1, 2; Act IV., 3; Act V., 1 from line 19, 3, 4.

A. H. B. thinks that Shakspere wrote additions for the revival of an old play, Palamon and Arsett, which came into the hands of Fletcher and Massinger after the death of Shakspere. Massinger has interpolated his own work in some of the Shakspere passages.

For a fuller discussion of this problem, cf. pp. 92-104.

9. The Custom of the Country. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

M.: Act II., 1, 2, 3, 4; Act III., 4, 5; Act IV., 1, 2; Act V., 1, 2, 3, 4.

A. H. B. agrees.

Macaulay adds part of Act V., 5 to Massinger.

A. H. C.: This play owes very little to Massinger. Boyle, in attributing Act II. to him, must have been guided solely by metrical considerations. There is not a trace of his style in the Act. No doubt it is true that Hippolyta is a type familiar in Massinger's plays; and her sudden change of mind in the last act reminds us of him. Again, the mental treatment to which Duarte owes his cure (Act IV., 1), and the praises of the medical profession (Act V., 4), recall A Very Woman (II., 2, 26).

But we have to set a good deal against these facts. The plot is more elaborate, bustling, and improbable than we expect from Massinger. It is improbable that the young men (Act II., 2) should leap into the sea and [pg 154] leave Zenocia in the lurch. It is improbable that they should swim a league to shore with their swords erect in the air, though swords no doubt they must have if they are to behave as Fletcher's gentlemen behave. It is improbable that Rutilio in his flight (Act II., 4) should take refuge in a palace and find himself in the bedroom of the lady of the house. Difficulties of this kind are familiar enough in Fletcher. It need scarcely be said that Sulpicia and her establishment are due to Fletcher alone.

To sum up, if Massinger had any share in this play, he may have given hints or added touches in connexion with Hippolyta and Duarte. The simplest supposition is that he edited the play for a revival. The Prologue and Epilogue “at a revival” contain expressions which remind us of him. The Prologue ends thus (lines 18-20):

You may allow
(Your candour safe) what's taught in the old schools,
All such as lived before you were not fools.

The parenthesis is in Massinger's manner.

Again, in the second Epilogue, line 7, we find “qualification,” with which compare “fortification” in A New Way, I., 2, 25.

10. The Elder Brother. (Fletcher (?), Beaumont; probably revised generally by Massinger.)

M.: Act I., 1, 2; Act V., 1, 2.

A. H. B. thinks that Massinger revised and completed it after Fletcher's death, but says nothing about Beaumont.

A. H. C.: There are traces of Massinger in Act I., 1 and Act V., 1, in which scenes we find careful metre and a good many parentheses. While Act I., 2 resembles Massinger, it seems to me to have a lighter touch than his. In Act V., 1 we find a speech or two very much in his manner, and characteristic also is the skill with which an ambiguity is prolonged for some time in this scene, and then dissipated. I doubt if he wrote Act V., 2.

[pg 155]

11. The Sea Voyage. (Massinger, Fletcher.)

M.: Act II., 1, 2; Act III., 1, from “Enter Rosellia”; Act V., 1, 2, 3, 4.

A. H. B. says nothing about Massinger here. Macaulay doubts if he had any share in the play.

A. H. C.: The metre is throughout too rough for Massinger. The plot does not recall his work in any way.

12. The Double Marriage. (Massinger, Fletcher.)

M.: Act I., 1; Act III., 1; Act IV., 1, 2; Act V., 2, to “Enter Pandulfo.”

A. H. B. agrees.

Macaulay assigns all Act I. to Massinger.

A. H. C: I find no trace of Massinger in this improbable play.

13. The Beggars' Bush. (Massinger, Fletcher.)

M.: Act I., 1, 2, 3; Act V., 1, latter part; V., 2, lines 1-110.

A. H. B. does not think Massinger's part is clearly marked.

Macaulay assigns to Massinger Acts I., II., III., and V.

A. H. C.: I find no trace of Massinger. Neither the plot is lucid nor the expression. The commercial scenes and the beggars' slang are both unlike anything in Massinger, and alien to his courtly mind.

14. The False One. (Massinger, Fletcher.)

M.: Act I.; Act V.

A. H. B. agrees.

A. H. C.: Massinger wrote Act I., a good deal of Act IV., and Act V. There is hardly a scene except the Masque in Act III., 4 which reads like Fletcher's unaided work. The dignified rhetoric throughout the play has the stamp of Massinger; more than that, the character-drawing is like his. The outspoken Sceva reminds us of the old courtier Eubulus in The Picture. The rudeness of Eros to Septimius in Act III., 2, reminds us of Donusa in The Renegado. The continual changes of mind on the part of Septimius are an effect which Massinger loves. (Cf. also Arsinoe and Photinus in Act V., 4.)

[pg 156]

15. The Prophetess. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

M.: Acts II., IV., V., 1, 2.

A. H. B. thinks Massinger's share “very considerable.”

A. H. C.: Fletcher wrote Act I., 1, 2, and the Geta scenes (Act I., 3; Act III., 2; Act IV., 3, 5; Act V., 3). Perhaps some hack wrote the choruses (Act IV., 1; Act V., 1) or are they inherited from an old play? The main part of the play is due to Massinger. He certainly had a hand in Act III., 1. Maximinian is a skilfully drawn character on his lines.

16. The Little French Lawyer. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

M.: Act I.; Act III., 1; Act V., 1, from “Enter Cleremont,” with traces of his hand in other scenes.

A. H. B. agrees.

A. H. C.: Massinger can be traced at the beginning of Act I., 1 and in Act III., 1 and Act IV., 5. The resemblances are rather slight, and it is possible that they are due to the fact that Fletcher occasionally imitated Massinger.

17. The Lover's Progress. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

M.: Act I., 1, 2 (to “Enter Malefort”); Act II., 2; Act III., 4, 6 (last two speeches); Act IV.; Act V.

A. H. B. thinks it is “by Fletcher, with large alterations by Massinger.” He refers to the explicit statement in the Prologue where the reviser declares himself to be—

ambitious that it should be known
What's good was Fletcher's, and what ill his own,

a statement in harmony with Massinger's well-known modesty.

A. H. C.: Massinger wrote Act I., 1, Act II., 2. There are traces of his work in Act III., 4, 6; Act IV., 2, 4; Act V., 1, 3. The improbabilities of the plot—e.g., the action of Clarangé—are due to Fletcher. It is clear from the Prologue that the original play was too long. Massinger probably cut it down, by leaving out, among other things, scenes in which Lisander killed his two foes. The play is probably to be identified with The [pg 157] Wandering Lovers or The Picture, entered as by Massinger in the Stationers' Register, September 9th, 1653.

18. The Spanish Curate. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

M.: Act I.; Act III., 3; Act IV., 1, 4; Act V., 1, 3.

A. H. B. agrees.

Macaulay adds Act IV., 2 to Massinger.

A. H. C.: Massinger can be clearly traced in Act I., 1, Act V., 1; not in Act V., 3. The trial scene (Act III, 3), though on slighter lines than he uses as a rule, may be due to him.

19. The Fair Maid of the Inn. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

M.: Act I.; Act III., 2; Act V., 3.

A. H. B. attributes to Rowley and Massinger, and thinks Fletcher's share very small.

Macaulay assigns to “Massinger and another (not Fletcher).”

A. H. C.: Massinger wrote Act I., Act V., 3 as far as Clarissa's speech. Fletcher wrote Act II., Act III., Act IV., Act V., 1, 2. The mother's device to save her son is the sort of improbability from which Fletcher does not shrink.

20. A Very Woman. (Massinger and Fletcher.)

M.: Act I.; Act II., 1, 2, 3 down to “Enter Pedro”; Act IV., 1, 3.

A. H. B. identifies this play with The Woman's Plot, acted at Court in 1621. In its present state it is a version of a play by Fletcher, revised for a revival by Massinger in 1634.

Macaulay assigns Act III. and Act IV., 1, 2, 3 to Fletcher. For a discussion of this play cf. pp. 129-131.

21. The Second Maiden's Tragedy. (Massinger, Tourneur.)

M.: Act I., Act II.

In Eng. Stud., ix. 234, Boyle, with some hesitation, regards this play as “an early, anonymous, and unsuccessful attempt of Massinger's.” Whoever wrote it, the work is immature.

A. H. C. I find no trace of Massinger in this play, but a great deal of Tourneur's manner. Cf. Appendix XIII.

[pg 158]

22. Love's Cure. (Massinger and (?) Middleton.)

M.: Act I.; Act IV.; Act V., 1, 2.

A. H. B. agrees that the play is due to Massinger and Middleton.

Fleay thinks that Massinger altered a play by Beaumont and Fletcher.

A. H. C.: It is to be noted that the Prologue expressly attributes the play to Beaumont and Fletcher. I find nothing like Massinger except a few touches in Act I., 1 and 3. The lightheartedness of the play reminds us alike of Fletcher and Middleton; the romantic atmosphere reminds us of the former, the inferiority of the metre of the latter.

23. The Fatal Dowry. (Massinger and Field.)

M.: Act I.; Act III. (to “Enter Novall junior”); Act IV., 2, 3, 4; Act V., 1, 2.

For further discussion cf. Appendix XI.

24. The Virgin Martyr. (Massinger and Dekker.)

M.: Act I.; Act III., 1, 2; Act IV., 3; Act V., 2.

For a discussion of this verdict cf. Appendix X.

25. The Old Law. (Massinger, Middleton, Rowley.)

Massinger's share was slight, and can only have consisted in revision for a later performance. Cf. supra, pp. 141-2.

Other Plays attributed in Part to Massinger.

26. The Laws of Candy.

A. H. B. thinks a large part was written by Massinger, and that Fletcher cannot be traced.

Boyle (Eng. Stud., vii. 75) thinks that though the metrical treatment is like Beaumont's, the play is evidently later in date, perhaps due to Shirley. Fleay (Eng. Stud., ix. 23) assigns it to Massinger and Field.

Macaulay says “probably by Massinger and another author (not Fletcher).”

A. H. C.: I find no trace here of the Massinger that we know.

27. The Captain.

Macaulay: “By Fletcher and another, perhaps Massinger.”

[pg 159]

A. H. C.: This is one of the many plays in the Fletcher corpus which begins admirably and falls away into improbability. I find no trace of Massinger here, though the incident in Act IV., 5 reminds one of the banquet in The Guardian, Act III., 6.

28. The Cure for a Cuckold, “a pleasant comedy written by John Webster and William Rowley; London, 1661.”

It has been supposed by Fleay that the first act is due to Massinger. It must be pointed out that a large part of the play is written in prose, and that the verse parts are not like Massinger. If one or two phrases remind us of his style the stage is too crowded to make it likely that it is his design. The real reason, no doubt, for the assumption is that the incident of Clare and Lessingham is similar to one in The Parliament of Love. Clare sends a letter to Lessingham in which she tells him she will marry him if he will kill his dearest friend.

Prove all thy friends, find out the best and nearest,
Kill for my sake that friend that loves thee dearest.

But even so the incident is worked out with much variety in detail.

Mr. Rupert Brooke in his Study on Webster (Appendix J) arrives at the conclusion that Webster's play is subsequent to Massinger's, both of them bearing a general resemblance to Marston's Dutch Courtesan. The stinging and incisive vigour of Marston's play is a great contrast to the romantic treatment of the subject in The Parliament of Love.

29. The Island Princess.

This is rather a dull play, though it contains some fine passages and isolated lines. It is well constructed, and contains one or two touches, such as “I love a soldier” (I., 2) and “something shall be thought on” (II., 7), which recall Massinger. And compare “When the streams flow clear and fair, what are the fountains?” (V., 2) with The Bondman, I., 3, 282. The King in gaol reminds us of Believe as You List; the attempt of the Queen Quisara to convert Armusia to her faith reminds [pg 160] us of The Renegado. On the other hand, the metre is singularly like Fletcher's throughout; the diction in many details is unlike Massinger, and there are no parentheses. Perhaps Fletcher was helped in this play by some young man such as Brome who was acquainted with Massinger's style.

30. The Double Falsehood, or The Distressed Lovers.

This play scarcely deserves serious consideration. Cf. Appendix XV.

It will at once be seen how precarious and subjective is much of this attribution. For example, to trace four styles in a play is a difficult feat, yet Boyle does this in (2) and (3). Brander Matthews, in discussing the relation of Massinger and Fletcher, has some interesting remarks, illustrated by modern parallels. He points out that collaboration may be either a chemical union or a mechanical mixture of the authors' qualities, so that it is hard to decide which process has taken place in a particular play. These considerations lead him to doubt the finality of Boyle's distribution of scenes.

Boyle's strong points are his argument from metrical details and his intimate knowledge of the texts. I feel, however, that the metrical test is open to the charge of being mechanical when weighed against the impressions which we gain from the evidence of construction, style, and expressions. Massinger constructed his plays well, and modelled his characters carefully, whereas Fletcher, while excelling in isolated scenes, shrank from no improbability which might be necessary to carry the plot through. I am more conservative, therefore, than Professor Gayley, who says that “in The Spanish Curate, The Little French Lawyer, The Prophetess, and The Beggars' Bush Massinger's contribution was fully as important as Fletcher's. The general design appears to be the work of the former. Fletcher fills in the details of comic business”;535 and that [pg 161] “he has no doubt about Massinger's part in The Knight of Malta, The Lover's Progress, and The Elder Brother.”536

Next, with regard to style and expression, when we remember the intimacy of the two men, it is quite possible that Massinger imitated Fletcher consciously or unconsciously at some time of his life, and vice versa. Or we may put it in this way: there was a certain amount of conventional stock-in-trade common to the two writers, such a phrase, for instance, as, “To the temple” when the inevitable marriage ceremony is to take place. It would be absurd to suppose that Fletcher never used such a phrase as “write nil ultra,” which is no doubt a distinguishing mark of Massinger's style. Again, Fletcher may have worked over drafts of scenes in the first instance written by Massinger, and there is evidence for supposing that in many cases revision for a revival rather than co-operation is the clue. Massinger's good judgment would make him an excellent reviser.

It must, however, be allowed that the large amount of agreement between two experts such as Boyle and Bullen is remarkable. We cannot acquit those who produced the Folio of Beaumont and Fletcher in 1647 of negligence in omitting to give their due to Massinger and other collaborators. On the other hand, it might be argued that if Massinger's share in Fletcher's plays were as large as Boyle believes it to have been, the Folio would for very shame have acknowledged it; and it must be pointed out that the large mass of commendatory verses prefixed to the Folio entertains no doubt of the traditional authorship.537

Believing that the matter of first importance is to estimate Massinger from the plays which he undoubtedly wrote, I have not given above my evidence in full for the impressions which I have formed of the “collaborated” plays. The results of my study of these plays may be [pg 162] summarised as follows: Massinger wrote considerable portions of The Prophetess, The False One, and Sir John Van Olden Barnavelt. His work can be traced in Thierry and Theodoret and The Bloody Brother. He wrote the greater part of Acts I. and V. of The Queen of Corinth, and of Acts I. and V. of The Elder Brother. He wrote much of the same acts in The Little French Lawyer, The Spanish Curate, The Fair Maid of the Inn. He may have assisted in The Knight of Malta. He revised for subsequent performance The Custom of the Country and The Lover's Progress. He had nothing to do with The Honest Man's Fortune, The Sea Voyage, The Double Marriage, The Beggars' Bush, Love's Cure, The Laws of Candy, The Captain, The Cure for a Cuckold, The Island Princess. In my opinion, Massinger's hand can be most clearly discerned in (1) serious plays; (2) the serious parts of plays; (3) the first and last acts of a joint composition.538

[pg 163]

Appendix IV. On The Influence Of Shakspere

The instances quoted in the text can be supplemented by many others. Compare the diction and thought of the following passages:

Maid of Honour, IV., 3, 61:

Ministers of mercy,
Mock not calamity.

Hamlet, I., 4, 39:

Angels and ministers of grace defend us!

Maid of Honour, V., 1, 133:

And I to make all know I am not shallow,
Will have my points of cochineal and yellow.

Twelfth Night, II., 5, 169:

Remember who commended thy yellow stockings.

Virgin Martyr, I., 1, 177:

All kind of tortures; part of which they suffer'd
With Roman constancy.

Julius Cæsar, II., 1, 226:

Let not our looks put on our purposes,
But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untired spirits and formal constancy.

(Cf. Duke of Milan, V., 1, 128.)

Parliament of Love, II., 2, 37:

Yet since thou art
So spaniel-like affected.

Midsummer-Night's Dream, II., 1, 205:

Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me.

Two Gentlemen of Verona, IV., 2, 14:

Yet, spaniel-like, the more she spurns my love,
The more it grows and fawneth on her still.

Emperor of the East, IV., 5, 105:

Methinks I find Paulinus on her lips.
[pg 164]

Othello, III., 3, 341:

I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips.

Emperor of the East, V., 2, 103:

Can I call back yesterday, with all their aids
That bow unto my sceptre? or restore
My mind to that tranquillity and peace
It then enjoyed?

Othello, III., 3, 330:

Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday.

Othello, III., 3, 347:

O, now for ever
Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!

Virgin Martyr, I., 1, 342:

An humble modesty, that would not match
A molehill with Olympus.

Great Duke of Florence, IV., 2, 305:

As the lowly shrub is to the lofty cedar,
Or a molehill to Olympus, if compar'd,
I am to you, Sir.

Roman Actor, III., 1, 3:

If you but compare
What I have suffered with your injuries
(Though great ones, I confess), they will appear
Like molehills to Olympus.

(Cf. also Duke of Milan, I., 3, 193.)539

Coriolanus, V., 3, 29:

My mother bows;
As if Olympus to a molehill should
In supplication nod.
[pg 165]

Duke of Milan, III., 1, 204:

Thou didst not borrow of Vice her indirect,
Crooked, and abject means.

2 Henry IV, IV., 5, 184:

God knows, my son,
By what by-paths and indirect crook'd ways
I met this crown.540

Great Duke of Florence, II., 2, 12:

Yes, and drink more in two hours
Than the Dutchman or the Dane in four and twenty.

Hamlet, I., 4, 18:

This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and tax'd of other nations.
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition.

(Cf. also Othello, II., 3, 78-87.)

Parliament of Love, IV., 5, 137:

Now, as a schoolboy,
Does kiss the rod that gave him chastisement.

Richard II, V., 1, 31:

And wilt thou, pupil-like,
Take thy correction mildly, kiss the rod?

Two Gentlemen of Verona, I., 2, 58:

That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse,
And presently, all humbled, kiss the rod.

Unnatural Combat, IV., 2, 6:

Let his passion work, and like a hot-reined horse
'Twill quickly tire itself.

Henry VIII, I., 1, 132-4:

Anger is like
A full-hot horse, who being allow'd his way
Self-mettle tires him.

Emperor of the East, III., 1, 2:

A sudden fever
Kept me at home.
[pg 166]

Henry VIII, I., 1, 5:

An untimely ague
Stay'd me a prisoner in my chamber.

A Very Woman, II., 1, 20:

The furnace of your father's anger.

Bondman, III., 3, 170:

Or yield up
Our bodies to the furnace of their fury,
Thrice heated with revenge.

Henry VIII, I., 1, 140:

Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself.

Virgin Martyr, V., 2, 158:

And now, in the evening,
When thou should'st pass with honour to thy rest,
Wilt thou fall like a meteor?

Henry VIII, III., 2, 226:

I shall fall
Like a bright exhalation in the evening,
And no man see me more.

Guardian, V., 4, 115:

In this casket are
Inestimable jewels.

Richard III, I., 4, 27:

Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels.

Picture, I., 2, 17:

Since this bubble honour
(Which is indeed the nothing soldiers fight for)
With the loss of limbs or life, is in my judgment
Too dear a purchase.

As You Like It, II., 7, 152:

Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.

Picture, II., 2, 136:

It continuing doubtful
Upon whose tents plum'd victory would take
Her glorious stand.

Othello, III., 3, 349:

Farewell the plumèd troops, and the big wars,
That make ambition virtue!
[pg 167]

Virgin Martyr, V., 2, 82:

There is a scene that I must act alone.

Romeo and Juliet, IV., 3, 19:

My dismal scene I needs must act alone.

Great Duke of Florence, III., 1, 57:

What you deliver to me shall be lock'd up
In a strong cabinet, of which you yourself
Shall keep the key.

Hamlet, I., 3, 85.

'Tis in my memory locked,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.

Believe as You List, I., 2, 18:

When he smiles, let such
Beware as have to do with him, for then,
Sans doubt, he's bent on mischief.

Hamlet, I., 5, 107:

Meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

Old Law, IV., 1, 36:

Besides, there will be charges saved too; the same rosemary that serves for the funeral will serve for the wedding.541

Hamlet, I., 2, 180:

Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

Parliament of Love, III., 3, 133:

A hurtful vow
Is in the breach of it better commended,
Than in the keeping.

Hamlet, I., 4, 15:

It is a custom
More honour'd in the breach than the observance.
[pg 168]

Guardian, V., 1, 44:

These woods, Severino,
Shall more than seem to me a populous city.

Othello, I., 1, 77:

The fire is spied
In populous cities.

(Cf. also IV., 1, 64.)

We may infer that Massinger studied the Folio of 1623 carefully.

Appendix V. Warburton's List

(Lansdowne MSS., B. M., 807.)

This volume contains three plays, the only survivors of Warburton's collection: The Queen of Corsica, by Fran. Jaques, The Second Maiden's Tragedy, and The Bugbears, together with a fragment of a fourth, R. Wild's Benefice.

On the back of the first leaf of this volume is attached the list of Warburton's collection, in his own hand. The entries referring to Massinger are as follows: I preserve the spelling.

Minerva's Sacrifice. Phill. Masenger.
The Forc'd Lady a T. Phill. Massinger.
Antonio & Vallia, by Phill. Massinger.
The Woman's Plott. Phill. Massinger.
The Tyrant, a tragedy, by Phill. Massenger.
Philenzo and Hipolito, a C. by Phill. Massenger.
The Judge, a C. by Phill. Massenger.
Fast and Welcome, by Phill. Massinger.
Believe as You List, C. by Phill. Massinger.
The Honour of Women, a C. by P. Massinger.
Alexius or the Chaste Gallant, T. P. Massinger.
The Noble Choise, T.C. P. Massinger.

The Parliament of Love is attributed to Wm. Rowley. The versification of the play which we have under that name is far above Rowley's powers, nor are there signs of collaboration in the play, as far as we can tell.

The list has been carefully discussed by Mr. W. W. Greg in his article, “The Bakings of Betsy,” in The Library (July, 1911).

[pg 169]

He puts the matter thus: Warburton enters Minerva's Sacrifice and The Forc'd Lady as above. In the Stationers' Register, Sept. 9, 1653, these titles are given as alternatives for the same play. This might mean that Moseley was trying to smuggle through two plays for a single fee. Mr. Greg is inclined to give Moseley the benefit of the doubt, and to suppose that there were plays existing in divergent versions, which would justify the double titles. If, however, Moseley was honest, Warburton cannot be correct. Mr. Greg suggests that Warburton, being interested in old plays, and having access to the Stationers' Register, drew up for his own use a list, mainly based on Moseley's entries, containing the titles of such pieces as he thought it might be possible to recover, and added the names of those in his possession. The cook destroyed some of the plays, and Warburton, discovering his loss, added the famous memorandum to the text without remembering that it contained the names of plays which he did not possess. In this case the damage done by “Betsy” would not be so extensive as has been believed.

Appendix VI. A Metrical Peculiarity In Massinger

Our dramatic writers must have often felt that their metre required variety to relieve it from the dangers of facility and monotony. No doubt the same problem suggested itself to Homer and the Greek dramatists. In the former, the frequent pauses after the first foot or in the middle of the second foot, in the latter, the much-discussed pauses after the first foot, are as likely to be due to a desire for variety as to any special emphasis on the particular words thus singled out.542

In what ways did the Elizabethans secure variety?543

[pg 170]

1. By the use of rhyme. This was the early solution. Massinger does not often resort to rhyme, though in some of his plays, notably in The Roman Actor, he several times employs the well-known couplet at the end of a scene.

2. By the free use of the eleven-syllable line. This was Fletcher's solution. It is astonishing how the pleasure which the occasional use of this licence gives us turns to a feeling of satiety and weakness when it is too freely employed, so that many passages in Fletcher sound like a horse with a fit of roaring.

3. In the free use of trisyllabic feet. This fact has been recently brought before the public by Mr. Bayfield in connexion with Shakspere. There is no need to quote instances of this common and easy expedient.

4. By the occasional use of short lines. As has been pointed out above,544 Massinger is a strict metrist, and does not often resort to this liberty, even in rapid conversation.

5. By skilful variation of pauses, such as we find in Milton, Tennyson, and most of our modern writers of blank verse. Massinger's flexible and meandering sentences contain many examples of such variation.

I believe that he had another shaft in his quiver. He occasionally suppressed a short syllable at the close of the line, and more rarely in the early part, with the result that an anapaestic lilt of some effectiveness makes its appearance. An example from The Emperor of the East will make this clear.

Pulcheria. What ís thy náme?
Athenais. The forlorn Áthenáis (I., 1, 342).

If the stresses are placed as above, it is clear that there is a syllable suppressed after the word “forlorn,” a three-syllable foot in the third place, and an anapaestic lilt, “the forlorn.”

Nor is Massinger alone in this device; instances from other poets are quoted below. This theory conflicts with the dictum [pg 171] of Schmidt in his Shaksperian lexicon, that words like “forlorn,” “complete,” “supreme,” “conceal'd,” can be stressed either on the first or second syllable, the stress being on the first syllable when the stress in the following word falls on the first syllable. Presumably Schmidt would have scanned the line in question thus:

What ís thy náme? The fórlorn Áthenáis.

Schmidt's dictum, however, will not explain all the cases quoted below, and it is worth considering whether it is not a simpler solution of the problem to suppose that our Elizabethan poets combined uniformity of accent with variety in the metre, sometimes applied more than once in the same line. It is clear that lines which contain a past participle like “condemned” cannot be used for the purposes of this argument, as such words may have been scanned as two syllables or three.

The following cases will support my suggestion. The list does not profess to be a complete summary of the evidence.

1. The Emperor of the East, III., 4, 139:

To búild me úp a compléte^prínce, 'tis gránted.

2. The Duke of Milan, III., 1, 32:

Mónkeys and páraquíttos consúme^thóusands.

(Here the first foot is a trochee. Cf. infra, Nos. 6, 8, 20, 21, 36, 43, 48.)

3. The Bondman, I., 1, 65:

Of stránge and resérved párts; but a gréat^sóldier.

4. The Bondman, II., 1, 143:

Which súllied wíth the tóuch of impúre^hánds.

5. The Bondman, III., 3, 89:

Were thís sad spéctaclé for secúre^gréatness.

6. The Bondman, IV., 3, 192:

Máde for your sátisfáction, the póor^wrétch.

7. The Bondman, V., 2, 20:

All éngines tó assáult him. Indéed^vírtue.

8. The Renegado, I., 1, 81:

Ín a relígious schóol, where divíne^máxims.

9. The Renegado, I., 3, 152:

Have cálled your ánger ón, in a frówn^shów it.
[pg 172]

10. The Renegado, II., 4, 58:

Displéasures agaínst^thóse, withóut whose mércy.

11. The Renegado, III., 2, 36:

I é'er had íreful fiérceness, a stéel'd^héart.

12. The Renegado, IV., 3, 79:

Forsáke a sevére,^náy, impérious místress.

13. The Renegado, V., 1, 7:

That wíll for éver árm me agaínst^féars.

14. The Great Duke of Florence, I., 1, 127:

And íf my grácious úncle, the gréat^dúke.

15. The Great Duke of Florence, I., 2, 29:

To thínk her wórthy of yóu, besídes^chíldren.

16. The Great Duke of Florence, II., 1, 133:

And máke a pláin discóvery. The dúke's^cáre.

17. The Great Duke of Florence, II., 3, 66:

The swéetness óf her bréath. Such a bráve^státure.

18. The Great Duke of Florence, III., 1, 66:

On whát desígn, or whíther, the dúke's^wíll.

19. The Great Duke of Florence, IV., 1, 102:

And píety bé forgótten. The dúke's^lúst.

20. The Great Duke of Florence, V., 2, 3:

Ín the great státes it cóvers. The dúke's^pléasure.

21. The Great Duke of Florence, V., 3, 127:

Équal offénders, whát we shall spéak^poínts.

22. The City Madam, III., 3, 78:

Relígious chárity; to sénd^ínfidéls.

23. The Bashful Lover, III., 3, 90:

And sénsual báseness; íf thy profáne^hánd.

24. The Bashful Lover, IV., 2, 60:

'Tis ímpióus in mán to prescríbe^límits.

25. The Bashful Lover, V., 3, 179:

There's nó conténding agáinst^déstiný.

26. A Very Woman, II., 3, 42:

Not fár off dístant, appéars^dím with énvy.

27. The Unnatural Combat, IV., 1, 35:

Yet wáking, I' ne'er chérished obscéne^hópes.
[pg 173]

28. Believe as You List, I., 1, 144:

And secúre^gréatness wíth the trúe relátion.

29. Believe as You List, I., 2, 10:

A póint of jústice, his wórds^fúll in méasure.

30. Believe as You List, II., 2, 265:

Undergó the sáme^púnishmént which óthers.

31. The Guardian, I., 1, 285:

This profáne^lánguage. Práy you, bé a mán.

32. The Guardian, I., 2, 21:

Your hónour detésts^fláttery, Í might sáy.

33. Epilogue 2:

Tó the still dóubtful áuthor, at whát^ráte.

34. The Parliament of Love, II., 3, 26:

You nów expréss yoursélf a compléte^lóver.

35. The Parliament of Love, III., 2, 149:

To háve the gréatest bléssing, a trúe^fríend.

36. The Parliament of Love, IV., 1, 95:

Cást yourself ón her cóuch. Oh, divíne^dóctor!

37. The Parliament of Love, V., 1, 69:

The módern víces. Begín;^réad the bílls.

38. The Parliament of Love, V., 1, 184:

The ápplicátion, ánd in a pláin^stýle.

39. The Parliament of Love, V., 1, 520:

Led thríce through Páris; thén at the cóurt,^gáte.

40. The Picture, I., 1, 48:

Of the sóuls^rávishing músic; the sáme^áge.

(A highly irregular line.)

41. The Picture, I., 2, 73:

Are búried in hér; the lóud^nóise of|wár.

42. The Picture, I., 2, 106:

Her kíngly cáptive abóve^áll the wórld.

43. The Picture, I., 2, 184:

Dóted on thís Semiramís, a kíng's^wífe.

(The third foot here is u u u u.)

44. The Picture, I., 2, 248:

Beyónd my júst propórtion. Abóve^wónder!
[pg 174]

45. The Picture, II., 1, 35:

Appéar, and, what's móre, appéar^pérfect, híss me.

46. The Picture, II., 1, 66:

Their fáirest íssue to méet^sénsuálly.

47. The Picture, II., 1, 165:

My énd must bé to stánd in a córn^fíeld.

48. The Picture, II., 2, 286:

Í should fix hére, where bléssings beyónd^hópe.

49. The Picture, III., 2, 40:

They thánk'd the bríngers óf it. The póor^lády.

50. The Picture, III., 5, 161:

What cán you stáke against it. A quéen's^fáme.

51. The Picture, IV., 4, 64:

If thís take nót, I am chéated. To slíp^ónce.

52. The Picture, V., 3, 11:

Befóre he góes to súpper. Ha! Is my hóuse^túrn'd.

(The fourth foot is u u u —.)

53. The Picture, V., 3, 40:

And néed no tútor. Thís is the gréat^kíng.

It will be noted that the rhythm often occurs in a broken line—i.e., a line divided between two speakers. Cf. Nos. 7, 20, 36, 44, 50, 51, 52, 53. (Cf. also The Emperor of the East, I., 1, 342.)

Cf. The False One, I., 1:

What néarer plédges chállenge: résign^ráther.

The False One, V., 4:

The stóry óf a supréme^mónarchý.

The Prophetess, I., 3:

Chéerful and gráteful tákers the góds^lóve.

The Prophetess, I., 3:

Nor múst I revéal^fúrther, till you cléar it.

The Prophetess, III., 1:

For ládies of high^márk, for divíne^beáuties.

The Lover's Progress, I., 1:

To Cúpid agáinst^Hýmen! Óh, mine hónour.
[pg 175]

The Fair Maid of the Inn, I., 1:

A compléte^cóurtier! máy I livé to sée him.

Thierry and Theodoret, IV., 2:

Thou dóst throw chárms upón me, agáinst^whích.

Thierry and Theodoret, IV., 2:

Aṅd the place whére, the pálace, agáinst,^áll.

Jew of Malta, I., 2:

And extréme^tórtures óf the fíery déep.

Dr. Faustus, I., 1:

And Í that háve with concíse^sýllogísms.

Nero, I., 4:

O sevére^ánger óf the highest góds.

Rule a Wife, I., 1:

For thére I dáre be bóld to appéar^óften.

The Maid in the Mill, I., 3:

Now by' the sóul of lóve, a divíne^créature.

Henry VIII, II., 1, 11:

I'll téll you ín a líttle. The gréat^dúke.

I believe that many of the rhythms from Shakespeare quoted by Schmidt and by Mr. R. Bridges in his “Milton's Prosody,” can be explained in this way.

Appendix VII. Believe As You List

This play was edited by Mr. T. Crofton Croker, with a short Preface, in the Percy Society's Publications, Vol. XXVII., 1849. The Tudor Society has published a photographic facsimile of the MS., now in the British Museum (Egerton MSS., 2828). Cf. B.M. Catalogue of Additions, 1907, p. 384. The MS. was purchased for the Museum at a sale on November 27, 1900, for £69. It is of paper. The original document, measuring 12-1/2 inches by 7-1/2 inches, comprises folios 5 to 29; folios 2 and 3 are the old vellum cover.

[pg 176]

Mr. Croker's account of the MS. (Pref., p. ix) runs as follows:

“The MS., from its commencement to the termination of the licence, was written on forty-eight pages of foolscap paper, in a small hand, sometimes not easy to be read. Of the second leaf only an inconsiderable portion remains, and the top and bottom of the paper have been injured in some places by damp. In four additional pages after the licence, the Prologue, Epilogue, and property directions are preserved. The MS. is stitched up in a parchment cover, which appears to have been a cancelled ‘Indenture’ of Elizabeth's reign. On the outside page of this parchment, or back of the cancelled indenture, is written the title, in what I agree with Mr. Beltz in regarding as Massinger's autograph.”545

From the letter of Mr. S. Beltz, given by Mr. Crofton Croker, we learn that Gifford had more than once lamented to Mr. Croker the disappearance of this MS., which Colley Cibber had seen;546 and that the MS. had formerly been in David Garrick's hands. Mr. S. Beltz also says: “It is well known from other sources that the play was acted on May 7, 1631.”

The MS. had belonged to George Beltz, Lancaster Herald, and executor of Garrick's widow. His brother Samuel found it among “a mass of rubbish.” It was in the possession of J. O. Halliwell Phillips at one time. This well-known Shaksperian scholar inserted a note about it on p. 1, in which he says, inter alia: “This is one of the few play-house copies of any English plays before the suppression of theatres known to exist. I strongly suspect it has some corrections in Massinger's own autograph.”

[pg 177]

Sir George F. Warner, in the Athenæum (January 19, 1901) discusses the MS. He believes it is in Massinger's own hand, as the alterations are made currente calamo. This fact can easily be verified from a perusal of the MS. Sir G. Warner, after comparing the MS. with the Henslowe document at Dulwich, arrived at the conviction that the writing was Massinger's. He considers that the title and marginal stage-directions are due to the manager, and that the Prologue and Epilogue are in a third hand. He points out that “Carthage” is written over “Venice” (Crofton Croker, p. 41), “Affricque” over “Europe” (p. 44), and “Berecinthius” over “Sampayo” (p. 79).547 He proceeds to explain the reason for these alterations, and then emends some of Mr. Croker's mistakes.

With all due deference to the great authority of Sir G. Warner, I do not feel certain that this hand is that of the appeal to Henslow. On the other hand, we must remember that seventeen years had elapsed, and that it is unlikely that a poor man like Massinger would have employed an amanuensis. Capital “I,” “s,” “f,” and “e” are alike in the two documents; but “ve” in “have ever” did not seem to me to be the same, nor did any of the “r's” at Dulwich resemble the hand in the play.548

[pg 178]

There are few mistakes in the MS. beyond those which the writer has corrected himself. The corrections and additions all appear to be in the same hand. The simplest explanation of the MS. is to suppose that Massinger had before him the MS. of the play which had been condemned by the Censor, and that he copied it out again, making the necessary changes of name, etc. This would account for one or two mistakes which the writer has corrected.549 In other passages we can see his judgment at work, altering the phraseology,550 or expanding one line into two.551 Sometimes a word is repeated from a previous line and then cancelled,552 as if the writer had been tired, as he might well be. The writing combines German and Italian forms.

The play was remodelled from its original form by order of the Censor.553 Sir G. Warner has pointed out that it is derived from “the strangest adventure that ever happened, either in the ages passed or present: containing a discourse concerning the successe of the King of Portugal, Dom Sebastian. London: printed for Frances Henson, dwelling in the Blackfriers, 1601.”554

[pg 179]

This book is the story of a claimant to the throne of Portugal. On p. 78 we have “the markes and signes which the King of Portugall Dom Sebastian beares naturally on his body.” Twenty-two in all are given. Among them are:

(1) He hath the right hand greater than the left.

(2) The right arme longer than the left.

(5) The right legge is longer than the left.

(6) The right foote greater than the other.

Compare these statements with the words erased in the MS., folio 8.555

1 Marchant:

His verie hand legge and foote, and the lefte side
Shorter than on the right.
(12) He hath little pimples on his face and hands.

Cf. 2 Marchant:

The moles upon
His face and hands556
(21) Another marke or wound upon the head.
(22) Another upon the right eye-brow.

Cf. 3 Marchant:

The scarres, caused by his hurts,
On his right browe and head.557
(14) He lackes one tooth on the right side in the neather jaw.

Cf. Berecinthius:

The hollownesse
Of his under jawe, occasion'd by the losse
Of a tooth pull'd out by his chirurgion.558
[pg 180]
(18) The lip of Austriche,559 like his
Grandfather Charles the Fift, Emperor,
Father to his mother, and of his
Grandmother, Catherine, Queen of
Portugall, mother to his father, sister
To the said Charles the Fift.

Compare the original reading in the play,560 “His nose! his German lippe!” Over German “very” has been written, and underneath is traceable the “A” of Austrian.

These passages leave no doubt as to the derivation of the earlier part of the story which Massinger dramatised.

On p. 45 of The Strangest Adventure we read that Dom Sebastian comes to Venice “very poorely, and robbed by five of his own servants, which he entertained in Cicilie.” This incident occurs in Believe as You List, Act I. At Venice he was persecuted by the “embassadour of Castile,” whose name is not given, but whose place in the play is taken by Flaminius. On p. 49 he is said to have been beaten by the Moors in Africa in 1578, and to be now (1600) a prisoner at Venice. In Believe as You List the period of twenty-two years is referred to as the interval during which Antiochus has been travelling about the world.561 On p. 50 Dom Sebastian arrives at Venice with “but one poor gazete.” In the play Antiochus, after being robbed by his servants, finds “a waste paper” lying near him, and speaks as follows:

There is something writ more.
Why this small piece of silver? What I read may
Reveal the mystery: Forget thou wert ever
Called King Antiochus. With this charity
I enter thee a beggar.562

On p. 67 Sebastian is set free, and on p. 86 he goes to Florence, on his way to Marseilles, with some talk of trying to establish his identity in Holland. But the narrative closes abruptly, and we know no more of the claimant to the Portuguese throne from The Strangest Adventure.

The ineffectiveness of the play may be partly due to the necessity of altering the original modern setting to an ancient [pg 181] one. It is hard, for example, to see how the monk Sampayo was metamorphosed into Berecinthius, the fat priest of Cybele.

Mr. Croker's reprint was the cause of a very pretty literary quarrel between the Shakespeare Society and the Percy Society. A writer who signed himself “A Member of both Societies” published a pamphlet animadverting on Mr. Croker's abilities as an editor,563 and Mr. Croker replied in no measured terms. The documents may be seen at the British Museum.

The anonymous writer, working on the many indications given in the marginal notes, reconstructed the cast of Believe as You List.564 “My cast,” he says, “has been a work of difficulty, and, in the case of some of the minor performers, a matter of considerable doubt, more especially as a few of them doubled or even trebled their parts; and as we here see (the only instance of the kind I am acquainted with), perhaps exchanged characters during the progress of the play.

Antiochus J. Taylor.565
Flaminius J. Lowin.
Lentulus R. Robinson.
Marcellus R. Benfield.
Berecinthius T. Pollard.
Chrysalus E. Swanston.
Demetrius W. Patrick.
Amilcar — Rowland.
1 Merchant J. Honeyman.
2 Merchant W. Penn.
3 Merchant — Curt.
Calistus T. Hobbes.
Titus R. Baxter.
Queen to Prusias — Ball.
Cornelia — Nick.
Courtesan — Boy.

“With regard to the three female parts, and another of a Moorish woman,566 we are left much in the dark, and I have placed names against them with considerable hesitation.

[pg 182]

“The actors who doubled their parts were W. Penn, who was also a Jailor; Rowland, who was also King Prusias; Patrick, who was also a Captain; and Baxter, who was also an officer and a servant, besides, as well as we can judge, delivering a speech or two as Demetrius. Rowland must also have trebled his small parts. Besides these, we hear in the course of the play of W. Mago, Gascoine, Herbert, and Harry Wilson; the last was a singer.... It need hardly be added that the 'tragedy' was got up and acted by the Company called the King's Players, all the names being those of performers in that association in 1631.”

Appendix VIII. Collation Of Ms. Of Believe As You List

This play is accessible to the general public at present in Colonel Cunningham's edition of Massinger, and in Mr. Arthur Symons's edition in “The Mermaid Series.” An examination of the original MS., now in the British Museum, shows that Cunningham's text is not always correct. Though an exhaustive collation of the MS. is not necessary, several points of interest emerge from a study of the original document, which I have digested here. (C. = Cunningham's edition; MS. = Manuscript reading. Brackets signify Cunningham's conjectural additions, which he has not always taken the trouble to indicate.)

Page 595. There is no list of dramatis personae in MS.

I., 1.—C.: Enter Antiochus and a Stoic. The three servants enter after line 118.

MS.: Antiochus Stoic in philosopher's habits; Chrysalus with a writing, Syrus, Geta, bondmen.

I., 1, 26.—C.: Stoic.

MS.: Stoic: Hermit (cancelled).

[pg 183]

I., 1, 56.—C.:

Old (He) sper with his fierce beams (scorch)ing in vain
Their (wives, their sisters and their tender daughters).

MS.: The line is much damaged, being the last on the page. A mention of the old after the young (lines 52 to 55) seems to be required.

I read it thus: Olde men with sil ... in vain. There is no trace of 57, but it is required by the sense.

I., 1, 60.—MS.: The soldiers' greedy lusts. “Greedy” deleted.

I., 1, 85.—C.: A prey so precious and so dearly purchased.

MS.: A prey so precious and dearly purchased.

“Precious” is scanned as a trisyllable.

I., 1, 117.—C.:

The imperious waves
(Of my) calamities have already fallen.

MS.: “Of my” is not in MS. The last word of 118 is “Swollen.” The word “Marvell” can be seen at the end of a line after 118.

Here comes a hiatus of two pages. No doubt Antiochus had a fairly long soliloquy. It is impossible to tell how many lines are lost here, as the characters seem to be conducting a rapid dialogue, in which it is not necessary to suppose that a whole line was assigned to each speaker at a time.

I., 1, 119.—C.:

Despair with sable wings
(Sail-stretch'd ab)ove my head.

MS.: Ore my head. A verb is wanted. (?) Sail-stretch'd flies o'er my head.

I., 1, 121.—MS.: ... ius furnished me. The line begins with a name to which there is no clue, probably introduced in the part now lost.

I., 1, 122.—C.: (And) make my first appearance like myself.

MS.: Made ? Which made, etc.

I., 1, 123.—C.: (Have these) disloyal villains ravished from me. Addition required by sense.

I., 1, 124.—C.: (Wret)ch that I was.

MS.: “ch” at end of a word which has disappeared. “Wretch” gives the sense.

[pg 184]

I., 1, 125.—C.: (With) such a purchase.

MS.: Such a purchase. The first word in the line has disappeared.

I., 1, 126.—C.: Without (the) gold to fee an advocate.

MS.: Without gold to fee an advocate. The first word in the line has disappeared. (?) And.

I., 1, 127.—C.: (To) plead my royal title, nourish hope.

MS.: Plead my royal title, nourish hope. The first word in the line has disappeared. “To” is required.

I., 1, 129.—C.: Wanting the outer gloss.

MS.: Wanting the outward gloss.

I., 1, 153.—C.:

Bids me become a beggar. But complaints are weak
And womanish. I will like a palm-tree grow
Under my (own) huge weight.
MS.: Bids me become a beggar. But complaints
Are weak and womanish. I will, like a palm-tree,
Grow under my huge weight.

I., 1, 155.—C.:

Nor shall the fear
Of death or torture that dejection bring
Make me (or) live or die less than a king!

MS. has: To make me live or die less than a king!—i.e., “that” in 156 is the demonstrative, not the relative.

I., 2, 2.—C.: Keeps us at such (a) distance.

MS.: Keeps us off at such distance.

I., 2, 20.—C.: Sans doubt, he's bent on mischief.

MS.: Sans doubt he's bent to mischief.

I., 2, 24.—C.:

He shall find I can
Think, and aloud too.

MS.: Chant, and aloud too.

I., 2, 53.—C.: 'T had perfected thy life.

MS.: It had.

I., 2, 66.—C.: (to task). Not in MS. Traces of a word in the beginning of a line now lost at the foot of 66.

[pg 185]

I., 2, 67.—C.:

If arrogantly you presume to take
The Roman government, your goddess cannot
Give privilege to it, and you'll find and feel
'Tis little less than treason, Flamen.
MS.: If arrogantly you presume to tax
The Roman government, you'll find and feel your goddess cannot
Give privilege to it, and you'll find and feel
'Tis little less than treason, Flamen.

“You'll find and feel” cancelled in line 68—i.e., the author changed his mind as he wrote.

I., 2, 72.—C.: These Asiatic merchants whom you look on.

MS.: These Asiatic merchants whom you look upon.

“Merchants” added afterwards above the line, and the first syllable of “upon” deleted.

I., 2, 90.—C.: To it again.

MS.: To it again now.

I., 2, 139.—C.: Yet you repine and rather choose to pay.

MS.: Yet you repined and rather chose to pay.

I., 2, 151.—C.: And this is my last caution.

MS.: Since this is my last caution.

I., 2, 161.—C.: (On) which.

MS.: Mutilated at beginning. “On” makes sense.

I., 2, 186.—C.: His nose, his very lip.

MS.: His nose, his German lip. “German” scratched out, and underneath appears a word beginning with “A,” Asian or Austrian?567 “Very” is written above “German.”

I., 2, 187.—C.:

His very hand, leg and foot!
The moles upon
His face and hands.
MS.: His own (?) hand, leg and foot, and the left side
Shorter than on the right.
The moles upon
His face and hands.

“His own” down to “the right” is cancelled in MS.

[pg 186]

I., 2, 191.—C:

1 M. To confirm us, tell us your chirurgeon's name
When he served you.
A. You all knew him as I
Do you, Demetrius Castor.
2 M. Strange.
3 M. But
Most infallibly true.


1 M. To confirm us,
Tell us his name when he served you.
A. You all know him,
As I do you: Demetrius Castor.
2 M. Strange.
3 M. But most infallibly true.

In line 192 “his” has been altered to “the chirurgeon's” to the detriment of the metre.

I., 2, 196.—C.: We'll pay for our distrust.

MS.: We sin in our distrust.

II., ad initium.—Stage-manager's note in left-hand margin, “Long.”

II., 1, 6.—C: I will exact

MS.: 'Twill exact.

II., 1, 47.—MS.:

We hold it fit you should have the first honour notice,
That you may have the honour to prevent it.

“Honour” in 47 deleted.

II., 1, 51.—MS.: In the shape of King Antiochus. Under King can be seen “Don Sebastian.”

II., 2, 45.—C: With due invitation, and remember.

MS.: With a due invitation and remember.

II., 2, 49.—C.:

And though the Punic faith is branded by
Our enemies, our confederates and friends
And seventeen kings, our feodaries found it
As firm as fate.
MS.: And though the Punic faith is branded by
Our enemies, our confederates and friends
Found it as firm as fate, and seventeen kings
Our feodaries.
[pg 187]

II., 2, 52.—MS.:

Our strength at sea superior upon the sea
Exceeding theirs.

“At sea superior” deleted. A clear case of the author's alteration as he went.

II., 2, 56.—C.:

And then for our cavallery, in the champaign
How often have they brake their piles.
MS.: And then for our cavallery, how often, in the champaign
How they brake often have they brake their piles.

“How often” in line 56. and the first “they brake” deleted. Author's alterations again.

II., 2, 59.—C.: If so we find it.

MS. If so, as we find it.

II., 2, 67.—MS.: By yielding up a man.

Written over something of which the first words are “in a,” the last word “king.”

II., 2, 98.—MS.: By the conquered Asiatics this impost in their hopes.

“This impost” deleted. “This impostor” occurs just above in line 97.

II., 2, 108.—C.: By her.

MS.: By his.

II., 2, 138.—C.: He bears him like a king.

MS.: He bears himself like a king.

II., 2, 142.—MS.: Ceutha deleted before Afric.

II., 2, 165.—C.: Cannot near you.

MS.: Cannot hear you.

II., 2, 205.—C.: Filled.

MS.: Filed.

II., 2, 209.—MS.: And hath keeps a whore in Corinth.

“Hath” deleted.

II., 2, 217.—MS.: In the royal monument of Hib the Asian kings.

(?) The author started to write “Hiberian kings.”

[pg 188]

II., 2, 240.—MS.: Rebellion delivery or restoring.

“Rebellion” deleted; it occurred in the previous line.

II., 2, 253.—C.:

With reverence to
This place, thou liest.
MS.: Setting aside, with reverence to
Thy place, the state, thou liest.

“Setting aside” and “thy place” deleted.

II., 2, 255.—C.: By being ...

MS.: By being libb'd, and my disability
To deflower thy sisters.

II., 2, 256.—C.: I (bow to) your goddess.

MS.: Thank your goddess.

“Thy” deleted under “your.”

II., 2, 285.—MS.:

Of brave and able men that might have stood
In opposition for the defence.

“That might” down to “opposition” inserted in same hand above the line.

II., 2, 289.—C.: For my confed'rates.

MS.: For my confederates.

Required by metre.

II., 2, 328.—MS.: Word deleted before Antiochus. Sebastian would scan.

II., 2, 335.—MS.: With your accustomed clemency wisdom you'll perceive.

“Clemency” deleted.

II., 2, 346.—MS.: Such depositions as they pleased knew would make.

“Pleased” deleted.

II., 2, 368.—MS.: Word deleted under “Carthage.” (?) Venice.

III., 1, 20.—MS.: “Europe” deleted under “Afric.”

III., 1, 22.—MS.: “To the good king Hiero” deleted under “To the pro-consul Marcellus.”

III., 1, 47.—C.: You'll find there that they.

MS.: You shall find there that.

(A nominative is wanted; unless for “there” we read “them”)

[pg 189]

III., 1, 62.—C.: To my (aid).

MS.: To my wish.

III., 1, 91.—MS.: There's thy reward.

Underneath “there's,” “take” deleted.

III., 1, 103.—C.:

Your travail's ended, mine begins; I take my leave.
Formality of manner now is useless.
MS.: Your travail's ended, mine begins, and therefore
Sans ceremonie I will take my leave.

“Sans ceremonie” deleted, and “formality ... useless” added at the end of the line. The author omitted to cancel “I take my leave.”

III., 2, 31.—C.: Thou thin gut!

MS.: You thin gut!

III., 2, 35.—MS.: Cancels from “Jove! if thou art” to 38, “They come.”

III., 2, 36.—C.: Change not Jove's purpose.

MS.: Change not you Jove's purpose.

III., 2, 106.—MS.:

I will conjure him
If revenge hath any spells.

Cancelled in MS.

III., 3, 132.—C.: Will but—I spare comparisons.

(?) Punctuate: Will—but I spare comparisons.

III., 3, 150.—MS.: Of such such as are.

Second “such” deleted.

III., 3, 151.—MS.: Bithynia covered with our knights armies.

“Knights” deleted.

III., 3, 166.—MS.: And more than my his caution to you; but now peace or war.

“And more than my” deleted. The previous line had begun with these words. Was the author copying a former draft of the scene?

III., 3, 229.—C.: To cross your purpose.

MS.: To cross your purposes.

III., 3, 234.—MS.: The warrant and authority of a wife your queen.

“A wife” deleted.

[pg 190]

III., 3, 244.—C.: These (eyes) pull'd out.

MS.: These pulled out.

“Eyes” is required by the sense, and “these” and “eyes” are much alike in this hand.

Ibid.—C.: Do then.

MS.: Do you then.

III., 3, 248.—C.: Born deaf.

MS.: Born dumb.

Act IV.—Stage-manager's note in left-hand margin of 186, “Long.” Cf. Act II.

IV., 1.—C.: A street in Callipolis.

Not in MS.

MS.: Sempronius a Capturion—i.e., “captain” altered to “centurion.”

IV., 1, 2.—MS.: I heard such.

“Such” deleted. It begins the next line.

IV., 1, 5.—MS.: He promised me a visit, if his designs as I desire they may.

“He” deleted and “who by his letters” written above it.

For similar expansion of one line into two, cf. II., 2, 285.

IV., 1, 7.—MS.: Till he arrive you behold him.

“He arrive” deleted.

IV., 1, 23.—MS.: “My” deleted before “yourself.”

IV., 1, 29.—C.: Lips.

MS.: Lip.

IV., 1, 34.—C.: Tacks on “he” to this line.

MS.: “He” begins line 35.

IV., 1, 45.—Enter Flaminius.

(?) “Ferdinand” deleted below.

IV., 1, 90.—C.: And may prove fortunate.

MS.: And it may prove fortunate.

IV., 2, 5.—C.: (Why), the sufferings of this miserable man.

MS.: No trace of “why.”

IV., 2, 11.—C.: Tacks on “to” at the end.

MS.: It begins line 12.

[pg 191]

IV., 2, 29.—C.: And know that not the reverence that waits.

MS.: And though I know the reverence that waits.

IV., 2, 33.—C.: Or iron.

MS.: Or fire.

IV., 2, 58.—C.: They aim at.

MS.: They aimed at.

IV., 2, 60.—C.: A few more hours.

MS.: A few hours more.

IV., 2, 66.—MS.: For the pretty tempting friend I brought; my life on't.

Under “tempting,” “beauty” (?) deleted.

IV., 2, 87.—MS.: Crack not with the weight of deer, and far-fetched dainties.

“Not” spoils the metre and the sense; it occurs in line 88. “Dispute not with heaven's bounties.”

IV., 2, 90.—C.: Homely cakes.

MS.: Homely cates.

IV., 2, 96.—MS.: I have already
Acquainted her with her cue. The music ushers
Her personal appearance.

Scratched out at top of 20b, and inserted at foot of 20a.

IV., 2, 127.—C.: Pray, what are you?

MS.: Pray you, what are you?

IV., 2, 147.—C.: That, (sir), is.

MS.: “Sir” not visible owing to mutilation. (?) Sir, that is.

IV., 2, 158.—MS.: And met your wishes.

“And met” deleted before “and met.”

IV., 2, 226.—MS.: To pluck your eyes out.

Last half of line deleted. Last word (?) “thoughtes.”

IV., 2, 228.—MS.: Add a deleted line:

Dieted with gourd water.568 Oh! the furies!

C.: leaves out.

[pg 192]

IV., 3, 1.—MS.: Officers leading in Berecinthius.

“Sampayo” deleted under “Berecinthius.”

C.: Place of execution at Callipolis.

MS.: Does not mention Callipolis.

IV., 3, 28.—MS.: My bark you see wants stowage.

“Balance” deleted before “stowage.”

IV., 3, 29.—C.: But give me half a dozen hens.

MS.: But give me half a dozen of hens.

IV., 3, 39.—MS.: “Helped me” bis. The first one deleted.

IV., 3, 44.—MS.: To make three sops for his three heads; may serve for a breakfast.

“that” inserted after “heads,” and “something more than an ordinary” after “serve for.” One line converted into two, as above, IV., 1, 5.

IV., 3, 46.—MS.: The cur is vengeance devilish hungry.

“Vengeance” deleted.

IV., 3, 48.—C.: Provided for my frame.

MS.: Provided for my fame.

IV., 3, 53.—MS.: That no covetous Roman, after I am dead.

“Needie” deleted under “covetous.”

IV., 4, 13.—C: His faults are inscribed.

MS.: His fault's inscribed.

IV., 4, 22.—C.: But in one thing most remarkable.

MS.: But one thing most remarkable.

IV., 4, 45.—MS.: Of kings deposed, and some in triumph led.

“Read” deleted before “led.” It is the last word of line 44.

IV., 4, 48.—C: Is of worse condition, and Rome.

MS.: Is of a worse condition, and Rome.

V., 1, 28.—MS.: “rows” deleted before “is chained.”

V., 1, 98.—C: In the world.

MS.: Of the world.

V., 1, 102.—C: Since I am term'd a soldier.

MS.: Since I am turn'd soldier.

V., 1, 116.—C: Grant you like (opportunity, but why),

MS.: Grant you like;

C.'s addition required by the sense.

[pg 193]

V., 1, 137.—C.: In which, my lord being a suitor with (me).

MS.: In which, my lord being a suitor with. Addition required.

V., 1, 143.—C.: And though it needs not, for further proof.

MS.: And though it needs it not, for further proof.

V., 1, 157.—C.: They find.

MS.: May find.

“May” required by the sense.

V., 1, 172.—MS.: Swim down the torrent stream but to oppose the torrent.

“Torrent” before “stream” deleted.

V., 2, 14.—C.: I will make this good.

MS.: I will mock this good.

V., 2, 30.—C.: That noble Roman. By h(im you are sent for).

MS.: That noble Roman. By h.... Addition required.

V., 2, 33.—C.: Though I grand him.

MS.: Though I grac'd him.

V., 2, 46.—C.: Antonius. Forbear.

MS.: Marcellus. Forbear.

V.,2, 59.—MS.: “Marcell” deleted before “King Antiochus.”

V., 2, 124.—C.: (The armlet).

Koeppel points out that in Cayet it is a ring.569

V., 2, 125.—C.: Which you wear on your sl(eeve).

MS.: Which you wear on your——slight traces of “sl.”

V., 2, 125.—C.: I ack(nowledge).

MS.: I ack ...

V., 2, 155.—C.:

My power to justify the ill, and pressed
You with mountainous promises of love and service.
MS.: My power to justify the ill, and pressed you
With mountainous promises of love and service.

V., 2, 166-7.—MS.: As far as “faithfully” in one line, but all written at the same time.

V., 2, 173.—C.: The violence of your passion.

MS.: .... l .. ce of your passion.

[pg 194]

V., 2, 174.—C.: Cornelia. (Do) but (expre)ss.

MS.: Cornelia has a line which has disappeared; towards the end are traces of “but” and “ss.”

V., 2, 175.—C.: Your thankfulness for his so m(any favours).

MS.: Your thankfulness for his so m ...

V., 2, 176.—C.: And labour that the senate may restore h(im).

MS.: And labour that the senate may restore h ... Addition required.

V., 2, 212.—C.: Yield an account without appeal for wha(t).

MS.: Yield an account without appeal for wha ...

V., 2, 213.—C.: You have already done. You may p(eru)se. (Does it.)

MS.: You have already done. You may p ... se.

No need for “Does it.”

V., 2, 214.—C.: Do you f(i)nd I ha(ve).

MS.: Do you f ... nd e I ha ... Addition required.

V., 2, 215.—C.: (The warran)t. (C)all in the Asian merchants.

MS.: ... all in the Asian marchants.

(?) “The document” would scan better.

V., 2, 216.—C.: 2 Merchant. Now to be hanged.

MS. has space above 216 for half a line to be said by someone else.

V., 2, 217.—C.: 3 Merchant. Him that pities thee.

MS. gives no clue to the speaker.

Ibid.—C.: Flaminius. Accusers.

MS.: ... sers. It is the last word of line 217?

V., 2, 218.—C.: ... die, and will prove that you took bribes.

I suggest as restoration of lines 215-218:

Call in the Asian merchants;
Let's hear them speak.
1 Merchant:
'Tis thy turn now to be hanged.
And shame to him that pities thee.
Th' accusers
Are ready, and will prove, etc.
[pg 195]

V., 2, 232.—C.: ('Tis) a Roman.

MS.: A Roman.

(C.'s addition required by the sense.)

Prologue—1.—C.: (So far our) author.

MS.: ... author.

Appendix IX. The Parliament Of Love

The MS. (No. 39 in the Dyce Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum) comprises nineteen leaves of the same size as those of Believe as You List. It has suffered much from damp, and is in a brittle, dilapidated state. In several passages the MS. has suffered since Gifford's collation (e.g., II., 2, 15). The lacunae in the text—e.g., at I., 4, 55; I., 5, 7; and I., 5, 74—are all caused by the mutilation of the lower edge of the MS. The hand seems to be the same throughout, but bears no resemblance to that in which Believe as You List is written, nor is it so easy to decipher. There are very few corrections in the text, and no marginal notes of any kind except the customary entrances and departures of the characters, which are duplicated as in Believe as You List, but in the same hand. The licence on folio 19a has been cut off. On folio 19b is written in a largish hand, The Parliament of Love, without any author's name. Gifford believed that this MS. was in Massinger's hand, and says “this has since been confirmed.” He does not say how. One thing is certain; the same hand did not write The Parliament of Love and Believe as You List. One instance out of many can be give in proof of this: the letter C, small and capital, in The Parliament of Love is constantly written thus, ⊕. A marked feature of the MS. is the doubling of consonants—e.g., tollerable, vallor, quallities, cullors. It looks as if, while it was in Gifford's hands, ink had been used to restore letters here and there, and towards the end of the play there are several substitutions of words in a later ink. Gifford's collation where I have tested it is correct in the main but I noted one or two mistakes—e.g.:

[pg 196]

I., 5, 87.—MS.: Sudainely.

G.: Speedily.

II., 3, 58.—MS.: The graces from the Idalian greene [sic].

G.: The Loves and Graces. This would make the line scan.

III., 2, 15.—MS.: If I compared it to an Indian slave's.

G.: with.

V., 1, 158.—MS.: Have.

G.: Had.

V., 1, 292.—“To” in MS. begins line 293.

The sort of mistake which we find in this MS. lends support to two hypotheses, between which, as far as I can see, there is nothing to decide; either, as we saw there was ground for supposing in Believe as You List, the author altered his diction as he composed, or he was dictating to an amanuensis. The earlier corrections are all made in the same ink. In favour of the former hypothesis are such passages as the following:

I., 4, 84: “May you suc prosper.” “Succeed” was the original word, but cancelled for one which scans better.

I., 5, 23: “Clarindore” cancelled at end of line, “Cleremond” substituted. Clarindore is mentioned in the next line.

I., 5, 66: “Summer's sunne”: “heate” substituted for “sunne.”

II., 1. 81: “That” deleted after “assurance”; the line thereby runs more smoothly.

II., 3, 5: “Thy selfe”: “selfe” deleted before “strengthe.”

III., 2, 16: “That with incessant labour to searche out.” After “labour” “searche” is deleted. In other words, the construction is changed: the main verb being “dives” in the next line, instead of the original intention, “searches.”

III., 3, 124: “Perform'd” deleted before “expir'd.”

V., 1, 111: “In hell's most uglie cullors.” “Horrid coullors” is deleted before the last two words.

V., 1, 189: “Nor did I scorn”: “him” after “scorn” is deleted, as if the syntax had been changed.

V., 1, 206: “Acknowledged” deleted before “appointed.”

[pg 197]

The sort of mistake that an amanuensis might make, either in copying or by dictation, occurs in:

II., 2, 12: “The scorne darts of scorne”; first “scorne” deleted.

II., 2, 111: After “Absolve me” “only can” deleted; it makes no sense, but had occurred in the previous line.

II., 3, 16: “But never thought: come, I must have thee mine.”

First three words deleted: they had occurred in the previous line.

III., 1, 120: “Blanque” deleted before “blanket.”

III., 3, 37: “A seeming courts”: “courts” deleted before “anger.” “Courtship” occurs at the end of the line.

V., 1, 46: “Weake weake men”; first “weake” underlined in later ink.570

V., 1, 190: “For truth is truth is truth.” All deleted. The sense requires: “for truth is truth.”

V., 1, 505: “Neglegt” deleted before “neglect.”

I add one or two notes of interest in correction of Cunningham's edition.

II., 2, 156 should read thus, as in MS.:

then to practise
To find some means that he deserves thee best.571

C. reads in I., 157: “he that,” which makes no sense.

At III., 3, 8 (folio 8b) there is a considerable blank in the MS. scrabbled over, but line 8 is completed at the top of folio 9a.

V., 1, 116 should read thus, as in MS.: “And not to be replied to.” C. misprints: “replied be.”

V., 1, 129: The MS. reads thus:

For that deitie
(Such our affection makes him) whose dread power
Tooke forthe choicest arrows, headed with
Not loose but loyall flames, who aymed at mee
Ame with greedie haste to meete the shaft.
[pg 198]

C. reads line 131: ... the choicest arrow, headed with.

line 133: Who came with greedy haste to meet the shaft.

In 131 “the” is obviously left out by homoeoteleuton. The grammar of the passage is defective. It is all cancelled in the old ink.

Similarly, 138 is cancelled: “Of gold, nor of pale lead that breeds disdain.”

178-185 down to the word “matter” are cancelled.

294-296 are cancelled in the old ink.

V., 1, 371: MS. “to whore me.” A modern hand has written above “abuse.”

V., 1, 531: There is an addition in the original hand which will not scan.

“And gratious spectators.”

Gifford in his note (II., 312) on Parliament of Love, V., 1, 129, refers to a corrected copy of The Duke of Milan, which proves the writing of the Parliament of Love to be Massinger's. Cf. also Advertisement to his second edition, Vol. I., and the facsimile of the dedication of The Duke of Milan to Sir Francis Foljambe (IV., 593). Where is this copy now? It was at one time in Gifford's possession.

Appendix X. The Authorship Of The Virgin Martyr

Boyle assigns to Massinger, Act I., Act III., 1, 2, Act IV., 3, Act V., 2, a total of slightly less than half the play. As far as it goes, I agree with this assignation, but it does not seem to me quite satisfactory. It is true that there are serious passages in The Virgin Martyr which do not resemble the rest of Massinger's work; it does not therefore follow that they are due, like the comic parts, to Dekker. In the first place, the exaltation which breathes from these passages may be due to the rapture of youth. Why should Massinger not have shown in what must have been a youthful work an emotional brilliancy [pg 199] which he lost later? And secondly, it is a mistake to say that Massinger's style is absolutely uniform; we could only lay this proposition down positively if we had all his works in our hands, and among those we possess I am much mistaken if differences, slight though real, cannot be detected. A Very Woman and The Bashful Lover stand apart from the rest of his plays by virtue of their greater degree of romantic nobility. In the third place, the serious scenes assigned by Boyle and others to Dekker do not seem to me to resemble the serious style of that author, except that there are certain passages where rhymed couplets are employed. Here again we might argue that Massinger was making an experiment which he dropped in his later work. The fact is that, as is usually the case in these matters, we have not enough evidence to prove one thing or the other.

The ascription of the play to Massinger and Dekker on the title-page of the 1622 edition might be held to prove that the lion's share in it is due to the former, especially when we remember that he was the younger and presumably the less-known author of the two. I should not, however, wish to deny the possibility that Dekker contributed some of the serious parts. I feel rather disposed to suggest that in one or two of the scenes in question both authors were at work. There is nothing impossible or improbable in this hypothesis.

Charles Lamb says about the scene between Dorothea and Angelo, beginning Act II., 1, line 224, that “it has beauties of so very high an order, that with all my respect for Massinger, I do not think he had poetical enthusiasm capable of furnishing them. His associate Dekker, who wrote Old Fortunatus, had poetry enough for anything.” This is one of Lamb's many unfair remarks about our author; he had discovered so many treasures in the Elizabethan goldfield that he was disposed to underrate the favourite of the eighteenth century. One rises from a perusal of the works of Dekker with a feeling that he was in many respects an engaging, child-like mind, with a gift for drawing character, but with an imperfect sense of technique and structure. If he had written anything in his undoubted works as good as this scene, it would be natural to adjudge it to him.

I should be inclined to assign II., 2, to Massinger; great [pg 200] stress is laid in it on the lack of courtesy shown in scanty greetings, which is a familiar line of thought in our author. Theophilus' speech, “Have I invented tortures,” sounds to me like Massinger. The structure of II., 3, reminds one of several similar incidents in Massinger, though it is clear that no poet can claim the monopoly of introducing auditors of love-scenes in the gallery above the stage. On the other hand, the ravings of Theophilus (ibid., 116-123) read like Dekker; as does the rhymed passage (ibid., 131-136). Perhaps the scene is composite.

The same remark applies to IV., 1. The first sixty lines are certainly Massinger's, and much of the rest; notice especially Antoninus' sudden change of mind at line 102. On the other hand, the speech of the British slave (ibid., 136-147) might be Dekker's work.

If Massinger can be accredited with Dorothea's farewell speech in IV., 3, 69-92, I do not see why he should not have written the famous passage in II., 1. They seem to me to have the same thrill of emotion.

Lastly, V., 1, seems to be constructed on the lines of a Massinger scene, and to contain traces of his vocabulary; cf. the use of “horror” in line 41, and of “to thy centre” in line 146. The conversion of Theophilus, like that of Antoninus in a previous scene, is effected rapidly, in Massinger's manner.

To sum up, I should be inclined to say that Massinger had, at any rate, a considerable share in the following scenes: II., 1, II., 2, II., 3, IV., 1, V., 1.

Appendix XI. The Authorship Of The Fatal Dowry

Boyle assigns to Massinger, Act I.; Act III. as far as line 315 (enter Novall, junr.); Act IV., 2, 3, 4; Act V. This amounts to about three-fifths of the play. On metrical grounds I reluctantly concede that Field wrote the famous funeral scene, Act II., 1. But there are clear traces of Massinger's style in the part of Act II., 2, which follows the prose [pg 201] passage. Thus, Romont's speech, beginning at line 201, seems to show traces of Massinger; likewise Pontalier's, beginning at line 370. It is probable that Field wrote the prose scenes in the play, and possibly the songs; nor would I deny that the regular ten-syllable blank verse of such passages as Act II., 2, 178-187 (Rochfort. Why, how now, Beaumelle? ... nothing but good and fit), and Act II., 2, 318-328 (This is my only child ... were multiplied tenfold), is Field's work. In the two plays which have come down to us from Field there is much passable blank verse. It is important to remember, however, that we have so little of Field left that it is hazardous to base material tests on it; and secondly, the authors may have collaborated in individual scenes in such a way as to escape analysis. This is what probably has taken place in Act II., 2. Nor do I feel certain that the latter part of Act III. is wholly due to Field; lines 438-478 contain much that is like Massinger, though the ugly line 464 is not in his style.

I not accuse thy wife of act, but would
Prevent her precipice to thy dishonour.

On the other hand, the rhymed couplet (lines 375-6) is probably Field's.

The pert page in Act IV., 1, reminds us of a similar character in Woman's a Weathercock, and is probably Field's handiwork. On the other hand, Pontalier's speech in the same scene (lines 119-140) reads to me like Massinger.

These instances may serve to show how hard it is to dissect the play satisfactorily.

Appendix XII. The Tragedy Of Sir John Van Olden Barnavelt

This play is to be found in Bullen's Old Plays, vol. ii. It was printed from B.M. Add. MSS. 18653, a folio of thirty-one leaves in a small clear hand.

Mr. Bullen thinks that Massinger wrote III., 2; III., 6; IV. (the trial scene); V., 1. He ascribes the concluding scene [pg 202] to Fletcher. These ascriptions seem to me correct. There is much fine poetry in the play, notably in the Leidenberg scene. But Fleay goes too far when he calls the play “magnificent.” It is a “piece of occasion,”572 written shortly after the tragic death of Barnavelt, in such a way, however, that it would not interest a later generation, who had forgotten the sensation of the time. In the second place, it has no unity, a fact no doubt partly due to the dual authorship. We do not know if we are intended to sympathise with Orange or Barnavelt. Such a specimen of the historical drama pure and simple makes us feel that more than a mere narrative of events is needed in a play; we look to the author to guide our sympathies, and have a view of his own about his theme.573

Appendix XIII. The Second Maiden's Tragedy

This play was reprinted by the Malone Society in 1909.574 The writing of the original MS. in the British Museum is remarkably good. It is No. 807 in the Lansdowne Collection, and comes to us from the famous Warburton MSS. The play was licensed by Sir George Buck, October 31st, 1611, and acted by the King's men. At the end is inscribed: “by Thomas Goffe,575 George Chapman, by Will Shakspear. A tragedy indeed!”

[pg 203]

The last phrase is true. The first two names are erased; the third name has been added by a late seventeenth or eighteenth century hand.

The underplot, according to Boyle, is derived from Cervantes' Curious Impertinent, and in Acts I. and II. passages “are literally taken from that novel.” There is an incident at the end of the play which reminds us of The Duke of Milan. The “Tyrant” removes the body of the heroine from her tomb, and sends for a painter to give colour to her face and lips. Govianus, her husband, comes in disguise to do the deed, and the Tyrant is killed by the poison which Govianus has put on the lips of the corpse.

Massinger may therefore have known the play, but I differ entirely from Boyle's estimate. He thinks Massinger wrote Acts I. and II., Tourneur Acts III., IV., V. I see no trace of Massinger in Act I., except the reference in line 541 to a “cup of nectar.” The sudden repentance of the heroine's father Helvetius, in Act II., 1, 253, reminds us of a trait of Massinger referred to above;576 but the style of the first two acts is too feeble and vague, and the metre too halting for him.577 I cannot suppose that at the age of twenty-seven Massinger could have taken part in writing a play where “A voice from within” the tomb says to the mourning husband, “I am not here!”578

Appendix XIV. The Powerful Favorite579

The Powerful Favorite, or the life of Aelius Sejanus, by P. M., printed at Paris, 1628.” So runs the title in the English translation.

[pg 204]

Two translations of Pierre Matthieu's book, “Histoire d'Aelius Sejanus,” appeared in the same year. One is padded out with additions; in the shorter and more exact translation, the initials on the title-page of the Bodleian copy have been filled out thus: P. Massinger.

We know that Massinger's political sympathies were against the Duke of Buckingham, and it is probable that a Life of Sejanus may have attracted attention at a time when the parallel was drawn and the unpopularity great; but it is simpler to suppose that P. M. stands for the French author. It would require some courage to publish under one's own name or initials a translation of the book.

It is noteworthy that in 1632, after Buckingham's death, a translation appeared by Sir T. Hawkins. The title which he gave his book was “Unhappy prosperitie expressed in the histories of Aelius Sejanus and Philippa, the Catanian.” Underneath he adds the words: “Written in French by P. Matthieu.”

Appendix XV. Double Falsehood

In 1728 there appeared at London a play with the following title: “Double Falsehood, or The Distressed Lovers; written originally by W. Shakespeare, and now revised and adapted to the stage by Mr. Theobald, the author of Shakespeare Restor'd.”

It was dedicated to the Rt. Hon. George Dodington, Esq. In the Preface Theobald states that one of the copies in MS. is of above sixty years' standing. He goes on to say that there is a tradition that Shakspere wrote it—“in the time of his retirement from the stage.” The story is taken from a novel in Don Quixote, which appeared in 1611, five years before Shakspere's death. Theobald professes to allow that the colouring, diction, and characters come nearer to the style and manner of Fletcher.

Some writers580 have supposed that Theobald in compiling [pg 205] this play used materials from a lost play by Massinger. The first thing we notice in it is that there are a good many prose scenes. This is unlike Massinger. In the second place, the metre is unlike Massinger's; it is simple and regular, and contains very few double endings or run-on lines. In Act II., 4, Leonora gives an important letter to her lover Julio, out of a window, to a “citizen” whom she does not know, by night. Is this improbable incident the sort of thing that Massinger would write?581

The whole play is an eighteenth-century effusion in the manner of Rowe. There is no trace of Fletcher or Massinger here.

Appendix XVI. Middleton's A Trick To Catch The Old One

A Trick to catch the Old One is a lively play, mainly written in prose, in which an air of plausibility is skilfully cast around a farcical plot. There can be no doubt that Massinger borrowed the idea of A New Way from Middleton, as well as a few expressions.582 In both plays there are an uncle who has strained the law to deprive his nephew of his lands, a rich widow whose supposed affection for the nephew converts the uncle to make reparation, and creditors who have to be satisfied. The servants [pg 206] (A Trick, IV., 4) who are to discharge their duties in Hoard's new household may have suggested the group in Lady Allworth's house who supply a comic element. On the other hand, the two plays are constructed on very different lines. The central point of A Trick is the hatred of the two usurers, Lucre and Hoard, for one another, both being in the end cheated by the hero Witgood. In A New Way there is only one usurer, Sir Giles. A Trick, though well constructed, has a lame and hurried conclusion; and it is overloaded with minor characters, who help the action but little—in particular, the usurer Dampit seems to be introduced for no particular reason except to fill up the time with mediocre fun. The part played by the heroine, Joyce, is small and obscure. Then again, there can be no comparison between the slight figure of Hoard and the powerful creation of Sir Giles Overreach. Wellborn does nothing in the play that misbecomes a gentleman; the ingenuity with which he frames a plan to deceive his uncle leads us to believe that when he has repented his [pg 207] wild life he has the capacity to make good. His prototype, Witgood, on the other hand, is merely an amusing adventurer. Indeed, Middleton seems throughout to be pursuing with his vengeance the sharp practices of those who lend money to fast young men, and we certainly sympathize with his castigation of Lucre, Hoard, and Dampit. Massinger's widow is a lady of birth and title; Middleton's is a courtesan in disguise. When she marries Hoard, though we feel some satisfaction at the deception which has been practised on him, we cannot help asking ourselves as the characters retire to the conventional “wedding dinner” of an Elizabethan comedy, whether the solution would have worked in real life. The answer is, that while we have been much amused, we have been cheated by the author's great skill and vivacity into accepting an improbable plot. Massinger's play, on the other hand, contains little that might not have happened, and the conclusion is so arranged that there is every prospect of the characters living happily hereafter. While Middleton's play is a charming [pg 208] extravaganza, Massinger's has held the stage ever since. The one play can be acted now, the other cannot. This is not merely due to the fact that A New Way has more dignity and refinement than its predecessor, but it is because Massinger's characters behave like real beings.583

Appendix XVII

These two poems are copied from a folio MS. in the library of Trinity College, Dublin (G, 2, 21), containing compositions of Donne and other poets of the seventeenth century. They are to be found on pages 554-559. The handwriting is that of the seventeenth century. I have reproduced the original punctuation and spelling. Mr. Grosart published the poems in Englische Studien, No. xxvi. He says that the librarian of Trinity, Dr. T. K. Abbot, had grounds for supposing that the MS. had been in the possession of Trinity College for a century; he does not, however, state what the grounds are. As far as the dates go which are indicated in the volume, it might have passed into the library with other books from Archbishop Ussher's collection.

From the tone of line 16 of the first poem we may assume that it was addressed by Massinger when quite young to William, the third Earl of Pembroke.


The Copie of a Letter written upon occasion to the Earle of Pembrooke Lo: Chamberlaine

My Lord
p. 554
Soe subiect to the worser fame
Are even the best that clayme a Poets name:
Especially poore they that serve the stage
Though worthily in this Verse-halting Age.
[pg 209]
And that dread curse soe heavie yet doth lie
Wch the wrong'd Fates falne out wth Mercurie
Pronounc'd for ever to attend upon
All such as onely dreame of Helicon.
That durst I sweare cheated by selfe opinion
I were Apolloes or the Muses Mynion 10
Reason would yet assure me, 'tis decreed
Such as are Poets borne, are borne to need.
If the most worthy then, whose pay's but praise
Or a few spriggs from the now withering bayes
Grone underneath their wants what hope have I
Scarce yet allowed one of the Company— 16

p. 555

When584 thou sighst, thou sigh'st not wind, but sigh'st my soule away
When thou weep'st unkindly kind, my lifes blud doth decay
It cannot bee
That thou lov'est mee as thou sai'est, if in thine my life thou wast,
Thou art the best of mee.585
[pg 210]
In some high mynded Ladies grace to stand
Ever provided that her liberall hand 30
Pay for the Vertues they bestow upon her
And soe long shees the miracle and the honor
Of her whole Sex, and has forsooth more worth
Then was in any Sparta e're brought forth
But when the Bounty failes a change is neare
And shee's not then what once shee did appeare
For the new Giver shee dead must inherit
What was by purchase gott and not by merit
Lett them write well that doo this and in grace
I would not for a pension or A place 40
Part soe wth myne owne Candor, lett me rather p. 556
Live poorely on those toyes I would not father
Not knowne beyond A Player or A Man
That does pursue the course that I have ran
Ere soe grow famous: yet wth any paine
Or honest industry could I obteyne
A noble Favorer, I might write and doo
Like others of more name and gett one too
Or els my Genius is false. I know
That Johnson much of what he has does owe 50
To you and to your familie, and is never
Slow to professe it, nor had Fletcher ever
Such Reputation, and credit nonne
But by his honord Patron, Huntington
Unimitable Spencer ne're had been
Soe famous for his matchlesse Fairie Queene
Had he not found a Spencer Sydney to preferr [sic]
His plaine way in his Shepheards Calender
Nay Virgills selfe (or Martiall does lye)
Could hardly frame a poore Gnatts Elegie 60
Before Mecænas cherisht him; and then
He streight conceiv'd Æneas and the men
That found out Italic Those are Presidents586
I cite wth reverence: my lowe intents
Looke not soe high, yet some worke I might frame
[pg 211]
That should nor wrong my duty nor your Name. p. 557
Were but your Lopp pleas'd to cast an eye
Of favour on my trodd downe povertie
How ever I confesse myselfe to be
Ever most bound for your best charitie 70
To others that feed on it, and will pay
My prayers wth theirs that as yu doe yu may
Live long, belov'd and honor'd doubtles then
Soe cleere a life will find a worthier Penn.
For me I rest assur'd besides the glory
T'wold make a Poet but to write your story. 76

Phill: Messinger.

p. 557


A New yeares Guift presented to my
Lady and M:rs the then Lady
Katherine Stanhop now Countesse
of Chesterfield.
By Phill: Messinger.
Before I ow'd to you the name
Of Servant, to your birth, your worth your fame
I was soe, and t'was fitt since all stand bound
To honour Vertue in meane persons found
Much more in you, that as borne great, are good
Wch is more then to come of noble blood
Or be A Hastings; it being too well knowne

p. 558

An Empresse cannot challenge as her oune
Her Grandsires glories; And too many staine
Wth their bad Actions the noble straine 10
From whence they come. But as in you to be
A branch to add fresh honor to the tree
By vertue planted, and adorne it new
Is graunted unto none or very few
[pg 212]
To speake you further would appeare in me
Presumption or a servants flattery
But there may be a tyme when I shall dare
To tell the world and boldly what yu are
Nor sleight it Madame, since what some in me
Esteeme a blemish, is a guift as free 20
As their best fortunes, this tooke from the grave
Penelopies chastitie, and to it gave
Still living Honors; this made Aiax strong
Ulisses wise: such power lies in a Song
Wch Phaebus smiles on, wch can find noe Urne
While the Sea his course, or starrs observe their turne
Yet 'tis not in the power of tinckling Rime
That587 takes rash iudgments and deceive the tyme
Wth Mountebanke showes a worke that shold indure
Must have a genius in it, strong, as pure 30
But you beginne to smile, as wondring why
I should write thus much to yu now since I
Have heretofore been silent may yu please
To know
To know the course it is noe new disease p. 559
Groune in my iudgment, nor am I of those
That thinke good wishes cannot thrive in prose
As well as Verse: but that this New yeares day
All in their loves and duties, what they may
Present unto you; though perhaps some burne
Wth expectation of a glad returne 40
Of what they venture for. But such I leave
To their deceiptfull guifts given to deceive
What I give I am rich in, and can spare
Nor part for hope wth ought deserves my care
He that hath little and gives nought at all
To them that have is truly liberall. 46
[pg 213]

Appendix XVIII. Alliteration In Massinger

The art with which Massinger employs alliteration escapes all but the most careful perusal; but once noticed, it attracts attention as one of his favourite expedients. Perhaps the best way to exemplify its use is to give a complete collection of instances from one of the plays: I take for this purpose The Unnatural Combat.

I., 1, 150: Impartial judges, and not sway'd with spleen.
" 158: Not lustful fires, but fair and lawful flames.
" 189: Our goods made prize, our sailors sold for slaves.
" 217: He that leaves
To follow as you lead, will lose himself.
" 286: Their lives, their liberties.
" 308: Both what and when to do, but makes against you.
" 309: For had your care and courage been the same.
" 342: He may have leave and liberty to decide it.
II., 1, 14: With my best curiousness and care observed him.
" 23: A sudden flash of fury did dry up.
" 94: But dare and do, as they derive their courage.
" 143: In a moment raz'd and ruin'd.
" 157: In one short syllable yield satisfaction.
" 170: With scorn on death and danger.
" 177: But what is weak and womanish, thine own.
" 183: As a serpent swoll'n with poison.
" 226: Marseilles owes the freedom of her fears.
" 241: That will vouchsafe not one sad sigh or tear.
" 267: And with all circumstance and ceremony.
II., 3, 67: Nor should you with more curiousness and care.
III., 1, 10: It being a serious and solemn meeting.
" 17: I'll undertake to stand at push of pike.
" 21: When the dresser, the cook's drum, thunders,
Come on!
[pg 214]
III., 1, 23: As tall a trencher-man.
" 32: The only drilling is to eat devoutly
And to be ever drinking.
" 57: Delay is dangerous.
" 88: Continue constant
To this one suit.
" 90: Every cast commander.
" 100: And so by consequence grow contemptible.
" 117: For his own sake, shift a shirt!
III., 2, 46: The colonels, commissioners, and captains.
" 78: That losing her own servile shape and name.
" 85: Believe my black brood swans.
" 95: As I have heard, loved the lobby.
" 150: Of her fair features, that, should we defer it.
" 160: And serves as a perpetual preface to.
III., 3, 43: The curiousness and cost on Trajan's birthday.
" 78: I've charged through fire that would have singed your sables.
" 82: Such only are admired that come adorn'd.
" 93: Does make your cupboards crack.
" 114: For want of means shall, in their present payment.
" 149: With my son, her servant.
III., 4, 89: And he shall find and feel, if he excuse not.
IV., 1, 53: And liked and loath'd with your eyes, I beseech you.
" 91: A loathsome leprosy had spread itself.
" 101: Sir, you have liked and loved them, and oft forc'd.
" 119: My ranks of reason.
" 132: Thy virtues vices.
" 133: Far worse than stubborn sullenness and pride.
" 206: In your fame and fortunes.
IV., 2, 47: Against my oath, being a cashier'd captain.
" 68: Your lords
Of dirt and dunghills.
" 118: My corslet to a cradle.
" 120: Or to sell my sword and spurs, for soap and candles?
[pg 215]

IV., 2. 135: Fair France is proud of.

" 148: Such as have power to punish.

V., 2, 35: Or our later laws forbid.

" 38: And solemn superstitious fools prescribe.

" 57: Into some close cave or desert.

" 58: Our lusts and lives together.

" 165: But to have power to punish, and yet pardon,
Peculiar to princes.

" 248: Accuse or argue with me.

" 307: To season my silks.

Appendix XIX

By the kindness of Mr. Edmund Gosse I have been enabled to examine and collate the manuscript notes in copies of the first quartos of the following plays in his possession: The Duke of Milan, The Bondman, The Roman Actor, The Renegado, The Picture, The Fatal Dowry, The Emperor of the East, The Maid of Honour. The dates of these quartos range from 1623 to 1632. The poet Swinburne had no doubt that the manuscript notes were due to Massinger himself; the resemblance of the handwriting is certainly indubitable, but as we have no other evidence than that of the corrections themselves, we are forced to be content with the conclusion that the insertions are of a contemporary date. I take the plays in the above order.

The Duke of Milan

I., 1, 23.—This, the last line on the page, has suffered from the binding, and is written in the margin.588

I., 1, 56.—The same thing has happened here.

In both cases the writing resembles that of the poet. It may be argued, on the other hand, that it is unlikely that the play should have suffered so soon from binding; it is, however, [pg 216] of course not impossible that the eight plays were bound up together shortly after the year 1632.

V., 2, 203.—Forza. S. inserted before F. (So infra, 218, 234, 256.)

At the end of the play occurs a symbol M which might represent the poet's initial.

The Bondman

I., 1: Timagorus bis in stage-directions, us corrected to as
and also in
I., 1,5
I., 1, 37: I love live
I., 2, 2: I cannot brooke with this
I., 3, 83: As to the supreame Magistrates Sicilie
surely tenders
" 161: And yet the chu rl added
" 181: made glorious by Achon Action
" 182: gave warrant to her ailes added
" 183: hand heard
" 206: nor defence noe
" 295: ? at end ? deleted
" 319: of slaves our
II., 1, 71: fam'd fann'd
" 87: vayle y deleted
" 144: loose both sent and th inserted after
beauty loose, and c in
" 153: owe awe
II., 2, 16: manners; yet this morning for
" 57: cunning coḿinge
" 62: ? added
III., 3, 99: too too large second too deleted
" 135: leave her off stand her of
" 165: during daring
III., 4, 29: Timandra Timag
" 51: cares feares
[pg 217]
IV., 1, 21: still you
IV., 2, 128: when where
" 140: Pray you, leave mee
added at end to complete
the line
IV., 3, 145: tempter second t deleted
V., 3, 9: not be deni'de to inserted before be
" 38: howsoere the fortune thy
" 103: gods and fautors his
" 193: ) inserted after devices
" 245: Gra. inserted at beginning
of line, (i.e.,

All these corrections are manifestly right, except possibly III., 3, 135 and IV., 1, 21. The addition in IV., 2, 140, though not especially appropriate to the situation, presents us with a type of line much favoured by Massinger.

The Roman Actor

I., 1, 6: stocke socc (i.e., sock)
" 25: parenthesis inserted
after vice
" 37: gald l
" 44: The Catta and the Dacie Catti ... Daci
" 46: Jove hasten it ? added
" 49: we obey you full stop added
" 51: the sceane Scaene
" 79: is to eb589 guilty bee
" 115: grieve greive (give is required
by the sense)
I., 2: Enter Domitia and Parthenius with a letter added
I., 2, 33: for to be thankfull I woulde
" 44: his plea its
" 86: new workes that dare not Monarches. Pa: added,
do (i.e., Parthenius)
" 88: Parth. Will you dispute Parth. deleted and ?
I., 3, 44: ( ) added
[pg 218]
I., 3, 53-4: ( ) added
" 67: condemne condemnd
" 78: which with
" 78: redde (i.e., read) ) added
" 86: Cancillus Camillus
I., 4, 13: Fulcinius and prisoners and deleted
led by him
II., 1, 4: yours ; added
" 16: though ( added
" 21: purple ! added
" 22: my heyre ? added
" 182-3: ( ) added
" 217: promped prompted
" 372: ( ) added
" 386: ( ) added
III., 1, 30: words swordes
" 52: retch reach
" 58: the mortall powers iḿortall
" 78: tyrannie tyrant
" 163: steepie steep
" 205: ! added
IV., 1, 8: I thinke not not deleted, and
added after respects
in 9
" 95: compliant complaint
" 149: ? added
IV., 2, 12: lesse; ; deleted
" 27: pe bee
" 28: you command to me ever you coḿand me
" 39: tremele tremble
" 44: geeat great
" 70: Hypollitus one l substituted
" 123: express thee stop added
" 127: To render me that was ( ) added before
before I hugg'd thee that and
An adder in my bosome before, and after
thee and
[pg 219]
IV., 2, 130: Thy pomp and pride— 163 Perpetual vexation
shall not fall.
Note at top of p. 31b: This page follows the
Note at top of p. 32a: This page misplac'd.
" 182: would       coulde
" 190: the iu ice st inverted inserted
here between iu
and ice
" 191: had with h inverted had
" 196: if yf
" 229: act are
" 242: grim death grim deleted
" 295: ( ) added
V., 1, 115: assure as sure
" 142: still'd stil'd
" 228: pinn'd pinion'd
V., 2, 22: iumpe impe
" 78: this murther 'tis
" 85: to sentence her inserted after to

I have compared the Malone quarto in the Bodleian Library and find that the mistakes are identical. In other words, The Roman Actor was carelessly printed. Nearly all the corrections made, alike of sense and punctuation, are improvements. The emendation at IV., 2, 28 reads like one made by the author. On the other hand, a careful study of IV., 2, 127 will reveal the fact that the writer's sense has been mistaken, and the omission of “grim” in IV., 2, 242 spoils the rhythm. The curious thing is that the play is full of misprints, which have not been corrected—e.g., III., 2, 143, Anaxerete (and in several other lines); line 154, “Epethite,” for “epithet”; 258, Heccuba. Take again IV., 2, 181: An e is inverted and not corrected; 188, “bttchered” stands for “butchered”; and 189, “lacriledge” for “sacrilege.”

The Renegado

I., 3, 159: receive least losse the inserted after
least. It spoils the
[pg 220]
II., 5, 46: up to the bre a c breache
" ? added
III., 3, 1: I will 'Twill
" 89: like a neighing gennet to mare to her proud
her stallion stallion
III., 5, 114: well made galley mann'd
IV., 1, 114: witnesse of my change of deleted: good
inserted after my
V., 2, 79: Franci. inserted (=
V., 3, 111: Vitelli inserted

III., 3, 89 reads like an author's emendation. On the other hand, the alteration in IV., 1, 114 is not in Massinger's style.

The Picture

Line 37, Poem by T. Jay:
of to heare or
" 38: write neere writ
" 40: admir'd admire
I., 1, 31: satisfie satietie
" 40: ( ) added
" 53: If I am so rich or Sir
" 120: wone him o inserted after o
" 154: wracke w deleted
" 190: ere the fight begun s added after fight
I., 2, 13: bravel ye added
" 71: but deleted and added
again in margin
" 170: examp le added
II., 1, 82: A post. deleted
" 83: Aside. A Post.
added in margin
II., 2, 98: In one here printed In one here deleted
in a separate line after (vide Gifford)
this line
" 103: resolve s added
[pg 221]
II., 2, 103: lords of her, like acres
" 174: fierce dame n inserted before m.
" 255: solder soldier
" 260: tosses trifles

Here it will be noted that two good emendations are made—I., 1, 53 and II., 2, 103. On the other hand, no notes are made on the last three acts: such a misprint as “ijgobobs” in V., 3, 161 escaping comment.

The Fatal Dowry


The Emperor of the East

I., 1, 83: musicke? ? deleted, and Sir?
I., 2, 169: too to
" 178: Constantinople courte
" 242: them feare their
" 291: care feare
" 323: Nimph Umph
" 347: wooned d deleted
II., 1, 114: in knowledge the inserted after
III., 2, 62: ( ) added
" 93: heaven is most gratious to you deleted
to you, madam
" 111: with a kinde impotence of inserted after
" 138: I speak it ) added
" 139: I I (so III., 4, 145, 163;
IV., 1, 13)
" 199: ransone m
III., 4, 19: how .sister: !! added
" 29: str stirre
" 44: beg pardon a inserted after beg
" 60: my pity t added above t
" 80: ? added
[pg 222]
III., 4, 132: observe handle
" 146: royall sir comma added
IV., 1, 14: Princesse Empresse
IV., 3, 36: they hee
" 43: fraide defray'd
" 62: camer cancer
" 132: this admiration thie
V., 3, 47: flights s deleted
" 85: niggle iuggle
" 111: I fever if ever
" 190: my grace on all cancelled

The corrections in this play are nearly all good: thus the metre is restored at I., 2, 178, and III., 2, 93, and improved in III., 4, 132. V., 3, 85 is an excellent emendation. On the other hand, I do not think the author would have made such a stupid mistake as the one found at IV., 1, 14, for Chrysapius is there addressing the Empress, about Pulcheria.

The Maid of Honour


Note by Mr. Edmund Gosse.

In 1877, when he was breaking up his home at Clifton, and disposing of his books, John Addington Symonds gave Mr. Edmund Gosse a thick volume containing eight first editions of plays by Massinger. The book was bound in worn old calf of the period, and had stamped on the back the author's name. Symonds, in giving the book to Mr. Gosse, called his attention to the contemporary corrections in ink, and said there was “a tradition” that they were in the handwriting of Massinger himself. Mr. Gosse, unfortunately, broke up the volume and had the eight plays separately bound, but the old binding had contained no further indication. In 1882 Swinburne made a careful examination of the corrections, and again in 1883, when he urged that they should be published. He became persuaded that they were made by Massinger himself. Nothing, however, has until now been done [pg 223] with them. The volume came from the Harbord library at Gunton in Norfolk, and was sold, with other old books, at the death of the fourth Lord Suffield in 1853. Symonds bought it of an Oxford bookseller when he was an undergraduate.

Appendix XX. Bibliography

W. Archer: “The Elizabethan Stage” (Quarterly Review, No. 415, April, 1908).

R. Boyle: Dictionary of National Biography: “Massinger.”

" Englische Studien (Heilbronn): “On Beaumont, Fletcher, and Massinger,” v. 74, vii, 66, viii. 39, ix. 209, x. 383.

" New Shakespeare Society Transactions, part ii., 1880-85, xviii., pp. 371-399: “Massinger and The Two Noble Kinsmen.” (Cf. Discussion on March 9, 1883, p. 66.)

" New Shakespeare Society Transactions, 1880-86, xxi., pp. 443-488: “Henry the Eighth.”

" New Shakespeare Society Transactions, 1886, xxvi., pp. 579-628.

A. C. Bradley: Oxford Lectures on Poetry: “Shakespeare the Man, and Shakespeare's Theatre and Audience.”

A. H. Bullen: Dictionary of National Biography: “Fletcher.”

H. Coleridge: Preface to Massinger and Ford. 1840.

S. T. Coleridge: Lectures on Shakespeare and the Poets (T. Ashe, 1883), pp. 403-407, 427, 432, 437, 534, 540.

W. T. Courthope: History of English Poetry, vol. iv., pp. 348-369.

T. Coxeter: The dramatic works of P. Massinger: 1761.

Lieut.-Col. F. Cunningham: The plays of P. Massinger: Chatto and Windus: 1870.

Downes: Roscius Anglicanus.

Edinburgh Review, No. 23, 1808. (Review of Gifford's edition.)

F. G. Fleay: Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama.

" Chronicle History of the London Stage, 1559-1642.

[pg 224]

F. G. Fleay: Chronicle History of W. Shakespeare.

" New Shakespeare Society Transactions, 1874, vol. i., No. 2: “On Metrical Tests as applied to Dramatic Poetry” (Fletcher, Beaumont, Massinger.)

" Shakespeare Manual.

Gardiner: “The Political Element in Massinger.” (Contemporary Review, August, 1876): reprinted in New Shakespeare Society Transactions, 1875, No. xi., pp. 314-332. (Cf. also History of England, 1884, vol. vii., pp. 327 and 337)

Garnett and Gosse: English Literature: an Illustrated Record. Heinemann.

Gayley and Brander Matthews: Representative English Comedies, vol. iii. New York, 1914.

W. Gifford: 1805. Second edition, 1813.

W. W. Greg: Henslowe's Diary, vol. ii., pp. 165, 171, 224. 1904-08.

" Henslowe Papers, pp. 66, 70, 74, 85. 1907.

" List of English Plays written before 1643 and printed before 1700. Bibliographical Society, 1900.

Hallam: Literature of Europe, part iii., chap. vi.

Hazlitt: Lectures on Elizabethan Literature, pp. 131-136.

E. Koeppel: Cambridge History of English Literature, vol. vi., chap, vi.: “Massinger.”

" Quellen Studien zu den Dramen George Chapman's, Philip Massinger's, und John Ford's.

C. Lamb: Specimens of English Dramatic Poets.590

G. C. Macaulay: Cambridge History of English Literature, vol. vi., chap. v.: “Beaumont and Fletcher.”

J. Monck Mason: Dramatic Works, 1779.

E. H. C. Oliphant: Englische Studien, xiv., xv., xvi.

" Modern Language Review, iii., 337-355; iv., 190-199, 342-351.

" Problems of Authorship in the Elizabethan Drama. Chicago, 1911.

[pg 225]

J. Phelan: Dissertation (Halle), 1878. This careful performance contains information about Massinger's family. (Cf., however, Furnivall's Protest in Anglia, ii., p. 504.)

J. M. Robertson: The Baconian Heresy, chap. iii.

G. Saintsbury: Cambridge History of English Literature, vol. v., chap, viii.: “Shakespeare.”

Schelling: Elizabethan Drama, 1908.

Shakespeare's England: Oxford University Press, 1916.

L. Stephen: Hours in a Library, vol. ii.

A. C. Swinburne: Contemporaries of Shakespeare (Gosse and Wise).

" Fortnightly Review, July, 1889.

" Letters (Gosse and Wise), Nos. lxii. and lxxiii.

A. Symons: Mermaid Series, two volumes.

Ashley H. Thorndike: Tragedy. Constable, 1908.

L. Wann: Shakespeare Studies (University of Wisconsin), vii.: “The Collaboration of Beaumont, Fletcher, and Massinger.”

Sir A. W. Ward: Cambridge History of English Literature, vol. v., chap. xiv.

" History of English Dramatic Literature, especially vol. iii., pp. 1-47.

[pg 226]


Aeschylus, 149, 169
Alliteration in M., 121 n. 1, App. XVIII.
Aristophanes, 61, 70, 149
Aristotle, 27 n. 1, 28 n. 2, 75, 76, 110 n. 1, 140
Armada, 18
Aubrey, 5 n. 2
À Wood, A., 2, 6
Bashful Lover, The, 48, 50, 57, 58, 75, 98, 131, 147, 199
Beaumont, 21 n. 5, 25, 57, 59 n. 1, 70, 94, 99 n. 2, 110, 129 n. 1
Beethoven, 76
Believe as You List, 15, 54, 93, 140, App. VII., App. VIII.
Besant, Sir W., 7
Boccaccio, 9 n. 1, 11 n. 1, 76 n. 3
Bondman, The, 15, 24, 27, 31, 32 n. 1, 35, 36, 48, 61, 73, 75, 104, 108, 134, 145, 150
Boyle, 2 n. 3, 20, 21, 25, 55, 56, 62 n. 1, 70 n. 1, 88, 96, 97-104, 109, 122 n. 3, 129, 131, App. III., 198, 200
Bradley, A. C., 14, 26 n. 3, 28 n. 4, 65 n. 3, 80 n. 16
Bridges, R., 69 n. 1, 175
Brooke, R., 111, 159
Brooke, Tucker, 95-97
Browne, Sir T., 82, 119
Buckingham, Duke of, 16, 204
Bullen, A. H., 70, 95 n. 2, App. III., 178 n. 6, 201
Bunyan, 108 n. 1
Catalogue lines, 54, 91 n. 1
Cayet, 178 n. 6, 193
Cervantes, 5 n. 5, 203
Chapman, 15 n. 2, 66 n. 2, 117, 139, 202
Charles I., 7, 15
Cibber, Colley, 176, 181 n. 3
City Madam, The, 10, 11, 13, 31, 32 n. 1, 43, 53, 54, 55, 73, 113, 116, 133
Cokaine, Sir A., 22
Coleridge, S. T., 55, 64, 71, 76 n. 3
Collier, J., 24
Corneille, 43
Courthope, 96
Croker, T. Crofton, 175
Cunningham, F., 7 n. 1, 24, 133 n. 1, 182
Daborne, 2
Davies, 123
Dekker, 20, 44 n. 1, 123, 135 n. 2, 147, App. X., 199, 200
Diderot, 110 n. 1
Dostoevsky, 61
Double Falsehood, The, App. XV.
Downes, 24 n. 3
Dryden, 24, 116
Dublin MS., App. XVII.
Duke of Milan, The, 16, 31, 32 n. 1, 41, 52, 81, 82, 135, 145, 203
Emperor of the East, The, 17, 27, 28, 32 n. 1, 43 n. 2, 48, 51, 54, 72, 82, 101, 102, 108, 128, 146, 148, 149, 170
Euripides, 27, 32, 33, 75, 77, 110 n. 1, 169 n. 1
Fair Penitent, The, 137
Fatal Dowry, The, 8, 20, 28 n. 4, 36, 49, 53, 56 n. 2, 119, App:. XI.
Field, 21, 138, App. XI.
Fielding, 63, 77
Fleay, F. G., 5 n. 5, 20, 33 n. 2, 56 n. 2, 57 n. 1, 159, 202
[pg 227]
Fletcher, 3, 10, 19, 21 n. 1, 28, 59 n. 2, 66, 71, 84 n. 1, 91, 97, 98, 109, 123, 129, 130, 133, 135, 147, App. III., 170
Ford, 8, 13 n. 5, 13 n. 6, 33 n. 2, 59 n. 1, 62, 63 n. 3, 65 n. 3, 81, 120, 205 n. 2
Gardiner, 7
Garrick, 124 n. 4, 176
Gayley, 26 n. 4, 141 n. 1, 160
Georgian Poets, The, 61
Gibbon, 28
Gifford, 7 n. 1, 25, 176, App. IX., 198, 220
Goffe, 77 n. 3, 202
Gosse, E., App. XIX.
Gounod, 109 n. 1, 137 n. 3
Great Duke of Florence, The, 16 n. 1, 25, 47, 54, 102, 103, 150
Greene, 102 n. 5
Greg, W. W., 24 n. 2, 67 n. 2, 168
Grosart, 6 n. 1, 208
Guardian, The, 4, 12, 24, 27, 28, 49, 74, 120, 134, 148
Hallam, 70
Hazlitt, 25, 124 n. 4, 137 n. 3
Henry VIII., 11 n. 5, 20, 22, 71, 73 n. 1, 84-91, 128, 141 n. 1
Henslowe, 4, 177
Herbert, Sir H., 15
Heywood, 117
Homer, 169
Hroswitha, 124 n. 3
James I., 7
Johnson, S., 121 n. 2
Jonson, Ben, 6 n. 2, 12, 43 n. 2, 69 n. 4, 70, 72, 77 n. 3, 113-116, 118, 128, 133, 185 n. 1
Kean, 124 n. 4
Kemble, 124 n. 4
Knacke to Know a Knave, A, 208 n. 1
Koeppel, 28, 178 n. 6, 193
Kyd, 127
Lamb, C., 25, 33, 122 n. 3, 199
Langbaine, 2 n. 2, 34
Lee, Sir Sidney, 77 n. 2, 112
Love Lost in the Dark, 24
Lyly, 117
Macaulay, G. C., 21 n. 5, 65 n. 1, App. III.
Maid of Honour, The, 16, 18, 27, 28, 40, 74, 103, 132, 146
Malone, 15 n. 1, 15 n. 3, 24, 176
Marlowe, 29 n. 1, 110, 117, 150 n. 10
Marston, 62, 112 n. 1, 159
Massinger, Arthur, 1
Massinger, Philip: life, 2;
religion, 3;
knowledge of Spanish, 5 n. 5;
death, 7;
politics, 14;
stagecraft, 26;
style, 33;
versification, 55;
faults, 60;
imitation of Shakspere, 77;
introduction of doctors, 81;
method, 104;
favourite words, 106;
character, 118;
use of epithets, 120 n. 5;
use of assonances, 121 n. 1;
knowledge of Greek, App. II.;
a metrical peculiarity, App. VI.;
use of alliteration, App. XVIII.
Matthews, Brander, 25, 45, 64, 71, 123 n. 4, 142 n. 3, 160
Matthieu, P., 6 n. 2, App. XIV.
Middleton, 21, 28, 62, 65 n. 3, 124, 127, 141 n. 1, 147, 158, App. XVI.
Milton, 32 n. 3, 51, 55, 69
Monck Mason, 25, 123, 134
Montgomery, Philip, Earl of Pembroke and, 5, 14
Mozart, 76, 88
New Way to Pay Old Debts, A, 12, 20, 25, 47 n. 3, 48, 52, 70, 108, 115, 122, 124, 142 n. 3
Nichol Smith, 77 n. 1
Old Law, The, 21, 141, 158
Oliphant, E. H. C., 59 n. 2, 162 n. 2
Ovid, 34, 105 n. 3, 151
Parliament of Love, The, 42, 50, 59, 60, 82, 83, 92, 139, 146, App. IX.
Peele, 142 n.
Pembroke, second Earl of, 2
Pembroke, third Earl of, 6
Pepys, 24
Phelan, 137 n. 3, 203 n. 2
Philipps, Halliwell, 24 n. 2, 176
Picture, The, 8, 9, 29, 50, 54, 73, 74, 82, 111 n. 1, 140, 146
[pg 228]
Plautus, 2, 67 n. 2, 104
Powerful Favourite, The, 6 n. 2, App. XIV.
Prince of Tarent, The, vide A Very Woman
Prynne, 65 n. 3
Puritans, 10, 45
Renegado, The, 3, 13, 24, 27, 31, 53, 65, 74, 75, 134, 145, 149
Repetition of words and phrases, 54, 197 n. 1
Richardson, 135
Roman Actor, The, 28, 33, 38, 52, 66, 72, 82, 116, 126, 137, 146
Rosenbach, 5 n. 5
Rowe, 56 n. 2, 137
Rowley, W., 21, 141 n. 1, 142, 168
Schelling, 5 n. 5, 65 n. 1
Schmidt, 43 n. 2, 171, 175
Scott, Sir W., 68
Sea scenes, 28
Second Maiden's Tragedy, The, App. XIII.
Sero sed Serio, 5 n. 1
Shakspere, 3, 12 n. 3, 18, 20, 29, 32, 33 n. 1, 43 n. 1, 43 n. 2, 45,
49, 56 n. 2, 63, 69, 70, 72, 73, 77-80, 83, 85, 87, 90, 91, 98, 99,
101, 109, 113, 118, 121-123, 125, 128, 130, 135 n. 1, 137, 147, 153,
Shelley, 31
Shirley, 116, 126 n. 2, 147, 180 n. 1
Signorelli, Luca, 61
Simpson, P., 65 n. 3, 133 n. 1, 203 n. 2
Sir J. V. O. Barnavelt, 8, 9, 52, 139 n. 3, 177 n. 2, App. XII.
Sophocles, 150
Stephen, Sir Leslie, 45, 68, 76 n. 2, 76 n. 3, 132
Stevenson, 64
Strangest Adventure, The, 178
Subordinates combined, 29
Swinburne, 52, 151, 215
Sykes, Dugdale, 93, 94, 96
Symonds, J. A., 222
Taylor, J., 124 n. 2
Theobald, 204
Torture on stage, 28
Tourneur, 20, 55, 62, 157, 203
Turks, 9
Two Noble Kinsmen, The, 20, 22, 23 n. 1, 92-104
Unnatural Combat, The, 8, 28, 31, 54, 69, 138, App. XVIII.
Very Woman, A, 21, 42, 50, 81, 82, 84, 100, 102, 108, 129
Virgil, 127 n. 3
Virgin Martyr, The, 3, 18, 20, 24, 31, 32, 33, 46, 47 n. 3, 62, 72,
Vocabulary of M., 106
Warburton, 23, App. V.
Ward, Sir A., 25, 65 n. 1, 110
Warner, Sir G. F., 177
Weber, 21 n. 6
Webster, 5, 29 n. 2, 111-113, 159
Wit and Fancy in a Maze, 77 n. 3
Zielinski, 50