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Yea, and that half, which in abounding store
Of things that serue to make a welthie realme,
In statelie cities, and in frutefull soyle,
In temperate breathing of the milder heauen,
In thinges of nedeful vse, whiche friendlie sea
Transportes by traffike from the forreine partes ,
In flowing wealth, in honour and in force, &c.

The close of Marcella's narration of the murther of Porrex by the queen, which many poets of a more enlightened age would have exhibited to the spectators, is perhaps the most moving and pathetic speech in the play. The reader will observe, that our author, yet to a good purpose, has transferred the ceremonies of the tournament to the court of an old British king.

O
queene

of adamante! O marble breaste!
If not the fauour of his comelie face,
If not his princelie chere and countenaunce,
His valiant active armes, his manlie breaste,
If not his faier and semelie personage,
His noble lymmes in suche proporciogo caste,
As would have wrapped a fillie womans thought,
If this mought not haue moved thy' bloodie harte,
And that most cruell hande, the wretched

weapon
Euen to let fall, and kislek him in the face,
With teares for ruthe to reaue suche one by death :
Should nature yet consent to Naye her sonne ?
O mother thou, to murder thus thie childe!
Euen Joue, with Justice, must with lightening flames
From heauen send downe some strange reuenge on thee.
Ah! noble prince, how oft have I beheld

Within, edit. 1565. • Portes, edit. 15.65. { Act ii. Sc. i.

8 In the edition of 1565, this word is preparación, I mention this, as a specimen of the great incorrectness of that edition.

Wrapped, rapt, i. e. ravished. I once conjectured warped. We have "wrapped: " in wo." Act iv. Sc. ii.

i The, edit. 1565.
k Kifte, edit. 1.565,

Thec

Thee mounted on thy fierce and traumpling stede,
Shyning in armour bright before thy tylte,
And with thy mistresse' Neaue tied on thy helme,
And charge thy staffe, to please thy ladies eie,
That bowed the head peece of thy frendly foe ?
Howe oft in armes on horse to bende the mace'?
How oft in arms on foote to breake the sworde?

Which neuer now these eyes may see againe " ! Marcella, the only lady in the play except the queen, is one of the maids of honour; and a modern writer of tragedy would have made her in love with the young prince who is murthered.

The queen laments the loss of her eldest and favorite son, whose defeat and death had just been announced, in the following soliloquy. The ideas are too general, although happily expressed : but there is some imagination in her wishing the old massy palace had long ago fallen, and crushed her to death.

Why should I lyue, and lynger forth my time
In longer liefe, to double

my

distresse ?
O me most wofull wight, whome no mishap
Long ere this daie could haue bereued hence !
Mought not these handes, by fortune or by fate,
Haue perst this brest, and life with iron reft?
Or in this pallaice here, where I so longe
Haue spent my daies, could not that happie houré
Ones, ones, haue hapt, in which these hugie frames
With death by fall might haue oppressed me!
Or should not this most hard and cruell soile,
So oft where I haue prest my wretched steps,
Somtyme had ruthe of myne accursed liefe,
To rend in twaine, and swallowe me therin!
$o had my bones possessed nowe in peace
Their happie graue within the closed grounde,

1 The shaft of the lance,

* Ad iv. Sc. ii.

And

And greadie wormes had gnawen this pyned hart
Without my feelynge paine ! So Thould not nowe
This lyvynge brest remayne the ruthefull tombe
Wherein my hart, yelden to dethe, is graued, &c

There is some animation in these imprecations of prince

his own head, when he protests that he never conceived any malicious design, or intended any injury, against his brother Porrexo.

Ferrex upon

The wrekefull gods poure on my cursed head
Eternall plagues, and neuer dyinge woes !
The hellish prince ? adiudge my dampned ghoste
To Tantales o thirste, or proude Ixions wheele,
Or cruel gripe', to gnaw my growing harte';
To durynge tormentes and vnquenched flames;
If euer I conceiued so foule a thought,
To wishe his ende of life, or yet of reigne.

It must be remembered, that the antient Britons were supposed to be immediately descended from the Trojan Brutus, and that consequently they were acquainted with the pagan history and mythology. Gordobuc has a long allufion to the miseries of the fiege of Troy'.

In this strain of correct versification and language, Porrex explains to his father Gordobuc, the treachery of his brother

Ferrex.

When thus I sawe the knot of loue unknitte ;
All honest league, and faithfull promise broke,
The lawe of kind' and trothe thus rent in twaine,
His hart on mischiefe set, and in his brest

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Blacke treason hid: then, then did I difpaier
That euer tyme coulde wynne him frende to me;
Then sawe I howe he smyled with slaying knife
Wrapped vnder cloke, then sawe I depe deceite
Lurke in his face, and death prepared for mee, &co.

As the notions of subordination, of the royal authority, and the divine institution of kings, predominated in the reign of queen Elisabeth, it is extraordinary, that eight lines, inculcating in plain terms the doctrine of passive and unresisting obedience to the prince, which appeared in the fifth act of the first edition of this tragedy, should have been expunged in the edition of 1571, published under the immediate inspection of the authors ". It is well known, that the Calvinists carried their ideas of reformation and refinement into government as well as religion : and it seems probable, that these eight verses were suppressed by Thomas Norton, Sackville's supposed assistant in the play, who was not only an active and I believe a sensible puritan, but a licencer of the publication of books under the commission of the bishop of London *.

As to Norton's affistance in this play, it is said on better authority than that of Antony Wood, who supposes GORDOBUC to have been in old English rhime, that the three first acts were written by Thomas Norton, and the two last by Sackville. But the force of internal evidence, often prevails over the authority of assertion, a testimony which is diminished by time, and may be rendered suspicious from a variety of other circumstances. Throughout the whole piece, there is an invariable uniformity of diction and versification. Sackville has two poems of. confi

All

un

u Act iv. Sc. ii.
► See Signat. D. V. edit. 1571.

* For instance, “ Seven fleppes to heaven, also The seven psalmes reduced into meter by W. Hunnys, The honny fuccles, &c." by Hunnys. Nov. 8, 1581, to Denham. ReGISTR. STATION. B. fol. 185. a. Also, in the same year, The picture of two per

"nicious varlettes called Prig Pickthank and " Clem Clawbacke described by a peevishe

painter.Ibid. fol. 184. a. " der the hands of Mr. THOMAS NOR" TON.” Et alibi paflim. “ The Stage “ OF POPISHE TOYES, written by T. N.” perhaps the fame, is licenced to Binneman, feb. 22. 1580. Ibid. fol. 178. a.

derable

derable length in the MIRROUR OF MAGISTRATES, which fortunately furnish us with the means of comparison : and every scene of GORDOBUC is visibly marked with his characteristical manner, which consists in a perspicuity of style, and a command of numbers, superior to the tone of his times'. Thomas Norton's poetry is of a very different and a subordinate cast: and if we may judge from his share in our metrical psalmody, he seems to have been much more properly qualified to shine in the miserable mediocrity of Sternhold's stanza, and to write spiritual rhymes for the solace of his illuminated brethren, than to reach the bold and impaffioned elevations of tragedy.

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