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part of the

copy in duodecimo, without title, but with the printer's monogram in the last page, I suspect of 1569, which once belonged to Pope', and from which the late Mr. Spence most faithfully printed a modern edition of the tragedy, in the year 1736. I believe it was printed before that of 1571, for it retains all the errors of Griffith's first or fpurious edition of 1565. In the Preface prefixed to the edition of 1571, is the following passage. Where (whereas) this tragedy was for furniture of

grand Christmasse in the Inner-temple, first written about nine

years ago by the right honourable Thomas now lord Buck“ hurst, and by T. Norton ; and afterwards showed before her “ maiestie, and neuer intended by the authors thereof to be

published: Yet one W. G. getting a copie thereof at some

young mans hand, that lacked a little money and much dis“ cretion, in the last great plague anno 1565, about fiue yeares

past, while the said lord was out of England, and T. Norton far out of London, and neither of them both made priuy, put “ it forth exceedingly corrupted, &c.” W. G. is William Griffith, the printer in Fleet street, abovementioned. Mr. Garrick had another old quarto edition, printed by Alde, in 1590.

These are the circumstances of the fable of this tragedy. Gordobuc, a king of Britain about six hundred years before Christ, made in his life-time a division of his kingdom to his fons Ferrex and Porrex. The two young princes within five years quarrelled for universal sovereignty. A civil war ensued, and Porrex new his elder brother Ferrex. Their mother Viden, who loved Ferrex best, revenged his death by entering. Porrex’s chamber in the night, and murthering him in his sleep. The people, exasperated at the cruelty and treachery of this murther, rose in rebellion, and killed both Viden and Gordobuc. The nobility then assembled, collected an army, and destroyed the

• In the year 1717, my father, then a fellow of Magdalene college at Oxford, gave copy to

Ir. Pope, as appears by a letter of Pope to R. Digby, dat. Jan. 2. 1717. See Pope's LETTERS, vol,

ix. p. 39. edit, izmo. 1754.

" Mr. Warton forced me to take Gordobuc, &c." Pope gave it to the late bishop Warburton, who gave it to me about ten years ago, 1770.



rebels. An intestine war commenced between the chief lords: the succession of the crown became uncertain and arbitrary, for want of the lineal royal issue: and the country, destitute of a king, and wasted by domestic Naughter, was reduced to a state of the most miserable desolation.

in the dramatic conduct of this tale, the unities of time and place are eminently and visibly violated : a defect which Shakespeare so frequently commits, but which he covers by the magic of his poetry. The greater part of this long and eventful history is included in the representation. But in a story so fertile of bloodshed, no murther is committed on the stage. It is worthy of remark, that the death of Porrex in the bed-chamber is only related. Perhaps the players had not yet learned to die, nor was the ponyard so effential an article as at present among the implements of the property-room. Nor is it improbable, that to kill a man on the stage was not now avoided as a spectacle shocking to humanity, but because it was difficult and inconvenient to be represented. The writer has followed the series of facts related in the chronicles without any material variation, or fictitious embarrassments, and with the addition only of a few necessary and obvious characters.

There is a Chorus of Four Antient and Sage Men of Britain, who regularly clofe every Act, the last excepted, with an ode in long-lined ftanzas, drawing back the attention of the audience to the substance of what has just paffed, and illustrating it by recapitulatory moral reflections, and poetical or historical allusions. Of these the best is that which terminates the fourth Aa, in which prince Porrex is murthered by his mother Viden. These are the two first stanzas.

When greedie luft in royall seat to reigne,
Hath reft all care of goddes, and eke of men,
And Cruell Heart, Wrath, Treason, and Disdaine,
Within th' ambicious breast are lodged, then


Behold howe Mischiefe wide herselfe displaies,
And with the brothers hand the brother flaies !

When blood thus shed doth staine the heauens face,
Crying to Joue for vengeaunce of the deede,
The mightie god euen moueth from his place,
With wrath to wreak. Then sendes he forth with spede
The dreadful Furies, daughters of the night,
With ferpents girt, carrying the whip of ire,
With haire of Ainging fnakes, and shining bright
With flames and blood, and with a brande of fire.
These for reuenge of wretched murder done
Do make the mother kill her onelie fon!

Blood asketh blood, and death must death requite :
Joue, by his iult and euerlasting doom,
Juftly hath euer so required it, &c".

In the imagery of these verses, we discern no faint traces of the hand which drew the terrible guardians of hell-gate, in the INDUCTION to the MIRROUR of MAGISTRATES.

The moral beauties and the spirit of the following ode, which closes the third act, will perhaps be more pleafing to many readers.

The lust of kingdom knowes no sacred faithe,
No rule of reason, no regarde of right,
No kindlie loue, no feare of heauens wrathe :
But with contempt of goddes, and man's despight,
Through blodie slaughter doth prepare

the waies
To fatall scepter, and accursed reigne :
The sonne so lothes the fathers lingerynge daies,
Ne dreads his hande in brothers blode to staine !

{ Act iv. Sc. ult.

& Kingdoms, edit. 1565.

O wretched

O wretched prince ! ne dost thou yet recorde

fressh murthers done within the lande,
Of thie forefathers, when the cruell sworde
Bereft Morgain his liefe with colyn's hande?

Thus fatall plagues pursue the giltie race,
Whose murderous hand, imbrued with giltles bloode,
Alkes vengeaunce still“, before the heauens face,
With endles mischiefes on the cursed broode.

The wicked child thus' bringes to wofull fier
The mournefull plaintes, to waste his wery k life:
Thus do the cruell flames of civyll fier
Destroye the parted reigne with hatefull strife:
And hence doth spring the well, from which doth flo,
The dead black streames of mourning', plaint, and wo".

Every Act is introduced, as was the custom in our old plays, with a piece of machinery called the Dumb Show, shadowing by an allegorical exhibition the matter that was immediately to follow. In the construction of this spectacle and its personifications, much poetry and imagination was often displayed. It is some apology for these prefigurations, that they were commonly too mysterious and obscure, to forestal the future events with any degree of clearness and precision. Not that this mute mimicry was always typical of the ensuing incidents. It sometimes served for a compendious introduction of such circumstances, as could not commodiously be comprehended within the bounds of the representation. It soinetimes supplied deficiencies, and covered the want of business. Our ancestors were easily fatified with this artificial supplement of one of the most important unities, which abundantly filled up the interval that was necessary to pass, while a hero was expected from the Holy Land, or a princess was imported, married, and brought to bed.

Still, omitt. edit. 1565. i This, edit. 1565.

Very, a worse reading, in edit. 1571.

| Mournings, edit. 1565.
m Act iii. Sc. ult.

mean time, the greater part of the audience were probably more pleased with the emblematical pageantry than the poetical dialogue, although both were alike unintelligible.

I will give a specimen in the DOMME SHEwe preceding the fourth act. First, the musick of howeboies began to plaie. “ Duringe whiche, there came forth from vnder the stage, as “ thoughe out of hell, three Furies, ALECȚO, MEGERA, and CTESIPHONE ", clad in blacke garments sprinkled with bloud “ and flames, their bodies girt with snakes, their heds spread “ with serpents instead of heare, the one bearing in her hande a snake the other a whip, and the thirde a burning firebrande: “ eche driuynge before them a kynge and a queene, which moued

by Furies vnnaturally had slaine their owne children. The “ names of the kinges and queenes were these, TANTALUS, “ Medea, ATHAMAS, INO, CAMBISES, ALTHEA. After “ that the Furies, and these, had pasied aboute the stage thrise, “ they departed, and then the musicke ceased. Hereby was

signified the vnnaturall murders to followe, that is to saie, Porrex slaine by his owne mother. And of king Gordobuc “ and queene Viden killed by their owne subjectes.” Here, by the way,

the visionary procession of kings and queens long since dead, evidently resembles our author Sackville's original model of the MIRROUR OF MAGISTRATES ; and, for the same reafon, reminds us of a similar train of royal spectres in the tentscene of Shakespeare's King RICHARD THE THIRD.

I take this opportunity of expressing my surprise, that this ostensible comment of the Dumb Shew should not regularly appear in the tragedies of Shakespeare. There are even proofs that he treated it with contempt and ridicule. Although some critics are of opinion, that because it is never described in form at the close or commencement of his acts, it was therefore never introduced. Shakespeare's aim was to collect an audiente, and for this purpose all the common expedients were necessary. No

n Tisiphone.

Z. z



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