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Whoever wrote the part of Mother Sawyer-Dekker or Rowley ; for we cannot attribute it to Fordtook care to exhibit her from several points of view. Interrogated by two magistrates, she stands for her defence upon the blunt democracy of evil :

I am none—no witch.
None but base curs so bark at me ; I am none.
Or would I were ! if every poor woman
Be trod on thus by slaves, reviled, kicked, beaten,
As I am daily, she to be revenged
Had need turn witch.

Men in gay clothes, ,
Whose backs are laden with titles and honours,
Are within far more crooked than I am,
And if I be a witch, more witch-like.
A witch ! who is not?
What are your painted things in princes' courts,
Upon whose eyelids lust sits, blowing fires
To burn men's souls in sensual hot desires ?
Have you not city-witches, who can turn
Their husbands' wares, whole standing shops of wares,
To sumptuous tables, gardens of stolen sin ?
Reverence once
Had wont to wait on age ; now an old woman,
Ill-favoured grown with years, if she be poor,
Must be called bawd or witch. Such, so abused,
Are the coarse witches; t other are the fine,
Spun for the devil's own wearing.

So she rages on. Termagant wives, covetous attorneys, usurers, seducers, these are the true witches; not hatehardened, miserable beldams. Folengo and Michelet have not laid bare with satire or philosophy more

This fierce apology of Mother Sawyer might be paralleled from that grim satire with which Folengo in his Maccaronic epic of Baldus draws the Court of the Sorceress Smirna Gulfora from all classes of society. See Renaissance in Italy, vol. v. pp. 348–350.

searching the common elements of human evil, out of which witchcraft sprang like a venomous and obscene toadstool.

After this outburst against the hypocrisies of a society with which she is at open war, the wretched creature takes solace with her familiar in a scene grotesquely ghastly :

I am dried up
With cursing and with madness; and have yet
No blood to moisten these sweet lips of thine.
Stand on thy hind legs up-kiss me, my Tommy,
And rub away some wrinkles on my brow,
By making my old ribs to shrug for joy
Of thy fine tricks.

The effects of her damned traffic with the fiend are obvious in murder, suicide, domestic ruin. But as time goes on, her power wanes, and the familiar deserts her. She calls upon him, famished, in her isolation :

Still wronged by every slave? and not a dog
Barks in his dame's defence? I am called witch,
Yet am myself bewitched from doing harm.
Have I given up myself to thy black lust
Thus to be scorned ? Not see me in three days !
I'm lost without my Tomalin ; prithee come ;
Revenge to me is sweeter far than life :
Thou art my raven, on whose coal-black wings
Revenge comes flying to me. O my best love !
I am on fire, even in the midst of ice,
Raking my blood up, till my shrunk knees feel
Thy curled head leaning on them! Come, then, my darling ;
If in the air thou hoverest, fall upon me
In some dark cloud ; and as I oft have seen
Dragons and serpents in the elements,
Appear thou now so to me. Art thou i' the sea ?
Muster up all the monsters from the deep,
Ind be the ugliest of them; so that my bulch



Show but his swarth cheek to me, let earth cleave,
And break from hell, I care not ! could I run
Like a swift powder-mine beneath the world,
Up would I blow it all, to find thee out,
Though I lay ruined in it. Not yet come!
I must then fall to my old prayer.

The dog appears at last, but changed in hue from black to white—the sign, he mockingly assures her, of her coming trial and death. We do not see her again till she is brought out for execution, with the rabble raging round her:

Cannot a poor old woman have your leave
To die without vexation ?


every devil mine?
Would I had one now whom I might command
To tear you all to pieces !
Have I scarce breath enough to say my prayers,
And would you force me to spend that in bawling ?

The part, from beginning to ending, is terribly sustained. Not one single ray of human sympathy or kindness falls upon the abject creature. She is alone in her misery and sin, abandoned to the black delirium of Godforsaken anguish. To paint a witch as she is here painted—midway between an oppressed old woman and a redoubtable agent of hell—and to incorporate this double personality in the character of a common village harridan, required firm belief in


that curse-begotten curse of social life, which flung back on human nature its own malice in the form of diabolical malignity.

The attention I have paid to these five domestic tragedies may seem to be out of due proportion to the

scheme of my work. I think, however, that I am justified by their exceptional importance. Works of finer fibre and more imaginative quality illustrate in a less striking degree the command of dramatic effect which marked our theatre in its earliest as in its latest development.



1. The Tough Fibres of a London Audience-Craving for Strong Sensa

tion—Specific Note of English Melodrama—Its Lyrical and Pathetic Relief.-11. Thomas Kyd— Hieronymo’and The Spanish Tragedy'Analysis of the Story–Stock-Ingredients of a Tragedy of BloodThe Ghost—The Villain—The Romantic Lovers—Suicide, Murder, Insanity.-III. “Soliman and Perseda?- The Induction to this Play“The Tragedy of Hoffmann.'—IV. Marlowe's use of this Form—“The Jew of Malta'-' Titus Andronicus '-' Lust's Dominion'—Points of Resemblance between “Hamlet' and “The Spanish Tragedy '—Use made by Marston, Webster, and Tourneur of the Species.-V. The Additions to “The Spanish Tragedy'—Did Jonson make them ?Quotation from the Scene of Hieronymo in the Garden.

N.B. All the Tragedies discussed in this chapter will be found in Hazlitt's Dodsley.


The sympathies of the London audience on which our playwrights worked might be compared to the chords of a warrior's harp, strung with twisted iron and bulls' sinews, vibrating mightily, but needing a stout stroke to make them thrill. This serves to explain that conception of Tragedy which no poet of the epoch expressed more passionately than Marston in his

prologue to · Antonio's Revenge,' and which early took possession of the stage. The reserve of the Greek Drama, the postponement of physical to spiritual anguish, the tuning of moral discord to dignified

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