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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.
Men in gay clothes, ,
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
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
ROWLEY'S CONCEPTION OF WITCHCRAFT.
Show but his swarth cheek to me, let earth cleave,
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
every devil mine?
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.
TRAGEDY OF BLOOD.
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