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Edw. How near then shall I be to remedy?

Coun. As near, my liege, as all my woman's power
Can pawn itself to buy thy remedy.

Edw. If thou speak’st true, then have I my redress :
Engage thy power to redeem my joys,
And I am joyful, Countess ; else, I die.

Coun. I will, my liege.
Edw. Swear, Countess, that thou wilt.
Coun. By heaven, I will.

Edw. Then take thyself a little way aside ;
And tell thyself a king doth dote on thee :
Say, that within thy power it doth lie,
To make him happy; and that thou hast sworn
To give me all the joy within thy power :
Do this, and tell me when I shall be happy.

Coun. All this is done, my thrice dread sovereign :
That power of love, that I have power to give,
Thou hast with all devout obedience ;
Employ me how thou wilt in proof thereof.

Edw. Thou hear'st me say that I do dote on thee.

Coun. If on my beauty, take it if thou canst ;
Though little, I do prize it ten times less :
If on my virtue, take it if thou canst ;
For virtue’s store by giving doth augment :
Be it on what it will, that I can give
And thou canst take away, inherit it.

Edw. It is thy beauty that I would enjoy.

Coun. O, were it painted, I would wipe it off,
And dispossess myself, to give it thee :
But, sovereign, it is soldered to my life ;
Take and both ; for, like an humble shadow,
It haunts the sunshine of my summer's life.

Edw. But thou mayst lend it me, to sport withal.

Coun. As easy may my intellectual soul
Be lent away, and yet my body live,
As lend my body, palace to my soul,
Away from her, and yet retain my soul.
My body is her bower, her court, her abbey,
And she an angel, pure, divine, unspotted ;
If I should lend her house, my lord, to thee,
I kill my poor soul, and my poor soul me.

Edw. Didst thou not swear to give me what I would
Coun. I did, my liege ; so hat you would, I could.

one,

Edw. I wish no more of thee than thou mayst give :
Nor beg I do not, but I rather buy,
That is, thy love ; and, for that love of thine,
In rich exchange, I tender to thee mine.

Coun. But that your lips were sacred, O my lord,
You would profane the holy name of love :
That love you offer me, you cannot give ;
For Cæsar owes that tribute to his queen ;
That love you beg of me, I cannot give ;
For Sarah owes that duty to her lord.
He that doth clip or counterfeit your stamp,
Shall die, my lord ; and will your sacred self
Commit high treason 'gainst the King of Heaven,
To stamp His image in forbidden metal,
Forgetting your allegiance and your oath?
In violating marriage sacred law,
You break a greater honour than yourself :
To be a king, is of a younger house
Than to be married ; your progenitor,
Sole-reigning Adam on the universe,
By God was honoured for a married man,
But not by Him anointed for a king.'
It is a penalty, to break your statutes,
Though not enacted by your highness' hand :
How much more, to infringe the holy act
Made by the mouth of God, sealed with His hand ?
I know, my sovereign in my husband's love,
Who now doth loyal service in his wars,
Doth but to try the wife of Salisbury,
Whether she'll hear a wanton tale or no ;
Lest being therein guilty by my stay,
From that, not from my liege, I turn away.

[Exit COUNTESS
Edw. Whether is her beauty by her words divine;
Or are her words sweet chaplains to her beauty ?
Like as the wind doth beautify a sail,
And as a sail becomes the unseen wind,
So do her words her beauty, beauty words.
O that I were a honey-gathering bee,
To bear the comb of virtue from his flower ;
And not a poison-sucking envious spider,
To turn the vice I take to deadly venom !
Religion is austere, and beauty gentle ;

1 These lines read like Heywood.

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A high conception of this poet's power of rhetorical dramatisation will be formed by the reader, who, continuing the perusal of the original text, observes how the situation is prolonged by the entrance of Warwick at this moment, by the King's ensuing debate with his subject, and Warwick's unwilling execution of the odious commission to persuade his daughter. Dialogue follows dialogue in an uninterrupted scene, unfolding a succession of emotions skilfully conducted to a doubtful issue. Then comes an interpose, in which the King's preoccupation with his passion is strikingly exhibited, leading up to the final conflict between him and the Countess, preluded by the mastertouch whereby the young Prince is made to sway King Edward's inclination.

VII.

The remaining Chronicle Plays, of which I propose to make a brief enumeration, offer no critical difficulties regarding authorship. While this department of the drama still laboured in the thraldom of clumsy stage-carpentry, Marlowe's touch transfigured it by the production of 'Edward II.' His play may have been written as early as 1590 ; but it was only entered on the Stationers' Books in 1593, and printed in 1598. More will be said in the proper place about

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this epoch-making Chronicle. Peele gave the public a drama on the life of Edward I.' in 1593, which, though it cannot be compared with Marlowe's, marks a considerable advance upon such work as “The Troublesome Reign' and “The Famous Victories.' Following a scurrilous ballad on Queen Eleanor, and yielding to the popular prejudice against Spaniards, he stained an otherwise meritorious composition with a gross and unhistorical libel on the wife of Longshanks. In the same decade, Thomas Heywood issued from the press his two parts of the Chronicle of Edward IV., a principal feature in which plays was the episode of Jane Shore. In 1605 the same author sent to the press his play upon the reign of Mary and the accession of Elizabeth. It had been acted several years before, and bore the curious title of, “If You know not Me, You know Nobody Next year, the second part

.' of this Chronicle, dealing with Sir Thomas Gresham's building of the Royal Exchange and the Defeat of the Armada, appeared. The

proper occasion for estimating Heywood's capacity as

an author of Chronicle Plays, will occur in the examination of his essentially English art. Much in the same style, but marked by inferior dramatic power, is the double Chronicle Play by Samuel Rowley, entitled, “When You see Me, You know Me.' It was printed in 1603, but was probably well known upon the stage before that date. As Heywood treated some of the events of Elizabeth's reign, so Rowley in this formless production touched upon those of Henry VIII. But he could not or dared not address himself seriously to the real history of a period so recent and so full of

DRAMATISED HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

387

perilous matter. The best scenes in his superficial work are comic—Henry's meeting with the thief Black Will, his imprisonment in the Counter, and the vicarious birching of his whipping-boy Ned Browne. Plays of this description, which bring English princes on the stage in merry moments, were highly popular, as will be seen when we discuss the fourth section mentioned at the opening of this chapter.

VIII.

Adding to these inferior Chronicles the great Shaksperian group, it will be seen that what remains to us of this species includes plays on the reigns of King John, Edward I., Edward II., Edward III., Richard II., Henry IV., Henry V., Henry VI., Edward IV., Richard III., Henry VIII., Mary and Elizabeth-an almost continuous series of studies in English history from 1199 to 1588--embracing in round figures four centuries, from the accession of John to the Defeat of the Armada. The gaps in the list of sovereigns are supplemented by Greene's * James IV. of Scotland' and Ford's 'Perkin Warbeck;' which deal with events of the reign of Henry VII., and by Decker and Webster's ‘Sir Thomas Wyatt,' which forms a sequel to the reign of Edward VI. Very unequal in artistic capacity, rising to the highest in Shakspere and Marlowe, sinking to the lowest in Rowley and the author of 'The Troublesome Reign,' these dramatists of our old annals performed no petty service for the nation, at a moment when the English were growing to full consciousness of their high des

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