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sidered might have been still further unhinged, when Sir Lucy, whose venison he stole,“ often had him whipped, and sometimes imprisoned,” and she recalled to the listener's mind how the same chronicler adds, “but his revenge was great,” quoting his own terrible description of the state of mind to which he had gradually been brought by unrestrained indulgence in every description of criminality and excess :
“ Lucius. —Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds ?"
Even now I curse the day, (and yet I think
Mrs. Harriet B. Cherstow was so impressed and excited by the whole scene and the recital, that she begged for two or three days to deliberate, before forming any opinion. She took the memorandum with her to London, and gave a day or two to the consideration of the subject. She wrote to Mrs. Shakspere that while this act of consideration for the morals of the people of England did seem to be called for, yet if these dreadful disclosures were published during the lifetime of Mistress Susannah Hall, her husband, or relations, some steps might probably be taken to vindicate her reputation and Mr. Shakspere's memory; but that by awaiting until they should all have been called to their account, there would be no possibility of refuting the charges contained in the memorandum, which would thus become a document of considerable marketable value.
There is no doubt that the present writer's venerable ancestor was influenced in making these remarks by that prudent forethought for the worldly advancement of her family which regulated her course through life, and has caused her memory to be gratefully revered by whole generations of Cherstows; she probably foresaw that if published at a fitting moment, these dreadful disclosures might be made instrumental, under Providence, in providing meat for those infant blossoms of the Cherstow family she was about to conduct to America.
After the death of the first Harriet B. Cherstow, her descendants sought eagerly among her papers for the important memorandum in question : but failed to discover it, and, indeed, it had long been supposed to be irrevocably lost or destroyed, when the providential fall (through dry rot) of the house inhabited by the first generation of Cherstows, brought the missing document to light, when it was
at once appropriated by the present writer, as an invaluable means of doing justice to the memory of one whom she considers the most remarkable woman the sixteenth century has produced. No such memoir has appeared on the part of her friends, and Mr. Shakspere's editors have the ear of the public; sowing far and wide those poisonous effusions of his genius, which are eagerly gathered up and read by an undiscriminating community.
However, Anne Hathaway Shakspere has an American name, and an American existence, and reverence for pure womanhood is, we think, proved, by these pages, to be an American characteristic; and what is even more to the point, there can be little doubt of the pecuniary profit likely to accrue to one specimen of pure American womanhood through their publication by, it is hoped, a not unworthy descendant of the original Harriet B. Cherstow.
TALES FROM THE OLD
No. v.-Anointed with Vial of Cdrath.
SHOWING THAT THERE WAS A KING WHOM NEITHER A DIVINITY
NOR A DIVINE DID HEDGE.
HE story which I am now going to tell will have, what
ever be its demerits, the merit of novelty. I am not much inclined to think that three readers of this magazine
have ever heard of the play lying before me. Not that I am imputing to one of its thousands of readers a culpable want of acquaintance with literature. The reason why this drama has not been read is a very good reason indeed. It could not be read, for until lately no known copy of it existed, and until very lately it had not been printed in an accessible form. It is given in the list of Massinger's plays as entered twice at Stationers' Hall, but not printed. “Destroyed by Mr. Warburton's servant.”
To Colonel Cunningham, the latest editor of Massinger (and I would invite attention to his carefully revised and very convenient single-volume edition, from Gifford's text), I am indebted for my knowledge of the play, and also for the information which I now offer. This play, called Believe As You List, from the last words of its prologue (the title is a sort of As You Like It), was always described as a comedy, and was supposed to have perished at the hands of the cook of Mr. Warburton, once Somerset Herald. That menial heated the oven with precious papers. “But Colley Cibber had mentioned having seen a transcript of the play, with the stage directions inserted in the margin, and in 1844 this transcript turned up. The lucky discoverer, Mr. Beltz, was fortunately a liberal and enlightened man, and he lost no time in making a present of it to the public, through the medium of the long defunct Percy Society. It was issued in 1848 under the nominal editorship of Mr. Crofton Croker.” Colonel Cunningham is perfectly dissatisfied with all that has been done for the text, whether by the editor or by a critic in the Shakespeare
Society's papers, and he has gone very reverently through the work. Some few passages are lost, but none whose absence mars the significance of the text. Except to those who happen to possess the papers of the Percy Society, Believe As You List has therefore been inaccessible until Colonel Cunningham's volunie appeared, last year. Now, of course, the recovered play is safe for ever—for the eternity of play-literature, at all events. Let us do what we can for the further preservation of the work, in the event of magazine literature surviving that of the stage.
I can imagine that better dramas have perished, yet there is great power here, derived in main from the dramatist's fidelity in presenting the idea of that terrible Ancient Rome, and her world-wide tyranny. To illustrate this, Massinger, with an art that boldly disregarded all rule, hurries us over sea and land, as will be felt when I mention that the "scene" is laid in Carthage, Bithynia, Callipolis, Syracuse. It may be convenient to those who have not at hand the map of the world as known to the ancients, to be reminded that between Carthage and Bithynia there lie, bee-flight, a good many more than a thousand miles. The play begins in Carthage, and then we make a straight run to the south of the Black Sea, and retracing our way take Callipolis, and then Syracuse-Massinger had looked at his Orbis Veteribus Notus, for the points lie along a straightish line. But, go where we will, there come
" Lictor's fasces, gory ax-head, and the she-woll's glance of flame." The story is that of the last days of Antiochus, king of Lower Asia. Twenty-two years before the play opens, this particularly unfortunate monarch (for whom, with all our sympathy for virtue in distress it is rather hard to weep, for he weeps so lavishly for himself) was defeated by the Romans, who slaughtered twelve thousand of his soldiers. He was supposed to have fallen with them, but he escaped, with three attendants, sailed for Corinth, and thence to India, where he spent many years with the gymnosophists. Whatever faith these half-naked philosophers held, they certainly did not teach the doctrine of extinction, as Professor Max Müller has recently told us that the Buddhists were falsely charged with doing, for Antiochus, when in one of his many troubles, talks about peril to his soul. Well, having lived out of society until he was tired of that retirement, the king resolves to come to Carthage, which was then a proud city, holding terms with Rome, and entertaining a Roman Ambassador, of whom we shall hear much. The king's intention is to be recognised by the Carthaginians, and then to demand from Rome the restoration of his sovereignty. To
do him justice, he avows, in the opening dialogue with a Stoic, in sight of Carthage, that he has the smallest hope of success; and even the Stoic's suggestion that the mother of Antiochus was a Roman, and therefore that he may expect favour from many noble families, fails to make him believe that
“ Rome will restore one foot of earth that may Diminish her vast empire."
Bad as his chances seem, they are presently made worse ; for when the Stoic leaves him, advising him to be bold and heroic, the unlucky king is set upon by his three attendants, who are equally convinced with himself that he is destined to ill-fortune, and therefore think that their best course is to secure what plunder they can.
The king was dressed in a way becoming his station, but Chrysalus, Syrus, and Geta not only take his rings and money, but his royal clothes, and leave him in the habit of a beggar. One of the treacherous and cold blooded scoundrels, in fact, sends him a small coin, and an insulting letter, bidding him forget that he was a king, and turn mendicant. Whereat, not unnaturally, poor Antiochus weeps profusely, and wishes that he were on the top of a pyramid, whence he might tell all the world to take a lesson from the fate of one who had been so noble and splendid, and now was so miserable. Having complained at great length, he remarks that complaints are weak and womanish, and resolves to struggle with his fortune, and not to be dejected. He goes on his way to Carthage. As nothing helps the interest of a drama so much as an idea of the chief actor, I will venture to suggest to those who have seen Mr. Macready in “Werner" (and should “rejoice therefor "), that I picture the Antiochus of Massinger as much such a figure ; and had that master of his art revived this play, the figure would have been a memory.
We are next in a street in Carthage, and we are introduced to an original character. This is Berecinthius, the Flamen of Cybele. I wish we had the original cast of this play. I am certain that there was some fat man, or player of fat men, for whom this part was written. Otherwise, there is not the least reason for his being a Flamen-Falstaff. But Berecinthius is very big, and his bigness is jested at by others, and by himself, and to the brave, fat old priest's credit be it said, at a time when few men and fewer priests have the courage to jest. He hates the Romans, and especially does he hate their ambassador, Flaminius. This man is a terrible assertor of the majesty of Rome, and he is also a tyrant who enjoys the cruelties which he inflicts in the name of the republic. He has a fatal smile,