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who is surprised by him while doing homage at the tomb of her departed husband. Brutus declares his passion. She is irresolute, and exclaims:

"What can I give, when charity to you

Is perjury to my deceased Argaces ?"

In Act III., Ragusa, a sorceress, is in league with Soziman to ruin the virtue and constancy of the Queen. She has four female attendants, who are coarse imitations of the witches in "Macbeth." In this act, the supernatural element is introduced to a terrific extent. Ragusa and her haggard satellites conspire with Soziman, and it is agreed that the Queen and Prince shall be driven to seek refuge from a storm in the same cavern, and that then a philtre, administered by Soziman, shall work its dread effects. The sports begin, the storm is raised, they fly for shelter to the same cavern, and with, of course, the same result as in the case of Dido and Eneas

"Prima et Tellus et pronuba Juno

Dant signum; fulsere ignes, et conscius æther
Connubiis; summoque ulularunt vertice Nymphæ,
Ille dies primus leti primusque malorum

Causa fuit."

Act iv. The Queen pours out her grief to Amarante, and informs her of her ruin. She holds a dagger in her hand, with which, she informs her confidante, she contemplates stabbing Brutus. He, however, enters and succeeds in soothing her. She throws away the dagger, and there ensues much kneeling, weeping, and fainting. Assaracus, meanwhile, having overcome his passion for the Queen, reproaches Brutus with his delays, reminds him of the oracle which urged him to go to Albion, and pleads the cause of his son Locrinus, whom he represents as cheated out of his hopes of an empire. A stormy interview is ended by Assaracus stabbing himself to prove

the sincerity of his sentiments. Brutus is so affected by this desperate act, that he gives orders for the sailing that night. The Queen enters, and asks whether it is his intention to fly from her, observing, that although he may leave her without destroying his peace of mind, that her's gone for ever. He answers:


"You call him happy whom the damn'd would pity!
Despairing ghosts that yell in lightless flames
Would stand aghast to hear my sufferings told.

Reflect, and grow more patient of damnation!"

He then adds that go he must, and she, as a matter of course, swoons.

In the last act, the Queen raves about the perjury of Brutus. Amarante requests her Majesty to be tranquil, and declares that if she is not, she will commit suicide. The Queen is quieted. A conference next takes place between Ragusa and Soziman. She gives him a bracelet to wear which she has previously poisoned. To Ragusa it is announced by a spirit, whom she summons from the vasty deep, that she is doomed to perish that night, but she is consoled by the additional intelligence that it will be one of horrific deeds and disasters. Brutus is driven back by a storm, and there is another terrible parting scene between himself and his royal innamorata. Soziman has, in the interval, discovered that he has been poisoned by the bracelet. He goes off the stage in a fury, tearing his hair. The Queen is in agonies of grief, but is soothed by music, and dies. Amarante at this, stabs herself and dies also. The venom of the poisoned bracelet racks the frame of Soziman, and he rushes on, tearing his clothes, stabs himself, and, to use his own language, plunges "headlong to eternal deeps." At this conjuncture of affairs, the ambassadors from Agrigentum again arrive. They find all their plans frustrated. One exclaims "Prodigious!" while the other

confesses that he is "lost in confusion."

It is really a

very bustling tragedy.

There are in it only

1 Natural death,

1 Murder,

1 Poisoning,

3 Suicides,

And there is much thunder and lightning, rage, fury, and bombast throughout. There are horrors enough for a French novel, and it might be revived at a transpontine theatre with great effect. To speak of it in language applied to a different kind of composition: daggers, flames, and poison "dance through its pages in all the mazes of metaphorical confusion. These are the companions of a disturbed imagination-the melancholy madness of poetry without its inspiration."

In 1680, he produced "The Loyal General," the prologue to which was written by Dryden. Like that great poet, he prefixes to his plays dissertations, which are rather essays on some questions of criticism than prefaces properly so called. The introduction to "The Loyal General" contains some remarks on Shakespeare, which, though they may seem to possess little novelty now that the subject is exhausted, yet show that it was out of no want of respect and admiration for Shakespeare that Tate ventured to alter some of his plays. On the question of the amount of Shakespeare's learning, he asserts that he possessed more than by common report is granted him. He adds: "I am sure he never touches on a Roman story, but the persons, the passages, the manners, the circumstances are all Roman. And what relishes yet of a more exact knowledge, you do not only see a Roman in his hero, but the particular genius of the man without the least mistake of his character, given him by the best historians. You find his Antony, in all the defects and

*Letter of Junius to Sir W. Draper.

excellencies of his mind, a soldier, a reveller, amorous, sometimes rash, sometimes considerate, with all the various emotions of his mind. His Brutus, again, has all the constancy, gravity, morality, generosity imaginable, without the least mixture of private interest or irregular passion. He is true to him even in the imitation of his oratory, the famous speech which he makes him deliver, being exactly agreeable to his manner of expressing himself; of which we have this account: Facultas ejus erat militaris et bellicis accommodata tumultibus.'

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"The Loyal General" was succeeded by "The Sicilian Usurper," which is an alteration of "King Richard II." of Shakespeare. It was on political grounds suppressed. Tate some years afterwards published it; and in a prefatory epistle in vindication of himself, he says: "I fell upon the new modelling of this tragedy (as I had just before done on the history of King Lear), charmed with the many beauties I discovered in it, which I knew would become the stage; with as little design of satire on present transactions as Shakespeare himself, that wrote this story before this age began. I am not ignorant of the position of affairs in King Richard II.'s reign: how dissolute the age, and how corrupt the court, a season that beheld ignorance and infamy preferred to office, and power exercised in oppressing learning and merit; but why a history of these times should be suppressed as a libel on ours, is past my understanding. 'Tis sure the worst compliment that was ever paid to a prince."

As Tate has here alluded to his alteration of "King Lear," a few words may be here said on that subject. The crime of mutilating the works of Shakespeare cannot be magnified; but we must impute this seeming arrogance rather to the age than to the individual who attempted it. There appears to have been an impression at this time, that in taste and refinement they had so outstripped the culti

vation of the Elizabethean era, that it was necessary to tame the extravagancies of Shakespeare's rude imagination. Davenant and Dryden had both set Tate the example. In altering "King Lear," Tate omitted the part of the Fool and introduced a love plot between Edgar and Cordelia. Tate's alteration, as has been before observed, maintained possession of the stage for a considerable time. Colman rejected most that Tate had added. Garrick did the same. When Kemble remodelled it in 1809, he reintroduced many of Tate's lines which had been rejected by Colman and Garrick. In speaking of this, the author of "The History of the English Stage," remarks, "When Shakespeare met John Kemble in the Elysian fields he said to him, 'I thank you heartily for your performance of my Coriolanus, Hamlet, Brutus, &c.-but did you never hear the good old proverb: The cobbler should not go beyond his last? Why would you tamper with the text of my plays? Why give many of my characters names which I never dreamed of? Above all, what could induce you to restore such passages of Tate as even Garrick had rejected when he revised King Lear. St. Laurence never suffered more on his gridiron than I have suffered from the prompt-book.'" Whatever alterations and restorations were occasionally made, it was not until at Drury Lane, in 1823, that the entire fifth act was played as Shakespeare wrote it. Here an unfortunate accident for a time baffled its success. Cordelia was impersonated by Mrs. West. Kean, who played Lear, was scarcely strong enough to carry her. This tempted the risibility of the house, and pit, boxes, and gallery joined in a laugh which lasted until the curtain fell.

Tate in his dramatic compositions has manifested no great desire to win the praise of originality. One successful play was more remunerative than many fulsome dedications. To amuse the theatre-goers, therefore, was the object of Tate and others--and they accordingly plun

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