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humane simplicity. Nowhere in the Jacobean age do we seem to come so close to the ordinary conversation of the day, unrevised and unadorned. What Heywood lacks is distinction; he is content to be an indefatigable hackney writer, incessantly and without ambition engaged in amusing and awakening his contemporaries. The people whom Heywood collects before us in such plays as A Woman Killed with Kindness and The English Traveller are natural and, even in their errors, amiable. He does not deal in heroes and monsters, like so many of his fellow playwrights. In them a violence is notable, an uplifting of the whole soul in arms to resist fate and to perish, if necessary, in the struggle. But Heywood's gentle talent does not strive or cry; he loves to depict submission, reconciliations, facile intrigues which are “very delectable and full of mirth.” Besides the domestic plays by which this poet is best known, he wrote a considerable number of classical entertainments, half serious dramas, half burlesques, ingenious and extraordinary, of which The Rape of Lucrece is the type, and a mass of pseudophilosophical verse, garrulous and prosy, the most curious specimen of which is The Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels, a sort of analysis of the universe, visible and invisible.

It is probable that Thomas Heywood was born about 1575 in Lincolnshire. He was educated at Cambridge, and became a fellow of Peterhouse. During his residence at the University he became deeply interested in the stage, and doubtless contributed to the " tragedies, comedies, histories, pastorals, and shows " which he tells us were acted in his time by "graduates of good place." In 1596 he came to London and wrote a play for the Lord Admiral's Company, to which in 1598 we find him regularly attached as an actor. Of the dramas which he composed at this time. The Four Prentices of London is probably the only one which survives. We have, however, a series of tame chronicle-plays which seem to date from 1600. Heywood's masterpiece, A Woman Killed with Kindness, was produced in 1602 (printed in 1607). In the very interesting preface to The English Traveller, which was not published until 1633. Heywood tells us that this tragicomedy is but "one reserved amongst two hundred and twenty, in which I have had either an entire hand or at the least a main finger." Even at that date, many of these plays had "been negligently lost," and Heywood adds that "it never was any great ambition in me to be in this kind voluminously read." Of his vast body of dramatic writing, therefore, we may be surprised that so many as twenty-four complete plays have come down to us. Of his more ambitious, but less successful, non-dramatic works, Troja Britannica was published in 1609, Gunaikeion, or, Nine Books Concerning Women in 1624, and The Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels in 1635. He disappears after 1641.

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Was a great feast. . . .

In the height of their carousing, all their brains
Warm'd with the heat of wine, discourse was offer'd
Of ships and storms at sea: when suddenly,
Out of his giddy wildness, one conceives

The room wherein they quaff'd to be a pinnace,
Moving and floating, and the confused noise
To be the murmuring winds, gusts, mariners;
That their unsteadfast footing did proceed
From rocking of the vessel: this conceived,
Each one begins to apprehend the danger,
And to look out for safety. Fly, saith one,

Up to the main top, and discover. He

Climbs by the bed-post to the tester, there
Reports a turbulent sea and tempest towards;

And wills them, if they'll save their ship and lives,
To cast their lading overboard. At this

All fall to work, and hoist into the street,

As to the sea, what next came to their hand,

Stools, tables, tressels, trenchers, bedsteads, cups, Pots, plate, and glasses. Here a fellow whistles; They take him for the boatswain: one lies struggling Upon the floor, as if he swam for life :

A third takes the base-viol for the cock-boat,

Sits in the belly on 't, labours, and rows;

His oar, the stick with which the fiddler play'd;

A fourth bestrides his fellow, thinking to 'scape

(As did Arion) on the dolphin's back,

Still fumbling on a gittern.The rude multitude,
Watching without, and gaping for the spoil

Cast from the windows, went by the ears about it;

The constable is called to atone the broil;

Which done, and hearing such a noise within

Of eminent shipwreck, enters the house, and finds them

In this confusion: they adore his staff,

And think it Neptune's trident; and that he
Comes with his Tritons (so they call'd his watch)
To calm the tempest and appease the waves :
And at this point we left them.

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Sometimes I cast my eye upon the sea,

To see the tumbling seal or porpoise play.

There see I merchants trading, and their sails

Big-bellied with the wind; sea-fights sometimes

Rise with their smoke-thick clouds to dark my beams;

Sometimes I fix my face upon the earth,

With my warm fervour to give metals, trees,

Herbs, plants, and flowers, life. Here in gardens walk

Loose ladies with their lovers arm in arm.

Yonder the labouring ploughman drives his team.

Further I may behold main battles pitch'd;

And whom I favour most (by the wind's help)

I can assist with my transparent rays.

Here spy I cattle feeding; forests there

Stored with wild beasts; here shepherds with their lasses,

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No emperor walks forth, but I see his state;
Nor sports, but I his pastimes can behold.

I see all coronations, funerals,

Marts, fairs, assemblies, pageants, sights and shows.
No hunting, but I better see the chase

Than they that rouse the game. What see not I?
There's not a window, but my beams break in ;

No chink or cranny, but my rays pierce through;
And there I see, O Vulcan, wondrous things:
Things that thyself, nor any god besides,
Would give belief to.



There is no body of writing in which the faults and the merits of the Jaco- Thomas bean age can be studied to more advantage than in the breathless and agitated plays of THOMAS MIDDLETON. Here all that is inconsistent, all qualities that are incompatible, are jumbled together in the strangest confusion. Here we have a brazen indelicacy married to an almost feminine susceptibility to natural and verbal beauty; Romance, in its most preposterous forms, running side by side with a plain domestic realism; a capacity for the most thrilling revelations of the inmost secrets of the heart combined with an absence of all skill in portraiture, and the dullest acceptance of ethical caricature. It is impossible to find any general terms in which to describe the style and temper of Middleton, since what is true of one page is utterly false of the next. As a dramatist, pure and simple, however, this may be said that his extraordinary fluency and picturesqueness alternately support and betray him, so that the impression of life, of bustling and crowded vitality, which he hardly ever fails to produce, is now seductive and now wearying or even repulsive, according as the cleverness of the playwright wanes or waxes, that "indefatigable ingenuity" of which Mr. Swinburne so justly speaks being too often wasted upon obscure and ill-digested themes accepted too hastily by a rash and unbalanced judgment. At his best-in the character of De Flores in The Changeling, in the tragic pathos of A Fair Quarrel, in much of the graceful intrigue of The Spanish Gipsy the poetic spirit of Middleton is prodigal in its manifestations. But the mention of these very noble dramas reminds us of another fact, which


Thomas Middleton

From the frontispiece to the Two New Plays" of 1657

adds to our difficulty in exacting apprising or even analysing his genius. In all his best works we are left to conjecture what portions are really his, and what are due to the collaboration of a poet even more shadowy than himself, WILLIAM ROWLEY. These two are inextricably mingled, and what is further puzzling is that such plays as seem to be entirely written by the one or the other do not display such characteristics of individual style as greatly aid us in distinguishing them. But A Game of Chess is supposed to display the solitary Middleton and A Match at Midnight the unaided Rowley, and of these we may make what we can. Each of these dramatists combined, too,


Gam at Cheess afit wasActd

nine days to gether at the Globe with Dekker, and the con

The Black Houfe onthe banks fide The White-House

Title page of Middleton's "Game at Chess," 1624

fusion of their styles is past all hope of unravelling. Middleton seems, however, to have been the more mellifluous versifier, the more conscious poet, of the two; and Rowley the more sturdy and more strenuous painter of character. Little, however, can be said with confidence, and Middleton and Rowley must be content to live together, inextricably intertwined, like Beaumont and Fletcher.

It has been supposed that Thomas Middleton (1570 ?-1627) was born in London; his father was a gentleman of that city. The poet was admitted a member of Gray's Inn in 1593,

having already, as is believed, begun to write for the stage. His earliest surviving independent play is Blurt, Master Constable, printed in 1602. Middleton is the author, or part author, of about twenty-three plays which are still in existence, and we have no reason to suppose that we possess more than a fragment of the work which he poured forth with a careless volubility. Of the best known of his plays a list may here be given, with the dates of publication: Michaelmas Term (1607), A Trick to Catch the Old One (1608), A Fair Quarrel (1617), The Changeling (1653-acted 1624), The Spanish Gipsy (1653), Woman Beware Women (1657). In 1620 Middleton was appointed City Chronologer, and in 1623 was living at Newington Butts. In 1624 he produced a political and patriotic drama, A Game of Chess, which was successful beyond all precedent, but was so offensive to the Spanish Ambassador that he complained to King

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