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Title: Francis Beaumont: Dramatist - With Some Account of His Circle, Elizabethan and Jacobean, and of His Association with John Fletcher
Author: Gayley, Charles Mills, 1858-1932
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's note:

      Text in italics is surrounded by _underscores_.

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[Illustration: By permission of the Right Hon. Lord Sackville, G. C. M. G.

PORTRAIT OF FRANCIS BEAUMONT
From the original painting at Knole Park]



FRANCIS BEAUMONT: DRAMATIST

A Portrait

With Some Account of His Circle, Elizabethan and Jacobean, and of
His Association with John Fletcher

by

CHARLES MILLS GAYLEY, LITT.D., LL.D.
_Professor of the English Language and Literature
in the University of California_


[Illustration: DESORMAIS]



London
Duckworth & Co.
3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden
1914

Copyright, 1914, by
The Century Co.

Published, February, 1914



TO MY WIFE



PREFACE


In this period of resurgent dramatic creativity when once more the
literature of the stage enthralls the public and commands the publisher,
it is but natural that playwright, play-lover, and scholar alike should
turn with renewed and enlightened interest to the models afforded by our
Elizabethan masters of the age of gold, to the circumstances of their
production and the lives of their imperishable authors. Very close to
Shakespeare stood Beaumont and Fletcher; but, though during the past
three centuries books about Shakespeare have been as legion and studies
of the "twin literary heroes" have run into the hundreds, to Fletcher as
an individual but one book has been devoted, and to Beaumont but one.

A portrait of either Beaumont or Fletcher demands indeed as its
counterpart, painted by the same brush and with alternating strokes, a
portrait of his literary partner and friend. But in spirit and in favour
the twain are distinct. In this book I have tried to present the poetic
and compelling personality of Francis Beaumont not only as conjoined
with, and distinguished from, the personality of Fletcher, but as seen
against the background of historic antecedents and family connections
and as tinged by the atmosphere of contemporary life, of social,
literary, and theatrical environment. No doubt the picture has its
imperfections, but the criticism of those who know will assist one whose
only desire is to do Beaumont justice.

I take pleasure in expressing my indebtedness to the authorities of the
Bodleian Library and the British Museum, to those of the National
Portrait Gallery (especially Mr. J. D. Milner), to our own Librarian of
the University of California, Mr. J. C. Rowell, for unfailing courtesy
during the years in which this volume has been in preparation; to Mr. J.
C. Schwab, Librarian of Yale University, for the loan of rare and
indispensable sources of information, and to my colleague, Professor
Rudolph Schevill, for reading proof-sheets and giving me many a
scholarly suggestion. I deplore my inability to include among the
illustrations carefully made by Emery Walker, of 16 Clifford's Inn, a
copy of the portrait of Beaumont's friend, Elizabeth, Countess of
Rutland, which hangs at Penshurst. On account of the recent attempt to
destroy by fire that time-honored repository of heirlooms as precious to
the realm as to the family of Sidney, the Lord de L'Isle and Dudley has
found it necessary to close his house to the public.

                                          CHARLES MILLS GAYLEY.

  Berkeley, California,
      December 15, 1913.



CONTENTS


PART ONE

BEAUMONT'S LIFE, HIS ACQUAINTANCES, AND HIS CAREER AS POET AND DRAMATIST

  CHAPTER                                                   PAGE

        I  THE CASTOR AND POLLUX OF ELIZABETHAN DRAMA          3

       II  BEAUMONT'S FAMILY; HIS EARLY YEARS: GRACE-DIEU,
             OXFORD                                           10

      III  AT THE INNS OF COURT AND CHANCERY; THE
             POEMS ASSIGNED TO THESE EARLIER YEARS            29

       IV  THE VAUX COUSINS AND THE GUNPOWDER PLOT            46

        V  FLETCHER'S FAMILY, AND HIS YOUTH                   62

       VI  SOME EARLY PLAYS OF BEAUMONT AND OF FLETCHER       72

      VII  THE "BANKE-SIDE" AND THE PERIOD OF THE
             PARTNERSHIP                                      95

     VIII  RELATIONS WITH SHAKESPEARE, JONSON, AND
             OTHERS IN THE THEATRICAL WORLD                  114

       IX  THE "MASQUE OF THE INNER TEMPLE": THE
             PASTORALISTS, AND OTHER CONTEMPORARIES
             AT THE INNS OF COURT                            124

        X  AN INTERSECTING CIRCLE OF JOVIAL SORT             145

       XI  BEAUMONT AND SIR PHILIP SIDNEY'S DAUGHTER;
             RELATIONS WITH OTHER PERSONS OF NOTE            150

      XII  BEAUMONT'S MARRIAGE AND DEATH; THE SURVIVING
             FAMILY                                          172

     XIII  THE PERSONALITY, AND THE CONTEMPORARY
             REPUTATION OF BEAUMONT                          190

      XIV  TRADITION, AND TRADITIONAL CRITICISM              206

       XV  A FEW WORDS OF FLETCHER'S LATER YEARS             211


PART TWO

THE COLLABORATION OF BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER

  CHAPTER                                                   PAGE

      XVI  STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM; CRITICAL APPARATUS      225

     XVII  THE DELIMITATION OF THE FIELD                     236

    XVIII  THE VERSIFICATION OF FLETCHER AND OF
             BEAUMONT                                        243

      XIX  FLETCHER'S DICTION                                260

       XX  FLETCHER'S MENTAL HABIT                           277

      XXI  BEAUMONT'S DICTION                                281

     XXII  BEAUMONT'S MENTAL HABIT                           291

    XXIII  THE AUTHORSHIP OF THREE DISPUTED PLAYS            300

     XXIV  "THE WOMAN-HATER," AND "THE KNIGHT"               307

      XXV  THE FIVE CENTRAL PLAYS                            332

     XXVI  THE LAST PLAY                                     368

    XXVII  THE DRAMATIC ART, PRINCIPALLY OF BEAUMONT         378

   XXVIII  DID THE BEAUMONT "ROMANCE" INFLUENCE
             SHAKESPEARE?                                    386

     XXIX  CONCLUSION                                        396


           APPENDIX

           Table A                                           419

             "   B                                           420

             "   C                                           421

             "   D                                           422

             "   E                                           423

           INDEX                                             425



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  Portrait of Francis Beaumont                     _Frontispiece_

                                                          FACING
                                                           PAGE
  The Ruins of Grace-Dieu Nunnery                             22

  Ruins of Grace-Dieu                                         26

  A Priory, Ulveston, Extant in 1730                          26

  Thomas Sackville, First Earl of Dorset                      66

  The Temple                                                  96

  The Globe Theatre, with St. Paul's in the Background       104

  Ben Jonson                                                 120

  Francis Bacon                                              146

  George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham, and Family      160

  John Selden                                                170

  The Beaumont of the Nuneham Portrait                       192

  Michael Drayton                                            202

  John Fletcher                                              226

  John Earle, Bishop of Worcester and Salisbury              244

  Don Diego Sarmiento, Count Gondomar                        372



BEAUMONT, THE DRAMATIST

PART ONE

BEAUMONT'S LIFE, HIS ACQUAINTANCES, AND HIS CAREER AS POET AND
DRAMATIST.



BEAUMONT, THE DRAMATIST



CHAPTER I

THE CASTOR AND POLLUX OF ELIZABETHAN DRAMA


"Among those of our dramatists who either were contemporaries of
Shakespeare or came after him, it would be impossible to name more than
three to whom the predilection or the literary judgment of any period of
our national life has attempted to assign an equal rank by his side. In
the Argo of the Elizabethan drama--as it presents itself to the
imagination of our own latter days--Shakespeare's is and must remain the
commanding figure. Next to him sit the twin literary heroes, Beaumont
and Fletcher, more or less vaguely supposed to be inseparable from one
another in their works. The Herculean form of Jonson takes a somewhat
disputed precedence among the other princes; the rest of these are, as a
rule, but dimly distinguished." So, with just appreciation, our senior
historian of the English drama, to-day, the scholarly Master of
Peterhouse. Sir Adolphus Ward himself has, by availing of the inductive
processes of the inventive and indefatigable Fleay and his successors
in separative criticism, contributed not a little to a discrimination
between the respective efforts of the "twin literary heroes" who sit
next Jason; and who are "beyond dispute more attractive by the beauty of
their creations than any and every one of Shakespeare's
fellow-dramatists." But even he doubts whether "the most successful
series of endeavours to distinguish Fletcher's hand from Beaumont's is
likely to have the further result of enabling us to distinguish the mind
of either from that of his friend." Just this endeavour to distinguish
not only hand from hand, but mind from mind, is what I have had the
temerity to attempt. And still not, by any means, a barefaced temerity,
for my attempt at first was merely to fix anew the place of the
joint-authors in the history of English comedy; and it has been but
imperceptibly that the fascination of the younger of them, of Frank
Beaumont, the personality of his mind as well as of his art, has so
grown upon me as to compel me to set him before the world as he appears
to me to be clearly visible.

In broad outline the figure of Beaumont has been, of course, manifest to
the vision of poet-critics in the past. To none more palpably than to
the latest of the melodious immortals of the Victorian strain. "If a
distinction must be made," wrote Swinburne as early as 1875, "if a
distinction must be made between the Dioscuri of English poetry, we must
admit that Beaumont was the twin of heavenlier birth. Only as Pollux was
on one side a demigod of diviner blood than Castor can it be said that
on any side Beaumont was a poet of higher and purer genius than
Fletcher; but so much must be allowed by all who have eyes and ears to
discern in the fabric of their common work a distinction without a
difference. Few things are stranger than the avowal of so great and
exquisite a critic as Coleridge, that he could trace no faintest line of
demarcation between the plays which we owe mainly to Beaumont and the
plays which we owe solely to Fletcher. To others this line has always
appeared in almost every case unmistakable. Were it as hard and broad as
the line which marks off, for example, Shakespeare's part from
Fletcher's in _The Two Noble Kinsmen_, the harmony would of course be
lost which now informs every work of their common genius.... In the
plays which we know by evidence surer than the most trustworthy
tradition to be the common work of Beaumont and Fletcher there is indeed
no trace of such incongruous and incompatible admixture as leaves the
greatest example of romantic tragedy ... an unique instance of glorious
imperfection, a hybrid of heavenly and other than heavenly breed,
disproportioned and divine. But throughout these noblest of the works
inscribed generally with the names of both dramatists we trace on every
other page the touch of a surer hand, we hear at every turn the note of
a deeper voice, than we can ever recognize in the work of Fletcher
alone. Although the beloved friend of Jonson, and in the field of comedy
his loving and studious disciple, yet in that tragic field where his
freshest bays were gathered Beaumont was the worthiest and the closest
follower of Shakespeare.... The general style of his tragic or romantic
verse is as simple and severe in its purity of note and regularity of
outline as that of Fletcher's is by comparison lax, effusive,
exuberant.... In every one of the plays common to both, the real
difficulty for a critic is not to trace the hand of Beaumont, but to
detect the touch of Fletcher. Throughout the better part of every such
play, and above all of their two masterpieces, _Philaster_ and _The
Maid's Tragedy_, it should be clear to the most sluggish or cursory of
readers that he has not to do with the author of _Valentinian_
[Fletcher] and _The Double Marriage_ [Fletcher and Massinger]. In those
admirable tragedies the style is looser, more fluid, more feminine....
But in those tragic poems of which the dominant note is the note of
Beaumont's genius a subtler chord of thought is sounded, a deeper key of
emotion is touched, than ever was struck by Fletcher. The lighter genius
is palpably subordinate to the stronger, and loyally submits itself to
the impression of a loftier spirit. It is true that this distinction is
never grave enough to produce a discord; it is also true that the plays
in which the predominance of Beaumont's mind and style is generally
perceptible make up altogether but a small section of the work that
bears their names conjointly; but it is no less true that within this
section the most precious part of that work is comprised."

The essay in which this noble estimate of Beaumont occurs remains indeed
"the classical modern criticism of Beaumont and Fletcher," and although
recent research has resulted in "variety of opinion concerning the
precise authorship of some of the plays commonly attributed to those
writers" its value is substantially unaffected. The figure as revealed
in glorious proportions to the penetrative imagination and the sympathy
of poetic kinship, remains, but by the patient processes of scientific
research the outlines have been more sharply defined and the very
lineaments of Beaumont's countenance and of Fletcher's, too, brought, I
think, distinctly before us. Though Swinburne attributes, almost aright,
to Beaumont alone one play, _The Woman-Hater_, and ascribes to him the
predominance in, and the better portions of _Philaster_ and _The Maid's
Tragedy_, and the high interest and graduated action of the serious part
of _A King and No King_, and also justly associates him with Fletcher in
the composition of _The Scornful Lady_, and gives him alone "the
admirable study of the worthy citizen and his wife who introduced to the
stage and escort with their applause _The Knight of the Burning
Pestle_," and implies his predominance in that play, he does not
enumerate for us the acts and scenes and parts of scenes which are
Beaumont's or Fletcher's, or Beaumont's revised by Fletcher, in any of
these plays; and consequently he points us to no specific lines of
poetic inspiration, no movements distinctively conceived by either
dramatist and shaped by his dramatic pressure, no touchstone by which
the average reader may verify for himself that "to Beaumont his stars
had given as birthright the gifts of tragic pathos and passion, of
tender power and broad strong humour," and that "to Fletcher had been
allotted a more fiery and fruitful force of invention, a more aerial
ease and swiftness of action, a more various readiness and fullness of
bright exuberant speech." Though he is right in discerning in the
homelier emotion and pathetic interest of _The Coxcombe_, and of
_Cupid's Revenge_ the note of Beaumont's manner, he couples with the
former _The Honest Man's Fortune_ in which it is more than doubtful
whether Beaumont had any share. To speak of Arbaces in _A King and No
King_ as Beaumont's, is mainly right, but not wholly, and to assign to
him the keen prosaic humour of Bessus and his swordsmen, is to assign
precisely the scenes that he did not compose. To speak of Beaumont's
_Triumph of Love_ is perhaps defensible; but, with grave reluctance, we
now question the attribution. He is justified in withdrawing "the noble
tragedy of _Thierry and Theodoret_" from the field of Beaumont's
coöperation and ascribing it to Fletcher and Massinger; but he is
undoubtedly wrong when he fails to couple the latter's name with that of
Fletcher as author of _Valentinian_. Writing as Swinburne did after a
study of Fleay's first investigations into the versification of
Fletcher, Beaumont, and Massinger, the wonder is not that once or twice,
as a critic, he makes an incorrect attribution, but that his poetic
instinct so successfully defied the temptation to enumerate in detail
the respective contributions of Beaumont and Fletcher on the basis of
metrical tests _par excellence_,--so surprisingly novel and seductively
convincing were the tests then recently formulated. Swinburne's mistakes
are of sane omission rather than of supererogation. By his judgments as
a critic one can not always swear; but here he is, in the main,
marvelously right, and a thousand times rather to be followed than some
of the successors of Fleay who have swamped the personality of Beaumont
by heaping on him, foundered, sods from a dozen turf-stacks which he
never helped to build.

But the _chorizontes_--those who would separate every scene and line of
the one genius from those of the other--are not lightly to be spoken of.
It is only by combining their methods of analysis with the intuitions of
the poet-critics that one may hope to see Frank Beaumont plain: "the
worthiest and closest follower of Shakespeare in the tragic field; the
earliest as well as ablest disciple of Ben Jonson in pure comedy, varied
with broad farce and mock-heroic parody." The labour is well bestowed if
by its means lovers of poetry and the drama, while not ceasing to admire
the elder dramatist, Fletcher, may be led to accede at last to the
younger his due and undivided honour, may come to speak of him by
unhyphenated name--a personality of passion and of fire, a gracious
power in poetry, of effulgent dramatic creativity;--if, like the
ancients, they may protest occasionally in the name of Pollux alone.



CHAPTER II

BEAUMONT'S FAMILY; HIS EARLY YEARS: GRACE-DIEU, OXFORD


Francis Beaumont, the dramatist, came of the younger line of an
ancient and distinguished family of Anglo-Norman descent in which
there had been Barons de Beaumont from the beginning of the fourteenth
to the beginning of the sixteenth century. They lived, as did the
dramatist later, in the forest of Charnwood in Leicestershire,--part
of the old forest of Arden. And it is of a ride to their family seat
that John Leland, the antiquary, speaks when in his itinerary, written
between 1535 and 1543, he says: "From Leicester to Brodegate, by
ground well wooded three miles.... From Brodegate to Loughborough
about a five miles.... First, I came out of Brodegate Park into the
forest of Charnwood, commonly called the Waste. This great forest is a
twenty miles or more in compass, having plenty of wood.... In this
forest is no good town nor scant a village; Ashby-de-la-Zouche, a
market town and other villages on the very borders of it.... Riding a
little further I left the park of Beau Manor, closed with stone walls
and a pretty lodge in it, belonging of late to Beaumonts.... There is
a fair quarry of alabaster stone about a four miles from Leicester,
and not very far from Beau Manor.[1]... There was, since the
Bellemonts [Beaumonts], earls of Warwick, a baron [at Beaumanoir] of
great lands of that name; and the last of them in King Henry the
Seventh's time was a man of simple wit. His wife was after married to
the Earl of Oxford."[2] These barons "of great lands," living in
Charnwood Forest,--where, as another old writer tells us, "a wren and
a squirrel might hop from tree to tree for six miles; and in summer
time a traveler could journey from Beaumanoir to Burden, a good twelve
miles, without seeing the sun,"--these barons are the de Beaumonts,
from the fourth of whom, John, Lord Beaumont, who died in 1396, our
dramatist was descended.

The barony ran from father to son for six generations of alternating
Henries and Johns, _c._ 1309 to 1460. John, fourth Baron; was grandson
of Alianor, daughter of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, and so descended
from Henry III and the first kings of the House of Plantagenet. The
second Baron, husband of Alianor of Lancaster, was through his mother,
Alice Comyn, descended from the Scotch Earls of Buchan, and thus
connected with the Balliols and the royal House of Scotland; through
his father, Henry, the first Baron de Beaumont, who died in 1343, he
was great-grandson of John de Brienne, titular King of Jerusalem,
1210-1225.[3] In a quaint tetrastich in the church of Barton-upon-Humber,
the memory of these alliances is thus preserved:

    Rex Hierosolymus cum Bellomonte locatur,
    Bellus mons etiam cum Baghan consociatur,
    Bellus mons iterum Longicastro religatur,
    Bellus mons ... Oxonie titulatur.[4]

The sixth Baron became, in 1440, the first Viscount of English creation;
he married a granddaughter of the Lord Bardolph of Shakespeare's _2
Henry IV_; but with his son "of simple wit," who died in 1507, the
viscounty died out. Beaumanoir to the east of Charnwood is seven miles
north of Leicester and nine from Coleorton where, west of the Forest, an
older branch of the Beaumont family of which we shall hear, later,
continued to live and is living to-day; and the old barony was revived,
in 1840, in a descendant of the female line, Miles Thomas Stapleton, as
ninth Baron Beaumont.

The grandfather of the dramatist, John Beaumont, was in the third
generation from Sir Thomas Beaumont, the younger son of the fourth Lord
Beaumont. John evidently had to make his way before he could establish
himself near the old home in Leicestershire; but he must have had some
competence and position from the first, for he was admitted early, in
the reign of Henry VIII, a member of the Inner Temple; in 1537 and 1543
he performed the learned and expensive functions of Reader, or exponent
of the law in that society, and later was elected treasurer or presiding
officer of the house. He started brilliantly in his profession. In 1529
he was counsellor for the corporation of Leicester; and, by 1539, he had
means or influence sufficient to secure for himself the old Nunnery of
Grace-Dieu in Charnwood Forest, which, as an ecclesiastical commissioner
he had four years earlier helped to suppress. That he entered into
possession, however, only with difficulty, is manifest from a letter
which he wrote in 1538 to Lord Cromwell, enclosing £20 as a present and
beseeching his lordship's intercession with the king that he may be
confirmed in his ownership of the "demenez" as against the cupidity of
George, first Earl of Huntingdon, who "doth labour to take the seyd
abbey ffrom me; ... for I do ffeyre the seyd erle and hys sonnes do
seeke my lyffe."[5] He occupied various important legal and
administrative positions in the county, and, shortly before the death of
Edward VI, was appointed to the high office of Master of the Rolls, or
Judge of the Court of Appeal. A year or two later, however, early in
1553, he was removed from his seat on the bench, for defalcation and
other flagrant breach of trust. He was imprisoned and fined in all his
property, and died the next year. His vast estates were bestowed on
Francis, Earl of Huntingdon, by Edward VI, but soon afterward, as a
result of legal manoeuvre and by the assistance of that Earl and his
eldest son, the widow of the Master of the Rolls contrived to retain the
manor of Grace-Dieu; and it long continued to be the country seat of the
Beaumonts.[6] This prudent, strenuous, and high-born lady, Elizabeth
Hastings, was the daughter of Sir William Hastings, a younger son of
the incorruptible William, Lord Hastings, whom in 1483 Richard of
Gloucester had decapitated. Her grandmother, Catherine Nevil, was
daughter to the Earl of Salisbury, who died at Pomfret, and sister to
Richard, Earl of Warwick, the King-maker. Elizabeth's aunt, Anne
Hastings, was the wife of George Talbot, fourth Earl of Shrewsbury, and
her uncle, Edward, was the second Lord Hastings. Edward's children, our
Elizabeth's first cousins, were Anne, Countess to Thomas Stanley, second
Earl of Derby, and that George, first Earl of Huntingdon, whom, with
certain of his five sons, the master of Grace-Dieu "ffeyred."[7] We may
conjecture that the feud expired with the marriage of Elizabeth Hastings
and John Beaumont, or with the death of the first Earl in 1544; and that
the policy of his successors, Francis and Henry, in securing to the
Huntingdon family the reversion of the forfeited estates of the Master
of the Rolls and, later, releasing a portion of them to Elizabeth, was
dictated by cousinly affection.

The great Francis, second Earl of Huntingdon, lived in the castle of
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, about an hour's walk from Mistress Beaumont's, and
had, in 1532, allied himself to royalty by marrying Katherine Pole,
niece of the Cardinal, and great-granddaughter of that George, Duke of
Clarence (brother to Edward IV), who was "pack'd with post-horse up to
heaven" by the cacodemon of Gloucester. When Edward VI died, Francis
declared for Lady Jane Grey and was for a time imprisoned. His daughter
was the beautiful Lady Mary Hastings who, being of the blood royal, was
wooed for the Czar, and might have been "Empress of Muscovy" had she
pleased. From the Huntingdon family Elizabeth Hastings introduced at
least one new Christian name into that of the Beaumonts. For the second
Earl, she named her oldest son Francis. One of her daughters, Elizabeth,
became the wife of William, third Lord Vaux of Harrowden, in the
adjoining county of Northampton; and thus our dramatist, through his
aunt, was connected with another of the proudest Norman families of
England,--one of the most devoted to the Catholic faith and, as we shall
see, active in Jesuit interests that during the dramatist's life in
London assumed momentous political proportions. Aunt Elizabeth, Lady
Vaux, died before our Frank Beaumont was born; and her son Henry died
when Frank was but ten years of age,--but in an entry in the State
Papers of 1595 concerning "the entail of Lord Vaux's estates on his
children by his first wife [John] Beaumont's daughter,"[8] several
"daughters" are mentioned. These, his cousins of Harrowden, Frank knew
from his youth up. In 1605 all England was to be ringing with their
names.

John and Elizabeth were succeeded at Grace-Dieu by their son, Francis.
He was a student at Peterhouse, Cambridge; afterwards, at the Inner
Temple, where like his father before him, he proceeded Reader and
Bencher. In 1572 he sat in Parliament as member for Aldborough; in 1589
he was made sergeant-at-law; and in 1593 was appointed one of the
Queen's Justices of the Court of Common Pleas. His method of trying a
case, technical and merciless, may be studied in the minutes of the Lent
assizes of 1595 at which the unfortunate Jesuit priest, Henry Walpole,
was sentenced to death for returning to England.[9] His career on the
bench was both successful and honourable; and he is described by a
contemporary, William Burton, the author of the _Description of
Leicestershire_, as a "grave, learned, and reverend judge." He married
Anne, the daughter of a Nottinghamshire knight, Sir George Pierrepoint
of Holme-Pierrepoint; and their children were Henry, born 1581; John,
born about 1583; Francis, the subject of this study, born in 1584 or
1585; and Elizabeth, some four years younger than Francis.[10] That we
know nothing of the life or personality of this mother of poets, is a
source of regret. Her family, however, was of a notable stock possessed,
immediately after the Conquest, of lands in Sussex under Earl Warren.
Their estate of Holme-Pierrepoint in Nottinghamshire they had inherited
from Michael de Manvers during the reign of Edward I. Anne's ancestors
had been Knights Banneret, and of the Carpet and the Sword, for
generations. Her brother, Sir Henry Pierrepoint, born 1546, married
Frances, the eldest daughter of the Sir William Cavendish who began the
building of Chatsworth, and his redoubtable Lady, Bess of Hardwick, who
finished it. This aunt of the young Beaumonts of Grace-Dieu, Lady
Pierrepoint, was sister to William Cavendish, first Earl of Devonshire
in 1611 and forefather of the present Dukes,--to Henry Cavendish, the
friend of Mary, Queen of Scots, and son-in-law of her kindly custodian,
George Talbot, sixth Earl of Shrewsbury,--to Sir Charles Cavendish,
whose son, William, became Earl, and then Duke of Newcastle,--to
Elizabeth Cavendish, Countess of Lennox, the wife of Henry Darnley's
brother, Charles Stuart, and the mother of James I's hapless cousin,
Lady Arabella Stuart,--and to Mary Cavendish, Countess of Shrewsbury,
wife of Gilbert, seventh Earl. The son of Sir Henry and Lady
Pierrepoint, Robert, born in the same year as his cousin, Francis
Beaumont, the dramatist, married a daughter of the Talbots, became in
due time Viscount Newark and Earl of Kingston, and was killed in 1643
during the Civil War. From him descended Marquises of Dorchester and
Dukes of Kingston, and the Earls Manvers of the present time. Through
their mother, Anne Pierrepoint, the Beaumont children of Grace-Dieu
were, accordingly, connected with several of the most influential noble
families of England and Scotland; and in their comradeship with the
cousins of Holme-Pierrepoint they would, as of the common kin, be thrown
into familiar acquaintance with the children of the various branches of
these and other houses that I might mention.[11] Holme-Pierrepoint is
seventeen miles northeast of Grace-Dieu, near the city of Nottingham,
in the red sand-stone country along the River Trent. The Park is but a
two or three hours' drive from Charnwood, and the old house to which
Anne used to take her children to see their grandparents still stands,
altered only in part from what it was in 1580. It belongs to the Earl
Manvers of to-day. In the church is the tomb of the poet's uncle, Sir
Henry Pierrepoint, who died the year before Francis.

Since no entry of Francis' baptism has been discovered it is uncertain
whether he was born at Grace-Dieu. The probabilities are, however, in
favour of that birth-place, since his father was not continuously
occupied in London until a later date. As to the exact year of his
birth, there is also uncertainty but I think that the records indicate
1584. The matriculation entry in the registers of Oxford University
describes him as twelve years of age at the time of his admission,
February 4, 1597 (new style), which would establish the date of his
birth between February 1584 and February 1585. The funeral certificate
issued at the time of his father's death, April 22, 1598, speaks of the
other children, Henry, John, and Elizabeth as, respectively, seventeen,
fourteen, and nine, years of age, "_or thereaboutes_"; but of Francis as
"of thirteen yeares _or more_."

Justice Beaumont was a squire of considerable means. When, in 1581, he
qualified himself to be Bencher by lecturing at the Inner Temple upon
some statute or section of a statute for the space of three weeks and
three days, his expenses for the entertainment at table or in revels,
alone, must have run to about £1500, in the money of to-day. He held at
the time of his death landed estates in some ten parishes of
Leicestershire, between Sheepshead on the east and and Coleorton three
miles away on the west, and scattered over some seven miles north and
south between Belton and Normanton. In Derby, too, he had two or three
fine manors. His will shows that he was able to make generous provision
for many of his "ould and faythefull servauntes," besides bequeathing
specifically a handsome sum in money to his daughter Elizabeth. He was a
considerate and careful man, too, for the morning of his death he added
a codicil to his will: "I have left somewhat oute of my will which is
this, I will that my daughter Elizabeth have all the jewells that were
her mother's." His sons are not mentioned, for naturally the heir,
Henry, would make provision for John and Francis.[12] His chief executor
was Henry Beaumont of Coleorton, his kinsman,--worth mentioning here;
for at Coleorton another cousin, Maria Beaumont, the mother of the great
Duke of Buckingham, had till recently lived as a waiting gentlewoman in
the household.

Grace-Dieu where the youth of these children was principally spent, was
"beautifully situated in what was formerly one of the most recluse spots
in the centre of Charnwood Forest," within a little distance of the
turn-pike road that leads from Ashby-de-la-Zouch to Loughborough. It
lies low in a valley, near the river Soar. In his _Two Bookes of
Epigrammes and Epitaphs_, 1639, Thomas Bancroft gives us a picture of
the spot:

    Grace-Dieu, that under Charnwood stand'st alone,
    As a grand relicke of religion,
    I reverence thine old, but fruitfull, worth,
    That lately brought such noble Beaumonts forth,
    Whose brave heroicke Muses might aspire
    To match the anthems of the heavenly quire:
    The mountaines crown'd with rockey fortresses,
    And sheltering woods, secure thy happiness
    That highly favour'd art (tho' lowly placed)
    Of Heaven, and with free Nature's bounty graced.

And still another picture of it is painted, a hundred and seventy years
later by Wordsworth, the friend of the Sir George Beaumont who in his
day was possessed of the old family seat of Coleorton Hall, within half
an hour's walk of Grace-Dieu:--

    Beneath yon eastern ridge, the craggy bound,
    Rugged and high, of Charnwood's forest ground
    Stand yet, but, Stranger! hidden from thy view,
    The ivied Ruins of forlorn Grace-Dieu,--
    Erst a religious house, which day and night
    With hymns resounded, and the chanted rite:
    And when those rites had ceased, the Spot gave birth
    To honourable Men of various worth:
    There, on the margin of a streamlet wild,
    Did Francis Beaumont sport, an eager child:
    There, under shadow of the neighboring rocks,
    Sang youthful tales of shepherds and their flocks;
    Unconscious prelude to heroic themes,
    Heart-breaking tears, and melancholy dreams
    Of slighted love, and scorn, and jealous rage,
    With which his genius shook the buskined stage.
    Communities are lost, and Empires die,
    And things of holy use unhallowed lie;
    They perish;--but the Intellect can raise,
    From airy words alone, a Pile that ne'er decays.[13]

So far as the "youthful tales of shepherds" go, Wordsworth is probably
thinking of the verses of Francis' brother, Sir John, which open:

    A shepherdess, who long had kept her flocks
    On stony Charnwood's dry and barren rocks,--

written long after both brothers had left boyhood behind; indeed after
Francis was dead; or he is attributing to our Beaumont a share in
Fletcher's _Faithfull Shepheardesse_. Francis, himself, has given us
nothing of the pastoral vein, save sweet snatches in the dramas "with
which his genius shook the buskined stage."

There is no doubt that from childhood up, the brothers and, as I shall
later show, their sister Elizabeth breathed an atmosphere of literature
and national life. At an early age John was sufficiently confessed a
versifier to be assigned the Prelude to one of the nobly patronized
Michael Drayton's _Divine Poems_, and there is fair reason for believing
that the younger brother Francis was writing and publishing verses in
1602, when he was barely eighteen years of age. Their father was going
to and fro among the great in London who made affairs. The country-side
all about them was replete with historic memories and inspirations to
poetry. In the Grey Friars' at Leicester, eleven miles south-east, Simon
de Montfort allied by marriage to the first Anglo-Norman de Beaumonts,
Earls of Leicester, lay buried. There, too, until his ashes were
scattered on the waters of the Soar, King Richard the Third. In the Blue
Boar Inn of that "toune,"--in our young Beaumont's day, all "builded of
tymbre,"--this last of the Plantagenets had spent the night before the
battle of Bosworth. The field itself on which the battle was fought lies
but eight miles west of Leicester and about nine south of Grace-Dieu. No
wonder that Francis Beaumont's brother John in after days chose Bosworth
Field as the subject of an heroic poem:

    The Winter's storme of Civill Warre I sing,
    Whose end is crown'd with our eternall Spring;
    Where Roses joyn'd, their colours mixe in one,
    And armies fight no more for England's Throne.

The Beaumonts were living in the centre of the counties most engaged.
Three of their predecessors had fallen fighting for the red rose, John
Beaumont of Coleorton and John, Viscount Beaumont, at Northampton in
1460, and a Henry Beaumont at Towton in 1461. In his description of the
battle, John introduces by way of simile a reference to what may have
been a familiar scene about Grace-Dieu:

    Here Stanley and brave Lovell trie their strength....
    So meete two bulls upon adjoyning hills
    Of rocky Charnwood, while their murmur fills
    The hollow crags, when striving for their bounds,
    They wash their piercing homes in mutuall wounds.

Lovell, himself, was a Beaumont on the mother's side. And the poet takes
occasion to pay tribute, also, to his own most famous ancestor on the
grandmother's side, the "noble Hastings," first baron, whose cruel
execution in _Richard III_, Shakespeare had dramatized more than twenty
years before John wrote.

[Illustration: Steel Engraving by W. Finden
THE RUINS OF GRACE-DIEU NUNNERY]

Just south of Charnwood Forest stood, in the day of John and Francis,
the Manor House in Bradgate Park where Lady Jane Grey was born, and
where she lived from 1549 to 1552 while she was being educated by her
ambitious father and mother, the Marquis and Marchioness of Dorset, "to
occupy the towering position they felt assured she would sooner or later
be called to fill"--that of Protestant queen of England. Here it was
that Roger Ascham, as he tells us in his _Schoolmaster_, after inquiring
for the Lady Jane of the Marquis and his lady who were out hunting in
Charnwood Forest, came upon the twelve-year old princess in her closet
"reading the _Phædon_ of Plato in Greek, with as much delight as
gentlemen read the merry tales of Boccaccio." The grandmother of the
young Beaumonts, who was still alive in 1578, may have lived long enough
to take our Francis on her knee and tell him of the hopes her Protestant
kinsmen of Ashby-de-la-Zouch had fixed upon the Lady Jane, and of how
her cousin, the Earl, Francis of Huntingdon, had been one of those who
in Royal Council in June 1553, abetted the Dukes of Northumberland and
Suffolk in the scheme to secure the succession of Lady Jane to the
throne, and how, with these dukes and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and
other lords and gentlemen (among them a certain Sir John Baker of
Sissinghurst, Kent, whose family later appears in this narrative), he
had signed the "devise" in accordance with which Jane was proclaimed
Queen. And the old lady would with bated breath tell him of the cruel
fate of that nine-days' queen. Of how Francis of Huntingdon was sent to
the Tower with Queen Jane, she also would tell. But perhaps not much of
how he shortly made his peace with Queen Mary, hunted down the dead
Jane's father, and brought him to the scaffold. And either their
grandmother or their father, the Judge, could tell them of the night in
1569 on which their cousin, Henry, third Earl of Huntingdon, had
entertained in the castle "rising on the very borders" of the forest to
the east, Mary, Queen of Scots, when she was on her way to her captivity
in the house of another connection of theirs, Henry Cavendish, at
Tutbury in the county of Stafford, just east of them.

In the history of culture not only John and Francis, but the Beaumonts
in general are illustrious. In various branches and for generations the
poetic, scholarly, and artistic vein has persisted. John Beaumont's son
and heir, the second Sir John, edited his father's poems, and lived to
write memorial verses on Ben Jonson, and on Edward King, Milton's
"Lycidas"; and another son, Francis, wrote verses. A relative and
namesake of the dramatist's father,--afterwards Master of
Charterhouse,--wrote an Epistle prefixed to Speght's _Chaucer_, 1598;
and still another more distant relative, Dr. Joseph, Master of
Peterhouse, and author of the epic allegory, _Psyche_, was one of the
poetic imitators through whom Spenser's influence was conveyed to
Milton. The Sir George Beaumont of Wordsworth's day to whom reference
has already been made was celebrated by that poet both as artist and
patron of art. And, according to Darley,[14] Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
was of the race and maiden name of our dramatist's mother, Anne
Pierrepoint. From which coincidence one may, if he will, argue poetic
blood on that side of the family, too; or from Grosart's derivation of
Jonathan Edwards from that family, polemic blood, as well.

The three sons of Justice Beaumont of Grace-Dieu were entered on
February 4, 1597, at Broadgates Hall, now Pembroke, which at that time
was one of the most flourishing and fashionable institutions in Oxford.
These young gentlemen-commoners were evidently destined for the pursuit
of the civil and common law, since, as Dyce informs us, their Hall was
then the principal nursery for students of that discipline. But one
cannot readily visualize young Frank, not yet thirteen, or his brother
John, a year or so older, devoting laborious hours to the _Corpus Juris_
in the library over the south aisle of St. Aldate's Church, or to their
Euclid, Strabo, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian. We see them, more
probably, slipping across St. Aldate's street to Wolsey's gateway of
Christ Church, and through the, then unfinished, great quadrangle, past
Wolsey's tower in the southeast corner, and, by what then served for the
Broad Walk, to what now are called the Magdalen College School cricket
grounds, and so to some well-moored boat on the flooded meadows by the
Cherwell. And some days, they would have under arm or in pocket a
tattered volume of Ovid, preferably in translation,--Turberville's
_Heroical Epistles_, or Golding's rendering of the _Metamorphoses_,--or
Painter's _Palace of Pleasure_, or Fenton's _Tragical Discourses_ out of
Bandello, dedicated to the sister of Sir Philip Sidney--Sir Philip,
whose daughter young Francis should, one day, revere and celebrate in
noble lines. Or they would have Harington's _Orlando Furioso_ to wonder
upon; or some cheap copy of _Amadis_ or _Palmerin_ to waken laughter.
And, other days, fresh quartos of _Tamburlaine_ and _Edward II_ and
_Dido_, or Kyd's _Spanish Tragedy_ and Lyly's _Gallathea_, or Greene's
_Frier Bacon_ and _James IV_, or Shakespeare's _Richard II_, and
_Richard III_, and _Romeo and Juliet_, and _Love's Labour's Lost_.
These, with alternate shuddering and admiring, mirth or tears, to
declaim and in imagination re-enact. And certainly there would be mellow
afternoons when the _Songs and Sonnettes_ known as _Tottel's Miscellany_
and _The Paradyse of Daynty Devises_, with their poems of love and
chivalry by Thomas, Lord Vaux,--of which they had often heard from their
cousins of Harrowden,--and Chapman's completion of _Hero and Leander_ or
Shakespeare's _Venus and Adonis_, and Drayton's fantastic but graceful
_Endimion and Phoebe_ would hold them till the shadows were well aslant,
and the candles began to wink them back to the Cardinal's quadrangle and
the old refectory, beyond, of Broadgates Hall. For the Char and the
boats were there then, and all these El Dorados of the mind were to be
had in quarto or other form, and some of them were appearing first in
print in the year when Frank and his brothers entered Oxford.

[Illustration: View taken by Buck in 1730
RUINS OF GRACE-DIEU

Note: After Buck's time the ruins were "carried away to mend the roads."
See John Throsby, _Select Views of Leicestershire_, Vol. II, 461.]

[Illustration: Taken by Buck
A PRIORY, ULVESTON, EXTANT IN 1730]

We may be sure, that many a time these brothers and sworn friends in
literature, and Henry, too, loyal young Elizabethans,--and with them,
perhaps, their cousin, Robert Pierrepoint, who was then at
Oriel,--strolled northwest from the Cherwell toward Yarnton, and then
Woodstock with its wooded slopes, to see the island where Queen
Elizabeth, when but princess, had been imprisoned for a twelvemonth,
and, hearing a milk-maid singing, had sighed, "She would she were a
milkmaid as she was"; and that they took note of fair Rosamund's well
and bower, too. They may have tramped or ridden onward north to Banbury,
and got there at the same cakeshop in Parsons Street the same cakes we
get now. Or, some happy Michaelmas, they would have walked toward the
fertile Vale of Evesham, north, first, toward Warwickshire where at
Compton Scorpion Sir Thomas Overbury, the ill-fated friend of their
future master, Ben Jonson, was born, and on by the village of Quinton
but six miles from Shakespeare's Stratford, toward Mickleton and the
Malvern Hills; and then, turning toward the Cotswolds, to Winchcombe
with its ancient abbey and its orchards, to see just south of it Sudely
Castle where Henry VIII's last wife, the divorced Catherine Parr, had
lived and died,--where Giles, third Baron Chandos, had entertained Queen
Bess, and where in their time abode the Lord William. With this family
of Brydges, Barons Chandos, the lads were acquainted, if not in 1597 at
any rate after 1602, when the fifth Baron, Grey, succeeded to the
title. For, writing _Teares_ on the death of that hospitable "King of
the Cotswolds," which occurred in 1621, John Beaumont describes him with
the admiration begotten of long intimacy,--"the smoothnesse of his
mind," "his wisdome and his happy parts," and "his sweet behaviour and
discourse."

Or,--and how could any young Oxonian fail of it?--they started from
Broadgates, down the High, crossed Magdalen Bridge, where the boats were
lazily oaring below them, and set out for the climb to Rose Hill; then
down by sleepy ways to Littlemore, and to Sandford; then up the two long
sharp ascents to Nuneham,--where now, in the fine old manor house, hangs
Frank's own portrait in oils,--one of the two contemporary likenesses of
him that exist to-day.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Leland's _Itinerary_, Ed. L. T. Smith, Vol. I, 18-19.

[2] Leland's _Itinerary_, Ed. L. T. Smith, Vol. IV, 126.

[3] Collins, _Peerage of England_, IX, 460.

[4] J. Nichols, _Collections toward the History of Leicestershire_
(_Biblioth. Topogr. Brit._, VII, 534). See, below, Appendix, A.

[5] _Letters relating to the Suppression of the Monasteries_, pp.
251-252, Camden Society, 1843. The editor, Thos. Wright, describes the
petitioner as of Thringston, Co. Leicester.

[6] J. M. Rigg, _Dict. Nat. Biog._ art., _John Beaumont_; and
Nichols's _History of Leicestershire_, III, ii, 651, _et seq._

[7] Collins, _Peerage_, VI, 648, _et seq._; H. N. Bell, _The
Huntingdon Peerage_, 1821. See also, below, Appendix, Table B.

[8] _Calendar of State Papers_ (_Domestic_), 1595, p. 154.

[9] Challoner, _Missionary Priests_, I, 347.

[10] For the preceding details, and some of those which follow, see
the respective articles in the _Dictionary of National Biography_;
Dyce's _Works of Beaumont and Fletcher_, Vol. I, _Biographical
Memoir_; Grosart, _Sir John Beaumont's Poems_, and the sources as
indicated. See also, below, Appendix, Table C.

[11] See Shaw's _Knights of England_; Collins, _Peerage_; and articles
in _D. N. B._ under names.

[12] Dyce says that the Judge was knighted; so Rigg (_D. N. B._) and
others. The _Inner Temple Records_ speak of him thirty times, but only
once, Nov. 5, 1581, as "Sir," though others in memoranda running to
1601 which mention him are given the title. In the codicil to his will
he is plain "Mr. Beaumont"; and he is not included in Shaw's _Knights
of England_.

[13] _For a Seat in the Groves of Coleorton._

[14] _Works of B. and F._, XVI.



CHAPTER III

AT THE INNS OF COURT AND CHANCERY; THE POEMS ASSIGNED TO THESE EARLIER
YEARS.


The career of the Beaumonts at the University was shortened by the death
of their father, some fourteen months after their admission. Henry had
been entered of the Inner Temple, November 27, 1597, at his father's
request. Some say with John, but I do not find the latter in the
Records. Francis may have remained at Oxford until 1600. On November 3
of that year, he, also, was admitted a member of the Inner Temple, his
two brothers acting as sponsors for him. We notice from the
admission-book that he was matriculated _specialiter_, _gratis_,
_comitive_,--because his father had been a Bencher,--was excused from
most of the ordinary duties and charges, and was permitted to take his
meals and to lodge outside the Inn of Court itself. I gather that, like
other young students at the time, he lodged and pursued his studies in
one of the lesser Inns, called Inns of Chancery, attached to the Inner
Temple and under its supervision: Clifford's Inn across Fleet Street;
or, across the Strand, Lyon's Inn,--or, let us hope, by preference,
Clement's Inn; where had lain Jack Falstaff in the days when he was
"page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk," and was seen by lusty
Shallow to "break Skogan's head at the court-gate when 'a was a crack
not thus high;" where had boozed Shallow himself and his four
friends--"not four such swinge-bucklers in all the Inns of Court again";
and where, no doubt, they were talking in Beaumont's day "of mad Shallow
yet."

In 1600, the Inns of Chancery lodged about a hundred students each, and
served as preparatory schools for the Inns of Court. At one of these
lesser Inns[15] Beaumont would acquire some elementary knowledge of
civil procedure by copying writs of the Clerks of Chancery, would listen
to a reader sent over by the Inner Temple to lecture, and would be
"bolted," or sifted, in the elements of law by the "inner" or junior
barristers; and he would attend "moots" over which senior or "utter"
barristers presided. At the end of about two years or earlier, if he
proved a promising scholar, he would be transferred to the Inn of Court,
itself. We may assume that about 1602, Beaumont would be sitting in
Clerks' Commons in the Hall of the Inner Temple. Bread and beer for
breakfast,--provided on only four days of the week. At 12 o'clock he
would be summoned to dinner by the blowing of a horn,--"thou horne of
hunger that cal'st the inns a court to their manger." For his mess of
meat,--in Lent, fish,--on other occasions, loins of mutton, or beef,--he
would make himself a trencher of bread. At 6 or 7 o'clock would come
supper,--bread and beer again. After dinner, and again after supper, he
would enjoy bolts and exercises conducted by the utter barristers, day
in and day out through nearly the whole year. As he advanced in
proficiency he would appear as a "moot-man" in the arguments presented
before the Benchers, or governing fellows, seated as judges. And perhaps
he resigned himself, meanwhile, to the proper wear within the Inn, which
was cap and gown, "but the fashion was to wear hats, cloaks or coats,
swords, rapiers, boots and spurs, large ruffs and long hair. Even
Benchers were found to sit in Term Time with hats on."[16]

Whether Beaumont gave promise or not we are ignorant. The routine of the
Inn was impeccable; but students and benchers were not. There were not
infrequently other exercises than "moots" after supper: cards and
stage-plays, revels and sometimes riots. This much we know, that before
young Frank could have fulfilled his seven or more years as student and
"moot-man," he was already in the rank of poets and dramatists. But,
that by no means precludes his continuance for several years, perhaps
till 1608, in the juridical university, or his intimate association with
and residence in the stately old quadrangles of what would be his
college,--the Inner Temple. And for a young man of his temperament the
atmosphere was as poetic as juridical. The young man's fancy was fired
by the poetry and the drama that for centuries had enlivened the graver
pursuits of the Gothic halls that rose between Fleet Street and the
Thames, Whitefriars and Paget Place,--"the noblest nurseries of
humanity and liberty in the kingdom," as Ben Jonson calls them in his
dedication[17] to the Inns of Court of _Every Man out of his Humour_,
first published in the year when Beaumont entered.

According to Aubrey, while the garden-wall of Lincoln's Inn, close by,
was building, a Bencher of that society "walking thro' and hearing" a
young bricklayer "repeat some Greek verses out of Homer, discoursed with
him, and finding him to have a witt extraordinary gave him some
exhibition to maintaine him at Trinity College, Cambridge." That young
bricklayer was, later, Beaumont's friend and master, Ben Jonson.
Lincoln's Inn had long been a nursing mother to dramatic effort. At the
beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign it was one of its members, Richard
Edwardes, who, as Master of the Chapel Children, produced the "tragicall
comedie" _Damon and Pythias_, and the tragedy of _Palamon and Arcite_,
to the great edification of the Queen, and the permanent improvement of
the Senecan style of drama by the fusion of the ideal and the
commonplace, of the romantic, the serious, and the humorous in an appeal
to popular interest. "He was highly valued," this Edwardes, "by those
that knew him," says Anthony Wood, "especially his associates in
Lincoln's Inn." And it was in the Middle Temple, just fourteen months
after Beaumont joined the Inns of Court, that Manningham, one of the
barristers, witnessed the performance for the Reader's Feast on
Candlemas Day of Shakespeare's _Twelfth Night_. If Beaumont of the
Inner Temple, within a stone's throw, did not hear more than the
applause, he was not our Frank Beaumont. We may be sure that he had
sauntered through the Temple Gardens many an afternoon, and knew the
spot immortalized by Marlowe and that same Shakespeare, as the scene of
the quarrel between Plantagenet and Somerset when the white and red
roses were plucked, and that he would hear Shakespeare when he could.

But much as the Middle Temple and Lincoln's favoured the drama and
costly entertainments on the major feast-days, they were outdone in
Christmas revels and masques and plays by the closely affiliated
societies of Gray's Inn and the Inner Temple. Between these Houses, says
Mr. Douthwaite, the historian of the former, "there appears anciently to
have existed a kindly union, which is shown by the fact that on the
great gate of the gardens of the Inner Temple may be seen to this day
[1886] the 'griffin' of Gray's Inn, whilst over the great gateway in
Gray's Inn Square is carved in bold relief the 'wingèd horse' of the
Inner Temple." The two societies had long a custom of combining for the
production of theatrical shows; and as we shall see, they combined some
thirteen years after Beaumont entered the Inner Temple in the production
at Court of one of the most glorious and expensive masques ever
presented in London, Beaumont's own masque for the wedding of the
Elector Palatine and the Princess Elizabeth. They were influential as
patrons of the early drama, and as producers of amateur dramatists. For
centuries Gray's Inn had permitted "revels" after six o'clock supper of
bread and beer; and when Beaumont was of the Inner Temple close by,
there was a Grand Week at Gray's in every term. "They had revels and
masques some of which," as a member of that society has recently said,
"have never been forgotten, and I think cannot be forgotten while
English history lasts."[18] From a very early date, perhaps not long
after the society was established in Edward the Third's reign in the old
manor of Portpool, "they were addicted at the Christmas season to a
great outburst of revelry of every kind. The revelings began at All
Hallows; at Christmas a Prince of Portpoole was appointed; who was also
Lord of Misrule, and he kept things gaily alive through Christmas and
until toward the end of January." These and other disguises, masques,
and mummeries, are lineal descendants of the mummings of the Ancient
Order of the Coif, such as regaled King Richard II at Christmas 1389;
and, amalgamated with St. George plays and other folk-shows and even
with sword-dances, they influenced the course of rural drama throughout
the realm. It may be a bow drawn at a venture but I cannot withhold the
suspicion that the Lord of Pool of the _Revesby Sword-Play_ and of other
popular compositions derives from the historic Prince of Misrule of the
Gray's Inn Christmas revels. It was George Gascoigne of Gray's Inn who
by a translation from Ariosto introduced the Renaissance treatment of
the Greek New Comedy and the Latin Comedy into England with his
_Supposes_ in 1566, and in the same year, with Francis Kinwelmersh,
produced at Gray's Inn an English rendering of Ludovico Dolce's
_Giocasta_, a tragedy descended from Euripides' _Phoenissae_ by way of a
Latin version. "Altogether," remarks Professor Cunliffe,[19] "the play
must have provided a gorgeous and exciting spectacle, and have produced
an impression not unworthy of Gray's Inn, 'an House', the Queen said on
another occasion, 'she was much beholden unto, for that it did always
study for some sports to present unto her.'" To this house and to
Gascoigne, Shakespeare, too, was beholden, for from the _Supposes_
proceeds more or less directly the minor plot of _The Taming of the
Shrew_. In 1588, Gray's Inn figures prominently again in the career of
the pre-Shakespearian drama, with the production by one of its
gentlemen, Thomas Hughes, of a tragedy of English legend and Senecan
type, _The Misfortunes of Arthur_, played by the society before the
Queen at Greenwich. And, in 1594, Gray's Inn connects itself with the
Shakespearian drama directly by witnessing in the great hall in the
Christmas season a play called _A Comedy of Errors_, "like to Plautus
his _Menaechmus_."

It is diverting to note that on the eve of just that season of 1594, a
very pious woman, the second wife of Sir Nicholas Bacon, and the mother
of Anthony and Francis, is writing to the elder brother "I trust that
they will not mum nor sinfully make revel at Gray's Inn." Anthony was
not a very strict Puritan, Francis still less so; and Francis, who had
been of Gray's Inn since 1575, was, till his fall from power, the
keenest devotee and most ardent and reckless promoter of masquing that
Gray's Inn or, for that matter, England, had ever known. According to
Spedding,[20] the speeches of the six councillors for the famous court
of the Prince of Purpoole in 1594 were written by him and him alone. He
furnished the money and much of the device for gorgeous masques before
Queen Elizabeth; and under her successor he was prime mover in many a
masque, like that of the _Flowers_, presented by the gentlemen of Gray's
Inn, in 1614, which, alone, cost him about £10,000 as reckoned in the
money of to-day. The masques by the four Inns, in honour of the Elector
Palatine's marriage, the year before, are said to have cost
£20,000,--five hundred thousand dollars in the money of to-day! And it
would appear that much of this expense was assumed by Sir Francis Bacon,
who in the years of his greatness as Solicitor-General and
Attorney-General retained intimate relations with the life of Gray's
Inn, and whom our Beaumont during the years of studentship before 1603,
when the gallant Sir Walter Raleigh was consigned to the Tower, must
many times have seen strolling with Sir Walter in the walks that Bacon
himself had laid out for his fellow-benchers of the Inn.

If Beaumont's family had deliberately set about preparing him for his
career of poet and dramatist, especially of dramatist who, with John
Fletcher, should vividly reproduce the life, manners and conversation of
young men of fashion about town, they could not have placed him in a
community more favourable to these ends than that of the Inns of Court.
As the name itself implies the members were gentlemen of the Court of
the King. They must be "sons to persons of quality"; they must be
trained to the possibility of appearance before the King at any time;
they must be ready not merely as a privilege, but as a function, to
entertain royalty upon summons. As Gray's Inn had its flavour of
romance, its literary and dramatic history, its Sidney, its Bacon, its
Gascoigne; so also the "anciently allied House" of the Inner Temple.
There lingered the tradition, to say the least, of Chaucer's stirring
poetry; there the spirit of Sir Francis Drake,--stirring romances of the
Spanish main; there the memory of the Christmas revels of 1562 at which
was first acted the _Gorboduc_ of Thomas Sackville (afterwards Earl of
Dorset, and connected by marriage with the Fletchers), and Thomas
Norton,--whose "stately speeches and well sounding phrases, clyming to
the height of Seneca his stile," whose national quality, romantic
illumination of classical form, impressive, and novel dramatic blank
verse were to influence imperishably the course of Elizabethan tragedy.
There, too, had been produced, by five poets of the House, in 1568, "the
first English love-tragedy that has survived,"[21] _Gismond of Salerne_,
a distant but unmistakable forerunner in tempestuous passion and pathos
of plays in which young Beaumont was to compose the major part, _The
Maides Tragedy_ and _A King and No King_.

Here, in the intervals between moots and bolts in the day time or during
the long evenings about the central fire in Hall or in Chambers, a
young man of poetic proclivities would find ample opportunity to indulge
his genius. And, even after he ceased to be an inmate, the Inner Temple
would still be for him a club, in which by the payment of a small annual
fee he might retain membership for life. And membership in one 'college'
of this pseudo-university implied an honorary 'freedom' of the others.
Beaumont would know not only William Browne, the poet of the Inner
Temple from 1611 on, and all Browne's poetic fellows in that House, but
Browne's less poetic friend, Christopher Brooke, counsel for
Shakespeare's company of King's Players, who earlier in the century had
entered Lincoln's Inn; and, also, Brooke's chamber-fellow, John Donne,
whose secret marriage with the daughter of the Lieutenant of the Tower,
in 1609, got the young scapegraces into jail. And at Gray's Inn Beaumont
would be even more at home. It was the 'House' of his kinsman, Henry
Hastings of Ashby,--in 1604 Earl of Huntingdon,--two years younger than
Frank, and admitted as early as 1597; and of Robert Pierrepoint, who had
come down with Frank from Oxford and was entered of the Inns at the same
time; and, two years later, of Robert's cousin, William Cavendish,
afterwards second Earl of Devonshire.

       *       *       *       *       *

If we could be sure that a poem called _The Metamorphosis of Tabacco_, a
mock-Ovidian poem of graceful style and more than ordinary wit,
published in 1602, and ascribed by some one writing in a contemporary
hand upon the title-page, to John Beaumont, was John's we might regard
the half dozen verses in praise of "thy pleasing rime," signed F. B.,
and beginning,

    My new-borne Muse assaies her tender wing,
    And where she should crie, is inforst to sing,--

as young Francis' earliest effort in rhyme. The dedication of the
_Metamorphosis_ to "my loving friend, Master Michael Drayton," favours
the conjectured composition by John, for he is writing other
complimentary poems to Drayton in the years immediately following 1602.
But, though F. B.'s lines prefatory to the _Metamorphosis_ are not
unworthy of a fanciful youngster, they are negligible; as is the
evidence of their authorship. Certain flimsy love-poems included in a
volume published forty years later, twenty-four years after Beaumont's
death, as of his composition, have also been attributed to his boyhood
at the University, or at the Inner Temple. Most of them have been
definitely traced to other authors, and of the rest of this class still
unassigned there is no reason to believe that he was the author. In the
same volume, however, there appears as by Beaumont a metrical tale based
upon Ovid, called _Salmacis and Hermaphroditus_, of which we cannot be
certain that he was not the author. The poem was first published,
without name of writer, in 1602,[22] and was not assigned to Francis
Beaumont until 1639, when Lawrence Blaiklock included it among the
_Poems_: By Francis Beaumont, Gent., entered on the Stationers'
Registers, September 2, and published, 1640. Blaiklock evidently
printed from John Hodgets's edition of 1602, carelessly omitting here
and there a line, and introducing absurd typographical mistakes. Either
because he had private information that Beaumont was the author, or
because he wished to profit by Beaumont's reputation, he goes so far as
to sign the initials, F. B., to the verse dedication, _To Calliope_, and
to alter the signature, A. F., appended to an introductory sonnet, _To
the Author_, so as to read I. F. (suggesting John Fletcher). These
licenses, in addition to the reckless inclusion in the 1640 volume of
several poems by authors other than Beaumont, vitiate Blaiklock's
evidence. On the other hand, the original publisher, Hodgets, was the
publisher also, in 1607, of _The Woman-Hater_, a play now reasonably
accepted as by Beaumont, originally alone; and, in Hodgets's edition of
the _Salmacis and Hermaphroditus_, one of the introductory sonnets is
signed J. B., and another W. B. The 'J. B.' sonnet is not unworthy of
Beaumont's brother John. And if the W. B. of the other verses, _In
Laudem Authoris_, is William Basse,--who in a sonnet, written after
Beaumont's death, speaks of him as "rare Beaumont,"--there is further
justification for entertaining the possibility of Beaumont's authorship
of the _Salmacis_. For Basse was one of the group of pastoralists to
which Francis' friend Drayton, and Drayton's friend, William Browne,
belonged,--a group with which Francis must have been acquainted. But of
that we shall have more to say when we come to consider Beaumont's later
connection with Drayton, and with the dramatic activities of the Inner
Temple at a time when Browne and other pastoralists were members of it.
For the present it is sufficient to say that Basse was himself issuing a
pastoral romance in the year of _Salmacis_, 1602; and that he was by way
of subscribing himself simply W. B.

The external evidence for Beaumont's authorship of this metrical tale
is, at the best, but slight. As regards the internal, however, I cannot
agree with Fleay and the author of the article entitled _Salmacis and
Hermaphroditus not by Beaumont_.[23] Both diction and verse display
characteristics not foreign to Beaumont's heroic couplets in epistle and
elegy, nor to the blank verse of his dramas,--though they do not
markedly distinguish them. The romantic-classical and idyllic grace may
be the germ of that which flowers in the tragicomedies; and the joyous
irony is not unlike that of _The Woman-Hater_ and _The Knight of the
Burning Pestle_. The poem is a voluptuous and rambling expansion of the
classical theme "which sweet-lipt Ovid long agoe did tell." The writer,
like many a lad of 1602, has steeped himself in the amatory fable and
fancy of Marlowe, Chapman, and Shakespeare; and the passionate
imaginings are such as characterize poetic lads of seventeen in any
period. It is not impossible that here we have Francis Beaumont's
earliest attempt at a poem of some proportions, and that he was stirred
to it by exercises like _The Endimion and Phoebe_ of Drayton, probably
by that time the friend of the Grace-Dieu family. Francis, indeed, need
not have been ashamed of such a performance, for in spite of the erotic
fervour and the occasional far-fetched conceits, the poet has
visualized clearly the scenes of his mythological idyl, and enlivened
the narrative with ingenuous humour; he has caught the figured style and
something of the winged movement of his masters; and every here and
there he has produced lines of more than imitative beauty:

    Looke how, when Autumne comes, a little space
    Paleth the red blush of the Summer's face,
    Searing the leaves, the Summer's covering,
    Three months in weaving by the curious Spring,--
    Making the grasse, his greene locks, go to wracke,
    Tearing each ornament from off his backe;
    So did she spoyle the garments she did weare,
    Tearing whole ounces of her golden hayre.

The earliest definite indication that I have found of Beaumont's
literary activity, and of his recognition by poets, connects him with
his brother John, and is highly suggestive in still other respects. John
had already written, in 1603 or 1604, verses prefatory to Drayton's
poetic treatment of _Moyses in a Map of his Miracles_, published in June
of the latter year; and also, in 1605, to Drayton's revision of the
_Barrons Wars_. On April 19, 1606, Drayton issued a volume entitled
_Poems Lyrick and Pastoral_, which included with other verses a
revision, under the name of _Eglogs_, of his _Idea, the Shepheard's
Garland_, first published in 1593. In the eighth eclogue of this new
edition, Drayton, writing of the ladies of his time to whom "much the
Muses owe," adds to his praise of Sidney's (Elphin's) sister Mary,
Countess of Pembroke, an encomium upon the two daughters of his early
patron, Sir Henry Goodere, Frances and Anne (Lady Ramsford); then he
celebrates a "dear Sylvia, one the best alive," and

    Then that dear nymph that in the Muses joys,
    That in wild Charnwood with her flocks doth go,
    Mirtilla, sister to those hopeful boys,
    My lovèd Thyrsis and sweet Palmeo;
      That oft to Soar the southern shepherds bring,
      Of whose clear waters they divinely sing.

    So good she is, so good likewise they be,
    As none to her might brother be but they,
    Nor none a sister unto them, but she,--
    To them for wit few like, I dare will say:
      In them as Nature truly meant to show
      How near the first, she in the last could go.

The "golden-mouthed Drayton musical" had spent his youth not many miles
from "wild Charnwood," at Polesworth Hall, the home of the Gooderes, in
Warwickshire. The dear nymph of Charnwood is Elizabeth Beaumont, in 1606
a lass of eighteen,--and the "hopeful boys" who bring the southern
shepherds (Jonson, perhaps, and young John Fletcher, as well as Drayton)
to their Grace-Dieu priory by the river Soar, are John, then about
twenty-three, and the future dramatist, about twenty-two.[24] Under the
pastoral pseudonym of Mirtilla, Elizabeth is again celebrated by Drayton
twenty-four years later, in his _Muses Elizium_. Since these Pastorals
are in confessed sequence with those of "the prime pastoralist of
England," and the pastoral Thyrsis and young Palmeo have already sung
divinely of the clear waters of their native stream, it would appear
that they too are disciples at that time of Master Edmund Spenser in his
_Shepheards Calender_. And since these brothers, so like in wit and
feature, and in charming devotion to their sister, are all the brothers
that she has, it is evident that this portion of the _Eglog_ was written
after July 10, 1605; for up to that date, the eldest of the family,
Henry, was still living, and at the manor house of Grace-Dieu. This
friendship between Drayton and the "hopeful boys" continued through
life; for, as we shall later note and more at length, in 1627, the year
of John's death, and many years after that of Francis, the older poet
still celebrates the twain as "My dear companions whom I freely chose My
bosome-friends."

When James I made his famous progress from Edinburgh to London, April 5
to May 3, 1603, "every nobleman and gentleman kept open house as he
passed. He spent his time in festivities and amusements of various
kinds. The gentry of the counties through which his journey lay thronged
in to see him. Most of them returned home decorated with the honours of
knighthood, a title which he dispensed with a profusion which astonished
those who remembered the sober days of Elizabeth."[25] One of those thus
decorated was the poet's brother Henry, who was dubbed knight bachelor
at Worksop in Derbyshire, on the same day as his uncle, "Henry Perpoint
of county Notts," and William Skipwith of Cotes in the Beaumont
county--who appears later as a friend of Fletcher. Two days afterwards,
Thomas Beaumont of Coleorton received the honour of knighthood at the
Earl of Rutland's castle of Belvoir.[26]

Sir Henry of Grace-Dieu did not long enjoy his title. He died about the
tenth of July 1605, and was buried on the thirteenth. By his will,
witnessed by his brother Francis, and probated February 1606, Sir Henry
left half of his private estate to his sister, Elizabeth "for her
advancement in marriage," and the other half to be divided equally
between John and Francis. He was succeeded as head of the family by
John,[27] who later married a daughter of John Fortescue--also of a
poetic race--and left by her a large family. The sister, Elizabeth
(Mirtilla) probably continued to live at Grace-Dieu until her marriage
to Thomas Seyliard of Kent. And that Francis occasionally came home on
visits from London we have other proof than that afforded by Drayton.
The provision of a competence made by Sir Henry's will leads us to
conjecture that the subsequent dramatic activity of the younger brother
was undertaken for sheer love of the art; and that, while his finances
may have been occasionally at low ebb, the association in Bohemian
_ménage_ with John Fletcher, which followed the years of residence at
the Inner Temple, was a matter of choice, not of poverty.


FOOTNOTES:

[15] _Inns of Court and Chancery_ (Lond., 1912), p. 45; W. R.
Douthwaite, _Gray's Inn, its History and Associations_ (Lond., 1886),
pp. 36, 78, 253. For the Beaumonts, and what follows, see, also,
Inderwick, _Inner Temple Records_ (Lond. 1896), I, 421; II, 435;
Introductions, and subjects as indexed.

[16] _Inns of Court, etc._, p. 163.

[17] The Dedication first appears in the folio of 1616.

[18] H. E. Duke, K. C., M. P., _Gray's Inn in Six Lectures on the Inns
of Court and of Chancery_, 1912.

[19] _Early English Classical Tragedies_, Introduction, p. lxxxvi.

[20] Letters and Life of Francis Bacon, I, 342.

[21] Cunliffe, _E. E. Class. Tragedies_, p. lxxxvi.

[22] Reprinted by _Dramaticus, Sh. Soc. Pap._ III, 94 (1847).

[23] _Dramaticus_, (as above).

[24] On these identifications, see Fleay, _Chron. Eng. Dr._, I,
143-145; Elton, _Michael Drayton_, pp. 13, 58; Child, _Michael
Drayton_ (in _Camb. Hist. Lit._, IV, 197, _et seq._).

[25] Gardiner, _Hist. Engl._ 1603-1607, p. 87.

[26] Shaw's _Knights of Engl._, Vol. II, under dates.

[27] Grosart (_D. N. B._ art. _John Beaumont_) says that John had been
admitted to the Inner Temple with Henry. John does not appear in
Inderwick.



CHAPTER IV

THE VAUX COUSINS AND THE GUNPOWDER PLOT


Certain political events of the years 1603 to 1606 must have occasioned
the young Beaumonts intimate and poignant concern. Their own family was,
of course, Protestant, but it was closely connected by blood and
matrimonial alliance with some of the most devoted and conspicuous
Catholic families of England. Some of their Hastings kinsmen, sons of
Francis, Earl of Huntingdon, were Catholics; and their first cousins,
the Vauxes, whose home at Great Harrowden near by had been for over
twenty years the harbourage of persecuted priests, were active Jesuits.
After the death of his first wife,--Beaumont's aunt Elizabeth, who left
four children, Henry, Eleanor, Elizabeth, and Anne,--William, Lord Vaux,
had married Mary, the sister of the noble-hearted and self-sacrificing
Catholic, Sir Thomas Tresham of Rushton in Northamptonshire; and this
lady had brought up her own children, George and Ambrose, as well as the
children of the first marriage, in strict adherence to the Roman faith
and practice. Henry, the heir to the title, had been one of that zealous
band of young Catholic gentlemen who received Fathers Campion and
Persons on their arrival in England in 1580.[28] Before 1594, Henry,
"that blessed gentleman and saint," as Father Persons calls him, had
died, having resigned his inheritance of the Barony to his brother
George some years earlier in order to spend his remaining days in
celibacy, study, and prayer. In 1590, George, the elder son by the
second marriage, had taken to wife, Elizabeth Roper, also an ardent
Catholic, the daughter of the future Lord Teynham. She was left a widow
in 1594 with an infant son, Edward, whom she educated to maintain the
Catholicity of the family. In 1595, the old Baron, Beaumont's uncle,
died--"the infortunatest peer of Parliament for poverty that ever was"
by reason of the fines and forfeitures entailed upon him for his
religious zeal. Meanwhile, in 1591, we find the daughters of the first
marriage, Eleanor, whose husband was an Edward Brookesby, of Arundel
House, Leicestershire, and Anne Vaux, concealing in a house in
Warwickshire, the well-known Father Gerard and his Superior, Father
Garnet, from priest-hunters, or pursuivants. These two cousins of
Beaumont are described in Father Gerard's _Narrative_[29] as illustrious
for goodness and holiness, "whom in my own mind I often compare to the
two women who received our Lord." The younger, Anne, "was remarkable at
all times for her virginal modesty and shamefacedness, but in the cause
of God and the defence of His servants, the _virgo_ became _virago_. She
is almost always ill, but we have seen her, when so weakened as to be
scarce able to utter three words without pain, on the arrival of the
pursuivants become so strong as to spend three or four hours in contest
with them. When she has no priest in the house she feels afraid; but
the simple presence of a priest so animates her that then she makes sure
that no devil has any power over her house." In the years that follow to
1605, the Vauxes are identified as recusants and as sympathizers with
the untoward fortunes of Fathers Southwell, Walpole, Garnet, and others.
In 1601, their kinsman and Frank Beaumont's, Henry Hastings, nephew to
George, fourth Earl of Huntingdon, has joined the ranks and in 1602, we
find him in a list of Jesuits "to be sought after" by the Earl of
Salisbury,--"John Gerard with Mrs. Vaux and young Mr. Hastings." Father
Gerard's headquarters in fact are from 1598 to 1605 with Mrs. Vaux and
her son Edward, the young Baron, at Great Harrowden, and there others of
the fifteen Jesuit fathers in England at that time, and prominent
Catholics, such as Sir Oliver Manners, brother of Roger, Earl of
Rutland, Sir Everard Digby, and Francis Tresham, a first cousin of Mrs.
Vaux, were wont to foregather.

When James I came to the throne, the Catholics had hope of some
alleviation of the penalties under which they laboured. Disappointed in
this hope, the discontented, led by two priests, Watson and Clarke,
embarked upon a wild scheme to kidnap the King and set as the price of
his liberty the extension to Catholics of equal rights, religious,
civil, and political, with the Protestants. The plot was betrayed, the
priests executed, and the other leaders condemned to death,--then
reprieved but attainted. Among those thus reprieved were Lord Grey de
Wilton and "a confederate named Brookesby." This Brookesby was
Bartholomew, the brother of Eleanor Vaux's husband. When new and more
stringent measures were immediately adopted for the repression of
priests and recusants, the indignation of the Catholics reached a
climax. "They saw," says Gardiner, "no more than the intolerable wrong
under which they suffered; and it would be strange if there were not
some amongst them who would be driven to meet wrong with violence, and
to count even the perpetration of a great crime as a meritorious
deed."[30]

In 1603 Father Gerard took a new house in London in the fields behind
St. Clement's Inn,--just across the Strand from the Inner Temple where
Francis Beaumont was living at the time. "This new house," says Gerard,
"was very suitable and convenient and had private entrances on both
sides, and I had contrived in it some most excellent hiding-places; and
there I should have long remained, free from all peril or even
suspicion, if some friends of mine, while I was absent from London, had
not availed themselves of the house rather rashly."[31] These friends
were Robert Catesby, a cousin of the Vauxes of Harrowden; his cousin,
Thomas Winter; Winter's relative, John Wright, and Thomas Percy, a
kinsman of Henry, ninth Earl of Northumberland,--all gentlemen of
distinguished county families. In May 1604, these men with one Guy
Fawkes of York and Scotton, a soldier of fortune and "excellent good
natural parts," and, like the rest, fanatic with brooding over the
wrongs of the Catholic Church, met at Father Gerard's house behind St.
Clement's Inn, swore to keep secret the purpose of their meeting,
received in an adjoining room the Sacrament from Father Gerard, an
unwitting accomplice, in confirmation of their oath; and then, retiring,
learned from Catesby that the project intended was to blow up the
Parliament House with gunpowder when the King and the royal family next
came to the House of Lords. Within a few days "Thomas Percy hired a
howse at Westminster," says Fawkes in his subsequent Confession, "neare
adjoyning Parlt. howse, and there wee beganne to make a myne about the
XI of December, 1604." The rest of the story is too well-known to call
for repetition. How the gunpowder was smuggled into a cellar running
under the Parliament House; how, when Parliament was prorogued to
November 5th, 1605, the conspirators, running short of money to equip an
insurrection, added to their number a few wealthy accomplices,--most
significant to our narrative, that old friend of the Vauxes, Sir Edward
Digby, and Francis Tresham, cousin of Catesby and the Winters, and as I
have said of the Vauxes themselves.[32] How Tresham, recoiling from the
destruction of innocent Catholic Lords with the detested Protestants,
met Catesby, Winter, and Fawkes at White Webbs, "a house known as Dr.
Hewick's house by Enfield Chace," and laboured with them for permission
to warn their friends, especially his brothers-in-law, Lord Stourton and
Monteagle; and how, when permission was refused, he wrote an anonymous
letter to Monteagle, begging him "as you tender your life, to devise
some excuse to shift of your attendance at this Parliament; for God and
man hath concurred to punish the wickedness of this time." How Monteagle
informed the Council and the King. How Guy Fawkes was discovered among
his barrels of gunpowder, and on the fourth of November arrested as
"John Johnson," the servant of Thomas Percy, one of the King's Gentlemen
Pensioners. How "on the morning of the fifth, the news of the great
deliverance ran like wildfire along the streets of London," and Catesby
and Wright, Percy and the brothers Winter, were in full flight for Lady
Catesby's house in Ashby St. Legers, Northamptonshire, not far from
Harrowden.

With the rest of the world Francis Beaumont would gasp with amazement.
But what must have been his concern when on the first examination of
"John Johnson," November 5th, the identity of that conspirator was
established not by any confession of his, but from the contents of a
letter found upon him, written by--Beaumont's first cousin, Anne
Vaux![33]

As intelligence oozed from the Lords of Council, Beaumont would next
learn that Anne's sister-in-law, Mrs. [Elizabeth] Vaux of Harrowden had
expected something was about to take place, and that Father Gerard and
"Walley" [Garnet, the Father Superior of the English Jesuits] "made her
house their chief resort"; and then that Fawkes had confessed that
Catesby, the two Winters, and Francis Tresham--all of the Vaux family
connection--and Sir Everard Digby of their close acquaintance, were
implicated in the Plot; and that the conspiracy was not merely to blow
up the older members of the royal family but to secure the Princess
Elizabeth, place her upon the throne, and marry her to an English
Catholic,[34]--therefore, an enterprise likely to implicate his Catholic
cousins, indeed. His friend, Ben Jonson, is meanwhile blustering of
private informations, and Francis would be likely to hear that Ben has
written (November 8) to Lord Salisbury offering his services to unravel
the web "if no better person can be found," and averring that the
Catholics "are all so enweaved in it as it will make 500 gent. lesse of
the religion within this weeke." Then he is apprised that John Wright,
Catesby, Percy, etc., have been seen at "Lady" Vaux's on the eighth. The
next day, that these three and Christopher Wright have been overtaken
and slain; and then that, on the ninth, Fawkes has confessed that they
have been using a house of Father Garnet's at White Webbs as a
rendezvous. Perhaps White Webbs means nothing to Francis just yet, but
it soon will. Three days later, Tresham under examination acknowledges
interviews with his cousins, Catesby and Thomas Winter, and with Fathers
Garnet and Gerard; but says he has not been at Mrs. Vaux's house at
Harrowden for a year. Soon afterwards, December 5, the Inner Temple
itself is shaken to the foundations by the intelligence that Jesuit
literature has been discovered by Sir Edward Coke in Tresham's
chamber,--a manuscript of Blackwell's famous treatise on
_Equivocation_, destined to play a baleful rôle in the ensuing
examination of certain of the suspects.

Meanwhile, Francis would observe with alarm that his Vaux cousins are
from day to day objects of deeper suspicion. On November 13, Lord Vaux's
house at Harrowden is searched; his mother gives up all her keys but no
papers are found. She and the young lord strongly deny all knowledge of
the treason; the house, however, is still guarded. On the eighteenth,
Elizabeth, Mrs. Vaux, is examined and says that she does not know
"Gerard, the priest"[!]; but among the visitors at her house she
mentions Catesby, Digby, and "Greene" [Greenway] and "Darcy" [Garnet],
priests. She acknowledges having written to Lady Wenman, the wife of Sir
Richard, last Easter, saying that "Tottenham would turn French," but
fails to explain her meaning. From other quarters, however, it is
learned that she bade that lady "be of good comfort for there should
soon be toleration for religion," adding: "Fast and pray that that may
come to pass which we purpose, which yf it doe, wee shall see Totnam
turned French." And Sir Richard, examined concerning the contents of
Mrs. Vaux's letter to his wife, affirms that he "disliked their
intercourse, because Mrs. Vaux tried to pervert his wife." On December
4, Catesby's servant, Bates, acknowledges that he revealed the whole
Plot to Greenway, the priest, in confession, "who said it was a good
cause, bade him be secret, and absolved him." From Henry Huddleston's
examination, December 6, it appears that Mrs. Vaux has not been telling
the whole truth about Harrowden, for not only were the two other
priests most suspected, Garnet and Greenway, there sometimes, but also
Gerard, whom Huddleston has met there. On January 19, Bates definitely
connects Gerard and Garnet with the proceedings; and all three priests
are proclaimed. Gerard cannot be found, but from his own _Narrative_ it
appears that he had been hiding at Harrowden before, that now he is
concealed in London, and Elizabeth Vaux knows where.[35] When she is
brought again before the Lords of Council and threatened with death if
she tell not where the priest is, we may imagine the interest of the
Beaumonts. Francis, though no sympathizer with the Plot, cannot have
failed to admire the bearing of Elizabeth during the examination:

  "As for my hostess, Mrs. Vaux," writes Father Gerard, "she was
  brought to London after that long search for me, and strictly
  examined about me by the Lords of the Council; but she answered
  to everything so discreetly as to escape all blame. At last they
  produced a letter of hers to a certain relative, asking for the
  release of Father Strange and another, of whom I spoke before.
  This relative of hers was the chief man in the county in which
  they had been taken, and she thought she could by her
  intercession with him prevail for their release. But the
  treacherous man, who had often enough, as far as words went,
  offered to serve her in any way, proved the truth of our Lord's
  prophecy, 'A man's enemies shall be those of his own household!'
  for he immediately sent up her letter to the Council. They showed
  her, therefore, her own letter, and said to her, 'You see now
  that you are entirely at the King's mercy for life or death; so
  if you consent to tell us where Father Gerard is, you shall have
  your life.'

  "'I do not know where he is,' she answered, 'and if I did know, I
  would not tell you.'

  "Then rose one of the lords, who had been a former friend of
  hers, to accompany her to the door, out of courtesy, and on the
  way said to her persuasively, 'Have pity on yourself and on your
  children, and say what is required of you, for otherwise you must
  certainly die.'

  "To which she answered with a loud voice, 'Then, my lord, I will
  die.'

  "This was said when the door had been opened, so that her
  servants who were waiting for her heard what she said, and all
  burst into weeping. But the Council only said this to terrify
  her, for they did not commit her to prison, but sent her to the
  house of a certain gentleman in the city, and after being held
  there in custody for a time she was released, but on condition of
  remaining in London. And one of the principal Lords of the
  Council acknowledged to a friend that he had nothing against her,
  except that she was a stout Papist, going ahead of others, and,
  as it were, a leader in evil."

What follows of Elizabeth's devotion to the cause, would not be likely
to filter through; but the Beaumonts may have had their suspicions.
According to Father Gerard:--

  "Immediately she was released from custody, knowing that I was
  then in London, quite forgetful of herself, she set about taking
  care of me, and provided all the furniture and other things
  necessary for my new house. Moreover, she sent me letters daily,
  recounting everything that occurred; and when she knew that I
  wished to cross the sea for a time, she bid me not spare expense,
  so that I secured a safe passage, for that she would pay
  everything, though it should cost five thousand florins, and in
  fact she sent me at once a thousand florins for my journey. I left
  her in care of Father Percy, who had already as my companion lived
  a long time at her house. There he still remains, and does much
  good. I went straight to Rome, and being sent back thence to these
  parts, was fixed at Louvain."[36] So much at present of Elizabeth.
  We shall hear of her, as did Beaumont, during the succeeding
  years.

In the tribulations of Anne Vaux, his own first cousin, Francis must
have been even more deeply interested. That she was in communication
with Fawkes had been discovered, November 5. She was apprehended,
committed to the care of Sir John Swynerton, but temporarily discharged.
When Fawkes confessed, November 9, that the conspirators had been using
a house of Father Garnet's at White Webbs, in Enfield Chace, the house
called "Dr. Hewick's" was searched. "No papers nor munition found, but
Popish books and relics,--and many trap-doors and secret passages."
Garnet had escaped but, on examination of the servants, it developed
that under the pseudonym of "Meaze" he had taken the house "for his
sister, Mrs. Perkins,"--[and who should "Mrs. Perkins" turn out to be
but Anne Vaux!] The books and relics are the property of "Mrs.
Jennings,"--[and who should she be but Anne's sister, Eleanor
Brookesby!] "Mrs. Perkins spent a month at White Webbs lately;" and
"three gentlemen [Catesby, Winter, and another] came to White Webbs, the
day the King left Royston" [October 31]. On November 27, Sir Everard
Digby's servant deposes concerning Garnet that "Mrs. Ann Vaux doth
usually goe with him whithersoever he goethe." On January 19, as we have
seen, warrants are out for the arrest of Garnet. On January 30, he is
taken with another Jesuit priest, Father Oldcorne, at Hindlip Hall, in
Worcestershire, where for seven days and nights they have been buried in
a closet, and nourished by broths conveyed to them by means of a quill
which passed "through a little hole in a chimney that backed another
chimney into a gentlewoman's chamber." True enough, the deposition, that
whithersoever her beloved Father Superior "goethe, Mrs. Ann Vaux doth
usually goe"; for she is the gentlewoman of the broths and quill,--she
with Mrs. Abington, the sister of Monteagle. Garnet and Oldcorne are
taken prisoners to the Tower; and three weeks later Anne is in town
again, communicating with Garnet by means of letters, ostensibly brief
and patent, but eked out with tidings written in an invisible ink of
orange-juice. On March 6, Garnet confesses that Mrs. Anne Vaux, alias
Perkins, he, and Brookesby bear the expenses of White Webbs. On March
11, Anne being examined says that she keeps the place at her own
expense; that Catesby, Winter, and Tresham have been to her house, but
that she knew nothing of the Plot; on the contrary, suspecting some
mischief at one time, she had "begged Garnet to prevent it." Examined
again on March 24, she says that "Francis Tresham, her cousin, often
visited her and Garnet at White Webbs, Erith, Wandsworth, etc., when
Garnet would counsel him to be patient and quiet; and that they also
visited Tresham at his house in Warwickshire." Garnet's trial took place
at Guildhall on March 28, Sir Edward Coke of the Inner Temple acting for
the prosecution. Garnet acknowledged that the Plot had been conveyed to
him by another priest [Greenway] in confession. He was convicted,
however, not for failing to divulge that knowledge, but for failing to
dissuade Catesby and the rest, both before and after he had gained
knowledge from Greenway. He was executed on May 3. Of Anne's share in
all that has preceded, Beaumont would by this date have known. One
wonders whether he or his brother, John, ever learned the pathetic
details of the final correspondence between Anne and the Father
Superior. How, March 21, she wrote to him asking directions for the
disposal of herself, and concluding that life without him was "not life
but deathe." How, April 2, he replied with advice for her future; and as
to Oldcorne and himself, added that the former had "dreamt there were
two tabernacles prepared for them." How, the next day, she wrote again
asking fuller directions and wishing Father Oldcorne had "dreamt there
was a third seat" for her. And how, that same day, with loving thought
for all details of her proceedings, and with sorrow for his own weakness
under examination, the Father Superior sends his last word to
her,--that he will "die not as a victorious martyr, but as a penitent
thief,"--and bids her farewell.

All this of the Harrowden cousins and their connection with Catholicism
and the Gunpowder Plot, I have included not only because it touches
nearly upon the family interests and friendships of Beaumont's early
years, but also because it throws light upon the circumstances and
feelings which prompted the satire of his first play, _The Woman-Hater_
(acted in 1607), where as we shall see he alludes with horror to the
Plot itself, but holds up to ridicule the informers who swarmed the
streets of London in the years succeeding, and trumped up charges of
conspiracy and recusancy against unoffending persons, and so sought to
deprive them, if not of life, of property. It is with some hesitancy,
since the proof to me is not conclusive, that I suggest that the animus
in this play against favourites and intelligencers has perhaps more of a
personal flavour than has hitherto been suspected. An entry from the
Docquet, calendared with the State Papers, Domestic, of November 14,
1607, may indicate that John Beaumont, the brother of Francis, though a
Protestant, had in some way manifested sympathy with his Catholic
relatives during the persecutions which followed the discovery of the
Gunpowder Plot:--"Gift to Sir Jas. Sempill of the King's two parts of
the site of the late dissolved monastery of Grace-Dieu, and other lands
in Leicester, in the hands of the Crown by the recusancy of John
Beaumont." At first reading the John Beaumont would appear to be
Francis' grandfather, the Master of the Rolls. But the Master lost his
lands not for recusancy (or refusal on religious grounds to take the
Oath of Allegiance, or attend the State Church), but for malfeasance in
office, and that in 1552-3, while the Protestant Edward VI was King. He
had no lands to lose after Mary mounted the throne,--even if as a
Protestant he were recusant under a Catholic Queen. The recusancy seems
to be of a date contemporaneous with James's refusal, October 17, 1606,
to take fines from recusants, the King, as the State Papers inform us,
taking "two-thirds of their goods, lands, etc., instead." The
"two-thirds" would appear to be the "two parts" of Grace-Dieu and other
lands, specified in the Gift; and that the sufferer was Francis
Beaumont's brother is rendered the more likely by the fact that the
beneficiary, Sir James Sempill, had been distinguishing himself by
hatred of Roman Catholics from November 16, 1605, on; and that on July
31, 1609, he is again receiving grants "out of lands and goods of
recusants, to be convicted at his charges."

There is nothing, indeed, in the career of Beaumont's brother, John, as
commonly recorded, or in the temper of his poetry to indicate a refusal
on his part to disavow the supremacy of Rome in ecclesiastical affairs,
or to attend regularly the services of the Protestant Church. His
writings speak both loyalty and Protestant Christianity. But it is to be
noted that not only many of his kinsmen but his wife, as well, belonged
to families affiliated with Roman Catholicism, and that his eulogistic
poems addressed to James are all of later years,--after his kinsman,
Buckingham, had "drawn him from his silent cell," and "first inclined
the anointed head to hear his rural songs, and read his lines"; also
that it is only under James's successor that he is honoured by a
baronetcy. It is, therefore, not at all impossible that, because of some
careless or over-frank utterance of fellow-feeling for his Catholic
connections, or of repugnance for the unusually savage measures adopted
after the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, he may have been accused of
recusancy, deprived of part of his estate, and driven into the seclusion
which he maintained at Grace-Dieu till 1616 or thereabout.


FOOTNOTES:

[28] John Morris, _Life of Father John Gerard_, p. 311, _et seq._

[29] Morris, _op. cit._, p. 113. See below, Appendix, Table D.

[30] Gardiner, _Hist. Engl._ 1603-1642, I, 234.

[31] Morris, p. 360. See also, below, Appendix, Table D.

[32] Fletcher's connections, also, the Bakers, Lennards, and
Sackvilles were interested in the fortunes of Francis Tresham; for he
had married Anne Tufton of Hothfield, Kent, granddaughter of Mary
Baker who was sister of Sir Richard of Sissinghurst and of Cicely,
first Countess of Dorset.--Collins, III, 489; Hasted, VII, 518. See
below, Appendix, Tables D, E.

[33] The facts as here presented are drawn from the _Calendar of State
Papers (Domestic)_, the _Gunpowder Plot Book_, and Father Gerard's
_Narrative_ (in Morris), in the order of dates as indicated.

[34] Nov. 5-8.

[35] Morris, _Life of Father Gerard_, p. 385.

[36] Morris, pp. 413-414.



CHAPTER V

FLETCHER'S FAMILY, AND HIS YOUTH


The friendship between Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher may have
commenced at any time after Francis became a member of the Inner Temple,
in 1600,--probably not later than 1605, when Beaumont was about
twenty-one and Fletcher twenty-six. The latter was the son of "a comely
and courtly prelate," Richard, Bishop, successively of Bristol,
Worcester, and London. Richard's father, also, had been a clergyman; and
Richard, himself, in his earlier years had been pensioner and scholar of
Trinity, Cambridge (1563), then Fellow of Bene't College (Corpus
Christi), then President of the College. In 1573 he married Elizabeth
Holland at Cranbrook in Kent, perhaps of the family of Hugh Holland,
descended from the Earls of Kent, who later appears in the circle of
Beaumont's acquaintance; became, next, minister of the church of Rye,
Sussex, about fifteen miles south of Cranbrook; then, Chaplain to the
Queen; then, Dean of Peterborough. While he was officiating at Rye, in
December 1579, John the fourth of nine children, was born. This John,
the dramatist, is probably the "John Fletcher of London," who was
admitted pensioner of Bene't College, Cambridge, in 1591, and, as if
destined for holy orders, became two years later a Bible-clerk, reading
the lessons in the services of the college chapel. At the time of his
entering college, his father had risen to the bishopric of Bristol; and,
later in 1591, had been made Lord High Almoner to the Queen; he had a
house at Chelsea, and was near the court "where his presence was
accustomed much to be." By 1593 the Bishop had been advanced to the
diocese of Worcester; and we find him active in the House of Lords with
the Archbishop of Canterbury in the proposal of severe measures against
the Barrowists and Brownists.[37] The next year he was elected Bishop of
London,--succeeding John Aylmer, who had been tutor to Lady Jane
Grey,--and was confirmed by royal assent in January 1595. From Sir John
Harington's unfavourable account[38] it would appear that the Bishop
owed his rapid promotion to the combination of great mind and small
means which made him a fitting tool for "zealous courtiers whose
devotion did serve them more to prey on the Church than pray in the
Church." But his will, drawn in 1593, shows him mindful of the poor,
solicitous concerning the "Chrystian and godlie education" of his
children and confident in the principles and promises of the Christian
faith,--"this hope hath the God of all comforte laide upp in my breste."

We have no record of John's proceeding to a degree. It is not unlikely
that he left Cambridge for the city when his father attained the
metropolitan see. From early years the boy had enjoyed every opportunity
of observing the ways of monarchs and courtiers, scholars and poets, as
well as of princes of the Church. Since 1576, his father had "lived in
her highnes," the Queen's, "gratious aspect and favour." _Præsul
splendidus_, says Camden. Eloquent, accomplished, courtly, lavish in
hospitality and munificence, no wonder that he counted among his
friends, Burghley, the Lord Treasurer, and Burghley's oldest son, Sir
Thomas Cecil, Anthony Bacon, the brother of Sir Francis, and that
princely second Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux, who had married the
widow of Sir Philip Sidney, and with whom the lame but clever Anthony
Bacon lived. Sir Francis Drake also was one of his friends and gave him
a "ringe of golde" which he willed to one of his executors. Another of
his "loveinge freindes," and an assistant-executor of his will, was the
learned and vigorous Dr. Richard Bancroft, his successor as Bishop of
London and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. As for immediate
literary connections, suffice it here to say that the Bishop's brother,
Dr. Giles Fletcher, was a cultivated diplomat and writer upon
government, and that the sons of Dr. Giles were the clerical
Spenserians, Phineas, but three years younger than his cousin the
dramatist,--whose fisher-play _Sicelides_ was acting at King's College,
Cambridge, in the year of John's _Chances_ in London, and whose
_Brittain's Ida_ is as light in its youthful eroticism as his _Purple
Island_ is ponderous in pedantic allegory,--and Giles, nine years
younger than John, who was printing verses before John wrote his
earliest play, and whose poem of _Christ's Victorie_ was published, in
1610, a year or so later than John's pastoral of _The Faithfull
Shepheardesse_. Bishop Fletcher could tell his sons stories of royalty,
not only in affluence, but in distress; for when John was but eight
years old the father as Dean of Peterborough was chaplain to Mary, Queen
of Scots, at Fotheringay, adding to her distress "by the zeal with which
he urged her to renounce the faith of Rome." It was he who when Mary's
head was held up after the execution cried, "So perish all the Queen's
enemies!"[39] He could, also, tell them much about the great founder of
the Dorset family, for at Fotheringay at the same time was Thomas
Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, afterwards first Earl of Dorset, who had come
to announce to Mary, Queen of Scots, the sentence of death.

From 1591 on, the Bishop was experiencing the alternate "smiles and
frowns of royalty" in London; about the time that John left college more
particularly the frowns. For, John's mother having died about the end of
1592, the Bishop had, in 1595, most unwisely married Maria (daughter of
John Giffard of Weston-under-Edge in Gloucestershire), the relict of a
few months' standing of Sir Richard Baker of Sissinghurst in Kent. The
Bishop's acquaintance with this second wife, as well as with the first,
probably derived from his father's incumbency as Vicar of the church in
Cranbrook, Kent, which began in 1555 and was still existing as late as
1574. The young Richard would often have shuddered as a child before
Bloody Baker's Prison with its iron-barred windows glowering from the
parish church, for Sir John hated the primitive and pious Anabaptists
who had taken up their abode about Cranbrook, and he hunted them
down;[40] and Richard would, as a lad, have walked the two miles across
the clayey fields and through the low-lying woods with his father to the
stately manor house, built by old Sir John Baker himself in the time of
Edward VI, and have seen that distinguished personage who had been
Attorney-General and Chancellor of the Exchequer under Henry VIII,--and
who as may be recalled was one of that Council of State, in 1553, which
ratified and signed Edward VI's 'devise for the succession' making Lady
Jane Grey inheritress of the crown. And when young Richard returned from
his presidency of Bene't College, in 1573, to Cranbrook to marry
Elizabeth Holland, he would have renewed acquaintance with Sir Richard,
who had succeeded the "bloody" Sir John as master of Sissinghurst,
sixteen years before. He may for all we know have been present at the
entertainment which that same year Sir Richard made for Queen Elizabeth.
Maria Giffard was twenty-four years old, then. Whether she was yet Lady
Baker we do not know--but it is probable; and we may be sure that on his
various visits to Cranbrook, the rising dean and bishop had frequent
opportunity to meet her at Sissinghurst before his own wife's death, or
the death of Sir Richard in 1594. Since the sister of Sir Richard Baker,
Cicely, was already the wife of Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, when,
in 1586-7, Buckhurst and Richard Fletcher, Dean of Peterborough, were
thrown together at Fotheringay, it is not unlikely that the closer
association between the Fletchers and Lady Buckhurst's sister-in-law of
Sissinghurst grew out of this alliance of the Sackvilles with the
Bakers.

[Illustration: THOMAS SACKVILLE, FIRST EARL OF DORSET
From the portrait in the possession of Lord Sackville, at Knole Park]

Lady Baker was in 1595 in conspicuous disfavour with Queen Elizabeth,
and with the people too; for, if she was virtuous, as her nephew
records,[41] "the more happy she in herself, though unhappy that the
world did not believe it."[42] Certain it is, that in a contemporary
satire she is thrice-damned as of the most ancient of disreputable
professions, and once dignified as "my Lady Letcher." Though of
unsavoury reputation, she was of fine appearance, and socially very well
connected. Her brother, Sir George Giffard, was in service at Court
under Elizabeth; and in Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, she had a
brother-in-law, who was kinsman to the Queen, herself. But not only did
the Queen dislike her, she disliked the idea of any of her prelates,
especially her comely Bishop of London, marrying a second time, without
her express consent. For a year after this second marriage the Bishop
was suspended from his office. "Here of the Bishop was sadly sensible,"
says Fuller, "and seeking to lose his sorrow in a mist of smoak, died of
the immoderate taking thereof." Sir John Harington, however, tells us
that he regained the royal favour;--"but, certain it is that (the Queen
being pacified, and hee in great jollity with his faire Lady and her
Carpets and Cushions in his bed-chamber) he died suddenly, taking
Tobacco in his chaire, saying to his man that stood by him, whom he
loved very well, 'Oh, boy, I die.'"

That was in 1596. The Bishop left little but his library and his debts.
The former went to two of his sons, Nathaniel and John. The latter
swallowed up his house at Chelsea with his other properties. The
Bishop's brother and chief executor of the will, Giles, the diplomat, is
soon memorializing the Queen for "some commiseration towards the orphans
of the late Bishopp of London." He emphasizes the diminution of the
Bishop's worldly estate consequent upon his translation to the costly
see of London, his extraordinary charges in the reparation of the four
episcopal residences, his lavish expenditure in hospitality, his
penitence for "the errour of his late marriage," and concludes:--"He
hath left behinde him 8 poore children, whereof divers are very young.
His dettes due to the Quenes Majestie and to other creditors are
1400_li._ or thereaboutes, his whole state is but one house wherein the
widow claimeth her thirds, his plate valewed at 400_li._, his other
stuffe at 500_li._" Anthony Bacon, who sympathized with the purpose of
this memorial, enlisted the coöperation of Bishop Fletcher's powerful
friend and his own patron, the Earl of Essex, who "likewise represented
to the Queen the case of the orphans ... in so favourable a light that
she was inclin'd to relieve them;" but whether she did so or not, we are
unable to discover.[43]

What John Fletcher,--a lad of seventeen, when, in 1596, he was turned
out of Fulham Palace and his father's private house in Chelsea, with
its carpets and cushions and the special "stayre and dore made of
purpose ... in a bay window" for the entrance of Queen Elizabeth when
she might deign, or did deign, to visit her unruly prelate,--what the
lad of seventeen did for a living before we find him, about 1606 or
1607, in the ranks of the dramatists, we have no means of knowing.
Perhaps the remaining years of his boyhood were spent with his uncle,
Giles, and his young cousins, the coming poets, or with the aunt whom
his father called "sister Pownell." The stepmother of eighteen months'
duration is not likely with her luxurious tastes and questionable
character to have tarried long in charge of the eight "poore and
fatherless children." She had children of her own by her previous
marriage, in whom to seek consolation, Grisogone and Cicely Baker,
then in their twenties, and devoted to her.[44] And with one or both
we may surmise that she resumed her life in Kent, or with the heir of
sleepy Sissinghurst, making the most of her carpets and cushions and
such of her "thirds" as she could recover, until--for she was but
forty-seven--she might find more congenial comfort in a third
marriage. Her permanent consoler was a certain Sir Stephen Thornhurst
of Forde in the Isle of Thanet; and he, thirteen years after the death
of her second husband, buried her in state in Canterbury Cathedral,
1609.

In 1603 her sister-in-law, Cicely (Baker) Sackville, now Countess of
Dorset and the Earl, her husband, that fine old dramatist of Beaumont's
Inner Temple, and former acquaintance at Fotheringay of John Fletcher's
father, had taken possession of the manor of Knole, near Sevenoaks in
Kent, where their descendants live to-day. Before 1609, Fletcher's
stepsister Cicely, named after her aunt, the Countess, had become the
Lady Cicely Blunt. Grisogone became the Lady Grisogone Lennard, having
married, about 1596, a great friend of William Herbert, Earl of
Pembroke, and of his Countess (Sir Philip Sidney's sister), Sir Henry,
the son of Sampson Lennard of Chevening and Knole. The Lennard estate
lay but three and a half miles from that of their connections, the
Dorsets, of Knole Park. If young Fletcher ever went down to see his
stepmother at Sissinghurst, or his own mother's family in Cranbrook, he
was but twenty-six miles by post-road from Chevening and still less from
Aunt Cicely at Knole. Beaumont, himself, as we shall see, married the
heiress of Sundridge Place a mile and a half south of Chevening, and but
forty minutes across the fields from Knole. His sister Elizabeth, too,
married a gentleman of one of the neighbouring parishes. The
acquaintance of both our dramatists with Bakers and Sackvilles was
enhanced by sympathies literary and dramatic. A still younger Sir
Richard Baker, cousin to John Fletcher's stepsisters, and to the second
and third Earls of Dorset, was an historian, a poet, and a student of
the stage--on familiar terms with Tarleton, Burbadge, and Alleyn. And
the literary traditions handed down from Thomas Sackville, the author of
_Gorboduc_ and _The Mirror for Magistrates_ were not forgotten by his
grandson, Richard, third Earl of Dorset, the contemporary of our
dramatists,--for whom, if I am not mistaken, their portraits, now
hanging in the dining-room of the Baron Sackville at Knole, were
painted.[45]

       *       *       *       *       *

I have dwelt thus at length upon the conditions antecedent to, and
investing, the youth of Beaumont and of Fletcher, because the documents
already at hand, if read in the light of scientific biography and
literature, set before us with remarkable clearness the social and
poetic background of their career as dramatists. When this background of
birth, breeding, and family connection is filled in with the deeper
colours of their life in London, its manners, experience, and
associations, one may more readily comprehend why Dryden says in
comparing them with Shakespeare, "they understood and imitated the
conversation of gentlemen [of contemporary fashion] much better; whose
wild debaucheries and quickness of wit in repartees, no poet before them
could paint as they have done."


FOOTNOTES:

[37] _Cal. State Papers (Dom.)_, April 7, 1593.

[38] _Briefe View of the State of the Church._

[39] Nichols's _Progresses of Queen Elizabeth_, II, 506-510.

[40] See the story in _Camden Miscellany_, III (1854).

[41] Sir Richard Baker, in his _Chronicle of the Kings of England_.

[42] Fuller's _Worthies_, as cited by Dyce, I, x, xi.

[43] The materials as furnished by Dyce, _B. and F._, I, xiv-xv, from
Birch's _Mem. of Elizabeth_, and the Bacon Papers in the Lambeth
Library are confirmed by _Cal. St. Papers_ (_Dom._), June 1596, July
9, 1597, _etc._

[44] As her monument in Canterbury would indicate. Hasted, _Hist.
Kent_, XI, 397.

[45] For the Bakers and their connections, see Hasted, _Hist. Kent_,
III, 77; IV, 374, _et seq._; VII, 100-101; for the Sackvilles.--Hasted,
III, 73-82; for the Lennards,--Hasted, III, 108-116; the _Peerages_ of
Collins, Burke, etc., and the articles in _D. N. B._ See also, below,
Appendix, Table E.



CHAPTER VI

SOME EARLY PLAYS OF BEAUMONT AND OF FLETCHER


Beaumont and Fletcher may have been friends by 1603 or 1604,--in all
likelihood, as early as 1605 when, as we have seen, Drayton and other
"southern Shepherds" were by way of visiting the Beaumonts at
Grace-Dieu. In that year Jonson's _Volpone_ was acted for the first
time; and one may divine from the familiar and affectionate terms in
which our two young dramatists address the author upon the publication
of the play in 1607 that they had been acquainted not only with Jonson
but with one another for the two years past. We have no satisfactory
proof of their coöperation in play-writing before 1606 or 1607.
According to Dryden,--whose statements of fact are occasionally to be
taken with a grain of salt, but who, in this instance, though writing
almost sixty years after the event, is basing his assertion upon
first-hand authority,--"the first play that brought 'them' in esteem was
their _Philaster_," but "before that they had written two or three very
unsuccessfully." _Philaster_, as I shall presently show, was, in all
probability, first acted between December 7, 1609 and July 12, 1610.
Before 1609, however, each had written dramas independently, Beaumont
_The Woman-Hater_ and _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_; Fletcher,
_The Faithfull Shepheardesse_, and maybe one or two other plays. Our
first evidence of their association in dramatic activity is the presence
of Fletcher's hand, apparently as a reviser, in three scenes of _The
Woman-Hater_, which was licensed for publication May 20, 1607, as
"lately acted by the Children of Paul's." From contemporary evidence we
know, as did Dryden, that two of these plays, _The Knight_ and
_Faithfull Shepheardesse_ were ungraciously received; and Richard Brome,
about fourteen years after Fletcher's death, suggests that perhaps
_Monsieur Thomas_ shared "the common fate."

_The Woman-Hater_ was the earliest play of either of our dramatists to
find its way into print. Drayton's lines, already referred to, about
"sweet Palmeo" imply that Beaumont was already known as a poet, before
April 1606. A passage in the Prologue of _The Woman-Hater_ seems, as
Professor Thorndike has shown, to refer to the narrow escape of Jonson,
Chapman, and Marston from having their ears cropped for an offense given
to the King by their _Eastward Hoe_. If it does, "he that made this
play," undoubtedly Beaumont, made it after the publication of _Eastward
Hoe_ in 1605. The title-page of 1607 says that the play is given "as it
hath been lately acted." The ridicule of intelligencers emulating some
worthy men in this land "who have discovered things dangerously hanging
over the State" has reference to the system of spying which assumed
enormous proportions after the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot in
November 1605. An allusion to King James's weakness for handsome young
men, "Why may not _I_ be a favourite in the sudden?" may very well
refer, as Fleay has maintained, to the restoration to favour of Robert
Ker (or Carr) of Ferniehurst, afterwards Earl Somerset,--a page whom
James had "brought with him from Scotland, and brought up of a
child,"[46] but had dismissed soon after his accession. It was at a
tilting match, March 24, 1607, that the youth "had the good fortune to
break his leg in the presence of the King," and "by his personal
activity, strong animal spirits," and beauty, to attract his majesty
anew, and on the spot. The beauty, Beaumont emphasizes as a requisite
for royal favour. "Why may not _I_ be a favourite on the sudden?" says
the bloated, hungry courtier, "I see nothing against it." "Not so, sir,"
replies Valore; "I know you have not the _face_ to be a favourite on the
sudden." The fact that James did not make a knight bachelor of Carr till
December of that year, would in no way invalidate a fling at the favour
bestowed upon him in March. Indeed Beaumont's slur in _The Woman-Hater_
upon "the legs ... very strangely become the legs of a knight and a
courtier" might have applied to Carr as early as 1603, for on July 25 of
that year James had made him a Knight of the Bath,--in the same batch,
by the way, with a certain Oliver Cromwell of Huntingdonshire.[47]
Without violating the plague regulations, as laid down by the City,
_The Woman-Hater_ could have been acted during the six months following
November 20, 1606. A passage in Act III, 2,[48] which I shall presently
quote in full, is, as has not previously been noticed, a manifest parody
of one of Antony's speeches in _Antony and Cleopatra_[49] which,
according to all evidence, was not acted before 1607. It would appear,
therefore, that Beaumont's first play was completed after January 1,
1607, probably after March 24, when Carr regained the royal favour, and
was presented for the first time during the two months following the
latter date.

_The Woman-Hater_ affords interesting glimpses of the author's
observation, sometimes perhaps experience, in town and country. "That I
might be turned loose," says one of his _dramatis personae_, "to try my
fortune amongst the whole fry in a college or an inn of court!" And
another, a gay young buck,--"I must take some of the common courses of
our nobility, which is thus: If I can find no company that likes me,
pluck off my hat-band, throw an old cloak over my face and, as if I
would not be known, walk hastily through the streets till I be
discovered: 'There goes Count Such-a-one,' says one; 'There goes Count
Such-a-one,' says another; 'Look how fast he goes,' says a third;
'There's some great matters in hand, questionless,' says a fourth;--when
all my business is to have them say so. This hath been used. Or, if I
can find any company [acting at the theatre], I'll after dinner to the
stage to see a play; where, when I first enter, you shall have a murmur
in the house; every one that does not know, cries, 'What nobleman is
that?' All the gallants on the stage, rise, vail to me, kiss their hand,
offer me their places; then I pick out some one whom I please to grace
among the rest, take his seat, use it, throw my cloak over my face, and
laugh at him; the poor gentleman imagines himself most highly graced,
thinks all the auditors esteem him one of my bosom friends, and in right
special regard with me." And again, and this is much like first-hand
knowledge: "There is no poet acquainted with more shakings and quakings,
towards the latter end of his new play (when he's in that case that he
stands peeping betwixt the curtains, so fearfully that a bottle of ale
cannot be opened but he thinks somebody hisses), than I am at this
instant." And again,--of the political spies, who had persecuted more
than one of Beaumont's relatives and, according to tradition, trumped up
momentary trouble for our young dramatists themselves, a few years
later: "This fellow is a kind of informer, one that lives in ale-houses
and taverns; and because he perceives some worthy men in this land, with
much labour and great expense, to have discovered things dangerously
hanging over the state, he thinks to discover as much out of the talk of
drunkards in tap-houses. He brings me information, picked out of broken
words in men's common talk, which with his malicious misapplication he
hopes will seem dangerous; he doth, besides, bring me the names of all
the young gentlemen in the city that use ordinaries or taverns, talking
(to my thinking) only as the freedom of their youth teach them without
any further ends, for dangerous and seditious spirits." Much more in
this kind, of city ways known to Beaumont; and, also, something of
country ways, the table of the Leicestershire squire--the Beaumonts of
Coleorton and the Villierses of Brooksby,--and the hunting-breakfasts
with which Grace-Dieu was familiar. The hungry courtier of the play vows
to "keep a sumptuous house; a board groaning under the heavy burden of
the beast that cheweth the cud, and the fowl that cutteth the air. It
shall not, like the table of a country-justice, be sprinkled over with
all manner of cheap salads, sliced beef, giblets and pettitoes, to fill
up room; nor shall there stand any great, cumbersome, uncut-up pies at
the nether end, filled with moss and stones, partly to make a show with,
partly to keep the lower mess [below the salt] from eating; nor shall my
meal come in sneaking like the city-service, one dish a quarter of an
hour after another, and gone as if they had appointed to meet there and
mistook the hour; nor should it, like the new court-service, come in in
haste, as if it fain would be gone again [whipped off by the waiters],
all courses at once, like a hunting breakfast: but I would have my
several courses and my dishes well filed [ordered]; my first course
shall be brought in after the ancient manner by a score of old
blear-eyed serving-men in long blue coats."--And not a little of life at
Court, and of the favourites with whom King James surrounded
himself:--"They say one shall see fine sights at the Court? I'll tell
you what you shall see. You shall see many faces of man's making, for
you shall find very few as God left them; and you shall see many legs
too; amongst the rest you shall behold one pair, the feet of which were
in past times sockless, but are now, through the change of time (that
alters all things), very strangely become the legs of a knight and a
courtier; another pair you shall see, that were heir-apparent legs to a
glover; these legs hope shortly to be honourable; when they pass by they
will bow, and the mouth to these legs will seem to offer you some
courtship; it will swear, but it will lie; hear it not."

Keen observation this, and a dramatist's acquaintance with many kinds of
life; the promise of a satiric mastery, and very vivid prose for a lad
of twenty-three. The play is not, as a dramatic composition, of any
peculiar distinction. Beaumont is still in his pupilage to the classics,
and to Ben Jonson's comedy of humours. But the humours, though
unoriginal and boyishly forced, are clearly defined; and the instinct
for fun is irrepressible. The Woman-Hater, obsessed by the delusion that
all women are in pursuit, is admirably victimized by a witty and
versatile heroine who has, with maliciously genial pretense, assumed the
rôle of man-hunter. And to the main plot is loosely, but not altogether
ineffectually, attached a highly diverting story which Beaumont has
taken from the Latin treatise of Paulus Jovius on Roman fishes, or from
some intermediate source. Like the Tamisius of the original, his
Lazarillo,--whose prayer to the Goddess of Plenty is ever, "fill me this
day with some rare delicates,"--scours the city in fruitless quest of an
umbrana's head. Finally, he is taken by intelligencers, spies in the
service of the state, who construe his passion for the head of a fish
as treason aimed at the head of the Duke. The comedy abounds in parody
of verses well known at the time, of lines from _Hamlet_ and _All's Well
that End Well_, _Othello_[50] and _Eastward Hoe_[50] and bombastic
catches from other plays. To me the most ludicrous bit of burlesque is
of the moment of last suspense in _Antony and Cleopatra_ (IV, 14 and 15)
where Antony, thinking to die "after the high Roman fashion" which
Cleopatra forthwith emulates, says "I come my queen,"--

                                       Stay for me!
    Where souls do couch on flowers, we'll hand in hand,
    And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze.
    Dido and her Aeneas shall want troops,
    And all the haunt [of Elysium] be ours.

So Lazarillo, in awful apprehension lest his love, his fish-head, be
eaten before he arrive,--

  If it be eaten, here he stands that is the most dejected, most
  unfortunate, miserable, accursed, forsaken slave this province
  yields! I will not sure outlive it; no, I will die bravely and
  like a Roman;

      And after death, amidst the Elysian shades,
      I'll meet my love again.

Shakespeare's play was not entered for publication till May 20, 1608,
but this passage shows that Beaumont had seen it at the Globe before May
20, 1607.

I have no hesitation in assigning to the same year, 1607, although most
critics have dated it three or four years later, Beaumont's admirable
burlesque of contemporary bourgeois drama and chivalric romance, _The
Knight of the Burning Pestle_. Evidence both external and internal,
which I shall later state, points to its presentation by the Children of
the Queen's Revels at Blackfriars while they were under the business
management of Henry Evans and Robert Keysar, and before the temporary
suppression of the company in March 1608. The question of date has been
complicated by the supposed indebtedness of the burlesque to _Don
Quixote_; but I shall attempt to show, when I consider the play at
length, that it has no verbal relation either to the original (1604) or
the translation (1612) of Cervantes' story. _The Knight of the Burning
Pestle_ is in some respects of the same boyish tone and outlook upon the
humours of life as _The Woman-Hater_, but it is incomparably more novel
in conception, more varied in composition, and more effervescent in
satire. It displays the Beaumont of twenty-two or -three as already an
effective dramatist of contemporary manners and humours, a master of
parody, side-long mirth, and ironic wit, before he joined forces with
Fletcher and developed, in the treatment of more serious and romantic
themes, the power of poetic characterization and the pathos that bespeak
experience and reflection,--and, in the treatment of the comedy of life,
the realism that proceeds from broad and sympathetic observation. The
play, which as the publisher of the first quarto, in 1613, tell us was
"begot and borne in eight daies," was not a success; evidently because
the public did not like the sport that it made of dramas and dramatists
then popular; especially, did not stomach the ridicule of the
bombast-loving and romanticizing London citizen himself,--was not yet
educated up to the humour; perhaps, because "hee ... this unfortunate
child ... was so unlike his brethren." At any rate, according to Walter
Burre, the publisher, in 1613, "the wide world for want of judgement, or
not understanding the privy marke of Ironie about it (which showed it
was no ofspring of any vulgar braine) utterly rejected it." And Burre
goes on to say in his Dedication of the quarto to Maister Robert
Keysar:--"for want of acceptance it was even ready to give up the Ghost,
and was in danger to have bene smothered in perpetuall oblivion, if you
(out of your direct antipathy to ingratitude) had not bene moved both to
relieve and cherish it: wherein I must needs commend both your
judgement, understanding, and singular love to good wits."

The rest of this Dedication is of great interest as bearing upon the
date of the composition of the play; but it has been entirely
misconstrued or else it gives us false information. That matter I shall
discuss in connection with the sources and composition of the play.[51]
Suffice it to say here that _The Knight_ followed _The Travails of Three
English Brothers_, acted. June 29, 1607, and that the Robert Keysar who
rescued the manuscript of _The Knight_ from oblivion had, only in 1606
or 1607, acquired a financial interest in the Queen's Revels' Children,
and was backing them during the last year of their occupancy of
Blackfriars when they presented the play, and where only it was
presented.

In the same year, 1607, both young men are writing commendatory verses
for the first quarto of Ben Jonson's _Volpone_, which had been acted in
1605. Beaumont, with the confidence of intimacy, addresses Jonson as
"Dear Friend," praises his "even work," deplores its failure with the
many who "nothing can digest, but what's obscene, or barks," and implies
that he forbears to make them understand its merits purely in deference
to Jonson's wiser judgment,--

                             I would have shewn
    To all the world the art which thou alone
    Hast taught our tongue, the rules of time, of place
    And other rites, deliver'd with the grace
    Of comic style, which only is far more
    Than any English stage hath known before.
    But since our subtle gallants think it good
    To like of nought that may be understood ...
                      ... let us desire
    They may continue, simply to admire
    Fine clothes and strange words,

and offensive personalities.

Fletcher in a more epigrammatic appeal to "The true master in his art,
B. Jonson," prays him to forgive friends and foes alike, and then, those
"who are nor worthy to be friends or foes."

       *       *       *       *       *

Concerning Fletcher's beginnings in composition the earliest date is
suggested by a line of D'Avenant's, written many years after Fletcher's
death (1625), "full twenty years he wore the bays."[52] It has been
conjectured by some that the elder of our dramatists was in the field as
early as 1604, with his comedy of _The Woman's Prize_ or _The Tamer
Tamed_,--a well contrived and witty continuation of Shakespeare's
_Taming of the Shrew_,--in which Maria, a cousin of Shakespeare's
Katherine, now deceased, marries the bereaved Petruchio and effectively
turns the tables upon him. If acted before 1607, _The Woman's Prize_ was
a Paul's Boys' or Queen's Revels' play. But while the upper limit of the
play is fixed by the mention of the siege of Ostend, 1604, other
references and the literary style point to 1610, even to 1614, as the
date of composition or revision.[53]

It is likely that Fletcher was writing plays before 1608, but what we do
not know. In that year was acted the pastoral drama of _The Faithfull
Shepheardesse_, a composition entirely his own. This delicate confection
of sensual desire, ideal love, translunar chastity, and subacid cynicism
regarding "all ideas of chastity whatever,"[54] was an experiment; and a
failure upon the stage. It has, as I shall later emphasize, lyric and
descriptive charm of surpassing merit, but it lacks, as does most of
Fletcher's work, moral depth and emotional reality; and following, as it
did, a literary convention in design, it could not avail itself of the
skill in dramatic device, and the racy flavour which a little later
characterized his _Monsieur Thomas_. The date of its first performance
is determined by the combined authority of the Stationers' Registers
(from which we learn that the publishers of the first quarto, undated,
but undoubtedly of 1609,[55] were in unassisted partnership only from
December 22, 1608 to July 20, 1609), of a statement of Jonson to
Drummond of Hawthornden that the play was written "ten years" before
1618, and of commendatory verses to the first quarto of 1609, by the
young actor-dramatist, Nathaniel Field. If we may guide our calculations
by the plague regulations of the time, it must have been acted before
July 28, 1608.

On the appearance of the first quarto, in 1609, Jonson sympathizing with
"the worthy author," on the ill reception of the pastoral when first
performed, says:

    I, that am glad thy innocence was their guilt,

  for the rabble found not there the "vices, which they look'd for,"
  I--

    Do crown thy murder'd poem; which shall rise
    A glorified work to time, when fire
    Or moths shall eat what all these fools admire.

And Francis Beaumont writing to "my friend, Master John Fletcher" speaks
of his "undoubted wit," and "art," and rejoices that, if they should
condemn the play now that it is printed,

    Your censurers must have the quality
    Of reading, which I am afraid is more
    Than half your shrewdest judges had before.

In the first quarto two commendatory poems are printed, the first by N.
F., the second by the Homeric scholar and well known dramatist, George
Chapman. The latter writes "to his loving friend, Master John Fletcher,"
in terms of generous encouragement and glowing charm. Your pastoral,
says he, is "a poem and a play, too,"--

                                      But because
    Your poem only hath by us applause,
    Renews the golden world, and holds through all
    The holy laws of homely pastoral,
    Where flowers and founts, and nymphs and semi-gods,
    And all the Graces find their old abodes,
    Where forests flourish but in endless verse,
    And meadows nothing fit for purchasers;
    This iron age, that eats itself, will never
    Bite at your golden world; that other's ever
    Lov'd as itself. Then like your book, do you
    Live in old peace, and that for praise allow.

If Jonson, Chapman, and Beaumont suspected the undercurrent of satire in
this Pastoral, and they surely were not obtuse, they concealed the
suspicion admirably. As for Fletcher he continued to "live in old
peace." "When his faire Shepheardesse on the guilty stage, Was martir'd
between Ignorance and Rage.... Hee only as if unconcernèd smil'd." An
attitude toward the public that characterized him all through life.

The admiration of younger men is shown in the respectful commendation of
N. F. This is Nathaniel Field. He was acting with the Blackfriars' Boys
since the days when Jonson presented _Cynthia's Revels_, and, as one of
the Queen's Revels' Children, he had probably taken part in _The
Faithfull Shepheardesse_ when the undiscerning public hissed it. Field
came of good family, had been one of Mulcaster's pupils at the Merchant
Taylors' School, and was beloved by Chapman and Jonson. He was then but
twenty-two,--about three years younger than Fletcher's friend,
Beaumont,--but for nine years gone he had been recognized as a genius
among boy-actors. That the verses of so young a man should be accepted,
and coupled with those of the thunder-girt Chapman, was to him a great
and unexpected honour; and the youth expresses prettily his pride in
being published by his "lov'd friend" in such distinguished literary
company,--

    Can my approovement, sir, be worth your thankes,
    Whose unknowne name, and Muse in swathing clowtes,
    Is not yet growne to strength, among these rankes
    To have a roome?

Now he is planning to write dramas himself; and it is pleasant to note
with what modesty he touches upon the project:

    But I must justifie what privately
    I censur'd to you, my ambition is
    (Even by my hopes and love to Poesie)
    To live to perfect such a worke as this,
    Clad in such elegant proprietie
    Of words, including a morallitie,[56]
    So sweete and profitable.

He is alluding to his not yet finished comedy, _A Woman is a
Weather-cocke_. The youth must have been close to Beaumont as well as to
Fletcher; he soon afterwards, 1609-10, played the leading part in their
_Coxcombe_,--which, I think, was the earliest work planned and written
by them in collaboration; and when, a little later, his own first comedy
was acted by the Queen's Revels' Children no auditor of literary ear
could have failed to detect, amid the manifest echoes of Chapman,
Jonson, and Shakespeare, the flattering resemblance in diction, rhythm,
and poetic fancy to the most characteristic features of Beaumont's
style. This is very interesting, because in another dramatic composition
_Foure Playes in One_, written in part by Fletcher, certain portions
have so close a likeness to Beaumont's work, that until lately they have
been mistakenly attributed to that poet and assigned to this early
period of his career. The portions of _The Foure Playes_ not written by
Fletcher were written by no other than Nat. Field. And since in Field's
_Address to the Reader_ of the _Weather-cocke_, licensed for publication
November 23, 1611, he still speaks as if the _Weather-cocke_ were his
only venture in play-writing, we may conclude that _The Foure Playes in
One_ was not put together before the end of 1611, or the beginning of
1612. That series need not, therefore, be considered in the present
place; all the more so, since Beaumont had in all probability nothing
directly to do with its composition.[57]

Of the other dramas written by Fletcher alone and assigned by critics to
his earlier period, that is to say before 1610, or even 1611, the only
one beside _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_ that may with any degree of
safety be admitted to consideration is a comedy of romance, manners, and
humours, _Monsieur Thomas_. The romance is a delightful story of
self-abnegating love. The father, Valentine, and the son Francisco,
supposed to have been drowned long ago, and now known (if the texts had
only printed the play as Fletcher wrote it) as Callidon, a guest of
Valentine, love the same girl, the father's ward. This part of the play
is executed with captivating grace. It shows that Fletcher had, from the
first, an instinct for the dramatic handling of a complicated story, an
eye for delicate and surprising situations, an appreciation of chivalric
honour and genuine passion, and a fancy fertile and playful. In the
subplot the manners are such as would appeal to a Fletcher not yet
thirty years of age; and the humours are those of a student of the
earlier plays of Ben Jonson, and of Marston--who ceased writing in 1607.
It has indeed been asserted, but without much credibility, that "the
notion of the panerotic Hylas," who must always "be courting wenches
through key-holes," was taken from a character in Marston's
_Parasitaster_, of 1606.[58] The name of this Captain, Hylas, was in the
mouth of Fletcher in those early days; he uses it again in his part of
the _Philaster_, written in 1609 or 1610, and elsewhere. The snatches of
song and the names of ballads are those of contemporary popularity
between 1606 and 1609; and in two instances they are those of which
Beaumont makes use in his _Knight of the Burning Pestle_ of 1607. The
play was acted, too, apparently by the same company, the Queen's
Revels' Children, and in the same house as was Beaumont's. It could not
have been played by them at "the Private House in Black Fryers" later
than March 1608, unless they squeezed it into that last month of 1609
which serves as a telescope basket for so many of the plays which
critics cannot satisfactorily date.

For my present purpose, which is to show how Fletcher, not assisted by
Beaumont, wrote during his youth, it makes little difference whether
_Monsieur Thomas_ was written as early as 1608 or only before 1611. The
fact is, however, that a line in the last scene, "Take her, Francisco,
now no more young Callidon," shows clearly that Callidon, a name not
occurring elsewhere in the play, and necessary to the dramatic
complication, had been used by Fletcher in his first version; and when
we put the names Callidon and Cellidée together (she is Francisco's
belovèd) we are pointed at once to the source of the romantic plot--the
_Histoire de Celidée, Thamyre, et Calidon_ at the beginning of the
Second Part of the _Astrée_ of the Marquis D'Urfé.[59] The First Part of
this voluminous pastoral romance had been published, probably in 1609,
in an edition which is lost; but a second edition, dedicated to Henri
IV, who died May 14, 1610, appeared that year. Some of Fletcher's
inspiration, as for the name and general characteristic of Hylas, was
drawn from the First Part. The Second Part was not printed till later
in 1610. It would, therefore, appear that Fletcher could not have
written _Monsieur Thomas_ before the latter date. On the other hand, as
Dr. Upham[60] has indicated, the _Astrée_ had been read as early as
February 12, 1607, by Ben Jonson's friend, William Drummond, who, on
that day, writes about it critically to Sir George Keith. If the First
Part had been circulated in manuscript, and read by an Englishman, in
1607, it is not at all unlikely that the Second Part, too, of this most
leisurely published romance, which did not get itself all into covers
till 1647, had been read in manuscript by many men, French and English,
long before its appearance in print, 1610;--may be by Fletcher himself,
as early as 1608. Or he may have heard the story, as early as that, from
some one who had read it. The fact that he alters some of the names,
follows the plot but loosely, characterizes the personages not at all as
if he had the original before him, and uses none of their diction, would
favour the supposition that he is writing from hearsay, or from some
second hand and condensed version of the story.

No matter what the exact date of composition, _Monsieur Thomas_ is the
one play beside _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_ from which we may draw
conclusions concerning the native tendencies of the young Fletcher. The
subplot of Thomas, concocted with clever ease, and furnished with varied
devices appropriate to comic effect--disguisings, mouse-traps, dupers
duped, street-frolics and mock sentimental serenades, scaling-ladders,
convents, and a blackamoor girl for a decoy-duck,--is conceived in a
rollicking spirit and executed in sprightly conversational style. Sir
Adolphus Ward says that "as a picture of manners it is excelled by few
other Elizabethan comedies." I am sorry that I cannot agree; I call it
low, or farcical comedy; and though the 'manners' be briskly and
realistically imagined, I question their contemporary actuality,--even
their dramatic probability. Amusing scapegraces like the hero of the
title-part have existed in all periods of history; and fathers, who will
not have their sons mollycoddles; and squires of dames, like the
susceptible Hylas. But manners, to be dramatically probable, must
reflect the contacts of possible characters in a definite period. And no
one can maintain that the contact of these persons with the women of the
play is characterized by possibility. Or that these manners could, even
in the beginning of James I's reign, have characterized a perceptible
percentage of actual Londoners. Thomas, whose humour it is to assume
sanctimony for the purpose of vexing his father, and blasphemy for the
purpose of teasing his sweetheart--racking that "maiden's tender ears
with damns and devils,"--is no more grotesque than many a contemporary
embodiment of 'humour.' But what of his contacts with the "charming"
Mary who "daily hopes his fair conversion," and has "a credit," and
"loves where her modesty may live untainted"; and, then, that she may
"laugh an hour" admits him to her bed-chamber, having substituted for
herself a negro wench? And what of the contacts with his equally
"modest" sister, Dorothy, who not only talks smut with him and with the
"charming" Mary, but deems his fornication "fine sport" and would act
it if she were a man? I fear that much reading of decadent drama
sometimes impairs the critical perception. In making allowance for what
masquerades as historical probability one frequently accepts human
improbabilities, and condones what should be condemned--even from the
dramatic point of view. I have found it so in my own case. With all its
picaresque quality, its jovial 'humours' and its racy fun, this play is
sheer stage-rubbish: it has no basis in the general life of the class it
purports to represent, no basis in actual manners, nor in likelihood or
poetry. Its basis is in the uncritical and, to say the least,
irresponsible taste of a theatre-going Rump which enjoyed the spurious
localization, and attribution to others, of the imaginings of its own
heart.

The characters are well grouped; and the spirit of merriment prevails.
The reversals of motive and fortune, the recognitions and the dénouement
are as excellently and puerilely absurd as could be desired of such an
amalgam of romance and farcical intrigue. Richard Brome, writing in
praise of the author for the quarto of 1639, implies that the play was
not well received at its "first presenting,"--"when Ignorance was judge,
and but a few What was legitimate, what bastard knew." That first
presenting was between 1608 and 1612; and the few might have cared more
for Jonson's _Every Man in his Humour_ or _Volpone_, or something by
Shakespeare, or soon afterwards for Beaumont and Fletcher's _Philaster_
or _A King and No King_. But, as Brome assures us, "the world's grown
wiser now." That is to say, it had learned by 1639 "what was
legitimate," and could believe that in Fletcher's _Monsieur Thomas_ and
the like, "the Muses jointly did inspire His raptures only with their
sacred fire." But even as transmogrified by D'Urfey and others the play
did not survive its century.

No better example could be afforded of the kind of comedy that Fletcher
was capable of producing in his earlier period. It shows us with what
ability he could dramatize a romantic tale; with what license as a
realist imagine and portray an unmoral, when not immoral, semblance of
contemporary life. That was either before Beaumont had joined forces
with him; or when Beaumont was not pruning his fancy; was not hanging
"plummets" on his wit "to suppress Its too luxuriant-growing
mightiness," nor persuading him that mirth might subsist "untainted with
obscenity," and "strength and sweetness" and "high choice of brain" be
"couched in every line." I am not claiming too much for Beaumont. In his
later work as in his earlier there is the frank animalism, at times, of
Elizabethan blood and humour; but one may search in vain his parts of
the joint-plays as well as his youthful _Knight of the Burning Pestle_
and those portions of _The Woman-Hater_ which Fletcher did not touch,
for the Jacobean salaciousness of Fletcher's _Monsieur Thomas_ and the
carnal cynicism which lurks beneath the pastoral garb of innocence even
in _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_;--characteristics that find utterance
again, untrammeled, in the dramas written after the younger poet was
dead,--and Fletcher could no longer, as in those earlier days,

                    wisely submit each birth
    To knowing Beaumont e're it did come forth,
    Working againe untill _he_ said 'twas fit;
    And make him the sobriety of his wit.[61]

During the years of Beaumont's apprenticeship to Poetry cloaked as Law
things had changed but little in his world of the Inner Temple. In its
parliament, Sir Edward Coke, judicial, intrepid, and devout is still
most potent. The chamber, lodging, and rooms which his father, Mr.
Justice Beaumont, and his uncle Henry had built and occupied near to Ram
Alley in the north end of Fuller's Rents are still held by Richard
Daveys, who as Treasurer moved into them in 1601. Dr. Richard Masters is
still Master of the Temple; and in the church, where Francis was obliged
to receive the Sacrament at stated times, he, sitting perhaps by his
uncle Henry's tomb, would hear the assistant ministers, Richard Evans
and William Crashaw. The sacred place was still the refuge of outlaws
from Whitefriars who claimed the privilege of sanctuary. If Beaumont
wished to steal, after hours, into the Alsatia beyond Fuller's Rents, he
must skirt or propitiate in 1607 as in 1602 the same Cerberus at the
gates,--William Knight, the glover. Outside awaited him the hospitality
of the Mitre Inn, or of Barrow at the "Cat and Fiddle," or of the
slovenly Anthony Gibbes in his cook's shop of Ram Alley.[62]


FOOTNOTES:

[46] The King's letter to Salisbury (undated, but of 1608). Gardiner,
_Hist. Engl._ 1603-1642, II, 43-45.

[47] This much more distinguished favour has been overlooked by
Thorndike and other critics. But it is possible that Shaw, _Knights of
England_, I, 154, may be confounding him with another Carr, a
favourite of Queen Anne's.

[48] Dyce, _B. and F._, Vol. I, p. 53.

[49] Act IV, 14, 50-54.

[50] _Cf._, Lazarillo's _Farewells_, Act III, 3.

[51] See Chap. XXIV, below.

[52] Prologue, for a revival, in 1649, of _The Woman-Hater_, which
D'Avenant mistakenly attributes to Fletcher.

[53] Reasons for dating an earlier version of the play about 1604 are
given by Oliphant, _Engl. Studien_, XV, 338-339, and Thorndike, _Infl.
of B. and F._, 70-71. In its present form, however, the play dates
later than Jonson's _Epicoene_, 1610. See Gayley, _Rep. Eng. Com._,
III, _Introd._, § 15.

[54] I heartily concur with W. W. Greg's interpretation, _Pastoral
Poetry and Pastoral Drama_, p. 274.

[55] See Fleay, _Chron. Eng. Dr._, I, 312, and Thorndike, _Infl. of B.
and F._, 64.

[56] Folio, 1647, 'mortallitie'; a misprint.

[57] See Chap. XXIII, below.

[58] See Guskar, _Anglia_, XXVIII, XXIX.

[59] Stiefel, _Zeitschr. f. Vergl. Litt._, XII (1898), 248; _Engl.
Stud._, XXXVI; Hatcher, _Anglia_, Feb. 1907; and Macaulay, _C. H. L._,
VI, 156.

[60] _French Influence in English Literature_, pp. 300, 308.

[61] Adapted from Cartwright in the _Commendatory Poems_, Folio of _B.
and F._, 1647.

[62] Details in Inderwick, _op. cit._, Vols. I and II, passim.



CHAPTER VII

THE "BANKE-SIDE" AND THE PERIOD OF THE PARTNERSHIP


As we shall presently see, Beaumont during his career in London retained
his connection with the Inner Temple, which would be his club; and it
may be presumed that up to 1606 or 1607, his residence alternated
between the Temple and his brother's home of Grace-Dieu. About 1609,
however, he was surely collaborating with his friend, Fletcher, in the
composition of plays. And we may conjecture that, in that or the
previous year, our Castor and Pollux were established in those historic
lodgings in Southwark where, as Aubrey, writing more than half a century
later, tells us, they lived in closest intimacy. That gossipy chronicler
records the obvious in his "there was a wonderfull consimility of
phansey between him [Beaumont] and Mr. Jo. Fletcher, which caused that
dearnesse of friendship between them";[63] but when he proceeds "They
lived together on the Banke-side, not far from the Play-house, both
batchelors; lay together (from Sir James Hales, etc.); had one wench in
the house between them, which they did so admire, the same cloaths and
cloake, etc., between them," we feel that so far as inferences are
concerned the account is to be taken with at least a morsel of reserve.
Aubrey was not born till after both Beaumont and Fletcher were dead;
and, as Dyce pertinently remarks, "perhaps Aubrey's informant (Sir James
Hales) knowing his ready credulity, purposely overcharged the picture of
our poets' domestic establishment." To inquire too closely into gossip
were folly; but it is only fair to recall that sixty years after
Fletcher's death, popular tradition was content with conferring the
"wench," exclusively upon him. Oldwit, in Shadwell's play of _Bury-Fair_
(1689) says: "I myself, simple as I stand here, was a wit in the last
age. I was created Ben Jonson's son, in the Apollo. I knew Fletcher, my
friend Fletcher, and his maid Joan; well, I shall never forget him: I
have supped with him at his house on the Banke-side; he loved a fat loin
of pork of all things in the world; and Joan his maid had her beer-glass
of sack; and we all kissed her, i' faith, and were as merry as
passed."[64] It is hardly necessary, in any case, to surmise with those
who sniff up improprieties that the admirable services of the original
"wench," whether Joan or another, far exceeded the roasting of pork and
the burning of sack for her two "batchelors."

To the years 1609 and 1610 may be assigned with some show of confidence
Beaumont and Fletcher's first significant romantic dramas _The Coxcombe_
and _Philaster_. The former was acted by the Children of her Majesty's
Revels, I think before July 12, 1610. If at Blackfriars, before January
4, 1610; if at Whitefriars, after January 4. There are grounds for
believing that it was the play upon which Fletcher and Beaumont were
engaged in the country when Beaumont wrote a letter, justly famous,
probably toward the end of 1609, to Ben Jonson; and, since the play was
not well received, that it was one of the unsuccessful comedies which as
Dryden says preceded _Philaster_. _Philaster_ was acted at the Globe and
Blackfriars by the King's Men, for the first time, it would appear,
between December 7, 1609 and July 12, 1610. My reasons in detail for
thus dating both of these dramas are given later. But a word about the
_Letter to Ben Jonson_ may be said here.

[Illustration: THE TEMPLE
From Ralph Agas's Map of London, about 1561]

It was first printed at the end of a play called _The Nice Valour_ in
the folio of 1647. Owing to a careless acceptance of the rubric prefixed
to it by the publishers of that folio, historians have ordinarily dated
its composition at too early a period. The poem itself mentions
"Sutcliffe's wit," referring to three controversial tracts of the Dean
of Exeter, printed in 1606; but Beaumont might jibe at the Dean's
expense for years after 1606. The rubic inscribed a generation after the
death of both our dramatists, and therefore of but secondary importance,
tells us that the _Letter_ was "written, before he [Beaumont] and Master
Fletcher came to London, with two of the precedent comedies, then not
finish'd, which deferr'd their merry meetings at the Mermaid." We know
that the young men had been in London for years before 1606. If the
rubric has any meaning whatever, it is merely that the customary
convivialities at the Mermaid, as described in the _Letter_, had been
interrupted by a visit to the country during which they were finishing
two of the comedies which precede _The Nice Valour_ in the folio; and it
indicates a date not earlier than 1608, for the writing of the letter,
and probably not later than July 1610. For only three of the fifteen
plays which appear in the folio before _The Nice Valour_ could have been
completed during the career of Beaumont as a dramatist, and none of the
three antedates 1608. In two of these Beaumont had no hand: _The
Captaine_, which may have been composed as late as 1611, and _Beggars'
Bush_,[65] which shows the collaboration of Massinger, but Fletcher's
part of which may have been written in 1608. The only one of the
"precedent comedies" in which we may be sure that Beaumont collaborated
is _The Coxcombe_. If, as I believe, it was acted first between December
1609 and July 1610[66] it may well have been written in the country
during the latter half of 1609, while the plague rate was exceptionally
high in London. Both _Beggars' Bush_ and _The Coxcombe_ abound in rural
scenes; but the latter especially, in scenes that might have been
suggested by Grace-Dieu and its neighborhood.

The rubric prefixed to the _Letter_ by the publishers is of negligible
authority. The 'me' and 'us' of the _Letter_ itself do not necessarily
designate Fletcher as the companion of Beaumont's rustication: they
stand at one time for country-folk; at another for the Mermaid circle,
Jonson, Chapman, Fletcher, probably Shakespeare, Drayton, Cotton, Donne,
Hugh Holland, Tom Coryate, Richard Martin, Selden (of Beaumont's Inner
Temple), and other famous wits and poets; at another for Jonson and
Beaumont alone. The date of the poem must be determined from internal
evidence. It is written with the careless ease of long-standing
intimacy. It is of a genial, jocose, and fairly mature, epistolary
style. It betrays the literary assurance of one whose reputation is
already established. Beaumont is in temporary banishment from London,
for lack of funds--therefore, considerably later than 1606, when he was
presumably well off; for in that year he had just come into a quarter of
his brother, Sir Henry's, private estate. He longs now for the stimulus
of the merry meetings in Bread-street, as one whose wit has been
sharpened by them for a long time past:

    Methinks the little wit I had is lost
    Since I saw you; for Wit is like a Rest
    Held up at Tennis, which men do the best
    With the best gamesters; ...

up here in Leicestershire "The Countrey Gentlemen begin to allow My wit
for dry bobs." "In this warm shine" of our hay-making season, soberly
deferring to country knights, listening to hoary family-jests, drinking
water mixed with claret-lees, "I lye and dream of your full Mermaid
Wine":

          What things have we seen
    Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been
    So nimble, and so full of subtill flame,
    As if that every one from whence they came
    Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,
    And had resolv'd to live a foole, the rest
    Of his dull life. Then, when there hath been thrown
    Wit able enough to justifie the Town
    For three daies past,--wit that might warrant be
    For the whole City to talk foolishly
    Till that were cancell'd,--and, when that was gone,
    We left an Aire behind us, which alone
    Was able to make the two next Companies
    Right witty; though but downright fooles, more wise.

When he remembers all this, he "needs must cry," but one thought of Ben
Jonson cheers him:

    Only strong Destiny, which all controuls,
    I hope hath left a better fate in store
    For me thy friend, than to live ever poore,
    Banisht unto this home. Fate once againe
    Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and plaine
    The way of Knowledge for me, and then I,
    Who have no good but in thy company
    Protest it will my greatest comfort be
    To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee.
    Ben, when these Scaenes are perfect, we'll taste wine;
    I'll drink thy Muses health, thou shalt quaff mine.

The _Letter_ was written after Beaumont's Muse had produced something
worthy of a toast from Jonson,--the _Woman-Hater_ and the _Knight_, for
instance (both marked by wit and by the discipline of Jonson); but not
later than the end of 1612, for during most of 1613 Jonson was traveling
in France as governor to Sir Walter Raleigh's "knavishly inclined" son;
and after February of that year Beaumont wrote so far as I venture to
conclude but one drama, _The Scornful Ladie_; and that does not precede
this _Letter_ in the folio of 1647; is not printed in that folio at all.
Nor was this _Letter_ of a disciple written later than the great
Beaumont-Fletcher plays of 1610-1611, for then Jonson was praising
Beaumont for "writing better" than he himself. If there is any truth at
all in the rubric to the _Letter_, the "scenes" of which Beaumont speaks
as not yet "perfect" were of _The Coxcombe_; and evidence which I shall,
in the proper place, adduce convinces me that that was first acted
before March 25, 1610, perhaps before January 4. The play would, then,
have been written about the end of 1609.

I do not wonder that, as the Prologue in the first folio tells us, it
was "condemned by the ignorant multitude," not only because of its
length, a fault removed in the editions which we possess, but because
the larger part of the play is written by Fletcher, and in his most
inartistic, and irrational, licentious vein. Beaumont, though admitted
to the partnership, had not yet succeeded in hanging "plummets" on his
friend's luxuriance. He contented himself with contributing to a theme
of Boccaccian cuckoldry the subplot of how Ricardo, drunk, loses his
betrothed, and finds her again and is forgiven,--a little story that
contains all the poignancy of sorrow and poppy of romance and poetry of
innocence that make the comedy readable and tolerable.

As to the first production of the _Philaster_ a word must be said here,
because the event marks the earliest association, concerning which we
have any assurance, of the young dramatists with Shakespeare. Until
about 1609 they appear to have written for the Paul's Boys, who acted,
probably in their singing-school, until 1607; and for the Queen's
Revels' Children who, under various managements, had been occupying
Richard Burbadge's theatre of Blackfriars since 1597. Their association
with the Paul's Boys would of itself have brought them into touch with
other Paul's dramatists, Dekker, Webster, Middleton, and Chapman. In
their association with the Queen's Revels' Children they had been thrown
closely together with Chapman again, with Jonson, and with John Day, all
of whom wrote for Blackfriars; and with Marston, who not only wrote
plays for the Children but had a financial interest in the company. Some
of these dramatists,--Jonson, for instance, and Webster,--had
occasionally written for Shakespeare's company during these years; but
we have no proof that Beaumont and Fletcher had any connection with the
King's Players of Shakespeare's company, as long as the Children's
companies continued in their usual course at St. Paul's singing-school
and Blackfriars. After 1606, however, the Paul's Boys were on the wane.
Perhaps they are to be indentified with the new Children of the King's
Revels, and an occupancy of Whitefriars, in 1607; but that clue soon
disappears. And as to the Queen's Revels' Children, we find that in
April 1608 they were suppressed for ridiculing royalty upon the
stage.[67] Their manager, Henry Evans, to whom with three others Richard
Burbadge had let Blackfriars in 1600, now sought to be set free from
the contract; and in August 1608, the Burbadges (Richard and Cuthbert),
Shakespeare, Heming, Condell, and Slye of the King's Company, took over
the lease which still had many years to run.[68] Shakespeare's company
had been acting at the Burbadges' theatre of the Globe since 1599,--as
the Lord Chamberlain's till 1603; after that, as his Majesty's Servants.
Now Shakespeare's company took charge of Blackfriars, as well; and,
under their management, for about a month between December 7, 1609 and
January 4, 1610 the Queen's Revels' Children, being reinstated in royal
favour, resumed their acting at Blackfriars. On the latter date, the
Children as reorganized, opened at Whitefriars under the management of
Philip Rossiter and others; and among the first plays presented by them,
there, were Jonson's _Epicoene_ and, I believe, Beaumont and Fletcher's
_The Coxcombe_.

But, in the process of readjustment at Blackfriars, our young partners
in dramatic production must have been drawn into professional
relationship with the members of Shakespeare's company and undoubtedly
with Shakespeare himself. From the first quarto of _Philaster, or Love
Lies a-Bleeding_, published in 1620, we learn that this, the earliest of
their great tragicomedies, was acted not by the Queen's Revels'
Children, but by the King's Players, and at the Globe. From the second
quarto, of 1622, we learn that it was acted also at Blackfriars: it may
indeed have been first presented there. Our earliest record of the play
shows that it was in existence before October 8, 1610. _The Scourge of
Folly_ by John Davies of Hereford, entered for publication on that date,
contains an epigram to "the well deserving Mr. John Fletcher," which
runs--

    _Love lies a-Bleeding_, if it should not prove
    Her utmost art to show why it doth love.
    Thou being the _Subject_ (now), It raignes upon,
    Raign'st in _Arte, Judgement, and Invention:_
      _For this I love thee; and can doe no lesse_
      _For thine as faire, as faithfull_ Sheepheardesse.

Since there is nothing in _Philaster, or Love Lies a-Bleeding_, to
indicate a date of composition earlier than 1608, and since this is the
first of Beaumont and Fletcher's dramas to be performed by Shakespeare's
company, we may be fairly certain that the performance followed the
readjustment of affairs between the Globe and Blackfriars in August of
that year. Now, there had been regulations for years past of the City
authorities and the Privy Council in accordance with which theatre in
the City proper and the suburbs of Surrey and Middlesex were closed
whenever the number of deaths by plague exceeded a certain limit per
week. In and after 1608 this limit was set at forty; and it is probable
that, in accordance with a still older regulation, the ban was not
lifted until it was evident that the decrease in deaths was more than
temporary.[69] That actors sometimes performed at Court while the plague
rate was still prohibitive in and about the City, does not by any means
justify us in assuming that they were ever allowed at such times to play
in theatres thronged by the public.[70] Between August 8, 1608 and
October 8, 1610, the only continuous period in which plays might have
been presented by Shakespeare's company at the Globe or Blackfriars,
without violating the plague law, was from December 7, 1609 to July 12,
1610; and we therefore conclude that it was during those months that
Beaumont and Fletcher's _Philaster_ was first acted. The only other
abatement of the plague that might have given promise of continuance was
between March 2 and 23, 1609; but on March 9 the rate of deaths rose
again above forty, and it is not likely that the authorities would have
permitted the theatres to resume operations during those three
weeks.[71]

[Illustration: THE GLOBE THEATRE, WITH ST. PAUL'S IN THE BACKGROUND
From Vischer's long view of London, 1616]

With _Philaster_ Beaumont and Fletcher leaped into the foremost rank as
dramatists. I have so much to say of this tragicomedy in my discussion
of the authorship of its successive scenes, that but a word may here be
said concerning the reasons for its success. Hitherto, practically
Shakespeare alone had written for the King's Servants romantic comedies
of a serious cast; and they were generally based upon some well-known
story. Here was a comedy of serious kind with a romantic and original
plot, by authors comparatively new to the general public, written in a
style refreshingly unhackneyed, and played in the best theatres and by
the best company that London possessed. The Hamlet-like hero seeking his
kingdom and his princess--the daughter of the usurper--and, through
misunderstandings and misadventures, tragic apprehensions, swiftly
succeeding crises, bloodshed, riot, and surprising reversals of fortune,
attaining both birth-right and love; the pathetic innocence and nobly
futile devotion of his girl-page; the triangular affair of the
affections; the humour of the secondary characters; the allurements of
spectacle and masque; the atmosphere of the palace, heroic,--of the
country, idyllic,--of Mile-end and its roarers of the borough, somewhat
burlesque,--the diapason of the poetry from bourdon to flute,--all
combined to win immediate and long continuing favour, both of the City
and the Court. Beaumont had, here, become to some extent "the sobriety
of Fletcher's wit"; he had restrained "his quick free will,"--not,
however, so much by pruning what Fletcher wrote as by admitting him to
but one-quarter of the composition. Something of the intrigue, the
bustle, the spectacle, the easy conversation are Fletcher's; and his,
such sexual vulgarity--very little--as stamps a scene or two. The rest
is Beaumont's. As in the two great romantic dramas which followed, and
in Beaumont's subplot of _The Coxcombe_, the story is of the authors'
own invention. It is not necessary to trace the girl-page and her
devotion to the Diana of Montemayor, or to Bandello, or even to Sidney's
_Arcadia_. The girl-page was a commonplace of fiction at the time; and
the differences in the conduct of this part of the story are greater
than the resemblances to any one of those sources. Much more evidently
is the devoted Euphrasia-Bellario a younger sister of Shakespeare's
Viola. But, in general, external influences bear upon details of
character, situation, and device, not upon the construction of the play
as a whole.

Toward the end of 1610 or early in 1611, the partner-dramatists gave
Shakespeare's company another play,--in many respects their
greatest,--_The Maides Tragedy_. Here, again, the novelty of the plot
attracted, in a degree heightened even beyond that of _Philaster_. The
terrible dilemma of the duped husband between allegiance to the King who
has wronged him and assertion of his marital honour, the astounding
effrontery of his adulterous wife, her gradual acquirement of a soul and
her attempted expiation of lust by murder, the mingled nobility and
unreason of her brother and her husband, and the pathetic devotion and
self-provoked death of the hero's deserted sweetheart, will be
sufficiently discussed elsewhere. This was the highly seasoned fare that
the Jacobean public desiderated, served in courses, if not more novel,
at any rate of more startling variety than even Shakespeare had
offered--whose devices, restrained within limit, these young dramatists
were exaggerating to the _n_-th degree. As four-fifths of the
composition of this tragedy was Beaumont's, so, too, we may be sure,
four-fifths of the conception and invention of the plot.[72] I have
remarked, incidentally, that none of the great Beaumont-Fletcher plots
is borrowed. Nearly every play, on the other hand, which Fletcher
contrived alone, or in company with others than Beaumont, borrows its
plot, major and minor, from some well known source, classical,
historical, French, Spanish, or Italian. Mr. G. C. Macaulay states the
bare truth, when he says that "in constructive faculty, at least,
Beaumont was markedly superior to his colleague." Here there are traces,
indeed, of external suggestion: something of Aspatia's career in
relation to Amintor, who has deserted her, may be an echo of Parthenia's
in the _Arcadia_; and the quarrel of Melantius and Amintor reminds one
of that between Brutus and Cassius in _Julius Cæsar_; but the plot has
no definite source.

The characterization and the poetry, "the strength and sweetness, and
high choice of brain" are Beaumont's; so, too, the marvelous subtlety of
dramatic device. Save in that one-fifth to which Fletcher was admitted.
There Fletcher, in beauty and in tragic power, is giving us the best
that he has so far produced: over-histrionic, to be sure, but of
victorious excellence. And that one-fifth, for the first and almost only
time in Fletcher's career as a dramatist is "untainted by obscenity."

In an anecdote preserved by Fuller, who was seventeen years of age when
Fletcher died, we may fancy that we catch a glimpse of our bachelors at
work upon this very play. The dramatists "meeting once in a Tavern to
contrive the rude draught of a Tragedy, Fletcher undertook to _Kill the
King_ therein; whose words being overheard by a listener (though his
Loyalty not to be blamed herein) he was accused of high Treason, till
the mistake soon appearing, that the plot was only against a Drammatick
and Scenical King, all wound off in merriment."[73] History and fable
have fastened similar stories upon famous men; but if this one is
authentic it undoubtedly refers to the writing of _The Maides Tragedy_,
for, as we shall see, the killing of its King was one of the few scenes
contributed by Fletcher. And the story adds colour to the ridicule which
Beaumont in 1607 had heaped upon the intelligencer that lives in
ale-houses and taverns; ... "and brings informations picked out of
broken words in men's common talk."

The connection thus formed with Shakespeare's company was continued by
Beaumont, at any rate, until 1612, and by Fletcher as long as he lived.
Before the end of 1611 the King's Players had presented to the public
the last of this trio of dramatic masterpieces, _A King and No King_. In
terrible fascination, this story of a man and woman struggling against
love because they think they are brother and sister is as powerful as
_The Maides Tragedy_. In poetry and in characterization, as well as in
humour, it is grander than _Philaster_. But in beauty and pathos its
subject did not permit it to equal either; and in dénouement, tragicomic
and perforce somewhat strained, it is surpassed by the _Tragedy_. Of its
defects as well as merits, I have so much to say later, that I must
refrain now. The plot is as striking an example of constructive
invention as those that had preceded. Some of the names are to be found
in Xenophon's _Cyropædeia_ (Books III-VI) and in Herodotus (Book VII);
and hints for situation and characterization may have been derived from
these sources, and the passion of Arbaces for his supposed sister from
Fauchet's account of Thierry of France,--but such indebtedness is
naught.[74] Three-quarters of the play is Beaumont's; and that large
portion includes the majestic passion and conflict, the tragic irony and
suspense, of _A King and No King_; in fact,--the whole serious plot, and
part of the humorous by-play. Fletcher's slight contribution is
principally of complementary scenes and low comedy. In these the curb
upon his fanciful rhetoric and hilarious wit has been somewhat relaxed.
In the character of the roaring Bessus, Beaumont himself gives rein with
the _élan_ of the comic artist; for the Bessus of Beaumont's scenes
would have gone on a strike if he had not been suffered to "talk bawdy"
between brags. Beaumont for all his sobriety and clean mirth was not a
prude; and he wasn't writing the psalms of Robert Wisdom.

This play was as popular as those that had preceded. The King's Players
acted it at Court in December of the year in which it had been first
performed. And between October 1612 and March 1613, assisting in the
festivities for the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth with the Elector
Palatine, they presented before royalty all three of the great
Beaumont-Fletcher plays. These were numbers in a series of thirteen that
included, as well, the _Much Ado_, _Tempest_, _Winter's Tale_, _Merry
Wives_, _Othello_, and _Julius Caesar_ of Shakespeare. They also
presented about the same time, in a series of six acted before the King
(including _I Henry IV_, _Much Ado_, and _The Alchemist_), one of
Fletcher's comedies of manners and intrigue, _The Captaine_, and a play
utterly lost, called _Cardenna_, in which it is supposed that Fletcher
collaborated with the Master himself.

That our dramatists, however, after their association was formed with
Shakespeare and his company, by no means severed their connection with
the company for which they had written in their younger days, the
Children of the Queen's Revels, appears from the fact that during the
same festivities a tragedy written by them about 1611, _Cupid's
Revenge_, was played by the Children three times, and their romantic
comedy, _The Coxcombe_ twice; and that, in 1615 or the beginning of
1616, the Children presented at the new Blackfriars what was, probably,
the last product of the Beaumont-Fletcher partnership, _The Scornful
Ladie_.

Neither _Cupid's Revenge_ nor _The Scornful Ladie_ (though the latter,
at least, was very popular and had a long life upon the stage) is a
drama of high distinction. The former is a blend of two stories from
Sidney's _Arcadia_,--the story of the vengeance of Cupid upon the
princess Erona (Hidaspes in the play) who caused to be destroyed the
images and pictures of Cupid, and was consequently doomed to an
infatuation for a base-born man,--and the painful career of Plangus
(Leucippus in the play) who, having an intrigue "with a private man's
wife" (the monstrous Bacha of the play) gave her up to his father,
swearing to her virtue, only to find that she should attempt to renew
her _liaison_ with him and, failing, scheme his downfall. The dramatists
made considerable alteration, and added to the sources. But though the
main plot--that of Leucippus and Bacha--offered magnificent
possibilities, they fail of realization. Beaumont wrote about one-half
of the play, and it is in his scenes that whatever there is of moral
struggle and sublimity, of pathetic irony and of poetry, appears.

_The Scornful Ladie_, which I assign to this late date partly because of
an allusion to the negotiations for a Spanish marriage, 1614-1616, is
principally of Fletcher's composition. It is of the type of his earlier
and later comedies of intrigue. Like most of them it is extremely well
contrived for presentation upon the stage and it was, as I have said,
most successful. The merit of the play lies, not in any element of
poetry or vital romance, but in humorous and realistic characterization,
easy dialogue, and clever device. The dramatists deserve all credit for
the ingenious invention, for here again there is no known source.
Beaumont's contribution, about one-third, is distinguished by the
observation and the _vis comica_ already displayed in the _Woman-Hater_
and the _Knight of the Burning Pestle_ and _King and No King_. But he is
not dominating the details. When they wrote a comedy of intrigue,
Fletcher sat at the head of the table. It is possible, however, that
some of the "rules and standard wit" which Francis was so soon to leave
to his friend "in legacy" were here applied; for the play is less
exuberantly reckless in tone than several which Fletcher wrote alone.
The three masterpieces of romantic drama, Beaumont controlled in
composition, and revised. Of this play he did not finish the revision.
It was written about 1614 or 1615, after he had settled in the country
with his wife, and not long before his death.[75]


FOOTNOTES:

[63] Aubrey's _Brief Lives_, Ed. Clark, I, 94-95.

[64] Dyce, _B. and F._, I, XXVI, _n_.

[65] Based upon Dekker's _Bellman of London_, 1608. Acted at Court,
1622.

[66] See Chapter XXV, below.

[67] Despatch of the French Ambassador in London, April 5, 1608,
quoted by Collier, _Hist. Eng. Dram. Poetry_, I, 352.

[68] Answer of Heming and Burbadge to Kirkham's complaint, 1612,
_Greenstreet Papers_ in Fleay, _Hist. Stage_, p. 235.

[69] See Murray, _Eng. Dram. Comp._, II, 171-191.

[70] As suggested by Thorndike, _Infl. B. and F. on Shakespeare_,
16-18. See Murray, _Engl. Dram. Companies_, II, 175.

[71] Further discussion of the _Philaster_ date will be found in
Chapter XXV, below.

[72] See Chapter XXV, below.

[73] Dyce, as above, _B. and F._, I, xxxii.

[74] See Alden's edition, p. 172 (_Belles Lettres_), and Thorndike's
citation of Fauchet, _Les Antiquitez et Histoires Gauloises, etc._
(1599), _Infl. of B. and F._, p. 82.

[75] See below, Chapter XXVI.



CHAPTER VIII

RELATIONS WITH SHAKESPEARE, JONSON, AND OTHERS IN THE THEATRICAL WORLD


Though the young poets did not begin to write for the King's Men before
1609, it is impossible that they should not have met Shakespeare, face
to face, earlier in the century, whether at the Mermaid in Bread-street,
Cheapside, where perhaps befel those "wit-combates betwixt him and Ben
Jonson," or about the Globe in Southwark or the theatre in
Blackfriars,--which, though leased to the Revels' Children, belonged to
Shakespeare's friend Richard Burbadge,--or at the lodgings with Mountjoy
the tiremaker, on the corner of Silver and Monkwell Streets, where the
master had lived from 1598 to 1604, and where, for anything we know to
the contrary, he continued to live for several years more.[76] They
would pass the house on their way from the Bankside north to St. Giles,
Cripplegate, when they wished to observe what Juby and the rest of the
Prince's Players were putting on at the Fortune, or on their way back to
take ale with Jonson at his house in Blackfriars, or to follow Nat.
Field or Carey, acting in one of their own or Jonson's plays at the
private theatre close by.

That the young poets, even during their discipleship to Jonson were
familiar with the poetry and dramatic methods of Shakespeare the most
cursory reader will observe. Their plays from the first, whether jointly
or singly written, abound in reminiscences of his work. But more
particularly is he echoed by Beaumont. The echo is sometimes of playful
parody, as in the "huffing part" which the grocer's prentice of the
_Knight of the Burning Pestle_ steals from Hotspur:--

    By heaven, methinks it were an easie leap
    To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac'd Moon,
    Or dive into the bottom of the Sea,
    Where never fathome line toucht any ground,
    And pluck up drownèd honour from the lake of Hell;

or as in _The Woman-Hater_, where it looks very much as if this stylist
of twenty-two was poking fun at the circumlocutions of Shakespeare's
Helena in _All's Well that Ends Well_. Labouring to say "two days" in
accents suitable to a monarch's ear, she had evolved:

    Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
    Their fiery torches his diurnal ring,
    Ere twice in murk and accidental damp
    Moist Hesperus hath quenched his sleepy lamp;
    Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass
    Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass,
    What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly.

In terms strikingly reminiscent of this, Beaumont's courtier Valore
instructs the gourmand of _The Woman-Hater_, how to address royalty:

        You must not talk to him [the Duke]
    As you doe to an ordinary man,
    Honest plain sence, but you must wind about him.
    For example: if he should aske you what o'clock it is,
    You must not say, "If it please your grace, 'tis nine";
    But thus, "Thrice three aclock, so please my Sovereign";
    Or thus, "Look how many Muses there doth dwell
    Upon the sweet banks of the learned Well,
    And just so many stroaks the clock hath struck."

And when the Duke asks Lazarillo, thus instructed, "how old are you?" we
can imagine with what mirth the graceless Beaumont puts into his mouth:

        Full eight and twenty several Almanacks
        Have been compiled all for several years,
        Since first I drew this breath; four prentiships
        Have I most truly served in this world;
        And eight and twenty times hath Phoebus' car
        Run out his yearly course since--.
    Duke. I understand you, sir.
    Lucio. How like an ignorant poet he talks!

Is it possible that associating with the literary school of the day, his
brother John, Drayton, Chapman, and Ben Jonson, the young satirist, here
vents something like spleen? Or is this purely dramatic utterance?

Like parodies of phrases in _Hamlet_, _Antony and Cleopatra_, and other
Shakespearean plays ripple the stream of Beaumont's humour. They are,
however, always good-natured. But if Beaumont laughs when Shakespeare
exaggerates, he also pays him in his later plays the tribute of
imitation in numerous poetic borrowings of serious lines and telling
situations: as where the King in _Philaster_ tries to pray but, like
the kneeling Claudius, despairs--

                                How can I
    Looke to be heard of gods that must be just,
    Praying upon the ground I hold by wrong?--

or "in the Hamlet-like situation and character of Philaster" himself;
as, for instance, when to the usurping King who has said of him, "Sure
hees possest," Philaster retorts:

    Yes, with my fathers spirit. Its here, O King,
    A dangerous spirit! Now he tells me, King,
    I was a Kings heire, bids me be a King,
    And whispers to me, these are all my subjects.
    Tis strange he will not let me sleepe, but dives
    In to my fancy, and there gives me shapes
    That kneele and doe me service, cry me king:
    But I'le suppresse him: he's a factious spirit,
    And will undoe me.

The resemblance of the controversy between Melantius and Amintor to that
of Brutus with Cassius has already been noticed; and everyone will
acknowledge the resemblance of the "quizzical reserve" of his Scornful
Lady to Olivia's, of Aspatia's melancholy in the _Maides Tragedy_ to
Ophelia's, and of Bellario's situation in _Philaster_ to that of Viola
in _Twelfth Night_.[77] This last play, indeed, acted, as we have seen,
in the Middle Temple when Beaumont was a freshman in the Inns of Court,
affects Beaumont's method and style, more than any other save the
_Pericles_ (1607, or January to May 1608), which prepared the way for
the more important later romantic dramas of Shakespeare himself as well
as for those of Beaumont and Fletcher.

During the years when Shakespeare's company was producing their romantic
dramas, they were breathing, with Shakespeare, Burbadge, and Heming, the
atmosphere of the Globe and Blackfriars; and, after Shakespeare had
taken up a more continuous residence at Stratford, in 1611, Fletcher, at
any rate, not only kept in touch with the remaining shareholders and
actors of the Globe but with the Master himself, and conversed and wrote
with him on various occasions. These may have fallen either at the New
Place at Stratford, where the now wealthy country gentleman was wont to
entertain his friends, or when Shakespeare came to town--as in May 1612.
At that time his former host, Mountjoy's, son-in-law was suing the
tiremaker for his wife's unpaid dower, and "William Shakespeare of
Stratford upon Avon in the Countye of Warwicke, Gentleman" who had
helped to make the marriage, was summoned as a witness.[78] Or between
July and November of that year, when the "base fellow" Kirkham was
bringing against Burbadge and Heming a suit concerning the profits of
the Blackfriars theatre, in which as a shareholder Shakespeare, too,
must have been interested; and when Christopher Brooke of the pastoral
poets in Beaumont's Inns of Court was of the "councell" for
Shakespeare's company.[79] Or in March 1613, when Shakespeare was
negotiating for the house in Blackfriars which he bought that month from
Henry Walker. In the latter year the King's Players performed two plays
in the writing of which there is reason to believe that Shakespeare and
Fletcher participated: _The Two Noble Kinsmen_, first published as "by
the memorable worthies of their time, Mr. John Fletcher and Mr. William
Shakespeare, gentlemen," in a quarto of 1634; and a lost play licensed
for publication as the "_History of Cardenio_ by Fletcher and
Shakespeare," in 1653. Of the former, critics are generally agreed that
Fletcher wrote about a dozen scenes and that Shakespeare in all
probability wrote others. Maybe, however, Fletcher, and perhaps later
Massinger, merely revised and completed Shakespeare's original draft of
the play left in the company's hands. That _The Two Noble Kinsmen_
borrows its antimasque from our friend Beaumont's _Maske of the Inner
Temple_, which was presented in February 1613, may be construed as
indicating that he, too, still had some connection with Shakespeare's
company. But it is more likely that he was now happily married and
settled in Kent, and didn't care what they did with his plays. Probably
the Shakespeare-Fletcher play was acted soon after Beaumont's, and in
the same year. With regard to the authorship of the _Cardenio_ we have
nothing but the publisher's statement; but we know that the play was
written after the appearance, in 1612, of the story upon which it is
based, in Shelton's English translation of the first part of _Don
Quixote_; and that it was acted at Court by Shakespeare's and Fletcher's
company in May and June 1613.

The partnership of Fletcher and Shakespeare in the writing of these two
plays has been questioned, but as to their collaboration in a third,
_Henry VIII_, there is not much possibility of doubt. In the conception
of the leading characters Shakespeare is present, and in many of their
finest lines, and specifically in at least five scenes; while Fletcher
appears in practically all the rest. The play was acted by the King's
Men at the Globe on June 29, 1613, and was included as Shakespeare's by
his judicious editors and intimate friends, Heming and Condell, in the
folio of 1623.

[Illustration: BEN JONSON
From the miniature belonging to Mr. Evelyn Shirley]

During these years of fruition the friendship with Jonson, who was
writing at the time for both the companies to which our young dramatists
gave their plays, continued apparently without interruption. It is
attested by commendatory verses written by Beaumont for _The Silent
Woman_, which was acted early in 1610, and by verses of both Fletcher
and Beaumont prefixed to Jonson's tragedy of _Catiline_, published in
1611. On the latter occasion Beaumont commends Jonson's contempt for
"the wild applause of common people," and declares that he is "three
ages yet from understood;" while Fletcher even more enthusiastically
avers,--

    Thy labours shall outlive thee; and, like gold
    Stampt for continuance, shall be current where
    There is a sun, a people, or a year.

The generous and graceful response of Ben to the reverence of the
younger of the twain appears in a tribute the date of which is
uncertain, but which was included by the author among his _Epigrams_,
entered in the Stationers' Registers, 1612.

    _To Francis Beaumont._

    How I doe love thee, Beaumont and thy Muse,
    That unto me dost such religion use!
    How I doe feare my selfe, that am not worth
    The least indulgent thought thy pen drops forth!
    At once thou mak'st me happie, and unmak'st;
    And giving largely to me, more thou tak'st.
    What fate is mine, that so it selfe bereaves?
    What art is thine, that so thy friend deceives?
    When even there, where most thou praisest mee,
    For writing better, I must envie thee.

Since Jonson was not given to indiscriminate laudation of his
contemporaries in dramatic production, we may surmise that this tribute
to the art of Beaumont follows rather than precedes the appearance of
_Philaster_, and of perhaps both _The Maides Tragedy_ and _A King and No
King_. And whether there is any basis or not for the tradition handed
down by Dryden[80] that Beaumont was "so accurate a judge of plays that
Ben Jonson, while he lived, submitted all his writings to his censure,
and, 'tis thought, used his judgment in correcting, if not contriving,
all his plots,"--there is here evidence, sufficiently convincing, of the
high esteem in which "the least indulgent thought" and the large
"giving" of the brilliant and independent gentleman-dramatist were held
by the acknowledged classicist and dictator of the stage.

From the various sources already indicated and from contemporary
testimony, later to be cited, it is easy to derive a definite conception
of the world of dramatists and actors in which Beaumont and Fletcher
moved. They knew, and were properly appraised by, Drayton, Jonson,
Chapman, Shakespeare, Webster, Dekker, Heywood, Massinger, Field,
Daborne, Marston, Day, and Middleton,--with all of whom they were
associated either in combats of poetry and wit or in the presentation of
plays at Blackfriars, Whitefriars, or the Globe. Among actors their
acquaintance included Field, Taylor, Carey, and others of the Queen's
Revels' Children, and Richard Burbadge, Heming, Condell, Ostler, Cook,
and Lowin of the King's Company. In what esteem they were held during
these years we have evidence in the verses already quoted from Drayton,
Jonson, Chapman, and Field. In the generous dedication of _The White
Devil_ by John Webster, in 1612, we find them ranked with the best:
"Detraction," says he, "is the sworne friend to ignorance. For mine owne
part I have ever truly cherisht my good opinion of other mens worthy
Labours, especially of that full and haightened stile of Maister
_Chapman_: The labour'd and understanding workes of maister _Jonson_:
The no lesse worthy composures of the both worthily excellent Maister
_Beamont_ and Maister _Fletcher_: And lastly (without wrong last to be
named), the right happy and copious industry of M. _Shake-speare_, M.
_Decker_, and M. _Heywood_, wishing what I write may be read by their
light: Protesting that, in the strength of mine owne judgement, I know
them so worthy, that though I rest silent in my owne worke, yet to most
of theirs I dare (without flattery) fix that of _Martiall--non norunt,
Haec monumenta mori_."


FOOTNOTES:

[76] Wallace, _New Shakespeare Discoveries, Harper's Maga._, March,
1910.

[77] For these and other reminiscences of Shakespeare, see Alden's
edition of Beaumont (_Belles Lettres Series_), XVI; Macaulay's
_Beaumont_; Leonhardt in _Anglia_, VIII, 424; Oliphant in _Engl.
Studien_, XIV, 53-94, Koeppel's _Quellen-studien_ in _Münchener
Beiträge_, XI.

[78] Wallace, _New Shakespeare Discoveries_ (_Harper's Maga._, March,
1910).

[79] See the _Greenstreet Papers_, in Fleay, _Hist. Stage_, 239, 250.

[80] _An Essay of Dramatick Poesie._



CHAPTER IX

THE "MASQUE OF THE INNER TEMPLE": THE PASTORALISTS, AND OTHER
CONTEMPORARIES AT THE INNS OF COURT


Of royal patronage we have had evidence in the fact that during the
festivities of October 16, 1612 to March 1, 1613, no fewer than five of
the Beaumont-Fletcher plays were presented at Court, by the King's
Servants and the Queen's Revels' Children,--some of them two and even
three times. Our poets are accordingly regarded by the great as
dramatists of like distinction with Shakespeare, Jonson, and Chapman,
the authors of most of the other plays then performed.

Of the esteem in which Beaumont individually was held, not only at Court
but by his fellows of the Inner Temple, evidence is afforded by the fact
that when they were called upon, in company with the gentlemen of Gray's
Inn, to celebrate the marriage, February 14, 1613, of the Princess
Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine, with a masque, they did not, like the
Middle Temple and Lincoln's Inn, go out of their own group of poets for
a dramatist, but chose him. The selection was but natural: he had
already contributed to _The Maides Tragedy_ a masque of the very essence
of dreams, executed with singular grace and melody.

The subject decided upon for the present gorgeous spectacle was the
"marrying of the Thames to the Rhine." The structure and stage machinery
were invented by Inigo Jones, who was, also, stage architect for
Chapman's rival masque of _Plutus_, presented on February 15, by the
gentlemen of the Middle Temple and Lincoln's Inn. To the success of
Beaumont's production, that patron of masques, Sir Francis Bacon, then
his majesty's Solicitor-General, contributed in large measure: "You, Sir
Francis Bacon, especially," says the author in his Dedication of the
published copy, "as you did then by your countenance and loving
affection advance it, so let your good word grace it and defend it,
which is able to add value to the greatest and least matters." In a
contemporary letter of John Chamberlain to Mistris Carleton, Bacon is
called "the chief contriver" of the spectacle; an attribution which
leads us to infer that he "advanced" it not solely by "loving affection"
but by funds for the tremendous expense. For, as we have already
observed, in other cases, as of the Masque of Flowers, presented for a
noble marriage in 1614 by Gray's Inn, Bacon is not only patron but
purse, permitting no one to share expenses with him: "Sir Francis
Bacon," writes Chamberlain, "prepares a masque to honour this marriage,
which will stand him in above £2,000."

Beaumont's masque, which was to have been performed at Whitehall on
Tuesday evening, the 16th, had ill fortune on the first attempt. The
gentlemen-masquers, desiring to vary their pomp from that of Lincoln's
Inn and the Middle Temple, which had been on horse-back and in
chariots, made a progress by water from Winchester-House to Whitehall,
seated in the King's royal barge, "attended with a multitude of barges
and galleys, with all variety of loud music, and several peals of
ordnance; and led by two admirals." The royal family witnessed their
approach; and, as Chamberlain in the letter mentioned above says, "they
were receved at the privie stayres: and great expectation theyre was
that they shold every way exceed theyre competitors that went before
them both in devise daintines of apparell and above all in dauncing
(wherein they are held excellent) and esteemed far the properer men: but
by what yll planet yt fell out I know not, they came home as they went
with out doing anything, the reason whereof I cannot yet learne
thoroughly, so but only was that the hall was so full that yt was not
possible to avoyde yt or make roome for them; besides that most of the
Ladies were in the galleries to see them land, and could not get in, but
the worst of all was that the king was so wearied and sleepie with
sitting up almost two whole nights before that he had no edge to yt.
Whereupon S{^r} Fra: Bacon adventured to interest his maiestie that by
this disgrace he wold not as yt were burie them quicke; and I heare the
king shold aunswer that then they must burie him quicke for he could
last no longer, but with all gave them very goode wordes and appointed
them to come again on saterday: but the grace of theyre maske is quite
gon when theyre apparell hath ben already shewed and theyre devises
vented, so that how yt will fall out, God knows, for they are much
discouraged, and out of countenance; and the world sayes yt comes to
passe after the old proverb--the properer men the worse lucke."[81]

On that day, accordingly, the masque was presented, "in the new
Banketting-House which for a kind of amends was granted to them"; and
with marked success. "At the entrance of their Majesties and their
Highnesses," writes the Venetian ambassador to the Doge and Senate, May
10, 1613, "one saw the scene, with forests; on a sudden half of it
changed to a great mountain with four springs at its feet. The subject
of the Masque was that Jove and Juno desiring to honour the wedding and
the conjunction of two such noble rivers, the Thames and the Rhine, sent
separately Mercury and Iris, who appeared; and Mercury then praised the
couple and the Royal house, and wishing to make a ballet suitable to the
conjunction of two such streames, he summoned from the four fountains,
whence they spring and which are fed by rain, four nymphs who hid among
the clouds and the stars that ought to bring rain. They then danced, but
Iris said that a dance of one sex only was not a live dance. Then
appeared four cupids, while from the Temple of Jove, came five idols and
they danced with the stars and the nymphs. Then Iris, after delivering
her speech, summoned Flora, caused a light rain to fall, and then came a
dance of shepherds. Then in a moment the other half of the scene
changed, and one saw a great plateau with two pavilions, and in them
one hundred and fifty Knights of Olympus,--then more tents, like a host
encamped. On the higher ground was the Temple of Olympian Jove all
adorned with statues of gold and silver, and served by a number of
priests with music and lights in golden Candelabra. The knights were in
long robes of silk and gold, the priests in gold and silver. The knights
danced, their robes being looped up with silver, and their dance
represented the introduction of the Olympian games into this kingdom.
After the ballet was over their Majesties and their Highnesses passed
into a great Hall especially built for the purpose, where were long
tables laden with comfits and thousands of mottoes. After the King had
made the round of the tables everything was in a moment rapaciously
swept away."[82]

Beaumont had introduced innovations--two antimasques, or "subtle,
capricious dances" accompanied by spectacular or comic dumb-show,
instead of one, and new and varied characters in each, instead of the
stereotyped Witches, Satyrs, Follies, etc. His Nymphs, Hyades, blind
Cupids, and half vivified Statuas from Jove's altar, of the first
antimasque occasioned great amusement, so that the King called for them
again at the end--"but one of the Statuas by that time was undressed."
And the May-dance of the second, with its rural characters--Pedant, Lord
and Lady of the May, country clown and wench, host and hostess,
he-baboon and she-baboon, he-fool and she-fool--stirred laughter and
applause that drowned the music. The main masque was stately, and fitly
symbolic of the occasion. And one at least of the songs, that sung by
the twelve white-robed priests, each playing upon his lute, before
Jupiter's altar, has the rare lyrical quality of Beaumont's best
manner,--

    Shake off your heavy trance,
    And leap into a dance,
    Such as no mortals use to tread,
      Fit only for Apollo
    To play to, for the Moon to lead,
      And all the Stars to follow!

We may be sure that the poet received his meed of praise from King,
Princess, and Elector, and from officials of the Court--the Earl of
Nottingham, Lord Privy Seal, and Bacon, "the chief contriver"; and that
he sat high at the "solemn supper in the new Marriage-room" which the
King made them on the Sunday,--maybe "at the same board" with the King
who doubtless jested much at the expense of Prince Charles and his
followers. For they had to pay for the feast, "having laid a wager for
the charges, and lost it in running at the ring."[83]

If it had not been customary for members of the Inns of Court to retain
connection with the Society to which they belonged, even after they had
ceased to be in residence, especially if still living in the City, we
might infer from his authorship of this masque that Beaumont had kept in
touch with the Inner Temple. Though he had not professed the law, the
quiddities of its parlance enliven various passages of his _Woman-Hater_
and of the plays which he later wrote with Fletcher. Whether he kept his
name on the books or not, the Inner Temple was in a social sense his
club for life; and it was to "those Gentlemen that were his acquaintance
there" that the publisher Mosely turned for help when searching for his
portrait in 1647. The students of his generation were by 1612, many of
them, utter barristers, ancients, and benchers: he would affiliate with
them; and that he should be acquainted with the "Gentlemen who were
actors" in his masque goes without saying. This was an occasion of
tremendous moment to the members of the allied Houses. They were
conferring the highest honour upon their poet, and every man on the
books of each Inn knew him by name and face. One of the Fellows, John,
afterwards Sir John, Fenner provides a messenger "to fetch M{^r}
Beaumont," and advances 10_li._ "toward the mask business." Another,
Lewis Hele is twice paid 70_li._ toward the same business. From
Chamberlain's letter, we learn that the passage by water to Whitehall
"cost them better than three hundred pound,"--from two thousand to
twenty-four hundred pounds, in the money of to-day. From the records of
the Societies for "the 10th of King James," we find that "the charge in
apparell of the Actors in that great Mask at White-hall was supported"
by each Society; "the Readers at Gray's Inn being each man assessed at
4_l._, the Ancients, and such as at that time were to be called
Ancients, at 2_l._ 10_s._ apiece, the Barristers at 2_l._ a man, and the
Students at 20_s._"; and that on May 4, 1613, the Inner Temple is still
indebted over and besides the contribution of the House "for the late
show and sports ... not so little as 1200_li._,"--that is to say, from
seven to nine thousand pounds according our present valuation.[84]
Beaumont in his Dedication of the quarto (published soon afterwards) to
the worthy Sir Francis Bacon and the grave and learned Bench of the
anciently-allied Houses of Gray's Inn and the Inner Temple, is
addressing friends when he says "Yee that spared no time nor travell in
the setting forth, ordering, and furnishing of this Masque ... will not
thinke much now to looke backe upon the effects of your owne care and
worke: for that whereof the successe was then doubtfull, is now happily
performed and gratiously accepted. And that which you were then to
thinke of in straites of time, you may now peruse at leysure."

Of the gentlemen-masquers, and "the towardly yoong, active, gallant
Gentlemen of the same houses," who, as their convoy "set forth from
Winchester-House which was the _Rende vous_ towards the Court, about
seven of the clock at night," on that occasion, the most directly
interested in the event would be a group of literary friends of which
the central figure was William Browne of Tavistock. He had been at
Clifford's Inn, one of the preparatory schools for the Inner Temple, on
the other side of Fleet Street, since about 1608, had migrated to the
Inner Temple in November 1611, and had been admitted a member in March
1612. He was some five years younger than Beaumont, and, like Beaumont,
was at just that time on intimate terms of friendship with the last of
the Elizabethan pastoralists, Michael Drayton,--on terms of reciprocal
admiration and friendship also with Beaumont's dramatic associates,
Jonson and Chapman; and he had himself, in 1613, been engaged for three
years upon the composition of the charming _First Book_ of his
_Britannia's Pastorals_. In a letter written some years later to a lover
of the Pastoral,--the translator of Tasso's Aminta, _Henery Reynolds,
Esq.,--Of Poets and Poesy_, and published in 1627, Drayton couples
William Browne so closely with Sir John and Francis Beaumont that even
if the trio were not, in various ways, affiliated with the same legal
Society we could not escape the conclusion that the brothers were near
and dear to Browne. "Then," writes Drayton, after mentioning other
literary acquaintances,--

    Then the two Beaumonts and my Browne arose,
    My deare companions whom I freely chose
    My bosome friends; and in their severall wayes,
    Rightly borne Poets, and in these last dayes,
    Men of much note, and no lesse nobler parts,--
    Such as have freely tould to me their hearts,
    As I have mine to them.

We may proceed upon the assumption that it would have been impossible
for these bosom friends of Drayton, members of the same club, not to
have known each other. Especially, if we recall that Browne was a
literary disciple of Fletcher in pastoral poetry, between 1610 and 1616,
and that he had Beaumont's masque and poetic fame in mind when, in the
Dedication of his own _Masque of Ulysses and Circe_, presented by the
same Society of the Inner Temple not quite two years later, January 13,
1615, he said, "If it degenerate in kind from those other our Society
hath produced, blame yourselves for not seeking to a happier Muse."

I am at pains thus to emphasize the acquaintance of Browne and Beaumont,
because our acquaintance with the latter is enriched if we may regard
him as familiarly associated with the literary coterie of the Inns of
Court. Browne and Beaumont had friends in common beside Drayton,
Chapman, and Jonson. To, and of, Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Philip
Sidney, Beaumont writes, as we shall presently notice, in terms of
admiration and intimacy. And it is for Mary, the sister of Sir Philip,
that William Browne composes, in or after 1621, the immemorial epitaph,

    Underneath this sable hearse
    Lies the subject of all verse:
    Sydney's sister, Pembroke's mother;
    Death, ere thou hast slain another,
    Fair, and learn'd, and good as shee
    Time shall throw his dart at thee.

To this Pembroke, William Herbert, third Earl, Browne dedicates the
_Second Book_ of the _Pastorals_, 1616, which contains the beautiful
tribute to Sidney and his _Arcadia_; and Pembroke shows his regard for
the young poet by appointing him tutor to a wealthy ward, and later
taking him into the service of his own family at Wilton. In 1614 John
Davies of Hereford wrote the third eclogue appended to Browne's
_Shepherd's Pipe_, in which he figures as old Wernock, and Browne as
Willy; and, in 1616, commendatory verses to the _Second Book_ of
Browne's _Pastorals_,--beginning "Pipe on, sweet swaine." He had already
in 1610, addressed "the most ingenious Mr. Francis Beaumont" in an
epigram of like familiarity and devotion:

    Some that thy name abbreviate, call thee Franck:
      So may they well, if they respect thy witt;
    For like rich corne (that some fools call too ranck)
      All cleane Wit-reapers still are griping it;
    And could I sow for thee to reape and use,
    I should esteeme it manna for the Muse.[85]

Another of this little group of late Spenserian pastoralists was, as we
shall later see, an admirer of Beaumont. This is William Basse, probably
the composer of the lines _In Laudem Authoris_, signed W. B., and
prefixed to the 1602 edition of _Salmacis and Hermaphroditus_. With the
commendatory verses of Davies, George Wither, Thomas Wenman, and others
in Browne's _Second Book_ of the _Pastorals_, appear some again signed
W. B. "It is just possible," according to the most recent editor of
Browne's poems,[86] "that Basse and Browne were kinsmen." It is certain
that Basse was a retainer in the family of the poetic Thomas Wenman who
was Browne's contemporary at the Inner Temple. Basse, himself, had
published three pastoral elegies in 1602, and he was still writing
pastorals half a century later. Another of this group, George Wither,
had since 1606 been of one of the adjoining Inns of Chancery. He is the
Roget, Thyrsis, Philarete of this pastoral field. In 1614, he wrote the
third eclogue supplementary to Browne's _Shepherd's Pipe_; and in 1615
he was a neighbor of the Inner Temple poets, at Lincoln's Inn. In that
eclogue he speaks of a Valentine on "the Wedding of fair Thame and
Rhine" which he had composed on the occasion of the royal marriage; and
in the first _Epithalamium_ of the Valentine, he refers explicitly to
the masques of Chapman and Beaumont. He must have known both those
"Heliconian wits." "I'm none," he says with self-depreciation,--

    I'm none of those that have the means or place
    With shows of cost to do your nuptials grace;
    But only master of mine own desire,
    Am hither come with others to admire.
    I am not of those Heliconian wits,
    Whose pleasing strains the court's known humour fits,
    But a poor rural shepherd, that for need
    Can make sheep music on an oaten reed.

This "faithful though an humble swain" was of distinctive repute among
Beaumont's associates by 1615: no less for the lyric ease of his
_Shepherd's Hunting_, or of his

    Shall I wasting in despair
    Die because a woman's fair?--

than for the "plain, moral speaking" of the _Abuses Stript and Whipt_
that in 1613-14 had brought him a year's imprisonment in the
Marshalsea. Jonson later "personates" him as Chronomastix, or whipper of
the times, in a masque at Court; and Beaumont's, and Fletcher's friend,
Massinger, introduces him by allusion, in his _Duke of Milan_, about
1620, "I have had a fellow," says the Officer in Act III, ii, of that
play--

    That could endite forsooth and make fine metres
    To tinkle in the ears of ignorant madams,
    That for defaming of great men, was sent me
    Threadbare and lousy.

Still another member of this circle of poets associated with the Inns of
Court is the Cuddy of the pastoral poems, the intimate friend of Wither
and Browne,--Christopher Brooke, who, though he does not cut much of a
figure in his _Elegies_, or in his _Ghost of Richard III_, was a lovable
and hearty friend, and a distinguished Bencher of Lincoln's Inn. That
Brooke was intimate with Shakespeare's company of the King's Servants,
at just the period that Beaumont and Fletcher were most closely
associated with that company, we have already noticed. As one of the
barristers who, in 1612, defended Burbadge and Heming against the bill
of complaint brought by Kirkham for recovery of profits in the
Blackfriars theatre, he had much to do with having the "plaintiff's bill
cleerly and absolutely dismissed out of this courte."[87]

This community of friendship with Browne and Browne's circle gives us,
by inference, a clue to an extended list of the gentlemen of London with
whom Beaumont cannot have altogether failed to be acquainted. Browne
succeeded Beaumont as poet of the Inner Temple, and the friends of the
former in that Society would be known to the latter.

Among those who wrote verses laudatory of Browne's _Pastorals_ between
1613 and 1616, was his "learned friend," John Selden, the jurist and
antiquary, whose "chamber was in the paper buildings which looke towards
the garden." He kept, says Aubrey, "a plentifull table, and was never
without learned company": frequently that of Jonson, Drayton, and
Camden; and, we may be certain, of John Fletcher, too; for on his
mother's side, Selden as his coat of arms and epitaph prove, and as
Hasted tells us in his _History of Kent_, was of the "equestrian" family
of Bakers to which Fletcher's stepsisters belonged. Selden was of
Beaumont's age to a year, and had been of the Society since 1604. For
Browne's book Edward Heyward, also, wrote verses,--Selden's most
"devoted friend and chamber-fellow,"--to whom (Aubrey again) "he
dedicated his _Titles of Honour_," 1614. Heyward came from Norfolk and
was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1604. And with Selden must be also
bracketed, Thomas Wenman, of Oxfordshire; for so Suckling brackets him
in the _Session of the Poets_:

    The poets met the other day,
    And Apollo was at the meeting, they say....
    'Twas strange to see how they flocked together:
    There was Selden, and he stood next to the chaire,
    And Wenman not far off, which was very faire.

Wenman came to the Inner Temple in 1613; he expresses in his
complimentary verses to Browne his wonder that the pastoralist can frame
such worthy poetry while as yet "scarce a hair grows up thy chin to
grace." Wenman was the son of that Sir Richard whose wife was implicated
in the Gunpowder Plot by Mrs. [Elizabeth] Vaux. He succeeded to an Irish
peerage in 1640. There was, also, Thomas Gardiner, the son of a rector
in Essex. He came to the Inner Temple in 1609, and in 1641 was knighted
for his loyalty to King Charles. There was, though not of the Inner
Temple, Browne's favourite companion, William Ferrar, the Alexis of the
pastoral circle. Ferrar was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1610, and
died young. He must have been a graceful and lovable youth, if we may
judge from Wither's and Browne's tributes to him. Through his father,
"an eminent London merchant, who was interested in the adventures of
Hawkins, Drake, and Raleigh," Browne and Beaumont might, if in no other
way, have met with Sir Richard and Sir Walter. There were, also, writing
praises to Browne, the brothers Croke, sons of Sir John Croke of the
King's Bench. They were both of Christ's Church, Oxford, Charles and
Unton; and they became students of the Inner Temple in 1609. Charles was
something of a poet. In 1613 he was Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham
College; he took orders, and became a Fellow of Eton College; and during
the Civil War fled to Ireland. Unton rose at the Bar, became a member of
Parliament, "aided the Parliamentarians during the Civil War and enjoyed
the favour of Cromwell." And there was Browne's dear friend, Thomas
Manwood, who had entered the Inner Temple in 1611, and whose early
death by drowning Browne bewails in the fourth eclogue of the
_Shepherd's Pipe_,--an elegy somewhat fantastic but beautifully sincere,
and, in one or two of its fundamental concepts, decidedly reminiscent of
Beaumont's elegy written the year before on the death of the Countess of
Rutland.

These are a few of the members of this Society whom Beaumont met
whenever he visited the Inner Temple. It was such as they and their
companions, many more of whom are mentioned in the _Inner Temple
Records_, and described by Mr. Gordon Goodwin in his edition of Browne's
_Poems_, who set forth, ordered, and furnished Beaumont's _Masque of the
Inner Temple_; and who, as gentlemen-masquers, sailed with him in the
royal barge to Whitehall, and happily performed the masque before the
King and Queen, the Princess Elizabeth, and the Count Palatine, on
Saturday, the twentieth day of February 1613.

Beaumont's friends were Fletcher's; and Fletcher must have known Browne.
It has always seemed strange to me that, when enumerating in his
_Britannia's Pastorals_ the pastoral poets of England,--half a dozen of
them, his personal acquaintances,--Browne should have omitted Fletcher
to whom he was deeply indebted for literary inspiration. Between 1610
and 1613 he had, in his _First Book of Britannia's Pastorals_ (Song 1,
end; Song 2, beginning), borrowed the story of Marina and the River-God,
as regards not only the main incident but also much of the poetic
phrase, from the _Faithfull Shepheardesse_--the scene in which
Fletcher's God of the River rescues Amoret and offers her his love. The
borrowing is not at all a plagiarism, but an elaboration of the Amoret
episode; and, as such, the imitation is indirect homage to the quondam
pastoralist living close by in Southwark. I hesitate to enter upon quest
of literary surmise. But some young lion of research might be pardoned
if he should undertake to prove that the description of the shepherd
Remond which Browne introduces into his first Song just before this
borrowing from Fletcher's pastoral drama is homage to Fletcher, pure and
direct:

    Remond, young Remond, that full well could sing,
    And tune his pipe at Pan's birth carolling:
    Who for his nimble leaping, sweetest layes,
    A lawrell garland wore on holidayes;
    In framing of whose hand dame Nature swore
    That never was his like nor could be more.[88]

Conjectural reconstruction of literary relationships is perilously
seductive. But it is only fair to apprise the young lion of the
delightful certainty that though the trail may run up a tree, it abounds
in alluring scents. He will find that no sooner has Browne's Marina
concluded the adventure borrowed from Fletcher than she falls in with
Remond's younger companion, "blithe Doridon," who, in the _Second Book_
of the _Pastorals_, written in 1614-15, swears fidelity to Remond--

                            Entreats him then
    That he might be his partner, since no men
    Had cases liker; he with him would goe--
    Weepe when he wept and sigh when he did so;[89]

and that, in the second Song of the _First Book_,[90] Doridon, who also
is a poet, is described at a length not at all necessary to the
narrative, and in terms that more than echo the description of the
beauty of Hermaphroditus in the poem of that name which has been
traditionally attributed to Beaumont. This Doridon is a genius:

    Upon this hill there sate a lovely swaine,
    As if that Nature thought it great disdaine
    That he should (so through her his genius told him)
    Take equall place with swaines, since she did hold him
    Her chiefest worke, and therefore thought it fit,
    That with inferiours he should never sit....

He is "fairest of men"; when he pipes "the wood's sweet quiresters" join
in consort--"A musicke that would ravish choisest eares." He is, as I
have said, a poet,--

    And as when Plato did i' th' cradle thrive,
    Bees to his lips brought honey from their hive;
    So to this boy they came; I know not whether
    They brought, or from his lips did honey gather....

He is also a master in the revels,

    His buskins (edg'd with silver) were of silke....
    Those buskins he had got and brought away
    For dancing best upon the revell day.

Browne, by the way, wrote the _Prefatory Address_ to this Book of
_Britannia's Pastorals_, June 18, 1613, only three months after
Beaumont's Masque upon the "revel day" was acted; and the book was
licensed for printing, the same year, November 15.

Returning to our young lion, he will, I fear me, exult (with lust of
chase or laughter?) when in the third song of this book, he notes that
Doridon, overhearing the love-colloquy of Remond and Fida, can find no
other trope to describe their felicity than one drawn from Ovid, and
from the so-called Beaumont poem of 1602, _Salmacis and
Hermaphroditus_,--

    Sweet death they needs must have, who so unite
    That two distinct make one Hermaphrodite.[91]

Lured by such scents as these, our beast of prey may pounce--upon a
shadow, or not?--when, having tracked the meandering Browne to the
second song of the Second Book, he there hears him rehearse the names of

    What shepheards on the sea were seene
    To entertaine the Ocean's queene,--

the poets of England: Astrophel (Sidney), "the learned Shepheard of
faire Hitching hill" (Chapman), all loved Draiton, Jonson,
well-languag'd Daniel, Christopher Brooke, Davies of Hereford, and
Wither,

                        Many a skilfull swaine
    Whose equals Earth cannot produce againe,
    But leave the times and men that shall succeed them
    Enough to praise that age which so did breed them,--

and then, _without interim_, proceed:

    Two of the quaintest swains that yet have beene
    Failed their attendance on the Ocean's queene,
    Remond and Doridon, whose haplesse fates
    Late sever'd them from their more happy mates.[92]

Browne, who had dropped these companion shepherds of the "pastoral and
the rural song" three songs back, now needs them to scour the forests
for the vanished Fida of his fiction. If he had not needed them for the
narrative here resumed, might they not have attended the Ocean's queen
with the other poets of England,--all, but Sidney, his personal
friends,--as Fletcher and Beaumont? This is precisely the way in which
Masaccio, Ghirlandajo, and Rafael introduced into their frescoes the
Tornabuoni and Medici of their time. We may leave the inquisitive to
follow them to that realm where, forsaking mythical and pastoral
romance,

                         Many weary dayes
    They now had spent in unfrequented wayes.
    About the rivers, vallies, holts, and crags,
    Among the ozyers and the waving flags,
    They merely pry, if any dens there be,
    Where from the Sun might harbour crueltie:
    Or if they could the bones of any spy,
    Or torne by beasts, or humane tyranny.
    They close inquiry made in caverns blind,
    Yet what they look for would be death to find.
    Right as a curious man that would descry,
    Led by the trembling hand of Jealousy,
    If his fair wife have wrong'd his bed or no,
    Meeteth his torment if he find her so.[93]

I cannot, however, refrain from pointing the venturesome
researcher,--with irony--may be not Mephistophelian, but merely
pyrrhonic,--to the dramatic misfortunes of Bellario, Aspasia, and
Evadne, and other heroines of the dramatized romances in which Beaumont
and Fletcher's theatre of the Globe was indulging at the time. And I
would ask him after he has read the sage advice of Remond to the
disconsolate shepherd, some two hundred lines further down, to turn to
Fletcher's poem of 1613 _Upon an Honest Man's Fortune_, and decide
whether the poet-philosopher of the one is not very much of the same
opinion as the shepherd-philosopher of the other.[94]


FOOTNOTES:

[81] John Chamberlain to Mris. Carleton, 18 February, 1612-3, in
_State Papers (Domestic) James I_, LXXII, No. 30. Quoted by Miss
Sullivan, _Court Masques of James I_, p. 76 (1913).

[82] Foscarini in _Calendar of State Papers, Venetian_, XII, No. 832.
Quoted by Miss Sullivan, _op. cit._, p. 77.

[83] _Calendar State Papers (Domestic)_, 1611-1618, pp. 171, 172, 175.

[84] Dugdale's _Origines Juridicales_, as cited by Dyce, _B. and F._,
II, 453. Inderwick, _op. cit._, II, xxxix-xlii, 72, 77, etc.
Douthwaite, _op. cit._, 231. Nichols's _Progresses of King James_, II,
566, 591.

[85] _To Worthy Persons_, in the volume entitled _The Scourge of
Folly_.

[86] Gordon Goodwin, in _The Muses' Library_, 1894, p. 132.

[87] See _Greenstreet Papers_, VIII, Fleay, _Hist. Stage_, 250.

[88] _Brit. Past._, I, 1, 476.

[89] _Ibid._, II, 2, 469.

[90] Li. 405-470.

[91] _Ibid._, I, 3, 297-8.

[92] _Ibid._, II, 2, 247-352.

[93] _Ibid._, II, 2, 510-512.

[94] Cf. especially _Brit. Past._, II, 2, 706-732, with Fletcher's
defiance of poverty and independence of criticism in his poem, _Upon
an Honest Man's Fortune_.



CHAPTER X

AN INTERSECTING CIRCLE OF JOVIAL SORT


Christopher Brooke of Lincoln's Inn enters the circle of Beaumont's
associates not only as the advocate to whom Beaumont's friends in
Shakespeare's company of actors turn for counsel in an important suit at
law, and as the encomiast of Shakespeare himself a year or two later:

    He that from Helicon sends many a rill,
    Whose nectared veines are drunk by thirsty men,[95]

but as one of the pastoralists of the Inns of Court. He was also a
friend of Beaumont's older associates, Jonson, Drayton, and Davies of
Hereford. From an unexpected quarter comes information of Brooke's
intimacy with still others who at various points impinged upon
Beaumont's career,--with Inigo Jones, for instance, who designed the
machinery for Beaumont's _Masque_, and with Sir Henry Nevill, the father
of the Sir Henry who, a few years later, supplied the publisher Walkley
with the manuscript of Beaumont and Fletcher's _A King and No King_.
When we let ourselves in upon the elder Sir Henry carousing at the Mitre
with Brooke and Jones, and others known to Beaumont as members of the
Mermaid, in a famous symposium held some time between 1608 and September
1611, we begin to feel that it was not by mere accident that the
manuscript _of A King and No King_ fell into the hands of the Nevill
family. Sir Henry the elder, of Billingbear, Berkshire, was a relative
of Sir Francis Bacon, and a friend of Davies of Hereford, and of Ben
Jonson, who dedicated to Nevill about 1611 one of his most graceful
epigrams; probably, also, of Francis Beaumont's brother John, who wrote
a graceful tribute to the memory of one of the gentlewomen of the
family, Mistress Elizabeth Nevill. This Sir Henry was an influential
member of Parliament, a statesman, a courtier, and a diplomat, as well
as a patron of poets. He came near being Secretary of the realm. It is
his name that we find scribbled with those of Bacon and Shakespeare,
about 1597, possibly by Davies of Hereford, the admirer of all three,
over the cover of the _Northumbrian Manuscript_ of "Mr. Ffrauncis
Bacon's" essays and speeches. Sir Henry did not die till 1615, and it is
more than likely that the play, _A King and No King_, which was acted
about 1611, and of which his family held the manuscript, had his
"approbation and patronage" as well as that of Sir Henry the younger "to
the commendation of the authors"; and that both father and son knew
Beaumont and Fletcher well.

The Mitre Inn, a common resort of hilarious Templars, still stands at
the top of Mitre Court, a few yards back from the thoroughfare of Fleet
Street.

[Illustration: FRANCIS BACON
From the portrait by Paul Van Somer in the National Portrait Gallery,
London]

The symposium to which I have referred is celebrated in a copy of
macaronic Latin verses, entitled _Mr. Hoskins, his Convivium
Philosophicum_;[96] and I may be pardoned if I quote from the
contemporary translation by John Reynolds of New College, the opening
stanzas, since one is set to wondering how many other of the jolly souls
"convented," beside Brooke and Jones and Nevill, our Beaumont knew.--

    Whosoever is contented
    That a number be convented,
      Enough but not too many;
    The _Miter_ is the place decreed,
    For witty jests and cleanly feed,
      The betterest of any.

    There will come, though scarcely current,
    Christopherus surnamèd _Torrent_
      And John yclepèd _Made_;
    And Arthur _Meadow-pigmies'-foe_
    To sup, his dinner will forgoe--
      Will come as soon as bade.

    Sir Robert _Horse-lover_ the while,
    _Ne let_ Sir Henry _count it vile_
      Will come with gentle speed;
    And _Rabbit-tree-where-acorn-grows_
    And John surnamèd _Little-hose_
      Will come if there be need.

    And Richard _Pewter-Waster_ best
    And Henry _Twelve-month-good_ at least
      And John _Hesperian_ true.
    If any be desiderated
    He shall be amerciated
      Forty-pence in issue.

    Hugh the _Inferior-Germayne_,
    Nor yet unlearnèd nor prophane
      Inego _Ionicke-pillar_.
    But yet the number is not righted:
    If Coriate bee not invited,
      The jeast will want a tiller.

In his edition of Aubrey's _Brief Lives_, Dr. Clark supplies the
glossary to these punning names. _Torrent_ is, of course, Brooke.
Johannes _Factus_, or _Made_, is Brooke's chamber-fellow of Lincoln's
Inn, John Donne; and Donne is the great friend and correspondent in well
known epistles of Henry _Twelve-month-good_, the Sir Henry Goodere, or
Goodeere, who married Frances (Drayton's Panape), one of the daughters
of "the first cherisher of Drayton's muse." _Ne-let_ Sir Henry _count it
vile_ is the elder Nevill under cover of his family motto, _Ne vile
velis_. Inigo Jones, _Ionicke-pillar_ is even more thinly disguised in
the Latin original as Ignatius _architectus_, Hugh Holland (the
_Inferior-Germayne_) was of Beaumont's Mermaid Club, the writer--beside
other poems--of commendatory verses for Jonson's _Sejanus_ in 1605, and
of the sonnet _Upon the Lines and Life_ of that other frequenter of the
Mermaid, "sweet Master Shakespeare." Holland's "great patronesse," by
the way, was the wife of Sir Edward Coke of Beaumont's Inner Temple,
whose daughter married Beaumont's kinsman, Sir John Villiers; and it was
by the great Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, that Holland was introduced
to King James. Also, of the Mermaid in Beaumont's time was Tom Coryate,
the "legge-stretcher of Odcombe" without whose presence this Convivium
Philosophicum would "want its tiller." Of the Mermaid, too, was Richard
Martin (the _Pewter-waster_). He was fond of the drama; had organized a
masque at the Middle Temple at the time of the Princess Elizabeth's
marriage; and it is to him that Ben Jonson dedicates the folio of _The
Poetaster_ (1616). In 1618, as Recorder of London, he was the bosom
friend of Brooke, Holland, and Hoskins: he died of just such a
"symposiaque" as this, a few years later, and he lies in the Middle
Temple. Last, comes the reputed author of these macaronic Latin verses
of the Mitre, John Hoskins himself (surnamed _Little-hose_). He had been
a freshman of the Middle Temple in the year when Beaumont was beginning
at the Inner. He was an incomparable writer of drolleries, over which we
may be sure that Beaumont many a time held his sides,--a wag whose
"excellent witt gave him letters of commendacion to all ingeniose
persons," a great friend of Beaumont's Jonson, and of Raleigh, Donne,
Selden, Camden, and Daniel.

Of the participants in Serjeant Hoskins's _Convivium Philosophicum_,
we find, then, that several were of those who came into personal
contact with Beaumont, and that of the rest, nearly all moved in
the field of his acquaintance. Concerning a few, Arthur
_Meadow-pigmies'-foe_ (Cranefield), Sir Robert _Horse-lover_
(Phillips), _Rabbit-tree-where-acorn-grows_ (Conyoke or Connock), and
John _Hesperian_ (West), I have no information pertinent to the subject.


FOOTNOTES:

[95] _The Ghost of Richard III_, I, viii (1614).

[96] In _Cal. State Papers (Dom.)_, under Sept. 2, 1611, I find
"Description by Ralph Colphab [Thomas Cariat] of Brasenose College,
Oxford, of a philosophical feast the guests at which were Chris Brook,
John Donne," and others in exactly the order given below, save for one
error. "In Latin Rhymes." Dr. A. Clark in his Aubrey's _Brief Lives_,
II, 50-51, gives the Latin verses from an old commonplace book in
Lincoln College Library, "authore Rodolpho Calsabro, Aeneacense"; but
prefers the attribution of another old copy, owned by Mr. Madan of
Brasenose, "per Johannem Hoskyns, London." The translation by
Reynolds, who died in 1614, is also given by Dr. Clark.



CHAPTER XI

BEAUMONT AND SIR PHILIP SIDNEY'S DAUGHTER; RELATIONS WITH OTHER PERSONS
OF NOTE


Glimpses of the more personal relations of Beaumont with the world of
rank and fashion, and to some extent of his character, are vouchsafed us
in the few non-dramatic verses that may with certainty be ascribed to
him. Unfortunately for our purpose, most of those included in the
_Poems_, "by Francis Beaumont, Gent.," issued by Blaiklock in 1640 and
printed again in 1653, and among _The Golden Remains_ "of those so much
admired Dramatick Poets, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, Gents.," in
1660, are, as I have already said, by other hands than his: some of them
by his brother, Sir John, and by Donne, Jonson, Randolph, Shirley, and
Waller. Of the juvenile amatory lyrics, addresses, and so-called sonnets
in these collections, it is not likely that a single one is by him; for
in an epistle to Sidney's daughter, the Countess of Rutland, written
when he was evidently of mature years and reputation,--let us suppose,
about 1611, Beaumont says:

    I would avoid the common beaten ways
    To women usèd, which are love or praise.
    As for the first, the little wit I have
    Is not yet grown so near unto the grave
    But that I can, by that dim fading light,
    Perceive of what or unto whom I write.

Let others, "well resolved to end their days With a loud laughter blown
beyond the seas,"--let such

    Write love to you: I would not willingly
    Be pointed at in every company,
    As was that little tailor, who till death
    Was hot in love with Queen Elizabeth.
    And for the last, in all my idle days
    I never yet did living woman praise
    In prose or verse.

A sufficient disavowal, this, of the foolish love songs attributed to
him by an uncritical posterity.

As for this "strange letter," as he denominates it, from which I have
quoted, the sincere, as well as brusque, humour attests more than
ordinary acquaintance with, and genuine admiration of, Elizabeth, the
poetic and only child of Sir Philip Sidney. The Countess lived but
twenty-five miles north-west of Charnwood, and in the same country of
Leicestershire. One can see the towers from the heights above
Grace-Dieu. The Beaumonts undoubtedly had been at Belvoir, time and
again. "If I should sing your praises in my rhyme," says he to her of
the "white soul" and "beautiful face,"

    I lose my ink, my paper and my time
    And nothing add to your o'erflowing store,
    And tell you nought, but what you knew before.
    Nor do the virtuous-minded (which I swear,
    Madam, I think you are) endure to hear
    Their own perfections into question brought,
    But stop their ears at them; for, if I thought
    You took a pride to have your virtues known,
    (Pardon me, madam) I should think them none.

Many a writer of the day agreed with Beaumont concerning Elizabeth
Sidney,--"every word you speak is sweet and mild." She, said Jonson to
Drummond of Hawthornden, "was nothing inferior to her father in poesie";
she encouraged it in others. But her husband, Roger, fifth Earl of
Rutland, though a lover of plays himself, does not appear to have
favoured his Countess's patronage of literary men. He burst in upon her,
one day when Ben Jonson was dining with her, and "accused her that she
kept table to poets." Of her excellence Jonson bears witness in four
poems. Most pleasantly in that Epistle included in his _The Forrest_,
where speaking of his tribute of verse, he says:

    With you, I know my off'ring will find grace:
    For what a sinne 'gainst your great father's spirit,
    Were it to think, that you should not inherit
    His love unto the Muses, when his skill
    Almost you have, or may have, when you will?
    Wherein wise Nature you a dowrie gave,
    Worth an estate treble to that you have.
    Beauty, I know is good, and blood is more;
    Riches thought most: but, Madame, think what store
    The world hath scene, which all these had in trust,
    And now lye lost in their forgotten dust.

And in an Epigram[97] _To the Honour'd ---- Countesse of ----_,
evidently sent to her during the absence of her husband on the
continent, he compliments her conduct,--

    Not only shunning by your act, to doe
    Ought that is ill, but the suspition too,--

at a time when others are following vices and false pleasures. But
"you," he says,

                   admit no company but good,
    And when you want those friends, or neare in blood,
    Or your allies, you make your bookes your friends,
    And studie them unto the noblest ends,
    Searching for knowledge, and to keepe your mind
    The same it was inspired, rich, and refin'd.

Among other admirers of the Countess of Rutland was Sir Thomas Overbury,
who, according to Ben Jonson, was "in love with her." Beaumont would
have known the brilliant and ill-starred Overbury, of Compton Scorpion,
who was not only an intimate of Jonson's, but a devoted admirer of their
mutual friend, Sir Henry Nevill of Billingbear.

And if Beaumont was on terms of affectionate familiarity with Sidney's
daughter, he could not but have known Sidney's sister, the Countess of
Pembroke, as well, the idol of William Browne's epitaph, and of his old
friend Drayton's eulogy, on the "Fair Shepherdess,"

    To whom all shepherds dedicate their lays,
    And on her altars offer up their bays.

"In her time Wilton house," says Aubrey, "was like a College; there were
so many learned and ingeniose persons. She was the greatest patronesse
of witt and learning of any lady in her time." And if Beaumont knew the
mother, then, also, William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke, the son, to
whom his master, Jonson, dedicates in 1611, the tragedy of _Catiline_,
prefaced, as we have already observed, by verses of Beaumont himself.

Whatever Rutland's objection may have been to his Countess's patronage
of poets, we may be sure that that lady's attitude toward Beaumont and
his literary friends was seconded by her husband's old friend the Earl
of Southampton, with whom in earlier days Rutland used to pass away the
time "in London merely in going to plaies every day." Southampton had
remained a patron of Burbadge, Shakespeare, and the like. And when he
died in 1624, we find not only Beaumont's acquaintance, Chapman, but
Beaumont's brother, joining in the chorus of panegyric to his memory. "I
keep that glory last which is the best," writes Sir John,

    The love of learning which he oft express'd
    In conversation, and respect to those
    Who had a name in arts, in verse, in prose.

Since Southampton was "a dear lover and cherisher as well of the lovers
of poets as of the poets themselves"[98] we may figure not only the two
Beaumonts but their beloved Countess participating in such discussion of
noble themes,--if not in London, then at Belvoir Castle or Titchfield
House or Grace-Dieu Priory. If at Belvoir, Leland, the traveler, helps
us to the scene. The castle, he says "standyth on the very knape of an
highe hille, stepe up eche way, partely by nature, partely by working of
mennes handes, as it may evidently be perceived. Of the late dayes
[1540], the Erle of Rutland hath made it fairer than ever it was. It is
straunge sighte to se be how many steppes of stone the way goith up from
the village to the castel. In the castel be 2 faire gates, And its
dungeon is a fair rounde tour now turnid to pleasure, as a place to walk
yn, to se at the countery aboute, and raylid about the round [waull,
and] a garden [plot] in the middle."[99] One sees Francis toiling up the
"many steps," received by his Countess and the rest, and rejoicing with
them in the view of the twenty odd family estates from the garden on the
high tower.

       *       *       *       *       *

Returning to Francis Beaumont's epistle to the Countess of Rutland, we
observe that it concludes with a promise:

    But, if your brave thoughts, which I must respect
    Above your glorious titles, shall accept
    These harsh disorder'd lines, I shall ere long
    Dress up your virtues new, in a new song;
    Yet far from all base praise and flattery,
    Although I know what'er my verses be,
    They will like the most servile flattery shew,
    If I write truth, and make the subject you.

The opportunity for "the new song" came in a manner unexpected, and,
alas, too soon. In August 1612, but a brief month or so after she had
been freed by her husband's death from the misery of an unhappy
marriage, she was herself suddenly carried off by some mysterious
malady. According to a letter of Chamberlain to Sir R. Winwood, "Sir
Walter Raleigh is slandered to have given her certaine Pills that
despatch'd her." That, Sir Walter, even with the best intent in the
world, could not have done in person, for he was in the Tower at the
time. Perhaps the medicine referred to was one of those "excellent
receipts" for which Raleigh and his half-brother, Adrian Gilbert, were
famous. The chemist Gilbert was living in those days with the Countess
of Rutland's aunt, at Wilton.

Three days after the death of the lady whom he so revered, Beaumont
poured out his grief in verses justly praised as

    A Monument that will then lasting be
    When all her Marble is more dust than she.

That is what John Earle, writing after Beaumont's own death, some four
years later, says of the _Elegy on the Death of the Virtuous Lady,
Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland_. And so far as the elegy proper is
concerned,--that is to say, the first half of the poem, ere it blazes
into scathing indictment of the physicians who helped the Countess to
her grave,--I fully agree with Earle. Here is poetry of the heart,
pregnant with pathos, not only of the untimely event--she was but
twenty-seven years old,--but of the unmerited misfortune that had
darkened the brief chapter of her existence: her father's death while
she was yet in infancy,--

       Ere thou knewest the use of tears
    Sorrow laid up against thou cam'st to years;

sorrow in her wedded life,--

    As soon as thou couldst apprehend a grief,
    There were enough to meet thee; and the chief
    Blessing of women, marriage, was to thee
    Nought but a sacrament of misery.

And then,

    Why didst thou die so soon? Oh, pardon me!
    I know it was the longest life to thee,
    That e'er with modesty was call'd a span,
    Since the Almighty left to strive with man.

In this threnody of wasted loveliness and innocence, we have our most
definite revelation of Beaumont's personality as a man among men: his
tenderness, his fervid friendship, his passionate reverence for spotless
womanhood and the sacrament of holy marriage (Jonson has given us the
facts about her loathsome husband); his admiration of the chivalric
great--as of the hero whose life was ventured and generously lost at
Zutphen "to save a land," his contempt for pedantic stupidity and
professional ineptitude, his faith in the "everlasting" worth of poetic
ideals, his realization of the vanity of human wishes and of the
counter-balancing dignity, the cleasing poignancy, of human sorrow; his
reluctant but profound submission to the decree of "the wise God of
Nature"; his acceptance of the inexplicable irony of life and of the
crowning mercy:

    I will not hurt the peace which she should have
    By looking longer in her quiet grave,--

the consummation that all his heroines of tortured chastity, the
Bellarios, Arethusas, Aspasias, Pantheas, Uranias, of his mimic world,
devoutly desired. And as a revelation of his poetic temper, perhaps all
the more for its accessory bitterness and rhetorical conceits, this
elegy is as valuable a piece of documentary evidence as exists outside
of Beaumont's dramatic productions. It displays not a few of the
characteristics which distinguish him as a dramatist from Fletcher: his
preference in the best of their joint-plays for serious poetic theme,
his realist humour and bold satiric force, his quiverful of words and
rhythmical sequence, his creative imagery, his lines of vivid, final
spontaneity,--

    Sorrow can make a verse without a Muse;

and "Thou art gone,"--

    Gone like the day thou diedst upon, and we
    May call that back again as soon as thee.

In still another way the lines on the death of Sidney's daughter are
instructive. Its noble tribute to Sidney's _Arcadia_ is payment of a
debt manifest in more than one of the dramas to which Beaumont had
contributed. Of Sir Philip, Beaumont here writes:

    He left two children, who for virtue, wit,
    Beauty, were lov'd of all,--thee and his writ:
    Two was too few; yet death hath from us took
    Thee, a more faultless issue than his book,
    Which, now the only living thing we have
    From him, we'll see, shall never find a grave
    As thou hast done. Alas, would it might be
    That books their sexes had, as well as we,
    That we might see this married to the worth,
    And many poems like itself bring forth.

The _Arcadia_ had already brought forth offspring: in prose, Greene's
_Menaphon_ and _Pandosto_, and Lodge's _Rosalynde_; in verse, Day's _Ile
of Guls_. It had fathered, immediately, the subplot of Shakespeare's
_King Lear_,--and, indirectly, portions of the _Winter's Tale_, and _As
You Like It_, and of other Elizabethan plays.[100] Within the twelve
months immediately preceding August 1612, it had inspired also, as we
have already observed, Beaumont and Fletcher's _Cupid's Revenge_, the
finest scenes in which are Beaumont's dramatic adaptation of romantic
characters and motives furnished by Sir Philip. And from that same
"faultless issue," the _Arcadia_, virtue, art, and beauty, loved of all,
had earlier still been drawn by Beaumont, certainly for _The Maides
Tragedy_, and, perhaps, for _Philaster_ as well.

The acquaintance with the Rutland family was continued after the death
of Francis by his brother John, and his sister Elizabeth. The Nymph "of
beauty most divine ... whose admirèd vertues draw All harts to love her"
in John's poem, _The Shepherdess_, is Lady Katharine Manners, daughter
of Francis, sixth Earl of Rutland, and now the wife of George Villiers,
Marquis of Buckingham; and the Shepherdess herself "who long had kept
her flocks On stony Charnwood's dry and barren rocks," the country dame
"For singing crowned, whence grew a world of fame Among the sheep
cotes," is Elizabeth Beaumont of Grace-Dieu, back on a visit from her
Seyliard home in Kent. She had wandered into the summer place of the
Rutlands and Buckinghams near the Grace-Dieu priory--"watered with our
silver brookes," and had been welcomed and had sung for them. And now
John repays the courtesy with indirect and graceful compliment.

With the Villiers family, as I have earlier intimated, the Beaumonts
were connected not only by acquaintance as county gentry but by ties of
blood. Sir George Villiers, a Leicestershire squire, had married for his
second wife, about 1589, Maria Beaumont, a relative of theirs, who had
been brought up by their kinsmen of Coleorton Hall to the west of them
on the other side of the ridge. It will be remembered that one of those
Coleorton Beaumonts, Henry, was an executor of Judge Beaumont's will in
1598. The father of the Maria, or Mary, Beaumont whom Henry Beaumont
nurtured as a waiting gentlewoman in his household, was his second
cousin, Anthony Beaumont of Glenfield in Leicestershire. While Maria was
living at the Hall, the old Knight, Sir George Villiers of Brooksby,
recently widowed, visited his kinswoman, Eleanor Lewis, Henry's wife, at
Coleorton, "found there," writes a contemporary, Arthur Wilson, "this
young gentlewoman, allied, and yet a servant of the family," was
fascinated by her graces and made her Lady Villiers. This Sir George
Villiers was of an old and distinguished family. Leland mentions it
first among the ten families of Leicestershire, "that be there most of
reputation."[101] And he says "The chiefest house of the Villars at this
time is at Brokesby in Leicestershire, lower by four miles than Melton,
on the higher ripe [bank] of Wreke river. There lie buried in the church
divers of the Villars. This Villars [of 1540] is lord of Hoby hard-by,
and of Coneham in Lincolnshire.... He is a man of but two hundred marks
of land by the year." This "Villars" was the father of the Sir George
who married Maria Beaumont. Brooksby, near Melton Mowbray, is only two
or three hours' drive from Coleorton.

[Illustration: GEORGE VILLIERS, FIRST DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM, AND FAMILY
From the painting by Honthorst in the National Portrait Gallery]

The children of this marriage, John, George, and Christopher, were but a
few years younger than the young Beaumonts of Grace-Dieu; and there
would naturally be some coming and going between the Villiers children
of Brooksby and their Beaumont kin of Coleorton and Grace-Dieu. George,
the second son, born in 1592, through whom the fortunes of the family
were achieved, was introduced to King James in August 1614. This youth
of twenty-two had all the graces of the Beaumont as well as the Villiers
blood. "He was of singularly prepossessing appearance," says Gardiner,
"and was endowed not only with personal vigour, but with that readiness
of speech which James delighted in." It was his mother, Maria, now the
widowed Lady Villiers, who manoeuvred the meeting. Her husband's
estates had gone to the children of the first marriage: George was her
favourite son and she staked everything upon his success. James took to
him from the first; the same year he made him cup-bearer; the next,
Gentleman of the Bed-chamber, and knighted him and gave him a pension.
We may imagine that Francis Beaumont and his brother John watched the
promotion of their kinsman with keen interest. But his phenomenal
career was only then beginning. In 1616, a few months after Francis had
died, Sir George Villiers was elevated to the peerage as Viscount
Villiers. By 1617 this devoted "Steenie" of his "dear Dad and Gossop,"
King James, is Earl of Buckingham, and now,--that Somerset has
fallen,--the most potent force in the kingdom; in 1618 he is Marquis,
and in 1623, Duke,--and for some years past he has been enjoying an
income of £15,000 a year from the lands and perquisites bestowed upon
him. Meanwhile his brother, John, has, in 1617, married a great heiress,
the daughter of Sir Edward Coke of Beaumont's Inner Temple, and in 1619
has become Viscount Purbeck; his mother, the intriguing Maria, has been
created Countess of Buckingham, in her own right; in due time his
younger brother, the stupid Christopher, is made Earl of Anglesey. And
Buckingham takes thought not for his immediate family alone: In 1617
"Villiers' kinsman [Hen] Beaumont was to have the Bishopric of
Worcester, but failed";[102] in 1622 his cousin, Sir Thomas Beaumont of
Coleorton, the son of the Sir Henry[103] who cared for Villiers' mother
in her indigence, is created Viscount Beaumont of Swords; and in 1626,
John Beaumont of Grace-Dieu is dubbed knight-baronet.

In 1620, the Marquis of Buckingham had married Katharine Manners, the
daughter and sole heiress of Francis, Earl of Rutland. It was a love
match; and John Beaumont celebrated it with a glowing epithalamium,
praying for the speedy birth of a son

    Who may be worthy of his father's stile,
    May answere to our hopes, and strictly may combine
    The happy height of Villiers race with noble Rutland's line.

Soon afterwards and before 1623, John Beaumont's _Shepherdesse_, spoken
of above, was written. Beside the Nymph, the Marchioness of Buckingham,
those whom the poem describes as living in "our dales,"--and welcoming
Elizabeth Beaumont,--are the father of the Marchioness, the Earl of
Rutland, "his lady," Cicely (Tufton), the stepmother of Katharine
Manners,--and

    Another lady, in whose brest
    True wisdom hath with bounty equal place,
    As modesty with beauty in her face:
    She found me singing Flora's native dowres
    And made me sing before the heavenly pow'rs,
    For which great favour, till my voice be done,
    I sing of her, and her thrice noble son.

This other lady, so wise, and bounteous to John Beaumont, is the
Countess of Buckingham, who when John and our Francis were boys, was
poor cousin Maria of the Coleorton Beaumonts. To the Marquis of
Buckingham, "her thrice-noble sonne," John writes many poetic addresses
in later years: of the birth of a daughter, Mall, "this sweete
armefull"; of the birth and death of his first son; of how in his
"greatnesse," George Villiers did not forget him:

    You, onely you, have pow'r to make me dwell
    In sight of men, drawne from my silent cell;

and of how Villiers had won him the recognition of the King:

    Your favour first th' anointed head inclines
    To heare my rurall songs, and read my lines.

George Villiers, is "his patron and his friend." In writing to the great
Marquis and Duke, John Beaumont never recalls the kinship; but in
writing to the less distinguished brother, the Viscount Purbeck, he
delicately alludes to it.

In the fortunes of the Vauxes of Harrowden, the Beaumonts would
naturally have continued their interest. Anne, imprisoned after the
Gunpowder Plot, was released at the end of six months. The family
persisted in its adherence to the Catholic faith and politics. As late
as Feb. 26, 1612, "Mrs. Vaux, Lord (Edward) Vaux's mother, is condemned
to perpetual imprisonment, for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance";
and we observe that on March 21, of the same year, "Lord Vaux is
committed to the Fleet" for a like refusal.[104] Young Lord Vaux got out
of the Fleet, in time married, and lived till 1661.

Others of kin or family connection,--and of his own age,--with whom
Francis would be on terms of social intercourse or even intimacy during
his prime, were his cousin, Robert Pierrepoint, who by 1601 was in
Parliament as member for Nottingham, and in 1615 was High Sheriff of the
shire; Henry Hastings, born in 1586, who since 1604 had been fifth Earl
of Huntingdon, and in May 1616 was to be of those appointed for the
trial of the Earl and Countess of Somerset; Huntingdon's sister,
Catherine (who was wife of Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield), and
his brother, Edward, a captain in the navy, who the year after
Beaumont's death made the voyage to Guiana under Sir Walter Raleigh;
Huntingdon's cousin, and also Beaumont's kinsman, Sir Henry Hastings, of
whom we have already heard as one of Father Gerard's converts (a first
cousin of Mrs. Elizabeth Vaux, and husband of an Elizabeth Beaumont of
Coleorton); Sir William Cavendish, of the Pierrepoint connection, a
pupil of Hobbes, an intimate friend of James I, and a leader in the
society of Court, who was knighted in 1609, and in 1612 strengthened his
position greatly by marrying Christiana, daughter of Lord Bruce of
Kinloss; and that other young Cavendish, Sir William of Welbeck, county
Notts., who in 1611 was on his travels on the continent under the care
of Sir Henry Wotton. With at least three of these scions of families
allied to the Beaumonts, Francis had been associated, as I have already
pointed out, by contemporaneity at the Inns of Court.

Neither the epistle to Elizabeth Sidney nor the elegy on her death was
included by Blaiklock in his foolish book of so-called Beaumont poems.
From the elegy on Lady Markham's death, in 1609, there included, we
learn little of the poet's self--he had never seen the lady's face, and
is merely rhetoricizing. From the elegy, also included by Blaiklock, "On
the Death of the Lady Penelope Clifton," on October 26, 1613, almost as
artificial, we learn no more of Beaumont's personality,--but we are led
to conjecture some social acquaintance with the distinguished family of
her father, Lord Rich, afterwards Earl of Warwick, and of her husband,
Sir Gervase Clifton, who had been specially admitted to the Inner Temple
in 1607; and the conjecture is confirmed by the perusal of lines "to the
immortal memory of this fairest and most vertuous lady" included in the
works of Sir John Beaumont. He writes as knowing Lady Penelope
intimately,--the sound of her voice, the fairness of her face, her high
perfections,--and as regretting that he had neglected to utter his
affection in verse "while she had lived":

    We let our friends pass idly like our time
    Till they be gone, and then we see our crime.

These poems on Lady Penelope Clifton forge still another link between
the Beaumonts and the Sidneys, for Penelope's mother, the Lady Penelope
Devereux, daughter of Walter, first Earl of Essex, was Sidney's
_innamorata_, the Stella to his Astrophel.

One may with safety extend the list of Beaumont's acquaintances among
the gentry and nobility by crediting him with some of Fletcher's during
the years in which the poets were living in close association; not only
with Fletcher's family connections, the Bakers, Lennards, and Sackvilles
of Kent, but with those to whom Fletcher dedicates, about 1609, the
first quarto of his _Faithfull Shepheardesse_: Sir William Skipwith, for
instance, Sir Walter Aston, and Sir Robert Townshend. Of these the
first, esteemed for his "witty conceits," his "epigrams and poesies,"
was admired and loved not only by Fletcher but by Beaumont's brother as
well--to whom we owe an encomium evidently sincere:

    ... A comely body, and a beauteous mind;
    A heart to love, a hand to give inclin'd;
    A house as free and open as the ayre;
    A tongue which joyes in language sweet and faire, ...

and more of the kind. Sir William was a not distant neighbour of the
Beaumonts, and was knighted, as we have seen, at the same time and place
as Henry of Grace-Dieu; one may reasonably infer that his "house as free
and open as the ayre" at Cotes in Leicestershire harboured Fletcher and
the two Beaumonts on more than one occasion. Sir Walter Aston of Tixall
in Staffordshire, the diplomat, of the Inner Temple since 1600, had
been, since 1603,[105] the patron also of Francis Beaumont's life-long
friend, Drayton. And that poet keeps up the intimacy for many years.
Writing, after 1627 when Sir Walter, now Baron Aston of Forfar, was sent
on embassy to Spain, he says of Lady Aston that "till here again I may
her see, It will be winter all the year with me." In 1609 Sir Walter is
a "true lover of learning," in whom "as in a centre" Fletcher "takes
rest," and whose "goodness to the Muses" is "able to make a work
heroical." Of Sir Robert Townshend's relation to our dramatists we know
nothing save that Fletcher says: "You love above my means to thank ye."
He came of a family that is still illustrious, and for a quarter of a
century he sat in Parliament.

Fletcher's closest friend, if we except Beaumont, seems to have been
Charles Cotton of Beresford, Staffordshire, "a man of considerable
fortune and high accomplishments," the son of Sir George Cotton of
Hampshire. He owed his estates in Staffordshire, and in Derbyshire as
well, to his marriage with the daughter of Sir John Stanhope. To him in
1639, as "the noble honourer of the dead author's works and memory,"
Richard Brome dedicates the quarto of Fletcher's _Monsieur Thomas_.
"Yours," he says, "is the worthy opinion you have of the author and his
poems; neither can it easily be determined, whether your affection to
them hath made you, by observing, more able to judge of them, than your
ability to judge of them hath made you to affect them deservedly, not
partially.... Your noble self (has) built him a more honourable monument
in that fair opinion you have of him than any inscription subject to the
wearing of time can be." To this Charles Cotton, his cousin, Sir Aston
Cockayne, writes a letter in verse after the appearance of the first
folio of Beaumont and Fletcher's plays, 1647, speaking of Fletcher as
"your friend and old companion" and reproaching him for not having taken
the pains to set the printers right about what in that folio was
Fletcher's, what Beaumont's, what Massinger's,--"I wish as free you had
told the printers this as you did me." And it is apparently to Cotton
that Cockayne is alluding when, upbraiding the publishers for not giving
each of the authors his due, he says, "But how came I (you ask) so much
to know? Fletcher's chief bosome-friend informed me so." Elsewhere
Cockayne describes Fletcher and Massinger as "great friends"; but the
"bosome-friend" mentioned above cannot be Massinger, for Massinger is
one of those concerning whose authorship "the bosome-friend" gives
information.

Cotton was a friend of Ben Jonson, Donne, and Selden, also. To him it
is, as a critic, and not to his son, who was a poet, that Robert
Herrick, born seven years after Beaumont, writes:

    For brave comportment, wit without offence,
    Words fully flowing, yet of influence,
    Thou art that man of men, the man alone,
    Worthy the publique admiration:
    Who with thine owne eyes read'st what we doe write,
    And giv'st our numbers euphonie and weight;
    Tell'st when a verse springs high, how understood
    To be, or not, borne of the royall-blood.
    What state above, what symmetrie below,
    Lives have, or sho'd have, thou the best can show.--[106]

And it is likely that Cotton did the same for Fletcher and Beaumont.

Of Cotton, Fletcher's and, therefore, Beaumont's friend, Lord Clarendon
gives us explicit information: "He had all those qualities which in
youth raise men to the reputation of being fine gentlemen: such a
pleasantness and gaiety of humour, such a sweetness and gentleness of
nature, and such a civility and delightfulness in conversation, that no
man in the Court or out of it appeared a more accomplished person; all
these extraordinary qualifications being supported by as extraordinary
a clearness of courage, and fearlessness of spirit, of which he gave too
often manifestation." In later life he was less happy in fortune and in
disposition, "and gave his best friends cause to have wished that he had
not lived so long." He passed through the Civil War and died at the end
of Cromwell's protectorate, 1658.

And of Robert Herrick, we may say that he, too, was surely an
acquaintance of our poets. He writes many poems to Ben Jonson. To their
other friend, Selden, Fletcher's connection by the Baker alliance, and
Beaumont's associate in the Inner Temple, he writes appreciatively:

    Whose smile can make a poet, and your glance
    Dash all bad poems out of countenance.[107]

And of our dramatists themselves, he writes about the same time that he
is writing to Selden, in his verses _To the Apparition of his Mistresse,
calling him to Elizium_,--

    Amongst which glories, crown'd with sacred bayes
    And flatt'ring ivie, two recite their plaies--
    Beaumont and Fletcher, swans to whom all eares
    Listen while they, like syrens in their spheres,
    Sing their Evadne.[108]

[Illustration: JOHN SELDEN
From the painting in the National Portrait Gallery, London]

The Bohemian life on the Bankside, such as it was, must have been
brought to an end by Beaumont's marriage, about 1613. By that time
Beaumont had written _The Woman-Hater_, _The Knight of the Burning
Pestle_, _The Maske_, and several poems; Fletcher, _The Faithfull
Shepheardesse_ and three or four plays more; the two in partnership, at
least five plays; and Fletcher had meanwhile collaborated with other
dramatists in from eight to eleven plays which do not now concern us. As
to the remaining dramas assigned to this period and attributed by
various critics to Beaumont and Fletcher in joint-authorship, we shall
later inquire. Suffice it for the present to say that I do not believe
that the former had a hand in any of them, except _The Scornful Ladie_.


FOOTNOTES:

[97] _Underwoods_, XLVIII.

[98] Thomas Nashe, _Dedication of The Life of Jack Wilton_.

[99] _Itinerary_, Ed. L. T. Smith, Vol. I, 97.

[100] See Greg's _Pastoral Poetry and the Pastoral Drama_, and my
former pupil, H. W. Hill's, _Sidney's Arcadia and the Elizabethan
Drama_.

[101] _Itinerary_, Vol. I, 21. See also, below, Appendix, Table A.

[102] _Cal. State Papers, Domestic_, Chamberlain to Carleton, Jan. 4,
1617. The Villiers descent is given in Collins, _Peerage_, III, 762.

[103] Sir Henry had petitioned ineffectually for the revival of the
viscounty at an earlier date. _Cal. St. Pa., Dom._, Nov. 23, 1606;
see, also, reference in 1614. See also, below, Appendix, Table A.

[104] _Calendar of State Papers_ (Domestic), 1611-1617, under dates.

[105] Elton, _Drayton_, p. 28.

[106] _Hesperides_, Aldine edition of _Herrick_, II, 136.

[107] _Hesperides_, Aldine edition, _Herrick_, I, 301.

[108] _Op. cit._, I, 329.



CHAPTER XII

BEAUMONT'S MARRIAGE AND DEATH; THE SURVIVING FAMILY


In the 1653 edition of the "Poems; By Francis Beaumont, Gent." there is
one, ordinarily regarded as of doubtful authorship, which, in default of
information to the contrary, I am tempted to accept as his and to attach
to it importance, as of biographical interest. It purports to bear his
signature "Fran. Beaumont"; it bears for me the impress of his literary
style. Writing before August 1612, to the Countess of Rutland, Beaumont
had, as we have remarked, disclaimed ever having praised "living woman
in prose or verse." In _The Examination of his Mistris' Perfections_,
the poem of which I speak, the writer praises with all sincerity the
woman of his love:

    Stand still, my happinesse; and, swelling heart,--
    No more! till I consider what thou art.

Like our first parents in Paradise who "thought it nothing if not
understood," so the poet of his happiness--

    Though by thy bountious favour I be in
    A paradice, where I may freely taste
    Of all the vertuous pleasures which thou hast
    [I] wanting that knowledge, must, in all my blisse,
    Erre with my parents, and aske what it is.
      My faith saith 'tis not Heaven; and I dare swear,
    If it be Hell, no pain of sence, is there;
    Sure, 't is some pleasant place, where I may stay,
    As I to Heaven go in the middle way.
    Wert thou but faire, and no whit vertuous,
    Thou wert no more to me but a faire house
    Hanted with spirits, from which men do them blesse,
    And no man will halfe furnishe to possesse:
    Or, hadst thou worth wrapt in a rivell'd skin,
    'T were inaccessible. Who durst go in
    To find it out? for sooner would I go
    To find a pearle cover'd with hills of snow;
    'T were buried vertue, and thou mightst me move
    To reverence the tombe, but not to love,--
    No more than dotingly to cast mine eye
    Upon the urne where Lucrece' ashes lye.
      But thou art faire and sweet, and every good
    That ever yet durst mixe with flesh and blood:
    The Devill ne're saw in his fallen state
    An object whereupon to ground his hate
    So fit as thee; all living things but he
    Love thee; how happy, then, must that man be
    Whom from amongst all creatures thou dost take!
    Is there a hope beyond it? can he make
    A wish to change thee for? This is my blisse,
    Let it run on now; I know what it is.

The poet of this tribute is not wooing, but worshiping the woman won;
reverently striving to comprehend an ineffable joy. The poem is not of
praises such as Beaumont in his epistle _Ad Comitissam Rutlundiae_
contemns, praises "bestow'd at most need on a thirsty soul." The writer,
here, purports to examine into his Mistress's perfections, but, like
the author of the epistle to the Countess, he examines not at all,--he
observes the reticence for which Beaumont there had given the reason,--

    Nor do the virtuous-minded (which I swear
    Madam, I think you are) endure to hear
    Their own perfections into question brought,
    But stop their ears at them.

When the lines of the _Examination_ are set beside the undoubted poems
of Beaumont, they appear, in rhetoric, metaphor, and sentiment, to be
of a type with the two tributes to Lady Rutland; in vocabulary, rhyme,
and run-on lines, also, to be of one font with them, and with the
letter to Ben Jonson and the elegy to Lady Clifton. When the lines are
set beside those of Beaumont's own phrasing in the dramas, one finds
that in their brief compass they echo the metaphor of his Amintor, "my
soul grows weary of her house,"--the hyperbole of his Philaster, "I
will sooner trust the wind With feathers, or the troubled sea with
pearl,"--the passionate ecstasy of his Arbaces, "Here I acknowledge
thee, my hope ... a happinesse as high as I could thinke ... Paradice
is there!" The tribute is a variant of those closing lines in _A King
and No King_,

    I have a thousand joyes to tell you of,
    Which yet I dare not utter, till I pay
    My thankes to Heaven for um.

I date this poem, then 1612 or 1613, a year or two after the play just
mentioned and the epistle to Lady Rutland; and I imagine with some
confidence that it was written by Beaumont for Ursula Isley, whom he
married about this time.

Ursula's father, Henry Isley, belonged to a family of landed gentry
which had been seated since the reign of Edward II in the parish of
Sundridge, Kent. The manor came to them from the de Freminghams in 1412.
In 1554 Sir Harry Isley and his son, William, who were prominent
upholders of the reformed religion, had joined hands with the gallant
young Sir Thomas Wyatt of Allington Castle--about seventeen miles from
Sundridge--in the rebellion which he raised in protest against the
proposed marriage of Queen Mary with Philip of Spain. At Blacksole
Field, near Wrotham, half-way between Sundridge and Allington, the Isley
contingent was met and routed by Sir Robert Southwell and Lord
Abergavenny; and the vast Isley estates were confiscated. A considerable
part was restored to William within a year or two. But he falling into
debt had to sell the larger portion; and for the manor of Sundridge
itself, he appears to have paid fee farm rent to the Crown.

By will, probably September 3, 1599, William's son, Henry, left all his
"manners, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, in the countie of Kent or
else where within the realme of England, unto Jane my lovinge wief in
fee simple, viz{^t} to her and her heires for ever, to the end and purpose
that she maye doe sell or otherwise dispose at her discretion the same,
or such parte or soe much thereof as to her shall seeme fitt, for the
payement of all my just and true debts ... and also for the bringing up
and preferment in marriage of Ursula and Una, the two daughters or
children of her the said Jane, my lovinge wief." That the children were
not, however, stepdaughters of Henry, is pointed out by Dyce, who quotes
the manuscript of Vincent's _Leicester_, 1619: "Ursula, the daughter and
coheir [evidently with Una] of Henry Isley."[109] In fact, Henry had
named Ursula after his mother, the daughter of Nicholas Clifford.

It will be remembered that Beaumont's sister Elizabeth became the wife
of a Thomas Seyliard of Kent. The Seyliards were one of the oldest
families in the vicinity of Sundridge; and Thomas would be of Brasted,
which adjoins Sundridge westward, a quarter of a mile from Sundridge
Place and near the river Darenth; or of Delaware at the south of the
parish; or of Gabriels about a mile from there and seven miles south of
Sundridge; or of Chidingstone close by; or Boxley.[110] If Elizabeth was
married before 1613, it is easy to surmise that during some visit to
her, Beaumont was brought acquainted with Ursula Isley of Sundridge
Place. If not, we may refer the acquaintance to sojournings with his
friend, Fletcher, at Cranbrook or at the Kentish homes of Fletcher's
stepsisters, or with their cousins, the Sackvilles.

We have no proof that Francis Beaumont wrote more than one drama after
the Whitehall festivities of February 1613. Two plays in which he is
supposed by some to have had a hand with Fletcher, _The Captaine_ and
_The Honest Man's Fortune_, were acted during that year; but I find no
trace of Francis in the latter and but slight possibility of it in the
former. We must conclude that from 1613 he lived as a country gentleman.
He would be much more likely to take up his abode at Sundridge, which,
as we have seen, belonged to his wife and her sister, than at Grace-Dieu
Manor; for that was occupied by John Beaumont who had four sons to
provide for. It is, of course, barely possible that one of his father's
properties in Leicestershire or Derby may have fallen to him,--Cottons,
for instance, in the latter county, or that "Manner House of Normanton,
and a close ther called the Parke" mentioned in the Judge's will and in
which house-room was given by him to a "servaunte ... for the tearme of
eleaven yeares" beginning 1598. But the probabilities all point to the
manor house in Kent as the scene of Beaumont's closing years.[111]

Sundridge Place lies, as we know, just south of Chevening and west of
Sevenoaks. The old manor house in which, we may presume, Beaumont and
Ursula lived, and where his children were born, has long since
disappeared. But the old church, just north of the Place, with its Early
English and Perpendicular architecture still stands much as in their
day. The old brass tablets to the Isleys of two centuries are there, and
the altar-tomb of the John Isley and his wife who died a century before
Beaumont was born. Near this memorial we may imagine that Beaumont and
Ursula sat of a Sunday; and through this same picturesque graveyard,
breathing peace, they would pass home again. Some days they would take
the half-hour stroll across the forks of the Darenth, by Combebank in
the chalk hills and through the woods, to Chevening House, and drink a
cup with old Sampson Lennard and his son, Sir Henry, and Fletcher's
stepsister Chrysogona (Grisogone), now Lord and Lady Dacre, and make
merry with their seven youngsters; and, coming back by the Pilgrim's
road that makes for the shrine of the "holy blissful martir," Beaumont
would quote, from Speght's edition of Chaucer which had appeared but
thirteen years before, something merry of the

    Well nyne and twenty in a companye,
    Of sondry folk, by aventure y-falle
    In felawshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,
    That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.

Or sometimes they would tramp across to Squerries and fish in the
Darenth for the bream of which Spenser had written; perhaps, visit their
sister Seyliard that same evening.

Another summer day, Francis would ride the ten miles north toward
Chislehurst (ashes of Napoleon _le petit_!), and turn aside to pay his
compliments to the proprietor of Camden Place, Ben Jonson's friend the
antiquary. But we may suppose that more gladly and frequently than to
any other spot, this dramatist-turned-squire, and settled down for
health and leisure, would head his horse for Knole; and, galloping the
hills through Chipstead and Sevenoaks up to the old church that crowns
the height, would steady to a trot along the stately avenue of the Park
amid its beeches and sycamores,--resting his eye on broad sweeps of
pasture-land and distant groves, and thinking poetry,--to be greeted
within one short half-hour from the time he left the Place, by that most
hospitable nobleman of the day, the noblest patron of poetry and art,
Richard Sackville, third Earl of Dorset. They would pace--these two
lovers of Ben Jonson, and worshippers of the first dramatist-earl--the
Great Hall, together, talking of plays, of the burning of the Globe
while _Henry VIII_ was on the boards, or of the opening of the new
Blackfriars, or of Overbury's poisoning, and the scandalous marriage of
Rochester and Lady Essex, or of Sir Henry Nevill's chances in the matter
of the Secretaryship, or of Winwood's appointment, or of Raleigh's
grievances, or of the new favourite, young Villiers of Brooksby, or of
the long existing grievance of Beaumont's Catholic cousins, in and after
1614 all the more acute because of the hopes and fears thronging that
other subject of discussion which doubtless would occupy a place in any
conversation, the negotiations of Don Diego Sarmiento for a Spanish
Marriage. Perhaps they would stretch their legs out to the fire before
the old andirons that had once been Henry VIII's, and talk of the tragic
romance of young William Seymour and Lady Arabella Stuart, the cousin
alike of Robert Pierrepoint and his majesty, James I; or of the
indictment and fall of Somerset. Or they would stroll to the chapel, and
decipher the carvings of the Crucifixion which Mary, Queen of Scots, had
given to the Earl's brother, now dead. Or the Earl would point out some
new portrait of that wonderful collection, then forming, of literary men
in the dining-room, and Beaumont would pass judgment upon the
presentment of some of his own contemporaries.

Then down the drive by which the sheep are browsing and the deer, like
Agag delicately picking their way, and back to Sundridge of the Isleys,
and to Ursula; maybe to an afternoon of lazy writing on scenes that
Fletcher has called for--perhaps the posset-night of Sir Roger and
Abigail for the beginning of _The Scornful Ladie_.

In 1614 or 1615, the poet's first child, a daughter, was born and was
appropriately named after the two Elizabeths who had touched most
closely upon his life. But the days of wedded happiness--"This is my
blisse, Let it run on now!"--were brief. On March 6, 1616, he
died,--only thirty-one years of age.[112]

The lines written to Lady Rutland, some five years before,

                    What little wit I have
    Is not yet grown so near unto the grave,
    But that I can, by that dim fading light,
    Perceive of what, or unto whom I write,

may have been conceived merely in humorous self-depreciation. But when
we couple them with the epitaph written by John of Grace-Dieu "upon my
deare brother, Francis Beaumont,"--

    On Death, thy murd'rer, this revenge I take:
    I slight his terrour, and just question make,
    Which of us two the best precedence have--
    Mine to this wretched world, thine to the grave.
    Thou shouldst have followed me, but Death to blame
    Miscounted yeeres, and measur'd age by fame:
    _So dearely hast thou bought thy precious lines;
    Their praise grew swiftly, so thy life declines._
    Thy Muse, the hearer's queene, the reader's love,
    All eares, all hearts (but Death's), could please and move;--

when we couple the dramatist's own words of his "wit not yet grown so
near unto the grave" with these of his brother which I have italicized,
and reflect that for the last three years Francis seems to have written
almost nothing, we are moved to conjecture that his early death was not
unconnected with an excessive devotion to his art, and that his health
had been for some time failing. As Darley long ago pointed out,[113] the
lines of Bishop Corbet "on Mr. Francis Beaumont (then newly dead)" may
intend more than a poetical conceit; and they would confirm the
probability suggested above.

    He that hath such acuteness and such wit,
    As would ask ten good heads to husband it;
    He that can write so well, that no man dare
    Refuse it for the best, let him beware:
    Beaumont is dead; _by whose sole death appears,
    Wit's a disease consumes men in few years_.--

And this conjecture is borne out by the portrait of the weary Beaumont
that now hangs in Nuneham.

Three days after his death the dramatist was buried in that part of
Westminster Abbey which, since Spenser was laid there to the left of
Chaucer's empty grave, had come to be regarded as the Poets' Corner.
Beaumont lies to the right of Chaucer's gray marble on the east side of
the South Transept in front of St. Benedict's chapel. In what honour he
was held we gather from the consideration that, of poets, only Chaucer
and Spenser had preceded him to a resting place in the Abbey; and that
of his contemporaries, only four writers of verse followed him: his
brother, Sir John, who died some eleven years later, and lies beside
him; his old friend, Michael Drayton, in 1631; Hugh Holland, in 1633;
and that friend of all four, Ben Jonson, in 1637. On the "learned" or
"historical" side of the transept, across the way from the poets, lie
also only three of Beaumont's generation: Casaubon the philologist,
Hakluyt the voyager, and Ben Jonson's master and benefactor--"most
reverend head, to whom I owe All that I am in acts, all that I
know,"--Camden the antiquary. "In the poetical quarter," writes Addison,
a hundred years later, "I found there were poets who had no monuments,
and monuments which had no poets." Of the former category is Beaumont;
of the latter, the alabaster bust of Drayton whose body lies under the
north wall of the nave, and the monument to Jonson, who, having no one
rich enough to "lay out funeral charges upon him," stands, in accordance
with his own desire, on his "eighteen inches of square ground" under a
paving-stone in the north aisle of the nave,--and the figure of their
associate, Shakespeare, who, though there was much talk of transporting
his body from Stratford in the year of his death and Beaumont's, did
not, even in "preposterous" effigy, join his compeers of the Poets'
Corner till more than a century had elapsed. Upon Beaumont's grave
Dryden's lofty pile encroaches. Above the grave rises the bust of
Longfellow; and not far from Beaumont, Tennyson and Browning were lately
laid to rest.

The verses, _On the Tombs in Westminster_, attributed to our
poet-dramatist, are of doubtful authorship, but in diction and turn of
thought they are paralleled by more than one of the poems which we have
found to be his:--

    Mortality, behold, and feare,
    What a change of flesh is here!
    Thinke how many royall bones
    Sleep within these heap of stones:
    Here they lye, had realmes and lands,
    Who now want strength to stir their hands;
    Where from their pulpits, seal'd with dust,
    They preach "In greatnesse is not trust."
    Here's an acre sown, indeed,
    With the richest, royall'st seed
    That the earth did e're suck in
    Since the first man dy'd for sin:
    Here the bones of birth have cry'd,
    "Though gods they were, as men they dy'd";
    Here are sands, ignoble things,
    Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings.
    Here's a world of pomp and state
    Buried in dust, once dead by fate.

If the lines are not by Francis, they still preach the calm,
deterministic spirit of his poems and his tragedies; and they are worthy
of him.

Beaumont's surviving brother of Grace-Dieu continued for many years to
write epistolary, panegyric, and religious poems, which won increasing
favour among scholars and at Court. They were collected and published by
his son, in 1629. Of his _Battle of Bosworth Field_, which contains some
genuinely poetic passages, I have already spoken. In his lines to James
I _Concerning the True Forme of English Poetry_, composed probably the
year of Francis' death, or the year after, he desiderates regularity of
rhyme,

    Pure phrase, fit epithets, a sober care
    Of metaphors, descriptions cleare, yet rare,
    Similitudes contracted, smooth and round,
    Not vex't by learning, but with nature crown'd,--

strong and unaffected language, and noble subject. They made an
impression upon his contemporaries in verse; and, though he was but a
minor poet, he has come to be recognized as one of the "first refiners"
of the rhyming couplet,--a forerunner, in the limpid style, of Waller,
Denham, and Cowley. His translations from Horace, Juvenal, Persius, and
Prudentius are done with spirit. His later poems set him before us an
eminently pious soul, kindly, courtly, and cultivated. His greatest
work, the _Crowne of Thornes_, in eight books, is lost. It was evidently
dedicated to Shakespeare's Earl of Southampton, for in his elegy on the
Earl, 1624, he says:

    Shall ever I forget with what delight
    He on my simple lines would cast his sight?
    His onely mem'ry my poore worke adornes,
    He is a father to my crowne of thornes:
    Now since his death how can I ever looke
    Without some tears, upon that orphan booke?

That this poem was printed we gather also from the elegy of Thomas
Hawkins upon Sir John.

I have already said that John was raised by Charles I, undoubtedly
through the influence of the Duke of Buckingham, to the baronetcy in
1626. He died only a year or two later,[114] and was lamented in verse
by his sons, and by poets and scholars of the day. On the appearance of
his poetical remains, Jonson wrote "This booke will live; it hath a
genius," and "I confesse a Beaumont's booke to be The bound and frontire
of our poetrie." And Drayton--

    There is no splendour, which our pens can give
    By our most labour'd lines, can make thee live
    Like to thine owne.

In the commendatory poems, his friend, Thomas Nevill,[115] praises his
goodness, his knowledge and his art. Sir Thomas Hawkins of Nash Court,
Kent,--connected through Hugh Holland and Edmund Bolton with the circle
of Sir John's acquaintances,--emphasizes the modesty, regularity, moral
and religious devotion no less of his life than of his poetry. His sons
rejoice that "His draughts no sensuall waters ever stain'd." His
brother-in-law, George Fortescue of Leicestershire, and others swell the
chorus of affection. He was, says the historian of Leicestershire who
knew him well,--William Burton, the brother of that rector of Segrave,
near by, who wrote the _Anatomy of Melancholy_,--he was "a gentleman of
great learning, gravity, and worthiness."

Sir John was succeeded at Grace-Dieu by John, his oldest son, who fought
during the Civil War for King Charles, and fell at the siege of
Gloucester, in 1644. Other sons were Gervase, who died in childhood,
Francis, who became a Jesuit, and Thomas, who succeeded in 1644 to the
family title and estates. The Manor of Grace-Dieu passed finally to the
Philips family of Garendon Park, about four miles from Grace-Dieu and
half a mile from old Judge Beaumont's property of Sheepshead. The
founder of this family at Garendon in 1682 was Sir Ambrose Philips,[116]
the father of the Ambrose who wrote the _Pastorals_ and _The Distrest
Mother_. From the Philipses the present owners of Garendon and
Grace-Dieu, the Phillipps de Lisles, inherited. The old house is no
longer standing. But below the new Manor may be seen the ruins of the
Nunnery from which the Master of the Rolls almost four centuries ago
evicted Catherine Ekesildena and her sister-nuns. It is interesting to
note that the name de Lisle, or Lisle, is but a variant of that of
Francis Beaumont's wife Isley (de Insula); and that the present family
came from the Isle of Wight and Kent, Ursula Isley's native county. I
have not, however, yet been able to establish any direct connection
between the Sundridge Isleys and the Phillipps de Lisles who came into
the Grace-Dieu estates in 1777.

The sister of the Beaumonts, Elizabeth, was about twenty-four years
old at the time of Francis' marriage to Ursula Isley of Kent. The date
of her wedding to Thomas Seyliard does not appear; but before 1619 she
was settled in the same county, and within a few miles of Chevening,
Sundridge, and Knole. Of the events of her subsequent life we know
nothing. That she cultivated poetry and the poets, however, may be
inferred, from various passages in Drayton's _Muses Elizium_. In the
third, fourth, and eighth _Nimphalls_, written as late as 1630, the
old poet introduces among his nymphs,--singing in the "Poets
Paradice," which, I surmise, was terrestrially Knole Park,--the same
"Mirtilla" who in his eighth Eglog of 1606 was "sister to those
hopeful boys, ... Thyrsis and sweet Palmeo." Only a year before the
appearance of these _Nimphalls_ Drayton composed for the publication
of her elder brother's poems, a lament "To the deare Remembrance of
his Noble Friend, Sir John Beaumont, Baronet." Mirtilla had outlived
both Thyrsis and Palmeo, but not the affection of their life-long
admirer and boon companion.

The widow of the dramatist bore a child a few months after the father's
death, and named her Frances. In 1619 Ursula administered her husband's
estate;[117] and she probably continued to live with her children at the
family seat in Sundridge. The elder daughter, Elizabeth, was married to
"a Scotch colonel" and was living in Scotland as late as 1682. Frances
was never married. She seems to have cherished her father's fame as her
richest possession. It was, indeed, probably her only possession, save a
packet of his poems in manuscript which, we are told, she carried with
her to Ireland, but unfortunately "they were lost at sea"[118] on her
return. In 1682 she was "resident in the family of the Duke of Ormonde,"
then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.[119] She appears to have attended the
high-spirited and capable Duchess, or other ladies of the Butler family,
at the Castle in Dublin, or the family seat in Kilkenny, as companion.
Under the protection of that loyal cavalier and Christian statesman,
James, Duke of Ormonde, whose prayer was ever "for the relieving and
delivering the poor, the innocent, and the oppressed,"[120] she must
have known happiness, for at any rate a few years. She was retired by
the Duke, apparently after the death of the Duchess, in 1684, on a
pension of one hundred pounds a year; and this competence we learn that
she still enjoyed in 1700, when at the age of eighty-four she was living
in Leicestershire,--let us hope in her father's old home of Grace-Dieu.
She may have survived to see the accession of Queen Anne. We know merely
that she died before 1711. Her life bridges the space from the day of
her father, Shakespeare's younger contemporary, to that of her father's
encomiast, Dryden, and further still to that of Congreve, Vanbrugh,
Farquhar, and Addison; and we are thus helped to realize that in the
arithmetic of generations Beaumont's times and thought are after all not
so far removed from our own. Two more such spans of human existence
would link his day with that of Tennyson, Browning, and Swinburne.


FOOTNOTES:

[109] _Works of B. and F._, I, ii-iii.

[110] Hasted's _History of Kent_ (1797), II, 433; III, 146, 154, 186.

[111] For Sundridge and the Isleys, see Hasted's _Kent_, II, 513-521;
III, 128-132, 143-145; and _Cal, S. P._ (_Dom._) Jan. 23, Feb. 24,
1554.

[112] Jonson's statement to Drummond "ere he was thirty years of age"
is incorrect, or was misreported.

[113] _Introduction to The Works of B. and F._, ed. 1866, I, xviii.

[114] According to the Register of burials in Westminster Abbey, 1627;
but some authorities say 1628. See Dyce, I, xxi; Chalmer's _English
Poets_, VI, 3, and Grosart's edition of his poems.

[115] This is certainly not the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge,
as Grosart opines,--for the simple reason that the Master died
thirteen years before Sir John.

[116] Nichols, _Coll. Hist., Leic.,-Bibl. Top. Britt._, VIII, 1329,
1341.

[117] A. B. Grosart, in _D. N. B._, art. _Francis Beaumont_.

[118] Preface to _B. and F.'s Works_, ed. 1711, p. 1.

[119] Dyce, Vol. I, p. 211, from _MS., Vincent's Leicester_, 1683.

[120] James Wills, _Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished Irishmen_,
1841, Vol. III, Pt. ii, p. 244.



CHAPTER XIII

THE PERSONALITY, AND THE CONTEMPORARY REPUTATION OF BEAUMONT


Our poet's contemporaries saw him, not as one of my scholarly friends,
Professor Herford, judging apparently from the crude engraving of
1711,[121] or from that of 1812, sees him, "of heavy and uninteresting
features," but as Swinburne saw him, probably in Robinson's engraving of
1840, "handsome and significant in feature and expression alike ... with
clear thoughtful eyes, full arched brows, and strong aquiline nose with
a little cleft at the tip; a grave and beautiful mouth, with full and
finely-curved lips; the form of face a long pure oval, and the imperial
head, with its 'fair large front' and clustering hair, set firm and
carried high with an aspect at once of quiet command and kingly
observation";[122] as we see him to-day in the soft and speaking
photogravure[123] recently made from the portrait at Knole Park or in
the reproduction of 1911[124] of the portrait which belongs to the Rt.
Hon. Lewis Harcourt at Nuneham,--a courtly gentleman of noble mien, of
countenance dignified, beautiful, and mobile, and of dreamy eyes
somewhat saddened as by physical suffering, or by sympathetic pondering
on the mystery of life. The original at Knole was already there, in the
time of Lionel, seventh Earl of Dorset, 1711, and in default of
information to the contrary we may conclude that it has always been in
the possession of the Sackville family, and was painted for Beaumont's
contemporary, and I have ventured to surmise friend as well as
neighbour, Richard, third Earl of Dorset,--who had succeeded to the
earldom in 1609--about the year of _Philaster_. I have already shown
that the Sackvilles were connected with the Fletchers by marriage. They
were also patrons of Beaumont's friends, Jonson and Drayton. While the
third Earl was still living, poor old Ben writes to son, Edward
Sackville, a grateful epistle for succouring his necessities. And to the
same Edward, as fourth Earl,[125] Drayton dedicated, 1630, the
_Nimphalls_ of his _Muses Elizium_, and to his Countess, Mary, the
_Divine Poems_, published therewith. If, as others have conjectured, the
Earl is himself the Dorilus of the _Nimphalls_, the exquisite
_Description of Elizium_ which precedes, may be, after the fashion of
the poets and painters of the Renaissance, an idealized picture of Knole
Park, where Drayton probably had been received:

    A Paradice on earth is found,
      Though farre from vulgar sight,
    Which, with those pleasures doth abound,
      That it Elizium hight,--

of its groves of stately trees, its merle and mavis, its daisies
damasking the green, its spreading vines upon the "cleeves," its
ripening fruits:

    The Poets Paradice this is,
      To which but few can come;
    The Muses onely bower of blisse,
      Their Deare Elizium.

It was the widow of the third Earl, Anne (Clifford), Countess of Dorset
and, afterwards, of Pembroke and Montgomery,[126] who erected the
monument to Drayton in the Poets' Corner. That Beaumont was acquainted
with this family of poets and patrons of art is, therefore, in every way
more than probable; and there is a poetic pleasure in the reflection
that the family still retains, in the house which Beaumont probably
often visited, this noble presentment of the dramatist.

The portrait at Nuneham, which I have mentioned above, is not so
life-like as that at Knole: it lacks the shading. But it is for us most
expressive: it is that of an older man, spade-bearded, of broader brow,
higher cheek-bones, and face falling away toward the chin; of the same
magnanimity and grace, but with eyes more almond-shaped and sensitive,
and eloquent of illness. It is the likeness of Beaumont approaching the
portals of death.

[Illustration: By permission of Mr. Lewis Harcourt.

      THE BEAUMONT
        OF THE
    NUNEHAM PORTRAIT]

Of the personality of Beaumont we have already had glimpses through the
window of his non-dramatic poems. His letter to Ben Jonson has revealed
him chafing in enforced exile from London, amusedly tolerant of the
"standing family-jests" of country gentlemen, tired of "water mixed with
claret-lees," "with one draught" of which "man's invention fades," and
yearning for the Mermaid wine of poetic converse, "nimble, and full of
subtle flame." Other verses to Jonson and to Fletcher express his scorn
of "the wild applause of common people," his confidence in sympathetic
genius and Time as the only arbiters of literary worth. In still other
poems, lyric, epistolary, and elegiac, we have savoured the tang of his
humour,--unsophisticated, somewhat ammoniac; and from them have caught
his habit of emotional utterance, frank and sincere, whether in
admiration, love, or indignation. We have grown acquainted with his
reverence for womanly purity; with his religion of suffering, his
recognition of mortal pathos, irony, futility, and yet of inscrutable
purpose and control, and of the countervailing serenity that awaits us
in the grave. An amusing side-light is thrown upon his character by
Jonson who told Drummond of Hawthornden, that "Francis Beaumont loved
too much himself and his own verses." We are glad to know that a man of
Jonson's well-attested self-esteem encountered in Beaumont an arrogance
and a consciousness of poetic superiority; that even this "great lover
and praiser of himself, contemner and scorner of others," for whom
Spenser's stanzas were not pleasing, nor his matter, and "Shakespeare
wanted art,"--that even this great brow-beater of his contemporaries in
literature, recognized in our poet a self-esteem which even he could
not bully out of him. But we must not be harsh in our judgment of
Drummond's Ben Jonson, for though he "was given rather to lose a friend
than a jest and was jealous of every word and action of those about
him," this is not the Ben who some seven years earlier had written "How
I do love thee, Beaumont, and thy Muse"; this is Ben as Drummond saw him
in 1619--Ben talking "especially after drink which is one of the
elements in which he liveth." That Beaumont's affection and geniality of
intercourse were reciprocated not only by Jonson, but by others, we
learn from lines written to, or of, him by men of worth.

His judgment as a critic was recognized by his contemporaries, as well
as the poetic brilliance of the dramas which he was creating under
their eyes. His language, too, was praised for its distinction while
he was yet living. In the manuscript outline of the _Hypercritica_,
which appears to have been filled in at various times between 1602 and
1616, Bolton says: "the books out of which wee gather the most
warrantable English are not many to my remembrance.... But among the
cheife, or rather the cheife, are in my opinion these: Sir Thomas
Moore's works; ... George Chapman's first seaven books of Iliades;
Samuell Danyell; Michael Drayton his Heroicall Epistles of England;
Marlowe his excellent fragment of Hero and Leander; Shakespeare, Mr.
Francis Beamont, and innumerable other writers for the stage,--and
[they] presse tenderly to be used in this Argument; Southwell,
Parsons, and some few other of that sort." In the final version of the
_Hypercritica_, prepared between 1616 and 1618,[127] Bolton omits the
later dramatists altogether;[128] but that is not to be construed by
way of discrimination against Shakespeare and Beaumont. There is no
doubt that Bolton knew the Beaumonts personally, and appreciated their
worth, and as early as 1610;--for to his _Elements of Armories_ of
that year, he prefixes a "Letter to the Author, from the learned young
gentleman, I. B., of Grace-Dieu in the County of Leicestershire,
Esquier,"[129] who highly compliments the invention, judicial method,
and taste displayed in the _Elements_, and returns the manuscript with
promise of his patronage.

Further information of the esteem in which Francis was held, is afforded
by the eulogies, direct or indirect, written soon after his death by
those who were near enough to him in years to have known him, or to
assess his worth untrammeled by the critical consensus of a generation
that knew him not. The tender tributes of his brother and of his
contemporary, Dr. Corbet, successively Bishop of Oxford, and of Norwich,
have already been quoted. A so-called "sonnet," signed I. F., included
in an Harleian manuscript between two poems undoubtedly by Fletcher, may
not have been intended for the dead poet; but I agree with Dyce, who
first printed it,[130] that it seems "very like Fletcher's epicede on
his beloved associate":--

    Come, sorrow, come! bring all thy cries,
    All thy laments, and all thy weeping eyes!
    Burn out, you living monuments of woe!
    Sad sullen griefs, now rise and overflow!
                Virtue is dead;
                  O cruel fate!
                All youth is fled;
                  All our laments too late.

    Oh, noble youth, to thy ne'er-dying name,
    Oh, happy youth, to thy still-growing fame,
    To thy long peace in earth, this sacred knell
    Our last loves ring--farewell, farewell, farewell!
    Go, happy soul, to thy eternal birth!
    And press his body lightly, gentle Earth!

What the young readers of contemporary poetry at the universities
thought of him is nowhere better expressed than in the lines written
immediately after the poet's death by the fifteen- or sixteen-year-old
John Earle;--he who was later Fellow of Merton; and in turn Bishop of
Worcester, and of Salisbury. The ardent lad is gazing in person or
imagination on the new-filled tomb in the Poets' Corner, when he writes:

    Beaumont lyes here; and where now shall we have
    A Muse like his, to sigh upon his grave?
    Ah, none to weepe this with a worthy teare,
    But he that cannot, Beaumont that lies here.
    Who now shall pay thy Tombe with such a Verse
    As thou that Ladies didst, faire Rutlands Herse?
    A Monument that will then lasting be,
    When all her Marble is more dust than she.
    In thee all's lost: a sudden dearth and want
    Hath seiz'd on Wit, good Epitaphs are scant;
    We dare not write thy Elegie, whilst each feares
    He nere shall match that coppy of thy teares.
    Scarce in an Age a Poet,--and yet he
    Scarce lives the third part of his age to see,
    But quickly taken off, and only known,
    Is in a minute shut as soone as showne....

Why should Nature take such pains to perfect that which ere perfected
she shall destroy?--

    Beaumont dies young, so Sidney died before;
    There was not Poetry he could live to, more:
    He could not grow up higher; I scarce know
    If th' art it self unto that pitch could grow,
    Were 't not in thee that hadst arriv'd the hight
    Of all that wit could reach, or Nature might....

The elegist likens Beaumont to Menander,

    Whose few sententious fragments show more worth
    Than all the Poets Athens ere brought forth;
    And I am sorry I have lost those houres
    On them, whose quicknesse comes far short of ours,
    And dwelt not more on thee, whose every Page
    May be a patterne to their Scene and Stage.
    I will not yeeld thy Workes so mean a Prayse--
    More pure, more chaste, more sainted than are Playes,
    Nor with that dull supinenesse to be read,
    To passe a fire, or laugh an houre in bed....
    Why should not Beaumont in the Morning please,
    As well as Plautus, Aristophanes?
    Who, if my Pen may as my thoughts be free,
    Were scurrill Wits and Buffons both to Thee....
    Yet these are Wits, because they'r old, and now
    Being Greeke and Latine, they are Learning too:
    But those their owne Times were content t' allow
    A thriftier fame, and thine is lowest now.
    But thou shall live, and, when thy Name is growne
    Six Ages older, shall be better knowne;
    When thou'rt of Chaucers standing in the Tombe,
    Thou shall not share, but take up all his roome.[131]

A panegyric liberal in the superlatives of youth but, in view of
passages to be quoted elsewhere, one of the sanest as well as earliest
appreciations of Beaumont's distinctive quality as a dramatist; an
appreciation such as the historian might expect from a collegian who, a
dozen years later, was not only one of the most genial and refined
scholars of his generation but, perhaps, the most accurate observer and
epitomist of the familiar types and minor morals of his day,--a writer
who in 1628 is still championing the cause of contemporary poetry. In
his characterization of the Vulgar-Spirited Man "that is taken only with
broad and obscene wit, and hisses anything too deep for him; that cries,
Chaucer for his money above all our English poets, because the voice has
gone so, and he has read none," the Earle of the _Microcosmographie_ is
but repeating the censure of his elegy on Beaumont in 1616.

About 1620, we find a contemporary of altogether different class from
that of the university student acknowledging the fame of Beaumont, the
Thames waterman, John Taylor. This self-advertising tramp and
rollicking scribbler mentions him in _The Praise of Hemp-seed_ with
Chaucer, Spencer, Shakespeare, and others, as of those who, "in
paper-immortality, Doe live in spight of death, and cannot die." And not
far separated from Taylor's testimonial in point of time is William
Basse's prediction of a prouder immortality. Basse who was but two years
older than Beaumont, and, as we have seen, was one of the pastoral group
with which Beaumont's career was associated, is writing of "Mr. William
Shakespeare" who had died six weeks after Beaumont,--and he thus
apostrophizes the Westminster poets of the Corner:

    Renownèd Spencer, lye a thought more nye
    To learnèd Chaucer, and rare Beaumont lye
    A little neerer Spencer, to make roome
    For Shakespeare in your threefold, fowerfold Tombe.
    To lodge all foure in one bed make a shift
    Untill Doomesdaye, for hardly will a fift,
    Betwixt this day and that, by Fate be slayne
    For whom your Curtaines may be drawn againe.

The date of the sonnet of which these are the opening lines can be only
approximately determined. It must be earlier, however, than 1623; for in
that year Jonson alludes to it in verses presently to be quoted. And it
must be later than the erection of the monument to Shakespeare's memory
in Trinity Church, Stratford, in or soon after 1618, for in the lines
which follow those given above the writer apostrophizes Shakespeare as
sleeping "Under this carvèd marble of thine owne." The sonnet
contemplates the removal of Shakespeare's remains to Westminster, and
arranges the poets already lying there not in actual but chronological
order.[132]

To these verses Jonson, as I have said, alludes in the series of stanzas
prefixed to the Shakespeare folio of 1623,--_To the memory of my
beloved, the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare and what he hath left us._
Ben Jonson intends, however, no slight to Beaumont and the other poets
mentioned by Basse, when, in his rapturous eulogy, he declines to regard
them as the peers of Shakespeare. On the contrary this lover at heart,
and in his best moments, of Beaumont, bestows a meed of praise: they are
"great Muses,"--Chaucer, Spenser, Beaumont,--but merely
"disproportioned," if one judge critically, in the present comparison,
as are, indeed, Lyly, Kyd, and Marlowe. Not these, but "thundering
Æschylus," Euripides, and Sophocles, Pacuvius, Accius, "him of Cordova
dead," must be summoned

    To life againe to heare thy Buskin tread
                And shake a Stage.

Therefore it is, that Jonson calls--

    My Shakespeare rise; I will not lodge thee by
      Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lye
    A little further to make thee a roome:
      Thou art a Moniment without a toombe,
    And art alive still, while thy Booke doth live,
      And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
    That I not mixe thee so, my braine excuses;
      I meane with great, but disproportion'd Muses.

That Beaumont was regarded by his immediate contemporaries not as a
professional, but literary, dramatist,--a poet, and a person of social
eminence,--appears from Drayton's _Epistle to Henery Reynolds, Esq., Of
Poets and Poesy_, published 1627, from which I have earlier quoted. Here
the writer, appraising the poets "who have enrich'd our language with
their rhymes" informs his "dearly loved friend" that he does not

                                 meane to run
    In quest of these that them applause have wonne
    Upon our Stages in these latter dayes,
    That are so many; let them have their bayes,
    That doe deserve it; let those wits that haunt
    Those publique circuits, let them freely chaunt
    Their fine Composures, and their praise pursue;

and thus, we may conjecture, he excuses the omission of such men as
Middleton, Fletcher, and Massinger. Beginning with Chaucer, "the first
of ours that ever brake Into the Muses' treasure, and first spake In
weighty numbers," Drayton pays especial honour to "grave, morall
Spencer," "noble Sidney ... heroe for numbers and for prose," Marlowe
with his "brave translunary things," Shakespeare of "as smooth a comicke
vaine ... as strong conception, and as cleere a rage, As any one that
trafiqu'd with the Stage," "learn'd Johnson.... Who had drunke deepe of
the Pierian spring," and "reverend Chapman" for his translations: then
he passes to men of letters whom he had loved, Alexander and Drummond,
and concludes the roll-call with his two Beaumonts and his Browne, his
bosom friends, rightly born poets and "Men of much note, and no lesse
nobler parts." This letter not only speaks the opinion of Drayton
concerning the standing of the two Beaumonts in poetry, but incidentally
asserts the popularity of their work, for the author informs his
correspondents that he "ties himself here only to those few men"

    Whose works oft printed, set on every post,
    To publique censure subject have bin most.

By 1627 all of the dramas in which Francis had an undoubted share,
except _The Coxcombe_ had been printed; and some of his poems had
appeared as early as 1618 in a little volume that included also
Drayton's elegies on Lady Penelope Clifton and the three sons of Lord
Sheffield, and Verses by 'N. H.'

[Illustration: MICHAEL DRAYTON
From the portrait in the Dulwich Gallery]

This volume is Henry Fitzgeffrey's _Certayn elegies done by sundrie
excellent wits_ (Fr. Beau., M. Dr., N. H.), with _Satyres and
Epigrames_. Fitzgeffrey, by the way, was of Lincoln's Inn in Beaumont's
time; and so were others connected with this volume, by dedications or
commendatory verses: Fitzgeffrey's "chamber-fellow and nearest friend,
Nat. Gurlin"; Thomas Fletcher, and John Stephens, the satirist, who had
been entered member of the Inn in 1611. They must all have been known by
Beaumont when he was writing his elegies. The 'N. H.' thus posthumously
associated with our dramatist was, I think, the mathematician,
philosopher, and poet, Nicholas Hill[133] Beaumont could not have failed
to know him. He was of St. John's College, Oxford; he wrote and
published a _Philosophia Epicurea Democritiana_ to which, mentioning him
by name, Ben Jonson alludes in his epigram (CXXXIV) _Of The Famous
Voyage_ of the two wights who "At Bread-streets _Mermaid_ having dined
and merry, Propos'd to goe to Holborne in a wherry." He was the
secretary and favourite of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, was a good
deal of a wag, and well acquainted with our old friend Serjeant Hoskyns
of the _Convivium Philosophicum_. He died in 1610.

Whether the anonymous writer on _The Time Poets_[134] was a personal
acquaintance of Beaumont we cannot tell. The definite qualities of the
poet which he emphasizes are, however, as likely to be drawn from life
and conversation as from the perusal of his dramas. The lines,
apparently composed between 1620 and 1636, begin,

    One night, the great Apollo, pleas'd with Ben,
    Made the odde number of the Muses ten;
    The fluent Fletcher, Beaumont rich in sense,
    In complement and courtship's quintessence;
    Ingenious Shakespeare, Massinger that knows
    The strength of plot to write in verse or prose,--

and continue with "cloud-grappling Chapman" and others, as of the ten
Muses.

That Thomas Heywood, the dramatist, was a personal friend,--we may be
sure,--the kind of friend who having a sense of humour did not resent
Beaumont's genial satire in _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_ upon his
bourgeois drama of _The Foure Prentises_ of London. Writing as late as
1635, he remembers Francis as a wit:

    Excellent Bewmont, in the formost ranke
    Of the rarest Wits, was never more than Franck.--

The touch of familiarity with which Heywood[135] causes that whole row
of poets, many of them then dead, Robin Green, Kit Marlowe, the Toms
(Kyd, Watson and Nashe), mellifluous Will, Ben, and the rest, to live
for posterity as human, and lovable, gracefully heightens the compliment
for one and all.

We may surmise that one more eulogist of Beaumont, his kinsman,[136] Sir
George Lisle, a marvellously gallant cavalier, who distinguished himself
at Newberry, and was shot by order of Fairfax about the end of the Civil
War, was old enough in 1616 to have known our poet. Though Sir George,
in his verses for the Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647, lays special
stress upon the close-woven fancy of the two playwrights, he seems to
have a first-hand information, not common to the younger writers of
these commendatory poems, concerning Beaumont's share in at least one of
the tragedies. He ascribes to him, not to Fletcher,--as we know by
modern textual tests, correctly,--the nobler scenes of "brave
Mardonius" in _A King and No King_. One attaches, therefore, more than
mere literary, or hearsay, significance to his selection for special
praise of Beaumont's force, when he says,

                Thou strik'st our sense so deep,
    At once thou mak'st us Blush, Rejoyce, and Weep.
    Great father Johnson bow'd himselfe when hee
    (Thou writ'st so nobly) vow'd he envy'd thee.


FOOTNOTES:

[121] From the portrait at Knole Park.

[122] _Encyc. Brit., sub nomine._

[123] By Cockerell, in the _Variorum Edition of B. and F.'s Works_,
Vol. I, 1904. See Frontispiece to this volume.

[124] _Historical Portraits_, Vol. II, 1600-1700, Oxford, 1911.

[125] Not to the third Earl, Richard, as Cyril Brett, _Drayton's Minor
Poems_, p. xix, has it.

[126] Clark's _Aubrey's Brief Lives_, II, 175, 239. Not Mary (Curzon),
the wife of the fourth Earl, as Professor Elton, _Drayton_ (1895), p.
45, has it.

[127] After the appearance of Montague's edition of King James's
_Works_, and before the execution of Raleigh.

[128] Save for non-dramatic productions such as Ben Jonson's
_Epigrams_, etc.

[129] Grosart, _D. N. B._, art, _Sir John Beaumont_, and _Sir J. B.'s
Poems_, xxxvi.

[130] _B. and F._, Vol. I, lii.

[131] Revised by Earle for the _Commendatory Verses_, Folio 1647; but
I have retained some of the readings of the 1640 copy included in
Beaumont's _Poems_.

[132] The version given above is that of Brit. Mus. _MS. Lansdowne_
777. Of other versions one is attributed to Donne; but the Lansdowne
is the most authentic, and the evidence of authorship is all for
Basse, whose name follows in the Lansdowne manuscript. So, Miss L. T.
Smith in _Centurie of Praise_, p. 139.

[133] Mr. Bullen, _D. N. B._, under _Fitzgeffrey_, queries "Nathaniel
Hooke." I have not been able to identify Hooke.

[134] _Choice Drollery, Songs, and Sonnets, 1656, in Sh. Soc. Pap._,
III, 172.

[135] _The Hierarchie of the Blessed Angells._

[136] Through the Villierses and therefore probably through the
Coleorton Beaumonts.



CHAPTER XIV

TRADITION, AND TRADITIONAL CRITICISM


What we learn from tradition, and from the criticism of the century
following Beaumont's death, adds little to what we already have observed
concerning his life and personality. Concerning his share in the
joint-plays, it adds much, mostly wrong; but of that, later. Mosely, in
his address of _The Stationer to the Readers_ prefixed to the folio of
1647, announces that knowing persons had generally assured him "that
these Authors were the most unquestionable Wits this Kingdome hath
afforded. Mr. Beaumont was ever acknowledged a man of a most strong and
searching braine; and (his yeares considered) the most Judicious Wit
these later Ages have produced. He dyed young, for (which was an
invaluable losse to this Nation) he left the world when hee was not full
thirty yeares old. Mr. Fletcher survived, and lived till almost fifty;
whereof the World now enjoyes the benefit." The dramatist, Shirley, in
his address _To the Reader_ of the folio, says "It is not so remote in
Time, but very many Gentlemen may remember these Authors; and some
familiar in their conversation deliver them upon every pleasant occasion
so fluent, to talke a Comedy. He must be a bold man," continues he, with
a prophetic commonsense, "that dares undertake to write their Lives.
What I have to say is, we have the precious Remaines; and as the wisest
contemporaries acknowledge they Lived a Miracle, I am very confident
this volume cannot die without one." Shirley also reminds the Reader
that but to mention Beaumont and Fletcher "is to throw a cloude upon all
former names and benight Posterity." "This Book being, without flattery,
the greatest Monument of the Scene that Time and Humanity have produced,
and must Live, not only the Crowne and sole Reputation of our owne, but
the stayne of all other Nations and Languages." To such a pitch had the
vogue of our dramatists risen in the thirty years after Beaumont's
death! Not only Shakespeare and learnèd Ben, but Sophocles and Euripides
may vail to them. "This being,"--and here we catch a vision from life
itself,--"this being the Authentick witt that made Blackfriars an
Academy, where the three howers spectacle while Beaumont and Fletcher
were presented, were usually of more advantage to the hopefull young
Heire, than a costly, dangerous, forraigne Travell, with the assistance
of a governing Mounsieur, or Signior, to boote. And it cannot be denied
but that the spirits of the Time, whose Birth and Qualitie made them
impatient of the sowrer ways of education, have from the attentive
hearing these pieces, got ground in point of wit and carriage of the
most severely employed Students, while these Recreations were digested
into Rules, and the very pleasure did edifie."

So far as the plays printed in this folio are concerned, not much of
this praise belongs to Beaumont; for, as we now know, not more than two
of them, _The Coxcombe_ and the _Masque of the Inner Temple_, bear his
impress. But Shirley is thinking of the reputation of the authors in
general; and he writes with an eye to the sale of the book.

Since we shall presently find opportunity to consider the trend of
opinion during the seventeenth century regarding the respective shares
of the dramatists in composition, but a word need be said here upon the
subject,--and that as to the origin of a tradition speedily exaggerated
into error: namely, that Beaumont's function in the partnership was
purely of gravity and critical acumen. From the verses of John
Berkenhead, an Oxford man, born in 1615, a writer of some lampooning
ability and, in 1647 reader in moral philosophy at the University, we
learn that, he, at least, thought it impossible to separate the
faculties of the two dramatists, which "as two Voices in one Song
embrace (Fletcher's keen Trebble, and deep Beaumont's Base"); that,
however, there were some in his day who held "That One [Fletcher] the
Sock, th' Other [Beaumont] the Buskin claim'd,"

    That should the Stage embattaile all its Force,
    Fletcher would lead the Foot, Beaumont the Horse;

and that Beaumont's was "the understanding," Fletcher's "the quick free
will." Such discrimination, as I have said, Berkenhead disavows; but he
is of the opinion, nevertheless, that the rules by which their art was
governed came from Beaumont:

    So Beaumont dy'd; yet left in Legacy
    His Rules and Standard-wit (Fletcher) to Thee.

And still another Oxford man, born four years before Beaumont's death,
the Reverend Josias Howe, reasserting the essential unity of their
compositions, concedes with regard to Fletcher,--

    Perhaps his quill flew stronger, when
    'T was weavèd with his Beaumont's pen;
    And might with deeper wonder hit.

These and similar statements of 1647, essentially correct, concerning
the force, depth, and critical acumen of Beaumont had been anticipated
in the testimonials printed during his lifetime and down to 1640,
especially in those of Jonson, Davies, Drayton, and Earle.

A verdict, much more dogmatic, and responsible for the erroneous
tradition which long survived, proceeded from one of the "sons of Ben,"
William Cartwright, himself an author of dramas, junior proctor of the
University of Oxford in 1643, and "the most florid and seraphical
preacher in the university." He may have derived the germ of his
information from Jonson himself, but he had developed it in a one-sided
manner when, writing in 1643 "upon the report of the printing of the
dramaticall poems of Master John Fletcher," he implied that the genius
of "knowing Beaumont" was purely restrictive and critical,--telling us
that Beaumont was fain to bid Fletcher "be more dull," to "write again,"
to "bate some of his fire"; and that even when Fletcher had "blunted and
allayed" his genius according to the critic's command, the critic
Beaumont, not yet satisfied,

    Added his sober spunge, and did contract
    Thy plenty to lesse wit to make 't exact.

This distorted image of Beaumont's artistic quality as merely critical
lived, as we shall see, for many a year. We shall, also, see that it is
not from any such secondary sources that supplementary information
regarding the poet himself is to be derived, but from a scientific
determination of his share in the dramas ordinarily and vaguely assigned
to an undifferentiated Beaumont and Fletcher.



CHAPTER XV

A FEW WORDS OF FLETCHER'S LATER YEARS


Beside the dramas which there is any meritorious reason for assigning to
the joint-authorship of the two friends, some dozen plays were produced
by Fletcher alone, or in collaboration with others, before the practical
cessation, in 1613, or thereabout, of Beaumont's dramatic activity.
After that time Fletcher's name was attached, either as sole author or
as the associate of Massinger, Field, William Rowley, and perhaps
others, to about thirty more. From 1614 on, he was the successor of
Shakespeare as dramatic poet of the King's Players. Jonson's masques
delighted the Court, but no writer of tragedy or comedy,--not Jonson,
nor Philip Massinger, who was now Fletcher's closest associate, nor
Middleton or Rowley, Dekker, Ford, or Webster,--compared with him in
popularity at Court and in the City. He is not merely an illustrious
personality, the principal author of harrowing tragedies such as
_Valentinian_, the sole author of tragicomedies such as _The Loyall
Subject_, and long-lived comedies--_The Chances_, _Rule a Wife and Have
a Wife_, and several more,--he is a syndicate: he stands sponsor for
plays like _The Queene of Corinth_ and _The Knight of Malta_ in which
others collaborated largely with him; and his name is occasionally
stamped upon plays of associates, in which he had no hand whatever.
"Thou grew'st," says his contemporary and admirer, John Harris,--

    "Thou grew'st to govern the whole Stage alone:
    In which orbe thy throng'd light did make the star,
    Thou wert th' Intelligence did move that Sphear."

Dr. Harris, Professor of Greek at Oxford in the heyday of Fletcher's
glory, and a most distinguished divine, writes, in 1647, as one who had
known Fletcher, personally,--observes his careless ease in composing,
his manner of conversation,

    The Stage grew narrow while thou grew'st to be
    In thy whole life an Exc'llent Comedie,--

and admires his behaviour:

    To these a Virgin-modesty which first met
    Applause with blush and fear, as if he yet
    Had not deserv'd; till bold with constant praise
    His browes admitted the unsought-for Bayes.

So, addressing the public, concludes this panegyrist,--

    Hee came to be sole Monarch, and did raign
    In Wits great Empire, abs'lute Soveraign.

It is of these years of triumph that another of "the large train of
Fletcher's friends," Richard Brome, Ben Jonson's faithful servant and
loving friend, and his disciple in the drama, tells us:

    His Works (says Momus) nay, his Plays you'd say:
    Thou hast said right, for that to him was Play
    Which was to others braines a toyle: with ease
    He playd on Waves which were Their troubled Seas....
    But to the Man againe, of whom we write,
    The Writer that made Writing his Delight,
    Rather then Worke. He did not pumpe, nor drudge,
    To beget Wit, or manage it; nor trudge
    To Wit-conventions with Note-booke, to gleane
    Or steale some Jests to foist into a Scene:
    He scorn'd those shifts. You that have known him, know
    The common talke that from his Lips did flow,
    And run at waste, did savour more of Wit,
    Then any of his time, or since have writ,
    (But few excepted) in the Stages way:
    His Scenes were Acts, and every Act a Play.
    I knew him in his strength; even then when He--
    That was the Master of his Art and Me--
    Most knowing Johnson (proud to call him Sonne)
    In friendly Envy swore, He had out-done
    His very Selfe. I knew him till he dyed;
    And at his dissolution, what a Tide
    Of sorrow overwhelm'd the Stage; which gave
    Volleys of sighes to send him to his grave;
    And grew distracted in most violent Fits
    (For She had lost the best part of her Wits) ...

"Others," concludes this old admirer unpretentiously,

    Others may more in lofty Verses move;
    I onely, thus, expresse my Truth and Love.

No better testimony to the character of the man who, even though Jonson
was still writing, became absolute sovereign of the stage after
Shakespeare and Beaumont had ceased, can be found than such as the
preceding. To Fletcher's innate modesty, other contemporaries, Lowin and
Taylor, who acted in many of his plays, bear testimony in the
_Dedication_ of _The Wild-Goose Chase_: "The Play was of so Generall a
receiv'd Acceptance, that (he Himself a Spectator) we have known him
unconcern'd, and to have wisht it had been none of His; He, as well as
the throng'd Theatre (in despite of his innate Modesty) Applauding this
rare issue of his Braine." He was the idol of his actors: "And now,
Farewell, our Glory!" continue, in 1652, these victims of "a cruell
Destinie"--the closing of the theatres at the outbreak of the Civil
War,--"Farewell, your Choice Delight, most noble Gentlemen! Farewell,
the grand Wheel that set Us Smaller Motions in Action!"--The wheel of
Shakespeare, Jonson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger.--"Farewell, the
Pride and Life o' the Stage! Nor can we (though in our Ruin) much repine
that we are so little, since He that gave us being is no more."

Fletcher was beloved of great men, as they themselves have left their
love on record, of Jonson, Beaumont, Chapman, Massinger. If Shakespeare
collaborated with him, that speaks for itself. He was an inspiration to
young pastoralists like Browne, and to aspiring dramatists like Field.
He was a writer of sparkling genius and phenomenal facility. He was
careless of myopic criticism, conscious of his dignity,--but
unaffectedly simple,--averse to flattering his public or his patron for
bread, or for acquaintance, or for the admiration of the indolent, or
for "itch of greater fame."[137] If we may take him at his word, and
estimate him by the noblest lines he ever wrote,--the verses affixed to
_The Honest Man's Fortune_ (acted, 1613),--the keynote of his character
as a man among men, was independence. To those "that can look through
Heaven, and tell the stars," he says:

    Man is his own Star, and the soul that can
    Render an honest and a perfect man,
    Commands all light, all influence, all fate;
    Nothing to him falls early, or too late.
    Our Acts our Angels are, or good or ill,
    Our fatal shadows that walk by us still;
    And when the Stars are labouring, we believe
    It is not that they govern, but they grieve
    For stubborn ignorance.

That star is in "the Image of thy Maker's good":

    He is my Star, in him all truth I find,
    All influence, all fate;

and as for poverty, it is "the light to Heaven ... Nor want, the cause
of man, shall make me groan"; for experience teaches us "all we can: To
work ourselves into a glorious man." His mistress is not some star of
Love, with the increase to wealth or honour she may bring, but of
Knowledge and fair Truth:

    So I enjoy all beauty and all youth,
    And though to time her Lights and Laws she lends,
    She knows no Age, that to corruption bends....

Perhaps through all this, there echoes the voice of that _præsul
splendidus_, his father, the Bishop, the friend of Sir Francis Drake, of
Burghley, and of the forceful Bishop Bancroft,--a father solicitous, at
any rate before he fell into the hands of his fashionable second wife
and lost favour with the Queen, for the "Chrystian and godlie education"
of his children. However that may be,--whether the noble idea of this
confession of faith is a projection from the discipline of youth or an
induction from the experience of life, the utterance of Fletcher's
inmost personality is here:

    Man is his own Star, and that soul that can
    Be honest, is the only perfect man.

Though, in the plays where Beaumont does not control, Fletcher so freely
reflects the loose morals of his age, the gross conventional
misapprehension of woman's worth, even the cynicism regarding her
essential purity,--though Fletcher reflects these conditions in his
later plays as well as in his early _Faithfull Shepheardesse_,[138] and
though he, for dramatic ends, accepts the material vulgarity of the
lower classes and the perverted and decadent heroics of the upper, there
still are "passages in his works where he recurs to a conception which
undoubtedly had a very vital significance for him--that of a
gentleman,"--to the "merit, manners, and inborn virtue" of the gentleman
not conventional but genuine.[139] In Beaumont, that "man of a most
strong and searching braine" whose writings and whose record speak the
gentleman, he had had the example beside him in the flesh. What that
meant is manifest in the encomium of Francis Palmer, written in 1647
from Christ Church, Oxford,

                      All commendations end
    In saying only: Thou wert Beaumont's friend.

The engraving of Fletcher in the 1647 folio was "cut by severall
Originall Pieces," says Mosely "which his friends lent me, but withall
they tell me that his unimitable Soule did shine through his countenance
in such _Ayre_ and _Spirit_, that the Painters confessed it was not
easie to expresse him: As much as could be, you have here, and the
Graver hath done his part." The edition of 1711 is the first to publish
"effigies" of both poets, "the Head of Mr. Beaumont, and that of Mr.
Fletcher, through the favour of the present Earl of Dorset [the seventh
Earl], being taken from Originals in the noble Collection his Lordship
has at Knowles." The engravings in the Theobald, Seward and Sympson
edition of 1742-1750 are by G. Vertue. The engravings in Colman's
edition of 1778, are the same, debased. Those in Weber's edition of
1812, are done afresh,--of Beaumont by Evans, of Fletcher by
Blood--apparently from the Knole originals. They are an improvement upon
those of earlier editions. In Dyce's edition of 1843-1846, H. Robinson's
engraving of Beaumont has nobility; his attempt at Fletcher does not
improve upon Blood's. All these are in the reverse. The Variorum edition
of 1904-1905 gives the beautiful photogravure of Beaumont of which I
have already spoken, by Walker and Cockerell, from the original at Knole
Park; and an equally soft and expressive photogravure of Fletcher, by
Emery Walker, from the painting in the National Portrait Gallery. For
the first time the dramatists face as in the originals: Beaumont, toward
your left, Fletcher, toward your right.

Fletcher's portrait in the National Portrait Gallery reveals a highbred,
thoughtful countenance, large eyes unafraid, wide-awake and keen, the
nose aquiline and sensitive, wavily curling hair, hastily combed back,
or through which he has run his fingers, a careless, half-buttoned
jerkin from which the shirt peeps forth,--all in all a man of more
vivacious temper, ready and practical quality than Beaumont.

The authorities of the Gallery, especially through the kindness of Mr.
J. D. Milner, who has been good enough to look up various particulars
for me, inform me that this portrait of John Fletcher, No. 420, was
purchased by the Trustees in March 1876, its previous history being
unknown. The painting is by a contemporary but unknown artist, and is
similar to the portrait at Knole Park. It was engraved in the reverse by
G. Vertue in 1729. They also inform me that another portrait of a
different type belongs to the Earl of Clarendon. This, I conjecture,
must be that which John Evelyn, in a letter to Samuel Pepys, 12 August,
1689, says he has seen in the first Earl of Clarendon's
collection--"most of which [portraits], if not all, are at the present
at Cornebery in Oxfordshire." But Evelyn adds that "Beaumont and
Fletcher were both in one piece." Yet another portrait said to be of
Fletcher, painted in 1625 by C. Janssen, belongs to the Duke of
Portland. This Janssen is the Cornelius to whom the alleged portrait of
Shakespeare, now at Bulstrode, is attributed. Cornelius did not come to
England before Shakespeare's death; and, consequently, not before
Beaumont's.

Fletcher died in August 1625. According to Aubrey, "In the great plague,
1625, a Knight of Norfolke (or Suffolke) invited him into the Countrey.
He stayed but to make himselfe a suite of cloathes, and while it was
makeing, fell sick of the plague and dyed. This I had [1668] from his
tayler, who is now [1670] a very old man, and clarke of St. Mary
Overy's." The dramatist was buried in St. Saviour's, Southwark, the
twenty-ninth of that month. Sir Aston Cockayne's statement, in an
epitaph on Fletcher and Massinger, that they lie in the same grave, is
probably figurative. Aubrey tells us that Massinger, who died in March
1640, and whose burial is recorded in the register of St. Saviour's, was
buried not in the church, but about the middle of one of its
churchyards, the Bullhead, next the Bullhead tavern. There are memorials
now to both poets in the church, as also to Shakespeare, and Beaumont,
and to Edward Alleyn, the actor of the old Admiral's company.

It is generally supposed that Fletcher was never married. The name, John
Fletcher, was not unusual in the parish of St. Saviour's, and the
records of "John Fletcher" marriages may, therefore, not involve the
dramatist. But two items communicated to Dyce[140] by Collier, "more in
jest than in earnest," from the Parish-registers, are suggestive, if we
reflect that, about 1612 or 1613, the _ménage à trois_, provided it
continued so long, would have lapsed at the time of Beaumont's marriage;
and if we can swallow the stage-fiction of Fletcher's "maid Joan" in
_Bury-Fair_ (see page 96 above), whole and as something digestible.

These are Collier's cullings from the Registers:

  1612. Nov. 3. John Fletcher and Jone Herring [were married].
  _Reg. of St. Saviour's, Southwark._

  John, the son of John Fletcher and of Joan his wife was baptized
  25 Feb., 1619. _Reg. of St. Bartholomew the Great._

If this is our John Fletcher, his marriage would have been about the
same time as Beaumont's, and he may have later taken up his residence in
the parish of St. Bartholomew the Great, on the north side of the river,
not far from Southwark. If Fletcher was married in 1612, we may be very
sure that his wife was not a person of distinction. His verses _Upon an
Honest Man's Fortune_, written the next year, give us the impression
either that he is not married and not likely to be, or that he has
married one of low estate and breeding, has concluded that the
matrimonial game is not worth the candle, and rather defiantly has
turned to a better mistress than mortal, who can compensate him for that
which through love he has not attained, "Were I in love," he
declares,--

    Were I in love, and could that bright Star bring
    Increase to Wealth, Honour, and everything:
    Were she as perfect good, as we can aim,
    The first was so, and yet she lost the Game.
    My Mistriss then be Knowledge and fair Truth;
    So I enjoy all beauty and all youth.

We may be sure that when Fletcher wrote this poem he had known poverty,
sickness, and affliction, but not a consolation in wedded happiness:

    Love's but an exhalation to best eyes;
    The matter spent, and then the fool's fire dies.

Since many of Collier's "earnests" turn out to be "jests," why not the
other way round? That is my apology for according this "jest" a moment's
whimsical consideration.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is an outline in broad sweep of the activities and common relations
of our Castor and Pollux, and a preliminary sketch of the personality of
each. With regard to the latter, who is our main concern, the vital
record is yet more definitely to be discovered in the dramatic output
distinctively his during the years of literary partnership; and to the
consideration of his share in the joint-plays we may now turn.


FOOTNOTES:

[137] See his _Ode to Sir William Skipwith_.

[138] "Thou wert not meant, Sure, for a woman, thou art so innocent,"
philosophizes the Sullen Shepherd concerning Amoret;--and not only
wanton nymphs but modest swains are of the same philosophy.

[139] Ward, _E. Dr. Lit._, II, 649,--quoting, in the footnote, from
_The Nice Valour_, V, 3.

[140] Dyce, _B. and F._, I, lxxiii.



PART TWO

THE COLLABORATION OF BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER



CHAPTER XVI

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM; CRITICAL APPARATUS


Much of the confusion which existed in the minds of readers and critics
during the period following the Restoration concerning the respective
productivity of Beaumont and Fletcher is due to accident. The quartos
(generally unauthorized) of individual plays in circulation were, as
often as not, wrong in their ascriptions of authorship to one, or the
other, or both of the dramatists; and the folio of 1647, which, long
after both were dead, first presented what purported to be their
collected works, lacked title-pages to the individual plays, and, save
in one instance, prefixed no name of author to any play. The exception
is _The Maske of the Gentlemen of Grayes-Inne and the Inner Temple_
"written by Francis Beaumont, Gentleman," which had been performed, Feb.
20, 1612-13, and had appeared in quarto without date (but probably 1613)
as "by Francis Beaumont, Gent." In seven instances, Fletcher is
indicated in the 1647 folio by Prologue or Epilogue as author, or author
revised, and in general correctly; but otherwise the thirty-four plays
included (not counting the _Maske_) are introduced to the public merely
by a general title-page as "written by Francis Beaumont and John
Fletcher, Gentlemen. Never printed before, And now published by the
Authours Originall Copies." That the public should have been deceived
into accepting most of them as the joint-product of the authors is not
surprising. Though it is not the purpose of this discussion to consider
plays in which Beaumont was not concerned, it may be said incidentally
that of eleven of these productions Fletcher was sole author; Massinger
of perhaps one, and with Fletcher of eight, and with Fletcher and others
of five more; that in several plays four or five other authors had a
hand, and that in at least five Fletcher had no share.[141]

[Illustration: JOHN FLETCHER
From the painting in the National Portrait Gallery
Painter unknown but contemporary]

Sir Aston Cockayne was, therefore, fully justified, when, some time
between 1647 and 1658, he thus upbraided the publishers of the folio:

    In the large book of Playes you late did print
    In Beaumont's and in Fletcher's name, why in't
    Did you not justice? Give to each his due?
    For Beaumont of those many writ in few,
    And Massinger in other few; the Main
    Being sole Issues of sweet Fletcher's brain.
    But how came I (you ask) so much to know?
    Fletcher's chief bosome-friend informed me so.
    I' the next impression therefore justice do,
    And print their old ones in one volume too;
    For Beaumont's works and Fletcher's should come forth,
    With all the right belonging to their worth.

In still another poem, printed in 1662, but written not long after 1647,
and addressed to his cousin, Charles Cotton, Sir Aston returns to the
charge:

    I wonder, Cousin, that you would permit
    So great an Injury to Fletcher's wit,
    Your friend and old Companion, that his fame
    Should be divided to another's name.
    If Beaumont had writ those Plays, it had been
    Against his merits a detracting Sin,
    Had they been attributed also to
    Fletcher. They were two wits and friends, and who
    Robs from the one to glorify the other,
    Of these great memories is a partial Lover.
    Had Beaumont liv'd when this Edition came
    Forth, and beheld his ever living name
    Before Plays that he never writ, how he
    Had frown'd and blush'd at such Impiety!
    His own Renown no such Addition needs
    To have a Fame sprung from another's deedes:
    And my good friend Old Philip Massinger
    With Fletcher writ in some that we see there.
    But you may blame the Printers: yet you might
    Perhaps have won them to do Fletcher right,
    Would you have took the pains; for what a foul
    And unexcusable fault it is (that whole
    Volume of plays being almost every one
    After the death of Beaumont writ) that none
    Would certifie them so much! I wish as free
    Y' had told the Printers this, as you did me.
     .     .     .     .     .     .
    ... While they liv'd and writ together, we
    Had Plays exceeded what we hop'd to see.
    But they writ few; for youthful Beaumont soon
    By death eclipsèd was at his high noon.

The statements especially to be noted in these poems are, first, that
Fletcher is present in most of the work published in the earliest folio,
that of 1647, Beaumont in but a few plays, Massinger in other few. This
information Cockayne, who was but eight years of age when Beaumont died,
and seventeen at Fletcher's death, had from Fletcher's chief
bosom-friend, and it was probably corroborated by Massinger himself,
with whom Cockayne and his family (as we know from other evidence) had
long been acquainted. Second, that _almost every play_ in the folio was
written after Beaumont's death (1616). This information, also, Cockayne
had from his own cousin who was a friend and old companion of Fletcher.
This cousin, the chief bosom-friend, as I have shown elsewhere, was
Charles Cotton, the elder, who died in 1658, not the younger Charles
Cotton (the translator of Montaigne),--for he was not born till five
years after Fletcher died. And, third, that not only is the title of the
folio "Comedies and Tragedies written by Francis Beaumont and John
Fletcher, Gentlemen" a misnomer, but that the bulk of their joint-plays,
"the old ones" (not here included) calls for a volume to itself. A very
just verdict, indeed,--this of Cockayne,--for (if I may again anticipate
conclusions later to be reached) the only indubitable contributions from
Beaumont's hand to this folio are his _Maske of the Gentleman of Grayes
Inne_ and a portion of _The Coxcombe_.

The confusion concerning authorship was redoubled by the second folio,
which appeared as "_Fifty Comedies and Tragedies_. Written by Francis
Beaumont and John Fletcher, Gentlemen. Published by the Authors Original
Copies (_etc._)" in 1679. There are fifty-three plays in this volume;
the thirty-five of the first folio, and eighteen previously printed but
not before gathered together. Beside those in which Beaumont had, or
could have had, a hand, the eighteen include five of Fletcher's
authorship, five in which he collaborated with others than Beaumont; and
one, _The Coronation_, principally, if not entirely, by Shirley.[142] As
in the 1647 folio, the only indication of respective authorship is to be
found in occasional dedications, prefaces, prologues and epilogues. But,
while in some half-dozen instances these name Fletcher correctly as
author, and, in two or three, by implication correctly designate him or
Beaumont, in other cases the indication is wrong or misleading. Where
"our poets" are vaguely mentioned, or no hint whatever is given, the
uncritical reader is led to ascribe the play to the joint composition of
Beaumont and Fletcher. The lists of actors prefixed to several of the
dramas afford valuable information concerning date and, sometimes,
authorship to the student of stage-history; but the credulous would
carry away the impression that Beaumont and Fletcher had collaborated
equally in about forty of the fifty-three plays contained in the folio
of 1679.

The uncertainty regarding the respective shares of the two authors in
the production of this large number of dramas and, consequently,
regarding the quality of the genius of each, commenced even during the
life of Fletcher who survived his friend by nine years, and it has
continued in some fashion down to the present time. Writing an elegy "on
Master Beaumont, presently after his death,"[143] that is to say, in
1616-17, John Earle, a precocious youth of sixteen, at Christ Church,
Oxford, is so occupied with lament and praise for "the poet so quickly
taken off" that he not only ascribes to him the whole of _Philaster_ and
_The Maides Tragedy_ (in both of which it was always known that Fletcher
had a share) but omits mention of Fletcher altogether. So far, however,
as the estimate of the peculiar genius of Beaumont goes, the judgment of
young Earle has rarely been surpassed.

    Oh, when I read those excellent things of thine,
    Such Strength, such sweetnesse, coucht in every line,
    Such life of Fancy, such high choise of braine,--
    Nought of the Vulgar mint or borrow'd straine,
    Such Passion, such expressions meet my eye,
    Such Wit untainted with obscenity,
    And these so unaffectedly exprest,
    But all in a pure flowing language drest,
    So new, so fresh, so nothing trod upon,
    And all so borne within thyself, thine owne,
    I grieve not now that old Menanders veine
    Is ruin'd, to survive in thee againe.

The succeeding exaltation of his idol above Plautus and Aristophanes,
nay even Chaucer, is of a generous extravagance, but the lad lays his
finger on the real Beaumont when he calls attention to "those excellent
things;" and to the histrionic quality, the high seriousness, the
"humours" and the perennial vitality of Beaumont's contribution to
dramatic poetry.

A year or so later, and still during Fletcher's lifetime, we find
Drummond of Hawthornden confusing in his turn the facts of authorship;
for he "reports Jonson as saying that 'Flesher and Beaumont, ten years
since, hath written _The Faithfull Shipheardesse_, a tragicomedie well
done,'--whereas both Jonson and Beaumont had already addressed lines to
Fletcher in commendation of his pastoral."[144] By 1647, as Miss Hatcher
has shown, the confusion had crystallized itself into three distinct
opinions, equally false, concerning the respective contribution of the
authors to the plays loosely accredited to their partnership. These
opinions are represented in the commendatory verses prefixed to the
first folio. One was that "they were equal geniuses fused into one by
the force of perfect congeniality and not to be distinguished from each
other in their work,"--thus put into epigram by Sir George Lisle:

    For still your fancies are so wov'n and knit,
    'T was Francis Fletcher or John Beaumont writ;

and repeated by Sir John Pettus:

    How Angels (cloyster'd in our humane Cells)
    Maintaine their parley, Beaumont-Fletcher tels:
    Whose strange, unimitable Intercourse
    Transcends all Rules.

A second, the dominant view in 1647, was that "the plays were to be
accredited to Fletcher alone, since Beaumont was not to be taken into
serious account in explaining their production." This opinion is
expressed by Waller, who, referring not only to the plays of that folio
(in only two of which Beaumont appears) but to others like _The Maides
Tragedy_ and _The Scornful Ladie_ in which, undoubtedly, Beaumont
coöperated, says:

    Fletcher, to thee wee do not only owe
    All these good Playes, but those of others, too; ...
    No Worthies form'd by any Muse but thine,
    Could purchase Robes to make themselves so fine;

and by Hills, who writes,--"upon the Ever-to-be-admired Mr. John
Fletcher and his Playes,"--

    "Fletcher, the King of Poets! such was he,
    That earn'd all tribute, claim'd all soveraignty."

The third view was--still to follow Miss Hatcher--that "Fletcher was the
genius and creator in the work, and Beaumont merely the judicial and
regulative force." Cartwright in his two poems of 1647, as I have
already pointed out, emphasizes this view:

    Though when all Fletcher writ, and the entire
    Man was indulged unto that sacred fire,
    His thoughts and his thoughts dresse appeared both such
    That 't was his happy fault to do too much;
    Who therefore wisely did submit each birth
    To knowing Beaumont ere it did come forth;
    Working againe, until he said 't was fit
    And made him the sobriety of his wit;
    Though thus he call'd his Judge into his fame,
    And for that aid allow'd him halfe the name,
    'T is knowne that sometimes he did stand alone,
    That both the Spunge and Pencill were his owne;
    That himselfe judged himselfe, could singly do,
    And was at last Beaumont and Fletcher too.

A similar view is implied by Dryden, when, in his _Essay of Dramatick
Poesie_, 1668, he attributes the regularity of their joint-plots to
Beaumont's influence; and reports that even "Ben Jonson while he lived
submitted all his writings to his censure, and 'tis thought used his
judgment in correcting, if not contriving, all his plots."

This tradition of Fletcher as creator and Beaumont as critic continued
for generations, only occasionally disturbed,[145] in spite of the
testimony of Cockayne to Fletcher's sole authorship of most of the plays
in the first folio, to the coöperation of Massinger with Fletcher in
some, and to the fact that there were enough plays not here included,
written conjointly by Beaumont and Fletcher, to warrant the publication
of a separate volume, properly ascribed to both. To the mistaken
attributions of authorship by Dryden, Rymer, and others, I make
reference in my forthcoming Essay on _The Fellows and Followers of
Shakespeare_, Part Two.[146] The succeeding history of opinion through
Langbaine, Collier, Theobald, Sympson and Seward, Chalmers, Brydges,
_The Biographia Dramatica_, Cibber, Malone, Darley, Dyce, and the purely
literary critics from Lamb to Swinburne, has been admirably outlined by
Miss Hatcher in the first chapter of her dissertation on the _Dramatic
Method of John Fletcher_.

With Fleay, in 1874, began the scientific analysis of the problem,
based upon metrical tests as derived from the investigation of the
individual verse of Fletcher, Massinger, and Beaumont. His method has
been elaborated, corrected, and supplemented by additional rhetorical
and literary tests, on the part of various critics, some of whom are
mentioned below.[147] The more detailed studies in metre and style are
by R. Boyle, G. C. Macaulay, and E. H. Oliphant; and the best brief
comparative view of their conclusions as regards Beaumont's contribution
is to be found in R. M. Alden's edition of _The Knight of the Burning
Pestle_ and _A King and No King_. To the chronology of the plays
serviceable introductions are afforded by Macaulay in the list appended
to his chapter in the sixth volume of the _Cambridge History of English
Literature_, and by A. H. Thorndike in his _Influence of Beaumont and
Fletcher upon Shakespeare_.

Concerning the authorship of the successive scenes in a few of the
plays undoubtedly written in partnership by Beaumont and Fletcher a
consensus of opinion has practically been reached. Concerning others,
especially those in which a third or fourth hand may be traced, the
difference of opinion is still bewildering. This divergence is due,
perhaps, to the proneness of the critic to emphasize one or more tests
out of relation to the rest, or to forget that though individual scenes
were undertaken now by one, now by the other of the colleagues, the play
as a whole would be usually planned by both, but any individual scene or
passage revised by either. The tests of external evidence have of course
been applied by all critics, but as to events and dates there is still
variety of opinion. Of the internal criteria, those based upon the
peculiarities of each partner in respect of versification have been so
carefully studied and applied that to repeat the operation seems like
threshing very ancient straw; but to accept the winnowings of others,
however careful, is unsatisfactory. Tests of rhetorical habit and
tectonic preference have also been, in general, attempted; but not, I
think, exhaustively. And, though much has been established, and availed
of, in analysis, there remains yet something to desire in the
application of the more subtle differentiæ yielded by such preliminary
methods of investigation,--what these differentiæ teach us concerning
the temperamental idiosyncrasies of each of the partners in scope and
method of observation, in poetic imagery, in moral and emotional insight
and elevation, intellectual outlook, philosophical and religious
conviction.


FOOTNOTES:

[141] See G. C. Macaulay (_Camb. Hist. Eng. Lit._, VI), and other
authorities as in footnote toward end of this chapter.

[142] See authorities as in footnote, below.

[143] Included "thirty years" after, among the commendatory poems in
the folio of 1647; but published earlier with _Beaumont's Poems_,
1640.

[144] Miss O. L. Hatcher, _John Fletcher_, Chicago, 1905.

[145] As by Langbaine, _An Account of the English Dramatick Poets_
(1691), who acknowledges Cockayne as the only conclusive authority
upon the subject.

[146] _R. E. C._, Vol. III.

[147] F. G. Fleay, in _New Shakespeare Society Transactions_, 1874;
_Shakespeare Manual_, 1876; _Englische Studien_, IX (1866); _Chronicle
of the English Drama_, 1891. R. Boyle, in _Engl. Stud._, V, VII, VIII,
IX, X, XVII, XVIII, XXVI, XXXI (1881-1902), and in _N. Shaksp. Soc.
Trans._, 1886. G. C. Macaulay, _Francis Beaumont_, 1883; and in
_Cambridge History of English Literature_, VI (1910). A. H. Bullen,
article _John Fletcher_ in _Dictionary of National Biography_, XIX
(1889). E. H. Oliphant, in _Engl. Stud._, XIV, XV, XVI (1890-92). A.
H. Thorndike, _The Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Shakespeare_,
1901; Beaumont and Fletcher's _Maid's Tragedy_, etc. (Belles Lettres
Series), 1910. R. M. Alden, Beaumont's _Knight of the Burning Pestle_,
etc. (Belles Lettres Series), 1910. The introductions in the _Variorum
Edition_, 1904, 1905. For a general treatment of the subject see,
also, A. W. Ward's _History of English Dramatic Literature_, II,
155-248 (1875), II, 642-764 (1809), and F. E. Schelling's _Elizabethan
Drama_, II, 184-204, and for bibliography, 526. For general
bibliography, Thorndike and Alden in Belles Lettres Series, as above;
and _Camb. Hist. Eng. Lit._, VI, 488-496.



CHAPTER XVII

THE DELIMITATION OF THE FIELD


The plays contained in the first folio of Beaumont and Fletcher's
_Comedies and Tragedies_, 1647, are _The Mad Lover_, _The Spanish
Curate_, _The Little French Lawyer_, _The Custome of the Countrey_, _The
Noble Gentleman_, _The Captaine_, _The Beggers Bush_, _The Coxcombe_,
_The False One_, _The Chances_, _The Loyall Subject_, _The Lawes of
Candy_, _The Lovers Progresse_, _The Island Princesse_, _The Humorous
Lieutenant_, _The Nice Valour_, _The Maide in the Mill_, _The
Prophetesse_, _The Tragedy of Bonduca_, _The Sea Voyage_, _The Double
Marriage_, _The Pilgrim_, _The Knight of Malta_, _The Womans Prize_ or
_The Tamer Tamed_, _Loves Cure_, _The Honest Mans Fortune_, _The Queene
of Corinth_, _Women Pleas'd_, _A Wife for a Moneth_, _Wit at Severall
Weapons_, _The Tragedy of Valentinian_, _The Faire Maide of the Inne_,
_Loves Pilgrimage_, _The Maske of the Gentlemen of Grayes Inne, and the
Inner Temple, at the Marriage of the Prince and Princesse Palatine of
Rhene_ written by Francis Beaumont, Gentleman, _Foure Playes_ (or
_Moralle Representations_) _in One_.

Of these thirty-five, which purport to be printed from "the authours
originall copies," only one, as I have already said, _The Maske_, had
been published before.

The second folio, entitled _Fifty Comedies and Tragedies_, 1679,
contains, beside those above mentioned, eighteen others, one of which,
_The Wild-Goose Chase_, had been published separately and in folio,
1652. The remaining seventeen said to be "published from the Authors'
Original Copies," are printed from the quartos. They are _The Maides
Tragedy_, _Philaster_, _A King and No King_, _The Scornful Ladie_, _The
Elder Brother_, _Wit Without Money_, _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_,
_Rule a Wife and Have a Wife_, _Monsieur Thomas_, _Rollo_, _The Knight
of the Burning Pestle_, _The Night-Walker_, _The Coronation_, _Cupids
Revenge_, _The Two Noble Kinsmen_, _Thierry and Theodoret_, and _The
Woman-Hater_.

In addition to these fifty-three plays, one, _The Faithful Friends_,
entered on the Stationers' Registers in 1660, as by Beaumont and
Fletcher, was held in manuscript until 1812, when it was purchased by
Weber from "Mr. John Smith of Furnival's Inn into whose possession it
came from Mr. Theobald, nephew to the editor of Shakespeare," and
published.

According to the broadest possible sweep of modern opinion, the presence
of Beaumont cannot by any _tour de force_ be conjectured in more than
twenty-three of the fifty-four productions listed above. The
twenty-three are (exclusive of _The Maske_) _The Woman-Hater_, _The
Knight of the Burning Pestle_, _Cupids Revenge_, _The Scornful Ladie_,
_The Maides Tragedy_, _A King and No King_, _Philaster_, _Foure Playes
in One_, _Loves Cure_, _The Coxcombe_, _The Captaine_, _Thierry and
Theodoret_, _The Faithful Friends_, _Wit at Severall Weapons_, _Beggers
Bush_, _Loves Pilgrimage_, _The Knight of Malta_, _The Lawes of Candy_,
_The Nice Valour_, _The Noble Gentleman_, _The Faire Maide of the Inne_,
_Bonduca_, and _The Honest Mans Fortune_. With regard to the last twelve
of these plays beginning with _Thierry and Theodoret_ there is no
convincing proof that more than the first four were written before
February 1613, when after preparing the _Maske_ for the Lady Elizabeth's
marriage to the Elector Palatine, Beaumont seems (except for his share
of _The Scornful Ladie_ which I date about 1614) to have withdrawn from
dramatic activity,--perhaps because of his own marriage about that time
and withdrawal to the country, or because of failing health; and there
is no generally accepted historical or textual evidence that Beaumont
had any hand even in these four. Of the eight remaining at the end of
the list, four may be dated before Beaumont's death in 1616: _The Honest
Mans Fortune_, which is said on manuscript evidence to have been played
in the year 1613, but probably later than August 5;[148] _Bonduca_,
which Oliphant asserts is an alteration by Fletcher of an old drama of
Beaumont's, but which other authorities assign to Fletcher alone; and,
on slighter evidence, _Loves Pilgrimage_, and _The Nice Valour_. The
balance of proof with regard to the other four, _The Knight of Malta_,
_The Lawes of Candy_, _The Noble Gentleman_, and _The Faire Maide of the
Inne_, is altogether in favour of their composition after Beaumont's
death.

In each of these twelve plays, however, beginning with _Thierry_ and
ending with _The Honest Mans Fortune_, an occasional expert thinks that
he finds a speech or a scene in Beaumont's style, and concludes that the
play in its present form is a revision of some early effort in which
that dramatist had a hand. But where one critic surmises Beaumont,
another detects Beaumont's imitators; and where one conjectures Fletcher
and Beaumont conjoined, half a dozen assert Fletcher, assisted, or
revised by anywhere from one to four contemporaries,--Field or Daborne
or Massinger, Middleton or Rowley, or First and Second Unknown. I have
examined these plays and the evidence, as carefully as I have those
which have more claim to consideration among the Beaumont possibilities,
and have applied to them all the tests which I shall presently describe;
and have come to the conclusion that Beaumont had nothing to do with any
of the twelve.

There remain, then, of the twenty-three plays enumerated above as
Beaumont-Fletcher possibilities, only eleven of which I can, on the
basis of external or internal evidence, or both, safely say that they
were composed before Beaumont ceased writing for the stage, and that he
had, or may have had, a hand in writing some of them. These are, in the
order of their first appearance in print: _The Woman-Hater_, published
without name of author in 1607; _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_, also
anonymous, published in 1613; _Cupids Revenge_, published as Fletcher's
in 1615; _The Scornful Ladie_, published in 1616, as Beaumont and
Fletcher's, just after the death of the former; _The Maides Tragedy_,
published, without names of authors, in 1619; _A King and No King_,
published as Beaumont and Fletcher's in 1619; _Philaster_, published as
Beaumont and Fletcher's in 1620; and _Foure Playes in One_, _Loves
Cure_, _The Coxcombe_, and _The Captaine_, first published in the 1647
folio, without ascription of authorship on the title-page, but as of the
"Comedies and Tragedies written by Beaumont and Fletcher," in general.
In the case of _Loves Cure_ the Epilogue mentions "our Author"; the
Prologue, spoken "at the reviving of this play," attributes it to
Beaumont and Fletcher. As for _The Coxcombe_, the Prologue for a revival
speaks of "the makers that confest it for their own."

It is worthy of notice that three only of these eleven possible
"Beaumont-Fletcher" plays were printed during Beaumont's lifetime,--_The
Woman-Hater_, _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_ and _Cupids Revenge_,
and that on none of them does Beaumont's name appear as author. The last
indeed was ascribed, wrongly, as I shall later show, to Fletcher alone.
It should also be noted that four other of the plays, beginning with
_The Scornful Ladie_ and ending with _Philaster_, were published before
the death of Fletcher in 1625; and that while three of them have
title-page ascriptions to both authors, one, _The Maides Tragedy_, is
anonymous.

To these eleven plays as a residuum I have given the preference in the
application of tests deemed most likely to reveal the relative
contribution and genius of the authors in partnership. Beside the seven
published as stated above during Fletcher's life, two others appeared
which I do not include in this residuum,--_The Faithfull Shepheardesse_
and _Thierry and Theodoret_. The former, printed between December 22,
1608 and July 20, 1609, is of Fletcher's sole authorship, and will be
employed as one of the clues to his early characteristics. The latter,
attributed by some critics to both authors was published without
ascription of authorship in a quarto of 1621. It does not appear in the
folio of 1647, but was printed in second quarto as "by John Fletcher" in
1648, and again as "by F. Beaumont and J. Fletcher" in 1649; and was
finally gathered up with the _Comedies and Tragedies_ which compose the
folio of 1679. Oliphant and Thorndike are of opinion that the play is a
revision by Massinger of an original by Beaumont and Fletcher, but I
cannot discover in the text evidence sufficient to warrant its inclusion
in the list of plays worthy to be investigated as the possible product
of the partnership.

The eleven Beaumont-Fletcher plays to which the criteria of internal
evidence may be applied with some assurance of success, comprise in
their number, fortunately for us, three of which we are informed by
external evidence,--the contemporary testimony of John Earle, dated
1616-1617,--that Beaumont was concerned in their composition. These
three, _Philaster_, _The Maides Tragedy_, and _A King and No King_, are
a positive residuum to which as a model of the joint-work of our authors
we may first, in the effort to discriminate their respective functions
when working in partnership, apply the tests of style derived from a
study of the plays and poems which each wrote alone.

With this delimitation of the field of inquiry, we are now ready for the
consideration of the criteria by which the presence of either author may
be detected. The criteria are primarily of versification; then,
successively and cumulatively, of diction and mental habit. Ultimately,
and by induction, they are of dramatic technique and creative genius.


FOOTNOTES:

[148] See Fleay, _Chron. Eng. Dram._, I, 195; and W. W. Greg,
_Henslowe Papers_, 90.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE VERSIFICATION OF FLETCHER AND OF BEAUMONT


I. In Plays Individually Composed.

The studies of the most experienced critics into the peculiarities of
Fletcher's blank verse as displayed in productions of the popular
dramatic kind, indubitably written by him alone,[149] such as _Monsieur
Thomas_ of the earlier period, ending 1613, _The Chances_, _The Loyall
Subject_, and _The Humorous Lieutenant_ of the middle period, ending
1619, and _Rule a Wife and Have a Wife_ of his latest period, indicate
that he indulges in an excessive use of double endings, sometimes as
many as seventy in every hundred lines, even in triple and quadruple
endings; in an abundance of trisyllabic feet; and in a peculiar
retention of the old end-stopped line, or final pause,--occasionally in
as many as ninety out of a hundred lines. Attention has been directed
also to the emphasis which he deliberately places upon the extra
syllable of the blank verse, making it a substantive rather than a
negligible factor: as in the "brains" and "too" of the following:

    Or wander after that they know not where
    To find? or, if found how to enjoy? Are men's brains
    Made nowadays of malt, that their affections
    Are never sober, but, like drunken people
    Founder at every new fame? I do believe, too,
    That men in love are ever drunk, as drunken men
    Are ever loving,--[150]

and to his fondness for appending words such as "first," "then,"
"there," "still," "sir," and even "lady" and "gentlemen" to lines which
already possess their five feet. It has also been remarked that he makes
but infrequent employment of rhyme.

Of this metrical style examples will be found on pages in Chapter XIX,
Section 2, below; or on any page of Fletcher's _Rule a Wife and Have a
Wife_, as for instance the following from Act III, Scene 1, 14-23:

  _Altea._ My life|, an in|nocent|!

  _Marg._                          That's it | I aim | at,
    That's it | I hope | too; ¦ then ¦ I am sure | I rule |
        him;                                                15
    For in|nocents | are like | obe|dient chil|dren
    Brought up | under a hard | [+!] moth|er-in-law|, a cru|el,
    Who be|ing not us'd | to break|fasts and | colla|tions,
    [+!] When | they have coarse | bread of|fer'd 'em | are thank|full,
    And take | it for | a fa|vour too|. Are the rooms |     20
    Made read|y to en|tertain | my friends|? I long | to dance now,
    [+!] And | to be wan|ton. ¦ Let | me have | a song.
    Is the great | couch up | the Duke | of Medi|na sent?

[Illustration: JOHN EARLE, BISHOP OF WORCESTER AND SALISBURY
From the portrait in the National Portrait Gallery]

Here the first half of v. 14 is also the last of the preceding line;
seven out of ten verses have double endings; one has a triple ending.
One, v. 21, has a quadruple ending; unless we rearrange by adding "made
ready" to v. 20, so as to scan:

    And take 't | for a fa|vour too|. Are the rooms | made read|y
    To en|tertain | my friends|? I long | to dance | now.--

Trisyllabic feet occur in nine; final pauses in nine; stress-syllable
openings and compensating anapæsts in two; the feminine cæsura (phrasal
pause within the foot) in two. The pause in v. 15, after two strong
monosyllables of which the first is stressed, produces a jolt, typically
Fletcherian.

Now, these peculiarities of versification are not a habit acquired by
Fletcher after Beaumont ceased to write with him. They are rife not only
in the plays of his middle and later periods, but in those of the
earlier period while Beaumont was still at his side. As for instance in
_Monsieur Thomas_, entirely Fletcher's of 1607, or at the latest 1611.
The reader may be interested to verify for himself by scanning the
following passage from Act IV, 2 at which I open at random: Launcelot is
speaking:

    But to the silent streets we turn'd our furies:
    A sleeping watchman here we stole the shooes from,
    There made a noise, at which he wakes, and follows:
    The streets are durty, takes a Queen-hithe cold,
    Hard cheese, and that choaks him o' Munday next:
    Windows and signs we sent to Erebus;
    A crew of bawling curs we entertain'd last,
    When having let the pigs loose in out parishes,
    O, the brave cry we made as high as Algate!
    Down comes a Constable, and the Sow his Sister
    Most traiterously tramples upon Authority:
    There a whole stand of rug gowns rowted mainly,
    And the King's peace put to flight, a purblind pig here
    Runs me his head into the Admirable Lanthorn,--
    Out goes the light and all turns to confusion.

No one, once acquainted with this style of blank verse, with its
end-stopped lines, double endings, stress-syllable openings,
feminine cæsuræ, trisyllabic feet, jolts, and heavy extra syllables,
can ever turn it to confusion with the verse of any poet before
Browning--certainly not with that of Beaumont.

Our materials for a study of Beaumont's individual characteristics in
the composition of dramatic blank verse appear at the first sight to be
very scanty; for the only example of which we have positive external
evidence that it was written by Beaumont alone, is _The Maske of the
Gentlemen of Grayes Inne and the Inner Temple_, and unfortunately some
critics have excluded it from consideration because of its exceptionally
formal and spectacular character and slight dramatic purpose. Written,
however, at the beginning of 1613, when the author's metrical manner was
a definitely confirmed habit, it affords, in my opinion, the best as
well as the most natural approach to the investigation of Beaumont's
versification. The following lines may be regarded as typical:

    Is great Jove jealous that I am imploy'd
    On her Love-errands? ¦ She did never yet
    Claspe weak mortality in her white arms,
    As he hath often done: I only come
    To celebrate the long-wish'd Nuptials
    [+!] Here | in Olym|pia, ¦ which | are now | perform'd.
    Betwixt two goodly rivers, ¦ that have mixt
    Their gentle, rising waves, and are to grow
    [+!] In | to a thou|sand streams | [+!] great | as themselves.

In these nine verses there are no Fletcherian jolts, no double endings.
In only two lines trisyllabic feet occur; in only two, final pauses.
There are stress-syllable openings in two, with the compensating
anapæsts; feminine cæsuræ, in three (dotted); and a stress-syllable
opening for the verse-section after the cæsura occurs in but one,
whereas there are at least three such in the passage from _Monsieur
Thomas_, quoted above.

Nothing could be more pronounced than the difference between the
metrical style of Fletcher's _Monsieur Thomas_ and _Rule a Wife_ and
that of Beaumont's _Maske_, as illustrated here. Fletcher abounds in
double endings, trisyllabic feet, and end-stopped lines, and such
conversational or lyrical cadences; Beaumont uses them much more
sparingly. But while the difference between the genuinely dramatic blank
verse of Fletcher and that of Beaumont is sometimes as pronounced as
this, it would be unscientific to base the criterion upon comparison of
a mature, conversationally dramatic, composition of the former with a
stiffly rhetorical declamatory composition of the latter. For a more
suitable comparison we must set Beaumont's _Maske_ side by side with
something of Fletcher's written in similar formal and declamatory
style,--_The Faithfull Shepheardesse_, for instance, a youthful
production in the pastoral spirit and form. Of this a small part, but
sufficient for our purpose, is composed in blank verse; and I have cited
in the next chapter with another end in view, the opening soliloquy,--to
which the reader may turn. But as exemplifying certain of Fletcher's
metrical peculiarities, in a style of verse suitable to be compared with
Beaumont's in _The Maske_, the following lines from Act I, 1, are
perhaps even more distinctive. "What greatness," says the
Shepherdesse,--

    What greatness, ¦ or what private hidden power,
    [+!] Is | there in me, | to draw submission
    From this rude man and beast? Sure I am mortal,        105
    The Daughter of a Shepherd; ¦ he was mortal,
    And she that bore me mortal: ¦ prick my hand,
    And it will bleed; a Feaver shakes me, and
    The self-same wind that makes the young Lambs shrink

    Makes me | a-cold; | my fear says I am mortal.         110
    [+!] Yet have I heard | (my Mother told it me,
    And now I do believe it), ¦ if I keep
    My Virgin Flower uncropt, pure, chaste, and fair,
    No Goblin, ¦ Wood-god, Fairy, Elf, or Fiend,
    [+!] Sa|tyr, or oth|er power that haunts the Groves,   115
    Shall hurt my body, ¦ or by vain illusion
    [+!] Draw | me to wan|der ¦ after idle fires.

We have here, in fifteen lines, four double endings, nine final pauses
(end-stopped verses), four stress-syllable openings with compensating
anapæsts, and seven feminine cæsuræ. In every way this sample even of
Fletcher's more formal style displays, in its salient characteristics, a
much closer resemblance in kind to the sample of his later blank verse
quoted from _Rule a Wife_, above, than to that quoted from Beaumont's
_Maske_.

When we pass from samples to larger sections, and compare percentages in
the one hundred and thirty-one blank verses of _The Maske_ and the first
one hundred and sixty-three of _The Shepheardesse_, we find that in
respect of final pauses there is no great difference. There are, in the
former, more than is usual with Beaumont--sixty per cent; in the latter,
less than is usual with Fletcher--fifty per cent. But in other respects
Beaumont's _Maske_ reveals peculiarities of verse altogether different
from those of Fletcher, even when he is writing in the declamatory
pastoral vein. In the one hundred and thirty-one lines of the _Maske_ we
find but one double ending; whereas in the first one hundred and
sixty-three blank verses of _The Shepheardesse_ we count as many as
fourteen. In these productions the proportion of feminine cæsuræ is
practically uniform--about forty per cent. But when we come to examine
the more subtle movement of the rhythm, we find that in _The Maske_ not
more than ten per cent of the lines open with the stress-syllable, while
in the blank verse of the _Shepheardesse_ fully thirty-five out of every
hundred lines have that opening and, consequently, impart the lyrical
cadence which pervades much of Fletcher's metrical composition. In the
matter of anapæstic substitutions, and of stress-syllable openings for
the verse-section after the cæsura, Beaumont is similarly inelastic;
while the Fletcher of the _Shepheardesse_ displays a marvellous freedom.
It follows that in the _Maske_ we encounter but rarely the rhetorical
pause, within the verse, compensating for an absent thesis or arsis;
while in the pastoral verse of Fletcher we find frequent instances of
this delicate dramatic as well as metrical device, and an occasional
jolting cæsura.

We are not limited, however, to the material afforded by the _Maske_ in
our attempt to discover Beaumont's metrical characteristics when writing
alone. _The Woman-Hater_, included among the plays of Beaumont and
Fletcher in the folio of 1679, and ascribed to both on the title-page of
a quarto of 1649, is assigned by the Prologue of the first quarto, 1607,
to a single author--"he that made this play." And, though there is no
attribution of authorship on the title-page of the 1607 quarto, we know
from the application of verse-tests and tests of diction that, in all
but three scenes which have evidently been revised,[151] the author was
certainly not Fletcher. An examination of the inner structure of the
verse of _The Woman-Hater_, reveals, except in those scenes, precisely
the peculiarities that distinguish Beaumont's _Maske_: the same
infrequency of stress-syllable openings, and of anapæstic substitutions
and of suppressed syllables in metrical scheme. In respect of the more
evident device of the run-on line _The Woman-Hater_ reaches a percentage
twice as high as that employed in Fletcher's unassisted popular dramas;
and in respect of the double ending it has a percentage only one-quarter
as high. We notice also in this play a much more frequent employment of
rhyme than in any of Fletcher's stage plays, and a much larger
proportion of prose both for dialogue and soliloquy.

We should have further basis for conclusion concerning Beaumont's
metrical style in independent composition, if we could accept the
general assumption that he was the author of the _Induction_ to the
_Foure Playes in One_, and of the first two plays, _The Triumph of
Honour_ and _The Triumph of Love_. But for reasons, later to be stated,
I agree with Oliphant that the _Induction_ and _Honour_ are not by
Beaumont; and I hold that he can not be traced with certainty even in
the two or three scenes of _Love_ that seem to be marked by some of his
characteristics. The hand of a third writer, Field, is manifest in the
non-Fletcherian plays of the series.

But though we can not draw for our purpose upon other plays as his
unassisted work, we may derive help from the consideration of two at
least of Beaumont's poems,--poems that have something of a dramatic
flavour. Though they are in rhyming couplets, they display many of the
characteristics of the author's blank verse. In the _Letter to Ben
Jonson_, which is conversational, I count of run-on lines, thirty-eight
in eighty, almost fifty per cent, as compared with Fletcher's sometimes
ten or twenty per cent, in spite of the superior elasticity of blank
verse; and of stress-syllable openings in the same letter twenty-four
per cent as compared with the thirty-five per cent of Fletcher's more
highly cadenced rhythm in the _Shepheardesse_. In Beaumont's _Elegy on
the Countess of Rutland_, the last forty-four lines afford a fine
example of dramatic fervour--the indictment of the physicians. Here the
run-on lines again abound, almost fifty per cent; while the
stress-syllable openings are but sixteen per cent--much lower than one
may find in many rhymed portions of the _Shepheardesse_. With regard to
all other tests except that of double ending (which does not apply in
this kind of heroic couplet), we find that these poems of Beaumont are
of a metrical style distinguished by the same characteristics as his
blank verse.[152]


2. In Certain Joint-Plays.

If we turn now to a second class of material available,--the three plays
indubitably produced in partnership,--and eliminate the portions written
in the metrical style of Fletcher, as already ascertained, we may safely
attribute the remainder to the junior member of the firm; and so arrive
at a final determination of his manner in verse composition.

The three plays, as I have said before, are _Philaster_, _The Maides
Tragedy_ and _A King and No King_. A passage, which in the opinion of
nearly all critics[153] is by all tests distinctively Fletcherian, may
be cited from the first of these as an example of that which we
eliminate when we look for Beaumont. It is from the beginning of Act V,
4, where the Captain enters:

    "Philaster, brave Philaster!" Let Philas|ter
    Be deeper in request, my ding [a] dongs,
    My paires of deere Indentures, ¦ Kings of Clubs,
    [+!] Than | your cold wa|ter-cham|blets ¦ or | your paint|ings
    [+!] Spit|ted with cop|per, ¦ Let | not your has|ty
        Silkes,                                             10
    [+!] Or | your branch'd cloth | of bod|kin, ¦ or | your ti|shues,--
    [+!] Deare|ly belov'd | of spi|cèd cake | and cus|tards,--
    Your Rob|in-hoods, |[+!] Scar|lets and Johns, |[+!] tye |
        your affec|tions
    In darknesse to your Shops. No, dainty duc|kers,
    [+!] Up | with your three|-piled spi|rits, ¦ your | wrought
        va|lors.                                            15
    And let | your un|cut col|lers ¦ make | the King feele
    The measure of your mightinesse, Philas|ter![154]

Note the double endings, the end-stopped lines, the stress-syllable
openings, the anapæsts, the feminine cæsuræ (dotted), the two omissions
of the light syllable after the cæsural pause and the following accent
at the beginning of the verse section, and the six feet of line 13.

Of the non-Fletcherian part of _Philaster_, a typical example is the
following from Act I, Scene 2, where Philaster replies to Arethusa's
request that he look away from her:

    I can indure it: Turne away my face?
    I never yet saw enemy that lookt
    So dreadfully but that I thought my selfe
    As great a Basiliske as he; or spake
    So horrible but that I thought my tongue
    Bore thunder underneath, as much as his,
    Nor beast that I could turne from: shall I then
    Beginne to feare sweete sounds? a ladies voyce,
    Whom I doe love? Say, you would have my life;
    Why, I will give it you; for it is of me
    A thing so loath'd, and unto you that aske
    Of so poore use, that I shall make no price.
    If you intreate, I will unmov'dly heare.

Or the famous description of Bellario, beginning:

                          I have a boy,
    Sent by the gods, I hope to this intent,
    Not yet seen in the court--

from the same scene.

Or the King's soliloquy in Act II, Scene 4, containing the lines:

    You gods, I see that who unrighteously
    Holds wealth or state from others shall be curst
    In that which meaner men are blest withall:
    Ages to come shall know no male of him
    Left to inherit, and his name shall be
    Blotted from earth.

The reader will at once be impressed with the regularity of the
masculine ending. Beaumont does not, of course, eschew the double
ending; but, as Boyle has computed, the percentage in this play is but
fifteen in the non-Fletcherian passages, whereas the percentage in
Fletcher's contribution is thirty-five. The prevalence of run-on lines
is also noteworthy; and the infrequency of the stress-syllable openings,
anapæsts, and feminine cæsuræ by which Fletcher achieves now
conversational abruptness, now lyrical lilt.

In _The Maides Tragedy_, such soliloquies as that of Aspatia in Act V,
Scene 4, with its mixture of blank verse and rhyme:

    This is my fatal hour; heaven may forgive
    My rash attempt, that causelessly hath laid
    Griefs on me that will never let me rest,
    And put a Woman's heart into my brest.
    It is more honour for you that I die;
    For she that can endure the misery
    That I have on me, and be patient too,
    May live, and laugh at all that you can do--

are marked by characteristics utterly unlike those of Fletcher's
dramatic verse. Also unlike Fletcher are the scenes which abound in
lines of weak and light ending, and lines where the lighter syllables of
every word must be counted to make full measure. Fletcher did not write:

    Alas, Amintor, thinkst thou I forbear
    To sleep with thee because I have put on
    A maidens strictness;

or

    As mine own conscience too sensible;--

    I must live scorned, or be a murderer;--

    That trust out all our reputation.

Nor did Fletcher write, with any frequency, improper run-on lines, such
as III, 2, 135 (one of his collaborator's scenes):

    Speak yet again, before mine anger grow
    Up beyond throwing down.

In this play the percentage of run-on lines in Fletcher's scenes is
about nineteen; in the scenes not written by him, almost twenty-seven.
Fletcher's double endings are over forty per cent; his collaborator's
barely ten.

In _A King and No King_ similar Beaumontesque characteristics
distinguish the major portion of the play from the few scenes generally
acknowledged to be written by Fletcher. In Fletcher's scenes[155] one
notes the high proportion of stress-syllable openings, and,
consequently, of anapæstic substitutions, the subtle omission
occasionally of the arsis, and not infrequently of the thesis (or light
syllable) after the pause, and the use of the accented syllable at the
beginning of the verse-section. While sometimes these characteristics
appear in the other parts of the play, their relative infrequency is a
distinctive feature of the non-Fletcherian rhythm. A comparison of the
verse of Fletcher's Act IV, Scene 2, with that of his collaborator in
Act I, Scene 1, well illustrates this difference. The recurrence of the
feminine cæsura measures fairly the relative elasticity of the
versifiers. It regulates two-thirds of Fletcher's lines; but of his
collaborator's not quite one half. Fletcher, for instance, wrote the
speech of Tigranes, beginning the second scene of Act IV:

    [+!] Fool | that I am, | I have | undone | myself,
    [+!] And | with mine own | hand ¦ turn'd | my for|tune round,
    That was | a fair | one: ¦ I have child|ishly
    [+!] Plaid | with my hope | so long, till I have broke | it,
    And now too late I mourn for 't, ¦ O | Spaco|nia,
    Thou hast found | an e|ven way | to thy | revenge | now!
    [+!] Why | didst thou fol|low me, |[+!] like | a faint shad|ow,
    To wither my desires? But, wretched fool,
    [+!] Why | did I plant | thee ¦ 'twixt | the sun | and me,
    To make | me freeze | thus? ¦ Why | did I | prefer | her
    [+!] To | the fair Prin|cess? ¦ O | thou fool, | thou fool,
    Thou family of fools, |[+!] live | like a slave | still
    And in | thee bear | thine own |[+!] hell | and thy tor|ment,--

where, beside the frequent double endings and end-stopped lines, already
emphasized in preceding examples, we observe in the run of thirteen
lines, six stress-syllable openings with their anapæstic sequences,
three omissions of the light syllable after the cæsural pause with the
consequent accent at the beginning of the verse-section, and no fewer
than six feminine cæsuræ (or pauses after an unaccented syllable) of
which three at least (vv. 2, 5, 10) are exaggerated jolts.

Beaumont is capable in occasional passages, as, for instance, Arbaces'
speech beginning Act I, 1, 105, of lines rippling with as many feminine
cæsuræ. But, utterly unlike Fletcher, he employs in the first thirteen
of those lines no double endings, no jolts, only two stress-syllable
openings, only four anapæsts, one omitted thesis after the cæsural
pause, four end-stopped lines. He is more frequently capable, as in the
passage beginning l. 129, of a sequence without a single feminine
cæsura, but with several feminine (or double) endings:

  _Tigranes._                     Is it the course of
    Iberia, to use their prisoners thus?
    Had Fortune throwne my name above Arbaces,
    I should not thus have talkt; for in Armenia
    We hold it base. You should have kept your temper,
    Till you saw home agen, where 't is the fashion
    Perhaps to brag.

  _Arbaces._           Bee you my witness, Earth,
    Need I to brag? Doth not this captive prince
    Speake me sufficiently, and all the acts
    That I have wrought upon his suffering land?
    Should I then boast? Where lies that foot of ground
    Within | his whole | realme ¦ that | I have | not past
    Fighting and conquering?[156]

Up to the twelfth verse with its exceptional jolting pause the cæsuræ
are masculine, and fall uncompromisingly at the end of the second and
third feet.

In respect of the internal structure of the verse the tests for Beaumont
are, then, as I have stated them above; in respect of double endings,
Boyle and Oliphant have set the percentage in his verse at about twenty,
and of run-on lines at thirty. Since the metrical characteristics of
those parts of _Philaster_, _The Maides Tragedy_ and _A King and No
King_ which do not bear the impress of Fletcher's versification, are
well defined and practically uniform; since they are of a piece with the
metrical manner of _The Woman-Hater_, which is originally, and in
general, the work of one author--Beaumont; and since they are also of a
piece with the versification of the _Maske_, which is certainly by
Beaumont alone, and with that of his best poems,--at least one criterion
has been established by means of which we may ascertain what other
plays, ascribed to the two writers in common, but on less definite
evidence, were written in partnership; and in these we may have a basis
for determining the parts contributed by each of the authors.

Fleay and other scholars have grounded an additional criterion upon the
fact that the unaided plays of Fletcher contain but an insignificant
quantity of prose. They consequently have ascribed to Beaumont most of
the prose passages in the joint-plays. But, because in his later
development Fletcher found that conversational blank verse would answer
all the purposes of prose, it does not follow that in his youthful
collaboration with Beaumont he never wrote prose. We find, on the
contrary, in the joint-plays that the prose passages in scenes otherwise
marked by Fletcher's characteristics of verse, display precisely the
rhetorical qualities of that verse. The prose of Mardonius in Act IV,
Scene 2 of _A King and No King_, and the prose of Act V, Scenes 1 and 3,
which by metrical tests are Fletcher's, are precisely the prose of
Fletcher's Dion in Act II, Scene 4 and Act V, Scene 3 of _Philaster_,
and the tricks of alliteration, triplet, and iteration, are those of
Fletcher's verse in the same scenes.


FOOTNOTES:

[149] Some sixteen plays in all.

[150] _The Chances_, I, 1, p. 222 (Dyce); but as a rule I use in this
chapter the text of the _Cambridge English Classics_.

[151] For these scenes, and the reasons for asserting that Fletcher
revised them, see Chapter XXIV below.

[152] The reader may judge for himself by referring to the citation
from the _Letter_ and the poems to the Countess in Chapters VII and
XI, above.

[153] Fleay, Boyle, Oliphant, Alden. And even G. C. Macaulay, who once
claimed the whole play for Beaumont, says now "perhaps Fletcher's."

[154] Q 1622, slightly modernized.

[155] IV, 1, 2, 3; V, 1, 3.

[156] Quarto of 1619 as given by Alden.



CHAPTER XIX

FLETCHER'S DICTION


The verse criterion is, however, not of itself a reagent sufficient to
precipitate fully the Beaumont of the joint-plays. For there still
exists the certainty that in plotting plays together, each of the
collaborators was influenced by the opinion of the other; and the
probability that, though one may have undertaken sundry scenes or divers
characters in a play, the other would, in the course of general
correction, insert lines in the parts written by his collaborator, and
would convey to his own scenes the distinguishing rhythm, "humour," or
diction of a definite character, created, or elaborated, by his
colleague. It, therefore, follows that the assignment of a whole scene
to either author on the basis alone of some recurring metrical
peculiarity is not convincing. In the same section, even in the same
speech, we may encounter insertions which bear the stamp of the revising
colleague. For instance, the opening of _Philaster_ is generally
assigned to Beaumont: it has the characteristics of his prose. But with
the entry of the King (line 89) we are launched upon a subscene in verse
which, on the one hand, has a higher percentage of double endings
(_viz._ 38) than Beaumont ever used, but does not fully come up to
Fletcher's usage; while on the other hand, it has a higher percentage
of run-on lines[157] (_viz._ 44) than Fletcher ever used. The other
verse tests leave us similarly in doubt. To any one, however, familiar
with the diction and characterization of the two authors the suspicion
occurs that the scene was written by Beaumont in the first instance; and
then worked over and considerably enlarged by his associate. In the
first hundred lines of Act II, Scene 4, similar insertions by Fletcher
occur, and in Act III, 2.[158]

Such being the case we may expect that an inquiry into the rhetorical
peculiarities and mental habit, first of Fletcher, then of Beaumont,
will furnish tests corrective of the criterion based upon versification.


1. Fletcher's Diction in _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_.

Though rather poetic than dramatic, and composed only partly in blank
verse, _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_ affords the best approach to a
study of Fletcher's rhetoric; for, written about 1608 and by Fletcher
alone, it illustrates his youthful style in the period probably shortly
before he collaborated with Beaumont in the composition of _Philaster_.

The soliloquy of Clorin, with which _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_ opens,
runs as follows:

    Hail, holy Earth, whose cold Arms do imbrace
    The truest man that ever fed his flocks
    By the fat plains of fruitful Thessaly!
    Thus I salute thy Grave; thus do I pay
    My early vows and tribute of mine eyes                   5
    To thy still-loved ashes; thus I free
    Myself from all insuing heats and fires
    Of love; all sports, delights, and [jolly] games,
    That shepherds hold full dear, thus put I off:
    Now no more shall these smooth brows be [be] girt       10
    With youthful Coronals, and lead the Dance;
    No more the company of fresh fair Maids
    And wanton Shepherds be to me delightful,
    Nor the shrill pleasing sound of merry pipes
    Under some shady dell, when the cool wind               15
    Plays on the leaves; all be far away,
    Since thou art far away, by whose dear side
    How often have I sat Crowned with fresh flowers
    For summers Queen, whilst every Shepherds boy
    Puts on his lusty green, with gaudy hook                20
    And hanging scrip of finest Cordovan.
    But thou art gone, and these are gone with thee
    And all are dead but thy dear memorie;
    That shall out-live thee, and shall ever spring,
    Whilst there are pipes or jolly Shepherds sing.         25
    And here will I, in honour of thy love,
    Dwell by thy Grave, forgetting all those joys,
    That former times made precious to mine eyes;
    Only remembring what my youth did gain
    In the dark, hidden vertuous use of Herbs:              30
    That will I practise, and as freely give
    All my endeavours as I gained them free.
    Of all green wounds I know the remedies
    In Men or Cattel, be they stung with Snakes,
    Or charmed with powerful words of wicked Art,           35
    Or be they Love-sick, or through too much heat
    Grown wild or Lunatic, their eyes or ears
    Thickened with misty filme of dulling Rheum;
    These I can Cure, such secret vertue lies
    In herbs applyèd by a Virgins hand.                     40
    My meat shall be what these wild woods afford,
    Berries and Chestnuts, Plantanes, on whose Cheeks
    The Sun sits smiling.[159]

This passage, as we have observed in the preceding section, does not
display in full proportion or untrammeled variety the metrical
peculiarities of Fletcher's popular dramatic blank verse. The verse is
lyric and declamatory: his purely dramatic verse whether in the
_Monsieur Thomas_ of his earlier period, _The Chances_ of the middle
period, or _A Wife for a Month_ and _Rule a Wife_ of his later years,
has the feminine endings, redundant syllables, anapæstic substitutions,
the end-stopped and sometimes fragmentary lines, the hurried and
spasmodic utterance of conversational speech. But, from the rhetorical
point of view, this soliloquy--in fact, the whole _Faithfull
Shepheardesse_--affords a basis for further discrimination between
Fletcher and Beaumont in the joint-plays; for it displays idiosyncrasies
of tone-quality and diction which persist, after Beaumont's death, in
Fletcher's dramas of 1616 to 1625 as they were in 1607-1609: sometimes
slightly modified, more often exaggerated, but in essence the same.

In Clorin's soliloquy, the reader cannot but notice, first, a tendency
toward alliteration, the _fed_ and _flocks_, _fat_ and _fruitful_,
_fresh_ and _fair_, _pleasing_ and _pipes_,--alliteration palpable and
somewhat crude, but not yet excessive; second, a balanced iteration of
words,--"be far away, Since thou art far away" (ll. 16-17), and, five
lines further down, "But thou art gone and these are gone with thee,"
and in lines 31 and 32 "as freely give ... as I gained them free"; and
an iteration of phrases, rhetorical asseverations, negatives,
alternatives, questions,--"Thus I salute thy grave; thus do I pay,"
"thus I free," "thus put I off" (lines 4, 6, 9); third, a preference for
iteration in triplets,--"No more shall these smooth brows," "No more the
company," "Nor the shrill ... sound" (lines 10-14), "Or charmed," "or
love-sick," "or through too much heat" (lines 35 and 36); fourth, a
fondness for certain sonorous words,--"all ensuing heats ... all sports"
(lines 7-8), "all my endeavours ... all green wounds" (lines 32-33), and
the "alls" of lines 16 and 23; fifth, a plethora of adjectives,--"holy
earth," "cold arms," "truest man," "fat plains"--many of them
pleonastic--"misty film," "dulling rheum"--some forty nouns buttressed
by epithets to twenty standing in their own strength; and a plethora of
nouns in apposition (preferably triplets),--"all sports, delights, and
jolly games" (line 8), "Berries and Chestnuts, Plantanes" (line 42);
sixth, an indulgence in conversational tautology: for Fletcher is rarely
content with a simple statement,--he must be forever spinning out the
categories of a concept; expounding his idea by what the rhetoricians
call division; enumerating the attributes and species painstakingly lest
any escape, or verbosely as a padding for verse or speech. Of this
mannerism The _Faithfull Shepheardesse_ affords many instances more
typical than those contained in these forty-three lines; but even here
Clorin salutes the grave of her lover in a dozen different periphrastic
ways. To say that "all are dead but thy dear memorie" is not enough;
she must specify "_that_ shall outlive thee." To assert that she knows
the remedies of "all green wounds" does not suffice: she must proceed to
the enumeration of the wounds; nor to tell us that her meat shall be
found in the woods: she must rehearse the varieties of meat. Her
soliloquy in the last thirty lines of the scene, not here quoted, is of
the same quality: it reminds one of a Henslowe list of stage properties,
or of the auctioneer's catalogue that sprawls down Walt Whitman's pages.

And, last, we notice what has been emphasized by G. C. Macaulay and
others, that much of this enumeration by division is by way of
"parentheses hastily thrown in, or afterthoughts as they occur to the
mind."[160] Even in the formal _Shepheardesse_ this characteristic lends
a quality of naturalness and conversational spontaneity to the speech.


2. In the Later Plays.

If now we turn to one of Fletcher's plays written after Beaumont's
death, and without the assistance of Massinger or any other,--say, _The
Humorous Lieutenant_ of about the year 1619,--we find on every page and
passages like the following.[161]--The King Antigonus upon the entry of
his son, Demetrius, addresses the ambassadors of threatening powers:

              Do you see this Gent(leman),
    You that bring Thunders in your mouths, and Earthquakes,
    To shake and totter my designs? Can you imagine
    (You men of poor and common apprehensions)
    While I admit this man, my Son, this nature
    That in one look carries more fire, and fierceness,
    Than all your Masters lives[162]; dare I admit him,
    Admit him thus, even to my side, my bosom,
    When he is fit to rule, when all men cry him,
    And all hopes hang about his head; thus place him,
    His weapon hatched in bloud; all these attending
    When he shall make their fortunes, all as sudden,
    In any expedition he shall point 'em,
    As arrows from a Tartar's bow, and speeding,
    Dare I do this, and fear an enemy?
    Fear your great master? yours? or yours?

Here we have blank verse, distinctively Fletcherian with its feminine
endings and its end-stopped lines. But, widely as this differs from the
earlier rhythm of _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_ and its more lyric
precipitancy, the qualities of tone and diction are in the later play as
in the earlier. The alliterations may not be so numerous, and are in
general more cunningly concealed and interwoven, as in lines 2 to 4; but
the cruder kind still appears as a mannerism, the "fire and fierceness,"
"hopes," "hang," and "head." The iterations of word, phrase, and
rhetorical question, and of the resonant "all," the redundant nouns in
apposition, the tautological enumeration of categories, proclaim the
unaltered Fletcher. The adjectives are in this spot pruned, but they are
luxuriant elsewhere in the play. The triplets,--"this man, my son, this
nature,"--"admit," "admit," "admit," find compeers on nearly every page:

    Shew where to lead, to lodge, to charge with safetie,--[163]

    Here's a strange fellow now, and a brave fellow,
    If we may say so of a pocky fellow.--[164]

    And now, 't is ev'n too true, I feel a pricking,
    A pricking, a strange pricking.--[165]

    With such a sadness on his face, as sorrow,
    Sorrow herself, but poorly imitates.
    Sorrow of sorrows on that heart that caus'd it![166]

In the passages cited above there happen to be, also, a few examples of
the elocutionary afterthought:

    You come with thunders in your mouth _and earthquakes_,--

    As arrows from a Tartar's bow, _and speeding_.--

To this device, and to the intensive use of the pronominal "one"
Fletcher is as closely wedded as to the repetition of "all,"--

                   They have a hand upon us,
    A heavy and a hard one.[167]

    To wear this jewel near thee; he is a tried one
    And one that ... will yet stand by thee.[168]

Other plays conceded by the critics to Fletcher alone, and written in
his distinctive blank verse, display the same characteristics of style:
_The Chances_ of about 1615, _The Loyall Subject_ of 1618 (like _The
Humorous Lieutenant_ of the middle period), and _Rule a Wife and Have a
Wife_ of the last period, 1624. I quote at random for him who would
apply the tests,--first from _The Chances_,[169] the following of the
repeating revolver style:

                             Art thou not an Ass?
    And modest as her blushes! what a blockhead
    Would e're have popt out such a dry Apologie
    For this dear friend? and to a Gentlewoman,
    A woman of her youth and delicacy?
    They are arguments to draw them to abhor us.
    An honest moral man? 't is for a Constable:
    A handsome man, a wholesome man, a tough man,
    A liberal man, a likely man, a man
    Made up by Hercules, unslaked with service:
    The same to night, to morrow night, the next night,
    And so to perpetuity of pleasures.

Now, from _The Loyall Subject_[170]--the farewell of _Archas_ to his
arms and colours. I wish I could quote it all as an example of noble
noise, enumerative and penny-a-line rhetoric:

    Farewell, my Eagle! when thou flew'st, whole Armies
    Have stoopt below thee: at Passage I have seen thee
    Ruffle the Tartars, as they fled thy furie,
    And bang 'em up together, as a Tassel,
    Upon the streach, a flock of fearfull Pigeons.
    I yet remember when the Volga curl'd,
    The agèd Volga, when he heav'd his head up,
    And rais'd his waters high, to see the ruins,
    The ruines our swords made, the bloudy ruins;
    Then flew this Bird of honour bravely, Gentlemen;
    But these must be forgotten: so must these too,
    And all that tend to Arms, by me for ever.

And from Act II, Scene 1, pages 101-102, for triplets:

    Fight hard, lye hard, feed hard, when they come home, sir....

    To be respected, reckon'd well, and honour'd....

    Where be the shouts, the Bells rung out, the people?...

And, for "alls," and triplets:

    And whose are all these glories? why their Princes,
    Their Countries and their Friends. Alas, of all these,
    And all the happy ends they bring, the blessings,
    They only share the labours!

Finally, from _Rule a Wife_, a few instances of the iterations,
three-fold or multiple, and redundant expositions. In the first
scene[171] Juan describes Leon:

                           Ask him a question,
    He blushes like a Girl, and answers little,
    To the point less; he wears a Sword, a good one,
    And good cloaths too; he is whole-skin'd, has no hurt yet,
    Good promising hopes;

and Perez describes the rest of the regiment,

    That swear as valiantly as heart can wish,
    Their mouths charg'd with six oaths at once, and whole ones,
    That make the drunken Dutch creep into Mole-hills; ...

and he proceeds to Donna Margarita:

             She is fair, and young, and wealthy,
    Infinite wealthy, _etc._

And then to Estefania who has tautologized of her chastity, he
tautologizes of his harmlessness:[172]

    I am no blaster of a lady's beauty,
    Nor bold intruder on her special favours;
    I know how tender reputation is,
    And with what guards it ought to be preserv'd, lady.

As a fair example of this method of filling a page, I recommend the
first scene of the third act; and of eloquence by rhetorical 'division,'
Perez's description of his room in the next scene: all in terms of three
times three.

If now the reader will turn, by way of confirmation, to _The Triumph of
Time_ and _The Triumph of Death_ of which the metrical characteristics
are admittedly Fletcher's, he will find that there, Fletcher, before
Beaumont's retirement from the partnership, is already using in purely
dramatic composition the rhetorical mannerisms which mark both the
lyrically designed _Shepheardesse_ of his early years and the genuine
dramas of the later.


3. Stock Words, Phrases, and Figures.

Beside the rhetorical mannerisms classified in the preceding paragraphs
I might rehearse a long list of Fletcher's favourite expressions and
figures of speech. Of the former Mr. Oliphant[173] has mentioned
'plaguily,' 'claw'd,' 'slubber'd,' 'too,' 'shrewdly,' 'stuck with,' 'it
shews,' 'dwell round about ye,' 'for ever,' 'no way,' (for 'not at
all'). In addition I have noted the reiterated 'thus,' 'miracle,'
'prodigious' (in the sense of 'ominous')--'prodigious star,' 'prodigious
meteor'--'bugs,' 'monsters,' and 'scorpions'; 'torments,' 'diseases,'
'imposthumes,' 'canker,' 'mischiefs,' 'ruins,' 'blasted,' 'rotten';
'myrmidons'; 'monuments' (for 'tombs'), 'marble'; 'lustre,' 'crystal,'
'jewels,' 'picture,' 'painting,' 'counterfeit in arras'; 'blushes,'
'palates,' 'illusion,' 'abused' (for 'deceived'), 'blessed,' 'flung
off,' 'cloister'd up,' 'fat earth,' 'turtle,' 'passion,' 'Paradise.'
Oliphant assigns to Fletcher 'pulled on,' but I find that almost as
frequently in Beaumont. 'Poison,' 'contagious' and 'loaden,' also abound
in Fletcher, but are sometimes used by Beaumont. Fletcher affects
alliterative epithets: 'prince of popinjays,' 'pernicious petticoat
prince,' 'pretty prince of puppets,'--and antitheses such as 'prince of
wax,' 'pelting prattling peace.' His characters talk much of 'silks' and
'satins,' 'branched velvets' and 'scarlet' clothes. They are said to
speak in 'riddles'; they are threatened with 'ribald rhymes'; they shall
be 'bawled in ballads,' or 'chronicled,' 'cut and chronicled.'

Another characteristic of Fletcher's diction is his preference for the
pronoun _ye_ instead of _you_. This was pointed out by Mr. R. B.
McKerrow, who in his edition of _The Spanish Curate_[174] notes that in
the scenes generally attributed, in accordance with other tests, to
Fletcher, _ye_ occurs 271 times, while in the scenes attributed to
Massinger it occurs but four. That is to say, for every _ye_ in
Fletcher's part there are but 0.65 _you's_; for every _ye_ in
Massinger's part, 50 _you's_. Mr. W. W. Greg, applying the test in his
edition of _The Elder Brother_,[175] and counting the _y'are's_ as
instances of _ye_, finds that the percentage of _ye's_ to _you's_ in
Fletcher's part is almost three times as high as in Massinger's. In a
recent article in _The Nation_[176] Mr. Paul Elmer More communicates his
independent observation of the same mannerism in Fletcher. Though he has
been anticipated in part, his study adds to McKerrow's the valuable
information that Fletcher uses the _ye_ for _you_ in "both numbers and
cases, and in both serious and comic scenes." Mr. More's statistics
favour the conclusion that the test distinguishes Fletcher not only from
Massinger, but from other collaborators: Middleton, Rowley, Field,
Jonson, Tourneur. They do not carry conviction regarding Shakespeare,
whose habit as Greg and others had already announced varies in a
perplexing manner. Nor does Mr. More arrive at any definite result
concerning the test "when applied to the mixed work of Beaumont and
Fletcher." For though the high percentage of _ye's_ in the third and
fourth of the _Foure Playes_ confirms the general attribution of those
'Triumphs' to Fletcher, the low percentage in the first two 'Triumphs'
does not justify "the common opinion which attributes them to Beaumont."
Their author, as I have elsewhere stated, was probably Field. "In the
plays which are units," continues Mr. More, "such as _The Maid's
Tragedy_, _Philaster_, _A King and No King_, _The Knight of the Burning
Pestle_, and _The Coxcomb_, this mark of Fletcher does not occur at all.
It should seem that the writing here, at least in its final form, was
almost entirely Beaumont's." I have gone through all the plays which
have been ordinarily regarded as joint-productions of Beaumont and
Fletcher, and find that in this surmise Mr. More is right. _The Knight_,
to be sure, is Beaumont's alone; but with regard to the other four plays
mentioned above, in which they undoubtedly coöperated, the suggestion
that the writing, at least in its final form, was almost entirely
Beaumont's, because of the practically complete absence of _ye's_, is
justified by the facts. It is, also, helpful in the examination of plays
not mentioned in this list. It has, in connection with other
considerations, assisted me to the conclusion that Fletcher went over
two or three scenes of _The Woman-Hater_, stamping them with his _ye's_
after Beaumont had finished it as a whole; and it has confirmed me in
the belief that _The Scornful Ladie_ was one of the latest joint-plays,
only partly revised by Beaumont,--and that, not long before his death.
Fletcher's preference for _ye_ is a distinctive mannerism. His usage
varies from the employment of one-third as many _ye's_ to that of twice
as many _ye's_ as _you's_; whereas Beaumont rarely uses a _ye_. Even
more distinctive is Fletcher's use of _y'are_, and of _ye_ in the
objective case. The latter, Beaumont does not tolerate.

For figurative purposes Fletcher finds material most frequently in the
phenomena of winter and storm: 'frosts,' 'nipping frosts,' 'nipping
winds,' 'hail,' 'cakes of ice,' 'icicles,' 'thaw,' 'tempests,'
'thunders,' 'billows,' 'mariners' and 'storm-tossed barks,' 'wild
overflows' of waters in stream or torrent; in the phenomena of heat and
light: 'suns,' the 'icy moon,' the 'Dog-star' or the 'Dog,' the 'Sirian
star,' the 'cold Bear' and 'raging Lion,' 'Aetna,' 'fire and flames'; of
trees: root and branch, foliage and fruit; of the oak and clinging vine;
of the rose or blossom and the 'destroying canker'; of fever and ague;
of youth and desire, and of Death 'beating larums to the blood,' of our
days that are 'marches to the grave,' and of our lives 'tedious tales
soon forgotten.' I have elsewhere called attention to the numerous
variations which he plays upon the 'story of a woman.' His 'monuments'
are in frequent requisition and, by preference, they 'sweat'; men
pursued by widows fear to be 'buried alive in another man's cold
monument.' Other common images are 'rock him to another world,'
'bestride a billow,' 'plough up the sea.' He indulges in extended
mythological tropes as of the 'Carthage queen' and Ariadne; is
especially attracted by Adonis, Hylas (whom he may have got either from
Theocritus or the Marquis D'Urfé's Astræan character), and Hercules;
and, in general, he levies more freely than Beaumont on commonplace
classical material. In his unassisted dramas his fondness for
personification seems to grow: many pages are thick with capitalized
abstractions; and the poetry, then, is usually limited to the
capitalization. The curious reader will find most of Fletcher's
predilections in image-making clustered in three or four typical
passages of the later and unassisted plays, such as Alphonso's raving in
_A Wife for a Month_, IV, 4; and in passages, undoubtedly of his verse
and diction, in plays written conjointly with Beaumont, such as that of
Spaconia's outburst in _King and No King_, IV, 2, 45-62.

Fletcher abounds in optatives: 'Would Gods thou hadst been so blest!'
'Would there were any safety in thy sex!' and the like. He is also given
to rhetorical interrogations and elaborate exclamations; more so than
Beaumont. He affects the lighter kind of oath, the appeal to something
sacred, in attestation--'Witness Heaven!' In entreaty--'High Heaven,
defend us!' Or in mere ejaculation--'Equal Heavens!' He varies his
asseverations so that they appear less bluntly profane: 'By my life!'
'By those lights, I vow!'--or more appropriate to the emergency: 'By all
holy in Heaven and Earth!' He swears occasionally 'By the Gods,' but not
so frequently as Beaumont, for there was a puritanical reaction after
Beaumont's death. In the early joint-plays he affects particularly 'all
the gods,' 'By _all_ those gods, you swore by!' 'By more than all the
gods!' In his imprecations he is even more sulphurous than Beaumont:
'Hell bless you for it!' 'Hell take me then!' 'Thou all-sin, all-hell,
and last all-devils!'

In summary let us say of Fletcher's diction, that its vocabulary is
repetitious; its sentence-structure, loose, cumulative, trailing: that
its larger movement is, in general, dramatic, conversational, abrupt,
rather than lyrical, declamatory, reflective. He writes for the
plot--forward: not from the character--outward. When he bestows a
lyrical or descriptive touch upon the narrative it is always incidental
to conversation or stage business. When he indulges in a classical
reminiscence he permits himself to embroider and bedizen; but usually
his ribbons (from a scantly furnished, much-rummaged wardrobe) are
carelessly pinned on. While capable, especially in tragedy, of
occasional long speeches, he prefers the brief interchange of utterance,
the rapid fire and spasm of dialogue.


FOOTNOTES:

[157] In the King's speech, 89-121.

[158] For particulars, see Chapter XXV, § 7, below.

[159] As given in the _Camb. Engl. Classics_.

[160] G. C. Macaulay, _Francis Beaumont_, p. 45.

[161] Act I, Sc. 1, _Camb. Engl. Classics_, II, p. 286.

[162] Crane _MS._ (1625).

[163] _Cambridge_, II, p. 290.

[164] _Ibid._, p. 292.

[165] _Ibid._, p. 323.

[166] _Ibid._, p. 346.

[167] _Loyall Subject_, III, 1, end.

[168] _Hum. Lieut., Cambridge_, II, p. 290.

[169] John in II, 3, _Camb._, IV, p. 202.

[170] I, 3, _Camb._, III, p. 84.

[171] _Camb._, III, p. 170.

[172] _Ibid._, p. 172.

[173] _Engl. Studien_, XIV, 65.

[174] _Variorum, B. and F._, Vol. II, 1905.

[175] _Variorum, B. and F._, Vol. II, 1905.

[176] New York, Nov. 14, 1912.



CHAPTER XX

FLETCHER'S MENTAL HABIT


From the study of Fletcher's unaided plays we arrive at a still further
criterion for the determination of his share in the joint-plays,--his
stock of ideas concerning life, his view of the spectacle, and his
emotional attitude. His early pastoral comedy _The Faithfull
Shepheardesse_ might be dismissed from consideration as a
conventionalized literary treatment of conditions remote from actual
experience, were it not that other dramatic exponents of shepherds and
shepherdesses--Jonson, for instance, and Milton--have succeeded in
imbuing the pastoral species with qualities distinctly vital; the
former, with rustic reality and genuine tenderness; the latter, with
profound moral significance. _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_, on the other
hand, with all its beauty of artistic form is devoid of reality, pathos,
and sublimity. The author has no ideas worthy of the name and, in spite
of his singing praises of chastity, he has his hand to his mouth where
between fyttes there blossoms a superb smile. He has in art no depth of
conviction; consequently, no philosophy of life to offer. _The Faithfull
Shepheardesse_ strikes the intellectual keynote of all Fletcher's
unaided work. He is a playwright of marvellous skill, a lyrist of facile
verse and fancy, but a poet of indifference--of no ethical insight or
outlook when he is purveying for the public. His tragedies, for instance
_Valentinian_ and _Bonduca_ (the two scenes of the latter that may not
be his are negligible), abound in sudden fatal passions and noble
diction. They involve moral conduct, to be sure, patriotism, loyalty,
chivalry, military prowess, insane lust and vengeance, but they lack
deep-seated and deliberate motive of action, and they fail of that
inevitability of spiritual conflict which is requisite to a tragic
effect. The heroes of these, and of his tragicomedies and romantic
dramas, such as _A Wife for a Month_, _The Loyall Subject_, _The
Humorous Lieutenant_, _The Pilgrim_, _The Island Princesse_, may be
fearless and blameless, but their courage and virtue are of habit rather
than of moral exigency. Their loyalty is frequently unreasonable and
absurdly exaggerated. One or two of his virtuous heroines are at once
charming and real; but as a rule with Fletcher--the more virtuous, the
more nebulous. His villains have no redeeming touch of humanity: their
doom moves us not; nor does their sleight-of-hand repentance convince
us. The atmosphere is histrionic. There is scorn of Fate and Fortune,
much talk of death and the grave: and we "go out like tedious tales
forgotten"; or we don't,--just as may suit the stage hangings, the
brilliance of the footlights, and the sentimental uptake. There is, in
short, in his unassisted serious dramas little real pathos; little of
the grandeur and sudden imaginative splendour which, we shall see,
characterized Beaumont; none of Beaumont's earnestness and philosophical
spontaneity and profundity.

Like the tragicomic plays, Fletcher's lighter comedies _The Chances_,
_The Mad Lover_, _The Wild-Goose Chase_, _Women Pleased_, escape a moral
catastrophe by walking round the issue. The heroes are amorous gallants,
irresponsible adventurers, adroit scapegraces, devil-may-care
rapier-tongued egoists and opportunists. The heroines are "not made for
cloisters"; when they are not already as conscienceless as the heroes in
performance or desire, they are airy lasses, resourceful in love,
seeming-virtuous but suspiciously well-informed of the tarnished side of
the shield,--always witty. Fletcher _can_ portray the innocence and
constancy of woman; but he rarely takes the pains. "To be as many
creatures as a woman" is for him a comfortable jibe. The charm of
romantic character and subtly thickening complication did not much
attract him.

He sets over in contrast the violent, insane, tragic, or pathetic with
the ludicrous or grotesque; he indulges a careless, loose-jointed,
adventitious humour. That he could, on occasion, avail himself of the
laughter of burlesque is abundantly proved by the utterances of his
Valentine in _Wit Without Money_, the devices of the inimitable Maria in
_The Tamer Tamed_, and of the _Humorous Lieutenant_. But for that comic
irony of issues by which the wilful or pretentious or deluded,--foes or
fools of convention and born prey of ridicule,--are satisfactorily
readjusted to society, he prefers to substitute hilarity, ribaldry, the
clash of wits, the battledore and shuttlecock of trick, intrigue, of
shifting group and kaleidoscopic situation. The idiosyncrasies of the
crowd delight him; but the more actual, the more boisterous and
bestial. His populace feeds upon "opinions, errors, dreams."

His facile verse and limpid dialogue flash with fancy. The gaiety of
gilded youth ripples down the page; but the more clever, the more
irrelevant the swirling jest,--and, to say the least, the more
indelicate. Life is a bagatelle; its most strenuous interest--love; and
love is volatile as it is sudden. The attitude of sex toward sex is as
obvious to the level-headed animal, who is cynic in brain and hedonist
in blood, as its significance is supreme: it is that of the man-or-woman
hunt; the outcome, a jocosity, more or less,--whether of fornication or
cuckoldry, or of tame, old-fashioned, matrimonial monochrome.

These characteristics of the Fletcherian habit mark all the author's
independent plays from _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_ of 1607 or 1608 to
_Rule a Wife_ of 1624. The man himself, I think, was better than the
dramaturgic artist catering to the public market. For his personal, nay
noble, ideals, let the reader turn to the poem appended to _The Honest
Mans Fortune_, and judge. The characteristics sketched above are of the
maker of a mimic world. Since I have elsewhere discussed them in
full,[177] and the marvellous success that the dramaturge achieved in
Shakespeare's Globe, this brief enumeration must suffice. Fletcher's
mental habit affords an additional criterion for the determination of
authorship in the unquestioned Beaumont-Fletcher plays, and in the
analysis of plays in which the collaboration of the poets has been
conjectured but not so fully attested.


FOOTNOTES:

[177] _The Fellows and Followers of Shakespeare_ (Part Two) in
_Representative English Comedies_, Vol. III.



CHAPTER XXI

BEAUMONT'S DICTION


From a consideration of Beaumont's work in his poems, in his _Maske_ and
_Woman-Hater_, and such portions of the three unquestioned
Beaumont-Fletcher plays as are marked by his idiosyncrasies of
versification, we may arrive at conclusions concerning his diction,
rhetorical and poetic.


1. Rhetorical Peculiarities in General.

Beaumont's frequent use in prose of the enclitics 'do' and 'did' has
been observed by students of his style. The same peculiarity marks his
verse, and occasionally enables the reader to determine the authorship
of passages where the metrical tests are inconclusive. His rhetoric is
sometimes of the repetitive order, but, as Oliphant has indicated,
rather for ends of word-play and irony than for mere expansion as with
Fletcher. Such, for instance, is the ironical repetition of a speaker's
words by his interlocutor. I note also a tendency to purely dramatic
quotation, not common in Fletcher's writing,--_e. g._, in _The
Woman-Hater_: "Lisping cry 'Good Sir!' and he's thine own"; or "Every
one that does not know, cries 'What nobleman is that?'"--and in _A King
and No King_ "That hand was never wont to draw a sword, But it cried
'Dead' to something." This test alone, if we had not others of rhetoric
and metre, would go far to deciding the respective contributions of our
authors to the personality of Captain Bessus in the latter play. The
Bessus of the first three acts, undoubtedly Beaumont's, is resonant with
such cries and conversational citations; the Bessus of the last two, in
a rôle almost as extensive, uses the device but once. Beaumont sometimes
indulges in enumerative sentences; but the enumerations are generally in
prose and (it will be recalled that he was a member of the Inner Temple)
of a mock-legal character, not mere redundancies of detail such as we
find in Fletcher. Among other peculiarities of expression is his
frequent employment of 'ha' as an interrogative interjection.


2. Stock Words, Phrases, and Figures.

Beaumont is especially fond of the following words and phrasal
variations:--The 'basilisk' with his 'deaddoing eye,' 'venom,' 'infect,'
'infection' and 'infectious,' 'corrupt,' 'leprosy,' 'vild,' 'crosses'
(for 'misfortunes'), 'crossed' and 'crossly matched,' 'perplex,'
'distracted,' 'starts' (for 'surprises' and 'fitful changes'),
'miseries,' 'griefs,' 'garlands,' 'cut,' 'shoot,' 'dissemble,'
'loathed,' 'salve' (as noun and verb), 'acquaint' and 'acquaintance,' to
'article,' 'pull,' 'piece,' 'frail' and 'frailty,' 'mortal' and
'mortality,' 'fate' and 'destiny,' to 'blot' from earth or memory,
'after-ages,' 'instruments' (for 'servants'). Of his repeated use of
'hills,' 'caves,' 'mines,' 'seas,' 'thunder,' 'beast,' 'bull,' we shall
have further exemplification when we consider his figures of speech.

He is forever playing phrasal variations upon the words 'piece,' and
'little.' The former is a mannerism of the day, already availed of by
Shakespeare in _Lear_, 'O ruined piece of nature,' and frequently in
_Antony and Cleopatra_, and later repeated in the _Tempest_ and
_Winter's Tale_. So with Beaumont, Arethusa is a 'poor piece of earth';
'every maid in love will have a piece' of Philaster; Oriana is a
'precious piece of sly damnation,' 'that pleasing piece of frailty we
call woman.' Or the word is used literally for 'limb':--'I'll love those
pieces you have cut away.'--Beaumont, I may say in passing, delights in
cutting bodies 'into motes,' and sending 'limbs through the
land.'--'Little' he affects, making it pathetic and even more diminutive
in conjunction with 'that': Euphrasia would 'keep that little piece I
hold of life.' 'It is my fate,' proclaims Amintor,

    To bear and bow beneath a thousand griefs
    To keep that little credit with the world;

and so, 'that little passion,' 'that little training,' 'these little
wounds,' _ad libitum_. Somewhat akin is the poet's use of 'kind': 'a
kind of love in her to me'; 'a kind of healthful joy.' His heroines good
and bad are given to introspection: they have 'acquaintance' with
themselves. 'After you were gone,' says Bellario, 'I grew acquainted
with my heart'; and Bacha in _Cupid's Revenge_ in a scene undoubtedly of
Beaumont's verse 'loathes' herself and is 'become another woman; one,
methinks, with whom I want acquaintance.'

While Beaumont makes occasional use of simile, his figures of poetry, or
tropes, are generally of the more creative kind,--metaphor,
personification, metonymy,--and these are very often heightened into
that figure of logical artifice known as hyperbole. His comparisons deal
in a striking degree with elemental phenomena: hills, caves, stones,
rocks, seas, winds, flames, thunder, cold, ice, snow; or they are
reminiscential of country life. In each play some hero declaims of 'the
only difference betwixt man and beast, my reason'; and inevitably
enlarges upon the 'nature unconfined' of beasts, and illustrates by
custom and passion of ram, goat, heifer, or bull--especially bull. When
the bull of the pasture does not suffice, the bull of Phalaris charges
in. But Beaumont prefers nature: his images are sweet with April and
violets and dew and morning-light, or fields of standing corn 'moved
with a stiff gale'--their heads bowing 'all one way.' From the
manufacture of books he borrows two metaphors, 'printing' and
'blotting,' and plies them with effective variety: Philaster 'prints'
wounds upon Bellario; Bellario 'printed' her 'thoughts in lawn'; Amintor
will 'print a thousand wounds' upon Evadne's flesh; and Nature wronged
Panthea 'To print continual conquest on her cheeks And make no man
worthy for her to take.' With similar frequency recur 'blotted from
earth,' 'blotted from memory,' 'this third kiss blots it out.'

The younger poet personifies abstractions as frequently as Fletcher, but
in a more poetic way. He vitalizes grief and guilt and memory with
figurative verbs--'shoot,' 'grow,' 'cut.' 'I feel a grief shoot suddenly
through all my veins' cries Amintor; and again 'Thine eyes shoot guilt
into me.' 'I feel a sin growing upon my blood' shudders Arbaces.
Philaster will 'cut off falsehood while it springs'; Amintor welcomes
the hand that should 'cut' him from his sorrows; and Evadne confesses
that her sin is 'tougher than the hand of Time can cut from man's
remembrance.' Similar metaphorical constructions abound, such as 'pluck
me back from my entrance into mirth,' in one of Leucippus' speeches in
Beaumont's part of _Cupid's Revenge_; and in a speech of Melantius 'I
did a deed that plucked five years from time' in _The Maides Tragedy_.
Personified grief and sorrow are frequently in the plural with
Beaumont:--'Nothing but a multitude of walking griefs.' It is a mistake
to suppose, as some do, that passages written in Beaumont's metrical
style are not by him if they abound in personification. Hunger, black
Despair, Pride, Wantonness, figure in his verse in _The Woman-Hater_;
Chance, Death, and Fortune in _The Knight_; Death, Victory, and
Friendship, in _The Maides Tragedy_; Destiny, Falsehood, Mortality,
Nature in _Philaster_; and so on.

No dramatist since the day of Kyd and Marlowe has more frequent or
violent resort to hyperbole. His heroes call on 'seas to quench the
fires' they 'feel,' and 'snows to quench their rising flames'; they will
'drink off seas' and 'yet have unquenched fires left' in their breasts;
they 'wade through seas of sins'; they 'set hills on hills' and 'scale
them all, and from the utmost top fall' on the necks of foes, 'like
thunder from a cloud'; or they 'discourse to all the underworld the
worth' of those they love. 'From his iron den' they'll 'waken Death, and
hurl him' on lascivious kings. Arethusa's heart is 'mines of adamant to
all the world beside,' but to her lover 'a lasting mine of joy'; her
breath 'sweet as Arabian winds when fruits are ripe'; her breasts 'two
liquid ivory balls.' Evadne will sooner 'find out the beds of snakes,'
and 'with her youthful blood warm their cold flesh 'than accede to
Amintor's desires. 'The least word' that Panthea speaks 'is worth a
life.' 'The child, this present hour brought forth to see the world, has
not a soul more pure' than Oriana's. In one of Beaumont's verse-scenes
of _The Coxcombe_, Ricardo, reinstated in his Viola's esteem, would have
some woman 'take an everlasting pen' into her hand, 'and grave in paper
more lasting than the marble monuments' the matchless virtues of women
to posterities. And as for Bellario's worth to Philaster,--

    'T is not the treasure of all Kings in one,
    The wealth of Tagus, nor the rocks of pearl
    That pave the court of Neptune, can weigh down
    That virtue.

Echoes not of Kyd and Marlowe only, but of Shakespeare from _Romeo_ to
_Hamlet_ and _Macbeth_, reverberate in the magniloquent hyperbole of
Beaumont.

Beaumont has more ejaculations than Fletcher, but fewer optatives. He is
chary of rhetorical questions, and his exclamations run by preference
into some figured hyperbole. He appeals less frequently than Fletcher
to 'all the gods,' but very often to 'the gods,' 'good gods,' 'ye gods,'
'some god.' He refers, in conformity with his deterministic view of
life, with particular preference to the 'just gods,' the 'powers that
must be just,' the 'powers above,' 'ye better powers,' 'Heaven and the
powers divine,' 'you heavenly powers,' the 'powers that rule us'; and
all these he uses in attestation. An oath distinctive of him is 'By my
vexed soul!' In his hyperboles, Hell and devils play their part; but not
in oath so frequently as with Fletcher.


3. Lines of Inevitable Poetry.

Similarly noticeable is Beaumont's faculty for 'simple poetic phrasing.'
The elevated passion, the sudden glory,--and the large utterance of
brief sentence and single verse, have been remarked by critics from his
contemporary, John Earle, who wrote in commendation:

    Such strength, such sweetness couched in every line,
    Such life of fancy, such high choice of brain,

down to G. C. Macaulay, Herford, and Alden of the present day. No
reader, even the most cursory, can fail to be impressed by the
completeness of that one line (in his lament for Elizabeth Sidney),

    Sorrow can make a verse without a Muse,--

by the 'unassuming beauty' of Viola's loneliness (in his subplot of _The
Coxcombe_),

    All things have cast me from 'em but the earth.
    The evening comes, and every little flower
    Droops now as well as I;--

by the sublimity of those few words to the repentant lover,

    All the forgiveness I can make you is to love you;--

by the superb simplicity of Bellario's scorn of life, in _Philaster_,

    'T is but a piece of childhood thrown away,

and the finality of her definition of death (which, as if in premonition
of his too sudden fate, is characteristic of Beaumont),--

    'T is less than to be born; a lasting sleep;
    A quiet resting from all jealousy,
    A thing we all pursue; I know, besides,
    It is but giving over of a game
    That must be lost;--

by the pathetic irony of Aspatia's farewell to love in _The Maides
Tragedy_,

    So with my prayers I leave you, and must try
    Some yet-unpractis'd way to grieve and die;

and the heroism (in _Cupid's Revenge_, the final scene, undoubtedly of
Beaumont's verse) of Urania's confession to Leucippus,

    I would not let you know till I was dying;
    For you could not love me, my mother was so naught;

by Panthea's cry of horror, in _A King and No King_,

    I feel a sin growing upon my blood;

and by those flashes of incomparable verity that intensify the gloom of
_The Maides Tragedy_: Amintor's

    Those have most power to hurt us, that we love;
    We lay our sleeping lives within their arms;

and after Evadne's death,

    My soul grows weary of her house, and I
    All over am a trouble to myself;--

by the wounded Aspatia's

    I shall sure live, Amintor, I am well;
    A kind of healthful joy wanders within me;

and her parting whisper,

    Give me thy hand; mine eyes grope up and down,
    And cannot find thee.

This is Nature sobbing into verse: the unadorned poetry of the human
heartbreak. Where other than in Shakespeare do we find among the
Jacobean poets such verse?

That a style of this kind should be rich in apothegm is not surprising.
Instances rare in wisdom and phrasal conciseness are to be encountered
on every other page of Beaumont.

It may, in short, be said of this dramatist's rhetorical and poetic
diction, that, while the vocabulary may not be more varied, it is more
intimate, musical, and reverberant than Fletcher's; that the periods,
though sometimes appropriately syncopated and parenthetically broken,
as in dramatic conversation, are, in rhapsodical and descriptive
passages, both complex and balanced of structure,--pregnant of ideas
labouring for expression rather than enumerative; that they echo
Shakespeare's grandeur of phrase, with its involution, crowding of
illustration and fresh insistent thought, in a degree utterly foreign to
the rhetoric of Fletcher; and that his brief sentences are marked by a
direct and final resplendence and simplicity.

In the larger movements of composition the purely poetic quality
predominates over the narrative, dramatic or conversational. This
characteristic is especially noticeable in declamatory speeches and
soliloquies; sometimes idyllic as in Philaster's description of
Bellario,--"I found him sitting by a fountain's side,"--or in the
well-known "Oh that I had been nourished in these woods with milk of
goats and acorns"; often operatic, as in Aspatia's farewells to Amintor
and to love; always lyrical, imaginatively surcharged. Beaumont's
figures of rhetoric when not hyperbolic, are picturesquely natural; his
poetic tropes are creative, vitalizing. His speakers are
self-revelatory: expressive of temperament, emotion, reflection. Their
utterances are frequently descriptive, picturesquely loitering, rather
than, by way of dialogue, framed to further the action alone. And yet,
when they will, their conversation is spontaneous, fragmentary, and
abrupt, intensifying the dramatic situation; not simply, as with
Fletcher, by giving opportunity for stage-business, but by differencing
the motive that underlies the action.



CHAPTER XXII

BEAUMONT'S MENTAL HABIT


From passages in the indubitable metrical manner and rhetorical style of
Beaumont we pass to a still further test by which to determine his share
in doubtful passages--I mean his stock of ideas. Critics have long been
familiar with the determinism of his philosophy of life. His Arethusa in
_Philaster_ expresses it in a nutshell:

    If destiny (to whom we dare not say,
    Why didst thou this?) have not decreed it so,
    In lasting leaves (whose smallest characters
    Was never altered yet), this match shall break.--

We are ignorant of the 'crosses of our births.' Nature 'loves not to be
questioned, why she did this or that, but has her ends, and knows she
does well.' "But thou," cries the poet,--

    But thou hadst, ere thou knew'st the use of tears,
    Sorrow laid up against thou cam'st to years.

'Tis the gods, 'the gods, that make us so.' They would not have their
'dooms withstood, whose holy wisdoms make our passions the way unto
their justice.' And 'out of justice we must challenge nothing.' The
gods reward, the gods punish: 'I am a man and dare not quarrel with
divinity ... and you shall see me bear my crosses like a man.' It is
the 'will of Heaven'; 'a decreed instant cuts off every life, for
which to mourn is to repine.'[178]

Similarly familiar is Beaumont's recurrent doctrine of the divinity of
kings. "In that sacred word," says his Amintor of _The Maides
Tragedy_,--

                                In that sacred word
    'The King,' there lies a terror: what frail man
    Dares lift his hand against it? Let the gods
    Speak to him when they please; till when let us
    Suffer and wait.

And again, to the monarch who has wronged him,

                                      There is
    Divinity about you, that strikes dead
    My rising passions; as you are my King
    I fall before you, and present my sword
    To cut mine own flesh, if it be your will.

Of 'the breath of kings' Beaumont's fancy constructs ever new terrors:
it is 'like the breath of gods'; it may blow men 'about the world.' But
when a king is guilty, though he may boast that his breath 'can still
the winds, uncloud the sun, charm down the swelling floods, and stop the
floods of heaven,' some honest man is always to be found to say 'No;
nor' can thy 'breath smell sweet itself if once the lungs be but
corrupted.' Though the gods place kings 'above the rest, to be served,
flattered, and adored,' kings may not 'article with the gods'--

                     On lustful kings
    Unlooked-for sudden deaths from Heaven are sent;
    But curs'd is he that is their instrument.

Of 'this most perfect creature, this image of his Maker, well-squared
man' Beaumont philosophizes much. Again and again he reminds us that
'the only difference betwixt man and beast is reason.' In the moment of
guilty passion his Arbaces of _A King and No King_ cries:

                  "Accursèd man!
    Thou bought'st thy reason at too dear a rate,
    For thou hast all thy actions bounded in
    With curious rules, when every beast is free."

And, in the moment of jealousy, Philaster laments,

    Oh, that, like beasts, we could not grieve ourselves
    With that we see not!

Beaumont knows of no natural felicity or liberty more to be envied than
that of the beast; and of no opprobrium more vile than that which likens
man to lustful beast, or 'worse than savage beast.'

He is impressed with the frailty of mankind and the brevity of life:
'Frail man' and 'transitory man' fell readily from his lips who was to
die so young. He emphasizes the objective quality of evil: "Good gods,
tempt not a frail man!" prays Philaster; and Arbaces struggling against
temptation: "What art thou, that dost creep into my breast; And dar'st
not see my face?" Once temptation has taken root, it grows insidiously:
Panthea "feels a sin growing upon her blood"; and Arbaces moralizes

    There is a method in man's wickedness
    It grows up by degrees.

It is natural, therefore, that Beaumont should frequently fall back upon
'conscience' and its 'sensibility.' And upon the efficacy of repentance.
So Leucippus in Beaumont's portion of _Cupid's Revenge_, prays the gods
to hold him back,--"Lest I add sins to sins, till no repentance will
cure me." Arbaces finds repentance. Evadne knows that it is 'the best
sacrifice.'

From this consciousness of uneasy greatness and frail mortality the poet
seeks refuge in descriptions of pastoral life. His pictures of idyllic
beauty and simplicity are too well-known to warrant repetition here:
Bellario weaving garlands by the fountain's side; Philaster's rhapsody
in the woods; Valerio's "Come, pretty soul, we now are near our home" to
Viola in the _Coxcombe_, and Viola's "what true contented happiness
dwells here, More than in cities!" The same conception marks as
Beaumont's the shrewdly humorous conversation in prose between the
citizens' wives in _A King and No King_, beginning--

    Lord, how fine the fields be! What sweet living 'tis in
        the country!--

    Ay, poor souls, God help 'em, they live as contentedly as
        one of us.

Through the fourth act of _Philaster_, and wherever else Beaumont
portrays the countryside or country men and women, there blows the fresh
breeze of the Charnwood forest in his native Leicestershire.

But his most poetic themes are of the friendship of man for man, and of
the 'whiteness' of women's innocence, the unselfishness of their love,
their forgivingness, and the reverence due from men who so little
understand them. "And were you not my King," protests the blunt
Mardonius to his hasty lord, "I should have chose you out to love above
the rest." "I have not one friend in the court but thou," says Prince
Leucippus; and his devoted follower can only stammer "You know I love
you but too well." In that fine summing up of Melantius to Amintor, one
seems to hear Beaumont himself:

    The name of friend is more than family
    Or all the world besides.

With woman's purity his darkest pages are starred. She is 'innocent as
morning light,' 'more innocent than sleep,' 'as white as Innocence
herself.' 'Armed with innocence' a tender spotless maid 'may walk safe
among beasts.' Her 'prayers are pure,' and she is 'fair and virtuous
still to ages.'[179] His fairest heroines are philosophers of 'the truth
of maids and perjuries of men.' "All the men I meet are harsh and rude,"
says Aspatia,

    And have a subtilty in everything
    Which love could never know; but we fond women
    Harbour the easiest and the smoothest thoughts,
    And think all shall go so. It is unjust
    That men and women should be match'd together.

His Viola of the _Coxcombe_ continues the contention:

    Woman, they say, was only made of man
    Methinks 'tis strange they should be so unlike;
    It may be, all the best was cut away
    To make the woman, and the naught was left
    Behind with him.

And the philosophy of Beaumont's love-lorn maidens she sums up in her
conclusion:

    Scholars affirm the world's upheld by love;
    But I believe women maintain all this,
    For there's no love in men.

Deserted by her lover, she finds 'how valiant and how 'fraid at once,
Love makes a virgin'; and, sought again by him repentant, she epitomizes
the hearts of all Bellarios, Arethusas, Pantheas, Uranias:

                           I will set no penance
    To gain the great forgiveness you desire,
    But to come hither, and take me and it ...
    For God's sake, urge your faults no more, but mend!
    All the forgiveness I can make you, is
    To love you: which I will do, and desire
    Nothing but love again; which if I have not,
    Yet I will love you still.

All man can do in return for such long-suffering mercy is to revere:
"How rude are all men that take the name of civil to ourselves" murmurs
the reformed Ricardo; and then--

                  I do kneel because it is
    An action very fit and reverent,
    In presence of so pure a creature.

So kneels Arbaces; and so, in spirit, Philaster and Amintor.

Prayer is for Beaumont a very present aid. Of his women especially the
'vows' and 'oblations' are a poetic incense continually ascending. And
closely akin to the prayerful innocence of tender maids is the pathos of
their 'childhood thrown away.' Even his whimsical Oriana of _The
Woman-Hater_ can aver:

    The child this present hour brought forth
    To see the world has not a soul more pure,
    More white, more virgin that I have.

The bitterest experiences of humanity are sprung from
misapprehension,--"They have most power to hurt us that we love,"--or
from jealousy, slander, unwarranted violence, unmerited pain. And for
these the only solace is in death. About this truth Beaumont weaves a
shroud of unsullied beauty, a poetry that has rarely been surpassed. In
nearly all that he has left us the thought recurs; but nowhere better
expressed than in those lines, already quoted in full from _Philaster_,
where Bellario "knows what 'tis to die ... a lasting sleep; a quiet
resting from all jealousy." His Arethusa repeats the theme; but with a
wistful incertitude:

                     I shall have peace in death
    Yet tell me this: there will be no slanders,
    No jealousy in the other world; no ill there?

"No," replies her unjustly suspicious lover.--And she:--"Show me, then,
the way!" No kinder mercy to the tempted, misconceived heir of mortality
has been vouchsafed than to 'suffer him to find his quiet grave in
peace.' So think Panthea and Arbaces; and so his Urania and Leucippus
find. And so the poet closes that rare elegy to his belovèd Countess of
Rutland:

    I will not hurt the peace which she should have,
    By longer looking in her quiet grave.

But still more powerful in its blessing than 'sleep' and the 'peace' of
the 'quiet grave,' and more fearful in its bane than the penalties of
hell,--one reality persists--the award of 'after-ages.' Bellario would
not reveal what she has learned, to make her life 'last ages.'
Philaster's highest praise for Arethusa is "Thou art fair and virtuous
still to ages." "Kill me," says Amintor to Evadne,--

    Kill me; all true lovers, that shall live
    In after-ages crossed in their desires,
    Shall bless thy memory.

Ricardo of the _Coxcombe_ would have some woman 'grave in paper' their
'matchless virtues to posterities.' Even the mock-romantic Jasper in the
_Knight_ (which I am sure is all Beaumont) will try his sweetheart's
love 'that the world and memory may sing to after-times her constancy.'
As to evil, it meets its punishment both in heredity and in the verdict
of generations yet to come. "I see," soliloquizes the usurping King in a
passage already quoted from _Philaster_:

    You gods, I see that who unrighteously
    Holds wealth or state from others shall be cursed
    In that which meaner men are blest withal:
    Ages to come shall know no male of him
    Left to inherit, and his name shall be
    Blotted from earth; if he have any child
    It shall be crossly matched.

"Show me the way," cries Arbaces to his supposed mother, and thinking of
heredity, "to the inheritance I have by thee, which is a spacious world
Of impious acts." And Amintor warns Evadne: "Let it not rise up for thy
shame and mine To after-ages.... We will adopt us sons; The virtue shall
inherit and not blood." "May all ages," prays the lascivious Bacha in
_Cupid's Revenge_, "May all ages,"--

    That shall succeed curse you as I do! and
    If it be possible, I ask it, Heaven,
    That your base issues may be ever monstrous,
    That must for shame of nature and succession,
    Be drowned like dogs!

So, _passim_, in Beaumont--'lasting to ages in the memory of this damnèd
act'; 'a great example of their justice to all ensuing ages.'


FOOTNOTES:

[178] Elegy on the Countess of Rutland.

[179] I cannot understand how so careful a scholar as Professor
Schelling (_Engl. Lit. during Lifetime of Shakesp._, 207) can
attribute to him, from the hopelessly uncritical collection of
Blaiklock, the poem entitled _The Indifferent_, and argue therefrom
his "cynicism" concerning the constancy of woman.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE AUTHORSHIP OF THREE DISPUTED PLAYS


With the tests which have thus been described we are equipped for an
examination of the plays written before 1616, which have, in these
latter days, been with some show of evidence regarded as the
joint-production of the "two wits and friends."[180] While attempting
to separate the composition of one author from that of the other, we may
determine the dramatic peculiarities of each during the course of the
partnership, and obtain a fairly definite basis for an historical and
literary appreciation of the plays, individually considered.


1.--Of the _Foure Playes, or Morall Representations, in One_ (first
published as by Beaumont and Fletcher in the folio of 1647, but without
indication of first performance or of acting company), the last two,
_The Triumph of Death_ and _The Triumph of Time_, are, according to the
verse tests, undoubtedly Fletcher's and have been assigned to him by all
critics. _The Triumph of Death_ is studded with alliterations and with
repetitions of the effective word:

                             Oh I could curse
    And crucify myself for childish doting
    Upon a face that feeds not with fresh figures
    Every fresh hour;

and with triplets:

                              What new body
    And new face must I make me, with new manners;

and with the resonant "all":

                     Make her all thy heaven,
    And all thy joy, for she is all thy happiness;

and with Fletcher's favourite words and his nouns in apposition,
rhetorical questions, afterthoughts, verbal enumerations, and turgid
exposition. The same may be said of _The Triumph of Time_. As there is
less of the redundant epithet than in _The Faithfull Shepheardesse_
(1609), but more than in _Philaster_ (before July 12, 1610), I am of the
opinion that Fletcher's contribution to the _Triumphs_ falls
chronologically between those plays. As Fletcher matures he prunes his
adjectives.

The rest of these _Morall Representations_ display neither the verse nor
the rhetoric of Fletcher. On the basis of verse-tests Boyle assigns them
to Beaumont. Macaulay says, "probably,"--and adds the _Induction_. But
Oliphant, taking into consideration also the rhetorical and dramatic
qualities, gives the _Induction_ and _The Triumph of Honour_ to a third
author, Nathaniel Field, and only _The Triumph of Love_ to Beaumont. As
to the _Induction_ and _The Triumph of Honour_ I agree with Oliphant.
They are full of polysyllabic Latinisms such as Field uses in his _Woman
is a Weather-cocke_ (entered for publication November 23, 1611) and
Beaumont never uses: 'to participate affairs,' 'torturous engine,' etc.;
and they are marked by simpler Fieldian expressions 'wale,' 'gyv'd,'
'blown man,' 'miskill,' 'vane,' 'lubbers,' 'urned,' and a score of
others not found anywhere in Beaumont's undoubted writings. A few words,
like 'basilisk' and 'loathed' suggest Beaumont, as does the verse; but
this may be explained by vogue or imitation. Field was two or three
years younger than Beaumont, and had played as a boy actor in one or
more of the early Beaumont and Fletcher productions. His _Woman is a
Weather-cocke_ and his _Amends for Ladies_ indicate the influence of
Beaumont in matters of comic invention, poetic hyperbole, burlesque and
pathos, as well as in metrical style. The _Honour_ is a somewhat
bombastic, puerile, magic-show written in manifest imitation of
Beaumont's verse and rhetoric.

As to _The Triumph of Love_, I go further than Oliphant. I assign at
least half of it, viz., scenes 1, 2, and 6, on the basis of diction, to
Field. In scenes 3, 4, and 5, I find some trace of Beaumont's favourite
expressions, of his thoughts of destiny and death and woman's
tenderness, his poetic spontaneity, his sensational dramatic surprises;
but I think these are an echo. The rural scene lacks his exquisite
simplicity; and some of the words are not of his vocabulary. One is
sorry to strike from the list of Beaumont's creations the pathetic and
almost impressive figure of Violante. If it was originally Beaumont's,
it is of his earlier work revamped by Field; if it is Field's, it is an
echo simulating the voice, but missing the reality, of Beaumont's
Aspatia, Bellario, Urania. This criticism holds true of both the
Triumphs, _Love_ and _Honour_.

The commonly accepted date, 1608, for the composition of the _Foure
Playes in One_ is derived from Fleay, who mistakenly quotes a reference
in the 1619 quarto of _The Yorkshire Tragedy_ to the _Foure Playes_ as
if it were of the 1608 quarto where the reference does not appear.[181]
While Fletcher may have written the first draft of his contribution
before the middle of 1610, it is evident from Field's Address _To the
Reader_ in the first quarto of the _Woman is a Weather-cocke_ (entered
S. R., November 23, 1611), that Field's contribution was made after
November 23, 1611. In that Address he makes it plain that this is his
first dramatic effort: "I have been vexed with vile plays myself a great
while, hearing many; now I thought to be even with some, and they should
hear mine too." We have already noticed[182] that Field had not written
even his _Weather-cocke_, still less anything in collaboration with
Fletcher, at the time of the publication of _The Faithfull
Shepheardesse_ (between January and July, 1609); for in his
complimentary poem for the quarto of that "Pastorall," Field
acknowledges his unknown name and his Muse in swaddling clouts, and
timidly confesses his ambition to write something like _The
Shepheardesse_, "including a Morallitie, Sweete and profitable." That
Field's contribution to the _Foure Playes_ was not made before the date
of the first performance of _The Weather-cocke_ by the Revels' Children
at Whitefriars, _i. e._, January 4, 1610 to Christmas 1610-11 (when its
presentation before the King at Whitehall probably took place), further
appears from his dedication _To Any Woman that hath been no
Weather-cocke_ (quarto, 1611) in which he alludes not to _The Triumph of
Honour_, or of _Love_, but to _Amends for Ladies_, as his "next play,"
then on the stocks, and, he thought, soon to be printed.[183] The
evidence, external and internal, amply presented by Oliphant, Thorndike,
and others, but with a view to conclusions different from mine as to
date and authorship, confirms me in the belief that Fletcher's _Time_
and _Death_, though written at least two years earlier, were not
gathered up with Field's _Induction_, _Honour_, and _Love_, into the
_Foure Playes in One_ until about 1612; and that the series was
performed at Whitefriars by Field's company of the Queen's Revels'
Children, shortly after they had first acted _Cupid's Revenge_ at the
same theatre.


2.--Of the remaining ten plays in which, according to the historical
evidence adduced by various critics, Beaumont could have collaborated,
at least two furnish no material that can be of service for the
estimation of his qualities. If _Love's Cure_ was written as early as
the date of certain references in the story, viz., 1605-1609, it is so
overlaid by later alteration that whether, as the textual experts guess,
it be Beaumont's revised by Massinger, or Fletcher's revised by
Massinger and others, or Massinger and Middleton's, or Beaumont's with
the assistance of Fletcher and revised by Massinger, Beaumont for us is
indeterminate. Fleay, Oliphant, and others trace him in a few prose
scenes, and in two or three of verse.[184] But where the rhetorical and
dramatic manner occasionally suggest him, or the metre has somewhat of
his stamp, words abound that I find in no work of his undisputed
composition. The servant, Lazarillo, like him of Beaumont's
_Woman-Hater_, is a glutton, but he does not speak Beaumont's language.
The scenes ascribed to Beaumont reek with an excremental and sexual
vulgarity to which Beaumont never condescended, unless for brief space,
and when absolutely necessary for characterization. And there is
little, indeed, that bespeaks Fletcher. _Love's Cure_ was first
attributed to Beaumont and Fletcher at a "reviving of the play" after
they were both dead; and it was not printed till 1647. It is not
unlikely, as G. C. Macaulay holds, that the play was written by
Massinger, in or after 1622.


3.--As to that comedy of prostitution, with occasional essays on the
special charms of cuckoldry, _The Captaine_ (acted in 1613, maybe as
early as 1611, and by the King's Company) there is no convincing
external proof of Beaumont's authorship. It is, on the contrary,
assigned to Fletcher by one of his younger contemporaries, Hills, whose
attributions of such authorship are frequently correct; and its accent
throughout is more clearly that of Fletcher than of any other dramatist.
The critics are agreed that it is not wholly his, however; and G. C.
Macaulay in especial conjectures the presence of Massinger. The verse
and prose of a few scenes[185] do not preclude the possibility of
Beaumont's coöperation; but I find in them no vestige of his faith in
sweet innocence; and in only one,--the awful episode (IV, 5), in which
the Father seeks his wanton daughter in a house of shame and would kill
her,--his imaginative elevation or his dramatic creativity.


FOOTNOTES:

[180] To employ in this process of separation the characteristics of
Fletcher's later dramatic technique as a criterion does not appear to
me permissible. For these, however, the reader may consult Miss
Hatcher's _John Fletcher, A Study on Dramatic Method_, and sections 15
and 16 of my essay on _The Fellows and Followers of Shakespeare_, Part
Two, _Rep. Eng. Com._, Vol. III, now in press. The technique is more
likely to change than the versification, the style, the mental habit.
Its later characteristics may, some of them, have been derived from
the association with Beaumont; or they may be of Fletcher's maturer
development under different influences and conditions. It is fair to
cite them as corroborative evidence in the process of separation, only
when they are in continuance of Fletcher's earlier idiosyncrasy. I
have, also, refrained from complicating the present discussion by
analysis of the style of Massinger, for which see Fleay, _N. S. S.
Trans._, 1874, _Shakesp. Manual_, 1876, _Engl. Studien_, 1885-1886,
and _Chron. Eng. Dram._, 1891; Boyle, _Engl. Studien_, 1881-1887, and
_N. S. S. Trans._, 1886; Macaulay, _Francis Beaumont_, 1883; Oliphant,
_Engl. Studien_, 1890-1892; Thorndike, _Infl. of B. and F._, 1901; and
section 16 of my essay mentioned above. There is no proof of
Massinger's dramatic activity before July 1613, nor of his coöperation
with Fletcher until after that date, _i. e._, after Beaumont's virtual
cessation. He may have revised some of Beaumont's lines and scenes;
but Beaumont's style is too well defined to be confused with that of
Massinger or of any other reviser; or of an imitator, such as Field.

[181] See Thorndike, _Infl. of B. and F._, p. 85, for discussion and
authorities.

[182] Chapter VI.

[183] It was not printed till 1618; but had been acted long before.

[184] II, 1, 2; III, 1, 3, 5; V, 3.

[185] IV, 5; V, 2, 4, 5.



CHAPTER XXIV

"THE WOMAN-HATER," AND "THE KNIGHT"


Four.--_The Woman-Hater_ was entered in the Stationers' Registers, May
20, 1607, and published in quarto (twice, with but slight variation) the
same year "as lately acted by the Children of Paules." Of the date of
composition, probably the spring of 1607, I have written in Chapter VI,
above. There is no indication of authorship in either quarto; but the
Prologue assigns it to a single author--"he that made this play." The
quarto of 1648 prints it as "by J. Fletcher Gent."; that of 1649, as by
Beaumont and Fletcher. The Prologue of 1649, however, written by
D'Avenant for an undated revival of the play and addressed to the
Ladies, definitely ascribes the authorship to one "poet," who "to the
stars your sex did raise; for which, full twenty years he wore the
bays." The "twenty years" can apply only to Fletcher.

In the lines which follow, D'Avenant has been supposed to credit the
same author with the whole of _The Maides Tragedy_, _Philaster_, and _A
King and No King_ as well:

    'T was he reduc'd Evadne from her scorn,
    And taught the sad Aspatia how to mourn;
    Gave Arethusa's love a glad relief;
    And made Panthea elegant in grief.

We now know, from the application of metrical and rhetorical tests, that
but a small part of each of the plays here alluded to was written by
Fletcher. If D'Avenant has attributed to Fletcher in these cases plays
of which the larger part was written by Beaumont, he was but consistent
in error when he ascribed to Fletcher _The Woman-Hater_, in which there
is very little that betrays resemblance to Fletcher's style. If, on the
other hand, D'Avenant in the verses quoted above intended to attribute
to Fletcher merely individual scenes of _The Maides Tragedy_, etc., he
must have had a knowledge of the respective authorship of the dramatists
hardly to be reconciled with the palpable mistake of assigning _The
Woman-Hater_ to Fletcher. For, by an odd coincidence, he has indicated
in the first and second verses two[186] of the five scenes of _The
Maides Tragedy_, and in the third, two[187] of the five scenes of
_Philaster_ which our modern criticism has proved to be Fletcher's. The
reference in the fourth line is more vague; but it has the merit of
indicating the only scene of _A King and No King_[188] in which,
according to our critical tests, Fletcher has contributed to the
characterization of Panthea. With regard to _The Woman-Hater_, it would
appear that D'Avenant was carelessly following the mistaken ascription
of authorship on the title-page of the quarto of 1648.

Fleay, Boyle, Macaulay, and Ward, with but slight hesitation, pronounce
_The Woman-Hater_ to be an independent production of Beaumont, written
while he was under the influence of Ben Jonson; but as I shall
presently show, Fletcher has revised a few scenes. Oliphant feels
inclined to join the critics mentioned above, but cannot blind himself
"to the presence of Fletcher in a couple of scenes." One of these is
III, 1.[189] In the quartos this scene is divided into two. By the _ye_
test the first half-scene, running to _Enter Duke, Etc._, in which
Oriana tempts Gondarino, would be Fletcher's (15 _ye's_ to 9 _you's_);
but the percentage of double endings is too low, and that of run-on
lines too high for him. I think that he is revising Beaumont's original
sketch. The second half-scene and the rest of the act are, by the _ye_
test and all other criteria, Beaumont's. The metrical style of the act
as a whole is Beaumont's; so also the enclitic 'do's' and 'did's,' the
Beaumontesque 'basilisk,' 'dissemble,' the mock-heroic prayers, and
mock-legal nicety of enumeration, the racy ironic prose, and the
burlesque Shakespearian echoes--"That pleasing piece of frailty that we
call woman," etc. The other passage doubtfully assigned to Fletcher, by
Oliphant--forty lines following _Enter Ladies_ in V, 5 (Dyce)--more
closely resembles his manner of verse, but is not markedly of his
rhetorical stamp. But by the _ye_ test (24 _ye's_ to 39 _you's_) the
whole of that scene, opening _Enter Arigo and Oriana_ is Fletcher's, or
Fletcher's revision of Beaumont. So, also, by the _ye_ test is another
scene not before ascribed to Fletcher, IV, 2 (27 _ye's_ to 25 _you's_),
as far as _Enter Oriana and her Waiting-woman_. In this and the other
_ye_ scenes, the _ye_ frequently occurs in the objective,--which is
absolute Fletcher. The rest of this scene, constituting two in the
quartos, is pure Beaumont.--The play is, so far as we can determine,
Beaumont's earliest attempt at dramatic production. Fletcher touched it
up, and his revision shows in the scenes mentioned above; that is to
say, in about sixteen out of the seventy pages as printed in the
_Cambridge English Classics_.

The manifestly exaggerated torments of Gondarino "who will be a scourge
to all females in his life," the amorous affectation of Oriana, the
"stratagems and ambuscadoes" of the hungry courtier in his pursuit of
"the chaste virgin-head" of a fish, the zealous stupidity of the
intelligencers are, as we have already noted, of the humours school; and
the work is that of a beginner. But the "humours" are flavoured with
Beaumont's humanity; the mirth is his, genuine and rollicking. The
satire is concrete; and the play as a whole, a promising precursor of
the purple-flowered prickly pear, next to be considered,--also
undoubtedly Beaumont's.


5.--Evidence, both external and internal, points to the production of
_The Knight of the Burning Pestle_ between July 10, 1607 and some time
in March 1608. Since the first quarto (1613) is anonymous, our earliest
indication of authorship is that of the title-pages of the second and
third (1635), which ascribe the play to Beaumont and Fletcher; and our
next, the Cockpit list of 1639 where it is included in a sequence of
five plays in which one or both had a hand.

The dedication of the first quarto speaks in one place of the "parents"
of the play, and in others of its "father"; and the address prefixed to
the second quarto speaks of the "author." Critics when relying upon
verse-tests think that they trace the hand of Fletcher in several
scenes.[190] But in those scenes, even when the double-endings might
indicate Fletcher, the frequency of rhymes, masculine and feminine, is
altogether above his usage; the number of end-stopped lines is
ordinarily below it; and the diction, save in one or two brief
passages,[191] is his neither in vocabulary nor rhetorical device. The
verse is singularly free from alliteration; and the prose, in which over
a third of the play is written, displays that characteristic of Fletcher
in only one speech,[192] and, there, with ludicrous intent. Though, on
the other hand, the verse is in many respects different from that which
Beaumont employed in his more stereotyped drama, it displays in several
passages his acknowledged peculiarity in conjunction with a diction and
manner of thought undoubtedly his. The prose is generally of a piece
with that of his other comic writing, as in _The Woman-Hater_ more
especially; and the scenes of low life and the conversation are coloured
by his rhetoric as we know them in _Philaster_, _A King and No King_,
and _The Coxcombe_. Of the portrayal of humours, mock-heroic and
burlesque, the same statements hold true. The verse of Jasper's
soliloquy:[193]

    Now, Fortune, if thou beest not onely ill,
    Shew me thy better face, and bring about
    My desperate wheele, that I may clime at length
    And stand,--

is in the usual manner of Beaumont. Luce's lament, beginning:[194]

                            Thou that art
    The end of all, and the sweete rest of all
    Come, come, ô, Death! bring me to thy peace,
    And blot out all the memory I nourish
    Both of my father and my cruell friend,--

and ending:

    How happy had I bene, if, being borne,
    My grave had bene my cradle!

has both the diction and the point of view of Beaumont; and its verse
has not more of the double-endings than he sometimes uses. The subject
and the mock-heroic purpose do not call for his usual dramatic
vocabulary: but we recognize his 'dissemble,' his 'carduus' and
'phlebotomy' (compare _Philaster_), his 'eyes shoot me through,' his
'do's.' We recognize him in the frequent appeals to Chance and Fortune,
in the sensational determination of Jasper to test Luce's devotion at
the point of the sword, and in the series of sensational complications
and dénouements which conclude the romantic plot. In short, I agree with
the critics[195] who attribute the play, wholly or chiefly, to Beaumont.
Fletcher may have inserted a few verses here and there; but there is
nothing in sentiment, phrase, or artifice, to prove that he did.

The diversity of metrical forms is but an evidence of the ingenuity of
Beaumont. He has used blank verse with frequent double-endings to
distinguish the romantic characters and plot: as in the scenes between
Venturewell and Jasper, Jasper and Luce. He has used the heroic couplet
with rhymes, single and double, to distinguish the mock-romantic of
Venturewell and Humphrey, Humphrey and Luce. For the mock-heroic of
Ralph he has used the swelling ten-syllabled blank verse of Marlowe and
Kyd, or the prose of _Amadis_ and _Palmerin_; for his burlesque of the
Maylord he has used the senarii of the antiquated interlude. For the
conversation of the Merrythoughts and of the citizen-critics he has used
plain prose; and for the tuneful ecstasies of Merrythought senior, a
sheaf of ballads. This consideration alone,--that the metrical and prose
forms are chosen with a view to the various purposes of the
play,--should convince the reader of the vanity of assigning to Fletcher
verse which evidently had its origin not in any of his proclivities, but
in the temper of Beaumont's Venturewell, Jasper, and Luce.

_The Knight of the Burning Pestle_ was written and first acted between
June 29, 1607 and April 1, 1608. The upper limit is fixed, as Boyle has
indicated,[196] by the mention, in Act IV, 1, 46, of an incident in _The
Travails of Three English Brothers_, "let the Sophy of Persia come and
christen him a childe," concerning which the 'Boy' remarks, I, 48-50,
"that will not do so well; 'tis stale; it has been had before at the Red
Bull." The Red Bull, Clerkenwell, had been occupied by Queen Anne's Men
(whose plays Beaumont is especially ridiculing), since 1604.[197] _The
Travails_ was written hurriedly by Day, Rowley, and Wilkins after the
appearance, June 8, 1607, of a tract by Nixon, on the adventures of the
three Shirleys, and was performed June 29, by the Queen's Men.[198] _The
Travails_ dealt with a matter of ephemeral interest, and would not long
have held the public. It is, therefore, likely that the allusion to it
in _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_ was written shortly after June 29.
Since the play, according to its first publisher, took eight days to
write, we cannot assign any date earlier than, say, July 10, 1607, for
its first performance. The lower limit is determined by the certainty
that _The Knight_ was played by the Queen's Revels' Children at
Blackfriars; and that they ceased to act there as an independent company
some time in March 1608. The play belonged in 1639 to Beeston's Boys,
who had it with four others of Beaumont and Fletcher from Queen
Henrietta's Men. None of these five plays had ever been played by the
King's Company; it is likely that they had come to the Queen Henrietta's
from the Lady Elizabeth's Men with whom the Queen's Revels' Children had
been amalgamated in 1613.[199] One of these plays, _Cupid's Revenge_,
had certainly come down from the Queen's Revels' Boys in that way.

That the original performance was by a company of children appears from
numerous passages in the text; and the only other children's company
available for consideration between 1603 and 1611, when the manuscript
fell into the publisher's hands, is that of the Paul's Boys. That the
Paul's Boys were not the company performing is shown, however, by a
passage in the _Induction_, where the citizen-critic, interrupting the
Prologue of the "good-man boy," says: "This seven yeares [that] there
hath beene playes at this house, I have observed it, you have still
girds at citizens." Now, at no date between the summer of 1608 and 1611
could it have been said of the Children of Paul's that they had been
acting seven years continuously at any one "house." The career of the
Paul's Boys as actors at their cathedral school had ended in the summer
of 1608, when Robert Keysar, Rossiter, and others interested in the
rival company of the Queen's Revels' Children had subsidized Edward
Pierce, the manager of the Paul's Boys, to cease plays at St.
Paul's.[200] If between that date and 1611 they acted, it was elsewhere,
at Whitefriars perhaps, and temporarily (not after 1609), and as the I
King's Revels' Children.[201] The citizen-critic, therefore, if speaking
after the summer of 1608, could not have referred to Paul's Boys. If
speaking of Paul's Boys between 1603 and 1608, the only "house" that he
can have had in mind would be their school of St. Paul's Cathedral; and
to say that there had been plays there for _seven_ years would have been
utterly pointless, for the Paul's Boys had been acting in their school,
or in its courtyard, for twenty, one might say fifty years, more or less
continuously. Fleay conjectures wildly that they had occupied
Whitefriars between 1604 and 1607, but that does not explain the "seven
yeares at this house"; to say nothing of the fact that such occupancy is
unproved. An old Whitefriars inn-yard playhouse had been "pulled down"
in 1582-3. No other Whitefriars Theatre existed till 1607, when a new
Whitefriars "was occupied by six equal sharers with original title from
Lord Buckhurst."[202]

The company was not that of St. Paul's; and the "house" was not a
school-house, but a regularly constituted theatre. Now, the only
theatre, public or private, that, at any rate between 1603 and 1611, had
been occupied by a boys' company for "this seven yeares" was
Blackfriars; and of Blackfriars the statement could be made only at a
date preceding January 4, 1610, and with reference to the Queen's
Revels' Children. On that date, as reorganized under Rossiter, Keysar,
and others, they received a Patent authorizing them to open at
Whitefriars, "or in any other convenient place." For about a month
before, they had filled an engagement at Blackfriars, the lease of which
had reverted on August 9, 1608 to Burbadge and Shakespeare's company of
the King's Players. They had ceased playing at Blackfriars as an
independent company in March 1608; the theatre had been tenantless
after that for six months and then had been closed until December 7,
1609, because of the prevalence of the plague. The Citizen's complaint
that the boys have been girding at citizens "this seven yeares there
hath been playes at this house" would lose all cogency if spoken of the
Queen's Revels' Children when they were acting during the month
following December 7, 1609, both because plays had been then intermitted
for the twenty months preceding, and because in 1609 it was not seven
but twelve years since the boys had begun their occupancy of "this
house." It could not apply to the seven years between 1597, when they
first occupied Blackfriars, and 1604, because _The Knight of the Burning
Pestle_ was not written till after the _Travails of Three English
Brothers_ appeared, June 29, 1607. But it does apply, with all requisite
dramatic and chronological accuracy, to the seven years preceding the
last date,--or the date in March 1608, when, because of their scandalous
representation of the King of France and his mistress in Chapman's
_Tragedie of Charles, Duke of Byron_, and because of plays caricaturing
and vilifying King James, the Queen's Revels' Children were prohibited
from playing, their principal actors thrown into prison, and Blackfriars
suppressed. On September 29, 1600, Richard Burbadge had let Blackfriars
on a twenty-one-year lease to Henry Evans, the manager of the Queen's
Revels' Children, and under the organization of that date they had by
1607-1608 been giving plays exactly "this seven yeares at this house."
We are, as I have said, informed by the publisher of _The Knight_ that
the play was written in eight days. It might have been staged in two or
three. If the plague regulations were enforced during 1607-8, as I have
no doubt they were, _The Knight_ was acted between July 10 and 23, 1607,
or between December 26, 1607 and the Biron day in March 1608.

The internal evidence is all confirmatory of this period of composition.
The Queen Anne's Men of the "Red Bull" mentioned in the play obtained
their title to the Red Bull from Aaron Holland about 1604. The songs in
the play were common property between 1604 and 1607; none of the
romances ridiculed is of a later date than 1607; and of the eight plays
mentioned or alluded to, all had been acted before June 1607 but _The
Travails_; and that was played for the first time June 29 of that year.
The allusions to external history such as that in Act IV, ii, 4, to the
Prince of Moldavia--who left London in November 1607--and the humorous
jibe at the pretty Paul's Boys of Mr. Mulcaster, who ceased teaching
them in 1608, are all for 1607-8.[203] Fleay marshals an applausive
gallery of conjectures for his conjecture of 1610, but none of them
appears to me to have any substance; and in view of what has been said,
and of what will follow, I may dispense with their consideration.

The history of the manuscript is, as has not been noted before, also
confirmatory of the 1607-8 date. The Robert Keysar who rescued the play
from "perpetuall oblivion" after its failure upon the stage (as Burre
says in the dedication of the first quarto) and who "afterwards" (in
1610-11) turned it over, "yet an infant" (_i. e._ unpublished) and
"somewhat ragged," to Burre for publication, is the same "Mr. Keysar"
who in February 1606, with "Mr. Kendall," also of the Blackfriars'
management, had been paid for "Apparrell" furnished for a performance
given by the Children of Westminster School.[204] He at no period had
any connection with the Paul's Boys. He was, as Professor Wallace
informs us, a London goldsmith who "about this time (1606-7) acquired an
interest in the shifting fortunes of Blackfriars, and became the
financial backer of the Queen's Revels' Children. He had cause to
dislike King James for oppression in wresting money from the
goldsmiths."[205] Hence probably the attacks of the Queen's Revels'
Children upon the King, which helped to bring about their suppression at
Blackfriars in 1608. Keysar would inevitably know all about the plays
performed by his Children, _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_ among the
rest, during the last year of their occupancy of Blackfriars. And since,
according to Burre, he appreciated the merits of _The Knight_ it was but
natural that he, and not some person unconnected with the company,
should have preserved the manuscript,--perhaps with a view to having the
Children try the play again after they should re-open at Whitefriars.
With Rossiter, soon after March 1608, he was making preparations for
such a reorganization. When finally they did re-open at their new
theatre, in January 1610, they evidently did not take up the play.
Somewhat later, say 1611, Keysar sent the manuscript to Burre for
publication. Burre "fostred it privately in his bosome these two yeares"
and brought it out in 1613.

The conclusion of Burre's dedicatory address to Keysar in the first
quarto, of 1613, has unnecessarily complicated both the question of the
date of composition and that of the source of _The Knight of the Burning
Pestle_. "Perhaps," says he, "it [_The Knight_] will be thought to bee
of the race of Don Quixote: we both may confidently sweare, it is his
elder above a yeare; and therefore may (by vertue of his birth-right)
challenge the wall of him. I doubt not but they will meet in their
adventures, and I hope the breaking of one staffe will make them
friends; and perhaps they will combine themselves, and travell through
the world to seeke their adventures." This denial of indebtedness to
Cervantes has been generally taken to refer to Shelton's English
translation of Don Quixote, entered S. R. January 19, 1611-12, and
printed 1612; and it has, therefore, been supposed by many that _The
Knight_ was written and first acted in 1610 or 1611. But if Burre was
dating _The Knight_ as of 1610 or 1611, he was ignorant of the fact, as
established above, that the play was the elder of Shelton's printed _Don
Quixote_, not merely "above a yeare," but above four years. There are
only two other constructions to be placed upon Burre's statement: either
that the play was the elder above a year of the first part of _Don
Quixote_, issued in the Spanish by Cervantes in 1605,[206] or that it
was the elder above a year of Shelton's translation as circulated among
his friends in manuscript, at any rate as early as 1609. If Burre was
dating the play, according to the former interpretation, as of 1604, he
was ignorant of the fact that it could not have been written till after
the appearance of _The Travails of Three English Brothers_, June 29,
1607. The latter interpretation would, if we could adopt it as his
understanding of the matter, not only comport with the date of the
production of _The Knight_ in 1607-8, but also, somewhat roughly, with
his own statement that he had had the manuscript already in a battered
condition in his "bosome" since 1610 or 1611.

If Burre, who was not a litterateur, did not know that Shelton's
translation of _Don Quixote_ had been going the rounds for years before
it was printed in 1612, everybody else did. Shelton had announced as
much in his _Epistle Dedicatorie_ to Theophilus, Lord Howard of Walden,
prefixed to the first quarto of 1612. He translated the book, as he
says, "some five or six yeares agoe"--that would be in 1607, for he used
the Brussels Reprint of that year as his text,--"out of the Spanish
Tongue into the English in the space of forty daies: being thereunto
more than half enforced through the importunitie of a very deere
friende, that was desirous to understand the subject. After I had given
him once a view thereof, I cast it aside, where it lay long time
neglected in a corner, and so little regarded by me as I never once set
hand to review or correct the same. Since when, at the entreatie of
others my friends, I was content to let it come to light, conditionally
that some one or other would peruse and amend the errours
escaped"--because he had not time to revise it himself. In other words,
Shelton had shown the manuscript translation of _Don Quixote_ to but one
friend in 1607; and it was not till "long time" had elapsed that he
began to circulate it among his other friends on condition that they
should correct its errors. The date of circulation was, probably, about
1609, for in that year we have our earliest mention of the reading of
_Don Quixote_ by an Englishman,--by a dramatic character, to be sure,
but a character created by Ben Jonson. In his _Epicoene_, acted in 1610,
and written the year preceding, that dramatist makes Truewit advise the
young Sir Dauphine to cease living in his chamber "a month together upon
_Amadis de Gaule_, or _Don Quixote_, as you are wont." There is no
ascription of Spanish to Dauphine, who is a typical London gallant. He
would read _Amadis_ in the French, or the English translation; and the
only translation of _Don Quixote_ accessible to him in 1609 would be
Shelton's manuscript of Part One.[207] Jonson may himself have been one
of the friends to whom Shelton submitted the translation. There is no
reason to believe that Jonson had read Cervantes in the original; for,
as Professor Rudolph Schevill has conclusively demonstrated,[208] his
knowledge of Spanish was extremely limited. "The Spanish phrases
pronounced by the improvised 'hidalgo' in the _Alchemist_ (of 1610)
prove nothing." They were caught, as Professor Schevill says, from the
London vogue or may have been supplied by some Spanish acquaintance.
Indeed, one may even doubt whether if he read Shelton's manuscript
Jonson did so with any care, for not only in _The Alchemist_ but
elsewhere he uniformly couples Don Quixote as if a character of
chivalric romance with Amadis, of whom and his congeners Don Quixote is
a burlesque.

As to Burre, however, I do not think that he had been informed by Keysar
of the exact provenience of the manuscript of _The Knight_, or of the
date of first acting. I incline to believe that he had the _Epistle
Dedicatorie_ of the newly printed Shelton before him when, in 1613, he
wrote his dedication of _The Knight_ to Robert Keysar; for he runs the
figure of the book as a "child" and of its "father" and "step-father"
through his screed as Shelton had run it in 1612; and he hits upon a
similar diction of "bosome" and "oblivion." But, though he may have been
gratuitously challenging the wall of Shelton's newly printed _Don
Quixote_ in favour of _The Knight_ as in existence by 1610 or 1611, the
only interpretation of his "elder above a yeare" that would fit the fact
is afforded by the composition of the play, as already demonstrated, in
1607-8, more than a year before Shelton began to circulate his
manuscript.

In spite of Burre's assertion of the priority of _The Knight of the
Burning Pestle_, nearly every editor or historian who has touched upon
_The Knight_ informs us that it is "undoubtedly derived from _Don
Quixote_." If (as I am sure was not the case) the play was written
after 1608, Beaumont, or Beaumont and Fletcher, could have derived
suggestions for it from Shelton's manuscript, first circulated in 1609.
That Beaumont, at any rate, was acquainted with the Spanish hero by
1610, appears from his familiarity with the _Epicoene_ in which as we
have observed, Don Quixote is mentioned; for he wrote commendatory
verses for the quarto of that play, entered S. R. September 20 of that
year. If, on the other hand, _The Knight_, as I hold, was written in
1607 or 1608, the author or authors, provided they read Spanish, could
have derived suggestions from Cervantes' original of 1605; or if they
did not read Spanish, from hearsay. The latter source of information
would be the more likely, for although sixteen of the ignorantly
so-called "Beaumont and Fletcher" plays have been traced to plots in
Spanish originals, there is not one of those plots which either of the
poets might not have derived from English or French translation; and in
none of the sixteen plays is there any evidence that either of the
dramatists had a reading knowledge of Spanish.[209] As to the
possibility of information by hearsay, other dramatists allude to _Don
Quixote_ as early as 1607-8;[210] and, indeed, it would be virtually
impossible that any literary Londoner could have escaped the oral
tradition of so popular and impressive a masterpiece two years after its
publication.

All this supposition of derivation from _Don Quixote_ is, however, so
far as verbal indebtedness goes, or indebtedness for _motifs_, episodes,
incidents and their sequence, characters, machinery, dramatic
construction, manners, sentiments, and methods of satire, a phantom
caught out of the clear sky. So far as the satire upon the contemporary
literature of chivalry is concerned, when the ridicule is not of English
stuff unknown to Cervantes it is of Spanish material translated into
English and already satirized by Englishmen before Cervantes wrote his
_Don Quixote_. An examination of _The Knight_ and of the _Don_ in any
version, and of contemporary English literature, reveals incontestibly
not only that the material satirized, the phrases and ideas, come from
works in English, but that even the method of the satire is derived from
that of preceding English dramatic burlesque rather than from that of
Cervantes.

The title of the play was suggested by _The Knight of the Burning
Sword_, an English translation, current long before 1607, of the Spanish
_Amadis of Greece, Prince and Knight of the Burning Sword_. Ten full
years before 1607 Falstaff had dubbed his red-nosed Bardolph "Knight of
the Burning Lamp." The farcical, but eminently sane, grocer's
apprentice, turned Knight for fun, grows out of Heywood's _Foure
Prentises_, and Day and Wilkins's _Travails_, and the English
_Palmerins_, etc. He has absolutely nothing in common with the glorious
but pathetically unbalanced _Don_ of Cervantes. Nor is there any
resemblance between Ralph's Palmerin-born Squire and Dwarf--and that
embodiment of commonsense, Sancho Panza.[211] The specific conception of
_The Knight of the Burning Pestle_, a satire upon the craze of London
tradesmen for romances of chivalry, for "bunches of Ballads and Songs,
all ancient," for the bombast and sensationalism of Kyd's _Spanish
Tragedy_, Marlowe's _True Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York_, even of
Shakespeare's Hotspur, and of dramas of bourgeois knight-errantry,--a
burlesque of the civic domestic virtues and military prowess of
prentices and shop-keepers,--is much more applicable to the conditions
and aspirations of contemporary Bow-Bells and the affectations of the
contemporary stage than to those which begot and nourished the madness
of the Knight of La Mancha.

Beaumont may have received from the success of the _Don Quixote_ of 1605
some impulse provocative to the writing of _The Knight_, but a dramatic
satire, such as _The Knight_, might have occurred to him if _Don
Quixote_ had never been written; just as that other dramatic satire upon
the dramas of folk-lore romance, _The Old Wives Tale_, had occurred to
Peele some fifteen years before _Don Quixote_ appeared; and as it had
occurred to the author of _Thersites_ to ridicule, upon the stage, Greek
tales of heroism and British worthies of knighthood and the greenwood
still fifty-five years earlier. The puritan and the ritualist, the
country justice and the squire, the schoolmaster and the scribbling
pedant, the purveyor of marvels of forest and marsh, the
knight-adventurer of ancient lore or of modern creation, the damsel
distressed or enamoured of visionary castles, had, one and all, awakened
laughter upon the Tudor stage. The leisure wasted, and the emotion
misspent, over the _Morte d'Arthur_ and the histories of Huon of
Bordeaux, Guy of Warwick, Bevis of Hamptoun, or of Robin Hood and Clim
of the Clough, had been deplored by many an anxious educator and
essayist of the day. Why was it not time and the fit occasion, in a
period when city grocers and their wives would tolerate no kind of play
but such as revamped the more modern tales of chivalry, or tricked
tradesmen out in the factitious glory of quite recent heroes of
romance,--why was it not time for an attack upon the vogue of Anthony
Munday's translations of the now offending cycles, _Amadis of Gaul_,
_Palmerin de Oliva_, _Palmerin of England_, and upon the vogue of the
English versions of _The Mirror of Knighthood_ with its culminating
bathos of the _Knight of the Sunne and His Brother Rosicleer_? These
had, in various instalments, befuddled the popular mind for thirty
years.

Ben Jonson already, in his _Every Man out of His Humour_ (1599), had
satirized the common affectation under the similitude of a country
knight, Puntarvolo, who, if not crazed, was at any rate "wholly
consecrated to singularity" by reason of undue absorption of romances of
chivalry, a singularity of "fashion, phrase, and gesture" of the Anthony
Munday type and the type glassed in the _Mirror of Knighthood_. Sir
Puntarvolo, who "sits a great horse" and "courts his own lady, as she
were a stranger never encountered before,"--who feigns that his own
house is a castle, who summons with trumpet-blast the waiting-woman to
the window, and, saluting her "after some little flexure of the knee,"
asks for the lord of the edifice, and that the "beauties" of the "lady"
may shine on this side of the building,--who "planet struck" by the
"heavenly pulchritude" of his long-suffering and much bewildered poor
old wife, conveys to her the information that he is a poor knight-errant
pursuing through the forest a hart "escaped by enchantment," and that,
wearied, he and his servant make "suit to enter" her fair abode,--Sir
Puntarvolo, who every morning thus performs fantastic homage, what is he
but a predecessor of Don Quixote and Ralph alike, fashioned out of the
materials of decadent chivalric fiction common to both? In 1600, Robert
Anton had burlesqued in prose and rhyme the romantic ballads of the day
in his ludicrous _Heroical Adventures of the Knight of the Sea_, where
"the queen of the fairies transforms a submissive and apathetic cow into
a knight-errant to do her business in the world."[212] And in 1605, also
before the appearance of Cervantes' burlesque, Chapman, with the
collaboration of Jonson and Marston, had, in _Eastward Hoe_, satirized
that other kind of knight, him of the city and by purchase, in the
character of Sir Petronel Flash; and, with him, the aspirations of
romance-fed merchants' daughters who would wed knights and dwell in
country-castles wrested from giants. Nor had these authors failed to
specify the sources of delusion, the _Mirror of Knighthood_, the
_Palmerin of England_, etc. That both Beaumont and Fletcher were alive,
without prompting from Cervantes, to the mania of chivalric emulation
which obsessed the train-bands of London is attested by the bombastic
talk of "Rosicleer" which Fletcher puts into the mouth of the city
captain in _Philaster_, a play that was written about two years later
than _The Knight_, in 1609 or 1610. There had been musters of the City
companies at Mile End as early as 1532, and again under Elizabeth in
1559, and 1585, and 1599, when as many as 30,000 citizens were trained
there. But the muster in which Ralph had been chosen "citty captaine"
was evidently that of 1605, a general muster under James I.

Why, then, should we suppose that it was beyond the genius of a Beaumont
to conceive, as Peele, Jonson, Chapman, Marston, and others had
conceived, a drama which should burlesque the devotees of such romances
as were the fad of the day? And to conceive it without the remotest
suggestion from _Don Quixote_? Whether Beaumont read Spanish or not, and
there is no proof that he did read it; whether he had heard of _Don
Quixote_ or not, and there is little doubt that he had, there is nothing
in _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_ that in any way presupposes either
verbal acquaintance with, or constructive dependence upon, the burlesque
of Cervantes.[213] In short, Professor Schevill, in the article cited
above, and following him Dr. Murch, in an admirable introduction to his
edition of _The Knight_, have shown that Beaumont's conception of the
hero, Ralph, not only is not of a piece with, but is fundamentally
different from, Cervantes' conception of Don Quixote; and they have
demonstrated with a minuteness of chapter and verse that need not be
recapitulated here that the motives, machinery and characters, ideas and
phrases are, in so far as they have relation to romances of chivalry,
drawn out of, or suggested by, the English translations already
enumerated. This demonstration applies to the adoption of the squire,
the rescue of Mrs. Merrythought, the incident of the casket, the
liberation of the barber's patients, the mock-heroic love-affair, as
well as to the often adduced barber's basin and the scene of the inn. Of
the situations, there is none that is not a logical issue of the local
conditions or the presuppositions of an original plot; whereas there
are, on the other hand, numerous situations in _Don Quixote_, capable of
dramatic treatment, that the Elizabethan playwright of 1607-8 could
hardly have refrained from annexing if he had used that story as a
source. The setting or background of _The Knight_, as Professor Schevill
has said, in no way recalls that of the _Don_, "and it is difficult to
see how any inspiration got from Cervantes should have failed to include
at least a slight shadow of something which implies an acquaintance with
Rocinante and Sancho Panza." Beaumont, in addition, not only satirizes,
as I have said, the chivalric and bourgeois dramas of Heywood, _If You
Know Not Me, You Know Nobody_, etc., and dramas of romantic marvel like
_Mucedorus_ and the _Travails_, and parodies with rare humour the rant
of Senecan tragedy; he not only ridicules the military ardour and pomp
of the London citizens, and pokes fun at their unsophisticated
assumption of dramatic insight and critical instinct,--with all this
satire of the main plot and of the spectator-gods in the machinery, he
has combined a romantic plot of common life--Jasper, Luce, and
Humphrey,--and a comic plot of humours in which Jasper's father, mother,
and brother live as Merrythoughts should. He has produced a whole that
in drama was an innovation and in burlesque a triumph. _The Knight_ was
still an acting play in the last quarter of the seventeenth century.
During the past thirteen years it has been acted by academic amateurs
five times in America.


FOOTNOTES:

[186] IV, 1; and II, 2.

[187] V, 3, 4.

[188] IV, 1.

[189] Between _Oriana sits down_ and _exit Oriana_, as in Dyce, Vol.
I, pp. 43-48.

[190] I, 1; I, 2; II, 2; II, 3; III, 1; IV, 4.

[191] _E. g._, the "lets" and the "alls" of IV, 4, 36-40, as numbered
in Alden's edition. The play is devoid of Fletcherian jolts.

[192] V, 2, 63, _et seq._

[193] II, 2, 90.

[194] IV, 4, 5.

[195] Macaulay, Oliphant, Bullen, and Alden.

[196] _Engl. Studien_, IX.

[197] Wallace, _Shakspere's Money Interest in the Globe, Cent. Maga._,
Aug., 1910, p. 510.

[198] Fleay, _Chr. Eng. Dr._, II, 277.

[199] Fleay, _H. S._, p. 356.

[200] Wallace, _Shakspere and the Blackfriars, Century Maga._,
Sept., 1910, p. 751.

[201] Murray, _Eng. Dram. Comp._, I, 353, who cites Nichols,
_Progresses_, IV, 1074; but Whitefriars had been destined by Keysar
and others for the Queen's Revels' Children since 1608.

[202] Rawlidge, _A Monster lately found out_, etc., 1622, as quoted by
Fleay, _H. S._, 36; Wallace, _Cent. Maga._, Aug., 1910; and Thorndike,
_Infl. of B. and F._, p. 60.

[203] See the impressive array of evidence, internal and external,
presented by Thorndike, _Infl. of B. and F._, pp. 59-63; and by Alden,
_K. B. P._, pp. 166-169 (Belles Lettres Series).

[204] Accounts in _Athenaeum_, 2, 1903, 220.

[205] Wallace, _Cent. Maga._, _Sept._ 1910, p. 747. See also
Greenstreet Papers in Fleay, _H. St._, 249.

[206] For this argument see _Engl. Studien_, XII, 309.

[207] Baudouin's French version of 1608 is merely of the episodic
narrative of _The Curious Impertinent_.

[208] _On the Influence of Spanish Literature upon English_
(_Romanische Forschungen_, XX, 613-615, _et seq._).

[209] Of this I am assured by my colleague, Professor Rudolph
Schevill, who has made a special study of the plays and their sources,
and has published some of his conclusions in the article in
_Romanische Forschungen_, already cited; others, communicated by him
to Dr. H. S. Murch, appear in _Yale Studies in English_, XXXIII, _The
K. B. P._, Introduction. Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach's unpublished
conclusions, as cited by Miss Hatcher, _John Fletcher_, etc., 1905, p.
42, are to the same effect.

[210] Wilkins, _Miseries of Enforced Marriage_, III; Middleton, _Your
Five Gallants_, IV, 8; cited by Schevill, _ut supra_.

[211] See Schevill, _u. s._

[212] H. V. Routh, in _C. H. L._, IV, 410.

[213] The lines,

    Who like Don Quixote do advance
    Against a windmill our vaine lance,

occur in a copy of verses _To the Mutable Faire_ included among _The
Poems of Francis Beaumont_ in the edition of 1640. But the volume
includes numerous poems not written by Beaumont, and is one of the
most uncritical collections that ever was printed. This poem is by
Waller.



CHAPTER XXV

THE FIVE CENTRAL PLAYS


Six.--_The Coxcombe_ was first printed in the folio of 1647. Our
earliest record of its acting is of a performance at Court by the
Children of the Queen's Revels in 1612.[214] The day was between October
16 and 24. A list of the principal actors, all Queen's Children,
preserved in the folio of 1679, indicates, however, that this was not
the first performance; for three of the actors listed had left that
company by August 29, 1611; one of them (Joseph Taylor) perhaps before
March 30, 1610. The list was evidently contemporary with the first
performance. The absolute upper limit of the composition was 1604, for
one of the characters speaks of the taking of Ostend. If the play, as we
are dogmatically informed by a credulous sequence of critics who take
statements at second-hand, principally from German doctors' theses, were
derived from Cervantes' story, _El Curioso Impertinente_, which appeared
in the First Part of _Don Quixote_, printed 1605, or (since we have no
evidence that our dramatists read Spanish), from Baudouin's French
translation which was licensed April 26, 1608[215] and may have reached
England about June,--we might have a definite earlier limit of later
date. But there is no resemblance between the _motif_ of Cervantes'
story, in which a husband out of curiosity and an impudent desire to
heighten the treasure of his love would try his wife's fidelity, and
that of Beaumont and Fletcher's play, where there is no question of a
trial of honour. In Beaumont and Fletcher, we have a revelation of lust
at first sight on the part of the husband's friend, Mercury, of
unnatural friendly pandering on the part of that 'natural fool' the
husband, Antonio, and of easy acquiescence on the part of Maria, the
wife, in the cuckolding of her idiotic coxcomb, who with the wool pulled
over his eyes takes her back believing that she is innocent. In
Cervantes, the husband, sure of his wife and adoring her, urges his
friend to make trial of her honour; the friend, outraged at first by the
suggestion, refuses, but finally succumbs to passion and wins the wife,
likewise, at first, above suspicion; and all die tragically. There is no
resemblance in treatment, atmosphere, incidents, or dialogue. The only
community of conception is that of a husband playing with fire--risking
cuckoldom. But Cervantes' character of the husband is sentimentally
deluded; Beaumont and Fletcher's is a contemptible and willing wittol.
If Beaumont and Fletcher derived their plot from Cervantes, all that can
be said is that they have mutilated and vulgarized the original out of
all possibility of recognition.[216]

Other English dramatists dealing with the theme of _The Curious
Impertinent_ between 1611 and 1615 followed Cervantes more or less
closely in the main _motif_, in incident, and in dialogue: the author of
_The Second Maiden's Tragedy_, for instance, who made use of Baudouin's
translation; and Nathaniel Field, who used either Baudouin or Shelton's
publication of 1612 in his _Amends for Ladies_. But Beaumont and
Fletcher in their tale of a husband cuckolded and pommeled were drawing
upon another source, one of the many variants of _Le Mari coccu, battu
et content_, to be found in Boccaccio and before him in Old French
poems, and French and Italian _Nouvelles_. If they derived anything from
Cervantes, whose theme is lifted from the _Orlando Furioso_, it was
merely the suggestion for a fresh drama of cuckoldry. That their play
was regarded by others as thus inspired appears, I think, from a passage
in Ben Jonson's _Alchemist_, IV, vii, 40-41, where, after Kastril has
said to Surly, "You are a Pimpe, and a Trig, and an Amadis de Gaule, or
a Don Quixote," Drugger adds, "Or a Knight o' the curious cox-combe, Doe
you see?" Field and the rest, writing in or after 1611, had uniformly
referred to Cervantes' cuckold as the Curious Impertinent. Jonson wrote
his _Alchemist_ between July 12 and October 3, 1610, and up to that time
the cuckold had been dramatized as Coxcomb only by Beaumont and
Fletcher. The prefix 'Curious' indicates that in Jonson's mind his
friend's play is associated with Cervantes' novel; and the further
prefix of 'The Knight' looks very much like a reminiscence of "The
Knight of the Burning Pestle," which had been played some two years
before. This argument from contemporaneity of inspiration and allusion
inclines me to date the upper limit of _The Coxcombe_ about 1609, after
Baudouin's translation _Le Curieux Impertinent_ had reached England, and
Shelton's manuscript had been put in circulation.

If to this conjecture we could add a precise determination of the period
of Joseph Taylor's connection with the Queen's Revels' Children, we
should have a definite lower limit for the performance of _The Coxcombe_
in which he took part. But I find it impossible to decide whether Taylor
had been with the Queen's Revels up to about March 30, 1610, upon which
day his name appears among the Duke of York's Players who were recently
reorganized and had just obtained a new patent; or had been up to that
time with the predecessors of the Duke of York's (Prince Charles's)
Company, and had left them shortly after March 30 for the Queen's
Revels' Children. In favour of the former alternative are (1) that in
the list of the Queen's Revels' actors in _The Coxcombe_ he appears
second to Field only, as if a player of long standing with them and high
in the company's esteem at the time of the performance; (2) that he does
not appear among the actors in the list for _Epicoene_ which was
presented first by the Queen's Revels' Children between January 4 and
March 25, 1610: Field is still first, Barkstead, who had been eighth on
the _Coxcombe_ list, appears now second, as if promoted to Taylor's
place, and Giles Carey is third in both lists; (3) that in the March 30
patent to the Duke of York's Players his name ranks only fifth, as if
that of a recent acquisition. On this basis the lower limit would be
March 25, 1610. In favour of the latter alternative, viz., that Taylor
joined the Queen's Children from the Duke of York's, at a date later
than March 30, 1610, are the considerations: (1) that when the new
Princess Elizabeth's Company, formed April 11, 1611, gives a bond to
Henslowe on August 29 of that year, Taylor's name appears with two of
the Queen's Revels' Children of March 1610, as if all three had left the
Queen's Revels for the new company at the same time; and (2) that their
names appear close together after that of the principal organizer as if
not only actors of repute in the company which they had left but prime
movers in the new organization. On this basis the lower limit for the
performance of _The Coxcombe_, at a time when all three were yet Queen's
Revels' Children, would be August 29, 1611. Consulting the restrictions
necessitated by the plague rate, we have, then, an option for the date
of acting: either between December 7, 1609 and July 12, 1610, when
Jonson had begun his _Alchemist_, or between November 29, 1610 and July
1611. In the latter case Ben Jonson's "Knight o' the curious coxcombe"
would precede the performance of Beaumont and Fletcher's play and could
not be an allusion. In the former, it would immediately follow the
acting of _The Coxcombe_, and would manifestly be suggested by that
play. I prefer the former option; and date the acting,--on the
assumption that Taylor left the Queen's Revels by March 30,
1610,--before that date.[217] Since Fletcher's contribution to the play
has been mangled by a reviser it is impossible to draw conclusions as to
the date of composition from the evidence of his literary style. But the
characteristics of Beaumont in the minor plot are those of the period in
which the _Letter to Ben Jonson_ and _Philaster_ were written. The play
as first performed was condemned for its length by "the ignorant
multitude."[218] I believe that it was one of the two or three
unsuccessful comedies which preceded _Philaster_; and, as I have said
above, that it is the play referred to in the _Letter to Ben Jonson_,
toward the end of 1609.[219] If the date of acting was before January 4,
1610, the theatre was Blackfriars; if after, Whitefriars.

The Prologue in the first folio speaks of a revision. But though the
hand of one, and perhaps of another, reviser is unmistakably present,
the play is properly included among Beaumont and Fletcher's works. In
the commendatory verses of 1647, Hills and Gardiner speak of the play as
Fletcher's, but all tests show that Beaumont wrote a significant
division of it,--the natural, vigorous, tender, and poetic subplot of
Ricardo's desertion of Viola and his ultimate reclamation,--with the
exception of three scenes and parts of two or three more. The exceptions
are the first thirty-five lines of Act I, which have been supplied by
some reviser; I, 3, in which also the reviser appears; I, 5, the
drinking-bout in the tavern, where some of the words (_e. g._ "claw'd")
indicate Fletcher,--and the gratuitous obscenity, Fletcher or his
reviser; and Act II, 2, where Viola is bound by the tinkers and rescued
by Valerio.[220] Perhaps, also, the last thirty-six lines of Act III, 3,
where Fletcher is discernible in the afterthoughts "a likely wench, and
a good wench," "a very good woman, and a gentlewoman," and the hand of a
reviser in the mutilation of the verse; and certainly Act IV, 3, where
Fletcher appears at his best in this play.

The romantic little comedy of _Ricardo and Viola_ is so loosely joined
with the foul portrayal of the Coxcomb who succeeds in prostituting his
wife to his friend, that it might be published separately and profitably
as the work of Beaumont.[221] It is well constructed; and it conveys a
noble tribute to the purity and constancy of woman, her grace of
forgiveness, and her influence over erring man. When Viola speaks she is
a living person, instinct with recklessness, sweetness, and pathos. Few
heroines of Elizabethan comedy have compressed so much reality and
poetry into so narrow a compass. "Might not," she whispers when stealing
forth at night to meet Ricardo:--[222]

                      Might not God have made
    A time for envious prying folk to sleep
    Whilst lovers met, and yet the sun have shone?

And then:

    Alas, how valiant and how fraid at once
    Love makes a Virgin!

When she comes upon her lover staggering outside the tavern with his
sodden comrades,[223] with what simplicity she shudders:

    I never saw a drunken man before;
    But these I think are so....
    My state is such, I know not how to think
    A prayer fit for me; only I could move
    That never Maiden more might be in love!

When, rescued from thieves in the country, she finds that her rescuer is
even more a peril,[224] with what childlike trust she appeals:

                         Pray you, leave me here
    Just as you found me, a poor innocent,
    And Heaven will bless you for it!

When again deserted, with what pathos she sighs:

                           "I'll sit me down and weep;
    All things have cast me from 'em but the earth.
    The evening comes, and every little flower
    Droops now, as well as I!"

And, finally, when she has rediscovered Ricardo, and conquered his
self-reproach by her forgiveness, which is "to love you," with what
admirable touch of nature and delicious humour she gives verisimilitude
to her story and herself:[225]

    Methinks I would not now, for any thing,
    But you _had_ mist me: I have made a story
    Will serve to waste many a winter's fire,
    When we are old. I'll tell my daughters then
    The miseries their Mother had in love,
    And say, "My girls, be wiser"; yet I would not
    Have had more wit myself.

Ricardo, too, is a creative study in the development of personality; and
the rural scenes and characters are convincing.

In the main plot Beaumont had no hand whatever, unless it be in the
prose of the trial-scene at the end of the fifth act. The rest is
Fletcher's; but in a few scenes his work has been revamped, and in verse
as well as style degraded by the reviser. Oliphant thinks that here and
there Massinger may be traced;[226] and here and there, Rowley.[227] I
should be sorry to impute any of the mutilations to the former. I think
that the irregular lines, trailing or curtailed, the weak endings, the
finger-counted syllables, puerile accentuation, and bad grammar have
much nearer kinship with the earlier output of the latter. But of
whatever sins of supererogation his revisers may have been guilty, the
prime offense is Fletcher's--in dramatizing that story at all. To make a
comedy out of cuckoldry was not foreign to the genius of the
Elizabethans: for the pruriency of it we can make historical allowance.
But a comedy in which the wittol-hero successfully conducts the
cuckolding of himself is nauseating. And that the wittol, his adulterous
wife, and the fornicator should conclude the affair in mutual
gratulation is, from the dramatic point of view, worse even than
prurient and nauseating; it is unnatural, and therefore unsuited to
artistic effect. No amount of technical ingenuity on Fletcher's part
could have made his contribution to this play worthy of literary
criticism.

Though _The Coxcombe_ was not successful in its first production before
the "ignorant multitude," it was "in the opinion of men of worth well
received and favoured." We have seen that it was played at Court in 1612
in the festivities for the Elector Palatine's approaching marriage with
the Princess Elizabeth. It was revived for Charles I and Queen Henrietta
in 1636; and it was one of the twenty-seven "old plays" presented in the
City theatres after the Restoration, and before 1682. In the revivals
Beaumont's romantic subplot gradually assumed the dominant position, and
it was finally borrowed outright for a comedy called _The Fugitives_,
constructed by Richardson and acted by the Drury Lane company in 1792.
With Palmer in the part of Young Manly (the Ricardo of the original),
and Mrs. Jordan as Julia (alias Beaumont's Viola), the adaptation ran
for a dozen nights or more.


7.--_Philaster_ or _Love lies a-Bleeding_ was "divers times acted at the
Globe, and Blacke-Friers by his Majesties Servants." Under the second
title in the _Scourge of Folly_, entered for publication October 8,
1610, Davies of Hereford appears to mention it; and I have already
stated my reasons as based upon the history of the theatres[228] for
believing that its first performance took place between December 7, 1609
and July 12, 1610.

We might have something like confirmation of this date from the grouping
of epigrams in Davies of Hereford's _Scourge of Folly_, if we could
affirm that they were arranged in the order of their composition. For
just before the epigram on _Love lies a-Bleeding_, which, I think,
without doubt, applies to _Philaster_, appears one _To the Roscius of
these times, Mr. W. Ostler_, saluting him as "sole king of actors." Now
Osteler, Ostler, or Osler, had been one of the Queen's Revels'
Children,--most of them from thirteen to sixteen years of age at the
time,--in 1601 when Jonson's _Poetaster_ was acted. He could not have
been more than twenty-three years of age while still playing with the
Queen's Children in 1608; and he would certainly not have been styled
"sole king of actors" at that age. According to the supplication of
Cuthbert Burbadge and others in the well-known suit of 1635 concerning
the shares in the Blackfriars theatre,[229] before Evans surrendered the
lease of that theatre in 1608, some of the Queen's Revels' Children
"growing up to bee men, which were Underwood, Field, Ostler, were taken
to strengthen the King's service; and the more to strengthen the
service, the boys daily wearing out, it was considered that house would
bee as fitt for ourselves [the King's Company], and soe [we] purchased
the lease remaining from Evans with our money, and placed men players,
which were Hemings, Condell, Shakespeare, etc." On the face of it this
deposition places the transference of Underwood, Field, and Ostler to
the King's Company between the beginning of April 1608 when the Revels'
Children were temporarily suppressed and August of that year when the
Burbadges, Shakespeare, Hemings, and others took over Evans's unexpired
lease of Blackfriars with a view to occupying it themselves. But the
deposition of Cuthbert Burbadge was not made till twenty-seven years
after the occurrence described; and is not to be trusted as a statement
of the sequence of events. The Boys may have acted temporarily with, or
under the supervision of, the King's Company at Blackfriars between
December 7, 1609 and January 4, 1610; but one of them, Field, is at the
head of the new Queen's Revels at Whitefriars by March 25, 1610, and
does not appear in the lists of the King's Men till 1616; and there is
no record of Underwood and Ostler as members of the latter company
before the end of 1610, when they acted in Jonson's _Alchemist_ (after
October 3). Since Underwood and Ostler were not with the new Queen's
Revels after January of that year, it is probable that Davies's epigram
to the latter as "the Roscius of these times" in the _Scourge of Folly_,
entered for publication on October 8, 1610, was written after Ostler had
attained distinction in Shakespeare's company, the company of the
leading actors of the day, and that the grouping of the epigram to
Ostler with that of the epigram to Fletcher on _Philaster_ presented by
that company indicates contemporaneity in the composition of the
epigrams,--that is to say, between January 4 and October, 1610.

Since, however, the epigrams in _The Scourge of Folly_, though
frequently arranged by groups, sometimes of mental association,
sometimes of contemporaneous composition, do not follow a continuous
chronological order, the juxtaposition of these two epigrams cannot be
regarded as more than a feather's evidence to the direction of the wind.
Of much greater weight as confirming the date of _Philaster_, as
conjectured above, is its resemblance to Shakespeare's _Cymbeline_ not
only in general features of background and atmosphere, plot, typical
characters, romantic motive, situations, and style, but also in specific
detail. I shall presently attempt to show at greater length that there
is nothing in the _Philaster_ or the _Cymbeline_ to indicate the
priority of the former. But I must at the risk of anticipating indicate
in this place though briefly the argument of a later chapter.[230] For
the _Cymbeline_, I accept the date assigned by the majority of critics,
1609. Shakespeare had had the character of Imogen (or Innogen) in mind
since he first introduced her, years before, as a silent personage in
_Much Ado About Nothing_ (the quarto of 1600). In execution the play is,
with _The Winter's Tale_ and the _Tempest_, the dramatic sequel of that
first of his "dramatic romances,"--of which the leading conception is
the loss and recovery of a wife or child,--the _Pericles_ written in
1607 or 1608. And since already in _Pericles_, Shakespeare had blazed
this new path, I cannot for a moment accept the hypothesis that he is
in his _Cymbeline_ borrowing profusely from _Philaster_, a work of
comparatively unestablished dramatists who had but recently been
admitted to authorship for the company of which Shakespeare had been for
eighteen years the principal, almost the only, playwright. It is much
more according to human probability that the younger dramatists, since
about the beginning of 1610 associated with the King's Company and its
enterprises, should have adapted their technical and poetic style of
construction to the somewhat novel--to them entirely novel--method of
the seasoned playwright of the King's Servants, as tried and approved in
_Pericles_ and _Cymbeline_. And still the more so when one reflects
that, in _Pericles_ and _Cymbeline_, aside from the leading conception,
everything of major or minor detail had been already anticipated by
Shakespeare himself in earlier romantic comedies from _The Two Gentlemen
of Verona_ to _As You Like It_ and _Twelfth Night_; and that there is no
salient characteristic of dramatic construction in _Philaster_,
otherwise original and poetically impressive as it is, which a study of
those earlier comedies and of the _Pericles_ and _Cymbeline_ would not
suggest. I, therefore, rest with some assurance upon the conviction that
_Philaster_ was first acted by the King's Company, soon after Beaumont
and Fletcher began to write for it, say between December 1609 and July
1610.

The play was first published in a quarto of 1620 which ascribes it, as
does the vastly improved quarto of 1622, to Beaumont and Fletcher. In
his epigram, addressed somewhat before October 8, 1610 to "the
well-deserving Mr. John Fletcher," John Davies appears to give that
author credit for practically the whole work,--"Thou ... raign'st in
Arte, Judgement, and Invention," and adds a compliment for "thine as
faire as faithfull Sheepheardesse." Herrick, writing for the folio of
1647, mentions _Love Lies a-Bleeding_ among Fletcher's "incomparable
plays"; and Thomas Stanley seems to ascribe to him definitely the scene
"when first Bellario bled." John Earle, however, writing "on Master
Beaumont, presently after his death" comes nearer the truth when he
says:

    Alas, what flegme are they [Plautus and Aristophanes], compared
        to thee,
    In thy _Philaster_ and _Maids Tragedy_!
    Where's such an humour as thy Bessus? pray ...

for, with the exception of three scenes, two half-scenes and a few
insertions or revisions by Fletcher, _Philaster_ is Beaumont's (and
practically the same holds true of _The Maides Tragedy_, and the Bessus
play--_A King and No King_). In _Philaster_ Fletcher's scenes, as proved
by rhetorical tests, and by metrical when they may be applied, are I,
1{^_b_} (from the King's entry, line 89--line 358,[231]--a revision and
enlargement of Beaumont's original sketch), II, 2{^_b_} (from _Enter
Megra_), II, 4{^_b_} (from _Megra above_), V, 3 and V, 4. The first part
of Act II, 4 was written by Beaumont; but Fletcher has inserted lines 14
to 29 (from _Enter Arethusa and Bellario_ to "how brave she keeps him").
Similarly, the first draught of Act III, 2 was Beaumont's; certainly
lines 1-34 (exit King), 105-112 (the opening of Philaster's long tirade)
and 129-173 (from Philaster's exit to end). But beginning with
Arethusa's soliloquy, line 35, we find insertions marked by Fletcher's
metrical characteristics, his alliterations, favourite words and ideas,
tautological expansions, repetitions, interrogations, triplets,
redundant "alls" and "hows." The last three lines of that soliloquy are
his:

    Soul-sick with poison, strike the monuments
    Where noble names lie sleeping, till they sweat
    And the cold marble melt;[232]

and he has overlaid (in lines 113-128) with his rhetorical triplets, his
"alls" and "hows" the genuine poetry of Philaster's accusation of
Arethusa. "The _story_ of a woman's face," her inconstancy, the shadow
quality even of her "goodness" soon past and forgotten,--"these sad
texts"[233] Fletcher "to his last hour" is never weary of repeating.

It will be observed that, in general, Fletcher's scenes are elaborative,
bombastic, verbally witty, conversationally easy, at times bustling, at
times spectacular, but not vitally contributory to the business of the
play. They comprise the longest speeches of the King, Pharamond,
Philaster, Megra, and Bellario. Some of these, such as the King's
denunciation of Megra and her reply are wild, whirling, and vulgar
rhetoric. The bawdy half-scene with its maid of easy honour is his; the
discovery of the low intrigue, the simulated masque and the mob-scene
are his. They may display, but they do not develop, characters. They are
sometimes fanciful; sometimes gracefully poetic as in V, 3, 83-84, where
his "all your better deeds shall be in water writ, but this in marble"
anticipates Keats's famous epitaph; sometimes realistic; but they lack
the pervading emotion, imagination, elevation of Beaumont. The play, in
fact, is not only preponderatingly but primarily Beaumont's, from the
excellent exposition in the first act to the series of sensational
surprises which precede the dénouement in the fifth. The conception of
the characters and the complication are distinctive of that writer's
plots: the impulsive, misjudged, and misguided hero, his violence toward
the love-lorn maiden disguised as a page, and his unwarranted suspicion
of the honour of his mistress. The subtle revelations of personality are
Beaumont's: the simplicity, self-renunciation, lyric pathos and beauty
of Bellario, the nobler aspects of Dion, the maidenly audacities, sweet
bewilderments and unmerited tribulations of Arethusa, the combination of
idyllic, pathetic, and romantic, the visualization, the naturalness of
figure and setting, the vigour of dramatic progress, the passion, the
philosophical insights, and the memorable lines. His, too, the humour of
the rural sketches--the Country Fellow who has "seen something yet," the
occasional frank animality, as well as the tender beauty of innocence.
Not only are the virtues of the play Beaumont's but some of its faults
of conception and construction; and those faults are the unmanly
suspicious startings of the hero and his melodramatic violence, the
somewhat fortuitous succession of the crises, and the subordination of
Bellario in the dénouement.

The popularity of _Philaster_ as an acting play, not only at Court but
in the city, is attested by contemporary record. It was played after the
Restoration with success; and between 1668 and 1817 it enjoyed thirteen
revivals,--the last at Bath on December 12 of the latter year, with Ward
in the title-rôle and Miss Jarmin as Bellario.[234]


8.--_The Maides Tragedy_, acted by the King's Men during the festivities
at Court, October 1612 to March 1613, was known to Sir George Buc when,
October 31, 1611, he licensed an anonymous play as "this second maiden's
tragedy." It was acted by the King's also at Blackfriars; and since it
is in every way a more mature production than _Philaster_, I think that
it followed that play, toward the end of 1610 or in 1611. It was first
published in 1619, in quarto and anonymously. The quarto of 1622 is also
anonymous; that of 1630 gives the names of Beaumont and Fletcher as
authors. In the commendatory verses to the folio of 1647, Henry Howard
ascribes the scene of Amintor's suicide to Fletcher; Waller assigns to
him "brave Melantius in his gallantry" and "Aspatia weeping in her
gown"; Stanley, too, gives him the weeping Aspatia; and Herrick, "Evadne
swelling with brave rage." These descriptions are as misleading as
blind. D'Avenant comes nearer the mark in his Prologue to _The
Woman-Hater_, already quoted, where he indicates correctly an Evadne
scene and an Aspatia scene as of Fletcher's composition. Metrical tests,
corrected by the rhetorical, show that Fletcher's contributions are
limited to three scenes and two half-scenes. The list opens with those
to which D'Avenant alludes: II, 2, in which Fletcher "taught the sad
Aspatia how to mourn," and IV, 1 (as far as line 200, "Prithee, do not
mock me"), in which he "reduced Evadne from her scorn"; and it includes,
also, the ten lines of V, 1, the larger part of V, 2 (to _Exit Evadne_),
and the perfunctory V, 3. As to Fletcher's authorship of II, 2 no doubt
can be entertained. It is an admirable example of his double endings
(almost 40 per cent), his end-stopped lines (80 per cent), anapæstic
rhythms and jolts, as well as of his vocabulary, his favourite figures
and his incremental second thoughts. I fail to see how any critic can
assign it to Beaumont.[235] As frequently with Fletcher, Aspatia's
mourning, though beautiful, is a falsetto from the classics; more like
one of Rossetti's or Leigh Hunt's poetic descriptions of a picture than
a first-hand reproduction of nature and passion. There is likewise no
doubt concerning the authorship of the first part of Act IV, 1 (lines
1-189), in which Melantius convinces Evadne of sin and drives her to
vengeance upon the King. The latter part of the scene, also, appears to
have been written by Fletcher in the first instance, and to have
consisted of the first six speeches after the entrance of Amintor (lines
190-200), Evadne's "I have done nothing good to win belief" (247-254,
260-262), and the conclusion (263-285). But between Amintor's
supplication "Prithee do not mock me" (line 200) and Evadne's assertion
of sincerity "I have done nothing good to win belief" (line 247[236]),
Beaumont has inserted four speeches that of themselves convert a
colloquy otherwise histrionic and mechanical into one of the tenderest
passages of the play. In Evadne's "My whole life is so leprous it
infects All my repentance"--"That slight contrition"--"Give me your
griefs; you are an innocent, A soul as white as Heaven"--"Shoot your
light into me"--"Dissembling with my tears"--"Cut from man's
remembrance," we hear the words, phrases, and figures of Beaumont; and
we trace him in the repeated use of "do." We find him in Amintor's "Seed
of virtue left to shoot up"--"put a thousand sorrows off"--"that dull
calamity"--"that strange misbelief"--and in

    Mock not _the powers above_ that can and dare
    Give thee a great example of their justice
    To all ensuing ages.[237]

And in five verses of Evadne's succeeding asseveration of sincere
reform (255-259), we are thrilled by his sudden magic and his poetic
finality:

    _Those short days I shall number to my rest_
    (As many must not see me) shall, though too late,
    Though in my evening, yet perceive a will,--
    Since I can do no good, because a woman,--
    _Reach constantly at something that is near it_.

The ground-work of this latter portion, from Amintor's entrance, where
Evadne cries "Oh, my lord," "My much abused lord," and he, "I may leap,
Like a hand-wolf, into my natural wildness" (lines 190-200); and the
last three speeches in general with Amintor's "My frozen soul melts,"
and "My honour falls no farther: I am well, then"; and with Evadne's
"tales" that "go to dust forgotten,"--the Niobe weeping till she is
water,--the "wash her stains away," and

                                 All the creatures
    Made for Heaven's honours, have their ends, _and good ones_,--
    All but the cozening crocodiles, false women--
    They reign here like those plagues, those killing sores,
    Men pray against; ...

this remainder belongs, in verse no less than in diction, to the scene
as Fletcher originally wrote it.

When to these two scenes we add the first and third of Act V, which are
of no particular significance, and the second (to the death of the
King), we have Fletcher's whole written contribution to this wonderful
tragedy. In the murder of the King he displays dramatic mastery of the
grisly and shuddering; but though the scene is characterized by the same
rapidity of conversational thrust and parry as the Fletcherian dialogue
between Melantius and Evadne, it is, like it, marred in effect by
violence physical rather than spiritual, by brutality of vituperation
and stage realism with but scant relief of subtlety. Fletcher's tragic
scenes excel not in portrayal of personality but in business; his
contribution to Aspatia is not pathos but the embroidery of grief.

The volume and essential vitality are Beaumont's: the cruel desertion of
Aspatia, her lyric self-obliteration and desperate rush on fate; the
artful revelation of Evadne's character, of her duplicity, her
effrontery, her shamelessness; the stirrings of a soul within her, its
gradual recognition of the inevitable,--that unchastity cannot be atoned
even by vengeance, nor cleansed by blood,--and its true birth through
love desired to love achieved in death; the bewilderment of the innocent
but shuffling hero, blinded by circumstance and besotted by loyalty to
the lustful author of his wrongs,--yet idealized by virgin and wanton
alike; the spiritual elevation of Melantius, and the conflict between
honour and friendship, pride and sacrifice, which ennobles the
comradeship of that blunt soldier with the deluded Amintor; the
pestilent King; and Calianax, the poltroon whose braggadocio is part
humorous and part cunning, but all helpless and hopeless. These are
Beaumont's; and his, too, the wealth of dramatic situation and device:
the enthralling exposition, the silver sound and ecstasy of the masque
in the first act; the shrewd development of motive, and the psychic
revolutions of movement in the second and third acts; whatever of
tenderness or of intricate complication the fourth displays--in fact,
all that is not palpable violence. His, the breathless suspense and the
swiftly urgent, unexpected sensations that crowd the last scene of the
fifth and crown the catastrophe; and his, the gleaming epigram and the
poetic finality.

In his _Tragedies of the Last Age_, licensed in 1677, Rymer attacked
_The Maides Tragedy_ violently for its lack of unity, unnaturalness,
improbability of plot, and inconsistency of delineation. Perhaps, as
Rymer insisted, the title is a misnomer: perhaps the play might better
have been called _Amintor_, or the _Lustful King_, or _The Concubine_.
But _The Maides Tragedy_ is a more attractive name, and it may be
justified. For I do not find that the action is double-centred. It
springs entirely out of Amintor's desertion of the Maid for a woman whom
he speedily discovers to be 'bed-fellow' to the King. The pathetic
devotion of Aspatia is essential to our understanding of Amintor's
tragic weakness, his _hamartia_. His failure to act in accordance with
the dictates of honour toward Aspatia is prophetic of the indecision
that costs him the respect of Evadne, nay extinguishes that first
flicker of love which then was but desire. Vile as she was, she would
have kissed the sin off from his lips if on their wedding-night he had
unquestioningly slain the man to whom she had sold herself. The Nemesis,
too, of Amintor is not Evadne nor the King, but Aspatia, thrust out of
mind though not forgotten:

    I did that lady wrong. Methinks I feel
    A griefe shoot suddenly through all my veins,--[238]
                ... The faithless sin I made
    To faire Aspatia is not yet revenged;
    It follows me.--[239]

His Nemesis is Aspatia, constant unto death,--and in her death,
awakening such remorse that he must die to be with her: "Aspatia!" he
cries--

    The soule is fled forever, and I wrong
    Myselfe so long to lose her company,
    Must I talke now? Heres to be with thee, love![240]

Rymer's criticism and that of a recent essayist,[241] of "the
irrelevance of the motives that Beaumont employs" in the
characterization and conduct of Evadne have logicality of appearance,
but are based upon incorrect premises. The facts, as Beaumont gives
them, are that Evadne was "once fair" and "chastely sweet,"--before she
met the King; that she was already corrupt when she took Amintor as her
husband; that her "delicacy of feeling" after the marriage, in presence
of her Ladies of the Bedchamber, is an assumed delicacy; that she loves
the King "with ambition not with her eyes" (III, 1); that she "would
bend to any one that won his throne"; that she has accepted Amintor as a
screen, but speedily lusts for him, and is willing to give herself to
him if he will forthright kill the King (II, 1, 179):

                 Wilt thou kill this man?
    Sweare, my Amintor, and I'le kisse the sin
    Off from thy lips.

But Amintor is cautious and obliquely conscientious, not the kind of man
to satisfy her new desire, and ambition too. He could never win her by
winning the throne,--too lily-livered:

    "I wonnot sweare, sweet love," says he, "till I do know
        the cause";--

Then she, with passion "I wood thou wouldst."--But she is a woman whose
first behest is scorned; and with sudden revulsion of contempt for this
poltroon, as she now conceives him--

    Why, it is _thou_ that wrongst me; I hate thee;
    Thou shouldst have kild thy selfe.

Amintor has lost his evil chance. She despises him and yet, in her
better moments, with a kind of pity. It follows that her prompt avowal
of her liaison, and her return to the King and insulting treatment of
Amintor are of a piece with the corrupted nature of the woman,--a nature
that she displays up to the moment of her awakening and imagined
repentance. The facts are, too, that she does not, immediately after she
has sworn to her brother to let the foul soul of the King out, develop
(IV, 1), as Mr. More thinks, a "mood of sudden and overwhelming love for
Amintor." She merely asks his pardon:

    I doe appeare the same, the same Evadne,
    Drest in the shames I liv'd in, the same monster,
    But these are names of honour to what I _am_ ... I am hell
    Till you, my deare lord, shoot your light into me,
    _The beames of your forgivenesse_.

The days that she shall number to her rest are short; but she vainly
imagines that, though but "one minute" remains, she may "reach
constantly at something that is neare" the good. She is awakened to her
husband's whiteness of soul; but she makes no profession of love, though
love, this time not merely lust, be stirred in her heart. She would not
"let her sins perish his noble youth." At last, in the moment of mad
exaltation after the murder of the King, when she thinks that she has
washed her soul clean in that blood, the poor, misguided creature
struggling toward the light, but still, and consistently, enveloped in
the murk of her past, comes imploring the love of the husband whom in
the earlier days she had scorned. She is still the passionate Evadne,
who "was too foule within to looke faire then," and "was not free till
now." Repulsed by Amintor, she dreams the one sane madness of her
career,--to win his love by taking leave of life,--and kills herself.

I perceive no irrelevance of motive in the conduct of Evadne; even in
the scenes which are not Beaumont's--namely, the expostulation of her
brother, and the murder of the King. Nor do I find in the play as a
whole what Mr. More calls an "incomprehensible tangle of the passions."

The defect in the construction of the _Maides Tragedy_, if there is one,
lies in the failure of the Maid and her deserter to meet between the
first scene of the second act and the third of the fifth. That is not
unmotived, however; it is of Aspatia's own choosing and of Amintor's
_hamartia_. Aspatia kisses him farewell, forgiving him, and saying that
she "must trie Some yet unpractis'd way to grieve and die." He is,
forthwith, entangled in the web of his wife's adultery, his own shame
and more shameful delusion of allegiance. The girl whom he has so deeply
wronged passes from his distracted consciousness, save for the sense
that these troubles are his punishment. And when, toward the end of the
play, the Maid comes in again, saying "this is my fatall houre," even we
start at the remembrance that she had threatened to kill herself. And,
because the scene in which she forces a duel upon Amintor is spirited
and pathetic, his contrition poignant, and the joy of their reunion in
the moment of death deeply tragic, we feel that we have been unduly
cheated of the company of this innocent and resolute and surpassingly
pathetic girl.

The play, with Burbadge in the rôle of Melantius, was popular during the
lives of the authors. It was acted before the King and Queen in 1636 and
it held the stage until the closing of the theatres. It was revived in
1660 and 1661. Pepys saw it at least five times before the middle of May
1668, and found it "too sad and melancholy" but still "a good play." It
was popular when Dryden in his _Essay on Dramatick Poesy_, 1668, praised
its "labyrinth of design." For a time during the reign of Charles II it
was proscribed, possibly because the moral was too readily applicable to
the conduct of the "merry monarch"; but the play in its original form
was on the stage again by 1677. Before 1685 Waller made at least two
attempts to change it from tragedy to tragicomedy by writing a new fifth
act in which Evadne was bloodlessly eliminated. In one of these
sentimental absurdities the King alone survived; in another the King,
preposterously reformed, succeeded in saving Amintor and Aspatia from
suicide and joined them in marriage: but neither attempt, though made
"to please the Court," was crowned with success. The play enjoyed
several other revivals in the first half of the eighteenth century with
high popularity, notably at the Haymarket in 1706 when Melantius was
played by Betterton, Evadne by Mrs. Barry, and Aspatia by Mrs.
Bracegirdle; and again in 1710 just before Betterton's death. In 1742
Theobald writes, that the famous controversy between Melantius and
Amintor is always "received with vehement applause." In 1837 the play
was acted by Macready at the Haymarket, with alterations by himself and
three original scenes by Sheridan Knowles, under the name of _The
Bridal_, and, as Dyce tells us, was very favourably received by the
public.[242]


9.--Though the tragedy of _Cupid's Revenge_ was printed in 1615 as the
work of Fletcher alone, the publication was unauthorized, and the
attribution is by a printer who acknowledges that he was not acquainted
with the author. The quarto of 1630 assigns it correctly to Beaumont and
Fletcher. The play is known to have been acted at Court by her
Majesty's Children of Whitefriars, the first Sunday in January 1612; and
as usual it must have been tested by public presentation before that
date. The fact that the authors were, between 1610 and 1612, writing for
the King's Men does not preclude their composing a play for the Queen's
Children. It is not, therefore, necessary to date the writing earlier
than 1611. Though the critics disagree concerning the precise division
of authorship in nearly every scene, finding traces of alteration by
Field, Massinger, and others, they discern a definite substratum of both
Fletcher and Beaumont. It is unnecessary to specify the minor scenes in
which Beaumont coöperated. The five which transfer the action from an
atmosphere of supernatural caprice and sordid irresponsibility to the
realm of character, moral struggle, pathos, or passion are by him.[243]
In these his sententious sunbursts, his verse, diction, hyperbole,
portrayal by passive implication, are indubitable. The infatuation of
the princess for the dwarf takes on a human interest in the grim
humility and cackling mirth of the latter. The lust of Leucippus is
transfigured to nobility by his loyalty to oaths "bestowed on lies," by
his horror of the discovered baseness of his paramour, and the piety
with which he implores that she-devil to spare his father's honour:

                                   I desire you
    To lay what trains you will for my wish'd death,
    But suffer him to find his quiet grave
    In peace.

The treacherous greed and malice of Bacha are tempered by half-lights
and shifting hues that make her less a vampire when Beaumont depicts
her. And the final scene of tragedy in the forest is shot with pathos by
the "harmless innocence" of Beaumont's Urania following Leucippus to
save him

                                       for love:--
    I would not let you know till I was dying;
    For you could not love me, my mother was so naught.

But the play as a whole lacks logical and natural motive, moral vigor
and vitality; and its history upon the stage is negligible.


10.--Of the dates of _A King and No King_ there is no doubt. It was
licensed in 1611, acted at Court December 26 of the same year, and first
published in quarto in 1619 as by Beaumont and Fletcher. In the
commendatory verses of 1647, Henry Howard gives Arbaces to Fletcher;
Jasper Mayne gives him Bessus; Herrick goes further: "that high design
Of _King and No King_, and the rare plot thine." Earle, on the other
hand, gives Bessus to Beaumont; and Lisle gives him Mardonius. Of the
attributions to Fletcher, Herrick's alone has plausibility, since, like
_Philaster_ and _The Maides Tragedy_, the play is derived from no known
source.[244] Still he was probably wrong. It is not impossible that one
of the dramatists contrived the plot; but, considering that
three-quarters of the play was written by Beaumont, and that Fletcher's
quarter contains but one scene at once of high design and vital to the
story, it is not very likely that the contriving was by Fletcher
unaided.

Modern critics display singular unanimity in their discrimination of the
respective shares of the composers. With only one or two dissenting
voices they attribute to Beaumont the first three acts, the fourth scene
of the fourth, and scenes two and four of the fifth. To Fletcher they
assign the first three scenes of the fourth act, and scenes one and
three of the fifth. The tests which I have already described lead me to
the same conclusion. Beaumont's contribution is distinguished by a
largeness of utterance and a poetic inevitability, a diversity and
mastery of characterization, a philosophical reach, a realism both
humorous and terrible, and a power of dramatic creativity and tension,
equal to, if not surpassing, any parallel elements or qualities to be
found in the joint-plays. Arbaces, in apparent design, is of a Marlowan
temper, moody, vainglorious, blinded by self-love, and brooking no
rebuke; but he is not merely a braggart and a tyrant, he is brave in
fact, and in heart deluded by the assumption that he is also modest. The
combination is Beaumontesque. That dramatist rarely creates fixed or
transparent character. Arbaces assumes that he is single of nature and
aim: an irresistible, passionless, and patient soldier; but his failure
to fathom himself as his friend Mardonius fathoms him, is part of his
complexity. His headlong love for the woman whom he believes to be his
sister and the resulting horror of apprehension and conflict of desire
reveal him in many-sided dilatation and in swift-succeeding revolutions
of personality. "What are thou," he asks of this devilish unexpected
lust--

    What are thou, that dost creep into my breast;
    And dar'st not see my face?

When he will decree that Panthea be regarded as no more his sister, and
she remonstrates,--he thunders "I will hear no more"; but to himself:--

    Why should there be such music in a voice,
    And sin for me to hear it?

When Tigranes, to whom he has offered that sister in marriage, presumes
to address her, with what majestic inconsistency the king rebukes him:

    The least word that she speaks
    Is worth a life. Rule your disorder'd tongue
    Or I will temper it!

And so, now struggling, now wading on in sin, till that heart-rending
crisis is reached in which he confesses the incestuous love to his
friend and faithful general, Mardonius; nay, even tries to win the
friend's support in his lustful suit, and is gloriously defeated. Then
follow the easy compliance of Bessus with his wish, and, with equal
precipitancy, the revulsion of a kingly sense of rectitude against the
willing pander:

    Thou art too wicked for my company,
    Though I have hell within me, and mayst yet
    Corrupt me further,

The climax in which Arbaces can no longer refrain is of Beaumont's
best:

    Nay, you shall hear the cause in short, Panthea;
    And when thou hear'st it, thou will blush for me
    And hang thy head down like a violet
    Full of the morning's dew.

And she, recoiling, "Heaven forbid" and "I would rather ... in a grave
sleep with my innocence," still kisses him; and then in a panic, nobler
than self-suppression, cries:

    If you have any mercy, let me go
    To prison, to my death, to anything:
    I feel a sin growing upon my blood
    Worse than all these!

By a series of sensational _bouleversements_, and in a dramatic agony of
suspense, we are keyed to the scene in which relief is granted: the
princess who now is Queen is no sister to the King, who is now no King.

With the exception of a half-scene (Act IV, 2{^_b_}) of somewhat bustling
mechanism and rant by Fletcher, the whole of the King's portrayal is
Beaumont's; and with the exception of eighty lines written by Fletcher
(Act IV, 1) of dramatic dialogue containing information necessary to the
minor love-affair, the story of the birdlike quivering, fond Panthea is,
also, entirely Beaumont's. The Mardonius of Beaumont, in the first three
acts and the fifth, is a fine, honest, blunt, soldierly companion and
adviser to the King; but when Fletcher takes him in hand (Act IV,
2{^_b_}), he declines to a stock character wordy with alliteration and
commonplace. The Bessus of Beaumont whose "reputation came principally
by thinking to run away" is, in Acts I-III, Falstaffian or Zagloban;
the Bessus of Fletcher, in IV, 3 and V, 1 and 3, is a figure of low
comedy, amusing to be sure, and reminiscent of Bobadill, but a purveyor
of sophomoric quips and a tool for horse-play. The rural scene with its
graphic humours of the soil is Beaumont's.

Fletcher's slight contribution to this otherwise masterly play consists,
in brief, of facile dramatic dialogue, rhetorical ravings, stop-gaps
complementary to the plot, and farce unrelated to it. His scenes display
no spiritual insight; supply no development of character; administer no
dramatic fillip to the action and no thrill to the spectator; and,
exclusive of one rhetorically-coloured colloquy between the minor
lovers, Tigranes and Spaconia, they are devoid of poetry.

To Beaumont, then, it may be said that we owe in the creation of _A King
and No King_ one of the most intensely powerful dramas of the Jacobean
period, one of the most popular in the age of Dryden, and one of the
most influential in the development of the heroic play of the
Restoration. That it did not survive the eighteenth century is due not
so much to the painful nature of the conflict presented as to the fact
that it is "of that inferior sort of tragedies which" as Dryden says
"end with a prosperous event." The conflict of motives, the passions
aroused, have overpassed the limits of artistic mediation. The play
would better have ended in a catastrophe of undeserved suffering--that
highest kind of tragedy, inevitable and inexplicable. But though this be
a spoiled tragedy, it is not, as many assert, an immoral tragicomedy.
That error arises from a careless reading of the text. From the first,
the spectator is led to divine that the protagonists are not brother and
sister. And as for the protagonists themselves,--when the King is
suddenly smitten by love (III, 1, 70-115) and rebels against its power,
he does not even know that the object of his devotion is his supposed
sister. When he is informed that the conquering beauty is Panthea, he
revolts, crying "'t is false as Hell!" And when the twain are enmeshed
in the strands of circumstance they cease not to recognize the
liberating possibility of self-denial. In his struggle against what
seems to him incestuous love, though the King does not conquer, he,
still, not for a moment loses the consciousness of what is right. His
deepest despair is that he is "not come so high as killing" himself
rather than succumb to worse temptation; and his last word before the
tragic knot is cut is of loathing for "such a strange and unbelieved
affection as good men cannot think on." And when Panthea feeling the
"sin growing upon her blood," learns the irony of high resolve throttled
by infirmity, it is still her soul, unstrangled, that cries to him whom
she thinks her brother, "Fly, sir, for God's sake!"

_A King and No King_ evidently won favour at Court, for, as we have
noticed, it was acted there both in 1611 and in 1612-1613. It was
presented to their Majesties at Hampton Court in 1636. In 1661 Pepys saw
it twice. Before 1682 Nell Gwynn had made Panthea one of her principal
rôles. In 1683 Betterton played Arbaces to Mrs. Barry's Panthea. It was
revived again in 1705, 1724, and 1788. Davies in his _Dramatic
Miscellany_ tells us that Garrick intended to revive it, taking the
part of Arbaces himself and giving Bessus to Woodward, "but it was
observed that at every reading of it in the green-room Garrick's
pleasure suffered a visible diminution--at length he fairly gave up his
design." Mr. Bond, in the _Variorum_ edition, mentions a German
adaptation of 1785, called _Ethelwolf, oder der König Kein König_.


FOOTNOTES:

[214] Cited by Oldys (MS. note in Langbaine's _Account of Engl. Dram.
Poets_, p. 208)--Dyce.

[215] For this information I am indebted to my colleague, Professor
Schevill.

[216] I know but two sane accounts of this matter: A. S. W.
Rosenbach's in _Mod. Lang. Notes_, 101, Column 362 (1898); and
Wolfgang von Wurzbach's, in _Romanische Forschungen_, XX, pp. 514-536
(1907).

[217] Oliphant, _Engl. Stud._, XV, 322. Macaulay, 'probably 1610.'

[218] _Prologue_ in the first folio.

[219] Chapter VII.

[220] Even here, as Oliphant has said, Viola's first speech "is pure
Beaumont."

[221] His scenes are I, 4, 6; II, 4; III, 3 (to "where I may find
service"); IV, 1, 2, 7; V, 2, and the last twenty-seven lines of V, 3.

[222] I, 4. Scenes as arranged in Dyce, Vol. III.

[223] I, 6.

[224] III, 3.

[225] V, 2.

[226] I, 1, 2{^_a_} (to Antonio's entry), III, 1{^_a_} (to servant's
entry).

[227] III, 2; IV, 4; V, 1, 3.

[228] Chapter VII, above.

[229] Halliwell-Phillipps, _Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare_, I,
317.

[230] Chapter XXVIII, _Did the Beaumont 'Romance' Influence
Shakespeare?_

[231] Lines are numbered as in the _Variorum_ edition.

[232] Fletcher affects this figure, _cf._ _A Wife for a Month_, Act
II, 2, lines 47-48.

[233] _Cf._ his lines in _Maides Tragedy_, IV, 1, 252-254; in _King
and No King_, IV, 2, 57-62; _Philaster_, V, 4, 114; _Hum. Lieut._, IV,
5, 51; _Mad Lover_, III, 4, 105; _Loyall Subject_, III, 6, 141; IV, 3,
70; _Wife for a Month_, IV, 5, 38, 39.

[234] The best editions of _Philaster_ since the time of Dyce are
those of F. S. Boas, in the _Temple Dramatists_ (1898), P. A. Daniel,
in the _Variorum_ (1904), Glover and Waller, in the _Camb. Engl.
Classics_ (1905), and A. H. Thorndike in _Belles Lettres_ (1906).

[235] Thorndike, for instance,--who selects lines 22-40 as an instance
of Beaumont's skill in imitating natural conversation. _Influence of
B. and F. on Shakespeare_, p. 129.

[236] Numbering of the _Variorum_.

[237] Q2 "eies."

[238] II, 1, 127.

[239] III, 1, 221.

[240] V, 3, 244.

[241] P. E. More, _The Nation_, N. Y., April 24, 1913.

[242] The best editions of _M. T._, since the time of Dyce, are those
of P. A. Daniel, in the _Variorum_ (1904), Glover and Waller, in the
_Cambridge English Classics_ (1905), and A. H. Thorndike, in the
_Belles Lettres_ (1906).

[243] I, 3; II, 2; III, 2; IV, 1; V, 4.

[244] For conjectural sources see Chapter VII, above. The best
editions to-day are the _Variorum_ and Alden's (_Belles Lettres_).



CHAPTER XXVI

THE LAST PLAY


Eleven.--The first quarto of _The Scornful Ladie_, entered S. R., March
19, 1616, assigns the play to Beaumont and Fletcher, and says that it
"was acted with great applause by the Children of Her Maiesties Revels
in the Blacke Fryers." The references in Act V, 3, 4, to the Cleve wars
show that it could not have been written before March 25, 1609. The
sentence, "Marry some cast Cleve captain," is taken by some to indicate
a date as early as the spring of that year, when James I "promised to
send an English force to aid the Protestant party,"[245] and when,
undoubtedly, "cast" captains of the English army were clamouring for
foreign service. In that case, the play was acted before January 4,
1610, for by that date the children of the Queen's Revels had ceased
playing at Blackfriars. Since the plague regulations closed the theatres
between March 9 and December 7, 1609, save for a week in July, these
arguments would fix the performance in the Christmas month, December 7
to January 4, 1610. To this supposition a reference in Act I, 2 to
binding the Apocrypha by itself, lends plausibility, if, as Fleay
thinks, the sentence points to the discussion during 1609-1610
concerning the inclusion of the Apocrypha in the Douay version of the
Bible and its exclusion from the authorized version--both in progress at
the time, and both completed in 1610.[246] But the Apocrypha controversy
was continued long after 1610.

A later date of composition than January 4, 1610, is, however, indicated
if a line, III, 1, 341, to which attention has not previously been
directed, in which the Elder Loveless says of Abigail, who is acting the
termagant, "tie your she-Otter up, good Lady folly, she stinks worse
than a Bear-baiting," was suggested by the termagant Mrs. Otter and her
husband of the Bear-garden, in Jonson's _Epicoene_, acted between
January 4 and March 10, 1610. And the two sentences in which Cleve is
mentioned, "There will be no more talk of the Cleve wars while this
lasts" (V, 3), and "Marry some _cast Cleve_ captain [so italicized in
the quarto], and sell Bottle-ale" (V, 4), point to a date later than
July 1610, when actual fighting in Cleves-Juliers had barely begun. The
captains are not English soldiers seeking service in a foreign army not
yet mobilized, but Englishmen who have been captains in Cleves, have
seen service, and been 'cast,' any time between July 1610 and the
beginning of 1616, when, according to the quarto, the play had assuredly
been performed. These considerations make it probable that _The Scornful
Ladie_ in its original form was presented first at Whitefriars while the
Queen's Children were acting there, between 1610 and March 1613, or that
it was one of the plays, old or new, presented by the Queen's Children
(reorganized in 1614) when they opened at Rossiter's new Blackfriars in
1615-16.

Since active hostilities in Cleves were temporarily suspended in 1613-14
during the negotiations which led to the treaty of Xanten in November of
the latter year, and since there would not only be much "talk" rather
than fighting at the time, but also many captains 'cast' from their
regiments, the conviction grows that the play was written between 1613
and the end of 1615. If _The Scornful Ladie_ had been written before
March 1613, it would undoubtedly have shared with _The Coxcombe_ and
_Cupid's Revenge_ of the same authors, then in the flush of popularity
at Court, the honour of presentation by the Queen's Revels' Children
during the festivities attending the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth;
for it was always a good acting play, and it has far greater merit than
_Cupid's Revenge_ which the Children performed three times before
royalty in the four months preceding the marriage.

Other evidence, not hitherto noticed, still further confirms the
conclusion that this was one of Beaumont and Fletcher's later
joint-productions, perhaps the last of them. The conversational style is
altogether more mature than in the remaining output of their
partnership. It is the first work published under both of their names,
and it was licensed for publication within two weeks after Beaumont's
death, as one might expect of a play with which he was associated
recently in the public mind. It is the only one of the joint-plays which
he did not himself copy out, or thoroughly revise in manuscript,
eliminating all or nearly all of Fletcher's distinctive _ye's_ and
_y'are's_, and reducing to uniformity the nomenclature of the _dramatis
personae_. Of this, later. There is also a sentence in Act III, 2, which
points definitely to a date of composition, 1613 to 1615. The Captain
speaking to Morecraft, the usurer, says, "I will stile thee noble, nay
Don Diego, I'le woo thy Infanta for thee" (punctuation of the quarto).
'Diego' had, of course, been for years a generic nickname for Spaniards;
but Morecraft is neither a Spaniard nor in any way associated with
Spaniards. There had been a Don Diego of malodorous memory, who had
offensively "perfumed" St. Paul's and on whose achievement the
Elizabethans never wearied ringing the changes.[247] But that Don Diego
was of the years before 1597 when there was, of course, no talk of
wooing an Infanta; and the Captain here who comes to borrow money of the
usurer had no intention of insulting him by likening him to the
disgusting Spaniard of St. Paul's.

The only provocation for styling Morecraft's 'widow' an Infanta in this
scene of _The Scornful Ladie_ is that there was much interest in London
at the time in a proposed marriage between Charles, Prince of Wales, and
the second daughter of Philip III of Spain, the Infanta Maria. And the
conjunction of the "Infanta" with a "Don Diego" has reference to the
activities of the astute Don Diego Sarmiento de Acuña who had arrived as
Spanish ambassador, in 1613, "with the express object of winning James
over from his alliance with France and the Protestant powers."[248]
During 1613 Queen Anne was favouring the Spanish marriage. In February
1614, Don Diego Sarmiento was sedulously cultivating the acquaintance of
the King's powerful minion, the Earl of Somerset; and in May he was
writing home of his success. In the latter month, the Lord Privy Seal,
Northampton, was urging the marriage upon the King; and the King soon
after had signified to Sarmiento his willingness to accept the hand of
the Infanta for Charles, provided Philip of Spain should withdraw his
demand for the conversion of the young prince to Catholicism. In June
Sarmiento was advising Philip to close with James's offer. And a month
or so later the Spanish Council of State had voted in favour of the
match. Negotiations, broken off for a time, were resumed a few weeks
after the treaty of Xanten was signed; and with varying success Don
Diego was still pursuing his object in December 1615. The reference in
_The Scornful Ladie_ cannot possibly be to negotiations for the marriage
of Prince Charles's elder brother, Henry, who died in 1612, with one or
the other of King Philip's daughters;[249] as for instance in 1604 or
1607, for the Cleves wars had not then begun; or in 1611 and 1612, for
no Don Diego had yet arrived in England. The upper limit of the
reference to Don Diego Sarmiento's negotiations is May 27, 1613.
Gardiner tells us, moreover, that "for some time" before Diego was
created Count Gondomar in 1617 "he had been pertinaciously begging for a
title that would satisfy the world that his labours had been graciously
accepted by his master." This desire to be "stiled noble" was
undoubtedly known to many about the Court. If Beaumont and Fletcher did
not hear of it by common talk, they might readily have derived their
information from Don Diego's acquaintance and Beaumont's friend, Sir
Francis Bacon, Attorney-General at the time, or from a devoted companion
of John Selden of the Inner Temple, Sir Robert Cotton, the antiquary,
who in April 1615, was King James's intermediary with Sarmiento. Taking,
accordingly, all these considerations into account in conjunction with
the fact that no Cleves captains had yet been 'cast' from their commands
abroad before the Queen's Revels' Children ceased playing at the old
Blackfriars in January 1610, I have come to the definite conclusion that
the play was written between May 27, 1613 and the beginning of 1616, and
first acted after the Children reopened at the new Blackfriars in
1615-1616. The probabilities are that it was written after May or June,
1614, perhaps, as late as April 1615, when public attention had been
startlingly awakened to Don Diego's personal and ambitious activity in
furthering the Spanish alliance by a royal marriage; and that Beaumont's
absence from London, probably at his wife's place in Kent, or the
failing condition of his health, accounts for his subordinate share in
the authorship, as well as for the incomplete revision of the text--a
task evidently assumed by him in the preparation of the other plays
planned and produced in partnership with Fletcher.

[Illustration: By permission of Methuen & Co., Ltd.

     DON DIEGO SARMIENTO,
       COUNT GONDOMAR
From the portrait by G. P. Harding]

The commendatory verses of Stanley and Waller in the 1647 folio give the
play to Fletcher; and the greater part of it is Fletcher's. Beaumont has
contributed the vivid exposition of Act I, 1; Act I, 2, with its legal
phraseology and racy realism; and the jovial posset-scene of Act II, 1,
where Sir Roger's kindly pedantry is developed and the minor love-affair
of Welford and Martha is introduced.[250] Act II, 1, has been given by
most critics to Fletcher because of the feminine endings of its
occasional verse; but Beaumont could use feminine endings for humorous
effect, and the diction and metal habit are distinctly his. He
contributed also Act V, 2,[251] where the hero finally tricks his
scornful mistress into submission. The _ye_ test, which I have said does
not yield results in the case of other plays written by the two
dramatists in collaboration, is of positive value here as confirming
Beaumont's authorship of Act I, 1 and 2 and Act II, 1, and V, 2, for but
a single _ye_ (II, 1, l. 10) is to be found in those scenes. The results
are negative in Act II, 2 and 3--no _ye's_--but the diction and verse
are Fletcher's. It is not unlikely that Beaumont revised the play up to
the end of Act II. With Act III, the _ye's_ are in evidence and continue
to the end of the play, except in Beaumont's V, 2. In Act III, 1, there
are but four; but two of them are in the objective case, a mark of
Fletcher, not of Beaumont. On the other hand though the diction and
verse somewhat resemble Fletcher's, the infrequency of the _ye's_
heightens the suspicion that unless the scene is Fletcher's, revised
imperfectly by Beaumont, it is the work of some third author--perhaps,
as R. W. Bond,[252] has suggested, Massinger. Act III, 2, on the other
hand, not only has several _ye's_ in the objective, but in proportion to
the _you's_ twenty-five per cent of _ye's_ and _y'are's_, which
approaches the distinctive habit of Fletcher; and the verse, rhetorical
triplets, and afterthoughts are his. In all scenes of Acts IV and V,
except the second of the latter, Fletcher's _ye's_ occur, not in great
number, but often enough in the objective case to corroborate the other,
metrical and stylistic, indications of his authorship.

I have said that no _ye's_ occur in Acts I and II, and Act V, 2, the
parts in which Beaumont's hand as author or reviser appears. Another
very interesting confirmation of his authorship of Act I, 1, Act II, 1,
and Act V, 2, is afforded by the double nomenclature of one of the
characters, the amorous spinster who serves as waiting-woman to the
Scornful Lady. According to the first three quartos (1616, 1625, 1630),
and the folio (1679) which follows the text of these, whenever she
appears in stage-direction or text before the beginning of Act III
(viz., in Beaumont's scenes), she is called Mistress Younglove or
Younglove, but in Acts III, IV, V, she is uniformly called Abigal,
except in Beaumont's V, 2, where in the text and stage-direction (line
263) she is again Younglove. In the speech-headings, she is Abig. or
Abi., all through the last three acts, for Fletcher has noticed that the
abbreviation Young, for her, occurring by the side of Young Lo. for
another character, Young Loveless, is confusing. But Beaumont, who
revised the first two acts, has been less careful than his wont, for he
occasionally retains the Young., which stood for the name by which he
always thought of the waiting-woman.

Beaumont's Mistress Younglove of the earlier scenes is vividly vulgar
and amorous. Fletcher takes her up and turns her into a commonplace
stage lecher in petticoats; but Beaumont, in the fifth act, restores her
to womanhood by giving her something of a heart. The Scornful Lady of
Beaumont's scenes is self-possessed and many-sided, introspective and
capable of affection. In Fletcher's hands she is shrewd and witty but
evidently constructed for the furtherance of dramatic business. The
steward, Savil, of Beaumont's Act I, appears not only to be honest but
to be designed with a view to a leading part in the complication; in Act
II, 2, Fletcher reduces him to drunkenness and servility, with slight
regard to the possibilities of character and plot. The brisk but
mechanical movement of the action and the stagey characterization and
more animated scenes are Fletcher's; also the manoeuvers directed
against the Lady's attitude of scorn, except that by which she is
overcome. Thorndike calls this comedy "perhaps the best representation
of the collaboration" of these dramatists in that kind. If this is the
best of which they were capable in that kind, it is as well that they
did not produce more. This was written after Beaumont had retired to
Sundridge Place, and was giving very little attention to play-writing.
It was, however, a very popular play; frequently acted before
suppression of the theatres, and in the decade succeeding the
Restoration when it was several times witnessed by Pepys. Later, it was
acted by Mrs. Oldfield; and, as _The Capricious Lady_ (an alteration by
W. Cooke), with Mrs. Abington in the heroine's part, it held the stage
as late as 1788--some six revivals in all. But, as Sir Adolphus Ward
says, it is "coarse both in design and texture, and seems hardly
entitled to rank high among English comedies." It undoubtedly suggested
ideas for Massinger's tragicomedy, _A Very Woman_, licensed 1634, but in
which Fletcher may have had a share; and for Sir Aston Cockayne's _The
Obstinate Lady_ of 1657.[253]


FOOTNOTES:

[245] Murray, _Eng. Dram. Comp._, I, 153; Warwick Bond, _Variorum Ed.
of B. and F._, I, 359.

[246] _Chr. Eng. Dr._, I, 181.

[247] See Bond, _Variorum, B. and F._, I, 417; and references as given
there, and by Dyce, to _The Famous History of Sir Thomas Wyatt, The
Captain_, and other plays.

[248] See S. R. Gardiner, _History of England_, Vol. II (1607-1616),
pp. 165, 218, 225, 247, 255, 316, 321, 324, 327, 368, for this and the
following concerning Sarmiento.

[249] Gardiner, _Prince Charles and the Spanish Marriage_, pp. 6, 7, 69.

[250] All critics agree in assigning I, 1, to Beaumont. They differ
concerning the rest of I and II.

[251] So, also, Fleay, G. C. Macaulay, and Oliphant; Boyle, _N. S. S.
Trans._, XXVI (1886), and Bond, _u. s._, p. 360.

[252] _Variorum_, I, 360.

[253] The best editions of _The Scornful Ladie_ since Dyce's time are
that of R. Warwick Bond, in the _Variorum_, and of Glover and Waller
in the _Camb. Engl. Classics_.



CHAPTER XXVII

THE DRAMATIC ART, PRINCIPALLY OF BEAUMONT


Of the eleven plays, then, from which one may try to draw conclusions
concerning the respective dramatic qualities of Beaumont and Fletcher
during the period of their collaboration, we have found that two, _Loves
Cure_ and _The Captaine_, do not definitely show the hand of Beaumont,
and one, _The Foure Playes_, but the suspicion of a finger. Two, _The
Woman-Hater_ and _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_, are wholly or
essentially of his unaided authorship. The remaining six, _The
Coxcombe_, _Philaster_, _The Maides Tragedy_, _Cupids Revenge_, _A King
and No King_, _The Scornful Ladie_, are the Beaumont-Fletcher plays.
Others in which some critics think that they have found traces of
Beaumont, assuming that in their present form they are revisions of
earlier work, are _Thierry and Theodoret_, _The Faithful Friends_, _Wit
at Severall Weapons_, _Beggers Bush_, _Loves Pilgrimage_, _The Knight of
Malta_, _The Lawes of Candy_, _The Honest Man's Fortune_, _Bonduca_,
_Nice Valour_, _The Noble Gentleman_, _The Faire Maide of the Inne_.
These I have carefully examined, and can conscientiously state that in
no instance is there for me satisfactory evidence of the qualities which
mark his verse and style. When in any of the suspected passages the
verse recalls Beaumont, the style is not his: I find none of his
favourite words, phrases, figures, ideas. When in any such passage a
Beaumontesque hyperbole appears, or an occasional word from his
vocabulary, or a line of haunting beauty such as he might have written,
his metre or rhythm is absent. On the other hand, such passages display
traits never found in him but often found in some other collaborator
with Fletcher, or in some reviser of Fletcher's plays, sometimes
Massinger but more frequently Field. The latter dramatist modeled
himself upon Beaumont, but though he caught, on occasion, something of
the master's trick, no one steeped in the style of Beaumont can for a
moment mistake for his even the most dramatic or poetic composition of
Field. As to the scenes in prose supposed by some to have been written
by Beaumont, there is not one that bears his distinctive impress, nor
one that might not have been written by Daborne, Field, or Massinger, or
by any of the half-dozen experts whose industry swelled the output of
the Fletcherian syndicate. There being no evidence of Beaumont in any of
these plays, it is unnecessary to investigate, here, the vexed question
of the original date of each. Suffice it to repeat that concerning none
is there definite or generally accepted information that it was written
before Beaumont's retirement from dramatic activity.

Passing in review, the qualities of Beaumont as a dramatist we find that
in characterization he is, when at his best, true to nature, gradual in
his processes, and discriminating in delineation. He is melodramatic at
times in sudden shifts of crisis; but he is uniformly sensitive to
innocence, beauty, and pathos,--contemptuous of cowardice, braggadocio,
and insincerity,--appreciative of fidelity, friendship, noble affection,
womanly devotion, self-sacrifice, and mercy, of romantic enterprise, and
of the virile defiance of calumny, evil soliciting, and tyranny. In the
delineation of lust he is frankly Elizabethan rather than insidiously
Jacobean. He portrays with special tenderness the maiden of pure heart
whose love is unfortunately placed too high, a Bellario, Euphrasia, or
Urania,--or crossed by circumstance, a Viola, Arethusa, Aspatia,
Panthea. He distinctively appropriates Shakespeare's girl-page; under
his touch her grace suffers but slight diminution, and that by excess of
sentimentality rather than by lack of individual endowment. His
love-lorn lasses are integral personalities. No one, not maintaining a
thesis, could mistake Viola with her shrewd inventiveness and sense of
humour for Arethusa, or Arethusa with her swift despairs for Bellario,
or Bellario with her fearlessness and noble mendacity for the
countrified Urania, or any of them for the lachrymose Aspatia, or the
full-pulsed Panthea. I find them as different each from the other as all
from the tormenting Oriana or that seventeenth century Lydia Languish,
Jasper's mock-romantic Luce.

His most virile characters are not the tragic or romantic heroes of the
plays, but the blunt soldier-friends. It has been said, to be sure, that
"there is scarcely an individual peculiarity among them."[254] But
Mardonius never deserts his King, Melantius does. And neither the
Mardonius nor the Melantius of Beaumont has the waggish humour of
Beaumont's Dion. His romantic heroes, on the other hand, are not so
distinct in their several characteristics; Amintor, Philaster, Leucippus
are generous, impulsive, poetic, readily deluded, undecided, and in
action indecisive. The differentiation between them lies in the dramatic
motive. Of Amintor the mainspring is the doctrine of the divinity of
kings; he cannot be disloyal even to the king who has duped him and made
of him a "fence" for his wife's adultery. Of Leucippus the mainspring is
filial piety--disloyalty would mean surrendering his father to an
incestuous and vengeful woman. Of Philaster the mainspring is the duty
of revolt for the recovery of his ancestral throne. In _Philaster_ and
_Cupid's Revenge_ Beaumont's tyrants are sonorific yet shadowy forms;
but the king of the _Maides Tragedy_ is a thoroughly visualized monster,
and Arbaces in _A King and No King_ stands as an epitome of
progressively developed, concrete personality, absolutely distinct from
any other figure on Beaumont's stage. In the construction of Evadne and
Bacha a similar skill in evolution and individualization is displayed.
The latter is an abnormality grown from lust to overweening ambition;
the former never loses our sympathy: in her depravity there is the seed
of conscience; through shame and love she wins a soul; the crime by
which at last she would redeem herself leaves her no longer futile but
half-way heroic; and her pleading for Amintor's love, her self-murder,
fix her in memory among those squandered souls that have known no
happiness--whose misery or whose shame is merged and made beautiful in
the pity of it all.

Of his braggarts and poltroons Beaumont is profuse: the best are Bessus
and Calianax, so far as they have not been reduced to horse-play by
another hand. For Pharamond we are indebted as much to Fletcher as to
Beaumont. The Jonsonian humours of Beaumont's braggarts, excellent as
they may be, are not more clearly marked nor better drawn than those of
many of his other characters, the misogynist, the retributive Oriana,
and the gourmand-parasite, in his youthful comedy of _The Woman-Hater_,
or the devil-may-care Merrythought, Luce, the grocer and his wife, and
in fact every convulsing caricature in his matchless _Knight of the
Burning Pestle_. Of Beaumont's effectiveness in satire and burlesque,
enough has already been said. His laughter is genial but not uproarious:
he chuckles; he lifts the eyebrow, but seldom sneers. With the Gascon he
vapours; with the love-lorn languishing, simpers; with the heroic
Captain of Mile End, whiffles and--tongue in cheek--struts and throws a
turkey-step; with the jovial roisterer he hiccoughs and wipes his mouth.
Homely wit, bathos, and the grotesque he fixes as on a film, and makes
no comment; fustian he parodies; affectation he feeds with banter. For
the inflated he cherishes a noiseless, most exiguous bodkin.

As to the matter of technique we have observed that the clear and
comprehensive expositions of the joint-plays are generally
Beaumont's,--for instance, those of _The Maides Tragedy_, _Philaster_,
_King and No King_, and _The Scornful Ladie_; that in the tragedies and
tragicomedies the sensational reversals of fortune, as well as the
cumulative suspenses and reliefs of the closing scenes, are in nearly
all cases his; and that in the tragicomedies the shifting of interest
from the strictly tragic and universal to the more individual--pathetic,
romantic, and comic--emotions, is also his. The conviction of Evadne by
her brother is an exception: that is the work of Fletcher; but her
contrition in the presence of Amintor is again Beaumont's. What he was
capable of in romantic comedy is shown by his '_Ricardo and Viola_'
episode. He cared much more for romance than for intrigue; and he found
his romance in persons of common life as readily as among those of
elevated station. In his share of the comedies of intrigue he shows, as
elsewhere, that he was capable of Elizabethan bubukles, but ludicrous
not lecherous. Above all, he delighted in interweaving with the romantic
and sentimental that which partook of the pastoral, the pathetic, and
the heroic. And we have noticed that, through the heroic and
melodramatic, his more serious plays pass into the atmosphere of court
life and spectacular display.

As for Fletcher's share in the dramas written in partnership with
Beaumont, little need be said by way of summary. He bulks large in the
comedies of intrigue, _The Scornful Ladie_ and _The Coxcombe_; and
especially in the sections of plot that are carnal, trivial, or
unnatural. He is in them just what he is in his own _Monsieur Thomas_
and his pornographic _Captaine_--in the latter of which, if Beaumont had
any share at all it is unconvincing to me, save possibly as regards the
one appalling scene of which I have spoken some five chapters back. To
the tragedies and "dramatic romances" or tragicomedies Fletcher did not
contribute one-third as much as his co-worker. As in the murder-scene of
_The Maides Tragedy_ he displays the dramaturgy of spectacular violence,
so in the scene between Melantius and Evadne, the power of dramatic
invective. But his aim is not the furtherance of interest by the dynamic
unfolding of personality, or by the propulsion of plot through interplay
of complicated motives or emotions, it is the immediate captivation of
the spectator by rapidity and variety: by brisk, lucid, and witty
dialogue, by bustle of action and multiplicity of conventional device,
as in _Cupids Revenge_. Few of his scenes are vital; most are clever
histrionic inlays, subsidiary to the main action, or complementary and
explanatory, as in _Philaster_ and _A King and No King_. His characters
move with all the ease of perfect mechanism; but they are made, not
born. It follows that, in the more serious of the joint-dramas, the
principal personages are much less indebted to his invention than has
ordinarily been supposed. In the comedies of intrigue, on the other
hand, conventional types of the stage or of the theatre-going London
world, especially the fashionable and the Bohemian provinces thereof,
owe their existence chiefly to him. Blackguards, wittols, colourless
tricksters, roaring captains, gallants, debauchees, lechers, bawds,
libidinous wives, sophisticated maidens who preen themselves with
meticulous virtue but not with virtuous thoughts, all these people the
scenes which Fletcher contributed to the joint-comedies. And some of
them thrust their faces into the romantic plays and tragedies as well.
Fletcher's most important contribution to the drama, his masterly and
vital contribution, is to be found in his later work; and of that I have
elsewhere treated,[255] and shall have yet a word to say here.

Of the Beaumont-Fletcher plays the distinctive dramaturgy as well as the
essential poetry are Beaumont's, and these are worthy of the praise
bestowed by his youthful contemporary, John Earle:

    So new, so fresh, so nothing trod upon,
    And all so born within thyself, thine own.

_The Maske_, _The Woman-Hater_, and _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_
should appear in a volume bearing Beaumont's name. And for the
partnership of Beaumont and Fletcher, perhaps, some day,

    Some publisher will further justice do
    And print their _six_ plays in one volume too.


FOOTNOTES:

[254] Thorndike, _Influence of B. and F._, p. 123.

[255] _The Fellows and Followers of Shakespeare_, Part Two, in
_Representative English Comedies_, Vol. III, now in press.



CHAPTER XXVIII

DID THE BEAUMONT 'ROMANCE' INFLUENCE SHAKESPEARE?


Richard Flecknoe, in his _Discourse of the English Stage_, 1664,
thinking rather of the romantic and ornamented quality of Beaumont and
Fletcher's plays, "full of fine flowers," than of any anticipation in
them of the love and honour of plays of the Restoration, says that they
were the first to write "in the Heroick way." Symonds calls them the
"inventors of the heroical romance." And lately Professor Thorndike[256]
and others have conjectured that the Shakespeare of _Cymbeline_,
_Winter's Tale_, and _The Tempest_ was following the lead of the two
younger dramatists in what is attributed to them as a new style of
'dramatic romance' in his dramas. The argument is that _Philaster_
(acted before October 8, 1610) preceded _Cymbeline_ (acted between April
20, 1610 and May 15, 1611), and suggested to Shakespeare a radical
change of dramatic method, first manifest in _Cymbeline_. And that five
other "romances by Beaumont and Fletcher," _Foure Playes in One_,
_Thierry and Theodoret_, _The Maides Tragedy_, _Cupid's Revenge_ and _A
King and No King_, constituting with _Philaster_ a distinctly new type
of drama, were in all probability acted before the close of 1611, and
similarly influenced the method of _The Winter's Tale_ and _The
Tempest_, also of 1611.

Before discussing the theory of Shakespeare's indebtedness to
_Philaster_ and its "Beaumont-Fletcher" successors, I should like to
file a two-fold protest; first, against the use of the word 'romance'
for any kind of dramatic production, whatever. 'Romance' applies to
narrative of heroic, marvellous, and imaginative content, not to drama.
_The Maides Tragedy_ and _Cupid's Revenge_ are not romances; they are
romantic tragedies. _Philaster_, _A King and No King_, and _Cymbeline_
are, of course, romantic; but specifically they are melodramatic
tragicomedies of heroic cast. _Pericles_, _The Winter's Tale_, and _The
Tempest_ are romantic comedies of marvel or adventure. Nothing is gained
in criticism by giving them a name which applies, in English, strictly
to narrative, or by regarding them as of a different dramatic species
from the romantic dramas of Greene and Shakespeare that preceded them. I
object, in the second place, to the grouping of the six plays said to
constitute "a distinctly new type of drama" under the denomination
"dramatic romances of Beaumont _and_ Fletcher"; for in some of them
Beaumont had no hand, and in others, the most important, Fletcher's
contribution of romantic novelty is altogether secondary, mostly
immaterial. With _Thierry and Theodoret_, for instance, thus loosely
called a "Beaumont-Fletcher romance," it is not proved that Beaumont had
anything to do. The drama displays nothing of his vocabulary, rhetoric
or poetry. It is a later production by Fletcher, Massinger, and probably
one other; and is the only play of this tragic-idyllic-romantic type
attempted by Fletcher after Beaumont had ceased writing. In three of the
_Foure Playes in One_, Beaumont does not appear. He may possibly be
traced in three scenes of _The Triumph of Love_; but with no certainty.
Fletcher, on the other hand, had very little to do with the three great
dramas of sensational romance which form the core of the group in
question, _Philaster_, _The Maides Tragedy_, and _A King and No King_.
As I have shown, he contributed not more than four scenes to
_Philaster_, four to _The Maides Tragedy_, and five to _A King and No
King_. And, with the exception of two spectacularly violent scenes in
_The Maides Tragedy_, his contribution, so far as writing goes, is
supplementary dialogue and histrionic by-play. Whatever is essentially
novel, vital, and distinctive is by Beaumont. To _Cupid's Revenge_
Beaumont's contribution was slighter in volume, but without it the play
would lack its distinctive quality. If we must cling to the misnomer
'romance' for any group of plays which may have influenced Shakespeare's
later comedies, let us limit the group to its Beaumont core, and speak
of the 'Beaumont romance.'

The express novelty in technique of the six arbitrarily selected,
so-called 'Beaumont-Fletcher romances' is supposed to lie in the
dramatic adaptation of certain sensational properties more suitable to
narrative fiction; especially in the attempt to heighten interest by
adding to the legitimate portrayal of character under stress and strain
(as in tragedy), or of character in amusing maladjustment with social
convention (as in comedy), the portrayal of vicissitudes of fortune; and
in the attempt to enhance the thrills appropriate to tragic and comic
appeal by such an amalgamation of the two as shall cause the spectator
to run up and down the whole gamut of emotional sensibility. In the
realm of tragedy the accentuation of the possibilities of suspense,
whether by Beaumont or any other, would be a novelty merely of degree.
_Cupid's Revenge_, and _The Triumph of Death_ (in the _Foure Playes in
One_) could hardly have impressed the author of _Romeo and Juliet_ and
_Hamlet_ as in this respect astounding innovations; and _The Maides
Tragedy_ does not, so far as I can determine, sacrifice the unities of
interest and effect for enhancement and variety of emotional thrill. In
any case, it would be necessary to date _Timon_, _Antony_, and
_Coriolanus_, two or three years later than the fact, if one desired to
prove that any Shakespearian tragedy was influenced by a
Beaumont-Fletcher exaggeration of suspense. Whatever exaggeration may
exist had already been practised by Shakespeare himself. If a
Beaumont-Fletcher novelty influenced Shakespeare, that novelty must have
lain in the transference of tragic suspense to the realm of romantic
comedy with all its minor aesthetic appeals, and it would consequently
be limited to their tragicomedies, _Philaster_ and _A King and No King_.
The tragicomic masques in the _Foure Playes in One_, that of _Honour_
and that of _Death_, are too insignificant to warrant consideration; and
Beaumont had nothing to do with them.

In determining the indebtedness, if any, of _Cymbeline_ to _Philaster_
we lack the assistance of authentic dates of composition. The plays were
acted about the same time,--_Philaster_ certainly, _Cymbeline_ perhaps,
before October 8, 1610. Beaumont and Fletcher's play may have been
written as early as 1609; Shakespeare's also as early as 1609 or 1608:
in fact, there are critics who assign parts of it to 1606. With regard
to the relative priority of _Cymbeline_ and _A King and No King_, we are
more fortunate in our knowledge. The former had certainly been acted by
May 15, 1611; the latter was not even licensed until that year, and was
not performed at Court till December 26. The probabilities are
altogether in favour of a date of composition later than that of
_Cymbeline_.

But that Shakespeare's _Cymbeline_ and his later romantic dramas betray
any consciousness of the existence of _Philaster_ and its succeeding
_King and No King_ has not been proved. Save for the more emphatic
employment of the masque and its accessories of dress and scenic
display, of the combination of idyllic, romantic, and sensational
elements of material, and the heightened uncertainty of dénouement, all
naturally suggested by the demands of Jacobean taste, no variation is
discoverable in the course of Shakespeare's dramatic art. And in these
respects I find no extrinsic novelty, no momentous change--nothing in
_Philaster_ and _A King and No King_ that had not been anticipated by
Shakespeare. _Cymbeline_, _The Winter's Tale_, and _The Tempest_ are but
the flowering of potentialities latent in the _Two Gentlemen of Verona_
and _As You Like It_, _Much Ado About Nothing_ and _Twelfth Night_,
_All's Well That Ends Well_ and _Measure for Measure_--latent in the
story of Apollonius of Tyre, and unavoidable in its dramatization as
_Pericles_, a play that was certainly not influenced by the methods of
_Philaster_. If in his later romantic dramas Shakespeare borrowed any
hint of technique from the Beaumont contribution to the 'romances,' he
was but borrowing back what Beaumont had borrowed from him or from
sources with which Shakespeare was familiar when Beaumont was still
playing nursery miracles of the Passion with his brothers in the
Gethsemane garden at Grace-Dieu. Shakespeare's later comedies are a
legitimate development of his peculiar dramatic art. Beaumont's
tragicomedies, with all their poetic and idyllic beauty and dramatic
individuality, are novel, so far as construction goes, only in their
emphasized employment of the sensational properties and methods
mentioned above. Their characteristic, when compared with that of
Shakespeare's last group of comedies, is melodramatic rather than
romantic. They set, in fine, as did Chapman's _Gentleman Usher_, and
Shakespeare's _Measure for Measure_ and _All's Well that Ends Well_, an
example which, abused, led to the decadence of Elizabethan romantic
comedy.

The resemblance between _Philaster_ and _Cymbeline_, such as it is, is
closer than that between _Philaster_ and the Shakespearian successors of
_Cymbeline_,--_The Winter's Tale_ and _The Tempest_. But the common
features of all these plays, the juxtaposition of idyllic scenes and
interest with those of royalty, the combination of sentimental, tragic,
and comic incentives to emotion, the false accusations of unchastity and
the resulting jealousy, intrigue, and crime, the wanderings of an
innocent and distressed woman in boy's clothing, the romantic
localization, did not appear first in either _Philaster_ or _Cymbeline_.
_Philaster_ and _Cymbeline_ follow numerous clues in the idyllic-comic
of _Love's Labour's Lost_ and _Midsummer-Night's Dream_; in the
idyllic-romantic-pathetic of _Two Gentlemen of Verona_, _As You Like
It_, and _Twelfth Night_; and for that matter in the materials furnished
by Greene, Lodge, Sidney, Sannazzaro, Montemayor, Bandello, Cinthio and
Boccaccio; and in the romantic and tragicomic fusion already attempted
in _Much Ado_, _All's Well_, and _Measure for Measure_. For the
character and the trials of Imogen, Shakespeare did not require the
inspiration of a Beaumont. He had been busied with the figure of Innogen
(as he then called her) as early as 1599; for in the 1600 quarto of
_Much Ado_ she appears by sheer accident in a stage direction as the
wife of the Leonato of that play. He had been using the sources from
which _Cymbeline_ is drawn,--Holinshed and Boccaccio, and that early
romantic drama, _Fidele and Fortunio_,--before _Philaster_ was written.
And it is much more likely that the Belarius of Shakespeare and the
Bellario of Beaumont were both suggested by the Bellaria of Greene's
_Pandosto_, than that Shakespeare borrowed from Beaumont. Nor is
Shakespeare likely to have been indebted to Beaumont's example for the
sensational manner of the dénouement in _Cymbeline_--the succession of
fresh complications and false starts by which suspense is sustained.
These are precisely the features that distinguish those scenes of
_Pericles_ which by the consensus of critics are assigned to
Shakespeare; and _Pericles_ was written by 1608, at least as early as
_Philaster_, and in all probability earlier. In his story of Marina,
Shakespeare is merely pursuing the sensational methods of _Measure for
Measure_ and anticipating those of _The Winter's Tale_. In general, the
plot lies half-way between the tragicomic possibilities of the _Comedy
of Errors_, _Twelfth Night_, _All's Well_, and _Measure for Measure_,
and the romantic manipulation of _Cymbeline_ and the later plays.

In fine, there is closer resemblance between _Cymbeline_ and half a
dozen of Shakespeare's earlier comedies, than between _Cymbeline_ and
_Philaster_; and it might more readily be shown that the author of
_Philaster_ was indebted to those half-dozen plays, than Shakespeare to
_Philaster_. The differences between the Beaumont 'romances' and
Shakespeare's later romantic comedies are in fact more vital than the
similarities. In _Philaster_, _The Maides Tragedy_, and _A King and No
King_ the central idea is of contrast between sentimental love and
unbridled lust, and this gives rise to misunderstanding, intrigue, and
violence. In Shakespeare's later comedies the central motive is
altogether different: it is of disappearance and discovery. The
disappearance is occasioned by false accusation or conspiracy. In
_Pericles_, _Cymbeline_, and _The Winter's Tale_, the dramatic interest
revolves about the pursuit of a lost wife or child, the wanderings and
trials of the heroine, and her recovery;[257] in _The Tempest_, about
the disappearance and discovery of the ousted Duke and his daughter.
There is no resemblance between Beaumont's love-lorn maidens in page's
garb pursuing the unconscious objects of their affection and
Shakespeare's joyous girls and traduced wives. Nor is there in
Shakespeare's later comedies any analogue to the sensual passion of the
'Beaumont and Fletcher romances,' to their Bachas, Megras, and Evadnes,
their ultra-sentimental Philasters, their blunt soldier-counselors and
boastful poltroons. Pisanio and Cloten have respectively no kinship with
Dion and Pharamond. What appears to be novel in _Pericles_ and its
Shakespearian successors, the somewhat melodramatic dénouement, is, as I
have said, but the modification of the playwright's well-known methods
in conformity with the contemporary demand for more highly seasoned
fare. But, in essence, the dramatic careers of Imogen and Hermione, are
no more sensational than those of their older sisters, Hero, Helena, and
Isabella. And what is most evidently not novel with Shakespeare in his
later romantic comedies,--the consistent dramatic interaction between
crisis and character,--is precisely what the 'Beaumont-Fletcher
romances' do not always possess. Beaumont's characterization at its
best, with all its naturalness, compelling pathos, poignancy, and
abandon is lyrical or idyllic rather than dramatic; Fletcher's is
expository and histrionic--of manners rather than the man.

Beaumont did not influence Shakespeare. And if not Beaumont, then
certainly not Fletcher; for in the actual composition of the core of the
so-called 'Beaumont-Fletcher romances' Fletcher's share was altogether
subordinate; and since after the dissolution of the partnership he
attempted but one romantic tragic drama of that particular kind,
_Thierry and Theodoret_,--and that a clumsy failure,--it must be
concluded that in the designing of those 'romances' his share was even
less significant. But to appreciate the contribution of Beaumont to
Elizabethan drama, and his place in literary history, it is fortunately
not necessary to assume that he diverted from its natural course the
dramatic technique of a master, twenty years his senior and for twenty
years before Beaumont began to write, intimately acquainted with the
conditions of the stage,--the acknowledged playwright of the most
successful of theatrical companies and, in spite of changing fashions,
the most steadily progressive and popular dramatic artist of the early
Jacobean period. With regard to Beaumont it is marvel sufficient, that
between his twenty-fifth and his twenty-eighth year of age he should
have elaborated in dramatic art, even with the help of Fletcher, so
striking a combination of preceding models, and have infused into the
resulting heroic-romantic type such fresh poetic vigour and verve of
movement.


FOOTNOTES:

[256] _The Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Shakespeare_, 1901.
See M. W. Sampson's critique in _J. Ger. Phil._, II, 241.

[257] See Morton Luce, _Hand Book to Shakespeare's Works_, p. 338.



CHAPTER XXIX

CONCLUSION


Beaumont's poetic virtues are his peculiar treasure; but the dramatic
method of his heroic-romantic plays lent itself lightly to imitation and
debasement. Not so much _The Maides Tragedy_ and _A King and No King_,
which respect the unities of interest and effect, as _Philaster_, _The
Coxcombe_, and _Cupid's Revenge_, to which Fletcher's contribution of
captivating theatrical 'business' and device was more considerable. Some
of these plays, and some of Shakespeare's, too, and of Marston's, and
Chapman's, and Webster's, paved the way for the heroic play of the
Restoration--a melodramatic development of tragicomedy and sentimental
tragedy, in which philandering sentiment, strained and histrionic
passion, took the place of romantic love and virile conflict,--a drama
in which an affected view of life tinged crisis and character alike, an
unreasoning devotion to royalty or some other chivalric ideal obscured
personal dignity and moral responsibility, and the thrill of surprise
dissipated the catharsis, proper to art, whether tragic or comic.

Upon the future of the comedy of intrigue and manners, Beaumont
exercised no distinctive influence. In plays like _The Coxcombe_ and
_The Scornful Ladie_, the genius of Fletcher dominated the scenes of
lighter dialogue and comic complication. And it is through comedies of
intrigue and manners written by Fletcher alone or in company with
others, especially Massinger, that Fletcher's individual genius
exercised most influence on the subsequent history of the drama. The
characteristics which won theatrical preëminence for his romantic
comedies, heroic tragicomedies and tragedies, written after the
cessation of Beaumont's activity, were a Fletcherian vivacity of
dialogue, a Fletcherian perfection of 'business,' and a Fletcherian
exaggeration of the tragicomic spirit and technique of which, in the
days of the Beaumont-Fletcher partnership, Beaumont had availed himself
but which he, still, by virtue of his critical faculty, had held
somewhat in restraint.

From the time of Prynne's _Histriomastix_, 1633, there have been critics
who have pointed to the gradual deterioration of the stage which,
beginning, say some, with plays of Shakespeare himself, continued
through Beaumont and Fletcher to the drama of the Restoration. Flecknoe,
Rymer, Coleridge, Lamb, Swinburne, Ward, have commented upon phases of
the phenomenon. And, recently, one of our most judicious contemporary
essayists has in a series of articles developed the theme.[258] I
heartily concur with the scholarly and well-languaged editor of _The
Nation_, in many of his conclusions concerning the general history of
this decline; and I have already in this book availed myself with profit
of some of his suggestions. I agree with him that the downfall of
tragedy began when "the theme was altered from a single master passion
to a number of loosely coördinated passions, thus relaxing the rigidity
of tragic structure and permitting the fancy to play more intimately
through all the emotions"; that this degeneration may be traced to the
time "when ecclesiastical authority was broken by scepticism and
knowledge, and the soul was left with all its riches of imagination and
emotion, but with the principle of individual responsibility discredited
and the fibre of self-government relaxed"; that "the consequences may be
seen in the Italy of the sixteenth century"; and that "the result is
that drama of the court which, besides its frequent actual indecency, is
at heart so often non-moral and in the higher artistic sense
incomprehensible." But when he ascribes this alteration of the theme of
tragedy from a single master passion to a number of "loosely coördinated
passions" to our "twin dramatists," and cites as his example _The Maides
Tragedy_ in which, as he sees it, we have "but a succession of womanly
passions, each indeed cunningly conceived and expressed, but giving us
in the end nothing we can grasp as a whole and comprehend";--and says
that Evadne is "no woman at all, unless mere random passionateness can
be accounted such," I shake my head in sad demurrer. First, because, as
I have tried to show above, Evadne is anything but an incomprehensible
embodiment of unmotived passions, and _The Maides Tragedy_ anything but
a "loosely coördinated" concern, and secondly, because I disfavour this
attribution of the decadence of tragedy, or of comedy, for that matter,
to our _twin_ dramatists. To substantiate such a charge it would be
incumbent upon the critic to prove not only that the decadence is
indubitably visible in the joint-work of Beaumont and Fletcher, but that
it is specifically visible in Beaumont's, as in Fletcher's, contribution
to that work, and also, that it was not already patent in the dramatic
productions of their seniors; that it was not patent in Heywood's
_Royall King and Loyall Subject_, for instance; in the "glaring colours"
of Chapman's _Bussy D'Ambois_, and in his _Gentleman Usher_ with its
artificial atmosphere of courtly romance, its melodramatic reverses and
surprises, its huddling up of poetic justice; in the sensational
devices, passionate unrealities and sepulchral action of Marston's
_Malcontent_, the sophistical theme and callous pornography of his
_Dutch Courtezan_, and in the inhuman imaginings of his _Insatiate
Countess_; that it was not patent in the heartless irresponsibility and
indecency of Middleton, and in the inartistic warping of tragic
situations to comic solutions that characterize his early romantic
plays; that it was not patent in the poisonous exhalations, the
wildering of sympathy, and the disproportioned art that characterize the
_White Devil_ of their immediate contemporary, John Webster.

The decadence was hastened by Fletcher; but not in any distinctive
degree by Beaumont. I second Mr. More's commendation of Prynne's
"philosophic criticism of 1632 that 'men in theatres are so far from
sinne-lamenting sorrow, that they even delight themselves with the
representations of those wickednesses,'" but I deplore the application
of that criticism to _Beaumont_ and Fletcher, as that "_they_ loosed the
bonds of conduct and left human nature as a mere bundle of
irresponsibilities."

Many of Fletcher's excesses and defects not only in the plays written
with Beaumont, but in plays written after his death, have been
conferred from the day of Flecknoe to the present upon Beaumont. There
is very little "sinne-lamenting sorrow" in the _Valentinian_ of
Fletcher, or of Fletcher and Massinger, and very little in Fletcher's
_Wife for a Month_; but in many of Beaumont's scenes in _The Maides
Tragedy_, and _A King and No King_, and _The Coxcombe_ the genuine
accents of "sinne-lamenting sorrow" are heard. Fletcher certainly
"loosed the bonds of conduct and left human nature as a mere bundle of
irresponsibilities," but not Beaumont. Let the reader turn to that
poet's scenes in the joint-plays (two-thirds of the great ones) as I
have indicated them, or to what I have unrolled of Beaumont's mental
habit, and judge for himself.[259]

The concession of the essayist from whom, as a representative of
enlightened modern opinion upon the subject, I have been quoting,--that
"as Fletcher's work stands, he may appear utterly devoid of conscience,
a man to whom our human destinies were mere toys," I hail with delight,
although I think that Fletcher the man had more honest ideals than
Fletcher the dramatist. But, as a critic, I resent the surmise that
Fletcher "was by nature of a manlier, sounder fibre than Beaumont." In
the heroic-romantic comedy, _The Humorous Lieutenant_, Fletcher
displays, indeed, as Mr. More says, "a strain almost like that of
Shakespeare, upon whom he manifestly modelled himself in everything
except Shakespeare's serious insight into human motives." But does that
play reveal anything of manlier, sounder fibre than Beaumont's _A King
and No King_?

Written in 1619 _The Humorous Lieutenant_ has enduring vitality, though
not because of its tragicomic presupposition; for the wars and rumours
of war are rhetorical or humorous, the devilish design of the King upon
the chastity of the heroine is predestined to failure,--and the
announcement of her death, but a dramatic device which may impose upon
the credulity of her noble lover but not upon the audience. In the MS.
of 1625 it is styled "a pleasant comedie"; and such it is, of 'humour'
and romantic love, upon a background of the heroic. It is Fletcher's
best comedy of the kind; one of the best of the later Shakespearian age.
The conception of the Lieutenant, whose humour is to fight when he is
plagued by loathsome disease and to wench when he is well, is not
original, nor is the character of the hero Demetrius; but in the
elaboration Fletcher has created these characters anew, has surrounded
them with half a dozen other figures no less life-like, and has set them
in a plot, cunningly welded of comic, sentimental, and martial elements,
and captivatingly original. Though the interest is partly in a wanton
intrigue, and the mirth grossly carnal even when not bawdy, I think that
the objectionable qualities are, for almost the only time in Fletcher's
career in comedy, not ineradicable. The wondrous charm, "matchless
spirit," vivacity, and constancy of Celia render the machinations of the
procuress, Leucippe, and her "office of concealments" futile,--so much
dramatic realism to be accentuated or mitigated at the will of the stage
manager;--and the alluring offers of the king are but so many weapons
for his own defeat. If the Lieutenant were not an indissoluble compound
of hero, swashbuckler, shirker, and "stinkard," I fear, indeed, that he
would lose his savour. But the love of Rabelaisian humour is, after all,
ingrained in the male of the species, and if the license be not
nauseating it is not necessarily damnable. This boisterous, pocky rascal
who "never had but two hours yet of happiness," and who courts the
battlefield to save him "from the surgeon's miseries," held the stage
from the time of Condel, Taylor, and Lowin, to that of Macready and
Liston, and there is no reason why his vitality should not be perennial.
There are few more laughable scenes in farcical literature than those in
which, having drained a philtre intended to make Celia dote upon the
King, the Lieutenant imagines himself to be a handsome wench of fifteen,
wooes the King most fatuously, even kisses the royal horses as they pass
by. The meeting and the parting, the trials and the reunion, of Celia
and Demetrius constitute the most convincing and attractive
romantic-pathetic love-affairs in Jacobean drama since Shakespeare had
ceased to write. Indeed, this "perilous crafty," spirited, "angel-eyed"
girl "too honest for them all" who so ingeniously and modestly shames
the lustful monarch and wins her affianced prince is not unworthy of
the master. Nor is Demetrius. The play contains many genuinely poetic
passages, and some of those lines of meteoric beauty--"our lives are but
our marches to the grave"--in which Beaumont abounded, and that Fletcher
too rarely coined. With all the rankness of its humour, the play has
such literary and dramatic excellence that one cannot but regret the
infrequency with which Fletcher produced that of which he was capable.

But even this best of Fletcher's heroic-dramatic plays contains, as Mr.
More has observed, "one of those sudden conversions which make us wonder
whether in his heart he felt any difference between a satyr-like lust
and a chaste love--the conversion of the lecherous old king." I grant
Fletcher's surpassing excellence in comedy, especially the comedy of
manners and intrigue as, for instance, _The Chances_ and the _Rule a
Wife and Have a Wife_, and I have elsewhere acknowledged his supremacy
after Shakespeare in that realm. But we are now considering not that
kind of composition or its technique, but the fibre which might be
expected to show itself in compositions involving the element of
seriousness. _The Humorous Lieutenant_ is of that kind,--it is called a
tragicomedy by some. Has it one tithe of the serious insight into human
life of any of Beaumont's plays involving ethical conflict?

Inquiring further into the fibre of Fletcher, let us pass in brief
review another play, a genuine tragicomedy this time, _A Wife for a
Month_, written the year before he died, of whose heroine Mr. More says
that "from every point of view, ethical and artistic, she is one of the
most finely drawn and truest women in the whole range of English drama."
The complication, here, assuredly affords opportunity for the display of
sound and manly fibre; and the tragicomedy is instructive in more ways
than one: it illustrates Fletcher's skill in construction and his
disregard of probability; his sense of moral conflict and his
insensibility to moral beauty; his power to conceive characteristic
situations and his impotence to construct natural characters; his
capability of noble sentiment and poetic expression and his beastly
perverseness of fancy, his prostitution of art to sordid sensationalism.
The story of the cumulative torments to which a lustful usurper subjects
the maiden, Evanthe, whom he desires, and Valerio whom she loves, is
graphically estimated by one of the _dramatis personae_,--"This tyranny
could never be invented But in the school of Hell: earth is too
innocent." Beside it Zola's _L'Assommoir_ smells sweet, and a nightmare
lacks nothing of probability. Ugly, however, as the fundamental
assumption is: namely, that the tyrant should permit a wedding on
condition that at the end of a month the husband shall suffer
death,--and with provision that meanwhile the honeymoon shall be
surrounded with restriction more intolerable than death itself; and
incredible as is the contrivance of the sequel,--kept a-going by the
suppression of instinct and commonsense on the part of the hero, and
withheld from its proper tragic conclusion by miraculous cure, an
impossible conversion, and an unnatural clemency,--the plot is after all
deftly knit, and the interest sustained with baleful fascination. But it
would be difficult to instance in Jacobean drama a more incongruous
juxtaposition of complication morally conceived, and execution callously
vulgarized, than that offered by the scene between Valerio and Evanthe
on their wedding-night. In the corresponding scene of _The Maides
Tragedy_ (II, 1), Beaumont had created a model: Amintor bears himself
with dignity toward his shameless and contemptuous bride. But in
Fletcher's play it is this "most finely drawn and truest woman" that
makes the advances; and she makes them not only without dignity, but
with an unmaidenly persistence and persuasiveness of which any abandoned
'baggage' or Russian actress of to-day might be ashamed. And, still, the
dramatist is never weary of assuring us that she is the soul of "honour
mingled with noble chastity," and clad in "all the graces" that Nature
can give. In the various other trying situations in which Evanthe is
placed it is requisite to our conviction of reality that she be the
"virtuous bud of beauty": but the tongue of this "bud" blossoms into
billingsgate, she swears "something awful," and she displays an
acquaintance with sexual pathology that would delight the heart even of
the most rabid twentieth-century advocate of sex-hygiene for boys and
girls in coëducational public schools.

Two or three of the characters are nobly conceived and, on occasion,
contrive to utter themselves with nobility. Valerio achieves a poetry
infrequent in Fletcher's plays when he says of the shortness of his
prospective joys:

    "A Paradise, as thou art, my Evanthe,
    Is only made to wonder at a little,
    Enough for human eyes, and then to wander from,"--

and when he describes the graces of spiritual love. And the Queen's
thoughts upon death, though melodramatic, have something of the dignity
of Beaumont's style. But the minds of the principal personages reflect
not only the flashing current but the turbid estuaries of Fletcher's
thought. The passion, save for Valerio's, is lurid, and the humour
latrinal. To sketch the bestial even in narrative, however fleeting, is
inartistic; to fix it on canvas is offensive; to posture it upon the
stage is unpardonable. The last is practically what Fletcher has done
here; and the wonder is that he appears to think that he is justifying
virtue.

No; Fletcher had not the fibre of Beaumont even when he was writing with
him; and he did not achieve "a manlier, sounder fibre," after Beaumont
had ceased, and he had swung into the brilliant orbit which he rounded
as sole luminary of the stage.

I object again,--and the reader who has followed the exposition of the
preceding pages will, I hope, object with me,--to the dictum of a German
writer of this latter day, that the reason of the degeneracy of
_Beaumont_ and Fletcher, ethically, "seems to lie in the narrowing of
the drama from a national interest to the flattery of a courtly caste."
Mr. More opines that such an explanation should not be pressed too far;
and he suggests that one reason why "we are unable to comprehend many of
the persons upon the stage of Beaumont and Fletcher" is that we are
similarly unable to comprehend "the more typical men and women who were
playing the actual drama of the age." So far as Fletcher's _dramatis
personae_ are concerned, there is truth in this; but why couple Beaumont
with him? If you omit a character or two in _The Woman-Hater_, which was
a youthful _jeu d'esprit_, you shall find very few incomprehensible
figures among those of Beaumont's creation. And as to the German
mentioned above, Dr. Aronstein, what "flattery of a courtly caste" can
he possibly detect in Beaumont's satire upon favourites in _The
Woman-Hater_; in that burlesque of bourgeois affectations, _The Knight
of the Burning Pestle_ (the Court, too, was still reading the literature
there satirized); or in his Philaster, who was a rebel; or in his
Amintor of _The Maides Tragedy_, whose fate hinged upon his shuffling
subservience to a king, or in the King himself on whom God sends
"unlookt-for sudden death," because of his lust; or in his King Arbaces,
whose general has "not patience to looke on whilst you runne these
forbidden courses"; or in his scenes of _Cupid's Revenge_, which scourge
the vices of the Court; or in his Sir Roger and Mistress Abigail and her
scornful Lady,--or in his Ricardo and Viola, who are just a lover and
his lass, and have never dreamed of Court or King at all?

I wonder whether it may not be possible for us henceforth to give to
Fletcher, and the whole Fletcherian syndicate,--the Massingers,
Fields, Middletons and Rowleys, Dabornes, and the rest,--the praise
and the blame for what they produced, but eliminate Beaumont from the
award. One grows weary of the attribution to him of moral
irresponsibilities and extravagances in art of which he was, in all
that we have learned of his breeding, life, and mental habit the
implicit opponent--very much like his brother Sir John,--and of the
opposite of which he was in his poetic and dramatic output, as I have
minutely demonstrated, the professed exponent. In the broad daylight
of philological science and modern historical criticism we should no
longer regard Beaumont-and-Fletcher as an indivisible pair of Siamese
twins, constructing with all four hands at once the fabric of
fifty-three plays, or even of ten, and tongue-and-grooving the boards
with such diabolic deftness that each artisan shall for ever be
credited with the merits and defects of both. It is, at any rate, time
that the world of scholars,--and then the world of readers may
follow,--render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's.

As for Cæsar, we concede to him, John Fletcher, once for all, as he may
be read in his independent work, by one even running, artistic virtues
numerous and brilliant:[260] gaiety, wit, sprightly dialogue; mastery of
stage-craft,--of all the devices of captivating plot and rattling
'business,' and all the conventions and theatrically legitimate
clap-trap of dramatic types and humours, hallowed by success, adored by
the actor, and darling to the public. We concede skill in the weaving of
romantic complications, captivatingly cunning, and in the construction
of situations irresistibly ludicrous; remarkable inventiveness of
sensational adventure and spectacular scene and attractive setting;
realism at every turn, and an ability to portray manners, varied and
minute. Above all, we admire, and thankfully rejoice in, his smoothness
of mechanism, his lightness of touch, his contrivance and manipulation
of pure comedy--whether of manners or intrigue,--and in his world of
characters, not only laughter-compelling, but endowed with humour
themselves and sworn to the enthronement of the Spirit of Mirth.

On the other hand we read on every page of Fletcher's independent
contribution to English drama what, perhaps, was not the man himself,
but his dramaturgic pose--still for the world the essence of the
Fletcher who ruled it from the stage:[261] we read his "shallowness of
moral nature," his acquiescence in the ethical apathy and cynicism of
the time; his indelicacy; his indifference to, if not irreverence for,
the dramatic proprieties,--his subservience to popular taste and favour
in an age when "the theatre had ceased to be the expression of
patriotism and of the national life and had become the amusement of the
idle gentleman and of such members of the lower classes as were not kept
away by the Puritan disapproval of the stage." We witness with amusement
but with self-reproach his presentation of characters superficial, and
superficially refracting the evanescent vanities and heartless vices of
Jacobean London, as if representative of actual and general life; his
play of emotions feigned or sentimental; his violent contrasts,
unnatural conversions, impossible revolutions of fortune; we discern the
absence of subtle intuition, the failure to effect profound and lasting
impression, the "lack of seriousness and of spiritual poise." We note,
in the heroic-romantic dramas, improbability and extravagance; and, in
the tragedies, such as _Valentinian_, a total disregard of the unity of
interest,--just that muddling of motives of which the editor of _The
Nation_ has written,--and therefore the failure to realize unity of
effect. There has been no moral sequence: the suspense has been
distracted by the variety of emotions stirred. After the hours of strain
to which the spectator has imaginatively subjected himself, the
relief--what Aristotle calls the catharsis--is not forthcoming: because
the intellect has not been clarified but fuddled; the will has not been
braced; the feelings appropriate to tragedy--of pity and of fear--have
not enjoyed an unthwarted, undiverted outflow. The faculties have been
tantalized by manifold, deceptive, agonies of thirst. They should have
been centred in one yearning, conducted to one clear spring of
medicament, and purged by waters of truth, justice, and sympathy. From
Fletcher's _Valentinian_ and _Bonduca_ despite the poetry and the onrush
of the dramatic action there proceeds no calm, "all passion spent"; no
beauty that is peace. And of the tragicomedies, _The Loyall Subject_ and
_A Wife for a Month_, this verdict may be even more readily pronounced.

Such are the excellences and defects of Fletcher. Let us give him all
the glory of the former: but stay from burdening Beaumont, who had
faults of his own, with responsibility for the latter,--with the
unmorality or immorality or extravagant artistry of Fletcher when not
associated with Beaumont. With the vices and virtues of Fletcher's
rocket, bursting in stellar polychrome, Beaumont had nothing to do. To
him justice can be accorded only if he, after these three centuries, be
considered alone,--not for ever coupled with Fletcher, but spoken and
thought of, and known, as dramatist, poet, man of far sounder fibre, and
more virile marrow,--of superior insight, imagination, and art.

Next to Shakespeare, the most essentially poetic dramatist of the early
Jacobean period was Francis Beaumont. He had not the learning of Jonson,
nor the long career, nor the dictatorial position; nor did he attempt to
rival him in comedy, or criticism. But his great poem, _The Maides
Tragedy_ is a thousand times more enthralling and poetic than _Sejanus_
or _Catiline_. Shakespeare always excepted, the only author of tragedy
in that day whose intuitions and lines of astounding splendour at all
compete with, sometimes surpass, Beaumont's is Webster; but the
fascination of his _Duchess of Malfy_ is lurid, miasmatic, stupefying;
that of _The Maides Tragedy_, breathless and heart-breaking.

In the drama of mingled motive, Jonson produced but one masterpiece that
in poetry, valiancy of design, and portrayal of the ridiculous, equals
Beaumont's _A King and No King_,--the _Volpone_; but that is not
tragicomedy, and it drips venom. All that stands between _A King and No
King_ and artistic perfection is the dénouement. If the lovers had died,
their struggle against temptation still continuing, their passion
unfulfilled,--if in the moment of death, they had discovered that their
union were no incest after all, Beaumont would have left behind him
another consummate tragedy. As it is, to find a parallel in Jacobean
literature, outside of Shakespeare, one must turn to Ford's _'Tis a
Pity, She's a Whore_. There again with poetic effulgence the problem of
incest is dramatized; but how half-hearted the struggle, insincere the
moral,--the poetry, purple and unconvincing!

In romantic comedy, between 1603 and 1625, others have produced plays
which from the dramatic point of view equal _Philaster_,--Dekker,
Heywood, Marston, Chapman, Middleton, and Rowley. Not all even of
Shakespeare's romantic comedies come up to _Philaster_ in literary or
dramatic excellence; but only Shakespeare has written what surpasses it.

In the comedy that delineates humours, _The Woman-Hater_, as regards
both poetry and technique, falls below several plays of Dekker, Chapman,
Marston, Middleton, and Jonson, and below the earlier efforts of
Shakespeare; but in characterization it is as good as some of
Shakespeare's. There is no comic figure in _Love's Labour's Lost_, the
_Two Gentlemen of Verona_, or the _Comedy of Errors_, that surpasses
Beaumont's Hungry Courtier; and the humorous dialogue and the prose as a
whole of _The Woman-Hater_ are more natural, and more intelligible to
the modern ear. With Shakespeare's later comedies that in any degree
avail themselves of the 'humours' element, or with Jonson's masterpieces
in this kind, _The Woman-Hater_, of course, can not be placed in
comparison. But if for the nonce, we consider Beaumont's _Knight of the
Burning Pestle_, merely in its 'humours' aspect, we must acknowledge
that its characters are as clear-cut, as typical of the time and as
provocative of laughter as those of _Every Man in his Humour_, which for
all its historic significance most people nowadays read, or might read,
with a yawn; and that it is less artificial in construction, more human
in motive and character, more modern in mirth than _The Silent
Woman_,--even though the object of its ridicule be now _caviare_ to the
general.

To set Beaumont's burlesque as a comedy of manners beside any of
Shakespeare's comedies from 1594 down, would be futile, but of the early
Shakespearian plays mentioned above none shakes more with fun than _The
Knight of the Burning Pestle_, and not one gives us the flavour of
London,--its citizens, their affectations and ideals, their reading,
habits and life,--or of England, that the _Knight_ affords in every
scene. If Shakespeare instead of writing, say, the _Comedy of Errors_
had written _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_, scholars would now be
flooding us with _Variorum_ editions of it, women's literary clubs would
be likening him with fervour to Cervantes, and the public might be so
well educated to its allusions and ideas that our Hebrew emperors of the
theatrical world and arbiters of dramatic vogue would be "starring" it
through the country to the delight of audiences that wisely make a show
of understanding and enjoying everything that Shakespeare wrote. To what
unrealized extent the fate of plays hangs upon the tradition of the
green-room, the actor's whim, the manager's enterprise or ignorance,
and luck, is material for an essay in itself. I am not asserting that
_The Knight of the Burning Pestle_ pretends to poetry, as do all of
Shakespeare's plays; but that for chuckling and side-long mirth, and for
manners and insight into the life of a rarely interesting period, it is
fine comedy, while as burlesque it is equalled by few of the kind in our
language and excelled by none.

It may be true that burlesques lose their flavour with the passing of
their victims. But that does not hold true of the drama of problems
perennially recurring and of emotions common to men of every age and
clime. Of such drama are _The Maides Tragedy_ and _A King and No King_.
They are not antiquated. And I doubt whether they are stronger meat than
some of Shakespeare's plays, all of which are more or less 'arranged'
before they are placed upon the modern stage. As to strong meat, the
difference between the Elizabethan taste and the present Georgian is
more a matter of variety than of flavour. Our forefathers liked their
venison in gobbets, for three hours at a stretch, and washed it down
with a tun or two of sack. The theatre-going public to-day likes its
game just as high, but it varies the meal with other dishes as highly
seasoned,--and washes it down with a foreign-labeled little bottle of
champagne. Our ancestors called a depraved woman by a brief bad name,
and put it into poetry. We denominate her, if at all, by some
euphemistic circumlocution, in prose; but we none the less throng the
theatre to see Dalilah play, and we follow with apparent gusto her
sinuous enticements upon the stage. We rejoice in problem-plays more
erotic, and far more subtly perilous, than those which Shakespeare and
Beaumont beheld. We are of an age of uplift, and meticulous reform. We
would eliminate fornication and adultery; but not from our plays. They
teem with--suggestion. There is nothing neurotic, nothing insidious in
_The Maides Tragedy_ and _A King and No King_. The grave of sin is wide
open; and the spade that digged it stands in plain view, and is called a
spade. On the whole I had rather have the Anglo-Saxon bluntness and
gleaming poetry of the Beaumont than the whitewashed epigram and
miching-mallecho of the twentieth-century play I saw last night. There
is no reason why, properly cut and staged, Beaumont's greatest plays
should not yield delight to-day. And as for the reader why should he not
turn back to "the inexhaustible treasures" of entertainment offered by
these plays. "They were," as says Mr. Paul Elmer More, "they were to the
Elizabethan age what the novel is to ours, and I wonder how many readers
three centuries from now will go back to our fiction for amusement as we
to-day can go back to Beaumont and Fletcher."

I began this book by quoting from an historian of the drama of marked
repute: "In the Argo of the Elizabethan drama--as it presents itself to
the imagination of our own latter days--Shakespeare's is and must remain
the commanding figure. Next to him sit the twin literary heroes,
Beaumont and Fletcher--more or less vaguely supposed to be inseparable
from one another in their works." And also from the last great poet of
the Victorian age: "If a distinction must be made between the Dioscuri
of English poetry, we must admit that Beaumont was the twin of
heavenlier birth. Only as Pollux was on one side a demigod of diviner
blood than Castor can it be said that on any side Beaumont was a poet of
higher and purer genius than Fletcher; but so much must be allowed by
all who have eyes and ears to discern in the fabric of their common work
a distinction without a difference." If I have succeeded in showing that
in the fabric of their common work the distinction between Beaumont and
Fletcher is measured by a wide and clearly visible difference, I shall
be happy. Others, to whom I have repeatedly expressed my indebtedness
even when disagreeing with particulars of their criticism, have cleared
the way. If in this book anything has been added to their services that
may help the world to distinguish these two dramatists not only hand
from hand but mind from mind, and to see Beaumont plain, as I see him in
the long gallery of his contemporaries, I shall be happier still; but
most amply rewarded if, for the future, it may be fittingly recognized
not only that Beaumont was the twin of heavenlier birth--the Pollux, but
why he was. Then, perhaps, the world of sagacious readers may turn from
talking always of Beaumont-and-Fletcher, and protest occasionally and
with well-informed reason in the name of Francis Beaumont alone.


FOOTNOTES:

[258] Mr. Paul Elmer More, _The Nation_, N. Y., Nov. 14, 1912, April
24, 1913, May 1, 1913.

[259] Chapters XXII and XXV, above.

[260] They are well presented by Miss Hatcher in her _John Fletcher_;
and they are again discussed in my forthcoming third volume of
_Representative English Comedies_.

[261] See again Miss Hatcher's work, and G. C. Macaulay, _Francis
Beaumont, A Critical Study_, especially pp. 186-188; and my essay on
_The Fellows and Followers of Shakespeare_ (Part Two) in the volume
mentioned above.



APPENDIX

GENEALOGICAL TABLES



TABLE A.

PLANTAGENET, COMYN, BEAUMONT, AND VILLIERS.


                                                       The
                                                  Earls of Buchan
                                                        |
     Henry III            Agnes, heiress de             |
    of England,           Beaumont in Maine,            |
  b. 1207; d. 1272        m. Louis de Brienne       Alexander
         |                        |                   Comyn
         |                Henry, 1 Baron de             |
       Henry,                 Beaumont,        ==  Alice Comyn
   Earl of Lancaster       fl. 1309; d. 1341
         |                        |
      Alianor        ==    John, 2 Baron de
                               Beaumont,
                               d. 1343
                                  |
                           Henry, 3 Baron de
                              Beaumont,
                          fl. 1363; d. 1370
                                  |
                           John, 4 Baron de
                              Beaumont,
                          fl. 1384; d. 1397
      Thomas,                     |
    Ld. Bardolph           +------+--------------+
         |                 |                     |
         |           Henry, 5 Baron de      Sir Thomas
       Joan,            Beaumont,            Beaumont,
  m. Sir Wm. Philip      d. 1422         m. (1427) Philippe
         |                 |                 Maureward
         |                 |                of Coleorton
         |                 |                     |
     Elizabeth   ==   John, 6 Baron,             |
                      and 1 Viscount             |
                        Beaumont,                |
                         d. 1460                 |
                           |         +-----------+--------------+
                           |         |        Sir John          |
                           |       John       Villiers,        Son
                           |     Beaumont,    d. 1506    (Henry Beaumont,
      +--------------------+      d. 1460        |       d. Towton, 1461?)
      |                    |         |           |              |
      |                    |         |         William         Son
      |                    |         |        Villiers,  (John, fl. 1485?)
    William,             Joan,       |         d. 1558.         |
  2 Visc. and           m. John,     |       |             John Beaumont
  Lord Bardolph,       Lord Lovel    |       |             of Grace-Dieu,
  d. 1511, s. p.           |         |       |            fl. 1529-1554; m.
                           |         |       |              =Elizabeth=
          +----------------+         |       |              =Hastings=
          |                |         |       |                  |
       Francis,          Joan,       |       |                  |
       Viscount      m. Sir Bryan    |       |            Francis, d. 1598
       Lovel, d.       Stapleton     |       |                  |
         1487              :         |       |     +---+---+----+
                           :         |       |     |   |   |    |
                     Present Barons  |       |   Henry |   | Elizabeth
                      de Beaumont    |       |         |   |
                                     |       |       John  |
                                     |       |             |
       +-----------------------------+       |         =Francis=
       |                             |       |         =Beaumont=
  Richard B.                     George B.   |         1584-1616
   d. 1539                           |       |
      |                           William    |
   Nicholas                          |       |
   Beaumont                      Anthony     |
      |                        of Glenfield  |
      +---------------+              |       |
      |               |              |       |
  Sir Henry,     Sir Thomas,         |       |
   d. 1607      of Stoughton,        |       |
      |           d. 1614        Maria, m.   |
  Sir. Thomas,        :      Sir Gen. Villiers
     1622,            :              |
  1 Viscount       Present           |
   Beaumont,       Baronets       George,
   of Swords     of Coleorton     Duke of
                     Hall       =Buckingham=
                                 1592-1628



TABLE B

NEVIL, HASTINGS, BEAUMONT, TALBOT


                  Richard Nevil,
                 Earl of Salisbury
                         |
            +------------+-------+
            |                    |
         Richard,        =Catherine Nevil=  ==    Sir. William,
     Earl of Warwick                            1 Baron Hastings,
            |                                     executed 1483
         +--+-------------+                            |
         |                |                            |
     Isabel,            Anne,                          |
   m. Geo. Duke      m. Richard III                    |
   of Clarence,           +--------------------------+-+-----------+
  bro. of Edw. IV         |                          |             |
         |              Edward,               Sir William,     Anne, m.
     Margaret,      2 Baron Hastings            Hastings     =Geo. Talbot=,
    Countess of         d. 1507                 fl. 1490       4 Earl of
    Salisbury,            |                          |         Shrewsbury
   m. Richard de          +---------------+          |             |
     la Pole              |               |          |          Anne, m.
         |             =George=,     Anne, m. Thos.  |       =Geo. Talbot=,
         |             1 Earl of        Stanley,     |         4 Earl of
         |             Huntingdon,    2 Earl Derby   |         Shrewsbury
         |            c. 1488-1544,                  |             |
         |              m. Anne,                     |          Francis,
     Henry de        dau. of Henry                   |         5 Earl of
     la Pole            Stafford,                    |         Shrewsbury
         |        2 Duke of Buckingham               |             |
         |                |                          |           George,
  Katherine Pole  ==  Francis, 2 Earl                |         6 Earl of
                       of Huntingdon,                |         Shrewsbury
                       1514-1560                     |           d. 1590
                          |                          |             |
       +-------------+----+----------+---------+     |          Gilbert,
       |             |               |         |     |         7 Earl of
  Henry, 3 Earl   George,     Walter, m.      Lady   |         Shrewsbury,
  of Huntingdon   4 Earl,    Joyce Roper      Mary   |          m. Mary
    1539-1595     d. 1604   (aunt of Mrs.   Hastings |         Cavendish,
                     |       Elizab. Vaux)           |        sister-in-law
                     |               |               |           of Anne
                     |        Sir Henry Hastings     |         Pierrepoint
                     |     m. Elizab. dau. of Thos.  |          Beaumont
                  Francis     1 Visc. Beaumont       |             |
                 Hastings,       of Swords           |     +----+--+---+
                  d. 1595                            |     |    |  |   |
                     |                               |  George, |  |   |
          +----------+-------+-------------+         |          |  |   |
          |                  |             |         |       John, |   |
    Henry, 5 Earl,       Catherine,      Edward,     |             |   |
     1586-1643, m.       m. Philip       Captain     |           Mary, |
    Elizab. dau. of      Stanhope,      under Sir    |                 |
  Ferdinando Stanley,     Earl of         Walter     |            Alethea
    Earl of Derby       Chesterfield     Raleigh,    |
                                          1617       |
                                                     |
                                            =Elizabeth Hastings=,
                                                 m. c. 1540
                                              =John Beaumont=,
                                               of Grace-Dieu,
                                            (Master of the Rolls,
                                               1551, d. 1554)
                                                     |
                        +----------------+-----------+
                        |                |           |
                  Francis,          Henry,     Elizabeth,
                c. 1541-1598       d. s. p.    m. William
                the justice                    3 Ld. Vaux
            m. =Anne Pierrepoint=             of Harrowden
                      |                            |
                      |         +------------+-----+--------+
                      |         |            |              |
                      |    Henry Vaux,    Eleanor        Anne Vaux
                      |    d. c. 1590    Brookesby        (_alias_
                      |                  (_alias_       Mrs. Perkins)
                      |                Mrs. Jennings)     fl. 1605
                      |
       +----------+---+----------------------+-----------------+
       |          |                          |                 |
  Sir Henry,  Sir John,                  =Francis=,       Elizabeth, m.
   d. 1605    1583-1627                 1584-1616, m.    Thomas Seyliard,
                  |                     Ursula Isley         of Kent
                  |                          |
      +-----------+---------+            +---+-----+
      |           |         |            |         |
  Sir John,  Francis    Sir Thomas   Elizabeth  Frances
  d. 1644   (a Jesuit)



TABLE C.

BEAUMONT. PIERREPOINT. CAVENDISH, TALBOT.


                                          Sir William Cavendish,
             Sir George                 m. 1541, Elizabeth Hardwick
             Pierrepoint,             (afterwards wife of George Talbot,
              d. 1564                       6 Earl of Shrewsbury)
                 |                               |
          +------+-------+                +------+------+----+----+----+
          |              |                |      |      |    |    |    |
       =Anne=        Sir Henry            |      |      |    |    |    |
    =Pierrepoint,=  Pierrepoint,  ==  =Frances=  |      |    |    |    |
      b. c. 1550;    1546-1615    |  =Cavendish= |      |    |    |    |
    widow of Thos.                |              |      |    |    |    |
  Thorold of Marston;         Robert        Elizabeth,  |    |    |    |
   m. (2) =Francis=         Pierrepoint,    m. Charles  |    |    |    |
     =Beaumont=,             1584-1643,      Stuart,    |    |    |    |
     the Justice,            1 Earl of       Earl of    |    |    |    |
      d. 1598                Kingston,      Lenox, bro. |    |    |    |
          |                 m. Gertrude,     of Henry   |    |    |    |
     +----+----+-----+     g-dau. of Geo.    Darnley    |    |    |    |
     |    |    |     |   Talbot, 6 Earl of      |       |    |    |    |
   Henry  |    |     |      Shrewsbury          |       |    |    |    |
  b. 1581 |    |     |            |     Lady =Arabella= |    |    |    |
          |    |     |            |        =Stuart=     |    |    |    |
        John   |     |            |        cousin of    |    |    |    |
       b. 1583 |     |            |        James I.     |    |    |    |
               |     |            |                 Henry,   |    |    |
           =Francis= |            |                m. Grace  |    |    |
            b. 1584  |            |              Talbot, dau |    |    |
                     |            |               of Geo. 6. |    |    |
                 Elizabeth        |                Earl of   |    |    |
                  b. 1588         |               Shrewsbury |    |    |
                                  |                          |    |    |
           +----------------------+                     William,  |    |
           |                      |                    1 Earl of  |    |
    Henry Pierepoint,     William Pierrepoint         Devonshire, |    |
      1606-1680               1607-1678                 in 1611   |    |
  2 Earl of Kingston,             |                          |    |    |
  1 Marq. Dorchester              |                     William,  |    |
                       Robert, 3 Earl of Kingston;     1588-1679, |    |
                        m. Elizab., dau. of Sir        2 Earl of  |    |
                             John Evelyn              Devonshire; |    |
                                  |                 m. Christiana |    |
          +-----------------------+                    Bruce of   |    |
          |                       |                    Kinloss;   |    |
  William, 4 Earl of      Evelyn, 5 Earl of            Ancestor   |    |
       Kingston            Kingston, 1690          of the present |    |
                          Marq. Dorchester;            Dukes of   |    |
                        Duke of Kingston, 1715        Devonshire  |    |
                                  |                               |    |
            +---------------------+------+                   Charles,  |
            |                            |                 of Welbeck, |
  Mary (Lady Mary Wortley             William,               d. 1617   |
    Montagu) 1689-1762             Viscount Newark                |    |
                                         |                    Sir Wm.  |
                                      Frances,              Cavendish, |
                                  m. Philip Meadows      1592-1676. In |
                                         |               1665, 1 Duke  |
                                      Charles,           of Newcastle  |
                                   1 Earl Manvers,                     |
                                 of Holme-Pierrepoint               Mary,
                                                               m. =Gilbert=
                                                                =Talbot=, 7
                                                                 Earl of
                                                                Shrewsbury
                                                                (d. 1616)
                                                                       |
                                                   +---------------+---+
                                                   |               |
                                                 Mary,         Alethea, m.
                                            m. Wm. Herbert,   Thos. Howard,
                                                3 Earl           2 Earl
                                               Pembroke        of Arundel
                                                                   :
                                                                   :
                                                               Present Dks
                                                               of Norfolk



TABLE D

BEAUMONT, VAUX, TRESHAM, CATESBY


       John Beaumont,
        Grace-Dieu,                      Sir Thomas
        m. Elizabeth        Nicholas,     Tresham,
         Hastings          1 Lord Vaux   Grand Prior,
             |             of Harrowden   Order of
             |               (1524)       St. John,
      +------+                  |          d. 1559
      |      |               Thomas,         |        Anthony
      |      |              the poet,        |        Catesby
   Francis   |             2 Lord Vaux,   John           |
   Beaumont, |               b. 1511     Tresham  ==  Eleanor
   d. 1598   |                  |                 |
      |      |                  |                 +------+
      |      |              =William=,            |      |
      |  =Elizabeth=  ==  =3 Lord Vaux=  == (2) =Mary=   |      Sir Robert
      |  =Beaumont=    |    d. 1595      |     =Tresham= |     Throckmorton
      |                |                 |               |           |
      +-----+    +---+-+----+            |       Sir Thomas      +---+
    John,   |  Henry |      |            |         Tresham  ==  dau. |
  1583-1627 |        |      |            |         d. 1605   |       |
            |        |      |            |                   |      dau.
         Francis     |      |            |     +--------+----+   m. Sir Wm.
        1584-1616    |      |            | =Frances=    |    |    Catesby
                     |      |            | =Tresham=,   |    |       |
                 Eleanor,   |            |    the       |    |       |
                 m. Edward  |            | conspirator, |    |       |
                 Brookesby; |            |   d. 1605    |    |       |
                 fl. 1605   |            |              |    |       |
                            |            |       Elizabeth   |       |
                       =Anne Vaux=       |         m. Ld.    |       |
                      (_alias_ Mrs.      |       Monteagle,  |       |
                        Perkins),        |        bro. of    |       |
                        fl. 1605         |     Mrs. Abington |       |
                                         |                   |       |
        +--------------------------------+              Frances,     |
        |                                |               m. Ld       |
        |            John, 1 Ld.      Ambrose           Stourton     |
        |             Teynham                                        |
        |                |                                     =Robert=
        |                +------------+                        =Catesby=
   George Vaux,          |            |                     the conspirator
     d. 1594, m. =Elizabeth Roper=    |                         d. 1605.
         the Mrs. (Elizabeth) Vaux of |
            the Gunpowder Plot.       |
                    |              Joyce,
       +-------+----+            m. Walter
       |       |    |            Hastings
    Edward,    |    |                 |
  4 Ld. Vaux   |    |            Sir Henry
  c. 1591-1661 |    |            Hastings,
               |    |          m. Elizabeth
        Katherine,  |            Beaumont
        m. Henry    |          of Coleorton
      Nevill, 1 Ld. |
       Abergavenny  |
                    |
                  Mary,
              ancestress of
               the present
                Lord Vaux



TABLE E

FLETCHER, BAKER, SACKVILLE


             Richard
             Fletcher,
             Vicar of                              Sir John Baker,
            Cranbrooke,                            of Sissinghurst,
          fl. 1555-1574                             c. 1490-1558
                 |                                        |
          +------+-----+      John Giffard, of            |
          |            |      Weston-under-Edge           |
     Dr. Giles,    Richard,          |        +-----------+--------+
    the diplomat;  Bp. of            |        |           |        |
    c. 1549-1611   London, m. (2) =Maria=,    |        Cicely      |
          |        d. 1596; m. (1)  widow of  |      m. Richard    |
      +---+--+     Elizabeth   |    Sir =Richard=    Sackville,    |
      |      |     Holland     |          =Baker=   Ld. Buckhurst, |
   Phineas,  |         |   no children    d. 1594     1 Earl of    |
  1582-1650  |         |                      |        Dorset;     |
             |  =John Fletcher=,              |      (1536-1608)   |
             |   the dramatist,               |           |        |
             |     1579-1625                  |        Robert      |
           Giles,                             |       Sackville    |
        c. 1588-1623                          |       2 Earl of    |
                                              |        Dorset,     |
                   +-------------+------------+        d. 1609     |
                   |             |            |           |     Mary, m.
               Grisogone    Sir Richard   Cicely          |  John Tufton,
               m. c. 1595,     Baker     (Blunt)          |  of Hothfield,
               Sir Henry         |                        |  who d. 1567
              Lennard (in    Sir Henry     +--------------+        |
             1611, 12 Lord                 |              |        |
               Dacre, of               Richard         Edward      |
               Chevening             3 Earl of        4 Earl of    |
               and Knole)             Dorset,          Dorset,     |
                                    c. 1588-1624       d. 1652     |
                                                                   |
                                                               Sir John
                                                             Tufton, Bart.,
                                                               d. 1624
                                                                   |
                                                +------------------+
                                                |                  |
                                          Anne Tufton          Nicholas
                                          m. =Francis=        1 Earl of
                                           =Tresham=,          Thanet,
                                          who d. 1605          in 1629



INDEX



INDEX

(_The page-numbers refer to the foot-notes as well as to the main body
of the text._)


  Abington, Mrs., the actress, 377

  Abington (Habington), Mrs., sister of Lord Monteagle, 57

  _Abuses Stript and Whipt_, 135

  actors, lists preceding plays, 229

  _Ad Comitissam Rutlundiae_, 173

  Addison, Joseph, 188

  Aeschylus, 200

  afterthought-parentheses, 265, 350

  _Alchemist, The_, 110, 325, 334, 336, 343

  Alden, R. M., editions of _The Knight_ and _A King and No King_, 110,
      117, 234, 252, 258, 287, 300, 311, 312, 318, 361

  alliteration, 259

  _All's Well that Ends Well_, 79, 115, 390, 391, 392, 393

  _Amadis de Gaule_, 313, 322, 327

  _Amends for Ladies_, 302, 304, 334

  _Anatomy of Melancholy, The_, 186

  Anton, Robert, 328

  _Antony and Cleopatra_, 75, 79, 116, 283, 389

  _Apocrypha, The_, 369

  apothegms, 289

  _Arcadia_, 106, 108, 111, 133, 158, 159

  Ariosto, 34

  Aristophanes, 197, 230

  Aronstein, P., 407

  Ascham, Roger, 23

  Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 10, 23, _et passim_

  Aston, Sir Walter, 166, 167

  _Astrée_, D'Urfé, 89-90, 274

  'Astrophel,' 166

  _As You Like It_, 159, 345, 390, 392

  Aubrey, John, _Brief Lives_, ed., A. Clark, 32, 95, 137, 153, 219


  Bacon, Sir Francis, 35, 36, 37, 125f., 129, 146, _et passim_

  Bacon, Sir Nicholas, and Anthony, 35, 64, 68

  Baker, Sir John of Sissinghurst, Kent, 24, 65ff.;
    Cicely, Countess of Dorset, 66, 69, 70;
    Cicely, Lady Blunt, 69, 70;
    Grisogone, Lady Dacre, 69, 70, 178

  Baker family, 71, 137

  Baker, Sir Richard, 65, 66

  Baker, Richard, the historian, 67, 70

  Bancroft, Bishop, 64, 216

  Bancroft, Thomas, _Two Bookes of Epigrammes and Epitaphs, 1639_, 20

  Bandello, Thomas, 392

  Banke-Side, 95-96, 114, 170

  Barkstead, William, 335

  _Barrons Wars, the_, 42

  Basse, William, 40, 134, 199, 200

  _Battle of Bosworth Field, The_, 184, (22)

  Baudouin, _Le Curieux Impertinent_, 332

  Beau Manor, 10;
    "Beaumanoir," 12

  Beaumont and Fletcher, portraits of, 190-192, 217-219;
    collaboration of (in general), 3-9, 223-416;
    the problem, 225-233;
    critical apparatus, 233-235;
    folios, 225-229, 236-239;
    quartos, 239-241, and under individual plays;
    editions, 217, 234, 244, 271, 318, 324, 338, 349, 359, 361, 368,
        371, 377;
    delimitation of the field, 236-242;
    versification, 243-260;
    diction of Fletcher, 260-277, of Beaumont, 281-290;
    mental habit of Fletcher, 277-280, of Beaumont, 281-290;
    authorship of _Foure Playes_, _Love's Cure_, _The Captaine_, 300-306;
      of the _Woman-Hater_, 73, 307;
      of _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_, 80, 310;
      of _The Coxcombe_, 337;
      of _Philaster_, 345;
      of _The Maides Tragedy_, 349;
      of _Cupid's Revenge_, 359;
      of _A King and No King_, 361;
      of the _Scornful Ladie_, 374;
    influence upon Shakespeare (?) 386, upon the drama, 396;
    Beaumont and Fletcher compared, 399-411

  Beaumont, Anthony, 160

  Beaumont, Barons and Viscounts de, 10-12

  Beaumont's diction, 281ff.

  Beaumont, Elizabeth, Lady Vaux, 15, 46

  Beaumont, Elizabeth, sister of the dramatist, Mrs. Seyliard, 43, 45,
      46, 70, 159, 176, 187

  Beaumont, Elizabeth, daughter of the dramatist, 180, 187

  Beaumont, Frances, posthumous daughter of the dramatist, 187ff.

  Beaumont, Francis, the dramatist:
    his family, early years in Grace-Dieu, Oxford, 10ff.;
    at the Inns of Court, earliest poems, etc., 29ff.;
    the Vaux cousins and the Gunpowder Plot, 46ff.;
    some early plays of, 72ff.;
    period of partnership with Fletcher, 95ff.;
    relations with Shakespeare, Jonson, and others in the theatrical
        world, 114ff., 124ff., 145ff.;
    _The Masque of the Inner Temple_, 124-144;
    the Pastoralists, and other contemporaries at the Inns of Court,
        131-144;
    an intersecting circle of jovial sort, 145-149;
    the Countess of Rutland (Elizabeth Sidney), 150ff.;
    his marriage, death, surviving family, 172ff.;
    personality and contemporary reputation, portraits, 190ff.;
    versification, 246ff., 281ff.;
    stock words, phrases, and figures, 282ff.;
    lines of Inevitable Poetry, 287;
    his mental habit, 291ff.;
    his dramatic art, adaptation, etc., 378ff.;
    Did the Beaumont "romance" influence Shakespeare? 386ff.;
    not a leader in decadence, 396-401;
    Beaumont compared with Fletcher, 401-411;
    and with other dramatists, 411-415

  Beaumont, Francis, his _Poems_, 39, 40, 150ff., 172-174, 183, 230,
      251, 292, 295, 298, 330

  Beaumont, Francis, the Justice, father of the dramatist, 15-19, 21,
      24, 29

  Beaumont, Sir Henry, brother of the dramatist, 16, 18, 29, 44, 45, 99

  Beaumont, Sir Henry, of Coleorton, 19, 160

  Beaumont, Sir John, brother of the dramatist, 16, 18, 21, 22, 25, 26,
      29, 38-40, 42-45, 59-61, 116, 132, 146, 150, 154, 159, 162-164,
      166, 180, 182, 184-186, 195

  Beaumont, John, Master of the Rolls, 12-14, 59-60

  Beaumont, Maria, Lady Villiers, Countess of Buckingham, 19, 160-163

  Beaumont, Sir Thomas, 45, 162

  Beaumont's versification, 246ff.

  Beeston's Players, 314

  _Beggers Bush, The_, 98, 236, 237, 378

  Bell, H. N., 14

  _Bellman of London, The_, 98

  Belvoir Castle, 154

  Berkenhead, John, 208

  Betterton, Thomas, 366

  _Biographia Dramatica, The_, 233

  Birch, _Mem. of Q. Elizabeth_, 68

  Blackfriars Theatre, the, 80, 81, 85, 89, 96, 97, 102, 103, 104, 105,
      114, 119, 122, 136, 179, 207, 314, 316, 317, 319, 342, 343, 368,
      370, 373

  Blackwell's _Treatise on Equivocation_, 53

  Blaiklock, Lawrence, 39, 40, 150, 165, 295

  Blue Boar Inn, 22

  Boas, F. S., ed. of _Philaster_, 349

  Boccaccio, 101, 334, 392

  Bolton, Edmund, 185, 194

  Bond, R. Warwick, 367, 368, 371, 374;
    ed. of _The Scornful Ladie_, 377

  _Bonduca_, 236, 238, 278, 378, 410

  Bosworth, battle of, 22, (184)

  _bouleversements_, 364

  Boyle, R., 234, 252, 254, 300, 302, 308, 374

  Bread-street, 99, 113, 203

  Brett, Cyril, _Drayton's Minor Poems_, 191

  _Bridal, The_, 359

  _Britain's Ida_, Phineas Fletcher, 64

  _Britannia's Pastorals_, 132-144

  Broadgates, 29

  Brome, Richard, 92, 168, 212, 213

  Brooke, Christopher, 38, 119, 136, 145, 147-149

  Brookesby, Bartholomew, 48, 57;
    Edward, 47

  Browne, William, 38, 40, 131-144, 153, 202, 214

  Browning, Robert, 183, 246

  Brydges, Egerton, 233

  Buc, Sir George, 349

  Buckingham, George Villiers, Duke of, 19, 60, 159-164, 185

  Bullen, A. H., art. _John Fletcher_ (D. N. B); gen. editor, _Variorum
      Beaumont and Fletcher_, 203, 234, 271, 272, 312, _et passim_

  Burbadge, Cuthbert, 103, 342, 343

  Burbadge, Richard, 102, 103, 114, 118, 122, 136, 154, 316, 317, 358

  Burre, Walter, 81, 319, 320, 322, 323

  Burton, William, 16, 186

  _Bury-Fair_, 96, 220

  _Bussy D'Ambois_, 399

  Butler, James, Duke of Ormonde, 188


  cadences, conversational and lyrical, 247

  caesurae, 244ff.

  _Cambridge English Classics_, edition of _Beaumont and Fletcher_, 244,
      263-270, _et passim_

  Camden, William, 137, 149, 178, 182

  _Camden Miscellany, The_, 66

  Campion, Father, 46

  _Capricious Lady, The_, 377

  _Captaine, The_, 98, 111, 176, 236, 240, 306, 378, 383

  _Cardenio_ or _Cardenna_, 111, 119

  Carey, Giles, 114, 122, 336

  Carleton, Mistris, 125

  Carr (Ker) Robert, Earl of Somerset, 74, 75, 179, 372

  Cartwright, William, 209, 232

  Casaubon, Isaac, 182

  Catesby, Robert, 49, 50-53, 57, 58

  Catholics, and the "Catholic Cousins" of Beaumont, 46ff., 179

  _Catiline_, 120, 154, 411

  Cavendish, Henry, 17, 24

  Cavendishes, the, 16, 17, 38, 165

  Cavendish, Sir William, first Duke of Newcastle, 165

  _Centurie of Praise_, 200

  Cervantes, see _Don Quixote_

  Challoner, _Missionary Priests_, 16

  Chalmers, A., 185, 233

  Chamberlain, John, 125, 126, 155f.

  Chancery, Inns of, 29, 30, _et passim_;
    and see _Inns of Court_

  _Chances, The_, 64, 211, 230, 236, 243, 244, 263, 267, 268, 279, 403

  Chapel Players, the, 32

  Chapman, George, 85, 86, 87, 98, 102, 116, 122, 124, 125, 132ff., 135,
      142, 154, 182, 189, 194, 198, 200, 202, 203, 214, 317, 328, 329,
      391, 396, 399, 412

  Charles I, 185, _et passim_

  Charles II, 358

  _Charles, Duke of Byron, The Tragedie of_, 317

  Charles, Prince of Wales, 371, 372

  Charnwood Forest, 10, 11, 13, 18, 20, 43, 151, 159

  Chaucer, Geoffrey, 37

  _Chaucer_, Speght's, 24, 178

  Cheapside, 99, 114, _et passim_

  Child, H. H., 43

  _"chorizontes," the_, 9

  _Christ's Victorie_, Giles Fletcher, 64

  Cicely Tufton, see Rutland

  Cinthio, 392

  Clarendon, Lord, 169

  Clark, Andrew, 147, 148, 192

  Cleves wars, the, 368-370, 372, 373

  Clifford, Anne, Countess of Dorset, of Pembroke and Montgomery, 192

  Clifford's Inn, 131

  Clifton, Sir Gervase, 166

  Clifton, Lady Penelope, 165f., 174, 202

  Cockayne, Sir Aston, 168, 219, 226, 228, 233, 377

  Coke, Sir Edward, 52, 58, 148, 162

  Coleorton, 12, 19, 45, 160, _et passim_

  Coleridge, S. T., 5, 397

  Collier, J. P., 102, 220, 233

  Collins, _Peerage of England_, 14, 17, 50, _et passim_

  _Comedy of Errors, A_, 35, 393, 412, 413

  _Commendatory Verses_, 94, 198, 229, 230, _et passim_

  _Concerning the True Forms of English Poetry_, 184

  Condell, Henry, 103, 120, 122, 343, 402

  Congreve, William, 188

  _Convivium Philosophicum_, 145-149, 203

  Conyoke or Connock, 149

  Cook, Alexander, 122

  Cooke, W., 377

  Coke, Sir Edward, 52, 58

  Corbet, Bishop, 181, 195

  _Coriolanus_, 389

  _Coronation, The_, 229, 237

  Coryate, Tom, 99, 149

  Cotton, Charles, the elder, 98, 168-170, 226-228

  couplet, 'heroic,' 252

  Cowley, Abraham, 184

  _Coxcombe, The_, 8, 87, 96-101, 103, 106, 111, 202, 208, 228, 236,
      240, 273, 286, 287, 294, 296, 298, 311, 332-341, 370, 378, 383,
      396, 400

  Cranefield, Arthur, 149

  Critics of Beaumont and Fletcher, 234

  Croke, Sir John, Charles, and Unton, 138

  Cromwell, Oliver, 74, 138, 170

  _Crowne of Thornes, The_, 184

  Cunliffe, J. W., 35, 37

  _Cupid's Revenge_, 8, 111-112, 159, 237, 239, 240, 283, 285, 288, 294,
      299, 305, 314, 359ff., 370, 378, 381, 384, 386, 387, 388, 389, 396,
      407

  _Curious Impertinent, The_, _El Curioso Impertinente_, _Le Curieux
      Impertinent_, 332, 334, 335

  _Custome of the Countrey, The_, 236

  _Cymbeline_, 344, 345, 386-395

  _Cynthia's Revels_, 85, 96

  _Cyropædeia_, 109


  Daborne, Robert, 122, 239, 379, 407

  _Damon and Pythias_, 32

  Daniel, Joseph, 149

  Daniel, P. A., 349, 359

  Daniel, Samuel, 142, 194

  Darley, G., _Works of Beaumont and Fletcher_, 25, 181, 233

  D'Avenant, William, 82, 307, 308, 350

  Davies, John, of Hereford, 105, 133, 142, 145, 146, 209, 342, 343,
      346, 366

  Day, John, 102, 122, 159, 314, 325

  Dekker, John, 98, 102, 122, 211, 412

  Denham, Sir John, 184

  _Description of Elizium_, Drayton, 191

  Devereux, Lady Penelope, 166

  diction, 260ff., 275f., 281ff., and see Beaumont and Fletcher

  Diego Sarmiento, Don, Count Gondomar, 371ff.

  Digby, Sir Everard, 48, 50, 52, 53, 57

  _Discourse of the English Stage_, 386

  disputed plays, 300ff.

  _Distrest Mother, The_, 186

  _Divine Poems_, Drayton, 191

  Dolce, Ludovico, _Giocasta_, 35

  Don Diego, see Sarmiento de Acuña

  Donne, John, 38, 98, 148, 149, 150, 169

  _Don Quixote_, relation to _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_, esp.
      321-331;
    also 80, 120, 320, 332f., 413

  'Doridon,' 140ff.

  Douay, 369

  Douthwaite, W. R., _Gray's Inn, etc._, 30ff.

  _Double Marriage, The_, 6, 236

  Drake, Sir Francis, 37, 64, 138, 216

  _Dramatic Miscellany_, Davies, 366

  Drayton, Michael, 21, 26, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 72, 98, 116, 122,
      132ff., 137, 145, 153, 182, 185, 187, 191, 192, 194, 201, 202, 209

  Drummond, William, of Hawthornden, 84, 90, 152, 193, 194, 202, 230

  Dryden, John, 71, 72, 121, 188, 233, 358, 365

  _Duchess of Malfi, The_, 411

  Dugdale, G., 131

  Duke, H. E., _Gray's Inn_, 34ff.

  _Duke of Milan, The_, 136

  Duke of York, The, (Prince Charles's) Players, 335, 336

  D'Urfé, Marquis, 89-90, 274

  _Dutch Courtezan, The_, 399

  Dyce, Alexander, _Works of Beaumont and Fletcher_, 16, 19, 96, 195,
      233, _et passim_


  Earle, John, Bishop, 156, 196-198, 209, 230, 241, 346, 385

  _Eastward Hoe_, 73, 79, 328

  Editions, also Folios and Quartos, see Beaumont and Fletcher

  Edwardes, Richard, 32

  Edwards, Jonathan, 25

  _Eglogs_, a revision of _Idea, the Shepheard's Garland_, Drayton, 42,
      187

  Ekesildena, Catherine, 186

  _Elder Brother, The_, 237, 272

  _Elegies_, Brooke, 136

  _(Certayn) Elegies--with Satyres and Epigrames_, Fitzgeffrey, 202

  _Elegy on the Death of the Virtuous Lady Elizabeth, Countess of
      Rutland_, 156, 251

  _Elements of Armories_, Bolton, 195

  Elizabeth Beaumont Seyliard, see Beaumont, Elizabeth

  Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland, see Sidney, Elizabeth

  Elizabeth, Princess, 33, 52, 110, 124, 139, 149

  Elizabeth, Queen, 67

  Elton, Oliver, _Michael Drayton_, 43, 167, 192

  _Endimion and Phoebe_, 41

  end-stopped lines, 243ff.

  _English Palmerin_, see _Palmerin_

  _Epicoene_, 103, 120, 322, 324, 335, 369, 413

  _Epigrams_, Jonson, 121, 195, 203

  _Epistle Dedicatorie_, Shelton, 321, 323

  _Epistle to Henery Reynolds_, Drayton, 201

  _Epithalamium_, Wither, 135

  _Equivocation_, Blackwell's treatise, 53

  _Essay of Dramatick Poesie_, Dryden, 233, 358

  _Ethelwolf, oder der König Kein König_, 367

  Euripides, 35, 200, 207

  Evans, Henry, 80, 102, 317, 342

  Evelyn, John, letter to Pepys, 218

  _Every Man in his Humour_, 92, 413

  _Every Man out of his Humour_, 32, 327

  _Examination of his Mistris' Perfections_, 172-174

  extra syllables, 243


  _Faire Maide of the Inne, The_, 236, 238, 378

  _Faithful Friends, The_, 237, 378

  _Faithfull Shepheardesse, The_, 21, 65, 73, 83-88, 90, 93, 139, 166,
      171, 216, 231, 237, 240, 247, 249, 252, 261, 263, 264, 265, 266,
      270, 277, 280, 302, 304

  _False One, The_, 236

  _(Of The) Famous Voyage_, 203

  Farquhar, George, 188

  Fauchet, _Thierry_, 109

  Fawkes, Guy, 49, 52, 56

  feet, trisyllabic, 243

  _Fellows and Followers of Shakespeare, The_, Gayley, 233, _et passim_;
    see Gayley

  Fenner, Sir John, 130

  Ferrar, William, 138

  _Fidele and Fortunio_, 392

  Field, Nathaniel, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 114, 122, 211, 214, 239, 251,
      272, 300, 302, 303, 304, 305, 335, 342, 343, 360, 379, 407

  _Fifty Comedies and Tragedies_, 288

  Fitzgeffrey, Henry, _Elegies, Satires, and Epigrams_, 202

  Fleay, F. G., _Hist. Stage, Chron. Engl. Drama, etc._, 4, 8, 41, 74,
      84, 233, 234, 238, 252, 300, 303, 308, 316, 318 _et passim_

  Flecknoe, Richard, 386, 397

  Fletcher, John, ("I. F.") 40, 195;
    his family, his youth, 62ff.;
    some early plays of, 82ff.;
    period of partnership with Beaumont, 95ff.;
    relations with Shakespeare, Jonson, etc., 114ff., 124ff., 145ff.;
    later years, portraits, 211ff.;
    his versification, 243ff.;
    his diction, 260ff.;
    stock words, phrases, and figures, 270ff.;
    his mental habit, 277ff.;
    the Fletcher of the joint-plays, 383ff.;
    his dramatic art, 383-385, 399-411

  Fletcher, criteria, 243ff.; 260ff.;
    see Beaumont and Fletcher, diction, verse, Ye-test, etc.

  Fletcher, Richard, Bishop, 62-68

  Fletcher, Dr. Giles, 64, 68;
    Giles, the younger, 64

  Fletcher, Phineas, 64

  'Fletcherian Syndicate, the,' 379, 407

  _Flowers, The_, 36, 125

  Folio, First, Beaumont and Fletcher's _Comedies and Tragedies_, 1647,
      (35 Plays), 236

  Folio, Second, _Fifty Comedies and Tragedies_, 1679 (53 Plays), 237

  Ford, John, 211, 412

  _Forrest, The_, Jonson, 152

  Fortescue, George, 186

  _Foure Playes, or Morall Representations, in One_, (see also
      _Triumphs_), 87, 236, 240, 251, 272, 301-305, 378, 386, 388, 389

  _Foure Prentises, The_, 204, 325

  Frederick, the Elector Palatine, 33, 36, 110, 124

  Fuller, Thomas, _Worthies_, 67, 108


  Gardiner, Robert, 337

  Gardiner, S. R. _Hist. Engl._, and _Prince Charles_, 44, 49, 74,
      372ff., _et passim_

  Gardiner, Thomas, 138

  Garnet, Father Henry, 47, 51-54, 56-59

  Garrick, David, 366

  Gascoigne, George, _Supposes_, 34, 35, 37

  Gayley, C. M., _The Fellows and Followers of Shakespeare_, Part Two,
      in _Rep. Eng. Com._, Vol. III, now in press, 233, 300, 385, 408,
      409, _et passim_

  _Gentleman Usher, The_, 391, 399

  Gerard, Father John, 47-56, 165

  _Ghost of Richard III_, Brooke, 136

  Giffard, Maria, Lady Baker, Mrs. Fletcher, Lady Thornhurst, 65-71

  Gilbert, Adrian, 156

  _Giocasta_, Ludovico Dolce, 35

  _Gismond of Salerne_, 37

  Globe Theatre, the, 79, 97, 103, 105, 114, 118, 120, 122, 144, 179, 280

  Glover, A, and Waller, A. R., editors of _Camb. Engl. Class., Beaumont
      and Fletcher_, 244, 263-270, _et passim_

  _Golden Remains, The_, 150

  Goodere, Sir Henry, 43, 148;
    Francis, Anne, 43

  Goodwin, Gordon, 134, 139

  _Gorboduc_, 37, 70

  Grace-Dieu, 13, 17, 18, 20, 22, 45, 61, 72, 95, 98, 151, 159, 391, _et
      passim_

  Gray's Inn, 33, 34, 35, 37, 124, 125, 130f.

  Greene, Robert, _Menaphon and Pandosto_, 26, 159, 387, 392

  _Greenstreet Papers, The_, 103, 119, 136, 319

  Greg, W. W., 83, 159, 238, 272

  Grey Friars, at Leicester, 22

  Grey, Lady Jane, 23, 63, 66

  Grosart, A. B., art. in _D. N. B., Sir John Beaumont's Poems_, 16, 185,
      187, 195, _et passim_

  Gunpowder Plot, the, 46-61, 73, 138, 164

  Gurlin, Nat., 202

  Guskar, H., 88

  Gwynn, Nell, 366


  Hakluyt, Richard, 182

  Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O., 342

  _hamartia_, 354, 358

  _Hamlet_, 79, 116, 117, 286, 389

  Harcourt, the Rt. Hon. Lewis, 190

  Harleian MS. of Fletcher, 195

  Harington, Sir John, 63, 67

  Harris, John, 212

  Hasted, _Hist. Kent_, 50, 69, 71, 176, _et passim_

  Hastings, Edward, second Lord, 14;
    Elizabeth (grandmother of the dramatist), 13, 14;
    Sir Henry, 48, 165;
    Lady Mary, 14;
    William, first Lord, 14, 23;
    Sir William, 14

  Hastings, Earls of Huntingdon: George, first Earl, 13, 14;
    Francis, second Earl, 13-15, 23, 24, 46;
    Henry, third Earl, 14, 24;
    George, fourth Earl, 48;
    Henry, fifth Earl, 38, 164, 165

  Hatcher, O. L., _John Fletcher, A Study in Dramatic Method_, 231, 232,
      233, 300, 408, 409, _et passim_;
    in _Anglia_, 89

  Hawkins, Sir Thomas, 138, 185

  Hele, Lewis, 130

  Heming, John, 103, 118, 120, 136, 342, 343

  Hemings, John, see Heming

  _Henry IV_, 110, 115

  _Henry VIII_, 120, 179

  Herbert, Mary, Countess of Pembroke, 42

  Herbert, William, third Earl of Pembroke, 133, 153

  Herford, C. H., 287

  Herodotus, 109

  _Heroical Adventures of the Knight of the Sea_, 328

  Herrick, Robert, 169, 170, 350, 361

  Herring, Joan, 220

  _Hesperides_, Herrick, 169, 170

  Heyward, Edward, 137

  Heywood, Thomas, 122, 204, 325, 331, 399, 412

  _Hierarchie of the Blessed Angells, The_, 204

  Hill, H. W., 159

  Hill, Nicholas, 203

  Hills, G., 337

  _Histoire de Celidée, Thamyre, et Calidon_, 89

  Historical Portraits (Oxford), 190, 234ff.

  _Histriomastix_, 397

  _History of Cardenio_, by Fletcher and Shakespeare, 119

  Hodgets, John, 40

  Holinshed, 392

  Holland, Aaron, 318

  Holland, Elizabeth, 62, 66

  Holland, Hugh, 98, 148, 149

  Holme-Pierrepoint, 16, 17

  _(Upon an) Honest Man's Fortune_, 8, 144, 176, 215, 220, 236, 238, 280,
      378

  Hoskins, John, his _Convivium Philosophicum_, 146ff., 149, 203

  Howard, Henry, 349, 361

  Howard of Walden, Lord, 321

  Howe, Josias, 209

  Hughes, Thomas, _Misfortunes of Arthur_, 35

  _Humorous Lieutenant, The_, 236, 243, 265, 268, 278, 279, 401-403

  Huntingdon, see Hastings

  hyperbole, 285

  _Hypercritica_, Bolton, 194


  _Idea, the Shepheard's Garland, Eglogs_, Drayton, 42

  _If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody_, 331

  _Ile of Guls_, 159

  Imogen, Innogen, 392

  Inderwick, F. A., _Calendar of Inner Temple Records_, 30, 131, _et
      passim_

  _In Laudem Authoris_, 40, 134

  Inner Temple, 18, 29, 33, 37, 99, 124ff., 129, 131, 137, 138, 139, 162

  _Inner Temple Records_, 29-31, 131, 139, _et passim_

  Inns of Court and Chancery, 29, 32, 37, 118, 135, 145, _et passim_

  _Insatiate Countess, The_, 399

  _Island Princesse, The_, 236, 278

  Isley, Ursula, wife of the dramatist, 175-178, 180, 187

  Isleys, the, 175-177, 186

  iteration, 259


  James I, Progress of 1603, 44, 60, 74, 77, 91, 161, 162, 164, 165, 372

  joint-plays, 252ff., 400ff., etc.

  Jones, Inigo, 125, 145, 147, 148

  Jonson, Ben, 3, 5, 9, 24, 32, 52, 72, 82, 84, 85, 86, 96, 97, 98, 99,
      100, 101, 102, 103, 110, 111, 114ff., 122, 124, 132ff., 136, 137,
      142, 145, 148, 149, 150, 152, 153, 154, 157, 169, 170, 174, 182,
      185, 191, 193, 199, 200, 201, 205, 209, 211, 213, 214, 231, 272,
      322, 327, 328, 329, 334, 335, 336, 342, 343, 369, 411, 412

  Jovius, Paulus, 78

  Juby, Edward, 114

  _Julius Caesar_, 108, 110


  Ker (Carr) Robert, Earl of Somerset, 74, 75, 179, 372

  Keysar, Robert, 80, 81, 315, 318, 320, 323

  Kinwelmersh, Francis, 35

  King, Edward, Milton's 'Lycidas,' 24

  _King and No King, A_, 7, 8, 37, 92, 109-110, 112, 121, 145, 146, 174,
      205, 237, 239, 241, 252, 255, 258, 259, 273, 275, 288, 293, 294,
      307, 308, 311, 346, 361-367, 378, 381, 382, 384, 386-396, 400, 401,
      411, 414, 415

  _King Lear_, 159, 283

  King's Players, the, 38, 97, 102, 103, 105, 109, 110, 114, 119, 120,
      122, 124, 136, 211, 306, 315, 316, 343, 345, 349, 360

  King's Bench, 138

  Kirkham, Edward, 118, 136

  _Knight of Malta, The_, 211, 236, 238, 239, 378

  _Knight of the Burning Pestle, The_, 7, 41, 73, 79-81, 88, 93, 100,
      112, 115, 171, 204, 237, 240, 273, 285, 310-332, 378, 382, 385,
      407, 413, 414

  _Knight of the Burning Sword, The_, 325

  _Knight of the Sunne and His Brother Rosicleer, The_, 327

  Knole Park, Kent, 70, 187, _et passim_

  Knowles, Sheridan, 359

  Koeppel, E., 117

  Kyd, Thomas, 26, 200, 204, 285, 286, 313


  Lady Elizabeth's Players, 314

  Lamb, Charles, 233, 397

  Langbaine, G., 233, 332

  Lansdowne MS., 200

  _Lawes of Candy, The_, 236, 238, 378

  Leland, John, _Itinerary_, 10, 11, 154, 160, _et passim_

  Lennard, Sir Henry, twelfth Lord Dacre, 70, 71, 178

  Leonhardt, B., 117

  _Letter to Ben Jonson_, 97-101, 193, 251, 337

  Lincoln's Inn, 32, 124f., 135, 136, 145, 148

  Lisle, Sir George, 204, 231, 361

  _Little French Lawyer, The_, 236

  Lodge, Thomas, 159, 392

  _Love Lies a-Bleeding_, 103, etc., see _Philaster_

  Lovell, John, Lord, 22, 23

  _Lovers Progresse, The_, 236

  _Loves Cure_, 236, 240, 305, 378

  _Love's Labour's Lost_, 392, 412

  _Loves Pilgrimage_, 236, 237, 238, 378

  Lowin, John, 122, 214, 402

  _Loyall Subject, The_, 211, 236, 243, 268, 278, 410

  Luce, Morton, 393

  Lyly, John, 26, 200


  Macaulay, G. C., _Francis Beaumont, a Critical Study_; _Beaumont and
      Fletcher_ in _Camb. Hist. Eng. Lit._, 89, 108, 117, 226, 234, 252,
      265, 287, 300, 302, 305, 308, 312, 337, 374, 409

  _Macbeth_, 286

  Macready, W. C., 359

  _Mad Lover, The_, 236, 279

  _Maide in the Mill, The_, 236

  _Maides Tragedy, The_, 6, 7, 107-109, 117, 121, 124, 159, 230, 232,
      234, 237, 239, 240, 241, 252, 255, 258, 273, 285, 288, 289, 292,
      308, 346, 349-359, 361, 378, 381, 382, 384, 386-395, 398, 400, 405,
      407, 411, 414, 415

  _Malcontent, The_, 399

  Malone, Edmund, 233

  Manners, Lady Katharine (Villiers), Duchess of Buckingham, 159, 162,
      163

  Manners, Roger, see Rutland

  Manningham, John, 32

  Manverses, the, 16-18

  Manwood, Thomas, 136

  _Mari coccu, battu et content, Le_, 334

  Markham, Lady, 165

  Marlowe, Christopher, 33, 194, 200, 201, 204, 285, 286, 313, 326, 362

  Marston, John, 73, 88, 102, 122, 328, 329, 396, 399, 412

  Martin, Richard, 99, 149

  Mary, Queen of Scots, 24, 65, 179

  _Masque of the Inner Temple, The_, 119, 124-139, 145, 208, 225, 228,
      236, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 259, 281, 385

  _Masque of Flowers_, see _Flowers_

  _Masque of Ulysses and Circe, The_, 133

  Massinger, Philip, 6, 8, 98, 119, 122, 136, 168, 169, 201, 203, 211,
      214, 219, 226, 228, 234, 241, 265, 272, 300, 305, 306, 326, 340,
      379, 400, 407;
    authorities upon his style, 300

  Mayne, Jasper, 361

  McKerrow, R. B., 271, 272

  _Measure for Measure_, 391, 392, 393

  _Menaechmus_, 35

  _Menaphon_, 159

  Merchant Taylors' School, 86

  Mermaid Tavern, the, 97-99, 114, 145, 148, 149, 193, 203

  _Merry Wives, The_, 110

  _Metamorphosis of Tobacco_, 38

  _Microcosmographie_, 198

  Middle Temple, the, 118, 124f., 138

  Middleton, Thomas, 102, 122, 201, 211, 239, 272, 305, 324, 399, 407,
      412

  _Midsummer-Night's Dream, A_, 392

  Milner, J. D., 218

  _Mirror for Magistrates, The_, 70

  _Mirror of Knighthood, The_, 327, 329

  'Mirtilla', 43, 45, 187

  _Miseries of Enforced Marriage, The_, 324

  _Misfortunes of Arthur, The_, 35

  Mitre Inn, The, 94, 145, 146

  _Monsieur Thomas_, 73, 84, 88-94, 168, 237, 243, 245, 247, 263, 383

  Montaigne, 228

  Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley, 25

  Monteagle, Lord, 50, 51, 57

  Montemayor, 392

  Moore, Sir Thomas, 194

  More, Paul Elmer, 272f., 355f., 397ff., 415

  Morris, John, _Life of Father Gerard_, 46-59 _et passim_

  Mosely, Humphrey, _The Stationer to the Readers_, 130, 206, 216, 217

  _Morte d'Arthur_, 327

  Mountjoy, Christopher, 114, 118

  _Moyses in a Map of his Miracles_, 42

  _Mucedorus_, 331

  _Much Ado About Nothing_, 110, 344, 390, 392

  Mulcaster, Richard, 86, 318

  Munday, Anthony, 327

  Murch, H. S., ed. of _The Knight_, 324, 330

  Murray, J. T., _Eng. Dram. Comp._, 104, 105, 315, 368

  _Muses Elizium_, 44, 187, 191


  _Narrative_ of Father Gerard, 47, 54

  Nashe, Thomas, 154, 204

  Nevill, Sir Henry, the elder, 145-148, 153;
    the younger, 145, 146

  _Nice Valour, The_, 97, 98, 216, 236, 238, 378

  Nichols, J., _Collections_, _Hist. Leicestershire_, _Progresses of
      Queen Elizabeth_, _Progresses of James I_, 12, 13, 19, 65, 131,
      186, _et passim_

  _Nimphalls_, Drayton, 187, 191

  _Night Walker, The_, 237

  _Noble Gentleman, The_, 236, 238, 378

  Northumbrian MS. of _Bacon_, 146

  Norton, Thomas, _Gorboduc_, 37


  oaths, 275, 286

  _Oath of Allegiance, The_, 60, 164

  _Obstinate Lady, The_, 377

  _Ode to Sir William Skipworth_, 215

  Oldfield, Mrs., 377

  _Old Wives Tale, The_, 326

  Oliphant, E. H., 83, 117, 234, 241, 252, 270, 272, 281, 300, 302, 304,
      309, 312, 337, 338, 340, 374

  _On the Tombs in Westminster_, 183

  optatives, 275, 286

  _Orlando Furioso_, 334

  Ostler (Osteler, Ostler, Osler), Wm., 122, 342, 343

  _Othello_, 79, 110

  Overbury, Sir Thomas, 27, 153, 179

  Ovid, 38, 41, 142


  _Palamon and Arcite_, 32

  'Palmeo', 43, 187

  _Palmerin de Oliva, Palmerin of England_, 313, 325, 327, 329

  _Pandosto_, 159, 392

  _Parisitaster_, 88

  Pastoralists, the, 124, 132-144, 145

  _Pastorals_, Ambrose Philips, 186

  Paul's Players, the, 73, 83, 102, 315, 316, 318

  Peele, George, 326, 329

  Pepys, Samuel, 218, 358, 366

  Percy, Thomas, 49-52

  _Pericles_, 118, 344, 345, 387, 391, 392, 393, 394

  Persons, Father, 46, 47

  Pettus, Sir John, 231

  _Philaster_, 6, 7, 72, 88, 92, 96, 97, 101-107, 109, 116, 121, 159,
      191, 230, 237, 239, 240, 241, 252, 253, 258, 259, 260, 261, 273,
      285, 294, 297, 298, 302, 307, 308, 311, 312, 329, 337, 341-349,
      361, 378, 381, 382, 384, 386-396, 412, _et passim_.

  Philip III of Spain, 371, 372

  Philips, Sir Ambrose, 186

  Phillipps de Lisles, the present, 186

  Phillipps, J. O. Halliwell, 342

  Phillips, Sir Robert, 149

  _Philosophia Epicurea Democritiana_, 203

  Pierce, Edward, 315

  Pierrepoint, Anne, mother of the dramatist, 16-18, 25

  Pierrepoint, Sir Henry, 16, 18, 45

  Pierrepoint, Robert, first Earl of Kingston, 17, 27, 38, 164, 179

  _Pilgrim, The_, 236, 278

  Plautus, 35, 197, 230

  _Plutus_, 125

  _Poems, The_, of Beaumont, see Beaumont, Francis, _The Poems_

  _Poems Lyrick and Pastoral_, Drayton, 42

  _Poetaster, The_, 149, 342

  Poets' Corner, 182ff., 192, 196, 199

  Pole, Katherine, 14

  Portraits of Beaumont, Nuneham, 181, 190, 192;
    Robinson's engraving of 1840, 190, 217;
    Knole, 190, 192, 217;
    G. Vertue, 217;
    Evans, 217;
    Walker and Cockerell, 218

  Portraits of Fletcher, Knole: Blood, 217;
    G. Vertue, 217;
    Evans, 217;
    Robinson, 217;
    Walker, 218;
    Earl of Clarendon's, 218;
    Janssen, 219

  'Prince of Misrule', 34

  'Prince of Portpoole', 34

  Prince's Players, the, 114

  _Praise of Hemp-seed, The_, 199

  Princess Elizabeth's Players, 336

  _Prophetesse, The_, 236

  prose-test, the, 259

  Prynne, William, 397, 399

  _Purple Island, The_, Phineas Fletcher, 64


  Queen Anne's Players, 314, 318

  _Queene of Corinth, The_, 211, 236

  Queen Henrietta's Players, 314

  Queen's Revels' Children, the, 80, 81, 83, 86, 87, 89, 96, 102, 103,
      111, 114, 122, 124, 304, 305, 314, 315, 317, 319, 332, 335-337,
      342, 343, 360, 368-370, 373


  Raleigh, Sir Walter, 36, 100, 138, 149, 155, 165, 179

  Randolph, Thomas, 150

  Red Bull Theatre, the, 313, 318

  'Remond' and 'Doridon,' query, Fletcher and Beaumont, 139-144

  _Revesby Sword-Play_, 34

  Reynolds, Henry, 132, 201

  Reynolds, John, 147

  rhyme, 250

  '_Ricardo and Viola_,' 338, 383

  Richard III, 14, 22

  Rigg, J. M., 13ff., 19

  _Rollo_, 237

  'romance,' 279, 394, _et passim_

  _Romeo and Juliet_, 286, 389

  _Rosalynde_, 159

  Rosenbach, A. S. W., 333

  Rossiter, Philip, 103, 315, 316, 319, 370

  Routh, H. V., 328

  Rowley, William, 211, 239, 272, 314, 407, 412

  _Royall King and Loyall Subject_, 399

  _Rule a Wife and Have a Wife_, 211, 237, 243, 244, 249, 263, 268, 269,
      280, 403

  run-on lines, 174, 250, 255, 258ff., 261ff.

  Rutland, Roger Manners, fifth Earl, 48, 152-155;
    Francis, sixth Earl, 162, 163;
    Elizabeth, Countess of, see Sidney, Elizabeth;
    Cicely (Tufton), Countess of, 163

  Rymer, Thomas, 233, 354, 355, 397


  Sackville, Edward, fourth Earl of Dorset, 191

  Sackville, Lionel, seventh Earl of Dorset, 191, 217

  Sackville, Richard, third Earl of Dorset, 70, 179, 180, 191

  Sackville, Thomas, first Earl of Dorset, 37, 65-71

  _Salmacis and Hermaphroditus_, 39, 40, 41, 134, 141, 142

  Sampson, M. W., 386

  Sannazarro, 392

  Sarmiento de Acuña, Don Diego, Count Gondomar, 371-373

  Schelling, F. E., 234, 295

  Schevill, Rudolph, 322f., 324, 330, 332

  _Scornful Ladie, The_, 7, 100, 111-113, 171, 180, 232, 237, 238, 239,
      240, 273, 368-378, 382, 383, 396

  _Scourge of Folly, The_, 104, 342, 343, 344

  _Sea Voyage, The_, 236

  '_Second Maiden's Tragedy_,' 334

  _Sejanus_, 148, 411

  Selden, John, 99, 137, 149, 169, 170

  Semphill, Sir James, 59-60

  Seneca, 37

  _Session of the Poets, The_, Suckling, 137

  Seyliard, Mrs., see Elizabeth Beaumont

  Seyliard, Thomas, 45, 159, 176, 187;
    see also Beaumont, Elizabeth

  Shadwell, Thomas, 96

  Shakespeare, 3, 4, 5, 9, 12, 23, 26, 32, 33, 35, 79, 83, 92, 98, 101,
      102, 103, 105, 106, 108, 110, 111, 114ff., 118, 122, 124, 136, 145,
      154, 159, 182, 184, 193, 194, 199, 201, 211, 214, 219, 272, 280,
      283, 286, 309, 326, 329, 330, 343, 344, 386ff., 387ff., 389, 396,
      401, 411ff.

  Shakespeare, and Beaumont, 114-118

  Shakespeare, and his company of players, 110-111, 118-120, 145, 316

  Shakespeare, Was he influenced by Beaumont and Fletcher? 386-395

  Shaw, _Knights of England_, 17, 45, _et passim_

  Shelton, Thomas, transl. of _Don Quixote_, 120, 321-331, 335

  _Shepheard's Calendar_, 44

  _Shepherdesse, The_, John Beaumont, 159, 163

  _Shepherd's Hunting, The_, 135

  _Shepherd's Pipe, The_, 134, 135, 139

  Shirley, James, 150, 206, 208, 229

  _Sicelides_, Phineas Fletcher, 64

  Sidney, Elizabeth Manners, Countess of Rutland, 133, 139, 150-159, 165,
      172-174, 180, 287

  Sidney, Sir Philip, 26, 37, 106, 111, 133, 142, 143, 150ff., 158, 159,
      166, 197, 201, 392

  Sidney, Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, 42, 133, 153

  _Silent Woman, The_, 120, 413, see _Epicoene_

  Skipwith, Sir William, 45, 166, 215

  _Spanish Curate, The_, 236, 271

  Slye, Christopher, 103

  Smith, L. T., 11, 200

  Southampton, see Wriothesley

  Spedding, James, 36

  Speght's _Chaucer_, 24, 178

  Spenser, Edmund, 24, 44, 182, 193, 199, 200

  Stanhope, Philip, Earl of Chesterfield, 165

  Stanley, Thomas, second Earl of Derby, 14

  Stanley, Thomas, 350, 374

  Stapleton, Miles Thomas, 12

  _State Papers Domestic, Calendar of_, 15, 51-61, 63, 127, 129, 146,
      162, 164, 177, _et passim_

  _Stationers' Registers_, 84, 121, 237, _et passim_

  _Stationer to the Readers, The_, Mosely, 206

  'Stella', 166

  Stephens, John, 202

  Stiefel, A. L., 89

  Stourton, Lord, 50

  Stratford upon Avon, 118

  Stuart, Lady Arabella, 17, 179

  Suckling, Sir John, 137

  Sullivan, Mary, 127, 128

  Sundridge, 175-180, 377, _et passim_

  _Supposes, The_, Ariosto--George Gascoigne, 34, 35

  suspense, 389

  Symonds, J. A., 386

  Swinburne, Algernon, 4, 7, 8, 190, 233, 397

  Sympson and Seward, 233


  Talbots, the, Earls of Shrewsbury, 14, 17

  _Tamer Tamed, The_, 83, 236, 279, _et passim_, _The Woman's Prize_

  _Taming of the Shrew, The_, 35, 83

  Tasso, _Aminta_, 132

  Taylor, John, 198

  Taylor, Joseph, 122, 214, 332, 335ff., 402

  _Tempest, The_, 110, 283, 344, 386, 387, 390, 391, 393

  Tennyson, Alfred, 183

  Theobald, Lewis, 237, 359

  _Thersites_, 326

  _Thierry and Theodoret_, 8, 109, 237, 238, 240, 378, 386, 387, 395

  Thorndike, A. H., _Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Shakespeare_,
      editions of _Maides Tragedy_ and _Philaster_, 73, 83, 84, 105, 110,
      234, 241, 300, 303, 304, 305, 316, 318, 349, 350, 380, 386f.

  Thornhurst, Sir Stephen, 69

  'Thyrsis,' 43, 187

  _Time Poets, The_, 203

  _Timon_, 389

  _'Tis a Pity, She's a Whore_, 412

  _Titles of Honour_, 137

  _Tombs in Westminster, On the_, 183

  _To the Apparition of his Mistresse calling him to Elizium_, 170

  _To the Honour'd Countess of ----_, 152

  _To the Memory of my beloved, the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare, and
      what he hath left us_, 200

  Tourneur, Cyril, 272

  Townshend, Sir Robert, 167

  _Tragedies of the Last Age, The_, 354

  _Tragedy of Bonduca, The_, see _Bonduca_

  _Travails of Three English Brothers, The_, 81, 313, 314, 317, 318, 321,
      325, 331

  Tresham, Francis, 48, 50, 52, 57, 58

  Tresham, Mary, 46

  Tresham, Sir Thomas, 46

  triplet, the, 259

  _Triumph of Death, The_, 270, 301-305, 389

  _Triumph of Honour, The_, 251, 301-305, 389

  _Triumph of Love, The_, 8, 251, 301-305, 388

  _Triumph of Time, The_, 270, 301-305

  _True Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York, The_, 326

  _(On the) True Forms of English Poetry_, 184

  _Twelfth Night_, 32, 117, 345, 390, 392, 393

  _Two Gentlemen of Verona, The_, 345, 390, 392, 412

  _Two Noble Kinsmen, The_, 5, 119, 237


  Underwood, John, 342, 343

  Upham, A. H., 90

  _Upon an Honest Man's Fortune_, see _Honest Man's Fortune_

  _Upon the Lines and Life of Shakespeare_, Hugh Holland, 148


  _(Tragedy of) Valentinian, The_, 6, 8, 211, 236, 287, 400, 410

  Vanbrugh, Sir John, 188

  _Variorum Edition of Beaumont and Fletcher_, 190, 217, 234, 271, 346,
      367, 413, _et passim_

  Vaux, Anne, _alias_ Mrs. Perkins, 46-59, _passim_, 164

  Vaux, Eleanor, _alias_ Mrs. Jennings, 46, 47, 57

  Vaux, Mrs., Elizabeth Roper, 46-56, 138, 164

  Vauxes, the, cousins of the dramatist, and the Gunpowder Plot, 46-61,
      164f.

  verse-endings, double, triple, etc., 243

  verse-tests, 243ff., 246ff.

  versification of Fletcher and of Beaumont, 243-259

  _Very Woman, A_, 377

  Villiers, Christopher, 161, 162

  Villiers, George, Duke of Buckingham, 19, 60, 148, 159-164, 185

  Villiers, John, 161-162, 164

  _Volpone_, 72, 82, 92, 411

  von Wurzbach, Wolfgang, 334


  Walker, Henry, 119

  Walkley, Thomas, 145

  Wallace, C. W., _Shakspere's Money Interest in the Globe_, etc.,
      _Century Maga._, 114, 118, 314, 315, 316, 319

  Waller, A. R., and Glover, A., editors of _Camb. Eng. Class., Beaumont
      and Fletcher_, 244, _et passim_;
    Waller, ed. of _The Scornful Ladie_, 377

  Waller, Edmund, 150, 184, 231, 349, 359, 374

  Walpole, Henry, 16, 48

  Ward, Sir Adolphus William, _Hist. Eng. Dram. Lit._, 3, 91, 216, 234,
      308, 377, 397

  Warwick, Richard, Earl of, 14

  Webster, John, 102, 122, 211, 396, 399, 411

  Wenman, Sir Richard, 53, 138

  Wenman, Thomas, 134, 137, 138

  West, John, 149

  _White Devil, The_, 122, 399

  Whitefriars Theatre, the, 96f., 102f., 122, 304, 315, 316, 343, 360,
      369

  Whitehall, 125f.

  White Webbs, 52, 56

  _Wife for a Month, A_, 236, 263, 275, 278, 400, 403-406, 410

  _Wild-Goose Chase, The_, _Dedication_, 214, 237, 279

  Wilkins, George, 314, 324, 325

  Wills, James, 188

  Wilson, Arthur, 160

  Winter, Henry and Thomas, 49-52, 57

  _Winter's Tale, The_, 110, 159, 283, 344, 386, 387, 390, 391, 393

  _Wit at Severall Weapons_, 236, 237, 378

  Wither, George, 134f., 138, 142

  _Wit Without Money_, 237, 279

  _Woman-Hater, The_, 7, 40, 41, 59, 72-79, 80, 82, 93, 100, 112, 115,
      130, 171, 237, 239, 240, 250, 258, 273, 281, 285, 297, 305,
      307-311, 350, 378, 382, 385, 407, 412

  _Woman is a Weather-Cocke_, 87, 302-305

  _Woman's Prize, The_, or _The Tamer Tamed_, 83, 236, 279

  _(To Any) Woman that hath been no Weather-cocke_, 304

  _Women Pleas'd_, 236, 279

  Wood, Anthony, 32

  Wordsworth, W., 20, 21, 25

  Wright, Christopher and John, 49-52

  Wright, Thomas, 13

  Wriothesley, Henry, third Earl of Southampton, 154, 184

  Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 175


  Xenophon's _Cyropædeia_, 109


  Ye-test, the 271-273, 309, 371, 374-375

  _Yorkshire Tragedy, The_, 303

  _Your Five Gallants_, 324


  Zola, 404



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's note:

Minor punctuation and capitalization inconsistencies have been
corrected without comment and include adding missing opening or
closing quotes, closing parenthesis, and sentence closing periods.

Tables of Family Trees on pages 419-423 have been formatted to fit
into the page margins.

Images falling within an unbroken paragraph have been relocated to
either the top or bottom of said paragraph.

Word spelling, hyphenation, abbreviation, capitalization,
apostrophization, diacritical accents and other variations or
inconsistencies occur throughout the authors text, footnotes, index,
noted verse(s) and quoted materials. All have been retained as printed
unless specifically noted. Examples are provided below.


Typographical corrections:

  p.  17, "Holme-Pierpoint" to "Holme-Pierrepoint" (5)
             (Holme-Pierrepoint is seventeen)
  p.  23, "Huntington" to "Huntingdon" (20) (Francis of Huntingdon)
  p.  62, "clerygyman" to "clergyman" (had been a clergyman)
  p.  68, "worldy" to "worldly" (Bishop's worldly estate)
  p. 118, "Aven" to "Avon" (2) (Stratford upon Avon)
  p. 164, "Beaument" to "Beaumont" (674) (John Beaumont never recalls)
  p. 345, "Gentleman" to "Gentlemen" (The Two Gentlemen of Verona)
  p. 445, "320" to "302" ("Woman is a Weather-Cocke," 87, 302-305)
  p. 444, "Kinsman" to "Kinsmen" (Two Noble Kinsmen, The)
  p. 445, "Cycropædeia" to "Cyropædeia" (Xenophon's Cyropædeia)


Possible typographical errors retained in text; falling within quoted
material:

  p.  64, "lived in her highnes," (highness)
  p.  81, "it was no ofspring" (offspring)
  p. 108, "Drammatick and Scenical King" (Dramatick)
  p. 122, "... excellent Maister Beamont" (Beaumont)
  p. 194, "... Francis Beamont" (Beaumont)
  p. 231, "Flesher and Beaumont" (Fletcher)
  p. 231, "The Faithfull Shipheardesse" (Shepheardesse)
  p. 375, "Abigal," (Abigail)
  p. 430, "Cavendishes" (Cavendishs') (in Index)


Several instances of "Middle English Spellings" used are:

  "Maiesties" (Middle English) and "Majesties," and
  "Doe, se, yt, yn, y'll" and "do, see, it, in, I'll"


Play Title Variations, each of which appears several times:

  "Aeschylus" and "Æschylus"
  "Amadis de Gaule" and "Amadis de Gaul"
  "Beggars' Bush" and "Beggars Bush"
  "... Curious coxcombe" and "... Curious cox-combe"
  "Duchess of Malfi" and "Duchess of Malfy"
  "Julius Ceasar" and "Julius Cæsar"
  "Maid's Tragedy", "Maids Tragedy", "Maides Tragedy"
  "Maske of the Gentleman of Grayes Inne" and "Maske of the
      Gentlemen of Grayes Inne".
  "Morall Representations" and "Moralle Representations"
  "Parisitaster" and "Parasitaster"
  "Essay of Dramatick Poesie" and "Essay on Dramatick Poesy"
  "The Scornful Lady" and "The Scornful Ladie"
  "The Shepheardesse" and "The Shepheardess"
  "The Coxcomb" and "The Coxcombe"
  "Weather-cocke" and "Weather-Cocke"
  "Women Pleas'd" and "Women Pleased"


Other word variations:

  "Zouch" and "Zouche" (Ashby-de-la-----)
  "Bedchamber" and "Bed-chamber"
  "birthright" and "birth-right"
  "Cal, S. P.," "Cal. St. Pa., Dom.,"
      "Calendar of State Papers (Domestic)" (see Footnotes)
  "Condel" and "Condell" (Henry ----)
  "countryside" and "country-side"
  "D'Urfey" and D'Urfé (Marquis ----)
  "Hoskyns" and "Hoskins" (Serjeant ----)
  "milkmaid" and "milk-maid" (both occur on p. 27)
  "northwest" and "north-west"
  "Pierepoint" and "Pierrepoint"
  "Sannazzaro" and "Sannazarro"
  "Shepherdesse" and "Shepheardesse"
  "Sempill" and "Semphill" (Sir James ----)
  "southeast" and "south-east"
  "White-hall" and "Whitehall"


Words using the [oe] ligature which has been changed to "oe" in this
e-text: manoeuvere, manoeuvered, manoeuvers.





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