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Jane Shore.

A TRAGEDY professedly written in the style of Shakspeare, may well claim a inore than ordinary share of attention; and its author must have been aware of the claim, for he was a learned and ingenious commentator of that immortal poet. To the memory of Rowe literary honour is justly due; and, if it becomes our duty as critics to point out how entirely he lost sight of the original he would fain bave copied, let us do justice to that genius, which, while it aspired to no higher honour than an imitator, insensibly became an original.

It has been said that Spenser wrote no language at all-that his phraseology belongs neither to his own nor to the preceding age; that it is too modern to be ancient, and too ancient to be modern. Shakspeare, who followed hard upon him, has no barbarons terms, and few uncouth ones; his obscurity consists not in words or construction, but in temporary allusions and forgotten customs; and our language must undergo a total revolution, ere his style can be pronounced rude and antiquated. Spenser has been succesfully imitated, and has become partially obsolete, while Shakspeare has alike defied the hand of time and imitation. Time has only served to swell the loud trump of universal praise; and imitation haa never reached beyond, "By holy Paul ""Beshrew my heart!" and "Good morrow ty'e, Master Lieutenant!"

The story of Jane Shore is well calculated for the display of tragic interest. It is interwoven with a well known portion of English history, and embraces characters and events highly important and pathetic. In selecting history for the groundwork of his drama, Rowe has certainly imitated Shakspeare; who rightly judged that that which could charm in the rude form of an ancient traditionary story or ballad, would prove lastingly attractive, when inspired by the genius of poetry. The incidents of this drama are conducted and developed with considerable skill, and the few capital characters are drawn with energy and power. Glo'ster is preserved with historical truth: he is wily, ferocious, and revengeful; daring in his designs, and prompt in their execution. The unshaken loyalty and ill-starred passion of Hastings-the jealousy, despair, and madness of Alicia, call forth the strongest emotions of pity and terror; while the sufferings, the contrition, the deep humiliation of Jane Shore, are depicted in such true colours, that Rowe had only to consult his own genius, to satisfy the judgment and subdue the heart. The language of this tragedy exhibits all the characteristics of the author's styleharmony, sweetness, and florid elegance. It has much pathos, but little strength, except in the parting interview between Jane Shore and Alicia, and in the council-scene, where Glo'ster accuses Jane Shore of sorcery. How forcibly is the effect of this pretended witchcraft conceived and expressed :

"Behold my arm, thus blasted, dry, and withered,
Shrunk like a foul abortion, and decay'd,

Like some untimely product of the season,
Robb'd of its properties of strength and office.
This is the sorcery of Edward's wife,

Who, in conjunction with that harlot, Shore,
And other like confed'rate midnight hags,
By force of potent spells, of bloody characters,
And conjurations horrible to hear,

Call fiends and spectres from the yawning deep,
And set the ministers of hell at work,

To torture and despoil me of my life."

And the following abrupt reply to Lord Hastings is admirably characteristic of this cunning and implacable tyrant:

"Lord Hastings, I arrest thee of high treason-
Seize him, and bear him instantly away,-
He sha'nt live an hour. By holy Paul,

I will not dine before his head be brought me :
Ratcliff, stay you, and see that it be done.-
The rest that love me, rise, and follow me."

The rhyming couplets that conclude each act, however musically they fall upon the ear, are out of place in tragedy

"Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,

Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart."

Kemble's Glo'ster was wonderfully fine. His start, when he bared his withered arm, his rapid utterance half choaked with rage, and his far-beaming eye glaring beneath a profusion of raven-black hair, fully realized the terror of the scene. The noble burst of Mrs. Siddons, when, as Jane Shore, she invokes the blessings of Providence on Hastings for his fidelity to King Edward's children, was such as none but herself could reach; and her dying exclamation to her husband

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"Forgive me!-but forgive me!"

was the last effort of a penitent and broken heart.


gether in her chamber, nor overhear your design of going off to-night, nor find the bundles packed upEust. Ha, ha, ha!

Luc. Why, aunt, you rave.

Mrs. D. Brother, as I am a Christian woman

Jus. W. Whew!-A Christian! no, no, she's an old maid.

Mrs. D. She confessed the whole affair to me from first to last; and in this very place was down upon her marrowbones for half an hour together, to beg I would conceal it from you.

Hodge. (L.) Oh Lord! Oh Lord!

Mrs. D. What, sirrah, would you brazen me too? Take that.

[Boxes him. Hodge. I wish you would keep your hands to yourself! you strike me, because you have been telling his worship stories.

Jus. W. Why, sister, you are tipsy!

Mrs. D. I tipsy, brother!-I-that never touch a drop of any thing strong from year's end to year's end; but now and then a little anniseed water, when I have got the cholic.

Luc. Well, aunt, you have been complaining of the stomach-ach all day; and may have taken too powerful a dose of your cordial.

Jus. W. Come, come, I see well enough how it is: this is a lie of her own invention, to make herself appear wise: but, you simpleton, did you not know I must find you out?


Young M. (L. c.) Bless me, sir! look who is yonder? [Pointing to EUs. on R. Sir W. (L. c.) Cocksbones, Jack, honest Jack, are you there?

Eust. (R. c.) Plague on't, this rencounter is unlucky-Sir William, your servant.

Sir W. (R. c.) Your servant, again, and again, heartily your servant; may I never do an ill turn, but I am glad to meet you.

Jus. W. (R. C.) Pray, Sir William, are you acquainted with this person?

Sir WV. (c.) What, with Jack Eustace? why he's my kinsman: his mother and I were cousin-Germans once







SCENE I.—An Apartment in the Tower.


Glos. (c.) Thus far success attends upon our councils,
And each event has answered to my wish;
The queen and all her upstart race are quell'd;
Dorset is banish'd, and her brother Rivers,
Ere this, lies shorter by the head at Pomfret.
The nobles have with joint concurrence, nam'd me
Protector of the realm; my brother's children,
Young Edward and the little York, are lodg'd
Here, safe within the Tower. How say you, sirs,
Does not this business wear a lucky face?
The sceptre and the golden wreath of royalty
Seem hung within my reach.

Sir R. (R. C.) Then take 'em to you,

And wear them long and worthily: you are
The last remaining male of princely York;

(For Edward's boys, the state esteems not of 'em,)
And therefore on your sov'reignty and rule

The commonweal does her dependence make,

And leans upon your highness' able hand.

Cates. (L. c.) And yet to-morrow does the council


To fix a day for Edward's coronation.

Who can expound this riddle?

Glos. That can I.

Those lords are each one my approv'd good friends,

Of special trust and nearness to my bosom:

And howsoever busy they may seem,

And diligent to bustle in the state,

Their zeal goes on no further than we lead,
And at our bidding stays.

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