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facts which had recently been exhibited in a stronger light than ever to the public. And so far from in any way attempting to mask this paraphrase of history, the poet has emphasised it by implicitly adopting the readings of the historian, not only as to the incidents, but as to the characters and language of the principal personages. The speech of Pole at Whitehall, for instance, and that of Cranmer in St. Mary's Church, are simply versificatious (sonietimes so close as to be merely the original words cut up into blank verse) of the speeches recorded in contemporary annals; and though it was scarcely possible to treat them otherwise if introduced at all, it may be questioned whether it was worth while to set before the reader so many pages of what he can read elsewhere. The same remark would apply to Mr. Swinburne's • Bothwell,' which consists of the contemporary records of our Scottish Queen Mary turned into very fine blank verse.

erse. The stirring character of the times selected hardly helps the dramatist much, for drama must deal with personal character, not merely with the clash of interests and events considered at large; and though few passages in our history are of more interest than the struggle between intellectual liberty and intolerance in Mary's reign, and though the intermingling of the Spanish empire in the affairs of England gives to the whole a large political significance, yet such conditions are matter for historic and epic rather thau dramatic treatment, unless we can find a preeminent and concentrated interest in some of the leading characters in the conflict. But none of the characters in this eventful history (with the exception of Elizabeth, whose place in the poem is necessarily secondary) would have played a great part in the world but for accidents of birth or circumstance. Philip was a dull machine of hereditary tyranny; Cranmer and Pole were weak men, unable to comprehend the whirlwind of conflicting forces in which they were involved, still less to ride upon it and direct it. Mary had, after a fashion, more individuality of character than any of them; but her character was bent, distorted, awry, to an extent which makes the contemplation of it anything but agreeable; nor is there any distinctly predominant motive in the drama--any result towards which it tends adequate to compel our interest in despite of the unpromising nature of the materials from which it is constructed.

The poem, however, unquestionably opens well. The first scene in a drama should have the effect of at once bringing us en rapport with the scene and circumstances in which the action is laid, and in this respect Mr. Tennyson's first scene is so successful and so dramatically suitable as to raise considerable




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expectation as to what is to follow. We are in the streets of Aldgate, ó richly decorated,' waiting to see the newly crowned Queen pass in state with her sister Elizabeth. The disturbed state of the times, the nature of the political and theological questions which are being tossed from mouth to mouth, are clearly implied in the uncouth talk of the crowd who have been bidden by the marshalman to shout for Queen Mary, 'the lawful and • legitimate daughter of Harry the Eighth,' and who are puzzled by the hard word. legitimate,' whether it means 'bastard' or true-born,' and appeal to their companion Nokes as to whether Parliament cannot ‘make every true man of us . a bastard :' Nokes being one of the older and more learned heads, having been born in the tail end of old Harry the • Seventh, before bastard-making began,' as he adds with a rather audacious stretch of the privilege of a laudator temporis acti. Nokes has no notion of Parliament interfering with his birthright; he can't argue upon it, but he and his old woman ''ud burn upon it'-burning being a fashion of the day. The crowd, however, learn of a coming change in some other fashions, in the language in which they are rebuked by the marshalman—Heswears by the Rood! whew!' Most suggestive of all, perhaps, are the short phrases put into the mouth of Old Nokes, the white-headed father, who asks whether it is King EJward or King Richard who is passing, and on catching the name of Mary, falls on his knees, saying, the blessed Mary's passing.' The significance of this little incident in carrying us back to the time when the worship of the blessed Mary' was the undisturbed religious faith of the land, before all these broils and heresies had entered it, ought not to be overlooked ; quietly as it is done, it is an admirable touch; and every word in the scene has reference to the situation.

In a lesser degree the saine sort of merit belongs to the third scene, where Father Bourne is addressing the crowd from St. Paul's Cross, and we are introduced to Noailles, the intriguing French ambassador, whose wire-pulling, however, is rather too palpable for probability; and to Courtenay, just liberated from the Tower in honour of Mary's accession, an easy youth in a general flutter of good spirits, and ready to do anything that anybody tells him. His subsequent conversation with Noailles suggests a future complication, and is not otherwise than characteristic; but of the general delineation of Courtenay's character we may say here (as it will not be necessary to return to it) that his folly and feather-headedness seem somewhat overdrawn : he is a puppet who might be described, in Thackeray's phrase, as “very lively on the wires,' but almost


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too silly, in Tennyson's delineation, to have been even temporarily regarded in public opinion as a desirable sharer of the throne. *

But when (to turn back for a moment) we pass from the first scene to the second, there is a drop indeed. The scene introduces Cranmer, and, considering the space he subsequently occupies in the poem, should be reckoned of some importance. He is discovered reciting to himself a list of bishops who, 'they say,' are flying from their sees, with the conclusion that

'Hooper, Ridley, Latimer will not fly.' However, at the word “fly' Peter Martyr, who has evidently been listening at the door for his cue, enters like an echo• Fly, Cranmer!' and the rest of the scene is taken up by his visitor recounting to him all he has done to bring on him the wrath of Mary, in a manner which can only be defended on the principle laid down in The Critic-how else are the

' audience to know anything about it?' The one line in the whole of this scene which can be said to have any character about it is Cranmer's last exclamation

' I thank my God it is too late to fly!' which is an epitome of Cranmer's mental attitude and temperament, as far as we can gather it from history. His place in the present drama it is not easy to understand. The fourth act is entirely devoted to him, and the scene of, or rather before, his martyrdom, is worked out at greater length than any other point in the piece. But then we hear and see nothing of him in the interim, nor has his history and fate any such necessary connexion with the destiny of Mary as to account for the important place assigned to it. As a martyr he was only one among many, and it cannot be said that his execution operated specially, more than any other, in bringing about that popular hatred against the Queen which is one of the leading elements in her misery and downfall in the fifth act. The link between his fortunes and those of the Queen lies in the fact that he was the abettor of her mother's divorce. This, which after all is a connexion only a parte ante, appears to be in the poet's


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* In Sir Aubrey De Vere's Mary Tudor' (a drama which may in some points compare, not without interest, and not disadvan. tageously, with the work of the later and greater poet), Courtenay is represented as not so much a fool as a careless gibing man of the world, indifferent and audacious; which is perhaps historically an error on the other side, though on the whole more dramatically effective.

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mind, but the hints of it have to be looked for rather carefully; they are at all events not worked up into such dramatic sequence of cause and effect as would be requisite to bind the whole together, and to make the extended representation of Cranmer's end anything more than an excrescence.

In the fourth scene we have the first entry of the Queen on the stage, and this is well and significantly managed. Her single sentence, as she appears ominously at the back of the scene while Courtenay is lightly blabbing his schemes to Elizabeth

Whispering-leagued together To bar me from my Philip'-at once indicates Mary's position and the motive which the poet, not without good warrant from history, has made the mainspring of her action in this portion of the drama; and the very manner of her introduction, the stealthy watchfulness of one whose mind is set upon something which she knows those around her are adverse to, which she dreads to see snatched from her, is indicative of what is to come. The previous part of the scene, too, follows naturally from the temptation of Courtenay by Noailles in the previous scene, and assists in placing before us some of the obstacles to Mary's wishes. We are introduced in this conversation to Elizabeth, of whom more anon, for we must pass on now to Scene V., in which the heroine of the piece is delineated more at length. This scene, which is of some extent, leads us up by natural and consistent steps to the climax of the first act, the formal acceptance of Philip by the Council as the husband of Mary. In the first conversation of the Queen with her lady-in-waiting Alice (a pert little woman whose tongue comes in with good effect of contrast in several side-scenes of the drama), part of the secret of the bitterness of Mary's temperament is indicated in her sudden reflection, suggested by a reference to her mother's

fate :

Cast off, betrayed, defamed, divorced, forlorn! with the obvious though unexpressed thought of its result upon her own fortunes; and her feeling on this point is unconsciously blended with her zeal against heretics, in a manner very true to human nature. But the mention of Lady Jane's heresy leads her back by a short cut to the subject next her heart, Philip; and there is much in the passage of soliloquy that follows which is graphically indicative of the character of the speaker, as she turns from the actual bitterness of her isolated situation to the dream of a noble destiny with the

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husband who is transfigured in her hysterical imagination into an apostle of the Church of the future. In strong contrast to this dream comes the shrewd counsel of Gardiner, not to offend the nation whom her policy has disposed, so far, to love her, and his still more unwelcome unfolding of Philip's private character:

Oh, Madam, take it bluntly; marry Philip,
And be step-mother of a score of sons !

The prince is known in Spain, in Flanders, ha!' a piece of news which is wormwood to the prematurely old devotee, and upon which she harps during the next two interviews with the French and Spanish ambassadors respectively, getting a confirmation of the truth from the first (since it is his interest to disgust her with Philip), and an easy sanctimonious lic from the second :

Yea, by Heaven
The text-your Highness knows it," whosoever
Looketh after a woman," would not graze
The Prince of Spain. You are happy in him there,
Chaste as your Grace.

I am happy in him there.' The expression of Renard is historical ; but more might have been made out of the two ambassadors, more opportunity taken for the display of intellectual acuteness of word-fencing: for Renard especially the cards are too completely packed ; his lies, like Bardolph's thefts, are too open, and could not have so imposed upon Mary unless we are to regard her as a perfect fool: and perfect folly-unless it be the folly of a great intellect overturned—is but a sorry spectacle to contemplate in a personage occupying a high place in such a tragedy. Even the state of mental excitement into which the Queen has worked herself up at Philip's coming. exclaiming, with a real grandeur of imagery

Let the great angel of the church come with him,

Stand on the deck and spread his wings for sail !' can hardly explain her so easily accepting Renard's glib assurances, though it prepares us for the painful emotion she is made to exhibit when, hard upon the announcement that the Council are sitting, Renard re-enters with the actual formal offer from Philip, and the Queen“ all trembling' (as her ladrin-waiting remarks), goes to learn her fate, while Renard and Alice keep up a light conversation very characteristic and well-contrasted under the circumstances, till Mary returns, only able in her agitation to gasp out, in reply to Renard's

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