Lapas attēli


SEJANUS.] This "Tragedy” was first acted in 1603 by the company at the Globe; and Shakspeare, Burbadge,: Lowin, Hemings, Condel, Philips, Cooke, and Siy, had parts in it. Though much applauded by the fashionable part of the audience, it proved “ caviare to the general," and experienced considerable opposition. Sejanus was not published till 1605; when it appeared, in quarto, without a dedication, but accompanied by several copies of commendatory verses. Subsequently it seems to have acquired some degree of popularity: Jonson says that it had outlived the malice of its enemies, when he republished it in folio, in 1616; and it was one of the first plays revived after the Restoration. Sejanus is not divided into scenes in any of the editions; it has neither exits nor entrances; and is, upon the whole, the most involved and puzzling drama, in its internal arrangement, that was ever produced. The motto both to the quarto and folio is the same :

Non hîc centauros, non gorgonas, harpyiasque

Invenies : hominem pagina nostra sapit. It is taken from Martial, and had already furnished the groundwork for the admirable prologue to Every Man in his Humour.





Fever any ruin were so great as to survive,
I think this be one I send you, the Fall of
Sejanus. It is a poem, that, if I well re-

member, in your lordship's sight, suffered no less violence from our people here, than the subject of it did from the rage of the people of Rome; but

with a different fate, as, I hope, merit: for this hath outlived

, : their malice, and begot itself a greater favour than he lost, the love of good men. Amongst whom, if I make

, your lordship the first it thanks, it is not without a just confession of the bond your benefits have, and ever shall hold upon me, Your Lordship's most faithful honourer,

BEN. JONSON. 1 See Epig. 127.

-suffered no less violence from our people, &c.] The opposition made to Sejanus (of which Jonson here puts his patron in mind) is noticed in a poem by Fennor, which appeared about the time of this Dedication, 1616.

"Sweet poesie
Is oft convict, condemn'd and judged to die,
Without just triall by a multitude,
Whose judgments are illiterate and rude.
Witnesse Sejanus, whose approved worth
Sounds from the calme South to the freezing North.
With more than human art it was bedewd,
Yet to the multitude it nothing shewd.
They screwed their scurvy jawes, and lookt awry,
Liké hissing snakes adjudging it to die;
When wits of gentry did applaud,&c.



« iepriekšējāTurpināt »