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A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 7


Fourth Edition

Originally published by Robert Dodsley in the Year 1744.

Now first chronologically arranged, revised and enlarged with the Notes of all the Commentators, and new Notes.



Tancred And Gismunda The Wounds Of Civil War Mucedorus The Two Angry Women Of Abington Look About You


The Tragedie of Tancred and Gismund. Compiled by the Gentlemen of the Inner Temple, and by them presented before her Maiestie. Newly reuiued and polished according to the decorum of these daies. By R.W. London, Printed by Thomas Scarlet, and are to be solde by R. Robinson, 1591, 4to.

[Some copies are dated 1592; but there was only a single edition. Of the original text, as written in 1568, there is no printed copy; but MSS. of it are in MS. Lansdowne 786, and Hargrave MS. 205, neither of which appears to present any evidence of identity with the copy mentioned by Isaac Reed below as then in private hands. Both these MSS. have now been collated with the text of 1591, and the conclusion must be, that Wilmot, though he unquestionably revived, did not do so much, as he might wish to have it inferred, in _polishing_ the play. The production was formed on a classical model, and bears marks of resemblance in tone and style to the "Jocasta" of Euripides, as paraphrased by Gascoigne in 1566. The Lansdowne MS. of "Tancred and Gismunda" was written, about 1568-70, while the Hargrave is much more modern.]


It appears from William Webbe's Epistle prefixed to this piece, that after its first exhibition it was laid aside, and at some distance of time was new-written by R. Wilmot. The reader, therefore, may not be displeased with a specimen of it in its original dress. It is here given from the fragment of an ancient MS. taken out of a chest of papers formerly belonging to Mr Powell, father-in-law to the author of "Paradise Lost," at Forest Hill, about four miles from Oxford, where in all probability some curiosities of the same kind may remain, the contents of these chests (for I think there are more than one) having never yet been properly examined. The following extract is from the conclusion of the piece.--_Reed_. [Reed's extract has been collated with the two MSS. before-mentioned; where the Powell MS. may now be, the editor cannot say. The differences, on the whole, are not material; but the Lansdowne MS. 786 has supplied a few superior readings and corrections.]

But in thy brest if eny spark remaine Of thy dere love. If ever yet I coulde So moche of thee deserve, or at the least If with my last desire I may obtaine This at thy handes, geve me this one request And let me not spend my last breath in vaine. My life desire I not, which neither is In thee to geve nor in my self to save, Althoughe I wolde. Nor yet I aske not this As mercye for myne Erle in ought to crave, Whom I to well do knowe howe thou hast slayen. No, no, father, thy hard and cruell wronge With pacience as I may I will sustaine In woefull life which now shall not be longe. But this one suite, father, if unto me Thou graunt, though I cannot the same reacquite Th'immortall goddes shall render unto thee Thy due reward and largely guerdon it, That sins it pleased thee not thus secretly I might enjoy my love, his corps and myne May nathelesse together graved be And in one tombe our bodies both to shrine With which this small request eke do I praie That on the same graven in brasse thou place This woefull epitaphe which I shall saye, That all lovers may rue this mornefull case; Loe here within one tombe where harbor twaine Gismonda Quene and Countie Pallurine! She loved him, he for her love was slayen, For whoes revenge eke lyes she here in shrine. [GISMONDA _dieth_

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