Holland's Leaguer Quotes

"Great Joys, Like Griefs, Are Silent"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In 1624 an English dramatist who spelled his name in various ways came penniless out of the university because his father had squandered the family fortune. One way to earn a living was to fight with Gustavus Adolphus' army in the Lowlands, but Marmion thought promotion and wealth lay too far in the future, so after brief service, he put aside his pike and returned to London to make a living with his pen. His first attempt at drama, Holland's Leaguer, was often performed, according to the published copy, "with great applause by Prince Charles his servants, at the private house in Salisbury Court." The "Holland" has no connection with the country of Marmion's military service, but was the name of a "leaguer," or brothel in London's Holland Street, in Blackfriars. In cataloguing a copy of the play's first edition for sale, Bernard Quaritch called it "Holland's Leaguer, or a historical discourse of the life and action of Dona Britanica Hollandia, the arch-mistris of the wicked women of Eutopia, wherein is detected the notorious sinne of Pandarisme and the execrable life of the luxurious Impudent." A later commentator, Geneste, summarized the plot: "The Lord Philautus is selfconceited to the last degree; he is encouraged in his folly by Ardelio, his steward and parasite. Philautus is brought to his sober senses by Faustina. She turns out to be his sister. The bulk of the play consists of an underplot with comic characters; the fourth act passes chiefly before a brothel, which is repeatedly called the Leaguer and sometimes a castle or fort. Trimalchio and Caprito, two gulls with the tutor of the latter are taken up [arrested] by a pretended constable and watchman, as they are coming from the Leaguer." The use of names like Philautus [lover of himself] and Trimalchio bear witness to the author's classical training. "Snarl," as one of the characters is called, comes from the practice of bestowing names according to characteristics. The names of actors appearing in the roles are given in the 1632 edition, but none can be found in lists of players of the period. Philautus was performed by William Browne, and Richard Godwin was Faustina, the sister. At the beginning of the final act, Philautus, back from the war, talks with Faustina whom he does not recognize, and with his acquaintance Fidelio, who is engaged to her. Philautus thanks her for showing him his follies. Fidelio supplies the explanation.

But, when you know the author of your freedom,
You'll thank her more.
Why, who is it?
Your sister.
Who? Not Faustina? She told me so indeed,
Her name was Faustina . . . I knew her not;
I am glad there is a scion of our stock
Can bear such fruit as this, so ripe in virtue.
Where have you lived recluse? You were betrothed
To one Fidelio, but crossèd by your father;
I have heard good reports of the gentleman.
I never knew you flatter any man
Unto his face before.
Unto his face?
Where is he?
My name's Fidelio.
I am transported, ravished! Give me leave,
God Gods, to entertain with reverence
So great a comfort. First let me embrace you.
Great joys, like griefs, are silent. Loose me now
And let me make you fast. Here join your hands
Which no age shall untie.