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of mystery in the attitude of Gerard the Warrener, among the retainers of Thorold, Lord Tresham, in the opening scene; but the hint is altogether too slight for dramatic effect, and so the reader loses the real significance of the scene where Mertoun comes to ask Tresham for his sister's hand, and the scene between Mildred and Gwendolen where the latter describes the interview. A blemish that affects character rather than action is the fact that Tresham kills Mertoun after the latter has thrown off his disguise in the park. He lies in wait to kill Mildred's lover, supposing him not to be Mertoun, and holding it as his sister's greatest degradation that she consented to marry Mertoun though having a lover whose name she will not confess. When Mertoun reveals himself, Tresham will not pause for explanation, forces a fight, and kills the youth to whom he has promised his sister as a wife, because they have been lovers. Then he repents. If the combat had taken place without a recognition, the character of Tresham would keep our sympathy and the reconciliation with Mildred at the tragic close would have been less strained. It may be urged, of course, that the recognition of Mertoun before the duel was necessary to bring out the master passion of Tresham, family pride; but that is simply to say in another way that Browning preferred the abnormal in character to broad natural effects. Every character is cleverly drawn, the whole atmosphere of the play is pure and poetic, and the sense of sorrow is all the deeper that it comes into a scene rich with every promise of felicity and high achievement. The style has few of Browning's faults of carelessness; and it may be likened to that of one of the early dramatists at his best. Every thought that does not tell on the development of the tragedy is flung aside.
John Howard Payne has a greater claim to fame in the authorship of a simple song than in his dramatic work; but the play of “ Brutus” represents fairly a great number of English dramas — those dealing in classic themes - without Jonson's overplus of learning and without Shakespeare's insight, but fairly true to Roman history and embodying the ideals of Roman life.