Page images

When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers: the mere world's a slave,
Debauch'd on every tomb; on every grave,
A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb,
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed.


Self-accusation of too great Love.

Poor lord! is 't I

That chase thee from thy country, and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event

Of the non-sparing war? and is it I

That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
Was shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers,
That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
Fly with false aim; move the still-piercing air,
That sings with piercing, do not touch my lord!
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
Whoever charges on his forward breast,
I am the caitiff that do hold him to it;
And, though I kill him not, I am the cause
His death was so effected: better 't were

I met the ravin* lion when he roar'd

With sharp constraint of hunger: better 't were
That all the miseries which nature owes

Were mine at once: No, come thou home, Roussillon,
Whence honour but of danger wins a scar,
As oft it loses all; I will be gone:

My being here it is that holds thee hence:
Shall I stay here to do't? no, no, although

* Voracious.

The air of paradise did fan the house,
And angels officed all: I will be gone;
That pitiful rumour may report my flight,

To consolate thine ear.


Life Chequered.

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.

A Cowardly Braggart.

Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great, "Twould burst at this: captain I'll be no more! But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft As captain shall simply the thing I am Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart, Let him fear this; for it will come to pass That every braggart shall be found an ass. Rust, sword! cool, blushes! and, Parolles, live Safest in shame! being fool'd, by foolery thrive! There's place, and means, for every man alive.


Praise of a Lost Object.

Praising what is lost, Makes the remembrance dear.

Against Delay.

Let's take the instant by the forward top; For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees

The inaudible and noiseless foot of time
Steals ere we can effect them.

Excuse for Unreasonable Dislike.

At first


stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue: Where the impression of mine eye infixing, Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me, Which warp'd the line of every other favour; Scorn'd a fair colour, or express'd it stolen ; Extended or contracted all proportions To a most hideous object: thence it came, That she, whom all men praised, and whom myself, Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye The dust that did offend it.



The play commences with a quarrel between the brothers Oliver and Orlando, sons of the deceased Sir Rowland de Bois, after which Orlando engages in a bout of wrestling with Charles, a noted wrestler, whom he overthrows. Rosalind and Celia, who are cousins, and inseparable friends, witness the combat, and the former falls in love with Orlando. The reigning Duke Frederick, father of Celia, has usurped the government and banished his brother, the rightful duke and father of Rosalind, from his dominions. The exiled duke retires with Jaques, a cynical lord, and other courtiers, to the forest of Arden, where he is followed by Rosalind and Celia, who are accompanied by Touchstone, a clownish servitor. Orlando, attended by Adam, an old and faithful servant,

encounters in the forest the banished Duke and his friends; here also he meets with Rosalind, and several love scenes occur between them. In the end, the chief characters being assembled together, Hymen enters and joins the hands of Rosalind and Orlando, and Celia and Oliver. At this juncture Jaques de Bois, another son of Sir Rowland, arrives, and brings intelligence that the usurping Duke Frederick has resolved to bequeath his crown to his brother and retire into solitude, and the comedy thus concludes. Much amusement is created by the clown Touchstone, who marries Audrey, a country girl whom he has met in the forest. Dr. Johnson says of this comedy: "The fable is wild and pleasing; the character of Jaques is natural and well preserved; the comic dialogue is very sprightly, with less mixture of low buffoonery than in some other plays, and the graver part is elegant and harmonious."

Аст І.

Modesty and Courage in Youth.

I BESEECH you, punish me not with your hard thoughts, wherein I confess me much guilty, to deny so fair and excellent ladies anything. But let your fair eyes and gentle wishes go with me to my trial: wherein if I be foiled, there is but one shamed that was never gracious; if killed, but one dead that is willing to be so I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me the world no injury, for in it I have nothing; only in the world I fill up a place, which may be better supplied when I have made it empty.


We still have slept together,

Rose at an instant, learn'd, play'd, eat together:
And wheresoe'er we went, like Juno's swans,
Still we went coupled, and inseparable.


Solitude preferred to a Court Life, and the
Advantages of Adversity.

Now, my co-mates, and brothers in exile, Hath not old custom made this life more sweet Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods More free from peril than the envious court? Here feel we but the penalty of Adam, The seasons' difference; as the icy fang, And churlish chiding of the winter's wind; Which, when it bites and blows upon my body, Even till I shrink with cold, I smile, and say, This is no flattery: these are counsellors That feelingly persuade me what I am. Sweet are the uses of adversity; Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head; And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.

Reflections on a wounded Stag.

DUKE. Come, shall we go and kill us venison? And yet it irks me, the poor dappled fools,Being native burghers of this desert city,Should, in their own confines, with forked heads* Have their round haunches gored.

LORD. Indeed, my lord,

[ocr errors]

The melancholy Jaques grieves at that;
And, in that kind, swears you do more usurp
Than doth your brother that hath banish'd you.
To-day, my lord of Amiens, and myself,

*The heads of arrows barbed.

« PreviousContinue »