Page images
PDF
EPUB

l'll yet follow
The wounded chance of Antony, though my reason
Sits in the wind against me.
But now 'tis odds beyond arithmetick;
And manhood is callåd foolery, when it stands
Against a falling fabrick.
Mine honesty, and I, begin to square.
The loyalty, well held to fools, does make
Our faith mere folly.

Thou shalt not see me blush,
Nor change my countenance for this arrest ;
A heart unspotted is not easily daunted.
The purest spring is not so free from mud,
As I am clear from treason to my sovereign.

All good people,
You that thus far have come to pity me,
Hear what I say, and then go home and lose me.
I have this day receiv'd a traitor's judgment,
And by that name must die ; yet, heaven bear witness,
And, if I have a conscience, let it sink me,
Even as the axe falls, if I be not faithful !

Nor is there living,
(I speak it with a single heart, my lords,)
A man, that more detests, more stirs against,
Both in his private conscience, and his place,
Defacers of a public peace, than I do.
Pray heaven, the king may never find a heart
With less allegiance in it!

My vows and

prayers Yet are the king's; and, till

my

soul forsake me,
Shall cry for blessings on him: may he live
Longer than I have time to tell his years !
Ever belov'd, and loving, may, his rule be!
And, when old time shall lead him to his end,
Goodness and he fill up one monument!

And so thrive Richard, as thy foes may fall !
And as my duty springs, so perish they
That grudge one thoug!it against your Majesty.
Though all the world should crack their duty to you,
And throw it from their soul; though perils did
Abound, as thick as thought could make them, and
Appear in forms more horrid ; yet my duty,
As doth a rock against the chiding flood,
Should the approach of the wild river break,
And stand unshaken yours.
They, for their truth, might hetter wear their heads,
Than some, that have accus'd them, wear their hats.

Have 1 with all

my

full affections Still met the king ? lov'd him next heaven ? obey'd

him ? Been, out of fondness, superstitious to him? Almost forgot my prayers to content him ? And am I thus rewarded ? 'tis not well, lords. Bring me a constant woman to her husband, One that ne'er dream'd a joy beyond his pleasure ; And to that woman, when she has done most, Yet will I add an honour,-a great patience.

Heaven witness,
I have been to you a true and humble wife,
At all times to your will conformable :
Ever in fear to kindle your dislike,
Yea, subject to your countenance ; glad, or sorry,
As I saw it inclin’d.

Here I kneel:-.
If e'er my will did trespass 'gainst his love,
Either in discourse, or thought, or actual deed;
Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense
Delighted them in any other form ;

Or that I do not yet, and ever did,
And ever will,-though he do shake me off
To beggarly divorcement,- love him dearly,
Comfort forswear me !

If, in the course
And process of this time, you can report,
And prove it too, against mine honour aught,
My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty, or
Against your
sacred person,

in God's name,
Turn me away; and let the foul'st contempt
Shut door upon me, and so give me up
To the sharpest kind of justice.

A loss of her,
That, like a jewel, has hung twenty years
About his neck, yet never lost her lustre ;
Of her, that loves him with that excellence
That angels love good men with ; even of her
That, when the greatest stroke of fortune falls,
Will bless the king.

I am constant as the northern star, Of whose true-fix'd, and resting quality, There is no fellow in the firmament.

If this austere insociable life
Change not your offer made in heat of blood ;
If frosts, and fasts, hard lodging, and thin weeds,
Nip not the gaudy blossoms of your love,
But that it bear this trial, and last love;
Then, at the expiration of the year,
Come challenge me.

Here is my

my true constancy ;
And when that hour o'er-slips me in the day,
Wherein I sigh not, Julia, for thy sake,
The next ensuing hour some foul mischance
Torment me for my love's forgetfulness !

hand for

His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles ;
His love sincere, his thoughts immaculate ;
His tears, pure messengers sent from his heart;
His heart as far from fraud, as heaven from earth.

O heaven! were man But constant, he were perfect : that one error Fills him with faults.

I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest,
Lay down my soul at stake: if you

think other,
Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom.
If any wretch hath put this in your head,
Let heaven requite it with the serpent's curse!
For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true,
There's no man happy : the purest of their wives
Is foul as slander.

God join'd my heart and Romeo's, thou our hands ;
And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal'd,
Shall be the label to another deed,
Or
my

true heart with treacherous revolt Turn to another, this shall slay them both.

Chain me with roaring bears; Or shut me nightly in a charnel-house, O'er-cover'd quite with dead men's rattling bones, With reeky shanks, and yellow chapless sculls ; Or bid me go into a new-made grave, And hide me with a dead man in his shroud ; Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble; And I will do it without fear or doubt, To live an instain'd wife to my sweet love.

If to preserve this vessel for my lord,
From any other foul unlawful touch,
Be—not to be a strumpet, I am none.

False to his bed! What is it, to be false ?
To lie in watch there, and to think on him ?
To weep 'twixt clock and clock ? if sleep charge

nature,
To break it with a fearful dream of him,
And cry myself awake? that's false to his bed,
Is it ?

Unkindness

may

do much; And his unkindness

may
defeat

my

life, But never taint my love.

FLATTERY.

O, that men's ears should be
To counsel deaf, but not to flattery !

Who dares,
In purity of manhood stand upright,
And say, This man's a flatterer? if one be,
So are they all; for every grize of fortune
Is smooth'd by that below : the learned pate
Ducks to the golden fool : all is oblique ;
There's nothing level in our cursed natures,
But direct villainy.

You play the spaniel,
And think with wagging of your tongue to win me.

Be not fond,
To think that Cæsar bears such rebel blood,
That will be thaw'd from the true quality
With that which melteth fools ; I mean, sweet words,
Low-crooked curt'sies, and base spaniel fawning.

He loves to hear,
That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers :
But, when I tell him, he hates flatterers,
He

says, he does ; being then most flattered.

« PreviousContinue »