Page images
[blocks in formation]

Let me wipe off this honourable dew,
That filverly doth progress on thy cheeks..
My heart hath melted at a lady's tears,
Being an ordinary inundation:
But this effusion of such manly drops,
This show'r, blown up by tempest of the soul,
Startles inine eyes, and makes me more amaz’d,
Than had I feen the vaulty top of heav'n,
Figur’d quite o’er with burning meteors.
Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury,
And with a great heart, heave away this storm,
Commend these waters to those baby-eyes,
That never saw the giant-world enrag’d;
Nor met with fortune, other than at feasts,
Full warın of blood, of mirth, of gossiping-


SCENE IV. Drums.
Strike up the drums, and let the tongue of war
Plead for our int’rest.

Do but start
An eccho with the clamour of thy drum,
And even at hand a drum is ready brac’d,
That shall reverb'rate all as loud as thine.
Sound but anches, and another shall,
As loud as thine, rattle the welkin's ear,
And mock the deep-inouth'd thunder.

SCENE IX. The approach of Death.
It is too late, the life of all his blood
Is touch'd corrupribly; and his pure brain,
(Which, fome suppose, the soul's frail dwelling-house,)
Doth, by the idle comments that it makes,
Foretel the ending of mortality.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Madness, occasioned by Poison,
(12) Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room,
It would not out at windows, nor at doors.
There is so hot a summer in my bosom,
That all my bowels crumble up to dust:

I am

(12) Ay, marry, &c.] In the Valntinian of Beaumont and Flicher, the emperor is brought on the stage, poisoned.There he calls out for

Drink, drink, drink, colder, colder
Than snow on Seythian mountains : oh my heart-strings ;
I'll have brought through my body :
And Volga, on whose face the north wind freezes.
I am an hundred hells, an hundred piles
Already to my funeral are flaming,
Shall I not drink?
Like Nero,
But far more terrible and full of slaughter,
I’th’midst of all my fire, I'll fire the empire :
A thousand fans, a thousand fans to cool me:
Invite the gentle winds, Eudoxia.
More drink,
A thousand April showers fall in my bosom;
How dare ye let me be tormented thus ? &c.

See Act 5. S. 2. But in another play of theirs-A wife for a month, is a poia soning scene, which better deferves to be compar'd with this of our author, and which Mr. Seward obferves, “ every reader of taste will acknowledge superior to it.” Alphonso, long a prey to melancholy, is poisoned with a hot, burning potion, and in the midst of his tortures, raves thus.

Give me more air, more air, air: blow, blow, blow,
Open thou eastern gate, and blow upon me :
Distil thy cold dews, 0 thou icy moon,
And rivers run through my amicted fpirit.
I am all fire, fire, fire : the raging dog-star
Reigns in my blood : oh which way thall I turn me?
Æina and all her flames, burn in my head;
Fling me into the ocean or I perih:
Dig, dig, dig, dig, until the springs fly up;


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen
Upon a parchment, and against this fire
Do I shrink up.

[ocr errors][merged small]

The cold, cold springs, that I may leap into them,
And bathe my scorch'd limbs in their purling pleasures,
Or shoot me into the higher region,
Where treasures of delicious snow are nourish's,
And banquets of sweet hail.

[ocr errors]

Rug. Hold him fást, friar,

Oh, how he burns !

Alph. What ! will ye sacrifice me?

Upon the altar lay my willing body,
And pile your wood up, Aing your holy incense:
And as I turn me, you shall see all flame,
Consuming flame : stand off me, or you're ashes.

Mari. To bed, good Sir.

Alph. My bed will burn about me:

Like Phaeton, in all consuming flashes
Am I inclos'd : let me fly, let me fly, give room ;
'Twixt the cold bears, far from the raging lion,
Lies my safe way: O for a cake of ice now
To clap unto my heart to comfort me.
Decrepid winter, hang upon my shoulders,
And let me wear thy frozen isicles,
Like jewels round about my head to cool me. !
My eyes burn out and fink into their sockets,
And my infected brain, like brimstone boils :
I live in hell, and several furies vex me.
O, carry me where never sun e'er Thew'd yet
A face of comfort, where the earth is cryftal,
Never to be dissolved, where nought inbabits
But night and cold, and nipping frosts and winds,
That cut the stubborn rocks and make them fhiver :
Set me there, friends-

The line

'Twixt the cold bears, far from the raging lion, was read, (before corrected by Mr. Seward.)

Betwixt the cold bear and the raging lion.

Poison'd, ill fare! dead, forfook, cast off ;
And none of you will bid the winter come
To thrust his icy fingers in my maw;
Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course
Through my burn'd bosom: nor intreat the north
To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips,
And comfort me with cold.

SCENE X. England, invincible, if unanimous

England never did, nor ever shall Lye at the proud foot of

a conqueror, But when it first did help to wound itself. Now these her princes are come home again, Come the three corners of the world in arms; And we shall shock them.-Nought shall make up rue, If England to itself do rest but true.

General Observations.

The tragedy of King John (says Johnson) though not written with the utmost power of Shakespea, is varied with a very pleafing interchange of incidents and characters. The Lady's grief is very affecting; and the character of bastard contains that mixture of greatness and levity which this author delighted to exhibit.







Patriotism. (1) HAT is it, that you would impart to me?

If it be aught towards the general good, Set honour in one eye, and death i'th'orher, And I will look on both indifferently :



(1) What, &c. " How agreeable to his stoic cbaracter, does Shakespear make Brutus speak here? Cicero de fi. iii. 16. Quid cnim illi AAIAQOPON dicunt, id mihi ila occurrit, ut indifferens dicerem. One of the great division of things among the stoics was into good, bad, indifferent: virtue, and whatever partook of virtue, was gond: vice, bad: but what partook of neithez virtue, nor vice, being not in our power, was i.different: such as honour, wealth, death, &c. But of these indifferent things, some might be esteemed more than others; as here Brudus says, I love the name of honour, more than I frar deaih. See Cicero de fin. jii. 15, 16. The stoics never destroyed choice among indifferent things.

-This being premised, let us see Bruties's speech - If it be aught (says he) towards the general good, (Tscos TO: Nov Acos TOY 70%.») as I am a part of that whole, a citizen of that

« PreviousContinue »