Page images
PDF
EPUB

flock;

To fit upon a hill, as I do now,
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run:
How
many

make the hour full compleat,
How many hours bring about the day,
How many days will finish up the year,
How

many years a mortal man may live : When this is known, then to divide the time; So many hours must I tend

my So many hours must I take my reit; So many hours must I contemplate; So many

hours must I sport myself; So many days, my ewes have been with young; So many weeks, ere the poor

fools will

yean; So many months, ere I shall sheer the fleece ; So minutes, hours, days, weeks, inonths and years, Past over, to the end they were created, Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave. Oh! what a life were this ! how sweet! how lovely! Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade

'To

known are the following lines from Seneca's IIcrcules Oeticus on the subject, and perhaps they may therefore be more agree

able :

Stretch'd on the turf in fylvan fhades;
No fear the peasant's reft invadles,
While gilded roofs, and beds of state,
Perplex the slumbers of the great.

Secure he rears the beachen bowl,
With steady hand and fearless soul :
Pleas'd with his plain and homely meats,
No swords surround him as he eats.

His modest wife of virtue try'd
Knows not th' expensive arts of pride ;
Her easy with, the home-spun fleece
Plain in its native hue can please,
And happy in her nuptial bed,
No jealous doubts disturb her liead;
Unlike the dame whose day of birth
Is folemniz'd thro' half the earth.

WAR.

To shepherds looking on their filly sheep,
(7) Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy

To

(7) Than, &c.] The miseries of royalty (as have been before observed, 2 Henry IV. A. 4. S. 10.) is a very general topic with the poets ; on which, as indeed on most others, they muft yield the superiority to Shakespear ; Monsieur Racine in his celebrated tragedy of Esther, fpeaks thus on the subject.

A prince encompass'd with a busy crowd
Is ever call'd away by some new object,
The present strikes, futurity difturbs,
But swift as lightning still the past escapes ;
Of all who hourly court our royal favour,
And wou'd commend their loyalty and zeal,
Not one is found so just and truly faithful
To give us notice of neglected merit,

But all with one confent promote our vengeance. In another part of this performance, the author sets in contrast the pleasures and pains of vicious greatness; thus the wicked man's alluring pomp is described,

His days appear a constant scene of joy ;
Gold glitters in his precious robes,
His pride's as boundless as his wealth ;
He never wounds the air with mournful fighs ;
The voice of harmony falutes his ear,
When he lies down to Neep, and when he wakes;
Triumphant plenty with a chearful grace,
Balks in his eyes, and sparkles in his face.

Again,

To crown his tow'ring and ambitious hopes,
A laughing train of children at his boards
Seem to quaffjoy with him in copious bowls.

Now see the reverse.

With plenty crown'd, his conscious heart repines,
And gall is mingled with his sweetest wines.
On the rough waves of paffions toft,

He still unnumber'd pleasures tries :
But finds his expectations croft,

And happiness his fond embraces fies.'
For virtue is the only base
of happiness and lasting peace.

The

To kings that fear their subjects treachery?
O, yes, it doth, a thousand fold it doth.
And to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds
His cold thin drink out of his leathern bottle,
His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,
All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
Is far beyond a prince's delicates,
His viands sparkling in a golden cup,
His body couched in a curious bed,
When cares, mistrust, and treason, wait on him.

[blocks in formation]

Look, as I blow this feather from my face,
And as the air blows it to me again,
Obeying with my wind, when I do blow,
And yielding to another when it blows,
Commanded always by the greater gust;
Such is the lightness of you common men.

SCENE III. A Simile on ambitious Thoughts

Why, then I do but dream on fov'reignty,
Like one that stands upon a promontory,
And spies a far-off shore where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his

eye,
And chides the sea that lunders him from thence
Saying, he'll lade it dry, to have his way.

Gloucester's

The Reader with me, is indebted to my worthy friend Mr. Duncombe for the translation of these passages from the French, who hath finished the whole of this tragedy, and some years Since published a tranflation of our author's other most famous performance, Athaliah.

Gloucester's Deformity.
(8) Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe
To shrink mine arm up like a wither'd shrub;
To make an envious mountain on my back;
Where sits deformity to mock my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal lize ;
To disproportion ine in every part :
Like to a chaos, or unlick'd bear-whelp,
That carries no impreslion like the dam.
And am I then a man to be belor'd ?

heart;

Gloucester's Diffimulation.
Why, I can smile, and murder while I finile;
And cry content to that which grieves my
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears ;
And frame my face to all occasions :
I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk ;
I'll play the orator, as well as Neftor;
Deceive more flily than Ulylles could ;
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy:
I can add colours even to the camelion ;
Change shapes with Proteus, for advantages;
(9) And set th' aspiring Catiline to school,
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?

ACT

(8) Wby, &c.] See the beginning of Richard the Third.

(9) And fet, &c.} I am of Mr. Warburton's opinion, this reading which is of the old quarto, is greatly preferable to that commonly received; not only because we thereby avoid au anachronism, but because Richard, perhaps, may be more aptly compared to Catiline, and because he instances, all through the speech, from the ancients. The other reading is,

And set the murd'rous Machiavel to school,
Vol. III.

E

ACT IV. SCENE IX.

Henry VI.

On his own Lenity.
I have not stopt mine ears to their demands,
Nor posted off their suits with flow delays ;
My pity hath been balm to heal their wounds;
My mildness hath allay'd their swelling griefs ;
My mercy dry'd their water-flowing tears.
I have not been desirous of their wealth,
Nor much opprest them with great subsidies,
Nor forward of revenge, tho' they much erid.

[blocks in formation]

The Earl of Warwick's dying Speech. Ah, who is nigh? Come to me, friend, or foe, And tell me who is victor, York or Warwick ? Why ask I that? My mangled body shews My blood, my want of strength, my fick heart shews, That I must yield my body to the earth, And, by my fall, the conquest to my foe. (10) Thus yields the cedar to the axe's edge,

Whose

(10) Thus yields, &c.] For this grand and noble fimile, ShakeSpear is plainly indebted there, where for the first time through this work, I am obliged, and gladly, to acknowledge him outdone. 'Tis from the 31st chapter of the prophet Ezekiel, ver. 3. 30. Behold the Asyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing throud, and of an high ftature, and his top was among the thick boughs. 4. The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field. 5. Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long, because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth. 6. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations. 7. Thus was he fair in his greatness, ja

the

« PreviousContinue »