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I then, all smarting with my wounds, being gall’d
To be so pester'd with a popinjay,
Out of my grief and my impatience,
Answer'd-negligently-I know not what
He should or should not; for he made me mad,
To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman,
Of guns, and drums, and wounds, (heaven save the mark)
And telling me, the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was spermaceti for an inward bruise ;
And that it was a great pity, (so it was)
This villanous saltpetre should be digg'd"
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd
So cowardly; and but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answer'd indirectly, as I said ;
And I beseech you, let not this report
Come current for an accusation,
Betwixt my love, and your high Majesty.
VII.—Hotspur's Soliloquy on the contents of a Letter. “ BUT, for mine own part, my Lord, I could be well contented to be there in respect of the love I bear your house.”—He could be contented to be there! Why is he not then? In respect of the love he bears our house ? He shows in this, he loves his own barn better than he loves our house. Let me see some more. 66 The purpose you undertake is dangerous."—Why that's certain : 'tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to drink: but I tell you, my lord Fool, out of this nettle danger, we pluck this flower safely. “The purpose you undertake is dangerous; the friends you have named, uncertain ; the time itself, unsorted ; and your whole plot too light for the counterpoise of so great an opposition." --Say you so, say you so? I say unto you again, you are a shallow cowardly hind, and you lie. What a lackbrain is this! Our plot is as good a plot as ever was laid ; our friends true and constant; a good plot, good friends, and full of expectation; an excellent plot, very good friends. What a frosty-spirited rogue is this! Why, my lord of York commends the plot, and the general course of the action. By this hand, if I were now by this rascal, I would brain him with his lady's fan. Is there not my father, my uncle, and myself: Lord Edmund Mortimer, my lord of York, and Owen Glendower? Is there not, besides, the Douglasses? Have I not all their letters, to meet me in
arms by the ninth of the next month ? and are there not some of them set forward already? What a pagan rascal is this! an infidel!
-Ha! you shall see now, in very sincerity of fear and cold heart, will he to the king, and lay open all our proceedings. Oh! I could divide myself, and go to buffets, for moving such a dish of skimmed milk with so honourable an action-Hang him ! let him tell the king. We are prepared. I will set forward to night.
VIIII.--Othello's Apology for his Marriage.
MOST potent, grave, and reverend seigniors:
My very noble and approved good masters :
That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter,
It is most true ; true, I have married her:
The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent; no more. Rude am I in speech,
And little bless'd with the set phrase of peace :
For since these arms of mine had seven year's pith,
Till now, some nine moons wasted, they have us'd
Their dearest action in the tented field;
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broils and battle;
And therefore, little shall I grace my cause,
In speaking of myself. Yet by your patience,
I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver,
Of my whole course of love ; what drugs, what charms,
What conjuration, and what mighty magic,
(For such proceedings I am charged withal)
I won his daughter with.
Her father lov'd me; oft invited me;
Still question'd me the story of my life,
From year to year; the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I had past.
I ran it through, e'en from my boyish days
To the very moment that he bade me tell it.
Wherein 1 spake of most disastrous chances :
Of moving accidents by flood and field;
Of hair-breadth 'scapes in th' imminent deadly breach :
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence,
And with it all my travel's history.
All these to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline ;
But still the house affairs would draw her thence ;
Which ever as she could with haste despatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse. Which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate ;
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not distinctly. I did consent :
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer'd. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs.
She swore, in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange :
'Twas pitiful; 'twas wond'rous pitiful ;
She wish'd she had not heard it; yet she wish'd
That heaven had made her such a man. She thank'd me;
And bade me, if I had a friend that lov'd her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. On this hint I spake;
She lov'd me for the dangers I had passed;
And I lov'd her that she did pity them.-
This only is the witchcraft I have us'd.
IX.-Henry IV's Soliloquy on Sleep.
HOW many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep!-O gentle sleep!
Nature's soft nurse! how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, Sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lulld with sounds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god! Why liest thou with the vile,
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch
A watchcase to a common 'larum bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast,
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude irsperious surge,
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the tops,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafʼning clamours in the slipp'ry shrouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes ;
Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and the stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king ?-Then happy, lowly clown!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. X.-Captain Babadil's Method of defeating an Army. I WILL tell you, Sir, by the way of private and under seal, I am a gentleman ; and live here obscure, and to myself: but were I known to his Majesty and the Lords, observe me, I would undertake, upon this poor head and life,
for the public benefit of the state, not only to spare the entire lives of his subjects in general, but to save the one half, nay, three-fourths of his yearly charge in holding war, and against what enemy soever. And how would I do it, think you? Why thus, Sir.--I would select nineteen more to myself, throughout the land; gentlemen they should be ; of good spirit, strong and able constitution. I would choose them by an instinct that I have—And I would teach these nineteen the special rules; as your punto, your reverso, your stoccata, your imbrocata, your passada, your montone to, till they could all play very near, or altogether, as well as myself. This done; say the enemy were forty thousand strong. We twenty would come into the field the tenth of March, or thereabouts, and we would challenge twenty of the enemy; they could not, in their honour refuse us. Well-we would kill them; challenge twenty more-kill them; twenty more-kill them; twenty more kill them too.
And thus, would we kill, every man, his ten a daythat's tenscore : Tenscore-that's two hundred; two hundred a day-five days, a thousand : Forty thousand-forty times five-tive times forty-two hundred days kill them all up by computation. And this I will venture my poor gentleman-like carcass to perform, (provided there be no treason practised upon us) by fair and discreet manhood; that is, civilly-by the sword. XI.-Soliloquy of Hamlet's Uncle, on the Murder of his
OH! my offence is rank; it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal, eldest curse, upon it!
A brother's murder!- -Pray I cannot,
Though inclination be as sharp as 'twill-
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin-
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
But to confront the visage of offence ?
And what's in prayer, but this twofold force ?
To be forestalled ere we come to fall-
Or pardon'd, being down?- Then I'll look up.
My fault is past. But, Oh! what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder.
That cannot be, since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder
My own, my own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd, and retain th' offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice :
And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the laws. But 'tis not so above.
There is no shuffling-there the action lies
In its true nature, and we ourselves compellid
E'en to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? What rests ?
Try what repentance can. What can it not?
Yet what can it, when one cannot repent ?
Oh, wretched state! Oh, bosom black as death!
Oh, limited soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engag'd! Help, angels, make assay !
Bow, stubborn knees—and heart, with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new born babe!
All may be well.
XII.--Soliloquy of Hamlet on Death.
TO bemor not to be that is the question ;
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The stings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles ;
And, by opposing, end them? To dieto sleep
No more ?--and, by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ach, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to.—'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To dieto sleep
To sleep-perchance to dream-ay, there's the rub-
For, in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect,
That makes calamity of so long life ;
For, who could bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love--the law's delay-
The insolence of office, and the spurhs
That patient merit of the unworthy takes
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To groan and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
(That undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns) puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all ;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought ;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn away,
And lose the name of action.