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The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath : it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes :
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the heart of kings,
It is an attribute to God Himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.
Though justice be thy plea, consider this
That in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation : we do
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.-Shakespeare.
LESSON 72.-BENEFITS OF AFFLICTION.
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 not the penalty of Adam.
The season's 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 everything.-Shakespeare.
LESSON 73.-WOLSEY AND CROMWELL. Wolsey. FAREWELL, a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man: To-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost;
And,—when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening,-nips his root,
And then be falls, as I do. I have ventur'd,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory;
But far beyond my depth : my high-blown pride
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye;
I feel my heart new open'd: 0, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours !
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
and fears than wars or women have ;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.-
Enter Cromwell amazedly.
Why, how now, Cromwell ?
Cromwell. I have no power to speak, sir.
At my misfortunes ? can thy spirit wonder
A great man should decline ? Nay, and you weep,
I am fallen indeed.
How does your grace ?
Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell.
I know myself now; and I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience. The king has cur'd me,
I humbly thank his grace; and from these shoulders,
These ruin'd pillars, out of pity, taken,
A load would sink a navy, too much honour:
0, 'tis a burden, Cromwell, 'tis a burden,
Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven.
Crom. I am glad your grace has made that right use of it.
Wol. I hope I have: I am able now, methinks,
(Out of a fortitude of soul I feel,)
To endure more miseries, and greater far,
weak-hearted enemies dare offer.
What news abroad ?
The heaviest and the worst,
Is your displeasure with the king.
God bless him!
Crom. The next is, that Sir Thomas More is chosen
Lord Chancellor in your place.
That's somewhat sudden :
But he's a learned man. May he continue
Long in his highness' favour, and do justice
For truth's sake, and his conscience ; that his bones,
When he has run his course, and sleeps in blessings,
May have a tomb of orphan's tears wept on 'em !
What more ?
That Cranmer is return'd with welcome,
Install’d Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.
Wol. That's news indeed.
Last, that the Lady Anne,
Whom the king hath in secrecy long married,
This day was view'd in open, as his queen,
Going to chapel; and the voice is now
Only about her coronation.
Wol. There was the weight that pulld me down. O Cromwell,
The king has gone beyond me; all my glories
In that one woman I have lost for ever :
No sun shall ever usher forth mine honours,
Or gild again the noble troops that waited
Upon my smiles. Go, get thee from me, Cromwell,
I am a poor fallen man, unworthy now
To be thy lord and master : Seek the king;
pray, may never set! I have told him
What and how true thou art: he will advance thee;
Some little memory of me will stir him,
(I know his noble nature,) not to let
Thy hopeful service perish too : Good Cromwell,
Neglect him not; make use now,
For thine own future safety.
O, my lord,
Must I then leave you ? must I needs forego
So good, so noble, and so true a master ?
Bear witness, all that have not hearts of iron,
With what a sorrow Cromwell leaves his lord.
The king shall have my service; but my prayers
For ever, and for ever, shall be yours.
Wol. Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forc'd me
Out of thy honest truth to play the woman.
Let's dry our eyes : and thus far hear me, Cromwell;
And, when I am forgotten, as I shall be ;
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me more must be heard of,—say, I taught thee;
Say, Wolsey,—that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,
Found thee a way, out of his wrack, to rise in ;
A sure and safe one, though thy master miss'd it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruin'd me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition :
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by 't ?
Love thyself last; cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not:
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall'st, Cromwell,
Thou fall’st a blessed martyr. Serve the king;
And,-Prithee, lead me in:
There take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny; 'tis the king's: my robe,
And my integrity to heaven, is all
I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal
I serv'd my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.-Shakespeare.
LESSON 74.-HUBERT AND ARTHUR.
Enter Hubert and tro Attendants.
Hubert. Heat me these irons hot; and, look thou stand
Within the arras : when I strike my foot
Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth,
And bind the boy, which you shall find with me,
Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch.
1 Attendant. I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.
Hub. Uncleanly scruples! Fear not you: look to 't.—
The Attendants go out. Hub. Young lad, come forth ; I have to say
you. Enter Arthur. Arthur. Good morrow,
Good morrow, little prince. Arth. As little prince (having so great a title
To be more prince,) as may be.—You are sad.
Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.
Mercy on me!
Methinks, nobody should be sad but I:
Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
So I were out of prison, and kept sheep,
I should be as merry as the day is long ;
And so I would be here, but that I doubt
My uncle practises more harm to me:
He is afraid of me, and I of him :
Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son ?
No, indeed, is 't not; And I would to heaven
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.
Hub. (aside). If I talk to him, with his innocent prate,
He will awake my mercy, which lies dead :
Therefore I will be sudden, and dispatch.
Arth. Are you sick, Hubert ? you look pale to-day :
In sooth, I would you were a little sick ;
That I might sit all night, and watch with you:
I warrant I love you more than you do me.
Hub. His words do take possession of my bosom.-
Read here, young Arthur. (Shewing a paper.)