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In such a night,
Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip :
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself,
And ran dismayed away.
In such a night
Stood Dido, with a willow in her hand,
Upon the wild sea-banks and wared her love
To come again to Carthage.
In such a night
Medea gathered the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Æson.
In such a night
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew:
And with an unthrist love did run from Venice
As far as Belmont.
In such a night
Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well;
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,
And ne'er a true one.
In such a night
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
Jes. I would out-night you, did nobody come. But hark ! I hear the footing of a man.
Enter STEPHANO. Lor. Who comes so fast in silence of the night? Steph. A friend. Lor. A friend? What friend ? Your name, I pray
Steph. Stephano is my name; and I bring word,
My mistress will before the break of day,
Be here at Belmont. She doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.
Who comes with her ?
Steph. None but a holy hermit and her maid ;
I pray you, is my master yet return'd ?
Lor. He is not, now we have not heard from him-
But go we in, I pray thee Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.
Lor. Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming.
And yet no matter;— Why should we go in ?
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your music forth into the air.—
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank !
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep into our ears; soft stillness and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica: look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold’st,
But in her motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims:
Such harmony is in immortal souls ;
But, while this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close us in, we cannot hear it.-
Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn:
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music.
[Music.] Jes. I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but hear perchance, a trumpet sound,
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and foods,
Since naught so stockish, hard and full of rage,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand-
Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze
By the sweet power of music :-Therefore the poet
But music for the time doth change his nature:
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, aud spoils ;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus,
Let no such man be trusted.-Mark the music.
Enter Portia and Nerissa, at a distance.
Por. That light we see is burning in my hall;
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
Ner. When the moon shone we did not see the candle.
Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less :
A substitute shines brightly as a king,
Until a king be by; and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music ! hark!
Ner. It is your music, madam, of the house.
Por. Nothing is good I see without respect; Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.
Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,
When neither is attended; and, I think
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season, season'd are,
To their right praise and true perfection!
Peace, hoa! the moon sleeps with Endymion,
And would not be awak'd !
That is the voice Or I am much deceived, of Portia.
Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the cuckoo, By the bad voice. Lor.
Dear lady, welcome home.
For where is any author in the world
Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye.
Love's Labor Lost, Act iv. sc. iii. The attempt to paint Shakspeare's Beauties, has failed ; they are spiritual beings, and are known only by the effect they have upon the spirit. Their characteristics consist in the capability of acting to perfection the part which they are introduced to play. The poet portrays a few features, leaving the rest to the imagination of the reader, so that it is as impossible to reproduce his characters with the pencil, as it is to act his plays on the stage, so as to realize the conceptions formed of them in the closet. Woman, in Shakspeare's plays, is conditioned much like Una, or Truth, in the Fairy Queen; she does not accelerate the action, but her fate is generally involved in the result of it.
Admir'd Miranda !
Indeed the top of admiration ; worth
What's dearest to the world! Full many a lady
I have ey'd with best regard : and many a time
The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage
Brought my too diligent ear: for several virtues
Have I liked several women; never any
With so full soul, but some defect in her
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she own'd,
And put it to the foil: but you, O you,
So perfect and so peerless, are created
Of every creature's best.
I do not know
One of my sex; no woman's face remember,
Save, from my glass, mine own; nor have I seen
More that I may call men, than you, good friend,
And my dear father: how features are abroad,
I am skill-less of; but by my modesty,
(The jewel in my dower,) I would not wish
Any companion in the world but you:
Nor can imagination form a shape
Besides yourself, to like of: but I prattle
Something too wildly, and my father's precepts,
I therein do forget.
Juno. Honor, riches, marriage blessing,
Long continuance, and increasing,
Hourly joys be still upon you!
Juno sings her blessings on you.
Ceres. Earth’s increase, and foison plenty ;
Barns and garners never empty ;
Vines with clust'ring bunches growing ;
Plants with goodly burden bowing;
Spring come to you, at the farthest,
In the very hand of harvest!
Scarcity and want shall shun you;
Ceres' blessing so is on you.
Proteus. Sweet love! sweet lines ! sweet life! Here is her hand, the agent of her heart: Here is her oath for love, her honor's pawn;