Page images
PDF
EPUB

My fault is past. But, oh! what form of prayer
Can ferve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder.
That cannot be, fince I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder ;
My crown, my own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd, and retain the 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 fhuffling : there, the action lies
In its true nature, and we ourselves compell’d,
Ev'n 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 limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engag'd!Help, angels Make asfay!
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart, with strings of fteel,
Be soft as finews of the new-born babe !
All
may

be well.

XII. Soliloquy of Hamlet on Death. To be-or not to be that is the question.

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to fuffer The slings 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 too'tis a consumination Devoutly to be willi'd. To die-to fleep'To sleep-perchance to dream--ay, there's the rub For, in that sleep of death, what dreains may come, When we have fhuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause. There's the respect, That makes calamity of so long life: For, who would bear the whips and scorns of time Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pang of despis'd love, the law's delay, The infolence of office, and the spurns

That

That patient merit of th' unworthy takes
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin ! Who would fardels bear,
Το
groan

and fweat 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 fickly'd o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

XIII. Falstaff's Encomiums on Sack.
А.

Good sherris-fack hath a two-fold operation in it.

It ascends me into the brain : dries me there, all the foolish, dull, and crudy vapours which environ it; makes it apprehensive, quick, inventive ; full of nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes; which, delivered over to the voice, the tongue, which is the birth, becomes excellent wit. The second property of your excellent sherris, is the warming of the blood ; which, before, cold and settled, left the liver white and pale, which is the badge of pufillanimity and cowardice. But the sherris warms it, and makes it courfe from the inwards to the parts extreme. It illuminateth the face ; which, as a beacon, gives warning to all the rest of this little kingdom, man, to arm : and then, the vital commoners, and inland perty fpirits, muster me all to their captain, the heart; who, great, and puffed up with this retinue, doth any deed of courage and this valour comes of fherris. So that skill in the weapon is nothing without fack, for that lets it awork; and learning a mere hoard of gold kept by a de. vil, till sack commences it, and sets it in act and use. Hereof comes it that Prince Harry is valiant ; for the cold blood he did naturally inherit of his father, he hath, like lean, steril, and bare land, manured, husbanded, and tilled, with drinking good, and good store of fertile herris. If I had a thousand fons, the first human prin

[ocr errors]

PÁRT II. ciple I would-teach them, should be- To forswear thin potations, and to addiet themselves to fack.

XIV. Prologue to the Tragedy of Cato.
TO wake the foul by tender strokes of art,

To raise the genius, and to mend the heart,
To make mankind in conscious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold ;
For this the tragic muse first irode the stage,
Commanding tears to stream through every age :
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept,
And foes to virtue wonder'd how they wept.
Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move ; i
The hero's glory, or the virgin's love :
In pitying love we but our weakness show,
And wild ambition well deserves its woe.
Here tears shall flow from a more generous cause ;
Such tears as.patriots shed for dying laws •
He bids your breast with ancient ardours rise,
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes:
Virtue confefs’d in human Mape he draws,
What Plato thought, and god-like Cato was :
No common object to your fight displays,
But what with pleasure Heav?n itself surveys ; 5
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling itate!
While Cato gives his little senate laws,
What bosom beats not in his country's cause?
Who sees him act, but envies ev'ry deed?
Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed?
Ev's when proud Cæsar, 'midst triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp of war's,
Ignobly vain, and impotently great,
Show'à Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state; :
As her dead father's rev'rend image past,
The pomp was darken'd, and the day o'ercalt,
The triumph ceas’d-tears gulh'd from ev'ry eye ;-
The world's great victor paft unheeded hy:
Her last good man dejected Rome ador’d,
And honour'd Cæfar's, less than Cato's sword.

Britons attend. Be worth like this approy'd ;
And show you have the virtue to be mor’d.

With honeft scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd
Rome learning arts from Greece, whom the subdu'd :
Our scene precariously subfifts too long
On French tranflation, and Italian song.
Dare to have sense yourselves : assert the stage :
Be justly warm'd with your own native rage.
Such plays alone shonld please a British ear,
As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.

xv. Cato's Soliloquy on the Immortality of the Soul. IT must be so-Plato, thou reason'st well!

Else, whence this pleafing hope, this fond defire, This longing after immortality? Or, whence this secret dread, and inward horrour, Of falling into nought? Why shrinks the foul Back on herself, and startles at destruction? "Tis the divinity that stirs within us : 'Tis Heaven itself, that points out an Hereafter, And intimates Eternity to man.' Eternity !-thou pleasing--dreadful thought ! Througl@what variety of uptry'd being, Through what new scenes and changes must we pass The wide, th' unbounded prospect lies before me ; But shadows, clouds, and darkness, reft upon it.Here will I hold. If there's a Pow'r above us, (And that there is, all Nature cries aloud Through all her works) He must delight in virtue ; And that which He delights in must be happy. But, when? or where? This world-was made for Cæfar, I'm weaty of conjectures--this must end them.

[Laying his hand on his sworda Thus I am doubly arm'd. My death and life, "My bane and antidote, are both before me. This, in a moment, brings me to an end; But this informs me I shall never die, The soul, secur'd in her existence-smiles At the drawn dagger, and defies its point. The stars shall fade away, the sun himself Grow dim with age, and nature link in years :But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth; Unhurt amidst the war of elements, The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

XVI. Lady Randolph's Soliloquy, lamenting the Death of

her Husband and Child. YE woods and wilds ! whose melancholy gloom

Accords with my foul's fadness, and draws forth The voice of sorrow from my bursting heartFarewel a while, I will not leave you long : For, in your shades, I deem fome spirit dwells ; Who, from the chiding stream, or groaning oak, Still hears, and answers to Matilda's moan. Oh, Douglas! Douglas ! if departed ghofts Are e'er permitted to review this world, Within the circle of that wood thou art; And, with the passion of immortals, hear'st My lamentation ; hear'st thy wretched wife Weep, for her husband Nain, her infant loft. My brother's timeless death I seem to mourn, Who perish'd wiih thee on this fatal day. To thee I lift iny voice ; to-thee address The plaint, which mortal ear has never heard. Oh! disregard me not. Though I am call'd Another's now, my heart is wholly thine. Incapable of change, affection lies Buried, my Douglas, in thy bloody grave. XVII. Speech of Henry Vth to his Soldiers at the Siege

of Harfleur. ONCE more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,

Or close the wall up with the English dead.
In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man
As modeft ftillness and humility :
But when the blaft of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger ;
Stiffen the finews, fummon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage:
Tlien lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry o'er the portage of the head:
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm ito-
And fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean..
Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide ;

Hold

« PreviousContinue »