« ÎnapoiContinuă »
split the ears of the groundlings; who, (for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise. Pray you avoid it.
Be not too tame, neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature; for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing: whose end is-to hold as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. Now, this overdone, or come tardy of, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of one of which must, in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. Oh! There be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, that, neither having the accent of Christian, nor the gait of Christian, pagan nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
II.-Douglas' Account of himself.
My name is Norval. On the Grampian hills
My father feeds his flocks; a frugal swain,
Whose constant cares were to increase his store,
And keep his only son, myself at home.
For I had heard of battles, and I long'd
To follow to the field some warlike lord;
And heaven soon granted what my sire denied.
This moon which rose last night, round as my shield,
Had not yet fill'd her horns, when by her light,
A band of fierce barbarians, from the hills,
Rush'd like a torrent, down upon the vale,
Sweeping our flocks and herds. The shepherds fled
For safety and for succour. I alone,
With bended bow, and quiver full of arrows,
Hover'd about the enemy, and mark’d
The road he took; then hasted to
to my friends,
Whom, with a troop of fifty chosen men,
I met advancing. The pursuit I led,
Till we o'ertook the spoil encumber'd foe.
We fought and conquer'd. Ere a sword was drawn,
An arrow from my bow had pierc'd their chief,
Who wore that day the arms which now I wear.
Returning home in triumph, I disdain'd
The shepherd's slothful life; and having heard
That our good king had summon'd his bold peers,
To lead their warriors to the Carron side,
I left my father's house, and took with me
A chosen servant to conduct my steps-
Yon trembling coward, who forsook his master.
Journeying with this intent, I pass'd these towers,
And heaven directed, came this day to do
The happy deed that gilds my humble name.
III.-Douglas' Account of the Hermit.
BENEATH a mountain's brow, the most remote
And inaccessible, by shepherds trod,
In a deep cave, dug by no mortal hand,
A hermit liv'd; a melancholy man,
Who was the wonder of our wand'ring swains.
Austere and lonely, cruel to himself,
Did they report him; the cold earth his bed,
Water his drink, his food the shepherd's alms.
I went to see him; and my heart was touch'd
With rev'rence and with pity. Mild he spake;
And entering on discourse, such stories told,
As made me oft revisit his sad cell,
For he had been a soldier in his youth;
And fought in famous battles, when the peers
Of Europe, by the bold Godfredo led,
Against th' usurping infidel display'd
The blessed cross, and won the Holy Land.
Pleas'd with my admiration, and the fire
His speech struck from me, the old man would shake
His years away, and act his young encounters:
Then having show'd his wounds, he'd sit him down,
And all the live long day discourse of war.
To help my fancy, in the smooth green turf
He cut the figures of the marshall'd hosts;
Describ'd the motions, and explain'd the use
Of the deep column and the lengthen'd line,
The square, the crescent, and the phalanx firm;
For all that Saracen or Christian knew
Of war's vast art, was to this hermit known.
Speech for War.
MY voice is still for war.
Gods! Can a Roman senate long debate,
Which of the two to choose, slavery or death!
No-let us rise at once, gird on our swords,
And at the head of our remaining troops,
Attack the foe, break through the thick array
Of his throng'd legions, and charge home upon him.
Perhaps some arm more lucky than the rest,
May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage.
Rise, Fathers, rise; 'tis Rome demands your help :
Rise and revenge her slaughter'd citizens,
Or share their fate. The corpse of half her senate
Manure the fields of Thessaly, while we
Sit here deliberating in cold debates,
If we should sacrifice our lives to honour,
Or wear them out in servitude and chains.
Rouse up, for shame! Our brothers of Pharsalia
Point out their wounds, and cry aloud, To battle:
Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow,
And Scipio's ghost walks unreveng'd amongst us.
V.-Lucius' Speech for Peace.
MY thoughts, I must confess, are turn'd on peace; Already have our quarrels fill'd the world With widows and with orphans; Scythia mourns Our guilty wars, and earth's remotest regions Lie half unpeopled by the feuds of Rome : 'Tis time to sheath the sword, and spare mankind. 'Tis not Cesar, but the gods, my Fathers! The gods declare against us, and repel Our vain attempts. To urge the foe to battle (Prompted by blind revenge and wild despair) Were to refute th' awards of Providence, And not to rest in heaven's determination. Already have we shown our love to Rome : Now let us show submission to the gods. We took up arms, not to revenge ourselves, But free the commonwealth. When this end fails, Arms have no further use. Our country's cause, That drew our swords, now wrests them from our bands, An bids us not delight in Roman blood Unprofitably shed. What men could do,
Is done already. Heaven and earth will witness,
If Rome must fall, that we are innocent.
VI.-Hotspur's Account of the Fop.
MY liege, I deny no prisoners.
But I remember, when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
Came there a certain lord; neat; trimly dress'd;
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin, new reap'd,
Show'd like a stubble land, at harvest home.
He was perfum'd like a milliner;
And, 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet box, which, ever and anon,
He gave his nose..
And still he smil'd and talk'd:
And as the soldiers bare dead bodies by,
He call'd them untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind of his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms
He question'd me; among the rest, demanded
My prisoners, in your majesty's behalf;
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 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. "The purpose you undertake is dangerous."-Why that's certain: 'tis danger ous 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 lackbrian 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 Douglases? 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.
VIII.-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 years' 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 I spake of most disastrous chances:
Of moving accidents by flood and field;
Of hairbreadth '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 dispatch,
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;