Imagini ale paginilor

ness in it, differing from the mild kind of melancholy called pensiveness.


I have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is emulation; nor the musician's, which is fantastical; nor the courtier's, which is proud; nor the soldier's, which is ambitious; nor the lawyer's, which is politic; nor the lady's, which is nice; nor the lover's, which is all these; but it is a melancholy of my own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed, the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness.


The melancholy Jaques grieves at that,
And in that kind swears you do more usurp
Than doth your brother that hath banish'd you;
To-day my Lord of Amiens and myself
Did steal behind him as he lay along
Under an oak, whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood,
To the which place a poor sequester'd stag,
That from the hunter's aim had ta'en a hurt,
Did come to languish; and indeed, my lord,
The wretched animal heav'd forth such groans,
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
Almost to bursting; and the big round tears
Cours'd one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase; and thus the hairy fool,
Much marked of the melancholy Jaques,
Stood on th' extremest verge of the swift brook,
Augmenting it with tears.

Duke. But what said Jaques ?

Did he not moralize on the spectacle?

Lord. O yes, into a thousand similes;

First, for his weeping in the needless stream;
Poor deer, quoth he, thou mak'st a testament
As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more

To that which hath too much. Then being alonę,
Left and abandon'd of his velvet friends;
"Tis' right, quoth he; thus misery doth part
The flux of company :-anon, a careless herd
Full of the pasture, jumps along by him,
And never stays to greet him; aye, quoth Jaques,
Sweep on, ye fat and greasy citizens,
'Tis just the fashion; wherefore do you look
Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?
Thus most invectively he pierceth through
The body of the country, city, court,
Yea, and of this our life, swearing that we
Are mere usurpers, tyrants, and what's worse,
To fright the animals, and kill them up
In their assign'd and native dwelling-place.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time!
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death! but out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.—


FEAR, (violent and sudden) opens very wide the eyes and mouth; shortens the nose; draws down the eyebrows: gives the countenance an air of wildness; covers it with deadly paleness; draws back the elbows parallel with the sides; lifts up the open hands and fingers together to the height of the breast; so that the palms face the dreadful object, like shields opposed to it; one foot is drawn back behind the other, so that the body seems shrinking from the danger, and putting itself in a posture for flight. The heart beats violently; the breath is quick and short; the whole body is thrown into a general tremor. The voice is weak and trembling; the sentences are short, and the meaning confused and incoherent. Collins, thus describes Fear in his Ode on the Passions.

First Fear, her hand its skill to try,
Amidst the chords bewilder'd laid,
And back recoil'd!-she knew not why?
E'en at the sounds herself had made.

Fear of imminent danger, real or fancied, produces in timorous persons, as women and children, violent shrieks without any articulate sound of words; and sometimes irrovocably confounds the understanding, producing a silent and motionless torpidity, which is followed by faintings, and oftentimes by death.

Fear is but active grief, avoiding pain,

Yet flies too faintly, and avoids in vain;

While stagnant spirits thick'ning as they spread,

O'er the cold heart, crawl slow like living lead,

What though the eye's prompt ray, keen light'ning dart,
'Tis fruitless,-loos'ning fibres lame the heart.


THE SCHOOL-BOY CROSSING A CHURCH YARD AT NIGHT. Oft in the lone church yard at night I've seen,

By glimpse of moonshine checkering thro' the trees,

The school-boy with his satchel at his back,
Whistling aloud to bear his courage up:
And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones,
With nettles skirted and with moss o'ergrown,
That tell in homely phrase who lie below,

-Sudden he starts! and hears, or thinks he hears,
The sound of something purring at his heels:
Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him,
"Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows:
Who gather round, and wonder at the tale

Of horrid apparation,-tall and ghastly,

Who stalks at dead of night, or takes his silent stand
O'er some new open'd grave, and strange to tell,
Evanished at the crowing of the cock.-Blair's Grave.


APPREHENSION, or dread of an approaching evil is, next to describing fear in others, the lowest degree of the passion we can feel ourselves. The following examples will show the different degrees of this emotion, which must be expressed similarly to fear, but with greater moderation of voice and gesture:


Hub. My lord, they say five moons were seen to night,
Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about

The other four in wond'rous motion.

K. John. Five moons!

Hub. Old men and beldams, in the streets,

Do prophesy upon it dangerously!

Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths,
And when they talk of him they shake their heads,
And whisper one another in the ear,

And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer's wrist;
Whilst he that hears, makes fearful action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes,
I saw a smith stand with his hammer thus,-
The whilst his iron did on his anvil cool,
With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news;
Who with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on slippers, (which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,)
Told of many thousand warlike French
That were embattel'd and rank'd in Kent.
Another lean unwash'd artificer

Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death.

I'll tell thee, then; three nights ago, as I
Lay musing on my bed, all darkness round me,
A sudden damp struck to my heart, cold sweat
Dew'd all my face, and trembling seiz'd my limbs;
My bed shook under me, the curtains started,

And to my tortur'd fancy there appear'd
The form of thee, thus beauteous as thou art,
Thy garments flowing loose, and in each hand
A wanton lover, who by turns caress'd thee
With all the freedom of unbounded pleasure.
I snatch'd my sword, and in the very moment
Darted it at the phantom; straight it left me;
Then rose for lights, when, O dire omen!
I found my weapon had the arras pierc'd,
Just where that tale was interwoven,
How the unhappy Theban slew his father.

-What follow'd was the riddle that confounds me,
Through a close lane, as I pursued my journey,
And meditating on the last night's vision,

I spied a wrinkled hag, with age grown double,
Picking dry sticks, and mumbling to herself;
Her eyes with scalding rheum were gall'd and red;
Cold palsy shook her head, her hand seem'd wither'd,
And on her crooked shoulders had she wrapp'd
The tatter'd remnant of an old striped hanging,
Which served to keep her carcass from the cold:
So that was nothing of a piece about her.
Her lower weeds were all o'er coarsely patch'd
With different colour'd rags, black, red, white, yellow,
And seem'd to speak variety of wretchedness,
I ask'd her of my way, which she inform'd me;
Then craved my charity, and bade me hasten
To save a sister.


Yet come it will! the day decreed by fates,
(How my tongue trembles, while my tongue relates)
The day when thou, imperial Troy !-must bend;
Must see thy warriors fall; thy glories end,
And yet, no dire presage so wounds my mind,
My mother's death, the ruin of my kind,
Nor Priam's hoary hairs defil'd with gore,
Not all my brothers gasping on the shore,
As thine, Andromache! Thy griefs I dread!
I see thee weeping, trembling, captive led,-
May I be cold before that dreadful day,
Press'd with a load of monumental clay;
Thy Hector, wrap't in everlasting sleep,
Shall neither hear thee sigh, nor see thee weep.
Aye, but to die, to go we know not where ;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
This sensible warm motion, to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling regions of thick ribb'd ice,

To be imprison'd in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendant world: or to be worse than worst
Of those, that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling; 'tis too horrible !

The weariest and most loathed worldly life,
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature, is a paradise

To what we fear of death.


SCENE. A close walk in a wood,-enter Uncle.

If I were superstitious, I should fear some danger lurked unseen, or death were nigh, a heavy melancholy clouds my spirits. My imagination is filled with ghastly forms of dreary graves, and bodies changed by death, when the pale lengthened visage attracts each weeping eye, and fills the musing soul at once with grief and horror, pity and aversion. I will indulge the thought. The wise man prepares himself for death, by making it familiar to his mind. When strong recollections hold the mirror near, and the living in the dead behold their future self, how does every inordinate passion and desire cease, or sicken at the view! The mind scarce moves; the blood, curdling and chilled, creeps slowly through the veins, fixed, still and motionless we stand; so like the solemn object of our thoughts, we are almost at present what we must be hereafter; 'till curiosity awakes the soul, and sets it on enquiry.

Enter BARNWELL at a distance with a pistol.

OH, death! thou strange, mysterious power, seen every day, yet never understood, but by the incommunicative dead, what art thou? The extensive mind of man, that with a thought circles the earth's vast globe, sinks to the centre, or ascends above the stars; that world's exotic finds, or thinks it finds, thy thick clouds attempt to pierce in vain; lost and bewildered in the horrid gloom, defeated, he returns more doubtful than before, of nothing certain but of labour lost.



How ill this taper burns!-ha! who comes here?
I think, it is the weakness of mine eyes,

That shapes this monstrous apparition,

It comes upon me: art thou anything ?

Art thou some God, some Angel, or some Devil,
That mak'st my blood cold, and my hair to stare?
Speak to me, what thou art.


IN thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon man; fear came upon me and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face, the hair of my flesh stood up,—it stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof; an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice saying, shall mortal man be more just than God?-Shall a man be more pure than his maker?

« ÎnapoiContinuă »