Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Upon my

And if thou tell’ft the heavy story right,

Soul, the hearers will shed tears,
Yea, even my foes will shed fast falling tears,
And say, " alas, it was a piteous deed !"

[blocks in formation]

Methought, he bore him in the thickest troop,
* As doth a lion in a herd of neat ;
Or as a bear, encompass d round with dogs,
Who having pinch'd a few, and made them cry,
The rest stand all aloof and bark at him.

The MORNING.
See how the morning opes her golden gates,
And takes her farewel of the glorious fun!
(3) How well resembles it the prime of youth,
Trimm'd like a yonker prancing to his love!

As, &c.] The poets abound with numberless fimilies of this kind ; particularly Homer and Virgil : but none perhaps is finer than the following from that book, where every page abounds with beauties, and true sublimity. Isaiah xxxi. 4. “ Like as the lion, and the young lion roaring on his prey; when a multitude of fhepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them.”

(3) How, &c.] There is something very peculiar in this passage, “ The prime of youth and like a yonker, seeming nearly the same thing ; but it is extremely beautiful, the author perfonifies the prime of youth, and describes him as an allegorical person, trimm'd like a yonker, which with us fignifies a brisk, lively young man ; but more properly perhaps from its original, a nobleman, or young lord. See Skinner. The plain manner of understanding it is difficult, and the construction very involved; however, it seems no more than this, “how. well resembles it, a yonker' trimm'd out, in the prime of youtli, prancing to his love." Vol. 11,

D

Tbe

SCENE. VI. The Morning's Dawn. (4) This battle fares like to the morning's war, When dying clouds contend with growing light ; What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails, Can neither call it perfect day or night.

The Blessings of a Shepherd's Life. * O God! methinks, it were a happy life To be no better than a homely swain ;

[ocr errors]

(4) Tbis, &c.] See p. 8, n. 9. foregoing. The expression of blowing his nails, is peculiarly natural and beautiful the reader may remember that Shakespear uses it in the pretty song at the end of Love's Labour Loft.

And Dick the shepherd blows his nail. * O God, &c.] There is something very pleasing and natural in this paffage ; it is a good deal in the manner of Virgil, who speaks highly of a rural Life in his second Georgic, which the reader will be much delighted with, if he compares it with our author, and no less with Horace's second Epode expressly on this subject ; these are in almost every bodies hands ; less known are the following lines from Seneca's Hercules Deteus on the subject, and perhaps they may therefore be more agreeable ;

Stretch'd on the turf in Sylvan shades,
No fear the peasant's reft invades,
While gilded roofs, and beds of state,
Perplex the slumbers of the great.

Secure he rears the beachen bowl,
With steady hand and fearless foul :
Pleas'd with his plain, and homely meats
No swords surround him as he eats.

His modest wife of virtue try'd
Knows not th' expensive arts of pride;
Her easy with, the home-spun fleece
Plain in its native hue can pleasc,
And happy in her nupcial bed,
No jealous doubts disturb her head ;
Unlike the dame whose day of birth
Is folemniz'd thro' half the earth,

WARD,

[ocr errors]

To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
To carve out dials queintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run :
How many make the hour full compleat,
How many hours bring about the day,
How many days will finish up the year,
How many years a mortal man may live :
When this is known, then to divide the time ;
So many hours, muft I tend my flock;
So many hours, must I take my rest ;
So many hours, must I contemplate ;
So many hours, must I fport myself;
So many days, my ewes have been with young ;
So many weeks, ere the

poor
So many months, ere I shall seer the fleece ;
So minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years,
Past over, to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Oh! what a life were this ! how sweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter thade
To shepherds looking on their filly sheep,
(5) Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings, that fear their subjects treachery?

fools will yean;

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

D 2

O, yes,

(5) Than, &c.] The miseries of royalty (as have been before observed, 2 Henry IV. A. 4. S. 10. n. 8.) is a very general topic with the poets ; on which, as indeed on most others, they must yield the superiority to Shakespear ; Monsieur Racine in his cele brated tragedy of Ejiber, speaks thus on the subject,

A prince encompass’d with a busy crowd
Is ever call’d away by some new object,
The present strikes, futurity disturbs,
But swift as lightning still the past escapes ;
Of all who hourly court our royal favour,
And wou'd commend their loyalty and zeal,
Not one is found fo just and truly faithful
To give us notice of neglected merit,
But all with one consent promote our vengeance.

In

O, yes, it doth s a thousand-fold it doth.
And to conclude, the shepherds's homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of his leathern bottle,
His wonted sleep under a fresh trees shade,
All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
Is far beyond a prince's delicates,
His viand's sparkling in a golden cup,
His body couched in, a curious bed,
When care, miltrust, and treasons wait on him.

In another part of this performance, the author sets in contrast the pleasures and pains of vicious greatness ; thus the wicked man's alluring pomp is described,

His days appear a constant scene of joy ;
Gold glitters in his precious robes,
His pride's as boundlefs as his wealth ;
He never wounds the air with mournful sighs;
The voice of harmony falutes his ear,
When he lies down to sleep, and when he wakes
Triumphant plenty with a chearful grace,

Basks in his eyes, and sparkles in his face.
Again,

To crown his tow'ring and ambitious hopes,
A laughing train of children at his boards,

Seem to quaff joy with him in copious bowls.
Now see the reverse.

With plenty crown'd, his conscious heart repines,
And gall is mingled with his sweetest wines.
On the rough waves of passions toft,

He still unnumber'd pleasures tries":
But finds his expectations croft,

And happiness his fond embraces flies.
For virtue is the only base

Of happiness and lasting peace. The reader, with me, is indebted to my worthy friend Mr. Duncombe for the translation of these passages from the French, who hath finih'd the whole of this tragedy, and some years fince published a translation of our author's other most famous performance, Athaliab,

ACT

ACT III. SCENE I.

М о В.

(6) Look, as I blow this feather from my face,
And as the air blows it to me again,
Obeying with my wind, when I do blow,
And yielding to another when it blows,
Commanded always by the greater guft ;
Such is the lightness of you common men.

SCENE III. A Simile on ambitious Thoughts,

Why, then I do but dream on sov'reignty,
Like one that stands upon a promontory,
And spies a far-off-shore where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his eye,
And chides the sea that funders him from thence,
Saying, he'll lade it dry, to have his way,

Gloucester's Deformity.
(7) Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb;
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe
To hrink mine arm up like a wither'd shrub;
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where sits deformity to mock my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal fize;
To disproportion me in every part:
Like to a chaos, or unlick'd bear-whelp,
That carries no impression like the dam.
And am I then a man to be belov'd ?

1

(6) Look, &c.] See Vol. 1. p.171.
(7) Wby, &c.] See the beginning of Richard the third.

Why,

D 3

« ÎnapoiContinuați »