Imatges de pÓgina
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K. HENRY.

Heav'n pardon thee. Yet let me wonder, Harry,
At thy affections, which do hold a wing
Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors.
Thy place in council thou haft rudely loft,
Which by thy younger brother is supply'd;
And art almoft an alien to the hearts

Of all the court and princes of my blood.
The hope and expectation of thy time
Is ruin'd, and the foul of every man
Prophetically does fore-think thy fall.
Had I fo lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackney'd in the eyes of men,
So ftale and cheap to vulgar company;
Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
Had ftill kept loyal to poffeffion,
And left me in reputelefs banishment,
A fellow of no mark, nor likelihood.
But being feldom feen, I could not ftir,

But, like a comet, I was wonder'd at,

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That men would tell their children, this is he; Others would fay, where? which is Bolingbroke?

And then I stole all courtesy from heav'n,

And drest myself in much humility,

That I did pluck allegiance from mens hearts,

Loud

Loud fhouts and falutations from their mouths,
Even in the presence of the crowned king.
Thus I did keep my perfon fresh and new,
My presence, like a robe pontifical,

Ne'er feen, but wonder'd at ; and so my state,
Seldom, but sumptuous, fhew'd like a feast,
And won, by rareness, such folemnity.
The skipping king, he ambled up and down
With fhallow jefters, and rafh bavin wits,
Soon kindled, and foon burnt; 'fearded his ftate,
Mingled his royalty with carping fools;
Had his great name profaned with their scorns ;
And gave his countenance, against his name,
To laugh at gybing boys, and stand the push
Of every beardless, vain comparative;
Grew a companion to the common streets,
Enfeoff'd himself to popularity.

That, being daily fwallow'd by mens eyes,

They furfeited with honey, and began

To loath a taste of sweetness; whereof a little
More than a little, is by much too much.

So when he had occafion to be seen,

He was but as the cuckow is in June,

Heard, not regarded; feen but with fuch eyes,

As, fick and blunted with community,

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Afford no extraordinary gaze;

Such, as is bent on fun-like majefty,

When it fhines feldom in admiring eyes;

But rather drowz'd, and hung their eye-lids down, Slept in his face, and rendred such aspect

As cloudy men ufe to their adverfaries,

Being with his prefence glutted, gorg'd and full.
And in that very line, Harry, ftand'st thou;
For thou haft loft thy princely privilege
With vile participation; not an eye,

But is a-weary of thy common fight,

Save mine, which hath defir'd to see thee more:
Which now doth, what I would not have it do,
Make blind itfelf with foolish tenderness.

Our author is fo little under the difcipline of Art, that we are apt to ascribe his happieft fucceffes, as well as his most unfortunate failings, to Chance. But I cannot help thinking, there is more of contrivance and care in his execution of this play, than in almost he has written. It is a more any regular drama than his other historical plays, lefs charged with abfurdities, and less involved in confufion. It is indeed liable to

those

those objections, which are made to Tragicomedy. But if the pedantry of learning could ever recede from its dogmatical rules, I think that this play, instead of being condemned for being of that species, would obtain favour for the fpecies itself, though perhaps correct tafte may be offended with the tranfitions from grave and important, to light and ludicrous subjects: and more ftill with those from great and illustrious, to low and mean perfons. Foreigners, unused to these compofitions, will be much difgufted at them. The vulgar call all animals that are not natives of their own country, monfters, however beautiful they may be in their form, or wifely adapted to their climate, and natural deftination. The prejudices of Pride are as violent and unreafonable, as the fuperftitions of Ignorance. On the French Parnaffus, a tragi-comedy of this kind will be deemed a monfter fitter to be fhewn to the people at a fair, than exhibited to circles of the learned and polite. From fome peculiar circumstances

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relating to the characters in this piece, we may, perhaps, find a fort of apology for the motley mixture thrown into it. We cannot but fuppofe, that at the time it was written, many stories yet fubfifted of the wild adventures of this Prince of Wales, and his idle companions. His fubfequent reformation, and his conquefts in France, rendered him a very popular character. It was a delicate affair to expose the follies of Henry V. before a people proud of his victories, and tender of his fame, at the fame time so informed of the extravagancies, and exceffes of his youth, that he could not appear divefted of them with any degree of hiftorical probability. Their enormity would have been greatly heightened, if they had appeared in a piece entirely ferious, and full of dignity and decorum. How happily therefore was the character of Falstaffe introduced, whose wit and feftivity in fome measure excuse the Prince for admitting him into his familiarity, and suffering himself to be led by him into fome irregularities. There is hardly a

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