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 almost 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 seen, I could not stir,
But, like a comet, I was wonder'd at,

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

And then I ftole all courtesy from heav'n,

And dreft myself in much humility,
That I did pluck allegiance from mens hearts,

Lout

Loud fhouts and falutations from their mouths, Even in the presence of the crowned king. Thus I did keep my person fresh and new, My prefence, like a robe pontifical, Ne'er feen, but wonder'd at; and fo my state, Seldom, but fumptuous, 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 ftand 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

Afford no extraordinary gaze;

Such, as is bent on fun-like majefty,

When it shines feldom in admiring eyes;

But rather drowz'd, and hung their eye-lids down, Slept in his face, and rendred fuch 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 fee thee more:
Which now doth, what I would not have it do,
Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.

Our author is fo little under the discipline 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 any he has written. It is a more regular drama than his other historical plays, lefs charged with abfurdities, and lefs involved in confufion. It is indeed liable to

thofe

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, inftead 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 fubjects: and more ftill with those from great and illuftrious, 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 destination. 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 monster fitter to be fhewn to the people at a fair, than exhibited to circles of the learned and polite. From fome peculiar circumstances G 3 relating

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 suppose, 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 fo informed of the extravagancies, and exceffes of his youth, that he could not appear divested of them with any degree of hiftorical probability. Their enormity would have been greatly heightened, if they had appeared in a piece entirely serious, and full of dignity and decorum. How happily therefore was the character of Falstaffe introduced, whofe wit and festivity 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

young

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