Imatges de pàgina


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needful than solemn-viz. that we are too apt to make our repentance an easy thing, if not a matter of renewed self-indulgence. The passage to be quoted is in the dialogue with the Chief Justice, King Henry IV. 2nd Part, Act i. Sc. 2:

For the box o'the ear the prince gave you—he gave it like a rude prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have checked him for it; and the young lion repents : marry, not in sackcloth and ashes; but in new silk and old sack.

It is also a sensualist, but a sensualist of a very different class, who thus moralizes


the consequences of a vicious and impenitent course. The words are in every way worthy of Mark Antony :

When we in our viciousness grow hard,
(0! misery on't !) the wise gods seel

our eyes ;
In our own filth drop our clear judgments; make us
Adore our errors ; laugh at us, while we strut
To our confusion.

Ant. and Cleop. Act iii. Sc. 9. Sentiments as awful as they are just; and which will not appear either too irreverent for a Christian man to write, when we remember how often in the Psalms, and in the Book of Proverbs, God is said 'to laugh,' and 'to mock' at the calamities of those who have despised His laws; or too profound for a Heathen man to utter, when we compare the deep sayings of Persius respecting the confirmed and reprobate votaries of vicious self-indulgence, in his 3rd Satire :


* i. e. Close : a term of falconry, not to be confounded with seal.

Sed stupet hic vitio, et fibris increvit * opimum Pingue; caret culpâ ; nescit quid perdat, et alto Demersus, summâ rursum non bullit în undâ. Nothing can exceed the irony which represents a man as faultless, only because he has rendered himself senseless, and incapable of judging between


right and

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Sect. 6. Of Faith and Thankfulness towards God.

Put not your trust in princes, nor in åny child of man,' is a Scriptural precept which Shakspeare has not been slow to echo, nor has he failed to do full justice to the contrast with which the Scriptures so often accompany that precept, viz. the duty and the satisfaction of placing our trust in God. The devoted, but not over-honest nurse in Romeo and Juliet can tell her mistress—

There's no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men; all perjured,
All forsworn, all nought, all dissemblers.

Act iii. Sc.
And the Duke of Bedford can ask, in King Henry
VI. ist Part:-
What is the trust or strength of foolish men ?

Act iü. Sc. I. And yet we are senseless enough, as the Lord Hastings tells us, in King Richard III., to make



* Comp, Habakkuk ii. 6.



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more account of man's favour, which is so worth-
Jess, than of the favour of God, which is above all
price :-

O! momentary grace of mortal men,
Which we more hunt for than the grace of God!
Who builds his hope in air, of your fair looks,
Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,
Ready with every nod to tumble down
Into the fatal bowels of the deep.

Act iii. Sc. 4. As Cardinal Wolsey 'tumbled down' from the eminence to which he had been raised, and thereby was led, all too late, to exclaim :

O! Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, He would not in mine age

Have left me naked to mine enemies. Act iii. Sc. 2.
And so the good King Henry V. felt the blessed-
ness of being able to place his confidence where
alone it ought to be placed, when he said to the
Duke of Gloster :-
We are in God's hands, brother, not in theirs.

King Henry V. Act iii. Sc. 5. And he felt it sinful to boast of anything he could do by his own power :

Forgive me, God,
That I do brag thus! this your air of France
Hath blown that vice in me; I must repent,

Go, therefore, tell thy master-
he is speaking to Montjoy, the French herald-

Here I am ;

My ransom is this frail and worthless trunk;


prayer it is :

My army but a weak and sickly guard :
Yet, GoD* BEFORE, tell him we will come on,
Though France himself, and such another neighbour,
Stand in our way.

Act iii. Sc. 6. And how different was the result! Nor was the grateful piety of the father less conspicuous in the son, whose

O! Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness !

King Henry VI. 2nd Pt. Act i. Sc. 1. There are two occasions—one extraordinary, the other of ordinary occurrence—in regard to which our poet desired, it would seem, more especially to recommend this great duty of thankfulness towards God. The extraordinary occasion is when a victory has been gained. It is delightful to observe in what an amiable light the character of King Henry V. has been placed in this respect. Not even David himself has exhibited more fervent gratitude to the Divine Author of his victories than our pious sovereign, after the defeat of the French in the battle of Agincourt. Thus, when Montjoy, the French herald, first announced to the king—' The day is yours '—his first exclamation is a Non nobis, Domine, in these words: Praised be God, and not our strength for it!

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King Henry V. Act iv. Sc. 7.

i. e. God being our guide. The phrase is used again by the king in the same play, Act i. Sc. 2.

And soon after, when the English herald came and delivered more fully the particulars of the victory, more fully rose also from the royal lips the ascription of praise and thanksgiving :

O! God; Thy arm was here,
And not to us,

but to Thy arm alone
Ascribe we all. When, without stratagem,
But in plain shock and even play of battle,
Was ever known so great and little loss
On one part and on the other? Take it, God,
For it is only Thine.

'Tis wonderful !
Come, go we in procession to the village :
And be it death proclaimed through our Host,
To boast of this, or take that praise from God
Which is His only.

Ibid. Sc. 8. And how he himself behaved in strict accordance with his own command, is reported by the chorus at the opening of the next and concluding Act; the description refers to his return and entry into London :

Where that his lords desire him to have borne
His bruised helmet, and his bended sword,
Before him through the city, he forbids it,
Being free from vainness, and self-glorious pride,
Giving full trophy, signal, and ostent,

Quite from bimself to God. In like manner, his son and successor, out of the fulness of the thankful heart for which he had prayed, thus signifies the acknowledgments which he desires to make upon hearing of the suppression of the insurrection headed by Jack Cade :

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