Imatges de pÓgina
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And now loud howling wolves aroufe the jades,
That drag the tragick melancholy night;
Who with their drowfie, flow, and flagging wings,
Clip dead mens graves; and from their misty jaws
Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.

SCENE VI. KENT.

(9) Kent, in the commentaries Cæfar writ, Is term'd the civil'ft place of all this ifle; Sweet is the country, because full of riches : The people liberal, valiant, active, wealthy.

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And all the while fhe ftood upon the ground, The wakeful dogs did never ceafe to bay, As giving warning of th' unwonted found, With which her iron wheels d'd them affray, And her dark griefly look, them much dismay. The meffenger of death, the ghaftly owl, With dreary fhrieks, did also her bewray: And hungry wolves continually did howl, At her abhorred face, fo filthy and so foul. See Faerie Queene, B. 1. c. 5. ft. 30. * No numbers can better exprefs the thing than these. Shakespear fhews us, that he can as well excel in that, as in every other branch of poetry. None of the fo celebrated lines of Homer and Virgil, of this fort, deserve more commendation: here the line, as it ought, justly labours, and the verse moves flow. However, I intend not to enter into any criticifm on Shakespear's verfification, wherein could we prove him fuperior to all other writers, we must still acknowledge it the least and most trifling matter, wherein he is fuperior. It is worth obferving, that what Shakespear fays of the clipping dead mens graves, might not impoffibly be taken from Theocritus, who, fpeaking of Hecate, the infernal and nocturnal deity, in his 2d Idyllium, fays--

Τα χθόνια θ' Εκατα, &c.

Infernal Hecate, howling dogs abhor,

When 'midft the dead mens graves, and putrid gore,

She talks

(9) Kent, &c.] York, in the next play, A. 1. f. 4. speaking of the Kentifomen, says

In them I truft; for they are foldiers,

Wealthy, and courteous, liberal, full of spirit.

Lord

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Lord Say's Apology for bimfelf.

Juftice, with favour, have I always done;
Prayers and tears have mov'd me, gifts could never:
(10) When have I aught exacted at your hands?
Kent, to maintain, the king, the realm and you,
Large gifts have I beftow'd on learned clerks ;
Because my book preferr'd me to the king:
And seeing, ignorance is the curfe of God,
Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly tó Heav'n,
Unless you be possess'd with dev'lish spirits,
You cannot but forbear to murther me.

(10) When, &c.] The interrogation in all the editions is plac'è at the end of this line the paffage, in my opinion, should be pointed thus:

When have I aught exacted at your hands,

Kent to maintain, the king, the realm, and you?

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This renders the paffage plain and eafy: that he should have beftowed gifts on learned clerks to maintain Kent, the king, &c. is fomething very unreasonable; that he should have beftowed gifts on them because his book preferr'd him to the king, is not only reafonable, but extremely probable.

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7

The Third Part of HENRY VI.

ACT I

SCENE IV.

The Tranfparts of a Crown.

O but think

How sweet a thing it is to wear a

crown;

(1)

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Within whofe circuit is Elifium,
And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.

Ferr. Tell me no more,

SCENE

(1) Do bat, &c.] In the fecond part of Henry IV. (p. 21.) we have fome fine reflections on the miferies that attend a crown: thefe, on the tranfports it beftows, are beautifully in character, and come very aptly from the mouth of the ambitious Gloucefter. In the double marriage of Beaumont and Fletcher, Ferrand the tyrant, complaining of the miseries that attend royalty, a courtier longing to enjoy the honour, is put into poffeffion of them for one day, and finds them fufficiently burthensom. See the third act. Some of the tyrants complaints, and the courtiers praises of royalty, are the following:

I faint beneath the burden of my cares,
And yield myself moft wretched.

Vill. Look but on this,

Has not a man that has but means to keep
A hawk, a grey-hound, and a hunting-nag,
More pleasure than this king?

Caftr. A dull fool ftill:

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Make me a king, and let me fcratch with care,
And fee who'll have the better give me rule,
Command, obedience, pleasure of a king,
And let the devil rear; the greateft corrofive
A king can have, is of mere precious tickling,
And handled to the height more dear delight,
Than other mens whole lives, let them be fafe too.

Thou

SCENE V. A hungry Lion.

So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch That trembles under his devouring paws; And fo' he walks infulting o'er his prey, And fo he comes to rend his limbs afunder.

SCENE VI. The Duke of York on the gallant Behaviour of his Sons.

My fons, God knows, what hath bechanced them: But this I know, they have demean'd themselves Like men born to renown, by life or death. Three times did Richard make a lane to me, And thrice cry'd, courage father ! fight it out: And full as oft came Edward to my fide, With purple falchion painted to the hilt In blood of thofe, that had encounter'd him:

And when the hardieft warriors did retire;
Richard cry'd, charge! and give no foot of ground;

Thou enemy to majesty,
What think'ft thou of a king?

Vill. As of a man,

That hath power to do all ill.

Caftr. Or a thing rather

That does divide an empire with the Gods;
Obferve but with how little breath he shakes
A populous city, which would stand unmov'd
Against a whirlwind !

For me,

I do profess it

Were I offer'd to be any thing on earth,
I wou'd be mighty Ferrand-。

Ferr. Did't thou but feel

The weighty forrows that fit on a crown,
Tho' thou should't find one in the streets, Caftruccio,
Thou would'ft not think it worth the taking up :
But fince thou art enamour'd of my fortune,

Thou shalt ere long tafte it

Cafr. But one Day,

And then let me expire.

And

And cry'd a crown, or else a glorious tomb,
A fcepter, or an earthly fepulchre.
With this we charg'd again; but out! alas,
We bodg'd again; as I have seen a swan
With bootlefs labour fwim against the tide
And spend her ftrength with over-matching waves.

A Father's Paffion on the Murder of a favourite Child,

Oh tyger's heart wrapt in a woman's hide! How could't thou drain the life-blood of the child, To bid the father wipe his eyes withal,

And yet be feen to wear a woman's face?
Women are soft, mild, pitiful, and flexible;
Thou ftern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorfelefs.

*

*

*

*

That face of his the hungry cannibals

(2) Would not have touch'd, would not have stain'd with blood:

But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
Oh ten times more, than tygers of Hyrcania.
See, ruthlefs queen, a hapless father's tears :
This cloth thou dip'dft in blood of my sweet boy,
And I with tears do wash the blood away.
Keep thou the napkin, and go boast of this:

(2) Would not, &c.] The firft folios and the old quarto read this paffage as it is here printed; the second folio reads,

Wou'd not have touch'd,

Wou'd not have ftained the roses juft with blood.

Which Mr. Theobald for the fake of an alteration of his own, prefers to this, for which we have so good authority. He reads, Wou'd not have ftain'd the roles juic'd with blood; Sir T. Hanmer, not pleas'd with this criticism, tries another caft, and gives us

The roles juft in bud.

And

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