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Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
With his surcease, success ; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'd jump the life to come. — But, in these cases,
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor. This even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice *
To our own lips. He's here in double trust:
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking off:
And Pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind.
60. Exercises in Low Pitch. (See $ 41.)
1. Tread softly! bow the head ;
In reverent silence bow;
No passing bell doth toll,
Yet an immortal soul
Is passing now.
2. Chillon ! El thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an altar, - for 't was trod
Until his very steps have left a trace,
Worn as if thy cold pavements were a sod,
By Bonnivard! May none those marks efface !
For they appeal from tyranny to God.
3. Oh! now forever
Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content !
Farewell the plumëd troop, and the big wars,
That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner; and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!
And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit,
Farewell ! Othello's occupation 's gone!
4. King John. I had a thing to say,
The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton and too full of gauds
To give me audience. If the midnight bell
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound One unto the drowsy race of night:
If this same were a churchyard where we stand,
And thou possessëd with a thousand wrongs ;
Or if that thou couldst see me ... without eyes,
without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone, -
Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words,
Then, in despite of broad-eyed, watchful day,
I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts.
But, ah! I will not, - yet I love thee well;
And, by my troth, I think thou lov’st me well!
6. I have almost forgot the taste of fears.
The time has been, my senses would have cooled
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell er of hair
Would at a dismal treatise - rouse and stir
As life were in 't: I have supped full with horrors.
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
Cannot once start me.
6. I had a dream, which was not all a dream :
The bright sun was extinguished; and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless and pathless; and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air.
7. Ah! Gentlemen, that was a dreadful mistake! Such a
secret can be safe nowhere. The whole creation of God has
neither nook nor corner where the guilty can bestow it, and
say it is safe.
8. Description of Satan.
He above the rest,
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower. His form had yet not lost
All her original brightness, nor appeared
Less than archangel ruined, and the excess
Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shôrn of his beams; or from behind the moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Low Pitch, WITH TRANSITIONS.
9. In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heavenly-pensive Contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing Melancholy reigns, —
What means this tumult in a vestal's veins ?
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat ?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat ?
Yet, yet I love!
From Ab'e-lard it came,
And Eloïsa yet must kiss the name.
Dear, fatal name! rest ever unre
Nor pass these lips in holy silence sealed :
Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
Where, mixed with God's, his loved idea lies :
O, write it not, my hand the name appears
Already written wash it out, my tears !
10. There lies a sleeping city. God of dreams!
What an unreäl and fantastic world
Is going on below!
Within the sweep of yon encircling wall,
How many a large creation of the night,
Wide wilderness and mountain, rock and sea,
Peopled with busy transitory groups,
Finds room to rise, and never feels the crowd !
If when the shows had left the dreamers' eyes
They should float upward visibly to mine,
How thick with apparitions were that void !
11. May one be pardoned, and retain the offense ?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offense's gilded hand may
And oft ’t is seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law. But ... 't is not so above !
THERE is no shuffling; there the action lies
In its true nature, and we ourselves compelled,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence.
12. Thou sure and firm-set earth!
Hear not my steps, which way they walk; for fear
The very stones prate of my whereabout,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it.
13. Ye eldest gods !
Who in no statues of exactest form
Are palpable; who shun the āzure heights
Of beautiful Olympus, and the sound
Of ever-young Apollo's minstrelsy;
Yet, mindful of the empire which ye held
Over dim Chaos, keep revengeful watch
On falling nations, and on kingly lines
About to sink forever; ye, who shed
Into the passions of earth's giant brood,
And their fierce usages, the sense of justice ;
Who clothe the faded battlements of tyranny
With blackness, as a funeral pall, and breathe,
Through the proud halls of time-emboldened guilt,
Pôrtents of ruin, — hear me ! — In your presence,
(For now I feel you nigh,) I dedicate
This arm to the destruction of the King
And of his race! O, keep me pitiless;
Expel all human weakness from my frame,
That this keen weapon shake not, when his heart
Should feel its point; and if he has a child
Whose blood is needful to the sacrifice
My country asks, harden my soul to shed it!
$ 61. Exercises in Middle Pitch. (See $ 42.)
A pure and unaspirated quality of voice is generaliy appropriate in these exercises in middle pitch; but Macbeth's speech (7) is an exception.
1. How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank !
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica! Look, how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold :
There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold’st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close us in, we cannot hear it.
2. Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy ; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man ;
And they in France, of the best rank and station,
Are most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all, to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.