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From A MIDSUMMER Night's DREAM.
175. Oberon's Vision. --- Act II. Sc. 2.
My gentle Puck, come hither: Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
A id heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.
Obe. That very time I saw (but thou couldst not),
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all armed; a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west;
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quenched in the chaste beams of the watery moon;
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower, -
Before, milk-white; now, purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I showed thee oi ce;
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb: and be thou here again,
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes.
1 Queen Elizabeth.
76. The Power of Imagination. — Act. V. Sc. I. Theseus.
I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet,
Are of imagination all compact :
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold -
That is the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination;
That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or, in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
B - HISTORICAL PLAYS.
From King JOAN. yy. Lamentation of Constance. — Act III. Sc. 4 K. Philip.
Bind up your hairs.
Const. Yes, that I will; And wherefore will I do it?
I toic them from their bonds; and cried aloud,
O that these hands could so redeem my son,
As tlicy have given these hairs their liberty!
But tiow I envy at their liberty,
And will again commit them to their bonds
Because my poor child is a prisoner.
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say,
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven :
If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
For, since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
To him that did but yesterday suspire,
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
And he will look as hollow as a ghost;
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
And so he'll die; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.
Pandulph. You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
Const. He talks to me that never had a son.
K. Phi. You are as fond of grief as of your child.
Const. Grief fills the rooin up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
Then, have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do. —
I will not keep this form upon my head,
[Tearing off her head-dress.
Wliei. there is such disorder in my wit.
O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!
From KING RICHARD III.
78. Clarence's Dream. — Act. I. Sc. 4.
CLARENCE and BRAKENBURY.
Bral. Why looks your grace so heavily to-day?
Clar. O, I have passed a miseral le night,
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night,
Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days;
So full of dismal terror was the time.
What was your dream, my lord? I pray you, tell me. Clar. Methought that I had broken from the Tower,
And was embarked to cross to Burgundy;
And in my company my brother Gloster:
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches; there we looked toward England,
And cited up a thousand heavy times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster,
That had befallen us. As we paced along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
Methought that Gloster stumbled; and, in falling,
Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard,
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
O Lord i niethought what pain it was to drown!
What drcadful noise of water in mine ears!
What sights of ugly death within mine eyes!
Methought I saw a thousand fearful wracks;
A thousand men that fishes gnawed upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scattered in the bottom of the sea.
Some lay in dead men's skulls; and in those holes
Where eyes did once inhabit there were crept,
As 'twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
That wooed the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mocked the dead bones that lay scattered by
Brak. Had you such leisure in the time of death
To gaze upon these secrets of the deep?
Methought I had; and often did I strive
To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood
Stopped in my soul, and would not let it forth
To find the empty, vast, and wandering air:
But smothered it within my panting bulk,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.
Brak. Awaked you not in this sore agony?
No, no, my dream was lengthened after life :
O, then began the tempest to my soul!
I passed, methought, the melancholy flood
With that sour ferryman which poets write of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
The first that there did greet my stranger soul
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick;
Who spake aloud, — "What scourge for perjury
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?"
And so he vanished: Then came wandering by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood; and he shrieked out aloud, -
“ Clarence is come, — false, fleeting, perjured Clarence, we
That stabbed me in the field by Tewksbury;.-
Seize on him, furies, take him unto torment!"-
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends
Environed me, and howléd in mine ears
Such hideous cries, that, with the very noise
I trembling waked, and, for a season after,
Could not believe but that I was in hell;
Such terrible impression made my dream.
No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you;
I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.
Clar. O, Brakenbury, I have done these things, -
That now give evidence against my soul, -
For Edward's sake; and see how he requites me !
O God! if my deep prayers cannot appease thee,
But thou wilt be avenged on my misdeeds,
Yet exccute thy wrath on me alone :
O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children]
I pray tł.ee, gentle keeper, stay by me;
My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.
From KING HENRY VIII.
79. Wolsey and Cromwell. — Act III. Sc. 3. Wol. Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man: To-da" he puts forth.
'The tender leaves of hopes, to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honors thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost;
And, — when he thinks, good easy man, full suroly
Ilis greatness is a ripening, -- nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth : my high-blown pride
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye;
I feel my heart new opened: 0, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors!
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again. - *
* Why, how now, Cromwell?
Crom. I have no power to speak, sir.
At my misfortunes ? can thy spirit wonder
A great man should decline? Nay, an you weep,
I am fallen indeed.
How does your grace?
Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell.
I know myself now; and I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience. The king has cured me,
I humbly thank his grace; and from these shou’ders,
Tlesse ruined pillars, out of pity, taken
A load would sink a navy, too much honor:
O, 'tis a burden, Cromwell, 'tis a burden,
Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven.
Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me
Out of thy honest truth to play the woman.