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HAMLET'S SOLILOQUY ON DEATH.
To be, or not to be?--that is the question.-
There's the respect
and sweat under a wearv life; But
that the dread of something after death
SHAXSPEARE. CHAPTER XXXI.
SOLILOQUY' OF THE KING IN HAMLET.
OH! my offence is rank, it smells to Heav'n, It bath the primal, eldest curse upon't ; A brother's murder- -Pray I cannot: Though inclination be as sharp as ’zwill, My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent; And, like a man to double business bound, I stand in pause where I shall first begin, And both neglect. What if this cursed hand : Were thicker than itself with brother's blood; Is there not rain enough in the sweet Heav'ns To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy, But to confront the visage of offence? And what's in prayer, but this two-fold forceTo be forestalld, ere we come to fall, Or pardon'd being down. Then I'll look up; My fault is past. -But oh, what form of
prayer Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder! That cannot be, since I am still possess'd Of those effects for which I did the murder, My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen. May one be pardon'd, and retain th' offence? In the corrupted currents of this world, Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice; And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself Buys out the laws. But 'tis not so above. There is no shuffling; there the action lies In its true nature, and we ourselves compellid, Ev'n to the teeth and forehead of our faults, To give in evidence. What then? What rests ! Try what repentance can: what can it not? Yet what can it, when one cannot repent? Oh wretched state! oh bosom black as death! Oh limed soul! that, struggling to be free, Art more engag'd! Help, angels !, make assay ! Bow, stubborn knees! and, hcart, with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe!
ODE ON SAINT CECILIA'S DAY,
Descend, ye nine! descend and sing;
The breathing instruments inspire;
In a sadly-pleasing strain
Let the loud trumpet sound,
The shrill echoes rebound :
Hark! the numbers soft and clear,
And fill with spreading sounds the skies:
Tin, by degrees, remote and small,
The strains decay,
And melt away
In a dying, dying fall.
Or, when the soul is press'd with cares,
Exalts her in enliv'ning airs.
Melancholy lifts her head,
List’ning Envy drops her snakes;
But when our country's cause provokes to arms, How martial music
bosom warms! So when the first bold vessel dar'd the seas, High on the stern the Thracian rais’d his strain,
While Aryo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main,
Entlam'd with glory's charms;
To arms! to arms! to arms!
But when through all th’infernal bounds,
Love, strong as Death, the Pott led
To the pale nations of the dead,
See, shady forms advance!
And the pale spectres dance !
The furies sink upon their iron beds,
By the streams that ever flow,
O'er th' Elysian flow'rs;
Or Amaranthine bow'rs;
Wand'ring in the myrtle grove,
and hell consented
Thus song could prevail
O’er deaih and o'er hell,
Though Fate had fast bound lier,
With Styx nine times round her, Yet Music and Love were victorious.
But soon, tov soon, the lover turns his e
Now under hanging mountains,
For ever, ever, ever lost!