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P R U D ENCE.
When we mean to build,* We first survey the plot, then draw the model ; And when we see the figure of the house, Then must we rate the cost of the erection ; Which if we find outweighs ability, What do we then, but draw anew the model In fewer offices; or, at least, desist To build at all? Much more in this great work, (Which is, almost, to pluck a kingdom down And set another up,) should we survey The plot of situation, and the model ; Consent upon a sure foundation; Question surveyors: know our own estate, How able such a work to undergo, To weigh against his opposite; or else, We fortify in paper, and in figures, Using the names of men instead of men ; Like one that draws the model of a house Beyond his pow'r to build it; who, half through, Gives o'er, and leaves his part-created cost A naked subject to the weeping clouds, And waste for churlish winter's tyranny.
2nd part King Henry IV. Act i. Scene 3.
* Vide 14th chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, 28th and following verses. Shakspere gives frequent proofs of his having been well read in the Holy Scriptures.
IN CASES OF DANGER.
Modest doubt is call'd
Troilus and Cressida. Act ii, Scene 2.
Cressida. Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds safer footing than blind reason stumbling without fear. To fear the worst, oft cures the worst.
Ibid. Act iii. Scene 2.
Malvolio. POME are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Twelfth Night. Act ii. Scene 5.
Angelo. Oh, Place ! oh, Form ! How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit, Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls To thy false seeming:*
Measure for Measure. Act ii, Scene 4.
Duke. Oh, place and greatness ; millions of false eyes Are stuck upon thee! Volumes of report
* Dr, Johnson compliments Shakspere on this judicious distinction of the different operations of high place on different minds. Fools being frighted and wise men allured by it. Those who are unable to judge except by the eye, are easily awed by splendour: and those who consider men as well as conditions, are easily persuaded to love the appearance of virtae dignified with power
Run with these false and most contrarious guests
Measure for Measure. Act iv. Scene 1.
King Richard II.
Within the hollow crown,
King Richard II. Act iii. scene 2.
Prince Henry. I will sit and watch here by the king. Why doth the crown lie there upon his pillow, Being so troublesome a bedfellow ? Oh, polished perturbation ! golden care ! That keep’st the ports of slumber open wide To many a watchful night !--sleep with it now!
Yet not so sound, and half so deeply sweet,
2nd part King Henry IV. Act iv, Scene 4.
K. Henry V. Upon the king ! let us our lives, our souls, Our debts, our careful wives, our children, and Our sins, lay on the king ;—we must bear all. Oh, hard condition ! twin-born with greatness, Subjected to the breath of every fool, Whose sense can no more feel hut his own wringing ! What infinite heart's ease must kings neglect, That private men enjoy! And what have kings, that privates have not too, Save ceremony, save general ceremony ? And what art thou, thou idol ceremony ? What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more Of mortal griefs, than do thy worshippers ? What are thy rents? what are thy comings in ? Oh, ceremony, show me but thy worth ! What is the soul of adoration ? Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form, Creating awe and fear in other men ? Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd Than they in fearing. What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet, But poison'd flattery? Oh, be sick, great greatness, And bid thy ceremony give thee cure ! Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out With titles blown from adulation ? Will it give place to flexure and low bending ?
* Biggin, a homely sort of