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FAMILIARITY

BR E E D S C O N T E M P T.

King Henry. Had I so lavish of my presence been, So common hackney'd in the eyes of men, So stale and cheap to vulgar company; Opinion, that did help me to the crown, Had still kept loyal to possession ;* And left me in reputeless banishment, A fellow of no mark, nor likelihood. By being seldom seen, I could not stir, But, like a comet, I was wonder'd at; That men would tell their children, “ this is he;" Others would say,—“ Where? which is Bolinbroke?” And then I stole all courtesy from heaven, And dress'd myself in such humility, That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts, Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths, Even in the presence of the crowned king. Thus did I keep my person fresh and new; My presence, like a robe pontifical, Ne'er seen but wonder'd at: and so my state, Seldom, but sumptuous, showed like a feast; And won, by rareness, such solemnity. The skipping king, he ambled up and down With shallow jesters, and rash bavin wits, Soon kindled, and soon burn'd: carded his state ; Mingled his royalty with capering fools;

* The possession of the late King Richard II.

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Had his great name profaned with their scorns;
And gave his countenance, against his name,
To laugh at gibing boys, and stand the push
Of every beardless rain comparative:
Grew a companion to the common streets;
Enfeoff'd himself to popularity:
That, being daily swallow'd by men's eyes,
They surfeited with honey; and began
To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little
More than a little is by much too much.
So, when he had occasion to be seen,
He was but as the cuckoo is in June,
Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such eyes,
As, sick and blunted with community,
Afford no extraordinary gaze,
Such as is bent on sunlike majesty,
When it shines seldom in admiring eyes;
But rather drowzed, and hung their eyelids down,
Slept in his face, and render'd such aspect
As cloudy men use to their adversaries ;
Being with his presence glutted, gorg’d, and full.
And in that very line, Harry, stand'st thou :
For thou hast lost thy princely privilege,
With vile participation: not an eye
But is a-weary of thy common sight,
Save mine.

1st part King Henry IV. Act iii. Scene 2.

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Helena. Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky Gives us free scope; only doth backward pull Our slow designs, when we ourselves are dull.

All's well that ends well. Act i, Scene 1.

Bishop of Carlisle. The means that heaven yields must

be embraced, And not neglected; else, if heaven would, And we will not, beaven's offer we refuse.

King Richard II. Act ii. Scene 2.

Cassius. Men at some time are masters of their fates ; The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, &c.

Julius Caesar. Act i. Scene 2.

Thyreus. Wisdom and fortune combating together,
If that the former dare but what it can,
No chance may shake it.

Antony and Cleopatra. Act iii. Scene 11.

Fate, destiny, fortune, chance, accident, necessity, freewill-heavens! what a splendid foundation for an essay of nine rolumes! May my readers be content to wait till they receive it from some other pen than mine! I shall content myself with directing their attention to the judicious medium which Shakspere maintains between the extremes of the two doctrines of predestination and freewill—not depriving Providence of its prerogative, and yet shewing us that much remains to be worked out for ourselves.

There is no subject on which mankind have held more various or opposing doctrines. The Mahometan doctrine of fatalism is well-known. Hear how prettily a girl of fourteen years of age can dogmatize in precisely the opposite opinions! Thus wrote Bettine Brentano, that most wonderful of children: (now Madame Von Arnim) *

“We say, ' Fate rules over us:' but 'tis we are our own fate : we break the threads which bind us to happiness ; and tie those which lay an unblest burthen on the heart! an internal spiritual form will shape itself, by means of the external and worldly one: this internal spirit rules, itself, over its own fate, according as may be requisite to its higher organization.”

Now without attempting to argue these weighty questions, I think that we may renture to assume, that the real truth lies somewhere in the mean between Mahometanism and little Bettine Brentano-in short, that we have something to do with our fate, but not everything ; and that we may, without fear of error, allow the correctness of the Poet's remarks, viz. :-“that our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,” and further, that “the means that heaven yields must be embraced, and not neglected.”

* Vide“Goethe's Correspondence with a Child.” The book should have been called “Correspondence of a Child with Goethe,” for her portion of it is by far the best.

“ Schiller's notions on these subjects seem to have been somewhat similar to our Poet's, if we may judge from the following passage, which occurs in his magnificent tragedy “ Don Carlos.” It is not impossible that he may have imbibed the ideas from Shakspere. It relates to so-called chance, or accident.

“ Und was
Ist Zufall anders, als der rohe Stein,
Der Leben annimmt unter Bildner's Hand ?
Den Zufall giebt die Vorsehung-zum Zwecke

Mufz ihn der Mensch gestalten.”
Which may be thus paraphrased :

“What else is accident than the rough stone,
Starting to life beneath the sculptor's hand ?
Chance comes from Providence-and 'tis for man
To shape it to his ends.”

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