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F O R E KNOW L E D G E.

WOULD BE NO ADVANTAGE TO US.

King Henry. Oh heaven! that one might read the book

of fate;

:

And see the revolution of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent
(Weary of solid firmness) melt itself
Into the sea! And other times, to see
The beachy girdle of the ocean
Too wide for Neptune's hips : how chances mock,
And changes fill the cup of alteration
With divers liquors !--oh, if this were seen,
The happiest youth,—viewing his progress through,
What perils past, what crosses to ensue,-
Would shut the book, and sit him down and die.

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

SOME SLIGHT APPROXIMATION TO IT OBTAINABLE BY

OBSERVATION OF LIFE.

Warwick. There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased :
The which observ'd, a man may prophesy,

With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life; which in their seeds,
And weak beginnings, lie intreasured.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time.

2nd part King Henry IV. Act iii. Scene 1,

STORIES have been told (and I rather think founded on fact) of persons who placed credit in divination, and whose deaths were foretold by astrologers, or some other mountebanks, and who suffered their imaginations to be so terribly wrought on by expectation of the event, as actually to bring about their own dissolution at the precise time, and thus, by their own means, to fulfil the prophecy. If these stories be true, they form a striking comment on the wisdom and kindness of Providence, in keeping from us a knowledge of future events. The manner in which Shakspere has made this reflexion break upon the mind of King Henry, who had been just wishing for such foreknowledge, is exceedingly fine. The objection to such foreknowledge is not, in my opinion, that the sum of pain in man's life would always exceed that of pleasure; so much as that man is unable to anticipate suffering, though comparatively small, with any sort of complacency; and that the whole amount during his existence would effectually scare him from its endurance if placed before his view at once.

Nevertheless, as Shakspere has in his deep knowledge observed, by observation of the history of man's life, we may make such calculations as to probabilities, as may enable us to exercise a due degree of wisdom in our own schemes, and shrewdness in viewing the future conduct of others. With this let us be content.

FORGIVENESS.

Prospero. Though with their high wrongs * I am struck

to th’ quick,
Yet, with my noble reason, 'gainst my fury
Do I take part: the rarer action is
In virtue than in vengeance: they being penitent,
The sole drift of my purpose doth extend
Not a frown further.

Tempest. Act v. Soene 1.

Proteus.

If hearty sorrow
Be a sufficient ransom for offence,
I tender it here; I do as truly suffer,
As e'er I did commit.
Valentine.

Then I am paid;
And once again I do receive thee honest:-
Who by repentance is not satisfied,
Is nor of heaven, nor earth ; for these are pleased ;
By penitence the Eternal's wrath's appeas’d.

Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act v. Scene 4.

Pistol. I do relent; what wouldst thou more of man ?

Merry Wives of Windsor. Act ii, Scene 2.

Our Poet's observations on the virtue of forgiveness are in the spirit of true religion, as well as philosophy; and require no other comment than admiration.

* Deep injuries against me,

FRIENDSHIP.

ITS WEAK POINT.

Claudio. Friendship is constant in all other things,
Save in the office and affairs of love:
Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues ;
Let every eye negociate for itself,
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch,
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.

Much ado about Nothing. Act ii, Scene 1.

FRIENDSHIP BASED ON AND PRODUCING SIMILARITY

OF CHARACTER.

Portia.

For, in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love,
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit.

Merchant of Venice. Act iji. Scene 4, FRIENDSHIP TRUSTFUL.

Warwick..

I hold it cowardice,
To rest mistrustful where a noble heart
Hath pawn'd an open hand in sign of love.

3rd part King Henry VI. Act iv. Scene 2.

CAUTION IN CHOICE OF FRIENDS.

Buck. Where you are liberal of your loves, and counsels, Be sure you be not loose; for those you make friends, And give your hearts to, when they once perceive The least rub in your fortunes, fall away Like water from ye never found again, But where they mean to sink ye.

King Henry VIII. Act ii. Scene 1.

FRIENDSHIP SHOULD BE FOUNDED ON ESTEEM.

Ulysses. The amity that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie.

Troilus and Cressida. Act ii, Scene 3.

FRIENDSHIP REQUIRES NO CEREMONY.

Timon.

Ceremony
Was but deris’d, at first, to set a gloss
On faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown :
But where there is true friendship, there needs none.

Timon of Athens. Act i. Scene 2.

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