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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
And see the revolution of the times
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,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
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.
Prospero. Though with their high wrongs * I am struck
to th’ quick,
Tempest. Act v. Soene 1.
If hearty sorrow
Then I am paid;
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,
ITS WEAK POINT.
Claudio. Friendship is constant in all other things,
Much ado about Nothing. Act ii, Scene 1.
FRIENDSHIP BASED ON AND PRODUCING SIMILARITY
For, in companions
Merchant of Venice. Act iji. Scene 4, FRIENDSHIP TRUSTFUL.
I hold it cowardice,
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 of Athens. Act i. Scene 2.