« 上一頁繼續 »
To one concent, may work contrariously;
lines close in the dial's centre; So may a thousand actions once afoot, End in one purpose.
King Henry V. Act i. Scene 2.
THE DIVINE COMMANDS PARAMOUNT TO THOSE OF MAN.
1st Murderer. What we will do, we do upon command. 2nd Mur. And he that hath commanded, is our king.
Clarence. Erroneous vassal! The great King of kings Hath in the table of his law commanded, That thou shalt do no murder: wilt thou then Spurn at His edict, and fulfil a man's ? Take heed; for he holds vengeance in his hand, To hurl upon their heads that break his law.
King Richard III. Act i. Scene 4.
EPITOME OF DUTY
Wolsey. Love thyself last; cherish those hearts that
bate thee; Corruption wins not more than bonesty. Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace, To silence envious tongues. Be just and fear not; Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's, Thy God's, and truth's ; then, if thou fall'st, Ob, Cromwell, Thou fall'st a blessed martyr.
King Henry VIII. Act iii. Scene 2.
NEGLECT OF DUTY DANGEROUS.
Patroclus. Those wounds heal ill, that men do give
Troilus and Cressida. Act iii. Scene 3.
DUTIES OF SUBJECTS.
K. Hen. V. Every subject's duty is the king's; but every subject's soul is his own.
King Henry V. Act iv. Scene 1.
SOME wise men (wise that is to say in their own conceit) have taken upon themselves to sneer at the word “ Duty;" and here is the kernel of their argument: “Man is born for the pursuit of happiness; his own happiness is the end of his life: the acquisition of it should be the sole and controlling motive of his actions: he knows that a certain course of action (coinciding generally it may be admitted with what the world calls virtue) involving perhaps now and then a little present restraint, will in the end procure for himself the greatest possible amount of enjoyment: this course he is right in pursuing, because it procures him this enjoyment, and for no other causewhere then is the necessity for the thing called “ Duty ?" * Admirable logic! but resting on oh, what a rotten foundation !
* Vide Bentham's Deontology.
Let us turn to the lessons that human experience teaches. I will say nothing of the fact that man often, at the outset, knows not what he means by“ happiness.” Let it suffice to upset this precious doctrine of the Utilitarians, that we know, in the first place, that man is unable with certainty to calculate the consequences of his actions for the space of a year, a day, or an hour ; and, secondly, his weakness is such, that he is frequently unwilling to place a present restraint upon himself, though it promise him with moral certainty a store of future enjoyment. These facts being granted, his case is indeed a hopeless one, if he have no guide but the scientific pursuit of pleasure before alluded to. But then it is, that, happily for him, the divine guide “ Duty” steps in to save him, and by its sanctions and threatenings keeps him in the path of happiness.
Alas for those who respect not such a guide, but follow the ignis-fatuus of selfishness, which is pretty certain to leave them floundering in a quagmire of immorality and unhappiness! If they escape now and then, fortunate are they; but it is probably“ more by good luck than good management."
H U M A N L I F E.
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with
That issue out of dust : Happy thou art not;
Measure for Measure. Act iii. Scene 1.
ITS CHARACTERISTICS AND VICISSITUDES,
All the world's a stage,