網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

To one concent, may work contrariously;
As many arrows, loosed several ways,
Fly to one mark;
As many several ways meet in one town;
As many fresh streams run in one self sea;

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.

As many

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

themselves.
Omission to do what is necessary
Seals a commission to a blank of danger :
And danger, like an ague, subtly taints
Even then when we sit idly in the sun.

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 Dutysteps 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.

APPRECIATED.

Duke.

(B)
Ce absolute * for death; either death, or life,

Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with
life,-
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art,
(Servile to all the skiey influences)
That dost this earthly habitation, where thou keep'st,
Hourly afflict; merely, thou art death's fool;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet runn'st toward him still: Thou art not noble;
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st,
Are nurs'd by baseness: Thou art by no means valiant;
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm: Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself;
For thou existest on many a thousand grains

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

That issue out of dust : Happy thou art not;
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get;
And what thou hast, forget'st: Thou art not certain ;
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
After the moon: If thou art rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee: Friends hast thou none;
For thy own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner: Thou hast nor youth, nor age;
But, as it were, an after dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both: for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld; and when thou art old, and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this,
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even!

Measure for Measure. Act iii. Scene 1.

ITS CHARACTERISTICS AND VICISSITUDES,

:

Jacques.

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
And then, the whining school-boy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school: and then, the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow: then, a soldier,

« 上一頁繼續 »