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But not intentively. I did consent,
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffered. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs ;
She swore, in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange,
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful-
She wished she had not heard it ;-yet she wished
That heaven had made her such a man :-she thanked me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake;
She loved me for the dangers I had passed,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used.
THE SEVEN AGES OF MAN. 2
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 schoolboy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad 3
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then the soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly, with good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws5 and modern instances;6
(1) Intentively--with diligent, undivided attention.
(2) “ As You Like It,” Act ii., scene 7.
(3) Ballad--a song or sonnet.
(5) Saros—see note 4, p. 171.
(6) Modern instances--instances of the folly of the age in which he lives, in comparison with the good old times.”
And so he plays his part. The sixth shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shanks; and his big manly voice,
Turning again towards childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion;
Sans' teeth, sans eges, sans taste, sans every thing.
OUR revels now are ended : these our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
And, like this unsubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack 3 behind !
SOLITUDE AND ADVERSITY.4
Now my co-mates and brothers in exíle,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court ?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The season's difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind;
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say,
“This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.”
(1) Sans--a French word-without.
(2) “The Tempest,” Act iv., scene 1.
This is said by Prospero, who by magical arts had raised a vision of a masque, or scenic entertainment.
(3) Rack-see note 3, p. 144.
(4) “ As You Like It," Act ii., scene 2.
Spoken by an did nobleman who had retired from the world.
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head:
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.
O THEN, I see Queen Mab hath been with you !
She is the fairies' midwife; and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman;
Drawn with 2 a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep:
Her wagon-spokes made of long spinner's legs;
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ;
The traces, of the smallest spider's web;
The collars, of the moonshine's watery beams;
Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash of film;
Her wagoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm,
Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid :
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut,
Made by the joiner squirrel, or old grub
Time out of mind the fairies' coach makers
And in this state she gallops, night by night,
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
On courtiers' knees, that dream on courtesies straight ;
O’er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees ;
O’er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.
Sometimes she gallops o’er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit :3
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail,
Tickling a parson's nose as ’a4 lies asleep;
Then dreams he of another benefice.
(1) “Romeo and Juliet,” Act i., scene 4.
(2) Drawn with, &c.-Drawn by a team of little atoms.
(3) Suit—a solicitation for some place or office at court.
(4) As 'a---as he.
Sometimes she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then he dreams of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts, and wakes;
And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night;
And bakes the elf-locksin foul sluttish hairs,
Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes.
The quality of mercy is not strained !
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thronéd monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit4 the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this--
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy ;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
ONE FRIEND UPBRAIDING ANOTHER.?
INJURIOUS Hermia, most ungrateful maid !
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
(1) Spanish blades--The Toledo blades were once very famous for their temper.
(2) Elf-locks -locks of hair entangled and clotted (“baked ") by wicked elves or fairies. Such was the superstition.
(3) “Merchant of Venice,” Act iv., scene 1. (4) Wherein doth sit--which inspire. (5) Jew-this is addressed to Shylock, the Jew. (6) We do pray, &c.--i.e. in the Lord's Prayer; “ Forgive us our trespasses,” &c. (7) “ Midsummer Night's Dream,” Act. iii., scene 2.
To bait me with this foul derision ?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us-oh! and is all forgot ?
All school-day's friendship, childhood innocence ?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our neeldscreated both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion ;
Both warbling of one song, both in one key;
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and winds,
Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem :
So with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
you rend our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning, your poor
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly:
Our sex, as
for it, Though I alone do feel the injury.
Lorenzo and Jessica speak.
How sweet the moonlight sleeps4 upon this bank!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music,
Creep in our ears; soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica; look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
(3) “Merchant of Venice," Act v., scene 1.
(4) Sleeps—There is an exquisite propriety and beauty in the metaphorical use of the word "sleeps" in this passage.
(5) Patines---from the Latin patina, a plate or dish-a bright round object.
(6) There's not, &c.—This and the two following lines refer to the fanciful notion of the music of the spheres.
(7) Still quiring-continually singing as in a choir.