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petition of the Lord's Prayer in its heart, can say, “I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.” Of Kindness, " the cool and temperate wind of grace," “nobler ever than revenge ;" Kindness, that to help another in adversity
“ Will strain a little, For 'tis a bond in men."
Of Forbearance, that teaches “ To revenge is no valour but to bear ;” and that
" The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance."
Of Charity (“ an attribute to God himself”), that droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, upon the place beneath."
Of Peace, that “ draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep;” not the peace, however, of inaction ; not the maudlin peace at any price of the half-hearted and timid, for he teaches also that,
" Rightly to be great
but that self-restraining, self-denying, self-victorious peace ; that peace which
“ Is of the nature of a conquest ; For then both parties nobly are subdued,
And neither party loser.” Of Pity " that's a degree * to love." Of Compassion that hates “ the cruelty that loads a falling man," and tells us
“ 'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
And again, of the duty of charitable judging, a duty so emphatically prominent in New Testament morality, where can we find a more pointed and more powerfully beautiful rendering of the text "Judge not lest ye be judged,” than in the following passage from “Measure for Measure" — words that might arrest an unkind speech on the very lips, sending it back “as deep as to the lungs."
“ How would you be,
Like man new made.” On the other hand, there is scarcely a vice he has not helped to make more repugnant, and which he has not gibbeted in its turn. On this side of the question he utters no uncertain sound, nor ever incurs the woe the prophet threatens “unto them that call evil good and good evil.” For although possessing above all men the
season with a gratious voice,” he never uses it to“obscure the show of evil,” but with a rhetoric that gives no quarter, and that in some cases would be inexcusably coarse, except upon the plea of his own proverb, that “ diseases desperate grown” are only to be remedied by “desperate appliance,” he attacks the enemy with the zeal of a reformer. With a matter of fact liter
ality of power and purpose, that disarms vice at all points of the delusive fascination that surrounds it, and strips all falsehood of its dangerous plausibility :
“ The seeming truth which cunning times put on,
To entrap the wisest.” With a magic eloquence that dissolves“ into thin air” every argument that would attempt to
“ Hide the grossness with fair ornament,” and with an utter scorn and repudiation of the selfdeceiving and exculpatory logic that would “skin the vice o' the top,” he drags it to the light of day, and exhibits the monster in all its native hideousness, with “ the primal eldest curse upon't.” One after another, in dismal procession, he leads the culprits out, to take their place in a pillory that will last as long as language, making them hateful in a single line, sometimes in a single epithet, “Leanfaced Envy;" “ Back-wounding Calumny ;” “Tiger-footed Rage;" “ Vaulting Ambition” (“ by that sin angels fell”); “ Viperous Slander," “whose tongue out-venoms all the worms of Nile;' Jealousy, “ The Green-eyed Monster ;" Ingratitude, “The Marble-hearted Fiend,” and that most heinous form of it, “ Filial Ingratitude," he puts in its perfect place in these two lines :
“ Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand,
For lifting food to 't ?” “ Avarice," the “ambitious foul infirmity,” that “ Grows with such pernicious root."
" Which to betray doth wear an angel's face,
Seize with an eagle's talons."
The relentless Implacability that is "beastly, savage, devilish.” The deep Duplicity that can “smile and smile and be a villian.” The Hypocrisy, that " with devotion's visage, and pious action," can “sugar o'er the devil himself.”
The eloquent power with which Shakspeare reproduces the leading truths of Scripture, tells with what terrible effect—"sharper than a two-edged sword”they must have entered his own soul; and not entering merely, but taking sternest possession, and “ bringing into captivity every thought” to their obedience. Judging, indeed, from his works, never did the seed fall in more fertile ground, producing and reproducing flowers, fruit, and seed again "an hundredfold,” and in a form so catching and so easy of re-distribution, that no doubt many a chance wind, acting unconsciously as God's missionary, has carried stray seeds of his genius far into the waste places of the earth, and permeating the crowded and almost inaccessible centres of those moral deserts called civilized, must have cheered and re-established in hope many a poor neglected heart that, but for him, had scarcely heard of the good seed at all.
Some of his most eloquent passages exhibit in a remarkable degree that invaluable power, which seems to belong exclusively to genius, and most eminently to his, of impressing us with those truths, which, from their universally acknowledged importance, have at length sunk by their extreme triteness into the most vapid of common-places ; so utterly “flat, stale, and unprofitable” as almost to have ceased impressing us at all. Truths that are old enough to have come in with the light from chaos, and have been the common property of philosophers ever since; truths that in modern times are handed about, and looked upon rather in the light of interesting moral fossils, than calculated in any way to fill a useful office in life, and that, no doubt, if there is any truth in the theory of the extreme antiquity of the race, must have constituted the principal stock-intrade of the pre-Adamite moralist, if that interesting variety of the genus homo was then developed. These fossiliferous cake-dried axioms, that in common hands have almost ceased to retain any organic feature, with one touch from the genius of Shakspeare start into new life, shake off the trammels of prescribed form, and walk forth again in the proportions of nature. And, although, in many cases he takes his text from the homeliest of every-day reflections, his morality never flattens into preaching, his advice is never obtrusive, his rebuke never degenerates into mere railing, his sentiment never sickens into sentimentality. The old gray-haired reflections that