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AN UNCERTAIN POSSESSION.
Archbishop of York. An habitation giddy and unsure Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.
Oh, thou fond many! &c., &c.
2nd part King Henry IV. Acti. Scene 3.
Cade. Was ever feather so lightly blown to and fro, as this multitude.
2nd part King Henry VI. Act iv. Scene 8.
King Henry VI. Look! as I blow this feather from my face,
And as the air blows it to me again,
3rd part King Henry VI. Act iii. Scene 1.
Upon your favours, swims with fins of lead,
With every minute you do change a mind,
Coriolanus. Acti. Scene 1.
* Meaning" the people's."
Hastings. Oh, momentary grace of mortal men,
Into the fatal bowels of the deep.
King Richard III. Act iii. Scene 4.
MUCH DEPENDENT ON PROSPERITY.
What am I poor of late?—
"Tis certain, greatness, once fallen out with fortune,
Which, when they fall, as being slippery standers,
Die in the fall.
Troilus and Cressida. Act iii. Scene 3.
REQUIRES PERPETUAL EXERTION TO KEEP IT UP.
Ulysses. Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back, Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
A great-siz❜d monster of ingratitudes:
Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devour'd
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As they are done. Perséverance, my lord,
Keeps honour bright: to have done, is to hang
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail,
In monumental mockery. Take the instant way
Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path;
If you give way,
That one by one pursue.
Or, like a gallant horse fall'n in first rank,
Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
O'er-run and trampled on: Then what they do in present, Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours;
For time is like a fashionable host,
That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand;
Welcome ever smiles,
And farewell goes out sighing. Oh, let not virtue seek
For beauty, wit,
High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
To envious and calumniating time.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
More laud than gilt o'er-dusted,
The present eye praises the present object.
Troilus and Cressida. Act iii. Scene 3.
ITS VALUE ESTIMATED.
2nd Officer. 'Faith, there have been many great men that have flattered the people, who ne'er loved them; and there be many that they have loved, they know not wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why, they hate upon no better ground: therefore, for Coriolanus neither to care
whether they love or hate him, manifests the true knowledge he has in their disposition: and, out of his noble carelessness, lets them plainly see't.
1st Officer. If he did not care whether he had their love, or no, he wavered indifferently 'twixt doing them neither good, nor harm: but he seeks their hate with greater devotion than they can render it him; and leaves nothing undone, that may fully discover him their opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and displeasure of the people, is as bad as that which he dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
Coriolanus. Act ii. Scene 2.
FICKLENESS OF THE MULTITUDE.
This common body,
Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream,
Antony and Cleopatra. Act i. Scene 4.
THERE is much severity in several of Shakspere's observations on the character of the multitude. I would willingly defend the people from such attacks, if my conscience would allow me, but it will not. Meanwhile, where does the blame lie, if passion, and ignorance, and fickleness do pervade the masses of our human brethren? With those who have it in their power to instil principle, and knowledge, and constancy into the bosoms of their less favoured fellow-men, and have not done so! I trust another century will not elapse, before Shakspere's remarks upon this point will have lost all their force.
EASIER THAN PRACTICE.
Can counsel, and speak comfort to that grief
To be so moral, when he shall endure
For there was never yet philosopher
Much ado about Nothing. Act v. Scene 1.
Portia. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were