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Can neither call it perfect day, nor night.
Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea,
Forc'd by the tide to combat with the wind;
Now sways it that way, like the self-same sea,
Forc'd to retire, by fury of the wind :
Sometime, the flood prevails; and then, the wind;
Now, one the better; then, another best;
Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,
Yet neither conqueror, nor conquered.
So is the equal poise of the fell war.
Here on this mole-hill, will I sit me down.
To whom God will, there be the victory!
For Margaret, my queen, and Clifford too,
Have chid me from the battle; swearing both,
They prosper best of all when I am thence.
'Would I were dead ! if God's good will were so:
For what is in this world, but grief and woe?
O God! methinks, it were a happy life,
To be no better than a homely swain;
To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run:
How many make the hour full complete,
How many hours bring about the day,
How many days will finish up the year,
How many years a mortal man may live.
When this is known, then to divide the times:
So many hours must I tend my flock ;
hours must I take my rest ;
hours must 1 contemplate ; So many hours must I sport myself; So many days my ewes have been with young ; So many weeks ere the poor fools will yean; So many years ere I shall sheer the fleece: So minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years, Past over to the end they were created, Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave. Ah, what a life were this ! how sweet! how lovely! Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep, Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy To kings, that fear their subjects treachery? O, yes, it doth; a thousand fold it doth. And to conclude, the shepherds homely curds, His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle, His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade, All which secure and swcetly he enjoys, Is far beyond a prince's delicates, His viands sparkling in a golden cup, His body couched in a curious bed, When care, mistrust, and treason wait on him.
THE DREAM OF CLARENCE. A room in the Tower. Enter CLARENCE and BRAKENBURI.
Brak. Why looks your grace so heavily to day?
Clar. O, I have past a miserable night,
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
That as I am a christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night,
Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days;
So full of dismal terror was the time.
Brak. What was your dream, my lord ? I pray you tell me.
Clar. Methought, that I had broken from the Tower,
And was embark'd to cross to Burgundy ;
And, in my company, my brother Glos'ter:
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches; thence we look'd toward England,
And cited up a thousand heavy times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster
That had befall’n us. As we pac'd along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
Methought, that Glos'ter stumbled; and, in falling,
Struck me, that thought to stay him, over-board
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
O Lord! methought, what pain it was to drown!
What dreadful noise of water in mine ears!
What sights of ugly death, within mine eyes!
Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;
A thousand men, that fishes gnaw'd upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea.
Some lay in dead men's sculls; and, in those holes,
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept
(As 'twere in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems,
That woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mock'd the dead bones that lay scattered by.
Brak. Had you such leisure in the time of death,
To gaze upon these secrets of the deep?
Clar. Methought, I had; and often did I strive
To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood
Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth
To seek the empty vast, and wand'ring air ;
But smother'd it within my panting bulk,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.
Brak. Awak'd you not with this sore agony ?
Clar. O, no, my dream was lengthened after life ;
O, then began the tempest to my soul !
I pass'd, methought, the melancholy flood,
With that grim ferryman which poets write of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
The first that there did greet my stranger soul,
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick;
Who cry'd aloud, What scourge for perjury
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence ?
And so he vanish'd : Then came wand'ring by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in od ; and he shriek'd out aloud,
Clarence is come-false, fleeting, perjured Clarence-
That stabbd me in the fiele! by Tewksbury :
Seize on him, furies, take him to your torments !
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends
Environ'd me, and howled in mine ears
Such hideous cries, that, with the very noise,
I trembling wak’d, and, for a season after,
Could not believe but that I was in hell :
Such terrible impression made dream.
Brak. No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you ;
I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.
Clar. O, Brakenbury, I have done these things,
That now give evidence against my soul,
For Edward's sake, and, see, how he requites me!
O, God ! if my deep prayers cannot appease thee,
But thou wilt be aveng'd on my misdeeds,
Yet execute thy wrath on me alone :
0, spare my guiltless wife, and my poor children!
- I pray thee, gentle keeper, stay by me;
My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.
Brak. I will, my lord ; God give your grace good rest!
[CLARENCE reposes himself on a chair.
Sorrow breaks seasons, and reposing hours,
Makes the night morning, and the noon-tide night.
Wol. Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness !
This is the state of man ; to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honors thick upon him :
The third day, comes a frost, a killing frost;
And,—when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening,-nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur'd,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory;
But far beyond my depth : my high-blown pride
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me.
Vain pomp, and glory of this world, I hate ye ;
I feel my heart new open'd: 0, how wretched
Is that poor man, that hangs on princes' favours!
There is, betwixt that smile he would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
and fears than wars or women have;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.-
Enter CROMWELL, amazedly. Why, how now, Cromwell ?
Crom. I have no power to speak, sir.
Wol. What, amaz'd
At my misfortunes ? can thy spirit wonder,
A great man should decline ? Nay, an you weep,
I am fallen indeed.
Crom. How does your grace ?
Wol. Why, well ;
Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell.
I know myself now; and I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience. The king has cur'd me,
I humbly thank his grace; and from these shoulders,
These ruin'd pillars, out of pity, taken
A load would sink a navy, too much honor :
O, 'tis a burden, Cromwell, 'tis a burden,
Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven.
Crom. I am glad, your grace has made that right use of it.
Wol. I hope, I have; I am able now, methinks,
(Out of a fortitude of soul I feel,)
To endure more miseries, and greater far,
Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer.
What news abroad?
Crom. The heaviest, and the worst,
Is your displeasure with the king.
Wol. God bless him!
Crom. The next is, that Sir Thomas More is chosen
Lord chancellor in your place.
Wol. That's somewhat sudden:
But he's a learned man. May he continue
Long in his highness' favour, and do justice
For truth's sake, and his conscience; that his bones,
When he has run his course, and sleeps in blessings,
May have a tomb of orphan's tears wept on’em!
Crom. That Cranmer is return'd with welcome,
Install'd lord' archbishop of Canterbury.
Wol. That's news indeed.
Crom. Last, that the lady Anne,
Whom the king hath in secrecy long married,