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The which, in every language I pronounce;
Under the fmile of fafety, wounds the world;
* Whilst the big year, fwol'n with fome other griefs,
ACT I. SCENE I.
Contention, like a horfe
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
ACT I. SCENE II.
After him came fpurring hard
A gentleman, almost fore-fpent with speed,
New-rais'd fedition, fecret whispers blown
* Year, &c.] Others read car.
See Garth's Ovid. b. 12.
With that he gave his able horse the head,
SCENE III. Messenger with ill news.
Thou trembleft, and the whiteness in thy cheek
Thou shak'ft thy head, and hold ft it fear or fin
(2) Yet &c.] Mr. Theobald remarks "this obfervation is cer tainly true in nature, and has the fanction of no lefs authorities than thofe of Efchylus and Sophocles, who fay almost the fame thing with our author here."
Alas! the bringer of unwelcome news
Greater griefs deftroy the lefs.
As the wretch, whofe fever-weaken'd joints,
A fcaly gauntlet now with joints of steel
Muft glove this hand: And hence, thou fickly quoif, *-
(3) Let] Longinus in his 15th fection fpeaking of noble and terrible images, commends fchylus for his fuccefs in them : Afchylus, fays he, has made bold attempts in noble and truly heroic images: as, in one of his tragedies, the feven commanders against Thebes, without betraying the leaft fign of pity or regret, bind themselves by oath not to furvive Eteocles:
The feven, awarlike leader, each in chief,
Stood round, and o'er the black bronze fhield they flew
Into the foaming gore, with oaths invok'd
Upon which the translator, judiciously quoting a fine image of this fort from Milton, afterwards obferves how vehemently does the fury of Northumberland exert itself in Shakespear, when he hears of the death of his fon Hotspur. The rage and diftraction of the furviving father fhews how important the fon was in his opinion. Nothing must be, now he is not: Nature itself muft fall with Percy. His grief renders him frantic; his anger defperate.' And I think we may juftly add, that no writer excells fo much in these great and terrible images as Shakespear, the Æfchylus of the British ftage. See Timon of Athens, A. 4. S. 1.
Keep the wild flood confin'd! Let order die,
SCENE VI. The fickleness of the vulgar.
* An habitation giddy and unfure
(5) O gentle fleep,
Nature's foft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
(4) And &c.] Εμεθανοντος γαια μιχθήτω πορν. With me, departing hence, all earth confum'd Perish in general conflagration.
And Medea tells us, the fhall then only reft
Sen. Med. A& 3.
Sleep a god too proud to wait in palaces:
And yet fo humble too as not to fcorn
The meanest country cottages:
See Coriolanus, A. 1. S. 3.
(5) O gentle, &c.] Horace, in his 3d book and first ode, tells us, Sleep difdains not to dwell with the poor; take it in Mr. Cowley's paraphrafe :
That thou no more wilt weigh my eye-lids down,
Why rather, fleep, ly'st thou in fmoaky cribs,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy flumber;
And lull'd with founds of fweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why ly'ft thou with the vile
Wilt thou, upon the high and giddy mast,
The halcyon fleep will never build his neft,
'Tis not enough that he does find
But whatever paffages we may find like the former part of this fpeech, there is nothing I ever met with equal to the bold and fublime flight in the latter part of it: Lee, indeed, has taken a hint from it, the thought is fo great and uncommon, it must be only Shakespear that could have foar'd fo high.
So fleeps the fea-boy on the cloudy maft,
Sir Thomas Hanmer thus explains the line A watch-cafe, &c. "This alludes to the watchmen fet in garifon-towns, upon fome eminence attending upon an alarum-bell, which he was to ring out in cafe of fire, or any approaching danger. He had a cafe or box to fhelter him from the weather, but at his utmost peril he was not to fleep whilst he was upon duty. These alarum-bells are mentioned in feveral other places of Shakespear." The word Pallet at the beginning fignifies a little low bed