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And now loud howling wolves aroufe the jades,
Who with their drowfie, flow, and flagging wings,
SCENE VI. KENT
(9) Kent, in the commentaries Cæfar writ,
And all the while fhe ftood upon the ground,
See Faerie Queene, B. 1. c. 5. ft. 30.
No numbers can better exprefs the thing than these. Shakespear fhews us, that he can as well excel in that, as in every other branch of poetry. None of the fo celebrated lines of Homer and Virgil, of this fort, deferve more commendation: here the line, as it ought, justly labours, and the verfe moves flow. However, I intend not to enter into any criticism on Shakespear's verfification, wherein could we prove him fuperior to all other writers, we muft ftill acknowledge it the least and most trifling matter, wherein he is fuperior. It is worth obferving, that what Shakespear says of the clipping dead mens graves, might not impoffibly be taken from Theocritus, who, fpeaking of Hecate, the infernal and nocturnal deity, in his 2d Idyllium, fays--
Τα χθονια θ' Εκατα, &c.
Infernal Hecate, howling dogs abhor,
When 'midft the dead mens graves, and putrid gore,
(9) Kent, &c.] York, in the next play, A. 1. f, 4. speaking of the Kentifomen, fays
In them I truft; for they are foldiers,
Healthy, and courteous, liberal, full of spirit.
Lord Say's Apology for himself.
Juftice, with favour, have I always done; Prayers and tears have mov'd me, gifts could never: (10) When have I aught exacted at your hands? Kent, to maintain, the king, the realm and you, Large gifts have I bestow'd on learned clerks ; Because my book preferr'd me to the king: And seeing, ignorance is the curfe of God, Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to Heav'n, Unless you be poffefs'd with dev'lifh spirits, You cannot but forbear to murther me.
(10) When, &c.] The interrogation in all the editions is plac'è at the end of this line: the paffage, in my opinion, fhould be pointed thus:
When have I aught exacted at your hands,
Kent to maintain, the king, the realm, and you?
This renders the paffage plain and eafy: that he fhould have beftowed gifts on learned clerks to maintain Kent, the king, &c. is fomething very unreasonable; that he fhould have beftowed gifts on them because his book preferr'd him to the king, is not only reafonable, but extremely probable.
Within whofe circuit is Elifium,
And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.
(1) Do bat, &c.] In the fecond part of Henry IV. (p. 21.) we have fome fine reflections on the miferies that attend a crown: thefe, on the tranfports it beftows, are beautifully in character, atid come very aptly from the mouth of the ambitious Gloucefter. In the double marriage of Beaumont and Fletcher, Ferrand the tyrant, complaining of the miferies that attend royalty, a courtier longing to enjoy the honour, is put into poffeffion of them for one day, and finds them fufficiently burthenfom. See the third
act. Some of the tyrants complaints, and the courtiers praises of royalty, are the following:
Ferr. Tell me no more,
I faint beneath the burden of my cares,
And yield myself moft wretched.
Vill. Look but on this,
Has not a man that has but means to keep
Caftr. A dull fool ftill:
Make me a king, and let me fcratch with care,
SCENE V. A hungry Lion.
So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch
SCENE VI. The Duke of York on the gallant Behaviour of his Sons.
My fons, God knows, what hath bechanced them: But this I know, they have demean'd themselves Like men born to renown, by life or death. Three times did Richard make a lane to me, And thrice cry'd, courage father! fight it out: And full as oft came Edward to my fide, With purple falchion painted to the hilt In blood of thofe, that had encounter'd him : And when the hardieft warriors did retire; Richard cry'd, charge! and give no foot of ground;
Thou enemy to majesty,
What think'st thou of a king?
Vill. As of a man,
That hath power to do all ill.
Caftr. Or a thing rather
That does divide an empire with the Gods;
For me, I do profess it
Were I offer'd to be any thing on earth,
Ferr. Did't thou but feel
The weighty forrows that fit on a crown,
Tho' thou should't find one in the streets, Caftruccio,
Thou would'ft not think it worth the taking up :
Thou shalt ere long taste it
Cafy. But one Day,
And then let me expire.
And cry'd a crown, or else a glorious tomb,
With this we charg'd again; but out! alas,
And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
A Father's Paffion on the Murder of a favourite Child.
Oh tyger's heart wrapt in a woman's hide!
And yet be feen to wear a woman's face?
That face of his the hungry cannibals
(2) Would not have touch'd, would not have stain'd with blood:
But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
See, ruthlefs queen, a hapless father's tears :
Keep thou the napkin, and go boast of this:
(2) Would not, &c.] The firft folios and the old quarto read this paffage as it is here printed; the fecond folio reads,
Wou'd not have touch'd,
Wou'd not have stained the roses juft with blood.
Which Mr. Theobald for the fake of an alteration of his own, prefers to this, for which we have fo good authority. He reads, Wou'd not have ftain'd the roles juic'd with blood; Sir T. Hanmer, not pleas'd with this criticism, tries another caft, and gives us
The roles juft in bud.