Puslapio vaizdai

And if thou tell'ft the heavy ftory right,
Upon my Soul, the hearers will fhed tears,
Yea, even my foes will shed fast falling tears,
And fay, "alas, it was a piteous deed!"

[blocks in formation]

The Duke of York in Battle.

Methought, he bore him in the thickeft troop, *As doth a lion in a herd of neat ;

Or as a bear, encompafs'd round with dogs,
Who having pinch'd a few, and made them cry,
The reft ftand all aloof and bark at him.


See how the morning opes her golden gates,
And takes her farewel of the glorious fun!
(3) How well refembles it the prime of youth,
Trimm'd like a yonker prancing to his love!

*As, &c.] The poets abound with numberlefs fimilies of this kind; particularly Homer and Virgil: but none perhaps is finer than the following from that book, where every page abounds with beauties, and true fublimity. Isaiah xxxi. "Like as the lion, and the young lion roaring on his prey; when a multitude of fhepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abafe himself for the noife of them."


(3) How, &c.] There is fomething very peculiar in this paffage, "The prime of youth and like a yonker, seeming nearly the fame thing; but it is extremely beautiful, the author perfonifies the prime of youth, and defcribes him as an allegorical perfon, trimm'd like a yonker, which with us fignifies a brifk, lively young man; but more properly perhaps from its original, a nobleman, or young lord. See Skinner. The plain manner of understanding it is difficult, and the conftruction very involved; however, it feems no more than this, "how. well refembles it, a yonker trimm'd out, in the prime of youth, prancing to his love."

VOL. 11,


SCENE. VI. The Morning's Dawn.

(4) This battle fares like to the morning's war, When dying clouds contend with growing light; What time the fhepherd, blowing of his nails, Can neither call it perfect day or night.

The Bleffings of a Shepherd's Life.

* O God! methinks, it were a happy life To be no better than a homely fwain;

(4) This, &c.] See p. 8, n. 9. foregoing. The expreffion of blowing his nails, is peculiarly natural and beautiful; the reader may remember that Shakespear ufes it in the pretty song at the end of Love's Labour Loft.

And Dick the fhepherd blows his nail.

*O God, &c.] There is fomething very pleafing and natural in this paffage; it is a good deal in the manner of Virgil, who fpeaks highly of a rural Life in his fecond Georgic, which the reader will be much delighted with, if he compares it with our author, and no lefs with Horace's fecond Epode exprefsly on this fubject; these are in almost every bodies hands; lefs known are the following lines from Seneca's Hercules Oeteus on the fubject, and perhaps they may therefore be more agreeable :

Stretch'd on the turf in Sylvan fhades,

No fear the peasant's reft invades,
While gilded roofs, and beds of state,
Perplex the flumbers of the great.

Secure he rears the beachen bowl,
With fteady hand and fearlefs foul:
Pleas'd with his plain, and homely meats
No fwords furround him as he eats.

His modeft wife of virtue try'd
Knows not th' expenfive arts of pride;
Her eafy wifh, the home-fpun fleece
Plain in its native hue can please,
And happy in her nuptial bed,
No jealous doubts disturb her head;
Unlike the dame whofe day of birth
Is folemniz'd thro' half the earth,



To fit upon a hill, as I do now,

To carve out dials queintly, point by point,

Thereby to fee the minutes how they run:
How many make the hour full compleat,
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 time;
So many hours, muft I tend my flock;
So many hours, must I take


my reft So many hours, muft I contemplate; So many hours, muft I fport myself;

So many days, my ewes have been with young;
So many weeks, ere the poor fools will yean;
So many months, ere I fhall fheer 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.

Oh ! what a life were this! how fweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter fhade
To fhepherds looking on their filly fheep,
(5) Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings, that fear their fubjects treachery?

D 2

Ó, yes,

(5) Than, &c.] The miseries of royalty (as have been before obferved, 2 Henry IV. A. 4. S. 1o. n. 8.) is a very general topic with the poets; on which, as indeed on most others, they muft yield the fuperiority to Shakespear; Monfieur Racine in his cele brated tragedy of Esther, fpeaks thus on the fubject,

A prince encompafs'd with a bufy crowd
Is ever call'd away by fome new object,
The prefent ftrikes, futurity disturbs,
But fwift as lightning ftill the past escapes ;
Of all who hourly court our royal favour,
And wou'd commend their loyalty and zeal,
Not one is found fo juft and truly faithful
To give us notice of neglected merit,

But all with one confent promote our vengeance,

O, yes, it doth a thousand-fold it doth.
And to conclude, the fhepherds's homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of his leathern bottle,
His wonted fleep under a fresh trees shade,
All which fecure and fweetly he enjoys,
Is far beyond a prince's delicates,
His viand's fparkling in a golden cup,

His body couched in a curious bed,

When care, miftruft, and treasons wait on him...

In another part of this performance, the author fets in contraft the pleasures and pains of vicious greatness; thus the wicked man's alluring pomp is defcribed,

His days appear a conftant scene of joy ;
Gold glitters in his precious robes,
His pride's as boundlefs as his wealth;
He never wounds the air with mournful fighs;
The voice of harmony falutes his ear,
When he lies down to fleep, and when he wakes
Triumphant plenty with a chearful grace,
Bafks in his eyes, and sparkles in his face.


To crown his tow'ring and ambitious hopes,
A laughing train of children at his boards,
Seem to quaff joy with him in copious bowls.
Now fee the reverse.

With plenty crown'd, his confcious heart repines,
And gall is mingled with his sweetest wines.
On the rough waves of paffions toft,

He ftill unnumber'd pleasures tries:

But finds his expectations croft,

And happinefs his fond embraces flies.
For virtue is the only bafe

Of happiness and lafting peace.

The reader, with me, is indebted to my worthy friend Mr. Duncombe for the tranflation of thefe paffages from the French, who hath finish'd the whole of this tragedy, and fome years fince published a tranflation of our author's other most famous performance, Athaliah.


[blocks in formation]

(6) Look, as I blow this feather from my face, And as the air blows it to me again,

Obeying with my wind, when I do blow,
And yielding to another when it blows,
Commanded always by the greater guft;
Such is the lightness of you common men.

SCENE III. A Simile on ambitious Thoughts.

Why, then I do but dream on fov'reignty,
Like one that ftands upon a promontory,
And spies a far-off-shore where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his eye,
And chides the fea that funders him from thence,
Saying, he'll lade it dry, to have his way,

Gloucester's Deformity.

(7) Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb ;
And, for I fhould not deal in her foft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with fome bribe
To fhrink mine arm up like a wither'd fhrub;
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where fits deformity to mock my body;
To fhape my legs of an unequal fize;
To difproportion me in every part :
Like to a chaos, or unlick'd bear-whelp,
That carries no impreffion like the dam.
And am I then a man to be belov'd?

(6) Look, &c.] See Vol. 1. p. 171.

(7) Why, &c.] See the beginning of Richard the third.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »