« AnkstesnisTęsti »
And if thou tell’ft the heavy story right,
Soul, the hearers will shed tears,
Methought, he bore him in the thickest troop,
As, &c.] The poets abound with numberless 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 sublimity. Isaiah xxxi. 4. “ 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 abase himself for the noise of them.”
(3) How, &c.] There is something very peculiar in this passage, “ The prime of youth and like a yonker, seeming nearly the same thing ; but it is extremely beautiful, the author perfonifies the prime of youth, and describes him as an allegorical person, trimm'd like a yonker, which with us fignifies a brisk, 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 construction very involved; however, it seems no more than this, “how. well resembles it, a yonker' trimm'd out, in the prime of youtli, 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 shepherd, blowing of his nails, Can neither call it perfect day or night.
The Blessings of a Shepherd's Life. * O God! methinks, it were a happy life To be no better than a homely swain ;
(4) Tbis, &c.] See p. 8, n. 9. foregoing. The expression of blowing his nails, is peculiarly natural and beautiful the reader may remember that Shakespear uses it in the pretty song at the end of Love's Labour Loft.
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail. * O God, &c.] There is something very pleasing and natural in this paffage ; it is a good deal in the manner of Virgil, who speaks highly of a rural Life in his second Georgic, which the reader will be much delighted with, if he compares it with our author, and no less with Horace's second Epode expressly on this subject ; these are in almost every bodies hands ; less known are the following lines from Seneca's Hercules Deteus on the subject, and perhaps they may therefore be more agreeable ;
Stretch'd on the turf in Sylvan shades,
Secure he rears the beachen bowl,
His modest wife of virtue try'd
To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
fools will yean;
(5) Than, &c.] The miseries of royalty (as have been before observed, 2 Henry IV. A. 4. S. 10. n. 8.) is a very general topic with the poets ; on which, as indeed on most others, they must yield the superiority to Shakespear ; Monsieur Racine in his cele brated tragedy of Ejiber, speaks thus on the subject,
A prince encompass’d with a busy crowd
O, yes, it doth s a thousand-fold it doth.
In another part of this performance, the author sets in contrast the pleasures and pains of vicious greatness ; thus the wicked man's alluring pomp is described,
His days appear a constant scene of joy ;
Basks in his eyes, and sparkles in his face.
To crown his tow'ring and ambitious hopes,
Seem to quaff joy with him in copious bowls.
With plenty crown'd, his conscious heart repines,
He still unnumber'd pleasures tries":
And happiness his fond embraces flies.
Of happiness and lasting peace. The reader, with me, is indebted to my worthy friend Mr. Duncombe for the translation of these passages from the French, who hath finih'd the whole of this tragedy, and some years fince published a translation of our author's other most famous performance, Athaliab,
ACT III. SCENE I.
М о В.
(6) Look, as I blow this feather from my face,
SCENE III. A Simile on ambitious Thoughts,
Why, then I do but dream on sov'reignty,
(6) Look, &c.] See Vol. 1. p.171.