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The which, in every language I pronounce;
Under the fmile of fafety, wounds the world;
* Whilst the big year, swol'n with some other griefs,
That the blunt monfter, with uncounted heads,
Can play upon it.
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 ear.
With that he gave his able horse the head,
SCENE III. Meffenger with ill news.
So looks the frond, whereon th' imperious flood
Thou trembleft, and the whitenefs in thy cheek
(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 almoft the fame thing with our author here."
Greater griefs defiroy the lefs.
As the wretch, whofe fever-weaken'd joints, Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life, Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms; ev'n fo my limbs, Weaken'd with grief, being now enrag'd with grief, Are thrice themselves. Hence therefore, thou nice crutch;
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 : Efchylus, 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
Mars and Enyo, and blood-thirsty terror."
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 Eschylus 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.
Nature's foft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
(4) And &c.] Εμε θανοντος γαια μιχθήτω πολύ. With me, departing hence, all earth confum'd Perish in general conflagration.
And Medea tells us, fhe fhall then only reft
When with herself all nature is involv'd
In univerfal ruin.
See Coriolanus, A. 1. S. 3.
Sen. Med. A& 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 :
Sleep is a god too proud to wait in palaces;
And yet fo humble too as not to scorn
The meaneft country cottages:
That thou no more wilt weigh my eye-lids down,
Why rather, fleep, ly'st thou in fmoaky cribs,
And hufh'd with buzzing night-flies to thy flumber;
And lull'd with founds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why ly'ft thou with the vile
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monftrous heads, and hanging them
The halcyon fleep will never build his neft,
In any ftormy breaft;
'Tis not enough that he does find
'Tis not enough, he must find quiet too.
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. Thefe alarum-bells are mentioned in feveral other places of Shakespear." The word Pallet at the beginning fignifies a little low bed,