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XIII-Falstaff's Encomium on Sack.
A GOOD sherris-sack hath a twofold operation in it. It ascends me into the brain: dries me there, all the foolish, dull and crudy vapours which environ it: makes it apprehensive, quick, inventive: full of nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes; which delivered over to the voice, the tongue, which is the birth, becomes excellent wit. The second property of your excellent sherris, is the warming of the blood; which, before, cold and settled, left the liver white and pale, which is the badge of pusillanimity and cowardice. But the sherris warms it, and makes it course from the inwards to the parts extreme. It illuminateth the face; which, as a beacon, gives warning to all the rest of this little kingdom, man, to arm: and then, the vital commoners, and inland petty spirits, muster me all to their captain, the heart! who, great and puffed up with this retinue, doth any deed of courage-and this valour comes of sherris. So that skill in the weapon is nothing without sack, for that sets it awork; and learning a mere hoard of gold kept by a devil, till sack commences it, and sets it in act and use. Hereof comes it that Prince Harry is valiant; for the cold blood he did naturally inherit of his father, he hath, like lean, sterile, and bare land, manured, husbanded, and tilled, with drinking good, and good store of fertile sherris. If I had a thousand sons, the first human principle I would teach them, should be-to forswear thin potations, and to addict themselves to sack.
XIV.-Prologue to the Tragedy of Cato.
TO wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius and to mend the heart,
To make mankind in conscious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold;
For this the tragic muse first trod the stage,
Commanding tears to stream through every age;
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept,
And foes to virtue, wonder'd how they wept.
Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move
The hero's glory or the virgin's love:
In pitying love we but our weakness show,
And wild ambition well deserves its wo.
Here tears shall flow from a more gen'rous cause;
Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws:
He bids your breast with ancient ardours rise,
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes:
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws,
What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was ;
No common object to your sight displays,
But what with pleasure Heav'n itself surveys;
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling state!
While Cato gives his little senate laws,
What bosom beats not in his country's cause?
Who sees him act, but envies every deed?
Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed?
E'en when proud Cæsar, 'midst triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars,
Ignobly vain, and impotently great,
Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state;
As her dead father's rev'rend image pass'd,
The pomp was darken'd, and the day o'ercast,
The triumph ceas'd-tears gush'd from every eye;
The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by;
Her last good man, dejected Rome ador'd,
And honour'd Cæsar's less than Cato's sword.
Britons attend. Be worth like this approv'd;
And show you have the virtue to be mov'd.
With honest scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd
Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdu'd
Our scene precariously subsists too long
On French translation, and Italian song.
Dare to have sense yourselves: assert the stage:
Be justly warm'd with your own native rage.
Such plays alone should please a British ear,
As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
XV. Cato's Soliloquy on the Immortality of the So
IT must be so-Plato, thou reasonest well!Else, whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire, This longing after immortality?
Or, whence this secret dread and inward horror,
Of falling into nought? Why shrinks the soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction?
'Tis the divinity that stirs within us:
'Tis heav'n itself that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.
Eternity!-Thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untry'd being,
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass!
The wide, th' unbounded prospect lies before me:
But shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it.
Here will I hold. If there's a power above us,
(And that there is, all nature cries aloud
Through all her works) he must delight in virtue;
And that which he delights in must be happy.
But when? or where? This world was made for Cæsar;
I'm weary of conjectures-this must end them.
[Laying his hand on his sword.
Thus I am doubly arm'd. My death and life,
My bane and antidote are both before me.
This, in a moment, brings me to an end;
But this informs me I shall never die.
The soul, secur'd in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
'The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth;
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.
XVI.-Lady Randolph's Soliloquy, lamenting the Death of her Husband and Child.
YE woods and wilds, whose melancholy gloom
Accords with my soul's sadness, and draws forth
The voice of sorrow from my bursting heart-
Farewell a while, I will not leave you long:
For, in your shades, I deem some spirit dwells;
Who, from the chiding stream, and groaning oak,
Still hears and answers to Matilda's moan.
Oh, Douglass! Douglass! if departed ghosts
Are e'er permitted to review this world,
Within the circle of that wood thou art;
And with the passion of immortals hear'st
My lamentation; hear'st thy wretched wife
Weep for her husband slain, her infant lost.
My brother's timeless death I seem to mourn,
Who perish'd with thee on this fatal day.
To thee I lift my voice, to thee address
The plaint which mortal ear has never heard.
Oh! Disregard me not. Though I am call'd
Another's now, my heart is wholly thine.
Incapable of change, affection lies
Buried, my Douglass, in thy bloody grave.
XVII.-Speech of Henry V. to his Soldiers, at the Siege of
ONCE more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with the English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard favour'd rage:
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry o'er the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it,
And fearfully as doth the galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostrils wide;
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To its full height. Now on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fetch'd from fathers of war-proof;
Fathers, that like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheath'd their swords for lack of argument.
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The metal of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot;
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge,
Cry, God for Harry, England, and St. George!
XVIII.-Speech of Henry V. before the Battle of Agincourt, on the Earl of Westmoreland's wishing for more Men from England.
WHAT's he that wishes more men from England?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin ;
If we are marked to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
No, no, my Lord; wish not a man from England.
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, throughout my host,
That he who hath no stomach to this fight,
May straight depart; his passport shall be made ;
And crowns, for convoy, put into his purse.
S We would not die in that man's company.
This day is called the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tiptoe, when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and sees old age,
Will, yearly, on the vigil, feast his neighbours,
And say, to-morrow is St. Crispian :
Then will he strip his sleeve, and show his scars.
Old men forget, yet shall not all forget.
But they'll remember, with advantages,
What feats they did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in their mouths as household words,
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Glo'ster,
Be in their flowing cups, freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son:
And Crispian's day shall ne'er go by,
From this time to the ending of the world,
But we and it shall be remember'd ;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me,
Shall be my brother, be he e'er so vile.
This day shall gentle his condition,
And gentlemen in England, now abed,
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here;
And hold their manhoods cheap, while any speaks
That fought with us upon St. Crispian's day,
Limbs, do your office, and support me well;
Bear me but to her, then fail me if you can.
XIX.-Soliloquy of Dick the Apprentice.
THUS far we run before the wind.-An apothecary!Make an apothecary of me!What, cramp my genius over a pestle and mortar; or mew me up in a shop, with an alligator stuffed, and a beggarly account of empty boxes! To be culling simples, and constantly adding to the bills of mortality!-No! No! It will be much better to be pasted up in capitals, THE PART OF ROMEO BY A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHQ NEVER APPEARED ON ANY STAGE BEFORE! My ambition fires at the thought.-But hold; mayn't I run some chance of failing in my attempt? Hissed peltedlaughed at-not admitted into the green room-that will never do-down, busy devil, down, down; try it againloved by the women-envied by the men-applauded by the pit, clapped by the gallery, admired by the boxes. "Dear colonel, is'nt he a charming creature? My lord, don't you like him of all things ?-Makes love like an angel? What an eye he has !Fine legs! I shall certainly go to his benefit.". -Celestial sounds! -And then I'll get in with all the painters, and have myself put up in every print-shop -in the character of Macbeth! This is a sorry sight." (Stands in an attitude.) In the character of Richard, “Give me another horse! Bind up my wounds!" These will do rarely.- -And then I have a chance of getting well married.-Oh glorious thought! I will enjoy it, though but in fancy. But what's o'clock?-it must be almost nine. I'll away at once; this is club night-the spouters are all met-little think they I'm in town-they'll be surprised to lee me- -off I go; and then for my assignation with my naster Gargle's daughter.