Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

919 ULYSSES PLEADING HIS CLAIM TO THE ARMS

OF ACHILLES

BUT
UT give me leave to offer to your memory

another service, and reduce your thoughts
to Aulis, when our army shipp’d, and big
with our desires for Troy, for want of wind
were lock'd in the Eubean bay at anchor;
when the oracle consulted gave no hope
of the least breath of heaven or gentle gale
to be expected, till Diana's anger
were first appeas'd by Iphigenia's blood ;-
I melt with the remembrance, and I could
accuse my faith, but that the public interest
and all your honours armed me to persuade
nature against the stream of her own happiness ;-
there stands the tear-drowned father, Agamemnon:
ask his vex'd soul, (and let me beg his pardon,)
how I did work upon his murmuring heart,
divided 'twixt a father and his country,
to give his child up to the bleeding altar;
whose drops, too precious to enrich the earth,
the goddess (hid within a cloud) drank up,
and snatch'd her soul; whose brighter substance made

one of the fairest stars that deck yon canopy. 920 Had Ajax been employ'd to have wrought Atrides,

when he was angry with the gods, to have given
his only pledge, his loved Iphigenia,
up to the fatal knife, our Grecian fleet
had by this time been rotten in the bay,
and we, by a dishonourable return,
been wounded in our fames to after ages.
The deity appeared with virgin sacrifice,
the winds put on fresh wings, and we arrived
swift as our wishes to affrighted Troy:
where, after their first battle, they no more
drew forth their army, which engag'd us to
nine horrid winters' expectation.
It would be tedious to relate, how active
my counsels were during this nine years' siege,
when Ajax, (only good at knocks and wrestlings,
was of no use; the bold design I carried ;
my care of our defences and approaches,

encouraging the soldier, wearied
and worn away with empty expectations;
how I did apt provisions, arms and hearts,
to fight withal; I shall not here enforce,
when you, whose just commands I still obeyed,
are conscious of my pious undertakings.

J. SHIRLEY

921

THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM-RICHARD DUKE

OF GLOUCESTER-CATESBY

Buc.

K
NOW, then, it is your fault, that you resign

the supreme seat, the throne majestical,
the sceptred office of your ancestors,
your state of fortune, and your due of birth,
the lineal glory of your royal house,
to the corruption of a blemish'd stock:
whiles in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,
which here we waken to our country's good,
the noble isle doth want her proper limbs;
her face defac'd with scars of infamy,
her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
and almost shoulder'd in the swallowing gulf
of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion.
Which to recure, we heartily solicit
your gracious self to take on you the charge
and kingly government of this your land:
not as protector, steward, substitute,
or lowly factor for another's gain:
but as successively, from blood to blood,
your right of birth, your empery, your own.
For this, consorted with the citizens,
your very worshipful and loving friends,
and by their vehement instigation,

in this just suit came I to move your grace. 922 Glo. I cannot tell, if to depart in silence,

or bitterly to speak in your reproof,
best fitteth my degree, or your condition:
if, not to answer, you might haply think,
tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
to bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,
which fondly you would here impose on me;

if to reprove you for this suit of yours,
so season'd with your faithful love to me,
then, on the other side, I check'd my friends.
Therefore,-to speak, and to avoid the first;
and, then in speaking, not to incur the last,-
definitively thus I answer you.
Your love deserves my thanks; but my desert
unmeritable, shuns your high request.
First, if all obstacles were cut away,
and that my path were even to the crown,
as the ripe revenue and due of birth;
yet so much is my poverty of spirit,
so mighty, and so many my defects,
that I would rather hide me from my greatness,
being a bark to brook no mighty sea, -
than in my greatness covet to be hid,

and in the vapour of my glory smother'd. 923 Buc. Do, good my lord, take to your royal self

this proffered benefit of dignity. Glo. Alas, why would you heap those cares on me?

I am unfit for state and majesty:-
I do beseech you, take it not amiss;

I cannot, nor I will not, yield to you.
Buc. If you refuse it, as in love and zeal,

loath to depose the child, your brother's son ;
as well we know your tenderness of heart,
and gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
which we have noted in you to your kindred,
and equally, indeed, to all estates,
yet know, whe'r you accept our suit or no,
your brother's son shall never reign our king;
but we will plant some other in the throne,
to the disgrace and downfall of your house.
And, in this resolution, here we leave you ;

come, citizens, we will entreat no more. Cate. Call them again, sweet prince, accept their suit ;

if you deny them, all the land will rue it. Glo. Will you enforce me to a world of cares?

Well, call them again; I am not made of stone, but penetrable to your kind entreaties.

W. SHAKESPEARE 924

AGENOR-MEDON-ION

Age. ;

WELCOME to the morn

Me.

.

the eastern gates unfold, the Priest approaches;
and lo! the sun struggling with the gloom,
whose masses fill the eastern sky, and tints
its edges with dull red :—but he will triumph;
bless'd be the omen!

God of light and joy,
once more refresh us with thy healing beams!
if I may trace thy language in the clouds
that wait upon thy rising, help is nigh-

but help achieved in blood. Ion.

Sayst thou in blood ? Me. Yes, Ion !—why, he sickens at the word,

spite of his new-born strength ;—the sights of woe that he will seek have shed their paleness on him. Has this night's walk shown more than common

sorrow ?
Ion. I passed the palace where the frantic king

yet holds his crimson revel, whence the roar
of desperate mirth comes mingling with the sigh
of death-subdued robustness, and the gleam
of festal lamps 'mid spectral columns hung
flaunting o'er shapes of anguish made them ghastlier.
How can I cease to tremble for the sad ones
he mocks-and him the wretchedest of all ?

T. N. TALFOURD

925

LAERTES TO OPHELIA

[ocr errors]

a

OR Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,

hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood ;
a violet in the youth of primy nature,
forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
the perfume and suppliance of a minute.
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
if with too credent ear you list his songs ;
or lose your heart; or your chaste treasure open
to his unmaster'd importunity.

Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister;
and keep you in the rear of your affection,
out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
if she unmask her beauty to the moon :
virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes :
the canker galls the infants of the spring,
too oft before their buttons be disclos'd ;
and in the morn and liquid dew of youth
contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary then; best safety lies in fear;
youth to itself rebels, though none else near.

W. SHAKESPEARE

926

DESCRIPTION OF A PESTILENCE

SINCE

INCE Egypt's plagues did never rage disease

so sore and so invincible by art, so varied in its forms and in its signs so unintelligibly strange: in some the fever keeps its course from first to last; in others intermits: here suddenly the patient's head is seiz’d with racking pains; the intervals of pain, if such there be, afford him no repose, but he is still dejected, restless, of a hopeless mind, indifferent to all incidents and objects, or in his understanding too confused to see or apprehend them: first the face is red and flush’d, with large and fiery eyes ; then is it dropsical and deathly pale. Sometimes such shudderings seize upon the frame that the bed shakes beneath it, and with that the breath is check'd with sobbings as from colds; then comes a thick dark crust upon the lips, and tongue, and teeth; the fatal hiccough next. Some die in struggles and strong agonies; some in a lethargy; whilst others wake as from a dream, shake off the fit, look round, and with collected senses and calm speech tell the by-standers that their hour is come.

H. TAYLOR

« PredošláPokračovať »