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die in the fall. But 'tis not so with me:
fortune and I are friends; I do enjoy
at ample point all that I did possess,
save these men's looks; who do, methinks, find out
something not worth in me such rich beholding
as they have often given.

W. SHAKESPEARE

935

HENRY V. TO HIS BOON COMPANIONS

I

KNOW you all, and will awhile uphold

the unyoked humour of your idleness: yet herein will I imitate the sun, who doth permit the base contagious clouds to smother up his beauty from the world, that, when he please again to be himself, being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at, by breaking through the foul and ugly mists of vapours, that did seem to strangle him. If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work; but, when they seldom come, they wish’d-for come, and nothing pleaseth but rare accidents. So, when this loose behaviour I throw off, and pay the debt I never promised, by how much better than my word I am, by so much shall I falsify men's hopes; and, like bright metal on a sullen ground, my reformation, glittering o'er my fault, shall show more goodly and attract more eyes, than that which hath no foil to set it off: I'll so offend, to make offence a skill; redeeming time, when men think least I will.

W. SHAKESPEARE

936

THE CORINTHIANS DRINK RUIN TO ATHENS

THOAS PREDICTS ITS FUTURE GLORY

Th. R

UIN to Athens! who dares echo that?

who first repeats it dies. These limbs are armed with vigour from the gods that watch above their own immortal offspring. Do ye dream because chance lends ye one insulting hour,

that ye can quench the purest flame the gods

have lit from heaven's own fire ? Hyl.

'Tis ecstacysome frenzy shakes him. Th.

No! I call the gods, who bend attentive from their azure thrones, to witness to the truth of that which throbs within me now. 'Tis not a city crown'd with olive, and enriched with peerless fanes ye would dishonour, but an opening world diviner than the soul of man hath yet been gifted to imagine-truths serene, made visible in beauty, that shall grow in everlasting freshness; unapproached by mortal passion; pure amidst the blood and dust of conquests; never waxing old; but on the stream of time, from age to age, casting bright images of heavenly youth to make the world less mournful. I behold them ! and ye, frail insects of a day, would quaff “Ruin to Athens !”

T. N. TALFOURD

Pol.

LE

937

POLYPHONTES-MEROPE
ET us in marriage, King and Queen, unite

claims ever hostile else; and set thy son-
no more an exile fed on empty hopes
and to an unsubstantial title heir,
and prince adopted by the will of power,
and future king-before this people's eyes.
Consider him; consider not old hates;
consider, too, this people, who were dear
to their dead king, thy husband--yea, too dear,

for that destroyed him. Give them peace; thou canst. Mer. Thou hast forgot, then, who I am who hear,

and who thou art who speakest to me? I
am Merope, thy murdered master's wife-
and thou art Polyphontes, first his friend,
and then...his murderer. These offending tears
that murder draws ...this breach that thou would'st

close
was by that murder opened...that one child
(if still, indeed, he lives) whom thou would'st seat

upon a throne not thine to give, is heir
because thou slew'st his brothers with their father...
who can patch union here?—What can there be
but everlasting horror 'twixt us two,
gulfs of estranging blood?

M. ARNOLD

938 THE INVOCATION OF THE GHOST OF LAIUS BY

TIRESIAS

Tir. C love

HOOSE the darkest part o' the grove;

Dig a trench, and dig it nigh
where the bones of Laius lie;
altars rais'd, of turf or stone,
will th' infernal pow'rs have none.

Answer me, if this be done?
All the Priests. 'Tis done.
Tir. Is the sacrifice made fit?

draw her backward to the pit;
draw the barren heifer back,
barren let her be, and black;
cut the curléd hair that grows
full betwixt her horns and brows;
and turn your faces from the sun.

Answer me, if this be done.
All the Priests. 'Tis done.
Tir. Pour in blood, and blood-like wine,

to mother Earth and Proserpine:
mingle milk into the stream;
feast the ghosts that love the steam:
snatch a brand from funeral pile;
toss it in to make them boil :
and turn your faces from the sun ;

answer me, if all be done? All the Priests. All is done.

J. DRYDEN

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HE

E smiled, and, opening out his milk-white palm,

disclosed a fruit of pure Hesperian gold,
that smelt ambrosially, and while I look'd
and listen’d, the full-flowing river of speech
came down upon my heart. "My own Enone,

6

beautiful-brow'd Enone, my own soul,
behold this fruit, whose gleaming rind ingrav'n
'for the most fair' would seem to award it thine,
as lovelier than whatever Oread haunt
the knolls of Ida, loveliest in all grace
of movement and the charm of married brows.'
He prest the blossom of his lips to mine,
and added 'This was cast upon the board,
when all the full-faced presence of the gods
ranged in the halls of Peleus; whereupon
rose feud, with question unto whom ’twere due:
but light-foot Iris brought it yester-eve,
delivering that to me, by common voice
elected umpire, Heré comes to-day,
Pallas and Aphrodité, claiming each
this meed of fairest. Thou within the cave
behind yon whispering tuft of oldest pine,
mayst well behold them unbeheld, unheard
hear all, and see thy Paris judge of Gods.”

A. TENNYSON

940

ARBACES KING OF IBERIA

WHA

CHAT will the world

conceive of me? with what unnatural sins will they suppose me laden, when my life is sought by her that gave it to the world ? But yet he writes me comfort here: my sister, he says, is grown in beauty and in grace, in all the innocent virtues that become a tender spotless maid : she stains her cheeks with mourning tears, to purge her mother's ill ; and 'mongst that sacred dew she mingles prayers, her pure oblations, for my safe return. If I have lost the duty of a son, if any pomp or vanity of state made me forget my natural offices, nay, farther, if I have not every night expostulated with my wandering thoughts, if ought unto my parent they have err'd, and call’d 'em back; do you direct her arm unto this foul dissembling heart of mine: but if I have been just to her, send out

your power to compass me, and hold me safe F.S.

III

21

from searching treason; I will use no means
but prayer: for, rather suffer me to see
from mine own veins issue a deadly flood,
than wash my danger off with mother's blood.

BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER

941

EMILIA'S PRAYER TO DIANA

OH

H sacred, shadowy, cold and constant queen,

abandoner of revels, mute, contemplative, sweet, solitary, white as chaste, and pure as wind-fann'd snow, who to thy female knights allow'st no more blood than will make a blush, which is their order's robe; I here, thy priest, am humbled 'fore thine altar! oh, vouchsafe, with that thy rare green eye, which never yet beheld thing maculate, look on thy virgin ! and, sacred silver mistress, lend thine ear, (which ne'er heard scurril term, into whose port ne'er enter'd wanton sound,) to my petition, season'd with holy fear! This is my last of vestal office; I am bride-habited, but maiden-hearted ; a husband I have 'pointed, but do not know him ; out of two I should choose one, and pray for his success, but I am guiltless of election : of mine eyes were I to lose one, (they are equal precious,) I could doom neither ; that which perish'd should go to't unsentenc'd: therefore, most modest queen, he, of the two pretenders, that best loves me, and has the truest title in't, let him take off my wheaten garland, or else grant the file and quality I hold I may continue in thy band !

J. FLETCHER

942

APOSTROPHE TO SLEEP

KING HENRY IV

O

SLEEP! O gentle sleep!

Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, that thou no more wilt weigh my eye-lids down, and steep my senses in forgetfulness ?

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