Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

as they have given these hairs their liberty!
but now I envy at their liberty,
and will again commit them to their bonds,
because my poor child is a prisoner.-
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say
that we shall see and know our friends in heaven:
if that be true, I shall see my boy again;
for since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
to him that did but yesterday suspire,
there was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
and chase the native beauty from his cheek,
and he will look as hollow as a ghost;
as dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
and so he'll die; and, rising so again,
when I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never

must I behold my pretty Arthur more.
Pand. You hold too heinous a respect to grief.
Const. He talks to me, that never had a son.
K. Ph. You are as fond of grief as of your child.
971 Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent child,

lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
remembers me of all his gracious parts,
stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
then have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.-
I will not keep this form upon my head,

[tearing off her head-dress
when there is such disorder in my wit.
O lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son !
my life, my joy, my food, my all the world,

my widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure.
K. Ph. I fear some outrage : and I'll follow her.
Lew. There's nothing in the world can make me joy:

life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
and bitter shame hath spoild the sweet world's taste,

that it yields nought but shame and bitterness. Pand. Before the curing of a strong disease,

even in the instant of repair and health,
the fit is strongest; evils, that take leave,

a

on their departure most of all show evil:

what have you lost by losing of this day? Lew. All days of glory, joy, and happiness. Pand. If you have won it, certainly, you had.

No, no: when fortune means to men most good,
she looks upon them with a threatening eye.

W. SHAKESPEARE

[ocr errors]

972

THE STORY OF THE WIND

WULFSTAN THE WISE-OSCAR

Wul. 1

I

BID her be resolved,

her choice now planted, forth of it to bring
the fruits of constancy: for constancy
on all things works for good: the barren breeds,
the fluent stops, the fugitive is fixed
by constancy. I told you, did I not,
the story of the wind, how he himself,

the desultory wind, was wrought upon?
Osc. Yes, Sir: you told it twice.
Wul.

The tale was this:
the wind, when first he rose and went abroad
through the waste region, felt himself at fault,
wanting a voice: and suddenly' to earth
descended with a wafture and a swoop,
where, wandering volatile from kind to kind,
he wooed the several trees to give him one.
First he besought the ash: the voice she lent
fitfully with a free and lasting change,
flung here and there its sad uncertainties:
the aspen next: a futtered frivolous twitter
was her sole tribute: from the willow came,
so long as dainty summer dressed her out,
a whispering sweetness, but her winter note
was hissing, dry, and reedy: lastly the pine
did he solicit, and from her he drew
a voice so constant, soft, and lowly deep,
that there he rested, welcoming in her
a mild memorial of the ocean-cave
where he was born.

H. TAYLOR

THE

,

973 CASSILANE BEFORE THE SENATE OF CRETE

HE signal given

of battle, when our enemies came on, (directed more by fury than by warrant of policy and stratagem) I met them: I in the fore-front of the armies met them; and, as if this old weather-beaten body had been compos'd of cannon-proof, I stood the volleys of their shot: I, I myself was he that first disrank'd their woods of pikes: but when we came to handy-strokes, as often as I lent blows, so often I gave wounds, and every wound a death: this very sword of mine slew more than any twain besides; and, which is not the least of all my glory, when he this young man, hand to hand in fight, was by the general of the Venetians, and such as were his retinue, unhorsed, I stept between, and rescued him myself, or horses' hoofs had trampled him to dirt; and, whilst he was remounting, I maintained the combat with the gallant general, till, having taken breath, he thronged before me, renewed the fight, and with a fatal blow stole both that honour from me, and his life from him, whom I before, myself alone, had more than full three-quarters killed,-a man well worthy only by this hand to have died, not by a boy's weak push.

BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER

SAMSON

974 THRICE she assayed, with flattering prayers and

, , and amorous reproaches, to win from me my capital secret, in what part my strength lay stored, in what part summed, that she might know: thrice I deluded her, and turned to sport her importunity, each time perceiving how openly and with what impudence she purpos’d to betray me, and, which was worse

than undissembled hate—with what contempt
she sought to make me traitor to myself.
Yet the fourth time, when mustering all her wiles,
with blandished parlies, feminine assaults,
tongue-batteries, she surceased not day nor night
to storm me overwatched and wearied out,
at times when men seek most repose and rest,
I yielded, and unlocked her all my heart,
who, with a grain of manhood well-resolved,
might easily have shook off all her snares:
but foul effeminacy held me yoked
her bond-slave: O indignity! O blot
to honour and religion! servile mind
rewarded well with servile punishment !
the base degree to which I now am fallen,
these rags, this grinding, is not yet so base
as was my former servitude, ignoble,
unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
true slavery, and that blindness worse than this,
that saw not how degenerately I served.

J. MILTON

Сом.

975

KING HENRY IV-PRINCE HENRY K. H. "OME hither to me, Harry:

depart the chamber, leave us here alone.
P.H. I never thought to hear you speak again.
K. H. Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought:

I stay too long by thee, I weary thee.
Dost thou so hunger for my empty chair,
that thou wilt needs invest thee with mine honours
before thy hour be ripe? O foolish youth!
thou seek'st the greatness that will overwhelm thee.
Stay but a little; for my cloud of dignity
is held from falling with so weak a wind,
that it will quickly drop: my day is dim.
Thou hast stolen that which, after some few hours
were thine without offence: and at my death
thou hast sealed up my expectation :
thy life did manifest thou lov'st me not,
and thou wilt have me die assur'd of it.
Thou hid'st a thousand daggers in thy thoughts,
which thou hast whetted on thy stony heart,
to stab at half an hour of my life.
What! canst thou not forbear me half an hour!

then get thee gone, and dig my grave thyself;
and bid the merry bells ring to thine ear,
that thou art crownéd, not that I am dead.
Let all the tears that should bedew my hearse
be drops of balm, to sanctify thy head:
only compound me with forgotten dust;

give that, which gave thee life, unto the worms. 976 P. H. O, pardon me, my liege! but for my tears,

the moist impediments unto my speech,
I had forestall’d this dear and deep rebuke,
ere you with grief had spoke, and I had heard
the course of it so far. There is your crown;
and He that wears the crown immortally
long guard it yours! If I affect it more
than as your honour and as your renown,
let me no more from this obedience rise,-
(which my most inward true and duteous spirit
teacheth) this prostrate and exterior bending!
God witness with me, when I here came in
and found no course of breath within your majesty,
how cold it struck my heart! If I do feign,
O, let me in my present wildness die,
and never live to show the incredulous world
the noble change that I have purposed !
coming to look on you, thinking you dead
(and dead almost, my liege, to think you were,)
I spake unto the crown, as having sense,
and thus upbraided it: The care on thee depending
hath fed upon the body of my father;
therefore, thou best of gold, art worst of gold :
other, less fine in carat, is more precious,
preserving life in medicine potable;

but thou, most fine, most honoured, most renowned, 977 hast eat thy bearer up. Thus, my most royal liege,

accusing it, I put it on my head,
to try with it,--as with an enemy
that had before my face murdered my father,-
the quarrel of a true inheritor.
But if it did infect my blood with joy,
or swell my thoughts to any strain of pride;
if any rebel or vain spirit of mine
did with the least affection of a welcome
give entertainment to the might of it, -
let God for ever keep it from my head

« PredošláPokračovať »