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defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.
VIII.-LIVING TO ONE'S SELF.
WHAT I mean by living to one's self is, living in the world, as in it, not of it; it is as if no one knew there was such a person, and you wished no one to know it: it is to be a silent spectator of the mighty scene of things, not an object of attention or curiosity in it; to take a thoughtful, anxious interest in what is passing in the world, but not to feel the slightest inclination to make or meddle with it. It is such a life as a pure spirit might be supposed to lead, and such an interest as it might take in the affairs of mencalm, contemplative, passive, distant, touched with pity for their sorrows, smiling at their follies without bitterness, sharing their affections, but not troubled by their passions, not seeking their notice, nor once dreamed of by them. He who lives wisely to himself and to his own heart, looks at the busy world through the loopholes of retreat, and does not want to mingle in the fray. 'He hears the tumult and is still." He is not able to mend it, nor willing to mar it. He sees enough in the universe to interest him, without putting himself forward to try what he can do to fix the eyes of the universe upon him. Vain the attempt! He reads the clouds, he looks at the stars, he watches the return of the seasons, the falling leaves of autumn, the perfumed breath of spring, starts with delight at the note of a thrush in a copse near him, sits by the fire, listens to the moaning of the wind, pores upon a book, or discourses the freezing hours away, or melts down hours to minutes in pleasing thought. All this while he is taken up with other things,
forgetting himself. He relishes an author's style, without thinking of turning author. He is fond of looking at a print from an old picture in the room, without teasing himself to copy it. He does not fret himself to death with trying to be what he is not, or to do what he cannot. He hardly knows what he is capable of, and is not in the least concerned, whether he shall ever make a figure in the world. He looks out of himself at the wide extended prospect of nature, and takes an interest beyond his narrow pretensions in general humanity. He is free as air, and independent as the wind. Woe be to him when he first begins to think what others say of him. While a man is contented with himself and his own resources, all is well. When he undertakes to play a part on the stage, and to persuade the world to think more about him than they do about themselves, he is got into a track where he will find nothing, but briers and thorns, vexation and disappointment.
THE quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heav'n
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal pow'r,
The attribute to awe, and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. We do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all
To render the deeds of
X.-DESCRIPTION OF QUEEN MAB.
Он, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife; and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn by a team of little atomies,
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep:
Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs;
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;
The traces, of the smallest spider's web;
The collars, of the moonshine's wat'ry beams;
Her whip of cricket's bone; the lash of film:
Her waggoner a small gray-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm,
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid.
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut,
Made by the joiner squirrel, or old grub,
Time out of mind the fairies' coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops, night by night,
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love:
On courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight:
O'er doctors' fingers, who straight dream on fees:
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream.
Sometimes she gallops o'er a lawyer's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit:
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail,
Tickling the parson as he lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice.
Sometimes she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then he dreams of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathoms deep; and then anon
Drums in his ears, at which he starts and wakes;
And being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,
And sleeps again.
XI.-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 themes 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 woe.
Here tears shall flow from a more generous 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 god-like 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?
Ev'n proud Cæsar, 'midst triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp
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 subdued:
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.
XII. CATO'S SOLILOQUY.
Ir must be so-Plato, thou reason'st well!
Else, whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this sacred 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 untried 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 Pow'r 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.]
My death and life,
Thus am I doubly arm'd.