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So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch That trembles under his devouring paws: And so he walks, insulting o'er his prey; And so he comes to rend his limbs asunder.
THE DUKE OF YORK ON THE GALLANT BEHAVIOUR OF
My sons-God knows what hath bechanced them:
But this I know,-they have demean'd themselves
Like men born to renown, by life, or death.
Three times did Richard make a lane to me;
And thrice cried,-Courage, father! fight it out!
And full as oft came Edward to my side,
With purple falchion, painted to the hilt
In blood of those that had encounter'd him:
And when the hardiest warriors did retire,
Richard cried-Charge! and give no foot of ground!
And cried,-A crown, or else a glorious tomb!
A sceptre, or an earthly sepulchre!
With this, we charg'd again: but, out, alas!
We bodg'd* again; as I have seen a swan
With bootless labour swim against the tide,
And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
A FATHER'S PASSION ON THE MURDER OF A FAVOURITE
O, tiger's heart, wrapp'd in a woman's hide! How could'st thou drain the life-blood of the child, To bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
And yet be seen to bear a woman's face?
Women are soft, mild, pitiful, and flexible;
Thou, stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.
That face of his the hungry cannibals
* i. e. We boggled, made bad, or bungling work of our attempt to rally.
Would not have touch'd, would not have stain'd with blood:
But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,-
O, ten times more,-than tigers of Hyrcania.
See, ruthless queen, a hapless father's tears:
This cloth thou dipp'dst in blood of my sweet boy,
And I with tears do wash the blood away.
Keep thou the napkin, and go boast of this:
And, if thou tell'st the heavy story right,
Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears;
Yea, even my foes will shed fast-falling tears,
And say,-Alas, it was a piteous deed!
THE DUKE OF YORK IN BATTLE.
METHOUGHT, he bore him* in the thickest troop,
As doth a lion in a herd of neat†;
Or as a bear, encompass'd round with dogs;
Who having pinch'd a few, and made them cry,
The rest stand all aloof, and bark at him.
See, how the morning opes her golden gates, And takes her farewell of the glorious sunt! How well resembles it the prime of youth, Trimm'd like a younker, prancing to his love!
This battle fares like to the morning's war, When dying clouds contend with growing light; What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails, Can neither call it perfect day, nor night.
Neat cattle, cows, oxen, &c.
Aurora takes for a time her farewell of the sun, when she dismisses him to his diurnal course.
'Would I were dead!-if God's good will were so;
For what is in this world, but grief and woe?
O God! methinks, it were a happy life,
To be no better than a homely swain;
To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run:
How many make the hour full complete,
How many hours bring about the day,
How many days will finish up the year,
How many years a mortal man may live.
When this is known, then to divide the times:
So many hours must I tend my flock;
So many hours must I take my rest;
So many hours must I contemplate;
So many hours must I sport myself;
So many days my ewes have been with young;
So many weeks ere the poor fools will yean;
So many years ere I shall shear the fleece;
So minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years,
Pass'd over to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Ah, what a life were this! how sweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings, that fear their subjects' treachery?
O, yes it doth; a thousand-fold it doth.
And to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle,
His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,
All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
Is far beyond a prince's delicates,
His viands sparkling in a golden cup,
His body couched in a curious bed,
mistrust, and treason wait on him.
NO STABILITY IN A MOB.
Look, as I blow this feather from my face,
And as the air blows it to me again,
Obeying with my wind when I do blow,
And yielding to another when it blows,
Commanded always by the greater gust;
Such is the lightness of you common men.
A SIMILE ON AMBITIOUS THOUGHTS.
Why, then I do but dream on sovereignty; Like one that stands upon a promontory, And spies a far-off shore where he would tread, Wishing his foot were equal with his eye; And chides the sea that sunders him from thence, Saying—he'll lade it dry to have his way.
Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb: And, for I should not deal in her soft laws She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe To shrink mine arm up like a wither'd shrub;
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where sits deformity to mock my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal size;
To disproportion me in every part,
Like to a chaos, or an unlick'd bear-whelp,
That carries no impression like the dam.
And am I then a man to be belov'd?
Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile ;
And cry, content, to that which grieves my heart;
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I'll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy:
I can add colours to the cameleon;
Change shapes, with Proteus, for advantages,
And set the murd'rous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
HENRY VI. ON HIS OWN LENITY.
I HAVE not stopp'd mine ears to their demands,
Nor posted off their suits with slow delays;
My pity hath been balm to heal their wounds,
My mildness hath allay'd their swelling griefs,
My mercy dry'd their water-flowing tears:
I have not been desirous of their wealth,
Nor much oppress'd them with great subsidies,
Nor forward of revenge, though they much err’d.