صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Scene IV. King Henry the 4th to his Sor,

Had I fo lavish of my presence been, So common hackney'd in the eyes of men, So ftale and cheap to vulgar company ; Opinion, that did help me to the crown, Had Atill kept loyal to poffeffion; And left me in reputeless banishment, A fellow of no mark, nor likelihood. But being seldom feen, I could not stir But, like a comet, I was wonder'd at ! (10) That men would tell their children, “ This

is he." Others would say, “ Where? which is Bolinbroke?" And then I ftole all courtesy from heav'n, And drest myself in much humility, That I did pluck allegiance from mens hearts, Loud fhouts and falutations from their mouths, Even in the presence of the crowned king. Thus did I keep my person fresh and new, My presence like a robe pontifical, Ne'er seen, but wonder'd at : and so my

state, Seldom, but fumptuous, thewed like a feast, And won, by rarene's, such folemnity. 'The skipping king, he ambled up and down With shallow jesters, and rash bavin wits, Soon kindled, and soon burnt: (11) 'scarded his state:

(10) That be, &c.] At pulchrum eft digito monftrarier, & dicier bic eft. Perfius.

Oh it is brave to be admired, to see
The crowd with pointing fingers cry,

* That's he."

DRYDEN.

(11) 'Scarded, &c.] 1. e. discarded, threw off. This reading is Nir. Warburton's: the old one is, cardid: this elifion is not unusual With the poets ; frequently amongst the older ones

we have 'Lucign for disdain, C. B 5

Mingled

Mingled his royalty with carping fools;
Had his great name profaned with their scorns ;
And

gave his countenance, against his name,
To laugh with gybing boys, and stand the push
Of every beardless, vain comparative :
Grew a companion to the common streets,
Enfeoff'd himself to popularity :
That being daily swallow'd-by mens eyes,
They surfeited with honey, and began
To loath the taste of sweetness ; whereof a little
More than a little is by much too much.
So when he had occafion to be seen,.
He was but, as the cuckow is in June,
Heard, not regarded : seen, but with such eyes,
As, sick and blunted with community,
Afford no extraordinary gaze;
Such as is bent on sun-like majesty,
When it shines seldom in admiring eyes :
But rather drowz'd, and hung their eye-lids down,
Slept in his face, and rendred such aspect
As cloudy men use to their adversaries,
Being with his presence glutted, gorg'd, and full.

ACTIV. SCENE II.

A gallant Warrior.
I saw young Harry, with his beaver on,*
His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm’d,
kise from the ground like feather'd Mercury
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropt down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery pegailus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.

On] Others read up; and there seems great probability in it,

[ocr errors]

2

ACT

[ocr errors]

ACT V. SCENE II.

Falstaff's Catechism.

(12) Well, 'tis no matter, honour pricks me on. But how, if honour prick me off, when I come on? How then? Can honour set to a leg? No; or an arm ! no; or take away the grief of a wound ? No: Honour hath no kill in surgery then? No ; what is honour ? a word: . What is the word honour air : a trim reckoning.-Who hath it? he that dy'd a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No: doth he hear it? No? is it insenfible then ? yea, to the dead;- but will it not live with the living ? No: why ? detraction will not suffer it. Therefore, I'll none of it ; honour is a meer scuţcheon ; and so ends my catechism.

(12) Well, &c.] In the king and no king of Beaumont and Fletcher, we have a character, plainly drawn from Shakespear's Falstaff; how short it is, and must necessarily be of the original, I need not observe. “ I think, says Mr. Theobald, in his first note on that play, the character of Beffus must be allowed in general a fine copy from Shakespear's inimitable Falfaff. He is a coward, yet wou'd fain set up for a hero : ostentatious without any grain of merit to support his vain-glory : a lyar throughout, to exalt his affumed qualifications; and lewd, without any countenance from the ladies to give him an umbrage for it. As to his wit and humour, the precedence must certainly be adjudg’d to Falstaff, the great original.” The authors, in the third act, have introduced him talking on the same subject with Falstaff here ; though not in the same excellent manner, (an account of which see in Mr. Upton's observacions on Shakespear, p. 113.) Bellis. They talk of fame, I have gotten it in the wars, and will afford any man a reasonable penny-worth ; fome will fay, they could be content to have it, but that it is to be atchievd with danger; but my opinion is otherwise : fot if I might stand still in cannon-proof, and have fame fall upon me, I would refuse it; my reputation came principally by thinking to run away, which no body knows but Mardonius, and, I think, lie conceals it anger me, &c." The false and foolish notions of fame and honour are no where, that I know of, so well and justly eenfüred, as in Mr. Wollajton's religion oj Nature delineated, fect 5. p. 116. printed in 1726.

SCENE

Scene V. Life demands Aztiont.

(13) O gentlemen, the time of life is short ;
To spend that shortness bafely were too long,
Tho' life did ride upon a dial's point,
Still ending at th' arrival of an hour.

(13) O gentlemen, &c.] See Als well tbat ends well. A& 56 Scene

4, and the note. Virgil beautifully observes
Stat sua cuique dies, breve & irreparabile tempus
Omnibus eft vitæ ; fed famam extendere factis
Hoc virtutis opus.

Æn, 10.
To all that breathe is fixt th' appointed date,
Life is but short, and circumscrib'd by fate :
'Tis virtue's work by fame to stretch the span,
Whose scanty limit bounds the days of man.

Pitt.

Ibe

The second Part of Henry IV,

Prologue to the second Part of Henry IV.

RU MOU R.
From the orient to the drooping west,

Making the wind my poft-horfe, ftill unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
(1) Upon my tongues continual Nanders ride,

The

I

(1} Upon my, &c.] In the stage-direction, rumour is said to enter painted full of tongues. Sbakespear, in his description of rumour, had doubtless a view either to Virgil's celebrated description of fame, or Ovid's description of her cave in the 12th book of his metamorphoses : I shall give the reader part of both: and in as close a translation as possible, that he may judge the better.

Monstrum, borrendum, &c.
A monster, hideous, vaft; as many plumes
As in her body stick, so many eyes
Towards waking 'wondrous to relate)
There grew beneath ; as many babbling tongues,
And lift’ning ears as many : By night the flies
Noisy thro' shades obscure, 'twixt earth and heav!
Nor are her eyes by pleasing number clos'd ;
Watchful and prying round, by day, she fits
On some high palace top, or lofty tow'r,
And mighty towns alarms: nor less intent
On spreading falfhood, than reporting truth. &cs

See Trap. Virg. Æn. 4
Atria tarba tenent, &c.
*Hither in crowds the vulgar come and go; (To the cave
Millions of rumours here fly to and fro:

of fame)
Lies. mixt with truth, reports that vary still,
The itching ears of folks unguarded fill :
They tell the tale ; the tale in telling grows,
And each relater adds to what he knows;
Rash error, light credulity are here,
And causeless transport and ill-grounded fear ;

New

« السابقةمتابعة »