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Tell Age it daily wasteth,
Tell Honour how it alters,
Tell Beauty how she blasteth,
Tell Favour how she falters ;
And as they shall reply
Give every one the lie.
Tell Wit how much it wrangles
In tickle points of niceness;
Tell Wisdom she entangles
Herself in overwiseness;
And when they do reply,
Straight give them both the lie.
Tell Physic of her boldness,
Tell Skill it is pretension,
Tell Charity of coldness,
Tell Law it is contention ;
And as they do reply,
So give them still the lie.
Tell Fortune of her blindness,
Tell Nature of decay,
Teil Friendship of unkindness,
Tell Justice of delay;
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.
Tell Arts they have no soundness,
But vary by esteeming;
Tell Schools they want profoundness,
And stand too much on seeming;
If Arts and Schools reply,
Give Arts and Schools the lie.
Tell Faith it’s fled the city,
Tell how the country erreth,
Tell Manhood shakes off pity,
Tell Virtue least preferreth;
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.
And when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing,
Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing ;
Yet stab at thee who will,
No stab the Soul can kill.


Heart-tearing cares and quiv’ring fears,
Anxious sighs, untimely tears,

Fly, fly to courts,

Fly to fond worldling's sports;
Where strained sardonic smiles are glozing still,
And Grief is forced to laugh against her will;

Where mirth's but mummery,

And sorrows only real be.
Fly from our country pastimes, fly,
Sad troop of human misery!

Come, serene looks,

Clear as the crystal brooks,
Or the pure azur'd heaven that smiles to see
The rich attendance of our poverty.

Peace and a secure mind,

Which all men seek, we only find. Abused mortals, did you

know Where joy, heart's ease, and comforts grow,

You'd scorn proud towers,

And seek them in these bowers;
Where winds perhaps our woods may sometimes shake,
But blustering care should never tempest make,

Nor murmurs e'er come nigh us,
Saving of fountains that glide by us.

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Blest silent groves! O may ye be
For ever mirth's best nursery !

May pure contents

For ever pitch their tents
Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these mountains,
And peace still slumber by these purling fountains,

Which we may every year
Find when we come a-fishing here.


Shall I, like a hermit, dwell
On a rock, or in a cell,
Calling ho

the smallest part
That is missing of my heart,

To bestow it where I may
Meet a rival every day!
If she undervalue me,
What care I how fair she be?

Were her tresses angel gold,
If a stranger may be bold,
Unrebuked, unafraid,
To convert them to a braid,
And with little more ado
Work them into bracelets too;
If the mine be grown so free,
What care I how rich it be?


OF Shakespeare, the greatest modern poet, almost as little is known as of Homer himself. He is to us but as a voice :-nature's oracle and interpreter. Little more has been recorded of him than that he was born at Stratford-on-Avon, A.D. 1564, of an humble origin; that he left the country for London, having previously, and when but eighteen years of age, married Anne Hathaway, a woman eight years older than himself; that in London he supported himself by acting, and by writing for the stage; that he made a competent fortune, and retired to his native place; and that he died there in 1616 at the age of fifty-three. So indifferent to fame was Shakespeare, that, not only did he write nothing after he had left London, then in the fulness of his powers, but he took no pains to preserve those plays which had been the most successful ever known in England. We owe our possession of his works to the accident of the actors having preserved the copies given to them in order to allow them to learn their several parts.

Shakespeare possessed all the great qualities of poetry in perfection, and united them with the utmost penetration, compass, and depth of philosophic intellect. His expressions have become household words; and it is through his plays that thousands bave grown acquainted with the history of their country. Invention and imagination (the creative and the shaping powers), passion and pathos, inexhaustible fancy, vigour of conception, and wealth of description, power and felicity of language, strength, and sweetness, the largest intelligence, and the happiest temperament, a profound sense of the humanities, and an equally profound sense of the beautiful,—all these qualities, found separately elsewhere, are in Shakespeare combined. He is the most truthful of poets : yet in his delineations of character, it is not the individual merely, with the accidents and conventionalities that belong to the individual, which we contemplate. Without ceasing to be individual, his characters are generic also; and thus exhibit to us the universal moulds of nature, and an exposition of humanity as it exists in all places and ages. Such poetry could not exist except sustained by a spirit at once moral and human; and, despite an occasional license of language, which belonged to his age, but in which he indulges far less than his dramatic contemporaries, there is a soundness at heart, and a cordial wisdom about Shakespeare's dramas, which makes them (when rightly understood) a mine of morality and of philosophy, as far as such qualities can easily be put forward in dramatic form. The religion of Shakespeare is not known. That he was a Christian no one who appreciates his poetry can doubt; and it is as certain that his religious tone has no sympathy with the sect or the conventicle. It has been frequently remarked, that in the whole series of his bistorical plays, in which he so often delineates ecclesiastical persons and treads on tender ground, he never is betrayed into a sneer, or drops a hint in sanction of that polemical tradition which grew up in the courts of Elizabeth and James the First, and which nearly to our own time has indirectly transmitted itself through English literature. The contrast in this respect between Shakespeare and several of his dramatic contempo. raries is remarkable.


Merchant of Venice, act iv. scene 2.
The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven,
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 thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of ki: gs;
It is an attribute of God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray


mercy; And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy.


Merchant of Venice, act v. scene 1. Lor. How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank ! Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night Become the touches of sweet harmony. Sit, Jessica : look, how the floor of heaven Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold; There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st, But in his motion like an angel sings, Still choiring to the young-eyed cherubims : Such harmony is in immortal souls ! But whilst this muddy vesture of decay Doth grossly close us in, we cannot hear it. Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn; With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' car, And draw her home with music.

Jes. I'm never merry when I hear sweet music. [Music.

Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood,
If they perchance but hear a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand;
Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze,
By the sweet power of music. Therefore the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods ;
Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change its nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils ;
The motions of his spirits are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus :
Let no such man be trusted.—Mark the music.


Enter Portia and Nerissa at a distance.

Por. That light we see is burning in my hall :-
How far that little candle throws his beams !
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.

Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less : A substitute shines brightly as a king,

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