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Like a proud river peering o'er its bounds ?
Be these fad fighs confirmers of thy words?
Then speak again, not all thy former tale,
But this one word, whether thy tale be true.
A Mother's Fondnefs for a beautiful Child. (6) If thou, that bid'st me be content, wert grim, Ugly, and Nand'rous to thy mother's womb, Full of unpleasing blots, and fightless stains, Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious, Patch'd with foul moles, and eye-offending marks ; I would not care, I then would be content : For then I should not love thee: no, nor thou Become thy gresit birth, nor deserve a crown.
(6) If thou, &c.] So in the Unnatural Combat of Meffinger, the father, who was struggling with the violent and shocking passion he had conceived for his daughter, observes,
-If thou hadst been born
Deform'd and crooked in the features of
Thy body, as the manners of thy mind,
Moor-lip'd, Aat-nos'd, dim-ey'd and beetle-brow'd,
With a dwarf's stature to a giant's waist :
Sour breath’d, with claws for fingers on thy hands,
Splay-footed, gouty-legg'd, and over all
A loathsome leprosy had spread itself,
And made thee Thun’d of human fellowships,
I had been bleft-
Rather than as now,
(Tho' I had drown'd thee for it in the sea)
Appearing as thou dost a new Pandora,
With Juno's fair cow eyes, Minerva's brow,
siurora's blushing cheeks, Hebe's fresh youth,
Venus soft paps, and Thetis filver feet.
Act. 4. S. 1. The last lines of Malfinger are an immediate translation from a pretty Greek epigram, the author of which compares his mistress's eyes to Juno's, her paps to Venus', &c.
Oμματ' εχεις Ηρης, Μελιτη, τας χειρας Αθηνης,
Tες μαζες Παφιης, τα οφυρα της Θετιδος, &c.
But thou art fair, and at thy birth, dear boy!.
(7) Nature and fortune join'd to make thee great.
Of nature's gifts thou may'lt with lilies boast,
And with the half-blown rose.
I will instruct my forrows to be proud ;
For grief is proud, and inakes the owner stout.
SCENE II. Conftance to Austria.
O Lymoges, O Auftria! thou doft shame
That bloody spoil: thou slave, thou wretch, thou cow-
Thou little valiant, great in villainy!
Thou ever strong upon the stronger side ;
Thou fortune's champion, that durst never fight,
But when her humorous ladyship is by
To teach thee safety! thou art perjur'd too,
And footh'd up greatness. What a fool art thou,
A ramping fool, to brag, to stamp and fwear,
Upon my party ; thou cold-blooded flave,
Haft thou not spoke like thunder on my fide ?
Been sworn my soldier, bidding me depend
Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy Itrength?
And dost thou now fall over to my foes?
Thou wear a lion's hide! doff it for shame,
And hang a calve's skin on those recreant limbs.
(7) Nature, &c.] In the Philoetetes of Sophocles, it is fate
Αλλ' ευγενης γαρ η φυσις, κα'ξ ευγενων
1 Tixyov, nogama
Noble thy nature, as thy birth, my son,
SCENE V. The Horrors of a Conspiracy.
(8) I had a thing to fay,-but, let it go :
The sun is in the heav'n, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton, and too full of gawds,
To give me audience. If the midnight-bell,
Did with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound one unto the drowsy race of night;
(8) I had, &c.] The Reader cannot but be struck with the peculiar excellencies of this speech: we see into the very workings of King John's troubled soul, while he is wishing yet afraid to disclose his bloody purpose to Hubert; and how finely does the author describe the situation the mind should be in to hear and embrace fuch a proposal, the place fittest to disclose it in, the time most suitable to pour it into the bofom of the hearer. See Julius Cæfar. Shakespear, when he would express the most dreadful time of night, always speaks of the hours of twelve or one; for that, in the vulgar opinion, was the peculiar time of ghosts and spirits. In Midfimner Night's Dream, he says,
The iron tongue of midnight'hath told twelve. And the ghoft in Hamlet just then stalks forth, when Bernardo giving an account of it comes to
The bell then beating one,
A most beautiful break, and finely imagin’d,
The king, in Beaumont and Fletcher's King and no King, is alike troubled and fearful to disclose liis intentions. Mardonius says of him,
He has follow'd me
Thiro' twenty rooms, and ever when I stay
To wait's command, he blushes like a girl,
And looks upon me as if modesty
Kept in his business : so turns away from me:
But if I go on, he follows me again.
And the king says of himseli.
I cannot uiter it; why should I keep
A breast to harbour thoughts I dare not fpeak ?
Darkness is in my bosom, and there lie
A thousand thoughts that cannot brook the light :
How wilt thou vex me, when this deed is done,
Conscience that art afraid to let me name it?
If this same were a church-yard, where we stand,
And thou posiessed with a thousand wrongs ;
Or if that surly spirit melancholy
Had bak'd thy blood, and made it heavy-thick,
Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that idiot laughter keep mens eyes,
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment;
(A pafsion hateful to my purposes)
Or if that thou couldīt see ine without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone
Without eyes, ears, and harmful foul of words;
Then in despight of broad-ey'd watchful day,
I would into thy bosom pour iny thoughts;
But ah, I will not.-
SCINE V. A Mother's Ravings.
I am not mad; this hair I tear is mine;
My name is Constance, I was Geffery's wife :
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost,
I am not mad : I would to heav'n I were !
For then 'tis like, I should forget myself.
Oh, if I could, what grief should I forget!
Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canoniz'd Cardinal,
For being not mad, but sensible of grief,
My reasonable part produces reason
How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
And teaches me to kill or hang myself.
If I were mad, I should forget my son,
Or madly think, a babe of clouts were he :
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel,
The diff'rent plague of each calamity.
Apostrophe to Death.
-Oh! amiable, lovely death! Thou odoriferous french, found rottenness,
Arise forth from thy couch of lasting night,
Thou hate and terror to prosperity,
And I will kiss thy detestable bones;
And put my eye-balls in thy vaulty brows;
And ring these fingers with thy houshold worms,
And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust,
And be a carrion monster like thyself ;
Come grin on me, and I will think thou smil'it,
And kiss thee as thy wife ; misery's love,
O come to me!
Father Cardinal, I have heard
That we shall see and know our friends in heav'n ;
If that be, I shall see my boy again.
For fince the birth of Cain, the first male-child,
To him that did but yesterday fufpire,
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker forrow eat my bud,
Ånd chace the native beauty from his cheek ;
And he will look as hollow as a gholt;
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 heav'n,
I shall not know him; therefore, never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.
Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
Conft. He talks to me, that never had a son.
K. Phil. You are as fond of grief as of your
child's Conft. Grief fills the room up of
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.