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For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field;
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle;
And therefore little shall I grace my cause
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnished tale deliver
Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,
What conjuration, and what mighty magic
(For such proceeding I am charged withal)
I won his daughter with.
Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still questioned me the story of my life,
From year to year; the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have past.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it:
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field;
Of hair-breath 'scapes in the imminent deadly breach;
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence,
And portance in my travel's history :
Wherein of antres? vast, and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch
It was my hint to speak;—such was the process;
And of the cannibals that each other eat,
The anthropophagi, and men whose
Do grow beneath their shoulders. These things to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline;
But still the house affairs would draw her thence;
Which ever as she could with haste despatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Portance-port, bearing, conduct.
Antres-from the Latin antrum, a cavern--caves. 3 Anthropophagi—from the Greek avogaTOS, a man, and payw, I eat-man-eaters.
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively.! I did consent,
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffered. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs ;
She swore, in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange,
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful-
She wished she had not heard it;-yet she wished
That heaven had made her such a man :she thanked
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake;
She loved me for the dangers I had passed,
And I loved her, that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances ;
And one man in his time plays many parts-
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad 3
Made to his mistress' eye-brow. Then soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly, with good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws5 and modern instances ; 6
Intentively with diligent, undivided attention. ? “As you like it,” Act ii, Scene 7. * Ballad—a song or sonnet. Pard-leopard.
5 Saws-see note 3, p. 170. Modern instances--instances of the folly of the age in which he lives, in comparison with the “good old times.”
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side ;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shanks; and his big manly voice,
Turning again towards childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion ;
Sans' teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.
Our revels now are ended : these our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack3 behind!
Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court ?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The season's difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind;
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say,
"This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.'
Sans-a French word-without. 2 “The Tempest,” Activ, Scene 1.
This is said by Prospero, who by magical arts had raised a vision of a masque or scenic entertainment.
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head :
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.
O 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 with? a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep:
Her wagon-spokes made of long spinner's legs;
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ;
The traces, of the smallest spider's web;
The collars, of the moonshine's watery beams;
Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film;
Her wagoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm,
Pricked 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' coach makers-
And in this state she gallops, night by night,
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
On courtiers' knees, that dream on courtesies straight;
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees;
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.
Sometimes she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit :3
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail,
Tickling a parson's nose as ’a4 lies asleep;
Then dreams he of another benefice.
“ Romeo and Juliet,” Act i, Scene 4. 2 Drawn with, fc.--drawn by a team of little atoms. 3 Suit--a solicitation for some place or office at court.
As 'a--as he.
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 fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes ;
And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night;
And bakes the elf-locks? in foul sluttish hairs,
Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes.
The quality of mercy is not strained !
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
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 th
orce of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit4 the dread and fear of kings;
is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthronéd 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. Therefore, Jew,5
Though justice be thy plea, consider this-
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
ONE FRIEND OPBRAIDING ANOTHER."
INJURIOUS Hermia, most ungrateful maid !
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
Spanish blades—The Toledo blades were once very famous for their temper. ? Elf-locks--locks of hair entangled and clotted ("s baked”) by wicked elves or fairies. Such was the superstition.
3 “Merchant of Venice," Act iv, Scene 1. 4 Wherein doth sit—which inspire. 5 Jew—this is addressed to Shylock, the Jew. 6 We do pray, fc.-i.e. in the Lord's prayer; “forgive us our trespasses, &c.”
" Midsummer Night's Dream," Act iii, Scene 2.