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Sounds, ever after, as a fullen bell,
Remembered tolling a departed † friend. I was just going to observe upon the latter part of this dialogue, when I happened to recollect that I had already taken notice of a parallel passage, in my fecond remark on the First Scene of the Third Act of King John, and to which I beg leave to refer my Reader.
The human mind, when roused by danger, or infamed with passion, is capable of inspiring the brave heart with additional courage, and of supplying new vigour to exhausted strength. This admirable economy in the human frame is contrived by nature, as being necessary to self-defence, as well as in order to render injury the more difficult and hazardous to the offender. Northumberland. For this I shall have time enough to mourn ;
In poison there is phyfic; and this news,
nice crutch !
The rugged'it hour that time and spite dare bring,
And darkness be the burier of the dead !
I have continued this speech, for eight lines further than my preface to it required; but I thought the whole spirit and language of it too fine, to suffer it to be mangled by stopping short. Besides, this latter part of it shews that extravagance of despair and rage to which grief, refentment, and misfor. tune are apt to drive a person, whose mind is not happily tempered by philosophy, or restrained by religion.
See the second remark, with the passage it 'refers to, in the First Scene of Act the Fourth of the
preceding Play, as it will save me the trouble of making a new observation here, or of repeating the same again, as applicable to the following fpeech: Morton. My lord, your son had only but the corpse,
Bat shadows, and the shews of men to fight;
There is a most disgusting picture, but a too his. torically just one, given, in this place, of the unftable and Auctuating affections of the multitudeNo popularity can be permanent, which is not earned by virtue, and preserved by perseverance in it. The Public is a Weather-Cock; it continues steady only while the wind remains so; when that shifts, the vane turns aifo. York. Let us on ;
And publish the occasion of our arms.
Did'At thou beat heaven with bleffing Bolinbroke,
ACT II. SCENE IV. The extravagant and superstitious notions of the vulgar, in former times, with regard to kings and heroes, though not really supposed in this Scene, are, however, very humorously ridiculed in it.
The Prince and Poins. Prince. Truft me, I am exceeding weary.
Poins. And is it come to that? I had thought that weariness durst not have attacked one of so high blood.
Prince. It doth me, though it discolours the complexion of my greatness to acknowledge it. Doth it not shew vilely in me, now, to defire small beer?
Poins. Why, a Prince should not be fo loosely ftudied, as to remember so weak a composition.
Prince. Belike then, my appetite was not princely got ; for, in troth, I do now remember the poor creature, small beer. But, indeed, these humble considerations make me out of love with my greatness. What a disgrace is it in me, now, to remember thy name? or to know thy face, to-morrow? or to take note how many pair of filk stockings thou haft? Videlicet ; these, and those that were once the peach-coloured ones-or to bear the inventory of thy fhirts ; as one for use, and another for superfluity,
That common disposition of vaunting ourselves above others, fo natural to mankind, that some writer
ftiles it a mint at every one's tongue's end, to coin their own praise, is well marked in the latter part of this Scene. But I shall commence the dialogue a little earlier than may be just necessary to this reference, in order to treat my reader with a beautiful trait in the Prince's character, who is made to preserve his virtue untainted, in the midst of all his debauchery and dissipation.
Poins, being piqued at the Prince's having exposed the shabbiness of his wardrobe, replies :
Poins. How ill it follows, after you have laboured so hard, you should talk so idly? Tell me how many good young princes would do so, their fathers lying so fick as yours at this time is :
Prince. Shall I tell thee one thing, - Poins :
Prince. It shall serve among wits of no higher breeding than thine.
Poins. Go to; I stand the push of your one thing that you'll tell.
Prince. Why, I tell thee, it is not meet that I Mould be sad, now my father is fick ; albeit, I could tell thee, as to one it pleases me, for fault of a better to call my friend, I could be sad, and
very fad, indeed, too.
Poins. Very hardly, upon such a subject.
Prince. By this hand, thou think'st me as far in the Devil's book as thou and Falstaff, for obduracy and persistency. Let the end try the man. But, I tell thee, my heart bleeds inwardly, that my father is fo fick; and keeping fuch vile company as thou art, . hath in reason taken from me all oftentation of forrow.
Poins. The reason?
Prince. It would be every man's thought; and thou art a blessed fellow, to think as every man thinks. Never a man's thought in the world, keeps the road-way better than thine. Every man would think me an hypocrite, indeed. And what excites your most worShipful thought to think fo?
Poins. Why, because you have seemed so lewd, and so much ingrafted to Falstaff.
Prince. And to thee. Poins. Nay, by this light, I am well spoken of ; I can hear it with my own ears. The work chey can say of me, is, that I am
a second brother, and that I am a proper fellow of my hands; and those two things, I confess, I cannot help.
The delicacy of the Prince's difficulty upon this occasion, in not being able to manifest the concern he was really sensible of for his father's illness, left, from the former complexion of his life and manners, he might be suspected of insincerity in such professions, must have a fine effect on the sentiment of a reader who is possessed of the leaft refinement of principle or virtue,
A most useful lesson might be framed, upon the very singular character of this amiable person. The pattern is not perfect; and therefore-shall I venture to say it ? the example is the better, for that reason. His manners are idle, but his morals uncorrupt. He suffers Falstaff to make as free with him as he pleases, but breaks his head, as Mrs. Quickly tells us in a former Scene, for his having thrown out a jest upon his facher, Young men may learn from him never to be guilty of more vice, than the temptation to it might precipitate them into. He connives at the robbery of his companions, for the diversion of playing the fame game upon them, again ; but resolves to make ample reftitution for the wrong t. He offends his father by the diffoluteness of his conduct, but his filial affection and respect are still unremitted towards him. He shews a spirit of justice in injustice, and of duty, even in disobedience.
I here offer this comment as a supplement to the character I have already drawn of this Prince, at the end of the former Play. I could not have fairly added it there, as any thing that did not immediately relate to the comparison between him and Hotspur, would have been improperly introduced in the Parallel.
• This was an expreffion, in those times, for a person forward in figbring. † See the last Scene of Ac II. in the fort part of this Play.