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Admiring, terrified, the novel strain, [again;
The man to solitude accustom'd long,
This truth premis'd was needful as a text, To win due credence to what follows next.
A while they mus'd; surveying every face, Thou hadst suppos’d them of superior race; Their periwigs of wool, and fears combin'd, Stamp'd on each countenance such marks of mind, That sage they seem'd, as lawyers o'er a doubt, Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out; Or academic tutors, teaching youths, Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths; When thus a mutton, statelier than the rest, A ram, the ewes and wethers sad address'd:
“Friends! we have liv'd too long. I never heard Sounds such as these, so worthy to be fear'd. Could I believe, that winds for ages pent, In earth's dark womb have found at last a vent, And from their prison-house below arise, With all these hideous howlings to the skies, I could be much compos'd ; nor should appear, For such a cause, to feel the slightest fear. Yourselves have seen, what time the thunders rollid All night, me resting quiet in the fold. Or heard we that tremendous bray alone, I could expound the melancholy tone; Should deem it by our old companion made, The ass—for he, we know, has lately stray’d; And being lost, perhaps, and wand'ring wide, Might be suppos’d to clamour for a guide. But ah! those dreadful yells what soul can hear That owns a carcass, and not quake for fear? Demons produce them, doubtless; brazen-claw'd And fang'd with brass, the demons are abroad; I hold it therefore wisest and most fit, That, life to save, we leap into the pit.”
Him answer'd then his loving mate and true, But more discreet than he, a Cambrian ewe :
“ How! leap into the pit our life to save ? To save our life leap all into the grave? For can we find it less? Contemplate first The depth how awful;—falling there, we burst; Or should the brambles, interpos’d, our fall In part abate, that happiness were small; For with a race like theirs no chance I see Of peace or ease to creatures clad as we. Meantime, noise kills not. Be it Dapple's bray, Or be it not, or be it whose it may,
And rush those other sounds, that seem by tongues
While thus she spoke, I fainter heard the peals;
Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
HENRY THE FOURTH'S SOLILOQUY
ON SLEEP. How many thousands of my poorest subjects Are at this hour asleep! O gentle Sleep, Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness? Why rather, Sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee, And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber, Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great, Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sounds of sweetest melody?
CARDINAL WOLSEY'S LAMENTATION
OF HIS FALL.
FAREWELL, a long farewell, to all my greatness ! *This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth *The tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms, And bears his blushing honours thick upon him; * The third day comes a frost, a killing frost ; And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely His greatness is a rip’ning, nips his root; And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur’d, Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders, These
many summers, a sea of glory: But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
and fears than war and women know; And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer, Never to hope again.
Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear