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DESCRIPTION of NIGHT in a CAMP.
FROM camp to camp, through the foul womb of night,
The hum of either army stilly sounds;
That the fix'd centinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch.
Fire answers fire; and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other's umber'd face.
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs,
Piercing the night's dull ear; and from the tents,
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation.
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll:
And (the third hour of drowzy morning nam'd)
Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
The confident and over-lusty French
Do the low-rated English play at dice;
And chide the cripple tardy-gaited Night,
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, does limp
So tediously away. The poor condemned English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently, and inly ruminate
The morning's danger: and their gesture sad,
(Investing lank-lean cheeks, and war-worn coats)
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts. Who now beholds
The royal captain of this ruin'd band,
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
Let him cry, Praise and glory on his head!
For forth he goes, and visits all his host,
Bids them good morrow with a modest smile,
And calls them brothers, friends, and country men.
Upon his royal face there is no note,
How dread an army hath enrounded him;
Nor doth he dedicate one jot of colour
Unto the weary and all-watched night;
But freshly looks, and overbears attaint,
With chearful semblance, and sweet majesty;
That ev'ry wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks.
A largess universal, like the sun,
His lib'ral eye doth give to ev'ry one,
Thawing cold fear.
The HAPPINESS of a SHEPHERD'S LIFE.
METHINKS, it were a happy life
To be no better than a homely swain;
To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run :
How many make the hour full complete,
How many hours bring about the day,
How many days will finish up the year,
How many years a mortal man may live.
When this is known, then to divide the time;
So many hours, must I tend my flock;
So many hours, must I take my rest;
So many hours, must I contemplate;
So many hours must I sport myself;
So many days, my ewes have been with young;
So many weeks, ere the poor fools will yean;
So many months, ere I shall sheer the fleece;
So minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years,
Past over, to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Ah! what a life were this! how sweet, how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings, that fear their subjects' treachery?
O, yes, it doth; a thousand-fold it doth.
And to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of his leather-bottle,
His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,
All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
Is far beyond a prince's delicates,
His viands sparkling in a golden cup,.
His body couched in a curious bed,
When care, mistrust, and treason, wait on him.
The VICISSITUDES of LIFE..
So farewel to the little good you bear me!
Farewel, a long farewel 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 ripening, 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 in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth; my high-blown pride
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye;
I feel my heart new open'd. Oh, how wretched
Is that poor man, that hangs on princes' favours!
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and our ruin,
More pangs and fears than war or women have;
And, when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.
CARDINAL WOLSEY'S SPEECH to CROMWELL.
CROMWELL, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forc'd me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman-
Let's dry our eyes; and thus far hear me, Cromwell;
And when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me must more be heard; say then I taught thee;
Say, Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in ;
A sure and safe one, though thy master miss'd it.
Mark but my fall, and that which ruin'd me:
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition :
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then
(The image of his maker) hope to win by't?
Love thyself last cherish those hearts that hate thee :
Corruption wins not more than honesty,
Still in thy right-hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not.
Let all the ends thou aim'st be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall'st, O Cromwell,
hou fall'st a blessed martyr.
NEWS-TELLERS on the DEATH of ARTHUR.
OLD men and beldames, in the streets,
Do prophesy upon it dangerously:
Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths;
And, when they talk of him, they shake their heads,
And whisper one another in the ear.
And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer's wrist,
Whilst he that hears makes fearful action.
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes,
I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
With open mouth swallowing a taylor's news,
Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embattled and rank'd in Kent.
Another lean, unwash'd artificer
Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death.
WHAT is it, that you would impart to me? -
If it be aught towards the general good,
Set honour in one eye, and death i' th' other,
And I will look on both indifferently:
For let the Gods so speed me, as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.
CASSIUS in CONTEMPT of CÆSAR.
WHY man, he doth bestride the narrow world,
Like a Colossus; and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some times are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Cæsar! what should be in that Cæsar?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours
Write them together; yours is as fair a name :
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.
Now in the names of all the Gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Cæsar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art sham'd;
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods.
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was fam'd with more than with one man?
When could they say, till now, that talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walls encompass'd but one man ?
AMBITION, COVERED with SPECIOUS HUMILITY. (SHAKESPEARE.)
-BUT 'tis a common proof,
That Lowliness is young Ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber upwards turns his face;
But when he once attains the utmost round,
He then unto the dder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend.
Against the FEAR of DEATH.
COWARDS die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once :
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange, that men should fear
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come, when it will come.
ANTHONY'S FUNERAL ORATION upon CÆSAR,
FRIENDS, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do, lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Cæsar! noble Brutus
Hath told you Cæsar was ambitious
If it were so, it was a grievous fault ;
And grievously hath Cæsar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus, and the rest,