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monarch; for he is as wanting in energy as in principle: but we pity him, for he pities himself. His heart is by no means hardened against himself, but bleeds afresh at every new stroke of mischance, and his sensibility, absorbed in his own person, and unused to misfortune, is not only tenderly alive to its own sufferings, but without the fortitude to bear them. He is, how. ever, human in his distresses; for to feel pain and sorrow, weakDess, disappointment, remorse and anguish, is the lot of humanity, and we sympathize with him accordingly. The sufferings of the man make us forget that he ever was a king.
The right assumed by sovereign power to trifle at its will with the happiness of others as a matter of course, or to remit its exercise as a matter of favor, is strikingly shown in the sentence of banishment so unjustly pronounced on Bolingbroke and Mowbray, and in what Boling broke says when four years of his
02 banishment are taken off, with as little reason.
“How long a time lies in one little word ! Four lagging winters and four wanton springs
End in a word: such is the breath of kings.” A more affecting image of the loneliness of a state of exile can hardly be given, than by what Bolingbroke afterwards observes of his having “sighed his English breath in foreign clouds;" or than that conveyed in Mowbray's complaint at being banished for life.
“The language I have learned these forty years,
Too far in years to be a pupil now."-
RICHARD II. may be considered as the first of that series of English historical plays, in which “is hung armor of the invincible knights of old,” in which their hearts seem to strike against their coats of mail, where their blood tingles for the fight, and words are but the harbingers of blows. of this state of accomplished barbarism, the appeal of Boling broke and Mow. bray is an admirable specimen. Another of these “ keen encounters of their wits," which serve to whet the talkers' swords, is wbere Aumerle answers in the presence of Bolingbroke to the charge which Bagot brings against him, of being an accessory in Gloster's death.
" FITZWATER. If that thy valor stand on sympathies,
AUXERLE. Thou darost not, coward, live to see the day.
PERCY. Aumerle, thou liest ; his honor is as true,
AUXERLE. And if I do not, may my hande rot af
SURRY. My Lord Fitzwater, I remember well
FITƏwaren. My lord, 't is true : you were in presence then :
SURRY. As false, by bear'n, as heavin itself is true.
Senar. Duhonorable boy!
FITZWATER. How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse :
Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal.” The truth is, that there is neither truth nor honor in all these noble persons: they answer words with words, as they do blows with blows, in mere self-defence : nor have they any principle whatever but that of courage in maintaining any wrong they dare commit, or any falsehood which they find it useful to assert. How different were these noble knights and“ barons bold” from their more refined descendants in the present day, who, instead of deciding questions of right by brute force, refer everything to convenience, fashion, and good breeding! In point of any abstract love of truth or justice, they are just the same now that they were then.
The characters of old John of Gaunt, and of his brother York, uncles to the King, the one stern and foreboding, the other honest, good-natured, doing all for the best, and therefore doing nothing, are well kept up. The speech of the former, in praise of Eng. land, is one of the most eloquent that ever was penned. We should, perhaps, hardly be disposed to feed the pampered egotism of our countrymen by quoting this description, were it not that the conclusion of it (which looks prophetic) may qualify any improper degree of exultation.
“ This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
So many greedy looks of young and old
DUCHESS. Alas, poor Richard ! where rides he the while:
York. As in a theatre, the eyes of men,
IN TWO PARTS.
If Shakspeare's fondness for the ludicrous sometimes led to faults in his tragedies (which was not often the case) he has made us amends by the character of Falstaff. This is perhaps the most substantial comic character that ever was invented. Sir John carries a most portly presence in the mind's eye; and in him, not to speak it profanely, “we behold the fulness of the spirit of wit and humor bodily." We are as well acquainted with his person as his mind, and his jokes come upon us with double force and relish from the quantity of flesh through which they make their way, as he shakes his fat sides with laughter, or “lards the lean earth as he walks along.” Other comic characters seem, if we approach and handle them, to resolve them. selves into air,“ into thin air;" but this is embodied and palpable to the grossest apprehension : it lies “ three fingers deep upon the ribs," it plays about the lungs and the diaphragm with all the force of animal enjoyment. His body is like a good estate to his mind, from which he receives rents and revenues of profit and pleasure in kind, according to its extent, and the richness of the soil. Wit is often a meagre substitute for pleasurable sensation; an effusion of spleen and petty spite at the comforts of others, from feeling none in itself. Falstaff's wit is an emanason of a fine constitution ; an exuberance of good-humor and good-nature; an overflowing of his love of laughter and goodfellowship; a giving vent to his heart's ease and over-contentment with himself and others. He would not be in character, i be were not so fat as he is; for there is the greatest keeping