Page images
PDF
EPUB

ROMEO. O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied ?
JULIET. What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?
Romeo. The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.

JULIET. I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again.

ROMEO. Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love ?

JULIET. But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have :
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

WOLSEY ON THE VICISSITUDES OF LIFE.*

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 honors 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 ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This 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,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me.
Vain

pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye ;
I feel my heart new opened: 0, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors !
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More

pangs and fears, than wars or women have ;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.

* Cardinal Wolsey was one of the highest officers of King Henry VIII. of England. Being suddenly deprived of all his honors by the king, and consequently disgraced, Shakespeare represents him as uttering this speech on retiring from office.

HAMLET'S SOLILOQUY.

To be, or not to be, – that is the question : -
Whether 't is nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?

To die, to sleep,
No more ; — and, by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 't is a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die ; – to sleep ;
To sleep! perchance to dream ; - ay, there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause; there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life :
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin ? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life ;
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will;
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all ;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

POLONIUS'S ADVICE TO HIS SON.

Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportioned thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware Of entrance to a quarrel ; but, being in, Bear it, that the opposer may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice : Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man ; And they in France, of the best rank and station, Are most select and generous, chief in that. Neither a borrower nor a lender be : For loan oft loses both itself and friend ; And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all, - to thine own self be true; And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man Farewell; my blessing season this in thee.

THE SEVEN AGES OF MAN.

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, Mewling and 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 woful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a Soldier ;

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, 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 saws and modern instances ;
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 shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward 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.

MERCY.

The quality of Mercy is not strained ;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed ;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest ; it becomes
The thronéd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and inajesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway, –
It is enthroned 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,
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.

ENGLAND.

This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise ;
This fortress, built by Nature for herself,
Against infection and the hand of war ;
This happy breed of men, this little world ;
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

THE MIND.

For 't is the mind that makes the body rich :
And as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds,
So honor peereth in the meanest habit.
What! is the jay more precious than the lark,
Because his feathers are more beautiful ?
Or is the adder better than the eel,
Because his painted skin contents the eyes ?
O no, good Kate : neither art thou the worse
For this

poor

furniture and mean array.

PERFECTION.

To gild refinéd gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

1 *

« PreviousContinue »