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As plays the sun upon the glassy streams,
Twinkling another counterfeited beam,
So seems this gorgeous beauty to mine eyes.
Fain would I woo her, yet I dare not speak.
The Earl of Suffolk's Description of Margaret to the
Is but a preface of her worthy praise.
The chief perfections of that lovely dame
(Had I sufficient skill to utter them)
Would make a volume of enticing lines,
Able to ravish any dull conceit.
And, which is more, she is not so divine,
So full replete with choice of all delights,
But, with as humble lowliness of mind,
She is content to be at your command.
Marriage is a matter of more worth
Than to be dealt in by attorneyship.*
For what is wedlock forced, but a hell,
age of discord and continual strife?
Whereas the contrary bringeth forth bliss,
And is a pattern of celestial peace.
In the Second Part of Henry the Sixth, Shakspere introduces us to the feud, in its incipient state, between the rival houses of York
*By the agency of another.
An important episode in the play is the insurrection, headed by Jack Cade, who is at the first successful, but in the end is killed. The play concludes with the Battle of St. Albans, in which the York faction triumphs, and the king and queen fly to London.
A Resolved and Ambitious Woman.
FOLLOW I must, I cannot go before,
While Gloster bears this base and humble mind.
Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,
I would remove these tedious stumbling-blocks,
And smooth my way upon their headless necks:
And, being a woman, I will not be slack
To play my part in fortune's pageant.
God's Goodness ever to be Remembered.
Let never day nor night unhallow'd pass,
But still remember what the Lord hath done.
The Duchess of Gloster's (when doing Penance)
Remonstrance to her Husband.
For, whilst I think I am thy married wife,
And thou a prince, protector of this land,
Methinks, I should not thus be led along,
Mail'd in shame, with papers on my back,
And follow'd with a rabble, that rejoice
To see my tears, and hear my deep-fet† groans.
The ruthless flint doth cut my tender feet;
* Wrapped up in disgrace; alluding to the sheet of penance. + Deep-fetched.
And, when I start, the envious people laugh,
And bid me be advised how I tread.
Silent Resentment Deepest.
Smooth runs the water, where the brook is deep; And in his simple show he harbours treason.
A Guilty Countenance.
Upon thy eye-balls murderous tyranny Sits in grim majesty, to fright the world.
Description of a Murdered Person.
See how the blood is settled in his face!
Oft have I seen a timely-parted ghost,*
Of ashy semblance, meagre, pale, and bloodless,
Being all descended to the labouring heart;
Who, in the conflict that it holds with death,
Attracts the same for aidance 'gainst the enemy;
Which with the heart there cools and ne'er returneth
To blush and beautify the cheek again.
But see, his face is black and full of blood;
His eyeballs further out than when he liv'd,
Staring full ghastly like a strangled man :
His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretch'd with struggling;
His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd
And tugg'd for life, and was by strength subdued.
Look on the sheets, his hair, you see is sticking;
His well-proportion'd beard made rough and rugged,
Like to the summer's corn by tempest lodged.
It cannot be, but he was murder'd here;
The least of all these signs were probable.
*The body of a person who has died a natural death is here
What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted? Thrice is he arm'd that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
Suffolk's remorseless Hatred of his Enemies.
A plague upon them! wherefore should I curse them?
Would curses kill, as doth the mandrake's groan,
I would invent as bitter-searching terms,
As curst, as harsh, and horrible to hear,
Deliver'd strongly through my fixed teeth,
With full as many signs of deadly hate,
As lean-faced Envy in her loathsome cave:
My tongue should stumble in mine earnest words:
Mine eyes shall sparkle like the beaten flint ;
My hair be fixed on end, as one distract;
Ay, every joint should seem to curse and ban:
And even now my burden'd heart would break,
Should I not curse them. Poison be their drink!
Gall, worse than gall, the daintiest that they taste!
Their sweetest shade, a grove of cypress trees!
Their chiefest prospect, murdering basilisks!
Their softest touch, as smart as lizard's stings;
Their music frightful as the serpent's hiss;
And boding screech-owls make the concert full !
All the foul terrors in dark-seated hell.
And banished I am, if but from thee.
Go, speak not to me; even now be gone.
O, go not yet!-Even thus two friends condemn'd
Embrace, and kiss, and take ten thousand leaves,
Loather a hundred times to part than die.
Yet now, farewell! and farewell life with thee!
Death preferable to separation from a Lover.
If I depart from thee, I cannot live :
And in thy sight to die, what were it else,
But like a pleasant slumber in thy lap ?
Here could I breathe my soul into the air,
As mild and gentle as the cradle-babe,
Dying with mother's dug between its lips.
The Death-bed Horrors of a Guilty Conscience.
Bring me unto my trial when you will.
Died he not in his bed? where should he die?
Can I make men live, whe'r they will or no?—
O! torture me no more, I will confess.—
Alive again? then show me where he is;
I'll give a thousand pound to look upon him.—
He hath no eyes, the dust hath blinded them.—
Comb down his hair; look! look! it stands upright,
Like lime-twigs set to catch my winged soul !—
Give me some drink: and bid the apothecary
Bring the strong poison that I bought of him.
The gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful day
crept into the bosom of the sea;
And now loud howling wolves arouse the jades
That drag the tragic melancholy night;
Who with their drowsy, slow, and flagging wings
Clip dead men's graves, and from their misty jaws
Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.