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the guest would answer: · Such and such a thing passed.” The lord would say: "I thought he would mar a good dinner.” Discretion of speech is more than eloquence, and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal is more than to speak in good words, or in good order. A good continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, shows slowness, and a good reply or second speech, without a good settled speech, showeth shallowness and weakness.
As we beasts that those that are weakest in the course are yet nimblest in the turn, as it is betwixt the greyhound and the hare. To use too many circumstances, ere one come to the matter, is wearisome, to use none at all is blunt.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. Born 1564; died 1616.
He began life apparently as an actor; and before his death
retired with a competence to Stratford-on-Avon. Little is
known of his life. About forty dramas are attributed to him ; some, however, on
meagre grounds. He holds the first place in the literature of our own or any other
country; alike on account of his marvellous versatility, his wealth of imagination, his dramatic power, and the rapidity and ease with which he carries us along with him over the whole range of human thought and interest.
MARK ANTONY'S ORATION.
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. The 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-
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men-
Come I to speak in Cæsar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me;
But Brutus says he was ambitious ;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill :
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious ?
When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath wept.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that, on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition ?-
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious ;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause :
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him ?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar.
And I must pause till it come back to me
But yesterday the word of Cæsar might
Have stood against the world ;—now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O masters! if I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men :
I will not do them wrong: I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will
such honourable men.
But here's a parchment with the seal of Cæsar ;
I found it in his closet—'tis his will:
Let but the commons hear this testament-
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read-
And they would go
and kiss dead Cæsar's wounds
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood,
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle : I remember
The first time ever Cæsar put it on:
'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent
That day he overcame the Nervii :
Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this, the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;
And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Cæsar followed it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Cæsar's angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Cæsar loved him!
This, was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitor's arms,
Quite vanquish'd him; then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell,
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen !
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
O, now you weep, and, I perceive, you feel
The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what weep you, when you but behold
Our Cæsar's vesture wounded ? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with traitors.
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up To such a sudden flood of mutiny. They that have done this deed are honourable : What private griefs they have, alas, I know not, That made them do it: they are wise and honourable, And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts :
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him :
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood : I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Cæsar's wounds, poor, poor lumb
And bid them speak for me; but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
In every wound of Cæsar that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness !
This is the state of man : to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope ; tomorrow 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 ventured
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This 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,