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XXI.-MACBETH BEFORE THE MURDER.
IF it were done, when 't is done, then 't were well ;
It were done quickly; if the assasination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
With his surcease, success !--that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end all here !-
But here upon this bank and shoal of time,-
We'd jump the life to come.—But, in these cases,
We still have judgment here ; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor : this even-handed Justice
Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
To our own lips. He's here in double trust :
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. Besides this, Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off:
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast; or heaven's cherubim, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind.
I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself,
And falls !
XXII.-MACBETH TO THE DAGGER VISION.
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand! Come, let me clutch thee :--
I have thee not; and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind,-a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain ?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw !
Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going ;
And such an instrument I was to use !
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest ;-I see thee still !
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before ! - There's no such thing
It is the bloody business, which informs
Thus to mine eyes.
-Now o’er the one half world
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtained sleep: now witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings; aud withered Murder,
Alarmed by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my where-about ;
And take the present horror from the time
Which now suits with it. While I threat, he lives :
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives :
I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan ! for it is a knell
That summons thee-to heaven or to hell !
XXIII.-MACBETH PLANNING THE MURDER OF BANQUO.
To be thus is nothing ; but to be safely thus :-Our fears in Banquo stick deep;
and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be fear'd: ’tis much he dares ; and , to that dauntless temper of his mind, he hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor to act in safety. There is none but he whose being I do fear; and under him my Genius is rebuked, as, it is said Mark Antony's was by Cæsar. He chid the Sisters, when first they put the name of king upon me, and bade them speak to him ; then, prophet-like, they hailed him father to a line of kings : upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, and put a barren sceptre in my grip, thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand, no son of mine succeeding. If it be so, for Banquo's issue have I 'filed my mind, for them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd: put rancours in the vessel of my peace, only for them ; and mine eternal jewel given to the common enemy of man to make them kings--the seed of Banquo kings! Rather than so, come, Fate, into the list, and champion me to the outrance !
XXIV.--HENRY IV., ON SLEEP.
OW many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep :-0 gentle Sleep?
Nature's soft nurse ! how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eye-lids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness !
Why rather, Sleep, liest thou in smokey cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lulled with sounds of sweetest melody?
Oh, thou dull god! why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch
A watch-case to a common ’larum-bell ?
Wilt thou, upon the high and giddy mast,
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge ;
And, in the visitation of the winds,
Which take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafening clamours in the slippery shrouds,
That, with the hurly, Death itself awakes ;-
Canst thou, O partial Sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And, in the calmest and the stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy, lowly clown !
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
XXV.-THE EARL OF WORCESTER'S ADDRESS
TO KING HENRY IV.
T pleased your majesty, to turn your looks
Of favor, from myself, and all our house ;
And yet I must remember you, my lord,
We were the first and dearest of your friends.
For you, my staff of office did I break
In Richard's time; and posted, day and night,
To meet you on the way, and kiss your hand,
When yet you were in place and in account
Nothing so strong and fortunate as I.
It was myself, my brother, and his son,
That brought you home, and boldly did outdare
The dangers of the time. You swore to us,-
did swear that oath at Doncaster,That
you did nothing purpose 'gainst the state ; Nor claim no further than your new-fall’n right, The seat of Gaunt, dukedom of Lancaster ; To this we swore our aid. But, in short space, It rain'd down fortune showering on your head ; And such a flood of greatness fell on you,— What with our help : what with the absent king; What with the injuries of a wanton time; The seeming sufferances that you had borne ; And the contrarious winds, that held the king So long in his unlucky Irish wars, That all in England did repute him deadAnd, from this swarm of fair advantages. You took occasion to be quickly woo'd To grip the general sway into your hand : Forgot your oath to us at Doncaster; And, being fed by us, you used us so As that ungentle gull, the cuckoo's bird, Useth the sparrow ; did oppress our nest; Grew by our feeding to so great a bulk, That even our love durst not come near your sight, For fear of swallowing ; but with nimble wing We were enforced, for safety's sake, to fly Out of your sight, and raise this present head : Whereby we stand opposed by such means.
As you yourself have forged against yourself;
By unkind usage, dangerous countenance,
And violation of all faith and troth
Sworn to us in your younger enterprise.
XXVI.-RICHMOND ENCOURAGING HIS
HUS far into the bowels of the land
Have we marched on without impediment. Richard, the bloody and devouring boar, Whose ravenous appetite has spoiled your fields, Laid this rich country waste, and rudely cropped Its ripened hopes of fair posterity, Is now even in the centre of the isle. Thrice is he armed who hath his quarrel just ; And he but naked, though locked up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted : The very weight of Richard's guilt shall crush himThen, let us on, my friends, and boldly face him ! In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man As mild behavior and humanity; But, when the blast of war blows in our ears, Let us be tigers in our fierce deportinent ! For me, the ranson of my bold attempt Shall be this body on the earth's cold face; But, if we thrive, the glory of the action The meanest soldier here shall share his part of. Advance your standards, draw your willing swords, Sound drums and trumpets, boldly and cheerfully ; The words—“St. George, Richmond, and Victory!"
XXII.-HENRY V. TO HIS SOLDIERS AT THE SIEGE
NCE more unto the breacı, dear friends, once more ;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility ;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage;
Then, lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head,
Like the brass cannon ; let the brow o'erwhelm it,
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.-
Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height ! Now on! you noblest English,
Whose blood is fetched from fathers of war-proof;
Fathers, that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts, from morn till even fought,
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument!
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's a-foot;
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,
Cry, Heaven for Harry, England, and St. George!
XXVIII.-QUEEN MARGARET'S ADDRESS, AFTER
THE BATTLE OF WARWICK.
REAT lords, wise men ne'er sit and wail their loss,
But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.
What though the mast be now blown over-board,
The cable broke, the holding anchor lost,
And half our sailors swallow'd in the flood ?
Yet lives our pilot still : Is't meet, that he
Should leave the helm, and, like a fearful lad,
With tearful eyes add water to the sea,
And give more strength to that which hath too much ;
Whiles, in his moan, the ship splits on the rock,
Which industry and courage might have saved ?
Ah, what a shame! ah, what a fault were this!
Say, Warwick was our anchor ; What of that ?
And Montague our top-mast ; What of him?
Our slaughter'd friends, the tackles; What of these ?
Why, is not Oxford here another anchor ?
And Somerset another goodly mast ?
The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings?
And, though unskilful, why not Ned and I
For once allow'd the skilful pilot's charge ?
We will not from the helm, to sit and weep;
But keep our course, though the rough wind say—no,
From shelves and rocks that threaten us with wreck.
As good to chide the waves, as speak them fair.
And what is Edward, but a ruthless sea ?
What Clarence, but a quicksand of deceit ?
And Richard, but a ragged fatal rock?
All these the enemies to our poor bark.
Say, you can swim ; alas, 'tis but a while :
Tread on the sand; why, there you quickly sink :
Bestride the rock ; the tide will wash you off,
Or else you famish, that's a threefold death.
This speak I, lords, to let you understand,
In case some one of you would fly from us,
That there's no hoped-for mercy with the brothers,
More than with ruthless waves, with sands, and rocks,
Why, courage, then ! what cannot be avoided,
'Twere childish weakness to lament, or fear.