Never give up!—there are chances and changes Helping the hopeful a hundred to one, And through the chaos High Wisdom arranges Ever success—if you'll only hope on; Never give up!—for the wisest is boldest, Knowing that Providence mingles the cup; And of all maxims the best, as the oldest, Is the true watchword of—Never give up!
Never give up!—though the grapeshot may rattle, Or the full thunder-cloud over you burst, Stand like a rock—and the storm or the battle Little shall harm you, though doing their worst. Never give up!—if adversity presses, Providence wisely has mingled the cup; And the best counsel, in all your distresses, Is the stout watchword of—Never give up.
* * * * *
MARMION AND DOUGLAS.
Not far advanced was morning day, When Marmion did his troop array To Surrey's camp to ride; He had safe-conduct for his band, Beneath the royal seal and hand, And Douglas gave a guide: The ancient Earl, with stately grace, Would Clara on her palfrey place, And whispered in an undertone, "Let the hawk stoop, his prey is flown."— The train from out the castle drew, But Marmion stopped to bid adieu:— "Though something I might plain," he said, "Of cold respect to stranger guest, Sent hither by your King's behest, While in Tantallon's towers I stayed, Part we in friendship from your land, And, noble Earl, receive my hand."— But Douglas around him drew his cloak, Folded his arms, and thus he spoke:— "My manors, halls, and bowers shall still Be open, at my Sovereign's will, To each one whom he lists, howe'er Unmeet to be the owner's peer. My castles are my King's alone, From turret to foundation-stone,— The hand of Douglas is his own; And never shall in friendly grasp The hand of such as Marmion clasp."
Burned Marmion's swarthy cheek like fire, And shook his very frame for ire, And—"This to me!" he said,— "An 'twere not for thy hoary beard, Such hand as Marmion's had not spared To cleave the Douglas' head! And, first, I tell thee, haughty Peer, He who does England's message here, Although the meanest in her state, May well, proud Angus, be thy mate; And, Douglas, more I tell thee here, Even in thy pitch of pride, Here in thy hold, thy vassals near, (Nay never look upon your lord, And lay your hands upon your sword,) I tell thee, thou'rt defied! And if thou saidst I am not peer To any lord in Scotland here, Lowland or Highland, far or near, Lord Angus, thou hast lied!"— On the Earl's cheek the flush of rage O'ercame the ashen hue of age; Fierce he broke forth,—"And dar'st thou then To beard the lion in his den, The Douglas in his hall? And hop'st thou hence unscathed to go?— No, by St. Bride of Bothwell, no! Up drawbridge, grooms,—what, Warder, ho! Let the portcullis fall."— Lord Marmion turned,—well was his need!— And dashed the rowels in his steed, Like arrow through the archway sprung; The ponderous gate behind him rung; To pass there was such scanty room, The bars descending, razed his plume.
The steed along the drawbridge flies, Just as it trembled on the rise; Nor lighter does the swallow skim Along the smooth lake's level brim; And when Lord Marmion reached his band, He halts, and turns with clenched hand, And shout of loud defiance pours, And shook his gauntlet at the towers. "Horse! horse!" the Douglas cried, "and chase!"; But soon he reined his fury's pace; A royal messenger he came, Though most unworthy of the name.
* * * * *
St. Mary, mend my fiery mood! Old age ne'er cools the Douglas blood, I thought to slay him where he stood. "'Tis pity of him, too," he cried; "Bold can he speak, and fairly ride; I warrant him a warrior tried." With this his mandate he recalls, And slowly seeks his castle halls.
Sir Walter Scott.
* * * * *
Banished from Rome! What's banished, but set free From daily contact of the things I loathe? "Tried and convicted traitor!" Who says this? Who'll prove it, at his peril on my head? Banished? I thank you for't. It breaks my chain! I held some slack allegiance till this hour; But now my sword's my own. Smile on, my lords; I scorn to count what feelings, withered hopes, Strong provocation, bitter, burning wrongs, I have within my heart's hot cells shut up, To leave you in your lazy dignities. But here I stand and scoff you! here I fling Hatred and full defiance in your face! Your Consul's merciful. For this all thanks:— He dares not touch a hair of Catiline! "Traitor!" I go; but I return. This—trial! Here I devote your Senate! I've had wrongs To stir a fever in the blood of age, Or make the infant's sinews strong as steel. This day's the birth of sorrow! This hour's work Will breed proscriptions! Look to your hearths, my lords For there, henceforth, shall sit for household gods, Shapes hot from Tartarus!—all shames and crimes;— Wan Treachery, with his thirsty dagger drawn; Suspicion poisoning his brother's cup; Naked Rebellion, with the torch and axe, Making his wild sport of your blazing thrones; Till Anarchy comes down on you like night, And Massacre seals Rome's eternal grave. I go; but not to leap the gulf alone. I go; but when I come, 'twill be the burst Of ocean in the earthquake,—rolling back In swift and mountainous ruin. Fare you well! You build my funeral-pile; but your best blood Shall quench its flame.
Rev. George Croly.
* * * * *
THE WORN WEDDING-RING.
Your wedding-ring wears thin, dear wife; ah, summers not a few, Since I put it on your finger first, have passed o'er me and you; And, love, what changes we have seen—what cares and pleasures too— Since you became my own dear wife, when this old ring was new.
O blessings on that happy day, the happiest in my life, When, thanks to God, your low sweet "Yes" made you my loving wife; Your heart will say the same, I know, that day's as dear to you, That day that made me yours, dear wife, when this old ring was new.
How well do I remember now, your young sweet face that day; How fair you were—how dear you were—my tongue could hardly say; Nor how I doted on you; ah, how proud I was of you; But did I love you more than now, when this old ring was new?
No—no; no fairer were you then than at this hour to me, And dear as life to me this day, how could you dearer be? As sweet your face might be that day as now it is, 'tis true, And did I know your heart as well when this old ring was new!
O partner of my gladness, wife, what care, what grief is there, For me you would not bravely face,—with me you would not share? O what a weary want had every day if wanting you, Wanting the love that God made mine when this old ring was new.
Years bring fresh links to bind us, wife—young voices that are here, Young faces round our fire that make their mother's yet more dear, Young loving hearts, your care each day makes yet more like to you, More like the loving heart made mine when this old ring was new.
And bless'd be God all He has given are with us yet, around Our table, every little life lent to us, still is found; Though cares we've known, with hopeful hearts the worst we've struggled through; Blessed be His name for all His love since this old ring was new.
The past is dear; its sweetness still our memories treasure yet; The griefs we've borne, together borne, we would not now forget; Whatever, wife, the future brings, heart unto heart still true, We'll share as we have shared all else since this old ring was new.
And if God spare us 'mongst our sons and daughters to grow old, We know His goodness will not let your heart or mine grow cold; Your aged eyes will see in mine all they've still shown to you, And mine in yours all they have seen since this old ring was new.
And O when death shall come at last to bid me to my rest, May I die looking in those eyes, and leaning on that breast; O may my parting gaze be blessed with the dear sight of you, Of those fond eyes—fond as they were when this old ring was new.
W. C. Bennett.
* * * * *
The battle was over—the foemen were flying, But the plain was strewn with the dead and the dying, For the dark angel rode on its sulphurous blast, And had reaped a rich harvest of death, as he passed; For, as grass he mowed down the blue and the gray, With the mean and the mighty that stood in his way, While the blood of our bravest ran there as water, And his nostrils were filled with the incense of slaughter.
The black guns were silent—hushed the loud ringing cheers, And the pale dead were buried, in silence and tears; And the wounded brought in on stretchers so gory, Broken and mangled but covered with glory, Whilst the surgeons were clipping with expertness and vim, From the agonised trunk each bullet-torn limb, And the patient, if living, was carefully sent To the cool open wards of the hospital tent.
Within one of those wards a brave Highlander lay, With the chill dews of death on his forehead of clay, For a shell had struck him in the heat of the fray, And his right arm and shoulder were carried away; No word had he spoken—not a sound had he made, Yet a shiver, at times, had his anguish betrayed, And so calmly he lay without murmur or moan, The gentle-voiced sister thought his spirit had flown.
The lamps burning dimly an uncertain light shed, While the groans of the wounded, the stare of the dead, Made an age of a night to the gentle and true, That had waited and watched half its long hours through; When the surgeon came in with a whisper of cheer, And a nod and a glance at the cot that stood near, When—"Here!" like a bugle blast, the dying man cried, "It is roll-call in Heaven!" He answered and died.
* * * * *
THE DEAD DOLL.
You needn't be trying to comfort me—I tell you my dolly is dead! There's no use in saying she isn't—with a crack like that in her head. It's just like you said it wouldn't hurt much to have my tooth out that day; And then when the man most pulled my head off, you hadn't a word to say.
And I guess you must think I'm a baby, when you say you can mend it with glue! As if I didn't know better than that! Why, just suppose it was you? You might make her look all mended—but what do I care for looks? Why, glue's for chairs and tables, and toys, and the backs of books!
My dolly! my own little daughter! Oh, but it's the awfullest crack! It just makes me sick to think of the sound when her poor head went whack Against that horrible brass thing that holds up the little shelf, Now, Nursey, what makes you remind me? I know that I did it myself!
I think you must be crazy—you'll get her another head! What good would forty heads do her? I tell you my dolly is dead! And to think I hadn't quite finished her elegant New Year's hat! And I took a sweet ribbon of hers last night to tie on that horrid cat!
When my mamma gave me that ribbon—I was playing out in the yard— She said to me most expressly: "Here's a ribbon for Hildegarde." And I went and put it on Tabby, and Hildegarde saw me do it; But I said to myself, "Oh, never mind, I don't believe she knew it!"
But I know that she knew it now, and I just believe, I do, That her poor little heart was broken, and so her head broke too. Oh, my baby! my little baby! I wish my head had been hit! For I've hit it over and over, and it hasn't cracked a bit.
But since the darling is dead, she'll want to be buried of course; We will take my little wagon, Nurse, and you shall be the horse; And I'll walk behind and cry; and we'll put her in this—you see, This dear little box—and we'll bury them under the maple tree.
And papa will make a tombstone, like the one he made for my bird; And he'll put what I tell him on it—yes, every single word! I shall say: "Here lies Hildegarde, a beautiful doll who is dead; She died of a broken heart, and a dreadful crack in her head."
* * * * *
AUNTY DOLEFUL'S VISIT.
How do you do, Cornelia? I heard you were sick and I stepped in to cheer you up a little. My friends often say, "It's such a comfort to see you, Aunty Doleful. You have such a flow of conversation, and are so lively." Besides, I said to myself, as I came up the stairs, "Perhaps it's the last time I'll ever see Cornelia Jane alive."
You don't mean to die yet, eh? Well, now, how do you know? You can't tell. You think you are getting better; but there was poor Mrs. Jones sitting up, and every one saying how smart she was, and all of a sudden she was taken with spasms in the heart, and went off like a flash. But you must be careful, and not get anxious or excited. Keep quite calm, and don't fret about anything. Of course, things can't go on just as if you were down stairs; and I wondered whether you knew your little Billy was sailing about in a tub on the mill-pond, and that your little Sammy was letting your little Jimmy down from the verandah roof in a clothes-basket.
Gracious goodness! what's the matter? I guess Providence'll take care of 'em. Don't look so. You thought Bridget was watching them? Well, no, she isn't. I saw her talking to a man at the gate. He looked to me like a burglar. No doubt she let him take the impression of the door-key in wax, and then he'll get in and murder you all. There was a family at Kobble Hill all killed last week for fifty dollars. Now, don't fidget so, it will be bad for the baby.
Poor little dear! How singular it is, to be sure, that you can't tell whether a child is blind, or deaf and dumb or a cripple at that age. It might be all, and you'd never know it.
Most of them that have their senses make bad use of them though; that ought to be your comfort, if it does turn out to have anything dreadful the matter with it. And more don't live a year. I saw a baby's funeral down the street as I came along.
How is Mr. Kobble? Well, but finds it warm in town, eh? Well, I should think he would. They are dropping down by hundreds there with sun-stroke. You must prepare your mind to have him brought home any day. Anyhow, a trip on these railroad trains is just risking your life every time you take one. Back and forth every day as he is, it's just trifling with danger.
Dear! dear; now to think what dreadful things hang over us all the time! Dear! dear!
Scarlet fever has broken out in the village, Cornelia. Little Isaac Potter has it, and I saw your Jimmy playing with him last Saturday.
Well, I must be going now. I've got another sick friend, and I shan't think my duty done unless I cheer her up a little before I sleep. Good-bye. How pale you look, Cornelia. I don't believe you have a good doctor. Do send him away and try some one else. You don't look so well as you did when I came in. But if anything happens, send for me at once. If I can't do anything else, I can cheer you up a little.
* * * * *
William was holding in his hand The likeness of his wife— Fresh, as if touched by fairy wand, With beauty, grace, and life. He almost thought it spoke—he gazed, Upon the treasure still; Absorbed, delighted, and amazed He view'd the artist's skill.
"This picture is yourself, dear Ann, Tis' drawn to nature true; I've kissed it o'er and o'er again, It is so much like you." "And has it kiss'd you back, my dear?" "Why—no—my love," said he; "Then, William, it is very clear, 'Tis not at all like me!"
* * * * *
THE CHIMES OF S. S. PETER AND PAUL.
Ring out, sad bells, ring out Melody to the twilight sky, With echoes, echoing yet As along the shore they die; Chiming, chiming, Sweet toned notes upon the heart That one can ne'er forget.
Ring louder! O louder! Until the distant sea Shall send thy clear vibrations Dying back to me; Tolling, tolling, Beautiful, trembling notes Of sad sweet melody.
Ring, ring, ring, a merry Christmas And a glad New Year; Ring on Easter morning And at the May-day dear; Fling, fling Thy tones over woodland ways All the hills adorning.
At the joyous marriage, And at the gladsome birth Fling thy silvery echoes Over all the earth, But knell, O knell When death, the shadowy spectre Shall kiss the lips of mirth
O blessed bells, silver bells, Thy notes are echoing still Like the song of an ebbing tide, Or a mournful whip-poor-will. As he sings, sings, In the crimson sunset light That dies on the burnished hill
Then ring, O softly ring Musical deep-toned bells; Till harmony, sweet harmony Throughout the woodland swells. To bring, faintly bring, Thy dying echoes back to me, Over fields and fells, Bells, bells, bells.
* * * * *
THE ENGINEER'S STORY.
No, children, my trips are over, The engineer needs rest; My hand is shaky; I'm feeling A tugging pain i' my breast; But here, as the twilight gathers, I'll tell you a tale of the road, That'll ring in my head forever Till it rests beneath the sod.
We were lumbering along in the twilight, The night was dropping her shade, And the "Gladiator" laboured— Climbing the top of the grade; The train was heavily laden, So I let my engine rest, Climbing the grading slowly, Till we reached the upland's crest.
I held my watch to the lamplight— Ten minutes behind time! Lost in the slackened motion Of the up grade's heavy climb; But I knew the miles of the prairie That stretched a level track, So I touched the gauge of the boiler, And pulled the lever back.
Over the rails a gleaming, Thirty an hour, or so, The engine leaped like a demon, Breathing a fiery glow; But to me—a-hold of the lever— It seemed a child alway, Trustful and always ready My lightest touch to obey.
I was proud, you know, of my engine, Holding it steady that night, And my eye on the track before us, Ablaze with the Drummond light. We neared a well-known cabin, Where a child of three or four, As the up train passed, oft called me, A-playing around the door.
My hand was firm on the throttle As we swept around the curve, When something afar in the shadow, Struck fire through every nerve. I sounded the brakes, and crashing The reverse lever down in dismay, Groaning to Heaven—eighty paces Ahead was the child at its play!
One instant—one, awful and only, The world flew round in my brain, And I smote my hand hard on my forehead To keep back the terrible pain; The train I thought flying forever, With mad, irresistible roll, While the cries of the dying night wind Swept into my shuddering soul.
Then I stood on the front of the engine— How I got there I never could tell— My feet planted down on the crossbar, Where the cow-catcher slopes to the rail,— One hand firmly locked on the coupler, And one held out in the night, While my eye gauged the distance, and measured The speed of our slackening flight.
My mind, thank the Lord! it was steady; I saw the curls of her hair, And the face that, turning in wonder, Was lit by the deadly glare. I know little more, but I heard it— The groan of the anguished wheels— And remember thinking, the engine In agony trembles and reels.
One rod! To the day of my dying I shall think the old engine reared back, And as it recoiled, with a shudder, I swept my hand over the track; Then darkness fell over my eyelids, But I heard the surge of the train, And the poor old engine creaking, As racked by a deadly pain.
They found us, they said, on the gravel, My fingers enmeshed in her hair, And she on my bosom a climbing, To nestle securely there. We are not much given to crying— We men that run on the road— But that night, they said, there were faces, With tears on them, lifted to God.
For years in the eve and the morning, As I neared the cabin again, My hand on the lever pressed downward And slackened the speed of the train. When my engine had blown her a greeting, She always would come to the door, And her look with the fullness of heaven Blesses me evermore.
* * * * *
Miss Julia was induced to give a taste of her musical powers, and this is how she did it. She flirted up her panniers, coquettishly wiggle-waggled to the piano and sang—
"When ther moo-hoon is mi-hild-ly be-ahming O'er ther ca-halm and si-hi-lent se-e-e-e, Its ra-dyance so-hoftly stre-heam-ing Oh! ther-hen, Oh! ther-hen, I thee-hink Hof thee-hee, I thee-hink, I thee-hink, I thee-he-he-he-he-he-he-hink hof thee-e-e-e-e!"
"Beautiful, Miss Julia! Beautiful!" and we all clapped our hands. "Do sing another verse—it's perfectly divine, Miss Julia," said Eugene Augustus. Then Julia raised her golden (dyed) head, touched the white ivory with her jewelled fingers, and warbled—
"When ther sur-hun is bri-hight-ly glow-ing-how-ing O'er the se-hene so de-hear to me-e-e, And swe-heat the wie-hind is blow-how-ing, Oh! ther-hen, oh! ther-hen, I thee-hink Hof thee-hee, I thee-hink I thee-hink I thee-he-he-he-he-he-he-hink-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-hof the-e-e-e-e-e!"—
* * * * *
THE OLD SOLDIER OF THE REGIMENT.
From the bold heights of the island, far up in the Huron Sea, Proudly waved that Summer morning the old flag of liberty; While close under that fair banner, which to him was love and law, Sat that hour a veteran soldier of the guard at Mackinaw.
Bowed and wrinkled, thin and hoary, sat he there that Summer day, His form leaning 'gainst the flagstaff, while he watched the sunlight play On the waters of that inland ocean which, in beauty purled, Were to him—the scarred old soldier—fairest waters of the world.
In the days when Peace no longer walked the land, a beauteous queen, Fragrance dropping from her garments, gladness beaming in her mien; When grim war strode forth thro' valley, and o'er hill from sea to sea, All along her pathway shedding, woe in its infinity.
Although time and gallant service, for the land he loved the best, Had upon his manhood told already, and he needed rest, Brave, and trusting still, and loving, as a knight of ancient days, Forth he went with other comrades, caring not for fame or praise.
Only eager, aye, for duty, as God made it plain to all, When upon the breath of Zephyrus, patriot heroes heard him call; Anxious to beat back the dread one, and thro' war bring sweet release, From the demon of the tempest, usher in the reign of peace!
O, the hot and bloody conflicts, hour by hour, and day by day, 'Mid those years of which the memory can never pass away! O, at last the hard-won triumph, aye, but glorious we may say, Since thro' tears and loss God's blessing comes to-day to "Blue and Gray!"
And the soldier, the old soldier, sitting there that hour alone, Gazing out upon the waters, thought of those years long since flown, And, on many a field of strife, his humble part—his part sublime— When his comrades fell around him like leaves in the Autumn time!
Sitting there that summer morning he thought, too, how since his youth, His whole life had ever been, as 'twere, a lone one, how in sooth He had never since that hour—and his years how great the sum!— He had never known the blessing of a wife, or child, or home.
And, ah, now he fast was nearing—sad old man!—the end of life, Soon he should lay by his armour and go forth beyond the strife. And he tho't—"O, ere I go hence, if the one who gave me birth Could but come from yonder Heaven, only come once more to earth;
"That again, as in my childhood, I might look upon her face, Feel once more, once more, the pressure of her loving, dear embrace, Hear her speak, ah, as she used to, those sweet words I so much miss, Feel upon my cheek and forehead the touch of her fragrant kiss!"
And the sad old soldier's eyelids closed, his lips they moved no more; He had gone to sleep where often he had gone to sleep before!— So his comrades tho't that hour as they saw him sitting there, Leaning fondly 'gainst the flagstaff, on his face a look most fair!
And they left him to his slumbers, with no wish to break the spell Which had come to him so gently—the old soul they loved so well! And the breezes so delightful played among his locks so white, While above him proudly floated the old flag of his delight.
But ere long, when loved ones round him called the name of "Sergeant Gray," Not a word the veteran answered, for his life had passed away.— Though a tear was on each pale cheek of the dead one whom they saw— The old soldier of the regiment on guard at Mackinaw.
Geo. Newell Lovejoy.
* * * * *
POOR LITTLE STEPHEN GERARD.
The man lived in Philadelphia who, when young and poor, entered a bank, and says he, "Please, sir, don't you want a boy?" And the stately personage said: "No, little boy, I don't want a little boy." The little boy, whose heart was too full for utterance, chewing a piece of liquorice stick he had bought with a cent stolen from his good and pious aunt, with sobs plainly audible, and with great globules of water rolling down his cheeks, glided silently down the marble steps of the bank. Bending his noble form, the bank man dodged behind a door, for he thought the little boy was going to shy a stone at him. But the little boy picked up something, and stuck it in his poor but ragged jacket. "Come here, little boy," and the little boy did come here; and the bank man said: "Lo, what pickest thou up?" And he answered and replied: "A pin." And the bank man said: "Little boy, are you good?" and he said he was. And the bank man said: "How do you vote?—excuse me, do you go to Sunday school?" and he said he did. Then the bank man took down a pen made of pure gold, and flowing with pure ink, and he wrote on a piece of paper, "St. Peter;" and he asked the little boy what it stood for, and he said "Salt Peter." Then the bank man said it meant "Saint Peter." The little boy said: "Oh!"
Then the bank man took the little boy to his bosom, and the little boy said "Oh!" again, for he squeezed him. Then the bank man took the little boy into partnership, and gave him half the profits and all the capital, and he married the bank man's daughter, and now all he has is all his, and all his own, too.
My uncle told me this story, and I spent six weeks in picking up pins in front of a bank. I expected the bank man would call me in and say: "Little boy, are you good?" and I was going to say "Yes;" and when he asked me what "St. John" stood for, I was going to say "Salt John." But the bank man wasn't anxious to have a partner, and I guess the daughter was a son, for one day says he to me: "Little boy, what's that you're picking up?" Says I, awful meekly, "Pins." Says he: "Let's see 'em." And he took 'em, and I took off my cap, all ready to go in the bank, and become a partner, and marry his daughter. But I didn't get an invitation. He said: "Those pins belong to the bank, and if I catch you hanging around here any more I'll set the dog on you!" Then I left, and the mean old fellow kept the pins. Such is life as I find it.
* * * * *
THE LITTLE QUAKER SINNER.
A little Quaker maiden, with dimpled cheek and chin, Before an ancient mirror stood, and viewed her form within; She wore a gown of sober grey, a cape demure and prim, With only simple fold and hem, yet dainty, neat, and trim. Her bonnet, too, was grey and stiff; its only line of grace Was in the lace, so soft and white, shirred round her rosy face.
Quoth she, "Oh, how I hate this hat! I hate this gown and cape! I do wish all my clothes were not of such outlandish shape! The children passing by to school have ribbons on their hair; The little girl next door wears blue; oh, dear, if I could dare I know what I should like to do?"—(The words were whispered low, Lest such tremendous heresy should reach her aunts below).
Calmly reading in the parlour sat the good aunts, Faith and Peace, Little dreaming how rebellious throbbed the heart of their young niece. All their prudent humble teaching wilfully she cast aside, And, her mind now fully conquered by vanity and pride, She, with trembling heart and fingers, on a hassock sat her down, And this little Quaker sinner sewed a tuck into her gown!
"Little Patience, art thou ready? Fifth-day meeting time has come, Mercy Jones and Goodman Elder with his wife have left their home." 'Twas Aunt Faith's sweet voice that called her, and the naughty little maid— Gliding down the dark old stairway—hoped their notice to evade, Keeping shyly in their shadow as they went out at the door, Ah, never little Quakeress a guiltier conscience bore!
Dear Aunt Faith walked looking upward; all her thoughts were pure and holy; And Aunt Peace walked gazing downward, with a humble mind and lowly. But "tuck—tuck!" chirped the sparrows, at the little maiden's side; And, in passing Farmer Watson's, where the barn-door opened wide, Every sound that issued from it, every grunt and every cluck, Seemed to her affrighted fancy like "a tuck!" "a tuck!" "a tuck!"
In meeting Goodman Elder spoke of pride and vanity, While all the Friends seemed looking round that dreadful tuck to see. How it swelled in its proportions, till it seemed to fill the air, And the heart of little Patience grew heavier with her care. Oh, the glad relief to her, when, prayers and exhortations ended, Behind her two good aunts her homeward way she wended!
The pomps and vanities of life she'd seized with eager arms, And deeply she had tasted of the world's alluring charms— Yea, to the dregs had drained them and only this to find; All was vanity of spirit and vexation of the mind. So repentant, saddened, humbled, on her hassock she sat down, And this little Quaker sinner ripped the tuck out of her gown!
* * * * *
HOW WE HUNTED A MOUSE.
I was dozing comfortably in my easy chair, and dreaming of the good times which I hope are coming, when there fell upon my ears a most startling scream. It was the voice of my Maria Ann in agony. The voice came from the kitchen, and to the kitchen I rushed. The idolized form of my Maria was perched on a chair, and she was flourishing an iron spoon in all directions, and shouting "shoo," in a general manner at everything in the room. To my anxious inquiries as to what was the matter, she screamed: "O! Joshua, a mouse, shoo—wha—shoo—a great—ya, shoo—horrid mouse, and— she—ew—it ran right out of the cupboard—shoo—go way—O Lord—Joshua— shoo—kill it, oh, my—shoo."
All that fuss, you see, about one little, harmless mouse. Some women are so afraid of mice. Maria is. I got the poker and set myself to poke that mouse, and my wife jumped down and ran off into another room. I found the mouse in a corner under the sink. The first time I hit it I didn't poke it any on account of getting the poker all tangled up in a lot of dishes in the sink; and I did not hit it any more because the mouse would not stay still. It ran right toward me, and I naturally jumped, as anybody would, but I am not afraid of mice, and when the horrid thing ran up inside the leg of my pantaloons, I yelled to Maria because I was afraid it would gnaw a hole in my garment. There is something real disagreeable about having a mouse inside the leg of one's pantaloons, especially if there is nothing between you and the mouse. Its toes are cold, and its nails are scratchy, and its fur tickles, and its tail feels crawly, and there is nothing pleasant about it, and you are all the time afraid it will try to gnaw out, and begin on you instead of on the cloth. That mouse was next to me. I could feel its every motion with startling and suggestive distinctness. For these reasons I yelled to Maria, and as the case seemed urgent to me I may have yelled with a certain degree of vigour; but I deny that I yelled fire, and if I catch the boy who thought that I did, I shall inflict punishment on his person.
I did not lose my presence of mind for an instant. I caught the mouse just as it was clambering over my knee, and by pressing firmly on the outside of the cloth, I kept the animal a prisoner on the inside. I kept jumping around with all my might to confuse it, so that it would not think about biting, and I yelled so that the mice would not hear its squeaks and come to its assistance. A man can't handle many mice at once to advantage.
Maria was white as a sheet when she came into the kitchen, and asked what she should do—as though I could hold the mouse and plan a campaign at the same time.
I told her to think of something, and she thought she would throw things at the intruder; but as there was no earthly chance for her to hit the mouse, while every shot took effect on me, I told her to stop, after she had tried two flat-irons and the coal scuttle. She paused for breath, but I kept bobbing around. Somehow I felt no inclination to sit down anywhere. "Oh, Joshua," she cried, "I wish you had not killed the cat." Now, I submit that the wish was born of the weakness of woman's intellect. How on earth did she suppose a cat could get where that mouse was?—rather have the mouse there alone, anyway, than to have a cat prowling around after it. I reminded Maria of the fact that she was a fool. Then she got the tea-kettle and wanted to scald the mouse. I objected to that process, except as a last resort. Then she got some cheese to coax the mouse down, but I did not dare to let go for fear it would run up. Matters were getting desperate. I told her to think of something else, and I kept jumping. Just as I was ready to faint with exhaustion, I tripped over an iron, lost my hold, and the mouse fell to the floor very dead. I had no idea a mouse could be squeezed to death so easy.
That was not the end of trouble, for before I had recovered my breath a fireman broke in one of the front windows, and a whole company followed him through, and they dragged hose around, and mussed things all over the house, and then the foreman wanted to thrash me because the house was not on fire, and I had hardly got him pacified before a policeman came in and arrested me. Some one had run down and told him I was drunk and was killing Maria. It was all Maria and I could do, by combining our eloquence, to prevent him from marching me off in disgrace, but we finally got matters quieted and the house clear.
Now, when mice run out of the cupboard I go out doors, and let Maria "shoo" them back again. I can kill a mouse, but the fun don't pay for the trouble.
* * * * *
IN SCHOOL DAYS.
Still sits the school-house by the road, A ragged beggar sunning; Around it still the sumachs grow, And blackberry vines are running.
Within, the master's desk is seen, Deep scarred by raps official; The warping floor, the battered seats, The jack-knife's carved initial;
The charcoal frescoes on its wall; Its door's worn sill, betraying The feet that, creeping slow to school, Went storming out to playing!
Long years ago a winter sun Shone over it at setting; Lit up its western window panes, And low eaves' icy fretting.
It touched the tangled golden curls, And brown eyes full of grieving, Of one who still her steps delayed When all the school were leaving.
For near her stood the little boy Her childish favour singled: His cap pulled low upon a face Where pride and shame were mingled.
Pushing with restless feet the snow To right and left, he lingered;— As restlessly her tiny hands The blue-checked apron fingered,
He saw her lift her eyes; he felt The soft hand's tight caressing, And heard the tremble of her voice, As if a fault confessing.
"I'm sorry that I spelt the word; I hate to go above you, Because,"—the brown eyes lower fell,— "Because, you see, I love you!"
Still memory to a gray-haired man That sweet child-face is showing. Dear girl! the grasses on her grave Have forty years been growing.
He lives to learn, in life's hard school, How few who pass above him Lament their triumphs and his loss, Like her,—because they love him.
* * * * *
It struck my imagination much, while standing on the last field fought by Bonaparte, that the battle of Waterloo should have been fought on a Sunday. What a different scene did the Scotch Grays and English Infantry present, from that which, at that very hour, was exhibited by their relatives, when over England and Scotland each church-bell had drawn together its worshippers! While many a mother's heart was sending up a prayer for her son's preservation, perhaps that son was gasping in agony. Yet, even at such a period, the lessons of his early days might give him consolation; and the maternal prayer might prepare the heart to support maternal anguish. It is religion alone which is of universal application, both as a stimulant and a lenitive, throughout the varied heritage which falls to the lot of man. But we know that many thousands rushed into this fight, even of those who had been instructed in our religious principles, without leisure for one serious thought; and that some officers were killed in their ball dresses. They made the leap into the gulf which divides two worlds—the present from the immutable state without one parting prayer, or one note of preparation!
As I looked over this field, now green with growing corn, I could mark, with my eye, the spots where the most desperate carnage had been marked out by the verdure of the wheat. The bodies had been heaped together, and scarcely more than covered; and so enriched is the soil, that, in these spots, the grain never ripens. It grows rank and green to the end of harvest. This touching memorial, which endures when the thousand groans have expired, and when the stain of human blood has faded from the ground, still seems to cry to Heaven that there is awful guilt somewhere, and a terrific reckoning for those who caused destruction which the earth could not conceal. These hillocks of superabundant vegetation, as the wind rustled through the corn, seemed the most affecting monuments which nature could devise, and gave a melancholy animation to this plain of death.
When we attempt to measure the mass of suffering which was here inflicted, and to number the individuals that fell, considering each who suffered as our fellow-man, we are overwhelmed with the agonizing calculation, and retire from the field which has been the scene of our reflections, with the simple, concentrated feeling—these armies once lived, breathed, and felt like us, and the time is at hand when we shall be like them.
* * * * *
THE FIELD OF WATERLOO.
There was a sound of revelry by night, And Belgium's capital had gathered then Her Beauty and her Chivalry; and bright The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men; A thousand hearts beat happily; and when Music arose, with its voluptuous swell, Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again, And all went merry as a marriage bell:— But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!
Did ye not hear it? No; 'twas but the wind Or the car rattling o'er the stony street; On with the dance! let joy be unconfined; No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet To chase the glowing hours with flying feet— But hark!—that heavy sound breaks in once more, As if the clouds its echo would repeat; And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before! Arm! arm! it is—it is—the cannon's opening roar!
Within a windowed niche of that high hall Sat Brunswick's fated chieftain; he did hear That sound the first amidst the festival, And caught its tone with Death's prophetic ear; And when they smiled because he deemed it near, His heart more truly knew that peal too well Which stretched his father on a bloody bier, And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell; He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell!
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro, And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress, And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago, Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness; And there were sudden partings, such as press The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs Which ne'er might be repeated; Who could guess If ever more should meet those mutual eyes, Since, upon night so sweet, such awful morn could rise!
And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed, The mustering squadron, and the clattering car, Went pouring forward with impetuous speed, And swiftly forming in the ranks of war; And the deep thunder, peal on peal, afar; And near, the beat of the alarming drum Roused up the soldier, ere the morning star; While thronged the citizens with terror dumb. Or whispering with white lips—"The foe! they come, they come!"
And wild and high the "Cameron's gathering" rose— The war note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills Have heard—and heard too have her Saxon foes— How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills, Savage and shrill! But with the breath which fills Their mountain pipe, so fill the mountaineers With the fierce native daring, which instils The stirring memory of a thousand years; And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears.
And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves, Dewy with nature's tear-drops, as they pass Grieving—if aught inanimate e'er grieves— Over the unreturning brave—alas! Ere evening to be trodden like the grass, Which now beneath them, but above shall grow In its next verdure; when this fiery mass Of living valour, rolling on the foe, And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low!
Last noon beheld them full of lusty life, Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay; The midnight brought the signal sound of strife; The morn the marshalling of arms; the day Battle's magnificently stern array! The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which, when rent, The earth is covered thick with other clay, Which her own clay shall cover, heap'd and pent, Rider and horse—friend, foe—in one red burial blent!
* * * * *
THE BRIDAL WINE-CUP.
SCENE—Parlour, with wedding party, consisting of JUDGE OTIS; MARION, his daughter, the bride; HARRY WOOD, the bridegroom; a few relatives and friends; all gathered around the centre table, on which are decanters and wine-glasses.
One of the company—Let us drink the health of the newly-wedded pair. (Turns to Harry.) Shall it be in wine? (turns to Marion,) or in sparkling cold water?
HARRY—Pledge in wine, if it be the choice of the company.
Several voices—Pledge in wine, to be sure.
MARION—(With great earnestness.)—O no! Harry; not wine, I pray you.
JUDGE OTIS—Yes, Marion, my daughter; lay aside your foolish prejudices for this once; the company expect it, and you should not so seriously infringe upon the rules of etiquette. In your own house you may act as you please; but in mine, which you are about to leave, for this once please me, by complying with my wishes in this matter.
[A glass of wine is handed to Marion, which she slowly and reluctantly raises to her lips, but just as it reaches them she exclaims, excitedly, holding out the glass at arm's length, and staring at it,]
MARION—Oh! how terrible.
Several voices—(Eagerly)—What is it? What do you see?
MARION—Wait—wait, and I will tell you. I see (pointing to the glass with her finger) a sight that beggars all description; and yet listen, and I will paint it for you, if I can. It is a lonely spot; tall mountains, crowned with verdure, rise in awful sublimity around; a river runs through, and bright flowers in wild profusion grow to the water's edge. There is a thick, warm mist, that the sun vainly seeks to pierce; trees, lofty and beautiful, wave to the airy motion of the birds; and beneath them a group of Indians gather. They move to and fro with something like sorrow upon their dark brows, for in their midst lies a manly form, whose cheek is deathly pale, and whose eye is wild with the fitful fire of fever. One of his own white race stands, or rather kneels, beside him, pillowing the poor sufferer's head upon his breast with all a brother's tenderness. Look! (she speaks with renewed energy) how he starts up, throws the damp curls back from his high and noble brow, and clasps his hands in agony of despair; hear his terrible shrieks for life; and mark how he clutches at the form of his companion, imploring to be saved from despair and death. O, what a terrible scene! Genius in ruins, pleading for that which can never be regained when once lost. Hear him call piteously his father's name; see him clutch his fingers as he shrieks for his sister—his only sister, the twin of his soul—now weeping for him in his distant home! See! his hands are lifted to heaven; he prays—how wildly!—for mercy, while the hot fever rushes through his veins. The friend beside him is weeping in despair; and the awe-stricken sons of the forest move silently away, leaving the living and the dying alone together. (The judge, overcome with emotion, falls into a chair, while the rest of the company seem awe-struck, as Marion's voice grows softer and more sorrowful in its tones, yet remains distinct and clear.) It is evening now, the great, white moon, is coming up, and her beams fall gently upon his forehead. He moves not; for his eyes are set in their sockets, and their once piercing glance is dim. In vain his companion whispers the name of father and sister; death is there to dull the pulse, to dim the eye, and to deafen the ear. Death! stern, terrible, and with no soft hand, no gentle voice, to soothe his fevered brow, and calm his troubled soul and bid it hope in God. (Harry sits down and covers his face with his hands) Death overtook him thus; and there, in the midst of the mountain forest, surrounded by Indian tribes, they scooped him a grave in the sand; and without a shroud or coffin, prayer or hymn, they laid him down in the damp earth to his final slumber. Thus died and was buried the only son of a proud father; the only, idolized brother of a fond sister. There he sleeps to-day, undisturbed, in that distant land, with no stone to mark the spot. There he lies—my father's son—MY OWN TWIN BROTHER! A victim to this (holds up the glass before the company) deadly, damning poison! Father! (turning to the judge,) father, shall I drink it now?
JUDGE OTIS—(Raising his bowed head and speaking with faltering voice)—No, no, my child! in God's name, cast it away.
MARION—(Letting her glass fall and dash to pieces)—Let no friend who loves me hereafter tempt me to peril my soul for wine. Not firmer the everlasting hills than my resolve, God helping me, never to touch or taste that terrible poison. And he (turning to Harry,) to whom I have this night given my heart and hand, who watched over my brother's dying form in that last sad hour, and buried the poor wanderer there by the river, in that land of gold, will, I trust, sustain me in this resolve. Will you not, (offers him her hand, which he takes,) my husband?
HARRY—With the blessing of heaven upon my efforts, I will; and I thank you, beyond expression, for the, solemn lesson you have taught us all on this occasion.
JUDGE OTIS—God bless you (taking Marion and Harry by the hand and speaking with deep emotion,) my children; and may I, too, have grace given me to help you in your efforts to keep this noble resolve.
One of the company—Let us honour the firmness and nobleness of principle of the fair bride, by drinking her health in pure, sparkling water, the only beverage which the great Creator of the Universe gave to the newly-wedded pair in the beautiful Garden of Eden.
Dramatized by Sidney Herbert.
* * * * *
ACT III. SCENE IV.
THE PARK AT FOTHERINGAY.
MARY. Farewell high thought, and pride of noble mind! I will forget my dignity, and all My sufferings; I will fall before her feet, Who hath reduced me to this wretchedness. [She turns towards Elizabeth. The voice of Heaven decides for you, my sister. Your happy brows are now with triumph crown'd, I bless the Power Divine, which thus hath rais'd you. [She kneels. But in your turn be merciful, my sister; Let me not lie before you thus disgraced; Stretch forth your hand, your royal hand, to raise Your sister from the depths of her distress
ELIZ. (stepping back). You are where it becomes you, Lady Stuart; And thankfully I prize my God's protection, Who hath not suffer'd me to kneel a suppliant Thus at your feet, as you now kneel at mine.
MARY. (with increasing energy of feeling). Think on all earthly things, vicissitudes. Oh! there are gods who punish haughty pride; Respect them, honour them, the dreadful ones Who thus before thy feet have humbled me! Dishonour not Yourself in me; profane not, nor disgrace The royal blood of Tudor.
ELIZ. (cold and severe). What would you say to me, my Lady Stuart? You wish'd to speak with me; and I, forgetting The Queen, and all the wrongs I have sustained, Fulfil the pious duty of the sister, And grant the boon you wished for of my presence. Yet I, in yielding to the gen'rous feelings Of magnanimity, expose myself To rightful censure, that I stoop so low, For well you know, you would have had me murder'd.
MARY. O! how shall I begin? O, how shall I So artfully arrange my cautious words, That they may touch, yet not offend your heart?— I am a Queen, like you, yet you have held me Confin'd in prison. As a suppliant I came to you, yet you in me insulted The pious use of hospitality; Slighting in me the holy law of nations, Immur'd me in a dungeon—tore from me My friends and servants; to unseemly want I was exposed, and hurried to the bar Of a disgraceful, insolent tribunal. No more of this;—in everlasting silence Be buried all the cruelties I suffer'd! See—I will throw the blame of all on fate, 'Twas not your fault, no more than it was mine, An evil spirit rose from the abyss, To kindle in our hearts the flames of hate, By which our tender youth had been divided.
[Approaching her confidently, and with a flattering tone.
Now stand we face to face; now sister, speak; Name but my crime, I'll fully satisfy you,— Alas! had you vouchsaf'd to hear me then, When I so earnest sought to meet your eye, It never would have come to this, nor would, Here in this mournful place, have happen'd now This so distressful, this so mournful meeting.
ELIZ. My better stars preserved me. I was warn'd, And laid not to my breast the pois'nous adder! Accuse not fate! your own deceitful heart It was, the wild ambition of your house. But God is with me. The blow was aim'd Full at my head, but your's it is which falls!
MARY. I'm in the hand of Heav'n. You never will Exert so cruelly the pow'r it gives you.
ELIZ. Who shall prevent me? Say, did not your uncle Set all the Kings of Europe the example How to conclude a peace with those they hate. Force is my only surety; no alliance Can be concluded with a race of vipers.
MARY. You have constantly regarded me But as a stranger, and an enemy, Had you declared me heir to your dominions, As is my right, then gratitude and love In me had fixed, for you a faithful friend And kinswoman.
ELIZ. Your friendship is abroad. Name you my successor! The treach'rous snare! That in my life you might seduce my people; And, like a sly Armida, in your net Entangle all our noble English youth; That all might turn to the new rising sun, And I—
MARY. O sister, rule your realm in peace. I give up ev'ry claim to these domains— Alas! the pinions of my soul are lam'd; Greatness entices me no more; your point Is gained; I am but Mary's shadow now— My noble spirit is at last broke down By long captivity:—You're done your worst On me; you have destroy'd me in my bloom! Now, end your work, my sister;—speak at length The word, which to pronounce has brought you hither; For I will ne'er believe, that you are come, To mock unfeelingly your hapless victim. Pronounce this word;—say, "Mary, you are free; You have already felt my pow'r,—Learn now To honour too my generosity." Say this, and I will take my life, will take My freedom, as a present from your hands. One word makes all undone;—I wait for it;— O let it not be needlessly delay'd. Woe to you, if you end not with this word! For should you not, like some divinity, Dispensing noble blessings, quit me now, Then, sister, not for all this island's wealth, For all the realms encircled by the deep, Would I exchange my present lot for yours.
ELIZ. And you confess at last that you are conquer'd Are all you schemes run out? No more assassins Now on the road? Will no adventurer Attempt again for you the sad achievement? Yes, madam, it is over:—You'll seduce No mortal more—The world has other cares;— None is ambitious of the dang'rous honour Of being your fourth husband.
MARY (starting angrily) Sister, sister— Grant me forbearance, all ye pow'rs of heaven!
ELIZ. (regards her long with a look of proud contempt). These then, are the charms Which no man with impunity can view, Near which no woman dare attempt to stand? In sooth, this honour has been cheaply gain'd,
MARY. This is too much!
ELIZ. (laughing insultingly). You show us, now indeed, Your real face; till now 'twas but the mask.
MARY, (burning with rage, yet dignified and noble). My sins were human, and the faults of youth; Superior force misled me. I have never Denied or sought to hide it; I despis'd, All false appearance as became a Queen. The worst of me is known, and I can say, That I am better than the fame I bear. Woe to you! when, in time to come, the world Shall draw the robe of honour from your deeds, With which thy arch-hypocrisy has veil'd The raging flames of lawless secret lust. Virtue was not your portion from your mother; Well know we what it was which brought the head Of Anne Boleyn to the fatal block. I've supported What human nature can support; farewell, Lamb-hearted resignation, passive patience, Fly to thy native heaven; burst at length Thy bonds, come forward from thy dreary cave, In all thy fury, long-suppressed rancour! And thou, who to the anger'd basilisk Impart'st the murd'rous glance, O, arm my tongue With poison'd darts! (raising her voice). A pretender Profanes the English throne! The gen'rous Britons Are cheated by a juggler, [whose whole figure Is false and painted, heart at well as face!] If right prevail'd, you now would in the dust Before me lie, for I'm your rightful monarch!
[Elizabeth hastily retires.
MARY. At last, at last, After whole years of sorrow and abasement, One moment of victorious revenge!
* * * * *
SCENE FROM LEAH, THE FORSAKEN.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
SCENE.—Night. The Village Churchyard. Enter Leah slowly, her hair streaming over her shoulders.
LEAH—[_solus_]-What seek I here? I know not; yet I feel I have a mission to fulfil. I feel that the cords of my I being are stretched to their utmost effort. Already seven days! So long! As the dead lights were placed about the body of Abraham, as the friends sat nightly at his feet and watched, so have I sat, for seven days, and wept over the corpse of my love. What have I done? Am I not the child of man? Is not love the right of all,—like the air, the light? And if I stretched my hands towards it, was it a crime? When I first saw him, first heard the sound of his voice, something wound itself around my heart. Then first I knew why I was created, and for the first time, was thankful for my life. Collect thyself, mind, and think! What has happened? I saw him yesterday—no! eight days ago! He was full of love. "You'll come," said he. I came. I left my people. I tore the cords that bound me to my nation, and came to him. He cast me forth into the night. And yet, my heart, you throb still. The earth still stands, the sun still shines, as if it had not gone down forever, for me. By his side stood a handsome maid, and drew him away with caressing hands. It is _she_ he loves, and to the Jewess he dares offer gold. I will seek him! I will gaze on his face—that deceitful beautiful face. [_Church illuminated. Organ plays softly_.] I will ask him what I have done that—[_Hides face in her hands and weeps. Organ swells louder and then subsides again_.] Perhaps he has been misled by some one—some false tongue! His looks, his words, seem to reproach me. Why was I silent? Thou proud mouth, ye proud lips, why did you not speak? Perhaps he loves me still. Perhaps his soul, like mine, pines in nameless agony, and yearns for reconciliation. [_Music soft_.] Why does my hate melt away at this soft voice with which heaven calls to me? That grand music! I hear voices. It sounds like a nuptial benediction; perhaps it is a loving bridal pair. Amen—amen! to that prayer, whoever you may be. [_Music stops_.] I, poor desolate one, would like to see their happy faces—I must—this window. Yes, here I can see into the church. [_Looks into the window. Screams_.] Do I dream? Kind Heaven, that prayer, that amen, you heard it not. I call it back. You did not hear my blessing. You were deaf. Did no blood-stained dagger drop upon them? 'Tis he! Revenge!——No! Thou shalt judge! Thine, Jehovah, is the vengeance. Thou, alone, canst send it. [_Rests her arm upon a broken column.]
Enter Rudolf from the sacristy door, with wreath in hand._
RUD.—I am at last alone. I cannot endure the joy and merriment around me. How like mockery sounded the pious words of the priest! As I gazed towards the church windows I saw a face, heard a muffled cry. I thought it was her face,—her voice.
LEAH.—(coldly.) Did you think so?
RUD.—Leah! Is it you?
LEAH.—Silence, perjured one! Can the tongue that lied, still speak? The breath that called me wife, now swear faith to another! Does it dare to mix with the pure air of heaven? Is this the man I worshipped? whose features I so fondly gazed upon! Ah! [shuddering] No—no! The hand of heaven has crushed, beaten and defaced them! The stamp of divinity no longer rests there! [Walks away.]
RUD.—Leah! hear me!
LEAH.—[turning fiercely.] Ha! You call me back? I am pitiless now.
RUD.—You broke faith first. You took the money.
LEAH.—Money! What money?
RUD.—The money my father sent you.
LEAH.—Sent me money? For what?
RUD.—[hesitating.] To induce you to release me—to——
LEAH.—That I might release you? And you knew it? You permitted it?
RUD.—I staked my life that you would not take it.
LEAH.—And you believed I had taken it?
RUD.—How could I believe otherwise? I——
LEAH.—[with rage] And you believed I had taken it, Miserable Christian, and you cast me off! Not a question was the Jewess worth. This, then, was thy work; this the eternity of love you promised me. Forgive me, Heaven, that I forgot my nation to love this Christian. Let that love be lost in hate. Love is false, unjust—hate endless, eternal.
RUD.—Cease these gloomy words of vengeance—I have wronged you. I feel it without your reproaches. I have sinned; but to sin is human, and it would be but human to forgive.
LEAH.—You would tempt me again? I do not know that voice.
RUD.—I will make good the evil I have done; aye, an hundredfold.
LEAH.—Aye, crush the flower, grind it under foot, then make good the evil you have done. No! no! an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a heart for a heart!
RUD.—Hold, fierce woman, I will beseech no more! Do not tempt heaven; let it be the judge between us! If I have sinned through love, see that you do not sin through hate.
LEAH.—Blasphemer! and you dare call on heaven! What commandant hast thou not broken? Thou shalt not swear falsely—you broke faith with me! Thou shalt not steal—you stole my heart. Thou shalt not kill—what of life have you left me?
RUD.—Hold, hold! No more! [Advancing.]
LEAH.—[repelling him.] The old man who died because I loved you, the woman who hungered because I followed you, may they follow you in dreams, and be a drag upon your feet forever. May you wander as I wander, suffer shame as I now suffer it. Cursed be the land you till: may it keep faith with you as you have kept faith with me. Cursed, thrice cursed, may you be evermore, and as my people on Mount Ebal spoke, so speak I thrice! Amen! Amen! Amen!
[Rudolf drops on his knees as the curtain descends on the tableau.]
* * * * *
SCENE FROM LEAH.
ACT V. SCENE I.
RUD.—(Leah comes down stage gently and sad, listening). Think, Madalena, of her lot and mine. While I clasp a tender wife, and a lovely child; she wanders in foreign lands, suffering and desolate. It is not alone her curse that haunts me, it is her pale and gentle face, which I seem to see in my dreams, and which so sadly says to me,
"I have forgiven!" Oh, Madalena, could I but hear her say this, and tell her how deeply I feel that I have wronged her—could I but wet her hands with my repentent tears, then would I find peace.
MAD.—Rudolf, a thought! In yonder valley camps a company of Jews who are emigrating to America; perhaps one of them may be able to give you news of Leah, and if you find her, she shall share the blessings of our home. She shall be to me a dear sister! (Leah hastily conceals herself.) Ha, that beggar woman, where is she? (Looks around.) Perhaps she belongs to the tribe; perhaps she may tell you of her.
RUD.—How say you? A beggar woman?
MAD.—Yes, a poor Jewess, whom I rescued to-day. She must now be in the house. Oh, come, Rudolf, let us find her. All may yet be well! [Exeunt in house.
Enter Leah from behind a hayrick.
LEAH.—Have I heard aright? The iron bands seem melting, the cold dead heart moves, and beats once more! The old life returns. Rudolf! (tears.) My Rudolf. No, no, he is no longer mine! The flame is extinguished, and only the empty lamp remains above the sepulchre of my heart. No, Madalena, no, I shall not remain to be a reproach to you both. I will wander on with my people, but the hate I have nourished has departed. I may not love, but I forgive—yes, I forgive him. But his child. Oh, I should so like to see his child!
Child comes to doorway from house.
Fear not, little one, come hither.
CHILD.—(coming towards her). Is it you? Father seeks you.
LEAH.—His very image. (kisses her,) What is your name, my darling?
LEAH.—What say you? Leah?
CHILD.—Did you know the other Leah?—she whom mother and father speak of so often, and for whom every night I must pray?
LEAH.—(With emotion, kissing her, and giving her a withered rose- wreath, which she takes from inside her dress) Take this, my pretty one.
LEAH—Take it, and give it your father. Say to him your little prayer has been heard, and that Leah—(emotion)—Leah forgives. (going, returns again, kisses child, and with extended arms and choking voice.) Bless, you, darling! (extending arms to house.) And you, and you— and all—and all'. (goes to fence, totters, and sinks down, endeavoring to exit.)
Enter Rudolf and Madalena from house.
CHILD—(running to Madalena.) See, mother, see what the strange woman gave me. (showing wreath.)
MAD.—(not noticing child) Where is she?
CHILD.—She has gone away (running to Rudolf with wreath.) See, father.
RUD.—(taking wreath.) A rose-wreath. Great heaven, Madalena, it must have been Leah; it is my wreath. Leah!
MAD.—It was she!
RUD.—Yes, it was Leah. By this token we are reconciled. (Leah moans.) Ha, what sound is that?
MAD.—(going to the prostrate figure.) Quick, Rudolf! It is she. (they run to her, raise her up, and bear her to front.)
LEAH.—(feebly.) I tried to go, but my strength forsook me. I shall, at least, then, die here!
RUD.—Die! No, no; speak not of dying, you shall live!
LEAH.—No; I am too happy to live. See, Madalena, I take his hand, but it is to place it in yours. All is over. (sinks into their arms.)
SCENE FROM PIZARRO.
SCENE I.—A Dungeon.
Alonzo in chains—A sentinel walking near.
ALONZO. (c.)—For the last time, I have beheld the quivering lustre of the stars. For the last time, O, sun! (and soon the hour), I shall behold thy rising, and thy level beams melting the pale mists of morn to glittering dew drops. Then comes my death, and in the morning of my day, I fall, which—no, Alonzo, date not the life which thou hast run, by the mean reckoning of the hours and days, which thou has breathed:—a life spent worthily should be measured by a nobler line; by deeds, not years. They only have lived long, who have lived virtuously. Surely, even now, thin streaks of glimmering light steal on the darkness of the East. If so, my life is but one hour more. I will not watch the coming dawn; but in the darkness of my cell, my last prayer to thee, Power Supreme! shall be for my wife and child! Grant them to dwell in innocence and peace; grant health and purity of mind—all else is worthless.
[Enters the cavern, R. U. E.
SEN.—Who's there? answer quickly! Who's there?
ROL.—(within.) A friar come to visit your prisoner. (enters, L. U. E. disguised as a monk.) Inform me, friend, is not Alonzo, the Spanish prisoner, confined in this dungeon?
SEN.—(c.) He is.
ROL.—I must speak with him.
SEN.—You must not. (stopping him with his spear.)
ROL.—He is my friend.
SEN.—Not if he were your brother.
ROL.—What is to be his fate?
SEN.—He dies at sunrise.
ROL.—Ha! Then I am come in time.
SEN.—Just—to witness his death.
ROL.—Soldier, I must speak to him.
SEN.—Back, back—It is impossible.
ROL.—I do entreat you, but for one moment.
SEN.—You entreat in vain—my orders are most strict.
ROL.—Look on this wedge of massive gold—look on these precious gems. In thy own land they will be wealth for thee and thine—beyond thy hope or wish. Take them—they are thine. Let me but pass one minute with Alonzo.
SEN.—Away!—wouldst thou corrupt me? Me! an old Castilian! I know my duty better.
ROL.—Soldier!—hast thou a wife?
ROL.—Hast thou children?
SEN.—Four—honest, lovely boys.
ROL.—Where didst thou leave them?
SEN.—In my native village; even in the cot where myself was born.
ROL.—Dost thou love thy children and thy wife?
SEN.—Do I love them! God knows my heart—I do.
ROL.—Soldier! imagine thou wert doomed to die a cruel death in this strange land. What would be thy last request?
SEN.—That some of my comrades should carry my dying blessing to my wife and children.
ROL.—Oh! but if that comrade was at thy prison gate, and should there be told—thy fellow-soldier dies at sunset, yet thou shalt not for a moment see him, nor shalt thou bear his dying blessing to his poor children or his wretched wife, what would'st thou think of him, who thus could drive thy comrade from the door?
ROL.—Alonzo has a wife and child. I am come but to receive for her, and for her babe, the last blessing of my friend.
SEN.—Go in. [Shoulders his spear and walks to L. U. E.
ROL. (c.)—Oh, holy Nature! thou dost never plead in vain. There is not of our earth a creature bearing form, and life—human or savage—native of the forest wild, or giddy air—around whose parent bosom thou hast not a cord entwined of power to tie them to their offspring's claims, and at thy will to draw them back to thee. On iron pinions borne, the blood-stained vulture cleaves the storm, yet is the plumage closest to her heart soft as the cygnet's down, and o'er her unshelled brood the murmuring ring-dove sits not more gently.—Yes, now he is beyond the porch, barring the outer gate! Alonzo! Alonzo, my friend! Ha! in gentle sleep! Alonzo—rise!
ALON.—How, is my hour elapsed? Well, (Returning from the recess R. U. E.) I am ready.
ROL.—Alonzo, know me.
ALON.—What voice is that?
ROL.—'Tis Rolla's. [Takes off his disguise.
ALON.—Rolla, my friend (Embraces him.) Heavens!—how could'st thou pass the guard?—Did this habit—
ROL.—There is not a moment to be lost in words. This disguise I tore from the dead body of a friar as I passed our field of battle; it has gained me entrance to thy dungeon: now, take it thou and fly.
ROL.—Will remain here in thy place.
ALON.—And die for me? No! Rather eternal tortures rack me.
ROL.—I shall not die, Alonzo. It is thy life Pizarro seeks, not Rolla's; and from thy prison soon will thy arm deliver me. Or, should it be otherwise, I am as a blighted plantain standing alone amid the sandy desert—nothing seeks or lives beneath my shelter. Thou art—a husband and a father; the being of a lovely wife and helpless infant hangs upon thy life. Go! go, Alonzo! Go, to save, not thyself, but Cora and thy child!
ALON.—Urge me not thus, my friend! I had prepared to die in peace.
ROL.—To die in peace! devoting her thou'st sworn to live for to madness, misery, and death! For, be assured, the state I left her in forbids all hope, but from thy quick return.
ROL.—If thou art yet irresolute, Alonzo, now heed me well. I think thou hast not known that Rolla ever pledged his word, and shrunk from its fulfilment. And by the heart of truth, I swear, if thou art proudly obstinate to deny thy friend the transport of preserving Cora's life, in thee; no power that sways the will of man shalt stir me hence; and thoul't but have the desperate triumph of seeing Rolla perish by thy side, with the assured conviction that Cora and thy child—are lost forever.
ALON.—Oh, Rolla! you distract me!
ROL.—Begone! A moment's further pause, and all is lost. The dawn approaches. Fear not for me; I will treat with Pizarro, as for surrender and submission. I shall gain time, doubt not, whilst thou, with a chosen band, passing the secret way, may'st at night return, release thy friend, and bear him back in triumph. Yes, hasten, dear Alonzo! Even now I hear the frantic Cora call thee! Haste, Alonzo! Haste! Haste!
ALON.—Rolla, I fear thy friendship drives me from honour and from right.
ROL.—Did Rolla ever counsel dishonour to his friend?
ALON.—Oh! my preserver! [Embracing him.
ROL.—I feel thy warm tears dropping on my cheek.—Go! I am rewarded. (Throwing the Friar's garment over him.) There, conceal thy face; and that they may not clank, hold fast thy chains. Now, God be with thee!
ALON.—At night we meet again. Then, so aid me Heaven! I return to save or perish with thee. [Exit L.U.E.
ROL. (Looking after him.)—He has passed the outer porch—he is safe! He will soon embrace his wife and child! Now, Cora, did'st thou not wrong me? This is the first time throughout my life, I ever deceived man. Forgive me, God of Truth! if I am wrong. Alonzo flatters himself that we shall meet again! Yes, there! (Lifting his hands to heaven.)— assuredly we shall meet again; there, possess in peace, the joys of everlasting love, and friendship—on earth imperfect and embittered. I will retire, lest the guard return before Alonzo may have passed their lines. [Retires into the cavern.
SCENE I.—A thick forest. A dreadful storm. CORA has covered her child in a bed of leaves and moss, R. U. E.
CORA. (Sitting on bank by child, R.)—Oh, Nature! thou hast not the strength of love. My anxious spirit is untired in its march; my wearied shivering frame sinks under it. And for thee, my boy, when faint beneath thy lovely burden, could I refuse to give thy slumbers that poor bed of rest! Oh, my child! were I assured thy poor father breathes no more, how quickly would I lay me down by thy dear side!—but down—down forever! (Thunder and lightning.) I ask thee not, unpitying storm to abate thy rage, in mercy to poor Cora's misery; nor while thy thunders spare his slumbers, will I disturb my sleeping cherub, though Heaven knows I wish to hear the voice of life, and feel that life is near me. But I will endure all while what I have of reason holds. (Thunder and lightning.) Still, still implacable!—unfeeling elements! yet still dost thou sleep, my smiling innocent! Oh, Death! when wilt thou grant to this babe's mother such repose? Sure I may shield thee better from the storm: my veil may—
ALON. (Without L.)—Cora!
CORA (Runs to C.) Ha!
CORA—Oh, my heart. Sweet Heaven, deceive me not. Is it not Alonzo's voice?
CORA (L. C.)—It is—it is Alonzo!
ALON. (Very loud) Cora! my beloved!
CORA (L.) Alonzo! Here!—here!—Alonzo!
* * * * *
THE BATTLE OF AGINCOURT.
The King is reported to have dismounted before the battle commenced, and to have fought on foot.
Hollinshed states that the English army consisted of 15,000, and the French of 60,000 horse and 40,000 infantry—in all, 100,000. Walsingham and Harding represent the English as but 9,000, and other authors say that the number of French amounted to 150,000. Fabian says the French were 40,000, and the English only 7,000. The battle lasted only three hours.
The noble Duke of Gloucester, the king's brother, pushing himself too vigorously on his horse into the conflict, was grievously wounded, and cast down to the earth, by the blows of the French, for whose protection the King being interested, he bravely leapt against his enemies in defence of his brother, defended him with his own body, and plucked and guarded him from the raging malice of the enemy, sustaining perils of war scarcely possible to be borne.
Nicolas's History of Agincourt.
During the battle the Duke of Alencon most valiantly broke through the English lines, and advanced fighting near the King—inasmuch that he wounded and struck down the Duke of York. King Henry seeing this stepped forth to his aid, and as he was leaning down to aid him the Duke of Alencon gave him a blow on his helmet that struck off part of his crown. The King's guards on this surrounded him, when seeing he could no way escape death but by surrendering, he lifted up his arms and said to the King, "I am the Duke of Alencon, and yield myself to you." But as the King was holding out his hand to receive his pledge he was put to death by the guards.
* * * * *
GLOSTER, BEDFORD, EXETER, SALISBURY, ERPINGHAM, and WESTMORELAND discovered.
GLO. Where is the king?
BED. The king himself is rode to view their battle.
WEST. Of fighting men they have full threescore thousand.
EXE. There's five to one; besides they're all fresh. 'Tis a fearful odds. If we no more meet till we meet in heaven, Then joyfully my noble lord of Bedford, My dear Lord Gloster, and my good Lord Exeter And my kind kinsman, warriors all—adieu!
WEST. O that we now had here
Enter KING HENRY, attended.
But one ten thousand of those men in England That do no work to-day!
K. HEN. What's he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland?—No, my fair cousin: If we are mark'd to die, we are enow To do our country loss; and if to live, The fewer men the greater share of honour. O, do not wish one more; Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight Let him depart; his passport shall be made, And crowns for convoy put into his purse; We would not die in that man's company That fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is call'd the feast of Crispian: He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd, And rouse him at the name of Crispian, He that outlives this day, and sees old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say to-morrow is Saint Crispian: Then will he strip his sleeve, and show his scars; And say, these wounds I had on Crispin's day Then shall our names, Familiar in their mouths as household words,— Harry, the king, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloster,— Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd: This story shall the good man teach his son: And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd: We few, we happy few, we band of brothers: For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England, now a-bed, Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here; And hold their manhoods cheap, whiles any speaks That fought with us upon St. Crispin's day.
GOWER. My sovereign lord, bestow yourself with speed The French are bravely in their battles set, And will with all expedience charge on us.
K. HEN. All things are ready, if our minds be so.
WEST. Perish the man whose mind is backward now!
K. HEN. Thou dost not wish more help from England, coz?
WEST. Heaven's will, my liege, I would you and I alone, Without more help could fight this royal battle!
K. HEN. Why, now thou hast unwish'd five thousand men; Which likes me better than to wish us one.— You know your places: God be with you all!
Enter MONTJOY and attendants.
MONT. Once more I come to know of thee, King Harry If for thy ransom thou wilt now compound, Before thy most assured overthrow: For, certainly, thou art so near the gulf Thou needs must be englutted. Besides, in mercy, The Constable desires thee thou wilt mind Thy followers of repentance; that their souls May make a peaceful and a sweet retire From off these fields, where (wretches) their poor bodies Must lie and fester.
K. HEN Who hath sent thee now?
MONT. The Constable of France.
K. HEN. I pray thee, bear my former answer back? Bid them achieve me, and then sell my bones. Good God! why should they mock poor fellows thus? The man that once did sell the lion's skin While the beast liv'd, was kill'd with hunting him. Let me speak proudly:—Tell the Constable, We are but warriors for the working-day; Our gayness and our gilt, are all besmirch'd With rainy marching in the painful field; There's not a piece of feather in our host (Good argument, I hope, we will not fly), And time hath worn us into slovenry; But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim: And my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night They'll be in fresher robes; or they will pluck The gay new coats o'er the French soldiers' heads, And turn them out of service. If they do this, (As if God please, they shall), my ransom then Will soon be levied. Herald, save thou thy labour; Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald; They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints; Which if they have as I will leave 'em them Shall yield them little, tell the Constable.
MONT. I shall, King Harry. And so fare thee well: Thou never shalt hear herald any more. [Exit.
K. HEN. I fear thou'lt once more come again for ransom.
Enter the DUKE OF YORK.
YORK. My lord, most humbly on my knee I beg The leading of the vaward.
K. HEN. Take it, brave York—Now, soldiers, march away:— And how, thou pleasest God, dispose the day!
* * * * *
THE QUARREL OF BRUTUS AND CASSIUS.
CASSIUS. That you have wronged me doth appear in this: You have condemned and noted Lucius Pella For taking bribes here of the Sardians; Wherein my letters (praying on his side, Because I knew the man) were slighted of.
BRUTUS. You wronged yourself to write in such a case.
CAS. In such a time as this it is not meet That every nice offence should bear its comment.
BRU. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself Are much condemned to have an itching palm; To sell and mart your offices for gold To undeservers.
CAS. I an itching palm? You know that you are Brutus that speak this, Or by the gods! this speech were else your last.
BRU. The name of Cassius honours this corruption, And chastisement doth therefore, hide its head.
BRU. Remember March, the Ides of March remember! Did not great Julius bleed for justice sake? What! I shall one of us That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers—shall we now Contaminate our fingers with base bribes, And sell the mighty space of our large honours For so much trash as may be grasped thus? I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon, Than such a Roman.
CAS. Brutus, bay not me. I'll not endure it. You forget yourself To hedge me in. I am a soldier, I, Older in practice, abler than yourself To make conditions.
BRU. Go to, you are not, Cassius.
CAS. I am.
BRU. I say you are not.
CAS. Urge me no more: I shall forget myself: Have mind upon your health; tempt me no farther.
BRU. Away, slight man!
CAS. I'st possible?
BRU. Hear me, for I will speak. Must I give way and room to your rash choler? Shall I be frightened when a madman stares?
CAS. Must I endure all this?
BRU. All this! ay, more. Fret till your proud heart break. Go show your slaves how choleric you are, And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge? Must I observe you? Must I stand and crouch Under your testy humour? By the gods! You shall digest the venom of your spleen, Though it do split you; for from this day forth I'll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter, When you are waspish.
CAS. Is it come to this?
BRU. You say you are a better soldier: Let it appear so; make your vaunting true; And it shall please me well. For mine own part, I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
CAS. You wrong me every way, you wrong me, Brutus; I said an elder soldier, not a better. Did I say better?
BRU. If you did, I care not.
CAS. When Caesar lived, he durst not thus, have moved me.
BRU. Peace, peace! You durst not so have tempted him.
CAS. I durst not?
CAS. What durst not tempt him?
BRU. For your life you durst not.
CAS. Do not presume too much upon my love; I may do that I shall be sorry for.
BRU. You have done that you should be sorry for. There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats, For I am arm'd so strong in honesty, That they pass by me as the idle wind Which I respect not. I did send to you For certain sums of gold, which you denied me; For I can raise no money by vile means. By heavens! I had rather coin my heart, And drop my blood for drachmas, than wring From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash By any indirection. I did send To you for gold to pay my legions, Which you denied me! Was that done like Cassius? Should I have answered Caius Cassius so? When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous, To lock such rascal counters from his friends, Be ready, gods! with all your thunderbolts Dash him to pieces.
CAS. I denied you not.
BRU. You did.
CA. I did not: he was but a fool That brought my answer back. Brutus hath rived my heart, A friend should bear a friend's infirmities; But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
BRU. I do not till you practise them on me.
CAS. You love me not.
BRU. I do not like your faults.
CAS. A friendly eye could never see such faults.
BRU. A flatterer's would not, though they did appear As huge as high Olympus.
CAS. Come, Antony! and young Octavius, come! Revenge yourself alone on Cassius, For Cassius is a-weary of the world— Hated by one he loves; braved by his brother; Check'd like a bondman; all his faults observed, Set in a note-book, learn'd and conn'd by rote, To cast into my teeth. Oh, I could weep My spirit from mine eyes! There is my dagger, And here my naked breast—within, a heart Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold: If that thou need'st a Roman's, take it forth! I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart. Strike as thou didst at Caesar; for I know When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
BRU. Sheath your dagger; Be angry when you will, it shall have scope; Do what you will, dishonour shall be humour. O, Cassius, you are yoked with a man That carries anger as the flint bears fire, Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark, And straight is cold again.
CAS. Hath Cassius lived To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus, When grief and blood ill-tempered vexeth him?
BRU. When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
CAS. Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
BRU. And my heart too. (Embracing.)
CAS. O, Brutus!
BRU. What's the matter?
CAS. Have you not love enough to bear with me, When that rash humour which my mother gave me Makes me forgetful?
BRIT. Yes, Cassius, and from henceforth, When you are over-earnest with your Brutus, He'll think your mother chides, and leave you so.
* * * * *
SCENES FROM HAMLET.
HAMLET and GHOST discovered.
HAMLET, (C) Whither wilt thou lead me? speak! I'll go no further.
GHOST. (L. C.) Mark me.
HAM. (R. C.) I will.
GHOST. My hour is almost come When I to sulph'rous and tormenting flames Must render up myself.
HAM. Alas, poor ghost!
GHOST. Pity me not; but lend thy serious hearing To what I shall unfold.
HAM. Speak, I am bound to hear.
GHOST. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
GHOST. I am thy father's spirit: Doomed for a certain term to walk the night; And, for the day, confined to fast in fires, Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature, Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid To tell the secrets of my prison-house, I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thy young blood; Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres, Thy knotted and combined locks to part, And each particular hair to stand on end, Like quills upon the fretful porcupine: But this eternal blazon must not be To ears of flesh and blood: List, list, oh, list!— If thou didst ever thy dear father love—
HAM. Oh, heaven!
GHOST. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
GHOST. Murder most foul, as in the best it is; But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
HAM. Haste me to know it, that I, with wings as swift As meditation, or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge.
GHOST. I find thee apt. Now, Hamlet, hear: Tis given out, that sleeping in my orchard, A serpent stung me; so that the whole ear of Denmark Is, by a forged process of my death, Rankly abused: but know, thou noble youth, The serpent that did sting thy father's life Now wears his crown.
HAM. Oh, my prophetic soul! my uncle?
GHOST. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, Won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen: Oh, Hamlet, what a falling off was there! From me, whose love was of that dignity, That it went hand in hand, even with the vow I made to her in marriage; and to decline Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor To those of mine!— But, soft, methinks I scent the morning air— Brief let me be:—sleeping within mine orchard, My custom always of the afternoon, Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole, With juice of cursed hebenon in a phial, And in the porches of mine ears did pour The leperous distilment: whose effect Holds such an enmity with blood of man, That swift as quicksilver it courses through The natural gates and alleys of the body; So it did mine. Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand, Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatched Cut off, even in the blossoms of my sin, No reck'ning made, but sent to my account With all my imperfections on my head.
HAM. Oh, horrible! Oh, horrible! most horrible!
GHOST. It thou hast nature in thee, bear it not; Let not the royal bed of Denmark be A couch for luxury and damned incest, But, howsoever thou pursu'st this act, Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive Against thy mother aught; leave her to Heaven, And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge, To goad and sting her. Fare thee well at once The glow-worm shows the matin to be near, And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire. Adieu, adieu, adieu! remember me. (Vanishes, L. C)
HAM. (R.) Hold, hold, my heart; And you my sinews, grow not instant old, But bear me stiffly up. (C.) Remember thee? Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat In this distracted globe. Remember thee? Yea, from the table of my memory I'll wipe away all forms, all pressures past, And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmixed with baser matter; yes, by heaven, I have sworn it.
* * * * *
HAMLET'S ADVICE TO THE PLAYERS.
HAMLET and PLAYER discovered.
HAMLET. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lieve the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand thus; but use all gently: for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious, periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise! I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod pray you avoid it.
1ST ACT. (R.) I warrant your honour.
HAM. Be not too tame, neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, and the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. Now this, over done, or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, can not but make the judicious grieve; the censure of which one, must, in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. Oh, there be players that I have seen play—and heard others praise, and that highly—not to speak it profanely, that neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, Pagan, or man, have so strutted, and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
1ST ACT. I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us.
HAM. (C.) Oh, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them: for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary question of the play be then to be considered: that's villainous; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready. Horatio! (Exit 1st Actor, L.)
Enter HORATIO, R.
HORATIO, (R.)—Here, sweet lord, at your service.
HAM.—Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man As e'er my conversation coped withal.
HOR.—Oh, my dear lord!—
HAM.—Nay, do not think I flatter: For what advancement may I hope from thee, That no revenue hast, but thy good spirits, To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered? No, let the candid tongue lick absurd pomp, And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee, Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear? Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice, And could of men distinguish her election, She hath sealed thee for herself; for thou hast been As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing; A man, that fortune's buffets and rewards Hast tae'n with equal thanks: and blessed are those Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled, That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger To sound what stop she please; give me that man That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him In my heart's core, aye, in my heart of heart, As I do thee. Something too much of this. There is a play to-night before the king One scene of it comes near the circumstance Which I have told thee of my father's death. I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot, Even with the very comment of thy soul Observe mine uncle; if his occulted guilt Do not itself unkennel in one speech, It is a damned ghost that we have seen, And my imaginations are as foul As Vulcan's stithy; give him heedful note. For I mine eyes will rivet to his face, And, after, we will both our judgments join In censure of his seeming.
HOR.—Well, my lord.
HAM—They are coming to the play, I must be idle. Get you a place (Goes and stands, R)
* * * * *
HAMLET AND HIS MOTHER.
HAMLET—Leave wringing of your hands, peace, sit you down, And let me wring your heart, for so I shall, If it be made of penetrable stuff; If damned custom have not brassed it so, That it be proof and bulwark against sense.
QUEEN—What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue In noise so rude against me?
HAM—Such an act, That blurs the grace and blush of modesty; Calls virtue, hypocrite, takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love, And sets a blister there; makes marriage-vows As false as dicers' oaths: O, such a deed As from the body of contraction plucks The very soul; and sweet religion makes A rhapsody of words: Heaven's face doth glow; Yea, this solidity and compound mass, With tristful visage, as against the doom, Is thought-sick at the act.
QUEEN.—Ah me, what act, That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?
HAM.—Look here, upon this picture, and on this; The counterfeit presentment of two brothers. See, what a grace was seated on this brow: Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself; An eye like Mars, to threaten and command; A station like the herald Mercury New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill; A combination, and a form, indeed, Where every god did seem to set his seal, To give the world assurance of a man: This was your husband.—Look you now, what follows: Here is your husband; like a mildewed ear, Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes? Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed, And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes? You cannot call it love: for, at your age, The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble, And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have, Else, could you not have motion: but, sure, that sense Is apoplexed: for madness would not err; Nor sense to ecstacy was ne'er so thralled, But it reserved some quantity of choice, To serve in such a difference. What devil was't That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind? Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight, Ears without hands or eyes, smelling, sans all, Or but a sickly part of one true sense Could not so mope. O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell, If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones, To flaming youth let virtue be as wax, And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame, When the compulsive ardour gives the charge; Since frost itself as actively doth burn, And reason panders will.
QUEEN. O Hamlet, speak no more: Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots As will not leave their tinct. O, speak to me no more: These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears; No more, sweet Hamlet!
HAM. A murderer, and a villain: A slave, that is not twentieth part the tithe Of your precedent lord; a vice of kings; A cutpurse of the empire and the rule, That from a shelf the precious diadem stole, And put it in his pocket.
QUEEN. No more.
HAM. A king of shreds and patches,— Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings, You heavenly guards!—What would your gracious figure?
QUEEN. Alas, he's mad!
HAM. Do you not come your tardy son to chide, That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by The important acting of your dread command? O, say!
GHOST. Do not forget: this visitation Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose. But look! amazement on thy mother sits: O, step between her and her fighting soul, Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works, Speak to her, Hamlet.