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"" THE MAID'S LAMENT.
I feel I am alone.
Alas! I would not check.
And wearied all my thought
My love could he but live
'Twas vain, in holy ground
I waste for him my breath
And this lorn bosom burns
And waking me to weep
Wept he as bitter tears !
These may she never share!
Than daisies in the mould,
His name and life's brief date.
And, oh ! pray too for me!" • Sir Thomas had fallen into a most comfortable and refreshing slumber ere this lecture was concluded : but the pause broke it, as there be many who experience after the evening service in our parish-chutch. How beit, he had presently all his wits about him, and remembered well that he had been carefully counting the syllables, about the time when I had pierced as far as into the middle.
"“ Young man,” said he to Willy, “thou givest short measure in every other sack of the load. Thy uppermost stake is of right length; - the undermost falleth off, methinks. •“ Master Ephraim, canst thou count syllables ? I mean no offence,
have counted wrongfully myself, not being born nor educated for an accountant."
• At such an order I did count; and truly the suspicion was as just as if he had neither been a knight nor a sleeper.
• “ Sad stuff! sad stuff, indeed!” said Master Silas, “and smelling of popery and wax-candles."
Ay ?” said Sir Thomas, “ I must sift that.” "" If praying for the dead is not popery,” said Master Silas, “ I know not what the devil is. Let them pray for us ; they may know whether it will do us any good : we need not pray for them ; we cannot tell whether it will do them any. I call this sound divinity."
" " Are our churchmen all agreed thereupon ?" asked Sir Thomas.
• “ The wisest are," replied Master Silas. “ There are some lank rascals who will never agree upon any thing but upon doubting. I would not give ninepence for the best gown upon the most thrifty of
'em ; and their fingers are as stiff and hard with their pedlery knavish writing, as any bishop's are with chalk-stones won honestly from the
* Sir Thomas took the paper up from the table on which I had laid it, and said, after a while,
"“ The man may only have swooned. I scorn to play the critic, or to ask any one the meaning of a word; but, sirrah!”
· Here he turned in his chair from the side of Master Silas, and said unto Willy,
“ William Shakspeare ! out of this thraldom in regard to popery, I hope, by God's blessing, to deliver thee. If ever thou repeatest the said verses, knowing the man to be to all intents and purposes a dead man, prythee read the censurable line as thus corrected,
• Pray for our Virgin Queen, gentles ! whoe'er you be,' although it is not quite the thing that another should impinge so closely on her skirts.
• “ By this improvement, of me suggested, thou mayest make some amends-a syllable or two—for the many that are weighed in the balance and are found wanting.”
• Then turning unto me, as being conversant by my profession in such matters, and the same being not very worthy of learned and staid clerks the like of Master Silas, he said,
"Of all the youths that did ever write in verse, this one verily is he who hath the fewest flowers and devices. But it would be loss of time to form a border, in the fashion of a kingly crown, or a dragon, or a Turk on horseback, out of buttercups and dandelions.
"“ Master Ephraim ! look at these badgers ! with a long leg on one quarter and a short leg on the other. The wench herself might well and truly have said all that matter without the poet, bating the rhymes and metre.” :-p. 49—54.
Our readers will perceive by this time, if indeed they have not been beforehand with us at the book itself, what a mirror of magistrates and jewel of knighthood Sir Thomas is; how profound his theology, and how polished his poetry; a perfect model of the accomplished country gentleman and county representative of those days. But let the justice have justice, and the author too, for dealing gently with him. There are passages which make us feel the good heart of Savage Landor as well as of Sir Thomas Lucy.
• And then did Sir Thomas call unto him Master Silas, and say, " Walk ye into the bay-window. And thou mayest come, Ephraim.”
* And when we were there together, I, Master Silas, and his worship, did his worship say unto the chaplain, but oftener looking towards me,
•“ I am not ashamed to avouch that it goeth against me to hang this young fellow, richly as the offence in its own nature doth deserve it, he ia!keth so reasonably; not indeed so reasonably, but so like unto what a reasonable man may listen to and reflect on. There is so much, too, of compassion for others in hard cases, and something so very near in semblance to innocence itself in that airy swing of lightheartedness
about him. I cannot fix my eyes (as one would say) on the shifting and sudden shade-and-shine, which cometh back to me, do what I will, and mazes me in a manner, and blinks me.”
• At this juncture I was ready to fall upon the ground before his worship, and clasp his knees for Willy's pardon. But he had so many points about him, that I feared to discompose 'em, and thus make bad
Beside which, Master Silas left me but scanty space for good resolutions, crying,
“He may be committed, to save time. Afterwards he may be sentenced to death, or he may not.”
•Sir THOMAS." "Twere shame upon me were he not : 'twere indication that I acted unadvisedly in the commitment.”
Sir Silas.—"The penalty of the law may be commuted, if expedient, on application to the fountain of mercy in London."
'SIR THOMAS.-“Maybe, Silas, those shall be standing round the fount of mercy who play in idleness and wantonness with its waters, and let them not flow widely, nor take their natural course. Dutiful gallants may encompass it, and it may linger among the flowers they throw into it, and never reach the parched lip on the wayside,
"" These are homely thoughts—thoughts from a-field, thoughts for the study and housekeeper's room. But, whenever I have given utterance unto them, as my heart hath often prompted me with beatings at the breast, my hearers seemed to bear towards me more true and kindly affection than my richest fancies and choicest phraseologies could purchase.
6- Twere convenient to bethink thee, should any other great man's park have been robbed this season, no judge upon the bench will back my recommendation for mercy. And, indeed, how could I expect it? Things may soon be brought to such a pass that their lordships shall scarcely find three haunches each upon the circuit.”
Well, Sir!" quoth Master Silas, “ you have a right to go on in your own way. Make him only give up the girl.”
• Here Sir Thomas reddened with righteous indignation, and answered,
““ 1 cannot think it! such a stripling ? poor, pennyless : it must be some one else."
* And now Master Silas did reduen in his turn redder than Sir Thomas, and first asked me,
What the devil do you stare at ?" • And then asked his worship,
Who should it be if not the rogue ?" and his lips turned as blue as a blue-bell.
• Then Sir Thomas left the window, and again took his chair, and having stood so long on his legs, groaned upon it to ease him. His worship scowled with all his might, and looked exceedingly wroth and vengeful at the culprit, and said unto him,
Harkye, knave? I have been conferring with my learned clerk and chaplain in what manner I may, with the least severity, rid the county (which thou disgracest) of thee."
William Shakspeare raised up his eyes, modestly and fearfully, and said slowly these few words, which, had they been a better and nobler man's, would deserve to be written in letters of gold. I, not having that art nor substance, do therefore write them in my largest and roundest -p.
character, and do leave space about 'em, according to their rank and dignity : 6 Worshipful Sir!
""A WORD IN THE EAR IS OFTEN AS GOOD AS A HALTER UNDER IT, AND SAVES THE GROAT."
* “ Thou discoursest well,” said Sir Thomas, “but others can discourse well likewise: thou shalt avoid ; I am resolute." '. 89–93.
The penchant of the justice for divinity serves Willy in good stead, who right nobly minister3 to his cravings for the repetition of all that had been preached or said, in his hearing, by Dr. Glaston of Oxford, when the woolfactor's son had gone thither on his father's business, and, after sermon, been invited to the dinner and evening admonition of the doctor. There are many passages bearing the same stamp as those for which alone we can make room.
“ In the earlier ages of mankind, your Greek and Latin authors inform you, there went forth sundry worthies, men of might, to deliver, not wandering damsels, albeit for those likewise they had stowage, but low-conditioned men, who fell under the displeasure of the higher, and groaned in thraldom and captivity. And these mighty ones were believed to have done such services to poor humanity, that their memory grew greater than they, as shadows do than substances at day-fall. Andi the sons and grandsons of the delivered did laud and magnify those glorious names; and some in gratitude, and some in tribulation, did ascend the hills, which appeared unto them as altars bestrown with flowers and herbage for heaven's acceptance. And many did go far into the quiet groves, under lofiy trees, looking for whatever was mightiest and most protecting. And in such places did they cry aloud unto the mighty, who had left them,
** Return! return! help us ! help us ! be blessed! for ever blessed !
** Vain men! but, had they stayed there, not evil. Out of gratitude, purest gratitude, rose idolatry. For the devil sees the fairest, and soils it." '--pp. 119, 120.
56. Should ye at any tim overtake the erring, and resolve to deliver him up, I will tell you whither to conduct him. Conduct him to his Lord and Master, whose household he hath left. It is better to consign him to Christ his Saviour than to man his murderer: it is better to bid bim live than to bid him die. The one word our Teacher and Preserver said, the other our enemy and destroyer. Bring him back again, the stray, the lost one! brink him back, not with clubs and cudgels, not with halberts and halters, but generously and gently, and with the link. ing of the arm. In this posture shall God above smile upon ye: in this posture of yours he shall recognise again his beloved Son upon earth. Do ye likewise and depart in peace.”—Pp. 121, 122.
Of the following, Shakspeare says: ** I can repeat by heart what I read above a year agone, albeit I cannot bring to mind the title of the book in which I read it. These are the words :
6.6. The most venal and sordid of all the superstitions that have swept and darkened our globe, may, indeed, like African locusts, have consumed the green corn in very extensive regions, and may return periodically to consume it; but the strong unwearied labourer who sowed it bath alway sown it in other places less exposed to such devouring pestilences. Those cunning men who formed to themselves the gorgeous plan of universal dominion, were aware that they had a better chance of establishing it than brute ignorance or brute force could supply, and that soldiers and their paymasters were subject to other and powerfuller fears than the transitory ones of war and invasion. What they found in heaven they seized ; what they wanted they forged.
6. And so long as there is vice and ignorance in the world, so long as fear is a passion, their dominion will prevail; but their dominion is not, and never shall be, universal. Can we wonder that it is so general ? can we wonder that any thing is wanting to give it authority and effect, when every learned, every prudent, every powerful, every ambitious man in Europe, for above a thousand years, united in the league to consolidate it?
*«• The old dealers in the shambles, where Christ's body is exposed for sale, in convenient marketable slices, * have not covered with blood and filth the whole pavement. Beautiful usages are remaining stillkinder affections, radiant hopes, and ardent aspirations !'"-p. 134 -136. Dr. Glaston thus admonishes his pupils :
Young gentlemen! let not the highest of you who hear me this evening be led into the delusion, for such it is, that the founder of his family was originally a greater or a better man than the lowest here. He willed it, and became it. He must have stood low; he must have worked hard ; and with tools, moreover, of his own invention and fashioning. He waved and whistled off ten thousand strong and importunate temptations; he dashed the dice-box from the jewelled hand of Chance, the cup from Pleasure's, and trod under foot the sorceries of each ; he ascended steadily the precipices of danger, and looked down with intrepidity from the summit; he overawed Arrogance with sedateness; he seized by the horn and overleaped low Violence; and he fairly swung Fortune round.
""The very high cannot rise much higher ; low may: the truly great must have done it.
This is not the doctrine, my friends, of the silkenly and lawnly religious ; it wears the coarse texture of the fisherman, and walks uprightly and straightforward under it.” -pp. 154, 155.
Much of Dr. Glaston's divinity is not exactly to Sir Thomas's satisfaction. Reasonable enough! nay, almost too reasonable ! but where are the apostles? where are the disciples ? where are the saints? where is hell-fire? Well! patience! we may come
*' It is a pity that the old divines should have indulged, as they often did, in such images as this. Some readers in search of arguinentative subtilty, some in search of sound Christianity, some in search of pure English undefiler, have gone through with them; and the'r labours (however heavy) have been well repaid.'