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Admiring, terrified, the novel strain,
[again; Then cours'd the field around, and cours'd it round But, recollecting with a sudden thought,
That flight in circles urg'd advanc'd them nought,
They gather'd close around the old pit's brink,
And thought again-but knew not what to think.
The man to solitude accustom'd long,
Perceives in every thing that lives a tongue;
Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees,
Have speech for him, and understood with ease:
After long drought, when rains abundant fall,
He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all;
Knows what the freshness of their hue implies,
How glad they catch the largess of the skies;
But, with precision nicer still, the mind
He scans of every locomotive kind;
Birds of all feather, beasts of every name,
That serve mankind, or shun them, wild or tame;
The looks and gestures of their griefs and fears
Have all articulation in his ears;
He spells them true by intuition's light,
And needs no glossary to set him right.
This truth premis'd was needful as a text,
To win due credence to what follows next.
A while they mus'd; surveying every face,
Thou hadst suppos'd them of superior race;
Their periwigs of wool, and fears combin'd,
Stamp'd on each countenance such marks of mind,
That sage they seem'd, as lawyers o'er a doubt,
Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out;
Or academic tutors, teaching youths,
Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths;
When thus a mutton, statelier than the rest,
A ram, the ewes and wethers sad address'd:
"Friends! we have liv'd too long. I never heard Sounds such as these, so worthy to be fear'd. Could I believe, that winds for ages pent, In earth's dark womb have found at last a vent, And from their prison-house below arise, With all these hideous howlings to the skies, I could be much compos'd; nor should appear, For such a cause, to feel the slightest fear. Yourselves have seen, what time the thunders roll'd All night, me resting quiet in the fold. Or heard we that tremendous bray alone, I could expound the melancholy tone; Should deem it by our old companion made, The ass-for he, we know, has lately stray'd; And being lost, perhaps, and wand'ring wide, Might be suppos'd to clamour for a guide. But ah! those dreadful yells what soul can hear That owns a carcass, and not quake for fear? Demons produce them, doubtless; brazen-claw'd And fang'd with brass, the demons are abroad; I hold it therefore wisest and most fit, That, life to save, we leap into the pit."
Him answer'd then his loving mate and true, But more discreet than he, a Cambrian ewe : "How! leap into the pit our life to save? To save our life leap all into the grave? For can we find it less? Contemplate first The depth how awful;-falling there, we burst; Or should the brambles, interpos'd, our fall In part abate, that happiness were small; For with a race like theirs no chance I see Of peace or ease to creatures clad as we. Meantime, noise kills not. Be it Dapple's bray, Or be it not, or be it whose it may,
And rush those other sounds, that seem by tongues
Of demons utter'd, from whatever lungs,
Sounds are but sounds; and till the cause appear,
We have at least commodious standing here.
Come fiend, come fury, giant, monster, blast,
From earth or hell, we can but plunge at last."
While thus she spoke, I fainter heard the peals;
For Reynard, close attended at his heels
By panting dog, tir'd man, and spatter'd horse,
Through mere good fortune, took a different course:
The flock grew calm again; and I the road
Following that led me to my own abode,
Much wonder'd that the silly sheep had found
Such cause of terror in an empty sound,
So sweet to huntsman, gentleman, and hound.
Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
Live till to-morrow, will have pass'd away.
HENRY THE FOURTH'S SOLILOQUY
many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! Ŏ gentle Sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, Sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sounds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch
A watch-case, or a common 'larum bell?
Wilt thou, upon the high and giddy mast,
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brain
In cradle of the rude imperious surge;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafening clamours in the slipp'ry shrouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial Sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And, in the calmest and the stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a King? then happy lowly clown,
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown!
CARDINAL WOLSEY'S LAMENTATION
OF HIS FALL.
FAREWELL, a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
*The tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost;
And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a rip'ning, nips his root;
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur'd,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
These many summers, in a sea of glory:
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye;
I feel my heart new open'd. O how wretched
Is that poor man who hangs on princes' favours!
There are, betwixt that smile which we aspire to,
That sweet regard of princes, and our ruin,
More pangs and fears than war and women know;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.
Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forc'd me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.-
Let's dry our eyes: and thus far hear me, Cromwell;
Mark but my fall, and that which ruin'd me;
And when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me must more be heard; say, I taught thee;
Say, Wolsey, that once trod the paths of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in;
A sure and safe one, though thy master miss'd it:
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition;
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,
(The image of his Maker,) hope to win by't?
Love thyself last; cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not : Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's, Thy God's, and truth's: then if thou fall'st, Oh Cromwell,
Thou fall'st a blessed martyr. Serve the king;