Page images


You must bear with me: Pray now, forget, and forgive: I am old, and foolish.


[ocr errors]

No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i’ the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel

And ask of thee forgiveness: So we'll live,

pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;-
And take

upon us the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies: And we'll wear out,
In a wall?d prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.

Take them away.
Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense.

The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Made instruments to scourge us.


TO HIS FATHER. List* a brief tale;And, when 'tis told,'o, that my heart would burst ! The bloody proclamation to escape, That follow'd me so near, (0 our lives' sweetness!

That with the pain of death we'd hourly die, - Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance

a That

very dog's disdain'd: and in this habit Met I 1


father with his bleeding rings, Their precious stones new lost; became his guide, Led him, begg’d for him, sav'd him from despair; Never (o fault!) reveald myself unto him, Until some half hour past, when I was arm’d, sure, though hoping, of this good success,

# Hear.


I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage: But his flaw'd heart,
(Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)

Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.

Edm. This speech of your's hath mov'd me, And shall, perchance, do good; but speak you on: You look as you had something more to say:

Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.

Edg. This would have seem'd a period
To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity.
Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
Who having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so endurd, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear receiv'd: which in recounting.
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack. Twice then the trumpet sounded
And there I left him tranc'd.

Howl, how!, howl, howl;-0, you are men of

Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack:-0, she is gone

for ever!--
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She's dead as earth:-Lend me a looking-glass:
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.


This feather stirs; she lives! if it be sd,
It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.

O my good master! [Kneeling.

Lear. Prgthee, away. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all! I might have sav'd her; now she's gone for ever! Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha! What is't thou say'st? Her voice was ever soft, Gentle, and low.

[ocr errors]


And my poor fool* is hang’d! No, no, no,

life: Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all? 0, thou wilt come no

more, Never, never, never, never, never!

[merged small][ocr errors]


WHAT are these,
So wither'd, and so wild in their attire;
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are o'nt? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? you seem to understand

By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: You should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.

Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o'the milk of human kindness,
To catch the nearest way: Thou would'st be great
Art not without ambition; but without
The illness should attend it. What thou would'st

highly, That wouldist thou holily; would’st not play false, And yet would'st wrongly win.

* Poor Fool, in the time of Shakespeare, was an expression of endearment.


Shake my


DUNCAN'S APPROACH. The raven himself is hoarse, That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements. Come, come, you spirits That tend on mortal* thoughts, unsex me here; And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood, Stop up the access and passage to remorse;t That no compunctious visitings of nature


purpose, nor keep peace between The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts, And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on Nature's mischief! Come, thick night; And pallt thee in the dunnest smoke of hell! That my keen knifeß see not the wound it makes; Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry, Hold, Hold!

MACBETH'S IRRESOLUTION. If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly: If the assassination Could trammel upon the consequence, and catch, With his surcease, success; that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all here, But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,We'd jump the life to come.-But, in these cases, We still have judgment here; that we but teach Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return To plague the inventor: This even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice To our own lips. He's here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the

door, Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against * Murderous. † Pity.

# Wrap, as in a mantle. s Knife anciently meant a sword or dagger

[ocr errors]

The deep damnation of his taking-off:
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, hors'd
Upon the sightless couriers* of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind.--I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself,
And falls on the other.


I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.



Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch

thee:I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling, as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind; a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable, As this which now I draw. Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going; And such an instrument I was to use. Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses, Or else worth all the rest: I see thee still;' And on thy blade, and dudgeon,t gouts of blood, Which was not so before. There's no such thing: It is the bloody business, which informis Thus to mine eyes.-Now o’er the one half world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain’d sleep; now witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd murder, Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf,

* Winds; sightless is invisible. #Haft.

| Drops.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »