« PreviousContinue »
dishonour at thee, which no innocence of heart or integ1. rity of conduct shall set right." #:9233
The fortunes of thy house shall totter—thy character, which led the way to them, shall bleed on every side of it thy faith questioned-thy works belied-thy wit forgotten-thy learning trampled on. To wind up the last scene of thy tragedy, Cruelty and Cowardice, twin ruffians, hired and set on by Malice in the dark, shall strike together at all thy infirmities and mistakes: the hest of us, my friend, lie open there, and trust me when to gratify a private appetite, it is once resolved upon, that an innocent and an helpless creature shall be sacrificed, it is an easy matter to pick up sticks enough from any thicket where it is strayed, to make a fire to offer it up with.
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 to, I had lieve the town crier had spoke my lines. And 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 temperence that may give it smoothness. Oh! it offends me to the soul, tó hear a robusteous periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings ; who" (for the most party are capable of nothing but inex plicable dumb shew and noise : I could have such a 'fet. lowe w bípp'd for o’erdoing termagant; it out-herods Herod. Pray you avoid it, is eti olds 13:31
Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep pot the modesty of nature : for any thing 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 shew virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure., Now, this overdone, or come tardy of, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve ; the censure of one which 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 Christian, nor the gait of Christian, Pagan, nor 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,
And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them: for there be of them that will themsevles laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too ; though in the mean time, some necessary qestion of the play be then to be considered :that's villainous : and shews a most pitiful ambition in thefool that uses it,
THE PRESENT CONDITION OF MAN VINDI
HEAV'N from all creatures hides the book of fate,
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know,
Hope humbly then ; with trembling pinions soar;
Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense,
Say, here he gives too little, there too much :
SEE, thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth, All matter quick, and bursting into birth, Above, how high progressive life may go ! Around, how wide ! how deep extend below! Vast chain of Being! which from God began, Nature ethereal, human ; angel, man ; Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see, No glass can reach ; from Infinite to thee, From thee to Nothing.-On superior pow'rs Were we to press, inferior might on ours : Orin the full creation leave a void, Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd; From Nature's ehain whatever link you strike;
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll Alike essential to th' amazing Whole, The least confusion but in one, not all That system only, but the whole must fall. Let earth, unbalanc'd from her orbit fly, Planets and Suns run lawless thro? the sky; Let ruling Angels from their spheres be hurld, Being on Being wreck'd, and world on world ; Heav'n's whole foundations to their centre nod, And Nature tremble to the throne of God. All this dread Order break for whom ? for thee?. Vile worm !-Oh Madness! Pride ! Impiety !
What if the foot, ordaind the dust to tread, Or hand, to toil, aspir'd to be the head ? What if the head, the eye, or ear repind To serve mere engines to the ruling Mind? Just as absurd for any part to claim To be another, in this gen'ral frame : Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains, The great directing Mind of All ordains. All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul : That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the same, Great in the earth, as in th' ethereal frame, Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze, Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees, i Lives thro' all life, extends thro' all extent, Spreads undi vided, operates unspent ; Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart ; As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns, As the rapt Seraph that adores and burns : To him no high, no low, no great, no small He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
Cease then, nor Order Imperfection name ; Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.