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of Hogarth, who has effected with his brush what Shakspere has accomplished with his pen. “ Young boys are mischievous, hard-hearted little torments, who try their prentice hand on cats and donkeys, and even on inoffensive birds, and so perfect themselves in the acts by which they arrive at manhood, when they will work woe and destruction among their fellowmen.” (The Owlet of Owlstone Edge.)
We need not look far into the works of our great Dramatist to find proofs of his appreciation of the kindness towards the brute creation which the Bible invariably inculcates. Let us take his celebrated description of the wounded stag :
Come shall we go and kill us venison ?
Indeed my lord
But what said Jaques ?
"'Tis right” quoth he “ thus misery doth part
As You Like It, ii. 1.
To take another example: Who, but a true Poet of Nature, and a man of the most exquisite and kindly sensibilities, could have written the following lines upon a hunted hare ?
The purblind hare,
He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles. But the pitiless chase still continues, and the minutes of the poor fugitive are numbered :
By this, poor Wat, far off, upon a hill,
Poems. Venus and Adonis. “ Nature” says our Poet “ teaches beasts to know their friends.”? “ The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib,”3 says the Inspired Prophet. And those who (in the words of Shakspere) give their animals “provender only for bearing burdens, and sore blows for sinking under them,” deserve as a recompense for their cruelty, to learn
1 Proverbs, xiv. 20.
? Coriolanus, ii. 1.
3 Isaiah, i. 3.
by bitter experience, what it is to have a loaded back and an empty stomach.
There is a very notable prophecy delivered by Cranmer, on the birth of the Princess Elizabeth ; a prophecy which I shall venture to set down in full, not only because it is mainly expressed in terms derived from Holy Scripture, but also because, in the happy age in which we live, the prophecy has received a more complete fulfilment.
This royal infant,-heaven still move about her!
1 1 Kings, x. 1. ? Proverbs, xxxi. 28. 3 Micah, iv. 4.
4 Isaiah, xvi. 10. 5 Proverbs, xxxi. 25.
Shall be and make new nations ; he shall flourish,
The transition from Peace and Plenty to “lean famine, quartering steel, and climbing fire,”a is rapid and easy, not only in imagination, but in reality. The scene suddenly changes. The vine under which its owner ate in quiet security, “the vine, the merry cheerer of the heart unpruned dies.” Instead of the “merry songs of peace,” we are affrighted by the harsh and discordant sounds of war ; “sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air are made not mark’d.”—Macbeth, iv. 3.
Frighted are pale-fac'd villagers with war
And ostentation of despised arms.-King Richard II., ii. 3. Where smiling Peace was sitting enthroned, “ The mailed Mars does on his altar sit up to the ears in blood.”—King Henry IV., iv. 1. Such are the horrors of war, as described by our Poet, who moreover inculcates the important lesson, that nothing but the sternest necessity can warrant a nation in breaking off its relationships of peace with its neighbours.
How you awake the sleeping sword of war
King Henry V., i. 2. There is another passage in Shakspere, which bears a very close resemblance to the words of our Blessed Lord on the same subject :
When we mean to build,
1 Psalm xcii. 12.
2 King Henry VI., Part II., iv. 2. 3 Judges, ix. 13.
What do we then, but draw anew the anodel,
King Henry IV., Part II., i. 3. The resemblance between this passage, and the words of our Blessed Lord, recorded in Luke xiv., 28, &c., is too striking to escape observation : “Which of you intending to build a tower sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand ? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off he sendeth an ambassage and desireth conditions of peace.”
Moreover the Scripture assures us, that War is one of the four sore judgments which God sends as a punishment upon nations:1 that the issues of it are uncertain; and that it is God, and He alone, who gives, or withholds the victory. In exact accordance with these statements we read in Shakspere :
Ezekiel, xiv. 21.