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in his second Epistle, he speaks of walking in truth,' v. 4, i.e., in righteousness and holiness of life. Once more.

S. Paul puts the question in the mouth of a disputer of this world :

If the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie (i.e., my sinfulness) unto His glory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner ?

Rom. iii. 7. It is the same principle which led our poet to use the word 'untruth' for disloyalty, i.e., sin against a king, in the following passage of King Richard II., where the Duke of York exclaims, Act ii. Sc. 2

God for His mercy! what a tide of woes
Comes rushing on this woeful land at once !
I know not what to do: I would to God
(So my untruth had not provoked him to it)

The king had cut off my head with my brother's.
On the subject of fidelity to oaths, see p. 74 sq.

SECT. 13. Of Humility, Contentment, and


We may well believe that Shakspeare's own experience of life, especially in his early days, had sufficiently confirmed the truth, which he might have learnt from Scripture, that happiness, if it is to be expected at all in this world, is not to be looked for merely in external circumstances :

Take heed (said our Lord) and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Luke xii. 15.

And more than this; the 'uses' which he draws from 'adversity' are, as we shall presently see, among the most valuable lessons which his works contain.

The scene in the Third Part of King Henry VI., which is laid in a chase in the north of England, and in which the dethroned monarch enters disguised, with a Prayer Book in his hand, and is accosted by the two keepers who were on the look-out to apprehend him, affords our poet an excellent opportunity for introducing sentiments such as we are now to speak of:

2nd Keep. Say, what art thou, that talk'st of kings and queens?

K. Hen. More than I seem, and less than I was born to:
A man at least, for less I should not be ;
And men may talk of kings, and why not I ?

2nd Keep. Ay, but thou talk'st as if thou wert a king.
K. Hen. Why, so I am in mind, and that's enough.
2nd Keep. But if thou be a king, where is thy crown?

K. Hen. My crown is in my heart, not on my head;
Not deck'd with diamonds and Indian stones,
Nor to be seen ; my crown is called CONTENT;
A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.

Act ii. Sc. 1.

In illustration of this, Mr. Steevens quotes that excellent old song in Percy's Reliques of Antient English Poetry, i. 213, beginning with :

My minde to me a kingdome is.

But here again I cannot help suspecting that our poet's school-learning was running in his head, and reminded him of some one of those numerous passages * which represent the stoical notion that the wise man is the truly royal personage— King of kings, and inferior only to Jove himself.' See Horace, 1 Epist. i. 106 sq.; or what comes nearer to the circumstances before us, the well-known stanzas in the 2nd Book of Odes :

Redditum Cyri solio Phraaten
Dissidens plebi numero beatorum
Eximit Virtus, populum que falsis

Dedocet uti
Vocibus ; regnum et diadema tutum
Deferens uni propriamque laurum,
Quisquis ingentes oculo irretorto

Spectat acervos.

Nor does it seem unreasonable to conjecture, considering the superabundant evidence before us of Shakspeare's familiarity with the ideas of Scripture, that the text—' Behold, the kingdom of God is within you,' Luke xvii. 21, and others of a similar character, may have contributed to the sentiment which he has put into King Henry's mouth. It is in the same vein, though carried somewhat further, that the 'honest chronicler,' Griffith, speaks of Cardinal Wolsey, after his decease:

His overthrow heaped happiness upon him,

* The most remarkable perhaps is that in the Thyestes of Seneca, the chorus beginning

• Tandem Regia nobilis,' v. 336 ; which might have been known, if not to Shakspeare, to the author of the song in Bp. Percy's collection.

For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
And found the blessedness of being little.

K. Henry VIII., Act iv. Sc. 2. And the churlish Apemantus, in Timon of Athens, philosophizes for once to some purpose when he says:

Best state, contentless,
Hath a distracted and most wretched being,
Worse than the worst, content.

Act iv. Sc. 3. In other words, as the old lady in attendance upon Anne Bullen testifies, in King Henry VIII.,

Our content
Is our best having :

Act ii. Sc. 3. i.e., our best possession. This was spoken in answer to the reflection of Anne, which her own subsequent fate so fully verified:

I swear, 'tis better to be lowly born,
And range with humble livers in content,
Than be perked up in a glistering grief,
And wear a golden sorrow.

Act ii. Sc. 3. See Jeremiah xlv. 5; and compare again Othello:

Poor and content, is rich, and rich enough. Act iii. Sc. 3.*

In this same play we meet also with the rule, which we have so much need to bear in mind, if the pleasures of life are to be wisely and innocently enjoyed :

Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop,
Not to out-sport discretion-

Act ii. Sc. 3.

* For further remarks on this subject see below, Addit. Illustr., p. 373.

a rule which may remind us of the exhortation of S. Paul :

Let your moderation be known unto all men.

Phil. iv. 5.*

But to come back now to King Henry VI. In an early part of the play before quoted, and on the very day of the battle of Towton, which established his antagonist Edward on the throne, and while the fight was raging in the distance, we hear that pious but feeble-minded prince thus moralizing:

Here on this molehill will I sit me down.
To whom God will, there be the victory.


Would I were dead ! if God's good will were so;
For what is in this world, but grief and woe?
O God! methinks it were a happy life,
To be no better than a homely swain :
To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
To carve out dials quaintly point by point.

So minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years,
Pass'd over to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Ah! what a life were this ! how sweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings that fear their subjects' treachery?
O! yes it doth ; a thousand times it doth.
And to conclude-the shepherd's homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of a leather bottle,

* On the duty of Peaceableness, see below, Addit. Illustr., p. 373.

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