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good.' See King Henry V., Act iv. Sc. 1. In further proof of this point, the reader may consult a sermon* preached by Bishop Andrewes before Queen Elizabeth, at Richmond, in 1609, 'at what time the Earl of Essex was going forth upon
the expedition for Ireland,' to quell the insurrection excited by the Earl of Tyrone--a sermon, therefore, which our poet might have heard; although, as I have said, we have no reason to suppose that he took part in that or any other warlike expedition.
SECT. 16. Of Death, the Intermediate State, and
Day of Judgment. I have already had occasion, in Section 14, to allude to death and burial; and especially to our poet's belief in the immortality of the soul, and consequently in a future state. But the passage which tells most directly upon the latter point remains still to be quoted. I allude to the dialogue in Cymbeline, between Posthumus and the Jailor; and the lesson which it teaches so emphatically, is the more remarkable, because it proceeds out of the mouth of a heathen :
Jailor. Come, sir, are you ready for death?
Bp. Andrewes' Works, vol. i. pp. 321•337. † He was, however, enrolled as a soldier in 1603, after the Gunpowder Plot. See Mr. Dyce's Life, p. 91.
Posthumus. Ready long ago. . I am merrier to die than thou art to live.
Jail. Indeed, sir, he that sleeps, feels not the toothache: but a man that were to sleep your sleep, and a hangman to help him to bed, I think he would change places with his officer ; for look you, sir, you know not which way you shall go.
Posth. Yes, indeed do I, fellow'.
Jail. Your death has eyes in 's head then; I have not seen him so pictured. You must either be directed by some who take upon them to know; or take upon yourself that which, I am sure, you do not know; or jump * the after-enquiry on your own peril : and how you shall speed in your journey's end, I think, you'll never return to tell
Posth. I tell thee, fellow, there are none want eyes to direct them the way I am going, but such as wink, and will not use them.
Act v. Sc. 4.
And if this be true in a heathen's mouth, how much more in a Christian's !
In the famous soliloquy of Hamlet, ‘To be, or not to be,' when he comes to speak (as the Jailor has spoken above) of
The undiscovered country from whose bourne
Act iii. Sc. I.
Mr. Douce suspects, not without reason, that Job x. 21, was present to our poet's mind :
I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death.
And here let me introduce an observation which has occurred, I doubt not, to the minds of many
i.e., venture at it without thought. So in Macbeth :
I'd jump the life to come. Act i. Sc. 7.
of my readers in the course of this and the preceding chapter.
There can be no doubt that our forefathers, in and before Shakspeare's time, and even Shakspeare himself, derived, not altogether unprofitably, some portion of their knowledge of Holy Scripture from the exhibitions of religious plays, called Miracles, or Mysteries ; and consequently that much which would strike us nowadays as irreverent, or at best of questionable propriety, when spoken upon the stage, did not appear to them in the same light. I imagine that when Justice Shallow observed to Silence, his brother Justice,
Death, as the Psalmist * saith, is certain to all; all shall die;
King Henry IV., 2nd Part, Act iii. Sc. 2.
neither the author nor the actor would be conscious of any irreverence in thus introducing the Psalmist's name ; but times are changed, and Mr. Bowdler, by omitting the clause printed in italics, gives us to understand that now it cannot with propriety be read' even 'in a family!'
Together with the certainty of death, the Psalmist also teaches us that the rich man 'shall carry nothing away with him when he dieth, neither shall his pomp follow him,' xlix. 17 (P.B.); and the Apostle, that 'As we brought nothing into this world, so it is certain we
# See Psalm xc. 10. In Psalm xxii. 15, ‘dust of death' may be compared with 'dusty death’in Macleth, Act v. Sc. 5.
can carry nothing out;' 1 Tim. vi. 7. Their words require no confirmation; and yet the great Earl of Warwick is well chosen to speak as follows when he comes to die :
Lo, now my glory smeared in dust and blood !
K. Henry VI., 3rd Purt, Act v. Sc. 2.
The Lord Talbot, speaking of the death of the noble Duke of Bedford,' tells the same truism, with the addition of a melancholy sentiment, to which most of us, sooner or later, will be inclined to respond:
Kings and mightiest potentates must die,
K. Henry VI., ist Part, Act iii. Sc. 2. We find both the truism and sentiment (which our poet is fond of introducing where he has occasion to mention death) repeated at greater length in the Dirge over Fidele, sung by Guiderius and Arviragus :
Gui. Fear no more the heat + o'the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
* A frequent sentiment in the Greek tragedians, repeated by Shakspeare in King John, Act iv. Sc. 2, in King Richard 11., Act iii. Sc. 2, and in King Henry IV., ist Part, Act v. Sc. 4.
+ See Rev. vii. 16.
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke ;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
Cymbeline, Act iv. Sc. 2. But these were heathens. In the case of Christians, our poet fails not to introduce a touch of holier consolation :
Chief Justice. How doth the king ?
He's walk'd the way of nature ;
K. Henry 17., 2nd Part, Act v. Sc. 2. As much as to imply, not however to his own purposes, now that his true and immortal life has begun. So, too, in Winter's Tale, Dion says, with reference to the supposed death of Hermione, wife of King Leontes :
What were more holy Than to rejoice, the former queen is well ? Act v. Sc. I. This happy notion and expression of our poet that it is 'well'—'exceeding well'—with the departed, was perhaps * derived from the reply which the good
* Since the above was written, I find that Mr. Henley has made the same conjecture. Tne phrase in question, as applicable to the dead, occurs also in Antony and Cleopatra, Act 1i. Sc. 5; and twice in Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Sc. 4, and Act v. Sc. I.