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The tranfports of a Crown.
O but think
How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown;
Within whofe circuit is Elyfium,
And all that poets feign of blifs and joy.
(1) Do but, &c.] In the Second part of Henry IV. (p. 21.) we have fome fine reflections on the miferies that attend a crown: thefe, on the transports it beftows, are beautifully in character, and come very aptly from the mouth of the ambitious Gloucefter. In the Double Marriage of Beaumont and Fletcher, Ferrand the tyrant, complaining of the miferies that attend royalty, a courtier longing to enjoy the honour, is put into poffeffion of them for one day, and finds them fufficiently burthenfome. See the third act. Some of the tyrant's complaints, and the courtiers' praises of royalty, are the following :
Ferr. Tell me no more;
I faint beneath the burden of my cares,
Vill. Look but on this,
Has not a man that has but means to keep
SCENE V. A hungry Lion.
So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch
A hawk, a grey-hound, and a hunting nag,
Safir. A dull fool still:
Make me a king, and let me fcratch with care,
Than other mens whole lives, let them be safe too.
What think't thou of a king?
Vill. As of a man,
That hath power to do all ill.
Caftr. Or a thing rather
That does divide an empire with the gods;
For me, I do profess it,
Were I offer'd to be any thing on earth,
Ferr. Did'ft thou but feel
The weighty forrows that fit on a crown,
Tho' thou fhouldft find one in the ftreets, Caftructios
Thou wouldst not think it worth the taking up :
Caftr. But one day,
And then let me expire.
SCENE VI. The Duke of York on the gallant -Behaviour of his Sons.
My fons, God knows, what hath bechanced them; But this I know, they have demean'd themselves Like men born to renown, by life or death. Three times did Richard make a lane to me, And thrice cry'd, courage, father! fight it out: And full as oft came Edward to my fide, With purple falchion painted to the hilt In blood of those that had encounter'd him: And when the hardieft warriors did retire; Richard cry'd charge! and give no foot of ground; And cry'd a crown, or else a glorious tomb, A fceptre, or an earthly fepulchre. With this we charg'd again; but out, alas! We bodg'd again; as I have seen a swan With bootlefs labour swim against the tide, And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
A Father's Paffion on the Murder of a favourite
Oh tyger's heart wrapt in a woman's hide!
* * * * *** * * * * That face of his the hungry cannibals
(2) Would not have touch'd, would not have stain'd
(2) Would not, &c.] The firft folios and the old quarto read his paffage as it is here printed; the fecond folio reads,
But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
ACT II. SCENE I.
The Duke of York in Battle.
Methought, he bore him in the thickest troop,
-Wou'd not have touch'd,
Wou'd not have ftain'd the roses just with blood.
Which Mr. Theobald, for the fake of an alteration of his own, prefers to this, for which we have so good authority. He reads,
Wou'd not have flain'd the roses juic'd with blood;
Sir T. Hanmer, not pleased with this criticism, tries another cast, and gives us
The roses juft in bud.
(3) As, &c.] The poets abound with numberless fimiles of this kind; particularly Homer and Virgil: but none perhaps is finer than the following from that book, where every page abounds with beauties, and true fublimity. Ifaiah xxxi. 4. "Like as the lion, and the young lion roaring on his prey; when a multitude of fhepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, or abase himself for the noise - of them."
See how the morning opes her golden gates,
SCENE VI. The Morning's Dawn.
(5) This battle fares like to the morning's war, When dying clouds contend with growing light; What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails, Can neither call it perfect day or night.
The Bleffings of a Shepherd's Life.
(6) O God! methinks, it were a happy life To be no better than a homely fwain;
(4) How, &c.] There is fomething very peculiar in this paffage, The prime of youth and like a younker, seeming nearly the fame thing; but it is extremely beautiful, the author perfonifies the prime of youth, and defcribes him as an allegorical perfon, trimm'd like a younker, which with us fignifies a brifk, lively young man; but more properly perhaps from its original, a nobleman, or young lord. See Skinner. The plain manner of understanding it is difficult, and the conftruction very involv'd, however it feems no more than this, "how well resembles it, a younker trimm'd out in the prime of youth, prancing to his love."
(5) This, &c.] The expreffion of blowing his nails is peculiarly natural and beautiful; the reader may remember that Shakespear ufes it in the pretty fong at the end of Love's Labour Loft.
And Dick the fhepherd blows his nail.
(6) O God, &c.] There is fomething very pleafing and natural in this paffage; it is a good deal in the manner of Virgil, who fpeaks highly of a rural life in his fecond Georgie, which the reader will be much delighted with, if he compares it with our author, and no lefs with Horace's fecond Epode exprefsly on this fubject! these are in almost every body's hands; lefs