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That privates have not too, save ceremony?
Save general ceremony ?
And what art thou, thou idol ceremony ?
What kind of god art thou, that suffer’st more
Of mortal griefs, than do thy worshippers ?
What are thy rents ? what are thy comings in
0 ceremony, shew me but thy worth !
What is thy soul, O adoration ?
Art thou ought else but place, degree, and form,
Creating awe and fear in other men ?
Wherein thou art less happy, being feared,
Than they in fearing.
What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy ceremony give thee cure !
Think'st thon, the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation ?
Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
Can'st thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,
Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
That play'st so subtly with a king's repose,
I am a king, that find thee: and I know,
'Tis not the balm, the sceptre, and the ball,
The sword, the inace, the crown imperial,
The enter-tissu'd robe of gold and pearl,
The farsed title running 'fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That beats upon the shore of the world,
No, not all these, thrice gorgeous ceremony,
Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave;
Who, with a body fill'd, and vacant mind,
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread,
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell :
But, like a lacquey, from the rise to set,
Sweats in the eye of Phæbus, and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day, after dawn,
Doth rise, and help Hyperion to bis horse;
And follows so the everrunding year
With profitable labour, to his grave :
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Has the forehand and vantage of a king.
The slave, a member of the country's peace,
Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wots
What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,
Whose hours the peasant best advantages."
Most of these passages are all well known : there is one, which we do not remember to have seen noticed, and yet it is no whit inferiour to the rest in heroick beauty. It is the account of the deaths of York and Suffolk.
• Exeter. The duke of York commends him to your majesty.
K. Henry. Lives he, good uncle ? thrice within this hour,
I saw him dowo; thrice up again, and fighting;
From helmet to the spur all blood he was.
Exeter. In which array (brave soldier) doth he lie,
Larding the plaio : and by his bloody side
(Yoke-fellow to his honour-owing wounds)
The noble earl of Suffolk also lies.
Suffolk first died : and York, all haggled o'er,
Comes to bim, where in gore he lay insteep'd,
And takes him by the beard; kisses the gashes,
That bloodily did yawn upon his face ;
And cries aloud-Tarry, dear cousin Suffolk !
My soul shall thine keep company to heaven :
Tarry, sweet soul, for mine, then fly abreast ;
As, in this glorious and well foughten field,
We kept together in our chivalry!
Upon these words I cane, and cheer'd him up :
He smil'd me in the face, raught me his hand,
And, with a 'feeble gripe, says-Dear, my lord,
Commend my service to my sovereign.
So did he turn, and over Suffolk's neck
He threw his wounded arm, and kiss'd his lips ;
And so, espous'd to death, with blood he seal'd
A testament of noble-ending love."
But we must have done with splendid quotations. The behaviour of the king, in the difficult and
doubtful circumstances in which he is placed, is as patient and modest as it is spirited and lofty in his prosperous fortune. The character of the French nobles is also very admirably depicted; and the Dauphin's praise of his horse shews the vanity of that class of persons in a very striking point of view. Shakspeare always accompanies a foolish prince with a satirical courtier, as we see in this instance. The comick parts of Henry V. are very inferiour to those of Henry IV. Falstaff is dead, and without him, Pistol, Nym, and Bardolph, are satellites without a sun. Fluellen the Welchman is the most entertaining character in the piece. He is goodpatured, brave, cholerick, and pedantick. His parallel between Alexander and Harry of Monmouth, and his desire to have “some disputations” with captain Macmorris on the discipline of the Roman wars, in the heat of the battle, are never to be forgotten. His treatment of Pistol is as good as Pistol's treatment of his French prisoner. There are two other remarkable prose passages in this play: the conversation of Henry in disguise with the three sentinels on the duties of a soldier, and his courtship of Katherine in broken French. We like them both exceedingly, though the first savours perhaps too much of the king, and the last too little of the lover,
DURING the time of the civil wars of York and Lancaster, England was a perfect bear-garden, and Shakspeare has given us a very lively picture of the scene.
The three parts of Henry VI. convey a picture of very little else : and are inferiour to the other historical plays. They have brilliant passages ; but the general groundwork is comparatively poor and meagre, the style “fat and unraised.” There are few lines like the following:
“Glory is like a circle in the water ;
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,
Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought."
The first part relates to the wars in France after the death of Henry V. and the story of the Maid of Orleans. She is here almost as scurvily treated as in Voltaire's Pucelle. Talbot is a very magnificent sketch : there is something as formidable in this portrait of him, as there would be in a monumental figure of him, or in the sight of the
armour which he wore. The scene in which he visits the Countess of Auvergne, who seeks to entrap him, is a very spirited one, and his description of his own treatment while a prisoner to the French not less remarkable.
Salisbury: Yet tell'st thou not how thou wert entertain'd.
Talbot. With scoffs and scorns, and contumelious taunts,
In open market-place produced they me,
To be a publick spectacle to all.
Here, said they, is the terrour of the French,
The scarecrow that affrights our children so.
Then broke I from the officers that led me,
And with my nails digg'd stones out of the ground
To hurl at the beholders of my shame.
My grisly countenance made others fly,
None durst come near for fear of sudden death.
In iron walls they deem'd me not secure :
So great a fear my name amongst them spread,
That they suppos'd I could rend bars of steel,
And spurn in pieces posts of adamant.
Wherefore a guard of chosen shot I had :
They walk'd about me every minute while;
And if I did but stir out of my bed,
Ready they were to shoot me to the heart." I
The second part relates chiefly to the contests between the nobles during the minority of Henry, and the death of Gloucester, the good Duke Humphrey. The character of Cardinal Beaufort is the most prominent in the group : the account of his death is one of our author's masterpieces. So is the speech of Gloucester to the nobles on the loss of the provinces of France by the king's marriage with Margaret of Anjou. The pretensions and growing ambition of the Duke of York, the father of Richard III. are also very ably developed. Among