Abbildungen der Seite

Prepar'd for Arras pictures, is no picture,
Till it be forn'd, and man hath cast the beams
Of his imaginous fancy thorough it,
In forming ancient Kings and Conquerors
As he conceives they look'd and were attir'd,
Though they were nothing so : so all things here
Have all their price set down from men's conceits ;
Which make all terms and actions good or bad,
And are but pliant and well-colour'd threads,
Put into feigned images of Truth.

Insinuating Manners.
We must have these lures, when we hawk for friends :
And wind about them like a subtle river,
That, seeming only to run on his course,
Doth search yet, as he runs, and still finds out
The easiest parts of entry on the shore,
Gliding so slyly by, as scarce it touch'd,
Yet still eats something in it.

The Stars not able to foreshew any Thing. I am a nobler substance than the stars : And shall the baser over-rule the better? Or are they better since they are the bigger ? 20 I have a will, and faculties of choice, To do or not to do; and reason why I do or not do this: the stars have none. They know not why they shine, more than this

taper, Nor how they work, nor what. I'll change my I'll piece-meal pull the frame of all my thoughts, And cast my will into another mould: And where are all your Caput Algols then ? Your planets, all being underneath the earth At my nativity : what can they do?

30 Maliguant in aspects, in bloody houses ?

The Master Spirit.
Give me a spirit that on life's rough sea
Loves to have his sails fill'd with a lusty wind,
E'en till his sail-yards tremble, his masts crack,
And his rapt ship run on her side so
That she drinks water, and her keel ploughs air.

course :

There is no danger to a man, that knows
What life and death is : there's not any law
Exceeds his knowledge ; neither is it lawful
That he should stoop to any other law :
He goes before them, and commands them all,
That to himself is a law rational.

Vile Natures in High Places.

-foolish Statuaries, That under little Saints suppose* great bases, Make less (to sense) the saints: and so, where fortune Advanceth vile minds to states great and noble, 10 She much the more exposeth them to shame, Not able to make good, and fill their bases With a conformed structure.

Innocence the Harmony of the Faculties.

-Innocence, the sacred amulet
'Gainst all the poisons of infirmity,
Of all misfortune, injury, and death :
That makes a man in tune still in himself;
Free from the hell to be his own accuser ;
Ever in quiet, endless joy enjoying,
No strife nor no sedition in his powers ;

20 No motion in his will against his reason; No thought 'gainst thought; nor (as 'twere in the

Of wishing and repenting), doth possess
Only a wayward and tumultuous peace ;
But, all parts in him friendly and secure,
Fruitful of all best things in all worst seasons,
He can with every wish be in their plenty,
When the infectious guilt of one foul crime
Destroys the free content of all our time.

* Put under.




KING HENRY THE FOURTH of France blesses the young

My royal blessing, and the King of Heaven,
Make thee an aged and a happy King ::
Help, nurse, to put my sword into his hand ;
Hold, boy, by this; and with it may thy arm
Cut from thy tree of rule all traitrous branches,
That strive to shadow and eclipse thy glories.
Have thy old father's Angel for thy guide,
Redoubled be his spirit in thy breast :
Who, when this State ran like a turbulent sea,
In civil hates and bloody enmity,

Their wraths and envies (like so many winds)
Settled and burst: and like the Halcyon's birth,
Be thine to bring a calm upon the shore :
In which the eyes of war may ever sleep,
As over-watch'd with former massacres,
When guilty mad Noblesse fed on Noblesse,
All the sweet plenty of the realm exhausted ;
When the nak'd merchant was pursued for spoil,
When the poor peasants frighted neediest thieves
With their pale leanness; nothing left on them 20
But meagre carcases, sustained with air,
Wandering like ghosts affrighted from their graves ;
When, with the often and incessant sounds
The very beasts knew the alarum-bell,
And hearing it ran bellowing to their home;
From which unchristian broils and homicides,
Let the religious sword of Justice free
Thee, and thy kingdoms govern'd after me.
O Heaven ! Or if the unsettled blood of France,
With ease and wealth, renew her civil furies, 30
Let all my powers be emptied in my son,
To curb and end them all, as I have done.
Let him by virtue quite cut off from Fortune
Her feather'd shoulders, and her winged shoes,
And thrust from her light feet her turning stone;

That she may ever tarry by his throne.
And of his worth let after ages say
(He fighting for the land, and bringing home
Just conquests, laden with his enemies' spoils,)
His father passed all France in martial deeds ;
But he his father twenty times exceeds.
What we have, we slight ; what we want, we think excellent.

as a man, match'd with a lovely wife,
When his most heavenly theory of her beauties
Is dulld and quite exhausted with his practice,
He brings her forth to feasts, where he, alas, 10
Falls to his viands with no thought like others,
That think him blest in her; and they, poor men,
Court, and make faces, offer service, sweat
With their desires' contention, break their brains
For jests and tales, sit mute, and loose their looks,
Far out of wit and out of countenance.
So all men else do, what they have, transplant,
And place their wealth in thirst of what they want.
Soliloquy of KING HENRY deliberating on the Death of a

O thou that govern'st the keen swords of Kings,
Direct my arm in this important stroke ;

Or hold it, being advanc'd : the weight of blood,
Even in the basest subject, doth exact
Deep consultation in the highest King :
For in one subject, death's unjust affrights,
Passions, and pains, though he be ne'er so poor,
Ask more remorse than the voluptuous spleens
Of all Kings in the world deserve respect.
He should be born grey-headed that will bear
The weight of Empire. Judgment of the life,
Free state and reputation of a man,

30 (If it be just and worthy), dwells so dark, That it denies access to sun and moon : The soul's eye, sharpen'd with that sacred light, Of whom the sun itself is but a beam, Must only give that judgment. O how much Err those kings then, that play with life and death, And nothing put into their serious states But humour and their lusts ; for which alone

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Men long for kingdoms : whose huge counterpoise
In cares and dangers could a fool comprise,
He would not be a king, but would be wise.

(The Selections which I have made from this poet are sufficient to give an idea of that “full and heightened style” which Webster makes characteristic of Chapman. of all the English Play-writers, Chapman perhaps approaches nearest to Shakspeare in the descriptive and didactic, in passages which are less purely dramatic. Dramatic Imitation was not his talent. He could not go out of himself, as Shakspeare could shift at pleasure, to inform and animate other existences, but in himself he had an eye to perceive and a soul to embrace all forms. He would have made a great epic poet, if, indeed, he has not abundantly shown himself to be one; for his Homer is not so properly a Translation as the Stories of Achilles and Ulysses re-written. The earnestness and passion which he has put into every part of these poems would be incredible to a reader of mere modern translations. His almost Greek zeal for the honour of his heroes is only paralleled by that fierce spirit of Hebrew bigotry, with which Milton, as if personating one of the Zealots of the old law, clothed him. self when he sate down to paint the acts of Samson against the Uncircumcised. The great obstacle to Chapman's Translations being read is their unconquerable quaintness. He pours out in the same breath the most just and natural and the most violent and forced expressions. He seems to grasp whatever words come first to hand during the impetus of inspiration, as if all other must be inadequate to the divine meaning. But passion (the all in all in Poetry) is everywhere present, raising the low, dignifying the mean, and putting sense into the absurd. He makes his readers glow, weep, tremble, take any affection which he pleases, be moved by words, or in spite of them, be disgusted and overcome their disgust. I have often thought that the vulgar misconception of Shakspeare, as of a wild irregular genius “in whom great faults are compensated by great beauties," would be really true applied to Chapman. But there is no scale by which to balance such disproportionate subjects as the faults and beauties of a great genius. To set off the former with any fairness against the latter, the pain which they give us should be in some proportion to the pleasure which we receive from the other. As these transport us to the highest heaven, those should steep us in agonies infernal.]

« ZurückWeiter »