« ForrigeFortsett »
His greatness is a-ripening-nips his root;
my misfortunes! Can thy spirit wonder A great man should decline? Nay, if you weep, I am fallen indeed!
Crom. How does your Grace?
Wol. Why, well; Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell! I know myself now, and I feel within me A peace above all earthly dignities A still and quiet conscience. The king has cured meI humbly thank his Grace—and from these shoulders, These ruin'd pillars, out of pity taken A load would sink a navy—too much honour. Oh, 'tis a burden, Cromwell!—'tis a burden Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven! Crom. I'm glad your Grace has made that right use
Wol. I hope I have: I'm able now, methinks,
Crom. The heaviest and the worst,
Wol. God bless him!
Crom. The next is, that Sir Thomas More is chosen Lord Chancellor in your place.
Wol. That's somewhat suddenBut he's a learned man. May he continue Long in his Highness' favour, and do justice For truth's sake and his conscience; that his bones, When he has run his course, and sleeps in blessings, May have a tomb of orphans' tears wept on him!— What more?
Crom. That Cranmer is return'd with welcome; Install'd Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.
Wol. That's news indeed!
Crom. Last, that the Lady Anne, Whom the king hath in secrecy long married, This day was view'd in open as his queen, Going to chapel; and the voice is now Only about her coronation. Wol. There was the weight that pulld me down:
O Cromwell! The king has gone beyond me; all my glories, In that one woman, I have lost for ever: No sun shall ever usher forth my honours, Or gild again the noble troops that waited Upon my smiles! Go, get thee from me, Cromwell! I am a poor fallen man, unworthy now To be thy lord and master. Seek the king, (That sun I pray may never set,) I've told him
What and how true thou art; he will advance thee:
Crom. O my lord!
Wol. Cromwell! I did not think to shed a tear
And prithee lead me in
Crom. Good sir, have patience.
Wol. So I have. Farewell
THE POETRY OF SHAKSPEARE,
Many persons are very sensible of the effect of fine poetry on their feelings, who do not well know how to refer these feelings to their causes; and it is always a delightful thing to be made to see clearly the sources from which our delight has proceeded, and to trace back the mingled stream that has flowed upon our hearts, to the remoter fountains from which it has been gathered; and when this is done with warmth as well as precision, and embodied in an eloquent description of the beauty which is explained, it forms one of the most attractive, amd not the least instructive, of literary exercises. In all works of merit, however, and especially in all works of original genius, there are a thousand retiring and less obtrusive graces, which escape hasty and superficial observers, and give out their beauties only to fond and patient contemplation; a thousand slight and harmonising touches, the merit and the effect of which are equally imperceptible to vulgar eyes; and a thousand indications of the continual presence of that poetical spirit, which can be recognised by those only who are in some measure under its influence, and have prepared themselves to receive it, by worshipping meekly at the shrines which it inhabits.
In the exposition of these, there is room enough for skill and judgment; and in no instance more than in developing the characters with which Shakspeare has peopled the fancies of all English readers, in pointing out that familiarity with beautiful forms and images—that eternal recurrence to what is sweet or majestic in the simple aspects of nature —that indestructible love of flowers and odours, and dews and clear waters, and soft airs and sounds, and bright skies, and woodland solitudes, and moonlight bowers, which are the material elements of poetry—and that delicate sense of their undefinable relation to mental emotion, which is its essence and vivifying soul; and which, in the midst of Shakspeare's most busy and atrocious scenes, falls like gleams of sunshine on rocks and ruins, contrasting with all that is rugged and repulsive, and reminding us of the existence of purer and brighter elements, which he alone has poured out from the richn of his own mind, without effort or restraint, and contrived to intermingle with the play of all the passions, and the vulgar course of this world's affairs, without deserting for an instant the proper business of the scene, or appearing to pause or digress from love of ornament or need of repose—he alone, who, when the subject requires it, is always keen, and worldly, and practical; and who yet, without changing his hand or stopping his course, scatters around him as he goes, all sounds and shapes of sweetness, and conjures up landscapes of immortal fragrance and freshness, and peoples them with spirits of glorious aspect and attractive grace, and is thousand times more full of fancy and imagery and splendour, than those who, for the sake of such qualities, have shrunk back from the delineation of character or passion, and declined the discussion of human duties and cares. More full of wisdom and ridicule and sagacity, than all the moralists and satirists in existence, he is more vivid, airy and inventive, and more pathetic and fantastic, than all the poets of