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And you, my sinews, grow not instant old!
But bear me stifly up. Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe! Remember thee!
Yea, from the tablet of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with basser matter.
Hamlet's Soliloquy on Death. To be, or not to be?—that is the question.—
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The stings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?-To die-to sleep
No more and by a sleep, to say,
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to :-Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die—to sleep—
To sleep? perchance to dream ?-ay, there's the
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.-There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life :
For who would bear the whips and scorns o' th'
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's con
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes;
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear
and sweat under a weary life;
But that the dread of something after death
(That undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns) puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all :
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And entreprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
CHAP. X X X I.
Soliloquy of the King in Hamlet. On! my offence is rank, it smells to heav'n,
It hath the primal, eldest curse upon't ;
A brother's murder-Pray I cannot :
Though inclination be as sharp as 'twill,
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent :
And like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause, where I shall first begin,
-And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood?
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heav'ns
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what's in prayer, but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down ?-Then I'll look up :
My fault is past.-But oh, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul mur-
That cannot be, since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd, and retain th' offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Book viij. Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice; And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself Buys out the laws. But 'tis not so above. There is no shuffling: there the action lies In its true nature, and we ourselves compell'd Ev'n to the teeth and forehead of our faults To give in evidence. What then? what rests? Try what repentance can: What can it not? Yet what can it, when one cannot repent? Oh wretched state! oh bosom black as death! Oh limed soul, that, struggling to be free, Art more engag'd! Help, angels! make assay ! Bow, stubborn knees and heart, with strings of
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe!
CHA P. XXXII.
Ode on St. Cecilia's day.
DESCEND, ye Nine! descend and sing,
The breathing instruments inspire;
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre!
In a sadly-pleasing strain
Let the warbling lute complain :
Let the loud trumpet sound,
Till the roofs all around
The shrill echoes rebound:
While in more lengthen'd notes and slow
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numbers soft and clear
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder and yet louder rise,
And fill with spreading sounds the skies; Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes, In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats! Till, by degrees, remote and small,
And melt away
In a dying, dying fall..
By Music, minds an equal temper know,
Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft, assuasive voice applies;
Or, when the soul is press'd with cares,
Exalts her in enlivening airs.
Warriors she fires with animated sounds:
Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds:
Melancholy lifts her head,
Morpheus rouses from his bed,
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,
List'ning Envy drops her snakes;
Intestine war no more our Passions wage,.
But when our country's cause provokes to arms,
How martial music every bosom warms!
So when the first bold vessel dar'd the seas,
High on the stern the Tracian rais'd his strain,
While Argo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main.
Transported demi-gods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,
Enflam'd with glory's charms:
Each chief his sev'nfold shield display'd,
And half unsheath'd the shining blade:
and rocks, and skies rebound
To arms! to arms! to arms !
But when thro' all th' infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegethon surrounds
Love, strong as Death, the poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appear'd,
O'er all the dreary coasts?
And cries of tortur'd ghosts!
But hark! he strikes the golden lyre ;
And see! the tortur'd ghosts respire.
See, shady forms advance!
Thy stone, O Sysiphus, stands stil,
Ixion rests upon his wheel,
And the pale spectres dance!
The furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes uncurl'd hang list'ning round their
By the streams that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow
O'er th' Elysian flow'rs;
By those happy souls who dwell
In yellow meads of Asphodel,
Ŏr Amaranthine bow'rs;
By the hero's armed shades,
Glitt'ring thro' the gloomy glades;
By the youths that dy'd for love,
Wand'ring in the myrtle grove,
Restore, restore Eurydice to life:
Oh take the Husband, or return the Wife!
and hell consented
To hear the Poet's prayer:
Stern Proserpine relented,
And gave him back the fair:
Thus song could prevail
O'er death and o'er hell,
A conquest how hard, and how glorious!
Tho' fate had fast bound her,
With Styx nine times round her,
Yet music and love were victorious.
too soon the lover turns his eyes :
Again she falls, again she dies, she dies!
How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move?