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To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes ?
Or, if I live, is it not very like,
The horrible conceit of death and night,
Together with the terror of the place, -
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones
my buried ancestors are pack’d;
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say,
At some hours in the night spirits resort :
Alack, alack! is it not like, that I,
So early waking,—what with loathsome smells;
And shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth,
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad;-
O! if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears,
And madly play with my forefathers' joints,
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud ?
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone,
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains ?
O, look! methinks I see my cousin's ghost
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
Upon a rapier's point-Stay, Tybalt, stay!
Romeo, I come ! this do I drink to thee.
[She throws herself on the bed.
In Othello we have many gems of thought : here is one :
Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash ; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands :
But he that filches m me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
We all remember these admirable lines :
The quality of mercy is not strained ;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath : it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest ; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
What a sublime passage is that on the end of all earthly glo
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve ;
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind !
What can be finer in structure of words than the speech of Mark Antony over the body of Cæsar? Or, take another varietyOthello's relation of his courtship, to the Senate; or, still another familiar, yet exquisite passage, from Romeo and Juliet, on Dreams, commencing :
O then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
For wonderful condensation and vigor, it has been thought that the passage in As You Like It, on the world being compared to a stage, is one of the greatest gems of Shakspeare: but we have the authority of Bunsen for assigning the highest merit to the description of a moonlight night with music, in The Merchant of
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep into our ears: soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica : look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins :
Such harmony is in immortal souls ;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Now for a cluster of little brilliants, rich and rare :
From Two Gentlemen of Verona :
Who is Silvia? what is she,
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she :
The heavens such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.
Is she kind, as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness :
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness;
And being help’d, inhabits there.
Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling :
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.
From Measure for Measure :
Take, oh take those lips away,
That so sweetly are forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn:
But my kisses bring again,
Seals of love, but seal'd in vain,
Seal'd in vain!
From The Merchant of Venice :
Tell me, where is Fancy' bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished ?
It is engender'a in the eyes,
With gazing fed ; and Fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies :
Let us all ring Fancy's knell:
I'll begin it,-Ding, dong, bell.
Ding, dong, bell.
From As You Like It :
Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude :
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh, ho! sing heigh, ho! unto the green holly ;
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.