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Forgive me. Some women bear children in strength,
And bite back the cry of their pain in self-scorn ;
But the birth-pangs of nations will wring us at length
Unto wail such as this—and we sit on forlorn
When the man-child is born.
Dead ! One of them shot by the sea in the east,
And one of them shot in the west by the sea.
Both ! both my boys! If in keeping the feast
You want a great song for your Italy free,
Let none look at me!
MILTON ON HIS BLINDNESS. WHEN I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide ;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?” I fondly ask : but Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, " God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best : his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest : They also serve who only stand and wait.
LYCIDAS.—(Milton.) LAST came, and last did go, The pilot of the Galilean lake; Two massy keys he bore of metals twain (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain), He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake : “How well could I have spared for thee, young swain, Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake Creep and intrude, and climb into the fold ! Of other care they little reckoning make, Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, And shove away the worthy bidden guest; Blind mouths ! that scarce themselves know how to hold A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least
That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs !
What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
But swoll'n with wind and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread :
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing said :
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.
Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse,
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast
Their bells and flowerets of a thousand hues.
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks ;
Throw hither all your quaint enamell’d eyes,
That on the green turf suck the honey'd showers,
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,
The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine,
The white pink, and the pansy freak’d with jet,
The glowing violet,
The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears :
Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed,
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
To strew the laureat hearse where Lycid lies.
For, so to interpose a little ease,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise ;
Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd,
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
Where thou perhaps, under the whelming tide,
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world ;
Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied,
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, -
Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth ;
And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.
Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more,
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor;
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
Amd yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky :
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high,
Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves;
Where, other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
That sing, and, singing in their glory move,
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more ;
Henceforth thou art the genius of the shore,
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood.
SCENE II.-Ante-chamber to the King's Apartment.
Wol. So farewell to the little good you bear me.
Farewell ! a long farewell, to all my greatness !
This is the state of man : to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope ; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him :
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And, --when he thinks, good easy man, sull surely
His greatness is a-ripening,-nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth : my high-blown pride
At length broke under me ; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever lide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye !
I feel my heart new open'd. O, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours !
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have ;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.
Enter CROMWELL, amazedly.
Why, how now, Cromwell ?
Crom. I have no power to speak, sir.
At my misfortunes ? can thy spirit wonder
A great man should decline ?
Nay, an you weep,
I am fallen indeed.
How does your grace ?
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 me, I 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 : O, 'tis a burden, Cromwell, 'tis a burden, Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven.
Crom. I am glad your grace has made that right use of it.
Wol. I hope
I have : I am able now, methinks,
Out of a fortitude of soul I feel,
To endure more miseries, and greater far
Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer.
What news abroad ?
The heaviest, and the worst,
Is your displeasure with the king.
God bless him !
Crom. The next is, that Sir Thomas More is chosen
Lord Chancellor in your place.
That's somewhat sudden :
But 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 'em !
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
The king has gone beyond me; all my glories
In that one woman I have lost for ever :
No sun shall ever usher forth mine 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 ;
pray, may never set ! I have told him
What, and how true thou art : he will advance thee;
Some little memory of me will stir him, —
I know his noble nature, -not to let
Thy hopeful service perish too: good Cromwell,
Neglect him not ; make use now, and provide
For thine own future safety.
O, my lord,
Must I then leave you ? must I needs forego
So good, so noble, and so true a master?
Bear witness, all that have not hearts of iron,
With what a sorrow Cromwell leaves his lord.
The king shall have my service ; but my prayers
For ever, and for ever, shall be yours.
Wol. Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries ; but thou has forced me
Out of thy honest truth to play the woman.
Let's dry our eyes : and thus far hear me, Cromwell ;
And, — when I'am forgotten, as I shall be;
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me more must be heard of,-say, I taught thee ;
Say, Wolsey,—that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,-
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in ;
A sure and safe one, though thy master miss'd it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruin'd me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, Aing away ambition :
By that sin fell the angels ; how can man then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?
Love thyself last : cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not :
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's and truth's ; then if thou fall'st, o Cromwell,
Thou fall’st a blessed martyr ! Serve the king;
And, -pr’ythee, lead me in :
There, take an inventory of all I have;
To the last penny, 'tis the king's : my robe,
And my integrity to heaven, is all
I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell !
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
Crom. Good sir, have patience.
Wol. So I have. Farewell The hopes of court : my hopes in heaven do dwell. [Exeunt.