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A gallant curtle-ax* upon my thigh,
A boar-spear in my hand; and (in my heart
Lie there what hidden woman's fear there will,)
We'll have a swashing† and a martial outside;
As many other mannish cowards have,
That do outface it with their semblances.
SOLITUDE PREFERRED TO A COURT LIFE, AND THE
ADVANTAGES OF ADVERSITY.
Now, my co-mates, and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as the icy fang,
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind;
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile, and say,
This is no flattery: these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.
Sweet are the uses of adversity;
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.
REFLECTIONS ON THE WOUNDED STAG.
Duke S. Come, shall we go and kill us venison? And yet it irks me, the poor dappled fools,Being native burghers of this desert city,Should, in their own confines, with forked heads ‡, Have their round haunches gor'd.
The melancholy Jaques grieves at that;
And, in that kind, swears you do more usurp
Than doth your brother that hath banish'd you.
To-day, my lord of Amiens, and myself,
Did steal behind him, as he lay along
Under an oak, whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood:
To the which place a poor sequester'd stag,
That from the hunters' aim had ta'en a hurt,
Did come to languish: and, indeed, my lord,
The wretched animal heav'd forth such groans,
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
Almost to bursting; and the big round tears
Cours'd one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase: and thus the hairy fool,
Much marked of the melancholy Jaques,
Stood on the extremest verge of the swift brook,
Augmenting it with tears.
But what said Jaques? Did he not moralize this spectacle?
1 Lord. O yes, into a thousand similes.
First, for his weeping in the needless stream;
Poor deer, quoth he, thou mak'st a testament
As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more
To that which had too much: Then, being alone,
Left and abandon'd of his velvet friends;
'Tis right, quoth he; this misery doth part
The flux of company: Anon, a careless herd,
Full of the pasture, jumps along by him,
And never stays to greet him; Ay, quoth Jaques,
Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens;
'Tis just the fashion: Wherefore do you look
Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?
GRATITUDE IN AN OLD SERVANT.
But do not so: I have five hundred crowns, The thrifty hire I sav'd under your father, Which I did store, to be my foster nurse,
When service should in my old limbs lie lame,
And unregarded age in corners thrown;
Take that: and He that doth the ravens feed,
Yea, providently caters for the sparrow,
Be comfort to my age! Here is the gold;
All this I give you: Let me be your servant;
Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty:
For in my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood;
Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo
The means of weakness and debility;
'Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly: let me go with you;
I'll do the service of a younger man
In all your business and necessities.
DESCRIPTION OF A LOVER.
O, thou didst then ne'er love so heartily:
If thou remember'st not the slightest folly
That ever love did make thee run into,
Thou hast not lov'd:
Or if thou hast not sat as I do now,
Wearying thy hearer in thy mistress' praise,
Thou hast not lov'd:
Or if thou hast not broke from company,
Abruptly, as my passion now makes me,
Thou hast not lov'd.
DESCRIPTION OF A FOOL, AND HIS MORALIZING ON TIME.
Good-morrow, fool, quoth I: No, sir, quoth he,
Call me not fool, till heaven hath sent me fortune :
And then he drew a dial from his poke;
And looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
Says, very wisely, It is ten o'clock:
Thus may we see, quoth he, how the world wags:
'Tis but an hour ago, since it was nine;
And after an hour more, 'twill be eleven ;
And so from hour to hour, we ripe, and ripe,
And then, from hour to hour, we rot, and rot,
And thereby hangs a tale. When I did hear
The motley fool thus moral on the time,
My lungs began to crow like chanticleer,
That fools should be so deep contemplative;
And I did laugh, sans intermission,
An hour by his dial.-O noble fool!
A worthy fool! Motley's the only wear*.
Duke S. What fool is this?
Jaq. O worthy fool!-One that hath been a courtier ; And says, if ladies be but young, and fair,
They have the gift to know it: and in his brain,—
Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
After a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd
With observation, the which he vents
In mangled forms.
A FOOL'S LIBERTY OF SPEECH.
I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please; for so fools have:
And they that are most galled with my folly,
They most must laugh: And why, sir, must they so?
The why is plain as way to parish church:
He, that a fool doth very wisely hit,
Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
Not to seem senseless of the bob: if not,
The wise man's folly is anatomiz'd
Even by the squandering glances of the fool.
APOLOGY FOR SATIRE.
Why, who cries out on pride,
That can therein tax any private party?
Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea,
Till that the very very means do ebb?
What woman in the city do I name,
When that I say, The city-woman bears
The cost of princes on unworthy_shoulders?
Who can come in, and say that I mean her,
When such a one as she, such is her neighbour?
Or what is he of basest function,
* The fool was anciently dressed in a party-coloured coat.
That says, his bravery* is not on my cost,
(Thinking that I mean him,) but therein suits
His folly to the mettle of my speech?
There then; How, what then? Let me see wherein
My tongue hath wrong'd him: if it do him right,
Then he hath wrong'd himself; if he be free,
Why then, my taxing like a wild goose flies,
Unclaim'd of any man.
A TENDER PETITION.
But whate'er you are,
That in this desert inaccessible,
Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time;
If ever you have look'd on better days,
If ever been where bells have knoll'd to church;
If ever sat at any good man's feast;
If ever from your eye-lids wip'd a tear,
And know what 'tis to pity, and be pitied;
Let gentleness my strong enforcement be.
INGRATITUDE. A SONG.
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:
Then, heigh, ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember'd ‡ not.
Heigh, ho! sing, heigh, ho! &c.