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But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
ACT II. SCENE I.
The Duke of York in Battle.
-Wou'd not have touch'd,
Wou'd not have stain'd the roses just with blood. Which Mr. Theobald, for the sake of an alteration of his own, prefers to this, for which we have so good authority. He reads,
Wou'd not have fain'd the roses juic'd with blood; Sir T. Hanmer, not pleased with this criticism, tries another cast, and gives us
The roses jufi in dud. (3) As, &c.] The poets abound with numberless fimiles of this kind ; particularly Homer and Virgil: but none perhaps is finer than the following from that book, where every page abounds with beauties, and true fublimity. Isaiah xxxi. 4. 66 Like as the lion, and the young lion roaring on his prey ; when a multitude of thepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice Áor abase himself for the noise of them."
SCENE VI. The Morning's Dawn.
The Blessings of a Shepherd's Life.
(4) How, &c.] There is something very peculiar in this passage, “ The prime of youth and like a younker, seeming nearly the same thing ; but it is extremely beautiful, the author personifies the prime of youth, and describes him as an allegorical person, trimm'd like a younker, which with us fignifies a brisk, lively young man ; but more properly perhaps from its original, a nobleman, or young lord. See Skinner. The plain manner of understanding it is difficult, and the construction very involv’d, however it seems no more than this,“ how well resembles it, a younker trimm'd out in the prime of youth, prancing to his love.
(5) This, &c.] The expression of blowing his nails is peculiarly natural and beautiful; the reader may remember that Shakespear uses it in the pretty song at the end of Love's Labour Loll
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail. (6) O God, &c.] There is something very pleasing and natural in this passage; it is a good deal in the manner of Virgil, who speaks highly of a rural life in his second Georgic, which the reader will be much delighted with, if he compares it with our author, and no less with Horace's fecond Epode expressly on this subject! these are in almost every body's hands ; less flock;
To fit upon a hill, as I do now,
make the hour full compleat,
many years a mortal man may live : When this is known, then to divide the time; So many hours must I tend
my So many hours must I take my reit; So many hours must I contemplate; So many
hours must I sport myself; So many days, my ewes have been with young; So many weeks, ere the poor
yean; So many months, ere I shall sheer the fleece ; So minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years, Past over, to the end they were created, Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave. Oh! what a life were this ! how sweet! how lovely! Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
known are the following lines from Seneca's IIcrcules Oeticus on the subject, and perhaps they may therefore be more agree
Stretch'd on the turf in fylvan fhades;
Secure he rears the beachen bowl,
His modest wife of virtue try'd
To shepherds looking on their filly sheep,
(7) Than, &c.] The miseries of royalty (as have been before observed, 2 Henry IV. A. 4. S. 10.) is a very general topic with the poets ; on which, as indeed on most others, they muft yield the superiority to Shakespear ; Monsieur Racine in his celebrated tragedy of Esther, fpeaks thus on the subject.
A prince encompass'd with a busy crowd
But all with one confent promote our vengeance. In another part of this performance, the author sets in contrast the pleasures and pains of vicious greatness; thus the wicked man's alluring pomp is described,
His days appear a constant scene of joy ;
To crown his tow'ring and ambitious hopes,
Now see the reverse.
With plenty crown'd, his conscious heart repines,
He still unnumber'd pleasures tries :
And happiness his fond embraces fies.'
To kings that fear their subjects treachery?
Look, as I blow this feather from my face,
SCENE III. A Simile on ambitious Thoughts
Why, then I do but dream on fov'reignty,
The Reader with me, is indebted to my worthy friend Mr. Duncombe for the translation of these passages from the French, who hath finished the whole of this tragedy, and some years Since published a tranflation of our author's other most famous performance, Athaliah.