Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

law. The blacksmith's son had nobly and successfully fousrht against ill fortune; and it was no shame, but a glory to him^ to have once been poor. Johann Mandyn himselt acknowledged this; and Quintin and his wife never passed by the lowly home of his youth—the cottage and the forge—without a thrill, not of discontent, but of pleasure. Many and many a day, when they saw their children playing about the two graves—now, alas*! three—in the churchyard which had witnessed their first meeting, did Quintin tell over again to the attentive little ones that old story, and Lisa pressed closer to her husband's aim, as she felt how justly proud she was of the noble and brave heart which had lived through all—triumphed over all.

We have now traced Quintin Matsys through the trials of his youth, and the cares of his manhood, to the settled calm of his middle age. As after a stormy morning there often comes u season of peace, and stillness, and sunshine, so in many instances do the sorrows of early life lead to a happy old age. May it be so to all those who have struggled, and do struggle, often with a weary and a fainting heart! But the reward, though it seeni long delayed, must come at last. There is no storm so great that a true, courageous, and loving heart cannot live through, and, it may be, prove conqueror at last. Let this be the moral of Quintin's simple history; let it encourage the feeble, bring hope to the hopeless, and excite to energy the despairing. The most helped of Providence is he who helps himself; and he who shrinks from disaster in coward fear, or sinks in listless apathy, is not worthy to go through, but must fail in the ordeal. To all on earth should this watchword be precious—Despair not; endure all things: for to him who fears God, and loves his brother man, life can never be without hope.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]

THE quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed; It blesseth him that gives, and hinvthat takes: 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown: His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings. But mercy is above this sceptred sway: It is enthroned in the hearts of kings; It is an attribute to God himself; 'And earthly power doth then show likest God's When mercy season's justice. Therefore, man, Though justice be thy plea, consider this— That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy; And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy. -Merchant of Venice.

No ceremony that to great ones 'longs, Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword, The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe, Become them with one half so good a grace No. 127.

As mercy does. If he had been as you,
And you as he, you would have slipt like him;
But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
-Measure for Measure.

HUMAN LIFE.

All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms; And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel, And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school: and then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow: then, a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth: and then, the justice, In fair round belly, with good capon lined, With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances, And so he plays his part: the sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon, With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side; His youthful hose well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treole, pipes And whistles in his sound: last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. —As You Like It.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. -Macbeth.

POWER OF MUSIC.

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this hank!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in 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 beholdest,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubim.
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

(Rnter musicians.)
Come, ho ! and wake Diana with a hymn;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music.

Jessica. I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
Lorenzo. The reason is, your spirits are attentive;
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud—
Which is the hot condition of their blood—
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze
By the sweet power of music. Therefore, the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods;
Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
-Merchant of Venice.

If music he the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! It had a dying fall:
Oh, it came vev my ear like the sweet south
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!
-Twelfth NiylU.

OUTWARD SHOW.

So may the outward shows be least themselves; The world is still deceived with ornament. In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt, But, being seasoned with a gracious voice, Obscures the show of evil? In religion, What fatal error, but some sober brow Will bless it, and approve it with a text, Hiding the grossness with fair ornament? There is no vice so simple, but assumes Some mark of virtue on his outward parts. How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars; Who, inward searched, have livers white as milk? And these assume but valour's excrement, To render them redoubted. Look on beauty, And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight; Which therein works a miracle in nature, Making them lightest that wear most of it: So are those crisped snaky golden locks, Which make such wanton gambols with the wind, Upon supposed fairness, often known To be the dowry of a second head, The skull that bred them, in the sepulchre. Thus ornament is but the guiled shore To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word, The seeming truth which cunning times put on To entrap the wisest. -Merchant of Venice.

Well, come, my Kate; we will unto your father's, Even in these honest mean habiliments; Our purses shall be proud, our garments poor: For 'tis the mind that makes the body rich; And as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds, So honour peereth in the meanest habit. What! is the jay more precious than the lark Because his feathers are more beautiful? Or is the adder better than the eel Because his painted skin contents the eye? Oh no, good Kate; neither art thou the worse For this poor furniture and mean array. -Taming of the Slirew.

« ForrigeFortsæt »