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For ever. Written on thy works, I read
The lesson of thy own eternity.
Lo; all grow old and die—but see, again,
How on the faltering footsteps of decay
Youth presses-ever gay and beautiful youth
In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees
Wave not less proudly than their ancestors
Moulder beneath them. Oh, there is not lost
One of earth's charms : upon her bosom yet.
After the flight of untold centuries,
The freshness of her far beginning lies,
And yet shall lie. Life mocks the idle hate
Of his arch-enemy Death-yea, seats himself
Upon the tyrant's throne—the sepulchre,
And of the triumphs of his ghastly foe
Makes his own nourishment. For he came forth
From thine own bosom, and shall have no end.
There have been holy men, who hid themselves
Deep in the woody wilderness, and gave
Their lives to thought and prayer till they outlived
The generation born with them, nor seemed
Less aged than the hoary trees and rocks
Around them,--and there have been holy men,
Who deemed it were not well to pass life thus.
But let me often to these solitudes
Retire, and in thy presence, reassure
My feeble virtue. Here its enemies,
The passions, at thy plainer footsteps shrink,
And tremble, and are still. Oh, God! when thou
Dost scare the world with tempests, set on fire
The heavens with falling thunderbolts, or fill
With all the waters of the firmament
The swift dark whirlwind that uproots the woods,
And drowns the villages ; when, at thy call,
Uprises the great deep, and throws himself
Upon the continent and overwhelms
Its cities,—who forgets not, at the sight
Of these tremendous tokens of thy power,
His pride, and lays his strifes and follies by ?
Oh, from these sterner aspects of thy face
Spare me and mine ; nor let us need the wrath
Of the mad, unchained elements to teach
Who rules them. Be it ours to meditate,
In these calm shades, thy milder majesty,
And, to the beautiful order of thy works,
Learn to conform the order of our lives.
KING JOHN, ACT IV., SCENE I.
Shakespeare. Enter Hubert and Two Attendants. Hub. HEAT me these irons hot; and look thou stand Within the arras, when I strike my foot Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth, And bind the boy, which you shall find with me, Fast to the chair : be heedful : hence, and watch.
1. Attend. I hope your warrant will bear out the deed. Hub. Uncleanly scruples ! Fear not you : look to 't.-
[Exeunt Attendants. Young lad, come forth ; I have to say
Arth. Good morrow, Hubert.
Good morrow, little prince.
Arth. As little prince (having so great a title
To be more prince) as may be. You are sad.
Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.
Mercy on me!
Methinks, nobody should be sad but I;
Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
So I were out of prison, and kept sheep,
I should be merry as the day is long ;
And so I would be here, but that I doubt,
My uncle practises more harm to me :
He is afraid of me, and I of him :
Is it my fault, that I was Geffrey's son ?
No indeed is't not; And I would to heaven,
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.
Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate He will awake my mercy, which lies dead; Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch. [Aside.
Arth. Are you sick, Hubert ? you look pale to-day;
In sooth, I would you were a little sick;
That I might sit all night and watch with you :
I warrant I love you more than you do me.
Hub. His words do take possession of my bosom.-
Read here, young Arthur.
[Showing a paper.
How now, foolish rheum ! [Aside. Turning dispiteous torture out of door! I must be brief, lest resolution drop Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears. Can you not read it ? is it not fair writ?
Arth. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect : Must
with hot irons burn out both mine eyes ? Hub. Young boy, I must. Arth.
And will you ? Hub.
And I will.
Arth. Have you the heart? When your head did but
I knit my handkerchief about your brows,
(The best I had, a princess wrought it me ;)
And I did never ask it you again.
And with my hand, at midnight, held your head;
And, like the watchful minutes to the hour,
Still and anon cheered up the heavy time,
Saying, What lack you? and Where lies your grief?
Or What good love may I perform for you?
Many a poor man's son would have lain still,
And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you ;
But you at your sick service had a prince.
Nay, you may think my love was crafty love,
And call it, cunning ; do, an if you will :
If heaven be pleas'd that you must use me ill,
Why then, you must.-Will you put out mine eyes ?
These eyes that never did, nor never shall,
So much as frown on you ?
I have sworn to do it;
And with hot irons must I burn them out.
Arth. Ah, none but in this iron age would do it ;
The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,
Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears,
And quench his fiery indignation,
Even in the matter of mine innocence :
Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
Are you more stubborn hard than hammer'd iron ?
An if an angel should have come to me,
And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,
I would not have believ'd him. No tongue but Hubert's.
Hub. Come forth !
[Stamps. Re-enter Attendants with Cords, Irons, etc. Do as I bid you do.
Arth. O save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out, Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.
Hub. Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.
Arth. Alas, what need you be so boist'rous rough?
I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.
For Heaven sake, Hubert, let me not be bound !
Nay, hear me, Hubert ! drive these men away,
And I will sit as quiet as a lamb,
I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
Nor look upon the iron angerly ;
Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,
Whatever torment you do put me to.
Hub. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him.
I Attend. I am best pleased to be from such a deed.
Arth. Alas! I then have chid away my friend ;
He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart :-
Let him come back, that his compassion may
Give life to yours.
Come, boy, prepare yourself.
Arth. Is there no remedy?
None, but to lose your eyes.
Arth. O heaven! that there were but a mote in yours,
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense,
Then, feeling what small things are boist'rous there,
Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.
Hub. Is this your promise ? go to, hold your tongue.
Arth. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes:
Let me not hold my tongue ; let me not, Hubert !
Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,
So I may keep mine eyes. O, spare mine eyes ;
Though to no use, but still to look on you !
Lo, by my troth, the instrument is cold,
And would not harm me.
I can heat it, boy.
Arth. No, in good sooth : the fire is dead with grief,
Being create for comfort, to be us'd
In undeserv'd extremes : See else yourself.
There is no malice in this burning coal;
The breath oi heav'n hath blown his spirit out,
And strew'd repentant ashes on his head.
Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy.
Arth. An if you do, you will but make it blush,
And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert :
Nay, it, perchance, will sparkle in your eyes ;
And, like a dog, that is compellid to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.
All things that you should use to do me wrong,
Deny their office ; only you do lack
That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends,
Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.
Hub. Well, see to live ; I will not touch thine eyes,
For all the treasure that thine uncle owes :
Yet am I sworn, and I did purpose, boy,
With this same very iron to burn them out.
Arth. O, now you look like Hubert ! all this while
You were disguised.
Peace no more. Adieu !
Your uncle must not know but you are dead :
I'll fill these doggę spies with false reports.
And, pretty child, sleep doubtless, and secure,
That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
Will not offend thee.
Arth. O heaven !- I thank you, Hubert.
Hub. Silence; no more : Go closely in with me. Much danger do I undergo for thee.
[Exeunt. WHAT stronger breastplate than a heart untainted ! Thrice is he arm'd that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.