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Thus conscience does make cowards of us all :
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is ficklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprizes of great pith and moment ;
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
1. Let's reason with the worst that may befal.
If we do lose this battle, then is this
The very laft time we shall speak together.
What are you then determined to do?
2. Ev'n by the rule of that philosophy,
By which I did blame Cato for the death
Which he did give himself: I know not how,
But I do find it cowardly and vile,
For fear of what might fall, so to prevent
The time of life ; arming myself with patience,
To stay the providence of some high pow'rs
That govern us below.
Shakespear's Julius Cæfar, 1. The gods avert from ev'ry Roman mind The name of slave to any tyrant's pow's. Why was man ever just, but to be free, 'Gainst all injustice and to bear about him As well all means to freedom ev'ry hour, As ev'ry hour he should be arm'd for death, Which only is his freedom ? 2. But, Statilius, Death is not free for any man's election, 'Till nature, or the law impose it on him. 3. Must a man go to law then, when he may Enjoy his own in peace? if I can use Mine own mylelf, must I of force, reserve it, To serve a tyrant with it? all just men Nct only may enlarge their lives, but must, From all rule tyrannous, or live unjust. 1. By death mult they enlarge their lives? 2. By death. 1. A man's not bound to that,
2. I'll prove he is. Are not the lives of all men bound to justice ? 1. They are. 2. And therefore not to serve injustice : Justice itself ought ever to be free ; And therefore ev'ry juft man being a part Of that free justice, should be free as it. 1. Then wherefore is there law for death? 2. That all That know not what law is, nor freely can Perform the fitting justice of a man, In kingdom's common good, may be enforc'd : But is not ev'ry just man to himself The perfe&t’it law? 1. Suppose. 2. Then to himself Is ev'ry juft man's life fubordinate. Again, fir; is not our free foul infus'd To ev'ry body in her absolute end To rule that body ? in which absolute rule, Is she not absolutely empress of it? And being empress, may she not dispose It, and the life in it, at her just pleasure ? 1. Not to destroy it. 2. No : she not destroys it when he uil-lives it ; that thcir freedom may Go firm together, like their pow'rs and organs ; Rather than let it live a rebel to her, Prophaning that divine conjunction
Twixt her and it; nay, a disjunction making Betwixt them worse than death ; in killing quick That which in just death lives : being dead to her, If to her rule dead ; and to her alive, If dying in her juft rule. 1. The body lives not when death hath reft it. 2. Yet 'tis free, and kept Fit for rejunction in man's second life ; Which dying rebel to the foul, is far Unfit to join with her in perfect life. Chapman's Cæfar and Pompey.
What more speaks
Greatness of man, than valiant patience
That shrinks not under his fate's strongest strokes ?
These Roman deaths, as falling on a sword,
Op'ning of veins, with poison quenching thirst,
(Which we erroneously do stile the deeds
of the hercick and magnanimous man)
Was dead-ey'd cowardice, and white-cheek'd fear :
Who doubting tyranny, and fainting under
Fortune's false lottery, desp'rately run
To death, for dread of death. That soul's most stout,
That bearing all mischance, dares last it out.
Beaumont and Fletcher's Honest Man's Fortune.
This Roman resolution of self-murder,
Will not hold water at the high tribunal,
When it comes to be argu'd. My good genius
Prompts me to this consideration. He
That kills himself, t avoid misory, fears it ;
And at the best shews but a bastard valour :
This life's a fort committed to trust,
Which I must not yield up, till it be forc'd ;
Nor will I; he's not valiant that dares die ;
But he that boldly bears calamity
Mafinger's Maid of Honour, 1. I'll make myself in a capacity By death, to be an object of their juftice; I'll die immediately, I can do't myself. 2. Your piety avert fo black a deed ! This is a way to make the world suspect The worth of all your former actions ;
And that they were not births legitimate,
. Born from true honour ; but the spurious issue
Of an unguided heat, or chance How Thall
We think, that man is truly valiant,
And fit to be engag'd in things of fright
And danger ;, that wants courage to sustain
An injury? It shews a fear of others,
To be reveng'd upon ourselves; and he
Is not so much a coward that flies death,
As he that suffers, and doth fear to live :
Besides, this will enlarge your enemy's triumph ;
And in the world's opinion, be granted
A tame concession to his worth ; nay men,
And with much face of reason, may affirm,
Ulyses did not only win the arms,
But conquer'd Ajax.
Shirley's Contention of Ajax and Ulylesi
This strong desire of death, that hath possess'd
Your will thus far; does not express the signs
Of that true valour, your spirit seems to bear:
For ’tis not courage, when the darts of chance
Are thrown against our state, to turn our backs,
And basely run to death; as if the hand
Of heav'n and nature had lent nothing else
Toppose against mishap, but loss of life :
Which is to Ay, and not to conquer it.
For know, it were true valour's part, my lord,
That when the hand of chance had crush'd our states,
Ruin'd all that our fairest hopes had built,
And thrown it in heaps of desolation ;
Then by those ruins for our thoughts to climb
Up, 'till they dar'd blind fortune to the face,
And urg'd her anger to encrease those heaps,
That we might rise with them; and make her know,
We were above, and all her pow'r below :
Why this, my lord, would prove us men indeed. .
But when affliction thunders o'er our roofs ;
To hide our heads, and run into our graves,
Shews us no men, but makes us fortune's slaves.
Jones's Adrafia... What, may not man unlock this cabinet, And free the heav'nly jewel of his soul ? A wise man stays not nature's period, but If things occur, which troubles his tranquillity, Emits himself; departing out of life, As from a stage or theatre ; nor passes
Whether he take, or make his diffolution ;
Whether he do't in fickness or in health.
'Tis baie to live, but brave to die by stealth ;
This is the daring ftoick's glorious language :
I was myself too of the opinion once ;
But now, I find it impious and unmanly :
For as some pictures drawn with slender lines,
Deceiving almolt our intentive eyes,
Affect us much; and with their fubtilties
Wooe us to gaze upon them ; but are found
By: killful and judicious eyes to err
In symmetry of parts, and due proportion :
Ev'n so the itoicks arguments are carvid
With seeming curioułness
, almost forcing judgment i
And carry with them an applaufive shew
Of undeniable verity: yet well scann'd,
They are more like the dreams of idle brains,
Than the grave dictates of philosophers.
The wise Pythagoras was opinion'd better ;
For most divinely he forbids us leave
The corps du guard without our captain's licence :
And to speak true, we are but usufructuaries ;
The God that governs in us is proprietary.
A prisoner breaking from his gaol or hold,
If he be guilty, aggravates his guilt ;
If innocent, itains ev’n that innocence
Which might perhaps have brought him clearly of
'Tis so with us ; our magistrate, I mean
The pow'r that's fov’reign of this nat'ral frame,
Has sent us, Plato says from heav'nly mansions,
Into this fleshly prison; here we live,
And must not free ourselves, but patiently
Expect our fummons from that facred pow'r,
By his lieutenant death: for otherwise
We become guilty of a greater sin
Than parricide itself; no bond of nature
Being so near, as of one to himself.