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The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp: her eye in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright,
That birds would sing, and think it were not night.

What other poet has so felicitously portrayed all that is picturesque and lovely in a summer's dawn ;-pouring on our souls all the freshness and cheerfulness of the returning sunlight ?

Look, love! what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east :
Night's candles are burnt out,—and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountains' tops !

Among the masterly passages of the great dramatist may be classed the soliloquy of Juliet, on drinking the opiate :

Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,
That almost freezes up the heat of life :
I'll call them back again to comfort me.-
Nurse !—What should she do here?
My dismal scene I needs must act alone.-
Come, phial.-
What if this mixture do not work at all ?
Shall I be married, then, to-morrow morning ?
No, no ;—this shall forbid it : lie thou there.-

[Laying down the dagger.
What if it be a poison, which the friar
Subtly hath ministered to have me dead;
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonoured,
Because he married me before to Romeo ?
I fear, it is: and yet, methinks, it should not,
For he hath still been tried a holy man:

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Come to redeem me? there's a fearful point! Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault,

To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes ?
Or, if I live, is it not very like,
The horrible conceit of death and night,
Together with the terror of the place,-
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones
Of all my buried ancestors are pack'd;
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say,
At some hours in the night spirits resort :-
Alack, alack! is it not like, that I,
So early waking,—what with loathsome smells;
And shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth,
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad ;-
O! if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears,
And madly play with my forefathers’ joints,
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud ?
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone,
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains ?
O, look! methinks I see my cousin's ghost
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
Upon a rapier's point—Stay, Tybalt, stay!
Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.

[She throws herself on the bed.

In Othello we have many gems of thought : here is one :

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls :
Who steals my purse steals trash ; 'tis something, nothing ;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands :
But he that filches from me my good name,

Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

We all remember these admirable lines :

The quality of mercy is not strained ;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath : it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest ; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.

What a sublime passage is that on the end of all earthly glories :

The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve ;
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind !

What can be finer in structure of words than the speech of Mark Antony over the body of Cæsar ? Or, take another varietyOthello's relation of his courtship, to the Senate; or, still another familiar, yet exquisite passage, from Romeo and Juliet, on Dreams, commencing :

O then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.



For wonderful condensation and vigor, it has been thought that the passage in As You Like It, on the world being compared to a stage, is one of the greatest gems of Shakspeare: but we have the authority of Bunsen for assigning the highest merit to the description of a moonlight night with music, in The Merchant of Venice :

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank !
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep into our ears : soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica : look how the Aoor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins :
Such harmony is in immortal souls ;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

Now for a cluster of little brilliants, rich and rare :

From Two Gentlemen of Verona :

Who is Silvia ? what is she,

That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she :

The heavens such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.

Is she kind, as she is fair ?

For beauty lives with kindness :
Love doth to her eyes repair,

To help him of his blindness;
And being help’d, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia let us sing,

That Silvia is excelling :
She excels each mortal thing

Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.

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