« ZurückWeiter »
And, as if strength were given him of God,
He rose up calmly, and composed the pall
Firmly and decently, and left him there,
As if his rest had been a breathing sleep.
ROBERT BRUCE AND THE SPIDER.
OR Scotland's and for Freedom's right
The Bruce his part had play'd:
In five successive fields of fight
Been conquered and dismay'd;
Once more against the English host
His band he led, and once more lost
The meed for which he fought;
And now, from battle faint and worn,
The homeless fugitive forlorn
A hut's lone shelter sought.
And cheerless was that resting-place
For him who claim'd a throne;
His canopy, devoid of grace,
The rude rough beams alone;
The heather couch his only bed-
Yet well I know had slumber fled
From couch of eider-down;
Through darksome night to dawn of day,
Immersed in wakeful thoughts he lay
Of Scotland and her crown.
The sun rose brightly, and its gleam
Fell on that hapless bed,
And tinged with light each shapeless beam
Which roof'd the lowly shed;
When, looking up with wistful eye,
The Bruce beheld a spider try
His filmy thread to fling
From beam to beam of that rude cot;
And well the insect's toilsome lot
Taught Scotland's future king.
Six times his gossamery thread
The wary spider threw:
In vain the filmy line was sped;
For powerless or untrue
Each aim appear'd, and back recoil'd
The patient insect, six times foil'd,
And yet unconquer'd still;
And soon the Bruce, with eager eye,
Saw him prepare once more to try
His courage, strength, and skill.
One effort more, the seventh and last;
The hero hail'd the sign!
And on the wish'd-for beam hung fast
The slender, silky line.
Slight as it was, his spirit caught
The more than omen, for his thought
The lesson well could trace,
Which even "he who runs may read,"
That perseverance gains its meed,
And patience wins the race.
ANTONY'S ADDRESS TO THE ROMANS.
RIENDS, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears:
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones:
So let it be with Cæsar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Cæsar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Cæsar answered it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,
(For Brutus is an honorable man:
So are they all, all honorable men,)
Come I to speak in Cæsar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
You all did see that, on the Lupercal,
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse.
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And, sure, he is an honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason! Bear with me:
My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
But yesterday the word of Cæsar might
Have stood against the world: now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O masters! if I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honorable men.
I will not do them wrong: I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honorable men:
But here's a parchment, with the seal of Cæsar
I found it in his closet; 't is his will.
Let but the commons hear this testament,
(Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read,)
And they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds,
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood;
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it, as a rich legacy,
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Cæsar put it on;
'Twas on a summer's evening in his tent-
That day he overcame the Nervii.
Look! In this place ran Cassius' dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this, the well-beloved Brutus stabbed;
And as he plucked his cursèd steel away,
Mark, how the blood of Cæsar followed it!
This was the most unkindest cut of all!
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquished him! Then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statue,
Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell.
Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us, fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.
Oh, now you weep! and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity; - these are gracious drops.
Kind souls! what, weep you when you but behold
Our Cæsar's vesture wounded? Look ye here!
Here is himself— marred, as you see, by traitors.
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up To such a sudden flood of mutiny!
They that have done this deed are honorable!
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it! They are wise and honorable, And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But as you know me all, a plain, blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him.
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood:- I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Cæsar's wounds, poor, poor, dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me. But, were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Cæsar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny!
O be- or not to be;-that is the question:-
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune;
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?-To die-to sleep -
No more; and, by a sleep, to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to
Devoutly to be wished.
To sleep! perchance to dream;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despisèd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life;
But that the dread of something after death-
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns - puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?