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HAMLET'S INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PLAYERS. SPEAK the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the congue. But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lieve the town crier had spoke my lines. And do not saw the air too much with your hand, "thus ; but use all gently: for in the very torrent, tempeft,and, as I may fay, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh! it offends me to the soul, to hear a robusteous periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who (for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shews and noise : I could have such a fellow whipp'd for o'er-doing termagant; it out-herods Herod. Pray you, avoid it.
Be not too tame neither; but set your own discretion be your tutor.
Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modefty of Nature: for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing ; whose end, both at the firit and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to Nature; to fhew Virtue her own feature, Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the Time, his form and pressure. Now, this. overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve ; the censure of one of which must in your allowance o’erweigh a whole theatre of others. Oh! there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly (not to
speak it profanely) that, neither having the accent of Chriftian, nor the gait of Christian, Pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them weil ; they imitated humanity fo abominably,
And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them: for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary quefion of the play be then to be considered :--that's villainous; and thews a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it.
THE PRESENT CONDITION OF MAN
EAVEN from all creatures hides the book of Fate,
All but the page prescrib’d-their present state :
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know,
Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to day,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand just rais’d to shed his blood.
Oh blindness to the future! kindly given,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heav'n;
Who fees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurld,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions foar ; Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore.
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that Hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope Springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never IS, but always To be bleft:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Indian ! whose untator'd mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His soul proud Science never taught to stray
Far as the Solar Walk, or Milky Way;
Yet fimple nature to his hope has given
Behind the cloud topt-hill, an humbler heav'n;
Some safer world in depth of wo ods embrac'd,
Some happier island in the wat'ry waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold.
TO BE, contents his natural desire,
He asks no Angel's wing, no Seraph's fire ;
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense
Weigh thý opinion against Providence;
Call imperfection what thou fancieft fuch,
Say, here he gives too little, there too much :
Destroy all créatures for thy sport or gust,
Yet cry, if man's unhappy God's unjust;
If man alone ingrofs not Heav'n's high care,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there :
Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
Re-judge his justice, be the God of GOD.
In pride, in reas’ning Pride, our error lies;
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the bleft abodes,
Men would be Angels, Angels would be Gods.":
Aspiring to be Gods, if Angels fell,
Aspiring to be Angels, Men rebel :
And who but wishes to invert the laws
OF ORDER, fins against th' Eternal Cause.
ON THE ORDER Or NATURE
EE, thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high, progressive life may go!
Around, how. wide ! how deep extend below!
Vaft chain of Being! which from God began,
Nature æthereal, human; angel, man !
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
No glass can reach ; from Infinite to thee,
From thee to nothing.-On superior pow'rs
Were we to press, inferior might on, ours :
Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd :
Prom Nature's chain whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll
Alike essential to th' amazing Whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
That system only, but the whole must fall.
Let earth, unbalanc'd, from her orbit fly,
Planets and suns run lawless thro’ the sky;
Let ruling Angels from their spheres he hurl'd,
Being on being wreck'd, and world on world;
Heaven's whole foundations to their centre nod,
And Nature trembles to the throne of God.
All this dread Order break--for whom for thee,
Vile worm !-Oh Madness! Pride ! Impiety!
What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread..
Or hand, to toil, aspir’d to be the head ?
What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd
To serve mere engines to the ruling Mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim:
To be another, in this general frame :
Just as absurd to mourn the tasks or pains
The great directing Mind of ALL ordains,
All are but parts of one ftupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul :
That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the fame,
Great in the earth, as in th' æthereal frame.
Warms in the fun, refreshes in the breeze, ,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
Lives thro’ all life, extends thro' all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
Breaths in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As fall, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns,
As the rapt Seraph that adores and burns :
To him nọ high, no low, no great, no small-
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
Cease then! nor Order Imperfection name; Our proper bliss depends on what we blame. Know thy own point : This kind, this due degree Of blindnes, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.