Page images


Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
“There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
Avd pore upon the brook that babbles by.
“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scord, 105
Muttering his wayward fancies, he would rove;
Now drooping, woeful, wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless

“One morn I missed him on the accustomed

hill, Along the heath and near his favourite tree; Another came, nor yet beside the rill, Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he; “ The next, with dirges 30 due, in sad array, Slow through the church-way path we saw him

borne : Approach and read (for thou canst read) the



lay 32


Graven 33 on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”


Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown;
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy 35 marked him for her own.


Large was his bounty, 36 and his soul sincere ;
Heaven did a recompense as largely send :
He gave to Misery (all he had) a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished)

a friend.
No further seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose);-
The bosom of his father and his God.




1 Curfew, the evening bell rung in 20 Hampden (John), lived in the time

England during Norman times to of Charles I. He would not pay warn the people to put out all the tax of ship-money," and fires and lights.

became one of the leaders of the 2 Lea, grassland, an untilled meadow. insurrection. 3 Plod, walking in a slow heavy 21 Milton (John), was one of England's

manner as a tired man would do greatest poets. after a hard day's work.

22 Cromwell (Oliver), the chief leader 4 Glimmering, fading away.

in the rebellion against Charles I. 5 Drowsy tinklings, &c., the sound of 23 Circumscribed, confined.

the bells tied round the necks of 24 Ingenuous, open, straightforward. some of the sheep.

25 Madding, distracting. 6 Breezy call, &c., fresh pure air of 26 Sequestered, lonely, private. the morning

27 Elegy here means praise of the 7 Ply, to work at.

dead, 8 Glebe, land for cultivating. 28 Parting, departed. 9 Jocund, cheerful, joyous.

29 Wonted, usual. 10 Annals, short yearly accounts or 30 Dirge, a funeral service. histories.

31 Array, procession, order. 11 Inevitable, that which cannot be 32 Lay, the song or verse carved on avoided.

the stone; the inscription. 12 Trophies, monuments.

33 Graved, carved in stone or other 13 Pregnant, full of.

substance. 14 Ecstasy, great joy.

34 Epitaph, inscription carved on a 15 Lyre, a kind of harp.

tomb. 16 Penury, poverty.

35 Melancholy, a gloomy state of mind, 17 Repressed, checked, kept back.

sadness. 18 Genial, gay, cheerful.

36 Bounty, what he gave away as gifts. 19 Unfathomed, unsounded.

37 Dread abode, the grave.




King John invades France to chastise Philip for espousing the

cause of Prince Arthur, the rightful heir to the English throne. In a battle before Angiers,, Arthur is taken prisoner. Hubert, chamberlain to King John, is appointed Arthur's keeper, with instructions to find some means of depriving the young prince of life. SCENE-Plains near Angiers; after the

battle; the English having gained the victory and made Arthur a prisoner.


Q. Elinor. Come hither, little kinsman, hark a word.

[She takes Arthur aside. K. John. Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle

Hubert, We owe thee much! within this wall of flesh 3



There is a soul counts thee her creditor,
And with advantage means to pay thy love; 5
And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath
Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.
Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say, -
But I will fit it with some better time.
In good sooth, Hubert, I am almost ashamed 10
To say what good respect ' I have of thee.

Hub. I am much bounden o to your majesty.
K. John. Good friend, thou hast no cause

to say so yet; But thou shalt have: and creep time ne'er so

slow, Yet it shall come for me to do thee good. I had a thing to say—but let it go : The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day, Attended with the pleasures of the world, Is all too wanton, and too full of gawds, To give me audience ; 10 — If the midnight bell 20 Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth, Sound on into the drowsy race of night; If this same were a churchyard where we stand, And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs; Or if that surly spirit, melancholy, Had baked thy blood, and made it heavy

thick, (Which, else, runs tickling up and down the

Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,
A passion hateful to my purposes ;)
Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,



30 40

Hear me without thine ears, and make reply Without a tongue, using conceit 14 alone, Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of

words ;Then, in despite of brooded 15 watchful day, 35 I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts : But, ah, I will not :-yet I love thee well ; And, by my troth,16 I think thou lov'st me

well. Hub. So well, that what you bid me under

take, Though that my death were adjunct ?? to my

act, Indeed I'd do't.

K. John. Do not I know thou wouldst? Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye On yon young boy ; I'll tell thee what, my

friend, He is a very serpent in my way ; And, wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread, 45 He lies before me: dost thou understand me? Thou art his keeper. Hub.

And I will keep him so, That he shall not offend your majesty. K. John.


50 Hub. My lord ? K. John. Hub.

He shall not live. K. John.

Enough. I could be merry now: Hubert, I love thee. Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee : Remember.

A grave.


« PreviousContinue »