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Let all my powers be emptied in my Son;
To curb and end them all as I have done.
Let him by virtue quite cut off from Fortune
Her feather'd shoulders, and her winged shoes,
And thrust from her light feet her turning stone;
That she may ever tarry by his throne.
And of his worth let after ages say
(He fighting for the land, and bringing home
Just conquests, loaden with his enemies' spoils),
His father past all France in martial deeds.
But he his father twenty times exceeds.
What we have, we slight; what we want, we think excellent.
as a man, match'd with a lovely wife,
When his most heavenly theory of her beauties
Is dulld and quite exhausted with his practice,
He brings her forth to feasts, where he, alas,
Falls to his viands with no thought like others,
That think him blest in her; and they, poor men,
Court, and make faces, offer service, sweat
With their desires' contention, break their brains
For jests and tales, sit mute, and loose their looks,
Far out of wit and out of countenance.
So all men else do, what they have, transplant ;
And place their wealth in thirst of what they want.
Soliloquy of King Henry deliberating on the Death of a Traitor.
O thou that governst the keen swords of Kings,
Direct my arm in this important stroke;
Or hold it, being advanc'd : the weight of blood,
Even in the basest subject, doth exact
Deep consultation in the highest King :
For in one subject, death's unjust affrights,
Passions, and pains, though he be ne'er so poor,
Ask more remorse than the voluptuous spleens
Of all Kings in the world deserve respect.
He should be born grey-headed that will bear
The weight of Empire. Judgment of the life,
Free state and reputation of a Man
(If it be just and worthy) dwells so dark,
That it denies access to sun and moon :
The soul's eye, sharpen’d with that sacred light
Of whom the sun itself is but a beam,
Must only give that judgment. O how much
Err those Kings then, that play with life and death ;
And nothing put into their serious states
But humor and their lusts; for which alone
Men long for kingdoms; whose huge counterpoise
In cares and dangers could a fool comprise,
He would not be a King, but would be wise.
[The Selections which I have made from this poet are sufficient to give an idea of that “ full and heightened style” which Webster makes characteristic of Chapman. Of all the English Play-writers, Chapman perhaps approaches nearest to Shakspeare in the descriptive and didactic, in passages which are less purel ydramatic. Dramatic imitation was not his talent. He could not go out of himself, as Shakspeare could shift at pleasure, to inform and animate other existences, but in himself he had an eye to perceive and a soul to embrace all forms. He would have made a great epic poet, if, indeed, he has not abundantly shown himself to be one ; for his Homer is not so properly a Translation as the Stories of Achilles and Ulysses re-written. The earnestness and passion which he has put into every part of these poems would be incredible to a reader of mere modern translations. His almost Greek zeal for the honor of his heroes is only paralleled by that fierce spirit of Hebrew bigotry, with which Milton, as if personating one of the Zealots of the old law, clothed himself when he sate down to paint the acts of Sampson against the uncircumcised. The great obstacle to Chapman's Translations being read is their unconquerable quaintness. He pours out in the same breath the most just and natural and the most violent and forced expressions. He seems to grasp whatever words come first to hand during the impetus of inspiration, as if all other must be inadequate to the divine meaning. But passion (the all in all in Poetry) is everywhere present, raising the low, dignifying the mean, and putting sense into the absurd. He makes his readers glow, weep, tremble, take any affection which he pleases, be moved by words, or in spite of them, be disgusted and overcome their disgust. I have often thought that the vulgar misconception of Shakspeare, as of a wild irregular genius “ in whom great faults are compensated by great beauties,” would be really true applied to Chapman. But there is no scale by which to balance such disproportionate subjects as the faults and beauties of a great genius. To set off the former with any fairness against the latter, the pain which they give us should be in some proportion to the pleasure which we receive from the other. As these transport us to the highest heaven, those should steep us in agonies infernal.]
Petrocella a fair Spanish Lady loves Montferrers an English Sea Cap
tain, who is Captive to Valladaura a noble Spaniard.-Valladaura loves the Lady; and employs Montferrers to be the Messenger of his love to her.
Pet. What art thou in thy country ?
Mont. There, a man.
Pet. What here ?
Mont. No better than you see : a slave.
Pet. Whose ?
Mont. His that hath redeem'd me.
Pet. Valladaura's ?
Mont. Yes, I proclaim ’t; I that was once mine own,
Am now become his creature.
Pet. I perceive,
Your coming is to make me think you
noble. Would you persuade me deem your
friend a God ? For only such make men. Are you a Gentleman ?
Mont. Not here ; for I am all dejectedness,
Captive to fortune, and a slave to want;
I cannot call these clothes I wear mine own,
I do not eat but at another's cost,
This air I breathe is borrowed ; ne'er was man
So poor and abject. I have not so much
In all this universe as a thing to leave,
Or a country I can freely boast is mine.
My essence and my being is another's.
What should I say? I am not anything;
And I possess as little.
Pet. Tell me that ?
Come, come, I know you to be no such man.
You are a soldier valiant and renown'd;
Your carriage tried by land, and prov'd at sea ;
Of which I have heard such full expression,
No contradiction can persuade you less;
And in this faith I am constant.
Mont. A meer worm,
Trod on by every
Pet. Rais’d by your merit
To be a common argument through Spain,
And speech at Princes' tables, for your worth ;
you please to expose 't abroad
Attracts all eyes, and draws them after you ;
And those that understand you, call their friends,
And pointing through the street, say, This is he,
This is that brave and noble Englishman,
Whom soldiers strive to make their precedent,
And other men their wonder.
Mont. This your scorn
Makes me appea
more abject to myself,
Than all diseases I have tasted yet
Had power to asperse upon me; and yet, lady,
I could say something, durst I.
Pet. Speak ’t at once.
Mont. And yet
Pet. Nay, but we'll admit no pause.
Mont. I know not how my phrase may relish you,
And loth I were to offend ; even in what's past
I must confess I was too bold. Farewell ;
I shall no more distaste you.
Pet. Sir, you do not ;
I do proclaim you do not. Stay, I charge you ;
Or, as you say you have been fortune's scorn,
So ever prove to woman.
Mont. You charge deeply,
And yet now I bethink me
Pet. As you are a soldier,
And Englishman, have hope to be redeem'd
From this your scorned bondage you sustain,
Have comfort in your mother and fair sister,
Renown so blazed in the ears of Spain,
Hope to rebreathe that air you tasted first,
So tell me
Ment. What ?
Pet. Your apprehension catch'd,
And almost was in sheaf
Alont. Lady, I shall.
Pet. And in a word.
Mont. I will.
Pet. Pronounce it then.
Mont. I love you.
Pet. Ha, ha, ha.
Mont. Still it is my misery
Thus to be mock'd in all things.
Pet. Pretty, faith.
Mont. I look'd thus to be laught at; my estate And fortunes, I confess, deserve no less; That made me so unwilling to denounce Mine own derisions : but alas ! I find No nation, sex, complexion, birth, degree, But jest at want, and mock at misery.
Pet. Love me?
Mont. I do, I do; and maugre Fate,
And spite of all sinister evil, shall.
And now I charge you, by that filial zeal
You owe your father, by the memory
Of your dear mother, by the joys you hope
In blessed marriage, by the fortunate issue
Stored in your womb, by these and all things else
That you can style with goodness; instantly
Without evasion, trick, or circumstance,
Nay, least premeditation, answer me,
Affect you me, or no ?
Pet. How speak you that ?
Mont. Without demur or pause.
Pet. Give me but time
To sleep upon it.
Mont. I pardon you no minute : not so much,
As to apparel the least phrase you speak.
Speak in the shortest sentence.
Pet. You have vanquish'd me,
At mine own weapon : noble sir, I love you ;