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Alphonso, in the Mourning Bride, shut up in the same prison where his father had been confined:
In a dark corner of my cell I found This paper, what it is this light will shew.
« If my Alphonso" Ha! [Reading;
"If my Alphonso live, restore him, Heav'n;
•* Give me more weight, crush my declining years
•* With bolts, with chains, imprisonment, and want',
"But bless my son, visit not him for me."
It is his hand; this was his pray'r — yet more:
"Let ev'ry hair, which sorrow by the roots [Reading.
"Tears from my hoary and devoted head,
"Be doubled in thy mercies to my son:
•' Not for myself, but him, hear me, all-gracious"——»•
*Tis wanting what should follow — Heav'n should follow,
But 'tis torn off— Why should that word alone
Be torn from his petition? Twas to Heav'n,
But Heav'n was deaf, Heav'n heard him not; but thus,
Thus as the name of Heav'n from this is torn,
So did it tear the ears of mercy from
His voice, shutting the gates of pray'r against hlra.
If piety be thus debarr'd acceft
On high, and of good men the very best
Is singled out to bleed, and bear the scourge,
What is reward? or what is punishment?
But who shall dare to tax eternal justice?
Mourning Bride, aft 3. sc. I.
This incident is a happy invention, and a mark ef uncommon genius.
Describing Prince Henry:
I saw young Harry, with his beaver on,
First Part Henry IV. afi 4. si. 2.
King Henry. Lord Cardinal, if thou think'st on Heaven's bliss, Hold up thy hand, make signal of thy hope. He dies, and makes no sign!
Stand Part Henry VI. act 3. fi. 10.
The fame author, speakihg ludicrously of an army debilitated with diseases, fays,
Half of them dare not shake the snow from off theic^ •eflbeks, lest they shake themselves to pieces.
I have seen the walls of Balclutha, but they were desolate. The flames had resounded in the halls: and thevoice of the people is heard no more. The stream of Chitha was removed from its place by the fall of the walls. The thistle sliook there its lonely head: the moss whistled to the wind. The fox looked out from the Windows: and the rank grafs of the wall waved round his head. Desolate is the dwelling of Morna: silence is in the house of her fathers. FingaL
To draw a character is the master-stroke of description.
scription. In this Tacitus excels: his portraits are natural and lively, not a feature wanting nor misplaced. Shakespear, however, exceeds Tacitus in liveliness, some characteristicai circumstance being generally invented or laid hold of, which paints more to the life than many words. The following instances will explain my meaning, and at the fame time prove my observation to be just.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
Merchant of Venice, ail i. set.
-Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice: his reasons are two grains or wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you find them, aud when you have them, they are not worth the search. /M« In the following passage a character is completed by a single stroke:
Shallow. O the mad days that I have spent; and to see kow many of mine old acquaintance are dead.
Silence. We shall all follow, Cousin. . .
Shallow. Certain, 'tis certain, very sure, very 'sure; Death (as the Psalmist faith) is certain to all: all shall die. How a good yoke of bullocks at Stamford fair?
Slender. Truly, Cousin, I was not there.
Shallow. Death is certain. Is old Double of your tow* living yet?
Silence. Dead, Sir. Shadow. Dead! fee, fee; he drew a good bow: and dead? He shot a fine shoot. How a score of ewes now i
Silence. Thereafter as they be. A score of good ewe* may be worth ten pounds.
Shallow. And is old Double dead?
Second Part Henry IV. ail 3. se. 3.
Describing a jealous husband:
Neither press, coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an abstract for the remembrance of such places, and goes to them by his note. There is no hiding you in the house. Merry Wives of Windsor, &cl 4. sc. 3.
Congreve has an inimitable stroke of this kind in bis comedy of Love for Love:
Ben Legend. Well, father, and how do all at home f how does brother Dick, and brother Val?
Sir Sampson. Dkk, body 0' me, Dick has been dead
these two years. I writ you word, when you were at Leg* horn,
Ben. Mess, that's true; marry, I had forgot. Dick's dead, as you fay. Æ 3. sc. 6.
Falstaff speaking of Ancient Pistol:
He's no swaggerer, hostess; a tame cheater i'faith; you may stroak him as gently as a puppey-greyhound; he will not swagger with a Barbary hen, is her feathers tura back in any shew of resistence.
Second Part Henry IV. act 2. sc. o".
Oslian among his other excellencies is eminently successful in drawing characters j and he never fails to delight his reader with the beautiful attitudes in which he presents his heroes. Take the following instances.
O Oscar! bend the strong in arm; but spare the feeble hand. Be thou a stream of many tides against the foes of thy people; but like the gale that move* the gra& to thole who afle thine aid.—So Trenmor lived; iuch Trathal was; and such has Fingal been. My arm was the support of the injured; and the weak rested behind the lightning of my steel.
We heard the voice of joy on the coast, and we thought that the mighty Cathmor came. Cathmor the friend of strangers! the brother of red-haired Cairbax. But their souls were not the fame; for the light of heaven was in the bosom of Cathmor. His towers rose on thebanks of Atha: seven paths led to his halls: seven chiefs