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To fit upon a hill, as I do now,
So many days, my ewes have been with young;
known are the following lines from Seneca's Hercules Oetters on the fubject, and perhaps they may therefore be more agreeable:
Stretch'd on the turf in fylvan frades,
Secure he rears the beachen bowl,
His modeft wife of virtue try'd
To fhepherds looking on their filly sheep,
(7) Than, &c.] The miseries of royalty (as have been before obferved, 2 Henry IV. A. 4. S. 10.) is a very general topic with the poets; on which, as indeed on most others, they muft yield the fuperiority to Shakespear; Monfieur Racine in his celebrated tragedy of Efther, fpeaks thus on the subject.
A prince encompass'd with a bufy crowd
But all with one confent promote our vengeance.
In another part of this performance, the author fets in contrast the pleasures and pains of vicious greatnefs; thus the wicked man's alluring pomp is defcribed,
His days appear a conftant scene of joy ;
He never wounds the air with mournful fighs;
To crown his tow'ring and ambitious hopes,
Now fee the reverse.
With plenty crown'd, his confcious heart repines,
He still unnumber'd pleafures tries:
And happiness his fond embraces flies.
Of happiness and lasting peace.
To kings that fear their fubjects treachery?
Look, as I blow this feather from my face,
SCENE III. A Simile on ambitious Thoughts.
Why, then I do but dream on fov'reignty,
The Reader with me, is indebted to my worthy friend Mr. Duncombe for the tranflation of these paffages from the French, who hath finished the whole of this tragedy, and fome years fince published a tranflation of our author's other most famous performance, Athaliah.
(8) Why, love forfwore me in my mother's womb; And, for I should not deal in her soft laws, She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe To fhrink mine arm up like a wither'd shrub; To make an envious mountain on my back; Where fits deformity to mock my body; To shape my legs of an unequal size ; To difproportion me in every part : Like to a chaos, or unlick'd bear-whelp, That carries no impreffion like the dam. And am I then a man to be belov'd?
Why, I can fmile, and murder while I fimile;
And fet the murd'rous Machiavel to school.
(8) Why, &c.] See the beginning of Richard the Third.
(9) And fet, &c.] I am of Mr. Warburton's opinion, this reading which is of the old quarto, is greatly preferable to that commonly received; not only because we thereby avoid an anachronism, but because Richard, perhaps, may be more aptly compared to Catiline, and because he inftances, all through the fpeech, from the ancients. The other reading is,
ACT IV. SCENE IX.
Henry VI. On his own Lenity.
I have not stopt mine ears to their demands,
The Earl of Warwick's dying Speech.
Ah, who is nigh? Come to me, friend, or foe,
My blood, my want of ftrength, my fick heart fhews,
(10) Thus yields the cedar to the axe's edge,
(10) Thus yields, &c.] For this grand and noble fimile, Shakefpear is plainly indebted there, where for the first time through this work, I am obliged, and gladly, to acknowledge him outdone. 'Tis from the 31ft chapter of the prophet Ezekiel, ver. 3. "Behold the Affyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a fhadowing throud, and of an high stature, and his top was among the thick boughs. 4. The waters made him great, the deep fet him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and fent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field. 5. Therefore his height was exalted above all' the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long, because of the multitude of waters, when he fhot forth. 6. All the fowls of heaven made their nefts in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his fhadow dwelt all great nations. 7. Thus was he fair in his greatness, in