Page images

As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say,
To buy his favour, I extend this friendship:
If he will take it, so; if not, adieu ;

And, for my love, I pray you, wrong me not.
Ant. Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
Shy. Then meet me forthwith at the notary's;
Give him direction for this merry bond,
And I will go and purse the ducats straight;
See to my house, left in the fearful guard
Of an unthrifty knave; and presently
I will be with you.

Hie thee, gentle Jew.
This Hebrew will turn Christian; he grows kind.
Bas. I like not fair terms, and a villain's mind.
Ant. Come on; in this there can be no dismay,
My ships come home a month before the day.



You see me here,
As one of you hath said, an old, unarm'd,
Defenceless man and yesterday you saw me
Presiding in the hall of ducal state,
Apparent sovereign of our hundred isles,
Robed in official purple, dealing out
The edicts of a power which is not mine,
Nor yours, but of our masters-the patricians.
Why I was there, you know—or think you know;
Why I am here, he who hath been most wrong'd,
He who among you hath been most insulted,
Outraged and trodden on, until he doubt
If he be worm or no, may answer for me,
Asking of his own heart what brought him here?
You know my recent story, all men know it,
And judge of it far differently from those
Who sate in judgment to heap scorn on scorn.
But spare me the recital-it is here,
Here at my heart the outrage-but my words,
Already spent in unavailing plaints,
Would only show my feebleness the more,
And I come here to strengthen even the strong,


And urge them on to deeds, and not to war
With woman's weapons: but I need not urge you.
Our private wrongs have sprung from public vices
In this I cannot call it commonwealth,

Nor kingdom, which hath neither prince nor people,
But all the sins of the old Spartan state
Without its virtues-temperance and valour.
The lords of Lacedemon were true soldiers,
But ours are Sybarites, while we are Helots,
Of whom I am the lowest, most enslaved,
Although drest out to head a pageant, as
The Greeks of yore made drunk their slaves to form
A pastime for their children. You are met
To overthrow this monster of a state,
This mockery of a government, this spectre,
Which must be exorcised with blood, and then
We will renew the times of truth and justice,
Condensing in a fair free commonwealth
Not rash equality, but equal rights,
Proportioned like the columns to the temple,
Giving and taking strength reciprocal,
And making firm the whole with grace and beauty,
So that no part could be removed without
Infringement of the general symmetry.
In operating this great change, I claim
To be one of you-if you trust in me;
If not, strike home,-my life is compromised,
And I would rather fall by freemen's hands
Than live another day to act the tyrant,
As delegate of tyrants; such I am not,
And never have been-read it in our annals;
I can appeal to my past government
In many lands and cities; they can tell you
If I were an oppressor, or a man
Feeling and thinking for my fellow-men.
Haply had I been what the senate sought,
A thing of robes and trinkets, dizen'd out
To sit in state as for a sovereign's picture;
A popular scourge, a ready sentence-signer,
A stickler for the senate and "the Forty,"
A sceptic of all measures which had not
The sanction of "the Ten," a council-fawner,
A tool, a fool, a puppet,-they had ne'er
Foster'd the wretch who stung me. What I suffer
Has reach'd me through my pity for the people;

That many know, and they who know not yet
Will one day learn: meantime, I do devote,
Whate'er the issue, my last days of life-
My present power such as it is, not that
Of Doge, but of a man who has been great
Before he was degraded to a Doge,
And still has individual means and mind;
1 stake my fame (and I had fame)—my breath-
(The least of all, for its last hours are nigh)
My heart-my hope-my soul-upon this cast!
Such as I am, I offer me to you,

And to your chiefs, accept me or reject me,
A prince who fain would be a citizen

Or nothing, and who has left his throne to be so.


BARFORD-TORRENT..... .George Colman.

Barford. REST there, my whole property !-the remains of many a wreck, rest there!

Torrent. Eh! Zounds! Wreck! He looks like a gentleman. Pray, sir, how came the wreck of all your property tied up in such a small pocket-handkerchief?

Bar. By what right, sir, do you inquire?

Tor. By the right that lugg'd me out of the horsepond -the right of running to any man's assistance who seems -to be stuck in the mud.

Bar. (turning from him.) Pshaw! Sir, you are obtru


Tor. Why, it was rather rude to be reading the newspaper in my own room, when you chose to walk in, and interrupt me.

Bar. This is the parlour of a village inn, sir; where 'tis the custom to huddle people together indiscriminately. 'Tis an emblem of the world! men mingle in it from necessity, as we do now, till they part in dislike, as we may do presently.

Tor. We seem to bid fair for it: for I detest misanthropy.

Bar. 'Tis the opium to our affections; an antidote to the drivelling unwillingness dotards feel to be swept from hypocrites who have professed to regard them.

Tor. Opium-and antidote !-You've dealt with a villanous apothecary. Hatred to mankind is Lucifer's own laudanum; and, whenever he coaxes a christian to swallow it, he sends one of his imps to shake the bottle. All men hypocrites! Zounds! here's a doctrine! So, then, love, and friendship, and

Bar. Love and friendship, are, at best, life's fading roses; but reject the roses, and you escape many a thorn. Tor. How should you like to lose your legs?

Bar. Why my legs, sir?

Tor. They are part of the fading blessings of life, like love and friendship; but you may have the gout. Reject your legs, and you may escape many a twinge in your great



Bar. I have suffer'd deprivations enough already, sir. Tor. 1 give you joy of them; for, according to your own account, they must make you very comfortable. But you have deprived yourself of that which your worst enemy's malice should never have taken from you.

Bar. What is it?

Tor. Universal benevolence; the chain of reason in which we all, willingly, bind ourselves. Nature gave us the links, and civilized humanity has polished them.

Bar. And how often are the links of reason and nature broken by sophistry and art!

Tor. I'm sorry for it. I know there are rascals; but the world is good in the lump; and I love all human kindkings, lords, commons, duchesses, tallow-chandlers, dairymaids, Indian chiefs, ambassadors, washerwomen, and tinkers. They have all their claims upon my regard, in their different stations; and, whatever you may think, hang me if I don't believe there are honest attorneys !

Bar. You have been fortunate in the world, I perceive. Tor. I have been fortunate enough in my temper to keep the milk of human kindness from curdling.

Bar. By having no acids squeezed into it.

Tor. Plenty who hasn't? But, when you were put out to nurse, hang me if I don't think you sucked a lemon! You have a fine field to fatten in, upon others' calamities here. Only look out. Pretty havock from the fire! There's a house, now, that would just suit you. It sticks up by itself, gloomy and gutted, in the midst of the rubbish.

Bar. That was my residence, sir; my refuge, as I hoped, during the remainder of my life, from ingratitude and treachery.

Tor. Did-did-did you live in that house?

Bar. Eight months ago, I enter'd its door, to take possession of an humble lodging; and last night, I leap'd with difficulty, amidst the flames, through its window.

Tor. Out at-that window?

Bar. Yes; with that wreck of property, on which you have been pleas'd so much to question me.

Tor. My dear sir, you are an unfortunate man; I have behav'd like a brute, and I beg your pardon.

Bar. I feel no anger, sir.

Tor. Then, you despise me. I know you must, for I have treated you cruelly; but, as you have taken of fence at all the world, don't think me too contemptible to be left out of the number. Pray, be angry with me, then show me you forgive me by telling me how to serve you-I happen to be rich.

Bar. And I happen to be poor; but I will always be independent, and will accept no favours.

Tor. That's right; but I have taken a house in the neighbourhood-Dine with me every day. That will only be doing me a favour, you know.

Bar. Excuse me; but before I leave you, sir, one word which, I think, I owe you.

Tor. I won't take back a shil—I mean, you don't owe me a syllable.

Bar. Pardon me, and I must pay it. Your impulses, apparently, proceed from benevolence; but your impetuosity may render you an offence to the sensitive, and a dupe to the designing. Farewell, sir. [Exit. Tor. That advice is a little too late to a man at fifty. My impulses are like old radishes; they have stuck so long in the soil, that, whenever they are drawn out, they are sure to be hot.



Dorax. Now do you know me?
Sebastian. Thou shouldst be Alonzo.
So you should be Sebastian;
But when Sebastian ceased to be himself,
I ceased to be Alonzo.

« PreviousContinue »