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dishonour at thee, which no innocence of heart or integrity of conduct shall set right. 1997
The fortunes of thy house shall totter-thy character, which led the way to them, shall bleed on every side of itthy faith questioned-thy works belied-thy wit forgotten-thy learning trampled on. To wind up the last scene of thy tragedy, Cruelty and Cowardice, twin ruffians, hired and set on by Malice in the dark, shall strike together at all thy infirmities and mistakes: the best of us, my friend, lie open there, and trust me-when to gratify a private appetite, it is once resolved upon, that an innocent and an helpless creature shall be sacrificed, it is an easy matter to pick up sticks enough from any thicket where it is strayed, to make a fire to offer it up with. STERNE
HAMLET'S INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PLAYERS.
SPEAK the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it as many of our players do, I had lieve the town crier had spoke my lines. And do not saw the air too much with your hand thus: but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperence that may give it smoothness. Oh! it offends me to the soul, to hear a robusteous periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who (for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shew and noise I could have such a fel low whipp'd for o'erdoing termagant; it out-herods Hezod. Pray you avoid it,
Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing; whose end, both at the first, and now, was and is, to hold as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to shew virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. Now, this overdone, or come tardy of, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of one which must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. Oh! there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly (not to speak it profanely) that, neither having the accent of Christian, nor the gait of Christian, Pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well; they imitated humanity so abominably.
And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them: for there be of them that will themsevles laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though in the mean time, some necessary qestion of the play be then to be considered :that's villainous and shews a most pitiful ambition in thefool that uses it. SHAKSPEARE
THE PRESENT CONDITION OF MAN VINDI
HEAV'N from all creatures hides the book of fate,
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know,
A hero peevish, or a sparrow fall,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
He asks no Angel's wing, no Seraph's fire:
Say, here he gives too little, there too much :
And who but wishes to invert the laws,
ON THE ORDER OF NATURE.
SEE, thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth,
Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd;
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
All this dread Order break-for whom? for thee?.
What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread,
Cease then, nor Order Imperfection name;