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Let us cast away nothing, for we may live to have need of
OI have pass'd a miserable night,
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night,
Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days;
So full of dismal terror was the time...
Methought, that I had broken from the Tower,
And was embark'd to cross to Burgundy;
And, in my company, my brother Gloster:
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches; thence we look'd toward England,
And cited up a thousand heavy times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster
That had befall'n us. As we paced along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
Methought, that Gloster stumbled; and, in falling,
Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard,
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
O! methought, what pain it was to drown!
What dreadful noise of water in mine ears!
What sights of ugly death within mine eyes!
Methought, I saw a thousand fearful wrecks,
A thousand men, that fishes gnaw'd upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea:
Some lay in dead men's skulls; and, in those holes
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept
(As 'twere in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems,
That woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by....
To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood
Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth
To seek the empty, vast, and wand'ring air;
But smother'd it within my panting bulk,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea....
O, then began the tempest to my soul!
I passed, methought, the melancholy flood,
With that grim ferryman which poets write of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
The first that there did greet my stranger soul,
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick;
Who cried aloud,-What scourge for perjury
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?
And so he vanish'd: Then came wand'ring by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood; and, he shriek'd out aloud,—
Clarence is come, false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,
That stabb'd me in the field by Tewksbury ;—
Seize on him, furies, take him to your torments !—
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends
Environ'd me, and howled in mine ears
Such hideous cries, that, with the very noise,
I trembling waked, and, for a season after,
Could not believe but that I was in hell;
Such terrible impression made my dream.
I have done these things,-
That now give evidence against my soul.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma,* or a hideous dream :
The genius, and the mortal instruments,
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.t
Compunctious visitings of nature.
This is finely illustrated by the state of Macbeth just before he murdered Duncan.
O, that a man might know
The end of this day's business ere it come! But it sufficeth, that the day will end, -And then the end is known.
An hour before the worshipp'd sun
Peer'd forth the golden window of the east,
A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad;
Where,-underneath the grove of sycamore,
That westward rooteth from the city's side,-
So early walking did I see your son:
Towards him I made: but he was 'ware of me,
And stole into the covert of the wood:
1, measuring his affections by my own,—
That most are busied when they are most alone,-
Pursued my humour, not pursuing his,
And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me.
Many a morning hath he there been seen,
With tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew,
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs:
But all so soon as the all-cheering sun
Should in the farthest east begin to draw
The shady curtains from Aurora's bed,
Away from light steals home my heavy son,
And private in his chamber pens himself;
Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out,
And makes himself an artificial night:
Black and portentous must this humour prove,
Unless good counsel may the cause remove.
But he, his own affections' counsellor,
Is to himself-I will not say, how true-
But to himself so secret and so close,
So far from sounding and discovery,
As is the bud bit with an envious worm,
Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,
Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow, We would as willingly give cure as know. 35-i. 1.