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DRAMATIC RECITATIONS.

SHAKESPERIAN.

ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE.

JACQUES in As You Like It.

ALL the world 's a stage, And all the men and women merely players : They have their exits, and their entrances ; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms : Then, the whining schoolboy, with his satchel, And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school: and then, the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow: then, a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth : and then, the justice, In fair round belly, with good capon lined, With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances,

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And so he plays his part : the sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon ;
With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side ;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big, manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound : last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion ;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

PORTIA'S SPEECH TO SHYLOCK.

The Merchant of Venice. The quality of mercy is not strained ; It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath : it is twice blessed ; It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes ; 'T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown ; His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God's When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider thisThat in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation : we do pray for mercy ; And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much,
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

PROSPERO'S INVOCATION.

that on

The Tempest. YE elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves ; And ye

the sands with printless foot Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him, When he comes back ; you demi-puppets, that By moonshine do the green-sour ringlets make, Whereof the ewe not bites; and you, whose pastime Is to make midnight mushrooms; that rejoice To hear the solemn curfew: by whose aid (Weak masters though ye be) I have bedimmed The noontide sun, called forth the mutinous winds, And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak With his own bolt: the strong-based promontory Have I made shake ; and by the spurs plucked up The pine and cedar : graves, at my command, Have waked their sleepers ; oped, and let them forth By my so potent art: but this rough magic I here abjure: and, when I have required Some heavenly music, (which even now I do) To work mine end upon their senses, that This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff, Bury it certain fathoms in the earth, And, deeper than did ever plummet sound, I'll drown my book.

RICHARD THE SECOND ON KINGLY GREATNESS.

Richard II.

ground,

Of comfort no man speak :
Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs ;
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.
Let's choose executors and talk of wills :
And yet not so,—for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground ?
Our lands, our lives, and all, are Bolingbroke's,
And nothing can we call our own but death,
And that small model of the barren earth,
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For heaven's sake, let us sit upon

the
And tell sad stories of the death of kings :-
How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed ::
Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed ;
All murdered :-For within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king,
Keeps Death his court; and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp,-
Allowing him a breath, a little scene
To monarchise, be feared, and kill with looks ;
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,-
As if this flesh, which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable,- and, humoured thus,
Comes at the last, and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and— farewell, king!
Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence; throw away respect,

1 Something formed or fashioned. The earth assumes the shape of the body which it covers.

2 Ghosts of those whom they have deposed.

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