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king, and I a private man, you have been able to become a mightier robber than I?
Alex. But if I have taken like a king, I have given like a king. If I have subverted empires, I have founded greater. I have cherished arts, commerce, and philosophy.
Rob. I, too, have freely given to the poor what I took from the rich. I have established order and discipline among the most ferocious of mankind, and have stretched out my protecting arm over the oppressed. I know, indeed, little of the philosophy you talk of; but I believe neither you nor I shall ever alone to the world, for half the mischief we have done in it. Alex.
Take off his chains, and use him well. Are we, then, so much alike? Alexander like a robber! Let me reflect.
Alexander the Great, son of Philip, king of Macedon, was born at Pelia, 365 years before Christ, and died in the 33d year of his age. Alexander deprived millions of their possessions,-in other words, he was one of the greatest robbers that ever scourged mankind. The only difference, in a moral point of view, between him and the robber, in the dialogue, is, that he was a much greater one. Well might the robber say: What have I done, of which you can complain ?" The robber's meaning is : "I know that other men may justly reproach me for my vile deeds; but what have I done, of which such a blood-thirsty tyrant as you, can complain ?" Alexander is said to have conquered the world, and to have been buried in a gold coffin !
91. PRINCE HENRY AND FALSTAFF.--Shakspeare.
Prince Henry. Welcome, Jack! Where hast thou been?
Falstaff. A plague of all cowards, I say, and a vengeance too!
marry, and amen! Give me a cup of sack, boy. Ere I lead this life long, I'll sew nether-socks, and mend them, and foot them too. A plague of all cowards! Give me a cup of sack, rogue. Is there no virtue extant ? [He drinks.) You rogue, there's lime in this sack too; there is nothing but roguery to be found in villanous man. Yet a coward is worse than a cup of sack with lime in it; a villanous coward! Go thy ways, old Jack; die when thou wilt; if manhood, good manhood, be not forgot upon the face of the earth; then am I a shotten herring. There live not three good men un
hanged in England; and one of them is fat, and grows old. Heaven help the while; a bad world I say. A plague of all cowards, I say still.
P. Hen. How now, wool-sack! what mutter you?
Fal. A king's son! If I do not beat thee out of thy kingdom with a dagger of lath, and drive all thy subjects afore thee; like a flock of wild geese, I'll never wear hair on my face more! you Prince of Wales !
P. Hen. Why, what's the matter?
Fal. I call thee coward! I'll see thee hanged ere I'll call thee coward; but I would give a thousand pound, I could run as fast as thou canst. You're straight enough in the shoulders; you care not who sees your back. Call you that backing your friends? A plague upon such backing! Give me them that will face me. Give me a cup of sack; I am a rogue, if I drunk to-day.
P. Hen. O villain! thy lips are scarce wiped since thou drank'st last.
Fal. All's one for that. [He drinks.) A plague of all cowards, still say I.
P. Hen. What's the matter?
Fal. What's the matter ? here be four of us have ta'en a thousand pound this morning.
P. Hen. Where is it? Jack, where is it?
Fal. Where is it? taken from us, it is; a hundred upon four of us.
P. Hen. What! a hundred, man?
Fal. I am a rogue, if I were not at half-sword with a dozen of them two hours together. I have escaped by miracle. I am eight times thrust through the doublet; four, through the hose; my buckler cut through and through ; my sword hacked like a hand-saw. I never dealt better since I' was a man; all would not do. A plague of all cowards !
P. Hen. What! fought you with them all?
Fal. All! I know not what ye call all; but if I fought not with fifty of them, I am a bunch of radish ; if there were not two or three and fifty upon poor old Jack, then I am no two-legged creature.
P. Heni Pray Heaven, you have not murdered some of them!
Fal. Nay, that's past praying for. I have peppered two of them; two, I am sure, I have paid ; two rogues in buckram suits.' I tell thee what, Hal,-if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me horse. Thou knowest my old ward; here I lay, and thus I bore my point. Four rogues in buckram let drive
P. Hen. What, four ? thou saidst but two, even now.
Fal. Four, Hal; I told thee four. These four came all a-front, and mainly ihrust at me. I made no more ado, but took all their seven points in my target, thus.
P. Hen. Seven! why there were but four, even now.
Fal. Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else. Dost thou hear me, Hal ?
P. Hen. Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.
Fal. Do so, for it's worth the listening to. These nine in buckram, that I told thee of, P. Hen. So, two more already.
Their points being broken, began to give me ground; but I followed me close, came in foot and hand, and, with a thought, seven of the eleven I paid.
P. Hen. O monstrous ! eleven buckram men grown out of two!
Fal. But as Satan would have it, three mis-begotten knaves, in Kendal-green, came at my back, and let drive at me; for it was so dark, Hal, that thou couldst not see thy hand.
P. Hen. These lies are like the father that begets them; gross as a mountain, open, palpable. Why thou clay-brained heap; thou knotty-pated fool
Fal. What! art thou mad? art thou mad ? is not the truth, the truth?
P. Hen. Why, how couldst thou know these men in Kendal-green, when it was so dark thou couldst not see thy hand? Come, tell us your reason ; what sayest thou to this ? Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.
Fal. What! upon compulsion ? No; were I at the strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would not tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on compulsion ! If reasons were as plenty as blackberries, I would give no man a reason on compulsion.
P. Hen. I'll be no longer guilty of this sin. This sanguine coward, this horse-back breaker, this huge hill of flesh
Fal. Away you starveling, you elf skin, you dried beef tongue, you stock-fish! O, for breath to utter what is like thee!
P. Hen. Well, breathe a while, and then to it again; and, when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this: Poins and I saw you four set on four; you bound them, and were masters of their wealth; mark now, how a plain tale shall put you down. Then did we two set on you four, and, with a word, out-faced you from your prize, and have it, yea, and can show it you here in the house. And, Falstaff, you carried yourself away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roared for mercy, and still ran and roared, as ever I heard a calf. What a slave art thou, to hack thy sword as thou hast done, and then say, it was in fight! What trick, what device, what starting hole canst thou now find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame.?
Fal. Ha! ha! ha! D'ye think I did not know ye? I know you as well as he that made you. Why, hear ye, my master, was it for me to kill the heir apparent ? Should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou knowest, I am as valiant as Hercules; but beware of instinct; the lion will not touch the true prince; instinct is a great matter; I was a coward on instinct
, I grant you; and I shall think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince. But I am glad you have the money. Let us clap to the doors; watch to-night, pray to-morrow. What, shall we be merry ? shall we have a play extempore ?
P. Hen. Content! and the argument shall be thy running away.
Fal. Ah! no more of that, Hal, an' thou lovest me. Falstaff, although corrupt, had power to please; he was a coward and a boaster. By turning vice into laughter, he led astray King Henry.
92. A SCENE FROM WILLIAM TELL.-Knoroles. GESLER, the tyrant; SARNEM, his officer, and Wm. Tell, a Swiss peasant.
Sarnem. Down, slave, upon thy knees before the Governor, And beg for mercy.
Gesler. Does he hear?
Sar. He does, but braves thy power.
Ges. (To Tell.) Why speakest thou not?
Tell. Though they were double and did weigh me down,
Ges. Darest thou question me?
Tell. No, not enough,-
Ges. But it can make thee writhe.
Tell. It may, and I may say,
Ges. Whence comest thou ?
. Ay, they watch no more the avalanche. Ges. Why so ?
Tell. Because they look for thee. The hurricano