The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 324 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb Volume 4.

SANDFORD An hour past sun-set.  You shall first refresh your limbs (tired with travel) with meats and some cordial wine, and then betake your no less wearied mind to repose.

MARGARET
A good rest to us all.

SANDFORD
Thanks, lady.

ACT THE FIFTH

JOHN WOODVIL (dressing).

    JOHN
    How beautiful, (handling his mourning)
    And comely do these mourning garments shew! 
    Sure Grief hath set his sacred impress here,
    To claim the world’s respect! they note so feelingly
    By outward types the serious man within.—­
    Alas! what part or portion can I claim
    In all the decencies of virtuous sorrow,
    Which other mourners use? as namely,
    This black attire, abstraction from society,
    Good thoughts, and frequent sighs, and seldom smiles,
    A cleaving sadness native to the brow,
    All sweet condolements of like-grieved friends,
    (That steal away the sense of loss almost)
    Men’s pity, and good offices
    Which enemies themselves do for us then,
    Putting their hostile disposition off,
    As we put off our high thoughts and proud looks.
    (Pauses, and observes the pictures.)
    These pictures must be taken down: 
    The portraitures of our most antient family
    For nigh three hundred years!  How have I listen’d,
    To hear Sir Walter, with an old man’s pride,
    Holding me in his arms, a prating boy,
    And pointing to the pictures where they hung,
    Repeat by course their worthy histories,
    (As Hugh de Widville, Walter, first of the name,
    And Ann the handsome, Stephen, and famous John: 
    Telling me, I must be his famous John.)
    But that was in old times. 
    Now, no more
    Must I grow proud upon our house’s pride. 
    I rather, I, by most unheard of crimes,
    Have backward tainted all their noble blood,
    Rased out the memory of an ancient family,
    And quite revers’d the honors of our house. 
    Who now shall sit and tell us anecdotes? 
    The secret history of his own times,
    And fashions of the world when he was young: 
    How England slept out three and twenty years,
    While Carr and Villiers rul’d the baby king: 
    The costly fancies of the pedant’s reign,
    Balls, feastings, huntings, shows in allegory,
    And Beauties of the court of James the First.

    Margaret enters.

    JOHN
    Comes Margaret here to witness my disgrace? 
    O, lady, I have suffer’d loss,
    And diminution of my honor’s brightness. 
    You bring some images of old times, Margaret,
    That should be now forgotten.

    MARGARET
    Old times should never be forgotten, John. 
    I came to talk about them with my friend.

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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