Read CHAPTER XVIII - SHAKSPERE AS MONOLOGIST. KING JAMES. of Shakspere‚ Personal Recollections , free online book, by John A. Joyce, on ReadCentral.com.

"He lives in fame that died in virtue’s cause."

"The king-becoming graces Are justice, verity, temperance, stableness, Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude."

Shakspere became a prime favorite of King James, and occasionally he entertained the Bard at Whitehall Palace, introducing him to the bishops, cardinals and lords, who were interested in the revision of the Bible. They were astonished at the detailed knowledge of Shakspere, touching the “Word of God;” and when he entered into a dissertation of the Hebrew, Greek and Latin philosophers and “divines” who concocted the history of the ancients, they marveled at his native erudition.

These modern preachers had been educated and empurpled in the classical ruts of ancient superstitious divinity, while William communed with immediate nature, and taught lessons of virtue and vice on the dramatic stage that impresses the rushing world, far more than dictatorial dogmas or pulpit platitudes.

Shakspere was a constant searcher of all religious bibles, and particularly pondered on the Christian story of the creation, prophecies, crucifixion and revelation. Paganism was the advanced guard of Christianity!

Monks, priests, preachers, bishops, cardinals, popes, princes, kings, emperors and czars had exercised their minds and hands as commentators on the old philosophy of an unknown God; and William saw no reason why he should not extract from or paraphrase the best logical phrases and sentences of the Bible.

His sonnets and plays are filled with the hidden meaning of the scriptures, and those who read closely and delve deeply into the works of the Bard of Avon will need no better moral teacher. His axioms and epigrams are used to-day as the proverbial philosophy of practical life, and the whole world is indebted to the sons of a carpenter and a butcher for the greatest pleasure and philosophy that has ever been enunciated on the globe!

The years 1611, 1612 and 1613 found William at the pinnacle of his dramatic glory, and like a ripe philosopher he finished his most thoughtful plays, “Timon of Athens,” “A Winter’s Tale,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “Pericles,” “Cymbeline,” “Henry the Eighth,” and his cap sheaf in the grain field of thought, “The Tempest.”

The constant intellectual labor of Shakspere began to tell on his body, but his mind like a slumbering volcano, emitted flashes of heat and light, irradiating the midnight of literary mediocrity and gilding his declining days with golden flashes of fame and fortune.

He sold his interest in the Blackfriars and Globe theatres, and purchased property in London and Stratford, making every preparation as a wise and thrifty man for himself and his children and family. William ever kept an eye on the glint and glory of gold, and while his bohemian theatrical companions were squandering their shillings at midnight taverns with “belles and beaux” he “put money in his purse,” and kept it there.

Gold is power everywhere; Best of friends in toil and care; And it surely will outwear Royal purple here or there!

King James, in searching for an alliance to strengthen his throne by a marriage with his beautiful and brainy daughter, Elizabeth, finally hit upon the Elector Frederick, Count Palatine of Germany, and in the spring of 1613 all the loyal nobility of England were delighted that a matrimonial alliance had been made with a Protestant prince.

While King James lent his official power to the Protestant religion and aided the Reformation in its rapid encroachments upon the papal power of Rome, he socially and clandestinely gave ear to the priests, bishops and cardinals of the Catholic church.

The cérémonials incident to the marriage of Frederick and Elizabeth were splendid in the songs, dances, masques, parades, fireworks, and dramatic entertainments at Whitehall.

A dozen of the most appropriate plays of Shakspere were enacted before the nobility of the realm; and the diplomatic corps from foreign lands were greatly charmed by the magnificence of the theatrical displays.

The King spent one hundred thousand dollars in the palace and London festivities of the marriage of his beautiful daughter, and he secretly pawned his word and jewels to secure the ready cash.

As an intellectual climax to the splendid, royal nuptials, King James invited to the wedding banquet three thousand of the most noted men and women of the world and informed his guests that at the conclusion of the feast the most wonderful dramatic artist of the age William Shakspere, would recite in monologue from his own plays rare bits of philosophic eloquence.

The benevolent reader will be glad to know and see that I have carefully preserved the following autographic note of His Majesty King James, inviting William to the wedding banquet:

“WHITEHALL, Feth, 1613.

“To WILLIAM SHAKSPERE, “Our Royal
Dramatic Poet.

“GREAT SIR: You will appear this evening at seven o’clock, at
Whitehall, to entertain by monologue, at nuptial banquet, three
thousand guests.

“JAMES, Rex.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury tied the nuptial knot. The bride and groom, arrayed in white satin and German purple, respectively, looked magnificent as they knelt at the palace altar to receive the final blessing of the Episcopal Church amid the glorious greetings of wealth and power.

Fourteen salutes from the royal artillery in honor of Frederick and Elizabeth and St. Valentine’s Day, echoed from the heights of Whitehall, and carrier pigeons with love notes were sent flying over the temples, churches and towers of London to notify all loyal subjects that the throne of old Albion had been strengthened by an infusion of Germanic blood.

Promptly at seven o’clock St. Valentine’s evening, Richard Burbage, Ben Jonson, Shakspere and myself drove up in our festooned carriage to the palace portals of Whitehall, and were ushered into the presence of the great assembly doing honor to the royal bride and groom, Frederick and Elizabeth.

The King sat on a throne chair at the head of the banquet board, with his daughter and son-in-law on his left, while the Queen sat on his right.

The other royal guests were seated according to their ancestral rank, while our dramatic quartette occupied a special table, William at the head on the right of the King and Queen, elevated as an improvised stage, with Shakspere, the most intellectual man of the world, “the observed of all observers!”

The play of knife and fork, laugh and jest, toast and talk lasted for two hours, and then as the foam on the brim of the beakers began to sparkle, the King, in his royal robes arose, and said:

“My loyal subjects, health and prosperity to Great Britain and Germany, and love and truth for Frederick and Elizabeth.”

The three thousand guests standing responded with a storm of cheers, and then the King remarked:

“We are honored to-night by the presence of William Shakspere, our most loyal and intellectual subject, who will now address you in logic and philosophy from his own matchless plays.”

(Lord Bacon looked as if he wanted to crawl under the table at the King’s compliment to the Bard of Avon.)

Shakspere arose, dressed in a dark purple suit, knee breeches and short sword by his side, bowed majestically, and for two hours entranced the royal assembly with these eloquent pen pictures of humanity:

My good friends; I’ll skip across the fields of thought And pluck for you the sweetest flowers, That I have from Dame Nature caught To cheer the lingering, leaden hours. While vice and virtue side by side Go hand in hand adown the years, Virtue alone, remains the bride To banish all our falling tears; And here to-night like stars above These flowers of beauty blush and bloom Commanding honest human love, Immortal o’er the voiceless tomb!

Othello thus defends himself against the charge of bewitching Desdemona:

"Most potent, grave and reverend signiors, My very noble and approved good masters, That I have taken away this old man’s daughter, It is most true; true, I have married her; The very head and front of my offending Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in speech, And little blessed with the set phrase of peace; For since these arms of mine had seven years’ pith, Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used Their dearest action in the tented field; And little of this great world can I speak, More than pertains to feats of broil and battle; And therefore, little shall I grace my cause In speaking for myself; yet, by your gracious patience I will a round unvarnished tale deliver Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms, What conjuration, and what mighty magic, (For such proceeding I am charged withal) I won his daughter with!"

"Her father loved me, oft invited me; Still questioned me the story of my life, From year to year; the battles, sieges, fortunes That I have passed. I ran it through, even from my boyish days, To the very moment that he bade me tell it. Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances Of moving accidents, by food and field; Of hair-breadth ’scapes, the imminent deadly breach; Of being taken by the insolent foe, And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence And demeanor in my travel’s history; Wherein of caverns vast and deserts idle, Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven, It was my hint to speak, such was the process And of the cannibals that each other eat, The anthropophagi, and men whose heads Do grow beneath their shoulders. These things to hear Would Desdemona seriously incline; But still the house affairs would draw her thence; Which ever as she could with haste despatch, She’d come again, and with a greedy ear Devour up my discourse; which I observing Took once a pliant hour; and found good means To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart, That I would all my pilgrimage dilate Whereof by parcels she had something heard, But not intentively; I did consent; And often did beguile her of her tears, When I did speak of some distressful stroke That my youth suffered. My story being done She gave me for my pains a world of sighs; She swore in faith, ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange; ’Twas pitiful; ’twas wondrous pitiful; She wished she had not heard it; yet she wished, That heaven had made her such a man, she thanked me, And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her, I should but teach him how to tell my story, And that would woo her. Upon this hint, I spake; She loved me for the dangers I had passed; And I loved her that she did pity them. This only is the witchcraft I have used, Here comes the lady, let her witness it!"

Timon of Athens, a wealthy, spendthrift lord, becomes bankrupt by his generous entertainment of friends, but maddened by their ingratitude, retires to a forest cave by the sea, giving this parting curse to the people of Athens, and later scattering gold among a band of thieves. Hear the self-ruined epicure:

"Let me look back upon thee, O thou wall That girdlest in those wolves! Dive in the earth, And fence not Athens! Matrons turn incontinent! Obedience fail in children! Slaves and fools, Pluck the grave, wrinkled senate from the bench And minister in their steads! To general filths Convert of the instant, green virginity! Do it in your parents’ eyes! Bankrupts, hold fast; Rather than render back, out with your knives, And cut your trusters’ throats! bound servants steal! Large-handed robbers your grave masters are; And kill by law! maid, to thy master’s bed; Thy mistress is of the brothel! son of sixteen, Pluck the lined crutch from the old, limping sire; With it beat out his brains! piety, and fear Religion to the Gods, peace, justice, truth, Domestic awe, night-rest, and neighborhood, Instruction, manners, mysteries, and trades, Decrees, observances, customs and laws, Decline to your confounding contraries, And yet confusion live! Plagues incident to men, Your potent and infectious fevers heap On Athens, ripe for stroke! thou cold sciatica, Cripple our senators, that their limbs may halt As lamely as their manners! lust and liberty Creep in the minds and marrows of your youth; That ’gainst the stream of virtue they may strive, And drown themselves in riot! itches, blains, Sow all the Athenian blossoms; and their crop Be general leprosy! Breath infect breath; That their society, as their friendship, may Be merely poison! Nothing I’ll bear from thee, But nakedness, thou detestable town!

You must eat men. Yet thanks I must you con, That you are thieves professed; that you work not In holier shapes; for there is boundless theft In legal professions. Rascal thieves; Here’s gold; go, suck the subtle blood of the grape, Till the high fever seethe your blood to froth And so ’scape hanging; trust not the physician; His antidotes are poison, and he slays More than you rob; take wealth and lives together; Do villainy, do, since you profess to do it, Like workmen. I’ll example you with thievery; The sun’s a thief, and with his great attraction Robs the vast sea; the moon’s an arrant thief, And her pale fire she snatches from the sun; The sea’s a thief, whose liquid surges resolves The moon into salt tears; the earth’s a thief, That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen From general excrement; each thing’s a thief; The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power Have unchecked theft! Love not yourselves; away Rob one another! There’s more gold; cut-throats; All that you meet are thieves! To Athens, go, Break open shops! Nothing can you steal But thieves do lose it!"

Jaques, in the forest of Arden, discourses to the exiled Duke of the fools of fortune, and the nature of man.

A fool, a fool! I met a fool in the forest A motley fool; a miserable world! As I do live by food, I met a fool; Who laid him down and basked him in the sun, And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms. In good set terms, and yet a motley fool. Good morrow, fool, quoth I. No, sir, quoth he, Call me not fool, till heaven hath sent me fortune; And then he drew a dial from his poke; And looking on it with lack-luster eye Says very wisely: It is ten o’clock; Thus may we see, quoth he, how the world wags; ’Tis but an hour ago since it was nine; And after an hour more, ’twill be eleven; And so from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe, And then from hour to hour, we rot and rot, And thereby hangs a tale! When I did hear The motley fool thus moral on the time, My lungs began to crow like chanticleer, That fools should be so deep contemplative; And I did laugh sans intermission, An hour by his dial. O noble fool! A worthy fool! Motley is the only wear!"

"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 pewking in the nurse’s arms; And then the whining school boy, with his satchel, And shining, morning face, creeping like a snail Unwilling 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 honor, 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, 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 In second childishness, and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything!"

In “Measure for Measure” the brave Duke, the pure Isabella and cowardly Claudio discourse thus on death:

"Be absolute for death; either death or life, Shall thereby be sweeter. Reason thus with life, If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing But none but fools would keep; a breath thou art, (Servile to all the skiey influences) That dost this habitation, where thou keepest, Hourly afflict; merely, thou art death’s fool; For him thou laborest by thy flight to shun, And yet run’st toward him still; Thou art not noble; For all the accommodations that thou bear’st Are nursed by baseness: Thou art by no means valiant: For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork Of a poor worm! Thy best of rest is sleep, And that thou oft provok’st; yet grossly fear’st Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself; For thou exist’st on many thousand grains That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not; For what thou hast not, still thou striv’st to get; And what thou hast forgett’st; Thou art not certain For thy complexion shifts to strange effects, After the moon. If thou art rich, thou art poor; For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows, Thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey, And Death unloads thee! Friend hast thou none; For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire The mere effusion of thy proper loins, Do curse the gout, leprosy, and the rheum For ending thee no sooner; Thou hast nor youth, nor age, But, as it were, an after-dinner’s sleep, Dreaming on both; For all thy blessed youth Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty To make thy riches pleasant!"

"O, I do fear thy courage, Claudio; and I quake Lest thou a feverous life should’st entertain, And six or seven winters more respect Than a perpetual honor. Dar’st thou die? The sense of death is most in apprehension; And the poor beetle that we tread upon, In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great As when a giant dies! Ay, Isabella, but to die, and go we know not where; To lie in cold obstruction and to rot; This sensible, warm motion to become A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice; To be imprisoned in the viewless winds, And blown with restless violence round about The pendant world; or to be worse than worst Of those, that lawless and uncertain thoughts Imagine howling! ’Tis too horrible! The weariest and most loathed worldly life That age, ache, penury and imprisonment Can lay on nature, is a paradise To what we fear of death!"

King Henry the Fourth, on his deathbed thus bitterly rebukes Prince Hal for his heartless haste in taking the crown before the last breath leaves his father:

"Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought; I stay too long by thee, I weary thee. Dost thou so hunger for my empty chair, That thou wilt needs invest thee with mine honors Before thy hour be ripe? O, foolish youth! Thou seek’st the greatness that will overwhelm thee. Stay but a little; for my cloud of dignity Is held from falling with so weak a mind That it will quickly drop; my day is dim. Thou hast stolen that, which after some few hours, Were thine without offense; and at my death, Thou hast sealed up my expectation; Thou life did manifest, thou lov’st me not, And thou wilt have me die assured of it. Thou hid’st a thousand daggers in thy thoughts; Which thou hast whetted on thy stony heart, To stab at half an hour of my life. What! can’st thou not forbear me half an hour? Then get thee gone; and dig my grave thyself; And bid the merry bells ring to thine ear; That thou art crowned, not that I am dead, Let all the tears that should bedew my hearse Be drops of balm, to sanctify thy head; Only compound me with begotten dust; Give that which gave thee life, unto the worms; Pluck down my officers, break my decrees; For now a time is come to mock at form. Harry the Fifth is crowned; up, vanity! Down royal state! all you sage counsellors, hence! And to the English Court assemble now, From every region, apes of idleness! Now, neighbor confines, purge you of your scum; Have you a ruffian, that will swear, drink, dance, Revel the night; rob, murder and commit The oldest sins, the newest kind of ways! Be happy, he will trouble you no more; England shall double gild his treble guilt; For the Fifth Harry from curbed license plucks The muzzle of restraint, and the wild dog Shall flesh his tooth in every innocent. O, poor Kingdom, sick with civil blows! When that my care could not withhold thy riots What wilt thou do, when riot is thy care? O, thou wilt be a wilderness again, Peopled with wolves, thy old inhabitants!"

King Lear, the generous old monarch of Britain, in a spasm of parental love, bequeathes his dominion to his two daughters, Goneril and Regan, and gave nothing to the beautiful Cordelia. Hear the old man rave at his ungrateful daughters and the corrupt world:

"Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend, More hideous, when thou show’st in a child, Than the sea monster! Hear, nature, hear! Dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if Thou did’st intend to make this creature fruitful! Into her womb convey sterility! Dry up in her the organs of increase; And from her degraded body never spring A babe to honor her! If she must teem, Create her a child of spleen; that it may live And be a thwart disnatured torment to her! Let it stamp wrinkles on her brow of youth; With falling tears fret channels in her cheeks; Turn all her mother’s pains and benefits To laughter and contempt; that she may feel How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is To have a thankless child!"

Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! You cataracts, and hurricanes, spout Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks! You sulphurous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts, Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder, Strike flat the thick rotundity of the world! Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once, That make ingrateful men! Rumble thy belly full! Spit fire! Spout rain! Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters; I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness, I never gave you kingdom, called you children, You owe me no obedience; why then let fall Your horrible pleasure; here I stand your slave, A poor, infirm, weak and despised old man; But yet I call you servile ministers, That have with two pernicious daughters joined Your high-engendered battles ’gainst a head So old as this! I am a man more sinned against Than sinning,...

Ay, every inch a King!
When I do stare, see, how the subject quakes!
I pardon that man’s life; what was thy cause?
Adultery;
Thou shalt not die; die for adultery! No!
The wren goes to it; and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive, for Gloster’s bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got between the lawful sheets;
To it luxury, pell-mell, for I lack soldiers.
Behold yon simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presageth snow;
That minceth virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure’s name;
The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to it
With more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are centaurs,
Though women all above;
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiends.

Through tattered clothes small vices do appear Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold And the strong lance of justice breaks; Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw doth pierce it!"

Prospero, the Duke philosopher and magician of the “Tempest,” is my greatest conception, where I command invisible spirits to work out the fate of man, and show that love and forgiveness are the greatest attributes. Prospero is blessed with a pure and faithful daughter Miranda, and an honorable son-in-law Ferdinand.

"If I have too austerely punished you, Your compensation makes amends; for I Have given you here a thread of mine own life, Or that for which I live; whom once again I tender to thy hand; all thy vexations were but my trials of thy love, and thou Hast strangely stood the test; here afore heaven I ratify this my rich gift. O, Ferdinand, Do not smile at me, that I boost her off, For thou shall find she will outstrip all praise, And make it halt behind her. Then, as my gift, and thine own acquisition, Worthily purchased, take my daughter; But If thou dost break her virgin knot before All sanctimonious ceremonies may With full and holy rites be ministered, No sweet sprinkling shall the heavens let fall To make this contract grow; but barren hate, Sour-eyed disdain, and discord, shall beshrew The union of your bed with weeds so loathly That you shall hate it both; therefore, take heed As Hymen’s lamps shall light you!

You do look, my son, in a moved sort As if you were dismayed; be cheerful, Sir; Our revels now are ended; these our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and are Melted into air, into thin air; And, like the baseless fabrick of this vision The clod-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve; And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rock behind; We are such stuff As dreams are made of, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep!

Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves; And ye, that on the sands with fruitless feet 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 you 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; gaped, 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 books!"

The fall of Cardinal Wolsey from the pinnacle of earthly power was the work of his own duplicity, greed and fraud, and all ministers of state may take warning from this great wreck of unholy ambition! King Henry the Eighth sacrificed everything for his physical and religious ambition. Listen and profit by the last words of the old, ruined Cardinal:

"O, Father Abbot,

An old man, broken with the storms of state,
Is come to lay his weary bones among ye;
Give him a little earth for charity!
I have touched the highest point of all my greatness
And, from that full meridian of my glory,
I haste now to my setting; I shall fall
Like a bright exhalation in the evening,
And no man see me more!

"Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness! This is the state of man; to-day he puts forth The tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms, And bears his blushing honors thick upon him; The third day, comes a frost, a killing frost; And, when he thinks, good, easy man, full surely His greatness is a ripening nips his root, And then he falls as I do. I have ventured Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders This many summers in a sea of glory; But far beyond my depth; my high blown pride At length broke under me; and now has left me Weary, and old with service, to the mercy Of a rude stream that must forever hide me. Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye; I feel my heart new opened; O, how wretched Is that poor man that hangs on princes’ favors! There is betwixt that smile he would aspire to, That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin, More pangs and fears than wars or women have; And when he falls he falls like Lucifer, Never to hope again! The King has gone beyond me, all my glories In that one woman (Anne) I have lost forever; No sun shall ever usher forth mine honors, Or gild again the noble troops that waited Upon my smiles. Go, get thee from me, Cromwell, I am a poor fallen man, unworthy now To be thy lord and master; seek the King; That sun, I pray, may never set! I have told him What and how true thou art; he will advance thee; Some little memory of me will stir him (I know his noble nature) not to let Thy hopeful service perish too. Good Cromwell, Neglect him not, make use now, and provide For thine own future safety. Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me Out of thy honest truth to play the woman. Let’s dry our eyes; and thus far hear me, Cromwell; And when I am forgotten, as I shall be And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention Of me more must be heard of, say, I taught thee; Say, Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory, And sounded all the depths and shoals of honor Found thee a way out of his wreck to rise in; A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it! Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me, Cromwell, I charge thee fling away ambition, By that sin fell the angels; how can man then, The image of his own maker hope to win by it? Love thyself least; cherish those hearts that hate thee; Corruption wins not more than honesty! Still in thy right hand carry gentle place To silence envious tongues. Be just and fear not! Let all the aims thou aim’st at be thy country’s; Thy God’s and Truth’s; then if thou fall’st, O, Cromwell, Thou fall’st a blessed martyr; serve the King; And, pray thee, lead me in; There take an enventory of all I have To the last penny; ’tis the King’s; my robe And my integrity to heaven, is all I dare now call my own. O, Cromwell, Cromwell, Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my King, he would not in mine age Have left me naked to mine enemies!"

At the conclusion of this greatest of monologues King James arose at the head of the royal banquet board, and lifting a glass of sparkling champagne, proposed three cheers for Shakspere, which were given with intense feeling, echoed and re-echoed through those royal halls like thunder music from the realms of Jupiter.

The King beckoned William to approach the throne chair, and there, in the presence of the nobility of the realm, placed upon his lofty brow a wreath of oak leaves, with a monogram crown ring to decorate the digit finger of the brilliant Bard.

It was worth the gold and glory of all the ages to have heard the “Divine” William scatter his nuggets of eloquence; and until my pilgrimage of a thousand years reincarnates me again into the “Island of Immortality,” I shall cherish that banquet night as the greatest milestone in the memory of my ruminating rambles.

Glory, like the sun on rushing river,
Shines down the years, forever, and forever!