Page:Richard II (1921) Yale.djvu/112

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100
The Life and Death of
 

And for because the world is populous,
And here is not a creature but myself, 4
I cannot do it; yet I'll hammer it out.
My brain I'll prove the female to my soul;
My soul the father: and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts, 8
And these same thoughts people this little world
In humours like the people of this world,
For no thought is contented. The better sort,
As thoughts of things divine, are intermix'd 12
With scruples, and do set the word itself
Against the word:
As thus, 'Come, little ones'; and then again,
'It is as hard to come as for a camel 16
To thread the postern of a needle's eye.'
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders; how these vain weak nails
May tear a passage through the flinty ribs 20
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls;
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves
That they are not the first of fortune's slaves, 24
Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars
Who sitting in the stocks refuge their shame,
That many have and others must sit there:
And in this thought they find a kind of ease, 28
Bearing their own misfortunes on the back
Of such as have before endur'd the like.
Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented: sometimes am I king; 32

6 prove: establish as
8 still-breeding: continually breeding
9 little world; cf. n.
10 humours: temperaments
13 scruples: doubts
13, 14 word: the Gospel
15, 16 Cf. St. Matthew 11. 28; 19. 14, 24
17 postern: small gate
21 ragged: rough
25 silly: poor
26 refuge their shame: cover their shame with the reflection