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The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock;
The nine men's morris is filled up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable ;*
The human mortals want; their winter here,
No night is now with hymn or carol bless'd :
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound:
And thorough this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter : hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose ;
And on old Hyem's chin, and icy crown,
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set : the spring, the summer,
The childingt autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries ; and the 'mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension ;
We are their parents and original.
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song ;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.
very time I saw (but thou could'st not),
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west ;
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watery moon;
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden-meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell :
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
A Fairy Bank.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk roses, and with eglantine :
There sleeps Titania, some time of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight.
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman ;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes :
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the bumble-bees,
And, for night-tapers, crop their waxen thighs,
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
To have my love to bed, and to arise ;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies,
To fan the moon-beams from his sleeping eves :
Nod to him elves, and do him courtesies.
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sister's vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us--0, and is all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence ?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key ;
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet a union in partition,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem :
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one, and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend ?
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly:
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.
Night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger ;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there.
Troop home to churchyards.
That same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell, like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flowret's eyes,
Like tears, that did their own disgrace bewail.
I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
When in' a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear
With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
Such gallant chiding ;* for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem'd all one mutual cry: I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
The Power of Imagination. The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven ; And, as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name.
Modest Duty always acceptable.
Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practised accent in their fears,
And in conclusion, dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome.
Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence, yet, I pick'd a welcome;
And in the modesty of fearful duty
I read as much, as from the rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon ;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task foredone. *
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the scritch-owl, scritching loud,
Puts the wretch, that lies in woe,
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night,
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide.
The scene opens in Messina, where Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon, arrives on a visit to Leonato, the governor of Messina. Here Claudio, a young lord of Florence, a friend of Don Pedro's, falls in love with Hero, daughter of Leonato, and they are engaged to