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The fiends of hell, mustering in fearful manner,
Of sundry colour'd silks display'd a banner
Which he had stolen, and wish'd, as they did tell,
That he might find it all one day in hell.
The man, affrighted with this apparition,
Upon recovery grew a great precisian :
He bought a Bible of the best translation,
And in his life he shew'd great reformation ;
He walked mannerly, he talked meekly,
He heard three lectures and two sermons weekly;
He vow'd to shun all company unruly,
And in his speech he us'd no oath; but truly
And zealously to keep the sabbath's rest,
His meat for that day on the eve was drest ;
And, lest the custom which he had to steal
Might cause him sometimes to forget his zeal,
He gives his journeyman a special charge,
That if the stuff, alllowance being large,
He found his fingers were to filch inclin'd,
Bid him to have the banner in his mind.
This done (I scant can tell the rest for laughter)
A captain of a ship came three days after,
And brought three yards of velvet and three
To make Venetians down below the garters.
He, that precisely knew what was enough,
Soon slipt aside three quarters of the stuff;
His man, espying it, said, in derision,
Master, remember how you saw the vision !
Peace, knave! quoth he, I did not see one rag,
Of such a colour'd silk in all the flag...
HENRY PERROT'S BOOK OF EPIGRAMS,
ENTITLED SPRINGES FOR WOODCOCKS. (EDIT. 1613). PERROT, I suspect, was not the author, but only the collector of these trifles, some of which are claimed by other epigrammatists, probably with no better right. It is indeed very difficult to ascertain the real authors of a vast number of little pieces of the 16th and 17th centuries, as the minor poets pilfer from each other with the utmost coolness and apparent impunity.
AMBITIO FEMININI GENERIS.
Mistress Matrossa hopes to be a lady,
Not as a dignity of late expected ;
But from the time almost she was a baby,
That hath your richest gentlemen rejected;
But yet not dubb’d at present as she should be,
Lives in expectance still my lady Would-be.
A COBBLER and a curate once disputed,
Before a judge, about the king's injunctions,
Wherein the curate being still confuted,
One said 'twere good if they two changed functions:
Nay, quoth the judge, I thereto would be loth,
But, an' you like, we'll make them cobblers both.
Was born in 1581, and perished in the Tower of London, 1613, by a fate that is too well known. The compassion of the public for a man of worth, “ whose spirit still walked unrevenged amongst them,” together with the contrast of his ideal Wife with the Countess of Essex, who was his murderess, attached an interest and popularity to his poem, and made it pass through sixteen editions before the year 1653. His “ Characters, or Witty Descriptions of the Properties of sundry Persons," is a work of considerable merit; but unfortunately his prose, as well as his verse, has a dryness and quaintness that seem to oppress the natural movement of his thoughts. As a poet, he has few imposing attractions: his beauties must be fetched by repeated perusal. They are those of solid reflection, predominating over, but not extinguishing, sensibility; and there is danger of the reader neglecting, under the coldness and ruggedness of his manner, the manly but unostentatious moral feeling that is conveyed in his maxims, which are sterling and liberal, if we can only pardon a few obsolete ideas on female education.
Then may I trust her body with her mind,
And, thereupon secure, need never know
The pangs of jealousy: and love doth find
More pain to doubt her false than find her so;
For patience is, of evils that are known,
The certain remedy; but doubt hath none.
And be that thought once stirr'd, 'twill never
Nor will the grief more mild by custom prove,
Nor yet amendment can it satisfy ;
The anguish more or less is as our love ;
This misery doth from jealousy ensue,
That we may prove her false, but cannot true.
Give me, next good, an understanding wife,
By nature wise, not learned by much art;
Some knowledge on her part will, all her life,
More scope of conversation impart;
Besides her inborn virtue fortify;
They are most firmly good that best know why.
A passive understanding to conceive,
And judgment to discern, I wish to find;
Beyond that all as hazardous I leave;
Learning and pregnant wit, in womankind,
What it finds malleable (it) makes frail,
And doth not add more ballast, but more sail.
Books are a part of man's prerogative;
In formal ink they thoughts and voices hold,
That we to them our solitude may give,
And make time present travel that of old;
Our life fame pieceth longer at the end,
And books it farther backward do extend.
So fair at least let me imagine her ;
That thought to me is truth. Opinion
Cannot in matters of opinion err;
And as my fancy her conceives to be,
Ev'n such my senses both do feel and see.
Beauty in decent shape and colour lies;
Colours the matter are, and shape the soul ;
The soul-which from no single part doth rise,
But from the just proportion of the whole;
And is a mere spiritual harmony
Of every part united in the eye.
No circumstance doth beauty fortify
Like graceful fashion, native comeliness;
But let that fashion more to modesty
Tend than assurance-Modesty doth set
The face in her just place, from passion free ;-
'Tis both the mind's and body's beauty met.