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This life, which seems so fair,
For even when most admir'd, it in a thought,
Thrice happy he, who by some shady grove,
The world is full of horrors, falsehoods, slights; Woods' silent shades have only true delights.
A sound of music touched mine ears, or rather
AMET. And so do I; good, on!
AMET. How did the rivals part?
You term them rightly; For they were rivals, and their mistress, harmony. Some time thus spent, the young man grew at last Into a pretty anger, that a bird,
AMET. Now for the bird !
The bird, ordained to be
throat Failed in, for grief down dropped she on his lute, And brake her heart. It was the quaintest sadness, To see the conqueror upon her hearse To weep a funeral elegy of tears; That, trust me, my Amethus, I could chide
150 Mine own unmanly weakness, that made me A fellow-mourner with him. AMET.
I believe thee.
JOHN FORD (fl. 1639)
FROM THE LOVER'S MELANCHOLY
ACT I, SCENE I MEN. Passing from Italy to Greece, the tales Which poets of an elder time have feigned To glorify their Tempe, bred in me Desire of visiting that paradise. To Thessaly I came; and living private, Without acquaintance of more sweet companions Than the old inmates to my love, my thoughts, I day by day frequented silent groves And solitary walks. One morning early This accident encountered me: I heard The sweetest and most ravishing contention That art and nature ever were at strife in.
AMET. I cannot yet conceive what you infer By art and nature. MEN.
I shall soon resolve ye.
Can you paint a thought ? or number
No, O, no! yet you may
Than by any praise display Beauty's beauty; such a glory, As beyond all fate, all story,
All arms, all arts,
All loves, all hearts, Greater than those or they, Do, shall, and must obey.
Can but please
Is or untroubled or by peace refined. IST VOICE. Crowns may flourish and decay, 5
Beauties shine, but fade away. 2ND VOICE. Youth may revel, yet it must
Lie down in a bed of dust. 3RD VOICE. Earthly honours flow and waste,
Time alone doth change and last. 10 COOR. Sorrows mingled with contents pre
pare Rest for care; Love only reigns in death; though
art Can find no comfort for a broken
PURITAN AND CAVALIER
GEORGE WITHER (1588-1667)
FROM FAIR VIRTUE, THE MISTRESS OF
FAIR VIRTUE'S SWEET GRACES
Him to flatter most suppose,
Look on moon! on stars ! or sun!
Think not, though, my Muse now sings
Eyes as fair (for eyes) hath she
Nought I e'er saw fair enow
Stars, indeed, fair creatures be!
Shall I, wasting in despair,
If she be not so to me,
WILLIAM BROWNE (1591-1643)
Whose names would die but for some hired pen.
190 And Time may be so kind in these weak lines To keep my name enroll'd past his that shines In gilded marble or in brazen leaves: Since verse preserves, when stone and brass de
ceives. Or if (as worthless) Time not lets it live 195 To those full days which others' Muses give, Yet I am sure I shall be heard and sung Of most severest eld and kinder young Beyond my days; and, maugre Envy's strife, Add to my name some hours beyond my life. 200
FROM BOOK II, SONG IV Yet as when I with other swains have been Invited by the maidens of our green To wend to yonder wood, in time of year 135 When cherry-trees enticing burdens bear, He that with wreathed legs doth upwards go, Plucks not alone for those which stand below; But now and then is seen to pick a few To please himself as well as all his crew: Or if from where he is he do espy Some apricock upon a bough thereby, Which overhangs the tree on which he stands, Climbs up and strives to take it with his hands: So if to please myself I somewhat sing, 145 Let it not be to you less pleasuring. No thirst of glory tempts me, for my strains Befit poor shepherds on the lowly plains; The hope of riches cannot draw from me One line that tends to servile flattery,
150 Nor shall the most in titles on the earth Blemish my Muse with an adulterate birth, Nor make me lay pure colours on a ground Where nought substantial can be ever found. No; such as sooth a base and dunghill spirit 155 With attributes fit for the most of merit, Cloud their free Muse; as, when the sun doth
shine On straw and dirt mix'd by the sweating hyne, It nothing gets from heaps so much impure But noisome steams that do his light obscure.
My freeborn Muse will not like Danae be, 161 Won with base dross to clip with slavery; Nor lend her choicer balm to worthless men,
FROM BOOK II, SONG V
Now was the Lord and Lady of the May Meeting the May-pole at the break of day, And Cælia, as the fairest on the green, Not without some maids' envy chosen queen. Now was the time com'n, when our gentle swain Must in his harvest or lose all again.
146 Now must he pluck the rose lest other hands, Or tempests, blemish what so fairly stands: And therefore, as they had before decreed, Our shepherd gets a boat, and with all speed, 150 In night, that doth on lovers' actions smile, Arrived safe on Mona's fruitful isle.
Between two rocks (immortal, without mother,) That stand as if out-facing one another,