Page images
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


Although the troubled ocean rise
In foaming billows to the skies,
And mountains shake with horrid noise.

Stretched on my restless bed all night,
I vainly sought my soul's delight.
Then rose, the city search'd: no street,
No angle my unwearied feet
Untracèd left: yet could not find
The only solace of my mind.
When lo! the watch, who walk the round,
Me in my soul's distemper found;
Of whom, with passion, I inquir’d,
Saw you the man so much desir'd?
Nor many steps had farther past,
But found my love, and held him fast;
Fast held, till I the so-long-sought
Had to my mother's mansion brought.
In that adorned chamber laid
Of her who gave me life, I said:
You daughters of Jerusalem,
You branches of that holy stem,
I, by the mountain roes, and by
The hinds which through the forest fly,
Adjure you that you silence keep,
Nor, till he call, disturb his sleep.

[blocks in formation]


[blocks in formation]

JOHN FLETCHER (1579-1625)



[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


He makes destructive war surcease, The earth, deflower'd of her increase, Restores with universal peace.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

A midnight bell, a parting groan,

These are the sounds we feed upon. Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley; Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.



Now the lusty spring is seen;

Golden yellow, gaudy blue,

Daintily invite the view, Everywhere on every green, Roses blushing as they blow,

And enticing men to pull
Lilies whiter than the snow,

Woodbines of sweet honey full:
All love's emblems, and all cry,
“Ladies, if not plucked, we die.”

Drink to-day, and drown all sorrow;
You shall perhaps not do it to-morrow:
Best, while you have it, use your breath;
There is no drinking after death.
Wine works the heart up, wakes the wit,
There is no cure 'gainst age but it:
It helps the headache, cough, and phthisic,
And is for all diseases physic.

Then let us swill, boys, for our health;
Who drinks well, loves the commonwealth.
And he that will to bed go sober
Falls with the leaf still in October.



[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]



Beauty clear and fair,

Where the air
Rather like a perfume dwells;

Where the violet and the rose

Their blue veins and blush disclose, And come to honour nothing else. Where to live near,

And planted there,
Is to live, and still live new;

Where to gain a favour is

More than light, perpetual bliss, –
Make me live by serving you.
Dear, again back recall

To this light
A stranger to himself and all;

Both the wonder and the story

Shall be yours, and eke the glory: I am your servant, and your thrall.



[blocks in formation]



[ocr errors]



God Lyæus, ever young,
Ever honoured, ever sung;
Stained with blood of lusty grapes,
In a thousand lusty shapes,

This way, this way come, and hear, You that hold these pleasures dear; Fill your ears with our sweet sound Whilst we melt the frozen ground. This way come; make haste, O fair! Let your clear eyes gild the air; Come, and bless us with your sight; This way, this way, seek delight!


Marigolds on death-beds blowing,

Larks'-heels trim.


[blocks in formation]

O, fair sweet face! O, eyes celestial bright,
Twin stars in heaven, that now adorn the night!
Oh, fruitful lips, where cherries ever grow,
And damask cheeks, where all sweet beauties

blow! O, thou, from head to foot divinely fair! Cupid's most cunning net's made of that hair; 6 And, as he weaves himself for curious eyes, “O me, O me, I'm caught myself !” he cries: Sweet rest about thee, sweet and golden sleep, Soft peaceful

thoughts, your hourly watches keep, Whilst I in wonder sing this sacrifice, To beauty sacred, and those angel eyes !

The crow, the slanderous cuckoo, nor The boding raven, nor chough hoar,

Nor chattering pie, May on our bride-house perch or sing, Or with them any discord bring,

But from it fly!



[blocks in formation]

Lay a garland on my hearse

Of the dismal yew;
Maidens, willow branches bear;

Say, I died true.
My love was false, but I was firm

From my hour of birth. Upon my buried body lie

Lightly, gentle earth!



Mortality, behold and fear!
What a change of flesh is here !
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within this heap of stones;
Here they lie had realms and lands, 5
Who now want strength to stir their hands;
Where from their pulpits sealed with dust
They preach, “In greatness is no trust."
Here's an acre sown indeed
With the richest royal'st seed
That the earth did e'er suck in,
Since the first man died for sin;
Here the bones of birth have cried,
“Though gods they were, as men they died."
Here are sands, ignoble things,

Dropt from the ruined sides of kings.
Here's a world of pomp and state,
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.

Roses, their sharp spines being gone,
Not royal in their smells alone,

But in their hue;
Maiden-pinks, of odour faint,
Daisies smell-less yet most quaint,

And sweet thyme true;
Primrose, first-born child of Ver
Merry spring-time's harbinger,

With her bells dim;
Oxlips in their cradles growing,

[ocr errors]


[blocks in formation]

O no, Belov'd, I am most sure

Those virtuous habits we acquire

As being with the soul entire Must with it evermore endure.



[blocks in formation]


Methinks the little wit I had is lost Since I saw you! For wit is like a rest Held up at tennis, which men do the best With the best gamesters. What things have we seen Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been So nimble and so full of subtle flame, As if that every one from whence they came Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest And had resolved to live a fool the rest Of his dull life! Then, when there hath been

thrown Wit able enough to justify the town

50 For three days past! Wit, that might warrant be For the whole city to talk foolishly Till that were cancelled! And, when we were gone, We left an air behind us, which alone Was able to make the two next companies Right witty! though but downright fools, more

wise! When I remember this, and see that now The country gentlemen begin to allow My wit for dry bobs; then I needs must cry, “I see my days of ballading grow nigh!” 60

I can already riddle; and can sing Catches, sell bargains; and I fear shall bring Myself to speak the hardest words I find Over as oft as any, with one wind, That takes no medicines! But one thought of thee Makes me remember all these things to be The wit of our young men, fellows that show No part of good, yet utter all they know! Who, like trees of the guard, have growing souls.

Only strong Destiny, which all controls, 70 I hope hath left a better fate in store For me, thy friend, than to live ever poor, Banished unto this home! Fate, once again, Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and plain The way of knowledge for me; and then I, Who have no good but in thy company, Protest it will my greatest comfort be To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee ! Ben, when these scenes are perfect, we'll taste

wine! I'll drink thy Muse's health I thou shalt quaff mine!


Else should our souls in vain elect,

And vainer yet were Heaven's laws,

When to an everlasting cause They gave a perishing effect.

104 Nor here on earth then, or above,

Our good affection can impair;

For where God doth admit the fair, Think you that He excludeth love?

108 These eyes again then eyes shall see,

These hands again these hands enfold,

And all chaste pleasures can be told
Shall with us everlasting be.
For if no use of sense remain

When bodies once this life forsake,

Or they could no delight partake, Why should they ever rise again? 116 And if every imperfect mind

Make love the end of knowledge here,

How perfect will our love be, where
All imperfection is refin'd.
Let then no doubt, Celinda, touch,

Much less your fairest mind invade;

Were not our souls immortal made, Our equal loves can make them such. 124

* * So when from hence we shall be gone,

And be no more, nor you, nor I;

As one another's mystery, Each shall be both, yet both but one. 132







A passing glance, a lightning 'long the skies,
That, ush'ring thunder, dies straight to our sight;
A spark, of contraries which doth arise,
Then drowns in the huge depths of day and night:
In vain the stars, indwellers of the woods,
Care, horror, wars, I call, and raging floods,
For all have sworn no night shall dim my light.

Is this small Small call'd life, held in such price
Of blinded wights, who nothing judge aright.
Of Parthian shaft so swift is not the flight
As life, that wastes itself, and living dies.
O! what is human greatness, valour, wit ?
What fading beauty, riches, honour, praise ?
To what doth serve in golden thrones to sit,
Thrall earth’s vast round, triumphal arches raise ?

All is a dream, learn in this prince's fall,
In whom, save death, nought mortal was at all.


[ocr errors]


The heaven doth not contain so many stars,
So many leaves not prostrate lie in woods,
When autumn's old and Boreas sounds his wars,
So many waves have not the ocean floods,
As my rent mind hath torments all the night, 5
And heart spends sighs, when Phæbus brings the



[blocks in formation]


I look each day when death should end the wars,
Uncivil wars, 'twixt sense and reason's light;
My pains I count to mountains, meads, and floods,
And of my sorrow partners make the stars; 16
All desolate I haunt the fearful woods,
When I should give myself to rest at night.

SONG II Phoebus, arise, And paint the sable skies With azure, white, and red; Rouse Memnon's mother from her Tithon's

bed, That she thy career may with roses spread; 5 The nightingales thy coming each where sing; Make an eternal spring, Give life to this dark world which lieth dead; Spread forth thy golden hair In larger locks than thou wast wont before, And, emperor-like, decore With diadem of pearl thy temples fair; Chase hence the ugly night, Which serves but to make dear thy glorious

light. This is that happy morn,

15 That day, long-wished day, Of all my life so dark (If cruel stars have not my ruin sworn, And fates not hope betray), Which, only white, deserves A diamond forever should it mark; This is the morn should bring unto this grove My love, to hear and recompense my love. Fair king, who all preserves, But show thy blushing beams,

25 And thou two sweeter eyes Shalt see, than those which by Peneus' streams Did once thy heart surprise; Nay, suns, which shine as clear As thou when two thou did to Rome appear. 30 Now, Flora, deck thyself in fairest guise; If that ye, winds, would hear A voice surpassing far Amphion's lyre, Your stormy chiding stay; Let' zephyr only breathe,

35 And with her tresses play, Kissing sometimes those purple ports of death. The winds all silent are, And Phæbus in his chair, Ensaffroning sea and air, Makes vanish every star; Night like a drunkard reels Beyond the hills to shun his flaming wheels; The fields with flow'rs are deck'd in every hue, The clouds bespangle with bright gold their

blue; Here is the pleasant place, And ev'ry thing, save her, who all should grace.

[blocks in formation]



[blocks in formation]


« PreviousContinue »