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Goddess excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy envious shade

Dare itself to interpose ;
Cynthia's shining orb was made

Heaven to clear when day did close :
Bless us then with wished sight,
Goddess excellently bright.

Lay thy bow of pearl apart,

And thy crystal shining quiver;
Give unto thy flying hart

Space to breathe, how short soever :
Thou that makest a day of night,
Goddess excellently bright.

THE POETASTER. l6oi.



THE LOVER'S IDEAL.

T F I freely may discover

-* What would please me in my lover,

I would have her fair and witty,

Savouring more of court than city;

A little proud, but full of pity ;

Light and humorous in her toying;

Oft building hopes, and soon destroying ;

Long, but sweet in the enjoying;
Neither too easy nor too hard,
All extremes I would have barred.

* Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step, and mincing gait.

MILTON. II Penseroso.



BEN JONSON. 113

She should be allowed her passions,
So they were but used as fashions ;
Sometimes froward, and then frowning,
Sometimes sickish, and then swooning,
Every fit with change still crowning.
Purely jealous I would have her,
Then only constant when I crave her ;
'Tis a virtue should not save her.

Thus, nor her delicates would cloy me,

Nor her peevishness annoy me.*

WANTON CUPID.

[~ YE is blind, and a wanton ;
-L^ In the whole world, there is scant [one]

One such another :

No, not his mother.

He hath plucked her doves and sparrows,
To feather his sharp arrows,

And alone prevaileth,

While sick Yenus waileth.
But if Cypris once recover
The wag; it shall behove her

To look better to him,

Or she will undo him.

WAKE! MUSIC AND WINE.
TT7AKE, our mirth begins to die,
^ ' Quicken it with tunes and wines
liaise your notes ; you're out : fy, fy !
This drowsiness is an ill sign.

* The germ of this song may be traced to the following epigram of
Martial :

' Qualem, Flacce, velim quseris, nolimve puellam,

Nolo nimis facilem, diflicilemve nimis :
Illud quod medium est, atque inter utrumque probamus,

Nee volo quod cruciat, nee volo quod satiat.'
Thus rendered by Elphinston :

' What a fair, my dear Flaccus, I like or dislike ?

I approve not the dame, or too kind, or too coy;

The sweet medium be mine : no extremities strike :

I'll have her who knows nor to torture nor cloy.'



114 SONGS FROM THE DRAMATISTS.

We banish him the quire of gods,

That droops again :

Then all are men,
For here's not one, but nods.

THE FEAST OF THE SENSES.

'THEN, in a free and lofty strain,
- Our broken tunes we thus repair;
And we answer them again,

Running division on the panting air;

To celebrate this feast of sense,

As free from scandal as offence.

Here is beauty for the eye ;

For the ear sweet melody ;
Ambrosial odours for the smell ;

Delicious nectar for the taste ;

For the touch a lady's waist ;
Which doth all the rest excel !

VOLPONE; OR, THE FOX. 1605.

FOOLS.

Tj^OOLS, they are the only nation

- Worth men's envy or admiration;

Free from care or sorrow-taking,

Selves and others merry making :

All they speak or do is sterling.

Your fool he is your great man's darling,

And your ladies' sport and pleasure;

Tongue and babble are his treasure.

Even his face begetteth laughter,

And he speaks truth free from slaughter ;*

He's the grace of every feast,

And sometimes the chief est guest ;

* Reason here, observes one of Jonson's commentators, has been
made to sufler for the rhyme, slander being the word apparently
designed.



BEN JONSON. 1 15



Hath his trencher and his stool,
When wit waits upon the fool.
O, who would not be
He, he, he?*

LOVE WHILE WE CAN.



, my Celia, let us prove,
^ While we can the sports of love,
Time will not be ours for ever,
He, at length, our good will sever;
Spend not then his gifts in vain,
Suns that set may rise again :
But if once we lose this light,
Tis with us perpetual night.
Why should we defer our joys?
Fame and rumour are but toys.
Cannot we delude the eyes
Of a few poor household spies 1
Or his easier ears beguile,
Thus removed by our wile?
'Tis no sin love's fruits to steal:
But the sweet thefts to reveal :
To be taken, to be seen,
These have crimes accounted been.t

THE QUEEN'S MASQUE. 1605.



THE BIKTH OP LOVE.

SO beauty on the waters stood,
When love had severed earth from flood ;
So when he parted air from fire,
He did with concord all inspire ;

* There is a Fool's Song in the Bird in a Cage of Shirley (see
Shirley's songs in this volume) which seems to be formed upon this song.

f The leading idea of this song is taken from Catullus. It was a
favourite theme with the old dramatists, and will be found treated in
a variety of ways amongst their songs.



116 SONGS FROM THE DRAMATISTS.

And there a matter he then taught
That elder than himself was thought ;
Which thought was yet the child of earth,
For Love is older than his birth.



CTTPIDS SHOOTING AT EANDOM.

TF all these Cupids now were blind,

-*- As is their wanton brother,

Or play should put it in their mind

To shoot at one another,
What pretty battle they would make,
If they their object should mistake,

And each one wound his mother.



EPICCENE; OR, THE SILENT WOMAN. 1609.



THE GKACE OF SIMPLICITY.

OTILL to be neat, still to be drest,
^ A s you were going to a feast ;
Still to be powdered, still perfumed : ,
Lady, it is to be presumed,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.

Give me a look, give me a face,

That makes simplicity a grace ;

Robes loosely flowing, hair as free :

Such sweet neglect more taketh me,

Than all the adulteries of art ;

They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.



* This is one of the best known of Jonson's songs, and a remarkable
illustration of the art with which he constructed these compositions.
The first verse is an evident preparation for the skilful flattery and
delightful sentiment of the second. Nothing less than the fascinating
result to which it leads us could excuse its want of gallantry.



BEN JONSON. 117

BARTHOLOMEW PAIR. 1614.



THE BALLAD OF THE CUT-PUESE.*

MY masters, and friends, and good people, draw near,
And look to your purses for that I do say;
And though little money in them you do bear,
It cost more to get, than to lose in a day.

* In the Roxburghe collection there is a ballad with the following
title : * A Caveat for Cut-Purses. With a warning to all purse carriers,
shewing the confidence of the first, and the carelessness of the last,
with necessary admonitions for them both, lest the hangman get the
one, and the beggar the other.' Mr. Collier observes upon it that
* this singular ballad preceded the Restoration, and indeed the civil
wars, and the mention in it of Dun, the public hangman, is one proof
of its date ;' and he adds, * it is to be observed that the ballad singer
speaks in his own person ; and, were it not for the conclusion, we
might suppose that the production was a 'jig' which had been per-
formed by a comic actor at the Curtain, the Red Bull, or some other
popular place of amusement.' It escaped Mr. Collier that the first
five stanzas are in Ben Jonson's play of Bartholomew Fair, acted
for the first time on the 3ist October, 1614, at the Hope theatre, Bank-
side. The song is sung by Nightingale, a ballad singer in the fair, and
immediately afterwards Edgworth, a cut-purse, puts its doctrines into
practice by picking the pocket of a country-gentleman, and handing over
the purse he has stolen to the ballad singer. The additional verses in
the broad sheet, containing the allusion to Dun, the hangman, who
seems to have succeeded to his office in 1616, two years after the play
was produced, were evidently added afterwards. They extend the
ballad to ten verses, and run as follow :

The players do tell you, in Bartholomew Fair,

What secret consumptions and rascals you are ;
For one of their actors, it seems, had the fate
By some of your trade to be fleeced of late :
Then fall to your prayers,
You that are way-layers,

They're fit to choose all the world that can cheat players ;
For he hath the art, and no man the worse,
Whose cunning can pilfer the pilferer's purse.

Youth, youth, &c.

The plain countryman that comes staring to London,

If once you come near him he quickly is undone,
For when he amazedly gazeth about,

One treads on his toes, and the other pulls it out
Then in a strange place,
Where he knows no face,
His money is gone, 'tis a pitiful case.



118 SONGS FROM THE DRAMATISTS.

You oft have been told,
Both the young and the old,
And bidden beware of the Cut-purse so bold !
Then if you take heed not, free me from the curse,
Who both give you warning, for, and the Cut-purse.
Youth, youth, thou hadst better been starved by thy
Than live to be hanged for cutting a purse. [nurse,

It hath been upbraided to men of my trade,

That oftentimes we are the cause of this crime :

Alack, and for pity ! why should it be said,
As if they regarded or places or time?

The Devil in hell in his trade is not worse,
Than Gilter, and Diver, and Cutter of purse.

Youth, youth, &c.
The poor servant maid wears her purse in her placket,

A place of quick feeling, and yet you can take it ;
Nor is she aware that you have done the feat,
Until she is going to pay for her meat ;
Then she cries and rages
Amongst the baggages,

And swears at one thrust she hath lost all her wages ;
For she is engaged her own to disburse,
To make good the breach of the cruel Cut-purse.

Youth, youth, &c.
Your eyes and your fingers are nimble of growth,

But Dun many times hath been nimbler than both ;
Yet you are deceived by many a slut,

But the hangman is only the Cut-purse's cut.
It makes you to vex
When he bridles your necks,

And then, at the last, what becomes of your tricks ?
But when you should pray, you begin for to curse
The hand that first showed you to slash at a purse.
Youth, youth, &c.
But now to my hearers this counsel I give,

And pray, friends, remember it as long as you live ;
Bring out no more cash in purse, pocket, or wallet,
Than one single penny to pay for this ballad ;
For Cut-purse doth shroud
Himself in a cloud,

There's many a purse hath been lost in a crowd,
For he's the most rogue that doth cry up, and curses,
Who first cries, * My masters, beware of your purses.'

Oh! youth, &c.

An inferior hand may be easily detected in these supplementary
verses. It will be seen, also, that the writer changes the alternate
rhymes to couplets.



BEN JONSON. 119

Examples have been
Of some that were seen

In Westminster-hall, yea, the pleaders between ;
Then why should the judges be free from this curse,
More than my poor self for cutting the purse?
Youth, youth, &c.

At Worcester, 'tis known well, and even in the jail,

A knight of good worship did there show his face
Against the foul sinners in zeal for to rail,

And lost (ipso facto) his purse in the place.
Nay, once from the seat
Of judgment so great,

A judge there did lose a fair purse of velvate.
O Lord ! for thy mercy, how wicked, or worse,
Are those that so venture their necks for a purse !
Youth, youth, &c.

At plays, and at sermons, and at the sessions,

'Tis daily their practice such booty to make ;
Yea, under the gallows, at executions,

They stick not the stare-abouts' purses to take.
Nay, one without grace,
At a better place,

At court, and in Christmas, before the king's face.
Alack, then for pity ! must I bear the curse,
That only belongs to the cunning Cut-purse?
Youth, youth, &c.

But O, you vile nation of Cut-purses all,

Relent and repent, and amend and be sound,
And know that you ought not by honest men's fall
Advance your own fortunes, to die above ground ;
And though you go gay
In silks as you may,

It is not the high way to heaven, as they say.
Repent then, repent you, for better, for worse,
And kiss not the gallows for cutting a purse.
Youth, youth, &c.



120 SONGS FROM THE DRAMATISTS.

THE NEW INN; OR, THE LIGHT HEART. 1629.



A VISION OF BEAUTY.

TT was a beauty that I saw

* So pure, so perfect, as the frame

Of all the universe was lame,
To that one figure could I draw,
Or give least line of it a law !

A skein of silk without a knot !
A fair march made without a halt !
A curious form without a fault !

A printed book without a blot !

All beauty, and without a spot.



THE SAD SHEPHERD; OR, A TALE OF ROBIN



LOVE AND DEATH.

nPHOUGH I am young and cannot tell
-*- Either what death or love is well,
Yet I have heard they both bear darts,
And both do aim at human hearts ;
And then again, I have been told,
Love wounds with heat, as death with cold ;
So that I fear they do but bring
Extremes to touch, and mean one thing.

As in a ruin we it call,
One thing to be blown up, or fall;
Or to our end, like way may have,
By a flash of lightning, or a wave :
So love's inflamed shaft or brand,
May kill as soon as death's cold hand ;
Except love's fires the virtue have
To fright the frost out of the grave.

* This piece, a dramatic pastoral, in the manner of the Faithful
Shepherdess of Fletcher, was left unfinished by Jonson at his death.
Only two acts, and a fragment of a third, are all that have come down
to us. They abound in passages of exquisite beauty, and display his
mastery over a species of poetry in which he is least appreciated.



BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 121

THE FOREST.*



TO CELIA.

DRINK to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine ;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,

And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise,

Doth ask a drink divine :
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,

Not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a hope that there

It could not withered be ;
But thou thereon didst only breathe,

And sent'st it back to me ;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,

Not of itself, but thee.



FRANCIS BEAUMONT AND JOHN FLETCHER.
15841616. 15791625.

[VARIETY, grace, and sweetness are the predominant charac-
teristics of Beaumont and Fletcher's songs. They occupy a
middle region between Shakespeare and Jonson. The indi-
vidual hand of either poet cannot be traced with certainty in
any of these pieces. We learn from the traditions which
have reached us, that they lived together on the Bank-side,
and not only pursued their studies in close companionship, but
carried their community of habits so far that they had only
one bench between them, and used the same clothes and
cloaks in common. Beaumont has got the credit (though the
younger man) of possessing the restraining judgment, and
Fletcher the overflowing fancy and exuberant wit. There

* A collection of Jonson's smaller poems.



122 SONGS FROM THE DRAMATISTS.

can be no doubt, however, from the allusions of the Pro-
logues and Commendatory Verses, that Fletcher had by far
the larger share in the plays ; and, if such a conjecture may
be hazarded upon internal evidence, the bulk of the songs
may be ascribed to him also. They are full of that luxuri-
ance and beauty which distinguish the pieces known to
have been written by him separately.]

THE MAID'S TRAGEDY.



CONSTANCY.

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! *

FICKLENESS.

I COULD never have the power '
To love one above an hour,
But my head would prompt mine eye
On some other man to fly.
Yenus, fix thou mine eyes fast,
Or if not, give me all that I shall see at last.

THE ELDER BROTHER.*



THE STUDENT AWAKENED BY LOVE.

T3EAUTY clear and fair,

*-^ Where the air

Rather like a perfume dwells ;
Where the violet and the rose
Their blue veins in blush disclose.

And came to honour nothing else.

* Ascribed to Fletcher.



BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 123

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.



THE SPANISH CUKATE.*



SPEAK, LOVE ! f

"TiEAREST, do not delay me,
*-* Since, thou knowest, I must be gone;
Wind and tide, 'tis thought, doth stay me,
But 'tis wind that must be blown

From that breath, whose native smell

Indian odours far excel.

Oh, then speak, thou fairest fair !

Kill not him that vows to serve thee;
But perfume this neighbouring air,J

Else dull silence, sure, will starve me :
'Tis a word that's quickly spoken,
Which, being restrained, a heart is broken.

* By Fletcher.

f This song, and that which immediately follows, not having
appeared in the original edition of the Spanish Curate, were removed
from the text by Mr. Colman. The authorship is, of course, doubtful ;
but the stage directions in the places in which they were inserted
indicate that some songs were intended to be introduced by the
authors ; and, to whatever hand we are indebted for these, they are
entitled to preservation in this collection.

J This looks either like the authorship of Fletcher, or an intentional



124 SONGS FROM THE DRAMATISTS.



COUNTBY FEASTING-.

LET the bells ring, and let the boys sing,
The young lasses skip and play ;
Let the cups go round, 'till round goes the ground ;
Our learned old vicar will stay.

Let the pig turn merrily, merrily, ah !

And let the fat goose swim;
For verily, verily, verily, ah !

Our vicar this day shall be trim.*

The stewed cock shall crow, cock-a-loodle-loo,
A loud cock-a-loodle shall he crow;

The duck and the drake shall swim in a lake
Of onions and claret below.

Our wives shall be neat, to bring in our meat

To thee our most noble adviser;
Our pains shall be great, and bottles shall sweat,

And we ourselves will be wiser.

We'll labour and swink,t we'll kiss and we'll drink,
And tithes shall come thicker and thicker;

We'll fall to our plough, and get children enow,
And thou shalt be learned old vicar.



imitation. A similar passage occurs in a preceding song :
* Beauty clear and fair,

Where the air
Rather like a perfume dwells,' &c.

* Dibdin appears to have founded the burthen of a song in the
Quaker on this verse :

' When the lads of the village shall merrily, ah,

Sound the tabors, I'll hand thee along;
And I say unto thee, that verily, ah !
Thou and I will be first in the throng.'
f To work hard.



BEAUMONT AKt> FLETCHER. 125



WIT WITHOUT MONEY.



TAKE ME WHILE I J M IN THE VEIN.



fit's upon me now,
- The fit's upon me now !
Come quickly, gentle lady,
The fit's upon me now!

The world shall soon know they're fools,
And so shalt thou do too ;

Let the cobbler meddle with his tools,
The fit's upon me now !

BEGGARS' BUSH.*



THE KING- OF THE BEGGARS.

CAST our caps and cares away :
This is beggar's holiday !
At the crowning of our king,
Thus we ever dance and sing.
In the world look out and see,
Where's so happy a prince as he?
"Where the nation lives so free,
And so merry as do we?
Be it peace, or be it war,
Here at liberty we are,
And enjoy our ease and rest :
To the field we are not pressed;
Nor are called into the town,
To be troubled with the gown.
Hang all offices, we cry,
And the magistrate too, by !
When the subsidy's encreased,
We are not a penny sessed ;

* Ascribed to Fletcher.

THE DRAMATISTS.



126 SONGS FROM THE DRAMATISTS.

Nor will any go to law
With the beggar for a straw.
All which happiness, he brags,
He doth owe unto his rags.



THE HUMOROUS LIEUTENANT.*



THE LOVE PHILTEB.



~D ISE from the shades below,

-" All you that prove

The helps of loose love !

Rise, and bestow

Upon this cup whatever may compel,
By powerful charm and unresisted spell,
A heart un warmed to melt in love's desires !
Distil into liquor all your fires ;
Heats, longings, tears;

But keep back frozen fears;
That she may know, that has all power defied^,
Art is a power that will not be denied.

THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS, t



THE SATYE.J

yon same bending plain
* That flings his arms down to the main,
And through these thick woods, have I run,
Whose bottom never kissed the sun



* Also ascribed to Fletcher by the writers of the commendatory
verses, and confirmed by the authority of a MS. referred to by Mr.
Dyce.

f The sole production of Fletcher.

J The lyrical character of this soliloquy of the Satyr, and of two or
three similar pieces extracted from the same pastoral comedy, may be
allowed to justify their insertion in this volume, if their beauty stand
in need of any plea for their admission.

Mr. Seward traces an imitation of Shakespeare's Midsummer



BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 127

Since the lusty spring began ;

All to please my Master Pan,

Have I trotted without rest

To get him fruit ; for at a feast

He entertains, this coming night,

His paramour, the Syrinx bright.

But, behold a fairer sight !

By that heavenly form of thine,

Brightest fair, thou art divine,

Sprung from great immortal raoo

Of the gods ; for in thy face

Shines more awful majesty,

Than dull weak mortality

Dare with misty eyes behold,

And live ! Therefore on this mould

Lowly do I bend my knee

In worship of thy deity.

Deign it, goddess, from my hand,

To receive whate'er this land

From her fertile womb doth send

Of her choice fruits ; and but lend

Belief to that the Satyr tells:

Fairer by the famous wells

To this present day ne'er grew,

Never better nor more true.

Here be grapes, whose lusty blood

Is the learned poet's good,

Sweeter yet did never crown

The head of Bacchus; nuts more brown



Night's Dream in the beginning and ending of this soliloquy. The pas-
sage is in the speech of the Fairy :

' Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,' &c.

A still closer imitation of Fletcher himself may be found in the
Comus of Milton, which owes large obligations not only to the imagery
and general treatment, but to the plan of the Faithful Shepherdess.

9 3



128 SONGS FROM THE DRAMATISTS.

Than the squirrel's teeth that crack them;

Deign, oh fairest fair, to take them !

For these black-eyM Dryope

Hath often-times commanded me

With my clasped knee to climb :

See how well the lusty time

Hath decked their rising cheeks in red,

Such as on your lips is spread !

Plere be berries for a queen,

Some be red, some be green;

These are of that luscious meat,

The great god Pan himself doth eat :

All these, and what the woods can yield,

The hanging mountain, or the field,

I freely offer, and ere long

"Will bring you more, more sweet and strong:

Till when, humbly leave I take,

Lest the great Pan do awake,

That sleeping lies in a deep glade,

Under a broad beech's shade.

I must go, I must run

Swifter than the fiery sun.

THE PEAISES OF PAN.



is praises that doth keep
M Our flocks from harm,
Pan, the father of our sheep ;

And arm in arm .
Tread we softly in a round,
"Whilst the hollow neighbouring ground
Fills the music with her sound.

Pan, oh, great god Pan, to thee

Thus do we sing !
Thou that keep'st us chaste and free

As the young spring ;
Ever be thy honour spoke,
From that place the morn is spoke,
To that place day doth unyoke !



BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 129



THE INVITATION.



, shepherds, come!
^ Come away

Without delay
Whilst the gentle time doth stay.

Green woods are dumb,
And will never tell to any
Those dear kisses, and those many
Sweet embraces, that are given,
Dainty pleasures, that would even
Raise in coldest age a fire,
And give virgin blood desire.
Then, if ever,
Now or never,
Come and have it :
Think not I
Dare deny,
If you crave it.

EVENING SONG OF PAN'S PEIEST.

OHEPHERDS all, and maidens fair,
M Fold your flocks up, for the air
'Gins to thicken, and the sun
Already his great course hath run.
See the dew-drops how they kiss
Every little flower that is,
Hanging on their velvet heads,
Like a rope of crystal beads :
See the heavy clouds low falling,
And bright Hesperus down calling
The dead Night from under ground ;
At whose rising mists unsound,
Damps and vapours fly apace,
Hovering o'er the wanton face
Of these pastures, where they come,
Striking dead both bud and bloom :



130 SONGS FROM THE DRAMATISTS.

Therefore, from such danger lock

Every one his loved flock;

And let your dogs lie loose without,


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