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to Sleep” might, for diction and rhythm, bave been written to-day, always supposing that we had anybody capable of writing it.
Care-charming Sleep, thou easer of all woes,
Brother to Death, sweetly thyself dispose
On this afflicted Prince! Fall like a cloud
In gentle showers ; give nothing that is loud
Or painful to his slumbers ; easy, light,
And as a purling stream thou son of night
Pass by his troubled senses ; sing his pain,
Like hollow-murmuring wind oh silver rain!
Into this Prince, gently, or gently slide,
And kiss him into slumbers like a bride!
The same may be said of the next.
God Lyæus, ever young,
Ever honoured, ever sung;
Stained with blood of lusty grapes,
In a thousand lusty shapes.
upon the mazer's brim,
In the crimson liquor swim;
From the plenteous hand divine,
Let a river run with wine,
God of youth, let this day here
Enter neither care nor fear !
Take, oh, take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn.
But my kisses bring again,-
Seals of love, though sealed in vain.
Hide, oh, hide those hills of snow,
Which thy frozen bosom bears,
On whose tops the pinks that grow,
Are yet of those that April wears.
But first set my poor heart free,
Bound in those icy chains by thee. We are irresistibly reminded of the “ Penseroso" in reading the fine song that follows, as we are of “Comus” in the “Faithful Shepherdess." That Milton had Fletcher in his thoughts cannot be doubted; but the great epic poet added so much from his own rich store, that the imitation may well be pardoned by the admirers of both, the rather that the earlier bard stands the test of such a comparison well. Both are crowned poets; but they wear their bays with a difference. FROM THE “NICE VALOUR, OR THE PASSIONATE MADMAN.”
Hence all you vain delights,
As short as are the nights,
Wherein you speed your folly!
There's nought in this life sweet,
If man were wise to see 't,
But only melancholy,
Oh sweetest melancholy !
Welcome, folded arms, and fixèd eyes,
A sigh that piercing mortifies,
A look that's fastened to the ground,
A tongue chained up without a sound !
Fountain heads and pathless groves,
Places which pale passion loves !
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
Are warmly housed, save bats and owls !
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.
THE SATYR'S SPEECH, FROM THE
Thorough yon same bending plain,
That flings his arms down to the main,
And thro' these thick woods have I run
Whose bottom never kissed the sun,
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 race
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
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 chief 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
Than the squirrel whose teeth crack 'em;
Deign, oh! fairest fair, to take 'em !
For these black-eyed Dryope
Hath oftentimes 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.
Here 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 charming pastoral from whence this beautiful speech is taken, was irrevocably condemned in the theatre on the first and only night of
representation ; which catastrophe, added to a similar
one that befell Congreve's best comedy,
Way of the World," both authors being at the
time in the very flood-tide of popularity, has been
an unspeakable comfort to unsuccessful dramatists
ever since. I recall it chiefly to mention the
hearty spirit with which two of the most eminent
of Fletcher's friendly rivals came to the rescue
with laudatory verses. The circumstance does so
much honour to all parties, and some of the lines
are so good, that I cannot help quoting them :
George Chapman says that the poem-
Renews the golden world, and holds through all
The holy laws of homely Pastoral;
Where flowers and founts and nymphs and semi-gods
And all the graces find their old abodes ;
Where forests flourish but in endless verse,
And meadows, nothing fit for purchasers :
(Think of that in the days of James the First !)
This iron age that eats itself will never
Bite at your golden world, that others ever
Loved as itself.
Ben Jonson, first characterising the audience after a fashion by no means complimentary, says that the play failed because it wanted the laxity of moral and of language which they expected and desired. He continues :