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To ride in the air
When the moon shines fair,
And sing and dance, and toy and kiss!
Or cannon's throat our height can reach.
[Voice above.] No ring of bells, &c.
Fire. Well, mother, I thank your kindness: you must be gambolling i̇' th' air, and leave me to walk here, like a fool and a mortal.
An ANGEL, in the guise of a Page, attends on DOROTHEA.
Dor. My book and taper
Here, most holy mistress.
Dor. Thy voice sends forth such music, that I never
Was ravish'd with a more celestial sound.
Were every servant in the world like thee,
So full of goodness, angels would come down
To dwell with us: thy name is Angelo,
And like that name thou art. Get thee to rest;
Therefore, my most lov'd mistress, do not bid
Your boy, so serviceable, to get hence;
For then you break his heart.
Be nigh me still then.
In golden letters down I'll
This little, pretty body, when I, coming
Ang. Proud am I, that my lady's modest eye
Know who my mother was; but by yon palace,
O blessed day!
We all long to be there, but lose the way.
DOROTHEA is executed; and the ANGEL visits THEOPHILUS, the Judge that condemned her.
This Christian slut was well,
A pretty one; but let such horror follow
The next I feed with torments, that when Rome
Are you amazed, sir?
So great a Roman spirit, and doth it tremble?
Theoph. How cam'st thou in? to whom thy business?
I had a mistress, late sent hence by you
Upon a bloody errand; you entreated,
That, when she came into that blessed garden
Whither she knew she went, and where, now happy,
Theoph. Cannot I see this garden?
And the most bright-cheek'd child I ever view'd;
Compar'd with these are weeds: is it not February,
Saw you not
Here he enter'd, a young lad ;
A thousand blessings danc'd upon his eyes;
A smooth-fac'd glorious thing, that brought this basket.
Geta. No, sir.
Theoph. Away! but be in each, if my voice calls you.
A fine sweet earthquake, gently mov'd
Duke. What comfort do you find in being so calm ?
Of all the virtues 't is nearest kin to heaven;
It is the greatest enemy to law
That can be, for it doth embrace all wrongs,
And so chains up lawyer's and women's tongues:
'Tis the perpetual prisoner's liberty,
His walks and orchards: 't is the bond-slave's freedom,
And makes him seem proud of his iron chain,
As though he wore it more for state than pain:
It is the beggar's music, and thus sings,
Although their bodies beg, their souls are kings.
I had a doubt whether to put this exquisite passage into the present volume, or to reserve it for one of Contemplative poetry; but the imagination, which few will not think predominant in it, together with a great admiration of the sentiments, of the thoughtful, good-natured alternation of jest and earnest, and of the sweetness of the versification, increased by a certain wild mixture of rhyme and blank verse, determined me to indulge the impulse. Perhaps Decker, who had experienced the worst troubles of poverty, not excepting loss of liberty, drew his patient man from himself, half-jesting over the portrait, in order to reconcile his praises of the virtue in the abstract, with a modest sense of it in his own person. To the strain in it of a "higher mood," I cannot but append what Mr. Hazlitt has said in his Lectures on the Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (Templeman's edition, p. 21). "There have been persons who, being sceptics as to the divine mission of Christ, have taken an unaccountable prejudice to his doctrines, and have been disposed to deny the merit of his character; but this was not the feeling of the great men in the age of Elizabeth (whatever might be their belief), one of whom says of him, with a boldness equal to its piety, 'The best of men,' ,""&c. (Here the lecturer quotes the verses alluded to and adds), "This was honest old Decker; and the lines ought to embalm his memory to every one who has a sense either of religion, or philosophy, or humanity, or true genius."
A WICKED DREAM.
Vittoria Corombona. To pass away the time I'll tell your grace A dream I had last night.