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This little, pretty body, when I, coming
Ang. Proud am I, that my lady's modest eye
I have offer'd
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;
In Dioclesian's gardens, the most beauteous
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 ?
Candido. That which green wounds receive from sovereign balm. Patience, my lord! why, 't is the soul of peace;
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.
Vit. Cor. A foolish idle dream,
Methought I walk'd, about the mid of night,
As I sat sadly leaning on a grave
Checquer'd with cross sticks, there came stealing in
A pick-axe bore, th' other a rusty spade,
And in rough terms they 'gan to challenge me
This harmless yew.
They told me my intent was to root up
That well-known yew, and plant i' th' stead of it
With pick-axe 'gan to dig; and your fell duchess
With shovel, like a fury, voided out
The earth, and scattered bones: Lord, how, methought,
I could not pray.
Flamineo. (aside., No; the devil was in your dream. Vit. Cor. When to my rescue there arose, methought A whirlwind, which let fall a massy arm,
From that strong plant;
And both were struck dead by that sacred yew,
In that base shallow grave which was their due.
Flamineo. (aside.) Excellent devil' she hath taught him in a dream To make away his duchess and her husband
O, thou soft natural death, that art joint twin