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This little, pretty body, when I, coming
Forth of the temple, heard my beggar-boy,
My sweet-faced, godly beggar-boy, crave an alms,
Which with glad hand I gave, with lucky hand!
And when I took thee home, my most chaste bosom
Methought was fill'd with no hot wanton fire,
But with a holy flame, mounting since higher,
On wings of cherubims, than it did before.

Ang. Proud am I, that my lady's modest eye
So likes so poor a servant.


I have offer'd
Handfuls of gold but to behold thy parents.
I would leave kingdoms, were I queen of some
To dwell with thy good father; for, the son
Bewitching me so deeply with his presence,
He that got him must do it ten times more.
I pray thee, my sweet boy, show me thy parents;
Be not asham'd.

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Know who my mother was; but by yon palace,
Fill'd with bright heavenly courts, I dare assure you,
And pawn these eyes upon it, and this hand,
My father is in heaven; and, pretty mistress,
If your illustrious hour-glass spend his sand,
No worse than yet it does, upon my life,
You and I both shall meet my father there,
And he shall bid you welcome!


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.

Theoph. (alone)

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This Christian slut was well,

A pretty one; but let such horror follow

The next I feed with torments, that when Rome
Shall hear it, her foundation at the sound
May feel an earthquake. How now? (Music.)


Are you amazed, sir?

So great a Roman spirit, and doth it tremble?

Theoph. How cam'st thou in? to whom thy business?
Ang. To you.

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,
She feeds upon all joy, she would send to you
Some of that garden fruit and flowers; which here,
To have her promise sav'd, are brought by me.

Theoph. Cannot I see this garden?

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And the most bright-cheek'd child I ever view'd;
Sweet-smelling, goodly fruit. What flowers are these?

In Dioclesian's gardens, the most beauteous

Compar'd with these are weeds: is it not February,
The second day she died? frost, ice, and snow,
Hang on the beard of winter: where's the sun
That gilds this summer? pretty, sweet boy, say,
In what country shall a man find this garden?—
My delicate boy,-gone! vanish'd! within there,
Julianus! Geta!

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And guarded.

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
By the soft wind of whispering silks.



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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 makes men look like gods. The best of men
That e'er wore earth about him was a sufferer,
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
The first true gentleman that ever breath'd.
The stock of patience then cannot be poor;
All it desires, it has; what award more ?

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.
O, my dread liege! it is the sap of bliss,
Bears us aloft, makes men and angels kiss;
And last of all, to end a household strife,
It is the honey 'gainst a waspish wife.


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."


Vittoria Corombona. To pass away the time I'll tell your grace A dream I had last night.

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Vit. Cor. A foolish idle dream,

Methought I walk'd, about the mid of night,
Into a church-yard, where a goodly yew-tree
Spread her large root in ground. Under that yew,

As I sat sadly leaning on a grave

Checquer'd with cross sticks, there came stealing in
Your duchess and my husband; one of them

A pick-axe bore, th' other a rusty spade,

And in rough terms they 'gan to challenge me
About this yew.


Vit. Cor.

That tree?

This harmless yew.

They told me my intent was to root up

That well-known yew, and plant i' th' stead of it
A wither'd black-thorn: and for that they vow'd
To bury me alive. My husband straight

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 trembled, and yet for all this terror

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
To sweetest slumber! no rough-bearded comet
Stares on thy mild departure; the dull owl
Beats not against thy casement; the hoarse wolf
Scents not thy carrion: pity winds thy corse,
Whilst horror waits on princes.


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