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THOMAS DEKKER (1570?-1641)



Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers? THE SECOND THREE MEN'S SONG

( sweet content !

Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed ? Cold's the wind, and wet's the rain,

O punishment !

4 Saint Hugh be our good speed !

Dost laugh to see how fools are vexed Ill is the weather that bringeth no gain,

To add to golden numbers golden numbers ? 1 Nor helps good hearts in need.


O sweet content, sweet, O sweet content ! Trowl the bowl, the jolly nut-brown bowl,

Work apace ! apace ! apace! apace ! And here, kind mate, to thec:

Honest labour bears a lovely face. Let's sing a dirge for Saint Hugh's soul,

Then hey noney, noney; hey noncy, noney ! And down it merrily.


Canst drink the waters of the crisped spring? Down a down ! hey down a down!

() sweet content ! Hey derry derry, down a down !

Swim'st thou in wealth, yet sink'st in thine Ho, well done; to me let come!

own tears? Ring, compass, genile joy.

O punishment !

Then he that patiently want's burden bears 15 Trowl the bowl, the nut-brown bowl,

No burden bears, but is a king, a king. And here, kind mate, to thee: etc.

O sweet content, О sweet, O sweet content ! (Repeat as often as there be men to drink ; and at last when all have drunk, this verse:)

Work apace, apace, etc.
Cold's the wind, and wet's the rain,
Saint Hugh be our good speed !

Ill is the weather that bringeth no gain,
Nor helps good hearts in need.




The theatre is your poets' royal exchange,

upon which their muses (that are now turned Virtue smiles: cry holiday,

to merchants) meeting, barter away that light Dimples on her cheeks do dwell,

commodity of words for a lighter ware than Virtue frowns, cry welladay,

words, plaudities, and the breath of the great Her love is heaven, her hate is hell,

beast;3 which (like the threatenings of two Since heaven and hell obey her power, 5 cowards) vanish all into air. Players and Tremble when her eyes do lower.

their factors, 4 who put away the stuff, and Since heaven and hell her power obey, make the best of it they possibly can (as inWhere she smiles, cry holiday.

deed 'tis their parts so to do), your gallant, Holiday with joy we cry,

your courtier, and your captain, had wont to And bend, and bend, and merrily Sing hymns to Virtue's deity:

1 trouble themselves to heap up gold ? applause Sing hymns to Virtue's deity.

the public 4 adherents







5 that


be the soundest paymasters; and I think you from obtaining the title of an insolent, are still the surest chapmen;' and these, by overweening coxcomb. means that their heads are well stocked, deal By sitting on the stage, you may (without upon this comical freight by the gross: when travelling for it) at the very next door ask your groundling, and gallery-commoner? buys whose play it is: and, by that quest of inhis sport by the penny, and, like a haggler, quiry, the law warrants you to avoid much is glad to utter it again by retailing.

mistaking: if you know not the author, you Since then the place is so free in entertain- may rail against him: and peradventure so ment, allowing a stool as well to the farmer's behave yourself, that you may enforce the son as to your templer: your

stinkard author to know you. has the selfsame liberty to be there in his to- By sitting on the stage, if you be a knight, bacco fumes, which your sweet courtier hath : you may happily 1 get you a mistress: if á and that your carman and tinker claim as mere Fleet-street gentleman, a wife: but strong a voice in their suffrage, and sit to give assure yourself, by continual residence, you judgment on the play's life and death, as well are the first and principal man in election to as the proudest momus 6 among the tribes of begin the number of We Three.2 critic: it is fit that he, whom the most tailors' By spreading your body on the stage, and bills do make room for, when he comes, should by being a justice in examining of plays, you not be basely (like a viol) cased up in a corner. shall put yourself into such true scenical au

Whether therefore the gatherers? of the thority, that some poet shall not dare to public or private playhouse stand to receive present his muse rudely upon your eyes, the afternoon's rent, let our gallant (having without having first unmasked her, rifled paid it) presently advance himself up to the her, and discovered all her bare and most throne of the stage. I mean not into the mystical parts before you at a tavern, when lord's room (which is now but the stage's you most knightly shall, for his pains, pay suburbs): no, those boxes, by the iniquity, of for both their suppers. custom, conspiracy of waiting women and By sitting on the stage, you may (with small gentlemen ushers, that there sweat together, cost) purchase the dear acquaintance of the and the covetousness of sharers, are con- boys: have a good stool for sixpence:3 at any temptibly thrust into the rear, and much time know what particular part any of the innew satin is there damned, by being smothered fants4 present: get your match lighted, exto death in darkness. But on the very rushes amine the play-suits' lace, and perhaps win where the comedy is to dance, yea, and under wagers upon laying 'tis copper, etc. And the state 9 of Cambises himself must our to conclude, whether you be a fool or a justice feathered estridge, 10 like a piece of ordnance, of peace, a cuckold, or a captain, a lordbe planted, valiantly because impudently) mayor's son, or a dawcock, a knave, or an beating down the mews and hisses of the under-sheriff; of what stamp soever you be, opposed rascality.

current, or counterfeit, the stage, like time, For do but cast up a reckoning, what large will bring you to most perfect light and lay comings-in are pursed up by sitting on the you open: neither are you to be hunted stage. First a conspicuous eminence is got ; from thence, though the scarecrows in the by which means, the best and most essential yard? hoot at you, hiss at you, spit at you, parts of a gallant (good clothes, a proportion- yea, throw dirt even in your teeth : 'tis able leg, white hand, the Persian lock, and a most gentlemanlike patience to endure all tolerable beard) are perfectly revealed. this, and to laugh at the silly animals: but

By sitting on the stage, you have a signed if the rabble, with a full throat, cry, “Away patent to engross the whole commodity of cen- with the fool,” you were worse than a madsure; may lawfully presume to be a girder ; man to tarry by it: for the gentleman and and stand at the helm to steer the passage of the fool should never sit on the stage together. scenes; yet no man shall once offer to hinder

1 haply, by chance ? A jest that still survives, "buyers ? occupants of cheap places 3 huckster - a picture of two fools or asses, with this in* sell 5 a resident of one of the inns of court 6a

scription. the usual price 4 boy players 5 braid, carping critic ? doorkeepers 8 shareholders in the usually of gold or silver 6 simpleton 'the pit of ostrich

the theatre, where there were no seats






theatre canopy






Marry, let this observation go hand in hand to take pity of your weakness, and, by some with the rest : or rather, like a country serv- dedicated sonnet, to bring you into a bettei ing-man, some five yards before them. Pre- paradise, only to stop your mouth. sent not yourself on the stage (especially at a If you can (either for love or money), pronew play) until the quaking prologue hath (by vide yourself a lodging by the water side: rubbing) got colour into his cheeks, and is for, above the convenience it brings to shun ready to give the trumpets' their cue, that he's shoulder-clapping, and to ship away your upon point to enter: for then it is time, as cockatrice 2 betimes in the morning, it adds a though you were one of the properties, or that kind of state unto you, to be carried from you dropped out of the hangings, to creep from thence to the stairs of your play-house: behind the arras,” with your tripos or three- hate a sculler (remember that) worse than footed stool in one hand, and a teston' mounted to be acquainted with one o'th' scullery. between a forefinger and a thumb in the other: No, your oars are your only sea-crabs, board for if you should bestow your person upon the them, and take heed you never go twice vulgar, when the belly of the house is but half together with one pair: often shifting is a full, your apparel is quite eaten up, the fashion great credit to gentlemen; and that dividing lost, and the proportion of your body in more of your fare will make the poor watersnakes danger to be devoured than if it were served be ready to pull you in pieces to enjoy your up in the counter * amongst the poultry: avoid custom: no matter whether upon landing, that as you would the bastome. It shall you have money or no: you may swim in crown you with rich commendation to laugh twenty of their boats over the river upon aloud in the midst of the most serious and ticket : 3 marry, when silver comes in, rememsaddest scene of the terriblest tragedy: and ber to pay treble their fare, and it will make to let that clapper (your tongue) be tossed so your flounder-catchers to send more thanks high, that all the house may ring of it: your after you, when you do not draw, than when lords use it; your knights are apes to the you do; for they know, it will be their own lords, and do so too: your in-a-court-man 6 is another day. zany? to the knights, and (marry very Before the play begins, fall to cards: you scurvily) comes likewise limping after it: may win or lose (as fencers do in a prize) and be thou a beagle to them all, and never lin 8 beat one another by confederacy, yet share snuffing, till you have scented them: for by the money when you meet at supper: nottalking and laughing (like a ploughman in a withstanding, to gull the ragamuffins that morris) you heap Pelion upon Ossa, glory stand aloof gaping at you, throw the cards upon glory: as first, all the eyes in the galleries (having first torn four or five of them) round will leave walking after the players, and only about the stage, just upon the third sound,' follow you: the simplest dolt in the house as though you had lost: it skills not if the snatches up your name, and when he meets four knaves lie on their backs, and outface you in the streets, or that you fall into his the audience; there's none such fools as hands in the middle of a watch, his word shall dare take exceptions at them, because, ere be taken for you: he'll cry “He's such a gal- the play go off, better knaves than they will lant," and you pass. Secondly, you publish fall into the company. your temperance to the workl, in that you Now, sir, if the writer be a fellow that hath seem not to resort thither to taste vain pleas- either epigrammed you, or hath had a flirt at ures with a hungry appetite: but only as a your mistress, or hath brought either your gentleman to spend a foolish hour or two, feather, or your red beard, or your little legs, because you can do nothing else: thirdly, you etc., on the stage, you shall disgrace him worse mightily disrelish the audience, and disgrace than by tossing him in a blanket, or giving the author: marry, you take up (though it him the bastinado in a tavern, if, in the middle be at the worst hand) a strong opinion of of his play (be it pastoral or comedy, moral or your own judgment, and enforce the poet tragedy), you rise with a screwed and dis

contented face from your stool to be gone; 1 trumpeters (who announced the beginning of no matter whether the scenes be good or no: the play) 2 cloth hung against the wall of the stage 3 sixpence a prison for debtors - cudgel 6 lawyer 1 by a constable ? prostitute cease 'a moriis dance

4 i.e. for the play to begin 5 it doesn't matter





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the better they are the worse do you distaste them: and, being on your feet, sneak not away like a coward, but salute all your gentle acquaintance, that are spread either on the rushes, or on stools about you, and draw what troop you can from the stage after you: the mimics are beholden to you, for allowing them elbow room: their poet cries, perhaps, pox go with you," but care not for that, there's no music without frets.

Marry, if either the company, or indisposition of the weather bind you to sit it out, my counsel is then that you turn plain ape, take up a rush, and tickle the earnest cars of your fellow gallants, to make other fools fall a-laughing: mew at passionate speeches, blare at merry, find fault with the music, whew at the children's action, whistle at the songs : and above all, curse the sharers, that whereas the same day you had bestowed forty shillings on an embroidered felt and feather (Scotchfashion) for your mistress in the court, or your punk” in the city, within two hours after, you encounter with the very same block 3 on the stage, when the haberdasher swore to you the impression was extant but that morning,

To conclude, hoard up the finest play-scraps you can get, upon which your lean wit may most savourly feed, for want of other stuff, when the Arcadian and Euphuised gentlewomen have their tongues sharpened to set upon you: that quality (next to your shuttlecock) is the only furniture to a courtier that's but a new beginner, and is but in his A B C of compliment. The next places that are filled, after the playhouses be emptied, are (or ought to be) taverns : into a tavern then let us next march, where the brains of one hogshead must be beaten out to make up another.

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BEN JONSON (1573?-1637)

Have you seen but a bright lily grow,

Before rude hands have touched it? Have you marked but the fall of the snow,

Before the soil hath smutched it? Have you felt the wool of the beaver?

Or swan's down ever? Or have smelt o' the bud of the briar?

Or the nard in the fire? Or have tasted the bag of the bee? Oh so white! Oh so soft! Oh so sweet is she !



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.


To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither man, nor muse, can praise too much.

1 1 players ? prostitute 3 style of hat




'Tis true, and all men's suffrage." But these When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm ways

Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm! Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise; Nature herself was proud of his designs For silliest ignorance on these may light, And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines ! Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit, right;

As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit. 50 Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes, The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please; chance;

But antiquated and deserted lie, Or crafty malice might pretend this praise, As? they were not of Nature's family. And think to ruin, where it seemed to raise. Yet must I not give Nature all; thy art, These are, as ? some infamous bawa or shore My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part. Should praise a matron. What could hurt her For though the poet's matter nature be, more?

His art doth give the fashion; and, that he But thou art proof against them, and, indeed, Who casts? to write a living line, must sweat, Above the ill fortune of them, or the need. (Such as thine are) and strike the second heat I therefore will begin. Soul of the age ! Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same 61 The applause, delight, the wonder of our (And himself with it) that he thinks to frame, stage !

Òr, for 3 the laurel, he may gain a scorn; My Shakespeare, rise! I will not lodge thee For a good poet's made, as well as born. by

And such wert thou! Look how the father's Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie

face A little further, to make thee a room:

Lives in his issue, even so the race Thou art a monument without a tomb, Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly And art alive still 3 while thy book doth live shines And we have wits to read and praise to give. In his well turned, and true filèd lines; That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses, In each of which he seems to shake a lance, I mean with great, but disproportioned As brandished at the eyes of ignorance. 70 Muses ; 4

Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a sight it were For if I thought my judgment were of years, To see thee in our waters yet appear, I should commit thee surely with thy peers, And make those flights upon the banks of And tell how far thou didst our Lily outshine, Thames, Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line. 30 That so did take Eliza, and our James ! And though thou hadst small Latin and less But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere Greek,

Advanced, and made a constellation there! From thence to honour thee, I would not seek Shine forth, thou Star of poets, and with rage For names; but call forth thundering Æschy- Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage, lus,

Which, since thy flight from hence, hath Euripides, and Sophocles to us;

mourned like night,

79 Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead, 5 And despairs day, but for thy volume's light. To life again, to hear thy buskin 6 tread, · And shake a stage; or, when thy socks? were

FROM A PINDARIC ODE on, Leave thee alone for the comparison

To the immortal memory and friendship of that Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome

noble pair, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morison. Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come. Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show

To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe. 42
He was not of an age, but for all time!

The Strophe, or Turn
And all the Muses still were in their prime,

It is not growing like a tree

In bulk, doth make men better be; vote, opinion ? as if 3 forever

4;.e. poets

Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, not equal to thee 5 Pacuvius, Accius, and Seneca,

To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear: the most famous Latin tragedians the high shoe of tragedy ? the low shoe of comedy


2 attempts 3 instead of

1 as if

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