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JOHN DONNE (1573-1631)
A lily of a day,
Is fairer far, in May;
It was the plant and flower of light.
AN EPITAPH ON SALATHIEL PAVY1
I can love both fair and brown;
want betrays; Her who loves loneness best, and her who
masks and plays; Her whom the country form’d, and whom the
town; Her who believes, and her who tries; Her who still weeps with spongy eyes, And her who is dry cork and never cries. I can love her, and her, and you, and you; I can love any, so she be not true.
Weep with me, all you that read
This little story:
Death's self is sorry.
In grace and feature, As heaven and nature seem'd to strive
Which owned the creature.
When fates turned cruel,
The stage's jewel;
Old men so duly,
He played so truly.
They all consented;
They have repented;
In baths to steep him ;
Heaven vows to keep him.
Venus heard me sigh this song ;
swore, She heard not this till now; it should be so no
Sure, they which made him god, meant not so
much, Nor he in his young godhead practiced it. But when an even flame two hearts did touch,
His office was indulgently to fit Actives to passives. Correspondency Only his subject was; it cannot be Love till I love her who loves me.
Love's martyr, it might breed idolatry
As 'twas humility
So 'tis some bravery That, since you would have none of me, I bury some of you.
If poisonous minerals, and if that tree
But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee?
debt; I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.
Rebel and atheist too, why murmur I,
do? Love may make me leave loving, or might try
A deeper plague, to make her love me too; Which, since she loves before, I'm loth to see. Falsehood is worse than hate; and that must
be, If she whom I love, should love me. 28
JOHN FLETCHER (1579-1625)
BEAUTY CLEAR AND FAIR
Beauty clear and fair,
Where the air
Where the violet and the rose
Their blue veins and blush disclose, And come to honour nothing else.
Hence, all you vain delights,
Wherein you spend your folly!
5 But only melancholy;
O sweetest melancholy ! Welcome, folded arms and fixed 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 ! 15
Where to live near,
And planted there,
Where to gain a favour is
More than light, perpetual bliss, — Make me live by serving you.
Dear, again back recall
To this light
Both the wonder and the story
Shall be yours, and eke the glory: I am your servant, and your thrall.
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 melan
WEEP NO MORE
1 the god of relaxation
MASTER FRANCIS BEAUMONT'S
LETTER TO BEN JONSON The sun (which doth the greatest comfort
bring To absent friends, because the selssame thing They know they see, however absent) is Here our best haymaker! Forgive me this; It is our country's style! In this warm shine I lie and dream of your full Mermaid Wine! 6
Only strong Destiny, which all controls, 70 I hope hath left a better fate in store For me, thy friend, than to live ever poor, Banished unto this home! Fate, once again, Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and
plain The way of knowledge for me; and then I, Who have no good but in thy company, Protest it will my greatest comfort be To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee! Ben, when these scenes are perfect, we'll
taste wine ! I'll drink thy Muse's health ! thou shalt quaff mine!
Methinks the little wit I had is lost
40 Since I saw you! For wit is like a rest Held ? up at tennis, which men do the best With the best gamesters. What things have
we seen Done at the Mermaid ! hcard words that have
been So nimble and so full of subtle flame, As if that every one from whence they came Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest And had resolved to live a fool the rest Of his dull life! Then, when there hath been
thrown Wit able enough to just the town
50 For three days past ! Wit, that might war
rant be For the whole city to talk foolishly Till that were cancelled! And, when we were
gone, We left an air behind us, which alone Was able to make the two next companies Right witty! though but downright fools,
more wise ! When I remember this, and see that now The country gentlemen begin to allow My wit for dry bobs ; 3 then I needs must cry, “I see my days of ballading grow nigh!” 60
I can already riddle; and can sing Catches, sell bargains; and I fear shall bring Myself to speak the hardest words I find Over as oft as any, with one wind, That takes no medicines ! But one thought
A passing glance, a lightning 'long the skies, That, ush'ring thunder, dies straight to our
sight; A spark, of contraries which doth arise, Then drowns in the huge depths of day and
night : Is this small Small call'd life, held in such price Of blinded wights, who nothing judge aright. Of Parthian shaft so swift is not the flight As life, that wastes itself, and living dies. ( ! what is human greatness, valour, wit ? What fading beauty, riches, honour, praise? 10 To what doth serve in golden thrones to sit, Thrall earth's vast round, triumphal arches
raise? All is a dream, learn in this prince's fall, In whom, save death, nought mortal was at all.
MADRIGAL I This life, which seems so fair, Is like a bubble blown up in the air By sporting children's breath, Who chase it everywhere, And strive who can most motion it bequeath; And though it sometime seem of its own might, Like to an eye of gold, to be fix'd there, 7 And firm to hover in that empty height, That only is because it is so light. But in that pomp it doth not long appear; 10 For even when most admir'd, it in a
thought, As swell’d from nothing, doth dissolve in
JOHN FORD (fl. 1639)
GEORGE WITHER (1588-1667)
FROM FAIR VIRTUE, THE MISTRESS OF
FROM THE BROKEN HEART
Can you paint a thought? or number
No, 0, no! yet you may
Than by any praise display Beauty's beauty; such a glory, As beyond all fate, all story,
All arms, all arts,
All loves, all hearts, Greater than those or they, Do, shall, and must obey.
FROM THE BROKEN HEART
CHOR. Glories, pleasures, pomps, de
lights, and ease, Can but please The outward senses, when the
mind Is or untroubled or by peace
refined. IST VOICE. Crowns may flourish and decay, 5
Beauties shine, but fade away. 2ND VOICE. Youth may revel, yet it must
Lie down in a bed of dust. 3RD VOICE. Earthly honours flow and waste,
Time alone doth change and
last. CHOR. Sorrows mingled with contents
prepare Rest for care; Love only reigns in death;
though art Can find no comfort for a broken
'Cause her fortune seems too high,
And unless that mind I see,