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MR. JOHN FLETCHER'S WORKS.
Soshall we joy, when all whom beasts and worms
Have turn'd to their own substances and forms;
Whom earth to earth, or fire hath chang'd to fire,
We shall behold more than at first entire;
As now we do to see all thine thy own
In this my Muse's resurrection, [wounds
Whose scatter'd parts from thy own race' more
Hath suffer'd than Acteon from his hounds;
Which first their brains and then their belly fed,
And from their excrements new poets bred.
But now thy Muse enraged, from her urn,
Like ghosts of murder'd bodies, does return
T'accuse the murderers, to right the stage,
And undeceive the long-abused age
Which casts thy praise on them to whom thy wit
Gives not more gold than they give dross to it:
Who, not content, Tike'felons, to purloin,
Add treason to it, and debase the coin.
But whither am I stray'd? I need not raise
Trophies to thee from other men's dispraise;
Nor is thy fame on lesser ruins built,
Nor need thy juster title the foul guilt
Of eastern kings, who, to secure their reign,
Muši have their brothers, sons, and kindred slain.
Then was Wit's empire at the fatal height,
When labouring and sinking with its weight,
From thence a thousand lesser poets sprung,
Like petty princes from the fall of Rome;
When Johnson, Shakspeare, and thyself, did sit,
And sway'd in the triumvirate of wit-
Yet what from Johnson's oil and sweat did flow,
Or what more easy Nature did bestow
On Shakspeare'sgentler Muse, in thee, full grown,
Their graces both appear, yet so that none
here Nature ends and Art begins, But mix'd like th' elements, and born like twins, So interwove, so like, so much the same, None this mere Nature, that mere Art, can name. 'Twas this the Ancients meant: nature and skill Are the two tops of their Parnassus' hill,
What gives us that fantastic fit
That all our judgment and our wit
To vulgar custom we submit?
Treason, theft, murder, and all the rest
Of that foul legion we so detest,
Are in their proper names exprest.
Why is it then thought sin or shame
Those necessary parts to name
From whence we went, and whence we came?
Nature, whate'er she wants, requires;
With love inflaming our desires,
Finds engines fit to quench those fires :
Death she abhors; yet when men dic
We're present; but no stander-by
Looks on when we that loss supply.
Forbidden wares sell twice as dear;
Ev'n sack prohibited last year
A most abominable rate did bear.
'Tis plain our eves and ears are nice,
Only to raise, by that device,
Of those commodities the price.
Thus reason's shadows us betray,
By tropes and figures led astray,
From Nature, both her guide and way.
FRIENDSHIP AND SINGLE LIFE
LOVE AND MARRIAGE.
Love! in what poison is thy dart
Dipp'd when it makes a bleeding heart?
None know but they who feel the smart.
It is not thou but we are blind,
And our corporeal eyes (we find)
Dazzle the optics of our mind.
Love to our citadel resorts ;
Thro' those deceitful sallyports
Our sentinels betray our forts.
What subtle witchcraft man constrains
To change his pleasure into pains,
And all his freedom into chains?
May not a prison, or a grave,
Like Wedlock, honour's title ve
That word makes free-born man a slave,
How happy he that loves not lives!
Him neither hope nor fear deceives
To Fortune who no hostage gives.
How unconcern'd in things to come!
If here uneasy, finds at Rome,
At Paris, or Madrid, his home.
Secure from low and private ends,
His life, his zeal, his wealth, attends
His prince, his country, and his friends.
Danger and honour are his joy;
But a fond wife or wanton boy
May all those gen'rous thoughts destroy.
Then he lays by the public care,
Thinks of providing for an heir ;
Learns how to get, and how to spare,
Nor fire, nor foe, nor fate, nor night,
The Trojan hero did affright,
Who bravely twice renew'd the fight :
Tho' still his foes in number grew,
This heir darts and arrows flew,
Yet, left alone, no fear he knew.