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I extract some of the charming lyrics interspersed through their plays, not starting from them as Ben Jonson's do, a shining gem in a dusky mine, but incorporate with the golden ore as rich and precious as themselves.


Lay a garland on my hearse,

Of the dismal yew;
Maidens willow branches bear,

Say I died true.
My love was false, but I was firm,

From my hour of birth;
Upon my buried body lie

Lightly, gentle earth.


This way, this way, come and hear,
You that hold these pleasures dear;
Fill your ears with our sweet sound,
While we melt the frozen ground.
This way, come: make haste, 0 fair!
Let your clear eyes gild the air.
Come and bless us with your sight;
This way, this way, seek delight!


Beauty clear and fair, Where the air
Rather like a perfume dwells;Where the violet and the rose, Their blue veins in blush disclose,
And come to honor nothing else.

Where to live near

And planted there,
Is to live, and still live new; Where to gain a favor is More than light, perpetual bliss,
Make me live by serving you.

Dear, back again recall, To this light:A stranger to himself and all.

Both the wonder and the story, Shall be yours and eke the glory;I am your perpetual thrall.


The following songs are strikingly illustrative of a peculiarity that has often struck me in reading the dramas of Beaumont and Fletcher; the absence of any mark of antiquity, either in the diction or the construction. Hardly any thing in their verse smacks of the age. They were cotemporary with Ben Jonson, and yet how rugged is his English compared with their fluent and courtly tongue! They were almost cotemporary with a greater than he—a greater far than any or all, and yet Shakspeare's blank verse has an antique sound when read after theirs. Dryden, himself so perfect a model as regards style, says in one of those master-pieces of criticism, the prefaces to his plays, that in Beaumont and Fletcher, our language has attained to its perfection. I doubt if it have much improved since, nor has it for the uses of poetry very materially altered. This "Invocation to Sleep" might, for diction and rhythm, have been written today, always supposing that we had any body capable of writing it.

Care-charming Sleep, thou easer of all woes,
Brother to Death, sweetly thyself dispose
On this afflicted Prince! Fall like a cloud
In gentle showers; give nothing that is loud
Or painful to his slumbers; easy, light,
And as a purling stream thou son of night
Pass by his troubled senses; sing his pain,
Like hollow-murmuring wind or silver rain!
Into this Prince, gently, oh gently slide,
And kiss him into slumbers like a bride!

The same may be said of the next.

God Lyseus, ever young,
Ever honored, ever sung;Stained with blood of lusty grapes,
In a thousand lusty shapes.
Dance upon the mazer's brim,
In the crimson liquor swim;From the plenteous hand divine,
Let a river run with wine.

God of youth, let this day here Enter neither care nor fearl


Take, oh, take those lips away,

That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,

Lights that do mislead the morn.
But my kisses bring again,—
Seals of love, though sealed in vain. Hide, oh, hide those hills of snow,

Which thy frozen bosom bears,
On whose tops the pinks that grow,

Are yet of those that April wears.
But first set my poor heart free,
Bound in those icy chains by thee.

We are irresistibly reminded of the Penseroso in reading the fine song that follows, as we are of Comus in the "Faithful Shepherdess." That Milton had Fletcher in his thoughts cannot be doubted; but the great epic poet added so much from his own rich store, that the imitation may well be pardoned by the admirers of both, the rather that the earlier bard stands the test of such a comparison well. Both are crowned poets; but they wear their bays with a difference.


Hence all you vain delights,
As short as are the nights,

Wherein you speed your folly!
There's naught in this life sweet,
If man were wise to see't,

But only melancholy.

Oh 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 Joves!
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
Are warmly housed save bats and owls!

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 melancholy.


Thorough yon same bending plain,

That flings his arms down to the main,

And thro' these thick woods have I run

Whose bottom never kissed the sun,

Since the lusty Spring began.

All to please my master Pan,

Have I trotted without rest

To get him fruit; for at a feast

He entertains this coming night

His paramour, the Syrinx bright.

But behold, a fairer sight1

By that heavenly form of thine,

Brightest fair, thou art divine;

Sprung from great immortal race

Of the gods; for in thy face

Shines more awful majesty,

Than dull weak mortality

Dare with misty eyes behold

And live! Therefore on this mold

Lowly do I bend my knee
In worship of thy deity.

Deign it, goddess, from my hand

To receive whate'er this land

From her fertile womb doth send

Of her choice fruits; and but lend

Belief to that the satyr tells:

Fairer by the famous wells

To this present day ne'er grew,

Never better nor more true.

Here be grapes, whose lusty blood

Is the learned poet's good;

Sweeter yet did never crown

The head of Bacchus; nuts more brown

Than the squirrel whose teeth crack 'era!

Deign, oh! fairest fair, to take 'em!

For these black-eyed Dryope

Hath oftentimes commanded me

With my clasped knee to climb:

See, how well the lusty time

Hath decked their rising checks in red,

Such as on your lips is spread.

Here be berries for a queen,

Some be red, some be green;

These are of that luscious meat

The great god Pan himself doth eat.

All these, and what the woods can yield,

The hanging mountain, or the field

'. I freely offer, and ere long

Will bring you more, more sweet and strong;

'Till when humbly leave I take,

Lest the great Pan do awake,

That sleeping lies in a deep glade,

Under a broad beech's shade.

I must go, I must run,

Swifter than the fiery sun.

The charming pastoral from whence this beautiful speech is taken, was irrevocably condemned in the theater on the first and only night of representation; which catastrophe, added to a similar one that befell Congreve's best comedy, "The Way of the World," both authors being at the time in the very flood-tide of popularity, has been an unspeakable comfort to unsuccessful dramatists ever since. I recall it chiefly to mention the hearty spirit with which two of the most eminent of Fletcher's friendly rivals came to the rescue with laudatory verses. The circumstance does so much honor to all parties, and some of the lines are so good, that I can not help quoting them; George Chapman says that the poem— Renews the golden world, and holds through all The holy laws of homely Pastoral;Where flowers and founts and nymphs and semi-gods And all the graces find their old abodes;Where forests flourish but in endless verse, And meadows, nothing fit for purchasers:This iron age

(Think of that in the days of James the First!)

This iron age that eats itself will never
Bite at your golden world, that others ever
Loved as itself.

Ben Jonson, first characterizing the audience after a fashion by no means complimentary, says that the play failed because it wanted the laxity of moral and of language which they expected and desired. He continues :—

I that am glad thy innocence was thy guilt,
And wish that all the muses' blood were spilt
In such a martyrdom, to vex their eyes,
Do crown thy murdered poem, which shall rise

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