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Scath As it would quickly appear had we the store
Wherewith she kills! where the sad mandrake grows,
Whose groans are deathful; and dead-numbing night-shade,
And martagan: the shrieks of luckless owls
We hear, and croaking night crows in the air!
And mount the spheres of fire to kiss the moon!
FOR THE PURPOSE OF DOING A MISCHIEF TO A JOYFUL HOUSE, AND BRINGING AN EVIL SPIRIT INTO BIRTH IN THE MIDST OF IT.
From the Masque of Queens.
Charm. The owl is abroad, the bat and the toad,
And so is the cat-a-mountain;
The ant and the mole both sit in a hole,
The moon it is red, and the stars are fled,
1st Hag. I have been all day looking after
A raven, feeding upon a quarter;
And soon as she turn'd her beak to the south,
2nd Hag. I have been gathering wolves' hairs,
And all since the evening star did rise
3rd Hag. I, last night, lay all alone
On the ground to hear the mandrake groan;
4th Hag. And I have been choosing out this skull
From private grots, and public pits;
5th Hag. Under a cradle I did creep,
By day; and when the child was asleep
6th Hag. I had a dagger: what did I with that? Kill'd an infant to have his fat.
I scratch'd out the eyes of the owl before,
I tore the bat's wing; what would you have more?
Yes, I have brought to help our vows
The fig-tree wild that grows on tombs,
And juice that from the larch-tree comes,
You fiends and fairies, if yet any be
Worse than ourselves, you that have quak'd to see
These knots untied (she unties them)—exhale earth's rottenest
And strike a blindness through these blazing tapers
Charm. Deep, O deep we lay thee to sleep;
We leave thee drink by, if thou chance to be dry;
Both milk and blood, the dew and the flood;
Dame. Stay; all our charms do nothing win
Our magic feature will not rise,
The ground with vipers, till it sweat.
Charm. Blacker go in, and blacker come out :
At thy rising again thou shalt have two;
A cloud of pitch, a spur and a switch,
(A loud and beautiful music is heard, and the Witches vanish.)
A CATCH OF SATYRS.
Silenus bids his Satyrs awaken a couple of Sylvans, who have fallen asleep while they should have kept watch.
Buz, quoth the blue fly,
Hum, quoth the bee;
Buz and hum they cry,
And so do we.
In his ear, in his nose,
Thùs, do you see?
"It is impossible that anything could better express than this, either the wild and practical joking of the satyrs, or the action of the thing described, or the quaintness and fitness of the images, or the melody and even the harmony, the intercourse, of the musical words, one with another. None but a boon companion with a very musical ear could have written it. It was not for nothing that Ben lived in the time of the fine old English composers, Bull and Ford, or partook his canary with his "lov'd AlphonSo, as he calls him, the Signor Ferrabosco.—A Jar of Honey from Mount Hybla, in Ainsworth's Magazine, No. xxx., p. 86.
POETRY of the highest order and of the loveliest character abounds in Beaumont and Fletcher, but so mixed up with inconsistent, and too often, alas! revolting matter, that, apart from passages which do not enter into the plan of this book, I had no alternative but either to confine the extracts to the small number which ensue, or to bring together a heap of the smallest quotations, two or three lines at a time. I thought to have got a good deal more out of the Faithful Shepherdess, which I had not read for many years; but on renewing my acquaintance with it, I found that the same unaccountable fascination with the evil times which had spoilt these two fine poets in their other plays, had followed its author, beyond what I had supposed, even into the regions of Arcadia.
Mr. Hazlitt, who loved sometimes to relieve his mistrust by a fit of pastoral worship, pronounces the Faithful Shepherdess to be "a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets, where no crude surfeit reigns.' I wish I could think so. There are both hot and cold dishes in it, which I would quit at any time to go and dine with the honest lovers of Allan Ramsay, whose Gentle Shepherd, though of another and far inferior class of poetry, I take upon the whole to be the completest pastoral drama that ever was written.
It is a pity that Beaumont and Fletcher had not been born earlier, and in the neighborhood of Shakspeare, and become his playmates. The wholesome company of the juvenile yeoman (like a greater Sandford) might have rectified the refined spirits