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Natheless do ye still loud her praises sing,
That all the woods may answer, and your echo ring.

But if ye saw that which no eyes can see,
The inward beauty of her lively sprite,
Garnished with heavenly gifts of high degree,
Much more then would ye wonder at that sight,
And stand astonished like to those which read
Medusa's mazeful head.

There dwells sweet love, and constant chastity,
Unspotted faith, and comely womanhood,
Regard of honour, and high modesty;

Where virtue reigns as queen in royal throne,
And giveth laws alone.

The which the base affections do obey,

And yield their services unto her will;
No thought of thing uncomely ever may
Thereto approach to tempt her mind to ill.
Had ye once seen these her celestial treasures,
And unrevealed pleasures,

Then would ye wonder, and her praises sing,
That all the woods should answer, and your echo ring.

Open the temple gates unto my love,
Open them wide that she may enter in,
And all the posts adorn as doth behove,
And all the pillars deck with garlands trim,
For to receive this Saint with honour due,
That cometh in to you.

With trembling steps, and humble reverence,
She cometh in, before the Almighty's view;
Of her, ye virgins, learn obedience,
When so ye come into these holy places,

To humble your proud faces :

Bring her up to th' high altar, that she may
The sacred ceremonies there partake,
The which do endless matrimony make;
And let the roaring organs' loudly play

The praises of the Lord in lively notes;
The whiles with hollow throats,

The choristers the joyous anthem sing,

That all the woods may answer, and their echo ring.

Behold while she before the altar stands,
Hearing the holy priest that to her speaks,
And blesseth her with his two happy hands,
How the red roses flush up in her cheeks,
And the pure snow, with goodly vermeil stain
Like crimson dyed in grain.

That even the angels which continually
About the sacred altar do remain,

Forget their service and about her fly,

Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair,
The more they on it stare.

But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground,
Are governed with goodly modesty,

That suffers not one look to glance astray,

Which may let in a little thought unsound.

Why blush ye, love, to give to me your hand,
The pledge of all our band!

Sing, ye sweet angels, Alleluia sing,

That all the woods may answer, and your echo ring.


Born 1564. Died 1616.


IME hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,


Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,

A great-sized monster of ingratitudes :

Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devoured

As fast as they are made, forgot as soon

As done perseverance, dear my lord,

Keeps honour bright to have done, is to hang

Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail

In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;
For honour travels in a strait so narrow,

Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path;
For emulation hath a thousand sons,

That one by one pursue: if you give way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
Like to an entered tide, they all rush by
And leave you hindmost;

Or, like a gallant horse fallen in first rank,
Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,

O'errun and trampled on then what they do in present,
Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours;
For time is like a fashionable host

That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand,
And with his arms outstretched, as he would fly,
Grasps in the comer: welcome ever smiles,

And farewell goes out sighing.

O, let not virtue seek

Remuneration for the thing it was;

For beauty, wit,

High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all

To envious and calumniating time.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
That all, with one consent, praise newborn gawds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past,
And give to dust, that is a little gilt,

More laud than gilt o'erdusted.

Troilus and Cressida, Act iii. Sc. 3.


'HE quality of mercy is not strained;


It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes :
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;

It is enthroned in the heart of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this-
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation : we do pray for mercy.
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

Merchant of Venice, Act iv. Sc. 1.

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OW sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank! Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night

Become the touches of sweet harmony.

Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven

Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold.

There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,

Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.


I am never merry, when I hear sweet music.

The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,

Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,

You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze,
By the sweet power of music: therefore the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods;
Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature.

The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:

Let no such man be trusted.

Merchant of Venice, Act v. Sc. I.

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