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[By Shakespeare and Fletcher.]

Roses, their sharp spines being gone,
Not royal in their smells alone,

But in their hue ;
Maiden-pinks, of odour faint,
Daisies smell-less yet most quaint,

And sweet thyme true;

Primrose, first-born child of Ver,
Merry spring-time's harbinger,

With her bells dim ;
Oxlips in their cradles growing,
Marigolds on death-beds blowing,

Larks’-heels trim.

All, dear Nature's children sweet,
Lie 'fore bride and bridegroom's feet,

Blessing their sense !
Not an angel of the air,
Bird melodious or bird fair,

Be absent hence !

The crow, the slanderous cuckoo, nor The boding raven, nor chough hoar,

Nor chattering pie, May on our bride-house perch or sing, Or with them any discord bring,

But from it fly!


[By Fletcher.]


Hear, ye ladies that despise,

What the mighty Love has donc ; Fear examples and be wise :

Fair Calisto was a nun; Leda, sailing on the stream

To deceive the hopes of man, Love accounting but a dream,

Doated on a silver swan ; Danaë, in a brazen tower, Where no love was, loved a shower. Hear, ye ladies that are coy,

What the mighty Love can do ; Fear the fierceness of the boy :

The chaste moon he made to woo ; Vesta, kindling holy fires,

Circled round about with spies,
Never dreaming loose desires,

Doting at the altar dies ;
Ilion, in a short hour, higher
He can build, and once more fire.



God Lyæus, ever young,
Ever renown'd, ever sung ;
Stain'd with blood of lusty grapes,
In a thousand lusty shapes,
Dance upon the mazer's brim,
In the crimson liquor swim ;
From thy plenteous hand divine
Let a river run with wine ;
God of youth, let this day here
Enter neither care nor fear.



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, sweet,
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!


[By Fletcher.]
Weep no more, nor sigh, nor groan ;
Sorrow calls no time that 's gone ;
Violets plucked the sweetest rain
Makes not fresh nor grow again;
Trim thy locks, look cheerfully;
Fate's hid ends eyes cannot see ;
Joys as winged dreams fly fast,
Why should sadness longer last?
Grief is but a wound to woe ;
Gentlest fair, mourn, mourn no mo.


[By Fletcher.]
Hence, all you vain delights,
As short as are the nights

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

But only melancholy ;
O sweetest melancholy !

Welcome, folded arms and fixed eyes,
A sigh that piercing mortifies,
A look that 's fastend to the ground,
A tongue chain'd up without a sound !
Fountain heads and pathless groves,
Places which pale passion loves !
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
Are warmly hous'd 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.


[In a tract dated 1637, Dekker speaks of himself as a man of threescore years. This is the only clue to his age that has been discovered. He was born in London and apparently lived all his life there, as playwright, pamphleteer, and miscellaneous literary hack. His plays were published separately at various dates from 1600 to 1636. He frequently worked with other dramatists, Webster, Middleton, Massinger, Ford, etc.]

Dekker had several qualities which made him a desirable coadjutor in play-writing. He was a master of the craft of the stage. A man of quick sympathies, unconquerable buoyancy of spirit, infinite readiness and resource, he had lived among the people who filled the theatres, and took a genuine delight in moving them by the exhibition of common joys and sorrows. His whole heart went with his audience, and, though he had not the loftiness of aim of his greatest contemporaries, none of them had a finer dramatic instinct. He knew London as well as Dickens, and had something of the same affection for its oddities and its outcasts. The humour which lights up its miseries, the sunshine which plays over its tears, the simple virtues of the poor and unfortunate, patience, forgiveness, mirthfulness, were the favourite themes of this tender-hearted dramatist. His plays are full of life and movement, of pathos that is never maudlin and humour that is never harsh. Vice always gets the worst of it, hardness of heart above all never goes unpunished, but relenting leniency always comes in to keep retribution within gentle bounds. Virtue is always triumphant, but it is discovered in the most fantastic shapes and the least conventional habiliments. It needs some charity to tolerate such heroes and heroines as Simon Eyre, the mad shoemaker, Candido, the patient citizen, Orlando Friscobaldo, Bellafronta, and other types of strangely disguised goodness, but the dramatist's own love for them, with all their absurd eccen

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