Page images
PDF
EPUB

Therefore from such danger lock
Every one his loved flock;

And let your dogs lie loose without,
Lest the wolf come as a scout
From the mountain, and ere day,
Bear a lamb or kid away;
Or the crafty, thievish fox,
Break upon your simple flocks;
To secure yourself from these
Be not too secure in ease;

So shall you good shepherds prove,

And deserve your master's love.

Now, good night! may sweetest slumbers
And soft silence fall in numbers

: so farewell :

On your eyelids :
Thus I end my evening knell.

4. UNFOLDING THE FLOCKS.

Shepherds, rise and shake off sleep-
See the blushing morn doth peep
Through your windows while the sun
To the mountain-tops has run,
Gilding all the vales below

With his rising flames which grow
Brighter with his climbing still-
Up! ye lazy swains! and fill
Bag and bottle for the field;
Clasp your cloaks fast, lest they yield
To the bitter north-east wind;
Call the maidens up, and find
Who lie longest, that she may
Be chidden for untimed delay.
Feed your faithful dogs and pray,
Heaven to keep you from decay;
So unfold and then away.

L. PHINEAS FLETCHER.

THE HAPPINESS OF A COUNTRY LIFE.

Thrice, oh, thrice happy. shepherd's life and state!

When courts are happiness' unhappy pawns:

His cottage low, and safely humble gate,
Shuts out proud Fortune with her scorns and fawns;
No feared treason breaks his quiet sleep:
Singing all day, his flock he learns to keep:
Himself as innocent as are his simple sheep.

No Serian worms he knows, that with their thread
Draw out their silken lives :-
:-nor silken pride;
His lambs' warm fleece well fits his little need,
Not in that proud Sidonian tincture dyed:

No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright;
Nor begging wants his middle fortune bite;
But sweet content exiles both misery and spite.
Instead of music and base flattering tongues,
Which wait to first salute my lord's uprise;
The cheerful lark wakes him with early songs,
And birds' sweet whistling notes unlock his
eyes.

In country plays is all the strife he uses,
Or song, or dance, unto the rural Muses,
And but in music's sports all difference refuses.
His certain life, that never can deceive him,
Is full of thousand sweets and rich content:
The smooth-leaved beeches in the field receive him
With coolest shades, till noontide's rage is spent ;
His life is neither tost in boisterous seas

Of troublous world, nor lost in slothful ease :
Pleased and full blest he lives, when he his God can please.
His bed of wool yields safe and quiet sleeps,
While by his side his faithful spouse hath place;
His little son into his bosom creeps,

The lively picture of his father's face:

Never his humble house or state torment him:
Less he could like, if less his God had sent him;
And when he dies, green turfs, with grassy tomb, content
[him.

LI. GILES FLETCHER.

1. THE SPRING.

The engladdened spring, forgetful now to weep,
Began to emblazon from her leafy bed:

[ocr errors]

The waking swallow broke her half-year's sleep,
And every bush lay deeply purpuréd
With violets, the wood's late wintry head

Wide flaming primroses set all on fire,

And his bald trees put on their green attire, Among whose infant leaves the joyous birds conspire. Say, Earth, why hast thou got thee new attire, And stick'st thy habit full of daisies red?

Seems that thou dost to some high thoughts aspire, And some new-found-out bridegroom mean'st to wed: Tell me, ye trees, so fresh apparelléd,

So never let the spiteful canker waste you,

So never let the heavens with lightnings blast you, Why go you now so trimly drest, or whither haste you?

2. THE DYING STAG.

Low in a grassy dingle he was laid,

With wild wood-primroses befreckléd; Over his head the wanton shadows played

Of a young olive, that her boughs so spread, As with her leaves she seemed to crown his head, And here he came pierced with a fatal blow, As in a wood he walked securely feeding, Andeling death swim in his endless bleeding, His heavy head his fainting strength exceeding, Bade farewell to the woods that round him wave, While tears from drooping flowers bedew his turfy grave.

LII. PHILIP MASSINGER.

1. THE SOLDIER'S CLAIM.

To you, my lord, I will
Address my speech, and, with a soldier's freedom
In my reproof, return the bitter scoff
You threw upon my poverty: you contemn'd
My coarser outside, and from that concluded,
(As by your groom you made me understand)
I was unworthy to sit at your table,
Among these tissues and embroideries,
Unless I changed my habit; I have done it,
And show myself in that which I have worn--

In the heat and fervour of a bloody fight;
And then it was in fashion, not, as now,
Ridiculous and despised; this hath pass'd through
A wood of pikes, and every one aim'd at it;
With this, as still you see it, fresh and new, [sables,
I've charged through fire that would have singed your
Black fox, and ermines, and changed the proud colour
Of scarlet, though of the right Tyrian dye.
But now, as if the trappings made the man,
Such only are admired that come adorn'd
With what's no part of them. This is mine own,
My richest suit, a suit I must not part from,
But not regarded now; and yet remember,
'Tis we that bring you in the means of feasts,
Banquets, and revels; which when you possess,
With barbarous ingratitude, you deny us
To be made sharers in the harvest which
Our sweat and industry reap'd and sow'd for you.

2. THE KING'S CONFESSION.

Wherefore pay you

This adoration to a sinful creature?
I am flesh and blood as you are, sensible
Of heat and cold: as much a slave unto
The tyranny of my passions as the meanest
Of my poor subjects. The proud attributes
By oil-tongued flattery imposed upon us,
As sacred, glorious, high, invincible,
The deputy of heaven, and in that
Omnipotent, with all false titles else,

Coin'd to abuse our frailty, though compounded,
And by the breath of sycophants applied,
Cure not the least fit of an ague in us.
We may give poor men riches, confer honours
On undeservers, raise or ruin such

As are beneath us; and with this puff'd up,
Ambition would persuade us to forget
That we are men; but He that sits above us,
And to whom, at our utmost rate, we are
But pageant properties, derides our weakness.

In me, to whom you kneel, 'tis most apparent;
Can I call back yesterday, with all their aid
That bow unto my sceptre? or restore
My mind to that tranquillity and peace
It then enjoyed ?

LIII. JOHN FORD.

DEATH OF THE NIGHTINGALE.

[rather

Menaphon. A sound of music touched mine ears, or
Indeed entranced my soul. As I stole nearer,
Invited by the melody, I saw

This youth, this fair-faced youth, upon his lute,
With strains of strange variety and harmony,
Proclaiming, as it seemed, so bold a challenge,
To the clear choristers of the woods, the birds,
That, as they flocked about him, all stood silent,
Wondering at what they heard. I wondered too.
Amethus. And so do I; good! on-
Menaphon.

A nightingale,

Nature's best-skilled musician, undertakes

The challenge; and, for every several strain

The well-shaped youth could touch, she sung her own.
He could not run division with more art

Uper his quaking instrument, than she,
The nightingale, did with her various notes
Reply to; for a voice, and for a sound,
Amethus, 'tis much easier to believe

You term them rightly;

That such they were than hope to hear again.
Amet. How did the rivals part?
Men.
For they were rivals, and their mistress Harmony.
Some min❜tes thus spent, the young man grew at last
Into a pretty anger, that a bird,

Whom art had never taught clefs, moods, or notes,

Should vie with him for mastery, whose study

Had busied many hours to perfect practice.

To end the controversy, in a rapture

Upon his instrument he plays so swiftly,
So many voluntaries, and so quick,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »