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Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm. 46
Nature herself was proud of his designs
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines,
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit:
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes, 51
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please, But antiquated and deserted lie,
As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all; thy art, 55
My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part:
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion; and that he1
Who casts2 to write a living line must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat 60 Upon the Muses' anvil, turn the same
(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame, Or, for the laurel, he may gain a scorn;
For a good poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou; look how the father's

face 65 Lives in his issue, even so the race Of Shakespeare's mind and manners

brightly shines In his well turned and true filed3 lines,
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandished at the eyes of ignorance. 70
Sweet Swan of Avon! what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of

Thames, That so did take4 Eliza5 and our James!
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere 75
Advanced, and made a constellation there!
Shine forth, thou Star of poets, and with rage
Or influence chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath

mourned like night, And despairs day, but for thy volume's


* plans.'polished.• Queen Elizabeth.From A PINDARIC ODE

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make men better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,

To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear:
A lily of a day 5 Is fairer far in May;
Although it fall and die that night,
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see.
And in short measures life may perfect
be. 10


Weep with me all you that read

This little story;
And know, for whom a tear you shed

Death's self is sorry.
Twas a child that so did thrive 5

In grace and feature,
As heaven and nature seemed to strive

Which owned the creature.
Years he numbered scarce thirteen

When fates turned cruel, 10 Yet three filled zodiacs6 had he been

The stage's jewel;
And did act, what now we moan,

Old men so duly, As, sooth, the Parcae7 thought him one, 15

He played so truly.
So, by error, to his fate

They all consented,
But viewing him since, alas, too late!

They have repented; 20 And have sought, to give new birth,

In baths to steep him;
But being so much too good for earth,

Heaven vows to keep him.

JOHN DONNE (1673-1631)

Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,

Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil's foot;

1 man.



1 the Fates.

Teach me to hear mermaids singing, 5 Or to keep off envy's stinging,

And find

What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights, 10

Things invisible go see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights

Till Age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee, 15
And swear
No where
Lives a woman true and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know;

Such a pilgrimage were sweet. 20 Yet do not; I would not go,

Though at next door we might meet. Though she were true when you met her, And last till you write your letter,

Yet she 25 Will be False, ere I come, to two or three.


I long to talk with some old lover's ghost
Who died before the god of love was born.
I cannot think that he who then loved most
Sunk so low as to love one which did scorn. But since this god produced a destiny, 5
And that vice-nature, custom, lets it be,
I must love her that loves not me.

Sure, they which made him god, meant not so much, Nor he in his young godhead practiced it. But when an even flame two hearts did touch, 10

His office was indulgently to fit Actives to passives. Correspondency Only his subject was; it cannot be Love, till I love her who loves me.

But every modern god will now extend 15 His vast prerogative as far as Jove:

To rage, to lust, to write to, to commend, All is the purlieu of the god of love.

O! were we wakened by this tyranny
To ungod this child again, it could not
be 20 I should love her who loves not me.

Rebel and atheist too, why murmur I,
As though I felt the worst that love could do?
Love may make me leave loving, or might try A deeper plague, to make her love me too; 25 Which, since she loves before, I'm loth to see.
Falsehood is worse than hate; and that must be,
If she whom I love should love me.


Sweetest love, I do not go

For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show

A fitter love for me;

But since that I 5 At the last must part, 'tis best Thus to use myself in jest,

By feigned deaths to die.

Yesternight the sun went hence,
And yet is here today; 10

He hath no desire nor sense,
Nor half so short a way;
Then fear not me,

But believe that I shall make

Speedier journeys, since I take 15 More wings and spurs than he.

O how feeble is man's power,

That, if good fortune fall, Cannot add another hour,

Nor a lost hour recall; 20 But come bad chance, And we join to it our strength, And we teach it art and length,

Itself o'er us to advance.

When thou sigh'st, thou sigh'st not wind,
But sigh'st my soul away; 26

When thou weep'st, unkindly kind,
My life's blood doth decay:
It cannot be

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Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost

overthrow Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy picture be, 5 Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow; And soonest our best men with thee do

goRest of their bones and souls' delivery! Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and

desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness

dwell, 10 And poppy or charms can make us sleep as

well, And better than thy stroke; why swell'st

thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And death shall be no more: Death, thou

shalt die!


Like to the falling of a star, Or as the flights of eagles are, Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue, Or silver drops of morning dew, Or like a wind that chafes the flood, 5 Or bubbles which on water stood:

Even such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in and paid to night.
The wind blows out, the bubble dies,
The spring intombed in autumn lies; i<
The dew's dried up, the star is shot,
The flight is past, and man forgot.


Mortality, behold and fear! What a change of flesh is here!Think how many royal bones Sleep within this heap of stones; Here they lie had realms and lands, 5 Who now want strength to stir their hands; Where from their pulpits sealed with dust They preach, "In greatness is no trust." Here's an acre sown indeed With the richest, royal'st seed 10 That the earth did e'er suck in Since the first man died for sin; Here the bones of birth have cried, "Though gods they were, as men they died."
Here are sands, ignoble things, is

Dropt from the ruined sides of kings.
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.

JOHN FLETCHER (1679-1626)


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, 5

But only melancholy;

0 sweetest melancholy!

Welcome, folded arms and fixed eyes,
A sigh that piercing mortifies,
A look that's fastened to the ground, 10
A tongue chained up without a sound.
Fountain heads and pathless groves,
Places which pale Passion loves;
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
Are warmly housed save bats and owls.

A midnight bell, a parting groan, 16 These are the sounds we feed upon. Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley; Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.


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, 5
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. 10


God Lyaeus, ever young,

Ever honored, ever sung,

Stained with blood of lusty grapes,

In a thousand lusty shapes,

Dance upon the mazer's1 brim, 5

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! 10

JOHN WEBSTER (16807-1625?)


Call for the robin-redbreast and the wren,
Since o'er shady groves they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.
Call unto his funeral dole 5 The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole,
To rear him hillocks that shall keep him

warm, And. when gay tombs are robbed, sustain no harm;But keep the wolf far thence, that's foe to men, 0

For with his nails he'll dig them up again.

1 cup's.


Hark, now everything is still,

The screech-owl and the whistler2 shrill,

Call upon our dame aloud,

And bid her quickly don her shroud.

Much you had of land and rent,— 5

Your length in clay's now competent;

A long war disturbed your mind,—

Here your perfect peace is signed.

Of what is't fools make such vain keeping?

Sin their conception, their birth weeping, 10

Their life a general mist of error,

Their death a hideous storm of terror.

Strew your hair with powders sweet,

Don clean linen, bathe your feet,

And—the foul fiend more to check— 15

A crucifix let bless your neck.

'Tis now full tide 'tween night and day;

End your groan, and come away.

WILLIAM BROWNE (1691-1643?)


Underneath this sable herse3
Lies the subject of all verse:
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother:
Death, ere thou hast slain another
Fair and learn'd and good as she,
Time shall throw a dart at thee.




The Romans inclining to Caesar's prosperity, and taking the bit in the mouth, supposing that to be ruled by one man alone, it would be a good mean for them to take breath a little, after so many troubles and miseries as they had abidden in these civil wars, they chose him perpetual Dictator. This was a plain tyranny: for to this absolute power of Dictator they added this, never to be [10 afraid to be deposed. Cicero propounded before the Senate that they should give him such honors as were meet for a man; howbeit others afterwards added to, honors beyond all reason. For, men striving who should most honor him, they made him hateful and troublesome to themselves that most favored him, by reason of the unmeasurable greatness and honors which they gave him. There- [20 upon it is reported that even they that most hated him were no less favorers and furtherers of his honors than they that most flattered him; because they might have greater occasions to rise, and that it might appear they had just cause and color to attempt that they did against him.


1 tomb.

And now for himself, after he had ended his civil wars he did so honor- [30 ably behave himself that there was no fault to be found in him; and therefore, methinks, amongst other honors they gave him, he rightly deserved this, that they should build him a temple of clemency, to thank him for his courtesy he had used unto them in his victory. For he pardoned many of them that had borne arms against him, and, furthermore, did prefer some of them to honor and [40 office in the commonwealth: as, amongst others, Cassius and Brutus, both the which were made Praetors. And where Pompey's images had been thrown down, he caused them to be set up again; whereupon Cicero said then, That Caesar setting up Pompey's images again, he made his own to stand the surer. And when some of his friends did counsel him to have a guard for the safety of his person, and [50 some also did offer themselves to serve him, he would never consent to it, but said, It was better to die once, than always to be afraid of death.

But his enemies that envied his greatness did not stick to find fault withal. As Cicero the orator, when one said, Tomorrow the star Lyra will rise: Yea, said he, at the commandment of Caesar, as if men were compelled to say and think by [60 Caesar's edict. But the chiefest cause that made him mortally hated was the covetous desire he had to be called king: which first gave the people just cause, and next

his secret enemies honest color, to bear him ill-will.

The people went straight unto Marcus Brutus, who from his father came of the first Brutus, and by his mother, of the house of the Servilians, a noble house [70 as any was in Rome, and was also nephew and son-in-law of Marcus Cato. Notwithstanding, the great honors and favors Caesar showed unto him kept him back, that of himself alone he did not conspire nor consent to depose him of his kingdom. For Caesar did not only save his life after the battle of Pharsalia when Pompey fled, and did at his request also save many more of his friends beside, but further- [80 more he put a marvellous confidence in him. For he had already preferred him to the Praetorship for that year, and furthermore was appointed to be Consul the fourth year after that, having through Caesar's friendship obtained it before Cassius, who likewise made suit for the same; and Caesar also, as it is reported, said in this contention, Indeed Cassius hath alleged best reason, but yet shall [90 he not be chosen before Brutus. Some one day accusing Brutus while he practised this conspiracy, Caesar would not hear of it, but clapping his hand on his body, told them, Brutus will look for this skin: meaning thereby that Brutus for his virtue deserved to rule after him, but yet that for ambition's sake he would not show himself unthankful or dishonorable.

Now they that desired change, and [100 wished Brutus only their prince and governor above all other, they durst not come to him themselves to tell him what they would have him to do, but in the night did cast sundry papers into the Praetor's seat where he gave audience, and the most of them to this effect: Thou sleepest, Brutus, and art not Brutus indeed. Cassius, finding Brutus' ambition stirred up the more by these ambitious bills, did [no prick him forward, and egg him on the more, for a private quarrel he had conceived against Caesar, the circumstance whereof we have set down more at large in Brutus' life. Caesar also had Cassius in great jealousy, and suspected him

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