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I have a sin of fear, that when I’ve spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine as He shines now and heretofore;
And having done that, Thou hast done;
I fear no more. ... 18


Oh, to what height will love of greatness drive
Thy learned spirit, sesqui-superlative?
Venice' vast lake thou'st seen, and wouldst seek
Some vaster thing, and found'st a courtesan.
That inland sea having discover'd well,
A cellar-gulf, where one might sail to hell
From Heidelberg, thou longed'st to see;
This book, greater than all, producest now.
Infinite work which doth so far extend,
That none can study it to any end. ro
'Tis no one thing; it is not fruit nor root,
Nor poorly limited with head or foot.
If man be therefore man, because he can
Reason and laugh, thy book doth half make
One-half being made, thy modesty was such,
That thou on th' other half wouldst never
- touch.
When wilt thou be at full, great lunatic?
Not till thou exceed the world? Canst thou be
A prosperous nose-born wen, which sometimes
To be far greater than the mother-nose? 2c
Go then, and as to thee, when thou didst go,
Münster did towns and Gesner authors show,
Mount now to Gallo-Belgicus; appear
As deep a statesman as a gazeteer.
Homely and familiarly, when thou comest back,
Talk of Will Conqueror, and Prester Jack.
Go, bashful man, lest here thou blush to look
Upon the progress of thy glorious book.


JOSEPH HALL (1574–1656)


With some pot-fury, ravish'd from their wit,
They sit and muse on some no-vulgar writ:
As frozen dunghills in a winter's morn,
That void of vapours seemed all beforn,
Soon as the sun sends out his piercing beams,
Exhale out filthy smoke and stinking steams;

So doth the base, and the fore-barren brain,
Soon as the raging wine begins to reign.
One higher pitch'd doth set his soaring thought
On crowned kings, that fortune hath low brought;
Or some upreared, high-aspiring swain, II.
As it might be the Turkish Tamberlain:
Then weeneth he his base drink-drowned spright,
Rapt to the threefold loft of heaven hight,
When he conceives upon his feigned stage
The stalking steps of his great personage,
Graced with huff-cap terms and thund'ring
That his poor hearers' hair quite upright sets.
Such soon as some brave-minded hungry youth
Sees fitly frame to his wide-strained mouth, 20
He vaunts his voice upon an hired stage,
With high-set steps and princely carriage;
Now swooping in side robes of royalty,
That erst did scrub in lousy brokery.
There if he can with terms Italianate,
Big-sounding sentences and words of state,
Fair patch me up his pure iambic verse,
He ravishes the gazing scaffolders.
Then certes was the famous Corduban
Never but half so high tragedian. 30
Now, lest such frightful shows of Fortune's fall,
And bloody tyrant's rage, should chance appall
The dead-struck audience, midst the silent rout,
Comes leaping in a self-misformed lout,
And laughs, and grins, and frames his mimic
And justles straight into the prince's place;
Then doth the theatre echo all aloud,
With gladsome noise of that applauding crowd.
A goodly hotch-potch when vile russetings
Are match'd with monarchs, and with mighty
kings. 4d
A goodly grace to sober tragic muse,
When each base clown his clumsy fist doth bruise,
And show his teeth in double rotten row,
For laughter at his self-resembled show.
Meanwhile our poets in high parliament
Sit watching every word and gesturement,
Like curious censors of some doughty gear,
Whispering their verdict in their fellow's ear.
Woe to the word whose margent in their scroll
Is noted with a black condemning coal. 50
But if each period might the synod please,
Ho! — bring the ivy boughs, and bands of bays.
Now when they part and leave the naked stage,
'Gins the bare hearer, in a guilty rage,
To curse and ban, and blame his likerous eye,
That thus hath lavish'd his late halfpenny.
Shame that the Muses should be bought and
For every peasant's brass, on each scaffold.


JOHN MARSTON (1575–1634) FROM THE SCOURGE OF VILLAINY In Lectores prorsus indignos

Fie, Satire, fiel shall each mechanic slave,
Each dunghill peasant, free perusal have
Of thy well-labour'd lines? — each satin suit,
Each quaint fashion-monger, whose sole repute
Rests in his trim gay clothes, lie slavering,
Tainting thy lines with his lewd censuring?
Shall each odd puisne of the lawyer's inn,
Each barmy-froth, that last day did begin
To read his little, or his ne'er a whit,

Or shall some greater ancient, of less wit ro.

That never turn'd but brown tobacco leaves,
Whose senses some damn'd occupant bereaves,
Lie gnawing on thy vacant time's expense,
Tearing thy rhymes, quite altering the sense?
Or shall perfum’d Castilio censure thee,
Shall he o'erview thy sharp-fang'd poesy
Who ne'er read further than his mistress lips,
Ne'er practised ought but some spruce cap'ring
Ne'er in his life did other language use,
But “Sweet lady, fair mistress, kind heart, dear
cuz” — 2O
Shall this phantasma, this Coloss peruse,
And blast, with stinking breath, my budding
Fie! wilt thou make thy wit a courtezan
For every broken handcraft's artisan?
Shall brainless cittern-heads, each jobbernoul,
Pocket the very genius of thy soul?
Ay, Phylo, ay, I'll keep an open hall,
A common and a sumptuous festival.
Welcome all eyes, all ears, all tongues to me!
Gnaw peasants on my scraps of poesyl 3o
Castilios, Cyprians, court-boys, Spanish blocks,
Ribanded ears, Granado netherstocks,
Fiddlers, scriveners, pedlars, tinkering knaves,
Base blue-coats, tapsters, broad-cloth-minded
slaves —
Welcome, i' faith; but may you ne'er depart
Till I have made your galled hides to smart.
Your galled hides? avaunt, base muddy scum,
Think you a satire's dreadful sounding drum
Will brace itself, and deign to terrify
Such abject peasants' basest roguery? 4o
No, no, pass on, ye vain fantastic troop
Of puffy youths; know I do scorn to stoop
To rip your lives. Then hence, lewd nags, away,
Go read each post, view what is play'd to-day,
Then to Priapus' gardens. You, Castilio,
I pray thee let my lines in freedom go;


Let me alone, the madams call for thee,
Longing to laugh at thy wit’s poverty.
Sirra livery cloak, you lazy slipper-slave,
Thou fawning drudge, what, wouldst thou satires
have? 50
Base mind, away, thy master calls, be gone.
Sweet Gnato, let my poesy alone;
Go buy some ballad of the Fairy King,
And of the beggar wench some roguy thing,
Which thou mayst chant unto the chamber-
To some vile tune, when that thy master's laid.
But will you needs stay? am I forced to bear
The blasting breath of each lewd censurer?
Must naught but clothes, and images of men,
But spriteless trunks, be judges of thy pen? 60
Nay then, come all! I prostitute my muse,
For all the swarms of idiots to abuse.
Read all, view all; even with my full consent,
So you will know that which I never meant;
So you will ne'er conceive, and yet dispraise
That which you ne'er conceived, and laughter
Where I but strive in honest seriousness
To scourge some soul-polluting beastliness.
So you will rail, and find huge errors lurk
In every corner of my cynic work. 7o
Proface I read on, for your extrem'st dislikes
Will add a pinion to my praise's flights.
O how I bristle up my plumes of pride,
O how I think my satire's dignifi'd,
When I once hear some quaint Castilio,
Some supple-mouth'd slave, some lewd Tubrio,
Some spruce pedant, or some span-new-come
Of inns-o'court, striving to vilify
My dark reproofs. Then do but rail at me,
No greater honour craves my poesy. 8o

GEORGE SANDYS (1578–1644)



In my prosperity I said,
My feet shall ever fix’d abide;
I, by Thy favour fortifi’d,

Am like a steadfast mountain made. 4

But when Thou hid'st Thy cheerful face,
How infinite my troubles grew;
My cries then with my grief renew,

Which thus implor’d Thy saving grace. 8

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He breaks their bows, unarms their quivers,
The bloody spear in pieces shivers,
Their chariots to the flame delivers. 30

Forbear, and know that I, the Lord,
Will by all nations be ador'd,
Prais'd with unanimous accord. 33

The Lord of Hosts is on our side,
The God by Jacob magnified,
Our Strength on Whom we have relied. 36



SPONSA Stretched on my restless bed all night, I vainly sought my soul's delight. Then rose, the city search'd: no street, No angle my unwearied feet Untraced left: yet could not find The only solace of my mind. When lo! the watch, who walk the round, Me in my soul's distemper found; Of whom, with passion, I inquir’d, Saw you the man so much desir'd? ro Nor many steps had farther past, But found my love, and held him fast; Fast held, till I the so-long-sought Had to my mother's mansion brought. In that adorned chamber laid Of her who gave me life, I said: You daughters of Jerusalem, You branches of that holy stem, I, by the mountain roes, and by The hinds which through the forest fly, zo Adjure you that you silence keep, Nor, till he call, disturb his sleep.

JOHN FLETCHER (1579–1625)


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;
O sweetest melancholy!

Welcome, folded arms and fixed eyes, A sigh that piercing mortifies,

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Marigolds on death-beds blowing,
Larks'-heels trim. 12
All, dear Nature's children sweet,
Lie, 'fore bride and bridegroom's feet,
Blessing their sensel
Not an angel of the air,
Bird melodious or bird fair,
Be absent hence 1 18
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! 24

FRANCIS BEAU£ont (1584-1616)


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;
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 to
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, 15
Dropt from the ruined sides of kings.
Here's a world of pomp and state,
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.

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