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THE SWEET NEGLECT.

BEN JONSON.

Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast :
Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd :
Lady, it is to be presum'd,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.

Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
Than all th' adulteries of art;
They* strike mine eyes but not mine heart.

(This very fine song is found in the first act of the “Silent Woman.” It is in imitation of some Latin verses which the reader will find given in Mr. Gifford's edition of Jonson, vol. 3, p. 347. Flecknoe, the learned Editor tells as caught a gleam of sense from them :

Give me the eyes, give me the face,
To which no art can add a grace,
And me the looks, no garb por dress,
Can ever make more fair, or less.

Address to the Duchess of Richmond.]

* Percy reads " that.”

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Come, my Celia, let us prove,
While we can the sports of love;
Time will not be ours for ever:
He, at length, our good will sever.
Spend not then his gifts in vain.
Suns that set, may rise again ;
But if once we lose this light,
”Tis with us perpetual night.
Why should we defer our joys ?
Fame and rumour are but toys.
Cannot we delude the eyes
Of a few poor household spies ?
Or his easier ears beguile,
Thus removed by our wile?
"Tis no sin love's fruit to steal,
But the sweet thefts to reveal :
To be taken, to be seen,
These have crimes accounted been.

(Sung in the Fox. Gifford calls it a “very elegant and happy imi. tation of particular passages in Catullus.")

WOMEN ARE BUT MEN’S SHADOWS.

BEN JONSON.

Follow a shadow, it still flies you,

Seem to fly it, it will pursue:
So court a mistress, she denies you ;

Let her alone, she will court you.
Say are not women truly, then,
Styld but the shadows of us men?

At morn and even shades are longest ;

At noon they are or short, or none :
So men at weakest, they are strongest,

But grant us perfect, they're not known.
Say are not women truly, then,
Styl'd but the shadows of us men.

WHAT JUST EXCUSE.

BEN JONSON.

What just excuse had aged Time,

His weary limbs now to have eased, And sate him down without his crime,

While every thought was so much pleased !

But he so greedy to devour

His own, and all that he brings forth,
Is eating every piece of hour,

Some object of the rarest worth-
Yet this is rescued by his rage,
As not to die by time, or age :
For beauty hath a living name,
And will to heaven, from whence it came.

[Sang after the last Masque Dance in “ Love freed from Ignorance and Folly."]

OH DO NOT WANTON.

BEN JONSON.

Oh do not wanton with those eyes,

Lest I be sick with seeing ;
Nor cast them down, hut let them rise,

Lest shame destroy their being.
O be not angry with those fires,

For then their threats will kill me;
Nor look too kind on my desires,

For then my hopes will spill me.
O do not steep them in thy tears,

For so will sorrow slay me;
Nor spread them as distract with fears;

Mine own enough betray me.

[Mr. Gifford writes—“ With respect to the present song, if it be not the most beautiful in the language, I freely confess, for my own part, that I know not where it is to be found." Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. 8, p. 319.)

DANCING SONG.

BEN JONSON.

Come on, come on! and where you go,

So interweave the curious knot,
As er'n the observer scarce may know

Which lines are Pleasure's, and which not.
First figure out the doubtful way,

At which a while all youth should stay,
Where she and Virtue did contend

Which should have Hercules to friend.

Then as all actions of mankind

Are but a labyrinth or maze:
So let your dances be entwined,

Yet not perplex men unto gaze:
But measur'd, and so numerous too,

As men may read each act they do ;
And when they see the graces meet

Admire the wisdom of your feet.
For dancing is an exercise,

Not only shows the mover's wit,
But maketh the beholder wise,

As he hath power to rise to it.

[Sung by “ Dædalus the wise," before the first dance in the Masque of " Pleasure reconciled to Virtue."]

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