Page images

So that, where holy Flamens wont to sing
Sweet hymns to heaven, there the daw, and crow,
The ill-voic'd raven, and still chattering pye,
Send out ungrateful sounds and loathsome filth;
Where statues and Jove's acts were vively* limn'd,
Boys with black coals draw the veil'd parts of nature
And lecherous actions of imagined lust;

Where tombs and beauteous urns of well-dead men
Stood in assured rest, the shepherd now
Unloads his belly, corruption most abhorr'd
Mingling itself with their renowned ashes:
There once a charnel-house, now a vast cave,
Over whose brow a pale and untrod grove
Throws out her heavy shade, the mouth thick arms
Of darksome ewe, sun-proof, for ever choak;
Within, rests barren darkness, fruitless drought
Pines in eternal night; the steam of hell
Yields not so lazy air: there, that's her Cell.


Venetian Merchant.

No knight,

But one (that title off) was even a prince,
A sultan Solyman: thrice was he made,
In dangerous arms, Venice' Providetore.
He was merchant, but so bounteous,
Valiant, wise, learned, all so absolute,
That nought was valued praiseful excellent,
But in 't was he most praiseful excellent.
OI shall ne'er forget how he went cloathed.
He would maintain it a base ill-used fashion,
To bind a merchant to the sullen habit
Of precise black, chiefly in Venice state,
Where merchants guilt the top.†

* Livelily.

"Her whose merchant Sons were Kings."-Collins.

And therefore should you have him pass the bridge

Up the Rialto like a Soldier;

In a black bever belt, ash color plain,

A Florentine cloth-o'-silver jerkin, sleeves

White satin cut on tinsel, then long stock;

French panes embroider'd, goldsmith's work: O God,
Methinks I see him, how he would walk,
With what a jolly presence he would pace
Round the Rialto.*

Scholar and his Dog.
I was a scholar: seven useful springs
Did I deflower in quotations

Of cross'd opinions 'bout the soul of man;
The more I learnt, the more I learn to doubt.
Delight my spaniel slept, whilst I baus'd leaves,
Toss'd o'er the dunces, pored on the old print
Of titled words: and still my spaniel slept.
Whilst I wasted lamp-oil, baited my flesh,
Shrunk up my veins and still my spaniel slept.
And still I held converse with Zabarell,

Aquinas, Scotus, and the musty saw
Of Antick Donate: still my spaniel slept.
Still on went I; first, an sit anima;

Then, an it were mortal. O hold, hold; at that
They 're at brain buffets, fell by the ears amain
Pell-mell together; still my spaniel slept.

* To judge of the liberality of these notions of dress, we must advert to the days of Gresham, and the consternation which a Phenomenon habited like the Merchant here described would have excited among the flat round caps, and cloth stockings, upon Change, when those "original arguments or tokens of a Citizen's vocation were in fashion not more for thrift and usefulness than for distinction and grace." The blank uniformi to which all professional distinctions in apparel have been long hastening, is one instance of the Decay of Symbols among us, which, whether it has contributed or not to make us a more intellectual, has certainly made us a less imaginative people. Shakspeare knew the force of signs:-"a malignant and turban'd Turk." "This meal-cap Miller," says the Author of God's Revenge against Murder, to express his indignation at an atrocious outrage committed by the miller Pierot upon the person of the fair Marieta.

Then, whether 'twere corporeal, local, fixt,
Ex traduce, but whether 't had free will
Or no, hot philosophers

Stood banding factions, all so strongly propt,
I stagger'd, knew not which was firmer part,
But thought, quoted, read, observ'd and pryed,
Stufft noting-books: and still my spaniel slept.
At length he wak'd, and yawned; and by yon sky,
For aught I know he knew as much as I.

Preparations for Second Nuptials.

Now is Albano's* marriage-bed new hung
With fresh rich curtains, now are my valence up,
Imbost with orient pearl, my grandsire's gift,
Now are the lawn sheets fum'd with violets
To fresh the pall'd lascivious appetite,

Now work the cooks, the pastry sweats with slaves,
The march-panes glitter, now, now the musicians
Hover with nimble sticks o'er squeaking crowds,†
Tickling the dried guts of a mewing cat:
The tailors, starchers, semsters, butchers, poulterers,
Mercers, all, all——none think on me.


Isabella (the Countess), after a long series of crimes of infidelity to her husband and of murder, is brought to suffer on a scaffold. Roberto, her husband, arrives to take a last leave of her.

Roberto. Bear record all you blessed saints in heaven

I come not to torment thee in thy death;
For of himself he 's terrible enough,
But call to mind a Lady like yourself,
And think how ill in such a beauteous soul,
Upon the instant morrow of her nuptials,

* Albano, the first husband speaks; supposed dead.

† Fiddles.

Apostacy and wild revolt would show.
Withal, imagine that she had a lord
Jealous, the air should ravish her chaste looks;
Doting, like the Creator in his models,

Who views them every minute, and with care
Mixt in his fear of their obedience to him.
Suppose he sung through famous Italy,
More common than the looser songs of Petrarch,
To every several Zany's instrument:

And he poor wretch, hoping some better fate
Might call her back from her adulterate purpose,
Lives in obscure and almost unknown life;
Till hearing that she is condemned to die,
For he once lov'd her, lends his pined corpse
Motion to bring him to her stage of honor,
Where, drown'd in wo at her so dismal chance,
He clasps her: thus he falls into a trance.

Isabella. O my offended lord, lift up your eyes;
But yet avert them from my lothed sight.
Had I with you enjoyed the lawful pleasure,
To which belongs nor fear nor public shame,
I might have lived in honor, died in fame.
Your pardon on my faltering knees I beg;
Which shall confirm more peace unto my death,
Than all the grave instructions of the Church.

Roberto. Freely thou hast it. Farewell, my Isabella;
Let thy death ransome thy soul, O die a rare example,
The kiss thou gav'st me in the church, here take:
As I leave thee, so thou the world forsake.
Executioner. Madam, tie up your hair.
Isabella. O these golden nets,

That have insnared so many wanton youths!
Not one but has been held a thread of life,
And superstitiously depended on.

What else?


Executioner. Madam, I must intreat you blind your eyes. Isabella. I have lived too long in darkness, my friend; And yet mine eyes with their majestic light,

Have got new Muses in a Poet's spright.

They've been more gaz'd at than the God of day;
Their brightness never could be flattered;
Yet thou command'st a fixed cloud of lawn
To eclipse eternally these minutes of light.
I am prepared.—

Woman's Inconstancy.

Who would have thought it? She that could no more
Forsake my company, than can the day
Forsake the glorious presence of the sun,
When I was absent, then her galled eyes
Would have shed April showers, and outwept
The clouds in that same o'er-passionate mood
When they drown'd all the world: yet now forsakes me.
Women, your eyes shed glances like the sun;
Now shines your brightness, now your light is done,
On the sweet'st flowers you shine, 'tis but by chance,
And on the basest weed you'll waste a glance.



Imperial Cæsar, at your sacred charge
I drew a milk white ox into the Temple,
And turning there his face into the East
(Fearfully shaking at the shining light)
Down fell his horned forehead to his hoof.
When I began to greet him with the stroke
That should prepare him for the holy rites,
With hideous roars he laid out such a throat
As made the secret lurkings of the God
To answer, Echo-like, in threat'ning sounds :
I struck again at him, and then he slept;
His life-blood boiling out at every wound
In streams as clear as any liquid ruby,

-the beast cut up, and laid on the altar, His limbs were all lickt up with instant flames; 7


« PreviousContinue »