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Foot it featly here and there
And, sweet sprites, the burden bear.
The watch-dogs bark—bowgh, bowgh.
Hark! hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticlere
Cry cock-a-doodle do.
Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip's bell I lie ;
There I couch, when owls do cry.
On the bat's back do I fly,
After summer, merrily:
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
: Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Pnæbus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced Aowers that lies;
And winking mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With every thing that pretty bin;
My lady sweet, arise ;
Arise, arise !
From Midsummer Night's Dream. The fine song of Oberon :
I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows;
Quite over-canopied with lush woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine :
There sleeps Titania, some time of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight ;
And there the snake throws her enamelled skin,
Weed-wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
Here is a magnificent apostrophe to Sleep :
O sleep! O gentle sleep!
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-Aies to thy slumber;
Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lulld with sounds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god! why liest thou with the vile,
In loathsome beds; and leav'st the kingly couch,
A watch-case, or a common ’larum-bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge,
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafʼning clamours in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude ;
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down i
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
In Timon of Athens, is this humorous passage on stealing :
I'll example you with thievery;
The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction
Robs the vast sea; the moon's an arrant thief,
For her pale fire she snatches from the sun;
The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears; the earth's a thief,
That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen
From general excrement ; each thing's a thief;
The law, your curb and whip, in their rough power
Have unchecked theft.
We have but space for one of Shakspeare's fine sonnets; but w hink this one of the best :
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments : love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove :
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come ;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it ou even to the edge of doom ;-
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
In Othello, Desdemona says : “My mother had a maid called Barbara ; she was in love ; and he she loved proved mad, and did forsake her : she had a song of willow, an old thing 'twas, but it expressed her fortune, and she died singing it: that song to-night
will not go from my mind; I have much to do, but to go hang my head all at one side, and sing it like poor Barbara :
The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
Sing all a green willow;
Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
Sing willow, willow, willow :
The fresh streams ran by her, and murmured her moans ;
Sing willow, willow, willow.
Her salt tears fell from her, and softened the stones,
Sing willow, willow, willow-
Sing all a green willow must be my garland.”
Reluctantly as we leave the almost unexplored wealth of thought and imagery which cluster the pages of this magician of the pen, we yet must pass on to some of his contemporaries :
“ Those shining stars that run
Their glorious course round Shakspeare's golden sun.”
Among these were Ben Jonson, BEAUMONT and FLETCHER, and others. Glancing over the life-records of these gifted, but, for the most part, erratic sons of genius, who can trace their checkered career without tender sympathy for their misfortunes, while cherishing reverence and admiration of their exalted endowments ! BEN Jonson's proud fame was allied with suffering and sorrow, for we find at his closing days the poet thanking his patron, the Earl of Newcastle, for bounties which, he says, had “fallen like the dew of heaven on his necessities.”
The classic beauty of the following lyric of Jonson has ever been the admiration of all critics :
Drink to me only with thine eyes, and I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup, and I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise doth ask a drink divine ;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup, I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath, not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a hope that there it could not wither'd be ;
But thou thereon didst only breathe, and sent'st it back to me ;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear, not of itself, but thee.
His song, entitled The Grace of Simplicity, is one of the most characteristic of its author :
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 Aowing, hair as free;
Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
Than all the adulteries of art :
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.
Another of his exquisite songs is the well-known Hymn to Diana,
Diana is here addressed as the moon, rather than the goddess of hunting.