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Do but look on her eyes, they do light
All that Love's world compriseth!
Do but look on her hair, it is bright
As Love's star when it riseth!
Do but mark, her forehead's smoother
Than words that soothe her;
And from her arched brows, such a grace
Sheds itself through the face,

As alone there triúmphs to the life

All the gain, all the good of the elements' strife.

Have you seen but a bright lily grow
Before rude hands have touched it?

Have you marked but the fall o' the snow
Before the soil hath smutched it?
Have you felt the wool of beaver?
Or swan's down ever?

Or have smelt o' the bud o' the briar?
Or the nard in the fire?

Or have tasted the bag of the bee?

O so white,-O so soft,-O so sweet is she!


[From Hymenai; or, the Solemnities of Masque and Barriers at the marriage of the Earl of Essex, 1606.]

Upon her head she wears a crown of stars,

Through which her orient hair waves to her waist,
By which believing mortals hold her fast,
And in those golden cords are carried even,

Till with her breath she blows them up to heaven.
She wears a robe enchased with eagles' eyes,
To signify her sight in mysteries:

Upon each shoulder sits a milk-white dove,
And at her feet do witty serpents move:

Her spacious arms do reach from east to west,
And you may see her heart shine through her breast.
Her right hand holds a sun with burning rays,

Her left a curious bunch of golden keys,

With which heaven's gates she locketh and displays.

A crystal mirror hangeth at her breast,

By which men's consciences are searched and drest;
On her coach-wheels Hypocrisy lies racked ;
And squint-eyed Slander with Vainglory backed
Her bright eyes burn to dust, in which shines Fate:

An angel ushers her triumphant gait,
Whilst with her fingers fans of stars she twists,
And with them beats back Error, clad in mists.
Eternal Unity behind her shines,

That fire and water, earth and air combines.

Her voice is like a trumpet loud and shrill,
Which bids all sounds in earth and heaven be still.


[From Pan's Anniversary; or, The Shepherds' Holiday: 1625.]

First Nymph.

Thus, thus begin, the yearly rites

Are due to Pan on these bright nights:

His morn now riseth and invites

To sports, to dances, and delights:
All envious and profane, away!
This is the shepherds' holiday.

Second Nymph.

Strew, strew the glad and smiling ground
With every flower, yet not confound;
The primrose drop, the spring's own spouse
Bright day's-eyes, and the lips of cows,
The garden-star, the queen of May,
The rose, to crown the holiday.

Third Nymph.

Drop, drop you violets, change your hues
Now red, now pale, as lovers use,
And in your death go out as well,
As when you lived unto the smell:

That from your odour all may say,
This is the shepherds' holiday.

[From The Fortunate Isles and their Union, 1625.]

Spring all the graces of the age,

And all the loves of time;

Bring all the pleasures of the stage,
And relishes of rhyme;

Add all the softnesses of courts,
The looks, the laughters and the sports;
And mingle all their sweets and salts,
That none may say the triumph halts.


[Written after the failure of the comedy The New Inn, 'never acted, but most negligently played by some, the king's servants; and more squeamishly beheld and censured by others, the king's subjects,' January 19, 1629.]

Come, leave the loathed stage,

And the more loathsome age;

Where pride and impudence, in faction knit,

Usurp the chair of wit!

Indicting and arraigning every day

Something they call a play.

Let their fastidious, vain

Commission of the brain

Run on and rage, sweat, censure, and condemn;
They were not made for thee, less thou for them.

Say that thou pour'st them wheat,
And they will acorns eat;

Twere simple fury still thyself to waste
On such as have no taste!

To offer them a surfeit of pure bread
Whose appetites are dead!

No, give them grains their fill,
Husks, draff to drink or swill:

If they love lees, and leave the lusty wine,

Envy them not, their palate's with the swine.

No doubt some mouldy tale,

Like Pericles, and stale

As the shrieve's crusts, and nasty as his fish

Scraps out of every dish

Thrown forth, and raked into the common tub,
May keep up the Play-club:

There, sweepings do as well
As the best-ordered meal;

For who the relish of these guests will fit,
Needs set them but the alms-basket of wit.

And much good do't you then:

Brave plush-and-velvet-men

Can feed on orts; and, safe in your stage-clothes,

Dare quit, upon your oaths,

The stagers and the stage-wrights too, your peers,
Of larding your large ears

With their foul comic socks,

Wrought upon twenty blocks;

Which if they are torn, and turned, and patched enough, The gamesters share your gilt, and you their stuff.

Leave things so prostitute,

And take the Alcaic lute;

Or thine own Horace, or Anacreon's lyre;

Warm thee by Pindar's fire:

And though thy nerves be shrunk, and blood be cold,

Ere years have made thee old,

Strike that disdainful heat

Throughout, to their defeat,

As curious fools, and envious of thy strain,
May, blushing, swear no palsy's in thy brain.

But when they hear thee sing

The glories of thy king,

His zeal to God, and his just awe o'er men:
They may, blood-shaken then,

Feel such a flesh-quake to possess their powers,

As they shall cry: 'Like ours

In sound of peace or wars,
No harp e'er hit the stars,

In tuning forth the acts of his sweet reign,

And raising Charles his chariot 'bove his Wain.'


[From The Forest.]

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 withered 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.



To thee, my way in Epigrams seems new,
When both it is the old way, and the true.
Thou sayst that cannot be; for thou hast seen
Davis and Weever, and the best have been,
And mine come nothing like. I hope so; yet,
As theirs did with thee, mine might credit get,


1 From the (prose) love-letters of Philostratus the younger (about 250 A.D.) Author of the Scourge of Folly. Compiler of Funeral Monuments

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