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to Shelley's 'Ariel to Miranda' for an echo to these lyrics, still sweeter than their melody, and to his 'Music, when soft voices die' for a fellow to 'Weep no more.'
There is the same buoyant grace in Fletcher's songs, and something more. In that age of songs, many a playwright could produce a lyric or two of the stamp which seems to have been wellnigh lost since; but songs seem to flow by nature from Fletcher's pen in every style and on every occasion, and to be always right and beautiful. If he wants a drinking-song, he can rise to 'God Lyæus, ever young,' or can produce, what on a much lower level is hardly less perfect, the 'Drink to-day and drown all sorrow' of the Bloody Brother. The wonderful verses on Melancholy, which suggested Il Penseroso and are hardly surpassed by it, come as easily to his call as the mad laughing-song of the same play. 'Sad songs,' like that quoted from The Queen of Corinth; dirges, like the 'Come you, whose loves are dead' of The Knight of the Burning Pestle, or the 'Lay a garland on my hearse'; invocations, prayers to Cupid, hymns to Pan,-each has its own charm, and Fletcher is as ready with his Beggars' or Broom-man's songs, or even with a dramatie battle-lyric like the tumultuous 'Arm, arm, arm, arm!' of The Mad Lover. Some of the best of these occur, indeed, in plays of which Beaumont was the joint author; but a comparison of those lyrics which undeniably belong to each poet alone is perhaps enough to convince us that Fletcher was the author of 'Lay a garland on my hearse,' if not also of 'Come you, whose loves are dead.' Probably however he has touched his highest point in the song from Valentinian, Hear, ye ladies that despise.' Here the reader will observe (what applies also to another fine song from the same play, 'Now the lusty spring is seen') that the rhythm exactly corresponds in the two stanzas without at all interfering with the spontaneous effect of the whole.
Fletcher was the sole author of The Faithful Shepherdess, the forerunner of Milton's Comus; and we may safely assume that no one of the extracts which follow is a joint production of the two poets. But this is not the case with their dramatic works. So complete was their poetical union that it is impossible, in the absence of external evidence, to say with any certainty what part of those plays which belong to both is due to each, or even to describe their separate characteristics. An old tradition contrasted the 'judgment' of the younger poet, who was Jonson's intimate friend, with the fancy and facility of the elder. That
Fletcher possessed the latter qualities is certain; but we have no reason to attribute to Beaumont any of the deficiencies which the 'faint praise' of 'judgment' might seem to imply.
The opening song of The Two Noble Kinsmen has been included in this selection, although it is difficult to attribute it to any one but Shakespeare. On the other hand, 'Take, oh take those lips away,' the first stanza of which occurs in Measure for Measure, has been excluded.
A. C. BRADLEY.
LINES ON THE TOMBS IN WESTMINSTER.
Mortality, behold and fear!
What a change of flesh is here!
Sleep within this heap of stones;
That the earth did e'er suck in,
Here the bones of birth have cried,
'Though gods they were, as men they died':
Here are sands, ignoble things,
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings:
FROM THE MAID'S TRAGEDY.'
[By Beaumont and Fletcher.]
My love was false, but I was firm
FROM THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS.'
Here be grapes whose lusty blood
Sweeter yet did never crown
The head of Bacchus; nuts more brown
For these black-eyed Dryope
Hath oftentimes commanded me
With my clasped knee to climb :
See how well the lusty time
Hath deck'd their rising cheeks in red,
Here be berries for a queen,
Some be red, some be green;
The great god Pan himself doth eat:
All these, and what the woods can yield,
The hanging mountain or the field,
I freely offer, and ere long
Will bring you more, more sweet and strong;
Till when, humbly leave I take,
Lest the great Pan do awake,
That sleeping lies in a deep glade,
Under a broad beech's shade.
I must go, I must run
Swifter than the fiery sun.
THE RIVER GOD TO AMORET.
I am this fountain's god.
And 'twixt two banks with osiers sct,
Where the gravel from the brim
Through the pure streams may be seen;
Will I give, thy love to win,
That shall disobey thy look,
But, when thou wilt, come gliding by