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From all dishonest deeds,
Or thought of vanity;

The man whose silent days
In harmless joys are spent,
Whom hopes cannot delude
Nor sorrow discontent:

That man needs neither towers
Nor armour for defence,
Nor secret vaults to fly
From thunder's violence:

He only can behold
With unaffrighted eyes
The horrors of the deep
And terrors of the skies.

Thus scorning all the cares

That fate or fortune brings, He makes the heaven his book; His wisdom heavenly things;

Good thoughts his only friends,
His wealth a well-spent age,
The earth his sober inn
And quiet pilgrimage.


Jack and Joan, they think no ill,
But loving live, and merry still;
Do their week-day's work, and pray
Devoutly on the holy-day:

Skip and trip it on the green,

And help to choose the Summer Queen;
Lash out at a country feast
Their silver penny with the best.

Well can they judge of nappy ale,
And tell at large a winter tale;
Climb up to the apple loft,
And turn the crabs till they be soft.
Tib is all the father's joy,

And little Tom the mother's boy:-
All their pleasure is, Content,
And care, to pay their yearly rent.

Joan can call by name her cows
And deck her windows with green boughs;
She can wreaths and tutties make,
And trim with plums a bridal cake.
Jack knows what brings gain or loss,
And his long flail can stoutly toss:
Makes the hedge which others break,
And ever thinks what he doth speak.

Now, you courtly dames and knights,
That study only strange delights,
Though you scorn the homespun gray,
And revel in your rich array;
Though your tongues dissemble deep
And can your heads from danger keep;
Yet, for all your pomp and train,
Securer lives the silly swain!

John Fletcher



(From The Faithful Shepherdess, Act II. sc. 1, acted 1610)

Shepherds all, and maidens fair
Fold your flocks up, for the air
'Gins to thicken, and the sun
Already his great course hath run.
See the dew-drops how they kiss
Every little flower that is;
Hanging on their velvet heads,
Like a rope of crystal beads;
See the heavy clouds low falling,
And bright Hesperus down calling
The dead night from under ground;
At whose rising mists unsound,
Damps and vapours fly apace,
Hovering o'er the wanton face
Of these pastures, where they come
Striking dead both bud and bloom:
Therefore from such danger lock
Every one his loved flock;

And let your dogs lie loose without,
Lest the wolf come as a scout
From the mountain, and, ere day,
Bear a lamb or kid away;
Or the crafty thievish fox
Break upon your simple flocks.
To secure yourselves from these
Be not too secure in ease;
Let one eye his watches peep
While the other eye doth sleep;
you shall good shepherds prove,

And for ever hold the love

Of our great god. Sweetest slumbers,
And soft silence, fall in numbers
On your eyelids! So, farewell!
Thus I end my evening's knell.


(From the same, Act. V. sc. 5.)

All ye woods, and trees, and bowers,
All ye virtues and ye powers
That inhabit in the lakes,

In the pleasant springs or brakes,
Move your feet

To our sound,

Whilst we greet
All this ground

With his honour and his name

That defends our flocks from blame.

He is great, and he is just,

He is ever good, and must
Thus be honoured.
Roses, pinks, and loved lilies,

Let us fling

Whilst we sing

Ever holy,

Ever holy,


Ever honoured, ever young!
Thus great Pan is ever sung!

Francis Beaumont
1586 (?)-1616


(From Poems, 1640)

Like to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are,
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew,
Or like the wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood;
Even such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in and paid to-night.
The wind blows out, the bubble dies,
The spring entombed in autumn lies,
The dew's dried up, the star is shot,
The flight is past, and man forgot.


(From Poems, 1653)

Mortality, behold and fear! What a change of flesh is here! Think how many royal bones Sleep within this heap of stones; Here they lie, had realms and lands, Who now want strength to stir their hands; Where from their pulpits sealed with dust They preach, "In greatness is no trust." Here's an acre sown indeed With the richest, royall'st seed That the earth did e'er suck in Since the first man died for sin: Here the bones of birth have cried,

"Though gods they were, as men they died!"

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