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For though this clime were blest of yore,
O beauteous queen of second Troy,
Now th' air is sweeter than sweet balm,
Now birds record new harmony,
Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds
Herrick is the great May-day Poet:
Get up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
The dew bespangling herb and tree.
Nay, not so much as out of bed;
When all the birds have matins said,
When as a thousand virgins on this day
Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seen
Gems in abundance upon you;
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth. Wash, dress, be brief in praying; Few beads are best when once we go a Maying.
Come, my Corinna, come; and, coming, mark
Or branch; each porch, each door, ere this,
up of white-thorn neatly interwove;
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
There's not a budding boy or girl, this day,
Back, and with white-thorn laden home.
And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted troth,
Many a kiss, both odd and even;
Many a glance, too, has been sent
From out the eye, love's firmament;
Many a jest told of the key's betraying
This night, and locks pick'd, yet we 're not a Maying.
Come, let us go, while we are in our prime,
Our life is short, and our days run
As fast away as does the sun;
And as a vapour, or a drop of rain
Lies drown'd with us in endless night.
Then, while time serves, and we are but decaying,
The decay of the old custom forms the subject of an anonymous lament, a century old, written under the title of Pasquil's Palinodia : '— Fairly we marched on, till our approach
Within the spacious passage of the Strand
Of harmless mirth and honest neighbourhood,
To mount the rod of peace, and none withstood:
Happy the age, and harmless were the days,
And Whitsun ales and May games did abound:
And all the lusty younkers, in a rout,
Rejoiced when they beheld the farmers flourish,
To see the country gallants dance the morrice.
75.-SCENES FROM THE ALCHEMIST.
["O RARE BEN JONSON!"-the inscription on his tomb-stone in Westminster Abbey, which a mason cut for eighteen pence to please a looker on when the grave was covering-is a familiar phrase to many who have not ever opened the works of this celebrated man. Jonson was born in 1574, and died in 1637. He was a ripe scholar-a most vigorous thinker. There are passages and delineations of character in his plays, which are matchless of their kind;-but he is the dramatist of peculiarities, then called "humours; "he is the converse of what he described Shakspere to be-he is “ for an age," and not “for all time."]
Lovewit, a housekeeper in London, has fled to the country during a season when the plague was raging. His servant, Face, abusing his opportunities, admits an impostor, Subtle, and his female confederate, Dol, into the house; and there the three worthies carry on a profitable trade by pretending to tell fortunes, and transmute metals into gold The first Scene exhibits the Alchemist and the Servant in high quarrel:
Dol. Will you have
The neighbours hear you? Will you betray all?
Hark! I hear somebody.
Subtle. I shall mar
All that the tailor has made if you approach.
Face. You most notorious whelp, you insolent slave,
Sub. Yes, faith; yes, faith,
Face. Why, who
Am I, you mongrel? Who am I?
Sub. I'll tell you,
Since you know not yourself.
Face. Speak lower, rogue.
Sub. Yes, you were once (time 's not long past) the good, Honest, plain, livery-three-pound-thrum, that kept
Your master's worship's house here in the Friars,
For the vacations
Face. Will you be so loud?
Sub. Since, by my means, translated suburb-captain.
Sub. Within man's memory,
All this I speak of.
Face. Why, I pray you, have I
Been countenanced by you, or you by me?
Face. Not of this, I think it.
But I shall put you in mind, Sir; at Pie-corner,
Sub. I wish you could advance your voice a little.
A felt of rug, and a thin threaden cloak,
That scarce would cover your no buttocks
Sub, So, Sir!
Face. When all your alchemy, and your algebra,
Your conjuring, cozening, and your dozen of trades,