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If thou'dst but use thy faith as thou didst then,
When thou wert wont t'admire, not censure' men.
Prithee believe still, and not judge so fast :
Thy faith is all the knowledge that thou hast.


All men are worms, but this no man. In silk
'Twas brought to court first wrapt, and white as milk;
Where, afterwards, it grew a butterfly,
Which was a caterpillar. So 'twill die.


Thy praise or dispraise is to me alike :
One doth not stroke me, nor the other strike.


This morning, timely rapt with holy fire,
I thought to form unto my zealous Muse,
What kind of creature I could most desire

To honour, serve, and love, as Poets use.
I meant to make her fair, and free, and wise,
Of greatest blood, and yet more good than great;
I meant the day-star should not brighter rise,
Nor lend like influence from his lucent seat.
I meant she should be courteous, facile, sweet,
Hating that solemn vice of greatness, pride;
I meant each softest virtue there should meet,
Fit in that softer bosom to reside.

Only a learned, and a manly soul

I purposed her that should, with even powers,
The rock, the spindle, and the shears control
Of Destiny, and spin her own free hours.
Such when I meant to feign, and wished to see,
My Muse bade BEDFORD write, and that was she!

1 Censure = criticise. 2 This this is.


Compare Pope's 'Sporus.'

Wife of Edward, third Earl of Bedford. She was also sung by Donne

and Daniel.


Weep with me, all you that read
This little story;

And know, for whom a tear you shed
Death's self is sorry.

'Twas a child that so did thrive

In grace and feature,

As Heaven and Nature seemed to strive
Which owned the creature.

Years he numbered scarce thirteen
When Fates turned cruel,

Yet three filled zodiacs had he been
The stage's jewel;

And did act, what now we moan,
Old men so duly,

As, sooth, the Parcæ thought him one,—

He played so truly.

So, by error to his fate

They all consented;

But viewing him since, alas, too late

They have repented;

And have sought to give new birth
In baths to steep him;

But being so much too good for earth,
Heaven vows to keep him.


Wouldst thou hear what man can say
In a little? Reader, stay.

Underneath this stone doth lie
As much beauty as could die :
Which in life did harbour give

To more virtue than doth live.

1 These children (called in the next reign Children of Her Majesty's Revels) were trained up to act before the Queen. Salathiel had acted in two of Jonson's plays, in 1600, and in 1601, when he is supposed to have died.

If at all she had a fault,

Leave it buried in this vault.
One name was ELIZABETH;

The other, let it sleep in death,
Fitter, where it died to tell,

Than that it lived at all. Farewell!


[From Underwoods.]

Where dost thou careless lie

Buried in ease and sloth?

Knowledge that sleeps, doth die;

And this security,

It is the common moth

That eats on wits and arts, and [that]1 destroys them both.

Are all the Aonian springs

Dried up? lies Thespia waste?

Doth Clarius' harp want strings,

That not a nymph now sings;

Or droop they as disgraced,

To see their seats and bowers by chattering pies defaced?

If hence thy silence be,

As 'tis too just a cause,

Let this thought quicken thee:

Minds that are great and free

Should not on fortune pause;

'Tis crown enough to virtue still, her own applause.

What though the greedy fry

Be taken with false baits

Of worded balladry,

And think it poësy?

They die with their conceits,

And only piteous scorn upon their folly waits.

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Then take in hand thy lyre;
Strike in thy proper strain;
With Japhet's line1 aspire
Sol's chariot, for new fire

To give the world again:

Who aided him, will thee, the issue of Jove's brain.

And, since our dainty age

Cannot endure reproof,

Make not thyself a page

To that strumpet the stage;

But sing high and aloof,

Safe from the wolf's black jaw, and the dull ass's hoof.


[Printed by Gifford in Underwoods, but really from the First Folio edition of Shakspeare, 1623.]

To draw no envy, Shakspeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such,

As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are, as some infámous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron; what could hurt her more?
But thou art proof against them and, indeed,
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.

' Prometheus son of Iapetus.

I therefore will begin: Soul of the age!
The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!
My SHAKSPEARE, rise! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie

A little further, to make thee a room1:
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still while thy book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so my brain excuses,—
I mean with great, but disproportioned Muses;
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.

And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names, but call forth thund'ring Eschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,

Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova 2 dead,
To life again, to hear thy buskin tread,
And shake a stage; or when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for a comparison

Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm!
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines,

1 In allusion to W. Basse's elegy on Shakspeare, beginning— 'Renowned Spenser, lie a thought more nigh

2 Seneca

To learned Chaucer; and rare Beaumont, lie
A little nearer Spenser, to make room

For Shakespear in your threefold, fourfold tomb.'

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