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SWEET day! so cool, so calm, so bright,
For thou must die.
Sweet rose! whose hue, angry and brave,
And thou must die.
Sweet spring! full of sweet days and roses,
And all must die.
Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Then chiefly lives.
[RICHARD CORBET was born at Ewell, in Surrey, in 1582, and was educated at Oxford, where he obtained great celebrity as a wit. He took orders, and, after obtaining several preferments, was promoted successively to the sees of Oxford and Norwich. He died in 1635.
Bishop Corbet was remarkable for his convivial habits, and some amusing traits of eccentricity and humour have been handed down regarding him ; even the mitre does not seem to have made him uniformly grave, or averse to a practical jest.]
FAREWELL rewards and fairies,
Good housewives now may say,
For now foul sluts in dairies
Do fare as well as they.
And though they sweep their hearths no less
Than maids were wont to do, Yet who of late, for cleanliness,
Finds sixpence in her shoe?
Lament, lament, old Abbeys,
The fairies' lost command;
But some have changed your land;
Are now grown Puritans;
For love of your domains.
At morning and at evening both,
You merry were and glad,
These pretty ladies had ;
Or Cis to milking rose,
And nimbly went their toes.
Witness those rings and roundelays
Of theirs, which yet remain, Were footed in Queen Mary's days
On many a grassy plain ; But since of late Elizabeth,
And later, James came in,
They never danc'd on any heath
As when the time hath been.
By which we note the fairies
Were of the old profession, Their songs were Ave-Maries,
Their dances were procession : But now, alas ! they all are dead,
Or gone beyond the seas; Or farther for religion fled,
Or else they take their ease.
A tell-tale in their company
They never could endure, And whoso kept not secretly
Their mirth, was punish'd sure ; It was a just and Christian deed
To pinch such black and blue: O how the commonwealth doth need
Such justices as you !
BY BEN JONSON.
[BEN JONSON was born in Westminster, in 1574, a month after his father's death. He passed his early days at Westminster School, and was then put to the trade of a bricklayer; but, disliking that business, he ran away, and joined the army. After his return from Flanders, where he served, he went to the University of Cambridge, but was soon compelled by poverty to leave it, and go on the stage. Unhappily he killed a brother actor in a duel, for which he narrowly escaped being hanged; while in prison he became a convert to the Roman Catholic religion, in which he remained for some years. For the rest of his life he continued to write plays, and having had a share in “Eastward Ho,” which was supposed to reflect on the Scotch, he was again sent to prison in the reign of James I. ; when he obtained his liberty, he flattered that weak prince, and became his favourite. Charles I. gave him a pension, but his extravagant habits always kept him poor. He died in 1637, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. A convivial associate induced a stone cutter who was erecting a monument in Poet's Corner to him, to inscribe on it the now memorable epitaph, “O rare Ben Jonson ;” and he well deserved it.]
DRINK to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with minc;
And I'll not look for wine.