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DIRGE

CALL for the robin-redbreast and the wren,
Since o'er shady groves they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.
Call unto his funeral dole
The ant, the field mouse, and the mole,
To rear him hillocks that shall keep him warm,
And (when gay tombs are robbed) sustain no harm;
But keep the wolf far thence, that's foe to men,
For with his nails he'll dig them up again.

John Webster

BRIDAL SONG

ROSES, their sharp spines being gone,
Not royal in their smells alone,

But in their hue;
Maiden pinks, of odour faint,
Daisies smell-less, yet most quaint,

And sweet thyme true;

Primrose, first-born child of Ver,
Merry springtime's harbinger.

With harebells dim;
Oxlips in their cradles growing,
Marigolds on deathbeds blowing,

Larks'-heels trim.

All dear Nature's children sweet,
Lie 'fore bride and bridegroom's feet,

Blessing their sense !
Not an angel of the air,
Bird melodious, or bud fair,

Be absent hence!

The crow, the slanderous cuckoo, nor
The boding raven, nor chough hoar,

Nor chattering pie,
May on our bride house perch or swing,
Or with them any discord bring
But from it fly!

John Fletcher “SWEET ECHO"

SWEET Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen

Within thy airy shell,
By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet-embroidered vale,

Where the love-lorn nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well;
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
That likest thy Narcissus are?

O, if thou have
Hid them in some flowery cave,

Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the sphere?
So mayst thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all heaven's harmonies.

John Milton

ON MAY MORNING

NOW the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May! that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

John Milton

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THE NYMPH COMPLAINING FOR THE DEATH

OF HER FAWN

THE wanton troopers riding by
Have shot my fawn, and it will die.
Ungentle men! they cannot thrive
To kill thee. Thou ne'er didst alive
Them any harm; alas! nor could
Thy death yet do them any good.
I'm sure I never wished them ill;
Nor do I for all this, nor will:
But, if my simple prayers may yet
Prevail with Heaven to forget
Thy murder, I will join my tears
Rather than fail. But, O my fears!
It cannot die so. Heaven's king
Keeps register of everything,
And nothing may we use in vain;
Even beasts must be with justice slain,
Else men are made their deodands.
Though they should wash their guilty hands
In this warm life-blood which doth part
From thine, and wound me to the heart,
Yet could they not be clean: their stain
Is dyed in such a purple grain.
There is not such another in
The world, to offer for their sin.

Unconstant Sylvio, when yet
I had not found him counterfeit,
One morning (I remember well),
Tied in this silver chain and bell,
Gave it to me: nay, and I know
What he said then, I'm sure I do.
Said he, ‘Look how your huntsman here

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