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No howls of wolves, no yelps of hounds;
No, not the noise of water's breach,
Or cannon's throat our height can reach. [Voice above.] No ring of bells, &c.
Fire. Well, mother, I thank your kindness : you must be gambolling i'th' air, and leave me to walk here, like a fool and a mortal.
THE CHRISTIAN LADY AND THE ANGEL.
An ANGEL, in the guise of a Page, attends on DOROTHEA.
Dor. My book and taper.
Here, most holy mistress.
Dor. Thy voice sends forth such music, that I never
Was ravish'd with a more celestial sound.
Were every servant in the world like thee,
So full of goodness, angels would come down
To dwell with us : thy name is Angelo,
And like that name thou art. Get thee to rest;
Thy youth with too much watching is opprest.
Ang. No, my dear lady ; I could weary stars,
And force the wakeful moon to lose her eyes,
By my late watching, but to wait on you.
When at your prayers you kneel before the altar,
Methinks I'm singing with some quire in heaven,
So blest I hold me in your company :
Therefore, my most lov'd mistress, do not bid
Your boy, so serviceable, to get hence;
For then you break his heart.
Be nigh me still then.
In golden letters down I'll set that day
Which gave thee to me. Little did I hope
To meet such worlds of comfort in thyself,
This little, pretty body, when I, coming
Forth of the temple, heard my beggar-boy,
My sweet-faced, godly beggar-boy, crave an alms,
Which with glad hand I gave, with lucky hand !
And when I took thee home, my most chaste bosom
Methought was fill’d with no hot wanton fire,
But with a holy flame, mounting since higher,
On wings of cherubims, than it did before.
Ang. Proud am I, that my lady's modest eye
So likes so poor a servant.
I have offer'd
Handfuls of gold but to behold thy parents.
I would leave kingdoms, were I queen of some,
To dwell with thy good father; for, the son
Bewitching me so deeply with his presence,
He that begot him must do it ten times more.
I pray thee, my sweet boy, show me thy parents;
Be not asham'd.
I am not: I did never
Know who my mother was; but by yon palace,
Fill'd with bright heavenly courts, I dare assure you,
And pawn these eyes upon it, and this hand,
My father is in heaven; and, pretty mistress,
If your illustrious hour-glass spend his sand,
No worse than yet it does, upon my life,
You and I both shall meet my father there,
And he shall bid you welcome!
O blessed day!
We all long to be there, but lose the way.
DOROTHEA is executed ; and the ANGEL visits THEOPHILUS, the
Judge that condemned her.
This Christian slut was well,
A pretty one; but let such horror follow
The next I feed with torments, that when Rome
Shall hear it, her foundation at the sound
May feel an earthquake. How now? (Music.)
Are you amazed, sir ? So great a Roman spirit, and doth it tremble ?
Theoph. How cam’st thou in? to whom thy business ?
Ang. To you.
I had a mistress, late sent hence by you
Upon a bloody errand; you entreated,
That, when she came into that blessed garden
Whither she knew she went, and where, now happy,
She feeds upon all joy, she would send to you
Some of that garden fruit and flowers; which here,
To have her promise sav'd, are brought by me.
Theoph. Cannot I see this garden ?
Yes, if the master
Will give you entrance.
(He vanishes.) Theoph.
'T is a tempting fruit,
And the most bright-cheek’d child I ever view'd ;
Sweet-smelling, goodly fruit. What flowers are these ?
In Dioclesian's gardens, the most beauteous
Compard with these are weeds : is it not February,
The second day she died ? frost, ice, and snow,
Hang on the beard of winter: where's the sun
That gilds this summer? pretty, sweet boy, say,
In what country shall a man find this garden ?-
My delicate boy,--gone! vanish'd ! within there,
.Both. My lord.
Theoph. Are my gates snui:
Saw you not
Theoph. Here he enter'd, a young lad;
A thousand blessings danc'd upon his eyes ;
A smooth-fac'd glorious thing, that brought this basket.
Geta. No, sir.
Theoph. Away! but be in reach, if my voice calls you.
A fine sweet earthquake, gently mov'd
By the soft wind of whispering silks.
Trust not a woman when she cries,
For she'll pump water from her eyes
With a wet finger, and in faster showers
Than April when he rains down flowers.
There's a lean fellow beats all conquerors.
Duke. What comfort do you find in being so calm ?
Candido. That which green wounds receive from sovereign balm. Patience, my lord ! why, 't is the soul of peace ;
Of all the virtues 't is nearest kin to heaven;
It makes men look like gods. The best of men
That e'er wore earth about him was a sufferer,
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
The first true gentleman that ever breath'd.
The stock of patience then cannot be poor ;
All it desires, it has; what award more?
It is the greatest enemy to law
That can be, for it doth embrace all wrongs,
And so chains up lawyers and women's tongues :
'Tis the perpetual prisoner's liberty,
His walks and orchards : 't is the bond-slave's freedom,
And makes him seem proud of his iron chain,
As though he wore it more for state than pain :
It is the beggar's music, and thus sings,-
Although their bodies beg, their souls are kings.
0, my dread liege! it is the sap of bliss,
Bears us aloft, makes men and angels kiss ;
And last of all, to end a household strife,
It is the honey 'gainst a waspish wife.
I had a doubt whether to put this exquisite passage into the present volume, or to reserve it for one of Contemplative poetry; but the imagination, which few will not think predominant in it, together with a great admiration of the sentiments, of the thoughtful, good-natured alternation of jest and earnest, and of the sweetness of the versification, increased by a certain wild mixture of rhyme and blank verse, determined me to indulge the impulse. Perhaps Decker, who had experienced the worst troubles of poverty, not excepting loss of liberty,