« PreviousContinue »
THOMAS DECKER Out of the depths of darkling life where sin
Laughs piteously that sorrow should not know
Her own ill name, nor woe be counted woe;
What charm of joy-bells ringing, streams that flow,
Winds that blow healing in each note they blow,
Hung lamplike o'er a dense and doleful city,
Nor gave Christ praise from lips more sweet with pity.
A wild moon riding high from cloud to cloud,
That sees and sees not, glimmering far beneath,
Hell's children revel along the shuddering heath
With brows blood-flecked behind their bridal wreath
And lips that bade the assassin's sword find sheath Deep in the heart whereto love's heart was vowed : A game of close contentious crafts and creeds
Played till white England bring black Spain to shame: A son's bright sword and brighter soul, whose deeds
High conscience lights for mother's love and fame: Pure gipsy flowers, and poisonous courtly weeds :
Such tokens and such trophies crown thy name.
What else may all men call thee, seeing thus bright
Even yet the laughing and the weeping light That still thy kind old eyes are kindled from? Small care was thine to assail and overcome
Time and his child Oblivion : yet of right
Thy name has part with names of lordlier might For English love and homely sense of home,
Whose fragrance keeps thy small sweet bayleaf young
And gives it place aloft among thy peers
Whence many a wreath once higher strong Time has hurled : And this thy praise is sweet on Shakespeare's tongue
O good old man, how well in thee appears
High priest of Homer, not elect in vain,
Deep trumpets blow before thee, shawms behind
Mix music with the rolling wheels they wind Slow through the labouring triumph of thy train : Fierce history, molten in thy forging brain,
Takes form and fire and fashion from thy mind,
Tormented and transmuted out of kind :
Grim Yarrington, 3 scarce bloodier marked than thou,
Then bluff as Mayne's or broad-mouthed Barry's glee,
And beard like foam swept off the broad blown sea,
The bitterness of death and bitterer scorn
Breathes from the broad-leafed aloe-plant whence thou
Wast fain to gather for thy bended brow
Ploughed up thy soul till round the furrowing plough
The strange black soil foamed, as a black beaked prow
Pervades the sullen splendour of thy soul,
It keeps this noble heart of hatred whole.
1 Author of The Hog hath lost his Pearl.
Day was a full-blown flower in heaven, alive
With murmuring joy of bees and birds aswarm,
When in the skies of song yet flushed and warm
Struggling along the splendour of the storm,
Day for an hour put off his fiery form,
And laughter soft as smiles from girls at play
And loud from lips of boys brow-bound with May. Our mightiest age let fall its gentlest word, When Song, in semblance of a sweet small bird,
Lit fluttering on the light swift hand of Day.
JAMES SHIRLEY The dusk of day's decline was hard on dark
When evening trembled round thy glowworm lamp
That shone across her shades and dewy damp
Though changed the watchword of our English camp
Since the outposts rang round Marlowe's lion ramp, When thy steed's pace went ambling round Hyde Park. And in the thickening twilight under thee Walks Davenant, pensive in the paths where he, The blithest throat that ever carolled love
In music made of morning's merriest heart, Glad Suckling, stumbled from his seat above
And reeled on slippery roads of alien art.
THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN Sons born of many a loyal Muse to Ben,
All true-begotten, warm with wine or ale,
Bright from the broad light of his presence, hail ! Prince Randolph, nighest his throne of all his men, Being highest in spirit and heart who hailed him then
King, nor might other spread so blithe a sail :
Cartwright, a soul pent in with narrower pale, Praised of thy sire for manful might of pen :
Marmion, whose verse keeps always keen and fine
Who shared with that stout sire of all and thee
Is not your praise writ broad in gold wh he
ANONYMOUS PLAYS: ARDEN OF FEVERSHAM'
MOTHER whose womb brought forth our man of men,
Mother of Shakespeare, whom all time acclaims
Queen therefore, sovereign queen of English dames,
Which drew, reflected from encircling flames,
A figure marked by the earlier of thy names
Great in her grief and sin, but in her death
And anguish of her penitential breath
She stands, the holocaust of dark desire,
Ye too, dim watchfires of some darkling hour,
Whose fame forlorn time saves not nor proclaims
For ever, but forgetfulness defames
Let the far twilight feel your soft small flames
And smile, albeit night name not even their names, Ghost by ghost passing, fower blown down on flower : That sweet-tongued shadow, like a star's that passed Singing, and light was from its darkness cast
To paint the face of Painting fair with praise : 1 And that wherein forefigured smiles the pure Fraternal face of Wordsworth's Elidure
Between two child-faced masks of merrier days. ?
1 Doctor Dodypol.
* Nobody and Somebody.
More yet and more, and yet we mark not all :
The Warning fain to bid fair women heed
Its hard brief note of deadly doom and deed ;1
The iron page wherein men's eyes who read
See, bruised and marred between two babes that bleed,
Who, seeing three friends in spirit and heart made one,
In the pleached lanes of pleasant Edmonton.
GREENE, garlanded with February's few flowers,
Ere March came in with Marlowe's rapturous rage :
Peele, from whose hand the sweet white locks of age
And Lilly, a goldfinch in a twisted cage
Fed by some gay great lady's pettish page
And Chettle, in whose fresh funereal verse
Weeps Marian yet on Robin's wildwood hearse :
Sighed from a maiden's amorous mouth averse :
HAUGHTON, whose mirth gave woman all her will :
Field, bright and loud with laughing flower and bird
And keen alternate notes of laud and gird : Barnes, darkening once with Borgia's deeds the quill * A Warning for Fair Women. ? The Tragedy of Nero. 3 A Yorkshire Tragedy. * Look about you.
5 The Merry Devil of Edmonton.