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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;
Where hate and craft and lust make drearier din
Than sounds through dreams that grief holds revel in;

What charm of joy-bells ringing, streams that flow,

Winds that blow healing in each note they blow,
Is this that the outer darkness hears begin?
O sweetest heart of all thy time save one,
Star seen for love's sake nearest to the sun,

Hung lamplike o'er a dense and doleful city,
Not Shakespeare's very spirit, howe'er more great,
Than thine toward man was more compassionate,

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 dirge-like mirth and raiment like a shroud :
A worse fair face than witchcraft's passion-proud,

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.


Tom, if they loved thee best who called thee Tom,

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
The constant service of the antique world !'



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 :
But howsoe'er thou shift thy strenuous strain,
Like Tailor 1 smooth, like Fisher 2 swollen, and now

Grim Yarrington, 3 scarce bloodier marked than thou,

Then bluff as Mayne's or broad-mouthed Barry's glee,
Proud still with hoar predominance of brow

And beard like foam swept off the broad blown sea,
Where'er thou go, men's reverence goes with thee.




The bitterness of death and bitterer scorn

Breathes from the broad-leafed aloe-plant whence thou

Wast fain to gather for thy bended brow
A chaplet by no gentler forehead worn.
Grief deep as hell, wrath hardly to be borne,

Ploughed up thy soul till round the furrowing plough

The strange black soil foamed, as a black beaked prow
Bids night-black waves foam where its track has torn.
Too faint the phrase for thee that only saith
Scorn bitterer than the bitterness of death

Pervades the sullen splendour of thy soul,
Where hate and pain make war on force and fraud
And all the strengths of tyrants ; whence unflawed

It keeps this noble heart of hatred whole.


1 Author of The Hog hath lost his Pearl.
2 Author of Fuimus Troes, or the True Trojans.
3 Author of Two Tragedies in One. * Author of The City Match.
6 Author of Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks.



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
With music where all passion seems to strive
For utterance, all things bright and fierce to drive

Struggling along the splendour of the storm,

Day for an hour put off his fiery form,
And golden murmurs from a golden hive
Across the strong bright summer wind were heard,

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
A small clear beacon whose benignant spark
Was gracious yet for loiterers' eyes to mark,

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
The perfume of their Apollonian wine

Who shared with that stout sire of all and thee
The exuberant chalice of his echoing shrine :

Is not your praise writ broad in gold wh he
Inscribed, that all who praise his name should see ?





MOTHER whose womb brought forth our man of men,

Mother of Shakespeare, whom all time acclaims

Queen therefore, sovereign queen of English dames,
Throned higher than sat thy sonless empress then,
Was it thy son's young passion-guided pen

Which drew, reflected from encircling flames,

A figure marked by the earlier of thy names
Wife, and from all her wedded kinswomen
Marked by the sign of murderess? Pale and great,

Great in her grief and sin, but in her death

And anguish of her penitential breath
Greater than all her sin or sin-born fate,

She stands, the holocaust of dark desire,
Clothed round with song for ever as with fire.



Ye too, dim watchfires of some darkling hour,

Whose fame forlorn time saves not nor proclaims

For ever, but forgetfulness defames
And darkness and the shadow of death devour,
Lift up ye too your light, put forth your power,

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 verse that strewed too thick with flowers the hall
Whence Nero watched his fiery festival ; 2

The iron page wherein men's eyes who read

See, bruised and marred between two babes that bleed,
A mad red-handed husband's martyr fall ; 3
The scene which crossed and streaked with mirth the strife
Of Henry with his sons and witchlike wife ;4
And that sweet pageant of the kindly fiend,

Who, seeing three friends in spirit and heart made one,
Crowned with good hap the true-love wiles he screened

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
Took the mild chaplet woven of honoured hours :
Nash, laughing hard : Lodge, Aushed from lyric bowers :

And Lilly, a goldfinch in a twisted cage

Fed by some gay great lady's pettish page
Till short sweet songs gush clear like short spring showers :
Kid, whose grim sport still gambolled over graves :

And Chettle, in whose fresh funereal verse

Weeps Marian yet on Robin's wildwood hearse :
Cooke, whose light boat of song one soft breath saves,

Sighed from a maiden's amorous mouth averse :
Live likewise ye : Time takes not you for slaves.




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.


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