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Fal'n into my river head,
Hallow'd so with many a spell,
That till now none ever feli.
"Tis a female young and clear,
Cast in by some ravisher.
See upon her breast a wound,
On which there is no plaister bound.
Yet she's warm, her pulses beat,
"Tis a sign of life and heat.
If thou be’st a virgin pure,
I can give a present cure.
Take a drop into thy wound
From my watry locks, more round
Than orient pearl, and far more pure
Than unchaste flesh may endure.
See she pants, and from her flesh
The warm blood gusheth out afresh.
She is an unpolluted maid;
I must have this bleeding staid.
From my banks I pluck this flower
With holy hand, whose virtuous power
Is at once to heal and draw.
The blood returns. I never saw
A fairer mortal. Now doth break
Her deadly slumber. Virgin, speak. .
Amo. Who hath restored my sense; given me new
And brought me back out of the arms of death?
River God. I have heal'd thy wounds.
Amo. Ah me!
River God. Fear not him that succour'd thee.
I am this fountain's god; below
My waters to a river grow,
And 'twixt two banks with osiers set,
That only prosper in the wet,
Through the meadows do they glide,
Wheeling still on every side,
Sometimes winding round about,,
To find the evenest channel out;
And if thou wilt go with me,
Leaving mortal company,
In the cool streams shalt thou lie,
Free from harm as well as I.
I will give thee for thy food,
No fish that useth in the mud,
But trout and pike that love to swim
Where the gravel from the brim
Through the pure streams may be seen.
Orient pearl fit for a queen,
Will I give thy love to win,
And a shell to keep them in.
Not a fish in all my brook
That shall disobey thy look,
But when thou wilt, come sliding by,
And from thy white hand take a fly. "
And to make thee understand,
How I can my waves command,
They shall bubble whilst I sing
Sweeter than the silver spring.
Do not fear to put thy feet
Naked in the rivers sweet :
Think not leach, or newt, or toad,
Will bite thy foot, when thou hast irod;
Nor let the water rising high,
As thou wadest in, make thee cry '.
And sob, but ever live with me,
· And not a wave shall trouble thee.
Amo. Immortal power, that rulest this holy flood; I know myself unworthy to be woo'd By thee, a god : for e'er this, but for thee, I should have shown my weak mortality. Besides, by holy oath betwixt us twain, I am betroth'd unto a shepherd swain, Whose comely face, I know, the gods above May make me leave to see, but not to love.
River God. May he prove to thee ás true.
Fairest virgin, now adieu,
I must make my waters fly,
Lest they leave their channels dry,
And beasts that come unto the spring
Miss their morning's watering:
Which I would not, for of late
All the neighbour people sate
On my banks, and from the fold
Two white lambs of three weeks old
Offer'd to my deity :
For which this year they shall be free
From raging floods, that as they pass
Leave their gravel in the grass :
Nor shall their meads be overflown,
When their grass is newly mown.
Amo. For thy kindness to me shown,
Never from thy banks be blown
Any tree, with windy force,
Cross thy streams to stop thy course:
May no beast that comes to drink,
With his horns cast down thy brink;
May none that for thy fish do look,
Cut thy banks to elamm thy brook:
Bare-foot may no neighbour wade
In thy cool streams, wife nor maid,
When the spawn on stones de lie,
To wash their hemp, and spoil the fry.
River God. Thanks, virgin, I must down again,
Thy wound will put thee to no pain :
Wonder not so soon 'tis gone;
A holy hand was laid upon."
96 If all the parts of this Play had been in unison with these ivnocent scenes, and sweet lyric intermixtures, it had been a Poem fit to vie with Comus or the Arcadia, to have been put into the hands of boys and virgins, to have made matter for young dreams like the loves of Hermia and Lysander. But a spot is on the face of this moon. Nothing short of infatuation could have driven Fletcher upon
THE FALSE ONE. A TRAGEDY. BY JOHN
Ptolomy, King of Egypt, presents to Cæsar the head of Pom
pey. Cæsar rebukes the Egyptians for their treachery and
ingratitude. CÆSAR, ANTHONY, DOLLABELA, Sceva, Romans; PTOLOMY,
PHOTINUS, Achillas, Egyptians.
Pho. Hail conqueror and head of all the world,
Now this head's off
Pho. Do not shun me, Cæsar.
From kingly Ptolomy I bring this present,
The crown and sweat of thy Pharsalian labour ;
The goal and mark of high ambitious honour. -
Before, thy victory had no name, Cæsar;
Thy travail and thy loss of blood no recompence;
Thou dream’dst of being worthy and of war;
And all thy furious conflicts were but slumbers;
Here they take life, here they inherit honour,
Grow fix'd and shoot up everlasting triumphs.
mixing up with this blessedness such an ugly deformity as Cloe: the wanton shepherdess! Coarse words do but wound the ears; but a character of lewdness affronts the mind. Female lewdness at once shocks nature and morality. If Cloe was meant to set off Clorin by contrast, Fletcher should have known that such weeds by juxta-position do not set off but kill sweet flowers,
Take it and look upon thy humble servant,
With noble eyes look on the princely Ptolomy,
That offers with this head, most mighty Cæsar,
What thou would'st once have given for't, all Egypt.
Ach. Nor do not question it, most royal conqueror,
Nor disesteem the benefit that meets thee,
Because 'tis easily got, it comes the safer.
Yet let me tell thee, most imperious Cæsar,
Though he oppos'd no strength of swords to win this,
Nor labour'd through no showers of darts and lances,
Yet here he found a fort that faced him strongly,
An inward war: He was his grandsire's guest,
Friend to his father, and when he was expell’d
And beaten from this kingdom by strong hand,
And had none left him to restore his honour,
No hope to find a friend in such a misery;
Then in stept Pompey, took his feeble fortune,
Strengthen'd, and cherish'd it, and set it right again.
This was a love to Cæsar! !
Sce. Give me hate, gods.
Pho. This Cæsar may account a little wicked;
But yet remember, if thine own hands, conqueror,. .
Had fall’n upon him, what it had been then;
If thine own sword had touch'd his throat, what that way;
He was thy son-in-law, there to be tainted
Had been most terrible : let the worst be render'd,
We have desery'd for keeping thy hands innocent,
Cæs. O Scera, Scava, see that head; see, captains,
The head of godlike Pompey.
Sce. He was basely ruin'd,
But let the gods be griev'd that suffer'd it,
And be you Cæsar.
Cæs. Oh thou conqueror,
Thou glory of the world once, now the pity,
Thou awe of nations, wherefore didst thou fall thus?
What poor fate follow'd thee and pluckd thee on
To trust thy sacred life to an Egyptian; ".
The life and light of Rome to a blind stranger,
That honourable war ne'er taught a nobleness,