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JOHN FLETCHER

1519 – 1625.

THE MORNING CALL.

SHEPHERDS, rise, and shake off sleep!
See, the blushing morn doth peep
Through the windows, whilst the sun
To the mountain tops is run,
Gilding all the vales below
With his rising flames, which grow
Greater by his climbing still.
Up, ye lazy grooms, and fill
Bag and bottle for the field!
Clasp your cloaks fast, lest they yield
To the bitter north-east wind.
Call the maidens up, and find
Who lay longest, that she may
Go without a friend all day;
Then reward your dogs, and pray
Pan to keep you from decay;
So, unfold, and then away!

THE EVENING BELL.

SHEPHERDS all, and maidens fair,
Fold your flocks up, for the air
'Gins to thicken, and the sun
Already his great course hath run.

JOHN FLETCHER.

See the dew-drops how they kiss
Every little flower that is,
Hanging on their velvet heads,
Like a rope of crystal beads:
See the heavy clouds low falling,
And bright Hesperus down calling
The dead Night from under ground;
At whose rising mists unsound,
Damps and vapours fly apace,
Hovering o'er the wanton face
Of these pastures, where they come,
Striking dead both bud and bloom :
Therefore, from such danger lock
Every one his loved flock;
And let your dogs lie loose without,
Lest the wolf come as a scout
From the mountain, and, ere day,
Bear a lamb or kid away;
Or the crafty thievish fox
Break upon your simple flocks.
To secure yourselves from these,
Be not too secure in ease;
Let one eye his watches keep,
Whilst the other eye doth sleep;
So you shall good shepherds prove,
And for ever hold the love
Of our great god. Sweetest slumbers,
And soft silence, fall in numbers
On your eye-lids! So, farewell!
Thus I end my evening's knell.

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FAREWELL, rewards and Fairies!

Good housewives now may say,
For now foul sluts in dairies

Do fare as well as they.
And though they sweep their hearths no less

Than maids were wont to do,
Yet who of late for cleanliness

Finds sixpence in her shoe?

Lament, lament, old abbeys,

The Fairies lost command ;
They did but change priests' babies,
But some have changed your land;

RICHARD CORBET.

And all your children sprung from thence

Are now grown Puritans;
Who live as changelings ever since,

For love of your domains.

At morning and at evening both

You merry were and glad,
So little care of sleep or sloth

These pretty ladies had ;
When Tom came home from labour,

Or Ciss to milking rose,
Then merrily went their tabor,

And nimbly went their toes.

Witness those rings and roundelays

Of theirs, which yet remain, Were footed in Queen Mary's days

On many a grassy plain ; But since of late Elizabeth,

And, later, James came in, They never danced on any heath,

As when the time hath been.

By which we note the Fairies

Were of the old profession; Their songs were Ave Marys,

Their dances were procession : But now, alas! they all are dead,

Or gone beyond the seas; Or farther for religion fled,

Or else they take their case.

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This life, which seems so fair,
Is like a bubble blown up in the air
By sporting children's breath,
Who chase it everywhere,
And strive who can most motion it bequeath ;
And though it sometimes seem of its own might,
Like to an eye of gold to be fixed there,
And firm to hover in that empty height,
That only is because it is so light.
But in that pomp it doth not long appear;
For when 'tis most admired, in a thought,
Because it erst was nought, it turns to nought.

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