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Where nothing is examined, weighed;
But as 'tis rumoured, so believed;


Where every freedom is betrayed,

And every goodness taxed or grieved.

But what we're born for, we must bear:
Our frail condition it is such,


That what to all may happen here,
If't chance to me, I must not grutch,

Else I my state should much mistake,
To harbour a divided thought
From all my kind: that for my sake
There should a miracle be wrought.


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As wanderers do, that still do roam;

But make my strengths, such as they are,
Here in my bosom, and at home.

Ben Jonson.



The Muses' fairest light in no dark time,
The wonder of a learnèd age; the line

Which none can pass; the most proportioned wit
To nature, the best judge of what was fit;
The deepest, plainest, highest, clearest pen;
The voice most echoed by consenting men;
The soul which answered best to all well said
By others, and which most requital made;


Tuned to the highest key of ancient Rome,
Returning all her music with his own;

In whom with nature study claimed a part,
And yet who to himself owed all his art:
Here lies Ben Jonson! every age will look
With sorrow here, with wonder on his book.

John Cleveland.




I weigh not fortune's frown or smile;
I joy not much in earthly joys;
I seek not state, I seek not style;
I am not fond of fancy's toys;

I rest so pleased with what I have,
I wish no more, no more I crave.

I quake not at the thunder's crack;
I tremble not at noise of war;
I swound not at the news of wrack;
I shrink not at a blazing star;
I fear not loss, I hope not gain,
I envy none, I none disdain.

I see ambition never pleased;

I see some Tantals starved in store;

I see gold's dropsy seldom eased;

I see e'en Midas gape for more:
I neither want, nor yet abound—
Enough's a feast, content is crowned.

I feign not friendship, where I hate;
I fawn not on the great in show;
I prize, I praise a mean estate-
Neither too lofty nor too low:

This, this is all my choice, my cheer-
A mind content, a conscience clear.

Joshua Sylvester.







Poor Soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Fooled by these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend ?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess.
Eat up thy charge? is this thy body's end?
Then, Soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:—
So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men;
And Death once dead, there's no more dying then.
William Shakespeare.



The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner than despisèd straight;
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad :
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so ;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof—and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream :

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

William Shakespeare.







The lopped tree in time may grow again;

Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorriest wight may find release of pain,

The driest soil suck in some moistening shower;
Times go by turns, and chances change by course,
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.
The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow,

She draws her favours to the lowest ebb;
Her tides have equal times to come and go;


Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web;

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No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.

Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring;
No endless night, yet not eternal day;
The saddest birds a season find to sing ;



The roughest storm a calm may soon allay ; Thus with succeeding turns God tempereth all, That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall. A chance may win that by mischance was lost; That net that holds no great, takes little fish ; In some things all, in all things none are crossed; Few all they need, but none have all they wish; Unmeddled joys here to no man befall, Who least hath some, who most hath never all. Robert Southwell.



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 admirèd, in a thought,
Because it erst was nought, it turns to nought.


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William Drummond.


Like as the damask rose you see,
Or like the blossom on the tree,
Or like the dainty flower in May,
Or like the morning of the day,
Or like the sun, or like the shade,
Or like the gourd which Jonas, had—

E'en such is man; whose thread is spun,
Drawn out, and cut, and so is done.
The rose withers; the blossom blasteth;
The flower fades; the morning hasteth ;
The sun sets, the shadow flies;
The gourd consumes; and man he dies!
Like to the grass that's newly sprung,
Or like a tale that's new begun,



Or like the bird that's here to day,


Or like the pearlèd dew of May,

Or like an hour, or like a span,

Or like the singing of a swan—

E'en such is man; who lives by breath,
Is here, now there, in life, and death.
The grass withers, the tale is ended;
The bird is flown, the dew's ascended;
The hour is short, the span is long ;
The swan's near death; man's life is done!
Simon Wastell.


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