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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.


John Fletcher (1579–1625)

HENCE, all you vain delights,

As short as are the nights

Wherein you spend your folly!

There’s naught in this life sweet,

If man were wise to see’t,

But only melancholy,

O sweetest melancholy!

Welcome folded arms and fixèd eyes,

A sigh that piercing mortifies,

A look that’s fasten’d to the ground,

A tongue chain’d up without a sound!

Fountain-heads, and pathless groves,

Places which pale passion loves!

Moonlight walks, when all the fowls

Are warmly housed, save bats and owls!

A midnight bell, a parting groan—

These are the sounds we feed upon,

Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley;

Nothing’s so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.