The Works of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher in Ten Volumes - Volume I.
by Beaumont and Fletcher
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In ten volumes

Vol. I


Born 1584

Died 1616


Born 1579

Died 1625










The first collected edition of the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher was published in 1647, in folio (12 1/2 ins. x 8 1/8 ins. is the measurement of the copy used for the purpose of collation). The title-page runs thus:—

Comedies and Tragedies

{ Francis Beaumont } written by { And } Gentlemen. { John Fletcher }

Never printed before, And now published by the Authours Originall Copies. Si quid habent veri Vatum praesagia, vivam. London, Printed for Humphrey Robinson, at the three Pidgeons, and for Humphrey Moseley at the Princes Armes in St Pauls.

This collection, which is referred to as the First Folio throughout the present edition, contained all the authors' previously unpublished plays (34) except The Wild-Goose Chase, which, at the date of the Folio, was supposed to be lost. The dedicatory epistles, commendatory poem, and Catalogue of Plays, prefixed to the First Folio, are reprinted in the preliminary pages at the end of this Note (pp. ix—lvii).

The second collected edition appeared in 1679 in folio (14-3/8 ins. x 8-1/4 ins.); a reprint of the title-page is given on p. lix of the present volume. This collection, referred to henceforth as the Second Folio, contained (i) all the plays included in the First Folio, (ii) The Wild-Goose Chase, which had been published in folio in 1652, (iii) all the other then known plays of the authors which had been published previously to 1679.

William Marshall's portrait of John Fletcher faces the title-page of both folios with the following inscription engraved underneath:—

Felicis aevi ac Praesulis Natus; comes Beaumontis; sic, quippe Parnassus, biceps; FLETCHERUS unam in Pyramida furcas agens. Struxit chorum plus simplicem Vates Duplex; Plus duplicem solus: nec ullum transtulit; Nec transferendus: Dramatum aeterni sales, Anglo Theatro, Orbe, Sibi, superstites.

FLETCHERE, facies absqz vultu pingitur; Quantus! vel umbram circuit nemo tuam.

J. Berkenhead.

Later collected editions of the works were published in 1711 (7 vols.); 1750, edited by Lewis Theobald, Thomas Seward and J. Sympson (10 vols.); 1778, edited by George Colman (10 vols.); 1812, edited by Henry Weber (14 vols.); 1843, edited by Alexander Dyce (11 vols.). It is unnecessary to refer in detail to these later editions which, very widely as they differ among themselves, agree in presenting an eclectic text, a text formed partly by a collation of the various old editions and partly by the adoption of conjectural emendations. During the progress of work upon the present issue another edition has been announced, under the general editorship of Mr A. H. Bullen, and the first volume was published last year. It follows the lines of its predecessors in presenting a modernised text, giving 'a fuller record than had been given by Dyce of variae lectiones,' and pleading, in its prospectus, that, 'for the use of scholars, there should be editions of all our old authors in old spelling.'

The objects of the present edition, in accordance with the scheme of the series of ENGLISH CLASSICS of which it is a part, are to provide (i) a text in which there shall be no deviation from that adopted as its basis, in the matter of spelling, punctuation, the use of capitals and italics, save as recorded, and to give (ii) an apparatus of variant readings as an Appendix, comprising the texts of all the early issues, that is to say, of all editions prior to and including the Second Folio. Within these limits, and apart from mere variations in spelling and punctuation, every variation, whether deemed important or not, is recorded in the Appendixes to these volumes.

Of the 52 Plays in the Second Folio only 5 were published before the death of Beaumont and 9 before the death of Fletcher. The text has, therefore, given rise to a fruitful crop of conjectural emendations, but it has not been deemed a part of the editor's duty to garner them. Leaving these on one side, and desirous mainly of collecting every alternative reading in all the Quartos and in the two Folios, the text used in the preparation of the present edition, chosen after careful consideration, is that of the Second Folio, obvious printers' errors being corrected, recorded in the Appendix, and indicated in the text by the insertion of square brackets. This text is the latest with any pretence to authority, it includes all the plays, and it forms a convenient limit, beyond which no notice has been taken of alternative readings, and to which the variants, chronologically arranged from the earliest to the latest Quartos, can easily be referred. Some of the early Quartos no doubt offer better texts of some of the plays, especially in the matter of verse and prose arrangement, and had it been intended to print one text, and one text only, unaccompanied by a full apparatus of variorum readings, something might be said in favour of a choice among the Quartos and Folios, selecting here and there, in the case of each play, the particular text that seemed the best. But such choice could only be an extension of the eclectic method that has been rejected in dealing with alternative readings, it seemed to be equally unscientific, and, in view of the material in the Appendixes, needless.

In common with all the Quartos and the First Folio the Second Folio has failings, which will be noted in due course, but these have been exaggerated, and against them may be set the advantages detailed in the address of 'The Booksellers to the Reader,' reprinted on p. lx.

It has been thought that it would be useful to students to give lists of the different arrangements of prose and verse that obtain in the different quartos, and these will be found in the Appendix after the variants of each play.

The remaining volumes of this edition will follow as soon as can be arranged.

* * * * *

The Syndics of the University Press have asked me to complete the work begun by Arnold Glover. It was a work greatly to his mind: he spent much labour upon it, being always keenly interested in critical, textual and bibliographical work in English literature; he welcomed a return to his earlier studies among the Elizabethans after five years given to the works of one of their most discerning critics; but he did not live to see the publication of the first volume of his new work. When he died in the January of this year, the text of volumes one and two had been passed for press, the material accumulated for the Appendixes to those volumes and the draft of the above 'Note' partly written. With the assistance of Mrs Arnold Glover, who had helped him in the laborious work of collation, I have checked and arranged this editorial material for press. I hope I have not let any error escape me which he would have detected.

A. R. WALLER. CAMBRIDGE, 2 August, 1905.


Epistle Dedicatorie to the First Folio

Ja. Shirley to the Reader (First Folio)

The Stationer to the Readers (First Folio)

Commendatory Verses (First Folio)

A Catalogue of all the Comedies and Tragedies (First Folio)

Title-page of the Second Folio

The Booksellers to the Reader (Second Folio)

A Catalogue of all the Comedies and Tragedies (Second Folio)

The Maids Tragedy

Philaster: or, Love lies a Bleeding

A King, and no King

The Scornful Lady, a Comedy

The Custom of the Country





Earle of Pembroke and Mountgomery:

Baron Herbert of Cardiffe and Sherland,

Lord Parr and Ross of Kendall; Lord Fitz-Hugh,

Marmyon, and Saint Quintin; Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter; and one of His Majesties most Honourable Privie Councell: And our Singular Good Lord.

My Lord, There is none among all the Names of Honour, that hath A more encouraged the Legitimate Muses of this latter Age, then that which is owing to your Familie; whose Coronet shines bright with the native luster of its owne Jewels, which with the accesse of some Beames of Sydney, twisted with their Flame presents a Constellation, from whose Influence all good may be still expected upon Witt and Learning.

At this Truth we rejoyce, but yet aloofe, and in our owne valley, for we dare not approach with any capacity in our selves to apply your Smile, since wee have only preserved as Trustees to the Ashes of the Authors, what wee exhibit to your Honour, it being no more our owne, then those Imperiall Crownes and Garlands were the Souldiers, who were honourably designed for their Conveyance before the Triumpher to the Capitol.

But directed by the example of some, who once steered in our qualitie, and so fortunately aspired to choose your Honour, joyned with your (now glorified) Brother, Patrons to the flowing compositions of the then expired sweet Swan of Avon SHAKESPEARE; and since, more particularly bound to your Lordships most constant and diffusive Goodnesse, from which, wee did for many calme yeares derive a subsistence to our selves, and Protection to the Scene (now withered, and condemned, as we feare, to a long Winter and sterilitie) we have presumed to offer to your Selfe, what before was never printed of these Authours.

_Had they beene lesse then all the_ Treasure _we had contrasted in the whole Age of_ Poesie _(some few Poems of their owne excepted, which already published, command their entertainement, with all lovers of_ Art _and_ Language) _or were they not, the most justly admir'd, and beloved Pieces of_ Witt _and the_ World, _wee should have taught our selves a lesse Ambition.

Be pleased to accept this humble tender of our duties, and till we faile in our obedience to all your Commands, vouchsafe, we may be knowne by the_ Cognizance _and_ Character _of_


Your Honours most bounden

John Lowin Richard Robinson Eyloerd Swanston Hugh Clearke Stephen Hammerton Joseph Taylor Robert Benfeild Thomas Pollard William Allen Theophilus Byrd.


Poetry is the Child of Nature, which regulated and made beautifull by Art, presenteth the most Harmonious of all other compositions; among which (if we rightly consider) the Dramaticall is the most absolute, in regard of those transcendent Abilities, which should waite upon the Composer; who must have more then the instruction of Libraries which of it selfe is but a cold contemplative knowledge there being required in him a Soule miraculously knowing, and conversing with all mankind, inabling him to expresse not onely the Phlegme and folly of thick-skin'd men, but the strength and maturity of the wise, the Aire and insinuations of the Court, the discipline and Resolution of the Soldier, the Vertues and passions of every noble condition, nay the councells and charailers of the greatest Princes.

This you will say is a vast comprehension, and hath not hapned in many Ages. Be it then remembred to the Glory of our owne, that all these are Demonstrative and met in BEAUMONT & FLETCHER, whom but to mention is to throw a cloude upon all former names and benight Posterity; This Book being, without flattery, the greatest Monument of the Scene that Time and Humanity have produced, and must Live, not only the Crowne and sole Reputation of our owne, but the stayne of all other Nations and Languages, for it may be boldly averred, not one indiscretion hath branded this Paper in all the Lines, this being the Authentick witt that made Blackfriers an Academy, where the three howers spectacle while Beaumont and Fletcher were presented, were usually of more advantage to the hopefull young Heire, then a costly, dangerous, forraigne Travell, with the assistance of a governing Mounsieur, or Signior to boot; And it cannot be denied but that the young spirits of the Time, whose Birth & Quality made them impatient of the sowrer wayes of education, have from the attentive hearing these pieces, got ground in point of wit and carriage of the most severely employed Students, while these Recreations were digested into Rules, and the very Pleasure did edifie. How many passable discoursing dining witts stand yet in good credit upon the bare stock of two or three of these single Scenes.

And now Reader in this Tragicall Age where the Theater hath been so much out-ailed, congratulate thy owne happinesse, that in this silence of the Stage, thou hast a liberty to reade these inimitable Playes, to dwell and converse in these immortall Groves, which were only shewd our Fathers in a conjuring glasse, as suddenly removed as represented, the Landscrap is now brought home by this optick, and the Presse thought too pregnant before, shall be now look'd upon as greatest Benefactor to Englishmen, that must acknowledge all the felicity of witt and words to this Derivation.

You may here find passions raised to that excellent pitch and by such insinuating degrees that you shall not chuse but consent, and & go along with them, finding your self at last grown insensibly the very same person you read, and then stand admiring the subtile Trackes of your engagement. Fall on a Scene of love and you will never believe the writers could have the least roome left in their soules for another passion, peruse a Scene of manly Rage, and you would sweare they cannot be exprest by the same hands, but both are so excellently wrought, you must confesse none, but the same hands, could worke them.

Would thy Melancholy have a cure? thou shalt laugh at Democritus himselfe, and but reading one piece of this Comick variety, finde thy exalted fancie in Elizium; And when thou art sick of this cure, (for the excesse of delight may too much dilate thy soule,) thou shalt meete almost in every leafe a soft purling passion or spring of sorrow so powerfully wrought high by the teares of innocence, and wronged Lovers, it shall persuade thy eyes to weepe into the streame, and yet smile when they contribute to their owne ruines.

Infinitely more might be said of these rare Copies, but let the ingenuous Reader peruse them & he will finde them so able to speake their own worth, that they need not come into the world with a trumpet, since any one of these incomparable pieces well understood will prove a Preface to the rest, and if the Reader can fast the best wit ever trod our English Stage, he will be forced himselfe to become a breathing Panegerick to them all.

Not to detaine or prepare thee longer, be as capritious and sick-brain'd, as ignorance & malice can make thee, here thou art rectified, or be as healthfull as the inward calme of an honest Heart, Learning, and Temper can state thy disposition, yet this booke may be thy fortunate concernement and Companion.

It is not so remote in Time, but very many Gentlemen may remember these Authors & some familiar in their conversation deliver them upon every pleasant occasion so fluent, to talke a Comedy. He must be a bold man that dares undertake to write their Lives. What I have to say is, we have the precious Remaines, and as the wisest contemporaries acknowledge they Lived a Miracle, I am very confident this volume cannot die without one.

What more specially concerne these Authors and their workes is told thee by another hand in the following Epistle of the_ Stationer to the Readers.

Farwell, Reade, and feare not thine owne understanding, this Booke will create a cleare one in thee, and when thou hast considered thy purchase, thou wilt call the price of it a Charity to thy selfe, and at the same time forgive thy friend, and these Authors humble admirer,


The Stationer to the Readers.

Gentlemen, before you engage farther, be pleased to take notice of these Particulars. You have here a New Booke; I can speake it clearely; for of all this large Volume of Comedies and Tragedies, not one, till now, was ever printed before. A Collection of Playes is commonly but a new Impression, the scattered pieces which were printed single, being then onely Republished together: 'Tis otherwise here.

Next, as it is all New, so here is not any thing Spurious or impos'd; I had the Originalls from such as received them from the Authours themselves; by Those, and none other, I publish this Edition.

And as here's nothing but what is genuine and Theirs, so you will finde here are no Omissions; you have not onely All I could get, but All that you must ever expect. For (besides those which were formerly printed) there is not any Piece written by these Authours, either Joyntly or Severally, but what are now publish'd to the World in this Volume. One only Play I must except (for I meane to deale openly) 'tis a COMEDY called the Wilde-goose Chase, which hath beene long lost, and I feare irrecoverable; for a Person of Quality borrowed it from the Actours many yeares since, and (by the negligence of a Servant) it was never return'd; therefore now I put up this Si quis, that whosoever hereafter happily meetes with it, shall be thankfully satisfied if he please to send it home.

Some Playes (you know) written by these Authors were heretofore Printed: I thought not convenient to mixe them with this Volume, which of it selfe is entirely New. And indeed it would have rendred the Booke so Voluminous, that Ladies and Gentlewomen would have found it scarce manageable, who in Workes of this nature must first be remembred. Besides, I considered those former Pieces had been so long printed and re-printed, that many Gentlemen were already furnished; and I would have none say, they pay twice for the same Booke.

One thing I must answer before it bee objected; 'tis this: When these Comedies and Tragedies were presented on the Stage, the Actours omitted some Scenes and Passages (with the Authour's consent) as occasion led them; and when private friends desir'd a Copy, they then (and justly too) transcribed what they Acted. But now you have both All that was Acted, and all that was not; even the perfect full Originalls without the least mutilation; So that were the Authours living, (and sure they can never dye) they themselves would challenge neither more nor lesse then what is here published; this Volume being now so compleate and finish'd, that the Reader must expect no future Alterations.

For literall Errours committed by the Printer, 'tis the fashion to aske pardon, and as much in fashion to take no notice of him that asks it; but in this also I have done my endeavour. 'Twere vaine to mention the Chargeablenesse of this Work; for those who own'd the Manuscripts, too well knew their value to make a cheap estimate of any of these Pieces, and though another joyn'd with me in the Purchase and Printing, yet the Care & Pains was wholly mine, which I found to be more then you'l easily imagine, unlesse you knew into how many hands the Originalls were dispersed. They are all now happily met in this Book, having escaped these Publike Troubles, free and unmangled. Heretofore when Gentlemen desired but a Copy of any of these Playes, the meanest piece here (if any may be called Meane where every one is Best) cost them more then foure times the price you pay for the whole Volume.

I should scarce have adventured in these slippery times on such a work as this, if knowing persons had not generally assured mee that these Authors were the most unquestionable Wits this Kingdome hath afforded. Mr. Beaumont was ever acknowledged a man of a most strong and searching braine; and (his yeares considered) the most Judicious Wit these later Ages have produced; he dyed young, for (which was an invaluable losse to this Nation) he left the world when hee was not full thirty yeares old. Mr. Fletcher survived, and lived till almost fifty; whereof the World now enjoyes the benefit. It was once in my thoughts to have Printed Mr. Fletcher's workes by themselves, because single & alone he would make a Just Volume: But since never parted while they lived, I conceived it not equitable to seperate their ashes.

It becomes not me to say (though it be a knowne Truth) that these Authors had not only High unexpressible gifts of Nature, but also excellent acquired Parts, being furnished with Arts and Sciences by that liberall education they had at the University, which sure is the best place to make a great Wit understand it selfe; this their workes will soone make evident. I was very ambitious to have got Mr. Beaumonts picture; but could not possibly, though I spared no enquirie in those Noble Families whence he was descended, as also among those Gentlemen that were his acquaintance when he was of the Inner Temple: the best Pictures and those most like him you'll finde in this Volume. This figure of Mr. Fletcher was cut by severall Originall Pieces, which his friends lent me, but withall they tell me, that his unimitable Soule did shine through his countenance in such Ayre and Spirit, that the Painters confessed, it was not easie to expresse him: As much as could be, you have here, and the Graver hath done his part. What ever I have scene of Mr. Fletchers owne hand, is free from interlining; and his friends affirme he never writ any one thing twice: it seemes he had that rare felicity to prepare and perfect all first in his owne braine; to shape and attire his Notions, to adde or loppe off, before he committed one word to writing, and never touched pen till all was to stand as firme and immutable as if ingraven in Brasse or Marble. But I keepe you too long from those friends of his whom 'tis fitter for you to read; only accept of the honest endeavours of

One that is a Servant to you all

HUMPHREY MOSELEY. _At the_ Princes Armes _in_ St Pauls _Church-yard_. Feb._ 14th 1646.

To the Stationer.

Tell the sad World that now the lab'ring Presse Has brought forth safe a Child of happinesse, The Frontis-piece will satisfie the wise And good so well, they will not grudge the price. 'Tis not all Kingdomes joyn'd in one could buy (If priz'd aright) so true a Library Of man: where we the characters may finde Of ev'ry Nobler and each baser minde. Desert has here reward in one good line For all it lost, for all it might repine: Vile and ignobler things are open laid, The truth of their false colours are displayed: You'l say the Poet's both best Judge and Priest, No guilty soule abides so sharp a test As their smooth Pen; for what these rare men writ Commands the World, both Honesty and Wit.



Me thought our Fletcher weary of this croud, Wherein so few have witt, yet all are loud, Unto Elyzium fled, where he alone Might his own witt admire and ours bemoane; But soone upon those Flowry Bankes, a throng Worthy of those even numbers which he sung, Appeared, and though those Ancient Laureates strive When dead themselves, whose raptures should survive, For his Temples all their owne bayes allowes, Not sham'd to see him crown'd with naked browes; Homer his beautifull Achilles nam'd, Urging his braine with Joves might well be fam'd, Since it brought forth one full of beauties charmes, As was his Pallas, and as bold in Armes; [-King and no King.-] But when he the brave Arbases saw, one That saved his peoples dangers by his own, And saw Tigranes by his hand undon Without the helpe of any Mirmydon, He then confess'd when next hee'd Hector slay, That he must borrow him from Fletchers Play; This might have beene the shame, for which he bid His Iliades in a Nut-shell should be hid: Virgill of his AEneas next begun, Whose God-like forme and tongue so soone had wonne; That Queene of Carthage and of beauty too, Two powers the whole world else were slaves unto, Urging that Prince for to repaire his faulte On earth, boldly in hell his Mistresse sought; [-The Maides Tragedy.-] But when he Amintor saw revenge that wrong, For which the sad Aspasia sigh'd so long, Upon himselfe, to shades hasting away, Not for to make a visit but to stay; He then did modestly confesse how farr Fletcher out-did him in a Charactar. Now lastly for a refuge, Virgill shewes The lines where Corydon Alexis woes; But those in opposition quickly met [-The faithfull Shepherdesse.-] The smooth tongu'd Perigot and Amoret: A paire whom doubtlesse had the others seene, They from their owne loves had Apostates beene; Thus Fletcher did the fam'd laureat exceed, Both when his Trumpet sounded and his reed; Now if the Ancients yeeld that heretofore, None worthyer then those ere Laurell wore; The least our age can say now thou art gon, Is that there never will be such a one: And since t' expresse thy worth, our rimes too narrow be, To help it wee'l be ample in our prophesie.


On Mr John Fletcher, and his Workes, never before published.

To flatter living fooles is easie slight: But hard, to do the living-dead men right. To praise a Landed Lord, is gainfull art: But thanklesse to pay Tribute to desert. This should have been my taske: I had intent To bring my rubbish to thy monument, To stop some crannies there, but that I found No need of least repaire; all firme and sound. Thy well-built fame doth still it selfe advance Above the Worlds mad zeale and ignorance, Though thou dyedst not possest of that same pelfe (Which Nobler soules call durt,) the City wealth: Yet thou hast left unto the times so great A Legacy, a Treasure so compleat, That 'twill be hard I feare to prove thy Will: Men will be wrangling, and in doubting still How so vast summes of wit were left behind, And yet nor debts nor sharers they can finde. 'Twas the kind providence of fate, to lock Some of this Treasure up; and keep a stock For a reserve untill these sullen daies: When scorn, and want, and danger, are the Baies That Crown the head of merit. But now he Who in thy Will hath part, is rich and free. But there's a Caveat enter'd by command, None should pretend, but those can understand.

HENRY MODY, Baronet.


Mr Fletchers Works.

Though Poets have a licence which they use As th' ancient priviledge of their free Muse; Yet whether this be leave enough for me To write, great Bard, an Eulogie for thee: Or whether to commend thy Worke, will stand Both with the Lawes of Verse and of the Land, Were to put doubts might raise a discontent Between the Muses and the —— I'le none of that. There's desperate wits that be (As their immortall Lawrell) Thunder-free; Whose personall vertues, 'bove the Lawes of Fate, Supply the roome of personall estate: And thus enfranchis'd, safely may rehearse, Rapt in a lofty straine, [their] own neck-verse. For he that gives the Bayes to thee, must then First take it from the Militarie Men; He must untriumph conquests, bid 'em stand, Question the strength of their victorious hand. He must act new things, or go neer the sin, Reader, as neer as you and I have been: He must be that, which He that tryes will swear I[t] is not good being so another Yeare. And now that thy great name I've brought to [this], To do it honour is to do amisse, What's to be done to those, that shall refuse To celebrate, great Soule, thy noble Muse? Shall the poore State of all those wandring things, Thy Stage once rais'd to Emperors and Kings? Shall rigid forfeitures (that reach our Heires) Of things that only fill with cares and feares? Shall the privation of a friendlesse life, Made up of contradictions and strife? Shall He be entitie, would antedate His own poore name, and thine annihilate? Shall these be judgements great enough for one That dares not write thee an Encomion? Then where am I? but now I've thought upon't, I'le prayse thee more then all have ventur'd on't. I'le take thy noble Work (and like the trade Where for a heap of Salt pure Gold is layd) I'le lay thy Volume, that Huge Tome of wit, About in Ladies Closets, where they sit Enthron'd in their own wills; and if she bee A Laick sister, shee'l straight flie to thee: But if a holy Habit shee have on, Or be some Novice, shee'l scarce looks upon Thy Lines at first; but watch Her then a while, And you shall see Her steale a gentle smile Upon thy Title, put thee neerer yet, Breath on thy Lines a whisper, and then set Her voyce up to the measures; then begin To blesse the houre, and happy state shee's in. Now shee layes by her Characters, and lookes With a stern eye on all her pretty Bookes. Shee's now thy Voteresse, and the just Crowne She brings thee with it, is worth half the Towne. I'le send thee to the Army, they that fight Will read thy tragedies with some delight, Be all thy Reformadoes, fancy scars, And pay too, in thy speculative wars. I'le send thy Comick scenes to some of those That for a great while have plaid fast and loose; New universalists, by changing shapes, Have made with wit and fortune faire escapes. Then shall the Countrie that poor Tennis-ball Of angry fate, receive thy Pastorall, And from it learn those melancholy straines Fed the afflicted soules of Primitive swaines. Thus the whole World to reverence will flock Thy Tragick Buskin and thy Comick Stock; And winged fame unto posterity Transmit but onely two, this Age, and Thee.

THOMAS PEYTON. Agricola Anglo-Cantianus.



Deceased Authour, Mr John Fletcher, his Plays; and especially, The Mad Lover.

Whilst his well organ'd body doth retreat, To its first matter, and the formall heat Triumphant sits in judgement to approve Pieces above our Candour and our love: Such as dare boldly venter to appeare Unto the curious eye, and Criticke eare: Lo the Mad Lover in these various times Is pressed to life, t' accuse us of our crimes. While Fletcher liv'd, who equall to him writ Such lasting Monuments of naturall wit? Others might draw: their lines with sweat, like those That (with much paines) a Garrison inclose; Whilst his sweet fluent veine did gently runne As uncontrold, and smoothly as the Sun. After his death our Theatres did make Him in his own unequald Language speake: And now when all the Muses out of their Approved modesty silent appeare, This Play of Fletchers braves the envious light As wonder of our eares once, now our sight. Three and fourfold blest Poet, who the Lives Of Poets, and of Theaters survives! A Groome, or Ostler of some wit may bring His Pegasus to the Castalian spring; Boast he a race o're the Pharsalian plaine, Or happy Tempe valley dares maintaine: Brag at one leape upon the double Cliffe (Were it as high as monstrous Tennariffe) Of farre-renown'd Parnassus he will get, And there (t' amaze the World) confirme his state: When our admired Fletcher vaunts not ought, And slighted everything he writ as naught: While all our English wondring world (in's cause) Made this great City eccho with applause. Read him therefore all that can read, and those That cannot learne, if y' are not Learnings foes, And wilfully resolved to refuse The gentle Raptures of this happy Muse. From thy great constellation (noble Soule) Looke on this Kingdome, suffer not the whole Spirit of Poesie retire to Heaven, But make us entertains what thou hast given. Earthquakes and Thunder Diapasons make The Seas vast roare, and irresistlesse shake Of horrid winds, a sympathy compose; So in these things there's musicke in the close: And though they seem great Discords in our eares, They are not so to them above the Spheares. Granting these Musicke, how much sweeter's that Mnemosyne's daughter's voyces doe create? Since Heaven, and Earth, and Seas, and Ayre consent To make an Harmony (the Instrument, Their man agreeing selves) shall we refuse The Musicke which the Deities doe use? Troys ravisht Ganymed doth sing to Jove, And Phoebus selfe playes on his Lyre above. The Cretan Gods, or glorious men, who will Imitate right, must wonder at thy skill, Best Poet of thy times, or he will prove As mad as thy brave Memnon was with love.


Upon the Works of BEAUMONT, and FLETCHER.

How Angels (cloyster'd in our humane Cells) Maintaine their parley, Beaumont-Fletcher tels; Whose strange unimitable Intercourse Transcends all Rules, and flyes beyond the force Of the most forward soules; all must submit Untill they reach these Mysteries of Wit. The Intellectuall Language here's exprest, Admir'd in better times, and dares the Test Of Ours; for from Wit, Sweetnesse, Mirth, and Sence, This Volume springs a new true Quintessence.

JO. PETTUS, Knight.

On the Works of the most excellent Dramatick Poet, Mr. John F[l]etcher, never before Printed.

Haile Fletcher, welcome to the worlds great Stage; For our two houres, we have thee here an age In thy whole Works, and may th' Impression call The Pretor that presents thy Playes to all: Both to the People, and the Lords that sway That Herd, and Ladies whom those Lords obey. And what's the Loadstone can such guests invite But moves on two Poles, Profit and Delight, Which will be soon, as on the Rack, confest When every one is tickled with a jest: And that pure Fletcher, able to subdue A Melancholy more then Burton knew. And though upon the by, to his designes The Native may learne English from his lines, And th' Alien if he can but construe it, May here be made free Denison of wit. But his maine end does drooping Vertue raise, And crownes her beauty with eternall Bayes; In Scaenes where she inflames the frozen soule, While Vice (her paint washt off) appeares so foule; She must this Blessed Isle and Europe leave, And some new Quadrant of the Globe deceive: Or hide her Blushes on the Affrike shore Like Marius, but ne're rise to triumph more; That honour is resign'd to Fletchers fame; Adde to his Trophies, that a Poets name (Late growne as odious to our Moderne states As that of King to Rome) he vindicates From black aspertions, cast upon't by those Which only are inspir'd to lye in prose.

_And_, By the Court of Muses be't decreed, _What graces spring from Poesy's richer seed, When we name_ Fletcher _shall be so proclaimed, As all that's_ Royall _is when_ Caesar's _nam'd.


To the memory of my most honoured kinsman, Mr. Francis Beaumont.

I'le not pronounce how strong and cleane thou writes, Nor by what new hard Rules thou took'st thy Flights, Nor how much Greek and Latin some refine Before they can make up six words of thine, But this I'le say, thou strik'st our sense so deep, At once thou mak'st us Blush, Rejoyce, and Weep. Great Father Johnson bow'd himselfe when hee (Thou writ'st so nobly) vow'd he envy'd thee. Were thy Mardonius arm'd, there would be more Strife for his Sword then all Achilles wore, Such wise just Rage, had Hee been lately tryd My life on't Hee had been o'th' Better side, And where hee found false odds, (through Gold or Sloath) There brave Mardonius would have beat them Both. Behold, here's FLETCHER too! the World ne're knew Two Potent Witts co-operate till You; For still your fancies are so wov'n and knit, 'Twas FRANCIS FLETCHER, or JOHN BEAUMONT writ. Yet neither borrow'd, nor were so put to't To call poore Godds and Goddesses to do't; Nor made Nine Girles your Muses (you suppose Women ne're write, save Love-Letters in prose) But are your owne Inspirers, and have made Such pow'rfull Sceanes, as when they please, invade. Tour Plot, Sence, Language, All's so pure and fit, Hee's Bold, not Valiant, dare dispute your Wit.



_So shall we joy, when all whom Beasts and Wormes Had turned to their owne substances and formes, Whom Earth to Earth, or fire hath chang'd to fire, Wee shall behold more then at first intire As now we doe, to see all thine, thine owne In this thy Muses Resurrection, Whose scattered parts, from thy owne Race, more wounds Hath suffer'd, then_ Acteon _from his hounds; Which first their Braines, and then their Bellies fed, And from their excrements new Poets bred. But now thy Muse inraged from her urne Like Ghosts of Murdred bodyes doth returne To accuse the Murderers, to right the Stage, And undeceive the long abused Age, Which casts thy praise on them, to whom thy Wit Gives not more Gold then they give drosse to it: Who not content like fellons to purloyne, Adde Treason to it, and debase thy Coyne. But whither am I strayd? I need not raise Trophies to thee from other Mens dispraise; Nor is thy fame on lesser Ruines built, Nor needs thy juster title the foule guilt Of Easterne Kings, who to secure their Raigne, Must have their Brothers, Sonnes, and Kindred slaine. Then was wits Empire at the fatall height, When labouring and sinking with its weight, From thence a thousand lesser Poets sprong Like petty Princes from the fall of_ Rome. When_ JOHNSON, SHAKESPEARE, _and thy selfe did sit, And sway'd in the Triumvirate of wit— Yet what from_ JOHNSONS _oyle and sweat did flow, Or what more easie nature did bestow On_ SHAKESPEARES _gentler Muse, in thee full growne Their Graces both appeare, yet so, that none Can say here Nature ends, and Art begins But mixt like th'Elemcnts, and borne like twins, So interweav'd, so like, so much the same, None this meere Nature, that meere Art can name: 'Twas this the Ancients meant, Nature and Skill Are the two topps of their_ Pernassus _Hill_.


Upon Mr. John Fletcher's Playes.

Fletcher, to thee, wee doe not only owe All these good Playes, but those of others too: Thy wit repeated, does support the Stage, Credits the last and entertaines this age. No Worthies form'd by any Muse but thine Could purchase Robes to make themselves so fine: What brave Commander is not proud to see Thy brave Melantius in his Gallantry, Our greatest Ladyes love to see their scorne Out done by Thine, in what themselves have worne: Th'impatient Widow ere the yeare be done Sees thy Aspasia weeping in her Gowne: I never yet the Tragick straine assay'd Deterr'd by that inimitable Maid: And when I venture at the Comick stile Thy Scornfull Lady seemes to mock my toile: Thus has thy Muse, at once, improv'd and marr'd Our Sport in Playes, by rendring it too hard. So when a sort of lusty Shepheards throw The barre by turns, and none the rest outgoe So farre, but that the best are measuring casts, Their emulation and their pastime lasts; But if some Brawny yeoman, of the guard Step in and tosse the Axeltree a yard Or more beyond the farthest Marke, the rest Despairing stand, their sport is at the best.


To FLETCHER Reviv'd.

How have I been Religious? what strange Good Ha's scap't me that I never understood? Have I Hell guarded Haeresie o'rethrowne? Heald wounded States? made Kings and Kingdomes one? That Fate should be so mercifull to me, To let me live t'have said I have read thee. Faire Star ascend! the Joy! the Life! the Light Of this tempestuous Age, this darke worlds sight! Oh from thy Crowne of Glory dart one flame May strike a sacred Reverence, whilest thy Name (Like holy Flamens to their God of Day) We bowing, sing; and whilst we praise, we pray. Bright Spirit! whose AEternall motion Of Wit, like Time still in it selfe did runne; Binding all others in it and did give Commission, how far this, or that shall live: Like Destinie of Poems, who, as she Signes death to all, her selfe can never dye. And now thy purple-robed Tragoedie, In her imbroiderd Buskins, calls mine eye, Where brave Ateius we see betrayed, [-Valentinian-] T'obey his Death, whom thousand lives obeyed; Whilst that the Mighty Foole his Scepter breakes, And through his Gen'rals wounds his owne dooms speaks, Weaving thus richly Valentinian The costliest Monarch with the cheapest man. Souldiers may here to their old glories adde, [-The Mad Lover.-] The Lover love, and be with reason mad: Not as of old, Alcides furious, Who wilder then his Bull did teare the house, (Hurling his Language with the Canvas stone) 'Twas thought the Monster roar'd the sob'rer Tone. But ah, when thou thy sorrow didst inspire [-Tragi-comedies.-] With Passions, blacke as is her darke attire, Virgins as Sufferers have wept to see [-Arcas.-] So white a Soule, so red a Crueltie; [-Bellario.-] That thou hast grieved, and with unthought redresse, Dri'd their wet eyes who now thy mercy blesse; Yet loth to lose thy watry Jewell, when [-Comedies.-] Joy wip't it off, Laughter straight sprung't agen. [-The Spanish Curate.-] Now ruddy-cheeked Mirth with Rosie wings, Fanns ev'ry brow with gladnesse, whilest she sings [-The Humorous Lieutenant.-] Delight to all, and the whole Theatre A Festivall in Heaven doth appeare: Nothing but Pleasure, Love, and (like the Morne) [-The Tamer Tam'd.-] Each face a generall smiling doth adorne. [-The little french Lawyer.-] Heare ye foule Speakers, that pronounce the Aire [The custom of the Countrey-] Of Stewes and Shores, I will informe you where And how to cloathe aright your wanton wit, Without her nasty Bawd attending it. View here a loose thought said with such a grace, Minerva might have spoke in Venus face; So well disguis'd, that t'was conceiv'd by none But Cupid had Diana's linnen on; And all his naked parts so vail'd, th' expresse The Shape with clowding the uncomlinesse; That if this Reformation which we Receiv'd, had not been buried with thee, The Stage (as this work) might have liv'd and lov'd; Her Lines; the austere Skarlet had approv'd, And th' Actors wisely been from that offence As cleare, as they are now from Audience. Thus with thy Genius did the Scaene expire, Wanting thy Active and inliv'ning fire, That now (to spread a darknesse over all,) Nothing remaines but Poesie to fall. And though from these thy Embers we receive Some warmth, so much as may be said, we live, That we dare praise thee, blushlesse, in the head Of the best piece Hermes to Love e're read, That We rejoyce and glory in thy Wit, And feast each other with remembring it, That we dare speak thy thought, thy Acts recite: Yet all men henceforth be afraid to write.



Dramaticall Poems.

Great tutelary Spirit of the Stage! FLETCHER! I can fix nothing but my rage Before thy Workes, 'gainst their officious crime Who print thee now, in the worst scaene of Time. For me, uninterrupted hadst thou slept Among the holly shades and close hadst kept The mistery of thy lines, till men might bee Taught how to reade, and then, how to reade thee. But now thou art expos'd to th' common fate, Revive then (mighty Soule!) and vindicate From th' Ages rude affronts thy injured fame, Instruct the Envious, with how chast a flame Thou warmst the Lover; how severely just Thou wert to punish, if he burnt to lust. With what a blush thou didst the Maid adorne, But tempted, with how innocent a scorne. How Epidemick errors by thy Play Were laught out of esteeme, so purged away. How to each sence thou so didst vertue fit, That all grew vertuous to be thought t' have wit. But this was much too narrow for thy art, Thou didst frame governments, give Kings their part, Teach them how neere to God, while just they be; But how dissolved, stretcht forth to Tyrannie. How Kingdomes, in their channell, safely run, But rudely overflowing are undone. Though vulgar spirits Poets scorne or hate; Man may beget, A Poet can create.


Upon Master FLETCHERS Dramaticall Workes.

What? now the Stage is down, darst thou appeare Bold FLETC[H]ER in this tottr'ing Hemisphear? Yes;Poets are like Palmes which, the more weight You cast upon them, grow more strong & streight, 'Tis not love's Thunderbolt, nor Mars his Speare, Or Neptune's angry Trident, Poets fear. Had now grim BEN bin breathing, 'with what rage, And high-swolne fury had Hee lash'd this age, SHAKESPEARE with CHAPMAN had grown madd, and torn Their gentle Sock, and lofty Buskins worne, To make their Muse welter up to the chin In blood; of faigned Scenes no need had bin, England like Lucians Eagle with an Arrow Of her owne Plumes piercing her heart quite thorow, Had bin a Theater and subject fit To exercise in real truth's their wit: Tet none like high-wing'd FLETCHER had bin found This Eagles tragick-destiny to sound, Rare FLETCHER'S quill had soar'd up to the sky, And drawn down Gods to see the tragedy: Live famous Dramatist, let every spring Make thy Bay flourish, and fresh Bourgeons bring: And since we cannot have Thee trod o'th' stage, Wee will applaud Thee in this silent Page.


On the Edition.

Fletcher (whose Fame no Age can ever wast; Envy of Ours, and glory of the last) Is now alive againe; and with his Name His sacred Ashes wak'd into a Flame; Such as before did by a secret charme The wildest Heart subdue, the coldest warme, And lend the Lady's eyes a power more bright, Dispensing thus to either, Heat and Light. He to a Sympathie those soules betrai'd Whom Love or Beauty never could perswade; And in each mov'd spectatour could beget A reall passion by a Counterfeit: When first Bellario bled, what Lady there Did not for every drop let fall a teare? And when Aspasia wept, not any eye But seem'd to weare the same sad livery; By him inspired the feigned Lucina drew More streams of melting sorrow then the true; But then the Scornfull Lady did beguile Their easie griefs, and teach them all to smile. Thus he Affections could, or raise or lay; Love, Griefe and Mirth thus did his Charmes obey: He Nature taught her passions to out-doe, How to refine the old, and create new; Which such a happy likenesse seem'd to beare, As if that Nature Art, Art Nature were. Yet All had Nothing bin, obscurely kept In the same Urne wherein his Dust hath slept, Nor had he ris' the Delphick wreath to claime, Had not the dying sceane expired his Name; Dispaire our joy hath doubled, he is come, Thrice welcome by this Post-liminium. His losse preserved him; They that silenc'd Wit, Are now the Authours to Eternize it; Thus Poets are in spight of Fate revived, And Playes by Intermission longer liv'd.


On the Edition of Mr Francis Beaumonts, and Mr John Fletchers PLAYES never printed before.

I Am amaz'd; and this same Extacye Is both my Glory and Apology. Sober Joyes are dull Passions; they must beare Proportion to the Subject: if so; where Beaumont and Fletcher shall vouchsafe to be That Subject; That Joy must be Extacye. Fury is the Complexion of great Wits; The Fooles Distemper: Hee, thats mad by fits, Is wise so too. It is the Poets Muse; The Prophets God: the Fooles, and my excuse. For (in Me) nothing lesse then Fletchers Name Could have begot, or justify'd this flame. Beaumont } Fletcher } Return'd? methinks it should not be. No, not in's Works: Playes are as dead as He. The Palate of this age gusts nothing High; That has not Custard in't or Bawdery. Folly and Madnesse fill the Stage: The Scaene Is Athens; where, the Guilty, and the Meane, The Foole 'scapes well enough; Learned and Great, Suffer an Ostracisme; stand Exulate.

Mankinde is fall'n againe, shrunke a degree, A step below his very Apostacye. Nature her Selfe is out of Tune; and Sicke Of Tumult and Disorder, Lunatique. Yet what World would not cheerfully endure The Torture, or Disease, t' enjoy the Cure?

_This Booke's_ the _Balsame_, and the _Hellebore_, Must _preserve bleeding Nature_, and _restore_ Our _Crazy Stupor_ to a _just quick Sence_ Both of _Ingratitude_, and _Providence_. That teaches us (at _Once_) to _feele_, and _know_, _Two deep Points_: what we _want_, and what we _owe_. Yet _Great Goods have their Ills_: Should we _transmit_ To _Future Times_, the _Pow'r_ of _Love_ and _Wit_, In _this Example_: would they not _combine_ To make _Our Imperfections Their Designe?_ They'd _study_ our _Corruptions_; and take more _Care_ to be _Ill_, then to be _Good_, _before_. For _nothing but so great Infirmity, Could make Them worthy of such Remedy.

Have you not scene the Suns almighty Ray Rescue th' affrighted World_, and _redeeme Day_ From _blacke despaire_: how his _victorious Beame_ _Scatters_ the _Storme_, and _drownes_ the _petty flame_ Of _Lightning_, in the _glory_ of his _eye_: How _full_ of _pow'r_, how _full_ of _Majesty?_ When to _us Mortals, nothing_ else was _knowne_, But the _sad doubt_, whether to _burne_, or _drowne_.

Choler, and Phlegme, Heat, and dull Ignorance, Have cast the people into such a Trance, That feares and danger seeme Great equally, And no dispute left now, but how to dye. Just in this nicke, Fletcher sets the world cleare Of all disorder and reformes us here.

The formall Youth, that knew no other Grace, Or Value, but his Title, and his Lace, Glasses himselfe: and in this faithfull Mirrour, Views, disaproves, reformes, repents his Errour.

The Credulous, bright Girle, that beleeves all Language, (in Othes) if Good, Canonicall, Is fortifi'd, and taught, here, to beware Of ev'ry specious bayte, of ev'ry snare Save one: and that same Caution takes her more, Then all the flattery she felt before. She finds her Boxes, and her Thoughts betray'd By the Corruption of the Chambermaide: Then throwes her Washes and dissemblings By; And Vowes nothing but Ingenuity.

The severe States-man quits his sullen forme Of Gravity and bus'nesse; The Luke-warme Religious his Neutrality; The hot Braine-sicke Illuminate his zeale; The Sot Stupidity; The Souldier his Arreares; The Court its Confidence; The Plebs their feares; Gallants their Apishnesse and Perjurie, Women their Pleasure and Inconstancie; Poets their Wine; the Usurer his Pelfe; The World its Vanity; and I my Selfe.

Roger L'Estrange.


On the Dramatick Poems of Mr JOHN FLETCHER.

Wonder! who's here? Fletcher, long buried Reviv'd? Tis he! hee's risen from the Dead. His winding sheet put off, walks above ground, Shakes off his Fetters, and is better bound. And may he not, if rightly understood, Prove Playes are lawfull? he hath made them Good. Is any Lover Mad? see here Loves Cure; Unmarried? to a Wife he may be sure A rare one, For a Moneth; if she displease, The Spanish Curate gives a Writ of ease. Enquire The Custome of the Country, then Shall the French Lawyer set you free againe. If the two Faire Maids take it wondrous ill, (One of the Inne, the other of the Mill,) That th' Lovers Progresse stopt, and they defam'd; Here's that makes Women Pleas'd, and Tamer tamd. But who then playes the Coxcombe, or will trie His Wit at severall Weapons, or else die? Nice Valour and he doubts not to engage The Noble Gentl'man, in Loves Pilgrimage, To take revenge on the False One, and run The Honest mans Fortune, to be undone Like Knight of Malta, or else Captaine be Or th' Humerous Lieutenant: goe to Sea (A Voyage for to starve) hee's very loath, Till we are all at peace, to sweare an Oath, That then the Loyall Subject may have leave To lye from Beggers Bush, and undeceive The Creditor, discharge his debts; Why so, Since we can't pay to Fletcher what we owe. Oh could his Prophetesse but tell one Chance, When that the Pilgrimes shall returne from France. And once more make this Kingdome, as of late, The Island Princesse, and we celebrate A Double Marriage; every one to bring To Fletchers memory his offering. That thus at last unsequesters the Stage, Brings backe the Silver, and the Golden Age.

Robert Gardiner.

To the Manes of the celebrated Poets and Fellow-writers, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, upon the Printing of their excellent Dramatick Poems.

Disdaine not Gentle Shades, the lowly praise Which here I tender your immortall Bayes. Call it not folly, but my zeale, that I Strive to eternize you that cannot dye. And though no Language rightly can commend What you have writ, save what your selves have penn'd; Yet let me wonder at those curious straines (The rich Conceptions of your twin-like Braines) Which drew the Gods attention; who admir'd To see our English Stage by you inspir'd. Whose chiming Muses never fail'd to sing A Soule-affecting Musicke; ravishing Both Eare and Intellect, while you do each Contend with other who shall highest reach In rare Invention; Conflicts that beget New strange delight, to see two Fancies met, That could receive no foile: two wits in growth So just, as had one Soule informed both. Thence (Learned Fletcher) sung the muse alone, As both had done before, thy Beaumont gone. In whom, as thou, had he outlived, so he (Snatch'd first away) survived still in thee. What though distempers of the present Age Have banish'd your smooth numbers from the Stage? You shall be gainers by't; it shall confer To th' making the vast world your Theater. The Presse shall give to ev'ry man his part, And we will all be Actors; learne by heart Those Tragick Scenes and Comicke Straines you writ, Un-imitable both for Art and Wit; And at each Exit, as your Fancies rise, Our hands shall clap deserved Plaudities.

John Web.

To the desert of the Author in his most Ingenious Pieces.

Thou art above their Censure, whose darke Spirits Respects but shades of things, and seeming merits; That have no soule, nor reason to their will, But rime as ragged, as a Ganders Quill: Where Pride blowes up the Error, and transfers Their zeale in Tempests, that so wid'ly errs. Like heat and Ayre comprest, their blind desires Mixe with their ends, as raging winds with fires. Whose Ignorance and Passions, weare an eye Squint to all parts of true Humanity. All is Apocripha suits not their vaine: For wit, oh fye! and Learning too; prophane! But Fletcher hath done Miracles by wit, And one Line of his may convert them yet. Tempt them into the State of knowledge, and Happinesse to read and understand. The way is strow'd with Lawrell, and ev'ry Muse Brings Incense to our Fletcher: whose Scenes infuse Such noble kindlings from her pregnant fire, As charmes her Criticke Poets in desire, And who doth read him, that parts lesse indu'd, Then with some heat of wit or Gratitude. Some crowd to touch the Relique of his Bayes, Some to cry up their owne wit in his praise, And thinke they engage it by Comparatives, When from himselfe, himselfe he best derives. Let Shakespeare, Chapman, and applauded Ben, Weare the Eternall merit of their Pen, Here I am love-sicke: and were I to chuse, A Mistris corrivall 'tis Fletcher's Muse.

George Buck.


(Written thirty years since, presently after his death.)

Beaumont lyes here; and where now shall we have A Muse like his to sigh upon his grave? Ah! none to weepe this with a worthy teare, But he that cannot, Beaumont, that lies here. Who now shall pay thy Tombe with such a Verse As thou that Ladies didst, faire Rutlands Herse? A Monument that will then lasting be, When all her Marble is more dust than she. In thee all's lost: a sudden dearth and want Hath seiz'd on Wit, good Epitaphs are scant; We dare not write thy Elegie, whilst each feares He nere shall match that coppy of thy teares. Scarce in an Age a Poet, and yet he Scarce lives the third part of his age to see, But quickly taken off and only known, Is in a minute shut as soone as showne. Why should weake Nature tire her selfe in vaine In such a peice, to dash it straight againe? Why should she take such worke beyond her skill, Which when she cannot perfect, she must kill? Alas, what is't to temper slime or mire? But Nature's puzled when she workes in fire: Great Braines (like brightest glasse) crack straight, while those Of Stone or Wood hold out, and feare not blowes. And wee their Ancient hoary heads can see Whose Wit was never their mortality: Beaumont dies young, so Sidney did before, There was not Poetry he could live to more, He could not grow up higher, I scarce know If th' art it selfe unto that pitch could grow, Were't not in thee that hadst arriv'd the hight Of all that wit could reach, or Nature might. O when I read those excellent things of thine, Such Strength, such sweetnesse coucht in every line, Such life of Fancy, such high choise of braine, Nought of the Vulgar wit or borrowed straine, Such Passion, such expressions meet my eye, Such Wit untainted with obscenity, And these so unaffectedly exprest, All in a language purely flowing drest, And all so borne within thy selfe, thine owne, So new, so fresh, so nothing trod upon. I grieve not now that old Menanders veine Is ruin'd to survive in thee againe; Such in his time was he of the same peece, The smooth, even naturall Wit, and Love of Greece. Those few sententious fragments shew more worth, Then all the Poets Athens ere brought forth; And I am sorry we have lost those houres On them, whose quicknesse comes far short of ours, And dwell not more on thee, whose every Page May be a patterne for their Scene and Stage. I will not yeeld thy Workes so meane a Prayse; More pure, more chaste, more sainted then are Playes, Nor with that dull supinenesse to be read, To passe a fire, or laugh an houre in bed. How doe the Muses suffer every where, Taken in such mouthes censure, in such eares, That twixt a whiffe, a Line or two rehearse, And with their Rheume together spaule a Verse? This all a Poems leisure after Play, Drinke or Tabacco, it may keep the Day. Whilst even their very idlenesse they thinke Is lost in these, that lose their time in drinkt. Pity then dull we, we that better know, Will a more serious houre on thee bestow, Why should not Beaumont in the Morning please, As well as Plautus, Aristophanes? Who if my Pen may as my thoughts be free, Were scurrill Wits and Buffons both to Thee; Yet these our Learned of severest brow Will deigne to looke on, and to note them too, That will defie our owne, tis English stuffe, And th' Author is not rotten long enough. Alas what flegme are they, compared to thee, In thy Philaster, and Maids-Tragedy? Where's such an humour as thy Bessus? pray Let them put all their Thrasoes in one Play, He shall out-bid them; their conceit was poore, All in a Circle of a Bawd or Whore; A cozning dance, take the foole away, And not a good jest extant in a Play. Yet these are Wits, because they'r old, and now Being Greeke and Latine, they are Learning too: But those their owne Times were content t' allow A thirsty fame, and thine is lowest now. But thou shalt live, and when thy Name is growne Six Ages older, shall be better knowne, When th' art of Chaucers standing in the Tombe, Thou shalt not share, but take up all his roome.

Joh. Earle.


Incomparable Playes.

The Poet lives; wonder not how or why Fletcher revives, but that he er'e could dye: Safe Mirth, full Language, flow in ev'ry Page, At once he doth both heighten and aswage; All Innocence and Wit, pleasant and cleare, Nor Church nor Lawes were ever Libel'd here; But faire deductions drawn from his great Braine, Enough to conquer all that's False or Vaine; He scatters Wit, and Sence so freely flings That very Citizens speake handsome things, Teaching their Wives such unaffected grace, Their Looks are now as handsome as their Face. Nor is this violent, he steals upon The yeilding Soule untill the Phrensie's gone; His very Launcings do the Patient please, As when good Musicke cures a Mad Disease. Small Poets rifle Him, yet thinke it faire, Because they rob a man that well can spare; They feed upon him, owe him every bit, Th'are all but Sub-excisemen of his Wit.

J. M.

On the Workes of Beaumont and Fletcher, now at length printed.

_Great paire of Authors, whom one equall Starre Begot so like in_ Genius, _that you are In Fame, as well as Writings, both so knit, That no man knowes where to divide your wit, Much lesse your praise; you, who had equall fire, And did each other mutually inspire; Whether one did contrive, the other write, Or one framed the plot, the other did indite; Whether one found the matter, th'other dresse, Or the one disposed what th'other did expresse; Where e're your parts betweene your selves lay, we, In all things which you did but one thred see, So evenly drawne out, so gently spunne, That Art with Nature nere did smoother run. Where shall I fixe my praise then? or what part Of all your numerous Labours hath desert More to be fam'd then other? shall I say, I've met a lover so drawne in your Play, So passionately written, so inflamed, So jealously inraged, then gently tam'd, That I in reading have the Person seene. And your Pen hath part Stage and Actor been? Or shall I say, that I can scarce forbeare To clap, when I a Captain do meet there, So lively in his owne vaine humour drest, So braggingly, and like himself exprest, That moderne Cowards, when they saw him plaid, Saw, blusht, departed guilty, and betraid? You wrote all parts right; whatsoe're the Stage Had from you, was seene there as in the age, And had their equall life: Vices which were Manners abroad, did grow corrected there: _They who possest a Box, and halfe Crowns spent To learne Obscenenes, returned innocent, And thankt you for this coznage, whose chaste Scene Taught Loves so noble, so reformed, so cleane, That they who brought foule fires, and thither came To bargaine, went thence with a holy flame. Be't to your praise too, that your Stock and Veyne Held both to Tragick and to Comick straine; Where e're you listed to be high and grave, No Buskin shew'd more solem[n]e, no quill gave Such feeling objects to draw teares from eyes, Spectators sate part in your Tragedies. And where you listed to be low, and free, Mirth turn'd the whole house into Comedy; So piercing (where you pleas'd) hitting a fault, That humours from your pen issued all salt. Nor were you thus in Works and Poems knit, As to be but two halfes, and make one wit; But as some things we see, have double cause, And yet the effect it selfe from both whole drawes; So though you were thus twisted and combind As two bodies, to have but one faire minde Yet if we praise you rightly, we must say Both joyn'd, and both did wholly make the Play, For that you could write singly, we may guesse By the divided peeces which the Presse Hath severally sent forth; nor were gone so (Like some our Moderne Authors) made to go On meerely by the helpe of the other, who To purchase fame do come forth one of two; Nor wrote you so, that ones part was to lick The other into shape, nor did one stick The others cold inventions with such wit, As served like spice, to make them quick and fit; Nor out of mutuall want, or emptinesse, Did you conspire to go still twins to th' Presse: But what thus joy tied you wrote, might have come forth As good from each, and stored with the same worth That thus united them, you did joyne sense, In you 'twas League, in others impotence; And the Presse which both thus amongst us sends, Sends us one Poet in a faire of friends._

Jasper Maine.

Upon the report of the printing of the Dramaticall Poems of Master John Fletcher, collected before, and now set forth in one Volume.

Though when all Fletcher writ, and the entire Man was indulged unto that sacred fire, His thoughts, and his thoughts dresse, appeared both such, That 'twas his happy fault to do too much; Who therefore wisely did submit each birth To knowing Beaumont e're it did come forth, Working againe untill he said 'twas fit, And made him the sobriety of his wit; Though thus he call'd his Judge into his fame, And for that aid allow'd him halfe the name, 'Tis knowne, that sometimes he did stand alone, That both the Spunge and Pencill were his owne; That himselfe judged himselfe, could singly do, And was at last Beaumont and Fletcher too; Else we had lost his Shepherdesse, a piece Even and smooth, spun from a finer fleece, Where softnesse raignes, where passions passions greet, Gentle and high, as floods of Balsam meet. Where dressed in white expressions, sit bright Loves, Drawne, like their fairest Queen, by milkie Doves; A piece, which Johnson in a rapture bid Come up a glorifi'd Worke, and so it did. Else had his Muse set with his friend; the Stage Had missed those Poems, which yet take the Age; The world had lost those rich exemplars, where Art, Language, Wit, sit ruling in one Spheare, Where the fresh matters soare above old Theames, As Prophets Raptures do above our Dreames; Where in a worthy scorne he dares refuse All other Gods, and makes the thing his Muse; Where he calls passions up, and layes them so, As spirits, aw'd by him to come and go; Where the free Author did what e're he would, And nothing will'd, but what a Poet should. No vast uncivill bulke swells any Scene, The strength's ingenious, a[n]d the vigour cleane; None can prevent the Fancy, and see through At the first opening; all stand wondring how The thing will be untill it is; which thence With fresh delight still cheats, still takes the sence; The whole designe, the shadowes, the lights such That none can say he shelves or hides too much: Businesse growes up, ripened by just encrease, And by as just degrees againe doth cease, The heats and minutes of affaires are watcht, And the nice points of time are met, and snatcht: Nought later then it should, nought comes before, Chymists, and Calculators doe erre more: Sex, age, degree, affections, country, place, The inward substance, and the outward face; All kept precisely, all exactly fit, What he would write, he was before he writ. 'Twixt Johnsons grave, and Shakespeares lighter sound His muse so steer'd that something still was found, Nor this, nor that, nor both, but so his owne, That 'twas his marke, and he was by it knowne. Hence did he take true judgements, hence did strike, All pallates some way, though not all alike: The god of numbers might his numbers crowne, And listning to them wish they were his owne. Thus welcome forth, what ease, or wine, or wit Durst yet produce, that is, what Fletcher writ.


Fletcher, though some call it thy fault, that wit So overflow'd thy scenes, that ere 'twas fit To come upon the Stage, Beaumont was faine To bid thee be more dull, that's write againe, And bate some of thy fire, which from thee came In a cleare, bright, full, but too large a flame; And after all (finding thy Genius such) That blunted, and allayed, 'twas yet too much; Added his sober spunge, and did contract Thy plenty to lesse wit to make't exact: Yet we through his corrections could see Much treasure in thy superfluity, Which was so fil'd away, as when we doe Cut Jewels, that that's lost is jewell too: Or as men use to wash Gold, which we know By losing makes the streame thence wealthy grow. They who doe on thy worker severely sit, And call thy store the over-births of wit, Say thy miscarriages were rare, and when Thou wert superfluous, that thy fruitfull Pen Had no fault but abundance, which did lay Out in one Scene what might well serve a Play; And hence doe grant, that what they call excesse Was to be reckon'd as thy happinesse, From whom wit issued in a full spring-tide; Much did inrich the Stage, much flow'd beside. For that thou couldst thine owne free fancy binde In stricter numbers, and run so confin'd As to observe the rules of Art, which sway In the contrivance of a true borne Play: These workes proclaime which thou didst write retired From Beaumont, by none but thy selfe inspired; Where we see 'twas not chance that made them hit, Nor were thy Playes the Lotteries of wit, But like to Durers Pencill, which first knew The lawes of faces, and then faces drew: Thou knowst the aire, the colour, and the place, The simetry, which gives a Poem grace: Parts are so fitted unto parts, as doe Shew thou hadst wit, and Mathematicks too: Knewst where by line to spare, where to dispence, And didst beget just Comedies from thence: Things unto which thou didst such life bequeath, That they (their owne Black-Friers) unacted breath. Johnson hath writ things lasting, and divine, Yet his Love-Scenes, Fletcher, compar'd to thine, Are cold and frosty, and exprest love so, As heat with Ice, or warme fires mixt with Snow; Thou, as if struck with the same generous darts, Which burne, and raigne in noble Lovers hearts, Hast cloath'd affections in such native tires, And so describ'd them in their owne true fires; Such moving sighes, suc[h] undissembled teares, Such charmes of language, such hopes mixt with feares, Such grants after denialls, such pursuits After despaire, such amorous recruits, That some who sate spectators have confest Themselves transformed to what they saw exprest, And felt such shafts steale through their captiv'd sence, As made them rise Parts, and goe Lovers thence. Nor was thy stile wholly compos'd of Groves, Or the soft straines of Shepheards and their Loves; When thou wouldst Comick be, each smiling birth In that kinde, came into the world all mirth, All point, all edge, all sharpnesse; we did sit Sometimes five Acts out in pure sprightfull wit, Which flowed in such true salt, that we did doubt In which Scene we laught most two shillings out. Shakespeare to thee was dull, whose best jest lyes I'th Ladies questions, and the Fooles replyes; Old fashioned wit, which walkt from town to town In turn'd Hose, which our fathers call'd the Clown; Whose wit our nice times would obsceannesse call, And which made Bawdry passe for Comicall: Nature was all his Art, thy veine was free As his, but without his scurility; From whom mirth came unforced, no jest perplext, But without labour cleane, chast, and unvext. Thou wert not like some, our small Poets who Could not be Poets, were not we Poets too; Whose wit is pilfring, and whose veine and wealth In Poetry lyes meerely in their stealth; Nor didst thou feele their drought, their pangs, their qualmes, Their rack in writing, who doe write for almes, Whose wretched Genius, and dependent fires, But to their Benefactors dole aspires. Nor hadst thou the sly trick, thy selfe to praise Under thy friends names, or to purchase Bayes Didst write stale commendations to thy Booke, Which we for Beaumonts or Ben. Johnsons tooke: That debt thou left'st to us, which none but he Can truly pay, Fletcher, who writes like thee.

William Cartwright.

On Mr FRANCIS BEAUMONT (then newly dead.)

He that hath such acutenesse, and such witt, As would aske ten good heads to husband it; He that can write so well that no man dare Refuse it for the best, let him beware: BEAUMONT is dead, by whose sole death appeares, Witt's a Disease consumes men in few yeares.


To Mr FRANCIS BEAUMONT (then living.)

How I doe love thee BEAUMONT, and thy Muse, That unto me do'st such religion use! How I doe feare my selfe, that am not worth The least indulgent thought thy pen drops forth! At once thou mak'st me happie, and unmak'st; And giving largely to me, more thou tak'st. What fate is mine, that so it selfe bereaves? What art is thine, that so thy friend deceives? When even there where most than praisest me, For writing better, I must envy thee.


Upon Master FLETCHERS Incomparable Playes.

Apollo sings, his harpe resounds; give roome, For now behold the golden Pompe is come, Thy Pompe of Playes which thousands come to see, With admiration both of them and thee, O Volume worthy leafe, by leafe and cover To be with juice of Cedar washt all over; Here's words with lines, and lines with Scenes consent, To raise an Act to full astonishment; Here melting numbers, words of power to move Young men to swoone, and Maides to dye for love. Love lyes a bleeding here, Evadne there Swells with brave rage, yet comely every where, Here's a mad lover, there that high designe Of King and no King (and the rare Plot thine) So that when 'ere wee circumvolve our Eyes, Such rich, such fresh, such sweet varietyes, Ravish our spirits, that entranc't we see None writes lov's passion in the world, like Thee.


On the happy Collection of Master FLETCHER'S Works, never before PRINTED.

FLETCHER _arise, Usurpers share thy Bayes, They_ Canton _thy vast Wit to build small_ Playes: _He comes! his_ Volume _breaks through clowds and dust, Downe, little Witts, Ye must refund, Ye must._ _Nor comes he private, here's great_ BEAUMONT _too, How could one single World encompasse Two? For these Co-heirs had equall power to teach All that all Witts both can and cannot reach._ Shakespear _was early up, and went so drest As for those_ dawning _houres he knew was best; But when the Sun shone forth,_ You Two _thought fit To weare just Robes, and leave off Trunk-hose-Wit. Now, now 'twas Perfect; None must looke for New, Manners and Scenes may alter, but not_ You; _For Yours are not meere_ Humours, _gilded straines; The Fashion lost, Your massy_ Sense _remaines. Some thinke Your Witts of two Complexions fram'd, That One the_ Sock, _th'Other the_ Buskin _claim'd; That should the Stage_ embattaile _all it's Force,_ FLETCHER _would lead the Foot,_ BEAUMONT _the Horse. But, you were Both for Both; not Semi-witts, Each Piece is wholly Two, yet never splits: Y'are not Two_ Faculties (_and one_ Soule _still) But th'_ Understanding, _Thou the quick free_ Will; _But, as two_ Voyces _in one Song embrace,_ (FLETCHER'S _keen_ Trebble, _and deep_ BEAUMONTS Base) _Two, full, Congeniall Soules; still Both prevail'd; His Muse and Thine were_ Quarter'd _not_ Impal'd: _Both brought Your Ingots, Both toil'd at the Mint, Beat, melted, sifted, till no drosse stuck in't, Then in each Others scales weighed every graine, Then smooth'd and burnish'd, then weigh'd all againe, Stampt Both your Names upon't by one bold Hit, Then, then'twas Coyne, as well as Bullion-Wit.

Thus Twinns: But as when Fate one Eye deprives, That other strives to double which survives: So_ BEAUMONT _dy'd: yet left in Legacy His Rules and Standard-wit_ (FLETCHER) _to Thee. Still the same Planet, though not fill'd so soon, A Two-horn'd_ Crescent _then, now one_ Full-moon. _Joynt_ Love _before, now_ Honour _doth provoke; So th' old Twin_-Giants _forcing a huge Oake One slipp'd his footing, th' Other sees him fall, Grasp'd the whole Tree and single held up all. Imperiall_ FLETCHER! _here begins thy Raigne, Scenes flow like Sun-beams from thy glorious Brain; Thy swift dispatching Soule no more doth stay Then He that built two Citties in one day; Ever brim full, and sometimes running o're To feede poore languid Witts that waite at doore, Who creep and creep, yet ne're above-ground stood, (For Creatures have most Feet which have least Blood) But thou art still that_ Bird of Paradise _Which hath_ no feet _and ever nobly_ flies: _Rich, lusty Sence, such as the_ Poet _ought, For_ Poems _if not Excellent, are Naught; Low wit in Scenes? in state a Peasant goes; If meane and flat, let it foot Yeoman Prose, That such may spell as are not Readers grown, To whom He that writes Wit, shews he hath none._ _Brave_ Shakespeare _flow'd, yet had his Ebbings too, Often above Himselfe, sometimes below; Thou Alwayes Best; if ought seem'd to decline, 'Twas the unjudging Rout's mistake, not Thine: Thus thy faire_ SHEPHEARDESSE, _which the bold Heape (False to Themselves and Thee) did prize so cheap,_ _Was found (when understood) fit to be Crown'd, At wont 'twas worth_ two hundred thousand pound. _Some blast thy_ Works _lest we should track their Walke Where they steale all those few good things they talke; Wit-Burglary must chide those it feeds on, For Plundered folkes ought to be rail'd upon; But (as stoln goods goe off at halfe their worth) Thy strong Sence_ pall's _when they purloine it forth. When did'st_ Thou _borrow? wkere's the man e're read Ought begged by_ Thee _from those Alive or Dead? Or from dry_ Goddesses, _as some who when They stuffe their page with Godds, write worse then Men. Thou was't thine_ owne _Muse, and hadst such vast odds Thou out-writ'st him whose verse_ made _all those_ Godds: _Surpassing those our Dwarfish Age up reares, As much as_ Greeks _or_ Latines _thee in yeares: Thy Ocean Fancy knew nor Bankes nor Damms, We ebbe downe dry to pebble_-Anagrams; _Dead and insipid, all despairing sit Lost to behold this great_ Relapse _of_ Wit: _What strength remaines, is like that (wilde and fierce) Till_ Johnson _made good Poets and right Verse. Such boyst'rous Trifles Thy Muse would not brooke, Save when she'd show how scurvily they looke; No savage Metaphors (things rudely Great) Thou dost_ display, _not_ butcher _a Conceit; Thy Nerves have_ Beauty, _which Invades and Charms; Lookes like a Princesse harness'd in bright Armes. Nor art Thou Loud and Cloudy; those that do Thunder so much, do't without Lightning too; Tearing themselves, and almost split their braine To render harsh what thou speak'st free and cleane; Such gloomy Sense may pass for_ High _and_ Proud, _But true-born Wit still flies_ above _the_ Cloud; _Thou knewst 'twas_ Impotence _what they call_ Height; _Who blusters strong i'th Darke, but_ creeps _i'th Light. And as thy thoughts were_ cleare, _so_, Innocent; _Thy Phancy gave no unswept Language vent; Slaunderst not_ Lawes, _prophan'st no_ holy Page, (_As if thy Fathers_ Crosier _aw'd the Stage_;) _High Crimes were still arraign'd, though they made shift To prosper out_ foure Acts, _were plagu'd i'th_ Fift: _All's safe, and wise; no stiffe-affected Scene, Nor_ swoln, _nor_ flat, _a True Full Naturall veyne; Thy Sence (like well-drest Ladies) cloath'd as skinn'd, Not all unlac'd, nor City-startcht and pinn'd. Thou hadst no Sloath, no Rage, no sullen Fit, But_ Strength _and_ Mirth, FLETCHER'S _a_ Sanguin _Wit_. _Thus, two great_ Consul-_Poets all things swayd, Till all was_ English _Borne or_ English _Made:_ Miter _and_ Coyfe _here into One Piece spun_, BEAUMONT _a_ Judge's, _This a_ Prelat's _sonne. What Strange Production is at last displaid, (Got by Two Fathers, without Female aide) Behold, two_ Masculines _espous'd each other_, Wit _and the World were born without a_ Mother.


To the memorie of Master FLETCHER.

There's nothing gained by being witty: Fame Gathers but winde to blather up a name. Orpheus must leave his lyre, or if it be In heav'n, 'tis there a signe, no harmony, And stones, that follow'd him, may now become Now stones againe, and serve him for his Tomb. The Theban Linus, that was ably skil'd In Muse and Musicke, was by Phoebus kill'd, Though Phoebus did beget him: sure his Art Had merited his balsame, not his dart. But here Apollo's jealousie is seene, The god of Physicks troubled with the spleene; Like timerous Kings he puts a period To high grown parts lest he should be no God. Hence those great Master-wits of Greece that gave Life to the world, could not avoid a grave. Hence the inspired Prophets of old Rome Too great for earth fled to Elizium. But the same Ostracisme benighted one, To whom all these were but illusion; It tooke our FLETCHER hence, Fletcher, whose wit Was not an accident to th' soule, but It; Onely diffused. (Thus wee the same Sun call, Moving it'h Sphaere, and shining on a wall.) Wit, so high placed at first, it could not climbe, Wit, that ne're grew, but only show'd by time. No fier-worke of sacke, no seldome show'n Poeticke rage, but still in motion: And with far more then Sphericke excellence It mov'd, for 'twas its owns Intelligence. And yet so obvious to sense, so plaine, You'd scarcely thinke't allyd unto the braine: So sweete, it gained more ground upon the Stage Then Johnson with his selfe-admiring rage Ere lost: and then so naturally it fell, That fooles would think, that they could doe as well. This is our losse: yet spight of Phoebus, we Will keepe our FLETCHER, for his wit is He.


Upon the ever to be admired Mr. JOHN FLETCHER and His PLAYES.

_What's all this preparation for? or why Such suddain Triumphs?_ FLETCHER _the people cry! Just so, when Kings approach, our Conduits run Claret, as here the spouts flow_ Helicon; _See, every sprightfull_ Muse _dressed trim and gay Strews hearts and scatters roses in his way. Thus th'outward yard set round with_ bayes _w'have seene, Which from the garden hath transplanted been: Thus, at the Praetor's feast, with needlesse costs Some must b'employd in painting of the posts: And some as dishes made for sight, not taste, Stand here as things for shew to_ FLETCHERS _feast. Oh what an honour! what a Grace 'thad beene T'have had his Cooke in_ Rollo _serv'd them in!_ FLETCHER _the King of Poets! such was he, That earned all tribute, claimed all soveraignty; And may he that denye's it, learn to blush At's_ loyall Subject, _starve at's_ Beggars bush: _And if not drawn by example, shame, nor Grace, Turne o've to's_ Coxcomb, _and the Wild-goose Chase. Monarch of Wit! great Magazine of wealth! From whose rich_ Banke, _by a Promethean-stealth, Our lesser flames doe blaze! His the true fire, When they like Glo-worms, being touch'd, expire, 'Twas first beleev'd, because he alwayes was, The_ Ipse dixit, _and_ Pythagoras _To our Disciple-wits; His soule might run (By the same-dream't-of Transmigration) Into their rude and indigested braine, And so informe their Chaos-lump againe; For many specious brats of this last age Spoke_ FLETCHER _perfectly in every Page. This rowz'd his Rage to be abused thus: Made'_s Lover mad, Lieutenant humerous. _Thus_ Ends of Gold and Silver-men _are made (As th'use to say) Goldsmiths of his owne trade; Thus_ Rag-men _from the dung-hill often hop, And publish forth by chance a Brokers shop: But by his owne light, now, we have descri'd The drosse, from that hath beene so purely tri'd_. Proteus _of witt! who reads him doth not see The manners of each sex of each degree! His full stor'd fancy doth all humours fill From th'_Queen _of_ Corinth _to_ the maid o'th mill; _His_ Curate, Lawyer, Captain, Prophetesse _Shew he was all and every one of these; Hee taught (so subtly were their fancies seized)_ To Rule a Wife, and yet the Women pleas'd. Parnassus _is thine owne, Claime't as merit, Law makes the Elder Brother to inherit.

G. Hills._

IN HONOUR OF Mr John Fletcher.

_So_ FLETCHER _now presents to fame His alone selfe and unpropt name, As Rivers Rivers entertaine, But still fall single into th'maine, So doth the Moone in Consort shine Yet flowes alone into its mine, And though her light be joyntly throwne, When she makes silver tis her owne: Perhaps his quill flew stronger, when Twas weaved with his_ Beaumont's _pen; And might with deeper wonder hit, It could not shew more his, more wit; So Hercules came by sexe and Love, When Pallas sprang from single Jove; He tooke his_ BEAUMONT _for Embrace, Not to grow by him, and increase, Nor for support did with him twine, He was his friends friend, not his vine. His witt with witt he did not twist To be Assisted, but t' Assist. And who could succour him, whose quill Did both Run sense and sense Distill? Had Time and Art in't, and the while Slid even as theirs wh'are only style, Whether his chance did cast it so Or that it did like Rivers flow Because it must, or whether twere A smoothnesse from his file and care, Not the most strict enquiring nayle Cou'd e're finde where his piece did faile Of entyre onenesse; so the frame, Was Composition, yet the same. How does he breede his Brother! and Make wealth and estate understand? Sutes Land to wit, makes Lucke match merit, And makes an Eldest fitly inherit: How was he _Ben_, when _Ben_ did write Toth' stage, not to his judge endite? How did he doe what _Johnson_ did. And Earne what _Johnson_ wou'd have s'ed?

Jos. Howe of Trin. Coll. Oxon.

Master John Fletcher his dramaticall Workes now at last printed.

I Could prayse Heywood now: or tell how long, Falstaffe from cracking Nuts hath kept the throng: But for a Fletcher, I must take an Age, And scarce invent the Title for one Page. Gods must create new Spheres, that should expresse The sev'rall Accents, Fletcher, of thy Dresse: The Penne of Fates should only write thy Praise: And all Elizium for thee turne to Bayes. Thou feltst no pangs of Poetry, such as they. Who the Heav'ns quarter still before a Play, And search the Ephemerides to finde, When the Aspect for Poets will be kinde. Thy Poems (sacred Spring) did from thee flow, With as much pleasure, as we reads them now. Nor neede we only take them up by fits, When love or Physicke hath diseased our Wits; Or constr'e English to untye a knot. Hid in a line, farre subtler then the Plot. With Thee the Page may close his Ladies eyes, And yet with thee the serious Student Rise: The Eye at sev'rall angles darting rayes, Makes, and then sees, new Colours; so thy Playes To ev'ry understanding still appeare, As if thou only meant'st to take that Eare; The Phrase so terse and free of a just Poise, Where ev'ry word ha's weight and yet no Noise, The matter too so nobly fit, no lesse Then such as onely could deserve thy Dresse: Witnesse thy Comedies, Pieces of such worth, All Ages shall still like, but ne're bring forth. Other in season last scarce so long time, As cost the Poet but to make the Rime: Where, if a Lord a new way do's but spit, Or change his shrugge this antiquates the Wit. That thou didst live before, nothing would tell Posterity, could they but write so well. Thy Cath'lick Fancy will acceptance finde, Not whilst an humours living, but Man-kinde. Thou, like thy Writings, Innocent and Cleane, Ne're practis'd a new Vice, to make one Scaene, None of thy Inke had gall, and Ladies can, Securely heare thee sport without a Fanne. But when Thy Tragicke Muse would please to rise In Majestie, and call Tribute from our Eyes; Like Scenes, we shifted Passions, and that so, Who only came to see, turned Actors too. How didst thou sway the Theatre! make us feele The Players wounds were true, and their swords, steele! Nay, stranger yet, how often did I knows When the Spectators ran to save the blow? Frozen with griefe we could not stir away Untill the Epilogue told us 'twas a Play. What shall I doe? all Commendations end, In saying only thou wert BEAUMONTS Friend? Give me thy spirit quickely, for I swell, And like a raveing Prophetesse cannot tell How to receive thy Genius in my breast: Oh! I must sleepe, and then I'le sing the rest.

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