William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907. Melancholy
By John Fletcher (15791625)
H ENCE, 1 all you vain delights,
As short as are the nights
Wherein you spend your folly!
Theres naught in this life sweet,
If man were wise to seet, 5
But only melancholy,
O sweetest melancholy!
Welcome folded arms and fixèd eyes,
A sigh that piercing mortifies,
A look thats fastend to the ground, 10
A tongue chaind 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! 15
A midnight bell, a parting groan
These are the sounds we feed upon,
Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley; Nothings so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.
From Note 1. The Nice Valour, or the Passionate Madman, 1647. It is supposed that this song suggested Miltons Il Penseroso. Dr. William Strode, a canon of Christ Church, wrote a reply, published in Wit Restored, 1658. [ back]