Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
Song: ‘Hence, all you vain delights’ (from The Nice Valour)
By John Fletcher (1579–1625)
HENCE, all you vain delights,
As short as are the nights
  Wherein you spend your folly!
There ’s nought in this life sweet,
If man were wise to see ’t,        5
  But only melancholy;
  O sweetest melancholy!
  Welcome, folded arms and fixed eyes,
  A sigh that piercing mortifies,
  A look that ’s fasten’d to the ground,        10
  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 hous’d 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;
Nothing ’s so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.

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