Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
John Fletcher. 1579–1625
216. Melancholy
HENCE, all you vain delights, 
  As short as are the nights 
  Wherein you spend your folly! 
There 's naught in this life sweet, 
If men were wise to see't,         5
  But only melancholy— 
  O sweetest melancholy! 
Welcome, folded arms and fixèd eyes, 
A sight 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 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, 
Nothing 's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy. 
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