Or voices calling me in dead of night To rhake me follow, and so tole me on Thro' mire and standing pools to find my ruin ; Else, why should this rough thing, who never knew Manners, nor smooth humanity, whose heats Are rougher than himself, and more misshapen, Thus mildly kneel to me ? Sure there's a pow'r In that great name of Virgin, that binds fast All rude uncivil bloods, all appetites That break their confines : then, strong Chastity, Be thou my strongest guard, for here I dwell In opposition against fate and hell!
"The lady" in Comus does but repeat this pure sweet strain of our great Sussex poet.
When we consider that the hand that writ this sweetest of Pastoral Poems was also the author (in conjunction, it is thought, with Shakspeare himself) of " The Two Noble Kinsmen," and that he soars in it to Shakspearian heights— also that he wrote the play of " Philaster, or Love lies a Bleeding," in which, as Hazlitt says, "The passages of extreme romantic beauty and high-wrought passion are out of number"—ought we not to think much of our Sussex poet ? Ought not Rye to be very proud of having given birth to him? It did so, it would seem, in 1579. His father, Dr. Fletcher, was then vicar of Rye, and subsequently held in succession the Sees of Bristol, Worcester, and London— owing them, apparently, as much to his good looks (Queen Elizabeth ever liked a handsome face—in a man) as to his piety or learning. Marrying, however, a second time—once too often for his Royal and fickle mistress—he fell into her displeasure, and so pined away and died—most unbishoplike! It was, probably, this reverse of fortune to his father that caused the son, like so many young men of the day, to take to play-writing. Upon leaving the University, and finding a congenial spirit in Francis Beaumont, also fresh from College, these twin-Poets set up a partnership which aimed at nothing less than rivalry of Shakspeare, and the produce of which was accepted by a later age as superior to his work. This decision has, of course, long been reversed, and the space which separates Shakspeare from all other poets becomes greater