1647 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Fletcher

Edmund Waller, "Upon Mr. John Fletcher's Playes" Beaumont and Fletcher, Comedies and Tragedies (1647) sig. b2.



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.
EDW. WALLER.