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XVII.

THE SWEET NEGLECT.

This little madrigal (extracted from Ben. Jonson's Silent Woman,' act 1. sc. 1. first acted in 1609.) is in imitation of a Latin poem printed at the end of the variorum Edit. of Petronius, beginning, Semper munditias, semper Basilissa, decoras, &c." See Whalley's Ben. Jonson, vol. II. p. 420.

As

Still to be neat, still to be drest,

you were going to a feast :
Still to be poud'red, still perfum'd:
Lady, it is to be presund,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.

5

Give me a looke, give me a face,
That makes simplicitie a grace ;
Robes loosely flowing, haire as free:
Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
Than all th' adulteries of art,
That strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

10 XVIII.

THE CHILDREN IN THE WOOD.

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The subject of this very popular Ballad (which has been set in so favourable a light by the Spectator, No. 85.) seems to be taken from an old play, intitled, “ lamentable Tragedies; the one of the murder of “ Maister Beech, a chandler in Thames-streete, &c. “ The other of a young child murthered in a wood by “ two ruffins, with the consent of his unkle. By Rob.

Yarrington, 1601, 4to.” Our ballad-maker has strictly followed the play in the description of the father and mother's dying charge: in the uncle's promise to take care of their issue : his hiring two ruffians to destroy his ward, under pretence of sending him to school: their choosing a wood to perpetrate the murder in: one of the ruffians relenting, and a battle ensuing, &c. In other respects he has departed from the play. In the latter the scene is laid in Padua : there is but one child: which is murdered by a sudden stab of the unrelenting ruffian : he is slain himself by his less bloody companion; but ere he dies gives the other a mortal wound : the latter living just long enough to impeach the uncle; who, in consequence of this impeachment, is arraigned and executed by the hand of justice, &c. Whoever compares the play with the ballad, will have no doubt but the former is the original : the language is far more obsolete, and such a vein of simplicity runs through the whole performance, that, had the ballad been written first, there is no doubt but every circumstance of it would have been received into the drama: whereas this was probably built on some Italian novel.

Printed from two ancient copies, one of them in black letter in the Pepys collection. Its title at large is,

The

“ The Children in the Wood : or, The Norfolk Gentle“ man's Last Will and Testament: to the tune of Ro

gero, &c.”

N.

ow ponder well, you parents deare,
These wordes, which I shall write ;
A doleful story you shall heare,

In time brought forth to light.
A gentleman of good account

In Norfolke dwelt of late,
Who did in honour far surmount

Most men of his estate.

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Sore sicke he was, and like to dye,

No helpe his life could save ;
His wife by him as sicke did lye,

And both possest one grave.
No love between these two was lost,

Each was to other kinde,
In love they liv'd, in love they dyed,

And left too babes behinde :

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The one a fine and pretty boy,

Not passing three yeares olde;
The other a girl more young than he,

And fram'd in beautyes molde.
The father left his little son,

As plainlye doth appeare,
When he to perfect age

should come,
Three hundred poundes a yeare.

And 25

And to his little daughter Jane

Five hundred poundes in gold,
To be paid downe on marriage-day,

Which might not be controll’d:
But if the children chance to dye,

Ere they to age should come,
Their uncle should possesse their wealth;

For so the wille did run.

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Now, brother, said the dying man,

Look to my children deare; Be good unto my boy and girl,

No friendes else have they here: To God and you I recommend

My children deare this dave; But little while be sure we have

Within this world to staye.

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You must be father and mother both,

And uncle all in one ;
God knowes what will become of them,

When I am dead and gone.
With that bespake their mother deare,

O brother kinde, quoth shee,
You are the man must bring our babes

To wealth or miserie :

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And if you keep them carefully,

Then God will you reward;

50 But

But if

you otherwise should deal, God will your deedes regard. With lippes as cold as any stone,

They kist their children small :
God bless you both, my children deare;

With that the teares did fall.

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These speeches then their brother spake

To this sicke couple there, The keeping of your little ones

Sweet sister, do not feare:
God never prosper me nor mine,

Nor aught else that I have,
If I do wrong your children deare,

When you are layd in grave.

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The parents being dead and gone,

The children home he takes,
And bringes them straite unto his house,

Where much of them he makes,
He had not kept these pretty babes

A twelvemonth and a daye,
But, for their wealth, he did devise

To make them both awaye.

70

He bargain'd with two russians strong,

Which were of furious mood,
That they should take these children young,

And slaye them in a wood.

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He

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