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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Ode to Melancholy

By John Fletcher (1579–1625)

HENCE, all you vain delights,

As short as are the nights

Wherein you spend your folly!

There’s naught in this life sweet,

If man were wise to see ’t,

But only melancholy;

Oh, sweetest melancholy!

Welcome, folded arms, and fixèd eyes,

A sigh that piercing mortifies,

A look that’s fastened to the ground,

A tongue chained 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!

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.