Note 1. This song is numbered iv., in A Celebration of Charis, in Underwoods. It appears with the first stanza omitted in The Devil is an Ass, acted in 1616. There is an interesting note to this poem by Mr. Quiller-Couch in his Golden Pomp, whose point, I think, is one demanding serious critical attention, though no one, to my knowledge, has taken it up. I am not aware, he says, if any critic has noted how constantly and curiously Jonson, especially in the Underwoods, seems to anticipate the best, and something more than the best, manner of Browning. The difficult rapture of Charis Triumph, here is a striking instance. Of the lines:
Do but mark, her foreheads smoother
Than words that soothe her,
And from her arched brows such a grace
Sheds itself through the face,
As alone there triumphs to the life
All the gain, all the good of the elements strife.
it may be fairly said that England has taken two and a half centuries to produce another poet who could conceivably have written them. I think Mr. Quiller-Couchs judgment in this criticism comes far nearer the just fitness of literary value in temperament and expression than the general critical opinion which pronounces in Donnes works the antecedents of those peculiar qualities which have set Browning apart from his contemporaries. The last stanza of this poem was imitated by Suckling in a poem of much weakness, beginning: Hast thou seen the down in the air, etc.; but in Carews Song, given below, I believe we find a successful copy of the model: