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REIGN OF ELIZABETH.
To the def_a]de bodys cast downe thyne eye, Behold them well, consyder and see, For such as they are, such shalt thou be." Among the Eoxburghe Ballads is one entitled " Death's uncontrollable summons, or the mortality of mankind; being a dialogue between Death and a young man,^' which very much resembles the verses in the Hungerford Chapel, above quoted. We have also " The dead man's 'seng," reprinted in Evans' Collection, "Death and the Cobbler," and "Death's Dance," proving the popularity of these moralizations on death. Another "Dance and Song of Death," which was licensed in 1568, has been printed at page 85.
In the Douce Collection is a black-letter copy of " The midnight messenger, or a sudden call from an earthly glory to the cold grave, in a dialogue between Death and a rich man," &c, beginning—
" Thou wealthy man, of large possessions here, Amounting to some thousand pounds a year, Extorted by oppression from the poor, The time is come that thou shalt be no more," &c.; which is reprinted in Dixon's Songs of the Peasantry, &c.
In Mr. Payne Collier's MS. volume, written in the reign of James I., is a dialogue of twenty-four stanzas, between "Life and Death," commencing— Life.—" Nay, what art thou, that I should give To thee my parting breath ? ' Why may not I much longer live ? " ■ Death.—" Behold! my name is Death." Life.—" I never have seen thy face before; Now tell me why thou came : I never wish to see it more— Death.—" Behold I Death is my name," &c. The following " Dialogue betwixt an Exciseman and Death " is from a copy in the Bagford Collection, dated 1659.
Upon a time when Titan's steeds were driven Speake, what's thy name? and quickly tell To drench themselves against the western me this,
heaven; , Whither thou goest, and what thy bus'ness is ?
And 3able Morpheus had his curtains spread, exciseman.
And silent night had laid the world to bed, Whate'er my bus'ness is, thou foule-mouthed 'Mongst other night-birds which did seek for scould,
prey, I'de have you know I scorn to he coutroul'd
A blunt exciseman, which abhorr'd the day, By any man that lives; much less by thou,
Was rambling forth to seeke himself a booty Who blurtest out thou knowst not what, nor 'Mongst merchants' goods which had not paid how ;
the duty: I goe about my lawful bus'ness; and
But walking all alone, Deathchanc'd to meet I'le make you smarte for bidding of mee stand.
And in this manner did begin to greet him. Imperious cox-combe ! is your stomach vext ?
death. Pray slack your rage, and harken what comes Stand, who comes here? what means this knave next:
to peepe I have a writt to take you up ; therefore,
And sculke abroad, when honest men should To chafe your blood, I bid you stand, once
sleepe ? more.