John Fletcher

English Jacobean playwright (1579–1625)

John Fletcher (baptized 29 December 1579 - died in August 1625) was a Jacobean playwright. After William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, he was one of the most prolific and influential of the Jacobean dramatists. In succession to Shakespeare, he became the chief dramatist for the leading company of London, the King's Men.

That soul that can
Be honest is the only perfect man.

Quotes edit

  • Then, everlasting Love, restrain thy will;
    'Tis god-like to have power, but not to kill.
    • The Chances (c. 1613–25; 1647), Act II, scene 2. Song.
  • Oh, woman, perfect woman! what distraction
    Was meant to mankind when thou wast made a devil!
    What an inviting hell invented.
    • Comedy of Monsieur Thomas (c. 1610–16; published 1639), Act III, scene 1.
  • Death hath so many doors to let out life.
    • The Custom of the Country (with Philip Massinger; c. 1619–23; published 1647), Act II, scene 2
      • Compare: "I know death hath ten thousand several doors / For men to take their exits.", John Webster, Dutchess of Malfi (1623); act IV, scene ii
  • Let's meet and either do or die.
    • The Island Princess (c. 1620; published 1647), Act II, scene 2. Compare: "Let us do or die", Robert Burns, Bannockburn; same in Thomas Campbell, Gertrude of Wyoming, part iii. stanza 37.
  • Of all the paths lead to a woman's love
    Pity's the straightest.
    • The Knight of Malta (1647), Act I, sc. i.
  • 'Tis a word that's quickly spoken,
    Which being restrained, a heart is broken.
  • Something given that way.
    • The Lover's Progress (licensed 6 December 1623; revised 1634; published 1647), Act I, scene 1.
  • Deeds, not words.
    • The Lover's Progress (licensed 6 December 1623; revised 1634; published 1647), Act iii. Sc. 4. Compare: "Deeds, not words", Samuel Butler, Hudibras, part i, canto i, line 867.
  • I'll put a spoke among your wheels.
    • The Mad Lover, (acted 5 January 1617; 1647), Act III, scene 5.
  • Fountain heads and pathless groves,
    Places which pale passion loves.
    • The Nice Valour (c. 1615–25; published 1647), Act iii, scene 3.
  • Hence, all you vain delights,
    As short as are the nights
    Wherein you spend your folly!
    There's naught in this life sweet
    But only melancholy;
    O sweetest melancholy!
    • The Nice Valor (1647), Melancholy. Compare: "Naught so sweet as melancholy", Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy.
  • Weep no more, nor sigh, nor groan,
    Sorrow calls no time that's gone;
    Violets plucked, the sweetest rain
    Makes not fresh nor grow again.
    • The Queen of Corinth (1647), Act III, sc. ii. Compare: "Weep no more, Lady! weep no more, Thy sorrow is in vain; For violets plucked, the sweetest showers Will ne'er make grow again", Thomas Percy, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, "The Friar of Orders Gray".
  • I'll have a fling.
    • Rule a Wife and Have a Wife (licensed 19 October 1624; 1640), Act III, scene 5.
  • O great corrector of enormous times,
    Shaker of o'er-rank states, thou grand decider
    Of dusty and old titles, that healest with blood
    The earth when it is sick, and curest the world
    O' the pleurisy of people.
  • We must all die!
    All leave ourselves, it matters not where, when,
    Nor how, so we die well; and can that man that does so
    Need lamentation for him?
    • Valentinian (1610–14; published 1647), Act IV, scene 4.
  • Come, sing now, sing; for I know you sing well;
    I see you have a singing face.
    • The Wild Goose Chase (c. 1621; published 1652), Act II. 2.
  • Though I say't that should not say't.
    • Wit at Several Weapons (with Thomas Middleton and William Rowley; c. 1610–20; published 1647), Act II, scene 2.
  • Go far—too far you cannot, still the farther
    The more experience finds you: And go sparing;—
    One meal a week will serve you, and one suit,
    Through all your travels; for you'll find it certain,
    The poorer and the baser you appear,
    The more you look through still.
    • The Woman's Prize, or The Tamer Tamed (c. 1611; published 1647), Act IV, scene 5, line 199.

The Tragedy of Bonduca (1611–14; published 1647) edit

  • What mare's nest hast thou found?
    • Act IV, scene 2.
  • Lie lightly on my ashes, gentle earthe.
    • Act IV, scene 3. ("Sit tibi terra levis," familiar inscription).
  • Sing a song of sixpence.
    • Act V, scene 2.
  • Fortune, now see, now proudly
    Pluck off thy veil, and view thy triumph; look,
    Look what thou hast brought this land to!—
    • Act V, scene 5.

The Honest Man's Fortune, (1613; published 1647) edit

  • All things that are
    Made for our general uses are at war,—
    Even we among ourselves.
  • From the crown of our head to the sole of our foot.
  • Corruption is a tree, whose branches are
    Of an immeasurable length: they spread
    Ev'rywhere; and the dew that drops from thence
    Hath infected some chairs and stools of authority.
    • Act III, scene 3.
  • As high as Heaven, as deep as Hell.
    • Act IV, scene 1.
  • Thy clothes are all the soul thou hast.
    • Act V, scene 3, line 170.
  • Man is his own star, and the soul that can
    Render an honest and a perfect man
    Commands all light, all influence, all fate.
    Nothing to him falls early, or too late.
    Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
    Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.
    • Epilogue. Compare: "Every man hath a good and a bad angel attending on him in particular all his life long", Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, part i. sect. 2, memb. 1, subsect. 2.
  • That soul that can
    Be honest is the only perfect man.
    • Epilogue. Compare: "An honest man's the noblest work of God", Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, epistle iv. line 248.

Wit Without Money (c. 1614; published 1639) edit

  • Charity and treating begin at home.
    • Scene 2.
  • Let them learn first to show pity at home.
    • Scene 2.
  • He 'as had a stinger.
    • Act IV, scene 1.
  • Vow me no vows.
    • Act IV, scene 4.
  • Speak boldly, and speak truly, shame the devil.
    • Act IV, scene 4.
  • Whistle, and she'll come to you.
    • Act IV, scene 4.

The Loyal Subject (c. 1616–19; published 1647, 1679) edit

Written c. 1616–19; licensed November 16, 1618; revised c. 1633; published 1647, 1679.

  • Look babies in your eyes, my pretty sweet one.
  • Great things thro' greatest hazards are achiev'd,
    And then they shine.
    • Act I, scene 5.
  • I'll put that in my considering cap.
    • Act II, scene 1.

Rollo, Duke of Normandy, or The Bloody Brother, (c. 1617; revised c. 1627–30; published 1639) edit

  • Drink today, and drown all sorrow;
    You shall perhaps not do't tomorrow.
    • Act II, scene ii.
  • And he that will to bed go sober
    Falls with the leaf in October.
    • Act II, scene ii. The following well-known catch, or glee, is formed on this song: "He who goes to bed, and goes to bed sober, Falls as the leaves do, and dies in October; But he who goes to bed, and goes to bed mellow, Lives as he ought to do, and dies an honest fellow".
  • Three merry boys, and three merry boys,
    And three merry boys are we,
    As ever did sing in a hempen string
    Under the gallow-tree.
    • Act III, scene 2. Song.
  • Three merry boys, and three merry boys,
    And three merry boys are we.
    As ever did sing in a hempen string
    Under the gallows tree.
    • Act III, scene iii. Compare: "Three merry men be we", George Peele, Old Wives' Tale, 1595. John Webster (quoted), Westward Hoe, 1607.
  • Hide, oh, hide those hills of snow
    Which thy frozen bosom bears,
    On whose tops the pinks that grow
    Are of those that April wears!
    But first set my poor heart free,
    Bound in those icy chains by thee.
    • Act IV, scene i. Compare: "Take, O, take those lips away, That so sweetly were forsworn; And those eyes, the break of day, Lights that do mislead the morn: But my kisses bring again, bring again; Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain", William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

The Humorous Lieutenant (c. 1619; published 1647) edit

  • Let no man fear to die: We love to sleep all,
    And death is but the sounder sleep.
    • Act III, scene 6.

The Little French Lawyer (c. 1619–23; published 1647) edit

With Philip Massinger.

  • The foot in the grave.
    • Act I, scene 1.
  • First come, first served.
    • Act II, scene 1.
  • One good turn deserves another.
    • Act III, scene 2.
  • This is a pretty flimflam.
    • Act III, scene 3.
  • There is no jesting with edge tools.
    • Act IV, scene vii.

The Elder Brother (c. 1625; published 1637) edit

  • That place that does contain
    My books, the best companions, is to me
    A glorious court, where hourly I converse
    With the old sages and philosophers;
    And sometimes, for variety, I confer
    With kings and emperors, and weigh their counsels.
    • Act I, scene 2.
  • This is a gimcrack
    That can get nothing but new fashions on you.
    • Act III, scene 3.
  • There's nothing that allays an angry mind
    So soon as a sweet beauty.
    • Act III, scene 5.
  • 'Twas when young Eustace wore his heart in's breeches.
    • Act V.

See also edit

External links edit

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