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FROM THE “FAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS."
Shepherds all, and maidens fair,
Fold your flocks up, for the air
'Gins to thicken, and the sun
Already his great course hath run.
See the dew-drops, how they kiss
Every little flower that is
Hanging on their velvet heads,
Like a rope of crystal beads;
See the heavy clouds low-falling,
And bright Hesperus down calling
The dead night from underground;
At whose rising, mists unsound,
Damps and vapors fly apace,
Hovering o'er the wanton face
Of those pastures where they come,
Striking dead both bud and bloom.
Therefore, from such danger lock
Every one his loved flock;
And let your dogs lie loose without,
Lest the wolf come as a scout
From the mountain, and, ere day,
Bear a lamb or kid away;
Or the crafty, thievish foe
Break upon your simple flocks.
To secure yourself from these,
Be not too secure in ease;
Let one eye his watches keep,
While the other eye doth sleep;
So you shall good shepherds prove,
And for ever hold the love
Of our great God. Sweetest slumbers,
And soft silence, fall in numbers
On your eyelids ! so farewell!
Thus I end my evening knell !
JOHN FLETCHER, 1576-1625.
Thrice, oh thrice happy, shepherd's life and state,
When courts are happiness' unhappy pawns !
His cottage low, and safely humble gate
Shuts out proud Fortune, with her scorns and fawns;
No feared treason breaks his quiet sleep :
Singing all day, his flocks he learns to keep;
Himself as innocent as are his simple sheep.
No Serian worms he knows, that with their thread
Draw out their silken lives ; nor silken pride :
His lambs' warm fleece well fits his little need,
Not in that proud Sidonian tincture dyed :
No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright;
Nor begging wants his middle fortune bite :
But sweet content exiles both misery and spite.
Instead of music and base flattering tongues,
Which wait to first salute my Lord's uprise ;
The cheerful lark wakes him with early songs,
And birds' sweet whistling notes unlock his eyes :
In country plays is all the strife he uses,
Or sing, or dance unto the rural Muses ;
And, but in music's sports, all difference refuses.
His certain life, that never can deceive him,
Is full of thousand sweets and rich content:
The smooth-leaved beeches in the field receive him
With coolest shades, till noon-tide's rage is spent :
His life is neither tost in boist'rous seas
Of troublous world, nor lost in slothful ease; Pleas'd and full bless'd he lives, when he his God can please.
His bed of wool yields safe and quiet sleeps,
While by his side his faithful spouse hath place :
His little son into his bosom creeps,
The lively picture of his father's face :
Never his humble house or state torment him ;
Less he could like, if less his God had sent him ;
And when he dies, green turfs with grassy tomb content him.
PHIDEAS FLETCHER, 1584-1650.
THE SHEPHERD'S ADDRESS TO HIS MUSE.
Good Muse, rocke me aslepe
With some swete harmony:
This wearie eyes is not to kepe
Thy wary company.
Sweete Love, begone a while,
Thou seest my heavinesse; Beautie is borne but to beguyle
My harte of happinesse.
See how my little flocke,
That lovde to feede on highe,
Doe headlonge tumble downe the rocke,
And in the valley dye.
The bushes and the trees,
That were so freshe and greene, Doe all their daintie colors leese,
And not a leafe is seene.
The blacke bird and the thrushe,
That made the woodes to ringe, With all the rest, are now at hushe,
And not note they singe.
Swete Philomele, the birde
That hath the heavenly throte, Doth nowe, alas! not once afforde
Recordinge of a note.
The flowers have had a frost,
The herbes have lost their savoure; And Phillada the faire hath lost
For me her wonted favour.
Thus all these careful sights
So kill me in conceit,
That now to hope upon delights
It is but mere deceite.
And therefore my sweete muse,
That knoweth what helpe is best, Doe nowe thy heavenlie cunning use
To sett my harte at rest.
And in a dream bewraie
What fate shall be my friende ; Whether my life shall still decaye, Or when my sorrowes ende.
NICHOLAS BRETON, about 1570.
PHILLIDA AND CORYDON.*
In the merrie moneth of Maye,
In a morne by break of daye,
With a troope of damsells playing,
Forth I yode forsooth a maying ;
Where anon by a wood side,
Where as May was in his pride,
I espied all alone
Phillida and Corydon.
Much adoe there was, God wot;
He wold love, and she wold not.
She sayde never man was trewe;
He sayes none was false to you.
He sayde hee had lovde her longe :
She sayes love should have no wronge.
Corydon wold kisse her then :
She sayes maids must kisse no men,
Tyll they doe for good and all.
When she made the shepperde call
All the heavens to wytnes truthe,
Never lov'd a truer youthe.
Then with many a prettie othe,
Yea, and naye, and faithe and trothe;
Such as seelie shepperdes use
When they will not love abuse ;
* " The Honorable Entertainement given to the Queenes Majestie (Queen Elizabeth) in Progresse at Elvetham, in Hampshire, by the R. H. the Earle of Hertford, 1591:
* The thirde daies Entertainement.
“On Wednesday morning, about 9 o'clock, as her Majestie opened a casement of her gallerie window, ther were three excellent musitians, who, being disguised in auncient country attire, did greete her with a pleasant song of Corydon and Phillida, made in three parts, of purpose. The song, as well for the worth of the dittie, as the aptnesse of the note thereto applied, it pleased her Highnesse after it had been once sung, to command it againe, and highly to grace it with her cheerefull acceptaunce and commendation.”
Love that had bene long deluded
Was with kisses swete concluded ;
And Phillida with garlands gaye
Was made the ladye of the Maye.
If verdant elder spreads
Her silver flowers; if humble daisies yield
To yellow crowfoot and luxuriant grass,
Gay shearing-time approaches. First, howe'er,
Drive to the double fold, upon the brim
Of a clear river; gently drive the flock,
And plunge them one by one into the flood.
Plunged in the flood, not long the struggler sinks,
With his white flakes, that glisten through the tide;
The sturdy rustic, in the middle wave
Awaits to seize him rising; one arm bears
His lifted head above the limpid stream,
While the full, clammy fleece the other laves
Around, laborious with repeated toil,
And then resigns him to the sunny bank,
Where, bleating loud, he shakes his dripping locks.
Now to the other hemisphere, my muse!
A new world found, extend thy daring wing.
Be thou the first of the harmonious nine
From high Parnassus, the unwearied toils
Of industry and valor, in that world
Triumphant, to reward with tuneful song.
Happy the voyage o'er the Atlantic brine,
By active Raleigh made, and great the joy
When he discern'd, above the foaming surge,
A rising coast, for future colonies,
Opening her bays, and figuring her capes,
E'en from the northern tropic to the pole.
No land gives more employment for the loom,
Or kindlier feeds the indigent; no land
With more variety of wealth rewards
The hand of labor : thither, from the wrongs
Of lawless rule, the free-born spirit flies;