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Whilst he full many a carol sang,
Until the fields and meadows rang,
And all the woods did sound.
In favour this same shepherd swain
Was like the bedlam Tamerlane,
Which held proud kings in awe :
But meek as any lamb might be ;
And innocent of ill as he
Whom his lewd brother slaw.
The shepherd wore a sheep-gray cloak,
Which was of the finest lock
That could be cut with sheer.
His mittens were of bauzons' skin,
His cockers were of cordiwin,
His hood of miniveer.
His awl and lingel in a thong,
His tar-box on his broad belt hung,
His breech of Cointree blue.
Full crisp and curled were his locks,
His brows as white as Albion rocks,
So like a lover true.
And piping still he spent the day,
So merry as the popinjay,
Which liked Dowsabel ;
That would she ought, or would she nought,
This lad would never from her thought,
She in love-longing fell.
At length she tucked up her frock,
White as a lily was her smock,
She drew the shepherd nigh :
But then the shepherd piped a good,
That all his sheep forsook their food
To hear this melody,
Thy sheep, quoth she, cannot be lean, That have a jolly shepherd swain,
The which can pipe so well : Yea, but (saith he) their shepherd may, If piping thus he pine away,
In love of Dowsabel. Of love, fond boy, take thou no keep, Quoth she, look well unto thy sheep,
Lest they should hap to stray.
Quoth he, so had I done full well,
Had I not seen fair Dowsabel
Come forth to gather May.
With that she 'gan to veil her head,
Her cheeks were like the roses red,
But not a word she said ;
With that the shepherd 'gan to frown,
He threw his pretty pipes adown,
And on the ground him laid. Saith she, I may not stay till night, And leave my summer hall undight,
And all for love of thee.
My cote, saith he, nor yet my fold,
Shall neither sheep nor shepherd hold,
Except thou favour me.
Saith she, yet lever I were dead,
Than I should lose my maidenhead,
And all for love of men.
Saith he, yet are you too unkind,
If in your heart you cannot find
To love us now and then.
And I to thee will be as kind
As Colin was to Rosalind,
Of courtesy the flower.
Then will I be as true, quoth she,
As ever maiden yet might be
Unto her paramour.
With that she bent her snow-white knee,
Down by the shepherd kneeled she,
And him she sweetly kist.
With that the shepherd whoop'd for joy,
Quoth he, there's never shepherd's boy
That ever was so blest.
The Bishop of Chichester was a copious writer of verse in
all forms. His serious poetry has been much admired.
My once dear love, hapless that I no more
Must call thee so, the rich affection's store
That fed on hopes, lies now exhaust and spent,
Like sums of treasure unto bankrupts lent.
We, that did nothing study, but the way
To love each other, with which thoughts the day
Rose with delight to us, and with them set,
Must learn the hateful art, how to forget.
We, that did nothing wish that Heav'n could give,
Beyond ourselves, nor did desire to live
Beyond that wish; all these now cancel must,
As if not writ in faith, but words and dust.
Yet witness those clear vows which lovers make ;
Witness the chaste desires that never brake
Into unruly hearts ; witness that breast
Which in thy bosom anchor'd his whole rest;
'Tis no default in us, I dare acquite
Thy maiden faith, thy purpose fair and white
As thy pure self. Cross planets did envy
Us to each other, and Heav'n did untie
Faster than vows could bind- *
Dislodged from their haunts, we must in tears
Unwind a love, knit up in many years ;
In this last kiss I here surrender thee
Back to thyself; so thou again art free.
Thou, in another, sad as that, re-send
The truest heart that lover e'er did lend.
Now turn from each : so fare our sever'd hearts,
As the divorced soul from her body parts.
THE BREAK OF DAY.
STAY, oh sweet! and do not rise :
The light that shines comes from thine eyes ;
The day breaks not—it is my heart,
Because that you and I must part.
Stay, or else my joys will die,
And perish in their infancy.
'Tis true, 'tis day—what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me ?
Why should we rise because 'tis light?
Did we lie down because 'twas night?
Love, which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should, in despite of light, keep us together.
Light hath no tongue, but is all eye ;
If it could speak, as well as spy,
This were the worst that it could say,
That, being well, I fain would stay,
And that I loved my heart and honour so,
That I would not from her that had them go.
Must business thee from hence remove ?
0, that's the worst disease of love!
The poor, the foul, the false, love can
Admit, but not the busy man.
He which hath business, and makes lore, doth do
Such wrong as when a married man doth woo.
TO HIS WIFE. TO PERSUADE HER FROM FOLLOWING HIM ABROAD IN TER
DISGUISE OF A PAGE.
By our first strange and fatal interview,
By all desires, which thereof did ensue,
By our long striving hopes, by that remorse,
Which my words' masculine persuasive force
Begot in thee, and by the memory
Of hurts, which spies and rivals threaten'd me,