Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MOURNING GARMENT: THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SHEPHERD AND HIS WIFE, by ROBERT GREENE



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THE MOURNING GARMENT: THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SHEPHERD AND HIS WIFE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It was near a thicky shade
Last Line: Was not more in thessaly.
Subject(s): Country Life; Marriage; Shepherds & Shepherdesses; Weddings; Husbands; Wives


IT was near a thicky shade,
That broad leaves of beech had made,
Joining all their tops so nigh,
That scarce Phœbus in could pry,
To see if lovers in the thick
Could dally with a wanton trick;
Where sat the swain and his wife,
Sporting in that pleasing life,
That Coridon commendeth so,

All other lives to over-go.
He and she did sit and keep
Flocks of kids and folds of sheep:
He upon his pipe did play;
She tun'd voice unto his lay,
And, for you might her huswife know,
Voice did sing and fingers sew.
He was young: his coat was green,
With welts of white seam'd between,
Turnèd over with a flap
That breast and bosom in did wrap,
Skirts side and plighted free,
Seemly hanging to his knee:
A whittle with a silver chape:
Cloak was russet, and the cape
Servèd for a bonnet oft
To shroud him from the wet aloft:
A leather scrip of colour red,
With a button on the head.
A bottle full of country whig
By the shepherd's side did lig;
And in a little bush hard by,
There the shepherd's dog did lie,
Who, while his master gan to sleep,
Well could watch both kids and sheep.
The shepherd was a frolic swain;
For though his 'parel was but plain,
Yet doon the authors soothly say,
His colour was both fresh and gay,
And in their writs plain discuss,
Fairer was not Tityrus,
Nor Menalcas, whom they call
The alderliefest swain of all.
Seeming him was his wife,
Both in line and in life:
Fair she was as fair might be,
Like the roses on the tree;
Buxom, blithe, and young, I ween,
Beauteous like a summer's queen,
For her cheeks were ruddy-hu'd,
As if lilies were imbru'd
With drops of blood, to make the white
Please the eye with more delight:
Love did lie within her eyes
In ambush for some wanton prize.
A liefer lass than this had been
Coridon had never seen,
Nor was Phillis, that fair may,
Half so gaudy or so gay.
She wore a chaplet on her head;
Her cassock was of scarlet red,
Long and large, as straight as bent:
Her middle was both small and gent;
A neck as white as whalés-bone,
Compass'd with a lace of stone.
Fine she was, and fair she was,
Brighter than the brightest glass;
Such a shepherd's wife as she
Was not more in Thessaly.





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