Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A FAREWELL TO TOWN, by NICHOLAS BRETON



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A FAREWELL TO TOWN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Since secret spite hath sworn my woe
Last Line: Go sing the song of welaway.
Subject(s): Farewell; Towns; Parting


SINCE secret Spite hath sworn my woe,
And I am driven by Destiny
Against my will, God knows, to go
From place of gallant company,
And, in the stead of sweet delight,
To reap the fruits of foul despite:

As it hath been a custom long,
To bid farewell when men depart,
So will I sing this solemn song,
Farewell, to some, with all my heart:
But those my friends: but to my foes,
I wish a nettle in their nose.

I wish my friends their hearts' content:
My foes, again, the contrary:
I wish myself, the time were spent
That I must spend in misery:
I wish my deadly foe, no worse
That want of friends, and empty purse.

But, now my wishes thus are done,
I must begin to bid farewell:
With friends and foes I have begun,
And therefore, now I cannot tell
Which first to choose, or ere I part,
To write a farewell from my heart.

First, place of worldly Paradise,
Thou gallant court, to thee farewell!
For froward Fortune me denies
Now longer near to thee to dwell.
I must go live, I wot not where,
Nor how to live when I come there.

And next, adieu you gallant dames,
The chief of noble youth's delight!
Untoward Fortune now so frames,
That I am banished from your sight,
And, in your stead, against my will,
I must go live with country Jill.

Now next, my gallant youths farewell;
My lads that oft have cheered my heart!
My grief of mind no tongue can tell,
To think that I must from you part.
I now must leave you all, alas,
And live with some odd lobcock ass!

And now farewell thou gallant lute,
With instruments of music's sounds:
Recorder, cittern, harp and flute,
And heavenly descants on sweet grounds;
I now must leave you all indeed,
And make some music on a reed!

And now you stately stamping steeds
And gallant geldings fair, adieu!
My heavy heart for sorrow bleeds,
To think that I must part with you:
And on a strawen pannel sit,
And ride some country carting tit!

And now farewell both spear and shield,
Caliver, pistol, arquebus,
See, see, what sighs my heart doth yield,
To think that I must leave you thus;
And lay aside my rapier blade,
And take in hand a ditching spade!

And you farewell, all gallant games,
Primero and Imperial,
Wherewith I used, with courtly dames,
To pass away the time withal:
I now must learn some country plays
For ale and cakes on holidays!

And now farewell each dainty dish,
With sundry sorts of sugared wine'
Farewell, I say, fine flesh and fish,
To please this dainty mouth of mine!
I now, alas, must leave all these,
And make good cheer with bread and cheese.

And now, all orders due, farewell!
My table laid when it was noon;
My heavy heart it irks to tell
My dainty dinners all are done:
With leeks and onions, whig and whey,
I must content me as I may.

And farewell all gay garments now,
With jewels rich, of rare device!
Like Robin Hood, I wot not how,
I must go range in woodman's wise;
Clad in a coat of green or grey,
And glad to get it if I may.

What shall I say, but bid adieu
To every dram of sweet delight,
In place where pleasure never grew,
In dungeon deep of foul despite,
I must, ah me! wretch, as I may,
Go sing the song of welaway.





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