Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SHEPHERD'S PIPE: FIRST ECLOGUE, by WILLIAM BROWNE (1591-1643)



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THE SHEPHERD'S PIPE: FIRST ECLOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Roget and willie both ymet
Last Line: Twill be night ere we have told them.
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, William Of Tavistock
Subject(s): Wither, George (1588-1667)


THE ARGUMENT.

Roget and Willie both ymet
Upon a greeny ley,
With roundelays and tales are set
To spend the length of day.

WILLIE. ROGET.

Willie.

ROGET, droop not, see the spring
Is the earth enamelling,
And the birds on every tree
Greet this morn with melody:
Hark, how yonder thrustle chants it,
And her mate as proudly vants it;
See how every stream is dress'd
By her margin with the best
Of Flora's gifts; she seems glad
For such brooks such flow'rs she had.
All the trees are quaintly tired
With green buds, of all desired;
And the hawthorn every day
Spreads some little show of May:
See the primrose sweetly set
By the much-lov'd violet,
All the banks do sweetly cover,
As they would invite a lover
With his lass to see their dressing
And to grace them by their pressing:
Yet in all this merry tide
When all cares are laid aside,
Roget sits as if his blood
Had not felt the quick'ning good
Of the sun, nor cares to play,
Or with songs to pass the day
As he wont: fie, Roget, fie,
Raise thy head, and merrily
Tune us somewhat to thy reed:
See our flocks do freely feed,
Here we may together sit,
And for music very fit
Is this place; from yonder wood
Comes an echo shrill and good,
Twice full perfectly it will
Answer to thine oaten quill.
Roget, droop not then, but sing
Some kind welcome to the spring.

Roget.

AH Willie, Willie, why should I
Sound my notes of jollity?
Since no sooner can I play
Any pleasing roundelay,
But some one or other still
'Gins to descant on my quill;
And will say, by this he me
Meaneth in his minstrelsy.
If I chance to name an ass
In my song, it comes to pass,
One or other sure will take it
As his proper name, and make it
Fit to tell his nature too,
Thus whate'er I chance to do
Happens to my loss, and brings
To my name the venom'd stings
Of ill report: how should I
Sound then notes of jollity?

Willie.

'TIS true indeed, we say all,
Rub a gall'd horse on the gall,
Kick he will, storm and bite;
But the horse of sounder plight
Gently feels his master's hand.
In the water thrust a brand
Kindled in the fire, 'twill hiss;
When a stick that taken is
From the hedge, in water thrust,
Never rokes as would the first,
But endures the water's touch:
Roget, so it fares with such
Whose own guilt hath them inflam'd,
Rage whene'er their vice is blam'd.
But who in himself is free
From all spots, as lilies be,
Never stirs, do what thou can.
If thou slander such a man,
Yet he's quiet, for he knows
With him no such vices close.
Only he that is indeed
Spotted with the lep'rous seed
Of corrupted thoughts, and hath
An ulcerous soul in the path
Of reproof, he straight will brawl
If you rub him on the gall.

Roget.

But in vain then shall I keep
These my harmless flock of sheep;
And though all the day I tend them,
And from wolves and foxes shend them,
Wicked swains that bear me spite,
In the gloomy veil of night,
Of my fold will draw the pegs,
Or else break my lambkins' legs,
Or unhang my wether's bell,
Or bring briars from the dell,
And them in my fold by pieces
Cast, to tangle all their fleeces.
Well-a-day! such churlish swains
Now and then lurk on our plains:
That I fear a time ere long,
Shall not hear a shepherd's song,
Nor a swain shall take in task
Any wrong, nor once unmask
Such as do with vices rife
Soil the shepherd's happy life:
Except he means his sheep shall be
A prey to all their injury.
This causeth me I do no more
Chant so as I wont of yore:
Since in vain then should I keep
These my harmless flock of sheep.

Willie.

YET if such thou wilt not sing,
Make the woods and valleys ring
With some other kind of lore:
Roget hath enough in store.
Sing of love, or tell some tale,
Praise the flowers, the hills, the vale:
Let us not here idle be;
Next day I will sing to thee.
Hark, on knap of yonder hill
Some sweet shepherd tunes his quill;
And the maidens in a round
Sit to hear him on the ground;
And if thou begin, shall we
Grac'd be with like company;
And to gird thy temples bring
Garlands for such fingering.
Then raise thee, Roget_____

Roget.

Gentle swain,
Whom I honour for thy strain,
Though it would beseem me more
To attend thee and thy lore,
Yet lest thou might'st find in me
A neglect of courtesy,
I will sing what I did lere
Long agone in Janivere
Of a skilful aged sire,
As we toasted by the fire.

Willie.

SING it out, it needs must be
Very good what comes from thee.

Roget.

WHILOM an Emperor, prudent and wise,
Reigned in Rome, and had sons three,
Which he had in great cherete and great price,
And when it shop so that th' infirmity
Of death, which no wight may eschew or flee,
Him threw down in his bed, he let to call
His sons, and before him they came all.

And to the first he said in this manneer:
All th'eritage which at the dying
Of my fadir, he me left, all in feere
Leave I thee: and all that of my buying
Was with my peny, all my purchasing,
My second son, bequeath I to thee.
And to the third son thus said he:

Unmoveable good right none withouten oath
Thee give I may; but I to thee devise
Jewels three, a ring, a brooch and a cloth:
With which, and thou be guied as the wise,
Thou may'st get all that ought thee suffice.
Whoso that the ring useth still to wear
Of all folks the love he shall conquer.

And whoso the brooch beareth on his breast,
It is eke of such virtue and such kind,
That think upon what thing him liketh best,
And he as blive shall it have and find.
My words, son, imprint well in mind.
The cloth eke hath a marvellous nature,
Which that shall be committed to thy cure.

Whoso sit on it, if he wish where
In all the world to been, he suddenly
Without more labour shall be there.
Son, those three jewels bequeath I
To thee, unto this effect certainly
That to study of the university
Thou go, and that I bid and charge thee.

When he had thus said, the vexation
Of death so hasted him, that his spirit
Anon forsook his habitation
In his body: death would no respite
Him yeve at all: he was of his life quit.
And buried was with such solemnity,
As fell to his imperial dignity.

Of the youngest son I tell shall,
And speak no more of his brethren two,
For with them have I not to do at all.
Thus spake the mother Jonathas unto:
Sin God hath his will of thy father do,
To thy father's will would I me conform,
And truly all his testament perform.

He three jewels, as thou knowest well,
A ring, a brooch, and a cloth thee bequeath,
Whose virtues he thee told every deal,
Or that he pass'd hence and yalde up the breath.
O good God, his departing, his death
Full grievously sticketh unto mine heart,
But suffered mot been, all how sore it smart.

In that case women have such heaviness,
That it not lieth in my cunning aright
To tell of so great sorrow the excess:
But wise women can take it light,
And in short while put unto the flight
All sorrow and woe, and catch again comfort:
Now to my tale make I my resort.

Thy father's will, my son, as I said ere,
Will I perform; have here the ring and go
To study anon, and when that thou art there,
As thy father thee bade, do even so,
And as thou wilt my blessing have also.
She unto him as-swythe took the ring
And bade him keep it well for anything.

He went unto the study general
Where he gat love enough, and acquaintance
Right good and friendly, the ring causing all;
And on a day to him befell this chance
With a woman, a morsel of pleasance,
By the streets of the university
As he was in his walking, met he.

And right as blive he had with her a tale,
And therewithal sore in her love he brent;
Gay, fresh and piked was she to the sale,
For to that end and to that intent
She thither came, and both forth they went,
And he a pistle rowned in her ear,
Nat wot I what, for I ne came nat there.

She was his paramour shortly to say.
This man to folkès all was so leefe,
That they him gave abundance of money;
He feasted folk, and stood at high boncheefe;
Of the lack of good he felt no grief
All whiles the ring he with him had;
But failing it his friendship 'gan sad.

His paramour, which that ycalled was
Fellicula, marvelled right greatly
Of the dispences of this Jonathas,
Sin she no peny at all with him sy;
And on a night as there she lay him by
In the bed, thus she to him spake and said,
And this petition assoile him pray'd:

O reverent sir, unto whom, quoth she,
Obey I would aye with heart's humbleness,
Since that ye han had my virginity,
You I beseech of your high gentleness,
Telleth me whence com'th the good and richesse
That ye with feasten folk, and han no store,
By ought I see can, ne gold, ne tresore.

If I tell it, quoth he, paraventure
Thou wilt discover it, and out it publish;
Such is woman's inconstant nature,
They cannot keep counsel worth a rish:
Better is my tongue keep than to wish
That I had kept close that is gone at large,
And repentance is thing that I mote charge.

Nay, good sir, quoth she, holdeth me not suspect,
Doubteth nothing, I can be right secree.
Well worthy were it me to been abject
From all good company, if I, quoth she,
Unto you should so mistake me.
Be not adread your counsel me to show.
Well, said he, thus it is at words few:

My father the ring, which that thou may'st see
On my finger, me at his dying day
Bequeath'd, which this virtue and property
Hath, that the love of men he shall have aye
That weareth it, and there shall be no nay
Of what thing that him liketh ask and crave,
But with good will he shall as blive it have.

Through the ring's virtuous excellence
Thus am I rich, and have ever ynow.
Now, sir, yet a word by your licence
Suff'reth me to say, and to speak now:
Is it wisdom, as that it seemeth you,
Wear it on your finger continually?
What wouldst thou mean, quoth he, thereby?

What peril thereof might there befall?
Right great, quoth she, as ye in company
Walk often, from your finger might it fall,
Or plucked off been in a ragery
And so be lost, and that were folly:
Take it me, let me been of it warden,
For as my life keep it would I certain.

This Jonathas, this innocent young man,
Giving unto her words full credence,
As youth not avised best be can,
The ring her took of his insipience.
When this was done the heat and the fervence
Of love which he beforn had purchased,
Was quench'd, and love's knot was unlaced.

Men of their gifts to stint began.
Ah, thought he, for the ring I not ne bear,
Faileth my love; fetch me, woman,
Said he, my ring: anon I will it wear.
She rose, and into chamber dresseth her,
And when she therein had been a while, Alas, quoth she, out on falsehood and
guile,

The chest is broken, and the ring take out.
And when he heard her complaint and cry,
He was astonied sore, and made a shout,
And said: Cursed be the day that I
Thee met first, or with mine eyne sy.
She wept and showed outward chere of woe,
But in her heart was it nothing so.

The ring was safe enough, and in her chest
It was; all that she said was leasing,
As some woman other while at best
Can lie and weep when is her liking.
This man saw her woe, and said: Dearling,
Weep no more, God's help is nigh.
To him unwist how false she was and sly.

He twined thence, and home to his countree
Unto his mother the straight way he went;
And when she saw thither comen was he,
My son, quoth she, what was thine intent
Thee fro the school now to absent?
What caused thee fro school hither to hie?
Mother, right this, said he, nat would I lie.

Forsooth, mother, my ring is agoe.
My paramour to keep I betook it,
And it is lost, for which I am full woe;
Sorrowfully unto mine heart it sit.
Son, often have I warned thee, and yet
For thy profit I warn thee, my son,
Unhonest women thou hereafter shun.

Thy brooch anon right woll I to thee fet.
She brought it him, and charged him full deep
When he it took, and on his breast he it set,
Bet than his ring he should it keep,
Lest he the loss bewail should and weep.
To the university, shortly to sain,
In what he could, he hasted him again.

And when he comen was, his paramour
Him met anon, and unto her him took,
As that he did erst, this young revelour;
Her company he nat a deal forsook,
Though he cause had, but as with the hook
Of her sleight he beforn was caught and hent,
Right so he was deceived oft and blent.

And as through virtue of the ring before
Of good he had abundance and plentee,
While it was with him, or he had it lore:
Right so through virtue of the brooch had he
What good him list. She thought, How may this be?
Some privy thing now causeth this richesse,
As did the ring herebefore, I guess.

Wond'ring hereon, she pray'd him, and besought
Busily night and day, that tell he would
The cause of this; but he another thought:
He meant it close for him it kept be should,
And a long time it was or he it told.
She wept aye too and too, and said: Alas,
The time and hour that ever I born was!

Trust ye not on me, sir? she said,
Lever me were be slain in this place
By that good Lord that for us all died,
Than purpose again you any fallace;
Unto you would I be my live's space
As true as any woman in earth is
Unto a man; doubteth nothing of this.

Small may she do, that cannot well byheet,
Though not performed be such a promesse.
This Jonathas thought her words so sweet,
That he was drunk of the pleasant sweetness
Of them, and of his foolish tenderness
Thus unto her he spake and said tho:
Be of good comfort, why weepest thou so?

And she thereto answered thus sobbing:
Sir, quoth she, my heaviness and dreed
Is this; I am adread of the leesing
Of your brooch, as Almighty God forbeed
It happen so. Now what, so God thee speed,
Said he, wouldest thou in this case counsail?
Quoth she, that I keep it might sans fail.

He said: I have a fear and dread algate,
If I so did thou wouldst it leese
As thou lostest my ring, now gone but late.
First God pray I, quoth she, that I not chese,
But that my heart as the cold frost may freeze,
Or else be it brent with wild fire:
Nay, surely it to keep is my desire.

To her words credence he gave pleneer,
And the brooch took her, and after anon,
Whereas he was beforn full leefe and cheer
To folk, and had good, all was gone.
Good and friendship him lacked, there was none.
Woman, me fetch the brooch, quoth he; swythee
Into thy chamber for it go; hie thee.

She into chamber went, as then he bad,
But she not brought that he sent her for;
She meant it nat; but as she had be mad
Her clothes hath she all to rent and tore,
And cried, alas, the brooch away is bore,
For which I wole anon right with my knife
Myself slay: I am weary of my life.

This noise he heard, and blive he to her ran,
Weening she would han done as she spake,
And the knife in all haste that he can
From her took, and threw it behind his back,
And said: ne for the loss, ne for the lack
Of the brooch, sorrow not; I forgive all;
I trust in God, that yet us help he shall.

To th'emperess his mother this young man
Again him dresseth: he went her unto,
And when she saw him, she to wonder 'gan;She thought, now somewhat there is
misdo,
And said, I dread thy jewels two
Been lost now, percase the brooch with the ring.
Mother, he said, yea, by heaven King.

Son, thou wotst well no jewel is left
Unto thee now, but the cloth precious
Which I thee take shall, thee charging eft
The company of women riotous
Thou flee, lest it be to thee so grievous
That thou it nat sustain shalt ne bear;
Such company on my blessing forbear.

The cloth she fet, and it hath him take,
And of his lady his mother his leave
He took; but first this forward 'gan he make:
Mother, said he, trusteth this weel and leeve,
That I shall seyn, for sooth ye shall it preeve,
If I leese this cloth, never I your face
Henceforth see wole, ne you pray of grace.

With God's help I shall do well ynow.
Her blessing he took, and to study is go;
And as beforn told have I unto you,
His paramour, his privy mortal foe,
Was wont to meet him, right even so
She did then, and made him pleasant cheer.
They clip and kiss and walk homeward in feere.

When they were enter'd in the house, he sprad
This cloth upon the ground, and thereon sit,
And bade his paramour, this woman bad,
To sit also by him adown on it.
She doth as he commandeth and bit;
Had she this thought and virtue of the cloth
Wist, to han set on it had she been loth.

She for a while was full sore affesed.
This Jonathas wish in his heart 'gan:
Would God that I might thus been eased,
That as on this cloth I and this woman
Sit here, as far were, as that never man
Or this came; and unneth had he so thought,
But they with the cloth thither weren brought

Right to the world's end, as that it were.
When apperceived had she this, she cried,
As though she through girt had be with a spear.
Harrow! alas! that ever shop this tide!
How came we hither? Nay, he said, abide,
Worse is coming; here sole wole I thee leave,
Wild beasts shallen thee devour or eve.

For thou my ring and brooch hast from me holden.
O reverent sir! have upon me pitee,
Quoth she, if ye this grace do me wolden,
As bring me home again to the citee
Where as I this day was, but if that ye
Them have again, of foul death do me die:
Your bounty on me kythe, I mercy cry.

This Jonathas could nothing beware,
Ne take ensample of the deceits twain
That she did him beforn, but faith him bare,
And her he commanded on death's pain
Fro such offences thenceforth her restrain.
She swore, and made thereto forward;
But heark'neth how she bore her afterward.

When she saw and knew that the wrath and ire
That he to her had borne was gone and past,
And all was well, she thought him eft to fire,
In her malice aye stood she stedfast,
And to inquire of him was not agast
In so short time how that it might be
That they came thither out of her countree.

Such virtue hath this cloth on which we sit,
Said he, that where in this world us be list
Suddenly with the thought shallen thither flit,
And how thither come unto us unwist,
As thing fro far unknown in the mist.
And therewith to this woman fraudulent,
To sleep, he said, have I good talent.

Let see, quoth he, stretch out anon thy lap,
In which wole I my head down lay and rest.
So was it done, and he anon 'gan nap.
Nap? nay, he slept right well at best.
What doth this woman, one the ficklest
Of women all, but that cloth that lay
Under him, she drew lyte and lyte away.

When she it had all: would God, quoth she,
I were as I was this day morning!
And therewith this root of iniquitee
Had her wish, and sole left him there sleeping.
O Jonathas! like to thy perishing
Art thou, thy paramour made hath thy beard;
When thou wakest cause hast thou to be ferd.

But thou shalt do full well; thou shalt obteen
Victory on her; thou hast done some deed
Pleasant to thy mother, well can I ween,
For which our Lord quite shall thy meed,
And thee deliver out of thy woful dreed.
The child whom that the mother useth bless,
Full often sythe is eased in distress.

When he awoke, and neither he ne fond
Woman ne cloth, he wept bitterly,
And said, Alas! now is there in no lond
Man worse I know begon than am I.
On every side his look he cast, and sy
Nothing but birds in the air flying,
And wild beasts about him renning.

Of whose sight he full sore was agrysed.
He thought, all this well deserved I have.
What ail'd me to be so evil avised,
That my counsel could I nat keep and save?
Who can fool play? who can mad and rave?
But he that to a woman his secree
Discovereth: the smart cleaveth now on me.

He thus departeth as God would harmless,
And forth of adventure his way is went,
But whitherward he draw, he conceitless
Was; he nat knew to what place he was bent.
He pass'd a water which was so fervent
That flesh upon his feet left it him none,
All clean was departed from the bone.

It shop so that he had a little glass,
Which with that water anon filled he,
And when he further in his way gone was,
Before him he beheld and saw a tree
That fair fruit bore, and in great plentee:
He ate thereof, the taste him liked well,
But he there-through became a foul mesel.

For which unto the ground for sorrow and woe
He fell, and said, cursed be that day
That I was born, and time and hour also
That my mother conceived me, for aye
Now am I lost; alas and well away!
And when some deal slaked his heaviness,
He rose, and on his way he 'gan him dress.

Another water before him he sy,
Which sore to comen in he was adrad:
But nathless, since thereby other way
Ne about it there could none be had,
He thought, so streitly am I bestad,
That though it sore me affese or gast,
Assoil it wole I; and through it he pass'd.

And right as the first water his flesh
Departed from his feet, so the second
Restored it, and made all whole and fresh:
And glad was he, and joyful that stownd
When he felt his feet whole were and sound:
A vial of the water of that brook
He fill'd, and fruit of the tree with him took.

Forth his journey this Jonathas held,
And as he his look about him cast,
Another tree from afar he beheld,
To which he hasted, and him hied fast.
Hungry he was, and of the fruit he thrast
Into his mouth, and ate of it sadly,
And of the lepry he purged was thereby.

Of that fruit more he raught, and thence is gone;
And a fair castle from afar saw he,
In compass of which heads many one
Of men there hung, as he might well see
But not for that he shun would or flee;
He thither him dresseth the straight way
In that ever that he can or may.

Walking so, two men came him again,
And saiden thus: Dear friend, we you pray
What man be ye? Sirs, quoth he, certain
A leech I am, and though myself it say,
Can for the health of sick folks well purvey.
They said him: Of yonder castle the king
A leper is, and can whole be for nothing.

With him there hath been many a sundry leech
That undertook him well to cure and heal
On pain of their heads, but all to seech
Their art was; 'ware that thou not with him deal,
But if thou canst the charter of health enseal,
Lest that thou leese thy head, as didden they;
But thou be wise: thou find it shall no play.

Sirs, said he, you thank I of your reed,
For gently ye han you to me quit:
But I nat dread to lose mine heed,
By God's help full safe keep I will it;
God of his grace such cunning and wit
Hath lent me, that I hope I shall him cure.
Full well dare I me put in aventure.

They to the king's presence han him lad,
And him of the fruit of the second tree
He gave to eat, and bade him to be glad,
And said: Anon your health han shall ye;
Eke of the second water him gave he
To drink, and when he those two had received,
His lepry from him voided was and weived.

The king (as unto his high dignity
Convenient was) gave him largely,
And to him said: If that it like thee
Abiden here, I more abundantly
Thee give wole. My Lord, sickerly,
Quoth he, fain would I your pleasure fulfil,
And in your high presence abide still.

But I no while may with you abide,
So mochill have I to done elsewhere.
Jonathas every day to the sea-side
Which was nigh, went to look and enquere
If any ship drawing hither were
Which him home to his country lead might,
And on a day of ships had he sight

Well a thirty toward the castle draw
And at time of evensong they all
Arriveden, of which he was full faw,
And to the shipmen cry he 'gan and call,
And said: If it so hap might and fall
That some of you me home to my countree
Me bring would, well quit should he be.

And told them whither that they shoulden go.
One of the shipmen forth start at last,
And to him said: My ship and no moe
Of them that here been doth shop and cast
Thither to wend; let see, tell on fast,
Quoth the shipman, that thou for my travail
Me give wilt, if that I thither sail.

They were accorded. Jonathas forth goeth
Unto the king to ask him license
To twine thence, to which the king was loth,
And nathless with his benevolence,
This Jonathas from his magnificence
Departed is, and forth to the shipman
His way he taketh, as-swythe as he can.

Into the ship he ent'reth, and as blive
As wind and weather good shop to be,
Thither as he purposed him arrive
They sailed forth, and came to the citee
In which this serpentine woman was; she
That had him terned with false deceitis,
But where no remedy followeth, streit is.

Turns been quit, all be they good or bad
Sometime, though they put been in delay.
But to my purpose. She deemed he had
Been devoured with beasts many a day
Gone; she thought he delivered was for aye.
Folk of the city knew not Jonathas,
So many a year was past that he there was.

Misliking and thought changed eke his face.
Abouten he go'th, and for his dwelling
In the city, he hired him a place,
And therein exercised his cunning
Of physic, to whom weren repairing
Many a sick wight, and all were healed.
Well was the sick man that with him dealed.

Now shop it thus that this Fellicula,
(The well of deceivable doubleness,
Follower of the steps of Dallida,)
Was then exalted unto high richesse,
But she was fallen into great sickness
And heard sain, for not might it been hid,
How masterful a leech he had him kid.

Messages solemn to him she sent,
Praying him to do so mochill labour
As come and see her; and he thither went.
When he her saw, that she his paramour
Had been he well knew, and for that debtour
To her he was, her he thought to quite
Or he went, and no longer it respite.

But what that he was, she ne wist nat.
He saw her urine, and eke felt her pous,
And said, The sooth is this plain and flat,
A sickness han ye strange and marvellous,
Which to avoid is wonder dangerous:
To heal you there is no way but one.
Leech in this world other can find none.

Aviseth you whether you list it take
Or not, for I told have you my wit.
Ah, sir, said she, for God's sake,
That way me show, and I shall follow it,
Whatever it be: for this sickness sit
So nigh mine heart, that I wot not how
Me to demean: tell on, I pray yow.

Lady, ye must openly you confess,
And if against good conscience and right
Any good han ye take more or less,
Beforn this hour, of any manner wight,
Yield it anon; else not in the might
Of man is it to give a medicine
That you may heal of your sickness and pine.

If any such thing be, tell out thy rede,
And ye shall been all whole I you beheet;
Else mine art is naught, withouten drede.
O Lord, she thought, health is a thing full sweet,
Therewith desire I sovereignly to meet:
Since I it by confession may recover.
A fool am I but I my guilt discover.

How falsely to the son of th' Emperor,
Jonathas, had she done, before them all
As ye han heard above, all that error
By knew she. O Fellicula thee call
Well may I so, for of the bitter gall
Thou takest the beginning of thy name,
Thou root of malice and mirror of shame.

Then said Jonathas: Where are those three
Jewels, that thee fro the clerk withdrew?
Sir, in a coffer at my bed's feet ye
Shall find them; open it, and so pray I you.
He thought not to make it queint and tow,
And say nay, and strain courtesy,
But with right good will thither he 'gan hie.

The coffer he opened, and them there fond.
Who was a glad man but Jonathas? who
The ring upon a finger of his hond
He put, and the brooch on his breast also,
The cloth eke under his arm held he tho;
And to her him dresseth to done his cure,
Cure mortal, way to her sepulture.

He thought rue she should, and fore-think
That she her had unto him misbore;
And of that water her he gave to drink,
Which that his flesh from his bones before
Had twined, wherethrough he was almost lore,
Nad he relieved been, as ye above
Han heard, and this he did eke for her love.

Of the fruit of the tree he gave her eat,
Which that him made into the leper stert,
And as blive in her womb 'gan they fret
And gnaw so, that change 'gan her hert
Now heark'neth how it her made smert:
Her womb opened, and out fell each entrail
That in her was, thus it is said, sans fail.

Thus wretchedly (lo) this guile-man died,
And Jonathas with jewels three
No longer there thought to abide,
But home to the empress his mother hasteth he,
Whereas in joy and in prosperitee
His life led he to his dying day;
And so God us grant that we do may.

Willie.

By my hook this is a tale
Would befit our Whitsun-Ale:
Better cannot be, I wist,
Descant on it he that list.
And full gladly give I wold
The best cosset in my fold
And a mazor for a fee,
If this song thou'lt teachen me
'Tis so quaint and fine a lay,
That upon our revel day
If I sung it, I might chance
(For my pains) be took to dance
With our Lady of the May.

Roget.

Roget will not say thee nay,
If thou deem'st it worth thy pains.
'Tis a song not many swains
Singen can, and though it be
Not so deck'd with nicety
Of sweet words full neatly choosed
As are now by shepherds used:
Yet if well you sound the sense,
And the moral's excellence,
You shall find it quit the while,
And excuse the homely style.
Well I wot the man that first
Sung this lay did quench his thirst
Deeply as did ever one
In the Muses' Helicon.
Many times he hath been seen
With the fairies on the green,
And to them his pipe did sound,
Whilst they danced in a round.
Mickle solace would they make him,
And at midnight often wake him,
And convey him from his room
To a field of yellow broom;
Or into the meadows where
Mints perfume the gentle air,
And where Flora spends her treasure:
There they would begin their measure.
If it chanc'd night's sable shrouds
Muffled Cynthia up in clouds,
Safely home they then would see him,
And from brakes and quagmires free him.
There are few such swains as he
Nowadays for harmony.

Willie.

What was he thou praisest thus?

Roget.

Scholar unto Tityrus:
Tityrus, the bravest swain
Ever lived on the plain,
Taught him how to feed his lambs,
How to cure them, and their dams:
How to pitch the fold, and then
How he should remove agen:
Taught him when the corn was ripe,
How to make an oaten pipe,
How to join them, how to cut them,
When to open, when to shut them,
And with all the skill he had
Did instruct this willing lad.

Willie.

Happy surely was that swain!
And he was not taught in vain:
Many a one that prouder is,
Han not such a song as this,
And have garlands for their meed,
That but jar as Skelton's reed.

Roget.

'Tis too true: but see the sun
Hath his journey fully run;
And his horses, all in sweat,
In the ocean cool their heat;
Sever we our sheep and fold them,
'Twill be night ere we have told them.





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