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16th Cent.

58                               When Flora had O’erfret the Firth

QUHEN Flora had o’erfret1 the firth
   In May of every moneth queen;
Quhen merle and mavis singis with mirth
   Sweet melling in the shawis2 sheen;3
   Quhen all luvaris rejoicit bene
And most desirous of their prey,
   I heard a lusty luvar mene4
   —‘I luve, but I dare nocht assay!
‘Strong are the pains I daily prove,
   But yet with patience I sustene,
I am so fetterit with the luve
   Only of my lady sheen,
   Quhilk for her beauty micht be queen,
Nature so craftily alway
   Has done depaint that sweet serene:
   —Quhom I luve I dare nocht assay.
‘She is so bricht of hyd5 and hue,
   I luve but her alone, I ween;
Is none her luve that may eschew,
   That blinkis6 of that dulce amene;7
   So comely cleir are her twa een
That she mae8 luvaris dois affray
   Than ever of Greece did fair Helene:
   —Quhom I luve I dare nocht assay!’

1 o’erfret: adorned.

2 shawis: woods.

3 sheen: beautiful.

4 mene: mourn.

5 hyd: skin.

6 blinkis: gets a glimpse.

7 dulce amene: gentle and pleasant one.

8 mae: more.

59                                                  Lusty May

16th Cent.

OLUSTY May, with Flora queen!
The balmy dropis from Phoebus sheen1
   Preluciand beams before the day:
By that Diana growis green
   Through gladness of this lusty May.
Then Esperus, that is so bricht,
Til2 woful hairtis castis his light,
   With bankis that bloomis on every brae;
And schouris are shed forth of their sicht
   Through gladness of this lusty May.
Birdis on bewis3 of every birth,4
Rejoicing notis makand their mirth
   Richt plesantly upon the spray,
With flourishingis o’er field and firth
   Through gladness of this lusty May.
All luvaris that are in care
To their ladies they do repair
   In fresh mornings before the day,
And are in mirth ay mair and mair
   Through gladness of this lusty May.

1 sheen: bright.

2 til: into.

3 bewis: boughs.

4 birth: kind.

60                                      My Heart is High Above

16th Cent.

MY heart is high above, my body is full of bliss,
For I am set in luve as well as I would wiss1
I luve my lady pure and she luvis me again,
I am her serviture, she is my soverane;
She is my very heart, I am her howp and heill,2
She is my joy invart,3 I am her luvar leal;
I am her bond and thrall, she is at my command;
I am perpetual her man, both foot and hand;
The thing that may her please my body sall fulfil;
Quhatever her disease, it does my body ill.
My bird, my bonny ane, my tender babe venust,4
My luve, my life alane, my liking and my lust!
We interchange our hairtis in others armis soft,
Spriteless we twa depairtis, usand our luvis oft.
We mourn when licht day dawis, we plain the nicht is short,
We curse the cock that crawis, that hinderis our disport.
I glowffin5 up aghast, quhen I her miss on nicht,
And in my oxter6 fast I find the bowster richt;
Then languor on me lies like Morpheus the mair,
Quhilk causes me uprise and to my sweet repair.
And then is all the sorrow forth of remembrance
That ever I had a-forrow7 in luvis observance.
Thus never I do rest, so lusty a life I lead,
Quhen that I list to test the well of womanheid.
Luvaris in pain, I pray God send you sic remeid
As I have nicht and day, you to defend from deid!
Therefore be ever true unto your ladies free,
And they will on you rue as mine has done on me.

1 wiss: wish.

2 heill: health.

3 invart: inward.

4 venust: delightful.

5 glowffin: blink on awaking.

6 oxter: armpit.

7 a-forrow: aforetime.






61                                          A Praise of His Lady

Tottel’s Miscellany, 1557
GIVE place, you ladies, and begone!
   Boast not yourselves at all!
For here at hand approacheth one
   Whose face will stain you all.
The virtue of her lively looks
   Excels the precious stone;
I wish to have none other books
   To read or look upon.
In each of her two crystal eyes
   Smileth a naked boy;
It would you all in heart suffice
   To see that lamp of joy.
I think Nature hath lost the mould
   Where she her shape did take;
Or else I doubt if Nature could
   So fair a creature make.
She may be well compared
   Unto the Phoenix kind,
Whose like was never seen or heard,
   That any man can find.
In life she is Diana chaste,
   In troth Penelopey;
In word and eke in deed steadfast.
   —What will you more we say?
If all the world were sought so far,
   Who could find such a wight?
Her beauty twinkleth like a star
   Within the frosty night.
Her rosial colour comes and goes
   With such a comely grace,
More ruddier, too, than doth the rose,
   Within her lively face.
At Bacchus’ feast none shall her meet,
   Ne at no wanton play,
Nor gazing in an open street,
   Nor gadding as a stray.
The modest mirth that she doth use
   Is mix’d with shamefastness;
All vice she doth wholly refuse,
   And hateth idleness.
O Lord! it is a world to see
   How virtue can repair,
And deck in her such honesty,
   Whom Nature made so fair.
Truly she doth so far exceed
   Our women nowadays,
As doth the jeliflower a weed;
   And more a thousand ways.
How might I do to get a graff
   Of this unspotted tree?
—For all the rest are plain but chaff,
   Which seem good corn to be.
This gift alone I shall her give;
   When death doth what he can,
Her honest fame shall ever live
   Within the mouth of man.

? by John Heywood

62                                     To Her Sea-faring Lover

Tottel’s Miscellany, 1557

SHALL I thus ever long, and be no whit the neare?1
And shall I still complain to thee, the which me will not
   Alas! say nay! say nay! and be no more so dumb,
But open thou thy manly mouth and say that thou wilt come:
   Whereby my heart may think, although I see not thee,
That thou wilt come—thy word so sware—if thou a live
   man be.
   The roaring hugy waves they threaten my poor ghost,
And toss thee up and down the seas in danger to be lost.
   Shall they not make me fear that they have swallowed thee?
   —But as thou art most sure alive, so wilt thou come to me.
   Whereby I shall go see thy ship ride on the strand,
And think and say Lo where he comes and Sure here will he
 And then I shall lift up to thee my little hand,
And thou shalt think thine heart in ease, in health to see me
   And if thou come indeed (as Christ thee send to do!)
Those arms which miss thee now shall then embrace [and
  hold] thee to:
Each vein to every joint the lively blood shall spread
Which now for want of thy glad sight doth show full pale and
   But if thou slip thy troth, and do not come at all,
As minutes in the clock do strike so call for death I shall:
   To please both thy false heart and rid myself from woe,
That rather had to die in troth than live forsaken so!

1 neare: nearer.

63                                    The Faithless Shepherdess

William Byrd’s Songs of
     Sundry Natures
, 1589

WHILE that the sun with his beams hot
      Scorchàed the fruits in vale and mountain,
Philon the shepherd, late forgot,
    Sitting beside a crystal fountain
         In shadow of a green oak tree,
         Upon his pipe this song play’d he:
Adieu, Love, adieu, Love, untrue Love!
Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu, Love!
Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
So long as I was in your sight
    I was your heart, your soul, your treasure;
And evermore you sobb’d and sigh’d
    Burning in flames beyond all measure:
          —Three days endured your love to me,
          And it was lost in other three!
Adieu, Love, adieu, Love, untrue Love!
Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu, Love!
Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
Another shepherd you did see,
   To whom your heart was soon enchainàed;
Full soon your love was leapt from me,
   Full soon my place he had obtainàed.
      Soon came a third your love to win,
      And we were out and he was in.
Adieu, Love, adieu, Love, untrue Love!
Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu, Love!
Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
Sure you have made me passing glad
    That you your mind so soon removàed,
Before that I the leisure had
    To choose you for my best belovàed:
      For all my love was pass’d and done
      Two days before it was begun.
Adieu, Love, adieu, Love, untrue Love!
Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu, Love!
Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.

64                                       Crabbed Age and Youth

The Passionate Pilgrim, 1599

CRABBÈED Age and Youth
Cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance,
Age is full of care;
Youth like summer morn,
Age like winter weather;
Youth like summer brave,
Age like winter bare.
Youth is full of sport,
Age’s breath is short;
Youth is nimble, Age is lame;
Youth is hot and bold,
Age is weak and cold;
Youth is wild, and Age is tame.
Age, I do abhor thee;
Youth, I do adore thee;
O, my Love, my Love is young!
Age, I do defy thee:
O, sweet shepherd, hie thee!
For methinks thou stay’st too long.
                                ? by William Shakespeare

65                                              Phyllida’s Love-Call

England’s Helicon, 1600

Phyllida.   CORYDON, arise, my Corydon!
                      Titan shineth clear.
Corydon.  Who is it that calleth Corydon?
                     Who is it that I hear?
       Phyl.   Phyllida, thy true love, calleth thee,
                     Arise then, arise then,
                         Arise and keep thy flock with me!
       Cor.   Phyllida, my true love, is it she?
                     I come then, I come then,
                          I come and keep my flock with thee.

     Phyl.   Here are cherries ripe for my Corydon;
                     Eat them for my sake.
       Cor.   Here’s my oaten pipe, my lovely one,
                     Sport for thee to make.
       Phyl.   Here are threads, my true love, fine as silk,
                      To knit thee, to knit thee,
                         A pair of stockings white as milk.
       Cor.   Here are reeds, my true love, fine and neat,
                      To make thee, to make thee,
                         A bonnet to withstand the heat.

     Phyl.   I will gather flowers, my Corydon,
                      To set in thy cap.
       Cor.   I will gather pears, my lovely one,
                     To put in thy lap.
       Phyl.   I will buy my true love garters gay,
                      For Sundays, for Sundays,
                         To wear about his legs so tall.
       Cor.   I will buy my true love yellow say,1
                      For Sundays, for Sundays,
                         To wear about her middle small.

       Phyl.   When my Corydon sits on a hill
                      Making melody—
       Cor.   When my lovely one goes to her wheel,
                      Singing cheerily—
       Phyl.   Sure methinks my true love doth excel
                      For sweetness, for sweetness,
                         Our Pan, that old Arcadian knight.
       Cor.   And methinks my true love bears the bell
                      For clearness, for clearness,
                         Beyond the nymphs that be so bright.

       Phyl.   Had my Corydon, my Corydon,
                      Been, alack! her swain—
       Cor.   Had my lovely one, my lovely one,
                      Been in Ida plain—
       Phyl.   Cynthia Endymion had refused,
                      Preferring, preferring,
                         My Corydon to play withal.
       Cor.   The Queen of Love had been excused
                      Bequeathing, bequeathing,
                         My Phyllida the golden ball.

       Phyl.   Yonder comes my mother, Corydon!
                     Whither shall I fly?
       Cor.   Under yonder beech, my lovely one,
                      While she passeth by.
       Phyl.   Say to her thy true love was not here;
                      Remember, remember,
                         To-morrow is another day.
       Cor.   Doubt me not, my true love, do not fear;
                      Farewell then, farewell then!
                         Heaven keep our loves alway!

1 say: soie, silk.

66                                               A Pedlar

John Dowland’s Second Book of
   Songs or Airs
, 1600

FINE knacks for ladies! cheap, choice, brave, and new,
    Good pennyworths—but money cannot move:
I keep a fair but for the Fair to view—
    A beggar may be liberal of love.
Though all my wares be trash, the heart is true,
                                        The heart is true.
Great gifts are guiles and look for gifts again;
    My trifles come as treasures from my mind:
It is a precious jewel to be plain;
    Sometimes in shell the orient’st pearls we find:—
Of others take a sheaf, of me a grain!
                                                  Of me a grain!

67                                            Hey nonny no!

Christ Church MS.

HEY nonny no!
Men are fools that wish to die!
Is’t not fine to dance and sing
When the bells of death do ring?
Is’t not fine to swim in wine,
And turn upon the toe,
And sing hey nonny no!
When the winds blow and the seas flow?
Hey nonny no!

68                                              Heart’s Music

Campian’s First Book of Airs

    TUNE thy music to thy heart;
Sing thy joy with thanks, and so thy sorrow.
    Though devotion needs not art,
Sometime of the poor the rich may borrow.
    Strive not yet for curious ways;
Concord pleaseth more the less ’tis strainàed.
    Zeal affects not outward praise,
Only strives to show a love unfeignàed.
    Love can wondrous things effect,
Sweetest sacrifice all wrath appeasing.
    Love the Highest doth respect;
Love alone to Him is ever pleasing.

69                                                  Preparations

Christ Church MS.

YET if His Majesty, our sovereign lord,
Should of his own accord
Friendly himself invite,
And say ‘I’ll be your guest to-morrow night,’
How should we stir ourselves, call and command
All hands to work! ‘Let no man idle stand!
‘Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall;
See they be fitted all;
Let there be room to eat
And order taken that there want no meat.
See every sconce and candlestick made bright,
That without tapers they may give a light.
’Look to the presence: are the carpets spread,
The dazie o’er the head,
The cushions in the chairs,
And all the candles lighted on the stairs?
Perfume the chambers, and in any case
Let each man give attendance in his place!’
Thus, if a king were coming, would we do;
And ’twere good reason too;
For ’tis a duteous thing
To show all honour to an earthly king,
And after all our travail and our cost,
So he be pleased, to think no labour lost.
But at the coming of the King of Heaven
All’s set at six and seven;
We wallow in our sin,
Christ cannot find a chamber in the inn.
We entertain Him always like a stranger,
And, as at first, still lodge Him in the manger.

70                                          The New Jerusalem

Song of Mary the Mother of
(London: E. Allde), 1601

HIERUSALEM, my happy home,
   When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end,
   Thy joys when shall I see?
O happy harbour of the Saints!
   O sweet and pleasant soil!
In thee no sorrow may be found,
   No grief, no care, no toil.
There lust and lucre cannot dwell,
   There envy bears no sway;
There is no hunger, heat, nor cold,
   But pleasure every way.
Thy walls are made of precious stones,
   Thy bulwarks diamonds square;
Thy gates are of right orient pearl,
   Exceeding rich and rare.
Thy turrets and thy pinnacles
   With carbuncles do shine;
Thy very streets are paved with gold,
   Surpassing clear and fine.
Ah, my sweet home, Hierusalem,
   Would God I were in thee!
Would God my woes were at an end,
   Thy joys that I might see!
Thy gardens and thy gallant walks
   Continually are green;
There grows such sweet and pleasant flowers
    As nowhere else are seen.
Quite through the streets, with silver sound,
   The flood of Life doth flow;
Upon whose banks on every side
   The wood of Life doth grow.
There trees for evermore bear fruit,
   And evermore do spring;
There evermore the angels sit,
   And evermore do sing.
Our Lady sings Magnificat
   With tones surpassing sweet;
And all the virgins bear their part,
   Sitting about her feet.
Hierusalem, my happy home,
   Would God I were in thee!
Would God my woes were at an end,/
   Thy joys that I might see!

71                                                  Icarus

Robert Jones’s Second Book of
    Songs and Airs
, 1601

LOVE wing’d my Hopes and taught me how to fly
Far from base earth, but not to mount too high:
        For true pleasure
        Lives in measure,
        Which if men forsake,
Blinded they into folly run and grief for pleasure take.
But my vain Hopes, proud of their new-taught flight,
Enamour’d sought to woo the sun’s fair light,
        Whose rich brightness
        Moved their lightness
        To aspire so high
That, all scorch’d and consumed with fire, now drown’d in
     woe they lie.
And none but Love their woeful hap did rue,
For Love did know that their desires were true;
     Though Fate frownàed,
     And now drownàed
     They in sorrow dwell,
It was the purest light of heav’n for whose fair love they fell.

72                                                     Madrigal

Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody, 1602

MY Love in her attire doth show her wit,
It doth so well become her;
For every season she hath dressings fit,
   For Winter, Spring, and Summer.
     No beauty she doth miss
       When all her robes are on:
     But Beauty’s self she is
       When all her robes are gone.

73                                      How can the Heart forget her?

Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody, 1602

AT her fair hands how have I grace entreated
With prayers oft repeated!
Yet still my love is thwarted:
Heart, let her go, for she’ll not be converted—
                Say, shall she go?
                O no, no, no, no, no!
She is most fair, though she be marble-hearted.
How often have my sighs declared my anguish,
Wherein I daily languish!
Yet still she doth procure it:
Heart, let her go, for I can not endure it—
                Say, shall she go?
                O no, no, no, no, no!
She gave the wound, and she alone must cure it.
But shall I still a true affection owe her,
Which prayers, sighs, tears do show her,
And shall she still disdain me?
Heart, let her go, if they no grace can gain me—
                Say, shall she go?
                O no, no, no, no, no!
She made me hers, and hers she will retain me.
But if the love that hath and still doth burn me
No love at length return me,
Out of my thoughts I’ll set her:
Heart, let her go, O heart I pray thee, let her!
                Say, shall she go?
                O no, no, no, no, no!
Fix’d in the heart, how can the heart forget her?

74                                                      Tears

John Dowland’s Third and Last
             Book of Songs or Airs
, 1603

WEEP you no more, sad fountains;
   What need you flow so fast?
Look how the snowy mountains
   Heaven’s sun doth gently waste!
But my Sun’s heavenly eyes
     View not your weeping,
     That now lies sleeping
Softly, now softly lies
Sleep is a reconciling,
     A rest that peace begets;
Doth not the sun rise smiling
     When fair at even he sets?
Rest you then, rest, sad eyes!
       Melt not in weeping,
       While she lies sleeping
Softly, now softly lies

75                                            My Lady’s Tears

John Dowland’s Third and Last
     Book of Songs or Airs
, 1603

    I SAW my Lady weep,
And Sorrow proud to be advancàed so
In those fair eyes where all perfections keep.
    Her face was full of woe;
But such a woe (believe me) as wins more hearts
Than Mirth can do with her enticing parts.
    Sorrow was there made fair,
And Passion wise; Tears a delightful thing;
Silence beyond all speech, a wisdom rare:
    She made her sighs to sing,
And all things with so sweet a sadness move
As made my heart at once both grieve and love.
    O fairer than aught else
The world can show, leave off in time to grieve!
Enough, enough: your joyful look excels:
    Tears kill the heart, believe.
O strive not to be excellent in woe,
Which only breeds your beauty’s overthrow.

76                                             Sister, Awake!

Thomas Bateson’s First Set of
English Madrigals, 1604

SISTER, awake! close not your eyes!
   The day her light discloses,
And the bright morning doth arise
   Out of her bed of roses.
See the clear sun, the world’s bright eye,
   In at our window peeping:
Lo, how he blusheth to espy
   Us idle wenches sleeping!
Therefore awake! make haste, I say,
   And let us, without staying,
All in our gowns of green so gay
   Into the Park a-maying!

77                                               Devotion

Captain Tobias Hume’s The First
     Part of Airs, &c
., 1605

FAIN would I change that note
To which fond Love hath charm’d me
Long, long to sing by rote,
Fancying that that harm’d me:
Yet when this thought doth come,
‘Love is the perfect sum
    Of all delight,’
I have no other choice
Either for pen or voice
    To sing or write.
O Love! they wrong thee much
That say thy sweet is bitter,
When thy rich fruit is such
As nothing can be sweeter.
Fair house of joy and bliss,
Where truest pleasure is,
    I do adore thee:
I know thee what thou art,
I serve thee with my heart,
    And fall before thee.

78                                    Since First I saw your Face

Thomas Ford’s Music of
   Sundry Kinds
, 1607

SINCE first I saw your face I resolved to honour and
renown ye;
If now I be disdainàed I wish my heart had never known ye.
What? I that loved and you that liked, shall we begin to
No, no, no, my heart is fast, and cannot disentangle.
If I admire or praise you too much, that fault you may forgive
Or if my hands had stray’d but a touch, then justly might
    you leave me.
I ask’d you leave, you bade me love; is ’t now a time to chide
No, no, no, I’ll love you still what fortune e’er betide me.
The Sun, whose beams most glorious are, rejecteth no
And your sweet beauty past compare made my poor eyes the
Where beauty moves and wit delights and signs of kindness
   bind me,
There, O there, where’er I go I’ll leave my heart behind me!

79                           There is a Lady sweet and kind

Thomas Ford’s Music of
    Sundry Kinds
, 1607

THERE is a Lady sweet and kind,
Was never face so pleased my mind;
I did but see her passing by,
And yet I love her till I die.
Her gesture, motion, and her smiles,
Her wit, her voice my heart beguiles,
Beguiles my heart, I know not why,
And yet I love her till I die.
Cupid is wingàed and doth range,
Her country so my love doth change:
But change she earth, or change she sky,
Yet will I love her till I die.

80                              Love not me for comely grace

John Wilbye’s Second Set of Madrigals, 1609

LOVE not me for comely grace,
For my pleasing eye or face,
Nor for any outward part,
No, nor for a constant heart:
    For these may fail or turn to ill,
    So thou and I shall sever:
Keep, therefore, a true woman’s eye,
And love me still but know not why—
    So hast thou the same reason still
    To doat upon me ever!

81                                             The Wakening

John Attye’s First Book of Airs, 1622

ON a time the amorous Silvy
Said to her shepherd, ‘Sweet, how do ye?
Kiss me this once and then God be wi’ ye,
        My sweetest dear!
Kiss me this once and then God be wi’ ye,
For now the morning draweth near.’
With that, her fairest bosom showing,
Op’ning her lips, rich perfumes blowing,
She said, ‘Now kiss me and be going,
        My sweetest dear!
Kiss me this once and then be going,
For now the morning draweth near.’

With that the shepherd waked from sleeping,
And spying where the day was peeping,
He said, ‘Now take my soul in keeping,
        My sweetest dear!
Kiss me and take my soul in keeping,
Since I must go, now day is near.’


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