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Pack night, peep day, good day, of night now borrow: Short, night, to-night, and length thyself to-morrow.
It was a lording's daughter,
The fairest one of three,
That liked of her master
As well as well might be,
Till looking on an Englishman,
The fairest that eye could see,
Her fancy fell a turning.
Long was the combat doubtful,
That love with love did fight ,
To leave the master loveless,
Or kill the gallant knight :
To put in practice either,
Alas! it was a spite
Unto the silly damsel.
But one must be refused,
More mickle was the pain ,
That nothing could be used,
To turn them both to gain;
For of the two the trusty knight
Was wounded with disdain :
Alas! she could not help it.
Thus art with arms contending
Was victor of the day,
Which by a gift of learning
Did bear the maid away;
Then lullaby, the learned man
Hath got the lady gay;
For now my song is ended.
On a day (alack the day!)
Love, whose month was ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair,
Playing in the wanton air:
Through the velvet leaves the wind,
All unseen, 'gan passage find;
That the lover (sick to death)
Wish'd himself the heaven's breath,
Air (quoth he) thy cheeks may blow;
Air, would I might triumph so!
But, alas! my hand hath sworn
Ne'er to pluck thee from thy thorn:
Vow, alack! for youth upmeet:
Youth, so apt to pluck a sweet.
Thou for whom Jove would swear
Juno but an Ethiop were;
And deny himself for Jove,
Turning mortal for thy love.
My flocks feed not,
My ewes breed not,
My rams speed not,
All is amiss:
Love is dying,
Causer of this.
All my merry jigs are quite forgot,
All my lady's love is lost (God wot):
Where her faith was firmly fix'd in love,
There a nay is plac'd without remove.
One silly cross
Wrought all my loss :
O frowning Fortune, cursed, fickle dame!
For now I see
More in women than in men remain
In black mourn I,
All fears scorn I,
Love hath forlorn me,
Living in thrall:
Heart is bleeding,
All help needing,
O cruel speeding!
Fraughted with gall!
My shepherd's pipe can sound no deal,
My wether's bell rings doleful knell;
My curtail dog that wont to have play'd,
Plays not at all, but seems afraid;
My sighs so deep,
Procure to weép,
In howling-wise, to see my doleful plight.
How sighs resound
Through heartless ground,
Like a thousand vanquish'd men in bloody fight!
Clear wells spring not,
Sweet birds sing not,
Green plants bring not
Forth their dye;
Herds stand weeping.
Flocks all sleeping,
Nymphs back peeping
All our pleasure known to us poor swains,
All our merry meetings on the plains,
All our evening sport from us is fled;
All our love is lost, for love is dead.
Farewell, sweet lass,
Thy like ne'er was
For a sweet content, the cause of all my moan
Must live alone,
Other help for him I see that there is none.
XIX. When as thine eye hath chose the dame, And stall’d the deer that thou shouldst strike, Let reason rule things worthy blame, As well as partial fancy like:
Take counsel of some wiser head,
Neither too young, nor yet unwed. And when thou com’st thy tale to tell, Smooth not thy tongue with filed talk, Lest she some subtle practice smell; A cripple soon can find a halt:
But plainly say thou lov’st her well,
And set thy person forth to sell.
What though her frowning brows be bent,
Her cloudy looks will clear ere night;
And then too late she will repent
That thus dissembled her delight;
And twice desire, ere it be day,
That which with scorn she put away.
What though she strive to try her strength,
And ban and brawl, and say thee nay,
Her feeble force will yield at length,
When craft hath taught her thus to say,
“Had women been so strong as men,
In faith you had not had it then.” And to her will frame all thy ways: Spare not to spend, and chiefly there Where thy desert may merit praise, By ringing in thy lady's ear:
The strongest castle, tower, and town,
The golden bullet beats it down.
Serve always with assured trust,
And in thy suit be humble, true;
Unless thy lady prove unjust,
Seek never thou to choose a new.
When time shall serve, be thou not slack To proffer, though she put thee back. The wiles and guiles that women work, Dissembled with an outward show, The tricks and toys that in them lurk, The cock that treads them shall not know.
Have you not heard it said full oft,
A woman's nay doth stand for nought?
Think, women still to strive with men
To sin, and never for to saint:
There is no heaven; be holy then,
When time with age shall them attaint.
Were kisses all the joys in bed,
One woman would another wed.
But soft! enough, - too much, I fear;
Lest that my mistress hear my song,
She will not stick to warm my ear ,
To teach my tongue to be so long:
Yet will she blush, here be it said,
To hear her secrets so bewray'd.
Live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
And the craggy mountain yields.
There will we sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee a bed of roses,
With a thousand fragrant posies;
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.