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English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Richard Barnfield

139. The Nightingale

AS it fell upon a day

In the merry month of May,

Sitting in a pleasant shade

Which a grove of myrtles made,

Beasts did leap and birds did sing,

Trees did grow and plants did spring;

Every thing did banish moan

Save the Nightingale alone.

She, poor bird, as all forlorn,

Lean’d her breast up-till a thorn,

And there sung the dolefull’st ditty

That to hear it was great pity.

Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry;

Tereu, tereu, by and by:

That to hear her so complain

Scarce I could from tears refrain;

For her griefs so lively shown

Made me think upon mine own.

—Ah, thought I, thou mourn’st in vain,

None takes pity on thy pain:

Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee,

Ruthless beasts, they will not cheer thee;

King Pandion, he is dead,

All thy friends are lapp’d in lead:

All thy fellow birds do sing

Careless of thy sorrowing:

Even so, poor bird, like thee

None alive will pity me.