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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

The Country’s Recreations


QUIVERING fears, heart-tearing cares,

Anxious sighs, untimely tears,

Fly, fly to courts!

Fly to fond worldlings’ sports

Where strained sardonic smiles are glozing still,

And grief is forced to laugh against her will;

Where mirth’s but mummery,

And sorrows only real be!

Fly from our country pastimes, fly,

Sad troop of human misery!

Come, serene looks,

Clear as the crystal brooks,

Or the pure azured heaven, that smiles to see

The attendance of our poverty!

Peace, and a secure mind,

Which all men seek, we only find.

Abusèd mortals! did you know

Where joy, heart’s ease, and comforts grow,

You’d scorn proud towers,

And seek them in these bowers

Where winds sometimes our woods perhaps may shake,

But blustering care could never tempest make,

Nor murmurs e’er come nigh us,

Saving of fountains that glide by us.

Here’s no fantastic mask, nor dance

But of our kids that frisk and prance:

Nor wars are seen

Unless upon the green

Two harmless lambs are butting one another—

Which done, both bleating run, each to his mother:

And wounds are never found,

Save what the ploughshare gives the ground.

Here are no false entrapping baits

To hasten too-too hasty Fates;

Unless it be

The fond credulity

Of silly fish, which worldling-like still look

Upon the bait, but never on the hook:

Nor envy, unless among

The birds, for prize of their sweet song.

Go, let the diving Negro seek

For gems hid in some forlorn creek;

We all pearls scorn

Save what the dewy morn

Congeals upon each little spire of grass,

Which careless shepherds beat down as they pass;

And gold ne’er here appears

Save what the yellow Ceres bears.

Blest silent groves! O may ye be

For ever mirth’s best nursery!

May pure contents

For ever pitch their tents

Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these mountains,

And peace still slumber by these purling fountains;

Which we may every year

Find when we come a-fishing here!