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

The Shepherd’s Sun

Anthony Munday (1553–1633)

FAIR Nymphs! sit ye here by me

On this flow’ry green;

While we, this merry day, do see

Some things but seldom seen.

Shepherds all! now come, sit around

On yond chequered plain;

While, from the woods, we hear resound

Some comfort for Love’s pain.

Every bird sits on his bough

As brag as he that is the best;

Then, sweet Love! reveal how

Our minds may be at rest!

Echo thus replied to me,

‘Sit under yonder beechen-tree;

And there, Love shall shew thee,

How all may be redrest!’

Hark! Hark! Hark, the Nightingale!

In her mourning lay,

She tells her story’s woeful tale,

To warn ye, if she may,

‘Fair maids! take ye heed of Love,

It is a per’lous thing!

As Philomel herself did prove,

Abusèd by a King.

If Kings play false, believe no men

That make a seemly outward show,

But, caught once, beware then;

For then begins your woe!

They will look babies in your eyes,

And speak so fair as fair may be;

But trust them in no wise!

Example take by me!’

‘Fie! Fie!’ said the Threstlecock,

‘You are much to blame,

For one man’s fault, all men to blot,

Impairing their good name.

Admit you were used amiss,

By that ungentle King;

It follows not, that you, for this,

Should all men’s honours wring;

There be good; and there be bad!

And some are false; and some are true!

As good choice is still had

Amongst us men, as you!

Women have faults as well as we;

Some say, for our one, they have three!

Then smite not; nor bite not;

When you as faulty be.’

‘Peace! peace!’ quoth Madge Howlet then,

Sitting out of sight,

‘For women are as good as men;

And both are good alike!’

‘Not so!’ said the little Wren,

‘Difference there may be,

The cock always commands the hen;

Then men shall go for me?’

Then Robin Redbreast, stepping in,

Would needs take up this tedious strife;

Protesting, ‘True loving

In either, lengthened life!

If I love you, and you love me;

Can there be better harmony?

Thus ending contending,

Love must the umpire be!’

Fair nymphs! Love must be your guide,

Chaste, unspotted Love;

To such as do your thralls betide,

Resolved without remove.

Likewise, jolly Shepherd Swains,

If you do respect

The happy issue of your pains,

True Love must you direct!

You hear the birds contend for love;

The bubbling springs do sing sweet love;

The mountains and fountains

Do echo nought but love!

Take hands, then, Nymphs and Shepherds all!

And to this river’s music’s fall,

Sing, ‘True Love and Chaste Love

Begins our Festival!’