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

The Shepherd’s Holyday

Ben Jonson (1572–1637)

1 Nymph.THUS, thus begin the yearly rites

Are due to Pan on these bright nights;

His morn now riseth and invites

To sports, to dances, and delights:

All envious and profane, away,

This is the shepherd’s holyday.

2 Nymph.Strew, strew the glad and smiling ground

With every flower, yet not confound;

The primrose drop, the spring’s own spouse,

Bright day’s-eyes and the lips of cows;

The garden-star, the queen of May,

The rose, to crown the holyday.

3 Nymph.Drop, drop, you violets; change your hues,

Now red, now pale, as lovers use;

And in your death go out as well

As when you lived unto the smell:

That from your odour all may say,

This is the shepherd’s holyday.