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

The Evening Knell

John Fletcher (1579–1625)

From “The Faithful Shepherdess,” Act II. Scene 1

SHEPHERDS all, and maidens fair,

Fold your flocks up, for the air

’Gins to thicken, and the sun

Already his great course hath run.

See the dew-drops how they kiss

Every little flower that is,

Hanging on their velvet heads,

Like a rope of crystal beads:

See the heavy clouds low falling,

And bright Hesperus down calling

The dead Night from under ground;

At whose rising mists unsound,

Damps and vapours fly apace

Hovering o’er the wanton face

Of these pastures, where they come,

Striking dead both bud and bloom:

Therefore, from such danger lock

Every one his lovèd flock;

And let your dogs lie loose without,

Lest the wolf come as a scout

From the mountain, and ere day,

Bear a lamb or kid away;

Or the crafty thievish fox

Break upon your simple flocks.

To secure yourself from these,

Be not too secure in ease;

Let one eye his watches keep,

Whilst the t’other eye doth sleep;

So you shall good shepherds prove,

And forever hold the love

Of our great god. Sweetest slumbers,

And soft silence, fall in numbers

On your eye-lids! So, farewell!

Thus I end my evening’s knell!