Home  »  The Book of Elizabethan Verse  »  John Fletcher (1579–1625)

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

Pan’s Sentinel

John Fletcher (1579–1625)

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

NOW, whilst the moon doth rule the sky

And the stars whose feeble light

Give a pale shadow to the night,

Are up, great Pan commanded me

To walk this grove about, whilst he

In a corner of the wood,

Where never mortal foot hath stood,

Keeps dancing, music, and a feast,

To entertain a lovely guest:

Where he gives her many a rose,

Sweeter than the breath that blows

The leaves, grapes, berries of the best;

I never saw so great a feast.

But, to my charge. Here must I stay,

To see what mortals lose their way,

And by a false fire, seeming bright,

Train them in and leave them right.

Then must I watch if any be

Forcing of a chastity;

If I find it, then in haste

Give my wreathèd horn a blast

And the fairies all will run,

Wildly dancing by the moon,

And will pinch him to the bone,

Till his lustful thoughts be gone.

Back again about this ground;

Sure I hear a mortal sound.—

I bind thee by this powerful spell,

By the waters of this well,

By the glimmering moon-beams bright,

Speak again, thou mortal wight!

Here the foolish mortal lies,

Sleeping on the ground.Arise!

The poor wight is almost dead;

On the ground his wounds have bled,

And his clothes fouled with his blood:

To my goddess in the wood

Will I lead him, whose hands pure

Will help this mortal wight to cure.