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


Richard Barnfield (1574–1627)

AS it fell upon a day

In the merry month of May,

Sitting in a pleasant shade

Which a grove of myrtles made,

Beasts did leap and birds did sing,

Trees did grow and plants did spring;

Everything did banish moan

Save the Nightingale alone:

She, poor bird as all forlorn

Leaned her breast up-till a thorn,

And there sung the dolefull’st ditty,

That to hear it was great pity.

Fie, fie, fie! now would she cry;

Tereu, Tereu! by and by;

That to hear her so complain

Scarce I could from tears refrain;

For her griefs so lively shown

Made me think upon mine own.

Ah! thought I, thou mourn’st in vain,

None takes pity on thy pain:

Senseless trees they cannot hear thee,

Ruthless beasts they will not cheer thee:

King Pandion he is dead,

All thy friends are lapp’d in lead;

All thy fellow birds do sing

Careless of thy sorrowing:

Even so, poor bird, like thee,

None alive will pity me.