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

Phillis and Corydon

Robert Greene (1558–1592)

PHILLIS kept sheep along the western plains,

And Corydon did feed his flocks hard by:

This shepherd was the flower of all the swains

That traced the downs of fruitful Thessaly;

And Phillis, that did far her flocks surpass

In silver hue, was thought a bonny lass.

A bonny lass, quaint in her country ’tire,

Was lovely Phillis,—Corydon swore so;

Her locks, her looks, did set the swain on fire,

He left his lambs, and he began to woo;

He looked, he sighed, he courted with a kiss,

No better could the silly swad than this.

He little knew to paint a tale of love,

Shepherds can fancy, but they cannot say:

Phillis ’gan smile, and wily thought to prove

What uncouth grief poor Corydon did pay;

She asked him how his flocks or he did fare,

Yet pensive thus his sighs did tell his care.

The shepherd blushed when Phillis questioned so,

And swore by Pan it was not for his flocks;

“’Tis love, fair Phillis, breedeth all this woe,

My thoughts are trapt within thy lovely locks;

Thine eye hath pierced, thy face hath set on fire;

Fair Phillis kindleth Corydon’s desire.”

“Can shepherds love?” said Phillis to the swain.

“Such saints as Phillis,” Corydon replied.

“Then when they lust can many fancies feign,”

Said Phillis. This not Corydon denied,

That lust had lies; “But love,” quoth he, “says truth:

Thy shepherd loves, then, Phillis, what ensu’th?”

Phillis was won, she blushed and hung the head;

The swain stept to, and cheered her with a kiss:

With faith, with troth, they struck the matter dead;

So usèd they when men thought not amiss:

This love begun and ended both in one;

Phillis was loved, and she liked Corydon.