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

The Message

Thomas Heywood (c. 1570–1641)

YE little birds that sit and sing

Amidst the shady valleys,

And see how Phyllis sweetly walks

Within her garden-alleys;

Go pretty birds, about her bower;

Sing pretty birds, she may not lower;

Ah, me! methinks I see her frown!

Ye pretty wantons warble.

Go tell her through your chirping bills,

As you by me are bidden,

To her is only known my love

Which from the world is hidden.

Go pretty birds and tell her so,

See that your notes strain not too low,

For still, methinks, I see her frown;

Ye pretty wantons warble.

Go tune your voices’ harmony

And sing, I am her lover;

Strain loud and sweet, that every note

With sweet content may move her:

And she that hath the sweetest voice,

Tell her I will not change my choice;

Yet still, methinks, I see her frown!

Ye pretty wantons warble.

O fly! make haste! see, see, she falls

Into a pretty slumber!

Sing round about her rosy bed

That waking she may wonder:

Say to her, ’tis her lover true

That sendeth love to you, to you;

And when you hear her kind reply,

Return with pleasant warblings.