Page images

Nor he, nor any noble-man

Admitted to her vewe.


One while in melancholy fits

He pines himselfe awaye;
Anon he thought by force of arms

To win her if he maye:


And still against the kings restraint

Did secretly invay.
At length the high controller Love,

Whom none may disobay,

[merged small][ocr errors]

Accesse so had to see and speak,

He did his love bewray,
And tells his birth: her answer was,

She husbandles would stay.

Meane while the king did beate his braines,

His booty to atchieve,
Nor caring what became of her,

So he by her might thrive;
At last his resolution was

Some pessant should her wive.

[ocr errors]

And (which was working to his wish)

He did observe with joye
How Curan, whom he thought a drudge,
Scapt many an amorous toye.1

70 The construction is, · How that many an amorous toy, or foolery of love, 'scaped Curan; ' i.e. escaped from him, being off his guard.


The king, perceiving such his veine,

Promotes his vassal still,
Lest that the basenesse of the man

Should lett, perhaps, his will.

Assured therefore of his love,

But not suspecting who
The lover was, the king himselfe

In his behalf did woe.

The lady resolute from love,

Unkindly takes that he
Should barre the noble, and unto

So base a match agree:

And therefore shifting out of doores,

Departed thence by stealth ; Preferring povertie before

A dangerous life in wealth.

When Curan heard of her escape,

The anguish in his hart
Was more than much, and after her

From court he did depart;

Forgetfull of himselfe, his birth,

His country, friends, and all, And only minding (whom he mist)

The foundresse of his thrall.

[ocr errors][merged small]


A brace of years he lived thus,

Well pleased so to live,
And shepherd-like to feed a flocke

Himselfe did wholly give.

So wasting love, by worke, and want,

Grew almost to the waine: But then began a second love,

The worser of the twaine.


A country wench, a neatherds maid,

Where Curan kept his sheepe,
Did feed her drove: and now on her

Was all the shepherds keepe.


He borrowed on the working daies

His holy russets oft,
And of the bacon's fat, to make

His startops blacke and soft.


And least his tarbox should offend,

He left it at the folde:
Sweete growte, or whig, his bottle had,

As much as it might holde.


A sheeve of bread as browne as nut,

And cheese as white as snow, And wildings, or the seasons fruit

He did in scrip bestow.

And whilst his py-bald curre did sleepe,

And sheep-hooke lay him by, On hollow quilles of oten straw

He piped melody.


Ver. 112, i.e. holy-day russets.

But when he spyed her his saint,

He wip'd his greasie shooes,
And clear'd the drivell from his beard,

And thus the shepheard wooes.


'I have, sweet wench, a peece of cheese,

As good as tooth may chawe,
And bread and wildings souling well,'

(And therewithall did drawe

His lardrie) and in [yeaning see

135 Yon crumpling ewe,' quoth he, * Did twinne this fall, and twin shouldst thou,

If I might tup with thee.


Thou art too elvish, faith thou art,

Too elvish and too coy: Am I, I pray thee, beggarly,

That such a flocke enjoy?

I wis I am not: yet that thou

Doest hold me in disdaine
Is brimme abroad, and made a gybe

To all that keepe this plaine.

[blocks in formation]

There be as quaint (at least that thinke

Themselves as quaint) that crave The match, that thou, I wot not why,

Maist, but mislik'st to have.


How wouldst thou match? (for well I wot,

Thou art a female) I,
Her know not here that willingly

With maiden-head would die.

Ver. 135, Eating, PCC.-Ver. 153, Her know I not her that. 1602.


The plowmans labour hath no end,

And he a churle will prove:
The craftsman hath more worke in hand

Then fitteth unto love:


The merchant, traffiquing abroad,

Suspects his wife at home:
A youth will play the wanton; and

An old man prove a mome.

Then chuse a shepheard: with the sun

He doth his flocke unfold,
And all the day on hill or plaine

He merrie chat can hold;


And with the sun doth folde againe;

Then jogging home betime,
He turnes a crab, or turnes a round,

Or sings some merry ryme.


Nor lacks he gleefull tales, whilst round

The nut-brown bowl doth trot;
And sitteth singing care away,

Till he to bed be got:


Theare sleepes he soundly all the night,

Forgetting morrow-cares:
Nor feares he blasting of his corne,

Nor uttering of his wares;

Or stormes by seas, or stirres on land,

Or cracke of credit lost:


Ver. 169, i.e. roasts a crab, or apple.- Ver. 171, to tell, whilst round the bole doth trot. Ed. 1597.

« PreviousContinue »