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Nor he, nor any noble-man
Admitted to her vewe.
One while in melancholy fits
He pines himselfe awaye;
To win her if he maye:
And still against the kings restraint
Did secretly invay.
Whom none may disobay,
Accesse so had to see and speak,
He did his love bewray,
She husbandles would stay.
Meane while the king did beate his braines,
His booty to atchieve,
So he by her might thrive;
Some pessant should her wive.
And (which was working to his wish)
He did observe with joye
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,
Should lett, perhaps, his will.
Assured therefore of his love,
But not suspecting who
In his behalf did woe.
The lady resolute from love,
Unkindly takes that he
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
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.
A brace of years he lived thus,
Well pleased so to live,
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,
Was all the shepherds keepe.
He borrowed on the working daies
His holy russets oft,
His startops blacke and soft.
And least his tarbox should offend,
He left it at the folde:
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 thus the shepheard wooes.
'I have, sweet wench, a peece of cheese,
As good as tooth may chawe,
(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
To all that keepe this plaine.
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,
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:
Then fitteth unto love:
The merchant, traffiquing abroad,
Suspects his wife at home:
An old man prove a mome.
Then chuse a shepheard: with the sun
He doth his flocke unfold,
He merrie chat can hold;
And with the sun doth folde againe;
Then jogging home betime,
Or sings some merry ryme.
Nor lacks he gleefull tales, whilst round
The nut-brown bowl doth trot;
Till he to bed be got:
Theare sleepes he soundly all the night,
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.