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And suddenly unties the poke,
Which out of it sent such a smoke,
As ready was them all to choke,

So grievous was the pother:
So that the knights each other lost,
And stood as still as any post,
Tom Thumb nor Tomalin could boast
Themselves of any other.

But when the mist 'gan somewhat cease,
Proserpina commandeth peace,
And that a while they should release
Each other of their peril :
"Which here, (quoth she) I do proclaim
To all, in dreadful Pluto's name,
That as ye will eschew his blame,
You let me hear the quarrel.

"But here yourselves you must engage, Somewhat to cool your spleenish rage, Your grievous thirst and to assuage

That first you drink this liquor; Which shall your understandings clear, As plainly shall to you appear, Those things from me that you shall hear, Conceiving much the quicker."

This Lethe water, you must know,

The memory destroyeth so,
That of our weal, or of our woe,
It all remembrance blotted,

Of it nor can you ever think:
For they no sooner took this drink,
But nought into their brains could sink,
Of what had them besotted.

King Oberon forgotten had,
That he for jealousy ran mad ;
But of his queen was wondrous glad,

And ask'd how they came thither.
Pigwiggen likewise doth forget,
That he Queen Mab had ever met,
Or that they were so hard beset,

When they were found together.

Nor either of 'em both had thought,
That e'er they had each other sought,
Much less that they a combat fought,
But such a dream were loathing.
Tom Thumb had got a little sup,
And Tomalin scarce kiss'd the cup,
Yet had their brains so sure lockt up,
That they remember'd nothing.

Queen Mab and her light maids the while
Amongst themselves do closely smile,
To see the king caught with this wile,
With one another jesting:
And to the Fairy court they went,
With mickle joy and merriment,
Which thing was done with good intent;
And thus I left them feasting.


WHAT time the groves were clad in green,
The fields drest all in flowers,
And that the sleek-hair'd nymphs were seen
To seek them summer bowers.

Long wand'ring in the wood, said I, "O whither's Cynthia gone?" When soon the echo doth reply

To my last word,——" go on."

At length upon a lofty fir

It was my chance to find,

Where that dear name most due to her,

Was carved upon the rind.

Which whilst with wonder I beheld,
The bees their honey brought,
And up the carved letters fill'd,

As they with gold were wrought.

And near that tree's more spacious root,
Then looking on the ground,
The shape of her most dainty foot
Imprinted there I found.

The yielding sand, where she had trod,
Untoucht yet with the wind,

By the fair posture plainly show'd,
Where I might Cynthia find.

When chance me to an arbour led,
Whereas I might behold;
Two blest elysiums in one sted,
The less the great infold.

The wealthy Spring yet never bore

That sweet, nor dainty flower, That damask'd not the chequer'd floor Of Cynthia's summer bower.

The birch, the myrtle, and the bay,

Like friends did all embrace;
And their large branches did display,
To canopy the place.

Where she like Venus doth appear
Upon a rosy bed;

As lilies the soft pillows were,

Whereon she laid her head.

The winds were hush'd, no leaf so small At all was seen to stir :

Whilst tuning to the waters fall,

The small birds sang to her.

"Into these secret shades (quoth she) How darest thou be so bold To enter, consecrate to me,

Or touch this hallow'd mould ?"

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"And when the moon doth once appear,
We'll trace the lower grounds,
When fairies in their ringlets there
Do dance their nightly rounds.

"And have a flock of turtle-doves,
A guard on us to keep,
As witness of our honest loves
To watch us till we sleep."

Which spoke, I felt such holy fires
To overspread my breast,
As lent life to my chaste desires,
And gave me endless rest.

By Cynthia thus do I subsist,

On earth heaven's only pride; Let her be mine, and let who list Take all the world beside.

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Gilds every lofty top, which late the humorous night Bespangled had with pearl, to please the morning's sight:

On which the mirthful quires, with their clear open throats,

Unto the joyful morn so strain their warbling notes, That hills and valleys ring, and even the echoing air Seems all composed of sounds, about them everywhere.

The throstel, with shrill sharps; as purposely he sung T'awake the lustless sun; or chiding, that so long He was in coming forth, that should the thickets thrill;

The woosel near at hand, that hath a golden bill; As nature him had markt of purpose, t' let us see That from all other birds his tunes should different


For, with their vocal sounds, they sing to pleasant May;

Upon his dulcet pipe the merle doth only play. When in the lower brake, the nightingale hard by, In such lamenting strains the joyful hours doth ply, As though the other birds she to her tunes would draw

And, but that nature (by her all-constraining law) Each bird to her own kind this season doth invite, They else, alone to hear that charmer of the night, (The more to use their ears) their voices sure would spare,

That moduleth her tunes so admirably rare, As man to set in parts at first had learn'd of her. To Philomel the next, the linnet we prefer; And by that warbling bird, the wood-lark place we then, [wren.

The red-sparrow, the nope, the red-breast, and the The yellow-pate; which though she hurt the blooming tree,

Yet scarce hath any bird a finer pipe than she. And of these chaunting fowls, the goldfinch not behind,

That hath so many sorts descending from her kind. The tydy for her notes as delicate as they,

The laughing hecco, then the counterfeiting jay, The softer with the shrill (some hid among the leaves, Some in the taller trees, some in the lower greaves)

Thus sing away the morn, until the mounting sun Through thick exhaled fogs his golden head hath run,

And through the twisted tops of our close covert


To kiss the gentle shade, this while that sweetly sleeps.

And near to these our thicks, the wild and frightful herds,

Not hearing other noise but this of chattering birds, Feed fairly on the lawns; both sorts of season'd deer: Here walk the stately red, the freckled fallow there: The bucks and lusty stags amongst the rascals strew'd,

As sometime gallant spirits amongst the multitude. Of all the beasts which we for our venerial name, of which most princely chase sith none did e'er The hart among the rest, the hunter's noblest game:


Or by description touch, t' express that wondrous sport

(Yet might have well beseem'd th' ancients nobler songs)

To our old Arden here, most fitly it belongs :
Yet shall she not invoke the muses to her aid;
But thee, Diana bright, a goddess and a maid:
In many a huge-grown wood, and many a shady

Which oft hast borne thy bow (great huntress, used to rove)

At many a cruel beast, and with thy darts to pierce The lion, panther, ounce, the bear, and tiger fierce; And following thy fleet game, chaste mighty forest's

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That sprinkling their moist pearl do seem for him

to weep;

When after goes the cry, with yellings loud and deep,

That all the forest rings, and every neighbouring


And there is not a hound but falleth to the chase. Rechating with his horn, which then the hunter cheers,

Whilst still the lusty stag his high-palm'd head upbears,

His body showing state, with unbent knees upright, Expressing from all beasts, his courage in his flight.

But when th' approaching foes still following he perceives,

That he his speed must trust, his usual walk he leaves :

And o'er the champain flies: which when th' assembly find,

Each follows, as his horse were footed with the wind.

But being then imbost, the noble stately deer When he hath gotten ground (the kennel cast arrear)

Doth beat the brooks and ponds for sweet refreshing


That serving not, then proves if he his scent can foil, And makes amongst the herds, and flocks of slagwool'd sheep,

Them frighting from the guard of those who had

their keep.

But when as all his shifts his safety still denies, Put quite out of his walk, the ways and fallows tries.

Whom when the ploughman meets, his team he letteth stand

T'assail him with his goad: so with his hook in hand, The shepherd him pursues, and to his dog doth hallo :

When, with tempestuous speed, the hounds and huntsmen follow;

Until the noble deer through toil bereaved of strength,

His long and sinewy legs then failing him at length,
The villages attempts, enraged, not giving way
To anything he meets now at his sad decay.
The cruel ravenous hounds and bloody hunters


This noblest beast of chase, that vainly doth but fear,

Some bank or quickset finds: to which his haunch opposed,

He turns upon his foes, that soon have him inclosed. The churlish-throated hounds then holding him at bay,

And as their cruel fangs on his harsh skin they lay, With his sharp-pointed head he dealeth deadly wounds.

The hunter, coming in to help his wearied hounds, He desperately assails; until opprest by force, He who the mourner is to his own dying corse, Upon the ruthless earth his precious tears lets fall.


I PRAY thee, love, love me no more, Call home the heart you gave me ;

I but in vain that saint adore,

That can, but will not save me : These poor half kisses kill me quite; Was ever man thus served ? Amidst an ocean of delight,

For pleasure to be starved.

Show me no more those snowy breasts,
With azure rivers branched,
Where whilst mine eye with plenty feasts,
Yet is my thirst not staunched.
O Tantalus, thy pains ne'er tell!

By me thou art prevented;
'Tis nothing to be plagued in hell,

But thus in heaven tormented.

Clip me no more in those dear arms,
Nor thy life's comfort call me ;
O, these are but too powerful charms,
And do but more enthral me.
But see how patient I am grown,

In all this coil about thee;
Come, nice thing, let thy heart alone,
I cannot live without thee.


FAR in the country of Arden,
There won'd a knight, hight Cassamen,
As bold as Isenbras:
Fell was he and eager bent,
In battle and in tournament,

As was the good Sir Topas.
He had, as antique stories tell,
A daughter cleped Dowsabel,

A maiden fair and free.
And for she was her father's heir,
Full well she was ycond the leir

Of mickle courtesy.

The silk well couth she twist and twine,
And make the fine march-pine,

And with the needle work :
And she couth help the priest to say
His mattins on a holy-day,

And sing a psalm in kirk.
She wore a frock of frolic green,
Might well become a maiden queen,
Which seemly was to see;
A hood to that so neat and fine,
In colour like the columbine,

Iwrought full featously.
Her features all as fresh above,
As is the grass that grows by Dove,
And lythe as lass of Kent.

Her skin as soft as Lemster wool, As white as snow, on Peakish Hull, Or swan that swims in Trent. This maiden in a morn betime,

Went forth when May was in the prime,
To get sweet setywall,
The honey-suckle, the harlock,
The lily, and the lady-smock,

To deck her summer hall.

Thus as she wander'd here and there,
And picked off the bloomy brier,
She chanced to espy
A shepherd sitting on a bank,
Like chanticleer he crowned crank,
And piped full merrily.

He learn'd his sheep, as he him list,
When he would whistle in his fist,
To feed about him round.
Whilst he full many a carol sang,
Until the fields and meadows rang,
And all the woods did sound.

In favour this same shepherd swain
Was like the bedlam Tamerlane,

Which held proud kings in awe :
But meek as any lamb might be ;
And innocent of ill as he

Whom his lewd brother slaw.

The shepherd wore a sheep-gray cloak,
Which was of the finest lock,

That could be cut with sheer.
His mittens were of bauzons' skin,
His cockers were of cordiwin,

His hood of miniveer.
His awl and lingel in a thong,
His tar-box on his broad belt hung,
His breech of Cointree blue.
Full crisp and curled were his locks,
His brows as white as Albion rocks,
So like a lover true.

And piping still he spent the day,

So merry as the popinjay,

Which liked Dowsabel;

That would she ought, or would she nought, This lad would never from her thought,

She in love-longing fell.

At length she tucked up her frock,

White as a lily was her smock,

She drew the shepherd nigh:
But then the shepherd piped a good,
That all his sheep forsook their food,
To hear this melody.

Thy sheep, quoth she, cannot be lean,
That have a jolly shepherd swain,

The which can pipe so well:
Yea but (saith he) their shepherd may,
If piping thus he pine away,
In love of Dowsabel.

Of love, fond boy, take thou no keep,
Quoth she, look well unto thy sheep,

Lest they should hap to stray.
Quoth he, so had I done full well,
Had I not seen fair Dowsabel
Come forth to gather May.
With that she gan to veil her head,
Her cheeks were like the roses red,
But not a word she said.
With that the shepherd 'gan to frown,
He threw his pretty pipes adown,
And on the ground him laid.
Saith she, I may not stay till night,
And leave my summer hall undight,

And all for love of thee.

My cote, saith he, nor yet my fold,
Shall neither sheep nor shepherd hold,
Except thou favour me.

Saith she, yet lever I were dead,
Than I should lose my maidenhead,
And all for love of men.
Saith he, yet are you too unkind,
If in your heart you cannot find
To love us now and then.
And I to thee will be as kind,
As Colin was to Rosalind,

Of courtesy the flower.

Then will I be as true, quoth she,

As ever maiden yet might be

Unto her paramour.

With that she bent her snow-white knee, Down by the shepherd kneeled she,

And him she sweetly kist.

With that the shepherd whoop'd for joy; Quoth he, there's never shepherd's boy That ever was so blest.



IN pride of wit, when high desire of fame
Gave life and courage to my labouring pen,
And first the sound and virtue of my name
Won grace and credit in the ears of men ;
With those the thronged theatres that press,
I in the circuit for the laurel strove,
Where, the full praise, I freely must confess,
In heat of blood, a modest mind might move.
With shouts and claps, at every little pause,
When the proud round on every side hath rung,
Sadly I sit unmoved with the applause,
As though to me it nothing did belong :
No public glory vainly I pursue;
The praise I strive, is to eternize you.

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