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A gown made of the finest wool,
A belt of straw and ivy buds
With coral clasps and amber studs!
And if these pleasures may thee move,
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing,
THE NYMPH'S REPLY TO THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD.-RALEIGH.
If all the world and love were young,
Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.
Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.
But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Sidney, Raleigh, and Marlow, had for their contemporaries Breton, Constable, Sylvester, and Barnfield, all of whom justly rank among the second rate miscellaneous poets of this period, though the number of their poems was generally limited.
NICHOLAS BRETON was born in 1555, but at what place we have not been able to ascertain. Indeed, of his entire history no particulars have been preserved farther than that he first acquired very considerable popularity as a writer of pastorals, and then published a volume of poems under the title
of The Works of a Young Wit. Breton died in 1624, in his seventieth year. The following stanzas from this author well deserve preservation :
Thou gallant court, to thee farewell!
Now longer near to thee to dwell.
And next, adieu you gallant dames,
The chief of noble youth's delight.
That I am banish'd from your sight.
Now next, my gallant youths, farewell;
My lads that oft have cheered my heart!
To think that I must from you part.
And now farewell thou gallant lute,
With instruments of music's sounds!
Recorder, citern, harp, and flute,
And heavenly descants on sweet grounds.
I now must leave you all, indeed,
And make some music on a reed!
And now, you stately stamping steeds,
My heavy heart for sorrow bleeds,
To think that I must part with you:
And on a strawen pannel sit,
And ride some country carting tit!
And now farewell both spear and shield,
Caliver, pistol, arquebuss,
See, see, what sighs my heart doth yield
And lay aside my rapier blade,
And you farewell, all gallant games,
Wherewith I us'd with courtly dames
And now farewell each dainty dish,
1568 A.D.] HENRY CONSTABLE-JOSHUA SYLVESTER. 155
I now, alas, must leave all these,
And make good cheer with bread and cheese!
And now, all orders due, farewell!
My table laid when it was noon;
My heavy heart it irks to tell
My dainty dinners are all done;
And farewell all gay garments now,
What shall I say, but bid adieu
To every dream of sweet delight,
Of HENRY CONSTABLE less even is known than of Breton. He was a very popular writer of sonnets, though his sentiments are usually strained and conceited. But in the midst of his affectations and conceits, many happy thoughts and much beautiful imagery may be found. The following sonnet from his Diana contains much epigrammatic power :
To live in hell, and heaven to behold,
To thirst for drink, and nectar still to draw,
To live accurs'd, whom men hold blest to be,
And weep those wrongs, which never creature saw;
If this be love, if love in these be founded,
JOSHUA SYLVESTER was born in 1563. He was bred to ordinary mercantile pursuits, but the delicacy of his wit eventually brought him into notice, and he was patronized both by Elizabeth and James. For some cause, not now known, he was obliged to leave England, and he soon after died in Holland, on the twenty-eighth of September, 1618. Sylvester was the author of the following impressive poem, long attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh
THE SOUL'S ERRAND.
Go, soul, the body's guest,
Go, tell the court it glows,
Tell potentates, they live
Acting by others' actions,
Not strong but by their factions.
Tell men of high condition
Tell them that brave the most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who in their greatest cost,
Seek nothing but commending.
Tell zeal it lacks devotion,
Tell age it daily wasteth,
Tell honour how it alters,
Tell wit how much it wrangles,
Tell physic of her boldness,
Tell skill it is pretension,
Tell fortune of the blindness,
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.
Tell arts they have no soundness,
Tell schools they want profoundness
If arts and schools reply,
Give arts and schools the lie.
Tell faith it's fled the city,
Tell how the country erreth,
So then thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done babbling:
Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing;
Yet stab at thee who will
RICHARD BARNFIELD was the author of a volume of
poems of very qual merit, published between 1594 and 1598. Among these poems, however, is found the following Address to the Nightingale, which is of so rare excellence, that it was, for a long time, ascribed to Shakspeare.