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upon the contemporary history of the period at which they were issued; or for their description of costume or of manners. Some of the best and more permanently pleasing of the ancient compositions of this class are here selected, together with a few of the modern songs which have become popular.

WOMEN ARE BEST WHEN THEY ARE AT REST.

Anonymous. Originally printed in 1559-60.

WOMEN are best when they are at rest;

But when is that, I pray?
By their good will they are never still,
By night and eke by day.

If the weather is bad, all day they gad,

They heed not wind or rain;
And all their gay gear they ruin or near:

For why—they not refrain.

Then must they chat of this and that;

Their tongues also must walk;
Wheresoever they go, they must alway do so,

And of their bad husbands talk.

When cometh the night, it is never right,

But ever somewhat wrong;
If husbands be weary, they are so merry,

They never cease their song.

Then can they chide while at their side

Their husbands strive to sleep;
Why, how
you

the floor :"
Such is the coil they keep.

snore! go

lie on

So women are best when they are at rest,

If you can catch them still;
Cross them, they chide, and are worse- I have tried-

If you grant them their will.

Give them their way, they still say nay,

And change their mind in a trice; Let them alone, or you will own

That mine was good advice.

THE CUCKOO'S SONG.

Anonymous. Originally printed in 1556.

FULL merrily sings the cuckoo

Upon the beechen-tree ;
Your wives you well should look to,

If you take advice of me.
Cuckoo! cuckoo! alack the morn,

When of married men

Full nine in ten
Must be content to wear the horn.

Full merrily sings the cuckoo

Upon the oaken-tree;
Your wives you well should look to,
If
you

take advice of me.
Cuckoo ! cuckoo ! alack the day,

For married men

But now and then
Can ’scape to bear the horn away.

Full merrily sings the cuckoo

Upon the ashen-tree;
Your wives you well should look to,

If you take advice of me.
Cuckoo ! cuckoo ! alack the noon

When married men

Must watch the hen,
Or some strange fox will steal her soon.

Full merrily sings the cuckoo

Upon the alder-tree;
Your wives you well should look to,

If you take advicu of me.

Cuckoo ! cuckoo ! alack the eve

When married men

Must bid good den
To such as horns to them do give.

Full merrily sings the cuckoo

Upon the aspen tree;
Your wives you well should look to,
If
you

take advice of me.
Cuckoo ! cuckoo ! alack the night

When married men

Again and again
Must hide their horns in their despite.

The reader will notice the resemblance between this song and the following by Shakspeare-"When daisies pied,” &c. Probably Shakspeare was indebted to the anonymous author for the idea.

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WHEN daisies pied, and violets blue,

And lady-smocks all silver white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue,

Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then on every tree
Mocks married men, for thus sings he:

Cuckoo !
Cuckoo ! cuckoo ! Oh, word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,

And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks ;
When turtles tread, and rooks and daws,

And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then on every tree
Mocks married men, for thus sings he :

Cuckoo !
Cuckoo! cuckoo! Oh, word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

THE CHARACTER OF A HAPPY LIFE.

Sir HENRY WOTTON.

How happy is he born and taught

That serveth not another's will,
Whose armour is his honest thought,

And simple truth his utmost skill!
Whose passions not his masters are,

Whose soul is still prepar'd for death,
Untied unto the world by care

Of public fame or private breath.
Who envies none that chance doth raise,

Nor vice hath ever understood;
How deepest wounds are given by praise,

Nor rules of state, but rules of good.
Who hath his life from rumours freed,

Whose conscience is his strong retreat ;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,

Nor ruin make oppressors great.
Who God doth late and early pray

More of his grace than gifts to lend,
And entertains the harmless day

With a religious book or friend.
This man is freed from servile hands,

Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands,

And having nothing, yet hath all.

THE CONTENTED MAN'S SONG. From HUGH COMPTON'S “Pierides; or the Muses' Mount." I HAVE no riches, neither know Where the mines of silver grow; The golden age I cannot find, Yet there is plenty in my mind. 'Tis wealth I crave, 'tis wealth that I require; Yet there's no wealth to fill

my

vain desire, Nor hopes thereof to still my craving lyre.

K

What shall I do in such a case ?
I am accounted mean and base :
Both friends and strangers frown on me,

'Cause I am gall’d with poverty.
Well, let them frown : yet I will not lament
Nor value them; though Fortune has not lent
To me her blessing, yet I am content.

DEATH'S FINAL CONQUEST.

JAMES SHIRLEY, born 1594, died 1666. Set for two voices by EDWARD COLEMAN.

See Ritson's "English Songs," vol iii.

THE glories of our birth and state

Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate:
Death lays his icy hands on kings.

Sceptre and crown

Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,

And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
But their strong nerves at last must yield-
They tame but one another still.

Early and late

They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath,
When they pale captives creep to death.

The garlands wither on your brow

Then boast no more your mighty deeds ;
Upon death's purple altar now,
See where the victor-victim bleeds :

All heads must come

To the cold tomb;
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.

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