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A belt, of straw and ivy-buds,
With coral clasps, and amber studs.
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the Gods do eat,
Shall, on an ivory table, be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing,
For thy delight, each May morning.
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.1

Ven. Trust me, master! it is a choice song, and sweetly sung by honest Maudlin. I now see it was not without cause, that our good Queen Elizabeth did so often wish herself a milk-maid all the month of May; because they are not troubled with fears and cares, but sing sweetly all the day, and sleep securely all the night,-and without doubt, honest, innocent, pretty Maudlin does so. I'll bestow Sir Thomas Overbury's milk-maid's wish upon her, "That she may die in the spring; and, being dead, may have good store of flowers stuck round about her winding-sheet.'



If all the world and love were young;
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move;
To live with thee and be thy love.

1 Dr. Warburton, in his notes on "The Merry Wives of Windsor," ascribes this song to Shakspeare; it is true Sir Hugh Evans, in the third act of that play, sings four lines of it; and it occurs in a collection of poems said to be Shakspeare's, printed by Thomas Cotes for John Benson, 12mo. 1640, with some variations. On the contrary, it is to be found, with the name of Christopher Marlow to it, in "England's Helicon ;" and Walton has just said (p. 115) it was made by Kit. Marlow. The reader will judge of these evidences as he pleases. [Dr. Johnson and Percy ascribe it to Marlow; Sir Harris Nicolas, on the contrary, thinks it Shakspeare's.] As to the song itself, though a beautiful one, it is not so purely pastoral as it is generally thought to be; buckles of gold, coral clasps and amber studs, silver dishes and ivory tables, are luxuries, and consist not with the parsimony and simplicity of rural life and manners.---H.

This is the concluding paragraph of Sir Thomas Overbury's exquisite

But Time drives flocks from field to fold;
When rivers rage, and rocks grow cold,
Then Philomel becometh dumb;
And age complains of care to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
The wayward winter, reckoning, yields.
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten;
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

The belt of straw, and ivy buds,
The coral clasps, and amber studs,—
All these in me no means can move,
To come to thee, and be thy love.

What should we talk of dainties, then,
Of better meat than's fit for men?
These are but vain; that's only good
Which God hath blest, and sent for food.

But could youth last; and, love still breed;
Had joys no date; nor, age no need;
Then those delights my mind might move,
To live with thee, and be thy love.

Mother. Well! I have done my song. But stay, honest angler! for I will make Maudlin to sing you one short song more. Maudlin sing that song that you sung last night, when young Coridon the shepherd played so purely on his oaten pipe, to you and your cousin Betty. Maud. I will, mother!

I married a wife of late,
The more's my unhappy fate :
I married her for love,

As my fancy did me move,
And not for a worldly estate.

description of "a faire and happy milke maid," given in his "Wife" (Character, 51). Lond. 1638. It is cited at full length by Major. -ED.


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Pisc. Well sung. Good woman! I thank you. I'll give you another dish of fish one of these days; and then beg another song of you. Come, scholar! let Maudlin alone: do not you offer to spoil her voice. Look! yonder comes mine hostess to call us to supper. How now! is my brother Peter come?

Hostess. Yes, and a friend with him. They are both glad to hear that you are in these parts; and long to see you; and long to be at supper, for they be very hungry.

It seems pretty clear that Venator, after the second song--charmed with the maidenly innocence, and probably beauty, of the young womanfor we are told that she is handsome-offers to kiss her; and that Piscator, an elder and more discreet man, checks him, lest he should offend her by too great familiarity. Such is the decorum observable in this elegant work.-H.

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