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Poem by Thomas Heywood

Shepherd's Song

We that have known no greater state
Than this we live in, praise our fate;
For courtly silks in cares are spent,
When country's russet breeds content.
The power of sceptres we admire,
But sheep-hooks for our use desire.
Simple and low is our condition,
For here with us is no ambition;
We with the sun our flocks unfold,
Whose rising makes their fleeces gold;
Our music from the birds we borrow,
They bidding us, we them, good morrow.
Our habits are but coarse and plain,
Yet they defend from wind and rain;
As warm, too, in an equal eye,
As those bestain'd in scarlet dye.
The shepherd, with his homespun lass
As many merry hours doth pass,
As courtiers with their costly girls,
Though richly deck'd in gold and pearls
And, though but plain, to purpose woo,
Nay, often with less danger too.
Those that delight in dainties' store,
One stomach feed at once, no more;
And, when with homely fare we feast,
With us it doth as well digest:
And many times we better speed,
For our wild fruits no surfeits breed.
If we sometimes the willow wear,
By subtle swains that dare forswear,
We wonder whence it comes, and fear
They've been at court, and learnt it there.

Thomas Heywood

Thomas Heywood's other poems:
  1. Matin Song
  2. The Message
  3. A Rose and a Nettle
  4. Praise of Ceres
  5. Search after God

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