Percy's Reliques - The Stedfast Shepherd.

The Stedfast Shepherd.

            These beautiful stanzas were written by George Wither, of whom some account was given in a previous part of this volume: see the song intitled The Shepherd's Resolution, book v. song xxi. In the first edition of this work only a small fragment of this sonnet was inserted. It was afterwards rendered more complete and entire by the addition of five stanzas more, extracted from Wither's pastoral poem, intitled The Mistress of Philarete, of which this song makes a part. It is now given still more correct and perfect by comparing it with another copy, printed by the author in his improved edition of The Shepherd's Hunting, 1620, 8vo.

HENCE away, thou Syren, leave me!
Pish! unclaspe these wanton armes;
Sugred words can ne'er deceive me,
(Though thou prove a thousand charmes).
Fie, fie, forbeare;
No common snare
Can ever my affection chaine:
Thy painted baits,
And poor deceits,
Are all bestowed on me in vaine.

I'me no slave to such as you be;
Neither shall that snowy brest,
Rowling eye, and lip of ruby
Ever robb me of my rest:
Goe, goe, display
Thy beautie's ray
To some more-soone enamour'd swaine:
Those common wiles
Of sighs and smiles
Are all bestowed on me in vaine.

I have elsewhere vowed a dutie;
Turne away thy tempting eye:
Shew not me a painted beautie;
These impostures I defie:
My spirit lothes
Where gaudy clothes
And fained othes may love obtaine:
I love her so,
Whose looke sweares No;
That all your labours will be vaine.

Can he prize the tainted posies,
Which on every brest are worne;
That may plucke the virgin roses
From their never-touched thorne?
I can goe rest
On her sweet brest,
That is the pride of Cynthia's traine:
Then stay thy tongue;
Thy mermaid song
Is all bestowed on me in vaine.

Hee's a foole, that basely dallies,
Where each peasant mates with him:
Shall I haunt the thronged vallies,
Whilst ther's noble hils to climbe?
No, no, though clownes
Are scar'd with frownes,
I know the best can but disdaine:
And those Ile prove
So will thy love
Be all bestowed on me in vaine.

I do scorne to vow a dutie,
Where each lustfull lad may wooe;
Give me her, whose sun-like beautie
Buzzards dare not soare unto
Shee, shee it is
Affoords that blisse
For which I would refuse no paine.
But such as you,
Fond fooles, adieu;
You seeke to captive me in vaine.

Leave me then, you Syrens, leave me!
Seeke no more to worke my harmes:
Craftie wiles cannot deceive me,
Who am proofe against your charmes:
You labour may
To lead astray
The heart, that constant shall remaine:
And I the while
Will sit and smile
To see you spend your time in vaine.

 

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