A Roundelay between Two Shepherds

By Michael Drayton 1563–1631 Michael Drayton
1 Shep.         Tell me, thou gentle shepherd swain,
                     Who’s yonder in the vale is set?
2 Shep.         Oh, it is she, whose sweets do stain
                     The lily, rose, the violet!

1 Shep.         Why doth the sun against his kind,
                     Fix his bright chariot in the skies?
2 Shep.         Because the sun is stricken blind
                     With looking on her heavenly eyes.

1 Shep.         Why do thy flocks forbear their food,
                     Which sometime were thy chief delight?
2 Shep.         Because they need no other good
                     That live in presence of her sight.

1 Shep.         Why look these flowers so pale and ill,
                     That once attired this goodly heath?
2 Shep.         She hath robb’d Nature of her skill,
                     And sweetens all things with her breath.

1 Shep.         Why slide these brooks so slow away,
                     Whose bubbling murmur pleased thine ear?
2 Shep.         Oh, marvel not although they stay,
                     When they her heavenly voice do hear!

1 Shep.         From whence come all these shepherd swains,
                     And lovely nymphs attired in green?
2 Shep.         From gathering garlands on the plains,
                     To crown our fair the shepherds’ queen.

Both.            The sun that lights this world below,
                     Flocks, flowers, and brooks will witness bear:
                     These nymphs and shepherds all do know,
                     That it is she is only fair.

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Poet Michael Drayton 1563–1631


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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