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

 Michael  Drayton


In late-seventeenth-century estimates of literary stature, Michael Drayton ranks only slightly below Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, and Ben Jonson. Until the middle of the twentieth century, Drayton's position as an important minor poet seemed secure, but his lengthy historical poems did not lend themselves to the techniques of close reading popularized during the vogue of New Criticism in the 1940s and after. An . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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