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John Fletcher

(20 December 1579 - 29 August 1625 / Rye, Sussex, England)

The Faithful Shepherdess (Monologue)


Through yon same bending plain,
That flings his arms down to the main,
And through these thick woods have I run,
Whose bottom never kissed the sun
Since the lusty spring began;
All to please my master Pan,
Have I trotted without rest
To get him fruit, for at a feast
He entertains this coming night
His paramour, the Syrinx bright.-
But behold, a fairer sight!
By that heavenly form of thine,
Brightest fair, thou art divine,
Sprung from great immortal race
Of the gods; for in they face
Shines more awful majesty
Than dull weak mortality
Dare with misty eyes behold,
And live. Therefore on this mold
Lowly to I bend my knee
In worship of thy deity.
Deign it, goddess, from my hand
To receive whate'er this land
From her fertile womb doth send
Of her choice fruits, and but lend belief to that the satyr tells:
Fairer by the famous wells
To this present day ne'er grew,
Never better nor more true.
Here be grapes, whose lusty blood
Is the learned poets' good,
Sweeter yet did never crown
The head of Bacchus; nuts more brown
Than the squirrel's teeth that crack them.
Deign, O fairest fair, to take them!
For these black-eyed Dryope
Hath oftentimes commanded me
With my claspéd knee to climb-
See how well the lusty time
Hath decked their rising cheeks in red,
Such as on your lips is spread!
Here be berries for a queen-
Some be red, some be green;
These are of that luscious meat
The great god Pan himself doth eat;
All these, and what the woods can yield,
The hanging mountain, or the field,
I freely offer, and ere long
Will bring you more, more sweet and strong,
Till when, humbly leave I take,
Lest the great Pan do awake,
That sleeping lies in a deep glade
Under a broad beech's shade.
I must go, I must run
Swifter than the fiery sun.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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