Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
The Shepherd’s Holyday
By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
 
1 Nymph.  THUS, 1 thus begin the yearly rites
  Are due to Pan on these bright nights;
  His morn now riseth and invites
  To sports, to dances, and delights:
      All envious and profane, away,        5
      This is the shepherd’s holyday.
 
2 Nymph.  Strew, strew the glad and smiling ground
  With every flower, yet not confound;
  The primrose drop, the spring’s own spouse,
  Bright day’s-eyes and the lips of cows;        10
      The garden-star, the queen of May,
      The rose, to crown the holyday.
 
3 Nymph.  Drop, drop, you violets; change your hues,
  Now red, now pale, as lovers use;
  And in your death go out as well        15
  As when you lived unto the smell:
      That from your odour all may say,
      This is the shepherd’s holyday.
 
Note 1. Thus, thus begin the yearly rites.  This is the opening hymn in the Masque, Pan’s Anniversary: or, The Shepherd’s Holyday. The date and place of performance are uncertain. Mr. Fleay suggests it was written for King James’ birthday, June 19. In the Folio of 1640 the month is not dated, but the year assigned is 1625; on March 27 of which year James died. In 1623 he kept his birthday at Greenwich or at Wansted; in 1624, at Wansted. [back]
 
 
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