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 Message
By Thomas Heywood (c. 1570–1641)
 
YE 1 little birds that sit and sing
  Amidst the shady valleys,
And see how Phyllis sweetly walks
  Within her garden-alleys;
Go pretty birds, about her bower;        5
Sing pretty birds, she may not lower;
Ah, me! methinks I see her frown!
    Ye pretty wantons warble.
 
Go tell her through your chirping bills,
  As you by me are bidden,        10
To her is only known my love
  Which from the world is hidden.
Go pretty birds and tell her so,
See that your notes strain not too low,
For still, methinks, I see her frown;        15
    Ye pretty wantons warble.
 
Go tune your voices’ harmony
  And sing, I am her lover;
Strain loud and sweet, that every note
  With sweet content may move her:        20
And she that hath the sweetest voice,
Tell her I will not change my choice;
Yet still, methinks, I see her frown!
    Ye pretty wantons warble.
 
O fly! make haste! see, see, she falls        25
  Into a pretty slumber!
Sing round about her rosy bed
  That waking she may wonder:
Say to her, ’tis her lover true
That sendeth love to you, to you;        30
And when you hear her kind reply,
    Return with pleasant warblings.
 
Note 1. From The Fair Maid of the Exchange, 1607. The authorship of this play is unknown. In Mr. Quiller-Couch’s Golden Pomp he attributes it to Heywood, without question, though the consensus of critical opinion is against the claim. Mr. Fleay has alternately claimed it for Lewis Machin and Jervais Markham. (Biographical Chronicle of The English Drama, II., 219, 329.) [back]
 
 
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