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.
 
Fair and Fair
By George Peele (1556–1596)
 
Œnone.  FAIR 1 and fair, and twice so fair,
    As fair as any may be;
  The fairest shepherd on our green,
    A love for any lady.
Paris.  Fair and fair, and twice so fair,        5
    As fair as any may be;
  Thy love is fair, for thee alone
    And for no other lady.
Œnone.  My love is fair, my love is gay,
  As fresh as bin the flowers in May,        10
  And of my love my roundelay,
  My merry, merry, merry roundelay,
    Concludes with Cupid’s curse,—
  “They that do change old love for new,
    Pray gods they change for worse!”        15
Ambo simul.  They that do change old love for new
  Pray gods they change for worse!
 
Œnone.  Fair and fair, and twice so fair,
    As fair as any may be;
  The fairest shepherd on our green,        20
    A love for any lady.
Paris.  Fair and fair, and twice so fair,
    As fair as any may be;
  Thy love is fair for thee alone
    And for no other lady.        25
Œnone.  My love can pipe, my love can sing,
  My love can many a pretty thing,
  And of his lovely praises ring
  My merry, merry, merry roundelays.
    Amen to Cupid’s curse,—        30
  “They that do change old love for new
    Pray gods they change for worse!”
Ambo simul.  They that do change old love for new
    Pray gods they change for worse.
 
Note 1. From The Arraignment of Paris, 1584, act i. sc. 2. I think the context in which this ditty is set so full of beauty, I quote it:
    Paris.  Nay, what thou wilt: but sith my cunning wit compares with thine.
Begin some toy that I can play upon this pipe of mine.
  Œnone.  There is a pretty sonnet, then, we call it Cupid’s Curse,
“They that do change old love for new, pray gods they change for worse.”
The note is fine and quick withal, the ditty will agree,
Paris, with that same vow of thine upon our poplar-tree.
  Par.  No better thing; begin it then: Œnone, thou shalt see
Our music figure of the love that grows ’twixt thee and me.
  They sing; and while Œnone singeth, he pipeth.—Fair and fair, etc.
This old and passionate ditty—the very flower of an old forgotten pastoral—which, had it been in all parts equal, the Faithful Shepherdess of Fletcher had been but a second name, in this sort of writing.—(Charles Lamb.) [back]
 
 
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