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.
 
A Pastoral of Phyllis and Corydon
By Nicholas Breton (1545–1626)
 
ON 1 a hill there grows a flower,
  Fair befall the dainty sweet!
By that flower there is a bower,
  Where the heavenly Muses meet.
 
In that bower there is a chair,        5
  Fringèd all about with gold;
Where doth sit the fairest fair,
  That did ever eye behold.
 
It is Phyllis fair and bright,
  She that is the shepherds’ joy;        10
She that Venus did despite,
  And did blind her little boy.
 
This is she, the wise, the rich,
  And the world desires to see;
This is ipsa quae the which        15
  There is none but only she.
 
Who would not this face admire?
  Who would not this saint adore?
Who would not this sight desire,
  Though he thought to see no more?        20
 
O, fair eyes! yet let me see,
  One good look, and I am gone;
Look on me, for I am he,
  Thy poor silly Corydon.
 
Thou that art the shepherd’s queen,        25
  Look upon thy silly swain;
By thy comfort have been seen
  Dead men brought to life again.
 
Note 1. This poem of Breton’s was first printed in England’s Helicon, 1600. The original is with the Cosens MS., which varies slightly in the spelling and contains one additional closing stanza, “which certainly rounds the poem well.” (Grosart.) It reads:
  Make him live that dying long
  Never durst for comfort seek;
Thou shalt hear so sweet a song
  Never shepherd sang the like.
“A stronger and finer piece of work than any known to be his,” is Mr. Palgrave’s opinion of this poem, and Prof. Schelling’s statement that “the charming particularity of these two stanzas (first and second) as to trifles might teach the lesser pre-Raphaelites somewhat,” is an interesting comment. [back]
 
 
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