Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
Song: ‘My days have been so wondrous free’
By Thomas Parnell (1679–1718)
 
MY days have been so wondrous free,
  The little birds that fly
With careless ease from tree to tree,
  Were but as bless’d as I.
 
Ask gliding waters, if a tear        5
  Of mine increas’d their stream?
Or ask the flying gales, if e’er
  I lent one sigh to them?
 
But now my former days retire
  And I’m by beauty caught,        10
The tender chains of sweet desire
  Are fix’d upon my thought.
 
Ye nightingales, ye twisting pines!
  Ye swains that haunt the grove!
Ye gentle echoes, breezy winds!        15
  Ye close retreats of love!
 
With all of nature, all of art,
  Assist the dear design;
O teach a young, unpractis’d heart,
  To make my Nancy mine.        20
 
The very thought of change I hate,
  As much as of despair;
Nor ever covet to be great,
  Unless it be for her.
 
’Tis true, the passion in my mind        25
  Is mix’d with soft distress;
Yet while the fair I love is kind,
  I cannot wish it less.
 
 
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