Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Extracts from Poems in Divers Humors: An Ode: ‘As it fell upon a day’
By Richard Barnfield (1574–1627)
 
AS it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap, and birds did sing,        5
Trees did grow, and plants did spring;
Everything did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone:
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean’d her breast up-till a thorn,        10
And there sung the dolefull’st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity:
‘Fie, fie, fie,’ now would she cry;
‘Teru, teru!’ by and by;
That to hear her so complain,        15
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs, so lively shown,
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah, thought I, thou mourn’st in vain!
None takes pity on thy pain:        20
Senseless trees they cannot hear thee;
Ruthless beasts they will not cheer thee:
King Pandion he is dead;
All thy friends are lapp’d in lead;
All thy fellow birds do sing,        25
Careless of thy sorrowing.
[Even so, poor bird, like thee,
None alive will pity me.]
Whilst as fickle Fortune smiled,
Thou and I were both beguiled.        30
  Every one that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery.
Words are easy, like the wind;
Faithful friends are hard to find:
Every man will be thy friend        35
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend;
But if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call,        40
And with such-like flattering,
‘Pity but he were a king;’
If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice;
If to women he be bent,        45
They have at commandement:
But if Fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown;
They that fawn’d on him before
Use his company no more.        50
He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need:
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep;
Thus of every grief in heart        55
He with thee doth bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flattering foe.
 
 
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