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
 
From Davison’s Poetical Rapsody: A Fiction: How Cupid Made a Nymph Wound Herself with His Arrows (Anonymous, but attributed to A. W.)
Elizabethan Miscellanies
 
[1602.]

IT chanc’d of late a shepherd’s swain,
That went to seek a strayed sheep,
Within a thicket on the plain,
Espied a dainty Nymph asleep.
 
Her golden hair o’erspread her face,        5
Her careless arms abroad were cast,
Her quiver had her pillow’s place,
Her breast lay bare to every blast.
 
The shepherd stood and gaz’d his fill;
Nought durst he do, nought durst he say,        10
When chance, or else perhaps his will,
Did guide the God of Love that way.
 
The crafty boy that sees her sleep,
Whom if she wak’d, he durst not see,
Behind her closely seeks to creep,        15
Before her nap should ended be.
 
There come, he steals her shafts away,
And puts his own into their place;
Nor dares he any longer stay,
But ere she wakes, hies thence apace.        20
 
Scarce was he gone when she awakes,
And spies the shepherd standing by;
Her bended bow in haste she takes,
And at the simple swain let fly.
 
Forth flew the shaft and pierc’d his heart,        25
That to the ground he fell with pain;
Yet up again forthwith he start,
And to the Nymph he ran amain.
 
Amaz’d to see so strange a sight,
She shot, and shot, but all in vain;        30
The more his wounds, the more his might;
Love yieldeth strength in midst of pain.
 
Her angry eyes are great with tears,
She blames her hands, she blames her skill;
The bluntness of her shafts she fears,        35
And try them on herself she will.
 
Take heed, sweet Nymph, try not thy shaft,
Each little touch will prick the heart;
Alas! thou knowest not Cupid’s craft,
Revenge is joy, the end is smart.        40
 
Yet try she will, and prick some bare,
Her hands were glov’d, and next to hand
Was that fair breast, that breast so rare,
That made the shepherd senseless stand.
 
That breast she prick’d, and through that breast        45
Love finds an entry to her heart;
At feeling of this new-come guest,
Lord, how the gentle Nymph doth start!
 
She runs not now, she shoots no more;
Away she throws both shafts and bow;        50
She seeks for that she shunn’d before,
She thinks the shepherd’s haste too slow.
 
Though mountains meet not, lovers may;
So others do, and so do they:
The God of Love sits on a tree,        55
And laughs that pleasant sight to see.
 
 
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