Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Extracts from Britannia’s Pastorals: Marina and the River-God
By William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645)
 
Book I. Song 1.

THE FALL of her did make the god below,
Starting, to wonder whence that noise should grow:
Whether some ruder clown in spite did fling
A lamb, untimely fall’n, into his spring:
And if it were, he solemnly then swore        5
His spring should flow some other way: no more
Should it in wanton manner e’er be seen
To writhe in knots, or give a gown of green
Unto their meadows, nor be seen to play,
Nor drive the rushy-mills, that in his way        10
The shepherds made: but rather for their lot
Send them red water that their sheep should rot.
And with such moorish springs embrace their field
That it should nought but moss and rushes yield.
Upon each hillock where the merry boy        15
Sits piping in the shades his notes of joy,
He ’d show his anger by some flood at hand
And turn the same into a running sand.
*        *        *        *        *
Thus spake the god: but when as in the water
The corpse came sinking down, he spied the matter,        20
And catching softly in his arms the maid
He brought her up, and having gently laid
Her on his bank, did presently command
Those waters in her to come forth: at hand
They straight came gushing out, and did contest        25
Which chiefly should obey their god’s behest.
This done, her then pale lips he straight did ope
And from his silver hair let fall a drop
Into her mouth, of such an excellence,
That called back life, which grieved to part from thence        30
Being for troth assur’d that than this one
She ne’er possess’d a fairer mansion.
Then did the god her body forwards steep,
And cast her for a while into a sleep;
Sitting still by her did his full view take        35
Of nature’s master-piece. Here for her sake
My pipe in silence as of right shall mourn,
Till from the watering we again return.
 
 
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