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: The Music Lesson
By William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645)
 
Book I. Song 5.

AS when a maid taught from her mother wing,
To tune her voice unto a silver string,
When she should run, she rests; rests when should run,
And ends her lesson having now begun:
Now misseth she her stop, then in her song,        5
And doing of her best she still is wrong,
Begins again, and yet again strikes false,
Then in a chafe forsakes her virginals,
And yet within an hour she tries anew,
That with her daily pains, Art’s chiefest due,        10
She gains that charming skill: and can no less
Tame the fierce walkers of the wilderness,
Than that Œagrian harpist, for whose lay,
Tigers with hunger pined and left their prey.
So Riot, when he gan to climb the hill,        15
Here maketh haste and there long standeth still,
Now getteth up a step, then falls again,
Yet not despairing all his nerves doth strain
To clamber up anew, then slide his feet,
And down he comes: but gives not over yet,        20
For, with the maid, he hopes a time will be
When merit shall be linked with industry.
 
 
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