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
 
Extract from The Cotswold Eclogue
By Thomas Randolph (1605–1635)
 
  Colin.  EARLY in May up got the jolly rout,
Call’d by the lark, and spread the fields about:
One, for to breathe himself, would coursing be
From this same beech to yonder mulberry,
A second leap’d his supple nerves to try;        5
A third was practising his melody;
This a new jig was footing, others were
Busied at wrestling, or to throw the bar,
Ambitious which should bear the bell away,
And kiss the nut-brown lady of the May.        10
This stirr’d ’em up; a jolly swain was he,
Whom Peg and Susan after victory
Crown’d with a garland they had made, beset
With daisies, pinks, and many a violet,
Cowslip, and gilliflower. Rewards, though small,        15
Encourage virtue, but if none at all
Meet her, she languisheth, and dies, as now
Where worth ’s deni’d the honour of a bough.
And, Thenot, this the cause I read to be
Of such a dull and general lethargy.        20
  Thenot.  Ill thrive the lout that did their mirth gainsay!
Wolves haunt his flocks that took those sports away!
  Colin.  Some melancholy swains about have gone
To teach all zeal their own complexion:
Choler they will admit sometimes, I see,        25
But phlegm and sanguine no religions be.
These teach that dancing is a Jezebel,
And barley-break the ready way to hell;
The morrice-idols, Whitsun-ales, can be
But profane relics of a jubilee!        30
These, in a zeal t’express how much they do
The organs hate, have silenc’d bagpipes, too,
And harmless Maypoles, all are rail’d upon,
As if they were the towers of Babylon.
Some think not fit there should be any sport        35
I’ th’ country, ’tis a dish proper to th’ Court.
Mirth not becomes ’em; let the saucy swain
Eat beef and bacon, and go sweat again.
Besides, what sport can in the pastimes be,
When all is but ridiculous foppery?        40
 
 
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