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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare: Poems.  1914.

Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, III.

“My flocks feed not”


MY flocks feed not, 
My ewes breed not, 
My rams speed not, 
  All is amiss: 
Love ’s denying,         5
Faith ’s defying, 
Heart ’s renying, 
  Causer of this. 
All my merry jigs are quite forgot, 
All my lady’s love is lost, God wot:  10
Where her faith was firmly fix’d in love, 
There a nay is plac’d without remove. 
One silly cross 
Wrought all my loss; 
  O! frowning Fortune, cursed, fickle dame;  15
For now I see 
Inconstancy 
  More in women than in men remain. 
  
In black mourn I, 
All fears scorn I,  20
Love hath forlorn me, 
  Living in thrall: 
Heart is bleeding, 
All help needing, 
O! cruel speeding,  25
  Fraughted with gall. 
My shepherd’s pipe can sound no deal, 
My wether’s bell rings doleful knell; 
My curtal dog, that wont to have play’d, 
Plays not at all, but seems afraid;  30
My sighs so deep 
Procures to weep, 
  In howling wise, to see my doleful plight. 
How sighs resound 
Through heartless ground,  35
  Like a thousand vanquish’d men in bloody fight! 
  
Clear well spring not, 
Sweet birds sing not, 
Green plants bring not 
  Forth their dye;  40
Herds stand weeping, 
Flocks all sleeping, 
Nymphs back peeping 
  Fearfully: 
All our pleasure known to us poor swains,  45
All our merry meetings on the plains, 
All our evening sport from us is fled, 
All our love is lost, for Love is dead. 
Farewell, sweet lass, 
Thy like ne’er was  50
  For a sweet content, the cause of all my moan: 
Poor Corydon 
Must live alone; 
  Other help for him I see that there is none. 


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