William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907. Fancy and Desire
By Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford (15501604)
C OME 1 hither, shepherds swain!
Sir, what do you require?
I pray thee, shew to me, thy name!
My name is Fond Desire.
When wert thou born, Desire? 5
In pomp and prime of May. 2
By whom, sweet boy, wert thou begot?
By fond Conceit, men say.
Tell me who was thy nurse?
Fresh Youth, in sugared joy. 10
What was thy meat and daily food?
Sad sighs, with great annoy.
What hadst thou then to drink?
Unfeignèd lovers tears.
What cradle wert thou rockèd in? 15
In hope devoid of fears.
What lulld thee then asleep?
Sweet speech, which likes me best.
Tell me where is thy dwelling-place?
In gentle hearts I rest. 20
What thing doth please thee most?
To gaze on beauty still.
Whom dost thou think to be thy foe?
Disdain of my good-will.
Doth company displease? 25
Yes, surely, many one.
Where doth Desire delight to live?
He loves to live alone.
Doth either time or age
Bring him into decay? 30
No, no! Desire both lives and dies
A thousand times a day.
Then, Fond Desire, farewell!
Thou art no mate for me;
I should be loth, methinks, to dwell 35 With such a one as thee.
Of this poem, Mr. Quiller-Couch says in Note 1. The Golden Pomp, p. 337, it was found entire in Deloneys Garland of Goodwill (whence Percy obtained the version in his Reliques) and in Bretons Bower of Delights, 1597. A shorter copy is found in Puttenhams 1589, where it is attributed to Edward, Earl of Oxford, a most noble and learned gentleman. [ Art of English Poesy, back] Note 2. Prime of May: v. 1. times a day. [ back]