Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Phyllida and Corydon
By Nicholas Breton (1545–1626)
 
IN 1 the merry month of May,
In a morn by break of day
Forth I walk’d by the woodside
Whenas May was in his pride;
There I spyed all alone,        5
Phyllida and Corydon.
Much ado there was, God wot!
He would love and she would not.
She said, never man was true;
He said, none was false to you.        10
He said, he had loved her long;
She said, Love should have no wrong.
Corydon would kiss her then;
She said, maids must kiss no men
Till they did for good and all;        15
Then she made the shepherd call
All the heavens to witness truth
Never loved a truer youth.
Thus with many a pretty oath,
Yea and nay, and faith and troth,        20
Such as silly shepherds use
When they will not Love abuse,
Love, which had been long deluded,
Was with kisses sweet concluded;
And Phyllida, with garlands gay,        25
Was made the Lady of the May.
 
Note 1. This song was first given in the Honourable Entertainment Given to the Queen’s Majesty in Progress at Elvetham in Hampshire, by the Right Honourable the Earl of Hertford in 1591. It was then entitled The Ploughman’s Song, but when published in England’s Helicon, 1600, it was called Phillida and Corydon, which was retained by Dr. Grosart in his ed. of Breton. The text here used is the reading of the Cosens MS. In Prof. Schelling’s Book of Elizabethan Lyrics the following couplet is included, beginning line 3:
  With a troop of damsels playing
Forth the wood, forsooth a-Maying.
 
 
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