Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
Extracts from Britannia’s Pastorals: The Poet’s Ambition
By William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645)
Book I. Song 5.

A TRUER love the Muses never sung,
Nor happier names e’er graced a golden tongue:
O! they are better fitting his sweet stripe,
Who 1 on the banks of Ancor tuned his pipe:
Or rather for that learned swain, 2 whose lays        5
Divinest Homer crowned with deathless bays;
Or any one sent from the sacred well
Inheriting the soul of Astrophell: 3
These, these in golden lines might write this story,
And make these loves their own eternal glory:        10
Whilst I, a swain, as weak in years as skill,
Should in the valley hear them on the hill.
Yet when my sheep have at the cistern been
And I have brought them back to shear the green,
To miss an idle hour, and not for meed,        15
With choicest relish shall mine oaten reed
Record their worths: and though in accents rare
I miss the glory of a charming air,
My Muse may one day make the courtly swains
Enamoured on the music of the plains,        20
And as upon a hill she bravely sings
Teach humble dales to weep in crystal springs.
Note 1. Drayton. [back]
Note 2. Chapman. [back]
Note 3. Sidney. [back]

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