Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
Extract from The Shepherd’s Week
By John Gay (1685–1732)
 
AH, Colin! canst thou leave thy Sweetheart true!
What I have done for thee will Cic’ly do?
Will she thy linen wash or hosen darn,
And knit thee gloves made of her own-spun yarn?
Will she with huswife’s hand provide thy meat,        5
And every Sunday morn thy neckcloth plait?
Which o’er thy kersey doublet spreading wide,
In service-time drew Cic’ly’s eyes aside….
If in the soil you guide the crooked share,
Your early breakfast is my constant care;        10
And when with even hand you strow the grain,
I fright the thievish rooks from off the plain.
In misling days when I my thresher heard,
With nappy beer I to the barn repaired;
Lost in the music of the whirling flail,        15
To gaze on thee I left the smoking pail:
In harvest when the sun was mounted high,
My leathern bottle did thy drought supply;
Whene’er you mowed I followed with the rake,
And have full oft been sun-burnt for thy sake;        20
When in the welkin gathering showers were seen,
I lagged the last with Colin on the green;
And when at eve returning with thy car,
Awaiting heard the jingling bells from far;
Straight on the fire the sooty pot I placed,        25
To warm thy broth I burnt my hands for haste.
When hungry thou stoodst staring, like an oaf,
I sliced the luncheon from the barley loaf;
With crumbled bread I thickened well thy mess.
Ah, love me more, or love thy pottage less!        30
 
 
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