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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Song: ‘Ye Little birds that sit and sing’
By Thomas Heywood (c. 1570–1641)
 
From ‘The Fair Maid of the Exchange’

YE Little birds that sit and sing
      Amidst the shady valleys,
And see how Phyllis sweetly walks,
      Within her garden alleys;
Go, pretty birds, about her bower;        5
Sing, pretty birds, she may not lower;
Ah me! methinks I see her frown!
      Ye pretty wantons, warble.
 
So tell her through your chirping bills,
      As you by me are bidden;        10
To her is only known my love,
      Which from the world is hidden.
Go, pretty birds, and tell her so;
See that your notes strain not too low,
For still methinks I see her frown:        15
      Ye pretty wantons, warble.
 
So tune your voices’ harmony,
      And sing, I am her lover;
Strain loud and sweet, that ev’ry note
      With sweet content may move her.        20
And she that hath the sweetest voice
Tell her I will not change my choice;
Yet still, methinks, I see her frown:
      Ye pretty wantons, warble.
 
Oh, fly! make haste! see, see, she falls        25
      Into a pretty slumber!
Sing round about her rosy bed,
      That waking she may wonder.
Say to her, ’tis her lover true
That sendeth love to you, to you:        30
And when you hear her kind reply,
      Return with pleasant warbling.
 
 
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