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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Shepherds’ Song
By Thomas Heywood (c. 1570–1641)
 
WE that have known no greater state
Than this we live in, praise our fate;
For courtly silks in cares are spent,
When country’s russet breeds content.
The power of sceptres we admire,        5
But sheep-hooks for our use desire.
Simple and low is our condition,
For here with us is no ambition:
We with the sun our flocks unfold,
Whose rising makes their fleeces gold;        10
Our music from the birds we borrow,
They bidding us, we them, good-morrow.
Our habits are but coarse and plain,
Yet they defend from wind and rain;
As warm too, in an equal eye,        15
As those bestained in scarlet dye.
The shepherd, with his homespun lass,
As many merry hours doth pass,
As courtiers with their costly girls,
Though richly decked in gold and pearls;        20
And though but plain, to purpose woo,
Nay, often with less danger too.
Those that delight in dainties’ store,
One stomach feed at once, no more;
And when with homely fare we feast,        25
With us it doth as well digest;
And many times we better speed,
For our wild fruits no surfeits breed.
If we sometimes the willow wear,
By subtle swains that dare forswear,        30
We wonder whence it comes, and fear
They’ve been at court, and learnt it there.
 
 
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