Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Thomas Heywood. 157?–1650
206. The Message
YE little birds that sit and sing 
  Amidst the shady valleys, 
And see how Phillis 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. 
Go 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. 
Go tune your voices' harmony 
  And sing, I am her lover; 
Strain loud and sweet, that every 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. 
O 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 warblings. 
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