Verse > Sir Walter Raleigh > Poems
Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?–1618).  Poems.  1892.
The Shepherd’s Description of Love; before 1600 [read 1593]
SHEPHERD, what’s love, I pray thee tell?
Fau.  It is that fountain and that well
Where pleasure and repentance dwell;
It is perhaps that sauncing bell
  That tolls all into heaven or hell;        5
  And this is love as I heard tell.
Meli.  Yet what is love, I prithee say?
Fau.  It is a work on holiday;
It is December matched with May,
When lusty bloods, in fresh array,        10
  Hear ten months after of the play;
  And this is love as I hear say.
Meli.  Yet what is love, good shepherd, sain?
Fau.  It is a sunshine mixed with rain;
It is a tooth-ache, or like pain;        15
It is a game where none doth gain;
  The lass saith no, and would full fain;
  And this is love, as I hear sain.
Meli.  Yet, shepherd, what is love, I pray?
Fau.  It is a yea, it is a nay,        20
A pretty kind of sporting fray;
It is a thing will soon away;
  Then, nymphs, take ’vantage while ye may;
  And this is love, as I hear say.
Meli.  Yet what is love, good shepherd, show?        25
Fau.  A thing that creeps; it cannot go;
A prize that passeth to and fro;
A thing for one, a thing for moe;
  And he that proves shall find it so;
  And, shepherd, this is love, I trow.
[S. W. R.] IGNOTO.

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