Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
The Country’s Recreations
QUIVERING fears, heart-tearing cares,
Anxious sighs, untimely tears,
    Fly, fly to courts!
    Fly to fond worldlings’ sports
Where strained sardonic smiles are glozing still,        5
And grief is forced to laugh against her will;
    Where mirth’s but mummery,
    And sorrows only real be!
Fly from our country pastimes, fly,
Sad troop of human misery!        10
    Come, serene looks,
    Clear as the crystal brooks,
Or the pure azured heaven, that smiles to see
The attendance of our poverty!
    Peace, and a secure mind,        15
    Which all men seek, we only find.
Abusèd mortals! did you know
Where joy, heart’s ease, and comforts grow,
    You’d scorn proud towers,
    And seek them in these bowers        20
Where winds sometimes our woods perhaps may shake,
But blustering care could never tempest make,
    Nor murmurs e’er come nigh us,
    Saving of fountains that glide by us.
Here’s no fantastic mask, nor dance        25
But of our kids that frisk and prance:
    Nor wars are seen
    Unless upon the green
Two harmless lambs are butting one another—
Which done, both bleating run, each to his mother:        30
    And wounds are never found,
    Save what the ploughshare gives the ground.
Here are no false entrapping baits
To hasten too-too hasty Fates;
    Unless it be        35
    The fond credulity
Of silly fish, which worldling-like still look
Upon the bait, but never on the hook:
    Nor envy, unless among
    The birds, for prize of their sweet song.        40
Go, let the diving Negro seek
For gems hid in some forlorn creek;
    We all pearls scorn
    Save what the dewy morn
Congeals upon each little spire of grass,        45
Which careless shepherds beat down as they pass;
    And gold ne’er here appears
    Save what the yellow Ceres bears.
Blest silent groves! O may ye be
For ever mirth’s best nursery!        50
    May pure contents
    For ever pitch their tents
Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these mountains,
And peace still slumber by these purling fountains;
    Which we may every year        55
    Find when we come a-fishing here!

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