Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
The Evening Knell
By John Fletcher (1579–1625)
From “The Faithful Shepherdess,” Act II. Scene 1

SHEPHERDS all, and maidens fair,
Fold your flocks up, for the air
’Gins to thicken, and the sun
Already his great course hath run.
See the dew-drops how they kiss        5
Every little flower that is,
Hanging on their velvet heads,
Like a rope of crystal beads:
See the heavy clouds low falling,
And bright Hesperus down calling        10
The dead Night from under ground;
At whose rising mists unsound,
Damps and vapours fly apace
Hovering o’er the wanton face
Of these pastures, where they come,        15
Striking dead both bud and bloom:
Therefore, from such danger lock
Every one his lovèd flock;
And let your dogs lie loose without,
Lest the wolf come as a scout        20
From the mountain, and ere day,
Bear a lamb or kid away;
Or the crafty thievish fox
Break upon your simple flocks.
To secure yourself from these,        25
Be not too secure in ease;
Let one eye his watches keep,
Whilst the t’other eye doth sleep;
So you shall good shepherds prove,
And forever hold the love        30
Of our great god. Sweetest slumbers,
And soft silence, fall in numbers
On your eye-lids! So, farewell!
Thus I end my evening’s knell!

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