Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Faithful Shepherdess
By John Fletcher (1579–1625)
          [Clorin, a shepherdess, watching by the grave of her lover, is found by a Satyr.]

CLORIN—Hail, holy earth, whose cold arms do embrace
The truest man that ever fed his flocks
By the fat plains of fruitful Thessaly.
Thus I salute thy grave, thus do I pay
My early vows, and tribute of mine eyes,        5
To thy still lovèd ashes: thus I free
Myself from all ensuing heats and fires
Of love: all sports, delights, and jolly games,
That shepherds hold full dear, thus put I off.
Now no more shall these smooth brows be begirt        10
With youthful coronals, and lead the dance.
No more the company of fresh fair maids
And wanton shepherds be to me delightful:
Nor the shrill pleasing sound of merry pipes
Under some shady dell, when the cool wind        15
Plays on the leavès: all be far away,
Since thou art far away, by whose dear side
How often have I sat, crowned with fresh flowers
For summer’s queen, whilst every shepherd’s boy
Puts on his lusty green, with gaudy hook,        20
And hanging script of finest cordevan!
But thou art gone, and these are gone with thee,
And all are dead but thy dear memory;
That shall outlive thee, and shall ever spring,
Whilst there are pipes, or jolly shepherds sing.        25
And here will I, in honor of thy love,
Dwell by thy grave, forgetting all those joys
That former times made precious to mine eyes,
Only remembering what my youth did gain
In the dark hidden virtuous use of herbs.        30
That will I practice, and as freely give
All my endeavors, as I gained them free.
Of all green wounds I know the remedies
In men or cattle, be they stung with snakes,
Or charmed with powerful words of wicked art;        35
Or be they love-sick, or through too much heat
Grown wild, or lunatic; their eyes, or ears,
Thickened with misty film of dulling rheum:
These I can cure, such secret virtue lies
In herbs applièd by a virgin’s hand.        40
My meat shall be what these wild woods afford,
Berries and chestnuts, plantains, on whose cheeks
The sun sits smiling, and the lofty fruit
Pulled from the fair head of the straight-grown pine.
On these I’ll feed with free content and rest,        45
When night shall blind the world, by thy side blessed.
[A Satyr enters.]
  Satyr—Through yon same bending plain
That flings his arms down to the main,
And through these thick woods have I run,
Whose bottom never kissed the sun.        50
Since the lusty spring began,
All to please my master Pan,
Have I trotted without rest
To get him fruit; for at a feast
He entertains this coming night        55
His paramour the Syrinx bright:
But behold a fairer sight!
By that heavenly form of thine,
Brightest fair, thou art divine,
Sprung from great immortal race        60
Of the gods, for in thy face
Shines more awful majesty
Than dull weak mortality
Dare with misty eyes behold,
And live: therefore on this mold        65
Lowly do I bend my knee
In worship of thy deity.
Deign it, goddess, from my hand
To receive whate’er this land
From her fertile womb doth send        70
Of her choice fruits; and—but lend
Belief to that the Satyr tells—
Fairer by the famous wells
To this present day ne’er grew,
Never better, nor more true.        75
Here be grapes, whose lusty blood
Is the learned poet’s good;
Sweeter yet did never crown
The head of Bacchus: nuts more brown
Than the squirrels’ teeth that crack them;        80
Deign, O fairest fair, to take them.
For these, black-eyed Driope
Hath oftentimes commanded me
With my clasped knee to climb.
See how well the lusty time        85
Hath decked their rising cheeks in red,
Such as on your lips is spread.
Here be berries for a queen;
Some be red, some be green;
These are of that luscious meat        90
The great god Pan himself doth eat:
All these, and what the woods can yield,
The hanging mountain, or the field,
I freely offer, and ere long
Will bring you more, more sweet and strong;        95
Till when humbly leave I take,
Lest the great Pan do awake,
That sleeping lies in a deep glade,
Under a broad beech’s shade.
I must go, I must run,        100
Swifter than the fiery sun.
  Clorin—And all my fears go with thee.
What greatness, or what private hidden power,
Is there in me to draw submission
From this rude man and beast? sure, I am mortal,        105
The daughter of a shepherd; he was mortal,
And she that bore me mortal; prick my hand
And it will bleed; a fever shakes me, and
The self-same wind that makes the young lambs shrink,
Makes me a-cold: my fear says I am mortal:        110
Yet I have heard (my mother told it me)
And now I do believe it, if I keep
My virgin flower uncropped, pure, chaste, and fair,
No goblin, wood-god, fairy, elf, or fiend,
Satyr, or other power that haunts the groves,        115
Shall hurt my body, or by vain illusion
Draw me to wander after idle fires,
Or voices calling me in dead of night
To make me follow, and so tole me on
Through mire, and standing pools, to find my ruin.        120
Else why should this rough thing, who never knew
Manners nor smooth humanity, whose heats
Are rougher than himself, and more misshapen,
Thus mildly kneel to me? Sure there’s a power
In that great name of Virgin, that binds fast        125
All rude uncivil bloods, all appetites
That break their confines. Then, strong Chastity,
Be thou my strongest guard; for here I’ll dwell
In opposition against fate and hell.

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