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Lullaby of a Lover

Sing lullaby, as women do,

Wherewith they bring their babes to rest;

And lullaby can I sing to,

As womanly as can the best.

With lullaby they still the child,

And if I be not much beguil'd,

Full many wanton babes have I,

Which must be still'd with lullaby.

First, lullaby my youthful years,

It is now time to go to bed;

For crooked age and hoary hairs

Have won the haven within my head.

With lullaby, then, youth be still,

With lullaby, content thy will,

Since courage quails and comes behind,

Go sleep, and so beguile thy mind.

Next, lullaby my gazing eyes,

Which wonted were to glance apace;

For every glass may now suffice

To show the furrows in my face.

With lullaby, then, wink awhile,

With lullaby, your looks beguile,

Let no fair face nor beauty bright

Entice you eft with vain delight.

And lullaby my wanton will,

Let reason's rule now reign thy thought,

Since all too late I find by skill

How dear I have thy fancies bought.

With lullaby, now take thine ease,

With lullaby, thy doubts appease,

For trust to this, if thou be still,

My body shall obey thy will.

Eke, lullaby my loving boy,

My little Robin, take thy rest;

Since age is cold and nothing coy,

Keep close thy coin, for so is best.

With lullaby, be thou content,

With lullaby, thy lusts relent,

Let others pay which have mo pence,

Thou art too poor for such expense.

Thus lullaby, my youth, mine eyes,

My will, my ware, and all that was!

I can no mo delays devise,

But welcome pain, let pleasure pass.

With lullaby, now take your leave,

With lullaby, your dreams deceive,

And when you rise with waking eye,

Remember Gascoigne's lullaby.

Sing lullaby, as women do,

Wherewith they bring their babes to rest,

And lullaby can I sing too,

As womanly as can the best.

With lullaby they still the child,

And if I be not much beguiled,

Full many wanton babes have I,

Which must be stilled with lullaby.

Farewell, with a Mischief

(Written by a lover being disdainfully abjected by a dame of high calling, Who had chosen (in his place) a play fellow of baser condition: & therefore he determined to step aside, and before his departure giveth her this farewell in verse.)

Thy birth, thy beauty, nor thy brave attire,

(Disdainful Dame, which doest me double wrong)

Thy high estate, which sets thy heart on fire,

Or new found choice, which cannot serve thee long

Shall make me dread, with pen for to rehearse,

Thy skittish deeds, in this my parting verse.

For why thou knowest, and I myself can tell,

By many vows, how thou to me wert bound:

And how for joy, thy heart did seem to swell,

And in delight, how thy desires were drowned.

When of thy will, the walls I did assail,

Wherein fond fancy, fought for mine avail.

And though my mind, have small delight to vaunt,

Yet must I vow, my heart to thee was true:

My hand was always able for to daunt,

Thy slanderous foes, and keep their tongues in mew.

My head (though dull) was yet of such devise,

As might have kept thy name always in price.

And for the rest my body was not brave,

But able yet, of substance to allay,

The raging lust, wherein thy limbs did rave,

And quench the coals, which kindled thee to play.

Such one I was, and such always will be,

For worthy Dames, but then I mean not thee.

For thou hast caught a proper paragon,

A thief, a coward, and a Peacock fool:

An Ass, a milksop, and a minion,

Which hath no oil, thy furious flames to cool,

Such on he is, a fere for thee most fit,

A wandering guest, to please thy wavering wit.

A thief I count him for he robs us both,

Thee of thy name, and me of my delight:

A coward is he noted where he goeth,

Since every child is match to him in might.

And for his pride no more, but mark his plumes,

The which to prink, he days and nights consumes.

The rest thy self, in secret sort can judge,

He rides not me, thou knowest his saddle best:

And though these tricks of thine, might make me grudge,

And kindle wrath, in my revenging breast

Yet of myself, and not to please thy mind,

I stand content, my rage in rule to bind.

And far from thee now must I take my flight,

Where tongues may tell, (and I not see) thy fall:

Where I may drink these drugs of thy despite,

To purge my Melancholic mind with all.

In secrete so, my stomach will I sterve,

Wishing thee better than thou doest deserve.

Spræta tamen vivunt.


My worthy Lord, I pray you wonder not

To see your woodman shoot so oft awry,

Nor that he stands amazèd like a sot,

And lets the harmless deer unhurt go by.

Or if he strike a doe which is but carren,

Laugh not good Lord, but favor such a fault,

Take will in worth, he would fain hit the barren,

But though his heart be good, his hap is naught.

And therefore now I crave your Lordship's leave,

To tell you plain what is the cause of this.

First, if it please your honor to perceive

What makes your woodman shoot so oft amiss.

Believe me, Lord, the case is nothing strange:

He shoots awry almost at every mark,

His eyes have been so usèd for to range,

That now God knows they be both dim and dark.

For proof he bears the note of folly now,

Who shot sometimes to hit Philosophy,

And ask you why? forsooth I make avow,

Because his wanton wits went all awry.

Next that, he shot to be a man of law,

And spent some time with learnèd Littleton,

Yet in the end he provèd but a daw,

For law was dark and he had quickly done.

Then could he wish Fitzherbert such a brain

As Tully had, to write the law by art,

So that with pleasure, or with little pain,

He might perhaps have caught a truant's part.

But all too late, he most misliked the thing

Which most might help to guide his arrow straight;

He winkèd wrong, and so let slip the string,

Which cast him wide, for all his quaint conceit.

From thence he shot to catch a courtly grace,

And thought even there to wield the world at will,

But, out alas, he much mistook the place,

And shot awry at every rover still,

The blazing baits which draw the gazing eye

Unfeathered there his first affection;

No wonder then although he shot awry,

Wanting the feathers of discretion.

Yet more than them, the marks of dignity

He much mistook, and shot the wronger way,

Thinking the purse of prodigality

Had been best mean to purchase such a prey.

He thought the flattering face which fleereth still,

Had been full fraught with all fidelity,

And that such words as courtiers use at will

Could not have varied from the verity.

But when his bonnet buttonèd with gold,

His comely cap beguarded all with gay,

His bombast hose, with linings manifold,

His knit silk stocks and all his quaint array,

Had picked his purse of all the Peter-pence,

Which might have paid for his promotion,

Then (all too late) he found that light expense

Had quite quenched out the court's devotion.

So that since then the taste of misery

Hath been always full bitter in his bit,

And why? forsooth because he shot awry,

Mistaking still the marks which others hit.

But now behold what marks the man doth find:

He shoots to be a solider in his age:

Mistrusting all the virtues of the mind,

He trusts the power of his personage.

As though long limbs led by a lusty heart

Might yet suffice to make him rich again;

But Flushing frays have taught him such a part

That now he thinks the wars yield no such gain.

And sure I fear, unless your lordship deign

To train him yet into some better trade,

It will be long before he hit the vein

Whereby he may a richer man be made.

He cannot climb as other catchers can,

To lead a charge before himself be led.

He cannot spoil the simple sakeless man,

Which is content to feed him with his bread.

He cannot pinch the painful soldier's pay,

And shear him out his share in ragged sheets,

He cannot stoop to take a greedy prey

Upon his fellows groveling in the streets.

He cannot pull the spoil from such as pill,

And seem full angry at such foul offense,

Although the gain of content his greedy will,

Under the cloak of contrary pretence:

And nowadays, the man that shoots not so,

May shoot amiss, even as your woodman doth:

But then you marvel why I let them go,

And never shoot, but say farewell forsooth:

Alas, my Lord, while I do muse hereon,

And call to mind my youthful years misspent,

They give me such a bone to gnaw upon,

That all my senses are in silence pent.

My mind is rapt in contemplatiön,

Wherein my dazzled eyes only behold

The black hour of my constellatiön

Which framèd me so luckless on the mold.

Yet therewithal I cannot but confess,

That vain presumption makes my heart to swell,

For thus I think, not all the world (I guess)

Shoots bet than I, nay some shoots not so well.

In Aristotle somewhat did I learn,

To guide my manners all by comeliness,

And Tully taught me somewhat to discern

Between sweet speech and barbarous rudeness.

Old Parkins, Rastell, and Dan Bracton's books

Did lend me somewhat of the lawless law;

The crafty courtiers with their guileful looks

Must needs put some experience in my maw:

Yet cannot these with many mast'ries moe

Make me shoot straight at any gainful prick

Where some that never handled such a bow

Can hit the white or touch it near the quick,

Who can nor speak nor write in pleasant wise,

Nor lead their life by Aristotle's rule,

Nor argue well on questions that arise,

Nor plead a case more than my lord mayor's mule,

Yet can they hit the marks thato I do miss,

And win the mean which may the man maintain.

Now when my mind doth mumble upon this,

No wonder then although I pine for pain:

And whiles mine eyes behold this mirror thus,

The herd goeth by, and farewell gentle does:

So that your lordship quickly may discuss

What blinds mine eyes so oft (as I suppose).

But since my Muse can to my Lord rehearse

What makes me miss, and why I do not shoot,

Let me imagine in this worthless verse,

If right before me, at my standing's foot

There stood a doe, and I should strike her dead,

And then she prove a carrion carcass too,

What figure might I find within my head,

To scuse the rage which ruled me so to do?

Some might interpret with plain paraphrase,

That lack of skill or fortune led the chance,

But I must otherwise expound the case;

I say Jehovah did this doe advance,

And made her bold to stand before me so,

Till I had thrust mine arrow to her heart,

That by the sudden of her overthrow

I might endeavor to amend my part

And turn mine eyes that they no more behold

Such guileful marks as seem more than they be:

And though they glister outwardly like gold,

Are inwardly like brass, as men may see:

And when I see the milk hang in her teat,

Me thinks it said, old babe, now learn to suck,

Who in thy youth coulst never learn the feat

To hit the whites which live with all good luck.

Thus have I told my Lord (God grant in season)

A tedious tale in rhyme, but little reason.

Haud ictus sapio.