Robert Greene poems

Robert Greene(1560-1592 / England)
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The Shepherd's Wife's Song

- by Robert Greene 39

Ah, what is love? It is a pretty thing,
As sweet unto a shepherd as a king,
And sweeter, too:
For kings have cares that wait upon a crown,
And cares can make the sweetest love to frown:
Ah then, ah then,
If country loves such sweet desires do gain,
What lady would not love a shepherd swain?

His flocks are folded; he comes home at night
As merry as a king in his delight,
And merrier, too:
For kings bethink them what the state require,
Where shepherds, careless, carol by the fire:

He kisseth first, then sits at blithe to eat
His cream and curds, as doth a king his meat,
And blither, too:
For kings have often fears when they do sup,
Where shepherds dread no poison in their cup:

To bed he goes, as wanton then, I ween,
As is a king in dalliance with a queen;
More wanton, too:
For kings have many griefs, affects to move,
Where shepherds have no greater grief than love:

Upon his couch of straw he sleeps as sound
As doth the king upon his bed of down;
More sounder, too:
For cares cause kings full oft their sleep to spill,
Where weary shepherds lie and snort their fill:

Thus, with his wife, he spends the year as blithe
As doth the king at every tide or sithe,
And blither, too:
For kings have wars and broils to take in hand,
Where shepherds laugh and love upon the land:
Ah then, ah then,
Since country loves such sweet desires do gain,
What lady would not love a shepherd swain?

Menaphon: Sephesta's Song to her Child

- by Robert Greene 34

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Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee,
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When thou art old there's grief enough for thee.
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Mother's wag, pretty boy,
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Father's sorrow, father's joy;
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When thy father first did see
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Such a boy by him and me,
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He was glad, I was woe,
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Fortune changed made him so,
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When he left his pretty boy
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Last his sorrow, first his joy.

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Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee,
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When thou art old there's grief enough for thee.
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Streaming tears that never stint,
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Like pearl-drops from a flint,
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Fell by course from his eyes,
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That one another's place supplies;
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Thus he griev'd in every part,
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Tears of blood fell from his heart,
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When he left his pretty boy,
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Father's sorrow, father's joy.

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Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee,
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When thou art old there's grief enough for thee.
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The wanton smil'd, father wept,
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Mother cried, baby leapt;
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More he crow'd, more he cried,
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Nature could not sorrow hide:
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He must go, he must kiss
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Child and mother, baby bless,
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For he left his pretty boy,
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Father's sorrow, father's joy.
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Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee,
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When thou art old there's grief enough for thee.

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