Come Hither Shepherd Swain

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Come Hither Shepherd Swain  (1589) 
by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
A short version version appeared in the Arte of English Poesy (1589). The longer version is in the Rawlinson MS. folio 15 and the Harleian MS 6910. May's edition begins with the second verse "When wert thou born, Desire?". It also omits the last verse.

Come hither, shepherd swain!
 Sir, what do you require?
 I pray thee show to me thy name;
 My name is Fond Desire.
 
When wert thou born, Desire?
 In pride and pomp of May.
 By whom, sweet boy, wert thou begot?
 By fond conceit men say.
 
Tell me who was thy nurse?
 Fresh youth, in sugar’d joy.
 What was thy meat and daily food?
 Sad sighs and great annoy.
 
What had’st thou then to drink?
 Unfeigned lover’s tears.
 What cradle wert thou rocked in?
 In hope devoid of fears.
 
What lulled thee to thy sleep
 Sweet thoughts that liked one best.
 And where is now thy dwelling place?
 In gentle hearts I rest.
 
Doth company displease?
 It doth in many one.
 Where would Desire then choose to be?
 He loves to muse alone.
 
What feedeth most thy sight?
 To gaze on beauty still.
 Whom find’st thou most thy foe?
 Disdain of my good will.
 
Will ever age or death
 Bring thee unto decay?
 No, no, Desire both lives and dies
 A thousand times a day.
 
Then, Fond Desire, farewell;
 Thou art no mate for me;
 I should be loath, methinks, to dwell
 With such a one as thee.
 

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.