A Collection of Poems/Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Musicke

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For other versions of this work, see Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music.

To Sundry Notes of MUSICKE.

By Mr. William Shakespeare.


Printed in the Year 1599.


Shakespeare Collection of Poems Image 03.png


IT was a Lording's Daughter, the fairest one of three
That liked of her Maister, as well as well might be,
Till looking on an Englishman, the fairest that eie could see,
Her fancy fell a-turning.
Long was the combat doubtful, that love with love did fight,
To leave the Maister lovelesse, or kill the gallant Knight.
To put in practice either, alas, it was a spite
Unto the silly damsel.
But one must be refused, more mickle was the paine;
That nothing could be used, to turne them both to gaine,
For of the two the trusty Knight was wounded with Disdaine,
Alas she could not help it.
Thus art with armes contending, was victor of the day,
Which by a gift of Learning, did bear the Maid away,
Then lullaby the learned Man hath got the Lady gay,
For now my song is ended.


ON a day (alack the day!)
Love whose month was ever May,
Spied a blossome passing fair,
Playing in the wanton air,
Through the velvet leaves the wind
All unseen gan passage find,
That the lover (sick to death)
Wisht himselfe the heavens breath:
Ayre (quoth he) thy cheeks may blow,
Ayre, would I might triumph so;
But (alas) my hand hath sworne,
Nere to pluck thee from thy throne,
Vow (alacke) for youth unmeet,
Youth, so apt to pluck a sweet;
Thou for whom Jove would swear,
Juno but an Ethiope were;
And deny himself for Jove,
Turning mortal for thy love.


MY flocks feede not, my Ewes breed not,
My Rams speed not, all is amis:
Love is dying, Faithes defying,
Hearts denying, causer of this.
All my merry Jigges are quite forgot,
All my Ladies love is lost (God wot)
Where her faith was firmely fixt in love,
There a nay is plac'd without remove.
One silly crosse wrought all my losse;
O frowning fortune, cursed fickle dame,
For now I see, inconstancy
More in women than in men remain.


IN black mourn I, all fears scorne I,
Love hath forlorne me, living in thrall:
Heart is bleeding, all helpe needing,
O cruel speeding, fraughted with gall.
My shepherds pipe can sound no deale,
My weathers bell rings doleful knell;
My curtaile dogg that wont to have plaid,
Plaies not at all but seems afraid.
With sighs so deep, procures to weep,
In howling-wise, to see my doleful plight,
How sighs resound through hartlesse ground,
Like a thousand vanquisht men in bloody fight.


CLeare wells spring not, sweete birds sing not,
Green plants bring not forth their die,
Herds stands weeping, flocks all sleeping,
Nymphes black peeping fearfully.
All our pleasure knowne to us poor swains,
All our merry meetings on the plains,
All our evening sport from us is fled,
All our love is lost, for Love is dead:
Farewel sweet ove thy like nere was,
For a sweet content the cause of all my woe,
Poor Coridon must live alone,
Other helpe for him I see that there is none.


WHen as thine eye hath chose the Dame,
And stalde the deare that thou shouldst strike,
Let reason rule things worthy blame,
As well as fancy (partyall might)
Take counsel of some wiser head,
Neither too young, nor yet unwed.

And when thou com'st thy tale to tell,
Smooth not thy tongue with filed talke,
Least she some subtle practise smell,
A Cripple soone can finde a halt,
But plainly say thou lov'st her well,
And set her person forth to sale.

What though her frowning browes be bent,
Her cloudy lookes will calme yer night;
And then too late she will repent,
That thus dissembled her delight:
And twice desire yet it be day,
That which with scorn she put away.

What though she strive to try her strength,
And ban, and braule, and say thee nay,
Her feeble force will yeeld at length,
When craft hath taught her thus to say:
Had women been so strong as men,
In faith, you had not had it then.

And to her will frame all thy ways;
Spare not to spend, and chiefly there,
Where thy desart may merit praise,
By ringing in thy Ladies ear,
The strongest castle, tower and towne,
The golden bullet beats it downe.

Serve always with assured trust,
And in thy sute be humble true,
Unless thy Lady prove unjust,
Press never thou to chuse anew:
When time shall serve, be thou not slacke,
To proffer though she put thee back.

The wiles and guiles that women worke,
Dissembled with an outward shew:
The tricks and toys that in them lurke,
The Cock that treads them shall not know,
Have you not heard it said full oft,
A womans nay doth stand for naught.

Think women still to strive with men,
To sinne and never for to saint,
There is no heaven (by holy then)
When time with age shall them attaint,
Were kisses all the joyes in bed,
One woman would another wed.

But soft enough, too much I feare,
Least that my mistresse heare my song,
She will not stick to round me on th' are,
To teach my toung to be so long:
Yet will she blush, here be it said,
To heare her secrets so bewraid.

LIVE with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That hills and vallies, dales and fields,
And all the craggy mountains yeeld.

There will we sit upon the Rocks,
And see the Shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow Rivers, by whose falls
Melodious birds sing Madrigals.

There will I make thee a bed of Roses,
With a thousand fragrant poses,
A cap of flowers, and a Kirtle
Imbrodered all with leaves of Mirtle.

A belt of Straw and Yuye buds,
With Coral Clasps and Amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Then live with me, and be my Love.

Loves Answer.

If that the World and Love were young,
And truth in every Shepherds toung,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

AS it fell upon a Day
In the merry Month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of Myrtles made,
Beastes did leap, and Birds did sing,
Trees did grow, and Plants did spring:
Every thing did banish mone,
Save the Nightingale alone.
Shee (poor Bird) as all forlorne,
Leand her breast up-till a thorne,
And there sung the dolefulst Ditty,
That to heare it was great Pitty,
Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry
Teru, teru, by and by:

That to hear her so complaine,
Scarce I could from teares refrain,
For her griefes, so lively showne,
Made me thinke upon mine owne.
Ah (thought I) thou mournst in vaine,
None takes pitty on thy paine:
Senselesse Trees, they cannot heare thee,
Ruthlesse Bears, they will not cheer thee.
King Pandion, he is dead.
All thy friends are lapt in Lead.
All thy fellow Birds doe sing,
Carelesse of thy sorrowing.

Whilst as fickle fortune smild,
Thou and I, were both beguild.
Every one that flatters thee,
Is no friend in misery.
Words are easie, like the wind,
Faithful friends are hard to find;
Every Man will be thy friend,
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend:
But if store of Crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call:
And with such-like flattering,
Pity but he were a King.

If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will intice.
If to women he be bent,
They have at Commaundement.
But if Fortune once do frown,
Then farewel his great renowne.
They that fawn'd on him before,
Use his company no more.
He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need.
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep.
Thus of every grief in heart,
He with thee doeth beare a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flatt'ring foe.