by Robert Greene
Old Menalcas on a day,
As in field this shepherd lay,
Tuning of his oaten pipe,
Which he hit with many a stripe,
Said to Coridon that he
Once was young and full of glee:
"Blithe and wanton was I then;
Such desires follow men.
As I lay and kept my sheep,
Came the God that hateth sleep,
Clad in armour all of fire,
Hand in hand with Queen Desire;
And with a dart that wounded nigh,
Pierced my heart as I did lie;
That when I woke I 'gan swear,
Phillis' beauty palm did bear.
Up I start, forth went I,
With her face to feed mine eye:
There I saw Desire sit,
That my heart with love had hit,
Laying forth bright beauty's hooks
To entrap my grazing looks.
Love I did and 'gan to woo,
Pray and sigh; all would not do:
Women, when they take the toy,
Covet to be counted coy.
Coy she was, and I 'gan court,
She thought love was but a sport.
Profound hell was in my thought,
Such a pain Desire had wrought,
That I sued with sighs and tears.
Still ingrate she stopped her ears,
Till my youth I had spent.
Last a passion of Repent
Told me flat that Desire
Was a brand of loves fire,
Which consumeth men in thrall,
Virtue, youth, wit, and all.
At this saw back I start,
Beat Desire from my heart,
Shook off love and made an oath,
To be enemy to both.
Old I was when thus I fled
Such fond toys as cloyed my head.
But this I learned at Virtue's gate,
The way to good is never late.'
Last updated February 16, 2018