Nicholas Breton

(1546 - 1626 / England)

A Shepherd's Dream


A silly shepherd lately sat
Among a flock of sheep;
Where musing long on this and that,
At last he fell asleep.
And in the slumber as he lay,
He gave a piteous groan;
He thought his sheep were run away,
And he was left alone.
He whoop'd, he whistled, and he call'd,
But not a sheep came near him;
Which made the shepherd sore appall'd
To see that none would hear him.
But as the swain amazèd stood,
In this most solemn vein,
Came Phyllida forth of the wood,
And stood before the swain.
Whom when the shepherd did behold
He straight began to weep,
And at the heart he grew a-cold,
To think upon his sheep.
For well he knew, where came the queen,
The shepherd durst not stay:
And where that he durst not be seen,
The sheep must needs away.
To ask her if she saw his flock,
Might happen patience move,
And have an answer with a mock,
That such demanders prove.
Yet for because he saw her come
Alone out of the wood,
He thought he would not stand as dumb,
When speech might do him good;
And therefore falling on his knees,
To ask but for his sheep,
He did awake, and so did leese
The honour of his sleep.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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