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The king and his courtiers laugh at this heartily,
While the king taketh them both by the hand; With the court-dames, and maids, like to the queen of spades
775 The millers wife did soe orderly stand. A milk-maids courtesye at every word; And downe all the folkes were set to the board.
There the king royally, in princelye majestye,
Sate at his dinner with joy and delight;
And in a bowle of wine dranke to the knight:
Quoth sir John Cockle, I'll pledge you a pottle,
Were it the best ale in Nottinghamshire : But then said our king, now I think of a thing ;
Some of your lightfoote I would we had here. Ho! ho! quoth Richard, full well I may say it, 'Tis knavery to eate it, and then to betray it.
Why art thou angry? quoth our king merrilye ;
In faith, I take it now very unkind : I thought thou wouldst pledge me in ale and wine
heartily. Quoth Dicke, You are like to stay till I have din'd: You feed us with twatling dishes soe small;
95 Zounds, a blacke-pudding is better than all.
Aye, Aye, marry, quoth our king, that were a daintye thing,
Could a man get but one here for to eate. [hose, With that Dicke straite arose; and pluckt one from his
Which with heat of his breech gan to sweate. 100 The king made a proffer to snatch it away :'Tis meat for your master : good sir, you must stay. Thus in great merriment was the time wholly spent ;
And then the ladyes prepared to dance. Old Sir John Cockle, and Richard, incontinent 105
Unto their places the king did advance. Here with the ladyes such sport they did make, The nobles with laughing did make their sides ake. Many thankes for their paines did the king give them,
Asking young Richard then, if he would wed; 110 Among these ladyes free, tell me which liketh thee ?
Quoth he, Jugg Grumball, Sir, with the red head : She's my love, she's my life, her will I wed; She hath sworn I shall have her maidenhead.
Then sir John Cockle the king callid unto him, 115
And of merry Sherwood made him o'er seer; And gave him out of hand three hundred pound yearlye:
Take heed now you steale no more of my deer: And once a quarter let's here have your view; And now, sir John Cockle, I bid you adieu. 120
THE SHEPHERD'S RESOLUTION.
This beautiful old song was written by a poet, whose name would have been utterly forgotten, if it had not been preserved by Swift, as a term of contempt. “ DRY"Den and WITHER” are coupled by him like the Bavius and MÆvius of Virgil. Dryden however has had justice done him by posterity: and as for Wither, though of subordinate merit, that he was not altogether devoid of genius, will be judged from the following stanzas. The truth is, WITHER was a very voluminous partywriter : and as his political and satirical strokes rendered him extremely popular in his life-time; so afterwards, when these were no longer relished, they totally consigned his writings to oblivion.
GEORGE WITHER was born June 11, 1588, and in his younger years distinguished himself by some pastoral pieces, that were not inelegant; but growing afterwards involved in the political and religious disputes in the times of James I. and Charles I. he employed his poetical vein in severe pasquils on the court and clergy, and was occasionally a sufferer for the freedom of his pen. In the civil war that ensued, he exerted himself in the service of the Parliament, and became a considerable sharer in the spoils. He was even one of those provincial tyrants, whom Oliver distributed over the kingdom, under the name of Major Generals ; and had the fleecing of the county of Surrey : but, surviving the Restoration, he outlived both his power and his affluence; and giving vent to his chagrin in libels on the court, was long a prisoner in Newgate and the Tower. He died at length on the 2d of May, 1667. VOL. III.
During the whole course of his life, Wither was a continual publisher; having generally for opponent, Taylor the Water-poet. The long list of his productions may be seen in Wood's Athenæ Oxon. vol. II. His most popular satire is intitled, “ Abuses whipt and stript,” 1613. His most poetical pieces were eclogues, intitled, “ The Shepherd's Hunting," 1615, 8vo. and others printed at the end of Browne's “ Shepherd's Pipe,” 1614, 8vo. The following sonnet is extracted from a long pastoral piece of his, intitled, “ The Mistresse of Philarete,” 1622, 8vo. which is said in the preface to be one of the Author's first poems;
and may therefore be dated as early as any of the foregoing.
Shall I, wasting in dispaire,
If she be not so to me,
foolish heart be pin'd
If shee be not so to me,
Shall a woman's virtues move
merit name of Best;
Cause her fortune seems too high,
And, unlesse that minde I see,
Great or good, or kind or faire,
If shee be not fit for me,