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Browne began his poetical career early, and closed it soon. He published the first part of 'Britannia’s Pastorals'in 1613, the second in 1616; shortly after, his ' Shepherd's Pipe;' and, in 1620, produced his 'Inner Temple Masque,' which was then enacted, but not printed till a hundred and twenty years after the author's death, when Dr Farmer transcribed it from a MS. of the Bodleian Library, and it appeared in Tom Davies' edition of Browne's poems. Browne has no constructive power, and

, no human interest in his pastorals, but he has an eye for nature, and we quote from him some excellent specimens of descriptive poetry.


Gentle nymphs, be not refusing,
Love's neglect is Time's abusing,

They and beauty are but lent you;
Take the one, and keep the other:
Love keeps fresh what age doth smother,

Beauty gone, you will repent you.

'Twill be said, when ye have proved,
Never swains more truly loved :

Oh, then, fly all nice behaviour!
Pity fain would (as her duty)
Be attending still on Beauty,

Let her not be out of favour.


1 Shall I tell you whom I love?

Hearken then a while to me,
And if such a woman move

As I now shall versify;
Be assured, 'tis she, or none,
That I love, and love alone.

2 Nature did her so much right,

As she scorns the help of art.
In as many virtues dight

As e'er yet embraced a heart;
So much good so truly tried,
Some for less were deified.

3 Wit she hath, without desire

To make known how much she hath;
And her anger flames no higher

Than may fitly sweeten wrath.
Full of pity as may be,
Though perhaps not so to me.

4 Reason masters every sense,

And her virtues grace her birth:
Lovely as all excellence,

Modest in her most of mirth :
Likelihood enough to prove
Only worth could kindle love.

5 Such she is: and if you know

Such a one as I have sung;
Be she brown, or fair, or so,

That she be but somewhile young;
Be assured, 'tis she, or none,
That I love, and love alone.


'Tis not the rancour of a canker'd heart
That can debase the excellence of art,
Nor great in titles makes our worth obey,
Since we have lines far more esteem'd than they.




For there is hidden in a poet's name
A spell that can command the wings of Fame,
And maugre all oblivion's hated birth
Begin their immortality on earth,
When he that 'gainst a muse with hate combines
May raise his tomb in vain to reach our lines.


As in an evening when the gentle air
Breathes to the sullen night a soft repair,
I oft have sat on Thames' sweet bank to hear
My friend with his sweet touch to charm mine ear,
When he hath play'd (as well he can) some strain
That likes me, straight I ask the same again,
And he, as gladly granting, strikes it o'er
With some sweet relish was forgot before:
I would have been content, if he would play,
In that one strain to pass the night away;
But fearing much to do his patience wrong,
Unwillingly have ask'd some other song:
So in this differing key though I could well
A many hours but as few minutes tell,
Yet lest mine own delight might injure you
(Though loth so soon) I take my song anew.

Between two rocks (immortal, without mother)
That stand as if outfacing one another,
There ran a creek up, intricate and blind,
As if the waters hid them from the wind,
Which never wash'd but at a higher tide
The frizzled cotes which do the mountains hide,
Where never gale was longer known to stay
Than from the smooth wave it had swept away

The new divorced leaves, that from each side
Left the thick boughs to dance out with the tide.
At further end the creek, a stately wood
Gave a kind shadow (to the brackish flood)
Made up of trees, not less kenn'd by each skiff.
Than that sky-scaling peak of Teneriffe,
Upon whose tops the hernshew bred her young,
And hoary moss upon their branches hung;
Whose rugged rinds sufficient were to show,
Without their height, what time they 'gan to

And if dry eld by wrinkled skin appears,
None could allot them less than Nestor's years.
As under their command the thronged creek
Ran lessen'd up. Here did the shepherd seek
Where he his little boat might safely hide,
Till it was fraught with what the world beside
Could not outvalue; nor give equal weight
Though in the time when Greece was at her


Yet that their happy voyage might not be
Without Time's shortener, heaven-taught melody,
(Music that lent feet to the stable woods,
And in their currents turn’d the mighty floods,
Sorrow's sweet nurse, yet keeping Joy alive,
Sad Discontent's most welcome corrosive,
The soul of art, best loved when love is by,
The kind inspirer of sweet poesy,
Least thou shouldst wanting be, when swans would

Have sung one song, and never sung again,)
The gentle shepherd, hasting to the shore,
Began this lay, and timed it with his oar :

Nevermore let holy Dee

O’er other rivers brave,
Or boast how (in his jollity)

Kings row'd upon his wave.
But silent be, and ever know
That Neptune for my fare would row.

Swell then, gently swell, ye floods,

As proud of what ye bear,
And nymphs that in low coral woods

String pearls upon your hair,
Ascend; and tell if ere this day
A fairer prize was seen at sea.

See the salmons leap and bound

To please us as we pass,
Each mermaid on the rocks around

Lets fall her brittle glass,
As they their beauties did despise
And loved no mirror but your eyes,

Blow, but gently blow, fair wind,

From the forsaken shore,
And be as to the halcyon kind,

Till we have ferried o'er:
So mayst thou still have leave to blow,
And fan the way where she shall go.


Oh, what a rapture have I gotten now!

age of gold, this of the lovely brow, Have drawn me from my song! I onward run, (Clean from the end to which I first begun,)

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