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النشر الإلكتروني

FAR in the country of Arden,

There woned a Knight, hight CASSAMEN,
As bold as ISENBRAS.

Fell was he; and eager bent In battle, and in tournament, As was the good Sir TOPAS.

He had, as antique stories tell,
A daughter clepèd DowsABELL ;

A Maiden fair and free;

And for she was her father's heir, Full well she was yconed the leir Of mickle courtesy !

The silk well couth she twist and twine,
And make the fine marchpine ;

And, with the needle work!

And she couth help the Priest to say
His Matins on a Holy Day;

And sing a Psalm in Kirk.

She ware a frock of frolic green,
Might well become a Maiden Queen!
Which seemly was to see.

A hood to that, so neat and fine;
In colour like the columbine,
Ywrought full featuously.

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Her feature all as fresh above,
As is the grass that grows by Dove;
And lithe as Lass of Kent!

Her skin as soft as Lemster wool,
As white as snow on Peakish hill,
Or swan that swims in Trent!

This Maiden, in a morn betime,
Went forth, when May was in the prime,
To get sweet setywall,

The honeysuckle, the harlock,
The lily, and the lady-smock,
To deck her Summer Hall.

Thus as she wandered here and there,
And picked off the bloomy briar,
She chanced to espy

A Shepherd sitting on a bank,
Like Chanticleer he crowèd crank;
And piped full merrily!

He leared his sheep, as he him list,
When he would whistle in his fist,
To feed about him round:

Whilst he, full many a Carol sang;
Until the fields and meadows rang,
And all the woods did sound!

In favour, this same Shepherd Swain
Was like the bedlam TAMBURLAINE;
Which held proud Kings in awe :
But meek as any lamb mought be;
And innocent of ill as he,
Whom his lewd brother slaw!

The Shepherd ware a sheep-gray cloak;
Which was of the finest lock

That could be cut with shear:

His mittens were of bauzen's skin,
His cockers were of cordiwin,
His hood, of miniver.

His awl and lingel in a thong,
His tar-box on his broad belt hung;
His breech of Co'entry blue.

Full crisp and curlèd were his locks,
His brows as white as Albion rocks;
So like a Lover true!

And piping still, he spent the day,

So merry as the popinjay!

Which likèd DowSABELL;

That, would she ought, or would she nought, This Lad would never from her thought! She in love-longing fell!

At length, she tuckèd up her frock,
White as the lily was her smock,

She drew the Shepherd nigh:

But then, the Shepherd piped a-good! That all his sheep forsook their food, To hear his melody!

'Thy sheep,' quoth she, 'can not be lean! That have a jolly Shepherd Swain;

The which can pipe so well!'

'Yea, but,' saith he, 'their Shepherd may!
If, piping thus, he pine away,

In love of DowSABELL!'

'Of love, fond boy! take thou no keep!' Quoth she, 'Look well unto thy sheep; Lest they should hap to stray!'

Quoth he, 'So had I done full well; Had I not seen fair DowSABELL Come forth to gather May!'

With that, she gan to vail her head:
Her cheeks were like the roses red;
But not a word she said!

With that, the Shepherd gan to frown.
He threw his pretty pipes adown;
And on the ground him laid.

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Saith she, 'I may not stay till night,
And leave my Summer Hall undight;
And all for love of thee!'

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My cot,' saith he, 'nor yet my fold, Shall neither sheep nor shepherd hold; Except thou favour me!'

Saith she, 'Yet lever I were dead,
Than I should lose my maidenhead;
And all for love of men!'

Saith he, 'Yet are you too unkind; If, in your heart, you cannot find To love us now and then!

'And I to thee will be as kind,
As COLIN was to ROSALIND;
Of courtesy the flower!'

'Then will I be as true,' quoth she,
'As ever Maiden yet might be
Unto her paramour!'

With that, she bent her snow-white knee,
Down by the Shepherd kneelèd she;
And him she sweetly kist!

With that, the Shepherd whooped for joy! Quoth he, 'There's never Shepherd's boy That ever was so blest!'

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