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Richard Barnfield (1574-ca. 1620)

An Ode


              1As it fell upon a day
              2In the merry month of May,
              3Sitting in a pleasant shade
              4Which a grove of myrtles made,
              5Beasts did leap and birds did sing,
              6Trees did grow and plants did spring;
              7Every thing did banish moan,
              8Save the nightingale alone.
              9She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
            10Lean'd her breast up-till a thorn
            11And there sung the doleful'st ditty,
            12That to hear it was great pity.
            13Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry,
            14Teru, teru, by and by;
            15That to hear her so complain,
            16Scarce I could from tears refrain;
            17For her griefs so lively shown
            18Made me think upon mine own.
            19Ah, thought I, thou mourn'st in vain;
            20None takes pity on thy pain;
            21Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee;
            22Ruthless bears, they will not cheer thee;
            23King Pandion, he is dead,
            24All thy friends are lapp'd in lead;
            25All thy fellow birds do sing,
            26Careless of thy sorrowing;
            27Whilst as fickle fortune smil'd,
            28Thou and I were both beguil'd.
            29Every one that flatters thee
            30Is no friend in misery:
            31Words are easy, like the wind,
            32Faithful friends are hard to find;
            33Every man will be thy friend
            34Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend,
            35But if store of crowns be scant,
            36No man will supply thy want.
            37If that one be prodigal,
            38Bountiful they will him call;
            39And with such-like flattering
            40Pity but he were a king.
            41If he be addict to vice,
            42Quickly him they will entice;
            43If to women he be bent,
            44They have at commandëment;
            45But if fortune once do frown,
            46Then farewell his great renown;
            47They that fawn'd on him before
            48Use his company no more.
            49He that is thy friend indeed
            50He will help thee in thy need:
            51If thou sorrow, he will weep;
            52If thou wake, he cannot sleep;
            53Thus of every grief, in heart,
            54He with thee doth bear a part.
            55These are certain signs to know
            56Faithful friend from flatt'ring foe.

Notes

8] Philomela, daughter of Pandion, king of Attica, was ravished and had her tongue cut out by Tereus, king of Thrace; she was later changed into a nightingale.


Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Richard Barnfield, Poems in Divers Humors, published with The encomium of lady Pecunia: or the praise of money (London: G. S[haw] for J. Jaggard, 1598). Short-title Catalog 1485
First publication date: 1598
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.254; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2001/11/21*1:2003/8/28

Rhyme: couplets


Other poems by Richard Barnfield