Nicholas Breton (ca. 1554-after 1625)
The Passionate Shepherd
1 Who can live in heart so glad
2As the merry country lad?
3Who upon a fair green balk
4May at pleasure sit and walk,
5And amid the azure skies
6See the morning sun arise;
7While he hears in every spring
8How the birds do chirp and sing;
9Or before the hounds in cry
10See the hare go stealing by;
11Or along the shallow brook
12Angling with a baited hook,
13See the fishes leap and play
14In a blessed sunny day;
15Or to hear the partridge call
16Till she have her covey all;
17Or to see the subtle fox,
18How the villain plies the box,
19After feeding on his prey
20How he closely sneaks away
21Through the hedge and down the furrow,
22Till he gets into his burrow;
23Then the bee to gather honey,
24And the little black hair'd coney
25On a bank for sunny place
26With her forefeet wash her face:
27Are not these, with thousands moe
28Than the courts of kings do know,
29The true pleasing-spirits sights
30That may breed true love's delights?
3] balk: unploughed ridge.
24] coney: rabbit.
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: Bonerto [Nicholas Breton], The passionate shepheard, or the shepheardes love (London: E. Allde for J. Tappe, 1604). STC 3682
First publication date:
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.182; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/6
Other poems by Nicholas Breton