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George Gascoigne (ca. 1534-1577)

And If I Did, What Then?


              1"And if I did, what then?
              2Are you aggriev'd therefore?
              3The sea hath fish for every man,
              4And what would you have more?"

              5  Thus did my mistress once,
              6Amaze my mind with doubt;
              7And popp'd a question for the nonce
              8To beat my brains about.

              9  Whereto I thus replied:
            10"Each fisherman can wish
            11That all the seas at every tide
            12Were his alone to fish.

            13  "And so did I (in vain)
            14But since it may not be,
            15Let such fish there as find the gain,
            16And leave the loss for me.

            17  "And with such luck and loss
            18I will content myself,
            19Till tides of turning time may toss
            20Such fishers on the shelf.

            21  "And when they stick on sands,
            22That every man may see,
            23Then will I laugh and clap my hands,
            24As they do now at me."


Online text copyright © 2003, 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: A Hundreth Sundry Flowers (1573); facs. edn. (Menston: Scolar, 1970). PR 2277 H8 1573A Robarts Library
First publication date: 1573
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.99; RPO 1998-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/28

Rhyme: abab


Other poems by George Gascoigne