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Short poem

George Gascoigne (ca. 1534-1577)

Gascoigne's Lullaby

              1Sing lullaby, as women do,
              2Wherewith they bring their babes to rest;
              3And lullaby can I sing to,
              4As womanly as can the best.
              5With lullaby they still the child,
              6And if I be not much beguil'd,
              7Full many wanton babes have I,
              8Which must be still'd with lullaby.

              9First, lullaby my youthful years,
            10It is now time to go to bed;
            11For crooked age and hoary hairs
            12Have won the haven within my head.
            13With lullaby, then, youth be still,
            14With lullaby, content thy will,
            15Since courage quails and comes behind,
            16Go sleep, and so beguile thy mind.

            17Next, lullaby my gazing eyes,
            18Which wonted were to glance apace;
            19For every glass may now suffice
            20To show the furrows in my face.
            21With lullaby, then, wink awhile,
            22With lullaby, your looks beguile,
            23Let no fair face nor beauty bright
            24Entice you eft with vain delight.

            25And lullaby my wanton will,
            26Let reason's rule now reign thy thought,
            27Since all too late I find by skill
            28How dear I have thy fancies bought.
            29With lullaby, now take thine ease,
            30With lullaby, thy doubts appease,
            31For trust to this, if thou be still,
            32My body shall obey thy will.

            33Eke, lullaby my loving boy,
            34My little Robin, take thy rest;
            35Since age is cold and nothing coy,
            36Keep close thy coin, for so is best.
            37With lullaby, be thou content,
            38With lullaby, thy lusts relent,
            39Let others pay which have mo pence,
            40Thou art too poor for such expense.

            41Thus lullaby, my youth, mine eyes,
            42My will, my ware, and all that was!
            43I can no mo delays devise,
            44But welcome pain, let pleasure pass.
            45With lullaby, now take your leave,
            46With lullaby, your dreams deceive,
            47And when you rise with waking eye,
            48Remember Gascoigne's lullaby.

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: ababccdd

Other poems by George Gascoigne