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A Concert of Birds

William Browne 1591 (Tavistock, Devon) – 1645



The mounting lark (day's herald) got on wing,
Bidding each bird choose out his bough and sing.
The lofty treble sung the little wren;
Robin the mean, that best of all loves men;
The nightingale the tenor, and the thrush
The counter-tenor sweetly in a bush.
And that the music might be full in parts,
Birds from the groves flew with right willing hearts;
But (as it seem'd) they thought (as do the swains,
Which tune their pipes on sack'd Hibernia's plains)
There should some droning part be, therefore will'd
Some bird to fly into a neighb'ring field,
In embassy unto the King of Bees,
To aid his partners on the flowers and trees
Who, condescending, gladly flew along
To bear the bass to his well-tuned song.
The crow was willing they should be beholding
For his deep voice, but being hoarse with scolding,
He thus lends aid; upon an oak doth climb,
And nodding with his head, so keepeth time.
 
From Britannia's Pastorals.
 

 
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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William Browne

William Browne was an English pastoral poet, born at Tavistock, Devon, and educated at Exeter College, Oxford; subsequently he entered the Inner Temple. His chief works were the long poem Britannia's Pastorals, and a contribution to The Shepheard's Pipe. Britannia's Pastorals was never finished: in his lifetime Books I & II were published successively in 1613 and 1616. The manuscript of Book III was not published until 1852. The poem is concerned with the loves and woes of Celia, Marina, etc. To him is due the epitaph for the dowager Countess of Pembroke. more…

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