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A Pleasant Grove

William Browne 1591 (Tavistock, Devon) – 1645



Unto a pleasant grove or such like place,
Where here the curious cutting of a hedge:
There, by a pond, the trimming of the sedge:
Here the fine setting of well-shading trees:
The walks there mounting up by small degrees,
The gravel and the green so equal lie,
It, with the rest, draws on your ling'ring eye:
Here the sweet smells that do perfume the air,
Arising from the infinite repair
Of odoriferous buds and herbs of price,
(As if it were another Paradise)
So please the smelling sense, that you are fain
Where last you walk'd to turn and walk again.
There the small birds with their harmonious notes
Sing to a spring that smileth as she floats:
For in her face a many dimples show,
And often skips as it did dancing go:
Here further down an over-arched alley,
That from a hill goes winding in a valley,
You spy at end thereof a standing lake,
Where some ingenious artist strives to make
The water (brought in turning pipes of lead
Through birds of earth most lively fashioned)
To counterfeit and mock the sylvans all,
In singing well their own set madrigal.
This with no small delight retains your ear,
And makes you think none blest but who live there.
Then in another place the fruits that be
In gallant clusters decking each good tree,
Invite your hand to crop some from the stem,
And liking one, taste every sort of them:
Then to the arbours walk, then to the bowers,
Thence to the walks again, thence to the flowers,
Then to birds, and to the clear spring thence,
Now pleasing one, and then another sense.
Here one walks oft, and yet anew begin'th,
As if it were some hidden labyrinth;
So loath to part and so content to stay,
That when the gard'ner knocks for you away,
It grieves you so to leave the pleasures in it,
That you could wish that you had never seen it.
 
From Britannia's Pastorals.
 

 
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

1:42 min read
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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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