« ElőzőTovább »
tempt upon those high steeples and magnificent palaces which we adore and wonder at; from which height I can make her to descend by a word from my mouth, which she both knows and obeys, to accept of meat from my hand, to own me for her master, to go home with me, and be willing the next day to afford me the like recreation,
Nay more, the very birds of the air, those that be not hawks, are both so many, and so useful and pleasant to mankind, that I must not let them pass without some observations,
As first the lark, when she means to rejoice; to cheer here self and those that hear her, she then quits the earth, and sings as she ascends higher into the air ; and þaving ended her heavenly employment, grows then mute and sad to think she must descend to the dull earth, which she would not touch but from necess sity.
How do the blackbird and thrassel with their melodious voices bid welcome to the cheerful spring, and in their fixed months warble forth such ditties as no art or instrument can reach to!
Nay, the smaller birds also do the like in their particular seasons, as, namely, the leverock, the tit-lark, the little linnet, and the honest robin, that loves mankind both alive and dead,
But the nightingale, another of my airy creatures, breathes such sweet loud music, out of her little ina strumental, that it may make mankind to think miracles are not ceased. He that at midnight, when the very labourer sleeps securely, should hear as I have, very often, the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, Lord, what music hast thou provided for the saints in heaven, when thou affordest bad men such music on earth!
There is also a little contemptible winged creature, an inhabitant of my aerial element, namely, the laborious bee, of whose prudence, policy, and regular government of their own commonwealth, I might say much, as also of their several kinds, and how useful their honey and wax is, both for meat and medicines to mankind; but I will leave them to their sweet labour, without the least disturbance, believing them to be all very busy at this very time amongst the herbs and flowers that we see nature puts forth this May-morning.
Chap. or Dialogue 4th.-The Angler speaks.
Look, under that broad beech-tree, I sat down, when I was last this way a-fishing, and the birds in the adjoining groves seemed to have a friendly contention with an echo, whose dead voice seemed to live in a hollow tree, near to the brow of that primrose hill; there I sat viewing the silver streams glide silently towards their centre, the tempestuous sea ; yet sometimes opposed by rugged roots and pebble-stones, which broke their waves and turned then into foam: and sometimes I beguiled time by viewing the harmless lambs, some leaping securely in the cool shade, whilst others sported themselves in the cheerful sun; and saw others craving comfort from the swoln udders of their bleating dams. As I thus sat, these and other sights had so fully possessed my soul with content, that I thought, as the poet has happily expressed it:
I was for that time lifted above earth;
As I left this place and entered into the next field, a second pleasure entertained me; 'twas a handsomne milk-maid, that had not yet attained so much age
and wisdom as to load her mind with any
fears of many things that will never be, as too many men too often but she cast away
like a nightingale; her voice was good, and the ditty fitted for it: it was that smooth song, which was made by Kit Marlow, now at least fifty years ago ; and the milk-maid's mother sang an answer to it, which was made by sir Walter Raleigh, in his younger days.
They were old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good; I think much better than the strong lines that are
now in fashion in this critical age. Look yonder! on my word, yonder they beth be a-milking again, I will give her the chub, and persuade them to sing those two songs to us.
God speed you, good woman, I have been a-fishing, and am going to Bleak-hall, to my bed; and having caught more fish than will sup myself and my friend, I will bestow this upon you and your daughter, for I use to sell none.
Milk-wom, Marry, God requite you, sir, and we'll eat it chearfully; and if you come this way a-fishing two nionths hence, a grace of God, I'll give you a syllabub of new verjuice in a new made haycock for
Maudlin shall sing you one of her best ballads ; for she and I both love all anglers, they be such honest, civil, quiet men : in the mean time will
you drink a draught of red cow's milk? You shall have it freely Pisc, No, I thank you; but I
do us a cour tesy, that shall stand you and your daughter in nothing, and yet we will think ourselves still something in your debt: it is but to sing us a song that was sung by your daughter when I last past over this meadow, about eight or nine days since.
Milk-wom. What song was it, I pray? Was it Come shepherds, deck your herds? or, As at noon Duleina rested? or, Phillida flouts me? or, Chevy-chace? of, Johnny Armstrong ? or, Troy-town?
Pisc. No, it is none of those; it is a song that your daughter sung the first part, and you sung the answer to it.
Milk-wom. Oh, I know it now, I learned the first part in my golden age, when I was about the age of my poor daughter, and the latter part, which indeed fits me best now, but two or three years ago, when the cares of the world began to take hold of me: but you shall, God willing, hear them both, and sung as well as we can ; for we both love anglers. Come, Maudlin, sing the first part to the gentleman with a merry heart, and I'll sing the second when you have done.
Here follows the milk-maid's
song. live with me and be my love,” After which the hunter speaks :
Ven. Trust me, master, it is a choice
and sweetly sung by bonest Maudlin. I now see it was not without cause, that our good queen Elizabeth did so often wish herself a milk-maid all the month of May, because they are not troubled with fears and cares, but sing sweetly all the day, and sleep securely all the night; and without doubt, honest, innocent, pretty Maudlin does so. I'll bestow sir Thomas Overbury's milk-maid's wish upon her,