The Passionate Pilgrim

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Act I, Scene 21

Sonnet to sundry notes of music

  • Shakespeare. As it fell upon a day 375
    In the merry month of May,
    Sitting in a pleasant shade
    Which a grove of myrtles made,
    Beasts did leap, and birds did sing,
    Trees did grow, and plants did spring; 380
    Every thing did banish moan,
    Save the nightingale alone:
    She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
    Lean'd her breast up-till a thorn
    And there sung the dolefull'st ditty, 385
    That to hear it was great pity:
    'Fie, fie, fie,' now would she cry;
    'Tereu, tereu!' by and by;
    That to hear her so complain,
    Scarce I could from tears refrain; 390
    For her griefs, so lively shown,
    Made me think upon mine own.
    Ah, thought I, thou mourn'st in vain!
    None takes pity on thy pain:
    Senseless trees they cannot hear thee; 395
    Ruthless beasts they will not cheer thee:
    King Pandion he is dead;
    All thy friends are lapp'd in lead;
    All thy fellow birds do sing,
    Careless of thy sorrowing. 400
    Even so, poor bird, like thee,
    None alive will pity me.
    Whilst as fickle Fortune smiled,
    Thou and I were both beguiled.
    Every one that flatters thee 405
    Is no friend in misery.
    Words are easy, like the wind;
    Faithful friends are hard to find:
    Every man will be thy friend
    Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend; 410
    But if store of crowns be scant,
    No man will supply thy want.
    If that one be prodigal,
    Bountiful they will him call,
    And with such-like flattering, 415
    'Pity but he were a king;'
    If he be addict to vice,
    Quickly him they will entice;
    If to women he be bent,
    They have at commandement: 420
    But if Fortune once do frown,
    Then farewell his great renown
    They that fawn'd on him before
    Use his company no more.
    He that is thy friend indeed, 425
    He will help thee in thy need:
    If thou sorrow, he will weep;
    If thou wake, he cannot sleep;
    Thus of every grief in heart
    He with thee doth bear a part. 430
    These are certain signs to know
    Faithful friend from flattering foe.

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