"Therefore shepherds, wanting skill, Can Loves duties best fulfil; Since they know not how to feign, Nor with love to cloak disdain, Like the wiser sort, whose learning Hides their inward will of harming.
In this wood a man I met, On lamenting wholly set; Ruing change of wonted state, Whence he was transformed late, Once to shepherds God retaining, Now in servile court remaining.
"But may love abiding be In poor shepherds base degree? It belongs to such alone To whom art of love is known: Seely shepherds are not witting What in art of love is fitting.
There he wandring malecontent, Up and down perplexed went, Daring not to tell to me, Spake unto a senseless tree, One among the rest electing, These same words, or this affecting: "My old mates I grieve to see Void of me in field to be, Where we once our lovely sheep Lovingly like friends did keep; Oft each others friendship proving, Never striving, but in loving.
"So shall I to thee always With my reeds sound mighty praise: And first lamb that shall befall, Yearly deck thine altar shall, If it please thee to be reflected, And I from thee not rejected." So I left him in that place, Taking pity on his case; Learning this among the rest, That the mean estate is best; Better filled with contenting, Void of wishing and repenting.
"Only for my two loves sake, In whose love I pleasure take; Only two do me delight With their ever-pleasing sight; Of all men to thee retaining, Grant me with those two remaining.
"Therefore, Pan, if thou mayst be Made to listen unto me, Grant, I say, if seely man May make treaty to god Pan, That I, without thy denying, May be still to thee relying.
Walking in bright Phoebus blaze, Where with heat oppressed I was, I got to a shady wood, Where green leaves did newly bud; And of grass was plenty dwelling, Decked with pied flowers sweetly smelling.
"Nay, what need the art to those To whom we our love disclose? It is to be used then, When we do but flatter men: Friendship true, in heart assured, Is by Natures gifts procured.
"Well was I, while under shade Oaten reeds me music made, Striving with my mates in song; Mixing mirth our songs among. Greater was the shepherds treasure Than this false, fine, courtly pleasure.
"Where how many creatures be, So many puffed in mind I see; Like to Junos birds of pride, Scarce each other can abide: Friends like to black swans appearing, Sooner these than those in hearing.