Pastoral Poems (Breton); Selected Poetry (Wither); Pastoral Poetry (Browne)/"Glide soft, ye Silver Floods"
"Glide soft, ye Silver Floods"
Glide soft, ye silver floods,
And every spring:
Within the shady woods
Let no bird sing!
Nor from the grove a turtle-dove
Be seen to couple with her love;
But silence on each dale and mountain dwell,
Whilst Willy bids his friend and joy farewell.
But (of great Thetis' train)
Ye mermaids fair,
That on the shores do plain
Your sea-green hair,
As ye in trammels knit your locks,
Weep ye; and so enforce the rocks
In heavy murmurs through the broad shores tell
How Willy bade his friend and joy farewell.
Cease, cease, ye murd'ring winds,
To move a wave;
But if with troubled minds
You seek his grave;
Know 'tis as various as yourselves,
Now in the deep, then on the shelves,
His coffin toss'd by fish and surges fell,
Whilst Willy weeps and bids all joy farewell.
Had he Arion-like
Been judged to drown,
He on his lute could strike
So rare a sowne,
A thousand dolphins would have come
And jointly strive to bring him home.
But he on shipboard died, by sickness fell,
Since when his Willy bade all joy farewell.
Great Neptune, hear a swain!
His coffin take,
And with a golden chain
For pity make
It fast unto a rock near land!
Where ev'ry calmy morn I'll stand,
And ere one sheep out of my fold I tell,
Sad Willy's pipe shall bid his friend farewell.
From Britannia's Pastorals.