by Robert Herrick

Lacon. FOR a kiss or two, confess,
What doth cause this pensiveness,
Thou most lovely neat-herdess ?
Why so lonely on the hill ?
Why thy pipe by thee so still,
That erewhile was heard so shrill ?
Tell me, do thy kine now fail
To full fill the milking-pail ?
Say, what is't that thou dost ail ?

Thyr. None of these ; but out, alas !
A mischance is come to pass,
And I'll tell thee what it was :
See, mine eyes are weeping-ripe.

Lacon. Tell, and I'll lay down my pipe.

Thyr. I have lost my lovely steer,
That to me was far more dear
Than these kine which I milk here :
Broad of forehead, large of eye,
Party-colour'd like a pie ;
Smooth in each limb as a die ;
Clear of hoof, and clear of horn :
Sharply pointed as a thorn,
With a neck by yoke unworn ;
From the which hung down by strings,
Balls of cowslips, daisy rings,
Interplac'd with ribbonings :
Faultless every way for shape ;
Not a straw could him escape ;
Ever gamesome as an ape,
But yet harmless as a sheep.
Pardon, Lacon, if I weep ;
Tears will spring where woes are deep.
Now, ah me ! ah me !   Last night
Came a mad dog and did bite,
Aye, and kill'd my dear delight.

Lacon. Alack, for grief !

Thyr. But I'll be brief.
Hence I must, for time doth call
Me, and my sad playmates all,
To his ev'ning funeral.
Live long, Lacon, so adieu !
Lacon. Mournful maid, farewell to you ;
Earth afford ye flowers to strew.

Pie, i.e., a magpie.

Herrick, Robert. Works of Robert Herrick. vol II.
Alfred Pollard, ed.
London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1891. 130-131.

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