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Songs of Shepherds in rustical roundelays,
Formed in fancy and whistled on reeds,
Sung to solace young nymphs upon holy days,
Are too unworthy for wonderful deeds;
Sottish Silenus to Phoebus the genius,
Was sent by dame Venus a song to prepare;
In phrase nicely coin'd
And verse quite refin'd;
How the states divine hunted the hare.

Stars quite tir'd with pastimes Olympical,
Stars and planets that beautiful shone,
Could no longer endure men only shall
Swim in pleasures and they but look on;
Round about horned Lueina they swarmed,
And her informed how minded they were,
And each god and goddess,
To take human bodies,
As lords and ladies to follow the hare.

Light God Cupid was mounted on Pegasus
Drawn from the Muses by kisses and prayers;
Stern Alcides upon cloudy Caucasus,
Mounted a centaur that proudly him bears;
Postillion of the sky,
Light-heel'd Mercury,
Made his courser fly fleet as the air;
While tuneful Apollo
The chase did follow,
And whoop and hollow, boys, after the hare.

Three brown bowls to the Olympical rector,
The Troy-born boy presents on his knee;
Jove to Phoebus carouses in nectar,
And Phoebus to Hermes, and Hermes to me;
Wherewith infused,
I piped and I mused,
In language unused, their sports to declare;
Till the house of Jove,
Like the Spheres did move;
Health to those who love hunting the hare.

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Source: Sabine Baring Gould, 1895, Old English Songs from English Minstrelsie



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