The Tavy

William Browne

(From Britannia’s Pastorals)


A LITTLE grove is seated on the marge

Of Tavy’s streame, not over thicke nor large,

Where every morn a quire of Silvans sung,

And leaves to chatt’ring winds serv’d as a tongue,

By whom the water runs in many a ring,

As if it fain would stay to heare them sing,

And on the top a thousand young birds flye,

To be instructed in their harmony.

Neere to the end of this all-joysome grove

A dainty circled plot seem’d as it strove

To keepe all bryers and bushes from invading

Her pleasing compasse by their needlesse shading,

Since it was not so large but that the store

Of trees around could shade her breast and more.

In midst thereof a little swelling hill,

Gently disburd’ned of a christall rill

Which from the greenside of the flow’ry bancke

Eat downe a channell; here the wood-nymphs dranke,

And great Diana, having slaine the deere,

Did often use to come and bathe her here.

Here talk’d they of their chase, and where next day

They meant to hunt: here did the shepheards play,

And many a gaudy nymph was often seene

Imbracing shepheard’s boyes upon this greene.

From hence the spring hasts downe to Tavy’s brim,

And pays a tribute of his drops to him.