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The Partrich and the Merline

The Partridge in the pretie Merlines foote,
Who feeles hir force supprest with fearfulnesse,
And findes that strength nor strife can do hir boote,
To scape the danger of hir deepe distresse:
These wofull wordes may seeme for to reherse
Which I must write in this waymenting verse.

What helpeth now (sayeth she) dame natures skill,
To die my feathers like the dustie ground?
Or what prevayles to lend me winges at will
Which in the ayre can make my bodie bound?
Since from the earth the dogges me crave perforce,
And now aloft the Hauke hath caught my corse.

If chaunge of colours, could not me convey,
Yet mought my wings have scapt the dogges despite:
And if my wings did fayle to flie away,
Yet mought my strength resist the Merlines might.
But nature made the Merline mee to kill,
And me to yeeld unto the Merlines will.

My lot is like (deere Dame) beleve me well,
The quiet life which I full closely kept,
Was not content in happie state to dwell,
But forth in hast to gaze on thee it lept.
Desire thy dogge did spring me up in hast,
Thou wert the Hauke, whose tallents caught me fast.

What should I then, seeke meanes to flie away?
Or strive by force, to breake out of thy feete?
No, no, perdie, I may no strength assay,
To strive with thee ywis, it were not meete.
Thou art that Hauke, whom nature made to hent me,
And I the Byrd, that must therewith content me.

And since Dame nature hath ordayned so,
Hir happie hest I gladly shall embrace:
I yeeld my will, although it were to wo,
I stand content to take my griefe for grace:
And scale it up within my secrete hart,
Which seale receive, as token of my smart.

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The Partrich and the Merline - GEORGE GASCOIGNE