Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  47. A Lover’s Lullaby

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

George Gascoigne. 1525?–77

47. A Lover’s Lullaby

SING lullaby, as women do, 
  Wherewith they bring their babes to rest; 
And lullaby can I sing too, 
  As womanly as can the best. 
With lullaby they still the child;         5
And if I be not much beguiled, 
Full many a wanton babe have I, 
Which must be still’d with lullaby. 
First lullaby my youthful years, 
  It is now time to go to bed:  10
For crookèd age and hoary hairs 
  Have won the haven within my head. 
With lullaby, then, youth be still; 
With lullaby content thy will; 
Since courage quails and comes behind,  15
Go sleep, and so beguile thy mind! 
Next lullaby my gazing eyes, 
  Which wonted were to glance apace; 
For every glass may now suffice 
  To show the furrows in thy face.  20
With lullaby then wink awhile; 
With lullaby your looks beguile; 
Let no fair face, nor beauty bright, 
Entice you eft with vain delight. 
And lullaby my wanton will;  25
  Let reason’s rule now reign thy thought; 
Since all too late I find by skill 
  How dear I have thy fancies bought; 
With lullaby now take thine ease, 
With lullaby thy doubts appease;  30
For trust to this, if thou be still, 
My body shall obey thy will. 
Thus lullaby my youth, mine eyes, 
  My will, my ware, and all that was: 
I can no more delays devise;  35
  But welcome pain, let pleasure pass. 
With lullaby now take your leave; 
With lullaby your dreams deceive; 
And when you rise with waking eye, 
Remember then this lullaby.  40