A Pastoral

O happy, golden age!
Not for that rivers ran
With streams of milk, and honey dropped from trees;
Not that the earth did gage
Unto the husbandman

Her voluntary fruits, free without fees;

Not for no cold did freeze,
Nor any cloud beguile
Th'eternal flowering spring,
Wherein lived every thing,
And whereon th'heavens perpetually did smile;
Not for no ship had brought
From foreign shores or wars or wares ill sought.

But only for that name,
That idle name of wind,
That idol of deceit, that empty sound,
Called Honour, which became
The tyrant of the mind,
And so torments our nature without ground,
Was not yet vainly found;
Nor yet sad griefs imparts
Amidst the sweet delights
Of joyful, amorous wights;
Nor were his hard laws known to free-born hearts;
But golden laws like these
Which Nature wrote: "That's lawful, which doth please.'

Then amongst flowers and springs,
Making delightful sport,
Sat lovers without conflict, without flame;
And nymphs and shepherds sings,
Mixing in wanton sort
Whisperings with songs, then kisses with the same,
Which from affection came.
The naked virgin then
Her roses fresh reveals,
Which now her veil conceals,
The tender apples in her bosom seen;
And oft in rivers clear
The lovers with their loves consorting were.

Honour, thou first didst close
The spring of all delight,
Denying water to the amorous thirst;
Thou taught'st fair eyes to lose
The glory of their light,
Restrained from men, and on themselves reversed.
Thou in a lawn didst first
Those golden hairs incase,
Late spread unto the wind;

Thou madest loose grace unkind;
Gavest bridle to their words, art to their pace.
O Honour, it is thou
That makest that stealth, which Love doth free allow.

It is thy work that brings
Our griefs and torments thus.
But thou, fierce lord of Nature and of Love,
The qualifier of kings;
What dost thou here with us,
That are below thy power, shut from above?
Go, and from us remove;
Trouble the mighty's sleep;
Let us neglected, base,
Live still without thy grace,
And th'use of th'ancient happy ages keep.
Let's love; this life of ours
Can make no truce with Time that all devours.
Let's love; the sun doth set, and rise again;
But when as our short light
Comes once to set, it makes eternal night.
Author of original: 
Torquato Tasso
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