Sunday, December 30, 2012


Content with Hips and Haws

Robert Devereux (1565-1601), 2nd Earl of Essex, in Alexander B. Grosart, ed., Miscellanies of The Fuller Worthies' Library. The Poems of Thomas, Lord Vaux: (Died 1562.) Edward, Earl of Oxford: (Died 1604.): Robert, Earl of Essex: (Died 1601.) and Walter, Earl of Essex: (Died 1576.) (Printed for Private Circulation, 1872), pp. 94-95 (from Ashmole MS. 781, p. 83, and Chetham MS. 8012, p. 86):
Happy were he coulde finish forth his fate
In some vnhaunted desert, moste obscure
From all society, from loue and hate
Of worldly folkes; there might he sleepe secure
There wake againe, and giue God euer praise,        5
Content wth hippes and hawes, and brambleberrie,
In contemplacion passing still his dayes,
And change of holy thoughts to make him merrie;
That when he dyes his tombe might be a bush
Where harmles Robin dwels wth gentle thursh.        10
2 vnhaunted: "Not frequented; lonely, solitary" (Oxford English Dictionary, sense 2)
6 hippes = hips, fruit of the wild rose; hawes = haws, fruit of the hawthorn
10 wth = with; thursh = thrush

Devereux "finished forth his fate" by the punishment of beheading, in the courtyard of the Tower of London, on February 25, 1601.

Marcus Gheereaerts the Younger (1561–1636),
portrait of Devereux, in Trinity College, Cambridge

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