THE soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings
With green hath clad the hill, and eke the vale;
The nightingale with feathers new she sings;
The turtle to her make hath told her tale.
Summer is come, for every spray now springs;
The hart hath hung his old head on the pale;
The buck in brake his winter coat he flings;
The fishes float with new repairèd scale;
The adder all her slough away she slings;
The swift swallow pursueth the flies small;
The busy bee her honey now she mings;
Winter is worn that was the flowers’ bale.
And thus I see among these pleasant things
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs.
This is by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, and first cousin to Anne Boleyn. He was executed, age 30, in 1547 having lost the trust of that other, more powerful, Henry. Howard is known, with Sir Thomas Wyatt, as the father of the English sonnet.
soote, sweet; eke, also; turtle, turtledove; make, mate; brake, thicket; flete, float; mings, mingles or remembers.