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Sonnet XXIII

Merlin, they say, an English Prophet borne,
When he was yong and gouern'd by his Mother,
Took great delight to laugh such fooles to scorne,
As thought, by Nature we might know a Brother.

His Mother chid him oft, till on a day,
They stood, and saw a Coarse to buriall carried,
The Father teares his beard, doth weepe and pray;
The Mother was the woman he had married.

Merlin laughs out aloud in stead of crying;
His Mother chides him for that childish fashion;
Sayes, Men must mourne the dead, themselues are dying,
Good manners doth make answer vnto passion.

The Child (for children see what should be hidden)
Replies vnto his Mother by and by,
"Mother, if you did know, and were forbidden,
Yet you would laugh as heartily, as I.

This Man no part hath in the child he sorrowes,
His Father was the Monke that sings before him:
See then how Nature of Adoption borrowes,
Truth couets in me, that I should restore him.
             True fathers singing, supposed fathers crying,
             I thinke make women laugh, that lye a-dying."