By George Gascoigne
“And if I did, what then?
Are you aggriev’d therefore?
The sea hath fish for every man,
And what would you have more?”
Thus did my mistress once,
Amaze my mind with doubt;
And popp’d a question for the nonce
To beat my brains about.
Whereto I thus replied:
“Each fisherman can wish
That all the seas at every tide
Were his alone to fish.
“And so did I (in vain)
But since it may not be,
Let such fish there as find the gain,
And leave the loss for me.
“And with such luck and loss
I will content myself,
Till tides of turning time may toss
Such fishers on the shelf.
“And when they stick on sands,
That every man may see,
Then will I laugh and clap my hands,
As they do now at me.”
George Gascoigne, the son of a landowner and farmer, was born in Cardington, Bedfordshire, England. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and replaced his father as an almoner at Elizabeth I’s coronation. However, as a farmer George Gascoigne was unsuccessful: he was imprisoned for debt and yet served in Parliament for two years, beginning in 1557. Gascoigne wrote poetry, plays, and prose. His first play, Supposes, may have been used by Shakespeare as a source for part of The Taming of the Shrew. Gascoigne died of an illness near Stamford.
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