1579
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Shepheardes Calender VI: June.

The Shepheardes Calender conteyning Twelve Aeglogues proportionable to the Twelve Monethes. Entitled to the noble and vertuous Gentleman most worthy of all Titles both of Learning and Chevalrie M. Philip Sidney.

Edmund Spenser


A complaint. The stanza of "June" is a Spenserian experiment lacking the characteristic closing couplet (ababbaba) seemingly not repeated elsewhere.

John Hughes: "Hobbinol, from a Description of the Pleasures of the Place, excites Colin to the Enjoyment of them. Colin declares himself incapable of Delight, by reason of his ill Success in Love, and his Loss of Rosalind, who had treacherously forsaken him for Menalcas, another Shepherd. By Tityrus (mention'd before in the Second Aeglogue, and again in the Twelfth) is plainly meant Chaucer, whom the Author sometimes profess'd to imitate. In the Person of Colin, as before, is represented the Author himself; and Hobbinol's inviting him to leave the Country, seems to allude to his leaving the North, where, as it is mention'd in his Life, he had for some time resided" Works of Spenser (1715) 4:1074.

John Dryden: "Spencer being Master of our Northern Dialect; and skill'd in Chaucer's English, has so exactly imitated the Doric of Theocritus, that his Love is a perfect Image of that Passion which God infus'd into both Sexes, before it was corrupted with the Knowledge of Arts, and the Ceremonies of what we call good Manners" Works of Virgil (1697) 3.

Thomas Birch: "After he had continued for some Time in the North, he was prevail'd upon by the Advice of some Friends to quit his Obscurity, and come to London, that he might be in the Way of Preferment. To this he alludes in his Sixth Eclogue, where Hobbinol, by which Name he meant his intimate Friend Mr. GABRIEL HARVEY, persuades Colin, under whom SPENSER himself is shadowed, to leave the hilly Country, as a barren and unthriving Solitude, and remove to a better Soil" Faerie Queene (1751) 1:iv.

Selected notes from Todd's Works of Spenser (1805):

This is one of the most poetical and elegant of the Pastorals. T. WARTON.

To the waters fall &c.] So the shepherd's boy "tuned his lay unto the waters fall," April v. 36. Browne, who often imitates Spenser with great elegance, thus relates the argument of Song iii. B. i. Brit. Past. ed. 1616. "The shepheards swain here singing on | Tels of the cure of Doridon; | And then unto the waters fals | Chaunteth the rusticke pastorals." TODD.

— attempter] "Attemper," or "temper," in this sense is disused at present; though both seem commodious words for poetry. Thus Milton, in Lycidas: "Mean while the rural ditties were not mute, | Temper'd to th' oaten flute." And Fletcher, Purp. Isl. C. ix. st. 3. "Hear'st how the larks give welcome to the day, | Tempring their sweetest notes unto the lay." T. WARTON.

O happie Hobbinoll, &c.] This stanza is much in the stile of the first speech of Meliboeus to Tityrus, in Virgil's first Eclogue. T. WARTON.

to make:] "Make" is manifestly used in the sense of "versify"; and for this we have moreover the testimony of E. K. Again, in Colin Clouts come home againe: "Besides her peerlesse skill in making well, &c." That is, queen Elizabeth, whom in another part of the poem he calls a "peerlesse poetesse." See also April, ver. 19. Puttenham, in his Arte of English Poesie, generally uses "maker" for poet, [Greek characters: "poieses"]; and, if we believe Sir J. Harington, it was that author who first brought this expression, the significancy of which is much commended by Sir P. Sidney and Jonson, into fashion about the age of queen Elizabeth. See also the Apologie for Poesie, prefixed to Harington's Ariosto: "Nor to dispute how high and supernatural the name of a maker is, so christned in English by that [then] unknowne godfather, that this last year save one, viz. 1589, set forth a booke called The Arte of English Poesie." T. WARTON.



HOBBINOL. COLIN.
Lo! Colin, here the Place, whose pleasant Sight
From other Shades hath wean'd my wandring Mind:
Tell me, what wants me here, to work Delight?
The simple Air, she gentle warbling Wind,
So calm, so cool, as no where else I find:
The grassy Ground with dainty Daisies dight,
The Bramble Bush, where Birds of every kind
To th' Water's Fall their Tunes attemper right.

COLIN.
O! happy Hoblinol, I bless thy State,
That Paradise hast found which Adam lost.
Here wander may thy Flock early or late,
Withouten Dread of Wolves to been ytost;
Thy lovely Lays here mayst thou freely boast:
But I, unhappy Man! whom cruel Fate,
And angry God, pursue from Coast to Coast,
Can no where find, to shroud my luckless Pate.

HOBBINOL.
Then if by me thou list advised be,
Forsake the Soil, that so doth thee bewitch:
Leave me those Hills, where Harbrough nis to see,
Nor Holly-bush, nor Brere, nor winding Ditch;
And to the Dales resort, where Shepherds rich,
And fruitful Flocks been every where to see:
Here no Night-Ravens lodge, more black than Pitch,
Nor elvish Ghosts, nor ghastly Owls do flee.

But friendly Fairies, met with many Graces,
And lightfoot Nymphs can chace the lingring Night,
With Heydeguies, and trimly trodden Traces;
Whilst Sisters nine, which dwell on Parnass' hight,
Do make them Musick, for their mere Delight;
And Pan himself to kiss their crystal Faces,
Will pipe and daunce, when Phoebe shineth bright:
Such peerless Pleasures have we in these Places.

COLIN.
And I, whilst Youth, and Course of careless Years,
Did let me walk withouten Links of Love,
In such Delights did joy amongst my Peers;
But riper Age such Pleasures doth reprove,
My Fancy eke from former Follies move
To stayed Steps: for time in passing wears
(As Garments doen, which wexen old above)
And draweth new Delights with hoary Hairs.

Tho couth I sing of Love, and tune my Pipe
Unto my plaintive Pleas in Verses made:
Tho would I seek for Queen-Apples unripe,
To give my Rosalind, and in Sommer Shade
Dight gawdy Girlonds, was my common Trade,
To crown her golden Locks: but Years more ripe,
And Loss of her, whose Love as Life I wayde,
Those weary wanton Toys away did wipe.

HOBBINOL.
Colin, to hear thy Rimes and Roundelays,
Which thou wert wont on wasteful Hills to sing,
I more delight, then Lark in Sommer Days:
Whose Eccho made the neighbour Groves to ring,
And taught the Birds, which in the lower Spring
Did shroud in shady Leaves from sunny Rays;
Frame to thy Song their cheerful cheriping,
Or hold their Peace, for shame of thy sweet Lays.

I saw Calliope with Muses moe,
Soon as thy Oaten Pipe began to sound,
Their Ivory Lutes and Tamburins forgo:
And from the Fountain, where they sate around,
Ren after hastily thy silver Sound.
But when they came, where thou thy Skill didst show,
They drew aback, as half with Shame confound,
Shepherd to see, them in their Art out-go

COLIN.
Of Muses, Hobbinol, I con no Skill,
For they been Daughters of the highest Jove,
And holden Scorn of homely Shepherds-Quill:
For sith I heard that Pan with Phoebus strove,
Which him to much Rebuke and Danger drove,
I never list presume to Parnass' Hill,
But piping low, in shade of lowly Grove,
I play to please my self, albeit ill.

Nought weigh I, who my Song doth praise or blame,
Ne rive to win Renown, or pass the rest:
With Shepherd fits not follow flying Fame,
But feed his Flock in Fields, where falls him best.
I wote my Rimes been rough, and rudely drest;
The fitter they, my careful Case to frame:
Enough is me to paint out my Unrest,
And pour my piteous Plaints out in the same.

The God of Shepherds, Tityrus is dead,
Who taught me homely, as I can, to make:
He, whilst he lived, was the sovereign Head
Of Shepherds all, that been with Love ytake.
Well couth he wail his Woes, and lightly slake
The Flames, which Love within his Heart had bred,
And tell us merry Tales, to keep us wake,
The while our Sheep about us safely fed.

Now dead he is, and lieth wrapt in Lead,
(O why should Death on him such Outrage show!)
And all his passing Skill with him is fled,
The Fame whereof doth daily greater grow.
But if on me some little Drops would flow
Of that the Spring was in his learned Hed,
I soon would learn these Woods to wail my Woe,
And teach the Trees their trickling Tears to shed.

Then should my Plaints, caus'd of Discourtesee,
As Messengers of this my painful Plight,
Fly to my Love, wherever that she be,
And pierce her Heart with Point of worthy Wight;
As she deserves, that wrought so deadly Spight.
And thou, Menalcas, that by Treachery
Didst underfong my Lass to wax so light,
Should'st well be known for such thy Villany.

But since I am not, as I wish I were,
Ye gentle Shepherds, which your Flock do feed,
Whether on Hills, or Dales, or other where,
Bear witness all of this so wicked Deed:
And tell the Lass, whose Flowre is woxe a Weed,
And faultless Faith is turn'd to faithless Fear,
That she the truest Shepherd's Heart made bleed,
That lives on Earth, and loved her most dear.

HOBBINOL.
O! careful Colin, I lament thy Case,
Thy Tears would make the hardest Flint to flow!
Ah! faithless Rosalind, and void of Grace,
That are the Root of all this rueful Woe!
But now is time, I guess, homeward to go;
Then rise, ye blessed Flocks, and home apace,
Lest Night with stealing Steps do you foreslo,
And wet your tender Lambs, that by you trace.

COLIN'S EMBLEM.
Gia speme spenta.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 4:1074-78]