The second eclogue is a dialogue between old Wynken and young Motto; the theme is youth and age, and Drayton explicitly alludes to Spenser's fable of the Oak and the Briar. Motto, of course, is all for love and poetry while Wynken (plainly the superior poet of the two) underscores the miseries love brings. He underscores the sadness of old age by adding a Spenserian alexandrine to one of his quatrains: "When downe-beds heat must thawe thy frozen cold, | And luke-warme brothes recure Phlebotomie, | And when the bell is readie to be tol'd, | To call the wormes to thine Anatomie: | Remember then my boy, what once I said to thee."
European Magazine: "The eclogues of Spenser, of Pope, and of Phillips, are continually mentioned; but where do we find the name of Drayton? — Collins and Drayton are the only English poets who have written eclogues that will bear perusal: Spenser is not himself when he touches the crook" 10 (September 1786) 153-43.
Herbert E. Cory: "The second eclogue follows the motive of Februarie. Aged Wynken reproves Moth for his youthful intemperance in love, and edges his remonstrances with a simile drawn from the fable with which Spenser's old Thenot sought to reprove the youthful Cuddie" "Spenserian Pastoral" PMLA 25 (1910) 247.
Tillotson and Newdigate: "This eclogue may be compared with SC Februarie and Aprill. Wynken corresponds to Spenser's Thenot, who debates on old age with Cuddie in Februarie, and in Aprill discusses Colin's love-lorn state with Hobbinol, who sings one of Colin's lays. Drayton has combined the two situations, but his Motto is much more polite than Cuddie; he does not make any use of the season; and the language of his songs is still religious. There are also several verbal reminiscences of Februarie, and also, in Wynken's speeches, of December" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:6.
Wynken of mans frayle wayning age
Declares the simple truth,
And doth by Rowlands harmes reproove
Mottos unbrideled youth.
Might my youths mirth delight thy aged yeeres,
My gentle shepheard father of us all,
Wherewith I whylome Joy'd my lovely feeres,
Chanting sweete straines of heavenly pastorall.
Now would I tune my miskins on this Greene,
And frame my muse those vertues to unfold,
Of that sole Phenix Bird, my lives sole Queene:
Whose locks done staine, the three times burnisht gold.
But melancholie grafted in thy Braine,
My Rimes seeme harsh, to thy unrelisht taste,
Thy droughthy wits, not long refresht with raigne,
Parched with heat, done wither now and waste.
Indeed my Boy, my wits been all forlorne,
My flowers decayd, with winter-withered frost,
My clowdy set eclips'd my cherefull morne,
That Jewell gone wherein I joyed most.
My dreadful thoughts been drawen upon my face,
In blotted lines with ages iron pen,
The lothlie morpheu saffroned the place,
Where beuties damaske daz'd the eies of men.
A cumber-world, yet in the world am left,
A fruitles plot, with brambles overgrowne,
Mislived man of my worlds joy bereft,
Hart-breaking cares the ofspring of my mone.
Those daintie straines of my well tuned reed,
Which manie a time have pleasd my wanton eares,
Nor sweet, nor pleasing thoughts in me done breed,
But tell the follies of my wandring yeares.
Those poysned pils been biding at my hart,
Those loathsome drugs of my youths vanitie,
Sweete seem'd they once, ful bitter now and tart,
Ay me consuming corosives they be.
Even so I weene, for thy olde ages fever,
Deemes sweetest potions bitter as the gall,
And thy colde Pallat having lost her savour,
Receives no comfort in a cordiall.
As thou art now, was I a gamesome boy,
Though starv'd with wintred eld as thou do'st see,
And well I know thy swallow-winged joy,
Shalbe forgotten as it is in me.
When on the Arche of thine eclipsed eies,
Time hath ingrav'd deepe characters of death,
And sun-burnt age thy kindlie moisture dries,
Thy wearied lungs be niggards of thy breath,
Thy brawne-falne armes, thy camock-bended backe,
The time-plow'd furrowes in thy fairest field,
The Southsaiers of natures wofull wrack,
When blooming age must stoupe to starved eld,
When Lillie white is of a tawnie die,
Thy fragrant crimson turn'd ash-coloured pale,
Thy skin orecast with rough embroderie,
And cares rude pencell, quite disgrac'd thy sale,
When downe-beds heat must thawe thy frozen cold,
And luke-warme brothes recure Phlebotomie,
And when the bell is readie to be tol'd,
To call the wormes to thine Anatomie:
Remember then my boy, what once I said to thee.
Now I am like the knurrie-bulked Oke,
Whome wasting eld hath made a toombe of dust,
Whose wind-fallen branches feld by tempest stroke,
His barcke consumes with canker-wormed rust.
And though thou seemst like to the bragging bryer,
As gay as is the mornings Marygolde,
Yet shortly shall thy sap be drie and seere,
Thy gaudy Blossomes blemished with colde.
Even such a wanton, an unruly swayne,
Was little Rowland, when of yore as he,
Upon the Beechen tree on yonder playne,
Carved this rime of loves Idolatrie.
The Gods delight, the heavens hie spectacle,
Earths greatest glory, worlds rarest miracle.
Fortunes fayr'st mistresse, vertues surest guide,
Loves Governesse, and natures chiefest pride.
Delights owne darling, honours cheefe defence,
Chastities choyce, and wisdomes quintessence.
Conceipts sole Riches, thoughts only treasure,
Desires true hope, Joyes sweetest pleasure.
Mercies due merite, valeurs just reward,
Times fayrest fruite, fames strongest guarde.
Yea she alone, next that eternall he,
The expresse Image of eternitie.
Oh divine love, which so aloft canst raise,
And lift the minde out of this earthly mire,
And do'st inspire the pen with so hie prayse,
As with the heavens doth equal mans desire.
Thou lightning flame of sacred Poesie,
Whose furie doth incense the swelling braines,
As drawes to thee by heaven-bred Sympathie,
The sweete delights of highest soaring vaines:
Who doth not helpe to deck thy holy Shrine,
With Mirtle, and triumphant Lawrell tree?
Who will not say that thou art most divine?
Or who doth not confesse thy deitie?
A, foolish boy, full ill is he repayed,
For now the wanton pines in endles paine,
And sore repents what he before missaide,
So may they be which can so lewdly faine.
Now hath this yonker torne his tressed lockes,
And broke his pipe which sounded erst so sweete,
Forsaking his companions and their flocks,
And casts his gayest garland at his feete.
And being shrowded in a homely cote,
And full of sorrow as a man might be,
He tun'd his Rebeck with a mournfull note,
And thereto sang this dolefull elegie.
Tell me fayre flocke (if so you can conceave)
The sodaine cause of my night-sunnes eclipse,
If this be wrought me my light to bereave,
By Magick spels, from some inchanting lips
Or ugly Saturne from his combust sent,
This fatall presage of deaths dreryment.
Oh cleerest day-starre, honored of mine eyes,
Yet sdaynst mine eyes should gaze upon thy light,
Bright morning sunne, who with thy sweet arise,
Expell'st the clouds of my harts lowring might,
Goddes rejecting sweetest sacrifice,
Of mine eyes teares ay offered to thine eyes.
May purest heavens scorne my soules pure desires?
Or holy shrines hate Pilgrims orizons?
May sacred temples gaynsay sacred prayers?
Or Saints refuse the poores devotions?
Then Orphane thoughts with sorrow be you waind,
When loves Religion shalbe thus prophayn'd.
Yet needes the earth must droupe with visage sad,
When silver dewes been turn'd to bitter stormes,
The Cheerefull Welkin once in sables clad,
Her frownes foretell poore humaine creatures harmes.
And yet for all to make amends for this,
The clouds sheed teares and weepen at my misse.
Woe's me for him that pineth so in payne,
Alas poore Rowland, how it pities me,
So faire a baite should breed so foule a bayne,
Or humble shewes should cover crueltie.
Beware by him thou foolish wanton swayne,
By others harmes thus maist thou learne to heede,
Beautie and wealth been fraught with hie disdaine,
Beleeve it as a Maxim of thy Creede.
If that there be such woes and paines in love,
Woe be to him that list the same to prove.
Yes thou shalt find, if thou desir'st to prove,
There is no hell, unto the paines in love.