1593
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Shepheards Garland V: The Fifth Eglog.

Idea: the Shepheards Garland. Fashioned in Nine Eglogs. Rowlands Sacrifice to the Nine Muses.

Michael Drayton


Young Motto asks Rowland to demonstrate the renewal of "the old stocke of famous poesie" by taking on some heroic subject. Rowland avers that high public matters are inappropriate for pastoral, and besides he will not flatter. Instead the shepherd praises his muse Idea in an elaborate blazon: "Read in her eyes a Romant of delights, | Read in her words the proverbs of the wise, | Read in her life the holy vestall rites, | Which love and vertue sweetly moralize: | And she the Academ of vertues exercise." Several of the stanzas terminante in the Spenserian alexandrine. This declaration of Drayton's poetical principles marks the center of the cycle of nine eclogues.

W. W. Greg: "In connection with the name 'Idea,' in which certain critics have wished to see a deep philosophical meaning, I would suggest that it may be nothing but the feminine of 'Idaeus,' that is, a shepherd of Mount Ida, a name found in the second eclogue of Petrarch. It is, however, true that the word 'idea' bore the meaning of 'an ideal,' in which sense, we occasionally find it applied to England" Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (1906) 103n.

Herbert E. Cory: "In the fifth eclogue Rowland sings the praises of his mistress Idea. Drayton seems to have imitated Spenser's scheme of devoting the beginning and middle and end of his group of eclogues to personal love-poetry" "Spenserian Pastoral" PMLA 25 (1910) 248.

Tillotson and Newdigate: "The defence of poetry and the fear of detraction recall both October and June; they are, as in the latter, combined with the theme of the hero's love. But the resemblances are not close; Spenser never foregoes pastoral reference for so long as Drayton does in this panegyric. Compare also, for the defence of poetry, Theocritus, Idyll XVI; Mantuan, Ecl. V; Barclay, Ecl. IV" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:9.



This lustie swayne his lowly quill,
To higher notes doth rayse,
And in Ideas person paynts,
His lovely lasses prayse.

MOTTO.
Come frolick it a while my lustie swayne,
Let's see if time have yet revi'd in thee,
Or if there be remayning but a grayne,
Of the olde stocke of famous poesie,
Or but one slip yet left of this same sacred tree.

Or if reserv'd from elds devouring rage,
Recordes of vertue, Aye memoriall,
Left to the world as learnings lasting gage,
Or if the prayse of worthy pastorall,
May tempt thee now, or moove thee once at all.

To Fortunes Orphanes Nature hath bequeath'd,
That mighty Monarchs seldome have possest,
From highest Heaven, this influence is breath'd,
A most divine impression in the breast,
And those whom Fortune pines doth Nature often feast.

Ti's not the troupes of paynted Imagerie,
Nor these worlds Idols, our worlds Idiots gazes,
Our forgers of suppos'd Gentillitie,
When he his great, great Grand-sires glory blases,
And paints out fictions in base coyned Phrases.

For honour naught regards, nor followeth fame,
These silken pictures shewed in every streete:
Of Idlenes comes evill, of pride ensueth shame,
And blacke oblivion is their winding sheete,
And all their glory troden under feete.

Though Envie shute her seven-times poysned dartes,
Yet purest golde is seven times try'd in fier,
True valeur lodgeth in the lowlest harts,
Vertue is in the minde, not in th' attyre,
Nor stares at starres; nor stoups at filthy myre.

ROWLAND.
I may not sing of such as fall, nor clyme,
Nor chaunt of armes, nor of heroique deedes,
It fitteth not poore shepheards rurall rime,
Nor is agreeing with my oaten reedes,
Nor from my quill, grosse flatterie proceedes.

Unsitting tearmes, nor false dissembling smiles,
Shall in my lines, nor in my stile appeare,
Worlds fawning fraud, nor like deceitfull guiles,
No, no, my muse, none such shall sojourne here,
Nor any bragges of hope nor signes of base despaire,

No fatall dreades nor fruitles vaine desires,
Nor caps, nor curtsies to a paynted wall,
Nor heaping rotten sticks on needles fires,
Ambitious thoughts to clime nor feares to fall,
A minde voyd of mistrust, and free from servile thral.

Foule slander thou suspitions Bastard Child,
Selfe-eating Impe from vipers poysned wombe,
Foule swelling toade with lothly spots defil'd,
Vile Aspis bred within the ruinde tombe,
Eternall death for ever be thy doombe.

Still be thou shrouded in blacke pitchie night,
Luld with the horror of night-ravens song,
Let foggie mistes, clowd and eclipse thy light,
Thy woolvish teeth chew out thy venomd tongue,
With Snakes and adders be thy body stong.

MOTTO.
Nor these, nor these, may like thy lowlie quill,
As of too hie, or of too base a straine,
Unfitting thee, and sdeyned of thy skill,
Nor yet according with a shepheards vayne,
Nor no such subject may beseeme a swayne.

Then tune thy reede unto Ideas prayse:
And teach the woods to wonder at her name:
Thy lowlie notes here mayst thou learne to rayse,
And make the ecchoes blazen out her name,
The lasting trumpe of Phebes lasting fame.

Thy Temples then shall with greene bayes be dight,
Thy Egle-soring muse upon her wing,
With her fayre silver wings shall take her flight,
To that hie welked tower where Angels sing,
From thence to fetch the tutch of her sweete string.

ROWLAND.
Oh hie inthronized Jove, in thy Olympicke raigne,
Oh battel-waging Marte, oh sage-saw'd Mercury,
Oh Golden shrined Sol, Venus loves soveraigne,
Oh dreadfull Saturne, flaming aye with furie,
Moyst-humord Cinthya, Author of Lunacie,
Conjoyne helpe to erect our faire Ideas trophie.

Oh Tresses of faire Phoebus stremed die,
Oh blessed load-starre lending purest light,
Oh Paradice of heavenly tapistrie,
Angels sweete musick, O my soules delight,
O fayrest Phebe passing every other light.

Whose presence joyes the earths decayed state,
Whose counsels are registred in the sphere,
Whose sweete reflecting clearenes doth amate,
The starrie lights, and makes the Sunne more fayre,
Whose breathing sweete perfumeth all the ayre.

Thy snowish necke, fayre Natures tresurie,
Thy swannish breast, the haven of lasting blisse,
Thy cheekes the bancks of Beauties usurie,
Thy heart the myne, where goodnes gotten is,
Thy lips those lips which Cupid joyes to kisse.

And those fayre hands within whose lovely palmes,
Fortune divineth happie Augurie,
Those straightest fingers dealing heavenly almes,
Pointed with pur'st of Natures Alcumie,
Where love sits looking in loves palmistrie.

And those fayre Ivorie columnes which upreare,
That Temple built by heavens Geometrie,
And holiest Flamynes sacrifizen theare,
Unto that heavenly Queene of Chastitie,
Where vertues burning lamps can never quenched be.

Thence see the fairest light that ever shone,
That cleare which doth worlds cleerenes quite surpasse,
Brave Phoebus chayred in his golden throane,
Beholding him, in this pure Christall glasse,
See here the fayrest fayre that ever was.

Delicious fountaine, liquid christalline,
Mornings vermilion, verdant spring-times pride,
Purest of purest, most refined fine,
With crimson tincture curiously Idy'd,
Mother of Muses, great Apollos bride.

Earths heaven, worlds wonder, hiest house of fame,
Reviver of the dead, eye-killer of the live,
Belov'd of Angels, Vertues greatest name,
Favors rar'st feature, beauties prospective,
Oh that my verse thy vertues could contrive.

That stately Theater on whose fayre stage,
Each morall vertue actes a princely part,
Where every scene pronounced by a Sage,
Eternizeth divinest Poets Arte,
Joyes the beholders eyes, and glads the hearers hart.

The worlds memorials, that sententious booke,
Where every Comma, points a curious phrase,
Upon whose method, Angels joye to looke:
At every Colon, Wisdomes selfe doth pause,
And every Period hath his hie applause.

Read in her eyes a Romant of delights,
Read in her words the proverbs of the wise,
Read in her life the holy vestall rites,
Which love and vertue sweetly moralize:
And she the Academ of vertues exercise.

But on thy volumes who is there may comment,
When as thy selfe hath Arts selfe undermined:
Or undertake to coate thy learned margent,
When learnings lines are ever enterlined,
And purest words, are in thy mouth refined.

Knewest thou thy vertues, oh thou fayr'st of fayrest,
Thou earths sole Phenix, of the world admired,
Vertue in thee repurify'd and rarest,
Whose endles fame by time is not expired,
Then of thy selfe would thy selfe be admired.

But arte wants arte to frame so pure a Myrror,
Where humaine eyes may view thy vertues beautie,
When fame is so surprised with the terror,
Wanting to pay the tribute of her duetie,
With colours who can paint out vertues beautie.

But since unperfect are the perfects colours,
And skill is so unskilfull how to blaze thee:
Now will I make a myrror of my dolours,
And in my teares then looke thy selfe and prayse thee,
Oh happy I, if such a glasse might please thee.

Goe gentle windes and whisper in her eare,
And tell Idea how much I adore her,
And thou my flock, reporte unto my fayre,
How she excelleth all that went before her,
Tell her the very foules in ayre adore her.

And thou cleare Brooke by whose fayre silver streame,
Grow those tall Okes where I have carv'd her name,
Convay her praise to Neptunes watery Realme,
Refresh the rootes of her still growing fame,
And teach the Dolphins to resound her name.

MOTTO.
Cease shepheard cease, reserve thy Muses store,
Till after time shall teach thy Oaten reede,
Aloft in ayre with Egles wings to sore,
And sing in honor of some worthies deede,
To serve Idea in some better steede.

She sees not shepheard, no she will not see,
Her rarest vertues blazond by thy quill,
Nor knowes the effect the same hath wrought in thee,
The very tuch and anvile of thy skill,
And this is that which bodeth all thy ill.

Yet if her vertues glorie shall decay,
Or if her beauties flower shall hap to fall,
Or any cloud eclipse her sun-shine day,
Then looke (Idea) in thy pastorall,
And thou thy vertues unto minde shalt call.

ROWLAND.
Shepheard farewell, the skies begin to lowre,
Yon pitchie clowd which hangeth in the West,
I feare me doth presage some sodaine showre,
Come let us home, for so I think it best,
For all our flocks been laid them downe to rest.

MOTTO.
And if thou list to come unto my Coate,
Although (God knowes) my cheere be to too small,
And wealth with me was never yet afloate,
Yet take in gree what ever doe befall,
And wee will sit, and sing a mery madrigall.

ROWLAND.
Per superos iuro testes, pompamque Deorum,
nam nobis tempus in omne fore.

MOTTO.
Nos quoque per totum pariter cantabimur orbem,
ue semper erunt nomina nostra tuis.

[pp. 28-36]