1593
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Shepheards Garland IX: The Ninth Eglog.

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

Michael Drayton


The concluding poem of the cycle is a most Spenserian lament by Rowland, whose lady has proven most unkind: "Those dapper ditties pend unto her prayse, | And those sweete straynes of tunefull pastorall, | She scorneth as the Lourdayns clownish layes, | And recketh as the rustick madrigall, | Her lippes prophane Ideas sacred name, | And sdayne to read the annals of her fame." The poem is not so autobiographical as Spenser's December, the chief point being to signify Drayton's ambition to emulate his master through Rowland's sober melancholy and high ambitions.

Herbert E. Cory: "The ninth eclogue of the edition of 1593 lapses into the conventional winter lament, like the Januarie and December. But the new eclogue is full of Drayton's fresher fancy. Drayton employed Spenser's innovation of using a variety of stanzas. He had a whimsical sense of humour, a rich fancy for airy trifling, and a gift for careless popular song that saved him from some of the absurdities in the Calender. As a whole, his imitation is more readable mainly because Drayton controlled the materials which Spenser, in a time of dusk and groping, could only suggest" "Spenserian Pastoral" PMLA 25 (1910) 250-51.

Tillotson and Newdigate: "The closing monologue is, like Spenser's Januarye and December, a winter eclogue and a love-lament. It is more truly pastoral than the first eclogue, and shows less tendency to slide off into vague sonnet-sentiments; Spenser's influence has given it better articulation, but it is in no sense, like December, a survey of the poet's earlier history. When Drayton revised this eclogue in 1606 he brought it much closer in spirit to December" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:12.



When cole-blacke night with sable vaile
Eclipsd the gladsome light,
Rowland in darkesome shade alone,
Bemoanes his wofull plight.

What time the wetherbeaten flockes,
Forsooke the fields to shrowd them in the folde,
The groves dispoyl'd of their fayre summer lockes,
The leaveles branches nipt with frostie colde,
The drouping trees their gaynesse all agone,
In mossie mantles doe expresse their moane.

When Phoebus from his Lemmans lovely bower,
Throughout the sphere had jerckt his angry Jades,
His Carre now pass'd the heavens hie welked Tower,
Gan dragge adowne the occidentall slades,
In silent shade of desart all alone,
Thus to the night, Rowland bewrayes his moane.

Oh blessed starres which lend the darknes light,
The glorious paynting of that circled throane,
You eyes of heaven, you lanthornes of the night,
To you bright starres, to you I make my moane,
Or end my dayes, or ease me of my griefe,
The earth is frayle, and yeelds me no reliefe.

And thou fayre Phebe, cleerer to my sight,
Then Tytan is when brightest he hath shone,
Why shouldst thou now shut up thy blessed light,
And sdayne to looke on thy Endymion?
Perhaps the heavens me thus despight have done,
Because I durst compare thee with their sunne.

If drery sighes the tempests of my brest,
Or streames of teares from floods of weeping eyes,
If downe-cast lookes with darksome cloudes opprest,
Or words which with sad accents fall and rise,
If these, nor her, nor you, to pittie move,
There's neither helpe in you, nor hope in love.

Oh fayr'st that lives, yet most unkindest mayd,
O whilome thou the joy of all my flocke,
Why have thine eyes these eyes of mine betrayd,
Unto thy hart more hard then flintie rocke,
And lastly thus depriv'd me of their sight,
From whome my love derives both life and light.

Those dapper ditties pend unto her prayse,
And those sweete straynes of tunefull pastorall,
She scorneth as the Lourdayns clownish layes,
And recketh as the rustick madrigall,
Her lippes prophane Ideas sacred name,
And sdayne to read the annals of her fame.

Those gorgeous garlands and those goodly flowers,
Wherewith I crown'd her tresses in the prime,
She most abhors, and shuns those pleasant bowers,
Made to disport her in the summer time:
She hates the sports and pastimes I invent,
And as the toade, flies all my meriment.

With holy verses heryed I her glove,
And dew'd her cheekes with fountaines of my teares,
And carold her full many a lay of love,
Twisting sweete Roses in her golden hayres.
Her wandring sheepe full safely have I kept,
And watch'd her flocke full oft when she hath slept.

Oenon never upon Ida hill,
So oft hath cald on Alexanders name,
As hath poore Rowland with an Angels quill,
Erected trophies of Ideas fame:
Yet that false shepheard Oenon fled from thee,
I follow her that ever flies from me.

Ther's not a grove that wonders not my woe,
There's not a river weepes not at my tale:
I heare the ecchoes (wandring too and froe)
Resound my griefe in every hill and dale,
The beasts in field, with many a wofull groane,
The birds in ayre help to expresse my moane.

Where been those lines? the heraulds of my heart,
My plaints, my tears, my vowes, my sighes, my prayers?
O what avayleth fayth, or what my Artes?
O love, O hope, quite turn'd into despayres:
She stops her eares as Adder to the charmes,
And lets me lye and languish in my harmes.

All is agone, such is my endles griefe,
And my mishaps amended naught with moane,
I see the heavens will yeeld me no reliefe:
What helpeth care, when cure is past and gone,
And teares I see, doe me avayle no good,
But as great showres increase the rising flood.

With folded armes, thus hanging downe his head,
He gave a groane as though his heart had broke,
Then looking pale and wan as he were dead,
He fetch'd a sigh, but never a word he spoke:
For now his heart wax'd cold as any stone,
Was never man alive so woe begone.

With that fayre Cinthya stoups her glittering vayle,
And dives adowne into the Ocean flood,
The easterne brow which erst was wan and pale,
Now in the dawning blusheth red as blood:
The whistling Larke ymounted on her wings,
To the gray morrow, her good morrow sings.

When this poore shepheard Rowland of the Rocke,
Whose faynting legges his body scarse upheld,
Each shepheard now returning to his flocke,
Alone poore Rowland fled the pleasant field,
And in his Coate got to a vechie bed:
Was never man alive so hard bested.

[pp. 66-70]