Francis Davison's mournful Eclogue, relating the lamentations of Eubulus, imitates the framing eclogues of Spenser's Shepheardes Calender: "His pleasant Pipe was broke, (alas the while) | And former meriment was banisht quite." Eubulus has long been out of favor at court: "But ah! how long, alas, how long doth left | My endlesse Winter without hope of Spring? | How have my sighes, my blustring sighes, defaste | The flowers and buds which erst my youth did bring." John Payne Collier identifies him with Davison's father, William, who had been a secretary of state to Queen Elizabeth.
Samuel Egerton Brydges: "This perhaps most valuable of our early metrical miscellanies (the rare occurence of which can alone account for the little use which has been made of it by our republishers of early English poetry,) was first printed in 1602; and passed through three successive and augmented editions in 1608, 1611, and 1621. The principal contributor appears to have been the avowed editor, Francis Davison, who suffered so much from the affair of Mary Queen of Scots. Being a poet himself, he as more ably qualified for the delicate task of selection from his contemporaries, than Bodenham, the compiler of England's Helicon, in 1600; though his publisher, like some modern purveyors of literature, seems to have slighted the judgment and taste of an editor, for the purpose of making a bulkier book" Censura Literaria 1 (1805) 105-06.
Nathan Drake: "The editor and principal contributor was Francis Davison, a poet of no mean talents, and son of that Secretary of State, who experienced in so remarkable a degree the duplicity of Elizabeth, in relation to Mary Queen of Scots.... [The Poetical Rapsody] may be said to present us, not only with a felicitous choice of topics, but it claims the merit of having preserved several valuable poems not elsewhere to be discovered, and which, owing to the rarity of the book, although four times subjected to the press, have not, until lately, attracted the notice that is due to them" Shakespeare and his Times (1817; 1838) 349-50.
Samuel Austin Allibone: "Francis Davison, son of William Davison, an eminent statesman, temp. Elizabeth. Poetical Rhapsody, Lon., 1602, '08, '11, '21.... This excellent collection contains poems by Francis and Walter Davidson, Sir John Davies, Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter Raleigh, the Countess of Pembroke, Spenser, Sir H. Wotton, Donne, Greene, and others. 'How say you, reader? Is not the above a glorious pageant of poets? Does not the mere enumeration of them beget in thee a longing to explore the pages which contain their bright thoughts and tuneful lines?'" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:484.
John Payne Collier: "The whole is a personal production, referring to the previous advancement and subsequent sudden fall of the speaker; and our solution of the difficulty is, that the Eclogue was the production, not of Francis Davison, but of his father William Davison; but the MS. being in the handwriting of the former, the printer (to whom such matters were avowedly left) erroneously placed the initials F. D. at the end of it. In 1602, when this Eclogue first appeared, it was exactly "fifteen years" since the death of Mary Queen of Scots, for hastening whose execution (though with the good will of Elizabeth) William Davison had incurred the well affected displeasure of the Queen. Whether our speculation be or be not adopted, it is quite certain that Sir H. Nicolas had no warrant for here extending the initials F. D. into 'Francis Davison'" Bibliographical and Critical Account (1866) 231.
W. W. Greg: "Of these imitations [in Poetical Rapsody], four in number, the first, the work of the editor himself, is a very poor production. It is a love lament, and the insertion of a song in a complicated lyrical measure in a plain stanzaic setting is evidently copied from The Shepheardes Calender" Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (1906) 102.
Hyder E. Rollins: "A lament written by Francis Davison in 1601 to explain his father's sorrow for the queen's harsh and unjust treatment.... It is a close imitation of Spenser, especially of the January and November eclogues" Poetical Rapsody (1931-32) 2:103-04.
A Shepheard poore, Eubulus call'd he was,
(Poore now alas, but erst had jolly beene)
One pleasant morne whenas the Sunne did passe
The fiery homes of raging Bull betweene,
His little Flocke into a Meade did bring,
As soone as day-light did begin to spring.
Fresh was the Meade, in Aprils liverie dight,
Deckt with green Trees, bedewd with silver Brooks,
But ah! all other was the shepheards plight,
All other were both sheepe and shepheards lookes.
For both did shew by their dull heavy cheere,
They tooke no pleasure of the pleasant yeere.
He weeping went, ay me that he should weepe!
They hung their heads as they to weep would learn.
His heavy Heart did send forth sighings deepe.
They in their bleating voyce did seem to yearne.
He leane and pale, their fleece was rough and rent:
They pinde with paine, and he with dolors spent.
His pleasant Pipe was broke, (alas the while)
And former meriment was banisht quite.
His shepheards Crooke that him upheld ere-while,
He erst had throwne away with great despite.
Tho leaning gainst a shrubbe that him sustained,
To th' earth, sun, birds, trees, Eccho thus he plained
Thou all-forth bringing earth, though winter chill,
With boystrous blasts blow off thy Mantle greene,
And with his Snowe and hoary Frosts doe spill,
Thy Flora-pleasing flowers, and kill them cleene:
Yet soone as Spring returnes againe
To drive away thy Winters paine,
Thy Frost and Snowe Away doe goe.
Sweete Zephyres breath cold Boreas doth displace,
And fruitfull showers
Revive thy flowers,
And nought but Joy is seene in every place.
But ah! how long, alas, how long doth left
My endlesse Winter without hope of Spring?
How have my sighes, my blustring sighes, defaste
The flowers and buds which erst my youth did bring.
Alas the tops that did aspire,
Lie troaden now in filthy mire.
Alas! my head
Is all bespread
With too untimely snow: and eke my hart
Al fence hath lost,
Through hardned frost,
Of colde Despaire, that long hath bred my smart.
What though Soone-rising Torrents overflow
With nought-regarding Dreams thy pleasant green,
And with their furious force do lay full lowe,
Thy drowned flowers, how ever sweet they been!
Soone fall those flouds, as soone they rose,
(For fury soone his force doth lose;)
And then full eath
The cold, yet drying North-wind, so doth warme,
That by and by
Thy Meades be dry,
And grow more fruitfull by their former harme.
O would the teares that Torrent-like do flowe
Adowne my hollow cheekes with restlesse force,
Would once (O that they could once) calmer grow!
Would like to shine, once cease their ceasles course!
Thine last not long, mine still endure:
Thine cold, and so thy wealth procure:
Hot mine are still,
And so do kill
Both flower and roote, with most unkindely dew.
What Sun or Winde
A way can finde,
The roote once dead, the flowers to renew?
Thou, though the scorching heate of Summer Sun,
(While ill-breath'd Dog the raging Lyon chaceth)
Thy peckled flower do make of colour dun,
And pride of all thy greeny haire defaceth;
And in thy moysture-wanting side
Deepe wounds do make, and gashes wide:
Yet as thy weate,
By Phoebus heate,
To turne to wholsome drynesse is procured.
So Phoebus heate
By south-winds weate,
Is soone asswaged, and all thy wounds recured.
Such heate as Phoebus hath me almost slaine.
As Phoebus heate? ah no, farre worse then his.
It is Astreas burning-hot Disdaine
That parched hath the roote of all my blis:
That hath (alas) my youth defaced,
That in my face deep wounds hath placed.
Ah that no Heate
Can dry the weate
The flowing weate of my still-weeping Eies!
Ah that no weate
Can quench the heate,
The burning heate within my Hart that lies!
Thou dost, poor Earth, beare many a bitter stound,
While greedy Swaines forgetting former neede,
With crooked plowes thy tender backe do wound,
With harrowes biting teeth do make thee bleede.
But earth (so may those greedy Swaines
With pitteous Eye behold thy paines)
O Earth, tel mee,
When thou cost see,
Thy fruitfull Back with golden Eares beset,
Doth not that joy
Kil all annoy,
And make thee all thy former wounds forget?
And I, if once my tired Hart might gaine
The Harvest faire that to my faith is due:
If once I might ASTREAS grace regaine:
If once her hart would on my sorrows rue,
Alas, I could these plaints forgo,
And quite forget my former wo.
But (O! to speake
My Hart doth breake)
For all my service, faith, and patient minde,
A crop of Greefe,
A crop of scorne, and of contempt, I finde.
Soone as the Shepheards Star abroad doth wend
(Nights harbinger) to shut in bright-some Day;
And gloomy Night, on whom black clouds attend,
Doth Tirant-like through skie usurpe the sway,
Thou art (poore Earth) of Sunne deprived
Whose beames to thee all Joy derived:
But when Aurore
Doth ope her Dore,
Her purple core to let in Phoebus waine,
The night gives place
Unto his race,
And then, with joy, thy Sun returnes againe.
O would my Sunne would once returne againe!
Returne and drive away th' infernall night,
In which I die, since she did first refraine
Her heavenly beames, which were mine only light.
In her alone all my light shinde,
And since she shinde not, I am blinde.
Alas, on all,
Her beames doe fall,
Save wretched me, whome she doth them deny.
And blessed day
She gives alway,
To all, but me, who still in darkenesse lie.
In mournefull darkenesse I alone doe lie,
And wish, but scarcely hope, bright day to see,
For hop'd so long, and wisht so long have I,
As hopes and wishes both are gone from meet
My night hath lasted fifteene yeeres,
And yet no glimpse of day appeeres.
O do not let, Him that hath set,
His joy, his light, his life in your sweete Grace!
And quite depriv'd
Of your deere sight, which may this night displace.
Phoebus, although with firy-hoofed steedes,
Thou daily doe the steepy Welkin beate,
And from this painefull taske art never freed,
But daily bound to lend the world thy heate:
Though thou in fiery Chariot ride,
And burning heate thereof abide,
Yet soone as night Doth dim the light,
And hale her fable Cloake through vaulted skie,
Thy journie's ceast,
And thou doost rest,
In cooling waves of Tethis soveraigntie.
Thrice happy Sun, whose pains are eas'de by night,
O haplesse I, whose woes last night and day.
My paines by day do make me wish for night,
My woes by night do make me cry for day.
By day I turmoyle up and downe,
By night in Seas of teares I drowne.
O painefull plight!
O wretched night,
Which never findes a morne of joyfull light!
O sad decay,
O wretched day,
That never feeles the ease of silent night!
Ye chirping Birds, whose notes might joy my minde,
(If to my minde one drop of joy could sinke,)
Who erst, through Winters rage were almost pinde,
And kept through barren frost from meat or drinke,
A blessed change yee now have seene,
That changed hath your woefull teene.
By day you sing,
And make to ring
The neighbour groves with Eccho of your Song:
In silent night,
Full closely dight,
You roundly sleepe the bushes greene among.
But I, who erst (ah woefull worde to say)
Enjoy'd the pleasant spring of her sweete grace,
And then could sing and dance, and sporte and play;
Since her fierce anger did my Spring displace,
My nightly rest have turn'd to detriment,
To plaints have turn'd my wonted meriment.
The Songs I sing
While day doth spring,
Are bootlesse plaints till I can plaine no more.
The rest I taste,
While night doth last
Is broken sighes, til they my hart make sore.
Thou flowret of the field that erst didst fade,
And nipt with Northerne cold didst hang the head.
Yee Trees whose bared bowes had lost their shade,
Whose with'red leaves by western blasts were shed
Yee gin to bud and spring againe,
Winter is gone that did you straine.
But I, that late
With upright gate
Bare up my head, while happy favour lasted;
Now olde am growne,
With wo, with griefe, with wailing now am wasted.
Your springing stalke with kindly juice doth sprout,
My fainting legs do waste and fall away:
Your stretched armes are clad with leaves about,
My griefe-consumed armes do fast decay.
Yee gin againe your tops lift up;
I downe to earthward gin to stoope.
Each bowe and twig
Doth waxe so big,
That scarce the rinde is able it to hide;
I so do faint,
And pine with plaint,
That flops and Hose, and Galage wax too wide.
Eccho, how wel may she that makes me mone,
By thy example learne to rue my paine?
Thou hear'st my plaintes when as I waile alone,
And wailing accents answerest againe.
When as my brest through greefe I beate,
That wofull sound thou dost repeate.
When as I sob,
And hartly throb,
A dolefull sobbing sound againe thou sendest:
And when I weep,
And sigh full deep,
A weepy sighing Voice againe thou lendest.
But ah! how oft have my sad plaints assaide
To pierce her Eares, deafe only unto mee?
How oft my Woes in mournfull inke arraide
Have tride to make her Eies my griefe to see?
And you, my Sighs and Teares, how often
Have ye sought her hard hart to soften?
And yet her Eye,
Doth still denie
For all my Woes, one bitter teare to shed.
And yet her Hart
Will not impart,
One harty sigh, for griefe her self hath bred.
Nor I, alas, do wish that her faire Eyes,
Her blessed-making Eies should shed a teare,
Nor that one sigh from her deere Breast should rise,
For all the paines, the woes, the wrongs I beare.
First let this weight oppresse me still,
Ere shee, through mee taste any ill.
Ah if I might
But gaine her sight
And shew hir, e're I die, my wretched case!
O then should I
But ah I dy, and hope not so much grace.
With that his fainting legs to shrinke, begun,
And let him sinke with gastly look to ground
And there he lay as though his life were don,
Till that his Dog, seeing that wofull stound,
With pitteous howling, kissing and with scraping.
Brought him again from that sweet-sowre escaping.
Then gan his Teares so swiftly for to flow,
As forst his Eyelids for to give them way.
Then blust'ring sighes too boyst'rously gan blow,
As his weake lips could not their fury stay.
And inward griefe withall so hugely sweld,
As tears, sighes, griefe had soon al words expeld.
At last, whenas his teares began to cease,
And weary sighes more calmely for to blowe:
As he began with words his griefe to ease,
And remnant of his broken plaint to show:
He spide the skie o're-spread with nightly clouds,
So home he went,his flocke and him to shrowde.
Eubulus his Embleme.
UNI MIHI PERGAMA RESTANT.