A theological singing-contest, anticipating the end of the Roman Church. The poems was written circa 1603 and published by C. R. Markham in 1870: "there is a 4to manuscript volume in the Bodleian Library, consisting of the verses by the third Lord Fairfax, all in his own handwriting. At the end of this volume there is the following copy of one of the lost eclogues of Edward Fairfax, also in the handwriting of the third Lord, who was the poet's grand-nephew. It is one of three surviving from a set of twelve" Philobiblion Miscellanies 12 (1870) 3.
Roger Dodsworth: "Edward Fairfax translated Godfrey of Bullen out of Italian into English; with the History of Edward the Black Prince; and certain witty Eclogues as yet not printed that I hear of. He is accounted a singular schollar in all kinde of learning. He yet liveth, 1631" Sancti et Scriptores Ebor (MS.) in Nichols, Illustrations (1817-58) 4:488.
W. W. Greg: "All three deal chiefly with contemporary affairs, the two former being concerned with the abuses of the church, while the last is a panegyric of the 'present age,' and especially of English maritime adventure" Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (1906) 115.
Lycaon his false church extends
Through all the world with pomp and pride;
Hermes the Church of Christ commends,
And to her spouse brings home his bride.
The Sweaty sithe-man with his razor keen
Shore the perfumed beard from meadows green,
And on each bush and every mossy stone
Jarred Maie's little daughter Tettrigone,
When to the shadows of a mountain steep
Lycaon drove his goats, Hermes his sheep.
The shepherds both were lovers, both were young,
Their skill was like in piping, like in song.
The other grooms that heard, hid in the dales,
Were dumb for shame, like conquered nightingales.
Oft came the nymphs, the fairy sisters oft
Forsook their mossy beds and liards soft,
And oft the half-gods at their music's sound
Came, and their brows with ivy garlands crown'd.
Ye sedgy lakes and pebble-paved wells,
And thou, great Pales, in these fields that dwells,
How oft have you, hid in the shady sprays,
List'ned Lycaon's songs, his loves and lays.
And yon high stretched pines and oaks of Jove,
Thou wanton Echo, tell-clock of this grove,
How oft did you fair Psyche's praise resound,
When Hermes charmed with songs love's bleeding wound?
They sung by course, and praised their loves by turns,
Each cricket loves the flame wherein she burns;
And whilst their flocks browse on the shrubs and briars,
They tune their pipes and thus they sing their fires.
Flora, my queen, my joy, my heaven of bliss,
See what my merit and deserving is.
I build thee temples and I feed thy sheep,
I bring thee gifts, thy words as laws I keep,
My bed is ashes, sack-cloth is my weed,
I drink with Rechab's sons, with Job I feed.
For all my service and thus suffering long,
Love me, sweet Flora, or thou do'st me wrong.
Psyche, my desire, my undefiled, my dove,
O comfort me, for I am sick of love;
Thy sacred temple is this wounded breast,
Sin, error, folly, my service is at best:
Foul leper-spots on all my body grow,
Wipe out these stains, and wash me white as snow.
Clothe me with linen, crown my head with gold,
First make me worthy love, then love me bold.
Flora was young, a fair few goats she kept,
Ten kings espied her, loved her, with her slept,
And in her sweet embrace such joy they found,
That with three diadems her head they crown'd;
And on seven heaps their wealth and treasure laid
Set her thereon, fell at her feet, and pray'd.
She forty month and two their service proves,
And takes them for her slaves and for her loves.
Psyche my virgin bore a blessed vent
The dragon chased her, she to desert run,
The fiend a stream of water at her flings,
Earth drunk the flood, she 'scaped with eagle's wings;
Crown'd with twelve stars, doth'd with the glorious sun,
She doth with roes and hinds in Eden run.
There Psyche lives and reigns in safety blest,
Till time and times, and half a time be past.
Out of the sea a scarlet beast appeared,
Ten horns he had and seven heads proudly rear'd,
His forked tail 'gainst all the world made wars,
And smote the third of trees, of floods, of stars.
Flora this monster caught and tam'd his pride,
And on his back as on a mule doth ride.
All nations fear the beast and serve the dame,
And sealed are with's number, mark, and name.
Before the gates of Psyche's sheepcote lies
Four wondrous beasts, all full of wings and eyes,
And round about them four-and-twenty kings
Offer up gold and myrrh, and precious things.
All these do Psyche's lambs keep, cure, and feed,
And thousand thousands, clad in milk-white weed,
Sing hymns of love and faith, and never cease,
And on his brow each wears a seal of peace.
Flora once found me sick and hurt to death,
Thrice did she cross me, thrice upon me breathe,
Three times she dipt me in a living stream,
And salved my wounds with spittle, salt, and cream.
A thousand saints she for my guard appoints,
And all my head with oil of balm anoints,
Then makes me master of her flocks and fold,
Her goats to keep, or kill, or sell for gold.
Psyche first took me soiled with mire and clay,
Washed in the well of life my filth away;
Thieves robb'd me, slew me; of a lamb new slain
On me she pour'd the blood, I lived again;
Since that with bread of heaven, wine of grace,
She diets me, her lap my resting place.
Her sheep my playfellows, heaven our fold,
Her spouse the door, her voice the key of gold.
It was the fiftieth year, Flora a feast
Made for all those that loved and served her beast;
Her guests were kings and lords of highest birth,
All that were wise and rich upon the earth;
And all that land, or sea, or air afford,
Her caters took and therewith fill'd her board,
And drunk with wine sucks from her cup of gold
Were kings and nations, rich, poor, young and old.
Psyche to supper called the weak and poor,
The sick, the lazer from the rich man's door,
And at her board set them with lords and kings.
Her holy steward wine and wafers brings;
They eat and drink by faith, and thirst no more,
Except some guests fore-charg'd with Flora's store
Sit there, and spider-like, from roses new
Draw poison, where the bee sucks honey dew.
Flora an orchard had of fruitful treene;
She par'd the moss, she kept the branches cleane,
She let the fountains in, she kill'd the worm,
She scar'd the birds, she saved the blooms from storm;
Flourisht the trees, the boughs with apples bent;
She called — her servants to her orchard went;
Gather'd to eat, but when she cut the skin,
The fruit was ashes, embers, dust within.
Last year my Psyche had a field of corn;
She scour'd the ditches, stops the gaps with thorn;
She till'd the land enough, she sow'd good seed;
She stubb'd the briars, plucks up tares and weed;
She fraid the crows, she kept the wild boar out;
And when the sun turn'd the year's wheel about
She reaps her crop, and when her gain she told,
Found thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold.
A flock of goats astray from Flora went;
Doris, her handmaid, after them she sent;
But whilst the lass with Thirsis sporting laid,
Her dogs ran forth alone, and soon they stray'd;
And like the kind of wolves of which they sprung,
They slew and eat the goats and sucklings young.
Yet some escapt, saved in the woods and rocks.
Doris went home, but thus she lost her flocks.
What Doris left and lost, fair Daphne sought
And found, and to her mother's sheep fold brought.
There Psyche bound their wounds and stauncht their blood,
At first she gave them milk, then stronger food,
And soon restored their health. Shepherds beware;
Watch, feed, your sheep-charge asketh care.
All that is stolen or slain you must make good,
And Flora's Hylax yet lurks in the wood.
King Solomon a cedar palace built,
Thatched with tiles of Flora's tresses gilt;
Her legs were silver posts the house to bear;
her glorious thoughts the purple hangings were;
Her breast the presence, and her heart the throne;
Her triple crown, as Lord, there sits alone.
Her holy doors she opes to each that knocks;
Her hands pure myrrh drop on the bars and locks.
Psyche's fair locks wrapped in gold of proof,
Of God's high temple is the gilded roof.
Her eyes the crystal windows, through each light
A smiling saint shoots in day's arrows bright.
Her coral lips the doors that turn and twine
On ruby hooks; her mouth the quire divine;
Her teeth the ivory seats built even and thin;
Her tongue the silver bell that rings all in
The royal town where Flora hath her seat
Stands on seven hills, well peopled, pleasant, great;
Rich in all blessings, all delights that can
Be given by fortune or be wished by man,
Quirinus the large and Dorad the serene,
Her handmaides be. She is the world's sole queen.
Joy in her streets, life in her temples wide,
And dead and lost is all the world beside.
Psyche's clear city was not rais'd from dust,
But came from heaven, pure, immortal, just.
Stands on twelve precious stones. Jasper the wall,
Streets gold, gates pearl be, still ope to all
Who taste the tree of life which there doth grow.
About the town two blessed rivers flow
Of grace and mercy; over either flood
Lies the fair bridge of faith, hope, doing good.
O shrill Heptaphone! thou daughter clear,
Tell not these rocks of Flora's doubt and fear;
Write not Planetus in to-morrow's stars,
Her future troubles, dangers, losses, wars,
Lest Psyche's shepherds should fore know her doom,
And kill her goats before her day be come.
These woods are hers, these fields and folds about,
Then keep them Flora till thy lease wear out.
Sitting on Isis' flowery bank, I spied
On a white horse a crowned monarch ride.
Upon his thigh was writ his wonderous name;
Out of his mouth a sword two-edged came.
Flora, her beast, and all her goats he slew,
And in a lake of fire their bodies threw.
This king is Psyche's spouse; with him she went
And rul'd the world, for Flora's lease was spent.
Thus much did Hermes and Lycaon sing,
The heifer let the herbs untouched spring,
Forgot to feed. The stags amazed stood.
The silver river stayed her speedy flood.
Charmed was the adder deaf, tam'd was the lion,
So trees heard Orpheus, dolphins heard Orion.
[Grainge (1882) 181-89]