1608
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Complaint of which all the Staves end with the Words of the first, like a Sestine.

A Poetical Rapsodie, containing: diverse Sonnets, Odes, Elegies, Madrigals, Epigrams, Pastorals, Eglogues, with other Poems, both in Rime and Measured Verse. For Varietie and Pleasure, the like never yet published.

F. D.


A blank-verse lyric in eight stanzas signed "F. D."

Hyder E. Rollins: "This poem is a real puzzle. It is written, as the title observes, on the order of a sestina, but is much more elaborate, having [8] stanzas of eight lines each, whereas the sestina has six stanzas of six lines each plus a three-line envoy.... The facts of its authorship will probably never be completely cleared up, but it is worthy of an important place in the history of English prosody. Its metrical difficulties place it far above the reach of a Wyatt or a Surrey. Sidney himself, though he experimented with a regular sestina, has no form so difficult or so well managed" Poetical Rapsodie (1931-32) 2:222-23.

Frederick M. Padelford: "The similarity of this stanza to the initial stanza of Spenser's Sestina in the Aug. eclogue leaves no room for doubt that Spenser's verse prompted this experiment" Wells, Spenser Allusions (1972) 118.

Thomas Park: "This perhaps most valuable of our early metrical miscellanies (the rare occurrence 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 editions in 1608, 1611, and 1621" Censura Literaria 1 (1805) 105.



1.
Ye ghastly groves, that heare my wofull cries
Whose shady leaves do shake to heare my paine
Thou silver streame that dost with teares lament
The cruell chance that doth my greefe increase:
Ye chirping birds whose cheereles notes declare
That ye bewaile the woes I feele in minde,
Beare witnesse how with care I do consume,
And heare the cause why thus I pine away.

2.
Love is the cause that makes me pine away,
And makes you heare the Eccho of my cries
Through griefes encrease: And though the cause of paine
Which doth enforce me still thus to lament
Proceed from love, and though my paine encrease
By dayly cries which doe that paine declare,
And witnesse are of my afflicted minde,
Yet cry I will, till crying me consume.

3.
For as the fire the stubble doth consume,
And as the winde doth drive the dust away,
So pensive hearts are spent with dolefull cries,
And cares distract the minde with pinching paine.
But all in vaine I do my cares lament,
My sorrow doth by sobs, sighs, teares, encrease:
Though sobs, sighes, teares, my torments doe declare,
Sobs, sighes, nor teares move not her flintie minde.

4.
I am cast out of her ungratefull minde
And she hath sworne I shall in vaine consume,
My wearie daies my life must wast away,
Confum'd with paine, and worne with restles cries,
So Philomele too much opprest with paine
By his misdeed that causeth her lament,
Doth day and night her mournfull layes encrease,
And to the Woods her sorrowes doth declare.

5.
Some ease it is, hid sorrowes to declare,
But too small ease to such a grieved minde,
Which by repeating woes doth more consume:
To end which woes I find at all no way,
(A simple salve to cure so great a paine)
But to deaths deafened eares to bend my cries.
Come then ye ghastly owles help me lament,
And as my cryes, so let your shrikes encrease.

6.
For as your shrikes (the tunes of death) encrease
When sun is set and shaddowes do declare.
The nights approach, so I from my darke minde
Since my bright Sun is fled, in cries consume,
My night of woes, and though you flie away
Soone as the day returnes and cease your cries,
Yet I by day find no release of paine,
But day and night so foule a change lament.

7.
But while I thus to sensles things lament
Ruth of my case in them thereby d' encrease
Which she feeles not, with scoffs she doth declare
My pangs to him, who first her wanton minde
From me did win: Since when I still consume
Like wax gainst fire, like snow that melts away
Before the sun: Thus thus, with mournful cries
I lyving die, and dying, live in paine.

8.
And now adiew delight, and farewell paine
Adiew vaine hope I shall no more lament
Her fained faith which did my woes encrease,
And yee to whom my greefes I thus declare,
Yee which have heard the secrets of my minde,
And seing then my lingring life in paine consume,
GROVE, BROOK, and BIRDS adiew, now hence away,
By death I will, and cease my deadly cries.

[pp. 31-33]