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ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Britannia's Pastorals: The Third Song.

Britannia's Pastorals. [Book I.]

William Browne of Tavistock


The Third Song contains 16 lines lamenting the passing of Colin Clout. The twelve concluding lyrics are presented in the form of elaborate typographic devices.

F. W. Moorman: "Once again it is in the rich storehouse of the Faerie Queene that we must seek for a parallel to this story of the healing of Doridon. In Book III Canto IV we read how Marinell is wounded by Britomart, and how the tidings are brought to his mother" William Browne (1897) 24-25.

David Masson: "The influence of other poets [than Spenser] may, however, be traced, and especially that of Du Bartas. The verse is the common heroic rhymed couplet, which had been used by Sylvester in his translation of Du Bartas, and indeed systematically by all English poets after Chaucer, as the fittest for ordinary description and narrative; but Browne is a far more cultured versifier than Sylvester, and his lines are linked together with an artist's fondness for truth of phrase and rhyme, and for natural ease of cadence" Life of Milton (1859-94, 1965) 1:457.



THE ARGUMENT.
The Shepheards Swaine within this Song,
Tels of the cure of DORIDON:
And then unto the waters fals
Chanteth the rusticke Pastorals.

Now had the Sunne, in golden chariot hurl'd,
Twice bid good-morrow to the nether world:
And Cynthia, in her orbe and perfect round,
Twice view'd the shadowes of the upper ground.
Twice had the Day-starre usher'd forth the light;
And twice the Evening-starre proclaim'd the night;
Ere once the sweet-fac'd Boy (now all forlorne)
Came with his Pipe to resalute the Morne.

When grac'd by time (unhappy time the while)
The cruell Swaine (who ere knew Swaine so vile?)
Had stroke the Lad, in came the watry Nymph,
To raise from sound poore Doridon (the Impe,
Whom Nature seem'd to have selected forth
To be ingraffed on some stocke of worth;)
And the Maides helpe, but since "to doomes of Fate
Succour, though ne'er so soone, comes still too late."
She rais'd the youth, then with her armes inrings him,
And so with wordes of hope shee home-wards brings him.

At doore expecting him his Mother sate,
Wondring her Boy should stay from her so late;
Framing for him unto her selfe excuses,
And with such thoughts gladly her selfe abuses:
As that her sonne, since day grew old and weake,
Staid with the Maides to runne at Barlybreake:
Or that he cours'd a Parke with females fraught,
Which would not runne except they might be caught.
Or in the thickets layd some wilie snare
To take the Rabbet, or the purblinde Hare.
Or taught his Dogge to catch the climbing Kid:
Thus Shepheards doe; and thus shee thought he did.
"In things expected meeting with delay,
Though there be none, we frame some cause of stay."
And so did shee, (as shee who doth not so?)
Conjecture Time unwing'd he came so slow.
But Doridon drew neere, so did her griefe:
"Ill lucke, for speede, of all things else is chiefe."
For as the Blinde-man sung, Time so prouides,
That Joy goes still on foot, and sorrow rides.
Now when shee saw (a wofull sight) her sonne,
Her hopes then failde her, and her cryes begun
To utter such a plaint, that scarce another,
Like this, ere came from any love-sicke mother.

If man hath done this, heaven why mad'st thou men?
Not to deface thee in thy children;
But by the worke the Worke-man to adore;
Framing that something, which was nought before.
Aye me unhappy wretch, if that in things
Which are as wee (save title) men feare Kings,
That be their Postures to the life limb'd on
Some wood as fraile as they, or cut in stone,
'Tis death to stab: why then should earthly things
Dare to deface his forme who formed Kings?
When the world was but in his infancie,
Revenge, Desires unjust, vile Jealousie,
Hate, Envy, Murther, all these sixe then raigned,
When but their halfe of men the world contained.
Yet but in part of these, those ruled then,
When now as many vices live as men.
Live they? yes live I feare to kill my Sonne,
With whom my joyes, my love, my hopes are done.

Cease, quoth the Waters Nimph, that led the Swain;
Though 'tis each mothers cause thus to complaine:
Yet "abstinence in things we must professe
Which Nature fram'd for need, not for excesse."

Since the least bloud, drawne from the lesser part
Of any childe, comes from the Mothers hart,
We cannot chuse but grieve, except that wee
Should be more senslesse than the senslesse tree,
Reply'd his Mother. Doe but cut the limbe
Of any Tree, the trunke will weepe for him:
Rend the cold Sicamor's thin barke in two,
His Name and Teares, would say, SO LOVE should do.
"That Mother is all flint (then beasts lesse good)
Which drops no water when her childe streames blood."

At this the wounded Boy fell on his knee,
Mother, kinde Mother (said) weepe not for mee,
Why, I am well? Indeed I am: If you
Cease not to weepe, my wound will bleed anew.
When I was promist first the lights fruition,
You oft have tolde me, 'twas on this condition,
That I should hold it with like rent and paine
As others doe, and one time leave 't againe.
Then deerest mother leave, oh leave to waile,
"Time will effect, where teares can nought availe."

Herewith Marinda taking up her sonne,
Her hope, her love, her joy, her Doridon;
Shee thank'd the Nymph, for her kinde succour lent,
Who strait tript to her watry Regiment.

Downe in a dell (where in that Month whose fame
Growes greater by the man who gave it name,
Stands many a well-pil'd cocke of short sweet hay
That feeds the Husbands Neate each Winters day)
A mountaine had his foote, and gan to rise
In stately height to parlee with the Skyes.
And yet as blaming his owne lofty gate,
Waighing the fickle props in things of state,
His head beganne to droope, and down-wards bending,
Knockt on that brest which gave it birth and ending:
And lyes so with an hollow hanging vaut,
As when some Boy trying the Somersaut,
Stands on his head, and feete, as hee did lye
To kicke against earths spangled Canopie;
When seeing that his heeles are of such weight,
That hee cannot obtaine their purpos'd height,
Leaves any more to strive; and thus doth say,
What now I cannot doe, another day
May well effect: it cannot be denide
I shew'd a will to act, because I tride:
The Scornefull-hill men call'd him, who did scorne
So to be call'd, by reason hee had borne
No hate to greatnesse, but a minde to be
The slave of greatnesse, through Humilitiee:
For had his Mother Nature thought it meeet
He meekly bowing would have kist her feete.

Under the hollow hanging of this hill
There was a Cave cut out by Natures skill:
Or else it seem'd the Mount did open's brest,
That all might see what thoughts hee there possest.
Whose gloomy entrance was environ'd round
With shrubs that cloy ill husbands Meadow-ground:
The thick-growne Haw-thorne and the binding Bryer,
The Holly that out-dares cold Winters ire:
Who all intwinde, each limbe with limbe did deale,
That scarse a glympse of light could inward steale.
An uncouth place, fit for an uncouth minde,
That is as heauy as that cave is blinde;
Here liv'd a man his hoary haires call'd old,
Upon whose front time many yeeres had told.
Who since Dame Nature in him feeble grew,
And he unapt to give the world ought new,
The secret power of Hearbs that grow on molde,
Sought out, to cherish and relieve the olde.

Hither Marinda all in haste came running,
And with her teares desir'd the old mans cunning.
When this good man (as goodnesse still is prest
At all assayes to helpe a wight distrest)
As glad and willing was to ease her sonne,
As shee would ever joy to see it done.
And giving her a salve in leaves up bound;
And shee directed how to cure the wound,
With thankes, made home-wards, (longing still to see
Th' effect of this good Hermits Surgerie)
There carefully, her sonne laid on a bed,
(Enriched with the bloud hee on it shed)
She washes, dresses, bindes his wound (yet sore)
That griev'd, it could weepe bloud for him no more.

Now had the glorious Sunne tane up his Inne,
And Philomell gan on the Haw-thorne sing,
Within the gloomy shades of some thicke Spring,
Sad Philomel gan on the Haw-thorne sing,
(Whilst every beast at rest was lowly laid)
The outrage done upon a silly Maide.
All things were husht, each bird slept on his bough;
And night gave rest to him, day tir'd at plough;
Each beast, each bird, and each day-toyling wight,
Receiv'd the comfort of the silent night:
Free from the gripes of sorrow every one,
Except poore Philomel and Doridon;
Shee on a Thorne sings sweet though sighing straines;
He on a couch more soft, more sad complaines:
Whose in-pent thoughts him long time having pained,
He sighing wept, and weeping thus complained.

Sweet Philomela (then he heard her sing)
I doe not envy thy sweet carolling,
But doe admire thee, that each even and morrow,
Canst carelesly thus sing away thy sorrow.
Would I could doe so too! and ever be
In all my woes still imitating thee:
But I may not attaine to that; for then
Such most unhappy, miserable men
Would strive with Heaven, and imitate the Sunne,
Whose golden beames in exhalation,
Though drawn from Fens, or other grounds impure,
Turne all to fructifying nouriture.
When we draw nothing by our Sun-like eyes,
That ever turnes to mirth, but miseries:
Would I had never seene, except that shee
Who made me wish so, love to looke on me.
Had Colin Clout yet liv'd, (but hee is gone)
That best on earth could tune a lovers mone,
Whose sadder Tones inforc'd the Rocks to weepe,
And laid the greatest griefes in quiet sleepe:
Who when he sung (as I would doe to mine)
His truest loves to his faire Rosaline,
Entic'd each Shepheards eare to heare him play,
And rapt with wonder, thus admiring say:
Thrice happy plaines (if plaines thrice happy may be)
Where such a Shepheard pipes to such a Lady.
Who made the Lasses long to sit downe neare him;
And woo'd the Rivers from their Springs to heare him.
Heaven rest thy Soule (if so a Swaine may pray)
And as thy workes live here, live there for aye.
Meane while (unhappy) I shall still complaine
Loves cruell wounding of a seely Swaine.

Two nights thus past: the Lilly-handed Morne
Saw Phoebus stealing dewe from Ceres Corne.
The mounting Larke (dayes herauld) got on wing
Bidding each bird chuse out his bough and sing.

The lofty Treble sung the little Wren;
Robin the Meane, that best of all loves men;
The Nightingale the Tenor; and the Thrush
The Counter-tenor sweetly in a bush:
And that the Musicke might be full in parts,
Birds from the groves flew with right willing hearts:
But (as it seem'd) they thought (as doe the Swaines,
Which tune their Pipes on sack'd Hibernia's plaines)
There should some droaning part be, therefore will'd
Some bird to flye into a neighb'ring field,
In Embassie unto the King of Bees,
To aid his partners on the flowres and trees:
Who condiscending gladly flew along
To beare the Base to his well-tuned song.
The Crow was willing they should be beholding
For his deepe voyce, but being hoarse with skolding,
He thus lends aide; upon an Oake doth climbe,
And nodding with his head, so keepeth time.

O true delight, enharboring the brests
Of those sweet creatures with the plumy crests.
Had Nature unto man such simpl'esse given,
He would like Birds be farre more neere to heaven.
But Doridon well knew (who knowes no lesse?)
"Mans compounds have o'er thrown his simplenesse."

Noone-tide the Morne had woo'd, and shee gan yeeld,
When Doridon (made ready for the field)
Goes sadly forth (a wofull Shepheards Lad)
Drowned in teares, his minde with griefe yclad,
To ope his fold and let his Lamkins out,
(Full jolly flocke they seem'd, a well fleec'd rout)
Which gently walk'd before, hee sadly pacing,
Both guides and folowes them towards their grazing.
When from a Grove the Wood-Nymphs held full deare,
Two heavenly voyces did intreat his eare,
And did compell his longing eyes to see
What happy wight enjoy'd such harmonie.
Which joyned with five more, and so made seaven,
Would parallel in mirth the Spheares of heaven.
To have a sight at first he would not presse,
For feare to interrupt such happinesse:
But kept aloofe, the thicke growne shrubs among,
Yet so as hee might heare this wooing Song.

F.
Fye Shepheards Swaine, why sitst thou all alone,
Whil'st other Lads are sporting on the leyes?

R.
Joy may have company, but Griefe hath none:
Where pleasure never came, sports cannot please.

F.
Yet may you please to grace our this dayes sport,
Though not an actor, yet a looker on.

R.
A looker on indeede, so Swaines of sort,
Cast low, take joy to looke whence they are thrown?

F.
Seeke joy and finde it.

R.
Griefe doth not minde it.

BOTH.
Then both agree in one,
Sorrow doth hate
To have a mate;
"True griefe is still alone."

F.
Sad Swaine areade, (if that a Maide may aske?)
What cause so great effects of griefe hath wrought?)

R.
Alas, Love is not hid, it weares no maske;
To view 'tis by the face conceiv'd and brought.

F.
The cause I grant: the causer is not learned:
Your speech I doe entreat about this taske.

R.
If that my heart were seene, 'twould be discerned;
And Fida's name found graven on the caske.

F.
Hath Love young Remond moved?

R.
'Tis Fida that is loved.

BOTH.
Although 'tis said that no men
Will with their harts,
Or goods chiefe parts
Trust eyther Seas or Women.

F.
How may a Maiden be assur'd of love,
Since falshood late in everie Swaine excelleth?

R.
When protestations faile, time may approve
Where true affection lives, where falshood dwelleth.

F.
The truest cause elects a Judge as true:
Fie, how my sighing, my much loving telleth.

R.
Your love is fixt in one whose heart to you
Shall be as constancy, which ne'er rebelleth.

F.
None other shall have grace.

R.
None else in my heart place.

BOTH.
Goe Shepheards Swaines and wive all,
For Love and Kings
Are two like things
Admitting no Corrivall.

As when some Malefactor judg'd to dye
For his offence, his Execution nye,
Casteth his sight on states unlike to his,
And weighs his ill by others happinesse:
So Doridon thought every state to be
Further from him, more neere felicitie.

O blessed sight, where such concordance meetes,
Where truth with truth, and love with liking greetes.
Had (quoth the Swain) the Fates given me some measure
Of true delights inestimable treasure,
I had beene fortunate: but now so weake
My bankrupt heart will be inforc'd to breake.
Sweet Love that drawes on earth a yoake so even;
Sweet life that imitates the blisse of heaven;
Sweet death they needs must have, who so unite
That two distinct make one Hermaphrodite:
Sweet love, sweet life, sweet death, that so doe meet
On earth; in death, in heaven be ever sweet!
Let all good wishes ever waite upon you,
And happinesse as hand-maid tending on you.
Your loves within one centre meeting have!
One houre your deaths, your corps possesse one grave!
Your names still greene, (thus doth a Swaine implore)
Till time and memory shall be no more!

Herewith the couple hand in hand arose,
And tooke the way which to the Sheep-walke goes.
And whil'st that Doridon their gate look'd on,
His dogge disclos'd him, rushing forth upon
A well-fed Deere, that trips it o'er the Meade,
As nimbly as the wench did whilome tread
On Ceres dangling eares, or Shaft let goe
By some faire Nymph that beares Diana's Bowe.
When turning head, hee not a foot would sturre,
Scorning the barking of a Shepheards curre:
So should all Swaines as little weigh their spite,
Who at their songs doe bawle, but dare not bite.

Remond, that by the dogge the Master knew,
Came backe, and angry bade him to pursue;
Dory (quoth he) if your ill-tuter'd dogge
Have nought of awe, then let him have a clogge.
Doe you not know this seely timorous Deere,
(As usuall to his kinde) hunted whileare,
The Sunne not ten degrees got in the Signes,
Since to our Maides, here gathering Columbines,
Shee weeping came, and with her head low laid
In Fida's lap, did humbly begge for aide.
Whereat unto the hounds they gave a checke,
And saving her, might spie about her necke
A Coller hanging, and (as yet is seene)
These words in gold wrought on a ground of greene:
Maidens: since 'tis decreed a Maide shall have mee,
Keepe me till hee shall kill me that must save mee.
But whence shee came, or who the words concerne,
We neither know nor can of any learne.
Upon a pallat shee doth lye at night,
Neere Fida's bed, nor will shee from her sight:
Upon her walkes shee all the day attends,
And by her side shee trips where ere shee wends.

Remond, (replide the Swaine) if I have wrong'd
Fida in ought which unto her belong'd:
I sorrow for't, and truelie doe protest,
As yet I never heard speech of this Beast:
Nor was it with my will; or if it were,
Is it not lawfull we should chase the Deere,
That breaking our inclosures every morne
Are found at feed upon our crop of corne?
Yet had I knowne this Deere, I had not wrong'd
Fida in ought which unto her belong'd.

I thinke no lesse, quoth Remond; but I pray,
Whither walkes Doridon this Holy-day?
Come drive your sheepe to their appointed feeding,
And make you one at this our merry meeting.
Full many a Shepheard with his lovely Lasse,
Sit telling tales upon the clover grasse:
There is the merry Shepheard of the hole;
Thenot, Piers, Nilkin, Duddy, Hobbinoll,
Alexis, Silvan, Teddy of the Glen,
Rowly, and Perigot here by the Fen,
With many more, I cannot reckon all
That meet to solemnize this festivall.

I grieve not at their mirth, said Doridon:
Yet had there beene of Feasts not any one
Appointed or commanded, you will say,
"Where there's Content 'tis ever Holy-day."

Leave further talke (quoth Remond) let's be gone,
Ile helpe you with your sheepe, the time drawes on.
Fida will call the Hinde, and come with us.

Thus went they on, and Remond did discusse
Their cause of meeting, till they won with pacing
The circuit chosen for the Maidens tracing.
It was a Roundell seated on a plaine,
That stood as Sentinell unto the Maine,
Environ'd round with Trees and many an Arbour,
Wherein melodious birds did nightly harbour:
And on a bough within the quickning Spring,
Would be a teaching of their young to sing;
Whose pleasing Noates the tyred Swaine have made
To steale a nappe at noone-tyde in the shade.
Nature her selfe did there in triumph ride,
And made that place the ground of all her pride.
Whose various flowres deceiv'd the rasher eye
In taking them for curious Tapistrie.
A silver Spring forth of a rocke did fall,
That in a drought did serve to water all.
Upon the edges of a grassie banke,
A tuft of Trees grew circling in a ranke,
As if they seem'd their sports to gaze upon,
Or stood as guard against the winde and Sunne:
So faire, so fresh, so greene, so sweet a ground
The piercing eyes of heaven yet never found.
Here Doridon all ready met doth see,
(Oh who would not at such a meeting be?)
Where hee might doubt, who gave to other grace,
Whether the place the Maides, or Maides the place.
Here gan the Reede, and merry Bag-pipe play,
Shrill as a Thrush upon a Morne of May,
(A rurall Musicke for an heavenly traine)
And every Shepheardesse danc'd with her Swaine.

As when some gale of winde doth nimbly take
A faire white locke of wooll, and with it make
Some prettie driving; here it sweepes the plaine;
There stayes, here hops, there mounts, and turns againe:
Yet all so quicke, that none so soone can say
That now it stops, or leapes, or turnes away:
So was their dancing, none look'd thereupon,
But thought their severall motions to be one.

A crooked measure was their first election,
Because all crooked tends to best perfection.
And as I weene this often bowing measure,
Was chiefly framed for the womens pleasure.
Though like the ribbe, they crooked are and bending,
Yet to the best of formes they aime their ending:
Next in an (I) their measure made a rest,
Shewing when Love is plainest it is best.
Then in a (Y) which thus doth Love commend,
Making of two at first, one in the end.
And lastly closing in a round do enter,
Placing the lusty Shepheards in the center:
About the Swaines they dancing seem'd to roule,
As other Planets round the Heavenly Pole.
Who by their sweet aspect or chiding frowne,
Could raise a Shepheard up, or cast him downe.
Thus were they circled till a Swaine came neere,
And sent this song unto each Shepheards eare:
The Noate and voyce so sweet, that for such mirth
The Gods would leave the heavens, and dwell on earth.

Happy are you so enclosed,
May the Maides be still disposed
In their gestures and their dances,
So to grace you with intwining,
That Envy wish in such combining,
Fortunes smile with happie chances.

Here it seemes as if the Graces
Measur'd out the Plaine in traces,
In a Shepheardesse disguising.
Are the Spheares so nimbly turning?
Wandring Lampes in heaven burning,
To the eye so much entising?

Yes Heaven meanes to take these thither,
And adde one joy to see both daunce together.

Gentle Nymphes be not refusing,
Loves neglect is times abusing,
They and beauty are but lent you,
Take the one and keepe the other:
Love keepes fresh, what age doth smother.
Beautie gone you will repent you.

'Twill be said when yee have proved,
Never Swaines more truly loved:
O then flye all nice behaviour.
Pitty faine would (as her dutie)
Be attending still on beautie,
Let her not be out of favour.

Disdaine is now so much rewarded,
That Pitty weepes since shee is unregarded.

The measure and the Song here being ended:
Each Swain his thoughts thus to his Love comended.

The first presents his Dogge, with these:

When I my flocke neere you doe keepe,
And bid my Dogge goe take a Sheepe,
He cleane mistakes what I bid doe,
And bends his pace still towards you.
Poore wretch, he knowes more care I keepe
To get you, then a seely Sheep.

The second, his Pipe, with these:

Bid me to sing (faire Maide) my Song shall prove
There ne'er was truer Pipe sung truer Love.

The third, a paire of Gloves, thus:

These will keepe your hands from burning,
Whilst the Sunne is swiftly turning;
But who can any veile devise
To shield my Heart from your faire Eyes?

The fourth, an Anagram.
MAIDEN AID MEN.

Maidens should be ayding Men,
And for love give love agen:
Learne this lesson from your Mother,
One good wish requires another.
They deserve their names best, when
Maides most willingly aid Men.

The fift, a Ring, with a Picture in a Jewell on it.

Nature hath fram'd a Jemme beyond compare,
The world's the Ring, but you the Jewell are.

The sixt, a Nosegay of Roses, with a Nettle in it.

Such is the Posie, Love composes;
A stinging Nettle mixt with Roses.

The seaventh, a Girdle.

This during light I give to clip your wast,
Faire, grant mine armes that place when day is past.

The Eight

You have the substance, and I live
But by the shadowe which you give,
Substance and shadowe, both are due,
And given of me to none but you,
Then whence is life but from that part,
Which is possessor of the hart.

The Nynth

The Hooke of right belongs to you. for when I take but seelie Sheepe, you still take Men

The Tenth

Lovelie maiden best of any
Of our plaines though thrice as many:
Vaile to love and leave denyeing.
Endles knotts lett fates be tyeing.
Such a face, so fyne a feature
(Kindest fairest sweetest creature)
Never yet was found, but loving;
O then lett my plaintes be moving!
Trust a shepheard though ye meanest.
Truth is best when shee is plainest.
I love, not, with vowes contesting,
Fayth is fayth without protesting.
Time that all thinges doth inheritt
Renders each desert his merritt.
If that faile in me, as noe man.
Doubtles tyme nere wonne a woeman
Maidens still should be relentinge.
And once flinty still repentinge.
Youth with youth is best combyned.
Each one with his like is twyned
Beautie should have beautious meanig
Ever that hope easeth playninge
Unto you whome Nature dresses
Needs no combe to smooth your tresses
This way that may doe his dutie
In your locks to shade your beautie
Doe soe, and to love be turninge.
Elce each hart it will be burninge.

The Eleaventh

This is love and worth commending,
Still beginning never ending,
Like a wilie nett insnaring,
In a round shuts up all squaring,
In and out, whose everie angle.
More and more doth still intangle,
Keepes a measure still in moving,
And is never light but lovinge,
Twyning armes, exchanging kisses,
Each partaking others blisses,
Laughing weepinge still togeather,
Blisse in one is myrth in either,
Never breaking ever bending,
This is love and worth commending.

The Twelfth

Loe Cupid leaves his bowe, his reason is,
Because your eyes wounde when his shafts doe misse

Whilst every one was offring at the shrine
Of such rare beauties might be stil'd divine:
This lamentable voyce towards them flyes:
O Heaven send aid, or else a Maiden dyes!
Herewith some ran the way the voyce them led;
Some with the Maiden staid which shooke for dread;
What was the cause time serves not now to tell.
Hearke; for my jolly Wether rings his bell,
And almost all our flockes have left to graze,
Shepherds 'tis almost night, hie home apace,
When next we meet (as we shall meet ere long)
Ile tell the rest in some ensuing Song.

[pp. 45-62]