1614
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Shepheards Pipe. The Third Eglogue.

The Shepheards Pipe. Other Eglogues: by Mr. Brooke, Mr. Wither and Mr. Davies. An other Eclogue by Mr. George Wither. Dedicated to his truely loving and worthy Friend, Mr. W. Browne.

William Browne of Tavistock


Cheated by his servants, Neddy loses his dairy and is forced to turn fiddler. Doubtless this points at a real person, though no one has been identified.

Richard Mant: "The public is also partly indebted to him [Thomas Warton] for an edition of the poems of William Browne (Author of Britannia's Pastorals) in 1772. The Shepheard's Pipe, consisting of some beautiful eclogues, was become so scarce, that it could not have been reprinted, had not Mr. Warton lent the editor [Thomas Davies] his copy" Poems of Thomas Warton (1802) 1:xlix.

Herbert E. Cory: "The second eclogue is a sprightly dialogue between Willie and Jockie who complain of the depredations of a 'swinish lout.' Then follows a beautiful eclogue in which Piers and Thomalin bemoan the poverty of old Neddy, a figure like Spenser's Thenot and Diggon Davy. It is interesting, by comparing this light but tender lyric with the cumbersome lines of its nearest model, the gloomy September, to see in what way the pastoral had progressed" "Spenserian Pastoral" PMLA 10 (1910) 257.



THE ARGUMENT.
Old NEDDY'S povertie they mone,
Who whilome was a Swaine
That had more Sheepe himselfe alone,
Then ten upon the plaine.

PIERS. THOMALIN.

THOMALIN.
Where is every piping lad
That the fields are not yclad
With their milk-white sheep?
Tell me: is it Holy-day,
Or if in the Month of May
Use they long to sleepe?

PIERS.
Thomalin 'tis not too late,
For the Turtle and her mate
Sitten yet in nest:
And the thrustle hath not been
Gath'ring worms yet on the green
But attends her rest.
Not a bird hath taught her yong,
Nor her mornings lesson sung
In the shady grove:
But the Nightingale in darke
Singing, woke the mounting Larke
She records her love.
Not the Sun hath with his beames
Guilded yet our christall streames,
Rising from the Sea,
Mists do crowne the mountaines tops,
And each pretty mirtle drops:
Tis but newly day.
Yet see, yonder (though unwist)
Some man cometh in the mist;
Hast thou him beheld?
See he crosseth o're the land
With a dogg and staffe in hand,
Limping for his eld.

THOMALIN.
Yes, I see him, and doe know him,
And we all do rev'rence owe him,
'Tis the aged Sire
NEDDY, that was wont to make
Such great feasting at the wake,
And the blessing-fire.
Good old man! see how he walkes
Painfull and among the balkes
Picking lockes of wull:
I have knowne the day when he
Had as much as any three,
When their lofts were full.
Underneath yond hanging rockes
All the valley with his Flockes
Was whilome over-spread:
He had milch-goates without peeres,
Well-hung kine, and fatten'd steeres
Many hundred head.
WILKINS cote his Dairy was,
For a dwelling it may passe
With the best in towne.
Curds and creame with other cheare,
Have I had there in the yeare
For a greeny gowne.
Lasses kept it, as againe
Were not fitted on the plaine
For a lusty dance:
And at parting, home would take us,
Flawns or Sillibubs to make us
For our jouisance.
And though some in spight would tell,
Yet old NEDDY took it well;
Bidding us again
Never at his Cote be strange:
Unto him that wrought this change,
Mickle be the paine!

PIERS.
What disaster THOMALIN
This mischance hath cloth'd him in,
Quickly tellen me,
Rue I doe his state the more,
That hee clipped heretofore
Some felicity.
Han by night accursed theeves
Slaine his Lambs, or stolne his Beeves
Or consuming fire
Brent his shearing-house, or stall;
Or a deluge drowned all?
Tell me it intire.
Have the Winters been so set
To raine and snow, they have wet
All his driest Laire:
By which meanes his sheepe have got
Such a deadly curelesse rot,
That none living are?

THOMALIN.
Neither waves, nor theeves, nor fire,
Not have rots impoor'd this Sire;
Suretiship, nor yet
Was the usurer helping on
With his damn'd extortion,
Nor the chaines of debt.
But deceit that ever lies
Strongest arm'd for treacheries
In a bosom'd friend:
That (and onely that) hath brought it:
Cursed be the head that wrought it!
And the basest end.
Groomes he had, and he did send them
With his heards a field, to tend them,
Had they further been;
Sluggish, lazy, thriftlesse elves,
Sheep had better kept themselves
From the Foxes teen.
Some would kill their sheepe, and then
Bring their maister home agen
Nothing but the skin;
Telling him, how in the morne
In the fold they found them torne,
And nere lying lin.
If they went unto the faire
With a score of fatned ware,
And did chance to sell:
If old NEDDY had againe
Halfe his owne, I dare well saine,
That but seldome fell.
They at their returne would say,
Such a man or such would pay,
Well knowne of your Hyne.
Alas poore man! that subtill knave
Undid him, and vaunts it brave,
Though his Maister pine.
Of his maister he would begg
Such a lambe that broke his legg,
And if there were none:
To the fold by night hee'd hye,
And them hurt full rufully
Or with staffe or stone.
He would have petitions new,
And for desp'rate debts would sue
NEDDY had forgot:
He would grant: the other then
Tears from poor and aged men:
Or in Jayles they rot.
NEDDY lately rich in store,
Giving much, deceived more,
On a sudden fell;
Then the Steward lent him gold,
Yet no more then might bee told
Worth his maisters Cell.
That is gone, and all beside,
(Well-a-day, alacke the tide):
In a hollow den,
Underneath yond gloomy wood
Wons he now, and wails the brood
Of ingrateful men.

PIERS.
But alas! now hee is old,
Bit with hunger, nipp'd with cold,
What is left him?
Or to succour, or relieve him,
Or from wants oft to repreeve him

THOMALIN.
Al's bereft him,
Save he hath a little crowd,
(Hee in youth was of it proud)
And a dogge to dance:
With them he on holy-dayes
In the Farmers houses playes
For his sustenance.

PIERS.
See; he's neere, let's rise and meet him,
And with dues to old age, greet him,
It is fitting so.

THOMALIN.
'Tis a motion good and sage.
Honour still is due to age:
Up, and let us go.

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