1614
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Shepheards Pipe. The Sixth 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


William Browne's canine theme is developed at length in George Wither's eclogues.

Robert Southey: "Browne is a poet who produced no slight effect upon his contemporaries. George Wither, in his happiest pieces, has learnt the manner of his friend; and Milton may be traced to him. And in our days his peculiarities have been caught, and his beauties imitated, by men who will themselves find admirers and imitators hereafter" British Poets, Chaucer to Jonson (1831) 840.

Herbert E. Cory: "The sixth eclogue attempts an infusion of humour, an element with which Drayton and his friends wisely attempted to revive the drooping pastoral. 'Philos of his dog doth brag | For having many feats, | The while the cur undoes his bag And all his dinner eats'" "Spenserian Pastoral" PMLA 25 (1910) 258.



THE ARGUMENT.
PHILOS of his Dogge doth bragge
For having many feates;
The while the Curre undoes his bagge,
And all his dinner eates.

WILLIE. JOCKIE. PHILOS.

WILLIE.
Stay, JOCKIE, let us rest here by this spring,
And PHILOS too, since we so well are met;
This spreading Oke will yeeld us shadowing
Till Phoebus steeds be in the Ocean wet.

JOCKIE.
Gladly (kind swaine) I yield, so thou wilt play,
And make us merry with a Roundelay.

PHILOS.
No Jockie, rather wend we to the wood;
The time is fit, and Filberds waxen ripe,
Let's go and fray the Squirrell from his food;
We will another time heare Willie pipe.

WILLIE.
But who shall keepe our flockes when we are gone?
I dare not go, and let them feed alone.

JOCKIE.
Nor I: since but the other day it fell,
Leaving my sheep to graze on yonder plaine,
I went to fill my bottle at the well,
And ere I could return two lambs were slaine.

PHILOS.
Then was thy dogg ill taught, or else a sleepe;
Such Curres as those shall never watch my sheepe.

WILLIE.
Yet Philos hath a dogg not of the best:
He seemes too lazy, and will take no paines;
More fit to lye at home and take his rest,
Then catch a wand'ring sheep upon the plains.

JOCKIE.
Tis true indeed: and Philos, wot ye what?
I thinke he playes the Fox he growes so fat.

PHILOS.
Yet hath not Jockie nor yet Willie seene
A dogge more nimble then is this of mine,
Nor any of the Fox more heedful beene
When in the shade I slept, or list to dine.
And though I say't, hath better tricks in store
Then both of yours, or twenty couple more.

How often have the maidens strove to take him,
When he hath crost the plaine to bark at Crowes?
How many Lasses have I knowne to make him
Garlands to gird his necke, with which he goes
Vaunting along the lands so wondrous trim,
That not a dog of yours durst barke at him.

And when I list (as often-times I use)
To tune a Horne-pipe or a Morris-dance,
The dogge (as hee by nature could not chuse)
Seeming asleepe before, will leap and dance.

WILLIE.
Belike your dog came of a Pedlers brood,
Or Philos musicke is exceeding good.

PHILOS.
I boast not of his kin, nor of my Reed,
(Though of my reed and him I wel may boast)
Yet if you will adventure that some meed
Shall be to him that is in action most,
As for a Coller of shrill sounding bels,
My dog shall strive with yours, or any's els.

JOCKIE.
PHILOS in truth I must confesse your Wagge
(For so you call him) hath of trickes good store,
To steale the vittailes from his maisters bagge,
More cunningly I nere saw dogge before.
See WILLY, see! I prithee PHILOS note
How fast thy bread and cheese goes down his throte.

WILLIE.
Now PHILOS see how mannerly your Curre,
Your well-taught dog, that hath so many trickes,
Devours your Dinner.

PHILOS.
I wish 'twere a burre
To choke the Mungrell!

JOCKIE.
See how cleane he lickes
Your Butter-boxe; by Pan, I doe not meanly
Love Philos dog that loves to be so cleanly.

PHILOS.
Well flouted JOCKIE.

WILLIE.
PHILOS! run amaine,
For in your scrip hee now hath thrust his head
So farre, he cannot get it forth againe;
See how he blind-fold strags along the mead;
And at your scrip your bottle hangs, I thinke.
He loves your meat, but cares not for your drinke.

JOCKIE.
Ay, so it seems: and PHILOS now may goe
Unto the wood, or home for other cheere.

PHILOS.
Twere better he had never serv'd me so,
Sweet meat, sowre sauce, he shall abye it deere.
What, must he be aforehand with his maister?

WILLIE.
Onely in kindnesse hee would be your taster.

PHILOS.
Well Willy you may laugh, and urge my spleen;
But by my hooke I sweare he shall it rue,
And had far'd better had he fasting been.
But I must home for my allowance new.
So farewell, lads. Looke to my fleeced traine
Till my returne.

JOCKIE.
We will.

WILLIE.
Make haste againe.

[sigs E5-E7]