Britannia's Pastorals II: The Second Song.

Britannia's Pastorals. The Second Booke.

William Browne of Tavistock

Doridon and Remond, in pursuit of Fida, discover the bloody collar belonging to Fida's hound. Searching for Fida, Doridon and Remond discover a beautiful but strangely silent boy.

Thomas Dermody: "The charming, though neglected Poet, from whose Pastorals I have taken my motto, elegantly describes the self-dependancy which Genius can find in itself alone, when attacked by the feeble shafts of unmerited stricture: "For there is hidden in a Poet's name | A spell that can command the wing of fame, | And maugre all Oblivion's hated birth | begin their immortalitie on earth, | When he that 'gainst a muse with hate combines, | May raise his toombe in vain to reach our lines' Browne's Past" Preface to Poems Moral and Descriptive (1800) vii-viii.

Robert Aris Willmott: "Browne has expressed his high opinion of Wither's poetry in Britannia's Pastorals, although the value of the praise is not increased by the inclusion of that dull writer, Davies [of Hereford]: — 'Davies and Wither, by whose Muses' power, | A natural day to me seems but an hour, | And could I ever hear their learned lays, | Ages would turn to artificial days'" Lives of Sacred Poets (1834) 84n.

John Payne Collier: "In the second song of Book II., Browne introduces laudatory notices of George Chapman, Michael Drayton, Ben Jonson, Samuel Daniel, Christopher Brooke, John Davies, and George Wither" Bibliographical and Critical Account (1866) 1:114.

A. H. Bullen: "Sidney and Spenser, whom he regarded as his masters, he held in highest veneration. Among his friends were Ben Jonson, Chapman ('the learned shepherd of fair Hitchin hill'), 'well-languaged Daniel,' Christopher Brooke, John Davies of Hereford, and Wither. In the Second Song of the Second Book he passes these poets in review, and eulogizes each in turn. The praise that he bestowed on contemporary poets was by them amply repaid; and with poets of a later age Browne has found favour. In Mr. Huth's library is preserved a copy of the folio edition of Britannia's Pastoral's, containing MS. annotations stated to be in the handwriting of Milton (who may possibly have taken some hints for Comus from Browne's Inner Temple Masque). Henry Vaughan, in his praises of the river Usk, borrowed from the Second Song of the First Book of the Pastorals. Keats, who chose a motto from the Pastorals for one of his early poems, was much under Browne's influence at the beginning of his glorious career, but quickly passed to regions of fancy far removed from the ken of the earlier poet. Mrs. Browning did not omit to introduce Browne in her Vision of the poets" "Introduction" to Poems of William Browne (1893) 1:xxx-xxxi.

F. W. Moorman: the Fida episode resembles "Spenser's story of Florimell in the Faerie Queene (Book III, Cantos VII, VIII). Florimell is chased by a wild beast, escapes, but loses her girdle. This is subsequently found by Sir Satyrane, who imagines that Florimell is dead. Later on he meets with Paridell who is in search of Florimell, shows him the girdle, and convinces him that Florimell has been slain by the wild beast. When it is added that the wild beast devoured the palfrey on which Florimell rode, just as Riot devoured Fida's hind, the resemblance becomes closer still" William Browne (1897) 30.

What Shepheards on the Sea were seene
To entertaine the Oceans Queene,
Remond in search of Fida gone,
And for his love yong Doridon,
Their meeting with a wofull Swaine,
Mute, and not able to complaine
His metamorphos'd Mistresse wrong;
Is all the subiect of this Song.

The MUSES friend (gray-eyde Aurora) yet
Held all the Meadowes in a cooling sweat,
The milke-white Gossamores not upwards snow'd,
Nor was the sharpe and usefull steering goad
Laid on the strong-neckt Oxe; no gentle bud
The Sun had dride; the cattle chew'd the cud
Low level'd on the grasse; no Flyes quicke sting
Inforc'd the Stonehorse in a furious ring
To teare the passive earth, nor lash his taile
About his buttockes broad; the slimy Snaile
Might on the wainscot (by his many mazes
Winding Meanders and selfe-knitting traces)
Be follow'd, where he stucke, his glittering slime
Not yet wip't off. It was so earely time,
The carefull Smith had in his sooty forge
Kindled no coale; nor did his hammers urge
His neighbours patience: Owles abroad did flye,
And day as then might plead his infancy.
Yet of faire Albion all the westerne Swaines
Were long since up, attending on the plaines
When Nereus daughter with her mirthfull hoast
Should summon them, on their declining coast.

But since her stay was long: for feare the Sunne
Should finde them idle, some of them begunne
To leape and wrastle, others threw the barre;
Some from the company removed are,
To meditate the songs they meant to play,
Or make a new Round for next Holiday:
Some tales of love their love-sicke fellowes told:
Others were seeking stakes to pitch their fold.
This, all alone was mending of his Pipe:
That, for his lasse sought fruits most sweet most ripe.
Here, (from the rest) a lovely shepherds boy
Sits piping on a hill, as if his joy
Would still endure, or else that ages frost
Should never make him thinke what he had lost.
Yonder a shepherdesse knits by the springs,
Her hands still keeping time to what shee sings:
Or seeming, by her song, those fairest hands
Were comforted in working. Neere the sands
Of some sweet River sits a musing lad,
That moanes the losse of what he sometime had,
His Love by death bereft: when fast by him
An aged Swaine takes place, as neere the brim
Of's grave as of the River; shewing how
That as those floods, which passe along right now
Are follow'd still by others from their spring,
And in the Sea have all their burying:
Right so our times are knowne, our ages found,
(Nothing is permanent within this Round:)
One age is now, another that succeedes,
Extirping all things which the former breedes:
Another followes that, doth new times raise,
New yeers, new months, new weeks, new houres, new dayes,
Mankinde thus goes like Rivers from their spring,
And in the Earth have all their burying.
Thus sate the old man counselling the young;
Whilst, underneath a tree which over-hung
The silver streame (as some delight it tooke
To trim his thicke boughes in the Crystall Brooke)
Were set a jocund crew of youthfull Swaines,
Wooing their sweetings with delicious straynes.
Sportive Oreades the hils descended,
The Hamadryades their hunting ended,
And in the high woods left the long-liv'd Harts
To feed in peace, free from their winged Darts;
Floods, Mountaines, Vallies, Woods, each vacant lies
Of Nimphs that by them danc'd their Haydigyes:
For all those Powers were ready to embrace
The present meanes, to give our Shepherds grace.
And underneath this tree (till Thetis came)
Many resorted; where a Swaine, of name
Lesse, then of worth: (and we doe never owne
Nor apprehend him best, that most is knowne.)
Fame is uncertaine, who so swiftly flyes
By th' unregarded shed where Vertue lies:
Shee (ill inform'd of Vertues worth) pursu'th
(In haste) Opinion for the simple Truth.
True Fame is ever likened to our shade,
Hee soonest misseth her, that most hath made
To over-take her; who so takes his wing,
Regardlesse of her, shee'll be following:
Her true proprietie shee thus discovers,
"Loves her contemners, and contemnes her lovers."
Th' applause of common people never yet
Pursu'd this Swaine; he knew't the counterfeit
Of setled praise, and therefore at his songs,
Though all the Shepherds and the gracefull throngs
Of Semigods compar'd him with the best
That ever touch'd a Reede, or was addrest
In shepherds coate, he never would approve
Their Attributes, given in sincerest love;
Except he truely knew them as his merit.
Fame gives a second life to such a spirit.

This Swaine, intreated by the mirthfull rout,
That with intwined armes lay round about
The tree 'gainst which he lean'd. (So have I seene
Tom Piper stand upon our village greene,
Backt with the May-pole, whilst a jocund crew
In gentle motion circularly threw
Themselves about him.) To his fairest Ring
Thus 'gan in numbers well according sing:

Venus by Adonis side
Crying kist, and kissing cride,
Wrung her hands and tore her haire,
For Adonis dying there.

Stay (quoth shee) O stay and live!
Nature surely doth not give
To the Earth her sweetest flowres
To be seene but some few houres.

On his face, still as he bled
For each drop a teare she shed,
Which she kist or wipt away,
Else had drown'd him where he lay.

Faire Proserpina (quoth shee)
Shall not have thee yet from mee;
Nor thy soule to flye begin
While my lips can keepe it in.

Here she clos'd againe. And some
Say, Apollo would have come
To have cur'd his wounded lym,
But that she had smother'd him.

Looke as a Traveller in Summers day
Nye chookt with dust, and molt with Titans ray,
Longs for a spring to coole his inward heate,
And to that end, with vowes, doth heaven intreat,
When going further, finds an Apple-tree,
(Standing as did old Hospitalitie,
With ready armes to succour any needes:)
Hence plucks an Apple, tastes it, and it breedes
So great a liking in him for his thirst,
That up he climbes, and gathers to the first
A second, third; nay, will not cease to pull
Till hee have got his cap and pockets full.
"Things long desir'd so well esteemed are,
That when they come we hold them better farre.
There is no meane 'twixt what we love and want,
Desire, in men, is so predominant."
No lesse did all this quaint assembly long
Then doth the Traveller: this Shepherds Song
Had so ensnar'd each acceptable eare,
That but a second, nought could bring them cleare
From an affected snare; had Orpheus beene
Playing, some distance from them, he had seene
Not one to stirre a foot for his rare straine,
But left the Thracian for the English Swaine.
Or had suspicious Juno (when her Jove
Into a Cowe transform'd his fairest Love)
Great Inachus sweet Stem in durance given
To this young Lad; the Messenger of heaven
(Faire Maia's off-spring) with the depth of Art
That ever Jove to Hermes might impart,
In fingring of a Reed, had never won
Poore Io's freedome. And though Arctors son
(Hundred-ey'd Argus) might be lull'd by him,
And loose his pris'ner: yet in every lym
That God of wit had felt this Shepherds skill,
And by his charmes brought from the Muses hill
Inforc'd to sleepe; then, rob'd of Pipe and Rod,
And vanquish'd so, turne Swaine, this Swaine a God.
Yet to this Lad not wanted Envies sting,
("Hee's not worth ought, that's not worth envying")
Since many at his praise were seene to grutch.
For as a Miller in his boulting hutch
Drives out the pure meale neerly (as he can)
And in his sister leaves the courser bran:
So doth the canker of a Poets name
Let slip such lines as might inherit Fame,
And from a Volume culs some small amisse,
To fire such dogged spleenes as mate with his.
Yet, as a man that (by his Art) would bring
The ceaslesse current of a Christall Spring
To over-looke the lowly flowing head,
Sinkes by degrees his soder'd Pipes of Lead,
Beneath the Fount, whereby the water goes
High, as a Well that on a mountaine flowes:
So when Detraction and a Cynnicks tongue
Have sunke Desert unto the depth of wrong,
By that, the eye of skill, True Worth shall see
To brave the Stars, though low his passage be.

But, here I much digresse, yet pardon, Swaines:
For as a Maiden gath'ring on the Plaines
A sentfull Nosegay (to set neere her pap,
Or as a favour for her Shepheards cap)
Is seene farre off to stray, if she have spide
A Flower that might increase her Posies pride:
So if to wander I am sometimes prest,
'Tis for a straine that might adorne the rest.

Requests, that with deniall could not meet,
Flew to our Shepheard, and the voyces sweet
Of fairest Nymphes, intreating him to say
What wight he lov'd; he thus began his lay:

Shall I tell you whom I love?
Hearken then a while to me;
And if such a woman move,
As I now shall versifie;
Be assur'd, 'tis she, or none
That I love, and love alone.

Nature did her so much right,
As shee scornes the helpe of Art,
In as many Vertues dight
As e'er yet imbrac'd a hart.
So much good so truly tride,
Some for lesse were deifide.

Wit she hath without desire
To make knowne how much she hath;
And her anger flames no higher
Then may fitly sweeten wrath.
Full of pitty as may be,
Though perhaps not so to me.

Reason masters every sense,
And her vertues grace her birth
Lovely as all excellence,
Modest in her most of mirth:
Likelihood enough to prove,
Onely worth could kindle Love.

Such she is: and if you know
Such a one as I have sung;
Be she browne, or faire, or so,
That shee be but somewhile young;
Be assur'd, 'tis she, or none
That I love, and love alone.

Eous and his fellowes in the teame,
(Who, since their watring in the Westerne streame,
Had run a furious journey to appease
The night-sicke eyes of our Antipodes.)
Now (sweating) were in our Horizon seene
To drinke the cold dew from each flowry greene:
When Tritons Trumpet (with a shrill command)
Told; silver-footed Thetis was at hand.

As I have seene when on the brest of Thames
A heavenly beavy of sweet English Dames,
In some calme Ev'ning of delightfull May,
With Musicke give a farewell to the day,
Or as they would (with an admired tone)
Greet Nights ascension to her Eben Throne,
Rapt with their melodie, a thousand more
Run to be wafted from the bounding shore:
So ran the Shepheards, and with hasty feet
Strove which should first increase that happy fleet.

The true presagers of a comming storme,
Teaching their fins to steere them to the forme
Of Thetis will, like Boates at Anchor stood,
As ready to convay the Muses brood
Into the brackish Lake, that seem'd to swell,
As proud so rich a burden on it fell.

Ere their arivall Astrophel had done
His shepherds lay, yet equaliz'd of none.
Th' admired mirrour, glory of our Isle,
Thou farre-farre-more then mortall man, whose stile
Stroke more men dumbe to hearken to thy song,
Then Orpheus Harpe, or Tullyes golden tongue.
To him (as right) for wits deepe quintessence,
For honour, valour, vertue, excellence,
Be all the Garlands, crowne his toombe with Bay,
Who spake as much as ere our tongue can say.

Happy Arcadia! while such lovely straines
Sung of thy Vallyes, Rivers, Hils and Plaines;
Yet most unhappy other joyes among,
That never heard'st his Musicke nor his Song.
Deafe men are happy so, whose Vertues praise
(Unheard of them) are sung in tunefull layes.
And pardon me yee Sisters of the Mountaine,
Who waile his losse from the Pegasian Fountaine,
If (like a man for portraiture unable)
I set my Pencill to Apelles table;
Or dare to draw his Curtaine, with a will
To show his true worth, when the Artists skill
Within that Curtaine fully doth expresse
His owne Arts-Mastry my unablenesse.

Hee sweetly touched, what I harshly hit,
Yet thus I glory in what I have writ;
Sidney began (and if a wit so meane
May taste with him the dewes of Hippocrene)
I sung the Past'rall next; his Muse, my mover:
And on the Plaines full many a pensive lover
Shall sing us to their loves, and praising be
My humble lines: the more, for praising thee.
Thus we shall live with them, by Rockes, by Springs,
As well as Homer by the death of Kings.

Then in a straine beyond an Oaten Quill
The learned Shepheard of faire Hitching hill
Sung the heroicke deeds of Greece and Troy,
In lines so worthy life, that I imploy
My Reede in vaine to overtake his fame.
All praiseful tongues doe wait upon that name.

Our second Ovid, the most pleasing Muse
That heav'n did e're in mortals braine infuse,
All-loved Draiton, in soule-raping straines,
A genuine noate, of all the Nimphish traines
Began to tune; on it all eares were hung
As sometime Dido's on Aeneas tongue.

Johnson whose full of merit to reherse
Too copious is to be confinde in verse;
Yet therein onely fittest to be knowne,
Could any write a line which he might owne.
One, so judicious; so well knowing; and
A man whose least worth is to understand;
One so exact in all he doth preferre
To able censure; for the Theater
Not Seneca transcends his worth of praise;
Who writes him well shall well deserve the Bayes.

Well-languag'd Danyel: Brooke, whose polisht lines
Are fittest to accomplish high designes,
Whose pen (it seemes) still young Apollo guides;
Worthy the forked Hill, for ever glides
Streames from thy braine, so faire, that time shall see
Thee honour'd by thy Verse, and it by thee.
And when thy Temples well-deserving Bayes,
Might impe a pride in thee to reach thy praise,
As in a christall glasse, fill'd to the ring
With the cleare water of as cleare a spring,
A steady hand may very safely drop
Some quantity of gold, yet o're the top
Not force the liquor run; although before
The Glasse (of water) could containe no more:
Yet so, all-worthy Brooke though all men sound
With plummets of just praise thy skill profound,
Thou in thy verse those attributes canst take,
And not apparent ostentation make,
That any second can thy vertues raise,
Striving as much to hide as merit praise.

Davies and Wither, by whose Muses power
A naturall day to me seemes but an houre,
And could I ever heare their learned layes,
Ages would turne to artificiall dayes.
These sweetly chanted to the Queene of Waves,
She prais'd, and what shee prais'd, no tongue depraves.
Then base contempt (unworthy our report)
Fly from the Muses and their faire resort,
And exercise thy spleene on men like thee:
Such are more fit to be contemn'd then wee.
'Tis not the rancour of a cankred heart
That can debase the excellence of Art;
Nor great in titles make our worth obey,
Since we have lines farre more esteem'd then they.
For there is hidden in a Poets name
A Spell that can command the wings of Fame,
And maugre all Oblivions hated birth,
Begin their immortalitie on earth;
When he that gainst a Muse with hate combines,
May raise his Toombe in vaine to reach our lynes.

Thus Thetis rides along the narrow seas
Encompast round with lovely Naides,
With gaudy Nymphs, and many a skilfull Swaine,
Whose equals earth cannot produce againe,
But leave the times and men that shall succeed them
Enough to praise that age which so did breed them.

Two of the quaintest Swaines that yet have beene,
Fail'd their attendance on the Oceans Queene:
Remond and Doridon, whose haplesse Fates
Late sever'd them from their more happy mates.
For (gentle Swaines) if you remember well,
When last I sung on brim of yonder dell,
And as I ghesse it was that sunny morne,
When in the grove thereby my sheepe were shorne,
I weene I tolde you, while the Shepheards yong
Were at their Past'rall and their rurall Song,
The shrikes of some poore Maide fallen in mischance,
Invok't their aid, and drew them from their dance:
Each ran a sev'rall way to helpe the Maide;
Some tow'rds the Vally, some the greene wood straid:
Here one the thicket beates, and there a Swaine
Enters the hidden Caves; but all in vaine.
Nor could they finde the wight whose shrikes and cry
Flew through the gentle ayre so heavily,
Nor see or man or beast, whose cruell teene
Would wrong a Maiden or in grave or greene.
Backe then return'd they all to end their sport
But Doridon and Remond, who resort
Backe to those places which they erst had sought,
Nor could a thicket be by Nature wrought
In such a webb, so intricate, and knit
So strong with Bryers, but they would enter it.
Remond his Fida cals; Fida the woods
Resound againe, and Fida speake the floods,
As if the Rivers and the Hils did frame
Themselves no small delight, to heare her name.
Yet she appeares not. Doridon would now
Have call'd his Love too, but he knew not how:
Much like a man who, dreaming in his sleepe
That he is falling from some Mountaine steepe
Into a soundlesse Lake, about whose brim
A thousand Crocodiles doe waite for him,
And hangs but by one bough and should that breake
His life goes with it, yet to cry or speake,
Though faine he would, can move nor voyce nor tongue:
So when he Remond heard the woods among
Call for his Fida, he would gladly too
Have call'd his fairest Love, but knew not who,
Or what to call; poore Lad, that canst not tell,
Nor speake the name of her thou lov'st so well.

Remond by hap neere to the Arbour found,
Where late the Hynd was slaine, the hurtlesse ground
Besmear'd with bloud; to Doridon he cride,
And tearing then his hayre, O haplesse tide
(Quoth hee) behold! some cursed hand hath tane
From Fida this; O what infernall bane,
Or more then hellish fiend inforced this!
Pure as the streame of aged Symois,
And as the spotlesse Lilly was her soule!
Yee sacred Powers that round about the Pole
Turne in your Spheares! O could you see this deed,
And keep your motion? If the eldest seed
Of chained Saturne hath so often beene
In Hunters and in Shepheards habit seene
To trace our Woods, and on our fertile Plaines
Wooe Shepheards Daughters with melodious strains,
Where was he now, or any other Powre?
So many sev'rall Lambes have I each howre
And crooked horned Rams brought to your Shrines,
And with Perfumes clouded the Sun that shines,
Yet now forsaken? to an uncouth state
Must all things run, if such will be ingrate.

Cease Remond (quoth the Boy) no more complaine,
Thy fairest Fida lives; nor doe thou staine
With vilde reproaches any power above,
They all as much as thee have beene in love:
Saturne his Rhea; Jupiter had store,
As Io, Leda, Europa, and more;
Mars entred Vulcans bed; pertooke his joy:
Phoebus had Daphne, and the sweet-fac'd Boy;
Venus, Adonis; and the God of Wit
In chastest bonds was to the Muses knit,
And yet remaines so, nor can any sever
His love, but brother-like affects them ever;
Pale-changefull Cinthia her Endimion had,
And oft on Latmus sported with that Lad:
If these were subject (as all mortall men)
Unto the golden shafts, they could not then
But by their owne affections rightly ghesse
Her death would draw on thine; thy wretchednesse
Charge them respectlesse; since no Swaine then thee
Hath offred more unto each Deitie.
But feare not, Remond, for those sacred Powres
Tread on oblivion; no desert of ours
Can be intoomb'd in their celestiall brests;
They weigh our offrings, and our solemne feasts,
And they forget thee not: Fida (thy deere)
Treads on the earth, the bloud that's sprinkled here
Ne're fill'd her veynes, the Hynd possest this gore,
See where the Coller lyes she whilome wore;
Some Dog hath slaine her, or the griping Carle
That spoiles our Plaines in digging them for Marle.

Looke as two little Brothers who, addrest
To search the hedges for a Thrushes nest,
And have no sooner got the leavy Spring,
When mad in lust with fearefull bellowing
A strong-neckt Bull pursues throughout the field,
One climbes a tree, and takes that for his shield,
Whence looking from one pasture to another,
What might betide to his much-loved Brother,
Further then can his over-drowned eyes
Aright perceive, the furious beast he spyes
Tosse something on his hornes, he knowes not what,
But one thing feares, and therefore thinkes it that;
When comming nigher he doth well discerne
It of the wondrous-one-night-seeding Ferne
Some bundle was: yet thence he home-ward goes
Pensive and sad, nor can abridge the throes
His feare began, but still his minde doth move
Unto the worst: Mistrust goes still with Love.
So far'd it with our Shepheard: though he saw
Not ought of Fida's rayment, which might draw
A more suspicion; though the Coller lay
There on the grasse, yet goes he thence away
Full of mistrust, and vowes to leave that Plaine,
Till he embrace his chastest Love againe.
Love-wounded Doridon intreats him then
That he might be his partner, since no men
Had cases liker; he with him would goe,
Weepe when he wept, and sigh when he did so:
I quoth the Boy, will sing thee songs of love,
And as we sit in some all-shady grove,
Where Philomela and such sweetned throats
Are for the mastry tuning various noates,
I'le strive with them, and tune so sad a Verse,
That whilst to thee my fortunes I reherse,
No Bird but shall be mute, her noate decline,
And cease her woe, to lend an eare to mine.
I'le tell thee tales of love, and shew thee how
The Gods have wandred as we Shepheards now,
And when thou plain'st thy Fida's losse, will I
Eccho the same, and with mine owne supply
Know Remond I doe love, but, well-a-day
I know not whom; but as the gladsome May
Shee's faire and lovely, as a Goddesse shee
(If such as hers a Goddesse beauty be)
First stood before me, and inquiring was
How to the Marish see might soonest passe,
When rusht a villaine in, hell be his lot,
And drew her thence, since when I saw her not,
Nor know I where to search; but if thou please
'Tis not a Forrest, Mountaine, Rockes, or Seas
Can in thy journey stop my going on.
Fate so may smile on haplesse Doridon,
That he reblest may be with her faire sight,
Though thence his eyes possesse eternall night.

Remond agreed, and many weary dayes
They now had spent in unfrequented wayes:
About the Rivers, Vallies, Holts and Crags,
Among the Ozyers and the waving Flags
They neerly pry, if any dens there be,
Where from the Sun might harbour crueltie:
Or if they could the bones of any spy,
Or torne by beasts, or humane tyranny.
They close inquiry make in caverns blinde,
Yet what they looke for would be death to finde.
Right as a curious man that would descrie
(Lead by the trembling hand of Jealousie),
If his faire wife have wrong'd his bed or no,
Meeteth his torment if he finde her so.

One Ev'n, e're Phoebus (neere the golden shore
Of Tagus streame) his journey gan give o're;
They had ascended up a woody hill,
(Where oft the Fauni with their Bugles shrill
Wakened the Eccho, and with many a shout
Follow'd the fearefull Deere the woods about,
Or through the Brakes that hide the craggy rockes,
Digd to the hole where lyes the wily Foxe.)
Thence they beheld an under-lying Vale,
Where Flora set her rarest flowres at sale,
Whither the thriving Bee came oft to sucke them,
And fairest Nimphes to decke their haire did plucke them.
Where oft the Goddesses did run at base,
And on white Harts begun the Wilde-goose-chase:
Here various Nature seem'd adorning this,
In imitation of the fields of blisse;
Or as she would intice the soules of men
To leave Elizium, and live here agen.
Not Hybla mountaine in the jocund prime
Upon her many bushes of sweet Thyme
Shewes greater number of industrious Bees,
Then were the Birds that sung there on the trees.
Like the trim windings of a wanton Lake,
That doth his passage through a Meadow make,
Ran the delightfull Vally 'tweene two Hils:
From whose rare trees the precious Balme distils,
And hence Apollo had his simples good
That cur'd the Gods, hurt by the Earths ill brood.
A Christall River on her bosome slid,
And (passing) seem'd in sullen muttrings chid
The artlesse Songsters, that their Musicke still
Should charme the sweet Dale and the wistfull Hill:
Not suffering her shrill waters, as they run
Tun'd with a whistling gale in Unison
To tell as high they priz'd the brodred Vale
As the quicke Lennet or sweet Nightingale.
Downe from a steepe Rocke came the water first,
(Where lusty Satyres often quench'd their thirst)
And with no little speed seem'd all in haste,
Till it the lovely bottome had imbrac'd:
Then as intranc'd to heare the sweet Birds sing,
In curled whirlpooles she her course doth bring,
As loath to leave the songs that lull'd the Dale,
Or waiting time, when she and some soft gale
Should speake what true delight they did possesse
Among the rare flowres which the Vally dresse.
But since those quaint Musitians would not stay,
Nor suffer any to be heard but they:
Much like a little Lad who gotten new
To play his part amongst a skilfull crew
Of choise Musitians on some softer string
That is not heard, the others fingering
Drowning his Art, the Boy would gladly get
Applause with others that are of his Set,
And therefore strikes a stroke loud as the best,
And often descants when his fellowes rest;
That to be heard (as usuall singers doe)
Spoiles his owne Musicke and his partners too:
So at the further end the waters fell
From off an high bancke downe a lowly Dell,
As they had vow'd, ere passing from that ground,
The Birds should be inforc'd to heare their sound.

No small delight the Shepheards tooke to see
A coombe so dight in Flora's livery,
Where faire Feronia honour'd in the Woods,
And all the Deities that haunt the floods,
With powrefull Nature strove to frame a plot,
Whose like the sweet Arcadia yeelded not.

Downe through the arched wood the Shepheards wend,
And seeke all places that might helpe their end,
When comming neere the bottome of the hill,
A deepe fetch'd sigh which seem'd of power to kill
The brest that held it, pierc'd the listning wood,
Whereat the carefull Swaines no longer stood
Where they were looking on a tree, whose rynde
A Love-knot held, which two joyn'd hearts intwynde;
But searching round, upon an aged root
Thicke lynde with mosse which (though to little boot)
Seem'd as a shelter it had lending beene
Against cold Winters stormes and wreakfull teene;
Or clad the stocke in Summer with that hue
His withered branches not a long time knew:
For in his hollow truncke and perish'd graine
The Cuckowe now had many a Winter laine,
And thriving Pismires laid their egges in store;
The Dormouse slept there, and a many more.
Here sate the Lad, of whom I thinke of olde
Virgils prophetique spirit had foretold,
Who whilst Dame Nature for her cunnings sake
A male or female doubted which to make,
And to adorne him, more than all, assaid
This pritty youth was almost made a Maid.
Sadly he sate, (and as would griefe) alone,
As if the Boy and Tree had beene but one,
Whilst downe neere boughs did drops of Amber creepe,
As if his sorrow made the trees to weepe.
If ever this were true in Ovids Verse
That teares have powre an Adamant to pierce,
Or move things void of sense, 'twas here approv'd.
Things, vegetative, once, his teares have mov'd.
Surely the stones might well be drawne, in pitty
To burst that he should mone, as for a Ditty
To come and range themselves in order all,
And of their owne accord raise Thebes a wall.
Or else his teares (as did the others song)
Might have th' attractive power to move the throng
Of all the Forrests Citizens and Woods,
With ev'ry Denizon of Ayre and Floods,
To sit by him and grieve: to leave their jarres,
Their strifes, dissentions, and all civill warres;
And though else disagreeing, in this one
Mourning for him should make an Union.
For whom the heavens would weare a sable sute,
If men, beasts, fishes, birds, trees, stones were mute.
His eyes were fixed (rather fixed Starres)
With whom it seem'd his teares had beene in warres,
The diff'rence this (a hard thing to discry)
Whether the drops were clearest or his eye.
Teares fearing conquest to the eye might fall,
An inundation brought and drowned all.
Yet like true Vertue from the top of State
(Whose hopes vilde Envie hath seene ruinate),
Being lowly cast, her goodnesse doth appeare
(Uncloath'd of greatnesse) more apparant cleere:
So though dejected, yet remain'd a feature,
Made sorrow sweet plac'd in so sweet a creature.
"The test of misery the truest is,
In that none hath but what is surely his."
His armes a crosse, his sheepe-hooke lay beside him:
Had Venus pass'd this way, and chanc'd t' have spide him,
With open brest, lockes on his shoulders spred,
She would have sworne (had she not seene him dead;)
It was Adonis; or if e're there was
Held transmigration by Pithagoras
Of soules, that certaine then, her lost-loves spirit
A fairer body never could inherit.
His Pipe which often wont upon the Plaine
To sound the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian straine,
Lay from his Hooke and Bagge cleane cast apart,
And almost broken like his Masters heart.
Yet till the two kinde Shepheards neere him stept,
I finde he nothing spake but that he wept.

Cease gentle Lad (quoth Remond), let no teare
Cloud those sweet beauties in thy face appeare;
Why dost thou call-on that which comes alone,
And will not leave thee till thy selfe art gone?
Thou maist have griefe, when other things are reft thee:
All else may slide away, this still is left thee;
And when thou wantest other company,
Sorrow will ever be imbracing thee.
But fairest Swaine what cause hast thou of woe?
Thou hast a well-fleec'd flocke feed to and fro,
(His sheepe along the Vally that time fed
Not farre from him, although unfollowed).
What doe thy Yewes abortives bring? or Lambs
For want of milke seeke to their fellowes Dams?
No gryping Land-lord hath inclos'd thy walkes,
Nor toyling Plowman furrow'd them in balkes.
Ver hath adorn'd thy Pastures all in greene
With Clover-grasse as fresh as may be seene:
Cleare gliding Springs refresh thy Meadowes heat,
Meads promise to thy charge their winter-meat,
And yet thou griev'st. O! had some Swains thy store,
Their Pipes should tell the Woods they ask'd no more.
Or have the Parcae with unpartiall knife
Left some friends body tenantlesse of life,
And thou bemoan'st that Fate in his youths morne
Ore-cast with clouds his light but newly borne?
"Count not how many yeeres he is bereav'd,
But those which he possest and had receiv'd;
If I may tread no longer on this stage,
Though others thinke me young; it is mine age:
For who so hath his Fates full period told,
He full of yeeres departs, and dyeth old."
May be that Avarice thy minde hath crost,
And so thy sighes are for some trifle lost.
Why shouldst thou hold that deare the world throwes on thee?
"Thinke nothing good which may be taken from thee."
Look as some pondrous weight or massie pack,
Laid to be carried on a Porters back,
Doth make his strong joynts cracke, and forceth him
Maugre the helpe of every nerve and lym,
To straggle in his gate, and goeth double,
Bending to earth, such is his burdens trouble:
So any one by Avarice ingirt,
And prest with wealth, lyes groveling in the dirt.
His wretched minde bends to no point but this,
That who hath most of wealth hath most of blisse.
Hence comes the world to seeke such traffique forth
And passages through the congealed North,
Who when their haires with Isicles are hung,
And that their chatt'ring teeth confound their tongue,
Shew them a glitt'ring stone, will streight wayes say,
If paines thus prosper, oh, what fooles would play?
Yet I could tell them (as I now doe thee)
"In getting wealth we lose our libertie.
Besides, it robs us of our better powres,
And we should be our selves, were these not ours.
He is not poorest that hath least in store,
But he which hath enough, yet asketh more:
Nor is he rich by whom are all possest,
But he which nothing hath, yet asketh least.
If thou a life by Natures leading pitch,
Thou never shalt be poore, nor ever rich
Led by Opinion; for their states are such,
Nature but little seekes, Opinion much."
Amongst the many buds proclaiming May,
(Decking the fields in holy-dayes aray,
Striving who shall surpasse in bravery)
Marke the faire blooming of the Hawthorne-tree
Who finely cloathed in a robe of white,
Feeds full the wanton eye with May's delight;
Yet for the bravery that she is in
Doth neyther handle Carde nor Wheele to spin,
Nor changeth robes but twice: is never seene
In other colours then in white or greene.
Learne then content, young Shepheard, from this tree,
Whose greatest wealth is Natures livery;
And richest ingots never toyle to finde,
Nor care for poverty but of the minde.

This spoke yong Remond: yet the mournfull Lad
Not once replyde; but with a smile, though sad,
He shooke his head, then crost his armes againe,
And from his eyes did showres of salt teares raine;
Which wrought so on the Swains, they could not smother
Their sighes, but spent them freely as the other.
Tell us (quoth Doridon) thou fairer farre
Then he whose chastity made him a Starre,
More fit to throw the wounding shafts of Love,
Then follow sheepe, and pine here in a Grove.
O doe not hide thy sorrowes, shew them briefe;
"He oft findes ayde that doth disclose his griefe."
If thou wouldst it continue, thou dost wrong;
"No man can sorrow very much and long":
For thus much loving Nature hath dispos'd,
That 'mongst the woes that have us round enclos'd,
This comfort's left (and we should blesse her for't)
That we may make our griefes be borne, or short.
Beleeve me Shepheard we are men no lesse
Free from the killing throes of heavinesse
Then thou art here, and but this diff'rence sure,
That use hath made us apter to endure.
More he had spoke, but that a Bugle shrill
Rung through the Vally from the higher Hill,
And as they turn'd them tow'rds the hartning sound,
A gallant Stag as if he scorn'd the ground,
Came running with the winde, and bore his head
As he had beene the King of forrests bred.
Not swifter comes the Messenger of Heaven,
Or winged vessell with a full gale driven,
Nor the swift Swallow flying neere the ground,
By which the ayres distemp'rature is found:
Nor Mirrha's course, nor Daphne's speedy flight,
Shunning the daliance of the God of light,
Then seem'd the Stag, that had no sooner crost them,
But in a trice their eyes as quickly lost him.

The weeping Swaine ne're mov'd, but as his eyes
Were onely given to shew his miseries,
Attended those; and could not once be won
To leave that object whence his teares begun.

O had that man, who (by a Tyrants hand)
Seeing his childrens bodies strew the sand,
And he next morne for torments prest to goe,
Yet from his eyes let no one small teare flow,
But being ask'd how well he bore their losse,
Like to a man affliction could not crosse,
He stoutly answer'd: Happier sure are they
Then I shall be by space of one short day:
No more his griefe was. But had he beene here,
He had beene flint, had he not spent a teare.
For still that man the perfecter is knowne,
Who others sorrowes feeles more then his owne.

Remond and Doridon were turning then
Unto the most disconsolate of men,
But that a gallant Dame, faire as the morne
Or lovely bloomes the Peach-tree that adorne,
Clad in a changing silke, whose lustre shone
Like yellow flowres and grasse farre off, in one:
Or like the mixture Nature doth display
Upon the quaint wings of the Popinjay,
Her horne about her necke with silver tip,
Too hard a metall for so soft a lip:
Which it no oftner kist, then Jove did frowne,
And in a mortals shape would faine come downe
To feed upon those dainties, had not hee
Beene still kept back by Juno's jealousie.
An Ivory dart she held of good command,
White was the bone, but whiter was her hand;
Of many peeces was it neatly fram'd,
But more the hearts were that her eyes inflam'd.
Upon her head a greene light silken cap:
A peece of white Lawne shadow'd either pap,
Betweene which hillockes many Cupids lay,
Where with her necke or with her teates they play,
Whilst her quicke hart will not with them dispence,
But heaves her brests as it would beat them thence:
Who, fearing much to lose so sweet repaire,
Take faster hold by her dishevell'd haire.
Swiftly she ran; the sweet Bryers to receive her
Slipt their imbracements, and (as loath to leave her)
Stretch'd themselves to their length: yet on shee goes.
So great Diana frayes a heard of Roes
And speedy followes: Arethusa fled
So from the River, that her ravished.

When this brave Huntresse neere the Shepheards drew.
Her Lilly arme in full extent she threw,
To plucke a little bough (to fan her face)
From off a thicke-leav'd Ash: (no tree did grace
The low Grove as did this, the branches spred
Like Neptune's Trident upwards from the head.)
No sooner did the grieved Shepheard see
The Nimphs white hand extended tow'rds the tree,
But rose and to her ran, yet she had done
Ere he came neere, and to the wood was gone;
Yet now approach'd the bough the Huntresse tore,
He suckt it with his mouth, and kist it o're
A hundred times, and softly gan it binde
With Dock-leaves, and a slip of Willow rinde.
Then roud the trunke he wreaths his weakned armes,
And with his scalding teares the smooth barke warmes,
Sighing and groaning, that the Shepheards by
Forgot to helpe him, and lay downe to cry:
"For 'tis impossible a man should be
Griev'd to himselfe, or faile of company."
Much the two Swaines admir'd, but pitty'd more
That he no powre of words had, to deplore
Or shew what sad misfortune 'twas befell
To him, whom Nature (seem'd) regarded well.

As thus they lay, and while the speechlesse Swaine
His teares and sighes spent to the woods in vaine,
One like a wilde man over-growne with hayre,
His nayles long growne, and all his body bare,
Save that a wreath of Ivy twist did hide
Those parts which Nature would not have discride,
And the long hayre that curled from his head
A grassie garland rudely covered.

But Shepheards I have wrong'd you, 'tis now late,
For see our Maid stands hollowing on yond gate,
'Tis supper-time, withall, and we had need
Make haste away, unlesse we meane to speed
With those that kisse the Hares foot: Rhumes are bred,
Some say, by going supperlesse to bed,
And those I love not; therefore cease my rime,
And put my Pipes up till another time.

[pp. 29-51]