1619
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastorals I: The First Eclogue.

Pastorals. Contayning Eglogues. [In] Poems: By Michael Drayton Esquire.

Michael Drayton


The 1619 pastorals represent a second revision of Shepherds Garland (1593), less thoroughgoing than that of 1606.

Oliver Elton: "Much improved [in 1606]. Marot's and Spenser's 'Pan,' meaning God (confusion of Shepherd-god and [Greek characters: Pan], is taken out here; though kept elsewhere in [1606], and in Milton's Nativity Ode as Christ" Introduction to Michael Drayton (1895) 54.

Tillotson and Newdigate: "Comparison with SG1 shows considerable verbal revision, and the removal of one stanza (SG 71-8). The prayer is now addressed to God instead of to Pan; its style is much more direct and without the elaborate use of parallelism of SG. The substance of ll. 49-60 is entirely new and provides some autobiographical revelation" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:184.



PHOEBUS full out his yeerely course had runne,
(The wofull Winter labouring to out-weare)
And though 't was long first, yet at length begunne,
To heave himselfe up to our Hemispheare,
For which pleas'd Heaven to see this happie houre,
O'rcome with Joy wept many a silver showre.

When Philomel, the augure of the Spring,
Whose Tunes expresse a Brothers trayt'rous Fact,
Whilst the fresh Groves with her complaints doe ring,
To CINTHIA her sad Tragedie doth act.
The jocund Mirle perch'd on the highest spray,
Sings his love forth, to see the pleasant May.

The crawling Snake against the morning Sunne,
Like IRIS shewes his sundrie coloured Coat,
The gloomie shades and enviously doth shunne,
Ravish'd to heare the warbling Birds to roat,
The Bucke forsakes the Lawn's where he hath fed,
Fearing the Hunt should view his Velvet head.

Through ev'ry part dispersed is the bloud,
The lustie Spring in fulnesse of her Pride:
Man, Bird, and Beast, each Tree, and every Floud,
Highly rejoycing in this goodly tyde:
Save ROWLAND, leaning on a Ranpike Tree,
Wasted with age, forlorne with wo was he.

Great God, quoth he, (with hands rear'd to the Skye)
Thou wise Creatour of the Starrie light,
Whose wondrous workes thy Essence doe imply,
In the dividing of the Day and Night:
The Earth releeving with the teeming Spring,
Which the late Winter low before did bring.

O thou strong Builder of the Firmament,
Who placed'st PHOEBUS in his fiery Carre,
And for the Planets wisely didst invent,
Their sundry Mansions, that they should not jarre,
Appointing PHOEBE Mistris of the Night,
From TITAN'S flames to fetch her forked light.

From that bright Palace where thou raign'st alone,
Whose floore with Stars is gloriously inchased;
Before the Footstoole of whose glittering Throne,
Those thy high Orders severally are placed,
Receive my Vowes, that may thy Court ascend,
Where thy cleere presence all the Powers attend.

Shepheards great Soveraigne, graciously receive,
Those thoughts to thee continually erected,
Nor let the World of Comfort me bereave,
Whilst I before it sadly lye dejected,
Whose sinnes, like fogs that over-cloud the Aire,
Darken those beames which promis'd me so faire.

My hopes are fruitlesse, and my faith is vaine,
And but meere shewes, disposed me to mocke,
Such are exalted basely that can faine,
And none regards just ROWLAND of the Rocke.
To those fat Pastures, which Flocks healthfull keepe,
Malice denyes me entrance with my Sheepe.

Yet nill I Nature enviously accuse,
Nor blame the Heavens thus haplesse me to make,
What they impose, but vainly we refuse,
When not our power their punishment can slake.
Fortune the World, that towzes to and fro,
Fickle to all, is constant in my wo.

This only rests, Time shall devoure my sorrow,
And to affliction minister reliefe,
When as there never shall succeed a morrow,
Whose labouring houres shall lengthen out my griefe,
Nor in my brest, Care sit againe so deepe:
Tyring the sad Night with distemp'red sleepe.

And when that Time expired hath the date,
What weares out all things, lastly perish must,
And that all-searching and impartiall Fate,
Shall take account of long-forgotten dust,
When every being, silently shall cease,
Lock'd in the armes of everlasting Peace.

Now in the Ocean, TITAN quench'd his flame,
That summon'd CINTHIA, to set up her light
And she the neer'st of the Celestiall frame,
Sat the most glorious on the brow of Night.
When the poore Swaine, with heavinesse opprest,
To the cold Earth sanke sadly downe to rest.

[pp. 433-35]