Pastorals II: The Second Eclogue.

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

Michael Drayton

Tillotson and Newdigate: "In this eclogue new songs were substituted in 1606; otherwise the revision is mainly verbal and stylistic, with two stanzas dropped (SG2 53-57, 86-9) and one stanza moved from Wynken's second speech to his first" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:184.

European Magazine: "Homer has been much praised for the beauties of his compound epithets; they are not unfrequent among our older poets. Drayton has many which Milton occasionally has adopted: it is perfectly in character with the lean and meagre poetry of the day that they should be discontinued, except by the Wartonian school. — What description and beauty is there in such compound epithets as these! — The 'morn-lov'd' marigold; see 2d Eclogue; upon which flower, if I recollect aright, Thomson has lavished some lines. — 'Swallow-winged' joy; 2d eclogue. This epithet applied to joy he uses in another part of his works" 10 (November 1786) 361.

Oliver Elton: "The first song in [1593], 'The God's delight,' a mass of conceits, is changed in [1606] for the new one, 'Then this great universe no less,' which suffers from obscure grammar, but has a fine rhythm not unlike Carew's. The second song in [1593], 'Tell me, fair flock,' very Spenserian, is changed for 'Upon a bank,' not much for the better" Introduction to Michael Drayton (1895) 54.

W. W. Greg: "Drayton endeavoured to follow in the footsteps of a greater than he, and small success befell him in his uncongenial task. He knew little and cared less about the moral and philosophical rags that clung yet about the pastoral tradition. He sang, in his lighter vein at least, for the mere pleasure that his song could afford to him and others: the Spenserian and traditional garb fits him ill. His golden age is rather amorous than philosophical; he is more concerned that love should be free and true than that the earth should yield her fruits unwounded by the plough; and even so he hastens away that colourless age to troll the delightful ballad of Dowsabel. The inspiration for this he found, not in Spenser and his learned predecessors, but in the popular romances, and in it we hear for the first time the voice of the real Michael Drayton, the accredited bard to the court of Faery" Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (1906) 105.

Might my youth's Mirth, become thy aged yeeres,
My gentle Shepheard, Father of us all,
Wherewith I wonted to delight my Pheeres,
When to their Sports they pleased me to call.

Now would I tune my Miskins on this Greene,
And frame my Verse, the Vertues to unfold
Of that sole Phoenix Bird, my lives sole Queene,
Whose Lockes doe staine the three-times burnisht Gold.

But melancholy settled in thy spleene,
My Rimes seeme harsh to thy unrellish'd taste,
Thy Wits that long replenisht have not beene,
Wanting kind moysture, do unkindly waste.

Well, Wanton, laugh not my old age to scorne,
Nor twit me so, my senses to have lost,
The time hath beene, when as my hopefull Morne
Promis'd as much as now thy youth can boast.

My direfull cares beene drawne upon my face,
In crooked lines with Ages Iron Pen,
The Morphew quite discoloured the place,
Which had the power t' attract the eyes of men.

What mock'd the Lilly, beares this Tawny Dye,
And this once Crimson, lookes thus deadly pale,
Sorrow hath set his foot upon mine Eye,
And hath for ever perished my sale.

A cumber-World, yet in the World am left,
A fruitlesse Plot with Brambles over-growne:
Of all those joyes, that pleas'd my Youth, bereft,
And now too late my Folly but bemone.

Those daintie straines of my well-tuned Reed,
Which many a time have pleas'd the curious Eares,
In me no more those pleasing thoughts doe breed,
But tell the errors of my wandring yeeres.

Those poys'ning Pills beene biding at my heart,
Those lothsome Drugs unseas'ned Youth did chaw,
Not once so sweet, but now they be as tart,
Not in the mouth, what they are in the maw.

Even so I weene: for thy old Ages Fever
Deemes sweetest Potions, bitter as the Gall,
And thy cold Palate, having lost the savour,
Receives no comfort by a Cordiall.

As thou art, once was I a gamesome Boy,
Ill-wintred now, and aged as you see,
And well I know, thy Swallow-winged joy
Quickly shall vanish, as 'tis fled from me.

When on the arch of thy eclipsed Eyes,
Time shall have deeply charactred thy Death,
And Sun-burnt Age, thy kindly moysture dryes,
Thy wasted lungs be Niggards of thy breath;

Thy brawn-falne armes, and thy declining backe,
To the sad burthen of thy yeeres shall yeeld,
And that thy legs their wonted force shall lacke,
Able no more thy wretched Trunke to weeld.

Now am I like the knottie aged Oake,
Whom wasting Time hath made a Tombe for dust,
That of his branches reft by Tempest stroke,
His Barke consumes with Canker-wormes and rust.

And though thou seem'st like to the bragging Bryer,
And spreadst thee like the Morn-lov'd Marigold,
Yet shall thy sap be shortly dry and seere,
Thy gawdy Blossomes blemished with cold.

Even such a Wanton and unruly Swaine,
Was little ROWLAND, when as lately he,
Upon the Verge of yonder neighb'ring plaine,
Carved this Rime upon a Beechen Tree.

Then this great Universe no lesse,
Can serve her prayses to expresse:
Betwixt her eyes, the Poles of Love,
The Host of Heavenly Beauties move,
Depainted in their proper Stories,
As well the fix'd as wandring Glories,
Which from their proper Orbes not goe,
Whether they gyre swift or slow:
Where from their Lips, when shee doth speake,
The Musike of those Spheares doe breake,
Which their harmonious Motion breedeth:
From whose cheerefull breath proceedeth
That Balmy sweetnesse, that gives birth
To every off-spring of the Earth:
The Structure of whose gen'rall Frame,
And state wherein shee mooves the same,
Is that Proportion, Heavens best Treasure,
Whereby it doth all poyze and measure,
So that alone her happy sight
Contaynes perfection and delight.

O divine Love, which so aloft can rayse,
And lift the Mind out of this earthly Myre,
And dost inspire us with so glorious prayse,
As with the Heavens doth equall Mans desire:

Who doth not helpe to decke thy holy Shrine,
With VENUS Mirtle and APOLLO's Tree?
Who will not say that thou art most Divine,
At least, confesse a Deitie in thee?

A foolish Boy, full ill is hee repayd:
For now the Wanton pynes in endlesse payne,
And sore repents what he before misse-said.
So may they be, which can so lewdly fayne.

Now hath this Yonker torne his tressed Locks,
And broke his Pipe which was of sound so sweet,
Forsaking his Companions and their Flocks,
And casts his Garland loosely at his Feet.

And being shrowded in a homely Cote,
And full of sorrow (I him sitting by,)
He tun'd his Rebecke to a mournefull Note,
And thereto sang this dolefull Elegie.

Upon a Banke with Roses set about,
Where Turtles oft, sit joyning Bill to Bill,
And gentle springs steale softly murm'ring out,
Washing the Foote of Pleasures sacred Hill:
There little Love sore wounded lyes,
His Bow and Arrowes broken,
Bedew'd with Teares from VENUS Eyes,
Oh, grievous to be spoken!

Beare him my Heart, slaine with her scornefull Eye,
Where sticks the Arrow which that Heart did kill,
With whose sharpe Pile, request him ere he dye,
About the same to write his latest Will,
And bid him send it backe to mee,
At instant of his dying,
That cruell, cruell shee, may see
My Faith and her denying.

His Chappell be a mournefull Cypres Shade,
And for a Chantry PHILOMEL'S sweet lay,
Where Prayers shall continually be made
By Pilgrim Lovers passing by that way,
With Nymphs and Shepherds yeerely moane,
His timelesse death beweeping,
In telling that my Heart alone
Hath his last Will in keeping.

Wo's me for him that pyneth so in payne,
Alas, poore ROWLAND, how for him I grieve!
That such a baite should breed so foule a bayne,
Yet shee not dayne his sorrow to relieve.

Beware by him, thou foolish wanton Swayne,
By others harmes thus maist thou learne to heed:
Beautie and Wealth beene fraught with high disdayne,
The Night drawes on: Come, homeward let us speed.

[pp. 435-38]