1619
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastorals III: The Third Eclogue.

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

Michael Drayton


The third eclogue from The Shepherds Garland revised.

Oliver Elton: "The song beginning in [1593] 'O thou fair silver Thames,' and in [1606], 'Stay, Thames, to hear,' is much revised. Its last line in [1593], a bad one, 'And thou under thy feet mayst treat that foul seven-headed beast,' was written, as Collier says, 'under the excitement of animosity to Spain and Rome. In 1593 the attempt by Perez upon the life of the Queen had just been detected by Lord Essex.' This was altered" Introduction to Michael Drayton (1895) 54.

Tillotson and Newdigate: "The changes here are not considerable; they are most numerous in the Song, but with one exception (l. 120) are purely stylistic and metrical. No stanzas are rejected or added" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:184.



PERKIN.
Rowland, for shame awake thy drowsie Muse,
Time playes the Hunt's-Up to thy sleepy head;
Why lyest thou here, whil'st we are ill bestead,
Foule idle Swayne?

Who ever heard thy Pipe and pleasing vaine,
And now doth heare this scurvy Minstralsy,
Tending to nought, but beastly Ribauldry
That doth not Muse?

Then slumber not with dull ENDYMION,
But tune thy Reed to dapper Virelayes,
And sing awhile of blessed BETA's prayse,
Of none but Shee:

Above the rest so happy mayst thou bee,
For learned COLIN layes his Pipes to gage,
And is to Fayrie gone a Pilgrimage,
The more our moane.

ROWLAND.
What, BETA, Shepheard? shee is PANS belov'd,
Faire BETA's prayse beyond our strayne doth stretch,
A note too high for my poore Pipe to reach,
An Oaten Reed.

The most unfit to speake of Worthies deed,
Ile set my Song unto a lower Kay,
Whereas a Horne-Pipe I may safely play,
And un-reproov'd.

With flattery my Muse could never fadge,
Nor could this vaine scurrility affect,
From looser Youth to winne a light respect,
Too base and vile.

Me that doth make, that I not care the while,
My selfe above TOM PIPER to advance,
Which so bestirs him at the Morrice Dance,
For penny wage.

PERKIN.
ROWLAND, so Toyes esteemed often are,
And fashions ever vary with the Time,
But since the Season doth require some Rime,
With lusty glee,

Let me then heare that Roundelay of thee,
Which once thou sangst to me in Janeveere,
When Robin Red-brest sitting on a Breere,
The burthen bare.

ROWLAND.
Well, needs I must, yet with a heavy Heart,
Yet were not BETA, sure, I would not sing,
Whose prayse the Eccho's cease not yet to ring,
Up to the Skyes.

PERKIN.
Be blythe, good ROWLAND then, and cleere thine Eyes.
And since good ROBIN to his Roost is gone,
Supply his want, and put two parts in one,
To shew thy Arte.

ROWLAND.
Stay, Thames, to heare my Song, thou great and famous Flood,
Beta alone the Phoenix is of all thy watry Brood,
The Queene of Virgins onely Shee,
The King of Floods allotting Thee
Of all the rest, be joyfull then to see this happy Day,
Thy Beta now alone shall be the Subject of my Lay,

With daintie and delightsome straynes of dapper Verilayes:
Come lovely Shepheards, sit by me, to tell our BETA's prayse,
And let us sing so high a Verse,
Her soveraigne Vertues to rehearse:
That little Birds shall silent sit to heare us Shepheards sing,
Whilst Rivers backward bend their course, and flow up to their spring.

Range all thy Swans, faire Thames, together on a ranke,
And place them each in their degree upon thy winding Banke,
And let them set together all,
Time keeping with the Waters fall:
And crave the tunefull Nightingale to helpe them with her Lay,
The Woosell and the Throstle-Cocke, chiefe musike of our May.

See what a troupe of Nymphs, come leading Hand in Hand,
In such a number that well-neere they take up all the Strand:
And harke how merrily they sing,
That makes the Neigh'bring Meddowes ring,
And Beta comes before alone, clad in a purple Pall,
And as the Queene of all the rest doth weare a Coronall.

Trim up her golden Tresses with APOLLO'S sacred Tree,
Whose Tutage and especiall care I wish her still to bee,
That for his Darling hath prepar'd,
A glorious Crowne as her reward,
Not such a golden Crowne as haughtie CAESAR weares,
But such a glittering starry one as ARIADNE beares.

Mayds, get the choycest Flowres, a Garland and entwine,
Nor Pinks, nor Pansies, let there want, be sure of Eglantine,
See that there be store of Lillyes,
(Call'd of Shepheards Daffadillyes)
With Roses Damaske, White, and Red, the dearest Flower-de-lice,
The Cowslip of Jerusalem, and Clove of Paradise.

O thou great Eye of Heaven, the Dayes most dearest Light,
With thy bright Sister CYNTHIA, the Glorie of the Night,
And those that make yee seven,
To us the neer'st of Heaven,
And thou, O gorgeous IRIS, with all thy Colours dy'd,
When shee streames forth her Rayes, then dasht is all your pride.

In thee, whilst shee beholds (O Flood) her heavenly Face,
The Sea-Gods in their watry Armes would gladly her imbrace,
The intising Syrens in their layes,
And Tritons doe resound her prayse,
Hasting with all the speed they can unto the spacious Sea,
And through all NEPTUNES Court proclaim our BETA'S holyday.

O evermore refresh the Roote of the fat Olive Tree,
In whose sweet shaddow ever may thy Banks preserved bee.
With Bayes that Poets doe adorne,
And Mirtle of chaste Lovers worne,
That faire may be the Fruit, the Boughes preserv'd by peace,
And let the mournefull Cypres die, and here for ever cease.

Weele strew the Shore with Pearle, where BETA walks alone,
And we will pave her Summer Bower with the rich Indian stone,
Perfume the Ayre and make it sweet,
For such a Goddesse as is meet,
For if her Eyes for purity contend with TITANS Light,
No marvaile then although their Beames doe dazle humane sight.

Sound lowd your Trumpets then from Londons loftiest Towers,
To beate the stormie Tempests back, and calme the raging Showers,
Set the Cornet with the Flute,
The Orpharion to the Lute,
Tuning the Taber and the Pipe to the sweet Violons,
And mocke the Thunder in the Ayre with the lowd Clarions.

BETA, long may thine Altars smoke with yeerely Sacrifice,
And long thy sacred Temples may their high Dayes solemnize,
Thy Shepheards watch by Day and Night,
Thy Mayds attend thy holy Light,
And thy large Empire stretch her Armes from East in to the West,
And Albion on the Appenines advance her conquering Crest.

PERKIN.
Thanks, gentle ROWLAND, for my Roundelay,
And as for BETA, burthen of thy Song,
The Shepheards Goddesse may shee flourish long,
And happy bee.

And not disdayne to be belov'd of thee:
Triumphing Albion, clap thy Hands for joy,
That hast so long not tasted of annoy,
Nor that thou may.

ROWLAND.
Shepheard, and when my milke-white Eaws have yean'd,
BETA shall have the firstling of the Fold,
Yea, though the Hornes were of the purest gold,
And the fine Fleece, the richest purple Graine.

PERKIN.
Beleeve me, as I am true Shepheards Swaine,
Then for thy love all other I forsake,
And unto thee my selfe I doe betake,
With Faith unfayn'd.

[pp. 438-42]