Pastorals IV: The Fourth Eclogue.

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

Michael Drayton

Revised from the eighth eclogue in Shepherds Garland (1593).

Oliver Elton: "The same in substance, though slightly altered. The Thopas poem much the same in [1593]; a little-noted trace of Chaucerian influence" Introduction to Michael Drayton (1895) 56.

Tillotson and Newdigate: "The change in order brings together two eclogues which both deal partly with the subject of poetry, like Spenser's June and October. It has, however, the drawback that Motto now appears in two consecutive eclogues; in SG Drayton, like Spenser, had spaced out the speakers. Only one stanza is wholly new, but the revision of 1-60 has been considerable" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:184-85.

Francis Palgrave Turner: Drayton "has left some Pastorals, so quick and airy in touch, so attractive in feeling, that it is vexing to find how completely the landscape which he saw and must have enjoyed was silenced or exiled from his poetry by the mere conventionalities of pseudo-classicism" Landscape in Poetry (1896) 146.

Shepheard, why creepe we in this lowly vaine,
As though our store no better us affords?
And in this season when the stirring Swaine
Makes the wide fields sound with great thundring words?

Not as 'twas wont, now rurall be our Rimes,
Shepheards of late are waxed wondrous neate.
Though they were richer in the former Times,
We be inraged with more kindly heate.

The with'red Laurell freshly growes againe,
Which simply shaddow'd the Pierian Spring,
Which oft invites the solitary Swaine,
Thither, to heare those sacred Virgins sing:

Then if thy Muse have spent her wonted zeale,
With with'red twists thy fore-head shall be bound:
But if with these shee dare advance her Saile,
Amongst the best then may shee bee renown'd.

Shepheard, these Men at mightie things doe ayme,
And therefore presse into the learned Troope,
With filed Phraze to dignifie their Name,
Else with the World shut in this shamefull Coope.

But such a Subject ill beseemeth me,
For I must Pipe amongst the lowly sort,
Those silly Heard-groomes who have laught to see,
When I by Moone-shine made the Fayries sport.

Who of the toyles of HERCULES will treat,
And put his Hand to an eternall Pen,
In such high Labours it behooves he sweat,
To soare beyond the usuall pitch of Men:

Such Monster-tamers who would take in Hand,
As have tyde up the Triple-headed Hound,
Or of those Gyants which 'gainst Heaven durst stand,
Whose strength the Gods it troubled to confound:

Who listeth with so mightie things to mell,
And dares a taske so great to undertake,
Should rayse the blacke inhabitants of Hell,
And stirre a Tempest on the Stygian Lake.

He that to Worlds Pyramides will Build
On those great Heroes got by heavenly Powers,
Should have a Pen most plentifully fill'd
In the full Streames of Learned MARO's Showres.

Who will foretell Mutations, and of Men,
Of Future things and wisely will inquire,
Before should slumber in that Shadie Den,
That often did with prophesie inspire.

South-saying SYBLIS sleepen long agone,
We have their Reed, but few have cond their Art,
And the Welsh Wisard cleaveth to a Stone,
No Oracles more Wonders shall impart.

When him this Round that neerest over-ran,
His labouring Mother to this light did bring,
The sweat that then from ORPHEUS Statue ran,
Foretold the Prophets had whereon to sing.

When Vertue had allotted her a Prize,
The Oaken Garland, and the Lawrell Crowne,
Fame then resum'd her lofty wings to rise,
And Plumes were honour'd with the purple Gowne.

When first Religion with a golden Chayne,
Men unto fayre Civilitie did draw,
Who sent from Heaven, brought Justice forth againe,
To Keepe the Good, the viler sort to awe.

That simple Age as simply sung of Love,
Till thirst of Empire and of Earthly swayes,
Drew the good Shepheard from his Lasses Glove,
To sing of slaughter, and tumultuous frayes.

Then JOVES Love-theft was privily descry'd,
How he plaid false play in AMPHITRIO'S Bed,
And young APOLLO in the Mount of Ide,
Gave OENON Physicke for her Mayden-head:

The tender Grasse was then the softest Bed:
The pleasant'st Shades esteem'd the statelyest Halls,
No Belly-Churle with BACCHUS banqueted,
Nor painted Rags then covered rotten Walls:

Then simple Love, by simple Vertue way'd,
Flowres the favours, which true Faith revealed,
Kindnesse againe with kindnesse was repayd,
And with sweet Kisses, Covenants were sealed.

And Beauties selfe by her selfe beautified,
Scorn'd Paintings Pergit, and the borrowed Haire,
Nor monstrous Formes deformities did hide,
The Foule to varnish with compounded Faire.

The purest Fleece then covered the pure Skin:
For pride as then with LUCIFER remayn'd;
Ill-favoured Fashions then were to begin,
Nor wholesome Cloathes with poysoned Liquor stayn'd.

But when the Bowels of the Earth were sought,
Whose golden Entrailes Mortalls did espie,
Into the World all mischiefe then was brought,
This fram'd the Mint, that coyn'd our miserie.

The loftie Pines were presently hew'd downe,
And Men, Sea-Monsters, swam the bracky Flood,
In Wainscote Tubs to seeke out Worlds unknowne,
For certayne Ill, to leave assured Good.

The Steed was tamde and fitted to the Field,
That serves a Subject to the Riders Lawes,
He that before ranne in the Pastures wyld,
Felt the stiffe curbe controule his angrie Jawes.

The Cyclops then stood sweating to the Fire,
The use thereof in softning Metals found,
That did streight Limbs in stubborne Steele attire,
Forging sharpe Tooles the tender flesh to wound.

The Citie-builder, then intrencht his Towres,
And laid his Wealth within the walled Towne,
Which afterward in rough and stormie Stowres,
Kindled the fire that burnt his Bulwarkes downe.

This was the sad beginning of our woe,
That was from Hell on wretched mortals hurl'd,
And from this Fount did all those Mischiefes flow,
Whose inundation drowneth all the World.

Well, Shepheard, well, the golden Age is gone,
Wishes no way revoke that which is past:
Small wit there were to make two griefes of one;
And our complaints we vainly should but waste.

Listen to me then, lovely Shepheards Lad,
And thou shalt heare, attentive if thou be,
A prettie Tale I of my Grandame had,
One Winters Night when there were none but we.

Shepheard, say on, so may we passe the time,
There is no doubt, it is some worthy Rime.

Farre in the Countrey of Arden,
There won'd a Knight, hight CASSAMEN,
As bold as ISENBRAS:
Fell was he and eager bent,
In Battaile and in Tournament,
As was the good Sir TOPAS.
He had as antike Stories tell,
A Daughter cleaped DOWSABEL,
A Mayden faire and free.
And for she was her Fathers Heire,
Full well she was ycond the leire,
Of mickle courtesie.
The Silke well couth she twist and twine,
And make the fine March-pine,
And with the Needle-worke:
And she couth helpe the Priest to say
His Mattens on a Holy-day,
And sing a Psalme in Kirke.
She ware a Frock of frollick Greene,
Might well become a Mayden Queene,
Which seemly was to see;
A Hood to that so neat and fine,
In colour like the Columbine,
I wrought full featuously.
Her features all as fresh above,
As is the Grasse that growes by Dove,
And lythe as Lasse of Kent.
Her skin as soft as Lemster Wooll,
As white as Snow, on Peakish Hull,
Or Swan that swims in Trent.
This Mayden in a Morne betime,
Went forth when May was in the prime,
To get sweet Setywall,
The Honey-suckle, the Harlocke,
The Lilly, and the Lady-smocke,
To decke her Summer Hall.
Thus as she wandred here and there,
And picked of the bloomie Bryer,
She chanced to espy
A Shepheard sitting on a Banke,
Like Chanti-cleere he crowed cranke,
And pip'd full merrily.
He learn'd his Sheep, as he him list,
When he would whistle in his fist,
To feed about him round.
Whilst he full many a Carroll sang,
Untill the Fields and Medowes rang,
And that the Woods did sound.
In favour this same Shepheard Swaine,
Was like the Bedlam TAMBERLAINE,
Which held proud Kings in awe.
But meeke as any Lambe mought bee,
And innocent of ill as he,
Whom his lewd Brother slaw.
This Shepheard ware a Sheepe-gray Cloke,
Which was of the finest loke,
That could be cut with sheere.
His Mittens were of Bauzons skin,
His Cockers were of Cordiwin,
His Hood of Miniveere.
His Aule and Lingell in a Thong,
His Tar-box on his broad Belt hung,
His Breech of Cointree Blue.
Full crispe and curled were his Lockes,
His Browes as white as Albion Rockes,
So like a Lover true,
And piping still he spent the day,
So merry as the Popinjay,
Which liked DOWSABELL.
That would she ought, or would she nought,
This Lad would never from her thought,
She in love-longing fell.
At length she tucked up her Frocke,
White as the Lilly was her Smocke,
She drew the Shepheard nie:
But then the Shepheard pip'd a good,
That all his Sheepe forsooke their food,
To heare his Melodie.
Thy Sheepe, quoth shee, cannot be leane,
That have a jolly Shepheards Swaine,
The which can pipe so well:
Yea but (saith he) their Shepheard may,
If piping thus he pine away,
In love of DOWSABELL.
Of love, fond Boy, take thou no keepe,
Quoth she, looke well unto thy sheepe,
Lest they should hap to stray.
Quoth he, So had I done full well,
Had I not seene faire DOWSABELL
Come forth to gather May.
With that she 'gan to vaile her head,
Her Cheekes were like the Roses red,
But not a word she said,
With that the Shepheard 'gan to frowne,
He threw his prettie Pipes adowne,
And on the ground him laid.
Saith she, I may not stay till Night,
And leave my Summer Hall undight,
And all for love of thee.
My Coat, saith he, nor yet my Fold,
Shall neither Sheepe nor Shepheard hold,
Except thou favour mee.
Saith she, Yet lever I were dead,
Then I should lose my Maiden-head,
And all for love of men.
Sai'th he, Yet are you too unkind,
If in your heart you cannot find,
To love us now and then.
And I to thee will be as kind,
Of courtesie the flowre.
Then will I be as true, quoth she,
As ever Maiden yet might be
Unto her Paramour.
With that she bent her Snow-white knee,
Downe by the Shepheard kneeled shee,
And him she sweetly kist.
With that the Shepheard whoop'd for joy,
Quoth he, there's never Shepheards Boy,
That ever was so blist.

Now by my Sheephooke, here's a Tale alone,
Learne me the same, and I will give thee hire,
This were as good as Curds for our JONE,
When at a Night we sitten by the fire.

Why gentle GORBO, ile not sticke for that,
When we shall meet upon some merrie day:
But see, whilst we have set us downe to chat,
Yon Tykes of mine begin to steale away.

And if thou please to come unto our Greene,
On Lammas day, when as we have our Feast,
Thou shalt sit next unto the Shepheards Queene,
And there shalt be the only welcome Ghest.

[pp. 442-48]