1619
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastorals VII: The Seventh Eclogue.

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

Michael Drayton


Tillotson and Newdigate: "The dialogue was only slightly revised in 1606; unusually, most of the archaisms were retained, and one even added (l. 17), so that this eclogue stands out as noticeably rustic, befitting the name 'Borrill.' Borrill's song was considerably revised and receives the benefit of the more chiselled Jonsonian style of the 1606 Odes; a style which is also exemplified by Batte's song, a Platonic or Pythagorean hymn which takes the place of a piece of charming but commonplace rhetoric (SG7 165-92)" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:185-86.



BATTE.
BORRIL, why sitt'st thou musing in thy Cote,
Like dreaming MERLIN in his drowsie Cell?
With too much Learning doth the Shepheard dote?
Or art inchanted with some Magike spell?
A Hermits life, or mean'st thou to professe?
Or to thy Beades, fall like an Anchoresse?

See how faire FLORA decks our Fields with Flowres,
And clothes our Groves in gawdy Summers greene,
And wanton VER distils her selfe in Showres,
To hasten CERES, Harvests hallowed Queene,
Neere-hand that in her yellow Robe appeares,
Crowning full Summer with her ripened Eares.

Now, Shepheards lay their Winter Weeds away,
And in neate Jackets minsen on the Playnes,
And at the Rivers fishen Day by day,
Now who so frollicke as the Shepheards Swaynes?
Why lig'st thou here then in thy lothsome Cave,
Like as a Man put quicke into his Grave?

BORRIL.
Batte, my Cote from Tempest standeth free,
When stately Towres beene often shak'd with Wind:
And wilt thou, BATTE, come and sit with mee,
The happy Life here shalt thou onely find,
Free from the Worlds vile and inconstant qualmes,
And herry PAN with Orizons and Almes,

And scorne the Crow'd of such as cog for pence,
And waste their wealth in sinfull braverie,
Whose gayne is losse, whose thrift is lewd expence,
Content to live in golden slaverie,
Wond'ring at Toyes, as foolish Worldlings doone,
Like to the Dog that barketh at the Moone.

Here mayst thou range the goodly pleasant Field,
And search out simples to procure thy heale,
What sundry Vertues, sundry Herbs doe yeeld,
'Gainst griefe which may thy Sheepe or thee assaile:
Here mayst thou hunt the little harmelesse Hare,
Or laugh t'intrap false RAYNARD in a snare.

Or if thee please in antique Romants Reed,
Of gentle Lords and Ladies that of yore,
In forraine Lands did many a famous deed,
And beene renown'd from East to Westerne Shore,
Or Shepheards skill i' th' course of Heaven to know,
When this Starre falls, when that it selfe doth show.

BATTE.
Shepheard, these things beene all to coy for mee,
Whose youth is spent in jollity and mirth,
Syke hidden Arts beene better fitting thee,
Whose dayes are fast declining to the Earth:
Mayst thou suppose that I shall ere endure,
To follow that no pleasure can procure?

These beene for such them Votarie doe make,
And doe accept the Mantle and the Ring,
And the long Night continually doe wake,
Musing, themselves how they to Heaven may bring,
That whisper still of sorrow in their Bed,
And doe despise both Love and Lusty-head.

Like to the Curre with anger well-neere wood,
Who makes his Kennell in the Oxes stall,
And snarleth when he seeth him take his food,
And yet his Chaps can chew no Hay at all:
BORRIL, even so it with thy state doth fare,
And with all those that such like Wisards are.

BORRIL.
Sharpe is the Thorne, soone I perceive by thee,
Bitter the Blossome when the Fruit is sowre,
And earely crook'd that will a Camocke bee;
Lowd is the Wind before a stormy Showre:
Pity thy Wit should be so much misse-led,
And thus ill guided by a giddy Head.

Ah, foolish Elfe, I at thy madnesse grieve,
That art abus'd by thy lewd braine-sicke Will,
Those hidden baits that canst not yet perceive,
Nor find the cause that breedeth all thy ill,
Thou think'st all gold, that hath a golden show,
But art deceiv'd, and that I truely know.

Such one art thou, as is the little Fly,
Who is so Crowse and Gamesome with the flame,
Till with her bus'nesse and her nicitie,
Her nimble Wings are scortched with the same:
Then falls shee downe with pitious buzzing note,
And in the Fire doth sindge her mourning Coate.

BATTE.
Alas, good Man, thou now beginst to rave,
Thy Wits doe erre and misse the Cushion quite,
Because thy Head is gray, and Words be grave,
Thou think'st thereby to draw me from delight;
Tush, I am young, nor sadly can I sit,
But must doe all that Youth and Love befit.

Thy backe is crook'd, thy Knees doe bend for Age,
Whil'st I am swift and nimble as the Roe,
Thou, like a Bird, art shut up in a Cage,
And in the Fields I wander to and fro;
Thou must doe penance for thy old misdeeds,
On the Worlds joyes, the whil'st my fancy feeds.

Say what thou canst, yet me it shall not let:
For why, my fancy strayneth me so sore,
That Day and Night my mind is wholly set,
How to enjoy, and please my Paramore:
Onely on Love, I set my whole delight,
The Summers Day, and all the Winters Night.

That pretty CUPID, little God of Love,
Whose imped Wings with speckled Plumes are dight,
Who woundeth Men below, and Gods above,
Roving at randon with his fethered flight:
Whilst lovely VENUS stands to give the ayme,
Smiling to see her wanton Bantlings game.

Upon my Staffe his Statue will I carve,
His Bow and Quiver on his winged Backe;
His forked heads for such as them deserve,
And not of his one implement shall lacke,
And in her Coach faire CYPRIA set above,
Drawne with a Swanne, a Sparrow, and a Dove.

And under them THISBE of Babylon,
With CLEOPATRA Egypts chiefe renowne,
PHILLIS that dy'd for love of DEMOPHON,
And lovely DIDO, Queene of Carthage Towne:
Who ever held God CUPIDS Lawes so deare,
To whom we offer Sacrifice each yeere.

BORRIL.
A wilfull Boy, thy folly now I find,
And it is hard a Fooles talke to endure,
Thou art as deafe, as thy poore God is blind,
Such as the Saint, such is the Serviture.
Then of this Love, wilt please thee heare a Song,
That's to the purpose, though it be not long?

BATTE.
BORRIL, sing on, I pray thee, let us heare,
That I may laugh to see thee shake thy Beard,
But take heed, Shepheard, that thy voyce be cleere,
Or (by my Hood) thou'lt make us all afeard,
Or 'tis a doubt that thou wilt fright our Flocks,
When they shall heare thee barke so like a Fox.

BORRIL.
Now, fie upon thee, wayward Love,
Wo to VENUS which did nurse thee,
Heaven and Earth thy plagues doe prove,
Gods and Men have cause to curse thee.
What art thou but th' extremest madnesse,
Natures first and only errour,
That consum'st our dayes in sadnesse,
By the minds continuall terrour:
Walking in Cymerian blindnesse,
In thy courses voyd of Reason,
Sharpe reproofe thy only kindnesse,
In thy trust the highest Treason?
Both the Nymph and ruder Swaine,
Vexing with continuall anguish,
Which dost make the old complaine,
And the young to pine and languish:
Who thee keepes his care doth nurse,
That seducest all to folly,
Blessing, bitterly doest curse,
Tending to destruction wholly:
Thus of thee as I began,
So againe, I make an end,
Neither God, neither Man,
Neither Faiery, neither Fiend.

BATTE.
Now surely, Shepheard, here's a goodly Song,
Upon my word, I never heard a worse;
Away, old Foole, and learne to rule thy tongue,
I would thy Clap were shut up in my Purse,
It is thy life, if thou mayst scold and brawle,
Though in thy words there be no wit at all.

And for the wrong that thou to Love hast done,
I will revenge it, and deferre no time,
And in this manner as thou hast begun,
I will recite thee a substantiall Rime,
That to thy teeth sufficiently shall prove,
There is no power to be compar'd to Love.

BORRIL.
Come on, good Boy, I pray thee let us heare,
Much will be said, and nev'r a whit the neere.

BATTE.
What is Love, but the desire
Of that thing the fancy pleaseth?
A holy and resistlesse fire,
Weake and strong, alike that ceaseth,
Which not Heaven hath power to let,
Nor wise Nature cannot smother.
Whereby PHOEBUS doth beget
On the universall Mother,
That the everlasting Chaine,
Which together all things tyed,
And unmov'd doth them retayne,
And by which they shall abide:
That concent we cleerly find,
Which doth things together draw,
And so strong in every kind,
Subjects them to Natures Law,
Whose high Vertue number teaches,
In which every thing doth moove,
From the lowest depth that reaches,
To the height of Heaven above:
Harmony that wisely found,
When the cunning hand doth strike,
Whereas every amorous sound,
Sweetly marries with the like.
The tender Cattell scarcely take,
From their Damm's the Fields to prove,
But each seeketh out a Make,
Nothing lives that doth not love:
Not so much as but the Plant,
As Nature every thing doth paire,
By it if the Male doe want,
Doth dislike and will not beare:
Nothing then is like to Love,
In the which all Creatures be,
From it ne'r let me remove,
Nor let it remove from me.

BORRIL.
Remove from thee? Alas, poore silly Lad,
To soone shalt thou be weary of thy Ghest:
For where he rules, no Reason can be had,
That is an open enemie to rest:
I grieve to thinke, e'r many yeeres be spent,
How much thou shalt thy time in love repent.

BATTE.
Gramercie, BORRIL, for thy companie,
For all thy Jests, and all thy merrie Bourds,
Upon thy judgement much I shall relie,
Because I find such Wisdome in thy words:
Would I might watch, when ever thou dost ward,
So much thy love and Friendship I regard.

[pp. 457-62]