1619
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastorals IX: The Ninth Eclogue.

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

Michael Drayton


The ninth pastoral was first added to the series in 1606.

W. W. Greg: "This describes a rustic gathering of shepherds and nymphs, and contains several songs. The verse exhibits no small advance on the earlier work, and one song at least is in the author's daintiest manner" Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (1906) 104.

Tillotson and Newdigate: "This eclogue was added in 1606, the first two songs having already appeared in England's Helicon, 1600. It conforms to no traditional type, and is probably drawn from the actual sheep-shearing feasts which were still held in the country.... Alone in the series in owing nothing to the Shepheardes Calender, it is the nearest to it in spirit; and it has also something of the more mysterious enchantment of the Pastorella contoes of FQ VI. But the clearest analogue, fittingly enough, is to be found in another and later sheep-sheering feast — the great scene of The Winter's Tale" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:186-87.

Joan Grundy: "Not until the ninth eclogue of 1606 were his wings entirely freed. Here at last, in the description of the shepherds' feast, on Cotswold soil and within the formal bounds of the eclogue, he achieves satisfying expression for his intuition of the ideal, which shines for him in everything beautiful and noble, in the natural world, in heroes, in women, and in poetry itself. Cotswold field is Drayton's Mount Acidale. There his pastoral tributes to Anne Goodere reach their climax, and the reader, like Sir Calidor, sees the Graces dance to the poet's melody" The Spenserian Poets (1969) 96.



Late 'twas in June, the Fleece when fully growne,
In the full compasse of the passed yeere,
The Season well by skilfull Shepheards knowne,
That them provide immediately to sheere.

Their Lambes late wax't so lusty and so strong,
That time did them their Mothers Teats forbid,
And in the fields the common flocks among,
Eate of the same Grasse that the greater did.

When not a Shepheard any thing that could,
But greaz'd his start-ups blacke as Autumns Sloe,
And for the better credit of the Wold,
In their fresh Russets every one doth goe.

Who now a Posie pins not in his Cap?
And not a Garland Baldricke-wise doth weare?
Some, of such Flowers as to his hand doth hap,
Others, such as a secret meaning beare:

He from his Lasse him Lavander hath sent,
Shewing her Love, and doth requitall crave,
Him Rosemary his Sweet-heart, whose intent,
Is that, he her should in remembrance have.

Roses, his youth and strong desire expresse,
Her Sage, doth shew his soverainty in all,
The July-Flowre declares his gentlenesse,
Time, Truth, the Pansie, Harts-ease Maydens call:

In Cotes such simples, simply in request,
Wherewith proud Courts in greatnesse scorne to mell,
For Countrey toyes become the Countrey best,
And please poore Shepheards, and become them well.

When the new-wash'd flocke from the rivers side,
Comming as white as Januaries Snow,
The Ram with Nose-gaies beares his Hornes in pride,
And no lesse brave, the Bell-wether doth goe.

After their faire flocks in a lusty rowt,
Came the gay Swaynes with Bag-pipes strongly blowne,
And busied, though this solemne sport about,
Yet had each one an eye unto his owne.

And by the ancient Statutes of the Field,
He that his Flocks the earlyest Lambe should bring,
(As it fell out then, Rowlands charge to yeeld)
Alwayes for that yeere was the Shepheards King.

And soone preparing for the Shepheards Boord,
Upon a Greene that curiously was squar'd,
With Country Cates be'ng plentifully stor'd:
And 'gainst their comming handsomely prepar'd:

New Whig, with Water from the cleerest streame,
Greene Plummes, and Wildings, Cherries chiefe of Feast,
Fresh Cheese, and Dowsets, Curds and clowted Creame,
Spic'd Syllibubs, and Sider of the best:

And to the same downe solemnely they sit,
In the fresh shaddow of their Summer Bowres,
With sundrie sweets them every way to fit,
The Neighb'ring Vale dispoyled of her Flowres.

And whil'st together merry thus they make,
The Sunne to West a little 'gan to leane,
Which the late fervour, soone againe did slake,
When as the Nymphs came forth upon the Plaine,

Here might you many a Shepheardesse have seene,
Of which no place, as Cotswold, such doth yeeld,
Some of it native, some for love I weene,
Thither were come from many a fertill Field.

There was the Widdowes Daughter of the Glen,
Deare ROSALYND, that scarsly brook'd compare,
The Moreland-Mayden, so admir'd of Men,
Bright GOLDY-LOCKS, and PHILLIDA the faire.

LETTICE and PARNEL, pretty lovely Peates,
CUSSE of the Fold, the Virgin of the Well,
Faire AMBRY with the Alablaster Teates,
And more, whose Names were here to long to tell.

Which now came forward following their Sheepe,
Their batning Flocks on grassy Leaes to hold,
Thereby from skathe, and perill them to keepe,
Till Evening come that it were time to fold.

When now, at last, as lik'd the Shepheards King,
(At whose command they all obedient were)
Was pointed, who the Roundelay should sing,
And who againe the under-Song should beare:

The first whereof he BATTE doth bequeath,
A wittier Wag on all the Wold's not found,
GORBO, the Man, that him should sing beneath,
Which his lowd Bag-pipe skilfully could sound.

Who amongst all the Nymphs that were in sight,
BATTE his daintie DAFFADIL there mist,
Which, to enquire of, doing all his might,
Him his Companion kindly doth assist.

BATTE.
GORBO, as thou cam'st this way,
By yonder little Hill,
Or, as thou, through the Fields didst stray,
Saw'st thou my DAFFADIL?

Shee's in a Frocke of Lincolne greene,
Which colour likes her sight,
And never hath her beautie seene,
But through a vale of white.

Then Roses richer to behold,
That trim up Lovers Bowres,
The Pansie and the Marigold,
Tho PHOEBUS Paramours.

GORBO.
Thou well describ'st the Daffadill,
It is not full an houre,
Since, by the Spring, neere yonder Hill,
I saw that lovely Flowre.

BATTE.
Yet my faire Flowre thou didst not meet,
Nor newes of her didst bring,
And yet my DAFFADIL's more sweet,
Then that by yonder Spring.

GORBO.
I saw a Shepheard that doth keepe,
In yonder Field of Lillies,
Was making (as he fed his Sheepe)
A Wreathe of Daffadillies.

BATTE.
Yet, Gorbo, thou delud'st me still,
My Flowre thou didst not see,
For, know, my pretty DAFFADIL
Is worne of none but mee.

To shew it selfe but neere her seate,
No Lilly is so bold,
Except to shade her from the heate,
Or keepe her from the cold.

GORBO.
Through yonder Vale as I did pass,
Descending from the Hill,
I met a smerking bonny Lasse,
They call her DAFFADIL:

Whose presence, as along shee went,
The pretty Flowres did greet,
As though their Heads they downeward bent,
With homage to her feet.

And all the Shepheards that were nie,
From top of every Hill,
Unto the Valleyes lowd did crie,
There goes sweet DAFFADIL.

BATTE.
I, gentle Shepheard, now with joy
Thou all my Flocks dost fill,
That's shee alone, kind Shepheards Boy,
Let us to DAFFADIL.

The easie turnes and queyntnesse of the Song,
And slight occasion whereupon 'twas rays'd,
Not one this jolly company among,
(As most could well judge) highly that not prays'd.

When MOTTO next with PERKIN pay their debt,
The Moreland Mayden SYLVIA that espy'd,
From th' other Nymphes a little that was set,
In a neere Valley by a Rivers side.

Whose soveraigne Flowres her sweetnesse well expres'd,
And honour'd sight a little them not moved:
To whom their Song they reverently addres'd,
Both as her loving, both of her beloved.

MOTTO.
Tell me, thou skilfull Shepheards Swayne,
Who's yonder in the Valley set?
PERKIN.
O, it is shee, whose sweets doe stayne
The Lilly, Rose, the Violet.

MOTTO.
Why doth the Sunne against his kind,
Stay his bright Chariot in the Skies?
PERKIN.
He pawseth, almost strooken blind,
With gazing on her heavenly Eyes.

MOTTO.
Why doe thy Flocks forbeare their food,
Which sometime was their chiefe delight?
PERKIN.
Because they neede no other good,
That live in presence of her sight.

MOTTO.
How come those Flowres to flourish still,
Not withering with sharpe Winters breath?
PERKIN.
Shee hath rob'd Nature of her skill,
And comforts all things with her breath.

MOTTO.
Why slide these Brookes so slow away,
As swift as the wild Roe that were?
PERKIN.
O, muse not Shepheard, that they stay,
When they her Heavenly voice doe heare.

MOTTO.
From whence come all these goodly Swaynes,
And lovely Girles attyr'd in Greene?
PERKIN.
From gathering Garlands on the Playnes,
To crowne thy SYL: our Shepheards Queene.

MOTTO.
The Sunne that lights this World below,
Flocks, Brooks, and Flowres, can witnesse beare.
PERKIN.
These Shepheards, and these Nymphs doe know,
Thy SYLVIA is as chaste, as faire.

Lastly, it came unto the Clownish King,
Who, to conclude, this Shepheards yeerely feast,
Bound as the rest, his Roundelay to sing,
As all the other him were to assist.

When shee (whom then, they little did expect,
The fayrest Nymph that ever kept in field)
Idea, did her sober pace direct
Towards them, with joy that every one beheld.

And whereas other drave their carefull keepe,
Hers did her follow, duely at her will,
For, through her patience shee had learnt her Sheepe,
Where ere shee went, to wait upon her still.

A Milke-white Dove upon her hand shee brought,
So tame, 'twould goe, returning at her call,
About whose necke was in a Choller wrought,
Only like Me, my Mistris hath no Gall.

To whom her Swayne (unworthy though he were)
Thus unto her his Roundelay applyes,
To whom the rest the under part did beare,
Casting upon her their still-longing Eyes.

ROWLAND.
Of her pure Eyes (that now is seene,)
CHORUS.
Come, let us sing, yee faithfull Swaynes.
ROWLAND.
O, shee alone the Shepheards Queene.
CHORUS.
Her Flocke that leades,
The Goddesse of these Meades,
These Mountaynes and these Playnes.

ROWLAND.
Those Eyes of Hers that are more cleere,
CHORUS.
Then can poore Shepheards Songs expresse,
ROWLAND.
Then be his Beames that rules the Yeere.
CHORUS.
Fie on that prayse,
In striving things to rayse:
That doth but make them lesse.

ROWLAND.
That doe the Flowry Spring prolong.
CHORUS.
So all things in her sight doe joy,
ROWLAND.
And keepes the plenteous Summer young:
CHORUS.
And doe asswage
The wrathfull Winters rage,
That would our Flocks annoy.

ROWLAND.
Jove saw her brest that naked lay,
CHORUS.
A sight most fit for JOVE to see:
ROWLAND.
And swore it was the Milkie way,
CHORUS.
Of all most pure,
The Path (we us assure)
To his bright Court to bee.

ROWLAND.
He saw her Tresses hanging downe,
CHORUS.
That moved with the gentle Ayre,
ROWLAND.
And said that ARIADNES Crowne,
CHORUS.
With those compar'd,
The Gods should not regard,
Nor BERENICES Haire.

ROWLAND.
When shee hath watch'd my Flocks by night,
CHORUS.
O happy Flocks that shee did keepe,
ROWLAND.
They never needed CYNTHIA's light,
CHORUS.
That soon gave place,
Amazed with her grace,
That did attend thy Sheepe.

ROWLAND.
Above, where Heavens high glories are,
CHORUS.
When shee is placed in the skies,
ROWLAND.
Shee shall be call'd the Shepheards Starre,
CHORUS.
And evermore,
We Shepheards will adore
Her setting and her rise.

[pp. 467-72]