1619
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastorals X: The Tenth Eclogue.

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

Michael Drayton


The tenth pastoral is revised from the concluding ninth eclogue of the original Shepherds Garland.

Oliver Elton: "Many small changes. In [1593] only, last line, Drayton refers to himself as the Endimion whom his Phoebe will not regard. This was in 1593: his poem on Endimion came out next year" Introduction to Michael Drayton (1895) 56.

Tillotson and Newdigate: "This eclogue underwent thorough revision in 1606, and much of it is entirely new. The changes dimly illuminate Drayton's inner history since 1593; all reference to Idea and to Rowland's hopeless love disappears, and instead of a love-complaint we have a general protest against undeserved misfortune, which may be supplemented by the 6th and 8th eclogues.... The influence of SC December is more clearly present, but is deeply assimilated, and combined with recollection of Spenser's own source, Marot's Eglogue au Roy" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:187.

Thomas G. Rosenmayer: "The Pastorals of 1619 (but largely completed by 1606) are a reworking of the Shepheard's Garland of 1593. One of the most interesting changes is the removal, in Eclogues 8 and 9, of all suggestion that Rowland is languishing in hopeless love. Similarly in Eclogue 1, the melancholy is not that of the lover, but a distress that has to do with the poet's increased detachment from his materials. The gain is substantial; for this kind of melancholy, unlike the plain lover's grief, can be worked in almost imperceptibly to add richness to the texture" The Green Cabinet (1969) 229-30.



What time the wearie weather-beaten Sheepe,
To get them Fodder, hie them to the Fold,
And the poore Heards that lately did them keepe,
Shuddred with keenenesse of the Winters cold:
The Groves of their late Summer pride forlorne,
In mossie Mantles sadly seem'd to mourne.

That silent time, about the upper World,
PHOEBUS had forc'd his fierie-footed Teame,
And downe againe the steepe Olympus whurld,
To wash his Chariot in the Westrene streame,
In Nights blacke shade, when ROWLAND all alone,
Thus him complaines his fellow Shepheard's gone.

You flames, quoth he, wherewith thou Heaven art dight,
That me (alive) the wofull'st Creature view,
You, whose aspects have wrought me this despight,
And me with hate, yet ceaslesly pursue,
For whom too long I tarryed for reliefe,
Now aske but Death, that onely ends my griefe.

Yearly my Vowes, O Heavens, have I not paid,
Of the best Fruits, and Firstlings of my Flock?
And oftentimes have bitterly invayde,
'Gainst them that you prophanely dar'd to mock?
O, who shall ever give what is your due,
If mortall man be uprighter then you?

If the deepe sighes of an afflicted brest,
O'rwhelm'd with sorrow, or th'erected eyes
(Of a poore Wretch with miseries opprest)
For whose complaints, teares never could suffice,
Have not the power your Deities to move,
Who shall e'r looke for succour from above?

O Night, how still obsequious have I beene
To thy slow silence whispering in thine eare,
That thy pale Soveraigne often hath beene seene,
Stay to behold me sadly from her Spheare,
Whilst the slow minutes duly I have told,
With watchfull eyes attending on my Fold.

How oft by thee the solitary Swayne,
Breathing his passion to the early spring,
Hath left to heare the Nightingale complaine,
Pleasing his thoughts alone, to heare me sing!
The Nymphes forsooke their places of abode,
To heare the sounds that from my Musicke flow'd.

To purge their Springs and sanctifie their Grounds,
The simple Shepheards learned I the meane,
And Soveraine simples to their use I found,
Their teeming Eawes to helpe when they did yeane:
Which when againe in summer time they share,
Their wealthy Fleece my cunning did declare.

In their warme Coates whilst they have soundly slept,
And pass'd the Night in many a pleasant Bowre,
On the Bleake Mountaines I their Flocks have kept,
And bid the Brunt of many a cruell showre,
Warring with Beasts in safety mine to keepe;
So true was I, and carefull of my Sheepe.

Fortune and Time, why tempted you me forth,
With those your flattering promises of Grace,
Fickle, so falsly to abuse my worth,
And now to flie me, whom I did imbrace?
Both that at first incourag'd my desire,
Lastly against me lewdly doe conspire.

Or Nature, didst thou prodigally waste
Thy gifts on me infortunatest Swayne,
Only thereby to have thy selfe disgrac'd?
Vertue in me why was thou plac'd in vaine?
If to the World predestined a prey,
Thou wert too good to have beene cast away.

Ther's not a Grove that wondreth not my wo,
Nor not a River weepes not at my tale,
I heare the Eccho's (wandring to and fro)
Resound my griefe through every Hill and Dale,
The Birds and Beasts yet in their simple kinde
Lament for me, no pittie else that finde.

None else there is gives comfort to my griefe,
Nor my mis-haps amended with my mone,
When Heaven and Earth have shut up all reliefe,
Nor care availes what curelesse now is growne:
And teares I finde doe bring no other good,
But as new Showres increase the rising Floud.

When on an old Tree, under which ere now,
He many a merry Roundelay had sung,
Upon a leavelesse Canker-eaten Bow,
His well-tun'd Bag-pipe carelesly he hung:
And by the same, his Sheepe-Hooke, once of price,
That had beene carv'd with many a rare device.

He call'd his Dog, (that sometime had the prayse)
WHITEFOOTE, well knowne to all that kept the Playne,
That many a Wolfe had werried in his dayes,
A better Curre, there never followed Swayne:
Which, though as he his Masters sorrowes knew,
Wag'd his cut Taile, his wretched plight to rue.

Poore Curre, quoth he, and him therewith did stroke,
Goe, to our Cote, and there thy selfe repose,
Thou with thine Age, my Heart with sorrow broke:
Be gone, ere Death my restlesse Eyes doe close,
The Time is come, thou must thy Master leave,
Whom the vile World shall never more deceave.

With folded Armes thus hanging downe his Head,
He gave a grone, his Heart in sunder cleft,
And as a Stone, alreadie seemed dead,
Before his Breath was fully him bereft:
The faithfull Swayne, here lastly made an end,
Whom all good Shepheards ever shall defend.

[pp. 473-75]