1624 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Britannias Pastorals. Book III.

Britannias Pastorals. Book III. [T. Crofton Croker, ed.]

William Browne of Tavistock


Edited from an unfinished original MS in Salisbury Cathedral for the Percy Society, and published in 1852. Not seen.

F. W. Moorman: "This Third Book has not the unity of character of the first two Books of the Pastorals. It is largely made up of Songs and other passages which were written earlier, and which are here wedged together to produce a complete whole. These songs and verses appear separately in the Landsdowne MS. 777. The whole of the Second Song moreover was probably composed at an earlier period. The last Stanza addressed to Caelia places it somewhere within the years 1617-24, in which we find him writing to this lady. The subject matter, the verse, in which which stanzas replace the Heroic Couplets of all the other songs, and the lightness of tone point to the fact that it was composed as an independent poem, and afterwards added to the story of the Pastorals" William Browne (1897) 15-16.

David Norbrook: "About 1624 he resumed work on Britannia's Pastorals, which he had abandoned after 1616. As a client of the Earl of Pembroke, a leading supporter of Princess Elizabeth, Browne was in a position to hear of the debates about war policy in the Parliament of that year. In Book III of Britannia's Pastorals Browne paid tribute to the days of Elizabethan naval glory under Drake and Grenville.... Browne did not publish Book III because of the censorship restrictions, which were reinforced in 1624" Poetry and Politics (1984) 220-21.



Thrice had the pale-fac'd Cinthia fill'd her hornes,
And through the circling zodiaque, which adornes
Heaven's goodly frame, the horses of the sun
A fourth parte of their race had fiercely run,
Since fair Marina lefte her gentle flocke;
Whose too untymely losse, the watchfull cock
Noe oftner gave a summons to the daye,
Then some kinde shepheard on the fertill ley
Tooke a sadd seate, and, with a drowned eye,
Bemoan'd in heart farre more then elegie.

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