A theological eclogue. Alexis and Tityrus, a goatherd and a shepherd, argue Calvinist and Arminian positions until they are silenced by Thyrsis, who argues that such strife only encourages the wolf and the fox. This theological eclogue was likely written during Thomas Randolph's college years, 1624-32; it was twice reprinted in nineteenth-century collections of devotional verse.
Retrospective Review: "He appears to have been not only a wit and a poet, but to have filled the office of moderator in the schools of Cambridge, in such a manner as to attract the notice of the oldest and subtlest logicians" 6 (1822) 62.
George L. Craik: "Randolph has a good deal of fancy, and his verse flows very melodiously; but his poetry has in general a bookish and borrowed air. Much of it is on the subjects of love and gallantry; but the love is chiefly of the head, or, at most, of the senses, — the gallantry, it is easy to see, that merely of a fellow of a college and a reader of Ovid" A Compendious History of English Literature (1861) 2:20.
W. Davenport Adams: "Thomas Randolph, poet and dramatist (b. 1605, d. 1634), wrote Aristippus: or, the Jovial Philosopher (1620); The Jealous Lovers (1632); Cornelianum Dolium (1638); Amyntas: or, the Impossible Dowry (1638); Hey for Honesty (1651); and Poems, published with The Muses' Looking Glass and his other works (1668). An edition of his Poetical and Dramatic Works, edited by W. Carew Hazlitt, appeared in 1875" Dictionary of English Literature (1878) 512.
George Saintsbury: "Randolph, the youngest and not the least gifted of the tribe of Ben, died before he was thirty, after writing some noteworthy plays, and a certain number of minor poems, which, as it has been well observed, rather show that he might have done anything, than that he actually did anything" History of Elizabethan Poetry (1909) 381-82.
Ho jolly Thirsis whither in such hast?
I'st for a wager that you run so fast?
Or past your houre below yon hawthorne tree
Does longing Galatea looke for thee?
No Corydon, I heard young Daphnis say
Alexis challeng'd Tityrus to day
Who best shall sing of Shepheards Art, and praise;
But harke I heare 'em, listen to their laies.
Alexis read, what means this mistique thing;
An Ewe I had two lambs at once did bring:
Th' one black as Jett; the other white as snow:
Say in just providence how it could be so?
Will you Pan's goodnesse therefore partiall call,
That might as well have given thee none at all?
Were they not both eand by the selfe same Ewe?
How could they merit then so different hewe?
Poore lamb alas; and couldst thou, yet unborne,
Sin to deserve the Guilt of such a scorne?
Thou hadst not yet fowl'd a religious spring,
Nor fed on plots of hallowed grasse, to bring
Staines to thy fleece; nor browz'd upon a tree
Sacred to Pan or Pales Deitie.
The Gods are ignorant if they not foreknow;
And knowing, 'tis unjust to use thee so.
Tytir with me contend, or Corydon;
But let the Gods, and their high wills alone.
For in our flocks that freedome challenge wee,
This kid is sacrific'd, and that goes free.
Feed where you will my Lambs, what boots it us
To watch, and water, fold, and drive you thus.
This on the barren mountaines flesh can gleane,
That fed in flowry pastures will be leane.
Plow, sowe, and compasse, nothing boots at all,
Unlesse the dew upon the Tilth's doe fall.
So labour sylly Shepheards what wee can
All's vaine, unlesse a blessing drop from Pan.
Ill thrive thy Ewes if thou these lyes maintaine:
And may thy Goats miscarry sawcy swaine.
Fie, Shepheards fie! while you these strifes begin,
Here creepes the woolfe; and there the fox gets in.
To your vaine piping on so deepe a reed
The Lambkins listen, but forget to feed.
It gentle swains befits of Love to sing,
How Love left heaven; and heav'ns immortal King,
His Coaeternall Father. O admire,
Love is a Sonne as an ancient as his sire.
His Mother was a Virgin: how could come
A birth so great, and from so chast a wombe!
His cradle was a manger; Shepheards see
True faith delights in poore simplicitie.
He pres'd no grapes, nor prun'd the fruitfull vine,
But could of water make a brisker wine.
Nor did he plow the earth, and to his Barne
The harvest bring, nor thresh, and grind the Corne.
Without all these Love could supply our need;
And with five Loaves, five thousand Hungers feed.
More wonders did he, for all which suppose
How he was crown'd, with Lilly, or with Rose?
The winding Ivy, or the glorious Bay,
Or mirtle, with the which Venus, they say,
Girts her proud temples? Shepheards none of them
But wore (poore head) a thorny Diadem.
Feet to the Lame he gave; with which they run
To worke their Surgeons last destruction.
The blind from him had eyes; but us'd that light
Like Basylisques to kill him with their sight.
Lastly he was betray'd (O sing of this)
How Love could be betray'd! 'twas with a kisse.
And then his Innocent hands, and guiltlesse feet
Were nayl'd unto the Crosse, striving to meet
In his spread armes his spouse, so mild in showe
He seem'd to court th' Imbraces of his foe.
Through his pearc'd side, through which a speare was sent,
A torrent of all flowing Balsame went.
Run Amarillis run: one drop from thence
Cures thy sad soule, and drives all anguish hence.
Goe sunburnt Thestylis, goe, and repaire
Thy beauty lost, and be againe made faire.
Love-sick Amyntas get a Philtrum here,
To make thee Lovely to thy truly deare.
But coy Licoris take the Pearle from thine,
And take the bloodshot from Alexis eyne.
Weare this an Amulet 'gainst all Syrens smiles,
The stings of snakes, and Teares of Crocodiles.
Now Love is lead: Oh no, he never dyes;
Three dayes he sleepes, and then againe doth rise
(Like faire Aurora from the Easterne Bay)
And with his beams drives all our clouds away:
This pipe unto our flocks, this sonnet get.
But hoe, I see the Sun ready to set,
Good night to all; for the great night is come;
Flocks to your folds and shepheards hye you home!
To morrow morning, when we all have slept,
Pan's Cornet's blowne, and the great Sheapshears kept.