William Basse, in imitation of Spenser's Januarye, introduces his eidolon "Colliden," who does not appear again until the concluding eclogue. "Poemenarcha" is Mary Sidney, countess of Pembroke, who died in 1621 — suggesting that this is one of the earlier of the Eclogues. The "Lady of the House of Thame" is Lady Wenman, the wife of Basse's patron.
R. Warwick Bond: "Like his model Spenser in the Shepheards' Calender, Basse begins his Pastorals with a real or imaginary plaint for a rejected love-suit. The metre, eight decayllable lines rhyming ababacc, is used by Spenser in the poems called Virgil's Gnat and Muiopotmos, and, with the omission of the two first lines, in the first and last eclogues of the Calender. It is, in fact, Boccaccio's octave rhyme, with the restoration of that fifth line by the omission of which Chaucer produced the very different movement of his own stanza. Basse had already employed it in the Three Pastoral Elegies. After Colliden has bemoaned himself in fourteen of these stanzas [abababcc], he is joined by a fellow-shepherd, and they sing to the disdainful fair a pretty duet in six-lined stanzas (trochaic four-foot catalectic) with alternate rhymes, the lines being varied by the frequent use of what Prof. J. B. Mayor calls 'anacrucis,' or the addition of a light unaccented syllable at the beginning of the line" Works (1893) 179n.
Herbert E. Cory: "Each eclogue is followed by Latin emblems after the fashion of Spenser's. Under the heading Munday, in eclogue one, Colliden laments, in the orthodox way, the ill-success of his love-making with Laurinella. But this eclogue is not merely erotic poetry. It is in celebration of 'true and chast; and the moral gravity of Basse is more notable than that of any Spenserian we have hitherto noticed. Colliden's lament is interrupted by Wilkin, who sings a graceful lyric with the disgruntled swain" "Spenserian Pastoral" PMLA 25 (1910) 253.
The Shepheard Colliden, who ere him know,
(Who know him not that Shepheards lives do fare?)
He that was wont with silver sheep-hooke goe,
And by his belt the silken scrip to weare,
A jolly Shep-heard to the outward showe,
Till sadly crazed with loves youthfull care,
Low kept his flock in humble vale where hye
Upon a hill kept Laurinella by.
Scarce cou'd he looke so hye, so weake was he,
Yet, when he could, hee weakely looked hye:
Though she but seldome would looke downe to see
The wofull plight of him now waxen, by
His love to her, almost as faire as shee;
This onely diff'rence seene to every eye,
Her native white with rosey joy was spread,
His lovesick pale had little hopefull red.
His sheepe, that bore the brand of his neglect
On their bare ribbes, resembled his desire;
As if perceiving where he did affect,
From their owne vale attempt to clamber higher;
But, like their gentle keepers love, soon check't,
To his and their owne miseries retire;
While her proud lambs mark'd with her like disdaine
Shew careles lookes to the despised playne.
Looke home, (quoth he) you my ungraced heard
And on your owne soile chew your harmeles cuds:
Tis for your Shepheards sake you thus have er'd,
For no such heate boyles in your chiller bloods;
Or if it could, although a sweeter sweard
Growes on the hill, the vale has cooler floods:
Water your thirst may quench; but my desire,
Drinking love dry, yet drinkes it self the dryer.
O Laurinella! Little dost thou wot
How fraile a flower thou dost so highly prize.
Beauty's the flower, but Love the flower-pot
That must preserve it, els it quickly dyes.
As care and sorrow (thou see'st) mine can blot,
Lonesse and time 'ore thine will tyrannize.
Joyes wast asunder that would thrive togither,
As double daisyes last when single wither.
View all my stock of pineing sheep, and see
In their gaunt wombs the fulness of my woe.
My carelesnes of them's my care for thee;
Thy neglect mine, and mine their overthrow.
Loyall desire is true-loves husbandrie,
Which till it gaines, it lets all other goe.
Admiring thee, what wealth can I affect?
Had I thy Love, what els could I neglect?
The Shepheard that hath once well understood
What 'tis to keepe so neare the groves, (he may
Winter his cattell under sheltring wood)
No more will much for naked pasture pray:
So yeild to love would beauty, if she cou'd
Foresee her lovers care, or her decay:
For what, (when ages winter shall take place)
But Love can shelter Beauty from disgrace?
I am not faire. If ever so I were,
I lost my beauty after thine to seeke:
Which ere I sought (unlesse our rivers here
Dissemble much) I had a lively cheeke.
But now my suit, that might make thee more cleare
(If thou didst want it), makes me wan and meeke:
Such force hath love, beauty to make or marre,
That they are onely faire that loved are.
O that thou would'st come downe to me, that I
With Poemenarcha might bring thee acquainted,
To waite on her and learne to beare an eye
Of humblenes, that thou so long has't wanted.
As in more danger is the Cedar high
Then Jilly-flower that under wall is planted,
High mindes to fate are subject most of all;
They surest stand that can no lower fall.
Or, (if thou would'st) I could thee recommend
To the great Lady of the house of Thame:
And, by those holy 'stories she hath pen'd,
Shew how she hath immortaliz'd her name.
On her I for her vertues doe attend.
More free are such as wait on worthy fame,
Then such as their owne humors vaine obey,
Although they have no Mistresses but they.
Or I could bring thee (beauteous Laurinell)
Hard by to old Antaprium, where is found
Another such Penelope to dwell
As was in Ithaca so much renown'd;
One that in bounty doth (like her) excell,
In workes alike, and chastity, as sound.
If thou wert lovingly, or humble hearted,
Then wert thou both, for they cannot be parted.
Come, Laurinell, come downe the haughty hill
Into this vale, where thou on beds shalt sit
Of yellow hyacynth and Daffadill
And lillies chast, that therein best befit
My loyall thoughts and thy long-wooed will,
And never blemish beauty, birth, nor wit;
For wisedome, birth, and beauty their owne graces
Ever encrease by graceing humble places.
While to the stately hill thou doest repaire
With thy faire flock and fairer guifts thou hast,
Be thou as Cytherea spruce and faire,
As Pallas wise, and as Diana chaste,
Yet should'st thou here a wonder be more rare:
The highest starres the lesser light doe cast;
But, as a chrystall in a marble mine,
Rare graces doe in lowly places shine.
Come downe and weare my scrip of azure hue
(Too fine for mee but onely for thy sake)
For no requitall but affection true;
And such exchange us both shall richer make:
For all that Lovers have to both is due,
And tis no losse to give, nor gaine to take;
When in thy Swayne thou shalt thy selfe possesse,
And I mine owne in mine owne Shepheardesse.
Now, Colliden, good day. I stood behinde
Yon little haw thorne bush and heard thee say
Such plaint to Laurinella, that I finde
Thou art in love (I thinke in honest way).
If it be so, though yet she seeme unkinde,
Shepheard, let that not thee too much dismay:
Young maidens that mens suits too eas'ly grant,
Wit, modesty, or both, may seeme to want.
As thy affection, the more thou doest sue,
The more doth shew it self both true and strong;
So her delays do promise her more true
When she shall yeild, (though she to yeild be long).
We feare we doe for wares bid more then due,
When Merchant takes first offer of our tongue:
Holds easily won have little prize within,
The truest heart may hardest be to win.
But gentle Swayne if thou wilt counsell take,
(None counsell need so much as Lovers doe,
Though none lesse apt thereof true use to make)
Doe as Amyntas did when he did wooe:
Frame to thy pipe a Ditty for her sake,
And sing it in her eares, and praises too.
His song (if thou canst second) I'le begin;
Where speeches faile sometimes examples win.
As Amyntas young did ad
His lip unto his lively reed,
When as in her bower he had
Of lovely Phyllis taken heed,
Mee thought I thus ore-heard the Lad:
Come let our flockes together feed.
Little seeme thy lambes alone,
And mine (like mee) of mates have need:
Let thy sheep amend the mone
Of mine, and mine amend their breed.
So both our flocks shalbe thine owne,
And wee will them together feed.
What although so black I shew
With flames that from Sun-shine proceed;
When as yonder milke-white ewe
My best and blackest lamb did breed,
What couler'd locks (I faine would know)
Had he that then did with her feed?
Match thou canst none like thee faire;
Or, if thou could'st, it would but breed
Jealous thoughtes: let Nymph be rare
In face, and swayne in faith exceed.
So full of love and free'd of care,
Both shall their flocks together feed.
Looke upon this garland gay,
Which here I give thee for thy meed;
Marigoldes are match'd with May,
Pinkes and Panseys are agreed:
Why should not wee as well as they
Agree, and flockes together feed?
In mine armes a fairer light
Will from thine eyes then now proceed:
Starres at Noone-tide shew not bright;
Tis blacknes doth their brightnes breed.
Come be my starre, I'le be thy night,
While both our flocks together feed.
Whether Phyllis had no power
To deny so kinde a deed,
Or Amyntas chose an hower
When fortune would that love should speed,
Amyntas lives in Phyllis bower,
And both their flockes together feed.
How ever in my suite I shall succeed,
I joy Amyntas love succeeded so.
And so doe I: he merits not to speed
In his owne wish, that wishes others woe.
Never to envy others shall hee need,
That could in Laurinella's favour grow;
Who now (I see) retir'd is to her bower.
So (now tis noone) let us: Dayes brightest hower
To Love (in Beauties absence) seemes to lower.
Vulnus non herbis esset medicabile verbis.
Falsa libido procul: noster honestus amor.
[Bond (1893) 179-88]