1589
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Eglogue. Gratulatorie to Robert Earl of Essex.

An Eglogue. Gratulatorie. Entituled: To the right honorable, and renowmed Shepheard of Albions Arcadia: Robert Earle of Exxex and Ewe, for his Welcome into England from Portugall. Done by George Peele. Maister of Arts in Oxon.

George Peele


George Peele, writing anonymously, defends the Earl of Essex, returning from the disappointing expedition to Portugal. He imitates Spenser's Maye, where Piers and Palinode are the interlocutors. Essex is presented as the flower of chivalry, the true successor of Sir Philip Sidney.

Thomas Warton: "If Essex was no poet, few noblemen of his age were more courted by poets. From Spenser to the lowest rhymer he was the subject of numerous sonnets, or popular ballads, I will not except Sidney. I could produce evidence to prove, that he scarce ever went out of England, or even left London, on the most frivolous enterprise, without a pastoral in his praise, or a panegryric in metre, which were sold and sung in the streets. Having interested himself in the fashionable poetry of the times, he was placed high in the ideal Arcadia now just established: and among other instances which might be brought, on his return from Portugal in 1589, he was complimented with a poem, called An Egloge gratulatorie [&c.] This is a light in which lord Essex is seldom viewed. I know not if the queen's fatal partiality, or his own inherent attractions, his love of literature, his heroism, integrity, and generosity, qualities which abundantly overbalance his presumption, his vanity, and impetuosity, had the greater share in dictating these praises. If adulation were any where justifiable, it must be when paid to the man who endeavoured to save Spenser from starving in the streets of Dublin, and who buried him in Westminster-abbey with becoming solemnity. Spenser was persecuted by Burleigh, because he was patronised by Essex" History of English Poetry (1774-81; 1840) 3:341.

Edmond Malone speculates that this poem may have inspired the remark about Palin in Colin Clouts Come Home Againe, "Albe he envie at my rustic quill," describing the Eclogue as a "not very successful imitation of [Spenser's] rustick pastorals ... a performance of which perhaps this poet had boasted as equal or superior to the admired prototype on which it was formed" Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare (1790; 1821) 2:250.

Samuel Egerton Brydges: "George Peele, a native of Devonshire, was a Student of Christ Church, Oxford, 1573. He appears to have been under the patronage of the Earl of Northumberland, 1593, and died before 1598. He had some fame in his day as a dramatic writer, and was well known for his jests, so that it seems he was content to degrade his genius by despicable buffoonery" British Bibliographer 3 (1812) xvi.

W. J. Courthope: "The son of a silversmith in London, but descended from a gentle family in Devonshire, George Peele was born in 1558. He was entered first at Broadgates Hall — afterwards Pembroke College — Oxford; but became a student of Christ Church in 1573, where he took his B.A. degree in 1577, and proceeded to his M.A. degree in 1579. At Oxford he wrote his Tale of Troy, which he did not publish, however, till 1589, and his fame as a poet seems to have been established in the University, for when Albertus Alasco, the Polish Prince Palatine, visited it in 1583, Peele with others was selected to entertain him with a comedy, entitled Rivales, and a tragedy on the subject of Dido. After this year he appears to have lived in London, supporting himself mainly by the devising of pageants or the writing of plays. In 1584 his Arraignment of Paris was acted before the Queen by the children of the chapel; in 1585 he devised the pageant for the Lord Mayor's show. When Essex and his troops in 1589 set sail for Spain, Peele wrote a 'Farewell' for them, in blank verse, full of the enthusiasm which had animated the nation since the defeat of the Spanish Armada in the previous year; and on Essex's return he welcomed him with An Eclogue Gratulatory in the semi-archaic pastoral style, which had been made fashionable by Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar" History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 2:397.

W. W. Greg: "Peele followed Spenser more closely than most of his fellow imitators in the use of dialect, but his eclogue on the not particularly glorious return of Essex has little interest. His importance as a pastoralist lies elsewhere" Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (1906) 110.

Herbert E. Cory: "The dialogue between Piers and Palinode, the two interlocutors of Maye, with its stiff archaisms from the Calender, shows a poet vainly endeavoring to use the new instrument. There were other faltering imitations which, though not published until English poetry had become more fluent, were probably composed in those years of experiment" "Spenserian Pastoral" PMLA 25 (1910) 243.



PIERS, PALINODE.
Dicite Io Paean, et Io bis dicite Paean,
In Patriam rediit magnus Apollo suam.

PALINODE.
Herdgroom, what gars thy pipe to go so loud?
Why bin thy bookes so smicker and so proud?
Perdie plain Piers, but this couthe ill agree,
With thilke bad fortune, that ay thwarteth thee.

PIERS.
That thwarteth me, good Palinode, is fate,
Yborn was Piers to be infortunate.
Yet shall my Bagpipe go so loud and shrill,
That heaven may entertaine my kind goodwill;
Io Io Paean.

PALINODE.
Sot I say, Losel, leudest of all swaines,
Singest thou proud Paeans on these open plaines?
So ill sitteth this straine, this loftie note,
With thy rude tire, and grey russet cote.

PIERS.
Gray as my cote is, greene all are my cares,
My grasse to drosse, my corne is turned to tares:
Yet even and morrow will I never lin,
To make my crowd speake as it did begin.
Io Io Paean.

PALINODE.
Thou art too cranke, and crowdest all too hie;
Beware a Chip fall not into thine eie:
(Man) if Triumphals heere be in request,
Then let them chaunt them, that can chaunt them best.

PIERS.
Thou art a sowre swaine Palinode perdie,
My Bagpipe vaunteth not of victorie:
Then give me leave, sonizance to make,
For chivalrie, and lovely learning's sake.
Io Io Paean.

PALINODE.
Thou hardy Herdsman, darest thou of arms chaunt
Sike verse I tell thee, ought have a great vaunt:
Then how may thy boldness scape a fine frumpe,
Warres Laud, is matter for the brazen Trumpe.

PIERS.
Of Armes to sing, I have nor lust nor skill,
Enough is me, to blazon my good will:
To welcome home that long hath lacked beene,
One of the jolliest Shepherds of our Greene.
Io Io Paean.

PALINODE.
Tell me good Piers, I pray thee tell it me,
What may thilk jollie swaine or shepherd be?
Or whence ycomen? that he thus welcome is,
That thou art all so blithe to see his blisse.

PIERS.
Palinode, thou makest a double demaund,
Which I will answer, as I understand.
Yet will I not forget, so God me mend,
To pipe lowd Paeans as my Stanzas end.
Io Io Paean.

Thilk Shepheard (Palinode) whom my pipe praiseth,
Whose glory, my reed to the welkin raiseth:
He is a great Herdgroom, certes, but no swaine,
Save hers that is the Flowre of Phaebe's plaine.
Io Io Paean.

He is well alied and loved of the best,
Well thew'd, fair and francke, and famous by his Crest:
His Raine Deere racking with proud and stately pace,
Giveth to his flocke a right beautifull grace.
Io Io Paean.

He waits where our great Shepherdesse doth wunne,
He plaieth in the shade, and thriveth in the Sunne;
He shineth on the plaines, his lustie flocke him by,
As when Apollo kept in Arcadie.
Io Io Paean.

Fellow in Armes he was, in their flowring deies,
With that great Shepherd good Philisides:
And in sad sable did I see him dight.
Moning the misse of Pallas peereles Knight.
Io Io Paean.

With him he serv'd, and watcht and waited fate,
To keep the grim Wolfe from Elizaes gate:
And for their Mistresse thoughten these two swains,
They moughten never take too mickle pains.
Io Io Paean.

But, ah for griefe, that jolly groome is dead,
For whome the Muses silver teares have shed:
Yet in this lovelie swaine, source of our glee,
Mun all his Vertues sweet reviven bee.
Io Io Paean.

PALINODE.
So moughten they Piers, and happilie thrive,
To keepen this Herdsman after death alive:
But whence I pray thee, tel me, come is hee,
For whome thy Pipe and Paeans make such glee?

PIERS.
Certes Sir Shepheard, commen he is fro far,
Fro wrath of deepest Seas and storm of War:
Safe is he come, O swell my Pipe, with joy,
To the olde buildings of nue reared Troy.
Io Io Paean.

Fro Sea, fro Shore, where he with swink and sweat
Felt Foeman's rage and Sommers parching heat:
Safe is he come, laden with Honours spoile,
O swell my Pipe with joy, and breake the while;
Io Io Paean.

PALINODE.
Thou foolish swaine that thus art overjoied,
How soone may heere thy courage be accoyed:
If he be one come new fro Westerne coast,
Small cause hath he or thou for him to boast.

I see no Palme, I see no Laurell bowes,
Circle his temples, or adorne his browes,
I heare no Triumphes for this late returne,
But many a Herdsman more disposde to morne.

PIERS.
Pale lookest thou like Spite, proud Palinode,
Venter doth losse, and warre dothe danger bode:
But thou art of those Harvesters I see,
Would at one shocke, spoile all the Philberd-Tree.
Io Io Paean.

For shame I say, give Vertue honors due.
Ile please the Shepherd, but by telling true:
Palme maist thou see, and Baies about his head,
That all his flocke, right forwardly hath led.
Io Io Paean.

But woe is me lewd lad, fames full of lies,
Envie doth ay true honors deeds despise;
Yet chivalrie will mount with glorious wings,
Spite all and nestle neere the seat of kings.
Io Io Paean.

Base thrall is he, that is foule slaunders slave,
To pleasen all, what wight may him behave:
Yea, Joves great sonne though he were now alive,
Mought find no way thilk labour to atchive;
Io Io Paean.

PALINODE.
Well plead'st thou (gentle Lad) for this great peere,
Then tell me sith but thou and I am here?
Did not thilk Bagpipe, man which thou dost blow
A farewell on our Souldiers erst bestow?

How yst then, thilk great Shepherd of the field,
To whome our swaines, sike humble beisance yield:
And thou these Laudes and labours seriouslie,
Was in that worke, not mention'd speciallie.

PIERS.
Harke Palinode, me dare not speake too lowd,
Hence was he raught, wrapt in a fierie cloud:
With Mars his Viceroy, and a golden Drake,
So that of him, me durst no notice take.
Io Io Paean.

But now returnd, to royalize his fame,
Whose mightie thoughts, at Honors Tropheis aime:
Least worthily, I moughten witned bee,
I welcome him with Shepherd's country glee.
Io Io Paean.

And of his dread adventures here sing I,
Equivolent with the Punic Chivalrie:
That brake his lance with terror and renowne
Against the gates of slaughtered Remus Towne.
Io Io Paean.

And was the first of many thousands more,
That at Penichia waded to the shore:
There couthe he lead his landed flocke so far,
Till a was left of men approoved in war.
Io Io Paean.

O Honors fire, that not the brackish Sea,
Mought quench, nor Foemans fearfull Larums lay:
So high those golden flakes done mount and clime,
That they exceed the reach of Shepherds rhime.
Io Io Paean.

PALINODE.
What boot thy welcomes, foolish hardie swaine,
Lowder pipes then thine, are going on this plaine:
Faire Elizaes Lasses and her great Groomes,
Receive this Shepherd with unfaigned welcomes.

Honour is in him that doth it bestowe,
Thy Reed is rough, thy seat is all too lowe.
To writen sike praise, hadst thou blithe Homers quil
Thou moughtst have matter equall with thy skill.

PIERS.
Twit me with boldness, Palin, as thou wilt,
My good mind be my glorie and my guilt:
Be my praise lesse or mickle, all is one,
His high deserts deserven to be knowen.
Io Io Paean.

So cease my pipe, the worthies to record,
Of thilke great Shepherd, of thilke fair young Lord:
Leave him with lucke, to those well-tuned Laies,
That better ken to sound sike Shepherds praies;
Io Io Paean.

Now time is neere to pen our Sheepe in folde,
And Evening aire, is rhumaticke and colde:
For my late Songs, plead thou my pure good will,
Though Newcome once (Brave Earle) yet welcome still.
Io Io Paean.

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