1638 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Right Reverend Father in God, Brian, Lord Bishop of Chichester, Tutor to his Highness.

Comedies, Tragi-Comedies, with other Poems, by Mr William Cartwright, Late Student of Christ-Church in Oxford, and Proctor of the University. The Ayres and Songs Set by Mr Henry Lawes, Servant to his Late Majesty in his Publick and Private Musick.

Rev. William Cartwright


A pastoral eclogue, posthumously published in 1651, addressed by William Cartwright to Brian Duppa (1588-1662), Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford, where Cartwright was a Fellow. Based on the title, Cartwright's editor, G. Blakemore Evans, suggests that the poem my have been composed to mark Duppa's elevation to the see of Chichester in 1638. The complete title is given as "To the Right Reverend Father in God, Brian, Lord Bishop of Chichester, Tutor to his Highness, my most gracious Patron, Many, and happy daies." The poem is signed "The most faithfull Honourer of Your Lordships Vertues W. C." The political and theological sentiments expressed in the eclogue are as high as one might expect from a Christ-Church divine. Spenser's Aprill, written for Queen Elizabeth, seems to be a very general model for this eclogue lauding Prince Charles and Brian Duppa, his tutor. Politically, it is the polar extreme from Milton's Lycidas, its Cambridge equivalent.

The setting for the poem seems to be a new year's celebration, and the two shepherds consider what sort of rural gifts they might contrive to give to Duppa at the fallow time of the year. As is appropriate in a poem about education, they discourse about the curriculum of study the tutor is offering in a strain of political georgic, and then Cartwright seems to allude to the Bishop's Wars in Scotland: "And he that fits him for that Seat, | May he Figs from Thistles eat; | Like Ears of Corn let Men obey, | And when he Breaths, bend all one way; | And if that any dare Contest, | Let his Rod still devour the rest" p. 277. A note to the passage reads "Scotland."

The imagery throughout the poem is that of the Stuart court, and it concludes with a prophecy of Charles's future rather in the manner of Virgil's Pollio eclogue (though there seems little doubt that an armed struggle is impending). Cartwright himself, a much-loved Royalist poet and orator, would die at Oxford of camp fever during the civil wars.



SYRINGUS, ERGASTUS.

SYRINGUS.
Whether so fast Ergastus! say
Doth Nysa, or Myrtilla stay,
To meet thee now at Break of day?

ERGASTUS.
With Love, Syringus, I have done,
'Tis duty now that makes me run,
To prevent the rising Sun.

SYRINGUS.
What Star hath chill'd thy flames?
What Cross hath made thy fires take others names?

ERGASTUS.
Didst thou not last night hear
The Dirge we sung to the departed year?
'Tis the daies early Prime
That gives new Feet, and Wings to Aged Time,
And I run to provide
Some Rurall present to design the Tide:

SYRINGUS.
But to whom this Pious fear?
To whom this opening of the year?

ERGASTUS.
To him, that by Thames flowry side,
Three Kingdoms Eldest Hopes doth guide,
Who his soft Mind and Manners Twines,
Gently, and we do tender Vines.
'Tis he that sings to him the Course
Of Light, and of the Suns great force,
How his Beams meet, and joyn with Showers,
To awake the sleeping Flowers;
Where Hail, and Snow have each their Treasures;
How wandring Stars tread equall Measures,
Ordered as ours upon the Plain,
And how sad Clouds drop down in Rain;
He tels from whence the Loud Wind blows,
And how the Bow of Wonder shews
Colours mixt, as in a Loome,
And where doth hang the Thunder's Womb;
How Nature then Cloaths Fields and Woods,
Heaps the high Hills, and powrs out Flouds;
And from thence doth make him run,
To what his Ancesters have done,
Then gives some Lesson, which doth say,
What 'tis to shear, and what to Flea,
And shews at last, in holy Song,
What to the Temple doth belong;
What Offering suits with every Feast,
And how the Altar's to be drest.

SYRINGUS.
Now Violets prop his Head,
And soft Flowers make his Bed,
These Blessings he for us prepares,
The Joyes of Harvest Crown his Cares.

ERGASTUS.
He labours that we may
Not cast our Pipes away;
That Swords to Plowsheares may be turn'd,
And neither folds, nor Sheep-coats burn'd;
That no rude Barbarous Hands
May reap our well grown Lands,
And that, sweet Liberty being barr'd,
We not our Selves become the Heard;
Heaven bless him, and his Books,
'Tis he must gild our Hooks,
And for his Charg's Birth-sake, May
Shall be to me one Holy day.

SYRINGUS.
Come, I'l along with thee, and joyn,
Some hasty Gift to thine;
But we do Pearls, and Amber want,
And pretions Stones are scant.
And how then shall we enter, where
Wealth Ushers in the year?

ERGASTUS.
The Berries of the Misseltoe,
To him will Orient shew;
And the Bee's Bag as Amber come
From the deep Oceans Womb;
And Stones which murmuring Waters Chide,
Stopt by them as they glide,
If giv'n to him, will pretious grow;
Touch him, they must be so.

SYRINGUS.
I know a Stream, that to the Sight
Betraies smooth Pebbles, Black, and White;
These I'l present, with which he may
Design each Cross and Happy day.

ERGASTUS.
None, none at all of Blacker hue,
Only the White to him are due,
For Heaven, among the Reverend store
Of Learned Men, Loves no one more.

SYRINGUS.
Two days ago
My deep-fleec'd Ewe, should have her Lamb let fall,
Which if't be so,
I mean to offer't to him Dam and all;
And humbly say
I bring a Gift as tender as the Day.

ERGASTUS.
Name not a Gift,
Who e'r bestows, he still returns him more;
That's but our Thrift
When he receives, he adds unto our store:
Let's Altars trim,
Wishes are Lambs, and Kids, and Flocks to him.

SYRINGUS.
Let's then the Sun arrest,
And so prolong our duties Feast,
Time will stay till he be blest.

ERGASTUS.
Wish thou to his Charge, and then
I'l wish t' himself, and both agen,
Holy things to holy Men.

SYRINGUS.
The unvext Earth Flowers to him bring,
And make the year but one great Spring;
Let Nature stand, and serve, and wooe,
And make him Prince of Seasons too.

ERGASTUS.
And his learn'd Guide, no difference know,
But find it one, to Reap, and Sow;
Be Harvest all, and he appear
As soon i' th' Soul, as in the Ear.

SYRINGUS.
When his high Charge shall rule the State
(Which Heaven saies shall be, but late)
Let him no Thorns in Manners find,
And in the Many but one Mind;
And Plenty pay him so much bliss,
That's Brothers Sheafs bow all to his.

ERGASTUS.
And he that fits him for that Seat,
May he Figs from Thistles eat;
Like Ears of Corn let Men obey,
And when he Breaths, bend all one way;
And if that any dare Contest,
Let his Rod still devour the rest.

SYRINGUS.
Let Rams Change Colour, and behold
Their Fleeces Purple dy'd, or Gold:
For this the holy Augur sayes,
Bodes unto Kingdoms happy daies.

ERGASTUS.
And his blest Guide like Fortune win,
And die his Flock too, but within;
And, where of Scarlet they be full,
Wash he their Souls as White as Wooll.

SYRINGUS.
Let his Great Scepter discords part,
As once the Staff made Flouds forbear,
And let him by diviner Art,
Those Tempests into Bulwarks rear;
As he who lead Men through the deep,
As Shepheards use to Lead their Sheep.

ERGASTUS.
And his Rod sign the easie Flocks,
By being plac'd but in their Sight,
That all their young Ones shew their Locks
Ringstreak'd, Speck'd and mark'd with White;
As that learn'd Man, who Hazell pill'd,
And so by Art his own Flock fill'd.

SYRINGUS.
May his Rich Fleece drink Dew, and Lye
Well drench'd, though all the Earth be dry.

ERGASTUS.
May his Rod bud, and Almonds shew,
Though all the rest do Barren grow.

SYRINGUS.
May he not have a Subject look,
To please with murmuring, as the Brook,
And let the Serpent of the year
Not dare to fix his sharp Teeth here.

ERGASTUS.
May his guide pull them out, and so
Sow them that they never grow,
Or if in furrows Arm'd they spring,
Death to themselves their Weapons bring.

SYRINGUS.
May he more Lawrels bring to us,
Than he that set the Calendar thus,
New deeds of Glory will appear,
And make his Deeds round as the Year.

ERGASTUS.
And may his Blessed Guide out-live
Years, and himself a new Thread give;
And so his days still fresh transmit,
Doing as time, and Conquering it.

SYRINGUS.
May Vintage Joys swell both their Bowrs,

ERGASTUS.
And if they O'rflow, O'rflow on Ours.

SYRINGUS.
O would that We, that we, such Prophets were,
As he that slew the Lyon and the Bear.

ERGASTUS.
Credit thy self, our Wishes must prove true,
Far meaner Shepheards have ben Prophets too.

[pp. 274-79]