Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SHEPHEARDES CALENDER: JULY, by EDMUND SPENSER

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SHEPHEARDES CALENDER: JULY, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Is not thilke same a goteheard prowde
Last Line: Thou hast such doubt to climbe.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin
Subject(s): September; Shepherds & Shepherdesses


Thom. Is not thilke same a goteheard prowde,
That sittes on yonder bancke,
Whose straying heard them selfe doth shrowde
Emong the bushes rancke?
Mor. What ho! thou jollye shepheards swayne,
Come up the hyll to me:
Better is then the lowly playne,
Als for thy flocke and thee.
Thom. Ah, God shield, man, that I should clime,
And learne to looke alofte;
This reede is ryfe, that oftentime
Great clymbers fall unsoft.
In humble dales is footing fast,
The trode is not so tickle,
And though one fall through heedlesse bast,
Yet is his misse not mickle.
And now the Sonne hath reared up
His fyriefooted teme,
Making his way betweene the Cuppe
And golden Diademe:
The rampant Lyon hunts he fast,
With Dogge of noysome breath,
Whose balefull barking bringes in hast
Pyne, plagues, and dreery death.
Agaynst his cruell scortching heate
Where hast thou coverture?
The wastefull hylls unto his threate
Is a playne overture.
But if thee lust to holden chat
With seely shepherds swayne,
Come downe, and learne the little what
That Thomalin can sayne.
Mor. Syker, thous but a laesie loord,
And rekes much of thy swinck,
That with fond termes, and weetlesse words,
To blere myne eyes doest thinke.
In evill houre thou hentest in hond
Thus holy hylles to blame,
For sacred unto saints they stond,
And of them han theyr name.
St. Michels Mount who does not know,
That wardes the westerne coste?
And of St. Brigets Bowre, I trow,
All Kent can rightly boaste:
And they that con of Muses skill
Sayne most-what, that they dwell
(As goteheards wont) upon a hill,
Beside a learned well.
And wonned not the great god Pan
Upon Mount Olivet,
Feeding the blessed flocke of Dan,
Which dyd himselfe beget?
Thom. O blessed sheepe! O shepheard great,
That bought his flocke so deare,
And them did save with bloudy sweat
From wolves, that would them teare!
Mor. Besyde, as holy fathers sayne,
There is a hyllye place,
Where Titan ryseth from the mayne,
To renne hys dayly race:
Upon whose toppe the starres bene stayed,
And all the skie doth leane;
There is the cave where Phebe layed
The shepheard long to dreame.
Whilome there used shepheards all
To feede theyr flocks at will,
Till by his foly one did fall,
That all the rest did spill.
And sithens shepheardes bene foresayd
From places of delight:
Forthy I weene thou be affrayd
To clime this hilles height.
Of Synah can I tell thee more,
And of Our Ladyes Bowre:
But little needes to strow my store,
Suffice this hill of our.
Here han the holy Faunes recourse,
And Sylvanes haunten rathe;
Here has the salt Medway his sourse,
Wherein the Nymphes doe bathe;
The salt Medway, that trickling stremis
Adowne the dales of Kent,
Till with his elder brother Themis
His brackish waves be meynt.
Here growes melampode every where,
And teribinth, good for gotes:
The one, my madding kiddes to smere,
The next, to heale theyr throtes.
Hereto, the hills bene nigher heven,
And thence the passage ethe:
As well can prove the piercing levin,
That seeldome falls bynethe.
Thom. Syker, thou speakes lyke a lewde lorrell,
Of heaven to demen so:
How be I am but rude and borrell,
Yet nearer wayes I knowe.
To kerke the narre, from God more farre,
Has bene an old sayd sawe,
And he that strives to touch the starres
Oft stombles at a strawe.
Alsoone may shepheard clymbe to skye,
That leades in lowly dales,
As goteherd prowd, that, sitting hye,
Upon the mountaine sayles.
My seely sheepe like well belowe,
They neede not melampode:
For they bene hale enough, I trowe,
And liken theyr abode.
But, if they with thy gotes should yede,
They soone myght be corrupted,
Or like not of the frowie fede,
Or with the weedes be glutted.
The hylls where dwelled holy saints
I reverence and adore:
Not for themselfe, but for the sayncts
Which han be dead of yore.
And nowe they bene to heaven forewent,
Theyr good is with them goe,
Theyr sample onely to us lent,
That als we mought doe soe.
Shepheards they weren of the best,
And lived in lowlye leas:
And sith theyr soules bene now at rest,
Why done we them disease?
Such one he was (as I have heard
Old Algrind often sayne)
That whilome was the first shepheard,
And lived with little gayne:
As meeke he was as meeke mought be,
Simple as simple sheepe,
Humble, and like in eche degree
The flocke which he did keepe.
Often he used of hys keepe
A sacrifice to bring,
Nowe with a kidde, now with a sheepe
The altars hallowing.
So lowted he unto hys Lord,
Such favour couth he fynd,
That sithens never was abhord
The simple shepheards kynd.
And such, I weene, the brethren were
That came from Canaan,
The brethren twelve, that kept yfere
The flockes of mighty Pan.
But nothing such thilk shephearde was
Whom Ida hyll dyd beare,
That left hys flocke to fetch a lasse,
Whose love he bought to deare.
For he was proude, that ill was payd,
(No such mought shepheards bee)
And with lewde lust was overlayd:
Tway things doen ill agree.
But shepheard mought be meeke and mylde,
Well eyed as Argus was,
With fleshly follyes undefyled,
And stoute as steede of brasse.
Sike one (sayd Algrin) Moses was,
That sawe hys Makers face,
His face, more cleare then christall glasse,
And spake to him in place.
This had a brother, (his name I knewe)
The first of all his cote,
A shepheard trewe, yet not so true
As he that earst I hote.
Whilome all these were lowe and lief,
And loved their flocks to feede,
They never stroven to be chiefe,
And simple was theyr weede.
But now (thanked be God therefore)
The world is well amend,
Their weedes bene not so nighly wore;
Such simplesse mought them shend:
They bene yclad in purple and pall,
So hath theyr God them blist,
They reigne and rulen over all,
And lord it as they list:
Ygyrt with belts of glitterand gold,
(Mought they good sheepeheards bene)
Theyr Pan theyr sheepe to them has sold;
I saye as some have seene.
For Palinode (if thou him ken)
Yode late on pilgrimage
To Rome, (if such be Rome) and then
He sawe thilke misusage.
For shepeheards, sayd he, there doen leade,
As lordes done other where;
Theyr sheepe han crustes, and they the bread;
The chippes, and they the chere:
They han the fleece, and eke the flesh;
(O seely sheepe the while!)
The corne is theyrs, let other thresh,
Their hands they may not file.
They han great stores and thriftye stockes,
Great freendes and feeble foes:
What neede hem caren for their flocks?
Theyr boyes can looke to those.
These wisards weltre in welths waves,
Pampred in pleasures deepe;
They han fatte kernes, and leany knaves,
Their fasting flockes to keepe.
Sike mister men bene all misgone,
They heapen hylles of wrath:
Sike syrlye shepheards han we none,
They keepen all the path.
Mor. Here is a great deale of good matter
Lost for lacke of telling.
Now sicker I see, thou doest but clatter:
Harme may come of melling.
Thou medlest more then shall have thanke,
To wyten shepheards welth:
When folke bene fat, and riches rancke,
It is a signe of helth.
But say me, what is Algrin, he
That is so oft bynempt?
Thom. He is a shepheard great in gree,
But hath bene long ypent.
One daye he sat upon a hyll,
As now thou wouldest me:
But I am taught, by Algrins ill,
To love the lowe degree.
For sitting so with bared scalpe,
An eagle sored hye,
That, weening hys whyte head was chalke,
A shell fish downe let flye:
She weend the shell fishe to have broake,
But therewith bruzd his brayne;
So now, astonied with the stroke,
He lyes in lingring payne.
Mor. Ah, good Algrin! his hap was ill,
But shall be bett in time.
Now farwell, shepheard, sith thys hyll
Thou hast such doubt to climbe.

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net