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

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SHEPHEARDES CALENDER: MARCH, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Thomalin, why sytten we soe
Last Line: Yts time to hast us homeward.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin
Subject(s): Love; March (month); Spring


Wil. Thomalin, why sytten we soe,
As weren overwent with woe,
Upon so fayre a morow?
The joyous time now nigheth fast,
That shall alegge this bitter blast,
And slake the winters sorowe.
Tho. Sicker, Willye, thou warnest well:
For winters wrath beginnes to quell,
And pleasant spring appeareth.
The grasse nowe ginnes to be refresht,
The swallow peepes out of her nest,
And clowdie welkin cleareth.
Wil. Seest not thilke same hawthorne studde,
How bragly it beginnes to budde,
And utter his tender head?
Flora now calleth forth eche flower,
And bids make ready Maias bowre,
That newe is upryst from bedde.
Tho shall we sporten in delight,
And learne with Lettice to wexe light,
That scornefully lookes askaunce;
Tho will we little Love awake,
That nowe sleepeth in Lethe lake,
And pray him leaden our daunce.
Tho. Willye, I wene thou bee assott:
For lustie Love still sleepeth not,
But is abroad at his game.
Wil. How kenst thou that he is awoke?
Or hast thy selfe his slomber broke?
Or made previe to the same?
Tho. No, but happely I hym spyde,
Where in a bush he did him hide,
With winges of purple and blewe.
And were not that my sheepe would stray,
The previe marks I would bewray,
Whereby by chaunce I him knewe
Wil. Thomalin, have no care forthy;
My selfe will have a double eye,
Ylike to my flocke and thine:
For als at home I have a syre,
A stepdame eke, as whott as fyre,
That dewly adayes counts mine.
Tho. Nay, but thy seeing will not serve,
My sheepe for that may chaunce to swerve,
And fall into some mischiefe.
For sithens is but the third morowe
That I chaunst to fall a sleepe with sorowe,
And waked againe with griefe:
The while thilke same unhappye ewe,
Whose clouted legge her hurt doth shewe,
Fell headlong into a dell,
And there unjoynted both her bones:
Mought her necke bene joynted attones,
She shoulde have neede no more spell.
Thelf was so wanton and so wood,
(But now I trowe can better good)
She mought ne gang on the greene.
Wil. Let be, as may be, that is past:
That is to come, let be forecast.
Now tell us what thou hast seene.
Tho. It was upon a holiday,
When shepheardes groomes han leave to play,
I cast to goe a shooting.
Long wandring up and downe the land,
With bowe and bolts in either hand,
For birds in bushes tooting,
At length within an yvie todde
(There shrouded was the little god)
I heard a busie bustling.
I bent my bolt against the bush,
Listening if any thing did rushe,
But then heard no more rustling.
Tho peeping close into the thicke,
Might see the moving of some quicke,
Whose shape appeared not:
But were it faerie, feend, or snake,
My courage earnd it to awake,
And manfully thereat shotte.
With that sprong forth a naked swayne,
With spotted winges like peacocks trayne,
And laughing lope to a tree,
His gylden quiver at his backe,
And silver bowe, which was but slacke,
Which lightly he bent at me.
That seeing I, levelde againe,
And shott at him with might and maine,
As thicke as it had hayled.
So long I shott that al was spent:
Tho pumie stones I hastly hent,
And threwe; but nought availed:
He was so wimble and so wight,
From bough to bough he lepped light,
And oft the pumies latched.
Therewith affrayd I ranne away:
But he, that earst seemd but to playe,
A shaft in earnest snatched,
And hit me running in the heele:
For then, I little smart did feele;
But soone it sore encreased.
And now it ranckleth more and more,
And inwardly it festreth sore,
Ne wote I how to cease it.
Wil. Thomalin, I pittie thy plight.
Perdie, with Love thou diddest fight:
I know him by a token.
For once I heard my father say,
How he him caught upon a day,
(Whereof he wilbe wroken)
Entangled in a fowling net,
Which he for carrion crowes had set,
That in our peeretree haunted.
Tho sayd, he was a winged lad,
But bowe and shafts as then none had,
Els had he sore be daunted.
But see, the welkin thicks apace,
And stouping Phebus steepes his face:
Yts time to hast us homeward.

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