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



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THE SHEPHEARDES CALENDER: NOVEMBER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Colin, my deare, when shall it please thee sing
Last Line: Now gynnes to mizzle, hye we homeward fast.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin
Subject(s): Mourning; November; Bereavement


THENOT. COLIN.

The. Colin, my deare, when shall it please thee sing,
As thou were wont, songs of some jouisaunce?
Thy Muse to long slombreth in sorrowing,
Lulled a sleepe through loves misgovernaunce:
Now somewhat sing whose endles sovenaunce
Emong the shepeheards swaines may aye remaine,
Whether thee list thy loved lasse advaunce,
Or honor Pan with hymnes of higher vaine.
Col. Thenot, now nis the time of merimake,
Nor Pan to herye, nor with love to playe:
Sike myrth in May is meetest for to make,
Or summer shade, under the cocked haye.
But nowe sadde winter welked hath the day,
And Phoebus, weary of his yerely taske,
Ystabled hath his steedes in lowlye laye,
And taken up his ynne in Fishes haske.
Thilke sollein season sadder plight doth aske,
And loatheth sike delightes as thou doest prayse:
The mornefull Muse in myrth now list ne maske,
As shee was wont in youngth and sommer dayes.
But if thou algate lust light virelayes,
And looser songs of love, to underfong,
Who but thy selfe deserves sike Poetes prayse?
Relieve thy oaten pypes that sleepen long.
The. The nightingale is sovereigne of song,
Before him sits the titmose silent bee:
And I, unfitte to thrust in skilfull thronge,
Should Colin make judge of my fooleree.
Nay, better learne of hem that learned bee,
And han be watered at the Muses well:
The kindlye dewe drops from the higher tree,
And wets the little plants that lowly dwell.
But if sadde winters wrathe, and season chill,
Accorde not with thy Muses meriment,
To sadder times thou mayst attune thy quill,
And sing of sorrowe and deathes dreeriment:
For deade is Dido, dead, alas! and drent,
Dido, the greate shepehearde his daughter sheene:
The fayrest may she was that ever went,
Her like shee has not left behinde I weene.
And if thou wilt bewayle my wofull tene,
I shall thee give yond cosset for thy payne:
And if thy rymes as rownd and rufull bene
As those that did thy Rosalind complayne,
Much greater gyfts for guerdon thou shalt gayne
Then kidde or cosset, which I thee bynempt.
Then up, I say, thou jolly shepeheard swayne,
Let not my small demaund be so contempt.
Col. Thenot, to that I choose thou doest me tempt:
But ah! to well I wote my humble vaine,
And howe my rymes bene rugged and unkempt:
Yet, as I conne, my conning I will strayne.

Up, then, Melpomene, thou mournefulst Muse of nyne!
Such cause of mourning never hadst afore:
Up, grieslie ghostes! and up my rufull ryme!
Matter of myrth now shalt thou have no more:
For dead shee is that myrth thee made of yore.
Dido, my deare, alas! is dead,
Dead, and lyeth wrapt in lead:
O heavie herse!
Let streaming teares be poured out in store:
O carefull verse!

Shepheards, that by your flocks on Kentish downes abyde,
Waile ye this wofull waste of Natures warke:
Waile we the wight whose presence was our pryde:
Waile we the wight whose absence is our carke.
The sonne of all the world is dimme and darke:
The earth now lacks her wonted light,
And all we dwell in deadly night:
O heavie herse!
Breake we our pypes, that shrild as lowde as larke:
O carefull verse!

Why doe we longer live, (ah, why live we so long?)
Whose better dayes death hath shut up in woe?
The fayrest floure our gyrlond all emong
Is faded quite, and into dust ygoe.
Sing now, ye shepheards daughters, sing no moe
The songs that Colin made in her prayse,
But into weeping turne your wanton layes:
O heavie herse!
Now is time to die. Nay, time was long ygoe:
O carefull verse!

Whence is it that the flouret of the field doth fade,
And lyeth buryed long in winters bale:
Yet soone as spring his mantle doth displaye,
It floureth fresh, as it should never fayle?
But thing on earth that is of most availe,
As vertues braunch and beauties budde,
Reliven not for any good.
O heavie herse!
The braunch once dead, the budde eke needes must quaile:
O carefull verse!

She, while she was, (that was, a woful word to sayne!)
For beauties prayse and plesaunce had no pere:
So well she couth the shepherds entertayne
With cakes and cracknells and such country chere.
Ne would she scorne the simple shepheards swaine,
For she would cal hem often heame,
And give hem curds and clouted creame.
O heavie herse!
Als Colin Cloute she would not once disdayne.
O carefull verse!

But nowe sike happy cheere is turnd to heavie chaunce,
Such pleasaunce now displast by dolors dint:
All musick sleepes where Death doth leade the daunce,
And shepherds wonted solace is extinct.
The blew in black, the greene in gray, is tinct;
The gaudie girlonds deck her grave,
The faded flowres her corse embrave.
O heavie herse!
Morne nowe, my Muse, now morne with teares besprint.
O carefull verse!

O thou greate shepheard, Lobbin, how great is thy griefe!
Where bene the nosegayes that she dight for thee?
The colourd chaplets, wrought with a chiefe,
The knotted rushringes, and gilte rosemaree?
For shee deemed nothing too deere for thee.
Ah! they bene all yclad in clay,
One bitter blast blewe all away.
O heavie herse!
Thereof nought remaynes but the memoree.
O carefull verse!

Ay me! that dreerie Death should strike so mortall stroke,
That can undoe Dame Natures kindly course:
The faded lockes fall from the loftie oke,
The flouds do gaspe, for dryed is theyr sourse,
And flouds of teares flowe in theyr stead perforse.
The mantled medowes mourne,
Theyr sondry colours tourne.
O heavie herse!
The heavens doe melt in teares without remorse.
O carefull verse!

The feeble flocks in field refuse their former foode,
And hang theyr heads, as they would learne to weepe:
The beastes in forest wayle as they were woode,
Except the wolves, that chase the wandring sheepe,
Now she is gon that safely did hem keepe.
The turtle, on the bared braunch,
Laments the wound that Death did launch.
O heavie herse!
And Philomele her song with teares doth steepe.
O carefull verse!

The water nymphs, that wont with her to sing and daunce,
And for her girlond olive braunches beare,
Now balefull boughes of cypres doen advaunce:
The Muses, that were wont greene bayes to weare,
Now bringen bitter eldre braunches seare:
The Fatall Sisters eke repent
Her vitall threde so soone was spent
O heavie herse!
Morne now, my Muse, now morne with heavie cheare.
O carefull verse!

O trustlesse state of earthly things, and slipper hope
Of mortal men, that swincke and sweate for nought,
And shooting wide, doe misse the marked scope:
Now have I learnd, (a lesson derely bought)
That nys on earth assuraunce to be sought:
For what might be in earthlie mould,
That did her buried body hould,
O heavie herse!
Yet saw I on the beare when it was brought.
O carefull verse!

But maugre Death, and dreaded sisters deadly spight,
And gates of Hel, and fyrie furies forse,
She hath the bonds broke of eternall night,
Her soule unbodied of the burdenous corpse.
Why then weepes Lobbin so without remorse?
O Lobb! thy losse no longer lament;
Dido nis dead, but into heaven hent.
O happye herse!
Cease now, my Muse, now cease thy sorrowes sourse:
O joyfull verse!

Why wayle we then? why weary we the gods with playnts,
As if some evill were to her betight?
She raignes a goddesse now emong the saintes,
That whilome was the saynt of shepheards light:
And is enstalled nowe in heavens hight.
I see thee, blessed soule, I see,
Walke in Elisian fieldes so free.
O happy herse!
Might I once come to thee! O that I might!
O joyfull verse!

Unwise and wretched men, to weete whats good or ill,
Wee deeme of death as doome of ill desert:
But knewe we, fooles, what it us bringes until,
Dye would we dayly, once it to expert.
No daunger there the shepheard can astert:
Fayre fieldes and pleasaunt layes there bene,
The fieldes ay fresh, the grasse ay greene:
O happy herse!
Make hast, ye shepheards, thether to revert:
O joyfull verse!

Dido is gone afore (whose turne shall be the next?)
There lives shee with the blessed gods in blisse,
There drincks she nectar with ambrosia mixt,
And joyes enjoyes that mortall men doe misse.
The honor now of highest gods she is,
That whilome was poore shepheards pryde,
While here on earth she did abyde.
O happy herse!
Ceasse now, my song, my woe now wasted is.
O joyfull verse!

The. Ay, francke shepheard, how bene thy verses meint
With doolful pleasaunce, so as I ne wotte
Whether rejoyce or weepe for great constrainte!
Thyne be the cossette, well hast thow it gotte.
Up, Colin, up, ynough thou morned hast:
Now gynnes to mizzle, hye we homeward fast.





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