Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CLIO, NINE ECLOGUES IN HONOUR OF NINE VIRTUES: 3. OF CONTENTMENT, by WILLIAM BASSE



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CLIO, NINE ECLOGUES IN HONOUR OF NINE VIRTUES: 3. OF CONTENTMENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Chauntlet, I muse what solitary vaine
Last Line: Nec sua, nec se, mens insatiata tenet.
Subject(s): Contentment


EUTHYMIA {EGLOGUE 3} OF CONTENTMENT

Meliden. Chantlet.
Meliden
CHAUNTLET, I muse what solitary vaine
So bindes thee prentice to the lowly plaine,
That we thy pleasant pipe can neuer heare
In Chilterne now a dayes, nor see thee there.
Would not the hilles yeild lambes a sweeter feed
And woods a lowder Eccho to thy reed?

Chauntlet
O Meliden, Thou well perceius't these plaines
To hold my humble heart in easy chaines:
But in my heart, the while, thou doest not see
That freedom from all vaine ambition free,
Content, that truely makes a lowly state,
And shuns aspiring as a dangerous mate;
Content that bounds each minde within her owne,
Makes want to weale, and woe to want unknowne,
That by perswading men to feare to rise
Aduances them, and teaching to despise
Riches, enriches men. Happy Content,
The bodies safeguard, and soules ornament,
Gentle (detaines me) Shepheard, in this playne,
As I with me my gentle sheepe detaine.
Here, where their feedes and floods as equall bee
As my affections are with my degree;
Here where their daily walke and nightly lare
Is always one, as night and day my care
Of them is alwayes one, keepe I my sheepe;
As them and me these humble valleys keepe.
While on yon mountains side thy ramping kine
To crop the blooming gosse that is not thine,
And on the tender tops and veluet buds
Of the young spring to whet their hungry cuds,
I see, and am agas't to see them, creep
Ready to tumble downe the des'prate steep,
To writhe their doubling chines against their sides,
And with their sharp hornes gore their lenow hides.
Beleeue me, such bold climbeing often throwes
The heardlem low, and in the heardsman showes
Or too much couetize, or little care.
Such perillous wayes my flock shall neuer fare.

Meliden
But since a blessing such befalles thy minde
Vnsought, that all our labours cannot finde,
Say (gentle Shepheard) what is true content?
Where do's it grow? or whence hath it descent?
And how (sith to this vale confin'd thou art)
Dwelles free content in so confin'd a heart?

Chantlet
That haue I told thee (Neatheard) once in short;
And more, if thou wilt be the better for't.
Contentment is a guift proceeding forth
Of inward grace, and not of outward worth:
That, that of Fortunes baser seed doth grow,
After her baser kinde, doth ebbe and flow
As Fortune ebs and flowes: it is not found
On Cedars tops, nor dig'd from under ground.
It is a Iewell, lost by being sought
With too much trauell, found by seeking naught
But what it truely ownes: it is the grace
Of greatnes, Greatnes of inferiour place.
Tis double freedom to condition free;
Tis sorrows ease, and thraldom's libertie.
Delighting not extreames but middle part,
It dwelles in neither head, nor heeles, but heart.
And thus thou hearest what, and wheres, Content:
But since thou askest whence it hath descent,
Tis (doubtles) from some place descended hither
As farre beyond the starres as it is thither.
For who can thinke but such a heau'nly grace
Must needs descend from such celestiall place?
And this is that that ha's my lowly minde,
And little flock, so in this vale confin'd;
Joyn'd with his favour, who doth my content
(Mecænas like) both cherish and augment.

Meliden
Well fare thy heart, wherein content doth dwell,
And tongue for representing it, as well
As I desire. But I desire withall
Who's that whom thou dost thy Mecænas call?

Chauntlet
I cannot tell whether he would be knowne,
Who noble deeds more loues to doe, then owne:
But I can tell the lesse that such men would
Their names to be declar'd, the more they should.
Who nobly doe, and seeke no praise therefore,
The more's our shame if they not prais'd the more.
But Shepheard's slender Muse in great descents,
In Chronicles, or ancient monuments,
Is little learn'd (such storyes doe belong
Not to the Heard's but to the Herald's song).
Yet in my younger and delightfull dayes,
Through him, and my content, his name and praise
I once compos'd, in such Acrostick verse
As then I could, and thus to thee reherse.

S ole Lord is he of these now teeming feilds;
I n time this herbage him her barbage yeilds:
R ays'd were these bankes at his cost and command.

R eleiuing arbours, under which we stand
I n heate and cold, are his: yon pale so neare
C ontaines his speckled heard of nimble deere,
H e for his freinds more then himselfe doth keep
(A s doe their flesh, and fleeces beare our sheep).
R ight as it should, there stands his house, to sight
D elightfull, and within of more delight.

W here my Mecænas, in all rightes and merits,
E xpired Lords of his great line inherits.
N ature with almost all her beauties grac'd it;
M ans art in midst of Natures pleasures plac'd it;
A nd Isis ancient freind, the river Thame,
N am'd it (for neighbourhood) by his owne name.

K nowne far and neare, and as well lou'd as knowne;
N eighbour to all good men, and strange to none:
I ngenuous, temperate, of generous molde;
G ood Souldier young, and as good Statesman olde.
H onours for youth and age deseruing well,
T rue honours in both ages on him fell.

L ooke o're yon Parke of his and thou shalt finde
O f beastes and birdes of sundry sortes and kinde
R est there for mutuall loue and place so faire,
D eere jealous of the bow, and timerous hare.

V nto the sluces there the Hearne resortes;
I n the thick groue airyes the hawke for sportes:
S age Rauens build, amidst the oaken stelmes,
C astles; and Rookes encampe in groue of elmes.
O wzles (more old then oakes) their golden billes
V se in wilde musick, there to shew their skilles.
N uts, plummes, and berryes, there doe cherish well
T he Robin sweet, and sweeter Philomel.

W hen winter comes the poore finde warming there,
E xcepted not against for his most deare
N ame that accompts them his: and worke there made
M aintaines the handler of the axe and spade.
A nd (which is most to be admir'd of all)
N o losse but more encrease doth still befall.

R are things, but see what blessings heauens hye
W ill render those whose mindes are heauenly.

Meliden
I now perceiue his noble name by thee,
And doe by him perceiue Nobilitie
In thy Content, so foster'd by his grace
And favour who descends of noble race.
How might I now requite thy honest Muse?

Chantlet
For me thy best requitall is to scuse
My simple verse, that being ty'd to letters
Thus puts the Muse (that should be free) in fetters.
But since I able am to doe no more
In my Mecænas right then this so poore,
While here my flock by help of Summer showers
The healing spoyles of the sharpe sythe devoures,
Or winters enuy makes the swayne anew
To spred the fodder where before it grew,
This pipe of mine shall fill succeeding dayes

With neuer silenc'd Musick in his praise.
And while with streames of wealth and pure good will
Our amourous neighbour Thame doth hourely fill
The lap of his belou'd, and doth no lesse
Therewith this house and lands his minions blesse,
As long as I upon his feilds shall feed
My slender flock, of such as there I breed
He shall haue fruits, with honours of the Muse
Whose simple state he doth so nobly use.

Meliden
I neuer will thee (Chantlet) more perswade
From the Sun-shine into our woodland shade.
Contented Shep-heard, here repose thee still,
In low and louely vale: and while our hill
Eccho's applauding answere to thy notes,
Leade thy well-likeing lambes unto their cotes.

Chantlet
And, restles Neat-heard, thinke not wealth to gaine
By lewd encroachings, or aspirings vaine,
But learne to be contented with thine owne,
(There's neither thrift nor ioy in what is stolne):
And homeward turne thy heard of harmefull cowes,
That now upon thy neighbours beeches browze.

Chantlets Emblem
Seque, suus animus placitus, res possidet omnes.

Melidens Emblem
Nec sua, nec se, mens insatiata tenet.





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