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First Line: How now (old nick) what! Ripe in age and teares?
Last Line: In the way to heaven are they.
Subject(s): Patience

Benedic. Nicco.

HOW now (old Nick) what! ripe in age and teares?
What drawes such youthfull humour from such yeares?
I would thou didst but looke in yonder brooke,
How well this whimpring mood becomes thy looke.
Giue ore (for shame) thy childeish pueling notes,
And say what harmes befalne thee or thy goates.
What euer woes thee, let thy freind it know;
This th'onely way to ease thy heart in woe.

O let my cause soften thy careles eares
Freind Benedic, before thou blame my teares.
As true it is, thou sayest, To ease the heart
Is to our freind our sorrow to impart;
So he anothers sorrow must beleeue,
That would be pitied when himselfe doth greiue.
That gallant goat, that I haue shew'd thee oft
In head of all my heard, lifting aloft
His gray and curled browes whereon he bore,
In his two horny Registers, the score
Of his owne yeares and of my yearely care,
Since of a kid I bred him up so faire,
That to his brisket from his streaked back
Shed parting lockes of blended white and black,
The yearne whereof almost with supple sleaue
Of Tyrian wormes I durst for wager weaue:
His oyly gilles let fall a checquerd beard
Downe to his knees, that awed all the heard;
Yet under awfull brow and visage bent
Harbring a Nature so beneuolent,
That he (ah he!) as willingly would stand
And leane his itching forehead to my hand
And in mine armes fodder, or play, or sleepe
As louingly as any kid I keepe.

And what disease of him diseases thee?

Sawest thou not him my best, and dost not see
That he of all my heard is now unseene?

What is the cause that he forsakes the greene?

Whilome by night (o night for rest ordain'd!
But with unrest and all abuses stayn'd)
A woolfe, or fox, our ill-defended cotes
Vseing to haunt, assaults my housed goates,
Till with his sharpe and cruell fangs he had
For his blood-thirsty throat an entry made:
Whereat a suddain fright and fearefull note
Of trembling kids waken'd my slumbring goate,
Who rowsing up and quickly casting eye
Of th' ugly snout of deadly enemye
To heard and heards-man, back he fetch'd his fees,
And with his fore-heads curl'd and crooked trees
He met the Vermine, with a brush so strong
As made his teeth meete through his burning tongue:
And while unsatisfy'd againe he flew
Vpon his foe, the savadge Dog withdrew;
And my heards champion through the breach so wrought
Ran head so feirce, His crooked antlers caught
A rafter on the out-side of my stack,
That hamper'd him, he could not forth nor back:
And then all sweltred in his paines and heate
Of rage, while in his bandes himselfe he beate,
The carion coward sometimes seis'd the throate,
Sometimes the eye-lids, of my luckles goate,
Who (though thus bound) maintain'd the desp'rat fight,
Till honest day reveal'd the wrongs of night,
And I with speare came in, to earth to ioyne
The salvage theifes already bleeding groyne.
But all too late: for what with grief, and what
With bruises sore and venime wounds thus got,
Ne're thriued more my goat, but pin'd away.
No clouer-grasse, corne-blade, nor odorous hay,
Garlique, nor Beet, nor Betony, nor Sage,
Mallow, nor Rue, nor Plantain would asswage
His inward sicknes or his outward smart:
No holy-thistle water chear'd his heart:
Stone-pitch did not his bruised fillets good,
Nor wholsome treacle cleanse his poison'd blood.
No faire wordes tic'd him to his woonted cribs,
Nor stroaking made him licke his stareing ribs.
Low lean't his head; his gray beard swept the dust:
Downe fell his crest, and with his crest his lust.
His ragged chines seem'd dayly more and more
Higher to grow, his starving belly lower:
Vntill, his eyes their black and liuely sightes
Shrowding in their owne pale and deadly whites,
Yeilding to death long-dying life, my goat
Left his unhappy heard and curled Coat.

Now what a tedious tale (but that to doate
Thine age has leaue) hast thou told of a goat!
But thy condition's to be borne withall:
Small losses to the great are great to small,
And that may something iustify thy mone.
But as losse is not unto thee alone,
Be not alone to greife. It chanced me
In my young dayes in shade of poplar tree
To hide mine ore-watch'd eyes from illes—whereon
I seldome dreame, that wakeing thinke on none—
And while I stole (stole o why doe I say?
T'was but my right) one sleepe at high noone-day,
A spitefull theife that did (it seemes) not feare,
Nor shame, the Muses bowers to pilleare,
Of my best scrip and then my dearest mate
Left me to rise depriu'd and desolate.
Thou mayest (old Nic), as cause thou hast, inveigh
'Gainst Woolfe or Fox: but there's no beast of prey
So bad as Man, mischeiuously inclin'd.
What knows not truth nor reason's false by kinde:
But impious man, that reason hath and truth
Doeth know, against both truth and reason doth.
Scrip was it such as honest Colidens,
Furnis'd by mine (as his was with his) pens
With Eglogues, Sonnets, Elegies, and Layes,
In Vertues honour and her owners prayse.
But there (my comfort is) no scurrile song,
Nor hatefull Libell, freind or foe to wrong.
I neuer such invented, young nor old:
My harmelesse Muse me better lesson told.
Thus strip'd by false and cruell-hearted theft
Of all my little wealth, with nothing left
But woe and want, I, trotting worlds of ground
After my losse, more losse of labour found.
I could haue wept like thee, but 'tis in vaine
To thinke with teares our losses to regaine;
Or with consuming sorrow to betray
More to hard Fortune than shee takes away.
And since more learned Shep-heards haue us taught
(Lesson I feare of you Goat-heards unthought)
That heauens such chances suffer doe sometimes
Befall us, to chastise us for our crimes;
We must not quite heau'ns gentle punishments
With much more punishable discontents.
Like to a yeareling Lambe shorne of his best,
His first and dearest fleice, I meekly rest.
And that [had] been my onely losse, 'twere well:
But many greater haue me since befell;
Yet, for all my disasters, doe not whine
So much as thou for one poore goat of thine.

Sure (Benedic) then, thou art fram'd of steele,
Or rocky substance, that no passion feele.
Had I endur'd so many ruthfull things
I thinke I should by this time into springs
Haue melted been, or been with sorrow pin'd.
O what is then that vertue of the minde,
That makes us men in suffrings differ so,
Whose bodies haue an equall sence of woe?
What man am I, that woman should haue been,
Whom small distresse hath so great power in?
Or of what more then common mold art thou,
Whose breast doeth under no distresses bow?

Of neither stone nor steele. Continuall wet
Will weare the one, and fire the other fret.
But as foundations, layd on wooll, are sayd
To over-last those that on rocks are layd,
So gentle mindes their burthens long endure
When rocky hearts will cleaue and proue unsure.
As after heauy wheeles, whose routs remaine
In sinking earth, soft flowers rise againe;
And tender waters neither breake nor shrinke
Vnder the Barke, that gapeing sandes will sinke;
Great stomacks crack at sorrowes weighty summes,
But Patience yeilds and, yeilding, overcomes.
While yet a flock I haue, I ioy as much
In those that last as I should joy in such—
For those that stealth or sicknesses consume
I place content before me in their roome.
I doe not honour fickle fortunes name
For what I haue, nor on the Starres exclame
For what I part withall; I know that they
Are instruments of his immortall sway
Whence I receiue, with ioy and Patience, all
The good and ill me or my state befall.
I murmur not at crosse or casualties
Whereto all mortall Nature subiect lyes;
I onely striue with workes of honesty
To readvance the wracks of iniury:
So by repaire to make my losse my fame,
And by my Patience my theifes gaine his shame:
Who after losse yet liue on what is left,
Discourage Envy and discount'nance theft.
And while a heard of goats thou hast to keepe
Scorne not to follow him that followes sheepe
In this one lesson, that to all belongs,
Patience recovers losse and conquers wrongs.

Shepheard, Thou know'st my substance is not great:
A tender kid from his dam's tender teat
I tender thy aduice, and take my leaue.
Our heards begin to mingle (I perceiue).
I will no more trust Night, who is to such
As robbe both thee and me a freind too much.

Keepe still thy kid or take a lambe from mee
As good as him: I counsell not for fee.
(Yet blame not all that doe; for good advice,
That freindly is, may merit freindly price.)
Nor blame thou Night, that ill must not be thought
For wicked deeds, the wicked doers fault:
But sell thy Goats fine skin, and therewithall
Buy worser stuffe to build a better wall.
And so lets shed our cattell while tis light,
For sheepe and goats together mixe not right.

Benedics Emblem
Gloria prudentis patientia.

Nicco's Emblem
Who suffer will and doe none ill,
In the way to heaven are they.

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