Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THREE PASTORAL ELEGIES: 1, by WILLIAM BASSE



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THREE PASTORAL ELEGIES: 1, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A ciuill youth, whose life was led in court
Last Line: Me to recall my flocks, and he his loue.
Subject(s): Love - Cultural Differences; Shepherds & Shepherdesses; Youth


Anander lets Anetor wot,
His Loue, his Lady, and his Lot.

A CIUILL Youth, whose life was led in Court,
—In Court, the place of all Ciuilitie;—
Who lou'd no riot, tho delighted sport,
Such sport as with such place might well agree
To giue him credite, by a true report:
The only glory of his time was hee:
For (mote I sweare,) the gentry of his kind,
Was fairely match'd with gentlenes of mind.

His personage, a thing for Gods to tell,
Whose wits can reach, beyond the reach of Muse;
Diuine proportion in his limmes did dwell,
Eye-wonder'd feature did his visage vse:
He was (as may the wiser tell,)
For Ladies choice, (if Ladies list to chuse:)
If not, what help? the weaker his successe,
Though his perfections be nothing lesse.

His birth was great, his bloud the nobler then,
His thoughts (no doubt) the worthier by his bloud;
And his desires, though somewhat like to men,
Yet as his thoughts (I guesse) were faire and good:
And for his loues, none knew them but him sen,
And that faire she, on whom their fortune stood:
Yet did he often plaine of ill succeed;
The hoter loue, somtime the colder speed.

And in his passions, (for I must needs breake
Into some speech of him, and his mis-lot;)
He vnto me, as whom he lou'd, did speake
The cleare discou'rie of his eager plot
In gracefull termes, and yet the best too weake,
To tell his thoughts sufficiently (God wot:)
That I should often stand and weepe to see,
His griefes more copious then his language bee.

First did he lay his fine vnswarfed hand
Vpon my shoulder, close unto my necke;
And then for twentie minutes did he stand,
As one that spar'd to speake, in feare of checke:
Then sighs, then speakes, but speakes words three times scand,
As if he durst not trust his tongues defect:
Lest in his woes, his woes might seeme to bite
Th' vnfriendly dealings of his hearts delight.

Shepheard (quoth he) and giu's me one faint smile,
That signifi'de a long sustained wrong;
Suffer a Courtier to record a stile,
More zealous then the Thracian window's song:
When he in his immortall Musicks guile
Besought the freedome of his wife so long:
With pitty marke the treatize of my ruth;
The like hereafter may befall thy youth.

Meanewhile, the childhood of thy younger wit,
That neuer did more then thy flocks regard,
Shall haue a stronger cause to wonder it,
Then those that like my haples selfe hath car'd:
While I, ne vowes, ne circumstance omit
Of those mishaps, wherein I haue bene snar'd:
Vnder the leaue (sweet boy) of thy forbearing;
An elders griefe profits a youngers hearing.

Woo'd thou had'st had in Court but halfe that skill,
As here thou hast with thy obezant sheepe;
T'haue seene the strictnes of a Ladies will,
And how vnmou'd she doth hir fauor keepe;
T'haue knowne the hardship of a Louer's ill,
And what a wretchednes it is to weepe:
And I had kept thy pastures as mine owne;
No life too base where better is vnknowne.

Then hadst thou seene faire Muridellaes eyes,
The dangerous planets of my ripening youth;
Thou shoud'st haue knowne how beautifull, how wise
My Lady was: Perhaps vnto thy ruth
Thou shouldst ha' knowne, more then thou canst deuise
Of that deare Girle, and yet no more then truth:
For he that mounts the high'st degree of hie,
In praising of her Beautie, cannot lie.

But he that sai's the mercy of hir minde
Is like the grace of hir admired blee;
He might doe well to bridle in that winde,
Vntill his fortune were to speake with me:
Lesse it be one, to whom sh' ha's beene more kinde,
Then to my true affection she cou'd be:
And then I thanke him to commend hir hart,
For the best Loue deserues the best report.

Yet shalt thou thinke, that that deare truth I beare
To that faire Sight that first subdude mine eie,
Shall say the best, although she be not here,
To see how woe, how discontent am I:
That when henceforth it comes vnto hir eare,
That I speake wonders of hir Curtesie;
She may recall me with a gracious minde,
For praising of hir when she was vnkinde.

And if it euer be thy hap to view
Her on this greene, where thou inhabitest,
First, for my sake, salute her to the shoo,
And tell hir with so solemne a protest,
That her poore seruant, and hir only true,
Doth liue that life, that she with hate disblest:
How, where, and in what sorrow, let her know:
She loues to heare, though not to helpe my woe.

Sha't know her by that bright and curious brow,
Where Loue in his eternall triumph sits
Chastising with the warfarre of his bow
The rumour of desires, the force of wits;
And by her eyes, and other glories moe,
That first in me wrought these rebellious fits:
But (to be short) if thou a thousand see,
Looke which is fairest, and be sure that's shee.

Hir hand (if thou hir hand canst naked see
From those blest muffes that guard their blisfull whitenes,)
Is like that gripe that Alpheus maz'd to see,
Place Arethusa in perpetuall brightnes,
And by her foote these plaines shall blessed bee,
Vnles the ground relent not at her lightnes:
Hir substance is so girt in slender finenes,
That nothing's heauy, but hir owne vnkindenes.

But that thou mayst belieue she is a creature
As hardly else thou mout'st conceiue the same,
I tell thee shall: when that Creatres nature
Once set a Princely webbe into her frame,
And was about to loome her sacred feature,
T'is sed, that in the while Minerua came,
Who by enquirie faine would vnderstand,
What blessed body now she had in hand.

Nature, for then, no otherwise inclinde
In thought but to obezant curtesie,
Freely acquaints the goddes of hir minde
And humbly craues hir gracious remedie,
In such defects, as may hir wisedome finde
In this new portion of hir huswifery;
Or if at least there might no fault bee had,
Yet, that she would some more perfection adde.

For truth she said, that whensoe're she might
Once bring to good this Idoll that she wrought,
She would present it to the gracious sight
Of hir owne selfe, (for so she had bethought);
And since hir comming now fell out so right,
The larger was her hope, that she had brought
Some ornamentall grace, whose large infusing
Might make it fit the gift, and worth the chusing.

Then Pallas tooke into her owne embrace
This curious Plot that Nature was about,
Hauing no meanes to worke into hir face
This bloud that glorifies hir shape without,
Nor could of Venus borrow any grace,
Cause they alate had sharpely fallen out,
Therefore bids Nature for some beautie goe:
High hearts disdaine the kindenes of the

Meanewhile from th' issue of that sacred vaine,
That her whole selfe with wits abundance fills,
She freely powres into this Infants braine,
By hony drops; and plentifull distills
That puissant conceit that now doth raigne
Ouer herselfe, her Loue, her Louers ills:
Yet by this gift hir selfe no lesse cou'd haue;
She gaue hir selfe what to her owne she gaue.

Two siluer cuppes then drew she from her brest,
The one of Spirit and hauty influence,
The other fild with maydenly Protest
Of Chastities diuinest continence;
Some drops whereof she in this hart imprest,
Therein to double Natures excellence:
But chiefely in these heau'nly honours three,
Of Wisedome, Puissance, and Chastitie.

Yet hast thou leaue to thinke, and so doe I,
(Vnlesse my thoughts should sinne in thinking so,)
That loues wise daughter did not meane hereby
That both these gifts should be alike in show:
For if her Chastnes liue perpetually,
As does hir spirit, Ananders cake were dow;
Though neuer gift descended from aboue
Of greater honesty then honest loue.

Then neither is her labour vainely spent,
Nor yet her gifts in idlenes defray'd,
If Muridella with true loue content
Anander, in encreasing Loues decay'd:
For why doth ciuill curtesie consent
The marri'd wife to goe aboue the mayde?
Because the Life by Loue is doubly grac'de,
And to be wed is more then to be chaste.

This, while the busie dame in eager post,
Comes home to see how faire hir worke went on,
And from an Iuory boxe of wonders cost,
That friendly Venus had bestowed vpon
Her, for her Infant sake, began to cast,
With greater art then was in Belus son,
That red and white: thus, in hir beauties making,
Nature and heau'ns themselves were al pertaking.

And this is it that holdes in Loue and Muse
The two blacke circles of my conquer'd sight,
What wondrous cunning Nature seem'd to vse
In placing of this mingled faire so right,
And what a skill she shewed when she did chuse
So red a crimson, and so white a white:
O heau'ns (sed I) what gifts were Beauties Peeres,
If it might neuer beene yclad in yeares?

Thus, or as like to thus as I can say,
The youth, concluding his teare-liquored vaine,
Leaues my vnletter'd thoughts to beare away
Both what he said and what he wood ha saine;
And though I want his griefe, yet sure I may
Well ground vpon his passionate complaine,
His Loue was faire, and blest in euery lim,
With no default, but that she lou'd not him.

My youngling wit amuzed at the hearing
Of that her dayes had no conuersement in,
Like a new-fielded souldier, wanting chearing,
Stands all astoni'd, two conceits betwin;
Whether I mote with small or no forbearing,
Burden some disobedience vpon him,
Or shou'd in verdict of dispraises tuch
Her whom himselfe durst [not] dispraise too much.

If you (quoth I) haue neuer yet misdone,
To their faire Lady more then I can deeme
In these your words; By heau'n, and by this Sunne,
Your Seruice should deserue a more esteeme.
But if (alas) your selfe y' haue ouer-run
In things to her that mote vngratefull seeme,
Grudge not a sharpe rewardance of the same;
Men must doe well that wou'd enioy good name.

With this, about to aske him somwhat more,
With hasty answer, and a hearty oth,
He clips my speech; and said, and vow'd, and swore,
No spot of guilt in his attaintles troth;
But as t'is now, so euer heretofore:
Quoth I, the better, for I would be loth;
Though now I aske you, as t'is fit he shu'd
Well know your ill, that must procure your good.

Yet did my soule within it selfe y-doubt
No vndeseruings in his noble heart,
Though I (for reasons sake,) mote go about
To shew him that I fear'd some vndesart:
He mought ha thought me, else, some soothing lout,
Ylearn'd in neither iudgement, nor good part,
To discommend hir thoughts, and mourne his fall,
Without examining the cause of all.

Yet speake no further of thy chaunce, said I,
A single cause wou'd haue a single telling,
But griefes discourse, hopes mortall enemy,
Tat's his preuailing in his oft reuealing:
O giue me leaue, saith he, to balme mine eie,
And let those teares that hurt it giue it healing!
For since hir loues are not disposde to granting,
Poore helpes are welcome, when the best are wanting.

These teares shall witnes, (when he wept indeed,)
How neere vnto my soule hir enuy crept;
How much my hart doth hir owne substance bleed,
In fresh remembrance of what vowes I kept,
And in what hate that Lady did exceed,
That threw me downe to this (and still he wept);
O thing for euer to be vnforgot,
Vntill she loues me, as she loues me not.

My flocks this while, that saw their maisters eie
Perus'd in things vntutching their estate,
Ywended to a neighbors seu'ral nie,
That for faire feed was mounded in alate:
Where lest they shou'd too much offendingly
Ore-ramp the grasse, and get the owners hate,
I crau'd his name, and leaue away to go;
No shame to part, when need compelles thereto.

My name tho now it may a causer be
Of too long memory of a man forlorne;
Is called Anander of the Court (quoth he),
Though neuer Country-man abid more scorne:
Yet keep it as thy heardlam close to thee,
That no day heare it but that blessed morne
Wherein that angell of my good and ill
Salutes thy flocks, and thee, vpon this hill.

Then tell hir, when she giues thee hir good morrow,
That thou alate didst see Anander here;
And then speake teares of my vnfained sorrow,
Or speake vnfained sorrow of my teares:
And when she doth some light occasion borrow
Of other reasons to employ hir eares,
Seeme thou as if thou didst not vnderstand hir,
And mixe thy speeches with distrest Anander.

If she dispraise or praise thy wanton flocke,
Tell thou hir that Anander did so too;
If brode the field she for some mate doth looke,
Anander, (tell hir,) thus did looke for you;
And let remembrance worke some better lucke,
For sure I am more harme it cannot do;
And sometimes absence do's ingender Passion,
By giuing leasure to consideration.

So hie thee to thy sheep (good Shepheard boy:)
But stay, (O) first enrich me with thy name;
Anetor of the Field, (Sir), did I say,
Though (vnderstand yee) I am not the same
That in amendall of the woolues annoy
That mighty voyage vnto Peleus came:
Anetor he, and I Anetor am;
But he seru'd Peleus, I as good a man.

Discourses ended: t'was now time a day
For him to ride, and for myselfe to wander;
Such causes call vs both, we cannot stay;
His dear's at Court, and my deere flockes be yonder:
And all our part no more but this to say,
Farewell Anetor, and farewell Anander:
Saue that in our farewelles, this wish we moue,
Me to recall my Flocks, and he his Loue.





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