Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THREE PASTORAL ELEGIES: 3, by WILLIAM BASSE



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THREE PASTORAL ELEGIES: 3, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The sunne that had himselfe a courtier beene
Last Line: How much you fauour vs, wee honour you.
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; Love - Cultural Differences; Shepherds & Shepherdesses; Youth; Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens


THE Sunne that had himselfe a Courtier beene,
And for his beautie lou'd of Ladies faire,
Spread forth his yellow beames vpon the greene,
And with attentive eye, and Courtly care,
Flourisht his wandring torch, till he had scene
This troup arriue the place where now they are:
Which done, he hies him thence, and takes his rest
Behinde the furthest Mountaines of the West.

Blinde drouzie night, all clad in misty ray,
Began to ride along the welkins round,
Hangs out his gazing Lanthornes by the way,
And makes the outside of the world his bound;
The Queene of starres, in enuy of the daye,
Throwes the cold shadow of hir eyes to ground;
And supple grasse, opprest with heauy dew,
Doth wet the Sheepe and licke the shepheards shooe.

There as I dwelt there dwelled all my sheepe,
And home we went togither, flocks and I,
As euen where I rest and take my sleepe,
There are my flocks asleepe and resting by,
And when I rise to go to field and keepe,
So will my flocks, that can no longer lie:
Thus in the Sheepe is all the Shepheards care,
And in the Shepheard is the flocks welfare.

While did the yeare let slip his tender Spring,
And merry Moones went merrily away,
I with this happy flocke alone did sing,
And pipe the oaten galliard euery day,
As well content as Pan himselfe our King,
With a new Carroll or a Roundelay,
For he (as good a Minstrell as he is)
Couth neuer tune a better Lay then this.

When Shepheards sit vpon the hills,
Nursed in their Swainish wills,
Young, and in desires vnripe,
Curious of the flocke and pipe,
Then is Swaynish life the best,
And he that cares, and loues the lest,
Thinkes he fares aboue the rest.

Then our ioyes beguile our ruthes,
Shepheards boyes be merry youthes,
Loues do dwell in Courti'rs beds,
Peace doth swell in Shepheards heads
Lusts are like our flocks ypent,
Want of age doth barre consent,
Youth doth flourish with content.

But when elder dayes shall show,
Whether Swaines be men or no,
Loue shall rule in shepheards braines,
Grauitie shall guide the swaines.
Wanton thoughts shall then be checkt,
Shepheards shall no playes respect,
Age shall conquer youths defect.

Sing I then, heigh-ho for ioy,
Cause I yet am but a boy,
But when Shepheards boyes be men,
Ho my hart, what sing I then?
Heigh-ho—sorrow, Ioyes away,
Conquering Loue ha's won the Day:
This is all my Roundelay.

Whilome when I was Collins loued boy,
(Ah, Collin, for thee, Collin, weep I now,)
For thou art dead, ah, that to me didst ioy,
As Coridon did to Alexis vow.
But (as I sed,) when I was Collins boy,
His deare young boy, and yet of yeares inow,
To leade his willing heard along the plaine,
I on his pipe did learne this singing vaine.

And oh, (well mote he now take rest therfore,)
How oft in pray'rs and songs he pray'd and sung,
That I (as had himselfe full long before,)
Mought Hue a happy shepheard and a young;
And many vowes, and many wishes more,
When he his Pipe into my bosome flung:
And said, though Collin ne're shall be surpast,
Be while thou liu'st, as like him as thou maist.

Much was my deare therefore when Collin died,
When we (alacke) were both agreed in griefe:
He for his infant swaine, that me affide,
Yet happed not to Hue to see my priefe.
And I that to his gouernance had tide
My bounden youth, in loosing such a chiefe:
Ah how wou'd he haue sung, and with what grace,
Ananders loue, and Muridellaes Face!

He wou'd haue blazed in eternall note,
Ananders Loue and worthy Manlines;
And then recorded with a wondrous throte,
His Muridellaes louely worthines;
And by those witching tunes he had by wrote,
Cur'd his Loues griefe with his desires succes;
And by his loftie pipe, and pleasing ditty,
Molted hir hearts hardnes with her Loues pitty.

Then mought full well these hils of Shepheards feed
Beene priuy to loues secret discontent,
And all these quarrels might ha beene agreed
And ended, by a Iudge so reuerent:
For he was letter'd well, and well couth reed,
And was a swaine profound and eloquent;
But now is left of him but bare report,
And I in fields must sing the Loues in Court.

Anander now, whose loues did waxe in age
So as they did in greatnes and in wait,
Sometimes bursts out into disbounded rage,
And cloy's his eager heart on Passions bait;
Sometimes the swelling minde begins to swage,
And slender hopes appeare, but vanish strait;
And Griefe drawes out the Anticks of his care,
Vpon his face, his bosome, and his haire.

Poore gentle youth, as yet a man vnwitting
With that true truth his arrand I had sed,
And with what milde respect, and hopefull pittying,
The answers of his loue were answered,
Liues wide from sumptuous Court, as one more fitting
To shrowd pale sicknes in a country bed:
And somtimes (though the space was farre between)
Casts his long looks, where his long Loues had been.

At length, what forc't by Loue, what by good-will,
Loue that he bore to hir, good-will to me,
It pleas'd him once more to salute this hill,
And me, and these my flocks that weakned be
For want of care and shepheards wary skill,
That for this while couth neuer well o're-see
Their fickle state, so greatly did me stir
The woe for him, the wondering at hir.

A weeping face (at first) I durst not shew him,
Lest he should swound in weening ill successe;
Nor wou'd I smile when I at first did view him,
Lest he shou'd dreame of greatest happinesse:
But look't as I look't when first I knew him,
Withouten change of feature, more or lesse:
So that my Count'nance cou'd him not disclose,
Great cause of ioyes, or greater meanes of woes.

Now while the action of his hand and foot,
Daunc't out the measures of his courtly greeting;
And I in silent bowes, and grosse salute,
Doubl'd the curteous Congees of our meeting:
His gentle heart, fed with no other fruite
But griefes sowre Plumme and Passions bitter sweeting,
Sends to the mouth the sighes that she had broken,
Where being shap't in words, they were thus spoken.

Sith is no doubt (young curteous boy) but thou
Hast seene my Loue vpon this gladsome plaine,
Therefore declare my doome vnto me now;
Declare thou happy, or vnhappy swaine;
Tell me what Muridella said, and how
Thou lik'st her speech, hir beauty, and hir traine:
Powre out hir praise to me with such a tongue
As vnto hir thou didst my loue and wrong.

Say, what she sed to thee, what to thy flocke,
What vnto me, and what vnto my Loue?
Say, did she pitty me, or did she mocke,
Or challenge witnes of the heau'ns aboue?
At what time came she, and at what a clocke
Went she away? for loue of mighty Ioue
Tell me, deere youth: and if my hopes succeed,
Ile crowne thy kindenes with a lib'rall deed.

For now my life stands on the crazie point
Of tott'ring hope, and feeble expectation:
Doubt trembles Agew-like in eu'ry ioynt,
And feare assaults with threats of desolation:
And now, vnless the balmes of comfort noint,
I die the luckelest man of all our nation;
Therefore discourse the fortunes of that day:
And at that word I thus began to say:—

That I this Lady faire haue seene and met,
Know wel mine eyes that were my arrands guide,
Out of whose circles is not vanisht yet
The Image of that beauty that they ey'd;
And that I told your loues and passions great
Shall by the iudgement of your selfe be try'd,
When lips vnlearned motion shal present you
With such a luke-warme answere as she sent you.

But first if you were not so farre in dote,
As that (O starres) you cou'd not iealous be,
Wonder would make me [to] digresse, and quote
Your answer, with the praise of blessed shee:
But at more leasure will I sing that note,
When in the vallies I alone shall bee.
Meanewhile (faire Knight) I will declare togither,
Your Ladies speech and my aduenture with hir.

At first, a comely Virgin groom that met me
For fauour to my tale I did beseech,
Who for a rude young Shepheard did outset me,
And with an answere of short carelesse speech
Runne from my earnest plaint; and scarce wou'd let me
Take knowledge, who was Muridell, and which:
And seeing then so little vexe hir maide,
I thought that nothing might to hir be saide.

At length a youth that led them o're the plaine,
A faire yong boy, of modest age and looke,
Clad in a silken garment di'd in graine,
As greene of hiew as Neptunes tidy brooke,
And a greene veluet cap of the same staine,
Wherein a plume of curled feathers stooke,
And round about his skirt, in seemly grace,
Thirteene bright circles made of siluer lace.

As it befell: this white-cheek'd youth and I,
Instead of bearding, chin'd at one another;
He, like a hauty spirit, obseruingly
Wou'd needs know what I go about, and whother;
I, in pure meekenesse, and in simplicy,
Leg'd him a faire excuse (sir) and no other;
While thus we both our wordey combate breake,
She gently heard me, and she bade me speake.

And what I sed full well to you is knowne,
Whose loue did lesson it to me before:
Vnles your thoughts cannot containe their owne,
Or memory let fall hir chiefest store,
That is, the teares, the pray'rs, the prayse, the mone,
That your great griefe vpon my lips did score;
And therefore read she halfe my message there,
And from my mouth the other halfe did beare.

She in milde termes repli'd, she wonderd much
That that faire knight shou'd bene so louely ill,
Sith she ne're knew that his desires were such
As to complaine the stiffnes of hir will.
And to be plaine, and giue the neerest tuch
Of that she vtter'd here vpon this hill,
She sed, some beautie had your loues ywon,
But loues to her were neither meant nor don.

Sometimes in sooth, (she couth it not deny,)
You wou'd in courtly dalliance, and in iest,
Discourse of your owne loues full amorously,
With much faire promises, and large protest;
And she hirselfe in sober contrary
Would answere as you aske, and bid you rest:
But that for hir you did so deerely pine,
She neuer thought it, by that Sun that shine.

Thou knowst (saith he) if youth debarre thee not,
That not in man can such dissemblance liue,
As faine himselfe vnsufferably hot,
Whenas his handes like melting yce forgiue,
Nor can yshroud himselfe in carelesse blot,
When in his thoughts the pangs of sorrowes grieue;
And that my Loues haue had time and appearing,
Be iudge thy youth, that giues me gentle hearing.

When first my youth was in that ages odnesse
That lacks the three bare twelue months of a score,
Loue was a suckling then in infant gladnesse
And onely liu'd on dalliance, and no more;
The eighteenth was the first yeare of his madnesse,
And greater were his randone then before;
The nineteenth yeare he silently befell
In single choyce of beauteous Muridell.

The twentith did I waste away in vttring
All that the yeare before I had fore-thought,
And this last tweluemonth is neere gone in suffring
The hard succeedings that my vttrance wrought;
If the next yield the like discomforting,
In such defects as sufferance hath brought,
The next to that is like to end in me
Loues long sixe yeares with Lifes short twenty-three

Meane while, if thou fearst not the fellowship
Of lingring Loues infectious languishment,
In these delicious meades I will o're-slip
The wearisome discourse of discontent:
And in a shepheards humble out-side clip
My drouped Noblenesse, and liue vnkent
And vnrespected on the loanly hilles,
Till either Loue or Death conclude my illes.

My deare vnkind, that in the wanton Court
This while doth liue, admired and obaid,
Shall bide the blame of desperate report
From the grieu'd Nemesis of a minde decaid:
There let hir liue to dally and disport,
In selfe loues riuer, with hie beauties shade;
Vntil the louely Lilly of hir looke
Become the lowly Lilly of the brooke.

And those young Lordings, that with enuious eies
Tooke secret watch of my affection to hir,
Shall now haue time and liberty to guise
Their bounteous thoughts and gentle lips to woe hir,
And tire out their desiers unsuffice,
As I, the first, first did, when I first knew hir:
Till some more gallants suffer with Anander
The mastry of a feminine commander.

The eares of Ioue shall then be sicke to heare
The miserous complaint of courtly louers;
Old care shall clothe young loue as gray as freere,
When him with eie-deceiuing Anticks couers;
And men of Court shall dwell with shepheards heere,
And Pallace hawkes shall feast with Meadow plouers;
For thus none-sparing Loue did vanquish me,
That thought my selfe as strong as others be.

Though once I cou'd when I was weake and young,
(Is't not a wonder worthy three dayes weeping)
Contend in any game and be too strong
For Loue, that now hath all my strength in keeping:
Since in the Flower of Age I fall along,
Like vnto him that whilome at a meeting
Recoil'd rash wounding Death himself vpon,
When he with Sol durst throw the weighty stone.

O Hyacynth, how like thy case is mine!
Then from thy ventrous soule that flowrs didst bleed
When prowdly that presumptuous arme of thine
Attempted so vnpossible a deede:
I, while with Loue do in like combat ioine,
My courtly wanton turnes a meadow weed:
And shepheards seruants proue we both by that,
I grace his field, and thou dost decke his hat.

So shall this boie, whose eies ne're look't into
The fatall change of our Imperious state,
Be gouernour of those vnhappy twoo,
That in their glory found their glories date:
He that into a flowre dide long agoe,
He that into a weed chang'd now alate:
He that by Phœbus dide, by him suruiues;
He that by Muridella liu'd, and by hir dies.

And with this speech, and those dumbe sighes beside
Wherewith his lights shut vp his woes discourse,
His comely furnishments of courtly pride
He couers in a shape more homely worse;
And in a swainish Counterfet doth hide
His noble limmes, the ruines of Loues force:
And (O) it was to see a wondrous grace,
So deare a Iewell in so cheape a case.

I meane, saith he, a shepheards life to leade,
So long as Gods my Life a leading giue,
Or till that Lady shall salute this meade,
For whose deare hate I thus am bound to liue:
This wilfull penance put I on my head,
Which none but Muridella shall forgiue:
Till when, I liue that life in hope to mend it,
Or else in good-assurance ne're to end it.

If she proue kinde, as she was neuer yet,
(Though she in [euery] vertue else was blest)
Then shalbe voide the Couenants of this fit,
And ioyes shall lose the knot of strict Protest:
If still she in the like contempt doth sit,
My vowe continues as it is exprest:
Thus I am bound, though she the debt must pay,
And I must forfait, though she breake the day.

Herewith the youthfull noble-seeming swaine,
Adowne and set himselfe besiden me,
All in the middest of the lightsome plaine,
Where all around wee might our heardlams see;
Withouten signe or shew of nice disdaine,
The Shep-hooke in that hand receiued he
That was wont to beare the warlike lance,
And leade the Ladies many a courtly dance.

Thou ensigne of poore Life, badge of content,
Staffe of my cares, yet piller of my blisse,
Cheape relique of that ioie that is dispent,
And chiefe foundation of that ioie that is,
True watchman of those smiles that hopes present,
Strong porter of those griefes that hatred gi's,
Witnes of woes, my hooke, my hope as much,
The Shepheards weapon, and the Louers crutch.

I doe embrace thee, as I once imbrac't
(Saith he) that vertuous mistresse that I had,
When on the easie measure of hir waste
I in this sort desiringly fell mad.
Though vnto me thou yield'st not such repast,
Nor art so faire, nor art so gayly clad,
Yet looke how much hir beauties passe thy state,
So much thy Company excels hir hate.

Thus did the spirit of Ananders eie,
(Whose brightnes care had masked in a dim,)
Pertake with me the life of shepheardie,
As I both Life and Loue pertooke with him.
And vntill she relents, or till we die,
No second fortunes can in vs begin.
All liberties as thankles offers be,
Till Loue, that tide him vp, do set him free.

Till heau'ns aboue ordaine one pleasing day
Wherein that Angel of their iealous care,
That Muridella please to come this way,
And with hir foote steps lighter then the aire
Trip through the dwellings of hir amorous boy,
And chear'd his droup't limmes with embracings faire,
Anetor hath Ananders loues in keepe,
And faire Anander hath Anetors sheepe.

Till then, yee Gods, ordaine vs both good speed,
In Loues and flocks presented to your care;
And when your grace shall stand vs in such steed,
To end a Loues griefe, and do a happy chare,
Ile sacrifice the fairest lambe I feed,
And tune my pipe againe: and then prepare
One Dittie more, wherein the world shall view
How much you fauour vs, wee honour you.





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