Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BRITANNIA'S PASTORALS: BOOK 2. THE SECOND SONG, by WILLIAM BROWNE (1591-1643)

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BRITANNIA'S PASTORALS: BOOK 2. THE SECOND SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What shepherds on the sea were seen
Last Line: And put my pipes up till another time.
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, William Of Tavistock
Subject(s): Great Britain


What shepherds on the sea were seen
To entertain the Ocean's Queen;
Remond in search of Fida gone,
And for his love young Doridon;
Their meeting with a woeful swain,
Mute, and not able to complain
His metamorphos'd mistress' wrong,
Is all the subject of this song.

THE Muses' friend (grey-eyed Aurora) yet
Held all the meadows in a cooling sweat,
The milk-white gossamers not upwards snow'd,
Nor was the sharp and useful-steering goad
Laid on the strong-neck'd ox; no gentle bud
The sun had dried; the cattle chew'd the cud
Low levell'd on the grass; no fly's quick sting
Enforc'd the stonehorse in a furious ring
To tear the passive earth, nor lash his tail
About his buttocks broad; the slimy snail
Might on the wainscot, by his many mazes,
Winding meanders and self-knitting traces,
Be follow'd where he stuck, his glittering slime
Not yet wip'd off. It was so early time,
The careful smith had in his sooty forge
Kindled no coal; nor did his hammers urge
His neighbours' patience: owls abroad did fly,
And day as then might plead his infancy.
Yet of fair Albion all the western swaines
Were long since up, attending on the plains
When Nereus' daughter with her mirthful host
Should summon them on their declining coast.
But since her stay was long, for-fear the sun
Should find them idle, some of them begun
To leap and wrestle, others threw the bar;
Some from the company removed are
To meditate the songs they meant to play,
Or make a new round for next holiday.
Some tales of love their love-sick fellows told:
Others were seeking stakes to pitch their fold.
This, all alone was mending of his pipe:
That, for his lass sought fruits most sweet, most ripe.
Here from the rest a lovely shepherd's boy
Sits piping on a hill, as if his joy
Would still endure, or else that age's frost
Should never make him think what he had lost.
Yonder a shepherdess knits by the springs,
Her hands still keeping time to what she sings:
Or seeming, by her song, those fairest hands
Were comforted in working. Near the sands
Of some sweet river sits a musing lad,
That moans the loss of what he sometime had,
His love by death bereft: when fast by him
An aged swain takes place, as near the brim
Of's grave as of the river, showing how
That as those floods, which pass along right now,
Are follow'd still by others from their spring,
And in the sea have all their burying:
Right so our times are known, our ages found,
(Nothing is permanent within this round,)
One age is now, another that succeeds,
Extirping all things which the former breeds:
Another follows that, doth new times raise,
New years, new months, new weeks, new hours, new days,
Mankind thus goes like rivers from their spring,
And in the earth have all their burying.
Thus sat the old man counselling the young;
Whilst, underneath a tree which overhung
The silver stream (as some delight it took
To trim his thick boughs in the crystal brook)
Were set a jocund crew of youthful swains,
Wooing their sweetings with delicious strains.
Sportive Oreades the hills descended,
The Hamadryades their hunting ended,
And in the high woods left the long-liv'd harts
To feed in peace, free from their winged darts;
Floods, mountains, valleys, woods, each vacant lies
Of nymphs that by them danc'd their haydigyes:
For all those powers were ready to embrace
The present means to give our shepherds grace.
And underneath this tree (till Thetis came)
Many resorted, where a swain of name
Less than of worth: (and we do never own
Nor apprehend him best that most is known).
Fame is uncertain, who so swiftly flies
By th' unregarded shed where Virtue lies;
She, ill-inform'd of virtue's worth, pursu'th
In haste Opinion for the simple truth.
True Fame is ever liken'd to our shade,
He soonest misseth her than most hath made
To overtake her; whoso takes his wing,
Regardless of her, she'll be following:
Her true propriety she thus discovers,
"Loves her contemners, and contemns her lovers."
Th' applause of common people never yet
Pursu'd this swain; he knew't the counterfeit
Of settled praise, and therefore at his songs,
Though all the shepherds and the graceful throngs
Of semi-gods compar'd him with the best
That ever touch'd a reed, or was address'd
In shepherd's coat, he never would approve
Their attributes given in sincerest love;
Except he truly knew them as his merit.
Fame gives a second life to such a spirit.
This swain, entreated by the mirthful rout,
That with entwined arms lay round about
The tree 'gainst which he lean'd, (so have I seen
Tom Piper stand upon our village green,
Back'd with the May-pole, whilst a jocund crew
In gentle motion circularly threw
Themselves about him), to his fairest ring
Thus 'gan in numbers well according sing:

Venus by Adonis' side
Crying kiss'd, and kissing cried,
Wrung her hands and tore her hair
For Adonis dying there.

Stay (quoth she) O stay and live!
Nature surely doth not give
To the earth her sweetest flowers
To be seen but some few hours.

On his face, still as he bled
For each drop a tear she shed,
Which she kiss'd or wip'd away,
Else had drown'd him where he lay.

Fair Proserpina (quoth she)
Shall not have thee yet from me;
Nor thy soul to fly begin
While my lips can keep it in.

Here she clos'd again. And some
Say Apollo would have come
To have cur'd his wounded limb,
But that she had smother'd him.

Look as a traveller in summer's day,
Nigh chok'd with dust and molt with Titan's ray,
Longs for a spring to cool his inward heat,
And to that end with vows doth Heaven entreat,
When going further finds an apple-tree,
Standing as did old Hospitality,
With ready arms to succour any needs:
Hence plucks an apple, tastes it, and it breeds
So great a liking in him for his thirst,
That up he climbs, and gathers to the first
A second, third; nay, will not cease to pull
Till he have got his cap and pockets full:
"Things long desir'd so well esteemed are,
That when they come we hold them better far.
There is no mean 'twixt what we love and want,
Desire, in men, is so predominant:"
No less did all this quaint assembly long
Than doth the traveller: this shepherd's song
Had so ensnar'd each acceptable ear,
That but a second, naught could bring them clear
From an affected snare; had Orpheus been
Playing, some distance from them, he had seen
Not one to stir a foot for his rare strain,
But left the Thracian for the English swain.
Or had suspicious Juno (when her Jove
Into a cow transform'd his fairest love)
Great Inachus' sweet stem in durance given
To this young lad, the messenger of heaven,
Fair Main's offspring, with the depth of art
That ever Jove to Hermes might impart,
In fing'ring of a reed, had never won
Poor Iö's freedom. And though Arctor's son,
Hundred-ey'd Argus, might be lull'd by him,
And loose his pris'ner, yet in every limb
That god of wit had felt this shepherd's skill,
And by his charms brought from the Muses' hill
Enforc'd to sleep; then, robb'd of pipe and rod,
And vanquish'd so, turn swain, this swain a god.
Yet to this lad not wanted Envy's sting,
("He's not worth aught that's not worth envying,")
Since many at his praise were seen to grutch.
For as a miller in his bolting-hutch
Drives out the pure meal nearly as he can,
And in his sifter leaves the coarser bran:
So doth the canker of a poet's name
Let slip such lines as might inherit fame,
And from a volume culls some small amiss
To fire such dogged spleens as mate with his.
Yet, as a man that by his art would bring
The ceaseless current of a crystal spring
To overlook the lowly flowing head,
Sinks by degrees his soder'd pipes of lead
Beneath the fount, whereby the water goes
High, as a well that on a mountain flows:
So when detraction and a cynic's tongue
Have sunk desert unto the depth of wrong,
By that the eye of skill true worth shall see
To brave the stars, though low his passage be.
But here I much digress, yet pardon, swains:
For as a maiden gath'ring on the plains
A scentful nosegay to set near her pap,
Or as a favour for her shepherd's cap,
Is seen far off to stray if she have spied
A flower that might increase her posy's pride:
So if to wander I am sometimes press'd,
'Tis for a strain that might adorn the rest.
Requests, that with denial could not meet,
Flew to our shepherd, and the voices sweet
Of fairest nymphs entreating him to say
What wight he lov'd; he thus began his lay:

SHALL I tell you whom I love?
Hearken then awhile to me;
And if such a woman move,
As I now shall versify;
Be assur'd, 'tis she, or none
That I love, and love alone.

Nature did her so much right,
As she scorns the help of Art;
In as many virtues dight
As e'er yet embrac'd a heart.
So much good so truly tried,
Some for less were deified.

Wit she hath without desire
To make known how much she hath;
And her anger flames no higher
Than may fitly sweeten wrath.
Full of pity as may be,
Though perhaps not so to me.

Reason masters every sense,
And her virtues grace her birth:
Lovely as all excellence,
Modest in her most of mirth:
Likelihood enough to prove,
Only worth could kindle love.

Such she is: and if you know
Such a one as I have sung;
Be she brown, or fair, or so,
That she be but somewhile young;
Be assur'd, 'tis she, or none
That I love, and love alone.

Eöus and his fellows in the team,
(Who, since their wat'ring in the Western stream,
Had run a furious journey to appease
The night-sick eyes of our Antipodes,)
Now sweating were in our horizon seen
To drink the cold dew from each flow'ry green:
When Triton's trumpet with a shrill command
Told silver-footed Thetis was at hand.
As I have seen when on the breast of Thames
A heavenly bevy of sweet English dames,
In some calm ev'ning of delightful May,
With music give a farewell to the day,
Or as they would, with an admired tone,
Greet Night's ascension to her eben throne,
Rapt with their melody a thousand more
Run to be wafted from the bounding shore:
So ran the shepherds, and with hasty feet
Strove which should first increase that happy fleet.
The true presagers of a coming storm,
Teaching their fins to steer them to the form
Of Thetis' will, like boats at anchor stood,
As ready to convey the Muses' brood
Into the brackish lake that seem'd to swell
As proud so rich a burden on it fell.
Ere their arrival Astrophel had done
His shepherd's lay, yet equaliz'd of none.
Th' admired mirror, glory of our Isle,
Thou far-far-more than mortal man, whose style
Struck more men dumb to hearken to thy song,
Than Orpheus' harp or Tully's golden tongue.
To him (as right) for wit's deep quintessence,
For honour, valour, virtue, excellence,
Be all the garlands, crown his tomb with bay,
Who spake as much as e'er our tongue can say.
Happy Arcadia! while such lovely strains
Sung of thy valleys, rivers, hills and plains;
Yet most unhappy other joys among,
That never heard'st his music nor his song.
Deaf men are happy so, whose virtues' praise
(Unheard of them) are sung in tuneful lays.
And pardon me, ye sisters of the mountain,
Who wail his loss from the Pegasian fountain,
If, like a man for portraiture unable,
I set my pencil to Apelles' table;
Or dare to draw his curtain, with a will
To show his true worth, when the artist's skill
Within that curtain fully doth express
His own art's-mast'ry, my unableness.
He sweetly touched what I harshly hit,
Yet thus I glory in what I have writ;
Sidney began (and if a wit so mean
May taste with him the dews of Hippocrene)
I sung the Past'ral next; his Muse, my mover:
And on the plains full many a pensive lover
Shall sing us to their loves, and praising be
My humble lines the more for praising thee.
Thus we shall live with them by rocks, by springs,
As well as Homer by the death of kings.
Then in a strain beyond an oaten quill
The learned shepherd of fair Hitchin hill
Sung the heroic deeds of Greece and Troy,
In lines so worth life, that I employ
My reed in vain to overtake his fame.
All praiseful tongues do wait upon that name.
Our second Ovid, the most pleasing Muse
That Heav'n did e'er in mortal's brain infuse,
All-loved Drayton, in soul-raping strains,
A genuine note of all the nymphish trains
Began to tune; on it all ears were hung
As sometime Dido's on Æneas' tongue.
Jonson, whose full of merit to rehearse
Too copious is to be confin'd in verse;
Yet therein only fittest to be known,
Could any write a line which he might own.
One so judicious, so well knowing, and
A man whose least worth is to understand;
One so exact in all he doth prefer
To able censure; for the theatre
Not Seneca transcends his worth of praise;
Who writes him well shall well deserve the bays.
Well-languag'd Daniel: Brooke, whose polish'd lines
Are fittest to accomplish high designs,
Whose pen (it seems) still young Apollo guides;
Worthy the forked hill, for ever glides
Streams from thy brain, so fair, that time shall see
Thee honour'd by thy verse, and it by thee.
And when thy temple's well-deserving bays
Might imp a pride in thee to reach thy praise,
As in a crystal glass, fill'd to the ring
With the clear water of as clear a spring,
A steady hand may very safely drop
Some quantity of gold, yet o'er the top
Not force the liquor run, although before
The glass (of water) could contain no more:
Yet so, all-worthy Brooke, though all men sound
With plummets of just praise thy skill profound,
Thou in thy verse those attributes canst take,
And not apparent ostentation make,
That any second can thy virtues raise,
Striving as much to hide as merit praise.
Davies and Wither, by whose Muses' power
A natural day to me seems but an hour,
And could I ever hear their learned lays,
Ages would turn to artificial days.
These sweetly chanted to the Queen of Waves,
She prais'd, and what she prais'd, no tongue depraves.
Then base contempt (unworthy our report)
Fly from the Muses and their fair resort,
And exercise thy spleen on men like thee:
Such are more fit to be contemn'd than we.
'Tis not the rancour of a canker'd heart
That can debase the excellence of Art;
Nor great in titles make our worth obey,
Since we have lines far more esteem'd than they.
For there is hidden in a poet's name
A spell that can command the wings of Fame,
And maugre all Oblivion's hated birth,
Begin their immortality on earth;
When he that 'gainst a Muse with hate combines,
May raise his tomb in vain to reach our lines.
Thus Thetis rides along the Narrow Seas
Encompass'd round with lovely naiades,
With gaudy nymphs, and many a skilful swain,
Whose equals earth cannot produce again,
But leave the times and men that shall succeed them
Enough to praise that age which so did breed them.
Two of the quaintest swains that yet have been
Fail'd their attendance on the Ocean's Queen,
Remond and Doridon, whose hapless fates
Late sever'd them from their more happy mates.
For, gently swains, if you remember well,
When last I sung on brim of yonder dell,
And as I guess it was that sunny morn,
When in the grove there by my sheep were shorn,
I ween I told you, while the shepherds young
Were at their past'ral and their rural song,
The shrieks of some poor maid, fallen in mischance,
Invok'd their aid, and drew them from their dance:
Each ran a several way to help the maid;
Some tow'rds the valley, some the green wood st ray'd:
Here one the thicket beats, and there a swain
Enters the hidden caves; but all in vain.
Nor could they find the wight whose shrieks and cry
Flew through the gentle air so heavily,
Nor see or man or beast, whose cruel teen
Would wrong a maiden or in grave or green.
Back then return'd they all to end their sport
But Doridon and Remond, who resort
Back to those places which they erst had sought,
Nor could a thicket be by Nature wrought
In such a web, so intricate, and knit
So strong with briars, but they would enter it.
Remond his Fida calls; Fida the woods
Resound again, and Fida speak the floods,
As if the rivers and the hills did frame
Themselves no small delight to hear her name.
Yet she appears not. Doridon would now
Have call'd his love too, but he knew not how:
Much like a man who dreaming in his sleep
That he is falling from some mountain steep
Into a soundless lake, about whose brim
A thousand crocodiles do wait for him,
And hangs but by one bough, and should that break
His life goes with it, yet to cry or speak,
Though fain he would, can move nor voice nor tongue:
So when he Remond heard the woods among
Call for his Fida, he would gladly too
Have call'd his fairest love, but knew not who,
Or what to call; poor lad, that canst not tell,
Nor speak the name of her thou lov'st so well.
Remond by hap near to the arbour found,
Where late the hind was slain, the hurtless ground
Besmear'd with blood; to Doridon he cried,
And tearing then his hair, O hapless tide
(Quoth he), behold! some cursed hand hath ta'en
From Fida this; O what infernal bane,
Or more than hellish fiend enforced this!
Pure as the stream of aged Simois,
And as the spotless lily was her soul!
Ye sacred Powers that round about the pole
Turn in your spheres! O could you see this deed,
And keep your motion? If the eldest seed
Of chained Saturn hath so often been
In hunter's and in shepherd's habit seen
To trace our woods, and on our fertile plains
Woo shepherds' daughters with melodious strains,
Where was he now, or any other power?
So many sev'ral lambs have I each hour,
And crooked horned rams brought to your shrines,
And with perfumes clouded the sun that shines,
Yet now forsaken? to an uncouth state
Must all things run, if such will be ingrate.
Cease, Remond, quoth the boy, no more complain,
Thy fairest Fida lives; nor do thou stain
With vile reproaches any power above,
They all as much as thee have been in love:
Saturn his Rhea; Jupiter had store,
As Iö, Leda, Europa, and more;
Mars enter'd Vulcan's bed, partook his joy;
Phœbus had Daphne, and the sweet-fac'd boy;
Venus, Adonis; and the God of Wit
In chastest bonds was to the Muses knit,
And yet remains so, nor can any sever
His love, but brother-like affects them ever;
Pale, changeful Cynthia her Endymion had,
And oft on Latmus sported with that lad:
If these were subject (as all mortal men)
Unto the golden shafts, they could not then
But by their own affections rightly guess
Her death would draw on thine; thy wretchedness
Charge them respectless; since no swain than thee
Hath offer'd more unto each deity.
But fear not, Remond, for those sacred Powers
Tread on oblivion; no desert of ours
Can be entomb'd in their celestial breasts;
They weigh our off'rings and our solemn feasts,
And they forget thee not: Fida (thy dear)
Treads on the earth; the blood that's sprinkled here
Ne'er fill'd her veins, the hind possess'd this gore;
See where the collar lies she whilom wore.
Some dog hath slain her, or the griping carl
That spoils our plains in digging them for marl.
Look, as two little brothers who address'd
To search the hedges for a thrush's nest,
And have no sooner got the leavy spring,
When mad in lust with fearful bellowing
A strong-neck'd bull pursues throughout the field,
One climbs a tree, and takes that for his shield,
Whence looking from one pasture to another,
What might betide to his much-loved brother,
Further than can his over-drowned eyes
Aright perceive, the furious beast he spies
Toss something on his horns, he knows not what,
But one thing fears, and therefore thinks it that;
When coming nigher he doth well discern
It of the wondrous-one-night-seeding fern
Some bundle was: yet thence he homeward goes
Pensive and sad, nor can abridge the throes
His fear began, but still his mind doth move
Unto the worst: mistrust goes still with love.
So far'd it with our shepherd: though he saw
Not aught of Fida's raiment, which might draw
A more suspicion; though the collar lay
There on the grass, yet goes he thence away
Full of mistrust, and vows to leave that plain,
Till he embrace his chastest love again.
Love-wounded Doridon entreats him then
That he might be his partner, since no men
Had cases liker; he with him would go,
Weep when he wept, and sigh when he did so.
I, quoth the boy, will sing thee songs of love,
And as we sit in some all-shady grove,
Where Philomela and such sweeten'd throats
Are for the mast'ry tuning various notes,
I'll strive with them, and tune so sad a verse,
That whilst to thee my fortunes I rehearse,
No bird but shall be mute, her note decline,
And cease her woe, to lend an ear to mine.
I'll tell thee tales of love, and show thee how
The gods have wander'd as we shepherds now,
And when thou plain'st thy Fida's loss, will I
Echo the same, and with mine own supply.
Know, Remond, I do love, but, well-a-day!
I know not whom; but as the gladsome May
She's fair and lovely, as a goddess she
(If such as her's a goddess' beauty be)
First stood before me, and inquiring was
How to the marish she might soonest pass,
When rush'd a villain in, hell be his lot,
And drew her thence, since when I saw her not,
Nor know I where to search; but if thou please
'Tis not a forest, mountain, rocks, or seas
Can in thy journey stop my going on.
Fate so may smile on hapless Doridon,
That he rebless'd may be with her fair sight,
Though thence his eyes possess eternal night.
Remond agreed, and many weary days
They now had spent in unfrequented ways:
About the rivers, valleys, holts and crags,
Among the osiers and the waving flags
They nearly pry, if any dens there be,
Where from the sun might harbour cruelty:
Or if they could the bones of any spy,
Or torn by beasts, or human tyranny.
They close inquiry make in caverns blind,
Yet what they look for would be death to find.
Right as a curious man that would descry,
Led by the trembling hand of Jealousy,
If his fair wife have wrong'd his bed or no,
Meeteth his torment if he find her so.
One ev'n, ere Phœbus near the golden shore
Of Tagus' stream his journey 'gan give o'er,
They had ascended up a woody hill,
Where oft the fauni with their bugles shrill
Waken'd the echo, and with many a shout
Follow'd the fearful deer the woods about,
Or through the brakes that hide the craggy rocks
Digg'd to the hole where lies the wily fox;
Thence they beheld an underlying vale,
Where Flora set her rarest flowers at sale,
Whither the thriving bee came oft to suck them,
And fairest nymphs to deck their hair did pluck them;
Where oft the goddesses did run at base,
And on white harts began the wild-goose-chase:
Here various Nature seem'd adorning this,
In imitation of the fields of bliss;
Or as she would entice the souls of men
To leave Elysium, and live here again.
Not Hybla mountain in the jocund prime
Upon her many bushes of sweet thyme
Shows greater number of industrious bees,
Than were the birds that sung there on the trees.
Like the trim windings of a wanton lake,
That doth his passage through a meadow make,
Ran the delightful valley 'tween two hills:
From whose rare trees the precious balm distils,
And hence Apollo had his simples good
That cur'd the gods hurt by the Earth's ill brood.
A crystal river on her bosom slid,
And passing seem'd in sullen mutt'rings chid
The artless songsters, that their music still
Should charm the sweet dale and the wistful hill:
Not suffering her shrill waters, as they run
Tun'd with a whistling gale in unison
To tell as high they priz'd the broider'd vale
As the quick linnet or sweet nightingale.
Down from a steep rock came the water first,
(Where lusty satyrs often quench'd their thirst)
And with no little speed seem'd all in haste,
Till it the lovely bottom had embrac'd:
Then as entranc'd to hear the sweet birds sing,
In curled whirlpools she her course doth bring,
As loath to leave the songs that lull'd the dale,
Or waiting time, when she and some soft gale
Should speak what true delight they did possess
Among the rare flowers which the valley dress.
But since those quaint musicians would not stay,
Nor suffer any to be heard but they:
Much like a little lad who gotten new
To play his part amongst a skilful crew
Of choice musicians on some softer string
That is not heard, the others' fingering
Drowning his art, the boy would gladly get
Applause with others that are of his set,
And therefore strikes a stroke loud as the best,
And often descants when his fellows rest;
That to be heard (as usual singers do)
Spoils his own music and his partners' too:
So at the further end the waters fell
From off an high bank down a lowly dell,
As they had vow'd, ere passing from that ground,
The birds should be enforc'd to hear their sound.
No small delight the shepherds took to see
A coombe so dight in Flora's livery,
Where fair Feronia honour'd in the woods,
And all the deities that haunt the floods,
With powerful Nature strove to frame a plot,
Whose like the sweet Arcadia yielded not.
Down through the arched wood the shepherds wend,
And seek all places that might help their end,
When, coming near the bottom of the hill,
A deep-fetch'd sigh (which seem'd of power to kill
The breast that held it) pierc'd the list'ning wood;
Whereat the careful swains no longer stood
Where they were looking on a tree, whose rind
A love-knot held, which two join'd hearts entwin'd;
But searching round, upon an aged root
Thick lin'd with moss which (though to little boot)
Seem'd as a shelter it had lending been
Against cold winter's storms and wreakful teen:
Or clad the stock in summer with that hue
His wither'd branches not a long time knew:
For in his hollow trunk and perish'd grain
The cuckow now had many a winter lain,
And thriving pismires laid their eggs in store:
The dormouse slept there, and a many more—
Here sat the lad, of whom I think of old
Virgil's prophetic spirit had foretold,
Who whilst Dame Nature for her cunning's sake
A male or female doubted which to make,
And to adorn him more than all assay'd,
This pretty youth was almost made a maid.
Sadly he sat, and (as would Grief) alone,
As if the boy and tree had been but one,
Whilst down near boughs did drops of amber creep,
As if his sorrow made the trees to weep.
If ever this were true in Ovid's verse
That tears have power an adamant to pierce,
Or move things void of sense, 'twas here approv'd:
Things, vegetative once, his tears have mov'd.
Surely the stones might well be drawn in pity
To burst that he should moan, as for a ditty
To come and range themselves in order all,
And of their own accord raise Thebes a wall.
Or else his tears (as did the other's song)
Might have th' attractive power to move the throng
Of all the forest's citizens and woods,
With ev'ry denizen of air and floods,
To sit by him and grieve: to leave their jars,
Their strifes, dissensions, and all civil wars;
And though else disagreeing, in this one
Mourning for him should make an union.
For whom the heavens would wear a sable suit,
If men, beasts, fishes, birds, trees, stones were mute.
His eyes were fixed (rather fixed stars)
With whom it seem'd his tears had been in wars,
The diff'rence this (a hard thing to descry)
Whether the drops were clearest, or his eye.
Tears fearing conquest to the eye might fall,
An inundation brought and drowned all.
Yet like true Virtue from the top of state,
Whose hopes vile Envy hath seen ruinate,
Being lowly cast, her goodness doth appear
(Uncloth'd of greatness) more apparent clear:
So though dejected, yet remain'd a feature,
Made sorrow sweet plac'd is so sweet a creature.
"The test of misery the truest is,
In that none hath but what is surely his."
His arms across, his sheep-hook lay beside him:
Had Venus pass'd this way, and chanc'd t' have spied him,
With open breast, locks on his shoulders spread,
She would have sworn (had she not seen him dead)
It was Adonis; or if e'er there was
Held transmigration by Pythagoras
Of souls, that certain then her lost love's spirit
A fairer body never could inherit.
His pipe, which often wont upon the plain
To sound the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian strain,
Lay from his hook and bag clean cast apart,
And almost broken like his master's heart.
Yet till the two kind shepherds near him stepp'd,
I find he nothing spake but that he wept.
Cease, gentle lad (quoth Remond), let no tear
Cloud those sweet beauties in thy face appear;
Why dost thou call on that which comes alone,
And will not leave thee till thyself art gone?
Thou may'st have grief, when other things are reft thee:
All else may slide away, this still is left thee;
And when thou wantest other company,
Sorrow will ever be embracing thee.
But, fairest swain, what cause hast thou of woe?
Thou hast a well-fleec'd flock feed to and fro
(His sheep along the valley that time fed
Not far from him, although unfollowed).
What, do thy ewes abortives bring? or lambs
For want of milk seek to their fellows' dams?
No griping landlord hath enclos'd thy walks,
Nor toiling ploughman furrow'd them in balks.
Ver hath adorn'd thy pastures all in green
With clover-grass as fresh as may be seen:
Clear-gliding springs refresh thy meadows' heat,
Meads promise to thy charge their winter-meat,
And yet thou griev'st! O! had some swains thy store,
Their pipes should tell the woods they ask'd no more.
Or have the Parcæ with unpartial knife
Left some friend's body tenantless of life,
And thou bemoan'st that Fate in his youth's morn
O'ercast with clouds his light but newly born?
"Count not how many years he is bereav'd,
But those which he possess'd and had receiv'd;
If I may tread no longer on this stage,
Though others think me young; it is mine age:
For whose hath his fate's full period told,
He full of years departs, and dieth old."
May be that avarice thy mind hath cross'd,
And so thy sighs are for some trifle lost.
Why shouldst thou hold that dear the world throws on thee?
"Think nothing good which may be taken from thee."
Look as some pond'rous weight or massy pack,
Laid to be carried on a porter's back,
Doth make his strong joints crack, and forceth him
(Maugre the help of every nerve and limb)
To straggle in his gait, and goeth double,
Bending to earth, such is his burden's trouble:
So any one by avarice engirt,
And press'd with wealth, lies grovelling in the dirt.
His wretched mind bends to no point but this,
That who hath most of wealth hath most of bliss.
Hence comes the world to seek such traffic forth
And passages through the congealed North,
Who when their hairs with icicles are hung,
And that their chatt'ring teeth confound their tongue,
Show them a glitt'ring stone, will straightways say,
If pains thus prosper, oh, what fools would play?
Yet I could tell them (as I now do thee)
"In getting wealth we lose our liberty.
Besides, it robs us of our better powers,
And we should be ourselves, were these not ours.
He is not poorest that hath least in store,
But he which hath enough, yet asketh more:
Nor is he rich by whom are all possess'd,
But he which nothing hath, yet asketh least.
It thou a life by Nature's leading pitch,
Thou never shalt be poor, nor ever rich
Led by Opinion; for their states are such,
Nature but little seeks, Opinion much."
Amongst the many buds proclaiming May,
(Decking the fields in holy-day's array,
Striving who shall surpass in bravery)
Mark the fair blooming of the hawthorn-tree,
Who, finely clothed in a robe of white,
Feeds full the wanton eye with May's delight;
Yet for the bravery that she is in
Doth neither handle card nor wheel to spin,
Nor changeth robes but twice: is never seen
In other colours than in white or green.
Learn then content, young shepherd, from this tree,
Whose greatest wealth is Nature's livery;
And richest ingots never toil to find,
Nor care for poverty but of the mind.
This spoke young Remond: yet the mournful lad
Not once replied; but with a smile, though sad,
He shook his head, then cross'd his arms again,
And from his eyes did showers of salt tears rain;
Which wrought so on the swains, they could not smother
Their sighs, but spent them freely as the other.
Tell us (quoth Doridon), thou fairer far
Than he whose chastity made him a star,
More fit to throw the wounding shafts of Love
Than follow sheep, and pine here in a grove.
O do not hide thy sorrows, show them brief;
"He oft finds aid that doth disclose his grief."
If thou wouldst it continue, thou dost wrong;
"No man can sorrow very much and long:"
For thus much loving Nature hath dispos'd,
That 'mongst the woes that have us round enclos'd,
This comfort's left (and we should bless her for't)
That we may make our griefs be born, or short.
Believe me, shepherd, we are men no less
Free from the killing throes of heaviness
Than thou art here, and but this diff'rence sure,
That use hath made us apter to endure.
More he had spoke, but that a bugle shrill
Rung through the valley from the higher hill,
And as they turn'd them tow'rds the heart'ning sound,
A gallant stag, as if he scorn'd the ground,
Came running with the wind, and bore his head
As he had been the king of forests bred.
Not swifter comes the messenger of heaven,
Or winged vessel with a full gale driven,
Nor the swift swallow flying near the ground,
By which the air's distemp'rature is found:
Nor Myrrha's course, nor Daphne's speedy flight,
Shunning the dalliance of the God of light,
Than seem'd the stag, that had no sooner cross'd them,
But in a trice their eyes as quickly lost him.
The weeping swain ne'er mov'd, but as his eyes
Were only given to show his miseries,
Attended those; and could not once be won
To leave that object whence his tears begun.
O had that man, who (by a tyrant's hand)
Seeing his children's bodies strew the sand,
And he next morn for torments press'd to go,
Yet from his eyes let no one small tear flow,
But being ask'd how well he bore their loss,
Like to a man affliction could not cross,
He stoutly answer'd: Happier sure are they
Than I shall be by space of one short day:
No more his grief was; but had he been here,
He had been flint, had he not spent a tear.
For still that man the perfecter is known,
Who others' sorrows feels more than his own.
Remond and Doridon were turning then
Unto the most disconsolate of men,
But that a gallant dame, fair as the morn
Or lovely blooms the peach-tree that adorn,
Clad in a changing silk, whose lustre shone
Like yellow flowers and grass far off in one,
Or like the mixture Nature doth display
Upon the quaint wings of the popinjay:
Her horn about her neck with silver tip,
Too hard a metal for so soft a lip,
Which it no oft'ner kiss'd than Jove did frown,
And in a mortal's shape would fain come down
To feed upon those dainties, had not he
Been still kept back by Juno's jealousy.
An ivory dart she held of good command,
White was the bone, but whiter was her hand;
Of many pieces was it neatly fram'd,
But more the hearts were that her eyes inflam'd.
Upon her head a green light silken cap:
A piece of white lawn shadow'd either pap,
Between which hillocks many Cupids lay,
Where with her neck or with her teats they play,
Whilst her quick heart will not with them dispense,
But heaves her breasts as it would beat them thence:
Who, fearing much to lose so sweet repair,
Take faster hold by her dishevell'd hair.
Swiftly she ran; the sweet briars to receive her
Slipp'd their embracements, and (as loath to leave her)
Stretch'd themselves to their length; yet on she goes.
So great Diana frays a herd of roes
And speedy follows: Arethusa fled
So from the river that her ravished.
When this brave huntress near the shepherds drew
Her lily arm in full extent she threw
To pluck a little bough to fan her face
From off a thick-leav'd ash (no tree did grace
The low grove as did this, the branches spread
Like Neptune's trident upwards from the head).
No sooner did the grieved shepherd see
The nymph's white hand extended tow'rds the tree,
But rose and to her ran, yet she had done
Ere he came near, and to the wood was gone;
Yet now approach'd the bough the huntress tore,
He suck'd it with his mouth, and kiss'd it o'er
A hundred times, and softly 'gan it bind
With dock-leaves and a slip of willow rind.
Then round the trunk he wreathes his weaken'd arms,
And with his scalding tears the smooth bark warms,
Sighing and groaning, that the shepherds by
Forgot to help him, and lay down to cry:
"For 'tis impossible a man should be
Griev'd to himself, or fail of company."
Much the two swains admir'd, but pitied more
That he no power of words had to deplore
Or show what sad misfortune 'twas befell
To him, whom Nature (seem'd) regarded well.
As thus they lay, and while the speechless swain
His tears and sighs spent to the woods in vain,
One like a wild man overgrown with hair,
His nails long grown, and all his body bare,
Save that a wreath of ivy twist did hide
Those parts which Nature would not have descried,
And the long hair that curled from his head
A grassy garland rudely covered—
But, shepherds, I have wrong'd you; 'tis now late,
For see our maid stands hollowing on yond gate.
'Tis supper-time withal, and we had need
Make haste away unless we mean to speed
With those that kiss the hare's foot: rheums are bred,
Some say, by going supperless to bed,
And those I love not; therefore cease my rhyme,
And put my pipes up till another time.

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