Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SHEPHERD'S PIPE: FIFTH ECLOGUE; TO HIS FRIEND CHRISTOPHER BROOKE, by WILLIAM BROWNE (1591-1643)



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
THE SHEPHERD'S PIPE: FIFTH ECLOGUE; TO HIS FRIEND CHRISTOPHER BROOKE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Willie incites his friend to write
Last Line: ^2^ cuttie, christopher brooke.
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, William Of Tavistock
Subject(s): Brooke, Christopher (1570-1628); Writing & Writers


THE ARGUMENT.

Willie incites his friend to write
Things of a higher fame
Than silly shepherds use indite,
Veil'd in a shepherd's name.

WILLIE^1^ and CUTTIE.^2^

MORN had got the start of night;
Lab'ring men were ready dight
With their shovels and their spades
For the field, and (as their trades)
Or at hedging wrought or ditching
For their food more than enriching;
When the shepherds from the fold
All their bleating charges told,And (full careful) search'd if one
Of all their flock were hurt or gone,
Or (if in the night-time cull'd)
Any had their fleeces pull'd;
'Mongst the rest (not least in care)
Cuttie to his fold 'gan fare,
And young Willie (that had given
To his flock the latest even
Neighbourhood with Cuttie's sheep)
Shaking off refreshing sleep,
Hied him to his charge that blet;
Where he (busied) Cuttie met.
Both their sheep told, and none miss'd
Of their number; then they bliss'd
Pan and all the gods of plains
For respecting of their trains
Of silly sheep, and in a song
Praise gave to that holy throng.
Thus they drave their flocks to graze,
Whose white fleeces did amaze
All the lilies, as they pass
Where their usual feeding was.
Lilies angry that a creature
Of no more eye-pleasing feature
Than a sheep, by nature's duty
Should be crown'd with far more beauty
Than a lily, and the pow'r
Of white in sheep outgo a flow'r,
From the middle of their sprout
(Like a Fury's sting) thrust out
Dart-like forks in death to steep them;
But great Pan did safely keep them,
And afforded kind repair
To their dry and wonted lair,
Where their masters (that did eye them)
Underneath a hawthorn by them,
On their pipes thus 'gan to play,
And with rhymes wear out the day.

Willie.

Cease, Cuttie, cease, to feed these simple flocks,
And for a trumpet change thine oaten-reeds;
O'erlook the valleys as aspiring rocks,
And rather march in steel than shepherd's weeds.
Believe me, Cuttie, for heroic deeds
Thy verse is fit, not for the lives of swains,
(Though both thou canst do well) and none proceeds
To leave high pitches for the lowly plains:
Take thou a harp in hand, strive with Apollo;
Thy Muse was made to lead, then scorn to follow.

Cuttie.

Willie, to follow sheep I ne'er shall scorn,
Much less to follow any deity;
Who 'gainst the Sun (though weaken'd by the morn)
Would vie with looks, needeth an eagle's eye.
I dare not search the hidden mystery
Of tragic scenes; nor in a buskin'd style
Through death and horror march, nor their height fly
Whose pens were fed with blood of this fair Isle.
It shall content me on these happy downs
To sing the strife for garlands, not for crowns.

Willie.

O who would not aspire, and by his wing
Keep stroke with fame, and of an earthly jar
Another lesson teach the spheres to sing?
Who would a shepherd that might be a star?
See, learned Cuttie, on yond mountains are
Clear springs arising, and the climbing goat,
That can get up, hath water clearer far
Than when the streams do in the valleys float.
What madman would a race by torchlight run
That might his steps have usher'd by the sun?

We shepherds tune our lays of shepherds' loves,
Or in the praise of shady groves or springs;
We seldom hear of Cytherea's doves,
Except when some more learned shepherd sings;
And equal meed have to our sonnetings:
A belt, a sheep-hook, or a wreath of flow'rs,
Is all we seek, and all our versing brings;
And more deserts than these are seldom ours.
But thou, whose Muse a falcon's pitch can soar,
Must share the bays even with a conqueror.

Cuttie.

Why doth not Willie then produce such lines
Of men and arms as might accord with these?

Willie.

'Cause Cuttie's spirit not in Willie shines.
Pan cannot wield the club of Hercules,
Nor dare a merlin on a heron seize.
Scarce know I how to fit a shepherd's ear:Far more unable shall I be to please
In ought, which none but semi-gods must hear.
When by thy verse (more able) time shall see,
Thou canst give more to kings than kings to thee.

Cuttie.

But, well-a-day, who loves the Muses now,
Or helps the climber of the sacred hill?
None lean to them, but strive to disallow
All heavenly dews the goddesses distil.

Willie.

Let earthly minds base muck for ever fill,
Whose music only is the chime of gold;
Deaf be their ears to each harmonious quill!
As they of learning think, so of them hold.
And if there's none deserves what thou canst do,
Be then the poet and the patron too.

I tell thee, Cuttie, had I all the sheep,
With thrice as many moe, as on these plains
Or shepherd or fair maiden sits to keep,
I would them all forego, so I thy strains
Could equalize. O how our neatest swains
Do trim themselves, when on a holiday
They haste to hear thee sing, knowing the trains
Of fairest nymphs will come to learn thy lay.
Well may they run and wish a parting never,
So thy sweet tongue might charm their ears for ever.

Cuttie.

These attributes, my lad, are not for me;
Bestow them where true merit hath assign'd—

Willie.

And do I not, bestowing them on thee?
Believe me, Cuttie, I do bear this mind,
That whereso'er we true deserving find,
To give a silent praise is to detract.
Obscure thy verses (more than most refin'd)
From any one of dulness so compact;
And rather sing to trees than to such men,
Who know not how to crown a poet's pen.

Cuttie.

Willie, by thy incitement I'll assay
To raise my subject higher than tofore,
And sing it to our swains next holiday,
Which (as approv'd) shall fill them with the store
Of such rare accents; if dislik'd, no more
Will I a higher strain than shepherds use,
But sing of woods and rivers, as before.

Willie.

Thou wilt be ever happy in thy Muse.
But see, the radiant sun is gotten high;
Let's seek for shadow in the grove here by.

^FOOTNOTE^

^1^ Willie, William Browne.
^2^ Cuttie, Christopher Brooke.





Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net