Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SHEPHERD'S PIPE: SEVENTH ECLOGUE, by WILLIAM BROWNE (1591-1643)



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THE SHEPHERD'S PIPE: SEVENTH ECLOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Palinode entreats his friend
Last Line: It is in vain. Farewell. I must away.
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, William Of Tavistock
Subject(s): Farewell; Parting


THE ARGUMENT.

Palinode entreats his friend
To leave a wanton lass;
Yet he pursues her to his end,
And lets all counsel pass.

PALINODE. HOBBINOLL.

WHITHER wends Hobbinoll so early day?
What, be thy lambkins broken from the fold,
And on the plains all night have run astray?
Or are thy sheep and sheep-walks both ysold?
What mister-chance hath brought thee to the field
Without thy sheep? thou were not wont to yield
To idle sport,
But didst resort
As early to thy charge from drowsy bed
As any shepherd that his flock hath fed
Upon these downs.

Hobbinoll.

Such heavy frowns
Fortune for others keeps; but bends on me
Smiles would befit the seat of majesty.
Hath Palinode
Made his abode
Upon our plains, or in some uncouth cell,
That hears not what to Hobbinoll befell?
Phillis the fair, and fairer is there none,
To-morrow must be link'd in marriage bands.
'Tis I that must undo her virgin zone:
Behold the man, behold the happy hands.

Palinode.

Behold the man? Nay, then the woman too:
Though both of them are very small beholding
To any power that set them on to woo.
Ah, Hobbinoll! it is not worth unfolding
What shepherds say of her; thou canst not choose
But hear what language all of Phillis use;
Yet, than such tongues,
To her belongs
More men to sate her lust! Unhappy elf!
That wilt be bound to her to lose thyself:
Forsake her first.

Hobbinoll.

Thou most accurs'd!
Durst thou to slander thus the innocent,
The graces' pattern, virtue's president?
She in whose eye
Shines modesty:
Upon whose brow lust never looks with hope?
Venus rul'd not in Phillis' horoscope.
'Tis not the vapour of a hemlock stem
Can spoil the perfume of sweet cinnamon;
Nor vile aspersions, or by thee or them
Cast on her name, can stay my going on.

Palinode.

On may'st thou go, but not with such a one,
Whom, I dare swear, thou know'st is not a maid.
Remember, when I met her last alone,
As we to yonder grove for filberds stray'd,
Like to a new-struck doe from out the bushes
Lacing herself, and red with gamesome blushes,
Made towards the green,
Loath to be seen:
And after in the grove the goatherd met.
What saidst thou then? If this prevail not, yet
I'll tell thee moe.
Not long ago
Too long I lov'd her, and as thou dost now,
Would swear Diana was less chaste than she,
That Jupiter would court her, knew he how
To find a shape might tempt such chastity:
And that her thoughts were pure as new-fall'n snow,
Or silver swans that trace the banks of Po,
And free within
From spot of sin:
Yet like the flint her lust-swoll'n breast conceal'd
A hidden fire; and thus it was reveal'd:
Cladon, the lad
Who whilom had
The garland given for throwing best the bar,
I know not by what chance or lucky star,
Was chosen late
To be the mate
Unto our Lady of the gleesome May,
And was the first that danc'd each holiday.
None would he take but Phillis forth to dance,
Nor any could with Phillis dance but he.
On Palinode she thenceforth not a glance
Bestows, but hates him and his poverty.
Cladon had sheep and limbs for stronger load
Than e'er she saw in simple Palinode;
He was the man
Must clip her then;
For him she wreaths of flowers and chaplets made,
To strawberries invites him in the shade
In shearing time:
And in the prime
Would help to clip his sheep and guard his lambs,
And at a need lend him her choicest rams;
And on each stock
Work such a clock
With twisted colour'd thread, as not a swain
On all these downs could show the like again.
But, as it seems, the well grew dry at last,
Her fire unquench'd; and she hath Cladon left.
Nor was I sorry; nor do wish to taste
The flesh whereto so many flies have cleft.
Oh, Hobbinoll! canst thou imagine she
That hath so oft been tried, so oft misdone,
Can from all other men be true to thee?
Thou know'st with me, with Cladon, she hath gone
Beyond the limits that a maiden may,
And can the name of wife those rovings stay?
She hath not ought
That's hid, unsought:
These eyes, these hands, so much know of that woman
As more thou canst not; can that please that's common?
No: should I wed,
My marriage bed
And all that it contains should as my heart
Be known but to myself; if we impart
What golden rings
The fairy brings,
We lose the gem: nor will they give us more.
Wives lose their value, if once known before.
Behold this violet that cropped lies,
I know not by what hand, first from the stem,
With what I pluck myself shall I it prize?
I scorn the offals of a diadem.
A virgin's bed hath millions of delights,
If then good parents please she know no more:
Nor hath her servants nor her favourites
That wait her husband's issuing at door.
She that is free both from the act and eye
Only deserves the due of chastity.
But Phillis is
As far from this,
As are the poles in distance from each other:
She well beseems the daughter of her mother.
Is there a brake
By hill or lake
In all our plains that hath not guilty been
In keeping close her stealths; the Paphian Queen
Ne'er used her skill
To win her will
Of young Adonis with more heart than she
Hath her allurements spent to work on me.
Leave, leave her, Hobbinoll; she is so ill
That any one is good that's nought of her,
Though she be fair, the ground which oft we till
Grows with his burden old and barrener.

Hobbinoll.

With much ado, and with no little pain
Have I out-heard thy railing 'gainst my love:
But it is common what we cannot gain
We oft disvalue; sooner shalt thou move
Yond lofty mountain from the place it stands,
Or count the meadow's flowers, or Isis' sands,
Than stir one thought
In me, that ought
Can be in Phillis which Diana fair
And all the goddesses would not wish their.
Fond man, then cease
To cross that peace
Which Phillis' virtue and this heart of mine
Have well begun; and for those words of thine
I do forgive,
If thou wilt live
Hereafter free from such reproaches moe,
Since goodness never was without her foe.

Palinode.

Believe me, Hobbinoll, what I have said
Was more in love to thee than hate to her:
Think on thy liberty; let that be weigh'd;
Great good may oft betide, if we defer,
And use some short delays ere marriage rites;
Wedlock hath days of toil as joysome nights.
Canst thou be free
From jealousy?
Oh no: that plague will so infect thy brain
That only death must work thy peace again.
Thou canst not dwell
One minute well
From whence thou leav'st her; lock on her thy gate,
Yet will her mind be still adulterate.
Not Argus' eyes,
Nor ten such spies,
Can make her only thine; for she will do
With those that shall make thee mistrust them too.

Hobbinoll.

Wilt thou not leave to taint a virgin's name?

Palinode.

A virgin? yes: as sure as is her mother.
Dost thou not hear her good report by fame?

Hobbinoll.

Fame is a liar, and was never other.

Palinode.

Nay, if she ever spoke true, now she did:
And thou wilt once confess what I foretold:
The fire will be disc [l] os'd that now lies hid,
Nor will thy thought of her thus long time hold,
Yet may she (if that possible can fall)
Be true to thee, that hath been false to all.

Hobbinoll.

So pierce the rocks
A redbreast's knocks
As the belief of ought thou tell'st me now.
Yet be my guest to-morrow.

Palinode.

Speed your plough.
I fear ere long
You'll sing a song
Like that was sung hereby not long ago:
Where there is carrion never wants a crow.

Hobbinoll.

Ill-tutor'd swain,
If on the plain
Thy sheep henceforward come where mine do feed,
They shall be sure to smart for thy misdeed.

Palinode.

Such are the thanks a friend's forewarning brings.
Now by the love I ever bore thee, stay!
Meet not mishaps! themselves have speedy wings.

Hobbinoll.

It is in vain. Farewell. I must away.





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