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



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THE SHEPHERD'S PIPE: SIXTH ECLOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Philos of his dog doth brag
Last Line: Make haste again.
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, William Of Tavistock
Subject(s): Animals; Dogs


THE ARGUMENT.

Philos of his dog doth brag
For having many feats;
The while the cur undoes his bag,
And all his dinner eats.

WILLIE. JOCKIE. PHILOS.

Willie.

STAY, Jockie, let us rest here by this spring,
And Philos too, since we so well are met;
This spreading oak will yield us shadowing
Till Phœbus' steeds be in the ocean wet.

Jockie.

Gladly, kind swain, I yield, so thou wilt play,
And make us merry with a roundelay.

Philos.

No, Jockie, rather wend we to the wood;
The time is fit, and filberds waxen ripe.
Let's go and fray the squirrel from his food;
We will another time hear Willie pipe.

Willie.

But who shall keep our flocks when we are gone?
I dare not go, and let them feed alone.

Jockie.

Nor I: since but the other day it fell,
Leaving my sheep to graze on yonder plain,
I went to fill my bottle at the well,
And ere I could return two lambs were slain.

Philos.

Then was thy dog ill taught, or else asleep;
Such curs as those shall never watch my sheep.

Willie.

Yet Philos hath a dog not of the best:
He seems too lazy, and will take no pains;
More fit to lie at home and take his rest,
Than catch a wand'ring sheep upon the plains.

Jockie.

'Tis true indeed: and Philos, wot ye what?
I think he plays the fox, he grows so fat!

Philos.

Yet hath not Jockie nor yet Willie seen
A dog more nimble than is this of mine,
Nor any of the fox more heedful been,
When in the shade I slept, or list to dine.
And though I say't, hath better tricks in store
Than both of yours, or twenty couple more.

How often have the maidens strove to take him,
When he hath cross'd the plain to bark at crows?
How many lasses have I known to make him
Garlands to gird his neck, with which he goes
Vaunting along the lands so wondrous trim,
That not a dog of yours durst bark at him.

And when I list, as oftentimes I use,
To tune a hornpipe or a morris-dance,
The dog, as he by nature could not choose,
Seeming asleep before, will leap and dance.

Willie.

Belike your dog came of a pedlar's brood,
Or Philos' music is exceeding good.

Philos.

I boast not of his kin, nor of my reed,
Though of my reed and him I well may boast;
Yet if you will adventure that some meedShall be to him that is in action most.
As for a collar of shrill-sounding bells,
My dog shall strive with yours, or any's else.

Jockie.

Philos, in truth I must confess your Wag
(For so you call him) hath of tricks good store.
To steal the victuals from his master's bag
More cunningly I ne'er saw dog before.
See, Willie, see! I prithee, Philos, note
How fast thy bread and cheese goes down his throat.

Willie.

Now, Philos, see how mannerly your cur,
Your well-taught dog, that hath so many tricks,
Devours your dinner.

Philos.

I wish 'twere a bur
To choke the mongrel!

Jockie.

See how clean he licks
Your butter-box; by Pan, I do not meanly
Love Philos' dog that loves to be so cleanly.

Philos.

Well flouted, Jockie.

Willie.

Philos! run amain,
For in your scrip he now hath thrust his head
So far, he cannot get it forth again;
See how he blindfold strags along the mead,
And at your scrip your bottle hangs, I think.
He loves your meat, but cares not for your drink.

Jockie.

Ay, so it seems: and Philos now may go
Unto the wood or home for other cheer.

Philos.

'Twere better he had never serv'd me so:
Sweet meat, sour sauce, he shall aby it dear.
What, must he be aforehand with his master?

Willie.

Only in kindness he would be your taster.

Philos.

Well, Willie, you may laugh, and urge my spleen;
But by my hook I swear he shall it rue,
And had far'd better had he fasting been.
But I must home for my allowance new.
So farewell, lads. Look to my fleeced train
Till my return.

Jockie.

We will.

Wilh

Make haste again.





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