Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SHEPHERD'S HUNTING: THE FIRST EGLOGUE, by GEORGE WITHER



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
THE SHEPHERD'S HUNTING: THE FIRST EGLOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Willy leaves his flock a while
Last Line: Prethee, willy, do.
Subject(s): Browne, William (1591-1645); Prisons & Prisoners


The Argument.

Willy leaves his Flocke a while,
To lament his Friends exile;
Where, though prison'd, he doth finde,
Hee's still free that's free in Minde:
And that there is no defence
Halfe so firme as Innocence.

Philarete. Willie.

Philarete.

Willy, thou now full jolly tun'st thy Reedes,
Making the Nymphs enamor'd on thy strains,
And whilst thy harmles flock unscarred feeds,
Hast the contentment, of hils, groves, & plains:
Trust me, I joy thou and the Muse so speedes
In such an Age, where so much mischiefe raignes:
And to my Care it some redresse will be,
Fortune hath so much grace to smile on thee.

Willy.

To smile on me? I nere yet knew her smile,
Unlesse 'twere when she purpos'd to deceive me;
Many a Traine, and many a painted Wile
She casts, in hope of Freedome to bereave me:
Yet now, because she sees I scorne her guile
To fawne on fooles, she for my Muse doth leave me.
And here of late, her wonted Spite doth tend,
To worke me Care, by frowning on my friend.

Philarete.

Why then I see her Copper-coyne's no starling,
'Twill not be currant still, (for all the guilding)
A Knave, or Foole, must ever be her Darling,
For they have minds to all occasions yeelding:
If we get any thing by all our parling.
It seemes an Apple, but it proves a Weilding:
But let that passe: sweet Shepheard tell me this,
For what beloved Friend thy sorrow is.

Willy.

Art thou, Philarete, in durance heere,
And dost thou aske me for what Friend I grieve?
Can I suppose thy love to me is deere,
Or this thy joy for my content believe?
When thou think'st thy cares touch not me as neere:
Or that I pinne thy Sorrowes at my sleeve?
I have in thee reposed so much trust,
I never thought, to find thee so unjust.

Philarete.

Why, Willy?
Willy.

Prethee doe not aske me why?
Doth it diminish any of thy care,
That I in freedome maken melody;
And think'st I cannot as well somewhat spare
From my delight, to mone thy misery?
'Tis time our Loves should these suspects forbeare:
Thou art that friend, which thou unnam'd shold'st know,
And not have drawne my love in question so.

Philarete.

Forgive me, and I'le pardon thy mistake,
And so let this thy gentle-anger cease,
(I never of thy love will question make)
Whilst that the number of our dayes encrease,
Yet to my selfe I much might seeme to take,
And something neere unto presumption prease:
To thinke me worthy love from such a spirit,
But that I know thy kindnesse past my merit.

Besides; me thought thou spak'st now of a friend,
That seem'd more grievous discontents to beare,
Some things I find that doe in shew offend,
Which to my Patience little trouble are,
And they ere long I hope will have an end;
Or though they have not, much I doe not care:
So this it was, made me that question move,
And not suspect of honest Willies love.

Willie.

Alas, thou art exiled from thy Flocke,
And quite beyond the Desarts here confin'd,
Hast nothing to converse with but a Rocke;
Or at least Out-lawes in their Caves halfe pin'd:
And do'st thou at thy owne mis-fortune mocke,
Making thy selfe to, to thy selfe unkinde?
When heretofore we talk't we did imbrace:
But now I scarce can come to see thy face.

Philarete.

Yet all that Willy, is not worth thy sorrow,
For I have Mirth here thou would'st not beleeve,
From deepest cares the highest joyes I borrow.
If ought chance out this day, may make me grieve
I'le learne to mend, or scorne it by to morrow.
This barren place yeelds somewhat to relieve:
For, I have found sufficient to content me,
And more true blisse then ever freedome lent me.

Willie.

Are Prisons then growne places of delight?

Philarete.

'Tis as the conscience of the Prisoner is,
The very Grates are able to affright
The guilty Man, that knowes his deedes amisse;
All outward Pleasures are exiled quite,
And it is nothing (of it selfe) but this:
Abhorred leanenesse, darkenesse, sadnesse, paines,
Num'n-cold, sharpe-hunger, schorching thirst and chaines.

Willie.

And these are nothing?

Philarete.

Nothing yet to mee.
Onely my friends restraint is all my paine.
And since I truely find my conscience free
From that my loanenesse to, I reape some gaine.

Willie.

But grant in this no discontentment be:
It doth thy wished liberty restraine:
And to thy soule I thinke there's nothing nearer,
For I could never heare thee prize ought dearer.

Philarete.

True, I did ever set it at a Rate
Too deare for any Mortals worth to buy,
'Tis not our greatest Shepheards whole estate,
Shall purchase from me, my least liberty:
But I am subject to the powers of Fate,
And to obey them is no slavery:
They may doe much, but when they have done all,
Onely my body they may bring in thrall.

And 'tis not that (my Willy) 'tis my mind,
My Mind's more precious, freedome I so weigh
A thousand wayes they may my body bind,
In thousand thrals, but ne're my mind betray:
And thence it is that I contentment find,
And beare with Patience this my loade away:
I'me still my selfe, and that I'de rather bee,
Then to be Lord of all these Downes in fee.

Willie.

Nobly resolv'd, and I doe joy to hear't,
For 'tis the minde of Man indeed that's all.
There's nought so hard but a brave heart will bear't,
The guiltlesse men count great afflictions small,
They'le looke on Death and Torment, yet not fear't,
Because they know 'tis rising so to fall:
Tyrants may boast they to much power are borne,
Yet he hath more that Tyranies can scorne.

Philarete.

'Tis right, but I no Tyranies endure,
Nor have I suffered ought worth name of care

Willie.

What e're thou'lt call't, thou may'st, but I am sure,
Many more pine that much lesse pained are:
Thy looke me thinkes doth say thy meaning's pure
And by this past I find what thou do'st dare:
But I could never yet the reason know,
Why thou art lodged in this house of wo.

Philarete.

Nor I by Pan, nor never hope to doe,
But thus it pleases some; and I doe guesse
Partly a cause that moves them thereunto,
Which neither will availe me to expresse,
Nor thee to heare, and therefore let it goe,
We must not say, they doe so that oppresse:
Yet I shall ne're to sooth them or the times,
Injure my selfe, by bearing others crimes.

Willie.

Then now thou maist speake freely, there's none heares,
But he, whom I doe hope thou do'st not doubt.

Philarete.

True: but if doores and walles have gotten eares,
And Closet-whisperings may be spread about:
Doe not blame him that in such causes feares
What in his Passion he may blunder out:
In such a place, and such strict times as these,
Where what we speake is tooke as others please.

But yet to morrow, if thou come this way,
I'le tell thee all my story to the end;
'Tis long, and now I feare thou canst not stay,
Because thy Flocke must watred be and pend,
And Night begins to muffle up the day,
Which to informe thee how alone I spend,
I'le onely sing a sorry Prisoners Lay,
I fram'd this Morne, which though it suits no fields,
Is such as fits me, and sad Thraldome yeelds.

Willie.

Well, I will fet my Kit another string,
And play unto it whil'st that thou do'st sing.

SONNET.

Philarete.

Now that my body dead-alive,
Bereav'd of comfort, lies in thrall.
Doe thou my soule begin to thrive,
And unto Hony, turne this Gall:
So shall we both through outward wo,
The way to inward comfort know.

As to the Flesh we food do give;
To keepe in us this Mortall breath:
So, Soules on Meditations live,
And shunne thereby immortall death:
Nor art thou ever neerer rest,
Then when thou find'st me most opprest.

First thinke my Soule; If I have Foes
That take a pleasure in my care,
And to procure these outward woes,
Have thus entrapt me unaware:
Thou should'st by much more carefull bee,
Since greater foes lay waite for thee.

Then when Mew'd up in grates of steele,
Minding those joyes, mine eyes doe misse,
Thou find'st no torment thou do'st feele,
So grievous as Privation is:
Muse how the Damn'd in flames that glow,
Pine in the losse of blisse they know.

Thou seest there's given so great might
To some that are but clay as I,
Their very anger can affright,
Which, if in any thou espie.
Thus thinke; If Mortals frownes strike feare,
How dreadfull will Gods wrath appeare?

By my late hopes that now are crost,
Consider those that firmer be:
And make the freedome I have lost,
A meanes that may remember thee:
Had Christ, not thy Redeemer bin,
What horrid thrall thou had'st been in.

These yron chaines, these bolts of steele,
Which other poore offenders grind,
The wants and cares which they doe feele,
May bring some greater thing to mind:
For by their griefe thou shalt doe well,
To thinke upon the paines of Hell.

Or, when through me thou seest a Man
Condemn'd unto a mortall death,
How sad he lookes, how pale, how wan,
Drawing with feare his panting breath:
Thinke, if in that, such griefe thou see,
How sad will, Goe yee cursed be.

Againe, when he that fear'd to Dye
(Past hope) doth see his Pardon brought,
Reade but the joy that's in his eye,
And then convey it to thy thought:
There thinke, betwixt thy heart and thee,
How sweet will, Come yee blessed, bee.

Thus if thou doe, though closed here,
My bondage I shall deeme the lesse,
I neither shall have cause to feare,
Nor yet bewaile my sad distresse:
For whether live, or pine, or dye,
We shall have blisse eternally.

* * *

Willy.

Trust me I see the Cage doth some Birds good,
And if they doe not suffer too much wrong,
Will teach them sweeter descants then the wood:
Beleeve't, I like the subject of thy Song,
It shewes thou art in no distempred mood:
But cause to heare the residue I long,
My Sheepe to morrow I will neerer bring,
And spend the day to heare thee talk and sing.

Yet e're we part, Philarete, areed,
Of whom thou learnd'st to make such songs as these,
I never yet heard any Shepheards reede
Tune in mishap, a straine that more could please;
Surely, Thou do'st invoke at this thy neede
Some power, that we neglect in other layes:
For heer's a Name, and words, that but few swaines
Have mention'd at their meeting on the Plaines.

Philarete.

Indeed 'tis true; and they are sore to blame,
They doe so much neglect it in their Songs,
For, thence proceedeth such a worthy fame,
As is not subject unto Envies wrongs:
That, is the most to be respected name
Of our true Pan, whose worth sits on all tongues:
And what the ancient Shepheards use to prayse
In sacred Anthemes, upon Holy-dayes.

Hee that first taught his Musicke such a straine
Was that sweet Shepheard, who *untill a King)
Kept Sheepe upon the hony-milky Plaine,
That is inrich't by Jordans watering;
He in his troubles eas'd the bodies paines,
By measures rais'd to the Soules ravishing:
And his sweet numbers onely most divine,
Gave first the being to this Song of mine.

Willy.

Let his good spirit ever with thee dwell,
That I might heare such Musicke every day.

Philarete.

Thankes, Swaine: but harke, thy Weather rings his Bell.
And Swaines to fold, or homeward drive away.

Willy.

And yon goes Cuddy, therefore fare thou well:
I'le make his Sheepe for mee a little stay;
And, if thou thinke it fit, I'le bring him to,
Next morning hither.
Philarete.

Prethee, Willy, do.





Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net