« PreviousContinue »
TO THE RIGHT WORTHY AND NOBLE KNIGHT
SIR WALTER RALEIGH
CAPTAINE OF HER MAJESTIES GUARD, LORD WARDEIN
OF THE STANNERIES, AND LIEUTENANT OF
THE COUNTIE OF CORNWALL.
THAT you may see that I am not alwaies ydle as yee thinke, though not greatly well occupied, nor altogither undutifull, though not precisely officious, I make you present of this simple Pastorall, unworthie of your higher conceipt for the meanesse of the stile, but agreeing with the truth in circumstance and matter. The which I humbly beseech you to accept in part of paiment of the infinite debt, in which I acknowledge my selfe bounden unto you for your singular favours, and sundrie good turnes, shewed to me at my late being in England; and with your good countenance protect against the malice of evill mouthes, which are alwaies wide open to carpe at and misconstrue my simple meaning. I pray continually for your happiFrom my house at Kilcolman, the 27. of Decem
1591. [rather perhaps 1595.]
HE shepheards boy (best knowen by that name) 1 sung his
Laies of sweet love, without rebuke or blame,
Sate (as his custome was) upon a day,
Charming his oaten pipe unto his peres,
The shepheard swaines that did about him play :
Who all the while with greedie listfull eares,
Did stand astonisht at his curious skill,
Like hartlesse Deare, dismayd with thunders sound.
At last, when as he piped had his fill,
He rested him: and, sitting then around,
One of those groomes (a jolly groome was he,
As ever piped on an oaten reed,
And lov'd this shepheard dearest in degree,
Hight Hobbinol;) gan thus to him areed.
Colin, my liefe, my life, how great a losse
Had all the shepheards nation by thy lacke!
And I, poore swaine, of many, greatest crosse !
That, sith thy Muse first since thy turning backe
Was heard to sound as she was wont on hye,
Hast made us all so blessed and so blythe.
Whilest thou wast hence, all dead in dole did lie:
The woods were heard to waile full many a sythe,
And all their birds with silence to complaine:
The fields with faded flowers did seem to mourne,
And all their flocks from feeding to refraine:
The running waters wept for thy returne,
And all their fish with languour did lament:
But now both woods and fields and floods revive,
Sith thou art come, their cause of meriment,
That us, late dead, hast made againe alive :
But were it not too painefull to repeat
The passed fortunes, which to thee befell
In thy late voyage, we thee would entreat,
Now at thy leisure them to us to tell."
To whom the shepheard gently answered thus ;
Hobbin, thou temptest me to that I covet:
For of good passed newly to discus,
By dubble usurie doth twise renew it.
And since I saw that Angels blessed eie,
Her worlds bright sun, her heavens fairest light,
My mind, full of my thoughts satietie,
Doth feed on sweet contentment of that sight:
Since that same day in nought I take delight,
Ne feeling have in any earthly pleasure,
But in remembrance of that glory bright,
My lifes sole blisse, my hearts eternall threasure.
Wake then, my pipe; my sleepie Muse, awake;
Till I have told her praises lasting long :
Hobbin desires, thou maist it not forsake ;-
Harke then, ye jolly shepheards, to my song."
With that they all gan throng about him neare,
With hungrie eares to heare his harmonie :
The whiles their flocks, devoyd of dangers feare,
Did round about them feed at libertie.
"One day (quoth he) I sat (as was my trade)
Under the foote of Mole, that mountaine hore,
Keeping my sheepe amongst the cooly shade
Of the greene alders by the Mullaes shore:
There a straunge shepheard chaunst to find me out,
Whether allured with my pipes delight,
Whose pleasing sound yshrilled far about,
Or thither led by chaunce, I know not right:
Whom when I asked from what place he came,
And how he hight, himselfe he did ycleepe
The Shepheard of the Ocean by name,
And said he came far from the main-sea deepe.