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"O soveraigne Pan! thou god of shepheardes all,
Which of our tender lambkins takest keepe,1
And, when our flockes into mischaunce mought fall,
Doest save from mischiefe the unwarie sheepe,
Als2 of their maisters hast no lesse regard
Then of the flocks, which thou doest watch and ward;
"I thee beseeche (so be thou deigne to hear
Rude ditties, tunde to shepheardes oaten reede,
Or if I ever sonet song so cleare,
As it with pleasaunce mought thy fancie feede,)
Hearken a while, from thy greene cabinet,
The rurall song of carefull Colinet.
"Whilome 3 in youth, when flowrd my ioyfull spring,
Like swallow swift I wandred here and there;
For heate of heedlesse lust me so did sting,
That I oft doubted daunger had no feare:
I went the wastefull woodes and forrest wide,
Withouten dread of wolves to bene espide.
"I wont to raunge amid the mazie thicket,
And gather nuttes to make my Christmas-game,
And ioyed oft to chace the trembling pricket,1
Or hunt the hartlesse hare till she were tame.
What wreaked 5 I of wintrie ages waste?
Tho deemed I my spring would ever last.
"How often have I scaled the craggie oke, All to dislodge the raven of her nest?
2 Als, also.
3 Whilome, formerly.
▲ Pricket, buck.
5 Wreaked, recked.
• Tho, then.
How have I wearied, with many a stroke,
The stately walnut-tree, the while the rest
Under the tree fell all for nuttes at strife?
For like to me was libertie and life.
"And for I was in thilke1 same looser yeeres,
(Whether the muse so wrought me from my byrth,
Or I too much beleev'd my shepheard peeres,)
Somedele 2 ybent to song and musickes mirth,
A good old shepheard, Wrenock was his name,
Made me by arte more cunning in the same.
"Fro thence I durst in derring to compare
With shepheardes swayne whatever fed in field;
And, if that Hobbinoll right iudgement bare,
To Pan his own selfe pype I need not yield:
For, if the flocking nymphes did follow Pan,
The wiser Muses after Colin ran.
"But, ah! such pride at length was ill repayde;
The shepheards god (perdie3 god was he none)
My hurtlesse pleasaunce did me ill upbraide,
My freedome lorne,4 my life he left to mone.
Love they him called that gave me check-mate,
But better mought they have behote 5 him Hate.
"Tho gan my lovely spring bid me farewell,
And sommer season sped him to display
(For Love then in the Lyons house did dwell,)
The raging fire that kindled at his ray.
1 Thilke, those.
2 Somedele, somewhat.
3 Perdie, in truth.
4 Lorne, lost.
5 Behote, called.
• Tho, then.
A comet stird up that unkindly heate,
That reigned (as men said) in Venus seate.
"Forth was I ledde, not as I wont afore,
When choise I had to choose my wandring way,
But whether Luck and Loves unbridled lore
Would lead me forth on Fancies bitte to play:
The bush my bed, the bramble was my bowre, 65
The woodes can witnesse many a wofull stowre.1
"Where I was wont to seeke the honie bee,
Working her formall rowmes in wexen frame,
The grieslie todestoole growne there mought I see,
And loathed paddockes 2 lording on the same:
And, where the chaunting birds luld me asleepe,
The ghastly owle her grievous ynne 3 doth keepe.
"Then as the spring gives place to elder Time,
And bringeth forth the fruite of sommers pride;
All so my age, now passed youthly prime,
To things of riper season selfe applied,
And learnd of lighter timber cotes to frame,
Such as might save my sheepe and me fro shame.
"To make fine cages for the nightingale,
And baskets of bulrushes, was my wont:
Who to entrap the fish in winding sale 4
Was better seene, or hurtfull beastes to hont?
I learned als the signs of heaven to ken,6
How Phoebus failes, where Venus sits, and when.
1 Stowre, affliction.
2 Paddockes, toads.
3 Ynne, abode.
4 Sale, wicker net.
5 Als, also.
6 Ken, know.
"And tryed time yet taught me greater thinges;
The sodain rising of the raging seas,
The soothe1 of byrdes by beating of theyr winges,
The powre of herbes, both which can hurt and ease,
And which be wont t' enrage the restlesse sheepe,
And which be wont to worke eternall sleepe.
"But, ah! unwise and witlesse Colin Cloute,
That kydst the hidden kindes of many a weede,
Yet kydst 2 not ene 3 to cure thy sore heart-roote,
Whose ranckling wound as yet does rifely 4 bleede.
Why livest thou still, and yet hast thy deaths wound?
Why dyest thou still, and yet alive art found?
"Thus is my sommer worne away and wasted,
Thus is my harvest hastened all-to rathe 5;
The eare that budded fayre is burnt and blasted,
And all my hoped gaine is turn'd to scathe.
Of all the seede, that in my youth was sowne,
Was none but brakes and brambles to be mowne.
"My boughs with bloosmes that crowned were at first,
And promised of timely fruite such store,
Are left both bare and barrein now at erst 7;
The flattering fruite is fallen to ground before,
And rotted ere they were halfe mellow ripe ;
My harvest, wast, my hope away did wipe.
"The fragrant flowres, that in my garden grewe, Bene withered, as they had bene gathered long :
1 Soothe, soothsaying.
4 Rifely, abundantly.
• Scathe, ruin.
3 Ene, one
All-to rathe, too early.
At erst, at last.
Theyr rootes bene dryed up for lack of dewe,
Yet dewed with teares they han1 be ever among.
Ah! who has wrought my Rosalind this spight,
To spill the flowres that should her girlond dight 3?
"And I, that whilome wont to frame my pype
Unto the shifting of the shepheards foote,
Sike 5 follies now have gathered as too ripe,
And cast hem out as rotten and unsoote.6
The loser lasse I cast to please no more;
One if I please, enough is me therefore.
"So now my yeere drawes to his latter terme,
My spring is spent, my sommer burnt up quite;
My harvest hastes to stirre up Winter sterne,
And bids him clayme with rigorous rage his right:
So now he stormes with many a sturdy stoure;
So now his blustring blast eche coast doth scoure.
"And thus of all my harvest-hope I have
Nought reaped but a weedie crop of care;
Which, when I thought have thresht in swelling sheave,
Cockle for corn, and chaffe for barley, bare:
Soon as the chaffe should in the fan be fynd,7
All was blown away of the wavering wynd.
"The carefull cold hath nipt my rugged rynd,
And in my face deepe furrowes eld 9 hath pight 10:
6 Unsoote, unsweet.
7 Fynd, sifted.
8 Stoure, assault.
9 Eld, age.
10 Pight, put.