« PreviousContinue »
His Eglogue is purposely intended to the TH honor and prayse of our most gracious souereigne, Queene Elizabeth. The speakers herein be Hobbinoll and Thenott, two shepheardes: the which Hobbinoll being before mentioned, greatly to haue loued Colin, is here set forth more largely, complayning him of that boyes great misaduenture in Loue, whereby his mynd was alienate and with drawen not onely from him, who moste loued him, but also from all former delightes and studies, aswell in pleasaunt pyping, as conning ryming and singing, and other his laudable exercises. Whereby he taketh occasion, for proofe of his more excellencie and skill in poetrie, to recorde a songe, which the sayd Colin sometime made in honor of her Maiestie, whom abruptely he termeth Elysa. HOBBINOLL.
Or bene thine eyes attempred to the yeare, Quenching the gasping furrowes thirst with rayne?
Like April shoure, so stremes the trickling teares Adowne thy cheeke, to quenche thy thristye
Hys pleasaunt Pipe, whych made vs meriment,
What is he for a Ladde, you so lament?
And hath he skill to make so excellent,
Shewe thy selfe Cynthia with thy siluer rayes, and be not abasht:
When shee the beames of her beauty displayes, O how art thou dasht ?
But I will not match her with Latonaes seede, Such follie great sorow to Niobe did breede. Now she is a stone,
And makes dayly mone, Warning all other to take heede.
Pan may be proud, that euer he begot such a Bellibone,
And Syrinx reioyse, that euer was her lot
Soone as my younglings cryen for the dam,
Shee is my goddesse plaine,
I see Calliope speede her to the place, And after her the other Muses trace, where my Goddesse shines:
with their Violines.
Bene they not Bay braunches, which they doe beare,
All for Elisa in her hand to weare?
So sweetely they play,
And sing all the way,
That it a heauen is to heare.
Lo how finely the graces can it foote
to the Instrument:
They dauncen deffly, and singen soote,
in their meriment.
Gars thee greete) causeth thee weepe and complain. Forlorne) left and forsaken.
Attempred to the yeare) agreeable to the season of the yeare, that is Aprill, which moneth is most bent to shoures and seasonable rayne: to quench, that is, to delaye the drought, caused through drynesse of March wyndes.
The Ladde) Colin Clout. The Lasse) Rosalinda. Tressed locks) wrethed and curled.
Is he for a ladde) A straunge manner of speaking .s. what maner of Ladde is he? To make) to rime and versifye. For in this word making, our olde Englishe Poetes were wont to comprehend all the skil of Poetrye, according to the Greeke woorde roeiv, to make, whence commeth the name of Poetes.
Colin thou kenst) knowest. Seemeth hereby that Colin perteyneth to some Southern noble man, and perhaps in Surrye or Kent, the rather bicause he so often nameth the Kentish downes, and before, As lythe as lasse of Kent. The Widowes) He calleth Rosalind the Widowes daughter of the glenne, that is, of a country Hamlet or borough, which I thinke is rather sayde to coloure and concele the person, then simply spoken. For it is well knowen, euen in spighte of Colin and Hobbinoll, that shee is a Gentle woman of no meane house, nor endewed with anye vulgare and common gifts both of nature and manners: but suche indeede, as neede nether Colin be ashamed to haue her made knowne by his verses, nor Hobbinol be greued,
Hobbinols Embleme. O dea certe.
that so she should be commended to immortalitie for her rare and singular Vertues: Specially deseruing it no lesse, then eyther Myrto the most excellent Poete Theocritus his dearling, or Lauretta the diuine Petrarches Goddesse, or Himera the worthye Poete Stesichorus hys Idole: Vpon whom he is sayd so much to haue doted, that in regard of her excellencie, he scorned and wrote against the beauty of Hele na. For which his præsumptuous and vnheedie hardinesse, he is sayde by vengeaunce of the Gods, thereat being offended, to haue lost both his eyes.
Frenne) a straunger. The word I thinke was first poetically put, and afterwarde vsed in commen custome of speach for forenne.
Dight) adorned. Laye) a songe. As Roundelayes and Virelayes. In all this songe is not to be respected, what the worthinesse of her Maiestie deserueth, nor what to the highnes of a Prince is agreeable, but what is moste comely for the meanesse of a shepheards witte, or to conceiue, or to vtter. And therefore he calleth her Elysa, as through rudenesse tripping in her name: and a shepheards daughter, it being very vnfit, that a shepheards boy brought vp in the shepefold, should know, or euer seme to haue heard of a Queenes roialty.
Ye daintie) is, as it were an Exordium ad preparandos animos.
Virgins) the nine Muses, daughters of Apollo and Memorie, whose abode the Poets faine to be on Parnassus, a hill in Grece, for that in that
countrye specially florished the honor of all excellent studies.
Helicon) is both the name of a fountaine at the foote of Parnassus, and also of a mounteine in Bæotia, out of which floweth the famous Spring Castalius, dedicate also to the Muses: of which spring it is sayd, that when Pegasus the winged horse of Perseus (whereby is meant fame and flying renowme) strooke the grownde with his hoofe, sodenly thereout sprange a wel of moste cleare and pleasaunte water, which fro thence forth was consecrate to the Muses and Ladies of learning.
Your siluer song) seemeth to imitate the lyke in Hesiodus άργυρέον μέλος. Syrinx) is the name of a Nymphe of Arcadie, whom when Pan being in loue pursued, she flying from him, of the Gods was turned into a reede. that Pan catching at the Reedes in stede of the Damosell, and puffing hard (for he was almost out of wind) with hys breath made the Reedes to pype: which he seeing, tooke of them, and in remembraunce of his lost loue, made him a pype thereof. But here by Pan and Syrinx is not to bee thoughte, that the shephearde simplye meante those Poetical Gods: but rather supposing (as seemeth) her graces progenie to be diuine and immortall (so as the Paynims were wont to iudge of all Kinges and Princes, according to Homeres saying.
Θυμὶς δὴ μέγας ἐστὶ διοτρεφέως βασιλήως, τιμὴ δ ̓ ἐκ διός ἐστι, φιλεῖ δε ὁ μητίετα Ζεύς.) could deuise no parents in his iudgement so worthy for her, as Pan the shepeheards God, and his best beloued Syrinx. So that by Pan is here meant the most famous and victorious King, her highnesse Father, late of worthy memorye K. Henry the eyght. And by that name, oftymes (as hereafter appeareth) be noted kings and mighty Potentates: And in some place Christ himselfe, who is the verye Pan and god of Shepheardes.
Cremosin coronet) he deuiseth her crowne to be of the finest and most delicate flowers, instede of perles and precious stones, wherewith Princes Diademes vse to bee adorned and embost. Embellish) beautifye and set out. Phebe) the Moone, whom the Poets faine to be sister vnto Phæbus, that is the Sunne. Medled) mingled.
Yfere) together. By the mingling of the Redde rose and the White, is meant the vniting of the two principall houses of Lancaster and of Yorke: by whose longe discord and deadly debate, this realm many yeares was sore traueiled,' and almost cleane decayed. Til the famous Henry the seuenth, of the line of Lancaster, taking to wife the most vertuous Princesse Elisabeth, daughter to the fourth Edward of the house of Yorke, begat the most royal Henry the eyght aforesayde, in whom was the firste vnion of the Whyte Rose and the Redde.
Calliope) one of the nine Muses: to whome they assigne the honor of all Poetical Inuention, and the firste glorye of the Heroicall verse. Other say, that shee is the Goddesse of Rhetorick: but by Virgile it is manifeste, that they mystake the thyng. For there in hys Epigrams, that arte semeth to be attributed to Polymnia, saying: Signat cuncta manu, loquiturque Polymnia gestu.
which seemeth specially to be meant of Action and elocution, both special partes of Rhetorick: besyde that her name, which (as some construe it) importeth great remembraunce, conteineth another part. But I holde rather with them, which call her Polymnia or Polyhvmnia of her good singing.
Bay branches) be the signe of honor and victory, and therfore of myghty Conquerors worn in theyr triumphes, and eke of famous Poets, as saith Petrarch in hys Sonets.
Arbor vittoriosa triomphale,
Honor d' Imperadori & di Poëti, &c.
The Graces) be three sisters, the daughters of Iupiter, (whose names are Aglaia, Thalia, Euphrosyne, and Homer onely addeth a fourth .s. Pasithea) otherwise called Charites, that is thanks. Whom the Poetes feyned to be the Goddesses of al bountie and comelines, which therefore (as sayth Theodontius) they make three, to wete, that men first ought to be gracious and bountiful to other freely, then to receiue benefits at other mens hands curteously, and thirdly to requite them thankfully: which are three sundry Actions in liberalitye. And Boccace saith, that they be painted naked, (as they were indeede on the tombe of C. Iulius Cæsar) the one hauing her backe toward vs, and her face fromwarde, as proceeding from vs: the other two toward vs, noting double thanke to be due to vs for the benefit, we haue done. Deaffly) Finelye and nimbly. Meriment) Mirth.
Beuie) A beauie of Ladyes, is spoken figuratiuely for a company or troupe. The terme is taken of Larkes. For they say a Beuie of Larkes, euen as a Couey of Partridge, or an eye of Pheasaunts. Ladyes of the lake) be Nymphes. For it was an olde opinion amongste the Auncient Heathen, that of euery spring and fountaine was a goddesse the Soueraigne. Whiche opinion stucke in the myndes of men not manye yeares sithence, by meanes of certain fine fablers and lowd lyers, such as were the Authors of King Arthure the great and such like, who tell many an vnlawfull leasing of the Ladyes of the Lake, that is, the Nymphes. For the word Nymphe in Greeke signifieth Well water, or otherwise a Spouse or Bryde.
Behight) called or named.
Cloris) the name of a Nymph, and signifieth greenesse, of whome is sayd, that Zephyrus the Westerne wind being in loue with her, and coueting her to wyfe, gaue her for a dowrie, the chiefedome and soueraigntye of al flowres and greene herbes, growing on earth.
Oliues bene) The Oliue was wont to be the ensigne of Peace and quietnesse, eyther for that it cannot be planted and pruned, and so carefully looked to, as it ought, but in time of peace: or els for that the Oliue tree, they say, will not growe neare the Firre tree, which is dedicate to Mars the God of battaile, and vsed most for speares and other instruments of warre. Whereupon is finely feigned, that when Neptune and Minerua stroue for the naming of the citie of Athens, Neptune striking the ground with his mace, caused a horse to come forth, that importeth warre, but at Mineruaes stroke sprong out an Oliue, to note that it should be a nurse of learning, and such peaceable studies.
Binde your) Spoken rudely, and according to shepheardes simplicitye. Bring) all these be names of flowers. Sops in wine a flowre in colour much like to a Coronation, but differing in smel and quantitye. Flowre delice, that which they vse to misterme, Flowre de luce, being in Latine called Flos delitiarum. A Bellibone) or a Bonibell. Homely spoken for a fayre mayde or Bonilasse.
Forswonck and forswatt) ouerlaboured and sunneburnt.
I saw Phæbus) the sunne. A sensible Narration, and present view of the thing mentioned, which they call παρουσία.
Cynthia) the Moone so called of Cynthus a hyll, where she was honoured.
Latonaes seede) Was Apollo and Diana. Whom when as Niobe the wife of Amphion scorned, in respect of the noble fruict of her wombe, namely her seuen sonnes, and so many daughters, Latona being therewith displeased, commaunded her sonne Phoebus to slea al the sonnes, and Diana all the daughters: whereat the vnfortunate Niobe being sore dismayed, and lamenting out of measure, was feigned of the Poetes, to be turned into a stone vpon the sepulchre of her children. For which cause the shepheard sayth, he will not
compare her to them, for feare of like mysfortune.
Now rise) is the conclusion. For hauing so decked her with prayses and comparisons, he returneth all the thanck of hys laboure to the excellencie of her Maiestie.
When Damsins) A base reward of a clownish giuer. Yblent) Y, is a poeticall addition. Blent blinded. Embleme.
This Poesye is taken out of Virgile, and there of him vsed in the person of Æneas to his mother Venus, appearing to him in likenesse of one of Dianaes damosells: being there most diuinely set forth. To which similitude of diuinitie Hobbinoll comparing the excelency of Elisa, and being through the worthynes of Colins song, as it were, ouercome with the hugenesse of his imagination, brusteth out in great admiration, (O quam te memorem virgo?) being otherwise vnhable, then by soddein silence, to expresse the worthinesse of his conceipt. Whom Thenot answereth with another part of the like verse, as confirming by his graunt and approuaunce, that Elisa is no whit inferiour to the Maiestie of her, of whome that Poete so boldly pronounced, O dea certe.