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Helpe, O ye shepheards helpe ye all in this,
Helpe Amaryllis this her losse to mourne:
Her losse is yours, your losse Amyntas is,
Amyntas floure of shepheards pride forlorne :
He whilest he liued was the noblest swaine,
That euer piped in an oaten quill: 441
Both did he other, which could pipe, maintaine,
And eke could pipe himselfe with passing skill.
And there though last not least is Aetion,
A gentler shepheard may no where be found:
Whose Muse full of high thoughts inuention,
Doth like himselfe Heroically sound.
All these, and many others mo remaine,
Now after Astrofell is dead and gone:
But while as Astrofell did liue and raine,
Amongst all these was none his Paragone.
All these do florish in their sundry kynd,
And do their Cynthia immortall make:
Yet found I lyking in her royall mynd,
Not for my skill, but for that shepheards sake.
Then spake a louely lasse, hight Lucida,
Shepheard, enough of shepheards thou hast
Which fauour thee, and honour Cynthia:
But of so many Nymphs which she doth hold
In her retinew, thou hast nothing sayd; 460
That seems, with none of them thou fauor
Or art ingratefull to each gentle mayd,
That none of all their due deserts resoundest.
Ah far be it (quoth Colin Clout) fro me,
That I of gentle Mayds should ill deserue:
For that my selfe I do professe to be
Vassall to one, whom all my dayes I serue;
The beame of beautie sparkled from aboue,
The floure of vertue and pure chastitie,
The blossome of sweet ioy and perfect loue, 470
The pearle of peerlesse grace and modestie:
To her my thoughts I daily dedicate,
To her my heart I nightly martyrize:
To her my loue I lowly do prostrate,
To her my life I wholly sacrifice :
In whose braue mynd, as in a golden cofer,
All heauenly gifts and riches locked are:
More rich then pearles of Ynde, or gold of Opher,
And in her sex more wonderfull and rare. 491
Ne lesse praise worthie I Theana read,
Whose goodly beames though they be ouer
With mourning stole of carefull wydowhead, Yet through that darksome vale do glister bright;
She is the well of bountie and braue mynd,
Excelling most in glorie and great light:
She is the ornament of womankind,
And Courts chief garlond with all vertues dight.
Therefore great Cynthia her in chiefest grace
Doth hold, and next vnto her selfe aduance,
Well worthie of so honourable place,
For her great worth and noble gouernance.
Ne lesse praise worthie is her sister deare,
Faire Marian, the Muses onely darling:
Whose beautie shyneth as the morning cleare,
With siluer deaw vpon the roses pearling.
Ne lesse praise worthie is Mansilia,
Best knowne by bearing vp great Cynthiaes
That same is she to whom Daphnaida
Vpon her neeces death I did complaine.
She is the paterne of true womanhead,
And onely mirrhor of feminitie :
Worthie next after Cynthia to tread,
As she is next her in nobilitie.
Ne lesse praise worthie Galathea seemes,
Then best of all that honourable crew,
Faire Galathea with bright shining beames,
In flaming feeble eyes that her do view.
She there then waited vpon Cynthia,
Yet there is not her won, but here with vs
About the borders of our rich Coshma,
Now made of Maa the Nymph delitious.
Ne lesse praisworthie faire Neara is,
Neæra ours, not theirs, though there she be,
For of the famous Shure, the Nymph she is,
My thought, my heart, my loue, my life is For high desert, aduaunst to that degree.
She is the blosome of grace and curtesie,
Adorned with all honourable parts:
She is the braunch of true nobilitie,
Belou'd of high and low with faithfull harts.
Ne lesse praisworthie Stella do I read,
Though nought my praises of her needed arre,
Whom verse of noblest shepheard lately dead
Hath prais'd and rais'd aboue each other
Ne lesse praisworthie are the sisters three, The honor of the noble familie:
Of which I meanest boast my selfe to be, And most that vnto them I am so nie.
Phyllis, Charillis, and sweet Amaryllis,
Phillis the faire, is eldest of the three:
The next to her, is bountifull Charillis.
But th' youngest is the highest in degree.
Phyllis the floure of rare perfection,
Faire spreading forth her leaues with fresh
That with their beauties amorous reflexion,
Bereaue of sence each rash beholders sight.
But sweet Charillis is the Paragone
Of peerlesse price, and ornament of praise,
Admyr'd of all, yet enuied of none, 550
Through the myld temperance of her goodly
Thrice happie do I hold thee noble swaine,
The which art of so rich a spoile possest,
And it embracing deare without disdaine,
Hast sole possession in so chaste a brest:
Of all the shepheards daughters which there bee,
(And yet there be the fairest vnder skie,
Or that elsewhere I euer yet did see)
A fairer Nymph yet neuer saw mine eie:
She is the pride and primrose of the rest,
Made by the maker selfe to be admired:
And like a goodly beacon high addrest,
That is with sparks of heauenle beautie fired.
But Amaryllis, whether fortunate,
Or else vnfortunate may I aread,
That freed is from Cupids yoke by fate,
Since which she doth new bands aduenture
Shepheard what euer thou hast heard to be
In this or that praysd diuersly apart,
In her thou maist them all assembled see,
And seald vp in the threasure of her hart.
Ne thee lesse worthie gentle Flauia,
For thy chaste life and vertue I esteeme:
Ne thee lesse worthie curteous Candida,
For thy true loue and loyaltie I deeme.
Besides yet many mo that Cynthia serue,
Right noble Nymphs, and high to be com-
But if I all should praise as they deserue,
This sun would faile me ere I halfe had ended.
Therefore in closure of a thankfull mynd, 580
I deeme it best to hold eternally,
Their bounteous deeds and noble fauours shrynd,
Then by discourse them to indignifie.
So hauing said, Aglaura him bespake :
Colin, well worthie were those goodly fauours
Bestowd on thee, that so of them doest make,
And them requitest with thy thankfull labours.
But of great Cynthiaes goodnesse and high grace,
Finish the storie which thou hast begunne.
More eath (quoth he) it is in such a case 590
How to begin, then know how to haue donne.
For euerie gift and euerie goodly meed,
Which she on me bestowd, demaunds a day;
And euerie day, in which she did a deed,
Demaunds a yeare it duly to display.
Her words were like a streame of honny fleeting,
The which doth softly trickle from the hiue:
Hable to melt the hearers heart vnweeting,
And eke to make the dead againe aliue.
Her deeds were like great clusters of ripe grapes,
Which load the braunches of the fruitfull vine:
Offring to fall into each mouth that gapes,
And fill the same with store of timely wine.
Her lookes were like beames of the morning Sun,
Forth looking through the windowes of the East:
When first the fleecie cattell haue begun
Vpon the perled grasse to make their feast.
Her thoughts are like the fume of Franckin-
Which from a golden Censer forth doth rise :
And throwing forth sweet odours mounts fro
In rolling globes vp to the vauted skies.
There she beholds with high aspiring thought,
The cradle of her owne creation :
Emongst the seats of Angels heauenly wrought,
Much like an Angell in all forme and fashion.
Colin (said Cuddy then) thou hast forgot Thy selfe, me seemes, too much, to mount so hie: Such loftie flight, base shepheard seemeth not, From flocks and fields, to Angels and to skie.
True (answered he) but her great excellence, Lifts me aboue the measure of my might: 621 That being fild with furious insolence, I feele my selfe like one yrapt in spright. For when I thinke of her, as oft I ought, Then want I words to speake it fitly forth: And when I speake of her what I haue thought, I cannot thinke according to her worth. Yet will I thinke of her, yet will I speake, So long as life my limbs doth hold together, And when as death these vitall bands shall breake,
Her name recorded I will leaue for euer.
Her name in euery tree I will endosse,
That as the trees do grow, her name may grow:
And in the ground each where will it engrosse,
And fill with stones, that all men may it know.
The speaking woods and murmuring waters fall,
Her name Ile teach in knowen termes to frame:
And eke my lambs when for their dams they call,
Ile teach to call for Cynthia by name.
And long while after I am dead and rotten :
Amongst the shepheards daughters dancing
My layes made of her shall not be forgotten.
But sung by them with flowry gyrlonds crownd.
And ye, who so ye be, that shall surviue :
When as ye heare her memory renewed,
Be witnesse of her bountie here aliue,
Which she to Colin her poore shepheard shewed.
Much was the whole assembly of those heards,
Moov'd at his speech, so feelingly he spake :
And stood awhile astonisht at his words, 650
Till Thestylis at last their silence brake,
Saying, Why Colin, since thou foundst such grace
With Cynthia and all her noble crew:
Why didst thou euer leaue that happie place,
In which such wealth might vnto thee accrew?
And back returnedst to this barrein soyle,
Where cold and care and penury do dwell:
Here to keep sheepe, with hunger and with
Most wretched he, that is and cannot tell.
Happie indeed (said Colin) I him hold,
That may that blessed presence still enjoy,
Of fortune and of enuy vncomptrold,
Which still are wont most happiestates t'annoy:
But I by that which little while I prooued:
Some part of those enormities did see,
The which in Court continually hooued,
And followd those which happie seemd to bee.
Therefore I silly man, whose former dayes
Had in rude fields bene altogether spent, 669
Durst not aduenture such vnknowen wayes,
Nor trust the guile of fortunes blandishment,
But rather chose back to my sheep to tourne,
Whose vtmost hardnesse I before had tryde,
Then hauing learnd repentance late, to mourne
Emongst those wretches which I there descryde.
Shepheard (said Thestylis) it seemes of spight
Thou speakest thus gainst their felicitie,
Which thou enuiest, rather then of right
That ought in them blameworthie thou doest
Cause haue I none (quoth he) of cancred will
To quite them ill, that me demeand so well:
But selfe-regard of priuate good or ill,
Moues me of each, so as I found, to tell,
And eke to warne yong shepheards wandring
Which through report of that liues painted
Abandon quiet home, to seeke for it,
Either by slaundring his well deemed name,
Through leasings lewd, and fained forgerie :
Or else by breeding him some blot of blame,
By creeping close into his secrecie;
To which him needs a guilefull hollow hart,
Masked with faire dissembling curtesie, 700
A filed toung furnisht with tearmes of art,
No art of schoole, but Courtiers schoolery.
For arts of schoole haue there small counten-
Counted but toyes to busie ydle braines,
And there professours find small maintenance,
But to be instruments of others gaines.
Ne is there place for any gentle wit,
Vnlesse to please, it selfe it can applie:
But shouldred is, or out of doore quite shit,
As base, or blunt, vnmeet for melodie.
For each mans worth is measured by his weed,
As harts by hornes, or asses by their eares:
Yet asses been not all whose eares exceed,
Nor yet all harts, that hornes the highest beares.
For highest lookes haue not the highest mynd,
Nor haughtie words most full of highest
But are like bladders blowen vp with wynd,
That being prickt do vanish into noughts.
Euen such is all their vaunted vanitie,
Nought else but smoke, that fumeth soone away;
Such is their glorie that in simple eie 721
Seeme greatest, when their garments are most
So they themselues for praise of fooles do sell,
And all their wealth for painting on a wall;
With price whereof, they buy a golden bell,
And purchace highest rowmes in bowre and
Whiles single Truth and simple honestie
Do wander vp and downe despys'd of all;
Their plaine attire such glorious gallantry 729
Disdaines so much, that none them in doth call.
Ah Colin (then said Hobbinol) the blame
Which thou imputest, is too generall,
As if not any gentle wit of name,
Nor honest mynd might there be found at all.
For well I wot, sith I my selfe was there,
To wait on Lobbin (Lobbin well thou knewest)
Full many worthie ones then waiting were,
And leaue their lambes to losse, misled amisse. As euer else in Princes Court thou vewest.
For sooth to say, it is no sort of life,
For shepheard fit to lead in that same place,
Where each one seeks with malice and with
To thrust downe other into foule disgrace,
Himselfe to raise: and he doth soonest rise
That best can handle his deceitfull wit,
In subtil shifts, and finest sleights deuise,
Of which, among you many yet remaine, 739
Whose names I cannot readily now ghesse:
Those that poore Sutors papers do retaine,
And those that skill of medicine professe.
And those that do to Cynthia expound
The ledden of straunge languages in charge:
For Cynthia doth in sciences abound,
And giues to their professors stipends large.
Therefore vniustly thou doest wyte them all,
For that which thou mislikedst in a few.
Blame is (quoth he) more blamelesse generall,
Then that which priuate errours doth pursew:
For well I wot, that there amongst them bee,
Full many persons of right worthie parts, 752
Both for report of spotlesse honestie,
And for profession of all learned arts,
Whose praise hereby no whit impaired is,
Though blame do light on those that faultie bee,
For all the rest do most-what fare amis,
And yet their owne misfaring will not see:
For either they be puffed vp with pride,
Or fraught with enuie that their galls do swell,
Or they their dayes to ydlenesse diuide, 761
Or drownded lie in pleasures wastefull well,
In which like Moldwarps nousling still they
Vnmyndfull of chiefe parts of manlinesse,
And do themselues for want of other worke,
Vaine votaries of laesie loue professe,
Whose seruice high so basely they ensew,
That Cupid selfe of them ashamed is,
And mustring all his men in Venus vew,
Denies them quite for seruitors of his.
And is loue then (said Corylas) once knowne
In Court, and his sweet lore professed there?
I weened sure he was our God alone:
And only woond in fields and forests here.
Not so (quoth he) loue most aboundeth
For all the walls and windows there are writ,
All full of loue, and loue, and loue my deare,
And all their talke and studie is of it.
Ne any there doth braue or valiant seeme,
Vnlesse that some gay Mistresse badge he
Ne any one himselfe doth ought esteeme,
Vnlesse he swim in loue vp to the eares.
But they of loue and of his sacred lere,
(As it should be) all otherwise deuise,
Then we poore shepheards are accustomd here,
And him do sue and serue all otherwise.
For with lewd speeches and licentious deeds,
His mightie mysteries they do prophane,
And vse his ydle name to other needs,
But as a complement for courting vaine.
So him they do not serue as they professe,
But make him serue to them for sordid vses,
Ah my dread Lord, that doest liege hearts
Auenge thy selfe on them for their abuses.
But we poore shepheards, whether rightly so,
Or through our rudenesse into errour led,
Do make religion how we rashly go,
To serue that God, that is so greatly dred;
For him the greatest of the Gods we deeme,
Borne without Syre or couples, of one kynd,
For Venus selfe doth soly couples seeme, &
Both male and female, through commixture ioyni
So pure and spotlesse Cupid forth she brought,
And in the gardens of Adonis nurst:
Where growing, he his owne perfection wrought,
And shortly was of all the Gods the first.
Then got he bow and shafts of gold and lead,
In which so fell and puissant he grew,
That Ioue himselfe his powre began to dread,
And taking vp to heauen, him godded new.
From thence he shootes his arrowes euery where
Into the world, at randon as he will, 812
On vs fraile men, his wretched vassals here,
Like as himselfe vs pleaseth, saue or spill.
So we him worship, so we him adore
With humble hearts to heauen vplifted hie,
That to true loues he may vs euermore
Preferre, and of their grace vs dignifie:
Ne is there shepheard, ne yet shepheardsswaine,
What euer feeds in forest or in field,
That dare with euil deed or leasing vaine
Blaspheme his powre, or termes vnworthie yield.
Shepheard it seemes that some celestiall rage
Of loue (quoth Cuddy) is breath'd into thy brest,
That powreth forth these oracles so sage,
Of that high powre, wherewith thou art possest.
But neuer wist I till this present day
Albe of loue I alwayes humbly deemed,
That he was such an one, as thou doest say,
And so religiously to be esteemed.
Well may it seeme by this thy deep insight,
That of that God the Priest thou shouldest bee:
So well thou wot'st the mysterie of his might,
As if his godhead thou didst present see.
Of loues perfection perfectly to speake, Or of his nature rightly to define, Indeed (said Colin) passeth reasons reach, And needs his priest t'expresse his powre diuine. For long before the world he was y'bore And bred aboue in Venus bosome deare: 840 For by his powre the world was made of yore, And all that therein wondrous doth appeare. For how should else things so far from attone And so great enemies as of them bee, Be euer drawne together into one, And taught in such accordance to agree? Through him the cold began to couet heat, And water fire; the light to mount on hie, And th'heauie downe to peize; the hungry t'eat And voydnesse to seeke full satietie. So being former foes, they wexed friends, And gan by litle learne to loue each other: So being knit, they brought forth other kynds Out of the fruitfull wombe of their great mother.
Then first gan heauen out of darknesse dread
For toappeare, and brought forth chearfullday:
Next gan the earth to shew her naked head,
Out of deep waters which her drownd alway.
And shortly after, euerie liuing wight 859
Crept forth like wormes out of her slimie nature,
Soone as on them the Suns life giuing light,
Had powred kindly heat and formall feature,
Thenceforth they gan each one his like to loue,
And like himselfe desire for to beget,
The Lyon chose his mate, the Turtle Doue
Her deare, the Dolphin his owne Dolphinet:
But man that had the sparke of reasons might,
More then the rest to rule his passion,
Chose for his loue the fairest in his sight,
Like as himselfe was fairest by creation.
For beautie is the bayt which with delight
Doth man allure, for to enlarge his kynd,
Beautie the burning lamp of heauens light,
Darting her beames into each feeble mynd:
Against whose powre, nor God nor man can fynd,
Defence, ne ward the daunger of the wound,
But being hurt, seeke to be medicynd
Of her that first did stir that mortall stownd.
Then do they cry and call to loue apace,
With praiers lowd importuning the skie, 880
Whence he them heares, and when he list shew
Does graunt them grace that otherwise would die.
So loue is Lord of all the world by right,
And rules the creatures by his powrfull saw :
All being made the vassalls of his might,
Through secret sence which therto doth them
Thus ought all louers of their lord to deeme:
And with chaste heart to honor him alway:
But who so else doth otherwise esteeme,
Are outlawes, and his lore do disobay.
For their desire is base, and doth not merit,
The name of loue, but of disloyall lust:
Ne mongst true louers they shall place inherit,
But as Exuls out of his court be thrust.
So hauing said, Melissa spake at will,
Colin, thou now full deeply hast divynd:
Of loue and beautie, and with wondrous skill,
Hast Cupid selfe depainted in his kynd.
To thee are all true louers greatly bound, 899
That doest their cause so mightily defend :
But most, all wemen are thy debtors found,
That doest their bountie still so much commend.
That ill (said Hobbinol) they him requite,
For hauing loued euer one most deare:
He is repayd with scorne and foule despite,
That yrkes each gentle heart which it doth
Indeed (said Lucid) I haue often heard
Faire Rosalind of diuers fowly blamed:
For being to that swaine too cruell hard,
That her bright glorie else hath much defamed.
But who can tell what cause had that faire
To vse him so that vsed her so well:
Or who with blame can iustly her vpbrayd,
For louing not? for who can loue compell?
And sooth to say, it is foolhardie thing,
Rashly to wyten creatures so diuine,
For demigods they be and first did spring
From heauen, though graft in frailnesse
And well I wote, that oft I heard it spoken,
How one that fairest Helene did reuile : 920
Through iudgement of the Gods to been
Lost both his eyes and so remaynd long while,
Till he recanted had his wicked rimes,
And made amends to her with treble praise:
Beware therefore, ye groomes, I read betimes,
How rashly blame of Rosalind ye raise.
Ah shepheards (then said Colin) ye ne weet
How great a guilt vpon your heads ye draw:
To make so bold a doome with words vnmeet,
Of thing celestiall which ye neuer saw. 930
For she is not like as the other crew
Of shepheards daughters which emongst you
But of diuine regard and heauenly hew,
Excelling all that euer ye did see.
Not then to her that scorned thing so base,
But to my selfe the blame that lookt so hie:
So hie her thoughts as she her selfe haue place,
And loath each lowly thing with loftie eie.
Yet so much grace let her vouchsafe to grant
To simple swaine, sith her I may not loue:
Yet that I may her honour paravant,
And praise her worth, though far my wit aboue.
Such grace shall be some guerdon for the griefe,
And long affliction which I haue endured:
Such grace sometimes shall giue me some
And ease of paine which cannot be recured.
And ye my fellow shepheards which do see
And heare the languours of my too long dying,
Vnto the world for euer witnesse bee,
That hers I die, nought to the world denying,
This simple trophe of her great conquest. 951
So hauing ended, he from ground did rise,
And after him vprose eke all the rest :
All loth to part, but that the glooming skies
Warnd them to draw their bleating flocks to