Page images

victim to the tyranny of Henry VIII.: but it is presumed most of them were composed before the death of Sir Thomas Wyat, in 1541.-See Surrey's Poems, 4to, folios 19, 49.

Though written perhaps near half a century before the Shepherd's Calendar, this will be found far superior to any of those Eclogues, in natural unaffected sentiments, in simplicity of style, in easy flow of versification, and all other beauties of pastoral poetry. Spenser ought to have profited more by so excellent a model.

PHYLIDA was a faire mayde,

As fresh as any flowre;
Whom Harpalus the herdman prayde

To be his paramour.
Harpalus, and eke Corin,

Were herdmen both yfere;
And Phylida could twist and spinne,

And thereto sing full clere.
But Phylida was all tò coye

For Harpalus to winne;
For Corin was her onely joye,

Who forst her not a pinne.
How often would she flowers twine,

How often garlandes make
Of couslips and of colombine ?

And al for Corin's sake.
But Corin, he had haukes to lure,

And forced more the field;
Of lovers lawe he toke no cure :

For once he was begilde.
Harpalus prevailed nought,

His labour all was lost:
For he was fardest from her thought,

And yet he loved her most.,
Therefore waxt he both pale and leane,

And drye as clot of clay;
His fleshe it was consumed cleane;

His colour gone away.


1 First published in 1579.


His beard it had not long be shave;

His heare hong all unkempt:
A man most fit even for the grave,

Whom spitefull love had spent.
His eyes were red, and all 'forewacht;'

His face besprent with teares;
It semde unhap had him long hatcht,'

In mids of his dispaires.
His clothes were blacke, and also bare ;

As one forlorne was he;
Upon his head alwayes he ware

A wreath of wyllow tree.
His beastes he kept upon the hyll,

And he sate in the dale;
And thus with sighes and sorrowes shril,

He gan to tell his tale.
“Oh Harpalus!” (thus would he say)

“ Unhappiest under sunne! The cause of thine unhappy day,

By love was first begunne.
“For thou wentest first by sute to seeke

A tigre to make tame,
That settes not by thy love a leeke,

But makes thy griefe her game. “ As easy it were for to convert

The frost into 'a' flame;
As for to turne a frowarde hert,

Whom thou so faine wouldst frame. “ Corin he liveth carèlesse;

He leapes among the leaves;
He eats the frutes of thy redresse;

Thou ‘reapst,' he takes the sheaves.
“My beastes a whyle your foode refraine,

And harke your herdmans sounde, Whom spitefull love, alas ! hath slaine,

Through-girt with many a wounde.

Ver. 33, &c.

The corrections are from ed. 1574.


“O happy be ye, beastès wilde,

That here your pasture takes; I se that ye be not begilde

Of these your faithfull makes. “ The hart he feedeth by the hinde;

The bucke harde by the do; The turtle dove is not unkinde

To him that loves her so. “ The ewe she hath by her the ramme;

The young cow hath the bull; The calfe with many a lusty lambe

Do fede their hunger full.
“But wel-away! that nature wrought

The, Phylida, so faire !
For I may say that I have bought

Thy beauty all to deare.
“ What reason is that crueltie

With beautie should have part? Or els that such a great tyranny

Should dwell in womans hart !
“I see therefore to shape my death

She cruelly is prest;
To th' ende that I may want my breath :

My dayes been at the best.
“O Cupide, graunt this my request,

And do not stoppe thine eares : That she may feele within her brest

The paines of my dispaires ; “Of Corin, 'who'is carèlesse,

That she may crave her fee,
As I have done, in great distresse,

That loved her faithfully.
“But since that I shal die her slave,

Her slave and eke her thrall,
Write you, my frendes, upon my grave

This chaunce that is befall.

85 6. Here lieth unhappy Harpalus

By cruell love now slaine ;
Whom Phylida unjustly thus

Hath murdred with disdaine.'”.


Robin and Makyne.


The palm of pastoral poesy is here contested by a contemporary writer with the author of the foregoing. The critics will judge of their respective merits; but must make some allowance for the preceding ballad, which is given simply as it stands in the old editions: whereas this which follows has been revised and amended throughout by Allan Ramsay, from whose Ever-Green, vol. i., it is here chiefly printed. The curious reader may however compare it with the more original copy, printed among “ Ancient Scottish Poems, from the MS. of George Bannatyne, 1568, Edinb. 1770, 12ino." Mr. Robert Henryson (to whom we are indebted for this poem) appears to so much advantage among the writers of eclogue, that we are sorry we can give little other account of him besides what is contained in the following eloge, written by W. Dunbar, a Scottish poet, who lived about the middle of the 16th century :

“In Dumferling, he [Death] hath tane Broun,

With gude Mr. Robert Henryson."

Indeed, some little further insight into the history of the Scottish bard is gained from the title prefixed to some of his poems preserved in the British Museum ; viz. “The morall Fabillis of Esop compylit be Maister Robert Henrisoun, scolmaister of Dumfermling, 1571.”— Harleian MSS. 3865, $ 1.

In Ramsay's Ever-Green, vol. i., whence the above distich is extracted, are preserved two other little Doric pieces by Henryson; the one entitled The Lyon and the Mouse ; the other, The garment of gude Ladyis. Some other of his poems may be seen in the "Ancient Scottish Poems, printed from Bannatyne's MS.” above referred to.

ROBIN sat on the gude grene hill,

Keipand a flock of fie :
Quhen mirry Makyne said him till,

“O Robin rew on me;

I haif thee luivt baith loud and still,

Thir towinonds twa or thre;
My dule in dern bot giff thou dill,

Doubtless but dreid Ill die.”
Robin replied, “Now by the rude,

Naithing of luve I knaw,
But keip my sheip undir yon wod;

Lo quhair they raik on raw.
Quhat can have mart thee in thy mude,

Thou Makyne to me schaw;
Or quhat is luve, or to be lude ?

Fain wald I leir that law.”
“ The law of luve gin thou wald leir,

Tak thair an A, B, C;
Be heynd, courtas, and fair of feir,

Wyse, hardy, kind and frie.
Sae that nae danger do the deir,

Quhat dule in dern thou drie ;
Press ay to pleis and blyth appeir,

Be patient and privie."
Robin, he answert her againe :

“I wat not quhat is luve,
But I baif marvel in certaine,

Quhat makes thee thus wanrufe.
The wedder is fair, and I am fain,

My sheep gais hail abuve,
And sould we pley us on the plain,

They wald us baith repruve.”
“Robin, tak tent unto my tale,

And wirk all as I reid,
And thou sall haif my heart all hale,

Eik and my maiden-heid.
Sen God, he sendis bute for bale,

And for murning remeid,
I'dern with thee bot gif I dale,

Doubtless I am but deid.”
Ver. 19, Bannatyne's MS. reads as above, heynd, not keynd, as in the
Edinb. edit. 1770.

V. 21. So that no danger. Bannatyne's MS.

« PreviousContinue »