Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
Extracts from The Shepheard’s Calender: Chase after Love
By Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)

Tho.  It was upon a holiday,
  When shepheardes groomes han leave to playe,
    I cast to goe a shooting.
  Long wandring up and downe the land,
  With bowe and bolts in either hand,        5
    For birds in bushes tooting, 1
    At length within an Yvie todde, 2
    (There shrouded was the little God)
    I heard a busie bustling.
  I bent my bolt against the bush,        10
  Listening if any thing did rushe,
    But then heard no more rustling:
  Tho, peeping close into the thicke,
  Might see the moving of some quicke,
    Whose shape appeared not;        15
  But were it faerie, feend, or snake,
  My courage earnd 3 it to awake,
    And manfully thereat shotte.
  With that sprong forth a naked swayne
  With spotted winges, like Peacocks trayne,        20
    And laughing lope to a tree;
  His gylden quiver at his backe,
  And silver bowe, which was but slacke,
    Which lightly he bent at me:
  That seeing, I levelde againe        25
  And shott at him with might and maine,
    As thicke as it had hayled.
  So long I shott, that al was spent;
  Tho pumie stones I hastly hent
    And threwe; but nought availed:        30
  He was so wimble and so wight,
  From bough to bough he lepped light,
    And oft the pumies latched. 4
  Therewith affrayd, I ranne away:
  But he, that earst seemd but to playe,        35
    A shaft in earnest snatched,
  And hit me running in the heele:
  For then I little smart did feele,
    But soone it sore encreased;
  And now it ranckleth more and more,        40
  And inwardly it festreth sore,
    Ne wote I how to cease it.
Wil.  Thomalin, I pittie thy plight,
  Perdie with Love thou diddest fight:
    I know him by a token;        45
  For once I heard my father say,
  How he him caught upon a day,
    (Whereof he will be wroken)
  Entangled in a fowling net,
  Which he for carrion Crowes had set        50
    That in our Peere-tree haunted:
  Tho sayd, he was a winged lad,
  But bowe and shafts as then none had,
    Els had he sore be daunted.
  But see, the Welkin thicks apace,        55
  And stouping Phebus steepes his face:
    Yts time to hast us homeward.
Note 1. looking about. [back]
Note 2. a thick bush. [back]
Note 3. yearned. [back]
Note 4. caught. [back]

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