Verse > Edmund Spenser > Complete Poetical Works
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
The Shepheardes Calender
  IN this fyrst Æglogue Colin Cloute, a shepheardes boy, complaineth him of his unfortunate love, being but newly (as semeth) enamoured of a countrie lasse called Rosalinde: with which strong affection being very sore traveled, he compareth his carefull case to the sadde season of the yeare, to the frostie ground, to the frosen trees, and to his owne winter-beaten flocke. And lastlye, fynding himselfe robbed of all former pleasaunce and delights, hee breaketh his pipe in peeces, and casteth him selfe to the ground.


A SHEPEHEARDS boye (no better doe him call)
When winters wastful spight was almost spent,
All in a sunneshine day, as did befall,
Led forth his flock, that had bene long ypent.
So faynt they woxe, and feeble in the folde,        5
That now unnethes their feete could them uphold.
All as the sheepe, such was the shepeheards looke,
For pale and wanne he was, (alas the while!)
May seeme he lovd, or els some care he tooke:
Well couth he tune his pipe, and frame his stile.        10
Tho to a hill his faynting flocke he ledde,
And thus him playnd, the while his shepe there fedde.
‘Ye gods of love, that pitie lovers payne,
(If any gods the paine of lovers pitie,)
Looke from above, where you in joyes remaine,        15
And bowe your eares unto my dolefull dittie.
And Pan, thou shepheards god, that once didst love,
Pitie the paines that thou thy selfe didst prove.
‘Thou barrein ground, whome winters wrath hath wasted,
Art made a myrrhour to behold my plight:        20
Whilome thy fresh spring flowrd, and after hasted
Thy sommer prowde with daffadillies dight,
And now is come thy wynters stormy state,
Thy mantle mard wherein thou maskedst late.
‘Such rage as winters reigneth in my heart,        25
My life bloud friesing with unkindly cold:
Such stormy stoures do breede my balefull smart,
As if my yeare were wast and woxen old.
And yet, alas! but now my spring begonne,
And yet, alas! yt is already donne.        30
‘You naked trees, whose shady leaves are lost,
Wherein the byrds were wont to build their bowre,
And now are clothd with mosse and hoary frost,
Instede of bloosmes, wherwith your buds did flowre:
I see your teares, that from your boughes doe raine,        35
Whose drops in drery ysicles remaine.
‘All so my lustfull leafe is drye and sere,
My timely buds with wayling all are wasted;
The blossome which my braunch of youth did beare
With breathed sighes is blowne away and blasted;        40
And from mine eyes the drizling teares descend,
As on your boughes the ysicles depend.
‘Thou feeble flocke, whose fleece is rough and rent,
Whose knees are weake through fast and evill fare,
Mayst witnesse well by thy ill governement,        45
Thy maysters mind is overcome with care.
Thou weake, I wanne; thou leane, I quite forlorne:
With mourning pyne I; you with pyning mourne.
‘A thousand sithes I curse that carefull hower
Wherein I longd the neighbour towne to see:        50
And eke tenne thousand sithes I blesse the stoure
Wherein I sawe so fayre a sight as shee.
Yet all for naught: such sight hath bred my bane.
Ah, God! that love should breede both joy and payne!
‘It is not Hobbinol wherefore I plaine,        55
Albee my love he seeke with dayly suit:
His clownish gifts and curtsies I disdaine,
His kiddes, his cracknelles, and his early fruit.
Ah, foolish Hobbinol! thy gyfts bene vayne:
Colin them gives to Rosalind againe.        60
‘I love thilke lasse, (alas! why doe I love?)
And am forlorne, (alas! why am I lorne?)
Shee deignes not my good will, but doth reprove,
And of my rurall musick holdeth scorne.
Shepheards devise she hateth as the snake,        65
And laughes the songes that Colin Clout doth make.
‘Wherefore, my pype, albee rude Pan thou please,
Yet for thou pleasest not where most I would:
And thou, unlucky Muse, that wontst to ease
My musing mynd, yet canst not, when thou should:        70
Both pype and Muse shall sore the while abye.’
So broke his oaten pype, and downe dyd lye.
By that, the welked Phœbus gan availe
His weary waine, and nowe the frosty Night
Her mantle black through heaven gan over-haile.        75
Which seene, the pensife boy, halfe in despight,
Arose, and homeward drove his sonned sheepe,
Whose hanging heads did seeme his carefull case to weepe.


Anchôra speme.


  Colin Cloute is a name not greatly used, and yet have I sene a poesie of Maister Skeltons under that title. But indeede the word Colin is Frenche, and used of the French poete Marot (if he be worthy of the name of a poete) in a certein æglogue. Under which name this poete secretly shadoweth himself, as sometime did Virgil under the name of Tityrus, thinking it much fitter then such Latine names, for the great unlikelyhoode of the language.
  Unnethes, scarcely.
  Couthe commeth of the verbe Conne, that is, to know or to have skill. As well interpreteth the same the worthy Sir Tho. Smitth, in his booke of government: wherof I have a perfect copie in wryting, lent me by his kinseman, and my verye singular good freend, Maister Gabriel Harvey: as also of some other his most grave and excellent wrytings.
  Sythe, time.
  Neighbour towne, the next towne: expressing the Latine vicina.
  Stoure, a fitt.
  Sere, withered.
  His clownish gyfts imitateth Virgils verse,
        ‘Rusticus es Corydon, nec munera curat Alexis.’
  Hobbinol is a fained country name, whereby, it being so commune and usuall, seemeth to be hidden the person of some his very speciall and most familiar freend, whom he entirely and extraordinarily beloved, as peradventure shall be more largely declared hereafter. In thys place seemeth to be some savour of disorderly love, which the learned call pæderastice: but it is gathered beside his meaning. For who that hath red Plato his dialogue called Alcybiades, Xenophon, and Maximus Tyrius, of Socrates opinions, may easily perceive that such love is muche to be alowed and liked of, specially so meant as Socrates used it: who sayth, that in deede he loved Alcybiades extremely, yet not Alcybiades person, but hys soule, which is Alcybiades owne selfe. And so is pæderastice much to be præferred before gynerastice, that is, the love whiche enflameth men with lust toward womankind. But yet let no man thinke, that herein I stand with Lucian, or his develish disciple Unico Aretino, in defence of execrable and horrible sinnes of forbidden and unlawful fleshlinesse. Whose abominable errour is fully confuted of Perionius, and others.
  I love, a prety epanorthosis in these two verses, and withall a paronomasia or playing with the word, where he sayth, I love thilke lasse (alas, &c.
  Rosalinde is also a feigned name, which, being wel ordered, wil bewray the very name of hys love and mistresse, whom by that name he coloureth. So as Ovide shadoweth hys love under the name of Corynna, which of some is supposed to be Julia, themperor Augustus his daughter, and wyfe to Agryppa. So doth Aruntius Stella every where call his lady Asteris and Ianthis, albe it is wel knowen that her right name was Violantilla: as witnesseth Statius in his Epithalamium. And so the famous paragone of Italy, Madonna Cœlia, in her letters envelopeth her selfe under the name of Zima: and Petrona under the name of Bellochia. And this generally hath bene a common custome of counterfeicting the names of secret personages.
  Avail, bring downe.
  Overhaile, drawe over.

  His Embleme or poesye is here under added in Italian, Anchôra speme: the meaning wherof is, that notwithstandeing his extreme passion and lucklesse love, yet, leaning on hope, he is some what recomforted.

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