Edmund Spenser (1552 - 13 January 1599 / London / England)
The Shepheardes Calender: September
September: Ægloga Nona. Hobbinol & Diggon Dauie.
Diggon Dauie, I bidde her god day:
Or Diggon her is, or I missaye.
Her was her, while it was daye light,
But nowe her is a most wretched wight.
For day, that was, is wightly past,
And now at earst the dirke night doth hast.
Diggon areede, who has thee so dight?
Neuer I wist thee in so poor a plight.
Where is the fayre flocke, thou was wont to leade?
Or bene they chaffred? or at mischiefe dead?
Ah for loue of that, is to thee moste leefe,
Hobbinol, I pray thee gall not my old griefe:
Sike question ripeth vp cause of newe woe,
For one opened mote vnfolde many moe.
Nay, but sorrow close shrouded in hart
I know, to kepe, is a burdenous smart.
Eche thing imparted is more eath to beare:
When the rayne is faln, the cloudes wexen cleare.
And nowe sithence I sawe thy head last,
Thrise three Moones bene fully spent and past:
Since when thou hast measured much grownd,
And wandred I wene about the world rounde,
So as thou can many thinges relate:
But tell me first of thy flocks astate.
My sheepe bene wasted, (wae is me therefore)
The iolly shepheard that was of yore,
Is nowe nor iolloye, nor shepehearde more.
In forrein costes, men sayd, was plentye:
And so there is, but all of miserye.
I dempt there much to haue eeked my store,
But such eeking hath made my hart sore.
In tho countryes, whereas I haue bene,
No being for those, that truely mene,
But for such, as of guile maken gayne,
No such countrye, as there to remaine.
They setten to sale their shops of shame,
And maken a Mart of theyr good name.
The shepheards there robben one another,
And layen baytes to beguile her brother.
Or they will buy his sheepe out of the cote,
Or they will caruen the shepheards throte.
The shepheards swayne you cannot wel ken,
But it be by his pryde, from other men:
They looken bigge as Bulls, that bene bate,
And bearen the cragge so stiffe and so state,
As cocke on his dunghill, crowing cranck.
Diggon, I am so stiffe, and so stanck,
That vneth may I stand any more:
And nowe the Westerne wind bloweth sore,
That nowe is in his chiefe souereigntee,
Beating the withered leafe from the tree.
Sitte we downe here under the hill:
Tho may we talke, and tellen our fill,
And make a mocke at the blustring blast.
Now say on Diggon, what euer thou hast.
Hobbin, ah hobbin, I curse the stounde,
That euer I cast to haue lorne this grounde.
Wel-away the while I was so fonde,
To leaue the good, that I had in honde,
In hope of better, that was vncouth:
So lost the Dogge the flesh in his mouth.
My seely sheepe (ah seely sheepe)
That here by there I whilome vsed to keepe,
All were they lustye, as thou didst see,
Bene all sterued with pyne and penuree.
Hardly my selfe escaped thilke payne,
Driuen for neede to come home agayne.
Ah fon, now by thy losse art taught,
That seeldome chaunge the better brought.
Content who liues with tryed state,
Neede feare no chaunge of frowning fate:
But who will seeke for vnknowne gayne,
Oft liues by losse, and leaues with payne.
I wote ne Hobbin how I was bewitcht
With vayne desyre, and hope to be enricht.
But sicker so it is, as the bright starre
Seemeth ay greater, when it is farre:
I thought the soyle would haue made me rich:
But nowe I wote, it is nothing sich.
For eyther the shepeheards bene ydle and still,
And ledde of theyr sheepe, what way they wyll:
Or they bene false, and full of couetise,
And casten to compasse many wrong emprise.
But the more bene fraught with fraud and spight,
Ne in good nor goodnes taken delight:
But kindle coales of conteck and yre,
Wherewith they sette all the world on fire:
Which when they thinken agayne to quench
With holy water, they doen hem all drench.
They saye they con to heauen the high way,
But by my soule I dare vndersaye,
Thye neuer sette foote in that same troade,
But balk the right way, and strayen abroad.
They boast they han the deuill at commaund:
But aske hem therefore, what they han paund.
Marrie that great Pan bought with deare borrow,
To quite it from the blacke bowre of sorrowe.
But they han sold thilk same long agoe:
For thy woulden drawe with hem many moe.
But let hem gange alone a Gods name:
As they han brewed, so let hem beare blame.
Diggon, I praye the speake not so dirke.
Such myster saying me seemeth to mirke.
Then playnely to speake of shepheards most what,
Badde is the best (this english is flatt.)
Their ill hauiour garres men missay,
Both of their doctrine, and of their faye.
They sayne the world is much war then it wont,
All for her shepheards bene beastly and blont.
Other sayne, but how truely I note,
All for they holden shame of theyr cote.
Some sticke not to say, (whote cole on her tongue)
That sike mischeife graseth hem emong,
All for the casten too much of worlds care,
To deck her Dame, and enrich her heyre:
For such encheason, If you goe nye,
Fewe chymneis reeking you shall espye:
The fat Oxe, that wont ligge in the stal,
Is nowe fast stalled in her crumenall.
Thus chatten the people in theyr steads,
Ylike as a Monster of many heads.
But they that shooten neerest the pricke,
Sayne, other the fat from their beards doen lick.
For bigge Bulles of Basanbrace hem about,
That with theyr hornes butten the more stoute:
But the leane soules treaden vnder foote.
And to seeke redresse mought little boote:
For liker bene they to pluck away more,
Then ought of the gotten good to restore.
For they bene like foule wagmoires ouergrast,
That if thy galage once sticketh fast,
The more to wind it out thou doest swinck,
Thou mought ay deeper and deeper sinck.
Yet better leaue of with a little losse,
Then by much wrestling to leese the grosse.
Nowe Diggon, I see thou speakest to plaine:
Better it were, a little to feyne,
And cleanly couer, that cannot be cured.
Such il, as is forced, mought nedes be endured.
But of sike pastoures howe done the flocks creepe?
Sike as the shepheards, sike bene her sheepe,
For they nill listen to the shepheards voyce,
But if he call hem at theyr good choyce,
They wander at wil, and stray at pleasure,
And to theyr foldes yeeld at their owne leasure.
But they had be better come at their cal:
for many han into mischiefe fall,
And bene of rauenous Wolues yrent,
All for they nould be buxome and bent.
Fye on thee Diggon, and all thy foule leasing,
Well is knowne that sith the Saxon king,
Neuer was Woolfe seene many nor some,
Nor in all Kent, nor in Christendome:
But the fewer Woolues (the soth to sayne,)
The more bene the Foxes that here remaine.
Yes, but they gang in more secrete wise,
And with sheepes clothing doen hem disguise,
They walke not widely as they were wont
For feare of raungers, and the great hunt:
But priuely prolling too and froe,
Enaunter they mought be inly knowe.
Or priue or pert yf any bene,
We han great Bandogs will tear their skinne.
Indeede thy ball is a bold bigge curre,
And could make a iolly hole in theyr furre.
But not good Dogges hem needeth to chace,
But heedy shepheards to discerne their face.
For all their craft is in their countenaunce,
They bene so graue and full of mayntenaunce.
But shall I tell thee what my selfe knowe,
Chaunced to Roffynn not long ygoe?
Say it out Diggon, what euer it hight,
For not but well mought him betight.
He is so meeke, wise, and merciable,
And with his word his worke is conuenable.
Colin clout I wene be his selfe boye,
(Ah for Colin he whilome my ioye)
Shepheards sich, God mought vs many send,
That doen so carefully theyr flocks tend.
Thilk same shepheard mought I well marke:
He has a Dogge to byte or to bark,
Neuer had shepheard so nene a kurre,
That waketh, and if but a leafe sturre.
Whilome there wonned a wicked Wolfe,
That with many a Lambe had glutted his gulfe.
And euer at night wont to repayre
Vnto the flocke, when the Welkin shone faire,
Ycladde in clothing of seely sheepe,
When the good old man vsed to sleepe.
Tho at midnight he would barke and ball,
(For he had eft learned a curres call.)
As if a Woolfe were emong the sheepe.
With that the shpheard would breake his sleepe,
And send out Lowder (for so his dog hote)
To raunge the fields with wide oppen throte.
Tho when as Lowder was farre away,
This Woluish sheepe would catchen his pray,
A Lambe, or a Kidde, or a weanell wast:
With that to the wood would he speede him fast.
Long time he vsed this slippery pranck,
Ere Roffy could for his laboure him thanck.
At end the shepheard his practise spyed,
(For Roffy is wise, and as Argus eyed)
And when at euen he came to the flocke,
Fast in theyr folds he did them locke,
And tooke out the Woolfe in his counterfect cote,
And let out the sheepes bloud at his throte.
Marry Diggon, what should him affraye,
To take his owne where euer it laye?
For had his wesand bene a little widder,
He would hue deuoured both hidder and shidder.
Mischiefe light on him, and Gods great curse,
Too good for him had bene a great deale worse:
For it was a perilous beast aboue all,
And eke had he cond the shepherds call.
And oft in the night came to the shepecote,
And called Lowder, with a hollow throte,
As if it the old man selfe had bene.
The dog his maisters voice did it weene,
Yet halfe in doubt, he opened the dore,
And ranne out, as he was wont of yore.
No sooner was out, but swifter then thought,
Fast by the hyde the Wolfe lowder caught:
And had not Roffy renne to the steuen,
Lowder had be slaine thilke same euen.
God shield man, he should so ill haue thriue,
All for he did his deuoyr beliue.
If sike bene Wolues, as thou hast told,
How mought we Diggon, hem be-hold.
How, but with heede and watchfulnesse,
Forstallen hem of their wilinesse?
For thy with shepheard sittes not playe,
Or sleepe, as some doen, all the long day:
But euer liggen in watch and ward,
From soddein force theyr flocks for to gard.
Ah Diggon, thilke same rule were too straight,
All the cold season to wach and waite.
We bene of flesh, men as other bee,
Why should we be bound to such miseree?
What euer thing lacketh chaungeable rest,
Mought needes decay, when it is at best.
Ah but Hobbinol, all this long tale,
Nought easeth the care, that doth me forhaile.
What shall I doe? what way shall I wend,
My piteous plight and losse to amend?
Ah, good Hobbinol, mought I thee praye,
Of ayde or counsell in my decaye.
Now by my soule Diggon, I lament
The haplesse mischief, that has thee hent,
Nethelesse thou seest my lowly saile,
That froward fortune doth euer auaile.
But were Hobbinoll, as God mought please,
Diggon should soone find fauour and ease.
But if to my cotage thou wilt resort,
So as I can, I wil thee comfort:
There mayst thou ligge in a vetchy bed,
Till fayrer Fortune shewe forth her head.
Ah Hobbinol, God mought it thee requite.
Diggon on fewe such freends did euer lite.
Inopem me copia fecit.
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