Thomas Chatterton

(1752 - 1770 / Bristol / England)

Eclogue The First - Poem by Thomas Chatterton

WHANNE Englonde, smeethynge from her lethal wound;
From her galled necke dyd twytte the chayne awaie,
Kennynge her legeful sonnes falle all arounde,
(Myghtie theie fell, 'twas Honoure ledde the fraie,)
Thanne inne a dale, bie eve's dark surcote graie
Twayne lonelie shepsterres dyd abrodden flie,
(The rostlyng liff doth theyr whytte hartes affraie ,)
And wythe the owlette trembled and dyd crie;
Firtse Roberte Neatherde hys sore boesom stroke,
Then fellen on the grounde and thus yspoke.
ROBERTE.
Ah, Raufe! gif thos the howres do comme alonge,
Gif thos wee flie in chase of farther woe,
Oure fote wylle fayle, albeytte wee bee stronge,
Ne wylle oure pace swefte as oure danger goe.
To oure grete wronges we have enheped moe,
The Baronnes warre! oh! woe and well-a-daie!
I haveth lyff, bott have escaped soe,
That lyff ytsel mie Senses doe affraie.
Oh Raufe, comme lyste, and hear mie dernie tale,
Comme heare the balefull dome of Robynne of the Dale.
RAUFE.
Saie to mee nete; I kenne this woe in myne;
O! I've a tale that Sabalus mote telle.
Swote flouretts, mantled meedows, forestes dygne ;
Gravots far-kend arounde the Errmiets cell;
The swote ribible dynning yn the dell;
The joyous daunceynge ynn the hoastrie courte;
Eke the highe songe and everych joie farewell,
Farewell the verie shade of fayre dysporte :
Impestering trobble onn mie heade doe comme,
Ne on kynde Seyncte to warde the aye encreasynge dome.
ROBERTE.
Oh! I coulde waile mie kynge-coppe-decked mees
Mie spreedynge flockes of shepe of lillie white,
Mie tendre applynges , and embodyde trees,
Mie Parker's Grange far spreedynge to the syghte,
Mie cuyen kyne , mie bullockes stringe yn fighte,
Mie gorne emblaunched with the comfreie plante,
Mie floure Seyncte Marie shotteyng wythe the lyghte,
Mie store of all the blessynges Heaven can grant.
I amm duressed unto sorrowes blowe,
Ihanten'd to the peyne, will lette ne salte teare flowe.
RAUFE.
Here I wille obaie untylle Dethe doe 'pere,
Here lyche a foule empoysoned leathel tree,
Whyche sleaeth everichone that commeth nere,
Soe wille I fyxed unto thys place gre .
I to bement haveth moe cause than thee;
Sleene in the warre mie boolie fadre lies;
Oh! joieous I hys mortherer would slea,
And bie hys syde for aie enclose myne eies.
Calked from everych joie, heere wylle I blede;
Fell ys the Cullys-yatte of mie hartes castle stede.
ROBERTE.
Oure woes alyche, alyche our dome shal bee.
Mie sonne, mie sonne alleyn , ystorven ys;
Here wylle I staie, and end mie lyff with thee;
A lyff lyche myn a borden ys ywis.
Now from een logges fledden is selyness
Mynsterres alleyn can boaste the hallie Seyncte,
Now doeth Englonde weare a bloudie dresse
And wyth her champyonnes gore her face depeyncte;
Peace fledde, disorder sheweth her dark rode ,
And thorow ayre doth flie, yn garments steyned with bloude.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 1, 2010



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