Eclogues Poem by Thomas Chatterton


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Eclogue the First.

Whanne Englonde, smeethynge from her lethal wounde,
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 whythe the owlette trembled and dyd crie;
Firste Roberte Neatherde hys sore boesom stroke,
Then fellen on the grounde and thus yspoke.

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.

Saie to mee nete; I kenne thie woe in myne;
O! I've a tale that Sabalus mote telle.
Swote flouretts, mantled meedows, forestes dynge;
Gravots far-kend around the Errmiets cell;
The swote ribible dynning yn the dell;
The joyous dauncynge ynn the hoastrie courte;
Eke the highe songe and everych joie farewell,
Farewell the verie shade of fayre dysporte;
Impestering trobble onn mie dernie tale,
Ne one kynde Seyncte to warde the aye encreasynge dome.

Oh! I could 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 fyghte,
Mie gorne emblaunched with the comfreie plante,
Mie floure Seyncte Marie shottyng wythe the lyghte,
Mie store of all the blessynges Heaven can grant.
I amm duressed unto sorrowes blowe,
I hantend to the peyne, will lette ne salte teare flowe.

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 Ihys 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.

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 leche myne a borden ys ywis.
Now from e'en logges fledden is selyness,
Mynsterres alleyn can boaste the hallie Seyncte,
Now doeth Englonde wearea 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.

Eclogue the Second


Sprytes of the bleste, the pious Nygelle sed,
Pure owte yer pleasaunce onn mie fadres hedde.


Rycharde of Lyons harte to fyghte is gon,
Uponne the brede sea doe the banners gleme,
The amenused nationnes be aston,
To ken syke large a flete, syke fyne, syke breme,
The barkis heafods coupe the lymed streme;
Oundes synkeynge oundes upon the hard ake riese;
The water slughornes ayre, and reche the skies.
Sprytes of the bleste, on gouldyn trones astedde,
Poure owte yer pleasaunce onn mie fadres hedde.


The gule depeyncted oares from the black tyde,
Decorn wyth fonnes rare, doe shemrynge ryse;
Upswalynge doe heie shewe ynne drierie pryde,
Lyche gore-red estells in the eve merk skyes;
The nome-depeyncted shields, the speres aryse,
Alyche talle roshes on the water syde;
Alenge from bark to bark the bryghte sheene flyes;
Sweft-kerv'd delyghtes doe on the water glyde.
Sprytes of the bleste, and everich Seyncte ydedde,
Poure owte youre pleasaunce on mie fadres hedde.


The Sarasen lokes owte: he doethe feere,
That Englondes brondeous sonnes do cotte the waie.
Lyke honted bockes, theye reineth here and there,
Onknowlachynge inne whate place to obaie.
The banner glesters on the beme of daie;
The mitte crosse Jerusalim ys seene;
Dhereof the syghte yer corragedoe affraie,
In balefull dole their faces be ywreene.
Sprytes of the bleste, and everich Seyncte ydedde,
Poure owte your pleasaunce on mie fadres hedde.


The bollengers and cottes, so swyfte yn fyghte,
Upon the sydes of everich bark appere;
Foorthe to his office lepethe everych knyghte,
Eftsoones hys squyer, with hys shielde and spere.
The jynynge shieldes doe shemre and moke glare;
The dosheynge oare doe make gemoted dynne;
The reynyng foemen, thynckeynge gif to dare,
Boun the merk swerde, theie seche to fraie, theie blyn.
Sprytes of the bleste, and everyche Seyncte ydedde,
Poure owte yer pleasaunce onn mie fadres hedde.


Now comm the warrynge Sarasyns to fyghte;
Kynge Rycharde, lyche a lyoncel of warre,
Inne sheenynge goulde, lyke feerie gronfers, dyghte,
Shaketh alofe hys honde, and seene afarre.
Syke haveth I espyde a greter starre
Amenge the drybblett ons to sheene fulle bryghte;
Syke sunnys wayne wyth amayl'd beames doe barr
The blaunchie mone or estells to gev lyghte.
Sprytes of the bleste, and everich Seyncte ydedde,
Poure owte your pleasaunce on mie fadres hedde.


Distraughte affraie, wythe lockes of blodde-red die.
Terroure, emburled yn the thonders rage,
Deathe, lynked to dismaie, dothe ugsomme flie,
Enchafynge echone champyonne war to wage.
Speeres bevyle speres; swerdes upon swerdes engage;
Armoure on armoure dynn, shielde upon shielde;
Ne dethe of thosandes can the warre assuage,
Botte falleynge nombers sable all the feelde.
Sprytes of the bleste, and everych Seyncte ydedde,
Poure owte youre pleasaunce on mie fadres hedde.


The foemen fal arounde; the cross reles hye;
Steyned ynne goere, the harte of warre ys seen;
Kynge Rycharde, thorough everyche trope dothe flie,
And beereth meynte of Turkes onto the greene;
Bie hymm the floure of Asies menn ys sleene;
The waylynge mone doth fade before hys sonne;
Bie hym hys knyghtes bee formed to actions deene,
Doeynge syke marvels, strongers be aston.
Sprytes of the bleste, and everych Seyncte ydedde,
Poure owte your pleasaunce onn mie fadres hedde.


The fyghte ys wonne;
Kynge Rycharde master is;
The Englonde bannerr kisseth the hie ayre;
Full of pure joie the armie is iwys,
And everych one haveth it onne his bayre;
Agayne to Englonde comme, and worschepped there,
Twyghte into lovynge armes, and feasted eft;
In everych eyne aredynge nete of wyere,
Of all remembrance of past peyne berefte.
Sprytes of the bleste, and everych Seyncte ydedde,
Syke pleasures power upon mie fadres hedde.

Syke Nigel sed, whan from the bluie sea
The upswol sayle dyd daunce before hys eyne;
Swefte as the wishe, hee toe the beeche dyd flee,
And found his fadre steppeynge from the bryne.
Letter thyssen menne, who haveth sprite of loove,
Bethyncke unto hemselves how mote the meetynge proove.


Manne, womanne, Sir Rogerre.
Wouldst thou kenn nature in her better parte?
Goe, serche the logges and bordels of the hynde;
Gyff theie have anie, itte ys roughe-made arte,
Inne hem you see the blakied forme of kynde.
Haveth your mynde a lycheynge of a mynde?
Woulde it kenne everich thynge, as it mote bee?
Woulde ytte here phrase of vulgar from the hynde,
Withoute wiseegger wordes and knowlage free?
Gyfsoe, rede thys, whyche Iche dysportynge pende;
Gif nete besyde, yttes rhyme maie ytte commende.

Botte whether, fayre mayde, do ye goe?
O where do ye bende yer waie?
I wille knowe whether you goe,
I wylle not bee asseled naie.

To Robin and Nell, all downe in the delle,
To hele hem at mekeynge of haie.

Syr Roggerre, the parsone, have hyred mee there,
Comme, comme, lett us tryppe ytte awaie,
We'lle wurke and we'lle synge, and weylle drenche of stronge beer
As longe as the merrie sommers daie.

How hard ys mie dome to wurch!
Moke is mie woe.
Dame Agnes, whoe lies ynne the Chyrche
With birlette golde,
Wythe gelten aumeres stronge ontolde,
What was shee moe than me, to be soe?

I kenne Syr Roger from afar
Tryppynge over the lea;
Ich ask whie the loverds son
Is moe than mee.

Syr Rogerre.
The sweltrie sonne dothe hie apace hys wayne,
From everich beme a seme of lyfe doe falle;
Swythyn scille oppe the haie uponne the playne;
Methynckes the cockes begynneth to gre talle.
Thys ys alyche oure doome; the great the smalle,
Moste withe and bee forwyned by deathis darte.
See! the swote flourette hathe noe swote at alle;
Itte wythe the ranke wede bereth evalle parte.
The cravent, warrioure, and the wyse be blente,
Alyche to drie awaie wythe those theie dyd bemente.

All-a-boon, Syr Priest, all-a-boon.
Bye yer preestshype nowe saye unto mee;
Syr Gaufryd the knyghte, who lyvethe harde bie,
Whie shoulde hee than mee
Bee more greate,
Inne honnoure, knyghtehoode and estate?

Syr Rogerre.
Attourne thy eyne arounde thys haied mee,
Tentyflie loke around the chaper delle;
An answere to thie barganette here see,
Thys welked flourette wylle a leson telle;
Arist it blew, itte florished, and dyd well,
Lokeynge ascaunce upon the naighboure greene;
Yet with the deigned greene yttes rennome felle,
Eftsoones ytte shronke upon the daie-brente playne,
Didde not yttes loke, whilest ytte there dyd stonde,
To croppe ytte in the bodde move somme dred honde.

Syke ys the waie of lyffe;
the loverds ente
Mooveth the robber hym therfor to slea;
Gyf thou has ethe, the shadowe of contente,
Believe the throthe, theres none moe haile yan thee.
Thou wurchest; wlle, cann thatte a trobble bee?
Slothe moe wulde jade thee than the roughest daie.
Couldest thou the kivercled of soughlys see,
Thou wouldst eftsoones see trothe ynne whatte I saie;
Botte lette me heere thie waie of lyffe, and thenne
Heare thou from me the lyffes of odher menne.

I ryse wythe the sonne,
Lyche hym to dryve the wayne,
And eere mie wurche is don
I synge a songe or twayne.
I followe the plough-tayle,
Wythe a longe jubb of ale.
Botte of the maydens, oh!
Itte lacketh notte to telle;
Syre Preeste mote notte crie woe
Culde hys bull do as welle.
I daunce the beste heiedeygnes,
And foile the wysest feygnes.
On everych Seynctes hie daie
Wythe the mynstrelle am I seene,
All a footeynge it awaie,
Wythe maydens on the greene.
But oh! I wysheto be moe greate,
In rennome, tenure, and estate.

Syr Rogerre.
Has thou ne seene a tree uponne a hylle,
Whose unliste braunces rechen far toe syghte;
Whan fuired unwers doe the heaven fylle,
Itte shaketh deere yn dole and moke affryghte.
Whylest the congeon flowrette abessie dyghte,
Stondethe unhurte, unquaced bie the storme;
Syke is a picte of lyffe: the manne of myghte
Is tempest-chaft, hys woe greate as hys forme;
Thieselfe a flowrette of a small accounte,
Wouldst harderfelle the wynde, as hygher thee dydste mounte.

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