The Shepheardes Calender: July - Poem by Edmund Spenser
July: Ægloga Septima. Thomalin & Morrell.
IS not thilke same a goteheard prowde,
that sittes on yonder bancke,
Whose straying heard them selfe doth shrowde
emong the bushes rancke?
What ho, thou iollye shepheards swayne,
come vp the hill to me:
Better is, then the lowly playne,
als for thy flocke, and thee.
Ah God shield, man, that I should clime,
and learne to looke alofte,
This reede is ryfe, that oftentime
great clymbers fall vnsoft.
In humble dales is footing fast,
the trode is not so tickle:
And though one fall through heedlesse hast,
yet is his misse not mickle.
And now the Sonne hath reared vp
his fyriefooted teme,
Making his way betweene the Cuppe,
and golden Diademe:
The rampant Lyon hunts he fast,
with Dogge of noysome breath,
Whose balefull barking bringes in hast
pyne, plagues, and dreery death.
Agaynst his cruell scortching heate
where hast thou couerture?
The wastefull hylls vnto his threate
is a playne ouerture.
But if thee lust, to holden chat
with seely shepherds swayne,
Come downe, and learne the little what,
that Thomalin can sayne.
Syker, thous but a laesie loord,
and rekes much of thy swinck,
That with fond termes, and weetlesse words
to blere myne eyes doest thinke.
In euill houre thou hentest in hond
thus holy hylles to blame,
For sacred vnto saints they stond,
and of them han theyr name.
S. Michels mount who does not know,
that wardes the Westerne coste?
And of S. Brigets bowre I trow,
all Kent can rightly boaste:
And they that con of Muses skill,
sayne most what, that they dwell
(As goteheards wont) vpon a hill,
beside a learned well.
And wonned not the great god Pan,
vpon mount Oliuet:
Feeding the blessed flocke of Dan,
which dyd himselfe beget?
O blessed sheepe, O shepheard great,
that bought his flocke so deare,
And them did saue with bloudy sweat
from Wolues, that would them teare.
Besyde, as holy fathers sayne,
there is a hyllye place,
Where Titan ryseth from the mayne,
to renne hys dayly race.
Vpon whose toppe the starres bene stayed,
and all the skie doth leane,
There is the caue, where Phebe layed,
The shepheard long to dreame.
Whilome there vsed shepheards all
to feede theyr flocks at will,
Till by his foly one did fall,
that all the rest did spill.
And sithens shepheardes bene foresayd
from places of delight:
For thy I weene thou be affrayed,
to clime this hilles height.
Of Synah can I tell thee more,
and of our Ladyes bowre:
But little needes to strow my store,
suffice this hill of our.
Here han the holy Faunes resourse,
and Syluanes haunten rathe.
Here has the salt Medway his sourse,
wherein the Nymphes doe bathe.
The salt Medway, that trickling stremis
adowne the dales of Kent:
Till with his elder brother Themis
his brackish waues be meynt.
Here growes Melampode euery where,
and Terebinth good for Gotes:
The one, my madding kiddes to smere,
the next, to heale theyr throtes.
Hereto, the hills bene nigher heuen,
and thence the passage ethe.
As well can proue the piercing levin,
that seeldome falls bynethe.
Syker thou speakes lyke a lewde lorrell,
of Heauen to demen so:
How be I am but rude and borrell,
yet nearer wayes I knowe.
To Kerke the narre, from God more farre,
has bene an old sayd sawe.
And he that striues to touch the starres,
oft stombles at a strawe.
Alsoone may shepheard clymbe to skye,
that leades in lowly dales,
As Goteherd prowd that sitting hye,
vpon the Mountaine sayles.
My seely sheepe like well belowe,
they neede not Melampode:
For they bene hale enough, I trowe,
and liken theyr abode.
But if they with thy Gotes should yede,
they soone myght be corrupted:
Or like not of the frowie fede,
or with the weedes be glutted.
The hylls, where dwelled holy saints,
I reuerence and adore:
Not for themselfe, but for the sayncts,
which han be dead of yore.
And nowe they bene to heauen forewent,
theyr good is with them goe:
Theyr sample onely to vs lent,
that als we mought doe soe.
Shepheards they weren of the best,
and liued in lowly leas:
And sith theyr soules bene now at rest,
why done we them disease?
Such one he was, (as I haue heard
old Algrind often sayne)
That whilome was the first shepheard,
and liued with little gayne:
As meeke he was, as meeke mought be,
simple, as simple sheepe,
Humble, and like in eche degree
the flocke, which he did keepe.
Often he vsed of hys keepe
a sacrifice to bring,
Nowe with a Kidde, now with a sheepe
The Altars hallowing.
So lowted he vnto hys Lord,
such fauour couth he fynd,
That sithens neuer was abhord,
the simple shepheards kynd.
And such I weene the brethren were,
that came from Canaan:
The brethren twelue, that kept yfere
The flockes of mighty Pan.
But nothing such thilke shephearde was,
whom Ida hyll dyd beare,
That left hys flocke, to fetch a lasse,
whose loue he bought to deare:
For he was proude, that ill was payd,
(no such mought shepheards bee)
And with lewde lust was ouerlayd:
tway things doen ill agree:
But shepheard mought be meeke and mylde,
well eyed, as Argus was,
With fleshly follyes vndefyled,
and stoute as steede of brasse.
Sike one (sayd Algrin) Moses was,
that sawe hys makers face,
His face more cleare, then Christall glasse,
and spake to him in place.
This had a brother, (his name I knewe)
the first of all his cote,
A shepheard trewe, yet not so true,
as he that earst I hote.
Whilome all these were lowe, and lief,
and loued their flocks to feede,
They neuer strouen to be chiefe,
and simple was theyr weede.
But now (thanked be God therefore)
the world is well amend,
Their weedes bene not so nighly wore,
such simplesse mought them shend:
They bene yclad in purple and pall,
so hath theyr god them blist,
They reigne and rulen ouer all,
and lord it, as they list:
Ygyrt with belts of glitterand gold,
(mought they good sheepeheards bene)
Theyr Pan theyr sheepe to them has sold,
I saye as some haue seene.
For Palinode (if thou him ken)
yode late on Pilgrimage
To Rome, (if such be Rome) and then
he sawe thilke misusage.
For shepeheards (sayd he) there doen leade,
As Lordes done other where,
Theyr sheepe han crustes, and they the bread:
the chippes, and they the chere:
They han the fleece, and eke the flesh,
(O seely sheepe the while)
The corn is theyrs, let other thresh,
their hands they may not file.
They han great stores, and thriftye stockes,
great freendes and feeble foes:
What neede hem caren for their flocks?
theyr boyes can looke to those.
These wisardsweltre in welths waues,
pampred in pleasures deepe,
They han fatte kernes, and leany knaues,
their fasting flockes to keepe.
Sike mister men bene all misgone,
they heapen hylles of wrath:
Sike syrly shepheards han we none,
they keepen all the path.
Here is a great deale of good matter,
lost for lacke of telling,
Now sicker I see, thou doest but clatter:
harme may come of melling.
Thou medlest more, then shall haue thanke,
to wyten shepheards welth:
When folke bene fat, and riches rancke,
it is a signe of helth.
But say to me, what is Algrin he,
that is so oft bynempt.
He is a shepheard great in gree,
but hath bene long ypent.
One daye he sat vpon a hyll,
(as now thou wouldest me:
But I am tought by Algrins ill,
To loue the lowe degree.)
For sitting so with bared scalpe,
an Eagle sored hye,
That weening hys whyte head was chalke,
A shell fish downe let flye:
Shee weend the shell fish to haue broake,
but therewith bruzd his brayne,
So now astonied with the stroke,
he lyes in lingring payne.
Ah good Algrin, his hap was ill,
But shall be bett in time.
Now farwell shepheard, sith thys hyll
thou hast such doubt to climbe.
In medio virtus.
In summo foelicitas
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