The Shepheardes Calender: March Poem by Edmund Spenser

The Shepheardes Calender: March

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March: Ægloga Tertia. Willye & Thomalin.

THomalin, why sytten we soe,
As weren ouerwent with woe,
Vpon so fayre a morow?
The ioyous time now nighest fast,
That shall alegge this bitter blast,
And slake the winters sorowe.

Sicker Willye, thou warnest well:
For Winters wrath beginnes to quell,
And pleasant spring appeareth.
The grasse now ginnes to be refresht,
The Swallow peepes out of her nest,
And clowdie Welkin cleareth.

Seest not thilke same Hawthorne studde,
How bragly it beginnes to budde,
And vtter his tender head?
Flora now calleth forth eche flower,
And bids make ready Maias bowre,
That newe is vpryst from bedde.
Tho shall we sporten in delight,
And learne with Lettice to wexe light,
That scornefully lookes askaunce,
Tho will we little Loue awake,
That nowe sleepeth in Lethe lake,
And pray him leaden our daunce.

Willye, I wene thou bee assott:
For lustie Loue still sleepeth not,
But is abroad at his game.

How kenst thou, that he is awoke?
Or hast thy selfe his slomber broke?
Or made preuie to the same?

No, but happely I hym spyde,
Where in a bush he did him hide,
With winges of purple and blewe.
And were not, that my sheepe would stray,
The preuie marks I would bewray,
Whereby by chaunce I him knewe.

Thomalin, haue no care for thy,
My selfe will haue a double eye,
Ylike to my flocke and thine:
For als at home I haue a syre,
A stepdame eke as whott as fyre,
That dewly adayes counts mine.

Nay, but thy seeing will not serue,
My sheepe for that may chaunce to swerue,
And fall into some mischiefe.
For sithens is but the third morowe,
That I chaunst to fall a sleepe with sorowe,
And waked againe with griefe:
The while thilke same vnhappye Ewe,
Whose clouted legge her hurt doth shewe,
Fell headlong into a dell.
And there vnioynted both her bones:
Mought her necke bene ioynted attones,
She shoulde haue neede no more spell.
Thelf was so wanton and so wood,
(But now I trowe can better good)
She mought ne gang on the greene,

Let be, as may be, that is past:
That is to come, let be forecast.
Now tell vs, what thou hast seene.

It was vpon a holiday,
When shepheardes groomes han leaue to playe,
I cast to goe a shooting.
Long wandring vp and downe the land,
With bowe and bolts in either hand,
For birds in bushes tooting:
At length within an Yuie todde
(There shrouded was the little God)
I heard a busie bustling.
I bent my bow against the bush,
Listening if any thing did rushe,
But then heard no more rustling.
Tho peeping close into the thicke,
Might see the mouing of some quicke.
Whose shape appeared not:
But were it faerie, feend, or snake,
My courage earnd it to awake,
And manfully thereat shotte.
With that sprong forth a naked swayne,
With spotted winges like Peacocks trayne,
And laughing lope to a tree.
His gylden quiuer at his backe,
And silver bowe, which was but slacke,
Which lightly he bent at me.
That seeing, I leuelde againe,
And shott at him with might and maine,
As thicke, as it had hayled.
So long I shott, that al was spent:
Tho pumie stones I hastly hent,
And threwe: but nought availed:
He was so wimble, and so wight,
From bough to bough he lepped light,
And oft the pumies latched.
Therewith affrayd I ranne away:
But he, that earst seemd but to playe,
A shaft in earnest snatched,
And hit me running in the heele:
For then I little smart did feele:
But soone it sore encreased.
And now it ranckleth more and more,
And inwardly it festreth sore,
Ne wote I, how to cease it.

Thomalin, I pittie thy plight.
Perdie with loue thou diddest fight:
I know him by a token.
For once I heard my father say,
How he him caught vpon a day,
(Whereof he wilbe wroken)
Entangled in a fowling net,
Which he for carrion Crowes had set,
That in our Peeretree haunted.
Tho sayd, he was a winged lad,
But bowe and shafts as then none had:
Els had he sore be daunted.
But see the Welkin thicks apace,
And stouping Phebus steepes his face:
Yts time to hast vs homeward.

Willyes Embleme.
To be wise and eke to loue,
Is graunted scarce to God aboue.

Thomalins Embleme.
Of Hony and of Gaule in loue there is store:
The Honye is much, but the Gaule is more.

Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser

London / England
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