What euer man he be, whose heauie mynd
With griefe of mournefull great mishap opprest,
Fit matter for his cares increase would fynd:
Let reade the rufull plaint herein exprest,
Of one (I weene) the wofulst man aliue;
Euen sad Alcyon, whose empierced brest,
Sharpe sorrowe did in thousand peeces riue.
But who so else in pleasure findeth sense,
Or in this wretched life dooth take delight,
Let him be banisht farre away from hence:
Ne let the sacred Sisters here be hight,
Though they of sorrowe heauilie can sing;
For euen their heauie song would breede delight:
But here no tunes, saue sobs and grones shall ring.
In stead of them, and their sweete harmonie,
Let those three fatall Sisters, whose sad hands
Doe weaue the direfull threads of destinie,
And in their wrath breake off the vitall bands,
Approach hereto: and let the dreadfull Queene
Of darknes deepe come from the Stygian Strands,
And grisly Ghosts to heare this dolefull teene.
In gloomie euening, when the wearie Sun,
After his dayes long labour drew to rest,
And sweatie steedes now hauing ouer run
The compast skie, gan water in the west,
I walkt abroad to breath the freshing ayre
In open fields, whose flowring pride opprest
With early frosts, had lost their beautie faire.
There came vnto my mind a troublous thought,
Which dayly doth my weaker wit possesse,
Ne lets it rest, vntill it forth haue brought
Her long borne Infant, fruit of heauinesse,
Which she conceiued hath through meditation
Of this worlds vainnesse, and lifes wretchednesse,
That yet my soule it deepely doth empassion.
So as I muzed on the miserie
In which men liue, and I of many most,
Most miserable man; I did espie
Where towards me a sory wight did cost,
Clad all in black, that mourning did bewray:
And Iaakob staff in hand deuoutly crost,
Like to some Pilgrim, come from farre away.
His carelesse lockes, vncombed and vnshorne,
Hong long adowne, and beard all ouer growne,
That well he seemd to be some wight forlorne;
Downe to the earth his heauie eyes were throwne
As loathing light: and euer as he went,
He sighed soft, and inly deepe did grone,
As if his heart in peeces would haue rent.
Approaching nigh, his face I vewed nere,
And by the semblaunt of his countenaunce,
Me seemd I had his person seene elsewhere,
Most like Alcyon seeming at a glaunce;
Alcyon he, the iollie Shepheard swaine,
That wont full merrilie to pipe and daunce.
And fill with pleasance euery wood and plaine.
Yet halfe in doubt, because of his disguize,
I softlie sayd, Alcyon? There withall
He lookt a side as in disdainefull wise,
Yet stayed not: till I againe did call.
Then turning back, he saide with hollow sound,
Who is it that dooth name me, wofull thrall,
The wretchedest man that treads this day on groũd?
One, whom like wofulnesse impressed deepe,
Hath made fit mate thy wretched case to heare,
And giuen like cause with thee to waile and wepe:
Griefe finds some ease by him that like does beare,
Then stay Alcyon, gentle shepheard stay
(Quoth I) till thou haue to my trustie eare
Committed, what the dooth so ill apay.
Cease foolish man (saide he half wrothfully)
To seeke to heare that which cannot be told:
For the huge anguish, which dooth multiplie
My dying paines, no tongue can well vnfold:
Ne doo I care, that any should bemone
My hard mishap, or any weepe that would,
But seeke alone to weepe, and dye alone.
Then be it so (quoth I) that thou art bent
To die alone, vnpitied, vnplained,
Yet ere thou die, it were conuenient
To tell the cause, which thee thereto constrained:
Least that the world thee dead accuse of guilt,
And say, when thou of none shalt be maintained,
That thou for secret crime thy blood hast spilt.
Who life dooes loath, and longs to be vnbound
From the strong shackles of fraile flesh (quoth he)
Nought cares at all, what they that liue on ground
Deeme the occasion of his death to bee:
Rather desires to be forgotten quight,
Than question made of his calamitie,
For harts deep sorrow hates both life and light.
Yet since so much thou seemst to rue my griefe,
And car’st for one that for himselfe cares nought,
(Signe of thy loue, though nought for my reliefe:
For my reliefe exceedeth liuing thought)
I will to thee this heauie case relate,
Then harken till it to end be brought,
For neuer didst thou heare more haplesse fate.
Whilome I vsde (as thou right well doest know)
My little flocke on westerne downes to keepe.
Not far from hence Sabrinaes streame doth flow,
And flowrie bancks with siluer liquor steepe:
Nought carde I then for worldly change or chaũce,
For all my ioy was on my gentle sheepe,
And to my pype to caroll and to daunce.
It there befell, As I the fields did range
Fearlesse and free, a faire young Lionesse,
White as the natiue Rose before the chaunge,
Which Venus blood did in her leaues impresse.
I spied playing on the grassie plaine
Her youthfull sports and kindlie wantonnesse,
That did all other Beasts in beawtie staine.
Much was I moued at so goodly sight;
Whose like before, mine eye had seldome seene,
And gan to cast, how I her compasse might,
And bring to hand, that yet had neuer beene:
So well I wrought with mildnes and with paine,
That I her caught disporting on the greene,
And brought away fast bound with siluer chaine.
And afterwards I handled her so fayre,
That though by kind shee stout and saluage were,
For being borne an auncient Lions hayre,
And of the race, that all wild beasts do feare;
Yet I her fram’d and wan so to my bent,
That shee became so meeke and milde of cheare,
As the least lamb in all my flock that went.
For shee in field, where euer I did wend,
Would wend with me, and waite by me all day:
And all the night that I in watch did spend,
If cause requir’d, or els in sleepe, if nay,
Shee would all night by me or watch or sleepe;
And euermore when I did sleepe or play,
She of my flock would take full warie keepe.
Safe then and safest were my sillie sheepe,
Ne fear’d the Wolfe, ne fear’d the wildest beast:
All were I drown’d in carelesse quiet deepe:
My louely Lionesse without beheast
So careful was for them, and for my good,
That when I waked, neither most nor least
I found miscaried or in plaine or wood.
Oft did the Shepheards, which my hap did heare,
And oft their lasses which my luck enuyde,
Daylie resort to me from farre and neare,
To see my Lyonesse, whose praises wyde
Were spred abroad; and when her worthinesse
Much greater than the rude report they try’de,
They her did praise, and my good fortune blesse.
Long thus I ioyed in my happinesse,
And well did hope my ioy would haue no end:
But oh fond man, that in worlds ficklenesse
Reposedst hope, or weenedst her thy frend,
That glories most in mortall miseries,
And daylie doth her changefull counsels bend
To make new matter fit for Tragedies.
For whilest I was thus without dread or dout,
A cruell Satyre with his murdrous dart,
Greedie of mischiefe, ranging all about,
Gaue her the fatall wound of deadly smart:
And reft from me my sweete companion,
And reft fro me my loue, my life, my hart:
My Lyonesse (ah woe is me) is gon.
Out of the world thus was she reft away,
Out of the world, vnworthy such a spoyle;
And borne to heauen, for heauen a fitter pray:
Much fitter than the Lyon, which with toyle
Alcides slew, and fixt in firmament;
Her now I seeke throughout this earthly soyle,
And seeking misse, and missing doe lament.
Therewith he gan afresh to waile and weepe,
That I for pittie of his heauie plight,
Could not abstain mine eyes with teares to steepe:
But when I saw the anguish of his spright
Some deale alaid, I him bespake againe.
Certes Alcyon, painefull is thy plight,
That it in me breeds almost equall paine.
Yet doth not my dull wit well vnderstand
The riddle of thy loued Lionesse;
For rare it seemes in reason to be skand,
That man, who doth the whole worlds rule possesse
Should to a beast his noble hart embase,
And be the vassall of his vassalesse:
Therefore more plaine aread this doubtfull case.
Then sighing sore, Daphne thou knewest (quoth he)
She now is dead; ne more endur’d to say:
But fell to ground for great extremitie,
That I beholding it, with deepe dismay
Was much appald, and lightly him vprearing,
Reuoked life, that would haue fled away,
All were my selfe through grief in deadly drearing.
Then gan I him to comfort all my best,
And with milde counsaile stroue to mitigate
The stormie passion of his troubled brest,
But he thereby was more empassionate:
As stubborne steed, that is with curb restrained,
Becomes more fierce and feruent in his gate,
And breaking foorth at last, thus dearnely plained.
1 What man henceforth that breatheth vitall aire,
Will honour heauen, or heauenly powers adore?
Which so vniustly do their iudgements share;
Mongst earthly wights, as to afflict so sore
The innocent, as those which do transgresse,
And doe not spare the best or fairest, more
Than worst or fowlest, but doe both oppresse.
If this be right, why did they then create
The world so faire, sith fairenesse is neglected?
Or why be they themselues immaculate,
If purest things be not by them respected?
She faire she pure, most faire, most pure she was,
Yet was by them as thing impure reiected:
Yet she in pureness, heauen it selfe did pas.
In pureness and in all celestiall grace,
That men admire in goodly womankind;
She did excell and seem’d of Angels race,
Liuing on earth like Angell new diuinde,
Adorn’d with wisedome and with chastitie:
And all the dowries of a noble mind,
Which did her beautie much more beautifie.
No age hath bred (since faire Astræa left
The sinfull world) more vertue in a wight,
And when she parted hence, with her she reft
Great hope; and robd her race of bountie quight:
Well may the shepheard lasses now lament,
For doubble losse by her hath on them light;
To loose both her and beauties ornament.
Ne let Elisa royall Shepheardesse
The praises of my parted loue enuy,
For she hath praises in all plenteousnesse,
Powr’d vpon her, like showers of Castaly
By her own Shepheard, Colin her own Shepherd,
That her with heauenly hymnes doth deifie,
Of rusticke muse full hardly to be betterd.
She is the Rose, the glory of the day,
And mine the Primrose in the lowly shade,
Mine, ah not mine; amisse I mine did say:
Not mine but his, which mine awhile her made:
Mine to be his, with him to liue for ay:
O that so faire a flowre so soone should fade,
And through vntimely tempest fall away.
She fell away in her first ages spring,
Whilst yet her leafe was greene, & fresh her rinde,
And whilst her braunch faire blossomes foorth did bring,
She fell away against all course of kinde:
For age to dye is right, but youth is wrong;
She fell away like fruit blowne downe with winde:
Weepe Shepheard weepe to make my vndersong.
2 What hart so stonie hard, but that would weepe,
And poure forth fountaines of incessant teares?
What Timon, but would let compassion creepe
Into his breast, and pierce his frosen eares?
In stead of teares, whose brackish bitter well
I wasted haue, my heart bloud dropping weares,
To thinke to ground how that faire blossome fell.
Yet fell she not, as one enforst to dye,
Ne dyde with dread and grudging discontent,
But as one toyld with trauell downe doth lye,
So lay she downe, as if to sleepe she went,
And closde her eyes with carelesse quietnesse;
The whiles soft death away her spirit hent,
And soule assoyled from sinfull fleshlinesse.
Yet ere that life her lodging did forsake,
She all resolu’d, and readie to remoue,
Calling to me (ay me) this wise bespake;
Alcyon, ah my first and latest loue,
Ah why does my Alcyon weepe and mourne,
And grieue my ghost, that ill mote him behoue,
As if to me had chaunst some euill tourne?
I, since the messenger is come for mee,
That summons soules vnto the bridale feast
Of his great Lord, must needs depart from thee,
And straight obay his soueraine beheast:
Why should Alcyon then so sore lament,
That I from miserie shall be releast,
And freed from wretched long imprisonment?
Our daies are full of dolour and disease,
Our life afflicted with incessant paine,
That nought on earth may lessen or appease.
Why then should I desire here to remaine?
Or why should he that loues me, sorrie bee
For my deliuerance, or at all complaine
My good to heare, and toward ioyes to see?
I goe, and long desired haue to goe,
I goe with gladnesse to my wished rest,
Whereas no worlds sad care, nor wasting woe
May come their happie quiet to molest,
But Saints and Angels in celestiall thrones
Eternally him praise, that hath them blest;
There shall I be amongst those blessed ones.
Yet ere I goe, a pledge I leaue with thee
Of the late loue, the which betwixt vs past,
My young Ambrosia, in lieu of mee
Loue her: so shall our loue for euer last.
Thus deare adieu, whom I expect ere long:
So hauing said, away she softly past:
Weepe Shepheard weepe, to make mine vndersong.
3 So oft as I record those piercing words,
Which yet are deepe engrauen in my brest,
And those last deadly accents, which like swords
Did wound my heart and rend my bleeding chest,
With those sweet sugred speeches doe compare,
The which my soule first conquerd and possest,
The first beginners of my endlesse care;
And when those pallid cheekes and ashie hew,
In which sad death his pourtraiture had writ,
And when those hollow eyes and deadly view,
On which the cloud of ghastly night did sit,
I match with that sweete smile and cheerful brow,
Which all the world subdued vnto it;
How happie was I then, and wretched now?
How happie was I, when I saw her leade
The Shepheards daughters dauncing in arownd?
How trimly would she trace and softly tread
The tender grasse with rosye garland crownd?
And when she list aduance her heauenly voyce,
Both Nymphes & Muses nigh she made astownd,
And flocks and shepheards caused to reioyce.
But now ye Shepheards lasses, who shall lead
Your wandring troupes, or sing your virelayes?
Or who shall dight your bowres, sith she is dead
That was the Lady of your holy dayes?
Let now your blisse be turned into bale,
And into plaints conuert your ioyous playes,
And with the same fill euery hill and dale.
Let Bagpipe neuer more be heard to shrill,
That may allure the senses to delight;
Ne euer Shepheard sound his Oaten quill
Vnto the many, that prouoke them might
To idle pleasance: but let ghastlinesse
And drearie horror dim the chearefull light,
To make the image of true heauinesse.
Let birds be silent on the naked spray,
And shady woods resound with dreadfull yells:
Let streaming floods their hastie courses stay,
And parching drouth drie vp the christall wells;
Let th’earth be barren and bring foorth no flowres,
And th’ayre be fild with noyse of dolefull knells,
And wandring spirits walke vntimely howres.
And Nature nurse of euery liuing thing,
Let rest her selfe from her long wearinesse,
And cease henceforth things kindly forth to bring,
But hideous monsters full of vglinesse:
For she it is, that hath me done this wrong,
No nurse, but Stepdame, cruell, mercilesse,
Weepe Shepheard weepe to make my vndersong.
4 My litle flocke, whom earst I lou’d so well,
And wont to feede with finest grasse that grew,
Feede ye hencefoorth on bitter Astrofell,
And stinking Smallage, and vnsauerie Rew;
And when your mawes are with those weeds corrupted,
Be ye the pray of Wolues: ne will I rew,
That with your carkasses wild beasts be glutted.
Ne worse to you my sillie sheepe I pray,
Ne sorer vengeance wish on you to fall
Than to my selfe, for whose confusde decay
To carelesse heauens I doo daylie call:
But heauens refuse to heare a wretches cry,
And cruell death doth scorne to come at call,
Or graunt his boone that most desires to dye.
The good and righteous he away doth take,
To plague th’vnrighteous which aliue remaine:
But the vngodly ones he doth forsake,
By liuing long to multiply their paine:
Els surely death should be no punishment,
As the great Iudge at first did it ordaine,
But rather riddance from long languishment.
Therefore my Daphne they haue tane away;
For worthie of a better place was she:
But me vnworthie willed here to stay,
That with her lacke I might tormented be.
Sith then they so haue ordred, I will pay
Penance to her according their decree,
And to her ghost doe seruice day by day.
For I will walke this wandring pilgrimage,
Throuhout the world from one to other end,
And in affliction waste my better age.
My bread shall be the anguish of my mynd,
My drink the teares which fro my eyes do raine,
My bed the ground that hardest I may fynd:
So will I wilfully increase my paine.
And shee my loue that was, my Saint that is,
When she beholds from her celestiall throne,
(In which shee ioyeth in eternall blis)
My bitter penance, will my case bemone,
And pitie me that liuing thus doo die:
For heauenly spirits haue compassion
On mortall men, and rue their miserie.
So when I haue with sorrow satisfyde
Th’importune fates, which vengeance on me seeke,
And th’eauens with long langour pacifyde,
She for pure pitie of my sufferance meeke,
Will send for me; for which I daylie long,
And will till then my painfull penance eeke:
Weepe Shepheard, weepe to make my vndersong.
5 Hencefoorth I hate what euer Nature made,
And in her workmanship no pleasure finde:
For they be all but vaine, and quickly fade,
So soone as on them blowes the Northern winde,
They tarrie not, but flit and fall away,
Leauing behind them nought but griefe of minde,
And mocking such as thinke they long will stay.
I hate the heauen, because it doth withhould
Me from my loue, and eke my loue from me;
I hate the earth, because it is the mould
Of fleshly slime and fraile mortalitie;
I hate the fire, because to nought it flyes,
I hate the Ayre, because sighes of it be,
I hate the Sea, because it teares supplyes.
I hate the day, because it lendeth light
To see all things, and not my loue to see;
I hate the darknesse and the dreary night,
Because they breed sad balefulnesse in mee:
I hate all times, because all times doo fly
So fast away, and may not stayed bee,
But as a speedie post that passeth by.
I hate to speake, my voyce is spent with crying:
I hate to heare, lowd plaints haue duld mine eares:
I hate to tast, for food withholds my dying:
I hate to see, mine eyes are dimd with teares:
I hate to smell, no sweet on earth is left:
I hate to feele, my flesh is numbd with feares:
So all my senses from me are bereft.
I hate all men, and shun all womankinde;
The one, because as I they wretched are,
The other, for because I doo not finde
My loue with them, that wont to be their Starre;
And life I hate, because it will not last,
And death I hate, because it life doth marre,
And all I hate, that is to come or past.
So all the world, and all in it I hate,
Because it changeth euer too and fro,
And neuer standeth in one certaine state,
But still vnstedfast round about doth goe,
Like a Mill wheele, in midst of miserie,
Driuen with streames of wretchednesse and woe,
That dying liues, and liuing still does dye.
So doo I liue, so doo I daylie die,
And pine away in selfe-consuming paine,
Sith she that did my vitall powres supplie,
And feeble spirits in their force maintaine
Is fetcht fro me, why seeke I to prolong
My wearie daies in dolour and disdaine?
Weepe Shepheard weepe to make my vndersong.
6 Why doo I longer liue in lifes despight?
And doo not dye then in despight of death:
Why doo I longer see this loathsome light,
And doo in darknesse not abridge my breath,
Sith all my sorrow should haue end thereby,
And cares finde quiet; is it so vneath
To leaue this life, or dolorous to dye?
To liue I finde it deadly dolorous;
For life drawes care, and care continuall woe:
Therefore to dye must needes be ioyeous,
And wishfull thing this sad life to forgoe.
But I must stay; I may it not amend,
My Daphne hence departing bad me so,
She bad me stay, till she for me did send.
Yet whilest I in this wretched vale doo stay,
My wearie feete shall euer wandring be,
That still I may be readie on my way,
When as her messenger doth come for me:
Ne will I rest my feet for feeblenesse,
Ne will I rest my limmes for frailtie,
Ne will I rest mine eyes for heauinesse.
But as the mother of the Gods, that sought
For faire Eurydice her daughter deere
Throghout the world, with wofull heauie thought;
So will I trauell whilest I tarrie heere,
Ne will I lodge, ne will I euer lin,
Ne when as drouping Titan draweth neere
To loose his teeme, will I take vp my Inne.
Ne sleepe (the harbenger of wearie wights)
Shall euer lodge vpon mine eye-lids more;
Ne shall with rest refresh my fainting sprights,
Nor failing force to former strength restore,
But I will wake and sorrow all the night
With Philomene, my fortune to deplore,
With Philomene, the partner of my plight.
And euer as I see the starre to fall,
And vnder ground to goe, to giue them light
Which dwell in darknesse, I to mind will call,
How my faire Starre (that shind on me so bright)
Fell sodainly, and faded vnder ground;
Since whose departure, day is turnd to night,
And night without a Venus starre is found.
But soone as day doth shew his deawie face,
And cals foorth men vnto their toylsome trade,
I will withdraw me to some darkesome place,
Or some d[r]eere caue, or solitarie shade,
There will I sigh, and sorrow all day long,
And the huge burden of my cares vnlade:
Weepe Shepheard, weepe, to make my vndersong.
7 Henceforth mine eyes shall neuer more behold
Faire thing on earth, ne feed on false delight
Of ought that framed is of mortall mould,
Sith that my fairest flower is faded quight:
For all I see is vaine and transitorie,
Ne will be held in any stedfast plight,
But in a moment loose their grace and glorie.
And ye fond men, on fortunes wheele that ride,
Or in ought vnder heauen repose assurance,
Be it riches, beautie, or honours pride:
Be sure that they shall haue no long endurance,
But ere ye be aware will flit away;
For nought of them is yours, but th’only vsance
Of a small time, which none ascertaine may.
And ye true Louers, whom desastrous chaunce
Hath farre exiled from your Ladies grace,
To mourne in sorrow and sad sufferaunce,
When ye doe heare me in that desert place,
Lamenting loud my Daphnes Elegie,
Helpe me to waile my miserable case,
And when life parts, vouchsafe to close mine eye.
And ye more happie Louers, which enioy
The presence of your dearest loues delight,
When ye doe heare my sorrowful annoy,
Yet pittie me in your empassiond spright,
And thinke that such mishap, as chaunst to me,
May happen vnto the most happiest wight;
For all mens states alike vnstedfast be.
And ye my fellow Shepheards, which do feed
Your carelesse flockes on hils and open plaines,
With better fortune, than did me succeed,
Remember yet my vndeserued paines,
And when ye heare, that I am dead or slaine,
Lament my lot, and tell your fellow swaines;
That sad Alcyon dyde in lifes disdaine.
And ye faire Damsels Shepheards deare delights,
That with your loues do their rude hearts possesse,
When as my hearse shall happen to your sightes,
Vouchsafe to deck the same with Cyparesse;
And euer sprinckle brackish teares among,
In pitie of my vndeseru’d distresse,
The which I wretch, endured haue thus long.
And ye poore Pilgrimes, that with restlesse toyle
Wearie your selues in wandring desert wayes,
Till that you come, where ye your vowes assoyle,
When passing by ye reade these wofull layes
On my graue written, rue my Daphnes wrong,
And mourne for me that languish out my dayes:
Cease Shepheard, cease, and end thy vndersong.
Thus when he ended had his heauie plaint,
The heauiest plaint that euer I heard sound,
His cheekes wext pale, and sprights began to faint,
As if againe he would haue fallen to ground;
Which when I saw, I (stepping to him light)
Amooued him out of his stonie swound,
And gan him to recomfort as I might.
But he no waie recomforted would be,
Nor suffer solace to approach him nie,
But casting vp a ‘sdeinfull eie at me,
That in his traunce I would not let him lie,
Did rend his haire, and beat his blubbred face,
As one disposed wilfullie to die,
That I sore grieu’d to see his wretched case.
Tho when the pang was somewhat ouerpast,
And the outragious passion nigh appeased,
I him desyrde, sith daie was ouercast,
And darke night fast approched, to be pleased
To turne aside vnto my Cabinet,
And staie with me, till he were better eased
Of that strong stownd, which him so sore beset.
But by no meanes I could him win thereto,
Ne longer him intreate with me to staie,
But without taking leaue, he foorth did goe
With staggring pace and dismall lookes dismay,
As if that death he in the face had seene,
Or hellish hags had met vpon the way:
But what of him became I cannot weene.